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,