Wednesday, 14 August 2013

The post which starts my career as a successful blogger...

So I’ve been reading other people’s blogs lately and it’s come to my attention that most successful blogs have pictures.

Now, I can’t draw like Adam or Allie and I don’t own any interesting taxidermied animals or animal shaped objects like Jenny so I turned to a slightly less orthodox visual art form.

By that I mean i sculpted something that vaguely resembled the intended animal and called it art. If you're interested, my medium of choice is non-hardening cheap-dollar-store plasticine/modelling clay (so help me if anyone makes a play-dough reference I will find you and I will release tarantulas in your car. Hungry tarantulas).

But this was meant to be about skating, not threatening my dear readers (all five of them). Yes, it’s been three days since I last skated but before that I skated six days in a row so don’t look at me like that with your judging eyes.

Besides, Monday was rainy and Tuesday…well, Tuesday I literally did not have time because we went on a field trip that took over 8 hours, and today was cold and miserable and I wanted to write a blog post instead. I’ll go tomorrow, I swear...except I have a meeting with a friend and then a show-thing to attend, and on Friday I have another show thing, but I'll go in the weekend, definitely. I promise. And I promised on the internet, so it must be true. It's like an unbreakable vow.

Quick aside because it's a funny story- the field trip was to see John Safran be interviewed by David Farrier and$, despite being basically an advertorial for Safran’s new book, it was pretty darned funny. However, my favourite moment was when we got to see the effects of a grey girder - which was hard to see, because it was Hamilton and it’s all grey (I kid, I kid) - on a turning vehicle. Our turning vehicle, to be precise. Pic to the right, insignia blanked so that nobody sues me (you never know), with the damage marked for your convenience.

Obviously just a minor scrape, with the only casualty being the driver’s ego. Personally, I found the whole thing to be totally hilarious. Clearly I do not react appropriately to potentially dangerous situations.

Back to the original topic. Now. I am really uncoordinated and quite clumsy, so it’s a bit of a miracle that I manage not to fall over whilst skating. Anyway, the main point of this whole story is that I saw a girl on inline skates the other day, looking graceful and elegant, and I started wondering what I look like on skates.

To your left is the conclusion I reached. For what I look like trying to walk in heels, substitute the skates for heels.

That’s right. A drunk giraffe (I really hope someone gets that reference).

And to the right is what I look like whilst going downhill.

I was going for terrified giraffe (look, at least this one has eyes) but it looks closer to a giraffe on acid. Also, check out my GIMP skills, enhancing the brightness (it was way worse before I ‘fixed’ it, I swear).

Today was just an experiment, so let me know what you think of the pictures (they’re terrible quality because they were taken on my phone and also so that it was harder to see my terrible sculpting).

Comment below with your thoughts and something you’d like me to try to sculpt and at lunchtime Monday I will put all the ideas in a hat and draw one out and that sculpture will feature in a blog post, along with a shout out to the suggester (shut up, it’s a word), should they so desire.

Love, Jess

Friday, 9 August 2013

Where my journey as a writer first began...

Firstly, I have some news. Those of you who know me, are you sitting down? Good.

Wait for it. Drumroll please….actually, the drumroll is overkill. Kill the drumroll.

The news is that I’ve started rollerblading for fitness. That said, I’m 4 days into, but that’s 2 and a half days longer than any other exercise program/regime/thing I’ve done (possibly because most of those involved waking up early and I am NOT a morning person).

I have rollerbladed before, quite a lot, but that was probably back before I started high school. Still, I haven’t fallen yet and I’m pretty good at the basic stuff. I can turn without falling (somewhat) and break quite effectively.

Writing at my primary school was mostly done in recount form (as in, “who, what, when, where, why, how”, with an introduction, series of events, and conclusion brought in later) and though I appreciate that this set me up well for later in my schooling years, I do regret that I didn’t discover creative writing earlier.

The problem with recounts was that they had to be factual and I never really did anything worth recounting because I was always meant to be cleaning my room and never did. So recounts and I did not get along.

In my first couple of years of primary school, we did read a lot of poetry, but that was nursery-rhyme type poetry, the stuff designed to help kids learn to read.

The first time I got to dabble in poetry was with a relief teacher during my first or second year. I’m not sure what the instructions were but I ended up writing an acrostic poem. My cat had just died and down the side of the page I wrote “WHEN SILKY THE CAT GOT HIT”. Maybe there’s a reason we stuck to factual writing.

The teacher loved it and submitted it to The School Journal, who rejected it on account of not having enough space. Fair enough. Never mind it was written by a 5/6 year old who had little idea of what an acrostic poem should look like.

The poem has long since been lost, which is a shame as I’m sure it would have been hilarious. I have no idea how or why, but I do remember the ILKY (from SILKY) lines though.

So, without further ado, here is a small slice of what is possibly the first poem I ever wrote

It isn’t obvious, isn’t to me,
Likely not to
You or me

For that to make even the slightest bit of sense, bear in mind I was talking about my cat getting hit by a car, and was five or six. I also clearly had no idea of my own mortality.

But the teacher who open the door to a world where words could be creative was Mrs Anstey, who taught me when I was year 5 or 6 (9 or 10 years old), and who also introduced me to the book Holes, by Louis Sachar, among other things.

She allowed us to play with words, introduced us to (slightly) more grown up poetry and allowed us to explore the feelings and thoughts it evoked. There was a beautiful one about autumn and the leaves which I can’t quite remember, and one about being a Marrog from Mars, but my favourite by far, the one that has stuck with me, is The Wendigo by Ogden Nash.

The Wendigo,
The Wendigo!
Its eyes are ice and indigo!
Its blood is rank and yellowish!
Its voice is hoarse and bellowish!
Its tentacles are slithery,
And scummy,
Its lips are hungry blubbery,
And smacky,

The Wendigo,
The Wendigo!
I saw it just a friend ago!
Last night it lurked in Canada;
Tonight, on your veranada!
As you are lolling hammockwise
It contemplates you stomachwise.
You loll,
It contemplates,
It lollops.
The rest is merely gulps and gollops.

I hope I’m not breaking too many copyright laws here.
I just love the imagery and the fact that he rhymed something with the word ‘indigo’. This is such an action based, physical poem, but so whimsical and descriptive as well. And fun.

The voice in my head still reads it with the same passion and intensity as Mrs Anstey did all those years ago. Mrs Judy Anstey, if you ever read this, thank you. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much you have influenced my life. You taught me that words could be fun and open my eyes to the worlds they could create. I may not have shown it (I was a right terror back then), but I loved your classes. Thank you. Thank you. A million times thank you.

And on that note, with a thank you and a potential copyright infringement, I shall say adieu.

Love, Jess

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Sense and sensibility...

Well, today was interesting.

Today I had the chance to get intimately acquainted with a delicious piece of chocolate cake.

Allow me to explain. As part of a feature writing lesson (workshop?) with the wonderfully bright, inspiring and talented Virginia Winder, we were encouraged to engage our senses using some of Jaz's birthday cake (HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAZZY-DAWG!).

Having done similar exercises at some of the better poetry workshops I've been to, I was quite excited at the idea of this.

First we examined it. I got interesting ideas and words such as "hazel eyed" (yeah, I don't understand it either), "like a gravel road" (it had two tiers with a strip of icing down the middle) for the cake itself, and "smooth mudflow" and "lahar" for the icing.

Secondly, we smelt the cake. That led to more...interesting....ideas, such as "like every chocolate cake ever, yet uniquely its own" (cliche, I know) and "rich and ashy like burned out fires" (you know how chocolate cakes, even perfectly cooked ones, have that "burnt" sort of smell? Just me then? Ok.).

Listening to the cake was quite challenging. This produced a range of different attempts to hear the cake, from dropping it to poking it. Apart from the obvious "Eat me", I heard "thump" and "squish".

I know I've already talked about how my favourite word is flail, but squish is probably among my top ten words. It's also an onomatopoeia (yes, it took me three attempts to spell that correctly), which means a word that sounds like what is is, such as boom, or pop, or sizzle. Onomatopoeia is also an awesome word.

But I digress, as usual. Next up was feeling the cake, which was quite fun. It definitely felt to me like a new sponge that was full of water. The only other description I could come up with was "like new slippers", because you know when you get new slippers, and for about ten minutes it feels like you're walking on air and firm pillows at the same time? It felt like that. Except new slippers lose the feeling after a day at the most, and I doubt the cake would have. Maybe we should make slippers out of cake...On second thoughts, maybe I should be forbidden from ever starting any sort of product line...

Finally, after all that suspense and build up, we got to eat the cake. That was also quite a difficult thing to describe. The icing was definitely soft and slippery, but the cake itself...I got frustrated because I couldn't find the right words and the closest thing I could come up with was "rice without edges". Don't ask me to explain that...

Final verdict is that the exercise was definitely helpful and Jaz's mother makes the best cake ever!

In other news (I use that quite often too, don't I?), I have a bubble gun, which started because I won a funky hat which prompted Robin, my tutor, to ask who had let me go to a rave. That inspired the bubble gun idea and so I bought one. It's blue and shaped like a seahorse. It is hand-powered and makes a pleasing whirring sound which I'm pretty sure my class is growing/has grown to hate.

Anyway, I've been using it to blow bubbles, lots of bubbles, in town, because it would make my day to walk through a cloud of bubbles and surely I can't be the only person who feels that way. Even if most of the other people who feel that way are under the age of 18. I may be too old for this. But people were smiling and that's all  really wanted to do, was bring a little joy to someone's day.

Also, I met up with my awesome friends whilst I was in The Warehouse. They adopted me. So now I have LOTS more family members. YAY!

It just occurred to me whilst writing the tags for this post that one of my first posts also used the "sensory exploration" method, that time on my room. I was thinking I might do one post using my five senses each month. Comment below if you have any suggestions as to what my next "sensory exploration" should be!

That's all for now,
thanks for reading,

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

I'm bringing sexy back...and by 'sexy', I mean 'awkward'...

Return of the evil ellipsis girl and her awesome blog!
You can blame/thank Lance for that. Dangerous tiger cubs/flowers (depending on your level of disgust/joy at the revival of my blog) can be addressed to him and sent to (insert witty fake address here).

I may not be entirely back on form. Sleep eluded me last night. Snob.

We started writing reviews in class yesterday. I learnt very quickly that if there is something you like, you should on NO accounts let people you like - especially particularly clever and witty people such as Susan - review said thing. A song by my favourite band was ripped to shreds. But that's ok. Everyone's entitled to their (obviously wrong) opinion.

In other news, I kind of might have a story because there's this kinetic sculpture I pass on the way to church each week and it might not be there anymore. The thing is, there's a reasonable chance that it is still there and I've just missed it for the past two weeks. Things like this do happen.

I'm going to start a review blog. And start reading proper reviews. The only reviews I read currently are badly written ones on sites like softpedia and cnet that tell me if the free program I'm about to download is going to crash my computer with viruses.

I discovered during the holidays that I am quite good at making lemonade. I'm also quite pleased by the fact that having to use the stove no longer puts me off trying a recipe. That actually did used to happen. If I couldn't microwave it, it wasn't worth cooking, or so I thought.

The internet won't load the page I'm trying to view. Snob. In the time it took me to write that sentence, I forgot what the page actually was. Wow. Time for bed I think.

I need some good critics to read. Preferably, but not necessarily, literary critics. I started looking by searching reviews of one of my favourite books, Catch-22, and found this lovely person : , but I am keen to find some more people to read, so feel free to comment with your favourite reviews. Or don't. Snobs.

Love, Jess

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Grammatically challenged starfish...

Yeah, I have nothing to write about. So I'm on to my final fallback; grammatically challenged starfish.
I make no promises about this post.

So here's some reasons why grammar and English in general might be hard if you're a starfish.

  • It's hard to learn to read and write when you're all arms. 
  • It's even harder when your arms are covered in feet. (Seriously, look it up. I did.)
  • And worse still when your eyes are on the end of your arms!
  • After vomiting your stomach onto your food in order to eat it, it's hard to focus.
  • The English language makes no sense to you. You're not even a fish!
  • Your relatives include urchins and cucumbers, neither of which are particularly proficient at using the English language.
  • Because of your portrayal in mainstream media, people think you're dumb and don't even bother trying to teach you (thanks, Patrick Star!).
  • Common idioms don't apply to you. Blood may be thicker than water, but what if your blood is water?
So, hopefully you learned something about starfish tonight. Be nice to our many armed friends, give them a grammar lesson!


P.S. I apologise for the preceeding post. I have no idea what just happened.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

This is going nowhere fast...

I've been having crazy nightmares and today has been pretty full on so I'm not totally with it.

I really need some topics to write about because I'm running out of ideas.

In the mean time, here is a picture of me looking like Justin Beiber.

And here's ten funky facts about me:
1. I love sloths. I have a sloth t-shirt. I love them because I think they're cute and because they're the ultimate tree huggers!

2. I have more books than clothes in my closet. I have over 150 books. My oldest book was given to me by a very dear friend and is over 100 years old. I've probably read about half my books, maybe less. Among the books I own are the complete works of Shakespeare and seventeen poetry books. And this is onyl the hard copy books I own. I have over a hundred more digital books.

3. I love both maths and English. I took Calculus and Physics last year as well as History and English and loved them all. I also took chemistry. My passion lies in social science but I'm a writer at heart and I will always find maths fun!

4. The best books I read last year were Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Slaghterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Ask me about them. I dare you. Or better yet, read them yourself! Maybe I'll write a post about them tomorrow. Or an essay. Or put up my essay on Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse Five from last year, or the practise one I did on Catch-22 and Fight Club.

5. My favourite band is The Fray. I also like Ed Sheeran, needtobreathe, Mumford and Sons, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Snow Patrol, Fun, Live, Kimya Dawson, Beth Hart, Coldplay and Hot Chelle Ray. I prefer a natural sound (like that of Ed Sheeran) over this autotune nonsense.

6. With music, I go for lyrics more than anything. If I find something I like in the lyrics of a song, then I'll like that song. Doesn't matter about genre, or artist, I'm a lyrics girl. I guess I like music for the poetry it contains.

7. My favourite flowers are Daphne. I love the way they smell.

8. I prefer to wear necklaces over bracelets or rings. In fact I don't choose to wear rings at all. I don't particularly like the feel of them. I probably spend the most money on earrings though.

9. I have two piercings in each ear. Both in the lobe. One set of piercings was done myself, at different times whilst living in the hostel, with, if I recall, a safety pin (that one was really crooked) and a thumbtack/pushpin. The left side closed up after an infection due to me trying to use a stretcher, and I repierced those earlier this year (still a DIY job, but with proper piercing earrings lent to me by my bestie for life, Amanda), which allowed me to straighten out the crooked piercing. I also kind of sucessfully pierced my bellybutton, but Dad made me take it out. Also, I can't spell piercing. 

10. I once rescued a baby hedgehog from year nines and brought it into the hostel. The matron told me to put it outside because "they carry diseases," at which point I responded "humans carry more!" I consider this to be possibly my best comeback ever.

Well, this turned out to be mildly informative.

Bye for now,

Monday, 1 July 2013

Why I had the best physics class in the whole world...

This post was inspired by my friend Jono, and is brought to you by Newton's Third Law, Light (it's a particle AND a wave) and the Doppler Effect.

Despite the fact that the class motto was quite possibly "JESS, stop over-complicating things", physics was actually one of my favourite classes.

Our other physics class catch phrases included "Soz about it", meaning "I'm not sorry at all", and "ballpark figure", which was the teacher's trademark saying.

Physics was the only class in which I got "exceed expectations" for homework on my report card, despite the fact that I don't think I did any physics homework all year. We went through the homework in class so I just worked it out on the fly.

Unfortunately, this did show up in my exam results. Stay in school and do your homework, kids. Trust me on this.

We did lots of exciting things in physics. Like that time when the teacher took us on a field trip to...wait for it...the school hall. We did get to play with giant springs though, so that was fun. We almost forgave the teacher. Almost.

Or the time when we tried to convince the relief teacher (substitute, to my American friends) that I should be allowed to play my guitar because we were learning harmonics. She didn't buy it.

Or when the teacher got so sick of us harassing him about cleaning the board properly that he actually cleaned it properly.

Or the time when I tried to invoke both the arrow/fletcher's paradox (also known as Zeno's third paradox) and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle to prove that I didn't need to learn kinematic equations. Both of which proved unsuccessful.

One trick that did prove successful was the Death Star Manoeuvre. Along with the other constellations and planets on the ceiling of the lab, our teacher put up a toy Death Star. We came into class, sat down, looked down at our books and, predictably, failed to notice it. At which point he told us "I'm disappointed in you girls. You're so unobservant. I put a Death Star on the ceiling and you didn't even notice."

A few months later, we were finally left alone in the lab, and decided to move the Death Star. After arguing for a few minutes on where to place it, we eventually agreed to place it in plain sight, rather than hiding it in a corner. After removing it, getting scared and trying to hide it behind my back when someone entered the room and dropping it, we finally managed to reattach it to the ceiling.

This was a Friday. Our next lesson was a Monday. We waited for half the lesson, almost expecting the teacher to have noticed and to say something. Finally, our (ok, mostly my) giggling gave us away, and one of the girls spoke up. "Mister, we're really disappointed in you. We moved your Death Star and you didn't even notice."

As I said before, my physics class rocked. It was full of awesome people, taught in an engaging and fun way, and just generally a happy and safe class to be in. Thanks guys!

I have no idea how to end this post.

Perhaps with a question. What are some funny things you remember from school? Share in the comments section and be in to win. Terms and conditions apply. See in store for details.

Bye for now,

Sunday, 30 June 2013

What happens when I just start writing without an idea...

I have no idea where this post is going.
A lightbulb in my room went out and I'm blaming that for my lack of inspiration because you can't have a "Lighbulb moment" without a ligthtbulb. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

I babysat until two this morning, so you should all be really nice and go easy on me.

I'm so uninspired. CURSE YOU WRITER'S BLOCK.

I've just discovered that the 'p' key on my keyboard is being temperamental. The sad part is I can't even come up with a halfway decent joke about this.

What's the difference between roast chicken and pea soup?
Anyone can roast chicken...

My good friend Kiersten suggested I do a post on how perfect she is. But then I realised that would just make everyone else (me included) jealous of her perfection...
Hey, Asher, remember when I was going to write my speech on all the things I knew about you? Good times, good times.

I should have tried to write this at two o'clock this morning instead.

What WAS I doing at two AM?

That's right, I was trying to write a sonnet and kind of vaguely watching Wimbledon. I was actually quite proud of myself because I tend to write in eight syllable lines as opposed to ten syllable lines, so getting four ten syllable lines was quite an achievement. They're probably not iambic pentameter (stresses still confuse me a little, so I can't tell) but they're ten syllable rhyming lines, which is a pretty good effort at that time of night.

I asked my lovely boyfriend Daniel (who insisted on staying up to keep me company, bless him) what rhymed with return, to which he replied "Perm? Term? Derm? Firm?".

It took me about fifteen minutes to realise that none of those rhymed with return.

According to my text messages, I also realised the pun in FLOO powder. FLOO powder, chimney FLUE. Well played, J K Rowling. Well played.

And on that mindblowing note, I shall bid you all adieu.

Love, Jess

Saturday, 29 June 2013


Sorry for the overzealous caps lock usage in the title. I suppose instead of apologising I could go back and change it, but I'm not going to. Sorry.

Anyway, I'm feeling much better today and that is good.

Today's post will be short, because I'm working on a really awesome post that will appear sometime in the next few days, plus my ability to write coherently seems to have vanished on me. Also, I am babysitting tonight and therefore haven't got that much time.

Let's talk about music! Music is a very important part of my life.

I may not be very good at it, but it's something I enjoy and something I can constantly improve on, and I've made massive progress since I started.

I'm also pretty much self taught, which is something I'm very proud of.

I've had my guitar for seven or so years and she is my baby.

Her name is Turtle Dawson, because turtles are awesome and I really like Kimya Dawson's music. She did the soundtrack for the movie Juno, if anyone's seen it.

I love that movie. I quote it all the time, but none of my friends get it, which is sad.

Actually, it's quite interesting to me how I can almost immediately identify a phrase as a quote because my my mind works linguistically, whereas my friend James, for example, would better recognise an image because his mind works visually.

It was handy in exams, because usually the question would remind me of the answer. But I digress.

Anyway, I was going to show you a video of me playing guitar but the acoustics in my room are too good and it sound really echo-ey and delayed and terrible. Either that or my computer has rubbish sound quality.

UPDATE: It's the recording software I was using. Hopefully I'll have a video up in the next few days.
FURTHER UPDATE: It's the angle of the guitar relative to the mic.
FINAL UPDATE: My computer hates me. That is all.

Bye for now,

Friday, 28 June 2013

Guests comes to class, hilarity ensues...

I love the phrase "hilarity ensues". I think I picked it up back when I was reading blogs like Tucker Max, which, although hilarious and entertaining, is not for the easily offended. Or for people who get offended at all really.

But seriously, "hilarity ensues" is pretty much my life story. I open my mouth, hilarity ensues. I have a "bright" idea, hilarity ensues. Which is great really, because it means I always have something to laugh about.

Today we had a guest speaker come to our journalism class to talk about diversity. A lovely Muslim lady who was really helpful and interesting and genuine and I really can't say enough positive things about her.

Anyway, at some point I asked about Muslim views on gay marriage, to which she replied that sodomy was forbidden.

I had a rough idea of what sodomy was, but, unthinkingly, asked for clarification. Had you been there, you would have witnessed my whole class mentally facepalming.

To her credit, she answered honestly and calmly and moved on.

Our second guest speaker, the lovely Taryn, was also fantastically brilliant, and was very informative, inspirational and helpful.

The experiences she shared made a real impact on me as to how important it is to establish a relationship with your sources and to treat them with respect and most of all, to cherish the honour of telling their story.

She told us that this year, while we're still learning, we should do as many stories as we can about things that interest us. Which got me thinking about what I am interested in that I could do stories on.

The first answer that came to mind was "nothing". And then I looked back over my past few stories, which were about things like birds and cafes, and I realised that I'm actually interested in everything.

Previously, I hadn't been interested in pursuing journalism as a long term career. But after hearing Taryn talk about the privilege of telling people's stories and being reminded that, really, journalism is about people (apart from the odd bird) and people are what I'm interested in, I'm seriously considering it.

Don't tell anyone, but maybe I DO like journalism after all...

So, in short, today I became interested the Muslim faith, learned what sodomy is, and discovered a new passion for journalism.

My class also learnt that I should not be allowed to ask questions. EVER. Which may be a bit of a problem if I want to be a journalist.

Bye for now,
Jess, future journalist.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Do you ever have one of those days...

Where you just can't see the wood for the trees?

Today was most probably a good day.
Funny things happened.
I had curly hair.
My story got published in the paper and online (link is here:
I got to see Amanda, my best friend from high school.
Amelia and I laughed so hard we almost cried.
I got to talk to my awesome cousin Melita on the phone.
I Skyped Daniel.

But it doesn't feel like a good day.
It feels like a rubbish day, actually.
I just spent half an hour crying.

Because of a silly song.

But that's ok.
Some days it's ok to remember, to mourn.
To have an off day.

It can be hard to remember, to appreciate the good things.
But they're always there.

And sometimes seeing them doesn't help, not right away.
But tomorrow will be brighter.

That cheerful, funny blog post I keep promising is coming.
You'll just have to bear with me.
I'm having one of those days, and I wanted to be honest about it.

Bye for now,

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Today's roundup...including a mating dance

In case you haven't guessed by the title, I'm struggling to think of what to write about today. So I'll write about what I did today and hope something remotely amusing presents itself. I have to be quick because I'm going to a pub quiz tonight.

In case you're wondering, I'm totally awesome at pub quizzes. Although I do tend to put my hand up when I know the answer, which is probably a bit weird.

I was meant to be going with some of my Journalism classmates, but most of them pulled out. "Slackers," as my tutor said.

My tutor was also very interested in a strange aspect of the story I did today. I went to the zoo to write about a new bird called an Australian Brolga, which apparently is known for its mating dance.

I did not get to seen this mating dance. Probably because I am not a female Brolga. Which is just as well, because I don't think Brolga can participate in pub quizzes.

Fun fact: we're pretty sure the plural of Brolga is Brolga. Pretty sure.

Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with the story because I managed to get it written within an hour. My tutor then rearranged the whole thing, but I must admit it sounded better when he'd finished with it.

The newspaper sent a real photographer with me and everything. I was quite excited.

My voice recorder threw a tantrum and my pen died. But it was all ok in the end.

I'm not going to say too much more about the story now but I'll post a link tomorrow.

Sorry for the uninteresting post, here's two videos of Brolga doing a mating dance to make up for it.
This one is better quality:
But this one (after the first ten seconds or so) is funnier:
My favourite bit is when they kiss/try to kill each other.


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Reframing: not just for pictures!

Well, I feel like I have a lot to live up to after the popularity of yesterday's post.
Here goes. We'll start with an anecdotal aside and see how we go.

So, today was mildly entertaining. We had some students from a class learning English as a second language come to visit our Journalism class for diversity week. Anyway, we did the standard get-to-know technique of interviewing each other and then introducing each other to the class. At which point I got introduced as "Jess, who is eighteen but looks younger." Fantastic. Just what I wanted to hear.

Anyway, reframing. I couldn't think of anything else to talk about so this is it. I don't even know if it's called reframing, but it is in my head and that's where this blog is from.

What is reframing, exactly? Well, it's basically debating with your head. Which is great for me because there are very few people who will debate with me any more.
Side note: Shout out to my friend Kiersten, who is awesome and gives me a real run for my money when we debate. She might have even won on occasion...ok, on every occasion.

Reframing has been particularly useful for me in learning how to take things less personally, and to deal with the fact that I used to perceive almost everything as a rejection. Once I notice a negative thought, a typical conversation in my head goes like this:

Negative brain: He said he can't call because he just doesn't want to talk to me.
Me: You know he's been really busy lately, he went to town today.
Negative brain: He managed to talk to his other friend. If he values you he should be able to find time to talk to you.
Me: Look, you know he values you, he shows it every day. You talk to him a lot. It's ok not to talk to him today. He still loves you.
Negative brain: But he doesn't want to talk to me (Negative brain, despite not having a face, is pouting by this point).
Me: Even if that was true, it's not the end of the world. He's allowed to not want to talk to you. It doesn't mean he never wants to talk to you again. It's not a rejection. It's alright.

By this point, not only have I challenged the negative thought, I've also managed to sneakily trick my brain into telling me exactly why I'm feeling upset/rejected. It's a win-win situation. Eventually, even Negative brain joins the party.


This has been really in making sure that I don't end up jeopardising relationships and interactions with people. Because after you've asked someone ten times if they're mad at you, they will have become mad at you.

I don't really have anything else to say today.
I know I promised funny, but this is the best I could do.
Tomorrow, perhaps.

Bye for now,

Monday, 24 June 2013

Dear sixteen year old me...

 So, yesterday I was shown this video:, which is basically people with melanoma talking to their sixteen year old selves. So now, without too much further ado, here is a letter from my 18 year old self to my 16 year old self.

Before we start, I just want to say I have no idea how this is going to turn out. It might be funny, it might be hard, it might be downright painful. But I'm going to write it, and you're welcome to read it.

Dear 16 year old me,
You are more beautiful than you know. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. I say this though I know that in two years time you still won't believe me. But I believe that one day you will look in the mirror and see yourself the way other people see you.

Keep reading, and keep writing. Don't throw your writing out, and try not to let it turn into a crumpled mess at the bottom of your schoolbag. You're going to want that later.

Go easy on yourself. You're in for a rough couple of years. People are going to hurt you and the last thing you need to do is hurt yourself. And I know better than anyone that old habits die hard. But you can and will overcome this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I know that right now, you don't like yourself very much. You think you're a bad person and wonder how anyone could ever love you. But you need to know that you are loved more than you could ever believe, and that doing bad things sometimes does not mean you are a bad person. It means that, like everyone else, you are a good person that makes mistakes.

Believe in yourself. You have the ability. Don't miss the chance to show it. Apply yourself.

Take every opportunity you are offered.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes strength to acknowledge that you are struggling and to accept help when it is offered.

There are so many people that care about you and want to support you. Let them. You'll make it so much easier on yourself. Going it alone is no fun at all. Value the people who stand by you.

The darkness you feel, that isn't you. Let it go. Ask for help. Your deepest fear is that by losing the darkness you will lose yourself, but I promise you, you won't. You're much stronger than you think.

When I look back over the last two years, the memories that stand out most are the painful ones. So, you're gonna have to be strong for a while. But you can get through this.

Here comes the part that's hardest to write. Treasure those people that matter to you. Tell them how much they mean to you. Say the things you're saving for later. Don't wait until tomorrow, because one day tomorrow will be too late. Tell your friends you love them. Thank your teachers.

Appreciate your home, and the people there. You don't know what you've got until it's gone but the more you find joy in things, the more happy memories you create. Create joyous memories there.

Go easy on your father. He loves you more than you will ever know. Hug him and tell him you love him. Do the dishes. CLEAN YOUR ROOM. Tell him how much you appreciate everything he does for you. Cook him dinner. Tell him you're proud to call him your Dad while you still have the chance.

Go home for his birthday. Just trust me on this one. You'll regret it if you don't.

And be nicer to the cat.

Don't take chemistry in year 13. Focus more in calculus. Enjoy yourself. Study during study periods.

Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.

There are tough times ahead for you, but you're strong, and you're brave, and you're going to be fine. Things will turn out alright. You're doing well. I'm proud of you, and I'd like to think you'd be proud of me too.

Stay strong buddy,
Jessica Howatson, aged 18.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Nothing like the last minute for getting things done...

Ok. It's  11:37. Therefore this post will be short. I will do better tomorrow. I promise.

I went skiing today. I managed several controlled descents even!
Side note: Have you got your impressed face on? You should have your impressed face on.

Once again I ate a lot of snow.

I also managed to step onto a bit of snow that wasn't so solid and end up knee deep in snow, whilst still in the process of walking, meaning I've twisted my knee a bit.

Attempted leg-breaking aside, I had a great time.

The best bit was the feeling of accomplishment after stopping without looking like a total dweeb.
The worst bit was carrying the skis and the gear.

I also enjoyed eating snow and spending time with my friend. And just being in the snow. I really do love snow, it's so beautiful and pure. Unlike me.

Today was possibly the first time in my life I've been told to keep my legs apart instead of together....

And on that note I will end this post, before the quality level drops even further.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

I was going to write something constructive, but it's been a long day...

I just started wondering why I tend to use ellipses (which is the plural of ellipsis, I checked) in my titles, and I realised it's probably because the title is only the beginning and there's so much left to say. Which makes more sense than a lot of things that go on in my head, so there you go.

I still have no idea why I have a penchant for brackets, but I do know I've been using them since my early school years.

Today I played Airsoft. For those of you that don't know, this basically means I went and attempted to shoot people with, and not get shot by, small plastic balls shot at high speeds from replica guns.

It was pretty fun. I got to break in my new hiking shoes, get mud all over my new hiking shoes (oh, joy), walk around a lot and just generally try not to get shot or lost.

The swamp bits were quite fun. It was like playing "The floor is lava" but instead of lava it was water/mud.

Shooting at people was surprisingly exhilarating. So was being shot at, partially because suddenly a whole bunch of small white balls are flying at your face and you can almost convince yourself that it's snowing/hailing. I got a couple of bruises and some scratches from the prickly gorse, but all in all a great time was had and I'm definitely keen to do it again.

Did I mention I'm going skiing tomorrow? Well, I say skiing. Last time I went skiing was on a school trip maybe six years ago.

Funny story actually; I lost my skis right before the ski lesson I had signed up for was due to start. I have no idea how this happened but in retrospect I probably shouldn't have abandoned them to make a snowman. And to find out how snow tasted. I remember being very interested in how snow tasted.

But I digress. By the time I found my skis the lesson was halfway through and there was no point joining it. So I tried to figure it out on my own, at which point I very embarrassingly wiped out in front of a group of five-year-olds. Luckily, their instructor took pity on me (or perhaps on everyone who had to share a patch of snow with me) and taught me the "pizza slice" technique so that I could (theoretically) come to a controlled stop.

So, tomorrow ought to be fun. What I lack in skill and co-ordination I more than make up for in enthusiasm and determination. Plus, my concentration face is really funny. But not as funny as my television watching face, according to my friends. Who should definitely have been watching the news and not my face. Especially because they had just finished yelling at me for watching a book instead of the news. Thanks, Asher.

Also, there is a big rugby match on in my city tonight. The All Blacks are playing France. I should probably say something witty and intelligent but instead I'm just going to comment on the fact that I always found it amusing that All Black Andrew WHORE played in the position of HOOKER.

That's all for now.
If you have any ski tips, please let me know below.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Titles are not my strong point. Thank goodness I don't write headlines.

It would probably be easier to write a title if I knew what the post would be about.

If all else fails, I'll write about turtles and grammatically challenged starfish.

Did you know rejigged is totally a legitimate word? I thought it was just something people said. Also, did you know that bologna is actually pronounced 'baloney'. Which is total baloney. Or bologna. Whichever you prefer.

I got really excited because I thought it was six months until my birthday today but it turns out that my computer displays the date the American way: 6/21/13. Which is a shame, because I totally think the 21st month would just be a massive party month. We could call it Rocktober. Although I'd much rather go to a library over a concert, so perhaps Readvember?

That wasn't even funny. I'm too tired for this stuff.

Resisting the urge to make cake jokes about being "two-tiered". Or bike jokes about being "two-tired".

Fun facts about me: My favourite Doctor Who episode is Vincent and the Doctor. Also, I like to play chess. I make terrible jokes. I've had a lot of pets.

I just made a twitter (basically to advertise my blog and attempt to be funny in small doses), which can be found here:

I'll write something better later. Probably something about all the pets I've had.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Come one, come all, step right's time for the introductions to be made.

Hi. I'm Jess.
I'm 18. Female. Poet. I play guitar. I try to be a good person, just the same as you. We're not all that different really.

They say you can learn a lot about someone by their surroundings. Well, I'm going to put that to the test, using my five senses on my surroundings in an effort to tell you about myself. This could quite possibly be the most brilliant thing you read all day. Oh yes, I've got high hopes indeed.

A quick reminder, the five senses are sight, touch, taste, smell and sound. The sad thing is I almost forgot sound. Let's move on before the terrible puns start.

Sight. I can see posters on my wall, magazine pages, children's drawings, and even a couple of pieces of my own artwork. One of the posters is the famous "Footprints in the Sand". Oh, and there are glow in the dark stars and the like above my bed, because I've always wanted glowing things on my ceiling. I have glowing faeries on my cupboard door at my Mum's house. I can also see lots and lots of books. I'm reading The Book Thief at the moment, but I can't see that. I can see my much loved and battered copy of Catch-22 though. Catch-22 and Fight Club are two of my favourite books.

Touch. Well, from where I'm sitting I can touch the rug, my laptop, my soft bedspread, the floor, my phone, my hair (which is not nearly as awesome as Alex Kingston's hair), my shoes, the washing, and my giant whiteboard, which I've just finished cleaning. Touch is kind of a redundant sense in this exercise, isn't it?

And so we move on to an equally useless sense for the current task - taste. I can kind of taste spaghetti bolognaise (my spell checker refuses to recognise this word so I'm going to spell it however I like), which I COOKED. This is surprising and I hope you have your impressed face on because cooking is not my schtick (a wonderful word taught to me by my friend Jackson of You should check him out. But not like that.) .

Smell. Now this one will tell you a bit about me, but not in ways you might think. Right now I can smell nail polish remover. This is partly because I am clever and figured out (through trial and error and a bit of scientific knowledge) that nail polish remover will remove vivid from a whiteboard. However, it is also because I left the lid off the nail polish remover and spilt it on my favourite rug. And then proceeded to leave the lid off of the nail polish remover and spill it on my favourite rug again. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions from that.
Side note: I have since put the lid on the nail polish remover and taken to wondering how I have a favourite rug when I'm ONLY EIGHTEEN.

Lastly, sound. I can hear classical music downstairs, which is great because I actually like classical music.
Side note: all teenagers secretly like classical music, they just don't want people to know it.
I can also hear the TARDIS materialising. Except that it's actually my ringtone for my phone, which is disappointing, because I'd rather have a TARDIS than a text message. Or a phone.

Now it's your turn!
Pick a sense or two (or five) and use it to tell me about your surroundings in the comments!
Or just let me know what you think!

Lots of Love,