Sunday, 22 December 2013

Technology Dependency

So recently I have become aware just how addicted to my phone I really am. It's almost an instinctive reaction that when my phone goes off I will check it. It doesn't matter where I am or who I'm with or even what I'm doing. I won't even realise it's happening until my phone is in my hand and I've looked down. It's usually nothing important (mainly just letting me know someone has "liked" a status or a friend had updated their facebook status). I know it's usually nothing important but I can't help wanting to be there the second something important does happen.
I've noticed I'm not the only one who does this. I was recently at an end of year Christmas celebration, looking around the room I would see groups of people, not talking, but simply on their phones. People say there is no way we could live with out our phones yet if we go back just 10 years ago how many of us can say we even had a phone let alone couldn't live without it. I had survived my entire life up to this year with a smartphone. Yet I would find it incredibly difficult to survive without it now.
Even getting this blog to you I am relying on technology to get the job done. We rely on computers and internet to do almost every job, even applying for jobs can be done online. Our lives are being over run by technology and a desire to have more. Everywhere we turn we are faced with some form of technology.
Now I'm not saying that this is all bad, for example the light-bulb is a form of technology that we have grown to need, yet I don't see this as a bad thing. Technology, when used correctly, can help further our civilization. Yet when we become addicted then technology becomes a problem, when we sit there for hours playing computer games, or sit at a party checking our online social lives instead of engaging in the social life around you, this is when we have a problem. I am guilty of these things as well, one of my favourite pass times is playing my Xbox while I have facebook open. I then complain I have no time do anything.
So here is my challenge to all of you who read my blog. Spend a day away from indulgent technology, see how much more you can get done. Will you're life improve or will you find it's better with technology? Will you be able to go a day without checking facebook?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Marriage Equality

We had it, and now it's gone. I'm from Australia and for a brief few days we had marriage equality, it was to the point of same sex couples actually getting married. Everything seemed to be going great, perhaps the new government wasn't as bad as everyone was making it out to be. Turns out the public was right about the new government. For reasons I can't full comprehend they Federal Government decided to take the new Marriage Equality Act (which was a state law for the Australian Capital Territory) that had already been passed, and bring it to the High Court and challenge it.
I just don't see why they needed to challenge the act, it had passed and was doing absolutely no harm to anyone. In fact it made Australia a better place to be in, but for whatever reason the government had they challenged it. They believed it went against the current marriage laws and that meant it was illegal and had to be stopped. 
Now this wouldn't of been a problem if the High Court could see that the government was only having a bit of a tantrum because someone found a loop hole in their law. But the High Court didn't see it this way. Instead they decided to rule in favour of the Federal Government and remove the Marriage Equality Act. Now keep in mind that people had been getting married since Saturday and the High Court didn't make a decision until Thursday. This mean we have had almost a week of same sex couples getting married and literally nothing changed. Except nearly 30 couples were able to take a further step in their relationship and decide that they love a certain person enough to get married and commit themselves to each other for the rest of their lives. 
So for a brief 6 days Australia (well the ACT) had taken a step forward into becoming an accepting and open country where people can feel safe and secure and most importantly, feel like they belong no matter what. 
Now thanks to the Federal Government and it's leader Tony Abbott (who's sister is a lesbian I might add) our country has slipped back even further than when we started. 
Same sex marriage is about equality amongst the human race, how can Australia claim to be accepting of all people if we won't even let people of the same gender get married! (And don't get me started on how the Australian government treats refugees)

Friday, 29 November 2013

Where Did You Come From?

So starting my what will soon be triumphant return to blogging I decided to look at my audience page. It's a little section I can click on that tells me how many of you have read my blog and from where you come from. I was blown away. Not only have I reached over 2,000 total views but I have audience members from all over the world! I live in Australia and was born in Canada so it was obvious I would have some audience from those 2 countries as well as a small audience in the USA thanks to my aunt and uncle. However I was never prepared for the range that this blog as reached. I would like to give a small shout out here to all the people in the countries that have read my blog. So here we go: Australia, United States, Russia, Germany, Ukraine, South Korea, Canada, Indonesia, Angola, and the United Kingdom. Thank you all so much for the support you have given me, it really means a lot. I hope you all stick with me for the next exciting part of Smart Yet Casual.

Content, Tired or Lazy?

As I haven't written anything in quite a while I believe one of two things have happened. I am either so content with the things happening in my life that I have no need to vent to you all, or I have been so over worked and busy that I have had no time to write. However, considering that there are still quite a few things that annoy me in my day to day life, it must be option number two. I have been worked to the bone, past the point of exhaustion, to the stage where all I want to do in my spare time is sleep.
I could bore you with the details of my busy life, but lets face facts no-one wants that. Instead I shall make a small post about my return to the blog-o-sphere.
I am returning, so be prepared.
Expect at least weekly posts for the next month or so as life dies down and my writing picks up. I may even share with you portions of a novel I am currently writing (if you're good that is). So stay tuned and get ready for the writing storm that is Darcy.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Beating Boring Bands

I got a chance to interview Effects of Boredom a while back, thought you might all enjoy my report from it!!

Local Brisbane band Effects of Boredom recently played two shows over the weekend of the 4th and 5th of May.
The band comprises of three members, Joe Rickard on guitar and vocals, Brendan Byrne on bass and vocals, and Jade Dujmovic on the drums.
The band found it hard to conform to one genre of music.
“We are a genre-confused punk band” Mr. Rickard said
The local Brisbane band has been together for over a year and a half and has played roughly 12 shows in the last 6 months.
Most recently the group graced the stage of Sn@p Wynnum and Ric’s Bar in Fortitude Valley.
“This is a milestone for the band.
“When we first started we had always wanted to play Ric’s” Mr. Rickard said.
They hope to release an EP at the end of the year to follow up their demo that was released last November.
The band aims to have between 5 and 7 songs for the EP which is planned to be released late November or early December.
Each song on the album is a collaborative song from the three members, each person adding in a different component.
“Joe and I come up with the ideas, melodies and riffs, but Jade ultimately decides what goes on the album.” Mr Byrne said.
In early years the group found it difficult to get gigs because they lacked the experience and fan base needed.
As time progressed gigs started to come more frequently, yet they are still turned down on occasion due to the number of Facebook fans they have.
This is because they band feels that they need to work for Facebook ‘Likes’ rather than just asking people to ‘Like’ the page with no reason too.
“We don’t want to be that band that promotes themselves constantly.
“We want to earn and work for our fans to like us.” Mr Rickard said.

Effects of Boredom plan to be playing at Snitch or Thriller within the near future. 

Monday, 30 September 2013

So Sorry

So I would like to say sorry for my lack of posting on this page. While I'm going to do my best to upload as often as I can, sometimes life gets in the way. For those of you who don't know, I have had a lot of exciting this going on in life. For example I've just gotten a job with a radio station and am the Assistant Music Director for a local Brisbane play. However the thing that is slowly taking over from my blog is my transition into the world of YouTube. Feel free to join me here for my vlogs, and keep interested here as I promise I will upload more eventually (when life slows down a little bit.)
And I just wanted to say a quick thank you for sticking with me for as long as you have.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Writers block

As many of you may have noticed there has been a severe lack of updates recently; for this I am terribly sorry. Yet I still can't find a topic that I feel is really worth writing about, so I shall write about having noting to write about.
Writers block: the fear of all writers. That mental brick wall that dams the flow of creative ideas. You think you've over come it and have written a few lines after hours and hours of sitting down and thinking only to find that those lines were the last of a weak trickle of creativity that had escaped the wall only to stop as suddenly has they began. The writers block can last for different lengths of time for each writer. Some cases it may only be a few hours or a few days, for some weeks or months may be taken over by writers block, and in some extreme cases writers block lasts years until finally the writer gives up and becomes a banker or an accountant where you have to deal with numbers, not words. 
Is there a cure for writers block? No one knows for sure. There are plenty of home remedies that writers have discovered for themselves, like listening to music, meditation, reading, stepping away. Yet none of these are guaranteed to remove writers block completely, and it almost always returns, lurking in the shadows waiting for you to get on a creative streak before stopping you dead in your tracks. 
For those of you with writers block I wish you luck, and for those of you with friends you have writers block I wish you luck too for you will have to deal with the nonsensical ramblings of a writer with no ideas. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A Helping Hand

The human race likes to view itself as one of grace, compassion, and love. While these traits are very present in our lives there are still moments when these traits are completely forgotten. Now I'm not talking about wars or even the violence that is found in so many of our planets' streets. No, I'm simply talking about helping another individual in a time of need.

I'm sure everyone out there has helped someone in their time of need. But I am willing to bet that this person has been a friend, family member or even just an acquaintance. It is very rare to see someone stop to help a complete stranger in a time of need. Yes there will be cases when a big natural disaster occurs and the community rallies together to help each other. However apart from these times, how often do we see one-on-one help?

I have 3 cases where help was desperately needed yet none came. One case happened to a friend of mine. One I found while reading a blog and the third, I regretfully admit, I was a bystander in.
The first case happened to a very good friend of mine. She was extremely sick at uni and decided to go home, yet as she reached the bus station she became violently ill. She was able to make it to a rubbish bin but no further. She was just sitting there too sick to move, almost crying she was in so much pain. Yet not one person stopped to help or to ask if she was ok, they merely continued walking past occasionally giving a sympathetic look. I find this just shocking that not one person would stop to help a young girl who was obviously distraught. Eventually she gathered enough strength to call her father who was able to pick her up. 
The second case comes from a blog I was reading. In this blog the woman tells a story of how she brought her 2 year old son shopping with her. Now anyone who has had a 2 year old will know the difficulty that and outing might entail. Yet she was able to keep her son happy by letting him wear a head band of hers. When they reached the shopping centre many old women and young girls made comments on how cute the young boy was. The boy was loving the attention until a man dressed in a short sleeve camo short and cargo pants walked over from the hunting section (it was an American blog and this occurred in an American store). The man strolled over and asked if the child was a boy or a girl. The mother informed him the child was a boy to which the man laughed and replied that's a boy?? The mother was shocked. This was when the man reached toward the child removed the headband and giving him a tap across the head saying you'll thank me one day. The mother was furious, not only had this man laid a hand on her son he was now telling him how to dress. A small argument followed which ended with the man leaving the store saying your son's a fa***t and I hope he gets shot. To hear this about her own son was too much for the poor woman to take and she broke down. She started to cry and yet no one came to comfort her or to ask if she needed help. I'm still shocked that this could happen and no one would do anything.

My third story is an incident that I witness and still regret not stepping in. I was just finishing work (around 9pm) at my local shops when I heard a small argument from outside of the shop. Poking my head out I saw a very very large man screaming at his very small son and then proceeded to lift him by the arm while striking him. I wasn't the only person to witness this as the screaming was so loud many other people stuck their heads out of shop doors to see what the problem was. It wasn't until afterwards did we realise we should of stepped in and said something to this monster of a man. At the time I think everyone was frozen to the spot in fear, too scared of the man to intervene.

We say we are a species of love and compassion so lets show it. Next time you're out and you see someone who might need help stop for a moment to check on them and make sure they are alright. Who knows, maybe one day you might be in the same position.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Education Errors

This time of year see's grade 12 students all over Australia freaking out about what they will be doing with their lives. Some have a firm idea, many will go on to get a trade of some form, others will go on to university to get a degree which will lead to a dream job such as a doctor or a lawyer. But what about those students who are still unsure about what their lives will be like when they are older. THIS IS OK! I don't understand how the education system expects children to know the exact path that they will be taking by 17 years of age. Students seem to be told that you either get a trade or go off to uni, and if you go to uni it's so you can get yourself a job after. THIS ISN'T THE POINT! University is so you are able to further your education, just because you get a degree in chemistry doesn't mean you have to have a job related to chemistry. It simply means you have a passion for chemistry and wanted to learn more about the subject. I understand that for some jobs, such as lawyers or doctors, you do need a degree but this doesn't mean it's the only reason to get one. Too many people are using university as a form of vocation rather than education. Statistically people graduating from school now will have at least 3-4 career changes in their life time. This means you shouldn't be worried if the job you choose now is going to be the best job to have in 20 years because there is a very big chance the job you will have doesn't even exist yet. I would like to hope that if our society starts to put a focus and an importance on furthering education then we will have less young children swearing and dropping out of school for no reason. We need to show that being educated isn't something to be shunned for, but rather celebrate the educated and encourage others to do the same. It happens time and time again where the educated or "nerds" are picked on, purely because they are smart. In some cases this actually cause the person to feel that being smart is a curse and they try to hide their brains away. We need to band together and show that a brain isn't something to hide, you should be proud of your intelligence.
My advice for all those people choosing their career path but are unsure of what to do, just pick something you love and are passionate about. If you do this then you will be successful, if you are truly passionate about something you will find away to make it your job.
My advice for all of those people who tease the smart kids, I'd be careful because one day, we will probably all be working for them.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Looking Lovely

Looking at society today it is clear what we view as "beautiful." We see pictures and advertisements everywhere depicting tanned, muscular men and women with flowing hair and bright white smiles (the men seemed to always be clean shaven). However this hasn't always been the stereotype for a beautiful person, if you look back in history you can see how much beauty has changed over the years. 
 If we look back there has been a time when beauty was perceived as the complete opposite to what we have now. The men were thick and strong with great big beards (we can assume a bit of a beer gut also from all the ale they were drinking). Women with the largest hips were the most beautiful as it showed they could be good at child bearing. Moving further along we come to a time when sugar was a very big luxury and dental hygiene wasn't even an idea. As you can imagine this led to the desirable look to be black rotted teeth as only the wealthy could afford sugar. It was such a big trend that the lower class would even rub charcoal on their teeth to blacken them. White powdered faces were the tanned complexions of the time. 
As you can see being the most "beautiful" person isn't the best thing. In some cases it can be detrimental to your health. This not only happened in historical times but is still happening to this day! More and more people are suffering from eating disorders as they try and fit into the "beautiful" stereotype. So don't try and fit the mould, instead let the mould fit you and embrace who you are. 

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Wonderful Wishes

When someone asks you what's something you wish for in life the usual answers are something materialistic. From toys on a Christmas wish list to having a nice home or car when you get older. But how many people out there can honestly say they would simply wish for happiness.
I was talking with a good friend of mine about the future and everything we wanted. We talked about fame, fortune, love, even which country we wanted to live in. Yet when I asked "if they could only wish for one thing what would it be?" Their answer surprised me. It was simple yet inspiring: They wished for happiness. In the words of my friend, 'you can have fame, fortune, love, and it would be brilliant, but without happiness what's the point?' 
I was speechless, this concept was so simple yet when we look at the world, happiness doesn't seem like a very big priority. People go for jobs that give them a large pay check compared to a job that doesn't pay very well but will make them happy. If we try and live life to make ourselves happy rather than to make money or to impress other people we might just find our quality of life will improve. 

Missing Mum

So it has come to my attention that my last few posts have been running the risk of turning this blog into a place to rant. I don't want this to happen so I'm going to write about something (well, someone) very close to me.
Since starting uni I have spent less and less time at home. I've led a very busy life this year, I've had multiple stage plays as well as music and writing all on top of uni. While it has been fantastic it has its down side. The first major downside was revealed to me as I sat on the train on my way into the theatre. I was sitting minding my own business when a young boy sits next to me on the phone; he was talking to his mum. I assume this was one of his first train rides and she was worried about him. While this might not seem like a big deal to most people I was struck with a sadness that I couldn't explain. That's when I realised I missed my own mum. 
Although I still live at home I don't see mum a lot because of the time she leaves for work and the time I get home. Mum used to be very involved with my life, but as I'm getting older she is becoming less involved. While I realise this is a part of life I noticed it had happened so gradually I didn't even get a chance to fully cherish the time we had together. However it's helped me to now cherish every moment that I have with my family. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Horrific Hypocrites

The other day I was having a conversation with a man I was doing a project with, he had asked me if I had any concerns with the project. I wanted to be honest with him, I didn't have many concerns but I was concerned with the closing song. I felt it didn't suit and that the audience wouldn't understand. Now I wasn't saying that we had to change the song, I was simply expressing my concern because he asked. I felt, being a music major and having had previous experience with film composing that he would have valued my musical input. I was very wrong. He proceed to tell me it was not my place to criticise the project and I shouldn't question his creative artistry. He justified why he chose the song but that wasn't enough, he had to tell me I didn't know what I was talking about and I shouldn't be worrying about the music and just do my job. I was shocked, this man ask me for my opinion and then turned on me when my opinion wasn't all praise. Granted he was the leader of this project but I was under the impression he was just after my opinion. I never once told him he was wrong, yet he got defensive and struck back. 
This happens all the time in life. People rarely ever want to hear someone's genuine opinion unless it's the same as their own. People don't seek contradiction, they seek approval and reassurance. This means they can easily turn on you if you don't give them this reassurance. And for those of you out there asking people for their opinion you need to first stop and think, do you want an actual opinion or just reassurance, because if you're after reassurance maybe it's best if you don't ask. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Learning Loans

So as I am sure you are all aware, I'm a university student in Australia.  What a lot of you might be unaware of, is I'm not Australian myself. I was born in Canada and therefore I'm a citizen of Canada. This was fine and I have never had any problems being a Canadian citizen living in Australia... until now. Because I'm not an Australian citizen, I am required to pay my university fees up front. That's around 3000 dollars a semester. Being the poor writer/musician/student that I am, I can't afford to pay 3000 dollars a semester. So, I've started the process of getting my Australian citizenship (even though I've lived in Australia for 11 years). I am getting my citizenship  so I can borrow money from the government to pay my fees which I will repay at a later date. This might seem like a brilliant idea to a lot of people out there, but I disagree. Over a 3 year degree I will rake up a debt of close to 20,000 dollars to the government. To me, the price of wanting to further educate myself seems a little excessive. Yet, the government continues to cut university funding, which in turn rises the cost of our fees.

The budget of Australia's military is 50% more than that of Germany, France and Canada. And if you compare Australia to Iceland we are paying, on average for all the students, over 200% more than Iceland. To be fair, Australia isn't the worst when it comes to its spending priorities. In my opinion, the USA takes that prize. 25 % of the US budget goes to necessary spending (this includes medical, education,environmental  cots; you know all the things we would class as important) yet 19% is given to the defence secretary to spend on military needs!

I find it hard to fathom that in a world where importance is placed on the value of education and the opportunities education brings, we still don't have free higher education. If we were able to have a free (government funded) higher education system we might find that more people who have incredible minds but are at a financial disadvantage are able to reach their full potential. It's in my opinion all education should be free and treated as a fundamental right rather than an upper class commodity. 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Fictitious Fame (A John Green Tribute)

Before we get on with this weeks blog I'd just like to make a quick apology to everyone for releasing it a little late this week. I was actually in a minor car accident on the day I was supposed to publish, but obviously didn't get the time to have an edit then publish. I'm perfectly fine so there is no need to worry!! No one was injured, however the blog was late and I'm sorry for that.

This week something extremely exciting has happened! We have reached over 1300 views on the blog, which has made me extremely excited and I wanted to thank everyone who has visited the page and anyone who continues to return. Getting these views got me thinking, how many more do I need to be well known in the blogging world? To be honest I have no idea, but I'm assuming a lot more. This thought lead me onto thinking about other people who are well known in there sphere of work but not necessarily in the public eye. One person who springs to mind is John Green.
John Green is an incredible person. He is a New York Times best selling author, he runs one of the most popular vlogging channels on YouTube (the vlogbrothers, I strongly recommend checking them out), he is one of the owners of the DFTBA record company and is currently working on bringing one of his books to life in movie form (the book is called The Fault in Our Stars and is fantastic). Yet when I ask people of the general public if they know of John Green the large majority of them don't. It baffles me how someone with so much talent can remain relatively unknown in the world. Yet someone such as Nicki Minaj, who in my opinion is no where near as talented as John, is known by basically everyone.
It seems our society today is less concerned on the skills that that people have and are more concerned on if they can sell themselves. John Green has never been about selling himself, he just goes out every day and does the best he can and has fun with life. He isn't worried if the public eye will accept him or not, as long as he can continue to do what he loves, he is happy. I think we can all take a little something from John Green, whether it's not worrying what people will think and being ourselves or if it's showing us that we don't have to stick to just one career. We need to go out and apply the lessons that John teaches us to our lives everyday. So until next week I shall leave you with the wise words of John Green DFTBA (don't forget to be awesome).

Monday, 27 May 2013

Rest Relax Recover

This blog will not be happening on a train, but instead will be a tribute to those currently in the middle of assessment. For those of you who read Extreme Exams you will understand the pressure that students are put under to complete assessment and to make sure they do a good job. It's a battle against the clock with the deadlines always looming. Some people I know would get 3 hours sleep in 36 hours purely to finish off a film assignment, others not getting to sleep until 2 or 3 in the morning for a week to get an essay written or an assignment finished. Up until Monday this was also me, my eyes were so red from the lack of sleep my dad asked me if I was on drugs. I wasn't, the redness was due to staring at a computer screen until 2 in the morning, nothing else. It's this time of year which coffee sales go through the roof and students become dangerously close to using all of their Internet downloads. 
As I have said, this was me until last Monday. This is the day I crashed. I had pushed my body too hard for too long and it took over. I had no classes and no assessment due until Friday, so I slept. And slept some more and a little bit more. My body shut down, and it was the best thing that could have happened. Too often people are so absorbed in their work that they forget to break. They forget to slow down and enjoy life, they forget the importance of having fun. So if you're one of these people currently undergoing assessment please don't forget to crash. Book ahead if you have to, plan a movie marathon with your friends, learn piano, read a book, do whatever it is that makes you happy and relaxed. Just remember to do it! You're body needs time to rest relax and recover. 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Extreme Exams

Today I completed my first ever exam at university and it was extreme. First off we didn't learn half of the things that were on the exam, we were just expected to figure it out, and it was worth 60% of our marks! For some it was too much to bear. One poor girl broke down at the back of the room and had to leave the exam crying. For the rest of us, we pushed on answering the questions we could and promising ourselves we would come back to the ones we couldn't later. Some people filled up to 3 answer booklets others struggling to fill one. Some people gave up and left the minute they could, while others stayed, hands scribbling across the page until the very last second. I survived it, I answered all the questions and didn't break down. I feel very proud to be alive at the end of the exam and happy to see it's finally over.

Love In Life

I was on my way home after a long 12 hour day of university, sitting in what was supposed to be the quiet carriage of the train. There was a man on board who must not have read the sign as he was talking quite loudly on his phone. We could all hear the conversation, and he didn't seem to care. He was talking to his girlfriend, and everyone on board was slowly starting to get more and more frustrated with his talking. That was until the conversation took a turn for the worst. From what we could tell from the one side of the conversation, he was dumped. He didn't take it well at all and started to cry, this made a lot if people uncomfortable to have a man crying in the quiet carriage. Then out of nowhere a man stood up walked down the aisle sat next to the crying man and put an arm around his shoulder to comfort him.
This almost unbelievable act of kindness shocked me slightly, I don't think I would of had the courage to stand up and hug a complete stranger who was breaking down on the train. It showed me that even though we are living in a fast paced world where people are so caught up in their mobile devices to even acknowledge each other there are still glimpses of human compassion and kindness that restore my faith that humanity won't be turned into technological zombies but will return to a compassionate state where it's ok to cry and it's ok to comfort people in their time of need. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A Book By It's Cover

I was riding on the train again (big surprise I know) when an elderly man sat next to me. There wasn't anything significant about him as he seemed very quiet and organised. His shirt was nicely ironed and he had a small briefcase with him. Once seated he opened his brief case and from the corner of my eye I noticed how organised it was - nothing was out of place. He then proceeded to take what appeared to be a small coin purse out of the brief case. Now very curious as to what this man was doing I started to pay closer attention without giving myself away. He opened the coin purse and removed a pair of neatly wrapped headphones. I was dying of curiosity; what sort of music would this man be interested in? I assumed it would be classical and wondered if you could even get classical music on an iPod? But what happened next shocked me slightly.  The elderly man switched on his iPod and started to listen to Lady Gaga. Once the music was blaring out of his ears he reached once again for his briefcase and took out a gaming magazine and spent the rest of his trip reading about World Of Warcraft. That was until the stop before his stop where we neatly packed everything away and sat quietly with briefcase in lap waiting for the train to stop.
This brief interaction with a man I have never met before and will most likely never see again made me think. We shouldn't be so quick to judge people. Sure you can only make one first impression but that's not always the most accurate impression. We have no capable way of knowing what people are hiding underneath their surface until they open up to us. Until then we can't really judge people for who they are because we don't know who they really are. 
It goes beyond people as well. We tend to close ourselves off to experiencing new foods or cultures based on appearances or smells. We don't allow ourselves to be fully immersed in anything because we make judgements without trying first. I suppose what I'm trying to get at, in the most cliché way possible, is don't judge a book by it's cover. Allow yourself to be surprised by everything life has to offer. 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Elevator Etiquette

I think it's time we come back to one of my train ride adventures, well more like train rides in general. I have noticed that unless you are a group of school children people are very quiet on the train. There aren't any rules against talking on the train, nothing would happen if you did and it doesn't hurt anyone. Yet if you do start talking, whether it be for a phone call or to hit on the cute person sitting next to you, the rest of the train will stare you down until you are quiet again. In general people have found ways around talking on the train, for example reading the news paper or listening to a music device.
If we travel internationally trains get even quieter. If you compare Australia's train goers to London's or Japan's then you'll find Australia is actually the loudest.
But why? Why are we so concerned about being silent on a train? Do we do this because we are polite and respectful people? It is doubtful that there isn't a single person who has rude or annoying tendencies, yet when put into a compressed place these people (mostly) all become the same. 
Trains aren't the only place that this happens. Elevators are an even bigger contributor to the forced awkward silence. It would appear that the smaller the space the quieter and more awkward the people in the space become. It even extends to the point where conversations completely end when entering the elevator. For those old enough to have seen the movie Borat you will remember the elevator scene. For those of you who are to young or found Borat too gross I'll give you a quick run down of the scene. In this scene, Borat and his producer are having a physical conflict. They also happen to be naked. This conflict is carried to an elevator where, upon entering, they fell completely silent and stood completely still. Although these men were actors it helps to highlight the ridiculousness of elevator etiquette.
Yet no one seems to know why we are so quiet when forced into a small space. There are some people out there who like to cling to the thought that there is some goodness still left in humanity and we fall silent based on a mutual respect towards each other. I'm skeptical of this, I find it hard to believe humans can be this respectful on a whole. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good people out there, just not everyone. I believe we fall into this silence because of a fear of being embarrassed. We are scared that people will judge what we say or do. It becomes easier to stay quiet, to conform to the social standards that are laid out before us when facing a confined space. But if you aren't one of those school children who sit in a pack on the train talking about how hot a girl is or how much you're going to drink this weekend, maybe you should conform just a little bit. Because the rest of us don't want to hear what you have to say. 

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Music Mayhem (A tribute to Freddie Hubbard)

It's no secret I love music whether it be playing, listening or composing. I love all aspects of music. Yet it dawned on me as I was talking with some of my fellow musician friends, music can hurt. No, I don't mean on an emotional level because you're boyfriend broke up with you and you finally understand the sad lyrics. I am talking about actually physically harming and changing the musicians. These changes can be small such as calluses on the fingers of string players, getting blisters while theses calluses harden or just getting a sore back from holding the right playing posture for so long. But some injuries can be quite serious.
One of the worst injuries can be found with trumpet players. Trumpet players are constantly seeking the long high notes in their solos, but pressing your lips on a small piece of metal and using a lot of pressure for a long period of time can lead to devastating consequences. Not all injuries are playing related, for example, a crash on your bike or even dry lips can lead to some minor injuries. The majority of these injuries come from playing. This doesn't affect just amateurs with no technique but can hit even the biggest names in the trumpet world. 
During the 1970's one of the trumpet kings of the world was Freddie Hubbard. Hubbard had great success recording and playing with some of the top artists all around the world, including Billy Joel where Hubbard was feature on the track Zanzibar on the Grammy Award winning album 52nd Street. Despite all this success and his brilliant playing style, Hubbard was not immune to a lip injury. Hubbard was able to power his way through the 60's 70's and 80's but after 2 decades in 1992 Hubbard acquired a very serious lip injury. Playing in Switzerland he thought it would be a good idea to partake in a "high note" competition with a fellow trumpeter. However, as the competition grew fiercer and the notes acceded to unbelievable heights, the unthinkable happened. Hubbard's lip split open. Unfortunately for Hubbard this was in the middle of a tour, but being the true performer he was, Hubbard ignored the injury (got some basic stitching done) and continued with the tour. In hind sight this was probably the worst decision he could have made.
During the tour his lip became infected, this meant that the rest of his shows had to be cancelled and he had to have surgery performed. This meant that he would no longer be able to hit those high notes he spent his whole life chasing. His legendary playing technique that had once landed him the title of being one of the world’s best trumpet players was suddenly ripped out from under him due to one injury. Hubbard best described this feeling in a 2008 interview where he said "It's really something when you lose your chops like that. You feel like a motherless child."
Hubbard is a lesson to musicians everywhere, while some injuries are accidental, some are unavoidable and some come around by plain stupidity. If you don't stop to fix what's wrong early you may find your talent ripped from under your feet faster than you could possibly imagine. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Murphy's law

Being Australian I often find myself at rugby games and I have found one of the hardest thing to do with a rugby ball is to hit the post. That is, of course, unless you need to get the ball through the posts. In this case it is almost like the posts create a magnetic field designed to pull in the ball. This in essence is what Murphy's Law is all about - If something bad can happen it will happen.
This doesn't happen purely to sporting stars but to musicians as well. For a guitarist the chance of breaking a string is 200% greater just before a gig then any other time. You will only ever loose your car keys when you are running late or in a hurry. The day you choose not to bring an umbrella even though the clouds are gathering is the day it will rain on you. Yet if you do bring an umbrella the clouds will disperse and you will be stuck carrying it with you for the day. This is Murphy using his law to, in my opinion, have a bit of a laugh or entertainment for himself.
Now some of you out there may think that Murphy's law can be avoided by the 5 P's (preparation prevents piss poor performance). However, can you really prepare for posts that attract footballs or having your keys disappear moments before walking out the door? I don't believe you can, I don't believe there is any form of protection against Murphy and his law, the only thing to do is accept it and learn to go with the flow. Don't be so ridged in your plans otherwise Murphy will see those plans changed.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Manly Men

I bring us once more to the train, however this time I won't be talking about what I saw, rather what the other people saw. Recently I have been involved in a theatre production, I love acting and being on the stage, however as I boarded the train to return home from the show I would always receive some strange looks from the other passengers. For the first few days I couldn't figure out why they were looking at me, then I realised what happened, I had forgotten to remove some of the stage make up I had to wear for my show. This meant I was boarding the train with eye liner and a little more blush than I should have. The reaction that they had to a man wearing make up really got me thinking - why do people care? Are men not allowed to wear make up? Does this retract from our masculinity?

Upon researching further into the topic of masculinity and what defines it I was able to sum things up pretty well in one Disney song. The song I am referring to of course is I'll Make a Man Out of You from Mulan. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the song I have provided (using my incredible tech skills) a link to youtube. This song talks about how to be a man, and apparently we need to be as swift as a river, with all the force of a typhoon and have the strength of a raging fire. Now I can't speak for the entire male population, but personally I don't know how to achieve any of these things. Does this make me any less of a man? So to try and ease the pain of losing my masculinity I dived further into youtube to try and find a video to help me regain my manliness.

All I could discover was a video posted by my youtube counterpart Peter (he runs the Smart Yet Casual youtube channel, while I have taken over the blogging side of things, world domination here we come). He posted a video on how to be a man, this was perfect for me, I obviously needed to know these secrets so the people on my train would stop judging my make-up choice everyday. For those of you out there wanting to learn how to be a real man I'll include the video, it's worth checking out. For those of you who don't want to watch the video or say you watched it but didn't, I'll give you an overview. To be a man, I need to curse more, grow facial hair, get a victory dance and have no fears. While I wouldn't mind having a victory dance or having no fears, facial hair always seems to elude me no matter how hard I try, not to mention my curse word vocabulary needs a bit of work. Turns out I'm not a manly man by this standard either.

But who's to say I'm not manly? Just because I sing, act, play music and can't figure out how to get stage make up off before I get on a train doesn't mean I'm any less of a man then the guy who spends his day with a bunch of other guys running a round a field chasing a ball then having a beer to celebrate. As a society we need to embrace all levels of masculinity no matter what they may be and stop judging people for what they love! And for that matter stop judging people because they can't use make-up remover properly!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Nerds Are People Too

If you watch any movie (especially from the 80's) there will rarely be a lead character who would be classed as a "nerd". Instead they are portrayed as footballers, musicians, or even motorcycle riding rebel. Where is a movie where the hero is a glasses wearing, acne ridden, video game loving nerd? It's about time the world realises, nerds are people too.
While there are some movies that are trying to sell nerds in a new light, they are still the muscular, charming nerds, who seem no different to the football players, only they are freakishly smart. This is seen in characters such as Ironman, played by Robert Downey Jnr. and Dr Bruce Banner (Hulk) played by many actors over the years. The glasses wearing, pimple ridden nerds are still seen in a negative light.
What people fail to realise is the fact that these nerds grow up to be doctors, engineers and scientist. They become the ones who invent things to make our life easier. While the footballers grow up to run around a field throwing a ball to each other (not that there is anything wrong with that), nerds go out to save lives and create a new future or even design the ships that travel through space.
I am aware that doctors, engineers aren't always the glasses wearing, pimple ridden, video game loving nerds that we all know and love. So I will give you a quick example of gamers helping scientists to find a cure for HIV-Aids. There is a protein molecule found in aids that is constantly changing, because of this scientists were never able to find an anti-body to overcome the disease. This was until they found a group of gamers who played an enzyme building game, the aim of this game was to guess what the enzyme would look like before it finished building itself. Using these skills the top gamers were asked to try and discover what the next stage of this protein molecule would look like. The gamers were successful and ended up saving scientists what could possibly be years of research.
I'm not trying to put down our footballers, musicians or motorcycle riding rebels, I'm just trying to say that we should give nerds a chance. After all, nerds are people too.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Deep Thinking on the Train

For this post I bring us back to yet another one of my fabulous train rides. This time I'm not travelling to or from university however, this time I am travelling to a local production that I have the privilege to be part of. It was the second morning of shows and I was still in that blissful space between sleep and reality as I boarded the train, this coupled with the lengthy train ride caused my mind to wonder. My mind eventually reached the ultimate question, why are we here and what is the point of it all.
Sitting on the train I believe I have uncovered the secret behind life, the universe and everything, and no the answer is not 42. Now a pre-warning for any super religious people out there who are closed minded about anyone else's beliefs, it might be a good time now to read some of my other blogs, perhaps My Dog's Dog or Adventures on a Train (My First Blog) as things are about to get very philosophical and maybe even a little spiritual. And for those of you who want life to be a surprise, SPOILER ALERT.
On my train ride I started thinking about some people who I had just recently met and yet felt like I had known for a life time. How could it be that I have felt like I have known these people for all my life when we had met a few months prior? Could it be that we may have met before, in a past life? Have I just uncovered the meaning of life? Are we meant to spend our entire lives finding and bonding with the same people over and over again, having new experiences meeting new people on our quest to find the old, this explains the thought of your one true love. This also explains when you meet a person for the first time yet you recognise them and swear you have met them before, it's because you have met them only in a different life time. Now I won't get to much more philosophical or spiritual on you.
I just wanted to remind you quickly of the moral of this story, tired train rides can lead you to possibly discovering the meaning of life. So if you ever feel like unlocking the secrets of the universe, get up early and hop on a train, who knows maybe you'll be able to invent time travel?? 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fast Tracked to Obesity?

I was on the train home from university yesterday and I was reading the paper (I know, I'm pretty sophisticated aren't I?) when I read an article about a bomb proof watch. This got me thinking, who needs a bomb proof watch?? I know that if I was caught in an explosion the last thing on my mind would be if my watch worked or not. Bomb proofing isn't the only thing that watches have that I believe aren't really needed,  another example is how far underwater they can go. This seems to be a key factor for watches, you can go 500 meters, 600 meters, 700 meters underwater, honestly if I'm any more than 3 meters underwater, I'm probably drowning and I'm not going to care if my watch has stopped working.
It seems our society is reaching a point where we have covered all the necessary requirements for our everyday needs and are now forced to thing of ridiculous attachments for everything. And if it's not the accessories it's the products themselves. For example the "revolutionary" Google Glasses, I personally can't decide if they will be a good thing or lead us to be like the people from Wall-e (for those of you who haven't seen this movie, Google it). Is this what our society is doomed for? Are we on an uncontrollable journey of laziness and fast foods that will inevitably land us on the fast track to a culture of obesity and heart attacks?
We can't know for sure, but what we can do is try and change our ways before it's to late. Teach the younger generation that going outside is a good thing, send the kids to the park to kick a ball rather than sit them in front of the T.V. (the T.V is not a suitable babysitter). If you're out and want a quick bite to eat, get sushi or a salad or a sandwich from a bakery rather than MacDonalds or KFC or Take-away pizza.
I don't want this to come across as a rant, but more of a raise awareness for a healthy future! If you are gaining weight and don't know why, look at your food choices and how much you exercise, it's amazing the results you can see by a slight change of diet (no I'm not saying you can eat whatever you want because you had a diet coke) I'm also not saying you need to starve yourself, quiet the opposite! have 3 good healthy meals a day and watch the changes! It's up to us to teach the future generation how to act, and remember the best way to teach someone something is to show them how to do it!

Monday, 18 March 2013

My Dog's Dog

This is rocket. He is a Corgi-Border Collie-Blue Heeler cross. Or as the family refers to him, a Blue Borgi, and he is most defiantly Dad's dog. He won't do anything unless dad has come to see him in the morning, he will even ignore the rest of the family if dad is in the same room.
Eventually we decided it was time to get another dog. Well it was actually very spontaneous. One afternoon dad decided to go look at puppies, he claims it was for fun. That night I get a text saying "we have a new member of the family." Considering my mum hadn't shown any signs of pregnancy over the last nine months I had to assume we got a new puppy, I was right.
Meet Hudson, a pure bred Corgi cross eating machine. He will literally chew anything that is around his mouth, from food to the wall. Despite his obsession with food and chewing anything he can, he is a great family dog, calm quiet and absolutely adorable. And best of all he didn't seem to favour one person above the rest, which I thought was a bit strange because most dogs will favour the alpha male.
This started me thinking, who's dog is Hudson, who has his undying loyalty. I hoped it was going to be me and my theory that I am the true alpha male in a family dominated by males would be proven to be true. Unfortunately he didn't seem to listen to me any more than the rest of the family, especially not like rocket listens to dad. So I started to watch his behaviour more closely, trying to unravel the blank stare that led to the inner parts of his mind, you know the one that tells him it would be a great idea to chew apart the wall. That's when it hit me, Hudson was rockets dog.
It made perfect sense! He follows him everywhere, he would wait for rockets permission before doing anything, whenever Rocket barked Hudson would understand and listen. I realised that we have bought a dog for our dog.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Middle Child Syndrome (MCS)

Are you the second born in a family of three children? Are you one of the other two and wonder why your sibling is different? Perhaps they are suffering from MCS or as the profesionals refer to it as, Middle Child Syndrome!

Middle Child Syndrome. The disease of the second born child. Well it's not an official disease, but many children claim to have MCS. What is Middle Child Syndrome I hear you ask? Good question! MCS is when a child is the second born out of 3 and they feel neglected, this is usually due to the fact that the older child is so devilishly handsome and oh so talented (for those wondering, yes I am an older child) and the youngest is the baby of the family so gets away with things the other 2 children usually wouldn't be able to. Statistics say 1 in every 3 children per family have MCS.

Now don't get me wrong it's not that I think there isn't such a thing as MCS, but I get neglected just as much as my other brothers do. My parents like to make things equal in our house, in fact I think they are a little biased against me. I had to wait until I was 12 to get my first ipod, yet my brother got his the same year, at the tender young age of 9. This doesn't seem like neglecting the middle child! I'm sure every family is different, but if the middle children stop feeling sorry for themselves and start thinking instead about all the good things they have in life then maybe the middle child syndrome wouldn't be a problem any more.

For all we know it isn't the children's fault for having MCS but rather the parents fault. Some people out there are just bad parents, if you really treat your children so differently that you buy a car for your oldest and youngest but not your middle child (yes there was a case that this happened) then there is something seriously wrong with your parenting! But for the rest of the parents out there, maybe you need to pay closer attention to how you treat your children.

Another theory of mine relates MCS to the actual physical age gap. For example, if the eldest was old enough to go out clubbing and parting, the youngest was still in primary school and the middle child was in high school having to study every night of course we will feel neglected and left out!! However this does not mean he has a disease, this just means he is the same as every other highschooler out there who has to stay in and study every night.

In conclusion, we shouldn't be labelling children with made up diseases! After all there is always the possibility that the middle child only has MCS because you say they have MCS!