the passenger seat

everything’ll be alright

It seems that my blogging has become increasingly sporadic. Even after the last post, in which I addressed the issues preventing me from blogging more often, I still have not found a resolve for any of them. I’m still sleeping late; in fact, I am actually waking earlier nowadays to play in the mornings. I’ve only done a bit of photography lately, not daily or two-daily as I used to. I think I’ve shot basically everything photographically-viable around my house and street, so there’s not much more I can do until I go out somewhere interesting. So, the point is, I can’t use the excuse that my creative energies have been spent elsewhere.

But regardless, here I am, just to get a few things off my chest.

There is no need to reiterate that there has been a huge increase in sentimental thoughts and blogs in the weeks leading up to the end of our schooling lives. I find myself constantly conversing about the past, the future, the short amount of time we have left at school.

And what a great school it has been. I can very confidently say that James Ruse Agricultural High School has been very good to me. I’ve loved the six years that we’ve been here, and I’ve loved all the people who I see day-in, day-out. Nowadays, I am quick to shoot down any stereotypical comments about our school. Sure, we do have certain groups that do fit the stereotype, but for the most part, people around here are very sociable. I am so thankful for the pride that we have as a grade and as a school, and I cannot say how much I love that our grade is so tight. Literally every other school has distinct segregated groups within each grade, and although we do have certain distinct groups, the barriers between each are very, very thin. It is because of this that I am able to say “Hi” to people I see out of school that I barely talk to at school. Excuse me for being very sentimental and border-line homosexual here, but I just cannot express how much I’ll miss our grade and school.

Shit, I said the word “love” too many times in that paragraph. Oh well; there they shall stay.

The other day James posted a very interesting excerpt on his blog, entitled “Security”, by Hunter S. Thompson. It discussed the differences between opposing values in society: do I choose security or risk? With security comes boredom and lack of purpose, but with risk comes both success and failure. This may be a tad tangential, but it got me thinking about school and the daily routine of timetables and bell times.

For six years we have lived each weekday by the sound of a siren, ringing eleven times each day and controlling the structure of our days. Never-failing. Constant. Routine. Routine. We say that we are looking forward to life after highschool; to freedom and university and a more open life, but I think secretly we all crave the routine. We need the routine. Through it, we feel safe; secure.

For me, the daily routine has been (on weekdays, with exceptions):

7:30/8:00: Awake, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth- there is virtually never a day where this routine is broken.
8:00/8:30/8:50 (depending on the day): Depart for school- I walk into my garage, through the automatic roller door and out onto the street. I turn left out of my house, then a right, another left and straight ahead to school. If school goes for 40 weeks a year, 5 days a week and I walk the route twice a day (to and from school), this means that I have walked the exact same path over 2300 times over six years. I could walk it with my eyes closed- and I’m not even kidding about this. Most days I am busy thinking about other things in my life or about the upcoming day, and sometimes I don’t even notice where I am until I am on the school grounds.
9:00 onwards: The day goes by; the bells ringing for each period. For the most part of my high school life, recesses and lunchtimes have been spent at the basketball courts- this is one part of the routine that I will miss. The way that everyone gradually arrives at the courts. The muck-around time that occurs every time before teams are arranged and a game is finally started.

What will we do without this routine? Some days we will awake early to travel to university; some days not at all. It is both a daunting and exciting prospect, although more so the latter.

So what’s the count? Nine official days of school (albeit with some not spent on the school grounds). I could never have imagined what it would be like to be at this point. At the beginning of the year it felt so far away. Even more so last year. And it was just a pipe dream when I first arrived in year 7. But here we are; nearing the end. Wow. Before we know it, the HSC will be over and we will arrive, finally, at that point that we’ve all been dreaming about- freedom.

So I say suck it up for the next few weeks. There’s not long to go, so we might as well make the most of it- both academically and in terms of spending time with friends.

It’ll all be over faster than we think.

And with that, I will end. Please do take care; I really mean this, and I wish the best to all of you.


a day late

So I promised on my Tumblr blog that I would post a big blog today about my adventures at the Anberlin concert and the USYD Open Day. But, honestly, I’m just way too wasted right now to write much. And, it’s already been done by Janet on her blog. Basically the whole recount there is exactly what I would have written if I had recounted it too.

But I do have a few things to say about the past few days. Firstly, I’m pretty dead right now. My whole body aches; my arms from warding off the people around me in the mosh pit last night, my legs from standing and keeping my balance last night and walking all day today and my ears are still ringing like crazy from last night.

The most pleasant part about the Anberlin concert at the UNSW Roundhouse last night was the fat chicks and guys. There is nothing better than a 20-something overweight man with his t-shirt soaked in sweat pressing up against you. Or, as mentioned in Janet’s blog, bushy-haired girls stuffing their locks into your face.

But I won’t dwell on the bad side of the concert. It’s an experience; something that you’ve got to try at least once in your life (I wouldn’t mind doing it again). Speaking of which, did I see it on someone’s “Things To Do Before I Die” list? Anyways, the whole getting crushed thing was totally worth it. The three bands: The Wherewolves, The Academy Is… and of course Anberlin put on an awesome show; all three had great showmanship. I was pretty surprised about the first band, The Wherewolves. They’re Aussies from Brisbane and they were pretty damn good; I liked most of the songs in their set. I think Janet and Rohan both liked them also.

I haven’t listened to The Academy Is… for some time now, so I wasn’t really able to appreciate them as much as I could, although I did recognise a few songs. I think at that point I was just too tired from the pushing-fest just before their set.

And then there was Anberlin. Wow. The pains of the mosh pit and the thirst that I had built up was all worth it when they came on. When Stephen Christian walked on stage it was the best thing ever. Their setlist was as follows (the order may be wrong, since I found this list on the net):

  • “The Resistance” – New Surrender
  • “A Whisper & A Clamour” – Cities
  • “Disappear” – New Surrender
  • “Breaking” – New Surrender
  • “Adelaide” – Cities
  • “The Unwinding Cable Car” – Cities
  • “True Faith” – A New Order/Joy Division Cover
  • “A Day Late” – Never Take Friendship Personal
  • “Paperthin Hymn” – Never Take Friendship Personal
  • “Hello Alone” – Cities
  • “Dismantle. Repair” – Cities
  • “Inevitable” – Cities
  • “Feel Good Drag” – Blueprints For The Blackmarket/New Surrender
  • “Godspeed” – Cities
  • “*fin” – Cities

I was so so happy when “A Day Late” started. It was pretty much the one song that I wanted them to play; and they did; and it was awesome. So, so awesome. I had so much fun singing along to it with everyone else in the crowd.

I have a new-found respect for performers like Anberlin. They literally go insane and rock out (in the best possible way; not the gay punk rock emo way) for an hour and a bit, with no rest. Stephen Christian especially. He basically sings as hard as he can in every song, and yet somehow he doesn’t lose his voice; and his voice is bloody awesome. I was singing along and I lost it after only a few songs.

My life is that much closer to being complete after seeing Anberlin in concert. All I need now is to catch Death Cab For Cutie…

Now, onto today!

So it was the University of Sydney Open Day today, and it was quite interesting. Long story short, I think I’m leaning towards International & Global Studies/Law right now. It seemed pretty interesting, but I still need to find out a bit more about it.

Went shopping with Janet and had a look at some camera bags and bought myself a t-shirt.

Dinner was really good; ate at a Japanese restaurant called Wagaya and the atmosphere of the place was great with cheap-priced food. Shared three dishes with Janet: Korean-style octopus pancake, squid and cod roe (Japanese-style) spaghetti and tempura udon. Good food. Yum.

Oh, forgot to mention! I drove by myself for the first time today, after getting my P’s on Monday. It’s a good feeling. Granted, I did only drive to Epping Station, where I parked and caught the train to the city, but still fun.

Wow, anyone notice the decline in my blogging quality as it gets later and I get more tired? That’s really all I have the energy to say about the Open Day. Wait, hang on… Didn’t I say I wasn’t going to say much about the concert? Ah well!

I did take some photos today. Check out the set on my Flickr:

29-08-09: USYD Open Day

I’ll have more up tomorrow (today?) after I’ve processed them.

Don’t forget to keep checking my Tumblr blog! I update it more than I do here (albeit with much shorter posts and mostly photos).

A Scent Of Evergreen

But until next time, take it easy! Trials are over! We can relax! Well, at least for a little while longer…

pity and fear

What is your deepest fear, young man?
– Ken Carter, Coach Carter

I know this quote is from a movie about basketball (it’s really about more than that), but there’s something about the way that Samuel L. Jackson says it that makes it resonate.

What is it that we fear, as 17/18 year olds in our last year at the best high school in the state? We are so lucky to be living here, where we are safe and well-off. Now, in Coach Carter‘s world of the USA it is a place wrought with crime, poverty, gangs and a much higher prison rate than Australia. Where we live, we’re lucky to not have to worry about any of these things that we take for granted.

But what about our futures? Sure, most of us are going to get extremely high UAIs, well above the standard of any other high school in the state, but does this mean that we are set for life? Will we all be successful and get where we want to? We all have our perceptions of what our life will be like after high school and university. We expect to be in a stable job, earning good money. We expect to be safe and have our own place to live. Most of us expect to start a family, and live happily with them for the rest of our lives.

But what happens if our lives are not as perfect as we expect them to be?

We, as well-off young adults, are very naïve in the way we view our futures. But statistically, there are a number of things that could go wrong during our lives. And I don’t just mean messing up an exam or even getting bad grades or losing a job. I mean those events that could drastically change your life. Permanently.

Deva proposed this thought to me today in Chemistry. He mentioned two of his deepest fears: What if I have a baby and it comes out deformed or disabled? What if my wife dies in childbirth or before we can be happy?

Now these two things are things that I haven’t really thought about before, so it struck me when Deva mentioned it today. Now, I know that for most of us, if we had a child that was not perfect like we expected, we would still accept it and love it all the same. But is this the way we viewed how our lives would be when we were in high school? Definitely not. It’s a scary thought- a parent’s deepest fear- and something none of us would ever want to experience.

Onto the second question- what if your wife/husband/partner dies before you can be happy together, whether this is through sickness, childbirth or an accident? What then? Will we move on? Will we find someone else and live out the perfect life that we once imagined? I don’t know how I would handle it or move on until it actually happens to me, and I would like to keep it this way.

I’m not really sure what my point was to this blog, it was more just to get out some of my thoughts on the subject. But I think the underlying point is, as morbid as it sounds, that our lives may not turn out how we expect them to. My question is, what do you expect out of the future in terms of a job, family, friends? And how would you bounce back if something bad did happen?

Right now, I’m not really sure of what my future holds. I have a rough outline of what I would like to be doing, but most of it would be made up as I go along. I would want to be in a media or design related job that I’ll have fun doing and will give me enough money to support myself and a family, and I’m sure many of you will agree with me, for your desired fields. I would want to one day buy a really nice house and create a perfect living space for the family. Kids? Maybe two or three. Another of my dreams is to play for a band as a hobby and to travel the world, and of course to stay fit and healthy all the way through my life.

But I digress. My deepest fear? Like Deva, my deepest fear would be losing a loved one. I’m not too worried about things that happen to myself, but I don’t know how I would cope if I lost someone close to me. Grief and regret. Two terrible, terrible things.

I think that’s all I really wanted to say in this extremely morbid blog, so that’s that I guess. There’s probably a lot more I wanted to say but can’t remember, but I’ll leave that to another day.

To break up the mood a bit, I’ll leave you with a video of an original song by TheBathroomGirl, a very talented musician and singer on YouTube. The song is called Leaves In The Wind/Floating Free”.

“Pity And Fear” – from the album Narrow Stairs.

steadier footing

Disclaimer: This blog is going to be a bit different to my other blogs. For the first time, there will be no pictures. This will be more of a thought-based blog. As I’m beginning to write this, I’m not really sure what direction this will take, so please bear with me as I go off on many tangents.

Anyway, I was listening to a bit of Death Cab For Cutie today (as I very often do), and I heard the song “Steadier Footing”, off The Photo Album, my favourite song off one of my favourite albums by the band. I don’t know why (maybe it’s because of how late it is), but along with all the talk recently about our futures- uni, careers, life in general- it got me thinking about what life will be like after we leave high school; and what will happen to the friendships we have formed these past five and a bit years. I’ve listened to this song before and had the same thoughts, but this time I’m blogging about it, which is really the whole reason I made this blog in the first place- to put down any thoughts or findings I have during the day. Here are the lyrics for “Steadier Footing”:

it’s gotten late and now i want to be alone
all of our friends were here, they all have gone home
and here i sit on the front porch
watching the drunks stumble forth into the night
you gave me a heart attack, i did not see you there
i thought you had disappeared so early away from here
and this is the chance i never got to make a move
but we just talk about the people we’ve met in the last five years
and will we remember them in ten more?
i let you bum a smoke, you quit this winter past
i’ve tried twice before, but like this, it just will not last

It’s a short song by Ben Gibbard; only 1:47 long, but it’s a very succint way of saying what he wants to say. I can just imagine a situation just like this at the end of this year, where we would be having some sort of party or get-together (schoolies?) at the end of our high school life. Then, one by one, people would leave, and that might be the last time we see some of the people we’ve been to school with for six years. Scary thought, isn’t it? For some, you may be in the situation described by Ben Gibbard; “and this is the chance i never got to make a move”. Maybe this move might be with someone of the opposite sex, or it may even be with someone else who you’ve always wanted to be friends with or wanted to know better, but have never gotten the chance to talk to them properly. Regret is not a nice feeling.

but we just talk about the people in the last five years
and will we remember them in ten more? 

This is the phrase that really strikes me in this song; it just so perfectly sums up the way I feel about all of my friends and the people I’ve met here at Ruse. As corny as it may sound and as unbelievable as it may be, you all mean a lot to me. I feel as though our grade has grown really tight over the years; we all say “hi!” to each other in hallways or if we see each other elsewhere, sometimes even if we don’t know the other person that well. I think this is really a testament to the environment of our school and to the people in our grade. I don’t think I could find another school that would harbour the same kind of friendliness that is so abundant here, and for that I am very grateful to belong here. Luckily for us, however, all of us will be going to university next year; most of us to the same few, and therefore we won’t really lose very many friendships at all, at least for the next five or so years. But the song says “will we remember them in ten more?” I really hope so. In ten years, some of us may already have a stable job (maybe not you doctors), and (maybe I’m stretching it here) maybe even a family. To me, the perfect life would be if I could still meet up with all my friends from Ruse and have parties or whatever on weekends. That would be awesome. I think it’s really sad when people lose long-term friends, and six years definitely counts as long-term.

it just will not last

Will it, though? I don’t know. I really hope Ben Gibbard is wrong in that part of the song.

Anyway, more about the song. I find that it’s really appropriate that it’s the first song of an album called The Photo Album. The album title suggests memories, sentimentality, family, friends, while the song talks about the end of something- whether it’s high school or university or whatever, with a photo album the only thing left to remember people by. For us, this would be our yearbook or the year 12 contact book, but I really hope that this won’t be the only way we remember each other.

Instead of looking to the past so much, I think I should think about the future. Where would I want to be in ten years’ time? I would be twenty seven then. I think I would like to be in a decent job that will support me, but with room to move up. Hopefully it’s a job that will challenge me as well as allow me to use some creativity, as in design or media. Family? I’d probably hope to be at least thinking of starting one by then. I don’t know; it’s hard to say.

But I digress. The whole point of this extremely sentimental and corny blog was to just pour out some of the thoughts I’ve had about the past and the future. The title of the song, “Steadier Footing”, kind of reflects the way in which we are grounded by our friends while in school. When we move into university and out into the big world, we might lose this as we move on to bigger and better things; but that’s a good thing. Friends are still important, though- especially the ones you’ve known for years.

expo ’86

I really like the direction in which advertisements and media are going these days. I’ve realised that I’m starting to see more and more ads on the streets and stuff that I actually like, aesthetically. I think the fact that I like things like media, advertising and design is the reason that I want to do Arts (Media and Communications)/Law at university. Everyone (my parents) keep asking me where that’s going to take me career-wise, and I never really have an answer. All I know is that I really want to do something that involves creativity and design; I want to spend the rest of my life doing something I like.

Anyway, FFFFOUND! (mentioned in my previous blog, pictures in an exhibition) is a treasure trove for such ads, so this post will be a showcase of some of the ones that stood out to me in my travels. Click the pictures for a larger view.

This first one is an ad for Nike ID. It’s a simple design and idea, but I like the hand-drawn quality to it.

Next is an ad for Tynant Natural Mineral Water. While it may seem as though this one has a very simple premise, I just think they pulled it off well; the bright light at the top draws attention to the brand name, and I like the idea of using fatter bubbles for the contours on the bottle.

Bacardi Mojito. This ad also uses water to form an image (the Bacardi logo), but I like the more natural look of this one. The lime in the glass is a nice touch, and people who know me will know that I’m a big fan of green.

Did I say green? No prizes for why I like this ad for Adidas shoes. The foliage coming out of  the shoe and the vine around it have been done really well, and the little buttons of colour are a nice touch. The overlayed tech-looking designs in the background give the poster a bit more to look at and contrast the natural foliage.

The next one for Tiger beer speaks for itself. A beer bottle, toucans and splashes of colour. I love the brightness of this ad.

A cover for Bulgarian magazine Sign Cafe. As mentioned in my previous blog, pictures in an exhibition, I really like vectors. I also like how the man has been fragmented, as if shattered from the explosion of colour and images from his head.

The next few images are a series from the American Institute of Graphic Arts. I’m a fan of the splatters of colour, as well as the use of medical textbook-style images of the heart, brain and hand. I don’t know why, but the depiction of the human heart in art appeals to me, so this doesn’t disappoint.

The following images are part of another series. They are advertisements for Rios Illustration Studio. I love the concept behind these.

This last image for today’s blog is a depiction of everyone’s favourite clown, Ronald McDonald, but not as you’d normally see him. The smokey effect, the way he’s kind of vaporising and the typography made this piece stand out for me. This is from The Imaginary Print Series. I tried really hard to find the other images in this series, but unfortunately it was to no avail.

I think there’s a certain time of the night when I’m really susceptible to music and art. All the images here were found late at night, and so was this cover of Train’s “Drops of Jupiter”, by a really amazing YouTube artist named Gabe Bondoc. Gabe does some great covers of popular songs but with a jazz/blues/funk style on acoustic guitar (and sometimes on ukulele). I’ve liked pretty much every single cover and original he’s posted on YouTube. Check out his channel here.

On the topic of music, today I downloaded A Funk Odyssey, an album by Jamiroquai. I had a sudden urge to listen to “Love Foolosophy” (it’s been stuck in my head all day). It used to be played on the radio all the time back in the day.

Anyway, that’s all I have to talk about in todays blog. Having school means that there’s nothing that interesting to blog about anymore, since I don’t have time to trawl the internet. I’ve also noticed that my blogging style for the past two days has been very sleepy and serious. The reason for that is because both times I’ve been very tired; yesterday from driving and today from school and the fact that I had to get up early for netball training this morning. Boys netball is really intense, and I never realised it could be so fast-moving and tiring.

Aww shet. I’m beached ez brew.

“Expo ’86” is from the album Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie.