Cheap dates

cheap-date

Against all the odds, that atrocious chat up line you found on the internet actually worked. You know the one – ‘Are you a parking ticket because you got fine written all over you…’

So the big night has arrived. You’re wearing your ‘smart’ jeans which can mean only one thing – romance is in the air. But wait, what is this? A gaping black hole has opened up in your wallet where your money used to be. How will you impress the object of your desire without the requisite $$$?

Here is your ultimate guide to the cheap date in Sydney:

Picnic in the Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens has got to be the best venue in the world for the romantic picnic. The Opera House! The Bridge! The native foliage! Chuck in some cheese and a bottle of cheap wine and you’re in.

Sydney Lookouts

There are so many stunning views in Sydney that they practically smack you in the face. Instead of forking out $400 for the Harbour Bridge Walk, you can ascend one of the pylons and get the same breathtaking view for only $11. You didn’t know? Foolish.

www.pylonlookout.com.au

Art After Hours

The clever people at the Art Gallery of NSW have recognised the plight of poor students with no cash who are trying to get laid and have flung open their doors for Art After Hours. Only on Wednesday, but absolutely free, view the art and listen to enlightening talks.

In addition to that great deal, I’ll throw in an art fact for you….

‘Yah, so did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci was left handed and his personal notes were written in mirror writing starting from the right side of the page to the left?’

Fact.

www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/whats-on/

 A night at the Theatre

Now I know that the cheap sceptics among you will be laughing at this point, but bear with me. Pretty much every Sydney theatres have a cheap ticket night but the most stinkingly cheap deal is Monday Rush at Griffin Theatre Company in Darlinghurst. How does $15 a ticket strike you? Yep, told you. Not so smug now are you.

www.griffintheatre.com.au

Now go forth and date!

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Top eight unusual degrees

When you first start university you get asked about a gazillion times what you’re going to be studying.

To avoid being asked this most mundane of university small talk questions you could a) not talk to anyone or b) run away whenever you think the question is imminent. However, there is a third, far more entertaining way of handling the question. Lying.

Next time someone asks ‘so, what are you studying?’ don’t tell your enquirer about your actual, probably very conventional degree, but say you’re doing something completely different, weird and infinitely more entertaining.

Here’s a list of unusual degrees that you could try out with a bit of info about each so you can answer follow up questions.

  1. Viticulture and Oenology
    Curtin University

Learn about the vines, how to manage a vineyard as well as the chemistry and microbiology of wine. You’ll also get some practical experience and do a research project in the Margaret River wine region. Right, sign me up.

  1. Viking Studies
    University of Iceland

Not only do you get to study Vikings, but you get to study Vikings in Iceland! Awesome!You’ll learn about linguistics, history, textual criticism, palaeography, runology, folklore, religion, art and archaeology. In Iceland!

  1. Ethical Hacking
    University of Abertay Dundee

Hacking a computer has never been so legit. This course teaches you how to hack into computer systems for the purposes of making computer systems safe. That’s why it’s ‘ethical’ and not ‘dodgy’.

 

  1. Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance
    Bath Spa University

Learn the traditional circus skills as well as how to work a crowd. Maybe be some fire eating and clowning. They also help you find a suitable circus to run away with.*

  1.  Puppetry Arts
    University of Connecticut

Uconn has been offering this puppetry course for years and mighty popular it is too. Once you’ve learned the technique you are encouraged to mount your own show and go on tour.

  1.  Packaging
    Michigan State University

Yep. Packaging. Believe it or not, there is more to it than coordinating the ribbon with the wrapping paper. But before you scoff, think about it – we interact with packaging and its functionality every day, barely giving it a second thought. The SoP encourages engineers, mathmeticians, scientists, designers and business people to give it a go.

 

  1. Comedy
    Salford University

Clown

So you reckon you’re funny? Whether you like performing or writing comedy, this one’s for you. You’ll analyse why the chicken crossed the road and discover exactly who it is that keeps going ‘knock, knock’ at the door. Oh and they’ll put you on the path to getting your comedy taken seriously.

 

*I made this up. But they should.

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Interview Tips

Job interviews are strange beasts. Ultimately, you have no idea what they are going to be like, what the interviewer is looking for, and once ended it’s difficult to tell how well you did.

IKEA

Also, if you have terrible spatial awareness like me, you might have some trouble finding your way out of the building. No? Just me, then? Oh.

So how do you prepare? Prepping for an interview is mostly about mitigation. You are increasing the likelihood of looking like the smart, sassy, capable, confident person that you are and reducing the chances of looking like the uninformed, disorganised, clueless klutz that you are definitely not.

Here are some tips. Firstly, remember how to get out of the building….

Preparation
Read the website
. So easy. Go into that interview being knowledgeable and informed about the people you are going to be working for. At the very least find the ‘company vision’, memorise it, then be able to talk about it in your own words.

Prepare three questions. Have three questions memorised so that when they ask ‘do you have any questions for us?’ you’re not stuck looking at the ceiling going ‘errrrrrr…’

Role play. Grab a mate and make them ask you the really tough questions like:

  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • Tell me about a time when you had a problem and how you resolved it.
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

First impressions

Dress smart but not outrageous or sexy. When in doubt go for conservative. You want them to concentrate on you rather than your Hawaiian shirt or thigh high boots.

First 30 seconds. The age old cliché about the first 30 seconds being the most important part of an interview is true. Go in there with a smile and a firm handshake and you’re half way there.

Shamelessly talk yourself up

Talk big. Interviewers aren’t interested in how humble you are, they just want to know if you can do the job. Confidently tell them you can and use examples.

Show potential. If you lack experience don’t talk about it, but instead show how much potential you have and what an asset you will be to the company.

Pitfalls
Try not to touch yourself.
Touching your face, hair, or indulging in any kind of scratching can make you look like an extra out of that film ‘Contagion’.

Flappy hands. Being demonstrative can be a good thing and show that you have passion and energy. Just try not to smash anything or accidently whack your interviewer in the face with your big flappy hands.

Messing up. If you mess up, keep your cool, take a deep breath and backtrack. You could even say ‘can I repeat that answer, but in a different way?’ Most people will understand and it will also help you to get the ‘cool under pressure’ box ticked.

Follow up

Say thank you. Even if you don’t exactly feel like the interview went swimmingly, you can turn around an impression by dropping them a follow up ‘thank you for your time/ nice to meet you/ any more questions…?’ type email.

Get feedback. If you don’t get the job, one of the most important, but least pleasant things you can do is ask for feedback. It might be tough to hear but it is going to be invaluable for acing the next interview.

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Everyone lies on Facebook

People lie on Facebook all the time. This shouldn’t really surprise you because everybody does it. Just like in real life, people try to make out that their lives are a lot more glamorous and well balanced than they really are.

facebook meme

Facebook has created a culture of competitive sharing. As you glumly scroll through your feed it looks like everyone is having a ball, while you’re sat in your PJ’s eating chips on the sofa and looking at Facebook on a Saturday night. It makes you feel a bit shitty.

But be honest with yourself and answer these questions:

  • When was the last time you put a realistic picture of yourself on Facey? How often do you truly put your contact lenses in or apply full make up?
  • How many of the profound links that you post have you actually read all the way through?
  • When you update your status, do you ever actually give an accurate account of your life?
    Do you say the party last night was ‘alright, but I fell over on the dance floor and was in bed by 10.00pm’
    Or do you say ‘had a BLAST at the party last night! So much fun LMFAO!’
  • How many times do you click ‘like’ when really you ‘resent’?

See? Lies.

Facebook lie

The truth is that very few people want to look like a nutter on Facebook, so they keep all of their darker thoughts, foibles and problems in a private space.

This is a good thing because on the other side of the coin there are the over-sharers who use Facebook as their own personal diary, detailing every crisis, mishap and updating us on how tired they are today.

At best it’s boring. At worst it becomes voyeuristic and addictive to read about other people’s bad times.

So when you look at your friends Facebook pages and they all seem to be having more fun, looking fantastic, studying a more fascinating subject and are having more profound thoughts, think about how much you lie on your page and click ‘like’ with a pinch of salt.

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How to land your dream job

Trying to land your dream job is no easy task.

Firstly, you need to work out exactly what the hell your dream job is, which is something most of us haven’t quite managed yet.

Once you’ve mastered that tricky conundrum, the second phase is to get the powers-that-be to recognise your talents as a sh*t-hot, go-getting, can-do whizz kid with the kind of interpersonal skills that have people competing to wash your feet.

Because unless your dream job is to be the person who names different shades of nail varnish, (‘Fiji Weejee Fawn’, anyone?) then chances are they’ll be a few other people out there after the same jobs.

But don’t despair – here are some ideas from the creative people who took a risk and did something beyond looking at Wikihow for CV tips http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-CV-(Curriculum-Vitae).

 Advertise yourself on a billboard

Billboard 2

If you have an ego the size of a, well… billboard, then this could be an option for you. Shamelessly blowing your face up to mammoth sized proportions and pleading ‘HIRE ME!’, is quite extreme, but it does actually work. Personally, I would make sure you have Photoshop on stand-by before embarking on this option.

 

Show your skills  

facebook_hack.jpg

In a move that could have easily back-fired, this guy hacked into Facebook and started converting people’s profiles to look like My Space pages. Despite the strange choice of using the outdated My Space as a template, Mark Zuckerberg got a big kick out of it and hired him.

 

Sell yourself on Ebay

josh_ebay.jpg

Josh Butler tried to sell himself to the highest bidder by advertising himself on Ebay. Starting at the modest price of £16,000 ($28,600), by the close of bidding, Josh was weighing up 3 different job offers with very tidy salary options. Must have been the tie.

 

Resume on a chocolate bar

Chocolate bar

In an absolutely stunning display of marketing GENIUS, Nicholas designed his resume as chocolate bar packaging. The kicker being that the packaging contained REAL CHOCOLATE. If I was the CEO of some major megabucks corporation (which I’m not having turned them all down a while ago) this would totally work on me. Probably without the resume packaging.

Play on ego

Job_Ad.jpg

Alec Brownstein researched the names of all the top execs in his chosen field and bought a bunch of ads on Google. His astute observation was that the egotistical execs would, at some idle moment, Google themselves. At which point Alex’s ad would pop up with their name and a link to his resume. Clever boy.

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Weird stress management tips

‘God, I’m so stressed right now,’ is a phrase that echoes through university corridors, is whispered in the library and is analysed in coffee shops all over campus.

I’m sure you’ve read a million blog posts on how to cope with stress, so I’m not going to bore you with the no-sh*t-Sherlock tips of ‘get a good night’s sleep’, ‘eat more fruit’ and ‘don’t drink’. I think doing all of that at the same time would probably have me throwing my computer out the window and chewing my own elbow.

Nope, what I’m going to share with you is much better – weird stress tips that are designed to give your brain a mini-vacation, leaving you refreshed and ready to tackle life with renewed vigour.

  1. Stand on one leg where people can see you and just breathe

‘This is also an exercise in not caring about what others think. Hopefully this will make you even more focused to stay in the present moment.’

This would also bring joy to other people’s lives by giving them the chance to laugh at you in public.

 2.       Buy a Girlfriends Knee Pillow

2.girlfriend_stress_relief_knee_pillow_otaku

‘Take home a Girlfriend Knee Pillow for $98’

Who needs a real girlfriend when all you really need are a good pair of knees?

3.       Climb a tree barefoot

‘This can hurt if you don’t pick the right tree. So find a tree with smooth bark and enjoy!’

I’m all for getting back to nature and everything, but I can’t help thinking that this would be much easier to accomplish with a good pair of comfortable shoes.

4.       Switch everything in your room from one side to the other

‘Life is all about perception. It’s always good to get a change of perspective when you feel stressed.’

I totally get this. Routine can be the death of creativity. And it doesn’t matter that once this task is accomplished, you’ll have to sheepishly move it all back again because your mouse will be in the wrong place. Don’t you see that it’s all about perception?

 5.       Pop never-ending bubble wrap

never ending bubble wrap

 

‘“Puchi Puchi” until the cows come home’.

This is pure GENIUS. I love bubble wrap! I could totally ‘Puchi Puchi’ all day long!

6.         Get a pet fish

Owning and caring for an aquarium offers us the chance to bring the calming effects of nature right into the home.’

Although I’ve got mixed feelings about bringing pets into the unstable environment of a student home, I do see the stress relief benefit of the fish. The sound of running water, the gentle to and fro gliding of the colourful fish around the fantastically well decorated tank. But then you’d have to clean it and feed it and that crap. Nah, way too stressful.

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The art of being a Flexitarian

Tried flexitarianism?

Despite its misleading name, flexitarianism is not about the bendiness of vegetables.

Being a flexitarian means that for budgetary, environmental or health reasons you are predominantly veggie, but you wouldn’t say no to a juicy beef burger, a delicious roast chicken or a life-saving egg n’ bacon roll.

So would you be willing to curb your carnivorous habits?

What are the benefits?

It’s much kinder on your battered wallet. The price of meat has soared in recent years, meaning poor students are forced to buy the crappiest and most processed meat on the market. Sticking to shopping for veg will significantly reduce your food budget, especially if you keep an eye on what’s in season and tailor your menu to the veg on offer.

It will ease your social conscience. You may be concerned about the impact of the meat industry on the environment or about animal welfare. By reducing your meat intake you can feel smugly satisfied that you are doing your bit to help.

Your mum will be proud. There’s a reason she’s always telling you to eat your greens and that’s because they’re good for you. Not only will a flexitarian diet contribute to a svelte figure, but all those vitamins will reduce the chances of you getting sick, something students are particularly susceptible to. Because of all the late nights “studying”…

Be more creative. Embrace the ‘what the hell am I supposed to cook now?’ question and get creative in the kitchen. You will be shocked and awed at the amount of totes delish vegetarian recipes you can find on the internet for free.

What is the downside?

You won’t get to eat as much meat. Which for people like me who love to get their chops around a big juicy medium-rare steak is difficult. But, by saving money on daily meat eating, it means you can save up and treat yourself to some really good quality, organic meat. So when you do indulge in your meat fix, it will be even tastier.

Purist vegetarians will hate you. There is an argument that eating any meat is a terrible act punishable by death. But being a flexitarian is a massive improvement on constant meat chewing and also makes you much more appreciative of meat when it’s offered to you. But, you can’t please everybody.

Should I try it?
If you’ve been a dedicated daily meat muncher all your life, you may find it difficult to change your ways. Start small by trying out a ‘meat free Monday’ and making a point of finding new ways to cook veg. A whole world of cheap delicious cuisine awaits you.

And if you get really serious about it, you could try ‘freeganism’ – only eating discarded food from bins. But maybe stick to flexitarianism for now.

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Coffee crimes

Sydney takes its coffee VERY seriously. Being a barista has reached the status of artist in many of the more intimidating cafes in the city.

As I have come to discover after intense research into the seemingly innocuous cup of coffee, the coffee Nazis considers there to be 2 types of people in the world – the coffee lovers and the latte drinkers.

If you want to earn the acceptance of the coffee Nazis you must understand that there is no such thing as merely ordering a coffee, but a whole host of cultural, political and social pitfalls that you must encounter.

Here’s the coffee manifesto of Sydney:

DON’T – ask for a latte, soy latte, cappuccino, mocha, iced coffee, large coffee, extra milk, an extra hot coffee, a chai latte or (heaven forbid) a frappuccino and expect to be considered a serious coffee drinker.

DO – ask for a long black or a short black. If you really want to be considered a serious coffee drinker, ask for an Aeropress coffee using the ‘inverted method’ . A regular flat white is just about acceptable. A large flat white will be met with a hint of disapproval.

DON’T – attempt light banter with the barista on your first visit. You are still being assessed.

DO – attempt light banter with your barista, but only after they have remembered your coffee order without you having to say a word. This means the assessment is complete and you have been accepted.

DON’T – become friends with your barista. It’s good to maintain a respectful distance.

DON’T – be caught going to another coffee establishment by your regular barista. This is paramount to sleeping with their best friend and you will be treated as such upon your return.

DO – if you’re feeling brave, tentatively start a conversation with your barista about the technicalities of coffee. What bean picking method is acceptable, their preferred roasting temperature or the pyrolysis process. Exercise extreme caution if you are using the ‘bullshit’ conversational technique.

DON’T – EVER, ask for an Americano. You will be told in no uncertain terms to go back to Starbucks where you belong.

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How to break up with someone (and stay friends)

In the words of Neil Sedaka, ‘breaking up is hard to do’ (stop laughing – it’s pure pop magic).

It’s especially hard if there is no good reason for it – they “ain’t no scrub” and they haven’t been sleeping with your best friend. It’s just not quite right and you’re unhappy.

Maintaining the friendship after a break up is tricky and it might not always work, but it’s worth a try. Here are a few steps to help you out.

 Be distant for a while

Although this may sound like a deceitful thing to do, you’re actually preparing the foundation for an amicable break up. It’s worse to be showing gratuitous public displays of affection one day and then dumping them the next. That’s just cruel. Signalling that something is wrong for a few weeks will mean that the ‘break up conversation’ won’t be so much of a shock.

Face to Face

For the love of all that it good in this world, DO NOT break up with them over text message or email. It is the worst thing you can possibly do to a person. Face to face is best and be prepared for it to be a long and potentially loud, angry conversation. Go somewhere quiet, private and neutral. Ubar for example, is a totally crap place to break up with someone.

break up

Blame yourself

If you want to stay friends, you’re going to have to take this one on the chin. Stating reasons like ‘I just couldn’t cope with how you crack your knuckles in the morning anymore’, while true, sounds petty.

Be honest

If you want to stay friends, it’s clear that you are not breaking up with them for hurtful reasons, so try and be honest about how you feel. What you are aiming for here is the holy grail of break ups, which is when the person says ‘I understand’. This is a good break up place to be in.

facebookbreakup

Don’t get angry

They will be angry. Let them be angry for as long as they need to be, but don’t retaliate. A slanging match is not good grounds for friendship.

Don’t date anyone else for a while

And by ‘date’ I mainly mean, ‘hook up with’. This is tough, but you are going to set your friendship back a long way by immediately going out and canoodling with someone else.

Social media

Tricky. If you’re going to continue to be friends on Facebook after the break up, just be mindful that your every post is being monitored, not just by the ex, but possibly the ex’s friends. And family.

It might not be a good idea to post pics of your latest crazy night out with your new found freedom, and certainly not of your latest conquests. Try and be sensitive.

Give them some time

They probably won’t want to jump straight to comfortable chats over coffee, so keep the lines of communication open, but let them initiate the first post-breakup face to face meeting. It might take a while for it to be comfortable but it’s worth it for a good friend, right?

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World’s ugliest animals

The animal kingdom can throw up a few evolutionary curveballs every so often. For example, when the platypus was first discovered, scientists thought it was a hoax and were convinced that someone had sewn a ducks beak onto the body of a beaver just for shits and giggles. Seriously, they spent ages looking for stitches.

Evolution has continued to have a sense of humour, producing some of the most disgusting looking animals that you can find on the internet.

Point and laugh at these unfortunate looking creatures. I’m sure they have lovely personalities.

The blobfish

Cheer up you're a winner: The blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus), a species t

Voted as the world’s ugliest creature in the whole of nature, I present you with the blobfish. Also known as the ‘slobfish’*, they spend their days floating as a gelatinous mass just above the ocean floor, eating anything that floats in front of their faces. Sounds like an average Sunday to me.

The naked mole rat

Need a face lift: A naked mole rat

These little guys are ugly for a reason – they are perfectly evolved to their subterranean lifestyle with digging teeth, little useless eyes and skin that feels very little pain. They also have the longest rodent life span (31 years) and could potentially hold the key to curing cancer. Not so ridiculous now are they, hmmm? On the other hand, they do feed their babies their own poo.

The male proboscis monkey

A male Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) in Singapore

Apart the extraordinarily long schnozz, the proboscis monkey is really quite attractive as far as ugly animals go. They are also called the ‘Dutch Monkey’ by Indonesians because of the resemblance to the colonising Dutch men with their big bellies and large noses.

The elephant seal

Popular with the ladies: After securing a huge harem of females a battle-sc

Old Ellie may be a bit visually challenging but he has no problem with the ladies. One ‘beachmaster’ (true name), can command a harem of up to 50 females. He can also make fantastically loud noises out of his massive conk.

The baby aye-aye

Eye-eye: A baby aye-aye, an unusual mammal native to Madagascar.

Partly due to its unfortunate appearance, the aye-aye is considered to be a harbinger of doom in its native Madagascar. According to local folklore, if the aye-aye looks at you and points it’s unusually long, bony finger in your direction, you are marked for death. Actually the long finger is used for picking things, like grubs from tree trunks. Not death wishing.

The Titicaca water frog

Giant Titicaca Lake Frog in Bolivia. The Titicaca water frog (Telmatobius c

Not only is this frog a bit on the fugly side, matters have been made worse by the bullying playground name calling of ‘aquatic scrotum frog’.

The common celestial goldfish

Mirror mirror: Common Celestial goldfish

Looking a bit like he’s a constant state of hungover remorse, asking the heavens ‘why, WHY did I have all those tequila slammers last night?!’, goldie is also a crap fish. They have limited vision, are forever damaging their rubbish eyes, don’t like the cold and prefer to live on their own so they don’t have to compete for food.

 The axolotl

The axolotl, a salamander that can regenerate its own limbs and is said to

This pale and insipid looking creature has a super power. It can regenerate its own limbs. Cool. Boringly, it doesn’t use this power for good or evil as in every other way they’re a bit weak and pathetic.

*bye me

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