Halloween Costumes – Best and Worst

Even though Halloween was technically yesterday, I’m sure many of you will be taking advantage of this sinful holiday to dress up in a ridiculous outfit and party hard this weekend. And if you aren’t, you should be.

It is for this reason that I’d like to give you some last-minute inspiration for a costume. Even if you don’t have a party to go to, just wear something ludicrous to your local pub – everyone will be super jealous. And ladies – try to keep it decent will you?

Minimal Effort

Ginger Bread Man

Minimal Effort

  • White trash. Wear all white and safety pin some empty cans and bits of newspaper to yourself. (If you are female, you can go as the same thing by blacking out one eye and pretend to be pregnant by stuffing a hooded sweatshirt up your top.)
  • Animal. To do this with minimal effort, find yourself some bunny or cat ears and wear all black/white. Easy.
  • Satan. Devil horns and a sinister expression will suffice.
  • Witch. Pointy hat.
  • Fairy. Wings. Too easy.


  • Buy a costume from a party store. Effort equals AU$20-50.

Unbelievable effort.

  • DIY. Any costume that you are sewing together or making out of cardboard will require a little more than the usual effort, but what you lose in time you save in money. Use a large cardboard box and you’ve got classics such as: Robot, washing machine, or man-in-tub with rubber ducky.


    Unbelievable Effort

  • Banana/egg/other random fruit or food item. These are certainly hard costumes to pull off, but you will be the talk of the town if you can even move in it.
  • Elephant (or any other complicated animal with 4 or more legs). Build an elephant frame out of chicken wire and papier mache (including a complicated trunk piece) and cover it in leathery, grey material. Then recruit a friend who wants to be an elephant’s ass for Halloween. (I said it wasn’t going to be easy.)


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Halloween Part 2 – Silly Superstitions

According to many, today’s lewd and degenerate Halloween celebrations have their origins in an ancient Celtic festival first celebrated over 2000 years ago. The Celts believed that ghosts were able to walk the earth on the night before their New Year (November 1st), a night which straddled summer and winter and blurred the lines between life and death.

There are a lot of superstitions that revolve around keeping this ghost-human interaction to a minimum. Costumes originated so that people could disguise themselves as spirits, just in case they ran in to one and presumably had to make awkward conversation. People also placed bowls of food outside their front door to prevent them from entering. There are a few flaws to this logic (like what if the ghost enjoyed the food and tried to come in for more), but who am I to argue. Do ghosts eat?

Here are some more silly superstitions:

  • If you break a mirror, you will have 7 years bad luck. This dates back to when people believed the image in the mirror was a reflection of one’s soul, and to break it meant the separation of soul from body. To escape the curse, you must wait 7 hours before cleaning up the shards and then bury them by moonlight. I can picture that conversation happening in modern times.

Mum: “Pick up that bloody glass off the floor before someone gets hurt!
John: “I can’t. My soul is separated from my body. I must wait until moonlight.”
Mum: “Are you high? Or have you been watching that bloody Twilight again…”This kitten is clearly a witch

  • Don’t cross the path of a black cat – it is probably a witch. They are really against people getting in their way, but ironically just love to be petted.
  • To keep ghosts away, you must light a bonfire or loudly ring bells or chimes. I’m convinced that these ghosts couldn’t really have posed a threat. If a bell can scare them off, you probably aren’t in any real danger – they’d probably be scared shitless of an iPhone.
  • Never walk underneath a ladder. It’s not safe. Oh, or a spirit is lurking in the “triangle” space that is created. More importantly, it’s unsafe – you might knock off the painter on top.Ladder Jerk
  • If a candle blows out, there is a ghost in the room. Although it’s more likely that a slight breeze entered the room or somebody coughed on it.


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Halloween – Ladies night

“In the real world, Halloween is when kids dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it. “ – Mean Girls

Today, Halloween is a holiday that is treated by many human females as an excuse to wear an incredibly revealing costume and aggressively pursue a mate. Strangely enough, this isn’t too far off from what it used to be (nudity and bunny ears aside). Halloween used to be considered as the night where single women, through a number of unusual rituals, would be able to identify their future husbands.

Future husbands revealed! Here’s how:

  • Peel an apple, making sure the peel stays in one long piece. Throw the peel Halloween appleover your shoulder and it will land in the shape of “his” initials.
    Considering the natural tendency of apple peel to curl, there was probably an overabundance of “C’s” and “O’s”. If your sights were set on a man named Frank or Bob, for example, you were probably in for a disappointment.
  • Place hazelnuts in front of a fire grate (each one representing a potential suitor) and chant, “If you love me, pop and fly; if you hate me, burn and die”. The nuts that burn away represent marriage that will never be (although killing them off seems a little spiteful), and any that pop and fly into the air are a sign of future love.
    There are so many things wrong with this ritual that I don’t even know where to start. For starters, how might one identify each “suitor” in the fire, or decide between several “popped nuts”? (upsetting phrase alert)
  • Put several egg yolks in a bowl of water and then assess the results.
    This ritual is incredibly vague and beyond my comprehension. Unless you happened to know a man whose sloppy face resembled a melting candle, you wouldn’t really benefit much from this activity.
  • Stand in front of a mirror with a candle, either eating an apple or brushing your hair, and look for your future husband’s face over your shoulder.
    This is one of the creepier rituals. I don’t really see the logic in it, unless the man is already a ghost and this is a sick way of telling you that you’ll be a spinster for eternity.


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Clothing Mishaps

Have you ever left your house, feeling confident with your appearance until one small realisation has you strategically shifting your bag or side-stepping down the street with your back to the wall?

This is something that occurs so frequently to me, or to friends of mine, that I can honestly say that every clothing mishap on this list is real. (Of course, this makes me question the competency of both myself, and those who associate with me.) If you live any further than 10 minutes from campus, going home to change in between lectures usually isn’t a possibility – these situations can make an afternoon of classes uncomfortable to say the least.

Broken zipper/button. Yes, it’s inevitable. Whatever that was holding in will now be hanging out all day. Sexy.Zipper rage

I can see you. Your new skirt looked great in the lighting of the dressing room so you didn’t hesitate to wear it out of the store. Suddenly, passing a full-length mirror reveals to you that your fluorescent blue undies are prominently on display. You can always tie a sweater around your waist, but it does look very 90’s… or like you might have wet yourself.

Leftover laundry. This is when you’ve hastily pulled something out of the clean laundry basket and failed to realize that a particularly lacy pair of knickers has become statically attached, usually to the back of a leg. Easily resolved, but incredibly embarrassing to witness.

Poor Bob

Shoe dilemma. Often we think we can brave a new pair of shoes (or heels) for a full day, and realise shortly after that they are hurting – a lot. Opt to take them off and go barefoot, or spend the afternoon hoofing around like a baby giraffe.

Shrinkage. Sometimes we might pull a pair of jeans hurriedly out of the dryer and squeeze into them without really looking. This leads to the sensual “muffin-top” look or even some delightful bum crack cleavage (nobody’s friend). If you’re really lucky, you might even split your pants! Exciting!


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The New Kid

Starting at a new school can be intimidating, especially if you are starting in a country that’s new to you as well. It is perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed as you wander into the unknown, but a brand new start should be more exciting than frightening. Here’s why:

The New Kid

New location, new you
Nobody at this school knows about your extensive collection of INXS CDs, or about that unspeakable incident at summer camp ’09, or that you sang to trees as a child, or anything else for that matter. Take the opportunity to reinvent yourself, still you (of course) but brimming with confidence! People gravitate toward friendly and outgoing individuals, so show some confidence and your insecurities will fade away in no time.

Everybody is in the same boat
Everybody starts out at the beginning in a similarly confused state. Just remember that everyone else is learning along with you, and that any question you ask a class mate is an opportunity to make a friend. Don’t shy away from chatting to strangers. Laugh off any awkward moments (I certainly spent a lot of time laughing in my first year), and the situation won’t be nearly as uncomfortable.

Adventures galore
When everything is unknown, the opportunities for adventure are limitless. Go exploring! Whether it is on a large or a small scale, it will be exciting because it’s new. Take a walk around the campus between classes and discover the perfect picnic spot by the lake.

Sydney conquered

Jump on a train to Bondi at the weekend and find your new favourite café or bookshop. Sydney is a wealth of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered – get out there.


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Post Exam Celebrations

There have been a lot of blog posts recently about exams and study tips and so on, and let’s face it – it’s quite a miserable subject. Anybody who says that they enjoy reading and re-reading all their notes from the year over and over again is a liar, or severely deluded.

Most of us feel like these people need a good slap.

To turn it around, I’d like to write about the positives at the end of the exam period. Yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!  Once they are over, it’s like a huge weight has been taken off your chest. Sure, you still have to wait for results to come out, but the WORK part is over.  You’ve done it, and you need to reward yourself properly.

Burn all the notes!

Image credit: The hilarious Allie Brosh

How are you planning to celebrate once your HSC exams are over? 

I’ve got a few suggestions.

  • Create a massive bonfire on the beach or out camping with all those old notes and practice exams that you no longer need*.  Enjoy a cathartic burning of old papers and dance naked around the flames chanting a positive mantra.  Or just roast some marshmallows, whatever.
  • Alternatively, make use of a paper shredder (or scissors if you are truly dedicated) and create loads and loads of educational confetti. Get the dance music pumping and then throw handfuls of it in front of a fan – instant party.
  • Your brain can finally let go of a little bit of that knowledge it’s been hoarding for the last few weeks, so let it unwind!  Play some cards or a few drinking games and use that mind power for something that you actually enjoy doing. (Please gamble responsibly.) You can afford to lose a few brain cells at this point.
  • Get out on the town!  It’s typical for students to become hermits during the exam period, so make sure to get outside and stretch those legs. You don’t even need a game plan, just pick a train, get on it, and then get off again. Chances are good that you’ll end up at a beach or a bar – I love you, Sydney.

  • Go and buy yourself that dress/pair of shoes/headphones that you’ve been eyeing all semester – now is the time to treat yourself. If your budget is a bit tight for such items, reward yourself on a smaller scale. Bring home a pizza or a nice cheap bottle of wine to celebrate – any small gift to yourself that will help alleviate the trauma of the exam period.



(*If these notes might be helpful to you in future studies, then don’t destroy them… if that’s not obvious, you probably shouldn’t hold out too much hope for those outstanding exam results.)

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Excuses, Excuses…

Did you know that the likelihood of a student’s grandmother passing away increases exponentially during final exams? An extreme example shared by a university professor saw 17 fictional grandmothers out of a class of 250 pass away in finals week.

Other excuses competing for popularity include mysterious illnesses and computer or automobile troubles.  These excuses have been used and re-used with such repetition over time, that even if they were true on exam day, the teacher still probably wouldn’t believe you.

Goodbye Granny

As a well-deserved mindless break to your studies, here are some more humorous possibilities for missing an exam.*

*These are to be used as a light-hearted distraction only and not to be taken seriously. Please do not actually attempt to use them. Not only will they will not work, but you will look like an idiot.


I can’t come in to the exam today because…

  • “I have been bitten by a rare and poisonous spider that was accidentally sent over in a crate of bananas.  I like to order all of my fruits from overseas… and in bulk.”
  • “I got last minute tickets to an ABBA reunion show and had to really reassess my life’s priorities – the decision practically made itself.”
  • “I have a serious psychological addiction to online shopping and last night, in a frenzy, spent every last cent I had on garden furniture. This included the money I needed to get on the bus to come to the exam today. On a positive note, I plan to get therapy – I don’t even have a garden.”
  • “I was on my way in to the exam and a large black crow flew out of nowhere and knocked me unconscious. I’ve just woken up at the house of a decrepit elderly old woman who won’t let me out of bed because I am “concussed,” but I’m sure she’s not a medical professional. In fact, she’s a lot more like a witch – oh god, was it her pet crow?  HELP ME.”
  • “My dog ate all of my notebooks and then slobbered on my laptop, which instantly broke. Then he went for the text books. Then he choked on a large piece of Advanced Chemistry and I had to spend all night with him at the vet.”
  • “I was convinced I had taken the exam already, but it was just a really long, boring and disturbingly realistic dream. Then I woke up and realised I had slept through the real one.”
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It’s Business Time

There is more to business than looking wonderfully sophisticated in a suit or coordinated dress-and-blazer combination (although that is a large part of it – don’t let anybody tell you otherwise).

For your HSC in business studies, you will be required to have a vast knowledge and understanding of the nature, role and structure of business, the internal and external influences that impact them, and the functions and processes of business activity. You’ll also need to be able to apply all of this knowledge to real life examples and situations. Easy, right?

Not really. Let’s be honest – it sounds awful.

Here are a few hints that can help make this exam bearable.

Know your concepts. To many people, hearing others speak in business terms sounds like a different language. These alien terms will be widely used in the exam, as you are expected to know them. Once you’ve got the lingo down, you’ll be able to (at the very least) understand the question and (ideally) know how to respond to it.

Bored meeting

Be ‘resourceful’. There are many sources of business knowledge out there. There is no doubt that reading The Economist or The Financial Times religiously will expand your sense of business knowledge. They will not, however, prepare you for the exam in the same way that past exam papers and your own notes from the syllabus will. Use relevant resources and practice writing real exam responses as quick as you can to imitate the oppressive conditions of the exam room.



Be succinct. Writing in the report style requires you to keep your work clear, concise and in point form. Important business folk don’t want to struggle through numerous paragraphs to find the point you’re trying to make. They need to be able to assess the information quickly and then make a decision before dashing to their boozy 1 o’ clock lunch meeting. It’s the same with your examiner (but probably without the urgency… or the expensive whiskey).

Multiple choice. Students tend to doubt their first instinct, but don’t make hasty changes or dwell on the question if you can’t make up your mind. Come back to it later – moving on to other questions may jog your memory and even hint towards the right answer.

For numerical multiple choice questions about finance or statistics: Even if you are 99% sure of the answer to a question just by looking at it, you still need to write out the formula and calculate it properly – it’s the only way to be completely certain and avoid senselessly losing marks (you’ll only have your massive ego to blame).

Plan ahead. You’ll need to carefully plan your responses to longer questions (particularly the business report) to achieve the maximum number of marks. Summarize the basic points that you’ll expand on and then allocate yourself a strict (yet realistic) time limit to complete each section. Then actually stick to it.

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Funniest Exam Responses

Lots of study tips and “dealing with stress” blogs have been going out recently, so I wanted to take a different approach to a blog about exams and list some of the funniest exam responses. They fall into 3 broad categories: logical, creative and hostile.  

The logical answer:

You’ve got to give credit to these kids.  Technically, they are absolutely right, and you really can’t argue with their answers.

Teachers are probably less amused.

Find x


Hard water = ice





The creative answer:

These students quite obviously don’t know the answer to the question, so they use their imagination and artistic talents to fill the page instead. You’ve got to admire the inventiveness of the kid who drew a bear and then blamed it for scaring him away from the question. I also like the fact that the giraffe did actually get a bonus point – very cool teacher.

Arrghh a bear!

Bonus giraffe








The hostile answerObviously not very happy to be sitting through a test, the student answers in a passive aggressive manner (and usually in a way that doesn’t relate to the question at all). Hilarious. (Judy clearly wasn’t a fan.)

Big nerd


Ugly boy






Bonus answer:

This doesn’t really relate, as the student is being asked to rate the course he or she has just completed, but the kid’s answer is so amazing that I wanted to include it.


“If I had one hour to live, I’d spend it in this class because it feels like an eternity.”

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Gettin’ Scientific: Preparing For Your Science HSC


We turn to the logic of science for answers to all of life’s big abstract questions.

Elusive mysteries such as, “why is the sky blue?”, “why is fire hot?” and “why does my tummy hurt after eating all those sausages?” can all be answered with scientific methods.

How to prepare for a science exam can likewise be an elusive mystery, but lucky for you, we are here with a few basic points to help you avoid spontaneously combusting in the exam room.


The syllabus is all-knowing and all-powerful. Absolutely everything that is in your syllabus is examinable. Everything else in the wide world of scientific knowledge isn’t. Stay efficient and don’t waste time (and precious brain cells) studying for anything that is not in the mighty syllabus – it will not help you in the hour of judgement. And despite their hideousness, practice exams are your friends – they will test you on the actual material and in the right form of question.

Plan ahead. Before immediately scrawling out your answer, lay out the framework for it in the margin. Show as much working as you can; even if your final answer is wrong you can get nearly as many marks for using the correct method.

It’s also a good idea to look ahead in the exam paper in order to start thinking and planning your responses to the more complicated and intimidating questions, and to avoid getting caught in a hysterical panic.


Illustrate your point. Pictures often speak louder than words; at least, they are much simpler to read and require less concentration. Use diagrams and tables to support your answers and to help clarify lengthier answers (numbered steps and dot points are also really useful).

Be thorough. You know that unpleasant feeling when you’ve left the house, you’re about half-way to wherever you are going, and you suddenly have a thought that maybe you’ve left the oven on/front door unlocked or forgotten your wallet/mobile/keys? What we learn from these examples is that carelessness can be devastating – especially if you are stuck without Words with Friends all day.

Check very carefully to make sure you have included all variables and other key factors that the question is asking you for. Always include the units in your final answer and round up to the necessary number of significant figures.

Memorise. Nobody is asking you to memorise every point on the syllabus – that would be as deeply depressing as it would be time-consuming. You will, however, need to know and understand the scientific method, as well as all the formulae you will require to do calculations. Even if you don’t end up with the right answer, using the right formula and following the proper steps will help you to accumulate extra marks. (Note: Some science exams will include a formulae sheet, but that’s no excuse not to know them, you lazy sod.)

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