MAAAAAAAGIC!

I am really excited. I mean REALLY EXCITED.

I recently subscribed to a service that emails me upcoming events in Sydney (seriously, you should do this too). I almost fell off my seat when I saw that The Illusionists 2.0 was coming to town! That’s right! A magic show!

I mean who doesn’t like magic?? You are lying if you say that you don’t get aroused by the arcane arts.

ooooh...

Remember the old “looks like I’m pulling my thumb off” trick?? What about the “I’ll make this card disappear, but it’s really behind my hand trick”?? Or my personal favourite, the “look at me gobbling an unimaginable number of ping pong balls, but I’m really only using the one ball” trick.

The thing is…I’m now so hyped thinking about this that I’m using “magic” in everything that I do. My classmates will ask how I finished that exam so fast and I’ll say “through maaagic”.

My housemate and I will go shopping and I’ll question if the regular beans we see are in fact “not maaaagic beans”, and give him the one raised eyebrow look.

I’ll sneak in the word “magic” when I speak to lecturers:

MAGIC!

Lecturer: Well the answer to your question is quite simple really.

Me: Is it? Well that’s magical.

Lecturer: No really, it’s just simple mathematics.


Lecturer
: Mathematics merely follows simple rules of engagement.

Me: Don’t you just love the magic of maths?

Me: So it’s not like you can magically get the right answer?

Lecturer: Stop saying magic.

 

Like he doesn’t love magic? Really? The point is, don’t we all want to believe in a little bit of magic?

I’m excited.

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The Greatest Websites for Procrastination…Ever

Now I certainly don’t want to encourage procrastination, but there’s a time and a place for everything.

You’ve been hard at work on an assignment, or studying for an exam for the majority of an afternoon. It’s been 4 or 5 hours since you started, and your brain feels like it’s on the verge of exploding – almost definitely a result of the fat load of knowledge that it’s trying to digest.

What to do? Take a break. Take an entertaining, mindless break from learning for 10-15 minutes with one of the following. (I recommend avoiding these sites during lecture time because you will start laughing to yourself like a creep.)

http://www.textsfromlastnight.com

Read hilarious, offensive, and often disgusting morning-after texts from people who probably regret what they were doing the night before. Texts are sorted by area code so you can read about all the stupid things that people in your area are doing (you probably know some of them already).

Take that, mom.

 

http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/

This is a wonderful idea. Have an issue with somebody? Instead of openly discussing it, leave a scathing note that details how they have wronged you. Particularly funny ones include notes from 6-7 year old’s to their parents about the food they have been given – you clearly can’t be too young to write a good ol’ passive aggressive note.

 

 

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com.au/

The most amazing blog/comic I have ever read. The insane but incredibly talented Allie writes about her own life with the support of crudely drawn and wildly expressive cartoon figures that will have you rolling on the floor.

 

He didn't want to be in this photo...

http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/

These photos truly fascinate me. I have a hard time believing that some of these families are real, or if they were serious when they planned these bizarre family photo shoots. “Hey honey, do you still have that mermaid costume – it will make for a perfect engagement photo”. Never has the word awkward been used more appropriately.

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How to tell if you are a morning person

There are some people out there who jump out of bed with excitement, greeting each day with a smile and perhaps even a song.

Clearly not a morning person

The majority of us are significantly different. I fall into this latter group.

 

If any of the following points apply to you when that morning alarm goes off, you are probably not one of those “morning people”:

 

  •  You shed a tear or two; you might even shout the word “no” repeatedly
  • You roll yourself up in the blanket like a cosy burrito and refuse to believe your own ears
  • You skip morning showers so you can sleep in until the last possible minute, then get dressed and ready in the darkness (or possibly still in bed, if you have the right skills)
  • You set your alarm again on your morning commute so you can catch a few more winks on the train/bus/ferry
  • You don’t speak a word to anybody (or even make eye contact with your closest friends) until you’ve had the largest coffee you can get your hands on
  • The sight of anybody up and cheerful before 8am makes you want to kick them – gently of course, but in the shins or face

Gonna have a bad time.

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Don’t press that button

The desire to press a button (especially large red ones that say “don’t press” or “emergency”) is inherent to human nature.

I’m not sure what that says about us – maybe that we are a naturally aggravating species.

Don't press that buttonWe usually (but not always) hold back because we consider the risk or the consequences. You wouldn’t press a threatening looking button on an airplane, for example (at least for your sake I really hope you wouldn’t).

There is just something very satisfying about the beep, click or light that goes off once a button has been pushed. It’s the expectation of said beep, click or light that makes pressing them irresistible.

This satisfaction diminishes with repetition, obviously…  pressing every button on the elevator panel will get tiring – if not right away, then certainly when you stop on every single floor in the building.

There’s nothing worse or more anticlimactic than a button with no reaction whatsoever.

 

Or a blog post with absolutely no point to it 😉  Happy Wednesday!

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Gettin’ old

As we enter into our 20’s, most of us still like to think of ourselves as the party animals we once were as teenagers.

The reality? The level of noise at most nightclubs now makes me hold my hands over my ears, and I thoroughly enjoy a nice cup of tea once in a while.

Ahhh relaxation

 

What’s happened?  I’ve gone from 18 to 65 at a rapid pace and I’m not the only one. Friends of mine who once graced the table tops of grungy bars with their sexy dance moves now admit to their perfect evening being “an early night tucked in with a hot chocolate and a good book”.

 

Activities such as lawn bowling or golf that were once scoffed as being “for old people” suddenly have an increasing charm as “relaxing” and “laidback” games. Not that the other stuff loses its appeal completely – I’m up for a round of laser tag and a night of disco music at the best of times but it’s no longer every weekend. Tear.

That being said, even though I enjoy the same simple enjoyments as pensioners, I think that it’s my immature mind that keeps me young. Laughing at people running into poles or fart jokes is a dead giveaway, even if you are sipping English Breakfast tea on the lawn bowling field.

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Bad habits

We all have them. Even the most apparently perfect human will admit they have them, although they probably do a better job of hiding them than the rest of us.

Have you ever been in a lecture and someone was doing something so irritating that you wanted to yell out, “CAN YOU PLEASE STOP DOING THAT YOU IRRITATING PIECE OF –?!”

The problem with bad habits is that they are usually done subconsciously. That’s what friends have told me when they wouldn’t stop shaking their legs in class. The legs “acted of their own accord” directly after they sat down. Why? Was it a stressful day? Were hungry wolves out to get them? No. It was just an involuntary habit.

So, I had to use Pavlov’s theory to test them. Every time their leg shook, I would hold a pen threateningly above their thigh to signal the possibility of an unpleasant spiking if they did not stop. Believe it or not, it worked! I just had to lift up my pen and all the leg shakes and twitches would cease.

Isn't he a delight.

I am always witnessing my fellow students twirling and clicking pens, loudly chewing some anonymous substance, tapping or biting their nails, or leaning back in their chairs at treacherous angles – and this is just at university. You can’t imagine the horrors I’ve witnessed with friends at home, when in their relaxed and natural surroundings. I’d like to spare you mention of the incessant channel surfing, public nose “harvesting”, leaving just one sad lovely square of toilet paper on the roll, 1ml of milk in the fridge, or unwashed dishes left to cultivate for several days – but it’s too late now, you’ve read it.

I thought we lived in a civilised society?

Step away...

 

I’d like to end with my favourite bad habit. In an episode of Seinfeld, Elaine’s new boyfriend always leaned in very closely to talk to someone. The gang called him ‘the close talker’.

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Being scared of babies

They are terrifying… They are disgusting…

They will pierce your ears with their howls…

They are…tiny and adorable?

 

I admit it. I have an irrational fear of babies.

It’s not like I truly fear them, as if they might all join forces and come at me like a pack of piranhas.

It’s more a fear of becoming a proper, responsible adult – a real person, if you will.

Now that we are young adults, families and babies don’t seem so far away (in fact, they are all over my FaceBook feed upsetting me).  That, to me, is terrifying.

Some people just gravitate towards babies, showing off their natural maternal or paternal instincts. They speak the baby’s language, making silly noises and faces without appearing as if they have lost their minds. If I was to even attempt to do the same, it would be uncomfortable to say the least.

MY natural instinct is to turn and run, or to burst into tears unreasonably. At least I’m aware it’s unreasonable.

It’s probably a weird form of “Peter Pan syndrome” where I resolutely fight against growing up any more. Who knows, maybe I’ll be mature and wise by the time I graduate. Until then, I’ll probably continue to fear adorable helpless infants.

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Mooncakes

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a hugely celebrated festival in China and other Asian nations. You will no doubt see the decorations and ample supply of Moon Cakes being sold around early September in Sydney.

Moon Cakes are the only reason why I care about the Festival.

Have you ever tasted one? They are freaking awesome! A sweet, thin, outer crust encases a delicious lotus seed paste. And the ultimate prize? The bit of salted duck egg you get with every piece. It’s like you’re in the moon cake lottery, and you hope that your slice has the biggest of chunk of duck egg, only you don’t, and you watch your younger brother get that piece, and you curse, but not really since he’s your younger brother, and you silently hate him, and eat away at your suddenly dull piece of moon cake…

I also really don’t understand why they are only available during the festival! Why??! They should be a staple of every day cuisine!

 

Hi! I’d like your fish of the day. Oh, and a side of moon cake would be nice!

 

In fact I propose that Moon Cakes should be available all year round. And not just as delicious desserts. I mean they’re really really versatile! They can also double as hilarious jokes, as evidenced by this widely circulated picture:

And they’re romantic! On Valentine’s Day you could replace your standard (and boring) rose with a fresh moon cake. Imagine the look on her face when you unveil one of these babies to her on February 14?

 

That’s it! Let’s start a worldwide petition to keep moon cakes alive all year round! I mean, what do we have to lose? What are our chances of succeeding? Oh, probably once in a blue moon.

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Bad customers

When people complain about their experience in a café or restaurant, it almost always relates to bad customer service.

“Oh the service was terrible, the food took an hour to arrive and the silly waitress totally had her thumb in my iced tea!”

I’d like to argue that rather than the service industry being full of morons (although there are some clear exceptions to this case), it is more a case of bad customers. Let’s face it, sometimes when we expect to be waited on hand and foot, we can be a tad demanding (and scary).

I recently saw a woman in Starbucks slam a bottle of their water down on the counter, and then shout for a decaf beverage. The polite young man behind the counter said that they were unfortunately just out of decaf, but if she didn’t mind waiting it would be about 10 minutes. This was done in a very apologetic and respectful manner.

Did she feel like waiting? I think we all know the answer to that. The impatient cow threw her head back, very audibly groaned to indicate her displeasure to other waiting customers, and pushed the bottle of water back at him with a melodramatic gesture (“I can’t even quench my thirst now that you’ve upset me so”). Now this, to me, seems like an overreaction.

Most of us will work in part-time jobs during our studies and we will face many such a creature. Don’t let them infuriate you into shouting rude profanities at them – they can complain about bad service and possibly get you fired.

The trick is to kill them with kindness. The more wound up they get, the calmer you appear – it drives them absolutely mad.

(Plus you can always carefully soil their food/drinks when they aren’t looking)

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Quick Guide to improving your English

I’m often asked by fellow international students on the best ways to improve one’s English. I often correct them by saying that there’s no such thing as the best way, as the concept of best is relative. What is best for me may be the worst possible thing for you. These students often walk away and never talk to me again.

So I’ve decided to write down my thoughts on what I think is not only the best, but the ONLY way, to improve your English. This way you can’t run away…well you can….but at least I won’t know about it and feel horrible. So here goes…

Read EVERYTHING. The best way to improve your vocabulary is by reading as much as possible.

Watch bad Australian soap operas. And by bad I mean just plain horrible. Shows like Home and Away and Neighbours are terrible but really easy to watch. It will help you listen out for really bad dialogue.

Practise. Ever heard of the phrase, use it or lose it? Whilst it’s also applicable for your money, the phrase means that you need to practise anything you’ve learnt or else you’ll forget it overtime. Practise the new words you’ve learnt. I often just stand in front of a mirror and say new words I’ve learnt to my reflection.

Practise your writing. You can practise your writing by posting to this blog.

Go out and meet new friends. I’m Chinese and I have plenty of Chinese friends, but I know that if I only have Chinese friends we’ll all speak in Chinese and never improve our English. I just practised writing the word Chinese 4 times in a sentence. Anyway the point is…don’t be afraid to meet new friends from all over the world so you have more opportunities to practise speaking English.

It might be difficult to remember all these tips so I’ve formed an easy to remember acronym (look up this word – do it now!) so you don’t forget. It’s RWPG.

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