"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Operation Get Fit: Why teenageness makes you fat.

Update: I have lost a kilo! 55, baby!

In my opinion, the teenage years are the worst for people who have slow metabolisms and tend to pile on weight easily (read: me).

Firstly, there's the hormonal crap. Did you know that teenagers can gain up to 50% of their normal bodyweight due to hormonal craziness? Female puberty prepares women for childbearing, and fertility requires fat. Which is why you bulk up a bit during adolescence. How sucky.

But mostly it's our eating habits. When we're studying, we're so frenzied that we'll eat finger foods so that you can multitask with your physics homework. Sit down meals seem like an incredible waste of time. But when you multitask with food - so studying and eating, watching tv and eating, etc - you lose track of what you're eating and how much you're eating. For example - would you seriously go through a jumbo box of popcorn if that's all you were doing? No! But at movies we steadily chomp through unreasonable amounts of food because we simply don't realize we're eating at all, half the time. Habit eating, which is a rather bad habit of mine, is a sneaky cause of weight gain.

My other little vice is what I call NOTHING IS GOING RIGHT IN MY LIFE WAHH I'M JUST GOING TO EAT EAT EAT EAT BECAUSE FOOD IS MY ONLY FRIEND!!!!!!! I have been known to go slightly off my head at times, and with that, I go off my face with food. My biggest binging times were:

1. Year Seven, aged twelve - The last time I was under 50kg. I was SO OVER eight years of PURE HELL, so I concentrated all of my self-pity into daily binges of ramen noodles.

2. Year Eight, aged thirteen - Lose a boyfriend, gain a kilo (or three). Basically, more ramen.

Since then I have pulled back on my ramen obsession, but I haven't really been very conservative with portion control - okay, I had no concept of portion control until recently. I ate until I couldn't get another bite in and always went to bed feeling very full and slightly sick. My theory is that all the food you eat until you're no longer hungry goes into energy and fat reserve, and the food you eat until you're full just turns into, well, fat. My eating patters were also different to normal meal times, so I found myself eating when I felt like it (a full meal midmorning and after school) AND during normal mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, dinner). That's five meals a day!

My love affair with food continues, but we now have a pre-nup. Portion control.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The Queen is in Perth today.

No, I haven't seen her.

No, I don't plan to see her.

No, I don't hate her.

But yes, I am a republican.

Friday, October 28, 2011

the narrow mindedness of getting the hell out of here.

There are two problems with Australian people: we shamelessly advertise our country even if we know we're a leaky luxury ship, and we insist on pretending everything's okay when most things are not.

I'm a cynical second-generation immigrant. I don't have cash to burn; my 'back up plan' is Centrelink, not an inheritance. I really don't have any room to fail, nor do I have any interest in experimenting with failure. It's become a taboo to love to succeed, to love to win, but I do and I'm not ashamed of it. I don't have a bleak outlook on life; I have a bleak outlook on some people in my life. I complain a lot. I don't really fit in.

I have spent pretty much all of my life in Perth. I have also spent pretty much all of my life trying to get out of Perth. Don't get me wrong, Perth is a lovely place to grow up, because it's nice and boring and pretty hard to run into trouble. But I'm fifteen, and I'm a rebel without a cause. I'm tired of lovely, nice and boring. I have been for a very long time.

I've wanted to go to Oxford since I was eight and my mother explained The Story Behind Her Oxford Jumper. Now I have a jumper of my own, and I'd still love to go to Oxford, but it's appallingly expensive and notoriously difficult for undergrad international students, so for me it's more a postgrad plan. Yes, I am one of those nerds who wants to do postgrad. Got a problem with that?

But Oxford is in England, and going to England involves getting on a plane and waving bye-bye to good ol' Perthy. And people don't like that, because it's acknowledging that Perth is a boring, lonely place to live.

I want to get a lit degree. I want to do big things. I don't see many other options aside from going abroad and trying to strike it big. Nobody is going to listen to a little Perth schoolkid, and uni degrees mean less than nothing now. I need to have more than that. I need to be the kind of person that people sit up and listen to.

I told my teacher that, and he said 'you've failed already'. Gee, thanks. Just what I want to hear from a teacher.

There were two hypocrites in that class in which this conversation took place. I'm sad to say that one of them was not a clueless student.

The clueless student, with permed hair, makeup and fake nails, said to me 'I think you're too obsessed with what people think about you. I mean, it's not our fault you're so insecure that you need to do all this stuff to make yourself feel better'.

The clueless non-student said 'Right, now lets go listen to JUSTICE MICHAEL KIRBY who was a FORMER JUDGE in the HIGH COURT who went to the UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY. We're REALLY PRIVILEDGED to HAVE HIM HERE'.

So, according to the above, Michael Kirby is obsessed with what people think about him and is insecure, and we would totally be skipping class to be listen to seventy-year-old dudes, even if they weren't HIGH COURT JUDGES or similar. If they were just random nobodies.

Just like me.

I'm not narrowminded for wanting to leave this unintellectual place of eternal boredom. It's not a flippant decision. I've lived here for FIFTEEN YEARS, and I think that's quite enough time to establish that this is not the be and all and end all of everything. There's nothing narrowminded about wanting to see the world, step out of my comfort zone, become the sort of person I want to be and to respond to a higher calling. I am not so idealistic as my dear Perth lovers. I am a nobody, and nobody listens to a nobody. My goals aren't the only way to establish yourself, but establishing yourself not only on a local level, but also on an international scale is the only way to make people shut up and listen. Because we all have good ideas; we all have the potential to be geniuses. But we don't live in a time and place where people throw money at nobodies with potential. You have to be somebody to do something.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Relief Teachers.

Being a relief teacher is tough and irritating, but don't expect too much sympathy from students; after all, it is your job, and you do get paid for it. You're replacing probably a much-loved, easygoing laid back teacher, and any kid is going to be grumpy about that. So don't make it worse. 

1. Go with the flow.

Students are creatures of habit, and dislike breaking routine. A teacher who is obsessive compulsive about method and procedure really shouldn't be a relief teacher, because it never, ever works.

2. Don't deprecate yourself.

"I'm new here", "I don't understand what's going on", "I'm just a math teacher, I know nothing about history" and "can someone please tell me what to do" sounds wimpy, and students love to pick on wimpy people. Be strong.

3. Get a kid to do the roll.

A whole slew of badly-pronounced names is irritating and a waste of time, not to mention a huge potential for massive embarassment on your part.

4. Follow the old teacher's rules.

Many teachers take a very relaxed approach to teaching - these are often the classes that don't have behavior ir discipline problems because the teacher treats the students more like human beings and less like puny insects. So if the old teacher allows it, you should allow it. Let the kids sit on the tables and listen to iPods. Deal with it. It won't kill you.

5. Don't ask one single kid to explain every detail of day to day routine.

They'll always get it wrong or make it up. I guarantee it.

6. Don't set yourself up for mockery.

The normal teacher can probably get away with mumuus and purple lipstick You never will.

7. Don't demand TOTAL UTTER SILENCE.

All you will get is TOTAL UTTER HATRED.

8. Remember that students have many outlets for revenge.

And most of them are very, very public.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Operation Get Fit: Who you callin' fat?

Update: I have lost about half a kilo in a week. So my weight now fluctuates between 49.5-56.5. Anyone know how to stop it from moving around so much?

Most people I talk to put weight down to a number, a dress size, a particular appearance. For most women, 60 is the magic number, as in 60kg. Under 60, and you're pretty trim. That's the main idea.

But it doesn't always work like that. I'm a good four or five kilos under 60, and I'm not really the trimmest person to walk the planet. In fact, I'm pretty sure if I ever hit 60 I'd be one chunky monkey. So it does vary, a lot. For some women (like me), 50 or 55 is pretty much the max. Other women can hit 60, 70 or even 80 and still be healthy.

You can't tell how healthy you are by your appearance. Fat cells are decided genetically - as in, you can't control it. You'll always have a minimum weight that you can't avoid without becoming seriously ill. You gain or lose weight by filling these fat cells with fat, but they're always there, and they always have a little fat in them. It's healthy and perfectly normal. This is also why some people find it hard to gain weight. Fat, and acceptable levels of fat, is also dictated by your racial and ethnic background - for example, if you're white with a medium build you can probably get away with a few more pounds than someone who's the same height but Asian with a slightly smaller build. Conversely, some races are just naturally plump to endure conditions in native lands (i.e. Eskimos).

Fat is also only one factor in general wellness. You can be fit and active and still be 60kg with generous love handles, but you'll be miles healthier than a skinny stick who smokes and eats burgers all day. The problem is that in this day and age we associate general health far too much with the number our scales churn out, and a lot of people think they're fine because they're thin when in fact some are more unhealthy than people who are a trifle overweight.

You can't always tell if you're the correct weight by appearance, either. Fat in different places mean different things, for example, fat in the breast, buttocks and thighs are actually healthy and essential for female fertility, but fat in the stomach is linked to diabetes and heart disease.

Stretch marks can be caused by weight gain, but are more often caused by pregnancy or the sudden growth spurts in adolescence. This is why babies have such lovely fat rolls, because this is when human beings do the most growing - if babies were as slender as adults they'd have stretch marks all over.

BMI calculators are also pretty flukey, because they don't take into account ethnicity, metabolism, age etc - Arnold Schwarzenegger would actually be chronically obese according to his BMI (he probably is now, but I was talking about his Terminator days). I have a pretty low BMI, but it doesn't mean much - a BMI calculator is useful in ensuring that your goal weight, if you're trying to lose weight, is healthy. I would like to be about 50-53kg, which is still well within the healthy BMI range. That's pretty much the only time I'm going to use the BMI calculator, because according to it I could go up to 63kg without being 'fat'! I'm 'fat' already!

My advice about getting fit is not to stress too much about it. Focus on being fit and healthy, not the abuse your scales give you. A little bit of icecream won't kill you, and no matter what, you're never going to look like Miranda Kerr.

I'm always going to be a big girl. But big girls still have to climb a few flights of stairs without having heart attacks. It's part of life.

sex appeal is overrated.

in other news, I met JACKIE FREAKING FRENCH today! again.

Sorry, I'm one of those people who gets startstruck by authors. But it was very, very, very, very, very, very cool.

Anyway, about sex appeal...

I'm one of those people who's a bit slow to hear about music. As in, I've only just gotten into Viva la Vida. Yeah. That slow.

One of the songs that's kind of stuck in my head lately is 'Superbass', by Nicki Minaj. But I can't always watch the video. To me, it's just too overly sexual.

Now, I don't really have a problem with the lyrics. Strange, huh? But I honestly don't mind it, even when he make you drip drip/kiss him on the lip lips. I mean, I would be comfortable with a two year old singing it, but whatever.

It's the video that bugs me.

It's not jus the fact that every second frame is a full-frame shot of somebody's boobs. It's the six packs and just the overall obsession with physical appearance.

I've grown up in this world where everyone is obsessed with how everyone looks. I grew up genuinely believing I wouldn't be happy unless I was 30kg and six feet tall, with a six-pack husband. So, essentially, Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr.

Now that I'm older, and hopefully wiser, I've accepted that I'm not going to get that. But apart from that, I sometimes feel like I'm the only person - at least in high school - who can almost completely see past appearance and appearances. It doesn't mean I haven't got an appreciation for beauty, because I do. It doesn't mean I shy away from the sexy and the sexual, because I don't. But I'm human, and I'm tired of being pressured into being a plastic doll, liking plastic dolls. I guarantee I'll be just as smart, just as dumb, just as clutzy and just as annoying if I had 32DD and could squeeze into size two dresses. I'd be the same person with a slightly creepy and extremely temporary shell. But that's not what I want.

One day I'll be fat and fifty and I want to be holding hands with someone fat and fifty and think 'you and I were young and beautiful once...but now we're not and I still love you, and you still love me.'

Have a Heart for the Homeless.

I am truly disgusted at our country's immigration policy. It truly makes me sick. It makes me ashamed to be Australian.

People don't understand how important innocence is to innocent people. If you put people who have committed no crime other than to seek a safe place to live in a prison, it's going to mess with their heads. People don't realize just how much of a prison detention centres are; they don't realize it's a breeding ground for mental illness and insanity. People go insane in there. I know I would.

We treat immigrants worse than we treat murderers and rapists. They are victims of war, of poverty, of illness, famine and corruption. Things that many of us cannot even contemplate, and yet we treat them like animals until they behave like animals. Can we not take some responsibility for the riots in the detention centres? Or, more importantly, can we not take responsibility for the suicides and self-harm in the detention centres? Every day we keep these detention centres open and running we get more blood and shit on our hands.

We are a racist, xenophobic bigoted lot. We don't know what it is to be hungry, persecuted, unwanted. We take for granted food on our tables and roofs over our heads. We take for granted the ability to pursue a free and happy life and to raise a safe and happy family. There are many people the world over who can only dream of these rights, and we shun them because - well, why don't we say it like it is? They're black, poor and foreign, and we just can't take it.

Have a heart for the homeless. This is Australia, land of the free.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Viva la Vida.

A funeral.
In a dreary graveyard.
The funeral director,
Too fat,
Cried oniontears for mum and dad.

We called him
Caesar Grandfather;
Which was a polite way of saying
I cried oniontears for mum and dad.

The next day.
Where everything runs smoothly with
a little
catnip and

As I walked past locker E46
I whispered:
The old king is dead,
long live the king.

Inspired (vaguely) by Viva la Vida by Coldplay.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I just watched Mistletoe. I now have to find a place to throw up.

Really early Christmas greetings from Justin Bieber and the Cranky Spinster.

Recipe: Semi-Dried Tomatoes.

This is SUUPER easy to make and super versatile; add to pasta, sandwiches, or eat with brie cheese and crusty bread. Yum.

You will need:
~ Tomatoes - any sort, and as much as you want.
~ Thyme and/or Rosemary - again, as much or as little as you want. I suppose you could use basil, oregano, etc. For about 2kg of tomatoes I used ten big sprigs of rosemary from our garden. Use dried if you can't get fresh.
~ Garlic - mince finely or it'll burn. I used almost a whole globe for 2kg of tomatoes, but you can use as little as one or two cloves.
~ Olive Oil
~ Salt - about 1tsp per kilo
~ Sugar - about 2 tsp per kilo
~ Boiling water
~ Iced water

1. Preheat oven to 100-120 degree Celcius.
2. Wash and de-core tomatoes, score a cross lightly into the bottom.
3. Place tomatoes in boiling water for 20 seconds, then place into iced water.
4. Peel tomatoes and slice in half.
5. Finely chop herbs and garlic, combine with salt and sugar and cover with olive oil. Stir.
6. Arrange tomatoes on baking trays and smother each with the oil mixture - about 1-2tsp for each tomato half.
7. Put in oven and forget about it.
8. Bottle with any oil on the tray. Cover with more oil if necessary.
9. Will keep for 2-3 weeks

How long do I cook them for? The tomatoes won't do anything for at least two or three hours. I normally take them out after four or five hours, mostly out of impatience. They're good and cooked by then, but still juicy. Some people leave it overnight. Be careful oven is not too hot because garlic and herbs can burn. Tastes best when slow cooked in a slow oven.

The Most Important Things I've Ever Learned.

1. High school is essentially the bargain bin of boys. You get what you pay for, no refunds or exchanges.

2. Life is too short not to order the chocolate cake.

3. Butter makes everything delicious, a two year old will eat anything if you drown it in ketchup and when in doubt, put on bright red lipstick.

4. The only friends worth having are those you would trust your Porsche and your Tiffanys with.

5. No matter what, your mother is always the best cook.

6. Never buy a dress or date a boy that needs altering.

7. It's fine to spend all day in your pyjamas, but people who wear crocs have given up on life.

8. Coffee is not a substitute for sleep.

9. Never understimate knitting grandmas. It's frickin' impossible to knit.

10. A man should always walk curbside, open doors, offer his jacket, wear his wedding ring and pay for the first date. We have to go through labour and PMS.

11. You're only in love when you can hang out with someone as if you were hanging out by yourself: air-guitaring and bad karaoke included.

12. Don't listen to the critics. There's nothing better than a chick flick on a lazy Saturday night.

13. Don't kid yourself. Everyone likes ballroom dancing.

14. The best cure for a cold is ramen noodles.

15. The Devil really does wear Prada.

16. Real women eat steak.

17. You're never too young or too old to dye your hair bright red.

18. Any good Korean can fix anything with ginseng and chicken soup.

19. Quick-dry nail polish never dries quickly

20. We gotta work together. None of us gets out of this alive.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I'm a renegade, it's in my blood.

I'll let you in on a little secret...

I often pretend to be much more tolerating of other people's religious beliefs than I actually am. Deep down, I am often very impatient and skeptical of the whole institution. Perhaps a little too much so for the benefit of civil peace.

People often accuse atheists of acting superior or being condescending to the religious sort, and to be honest, it's often very true. But is that any different to anyone else? No matter how tolerant or accepting one person is of another person's religious beliefs, or lack of religious beliefs, we all secretly think that we are right. I would not be an atheist if I did not genuinely believe that there is absolutely no God, and if I did not genuinely believe that there is little point in prayer or worship. And I reserve my right to think so.

There's no shame in the 'I'm right, you're wrong' thinking; it's why we are religious or anti-religious in the first place. It's not just religion; we all slip into 'I'm right, you're wrong' every now and again. How many times have you battled with your parents, with your children, with your friends over the most trivial things because each person thinks that they have a better idea? The world still turns round despite this.

The key is tolerance. The key is pretending to be much more understanding than you are. The key is to not let it bother you; in the end, does it really matter what religion everyone is? There are religious differences even in our circle of friends, but it doesn't bother us even though we do talk about religion quite a lot. We all have a different opinion, but that's not the problem; the problem is when we forget to agree to disagree.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Things that Are Uniquely Australian (that sometimes confuse the hell out of tourists)

1. Tipping is rare and usually not necessary, given the high labour costs and massive spike in the prices of goods such as petrol and fresh produce. It is, however, expected that you give someone a tip if they are a friend or acquaintence and/or they did the work for free. Tipping has also become a cliche expected at first dates.

2. There are no hard and fast rules at restaurants. Some prefer you wait at the door; others don't mind if you wander around and pick a table. Some have waiters to take your order, others prefer you to order at the counter. Most of the time the bill is paid at the counter, not brought to you in a folder.

3. Thongs in Australia are sandals, known as flip flops or slippers (don't call them that here, it's weird). The underwear known as a thong in Australia is known as a 'g-string'. Bathers and nappies are swimsuits and diapers; pants are trousers, not underwear - underwear is boxers or jocks for boys and knickers and undies for girls. A singlet is any kind of sleeveless top; a boob tube is a strapless top.

4. A creek in Australia is a stream or small river, a paddock is a field, the bush is just country areas in general, and people use the word 'mate' for absolutely everybody in pretty much any context, even if they're pissed off; i.e. 'WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING, MATE???' A man is a bloke, a woman is a sheila, but only in the outback. G'day is used interchangeably with 'hello' or 'hi'. A cuppa is a cup of tea, damper is bread cooked on an open fire.

5. There is not one universal Australian accent; it varies from region to region and also by socio-economic status. The working class tend to use more localized grammar, Aboriginal-loan words and slang vocabulary, whereas the richy rich try and fail to be people fresh out of Austen. A good way to tell is whether they call the last meal of the day 'dinner' or 'tea'.

6. Chips are crisps, as in the ones sold in packaged air. Hot chips are chips, as in the ones in fish and chips. Fries are skinny chips.

7. If the soft drink is black, it's Coke. If the soft drink is yellow, it's Solo. If the soft drink is clear, it's Lemonade. The word soda is only used in a cocktail context, and nobody ever calls anything cola. To be safe, use brand names. 

8. Nicknames pop up ALL THE TIME. Barry becomes Bazza. Nobody ever calls anybody here 'Christopher' or 'Edward'. Bluey is common for people with red hair. You can get away with pretty much anything except for abo or nigger.

9. If you're unsure what to call something, use the British English term, especially amongst older folks. However, most Australians will know both the American, Australian and British term for most things (it's like knowing three languages!)

8. A bikkie is a biscuit, and is usually sweet (savoury biscuits are crackers). Zucchini, snow pea, eggplant, capsicum and rockmelon are courgette, mangetout, aubergine, pepper and cantaloupe. Most people know what a courgette, aubergine and cantaloupe is. Nobody knows what a mangetout is. We know that a pepper can be a capsicum but for us it's almost exclusively the spice.

9. Tomato sauce is ketchup. We don't understand why the Brits and Americans must call every sauce by its colour (red sauce, brown sauce, orange sauce, white sauce). Most people have forgotton what McDonalds is - it's always Maccas. Always.

10. A dollar is a buck, and is a coin. If it's a large amount of money, it may be referred to as 'smackaroos' (e.g. it cost me a thousand smackaroos).

11. A flat white is an expresso drowned in enough hot milk to fill a cup or mug. A long black is a flat white made with water instead of milk. A short black is an expresso.

12. Cheapo wine is very popular, and sold in casks, known as goons. Some people take the bag out of the box (taking the silver lady out to dance) to get every last drop, and to use it as a pillow.

13. Almost everyone here loves sport. Having a football team is almost mandatory. It is judged by geography, but people who live in an area with a shit team sometimes say, or pretend, that they used to live in /grew up in another area so that they can support a better team. The hierarchy of teams is known as a ladder. Cricket and tennis is also super popular, although baseball is not.

14. Football, footy, Aussie Rules and AFL all refer th Australian football. Soccer is for ther European-type football, and nobody really plays American football. Rugby is known as, well, rugby, and also league, union or thugby (although don't say that to a rugby player!)

To barack is to support a sport team. People don't 'root' for a team because root means sex (dunno where that came from)

15. A ute is a pick up truck, and an SUV is a 4WD. A truck is usually one of those big industrial road trains.

16. The big vans used by the police for random breath testing is known as a booze bus.

17. A soldier is usually known as a digger.

18. The words 'vacation' or 'abroad' are very rarely used 'holiday' or 'overseas' is more common. Fall is Autumn.

19. A stubby is a bottle of beer.

20. Dressing standards are extremely casual, and people often walk around in nothing but board shorts or a bikini. However, thongs, hats and singlets are not permitted in some high-end restaurants.

21. The legal drinking age is 18. The legal age of consent is 16 in most places, 17 in a few states. You can drive at the age of 16 (learning).

22. White Australians are notorious for attempting to impose Western manners onto others; malicious intent or not. This is a terrible generalization, and of course there are plenty of non-patronizing people of all races in Australia. But if it happens, don't take it too seriously, but don't let them get too condescending.

23. Australia's a weird place. You learn to live here.

you know...

I'm making semi-dried tomatoes but they're taking ages to, you know...dry...

I'm pretty sure I saw Sam Worthington in the city today, but he was wearing sunglasses and, you know, all Aussie blokes wearing sunglasses look the same...

School starts tomorrow and I'm, you know, freaking out...

I went for a run last night and I, you know, died...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Operation Get Fit.

I am on a mission to get fit.

On the side, I would like to lose a little weight before ball. Not something crazy. Just three or four kilos so that everything is nice and smooth. I'm not actually too worried about the weight - I'm more concerned about getting fit.

It's no secret that I'm not fit - I never have been and I never will be super duper trooper fit. But I feel tired all the time, super sluggish, and I cannot walk long distances at all. My biggest killer are staircases - and in a school like mine, I walk up and down about twenty staircases a day! Even more when I catch the bus!

This is my main concern, because it's making me chronically fatigued and really not nice. I would like to be able to walk up a flight or two of stairs without feeling like I'm going to DROP DEAD.

I also have a heart condition, so I really should be a bit more careful about my health than I am now. I don't eat chocolate or candy anymore (I don't like it much, anyway) and I've restricted the unhealthy stuff that I do like, like ramen noodles. At the moment I'm working on portion control. But the most important thing is to never stop loving food - life is too short not to order chocolate cake!

The third thing is weight. To put it out there, I'm about 5'3" and I weigh about 110-125 pounds. The reason for so much variation is that my weight fluctuates a LOT - on a really good day I'll wake up about 50kg, but after eating and so on I'll normally fall asleep at about 54 or 55. If I'm bloated or pigging out too much it can go up to 56 or 57. Now, this might not sound so bad - and I know lots of girls my height who can get away with being 60kg - but I only have a small/medium frame, and I'm Asian, and Asians don't do so well with weight; statistics show that the Asian anatomy combined with a Western lifestyle is a bad combo and can lead to birth complications and health problems later in life. I'm also pretty short, and I don't have the lovely voluptuous gene - it's more dumpy than voluptuous. Because of my height I can only wear small or medium clothes, but size small is getting a little, well, small. Also, my weight is not really where I want it to be - fat around the hips, thighs and buttocks of a woman is actually quite healthy, as unsightly as it may be. But I have trim legs and decent hips, so all the weight is on my Buddha belly - between my waist and my hips; this not only looks weird but is actually the worst place to have fat (this is why men, despite having lower levels of fat then women, are more prone to fat-related health issues). I also have an hourglass shape figure, which means that stomach fat on me is even worse. So I'm not trying to be super duper skinny. I love having hips and boobs. I love being curvy and I know that if I drop below size ten I'll look really unhealthy. I love being an hourglass shape. But the bottom half of the hourglass just as to trim up a bit. 

I think I was the unhealthiest when I was about twelve or thirteen - I was sad, bored, frustrated and depressed. I hated school, I didn't have many friends, and I was beginning to discover just how fun douchebag immature pre-teen boys are. I drowned two successive dumpings and countless unrequited loves in cookie-dough icecream and potato chips and endless bowls of ramen. I began replacing boys with food, friends with food, a fulfilling education with food. I spent all day dreaming of what to eat and when I came home I ate like there was no tomorrow.

Obviously, I'm over that, but that still doesn't mean I'm fit. I don't want to go to the Olympics or walk on a catwalk. This won't end all of my problems and get me my happily ever after. But I just want to be happy and healthy. 

So I've started Operation Get Fit. Wish me luck.

Friday, October 07, 2011

In Memory of Steve Jobs

Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.

Now I'll never know how to get my iPod to behave again.

Steve Jobs 1955 ~ 2011
Co-founder of Apple Inc.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Would all the gentlemen please stand up?

I have decided that

A place like Australia

And a setting like a high school

Is not really conducive

To the kind of Darcy boys

That I know



In a far off world

With their

Caroline Bingleys.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Rome: Social Hierarchy.

Rome was a sprawling multicultural metropolis, but it was as hierarchal as it was motley. The social hierarchy, as I understand it, is as follows:


The patrician class, also known as the Famous Families, was the social elite, and only patricians had access to the prestigious religious, political and military positions. Patricians had full Roman citizenship and were descended from the founders of Rome, and, apparently, from the gods - the Julii (the family of Julius Caesar) claimed to be descended from Aeneas, son of Venus - the Roman goddess of love. To be patrician did not automatically equal wealth, however, they had a certain social standing that could not be disputed. Patricians adhered to the strict naming conventions and married confarreatio, which was a traditional patrician form of marriage that was binding for life, and notoriously difficult to divorce from. Patricians married other patricians; it took a very wealthy and influential equite or pleb (known as a New Man) to secure a patrician wife. Gaius Julius Caesar is a patrician of note, being a member of the noble house of the Julii. It is estimated that less than 1% of Rome's population were classed as patricians.


It is often difficult to differentiate equites from nobiles, and they do overlap and the terms are used interchangeably from time to time. An equite is someone of either patrician or plebeian status who is wealthy enough to buy horses and serve as members of cavalry in the Roman army, as opposed to a mere foot soldier. A nobile is someone of either patrician or plebeian status who either is a consul, is related to a consul or is descended from a consul. Some equites and nobiles are not considered patrician because they either come from plebeian backgrounds or they were of 'new money' - their wealth was not directly hereditary. The term nobile does also extend to cover patricians, however, it is commonly used for 'New Men' such as Gaius Marius or Cicero, who both rose from non-patrician, non-consular Roman families with Latin origin. 


A plebeian or pleb was someone who could not claim direct ancestry from a founder of Rome and/or a god, but had full Roman citizenship - this included some equites and nobiles. Plebs were divided into classes according to wealth, and this determined one's place in the army and therefore one's political prospects. A common way for plebeians to rise was to gain money through investment and business, become a tribune of the plebs (a role off limits for patricians), marry a wealthy patrician woman and then crawl their way to the top - someone who achieved this was known as a 'New Man'. Plebeians married into all classes, although a marriage between a wealthy plebeian man and a patrician woman or a poor patrician man with a wealthy plebeian woman was common. Perhaps a good example of a plebeian who rose to great heights is Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus Snr, who married Cornelia Africana and was a renowned consul, and father of the legendary Brothers Gracchi.


The proles, or 'head count' were the poorest of plebs and had the lowest prospects, however, they still had Roman citizenship which was prized above both money and prospects. Proles very rarely changed either their social or economic status as patricians and plebeians considered proles to be beneath them as spouses or business partners.


There were many immigrants in Rome who sought trade and business opportunities; evidence of Egyptians, peoples from other parts of conquered and unconquered Africa, the Middle East, Jews, even people from the Orient would have lived in Rome. They lived amongst the plebs, and some even had ties with the patricians - however, they were not Roman and didn't have Roman citizenship, and so were considered below the proles.


Ex-slaves, or people descended from slaves. They were bound to their former masters in a patron-client relationship, and could be resold as if he were a slave if the ex-master found it necessary. Freemen were often from conquered lands, and were therefore neither Roman or had Roman citizenship.


It has been estimated that up to 70% of Rome's urban population were slaves, and they had quite an unusual place in society. Slaves were imported as spoils of war from conquered lands; some were barbarians or proles who sold themselves into slavery. The most well-off slaves were learned Greeks who, after educating themselves, sold themselves into slavery where they educated young patricians in the fashionable Greek arts of rhetoric, metaphysics, geometry and philosophy. After saving up they bought freedom, and then aimed to seek Roman citizenship. Sex slaves, male and female, were both valuable and highly sought after; patricians and plebeians required slaves for both domestic use and as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Slaves were generally treated well in domestic settings, and often were trusted confidantes and assassins.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Rome: Naming Conventions.

Finally hopping back onto the Rome wagon ;).

One thing that PISSED THE SHIT OUT OF ME when I first started studying Ancient Rome was that they ALL HAD THE SAME NAMES. I mean seriously. Caesar? Which Caesar? Sextus Julius Caesar? Lucius Julius Caesar? Gaius Julius Caesar the Elder? The Younger? The Stupider? WHOOOOO?????????????????

Let's take the name Gaius Julius Caesar for example; because everyone's familiar with it. Gaius is the praenomen - his given name. Julius is the nomen - his family name. Caesar is his cognomen - his clan name. This means that the 'Julius Caesar' is the hereditary bit, and all men in his family will share this. This is the part that confuses a lot of history rookies; we always assume that his first name is 'Julius', when in fact referring to Julius Caesar as 'Julius Caesar' is like referring to Tommy Lee Jones as just 'Lee Jones'. Every family had their own set of rules when they were naming their sons. Some have a set order - for example, Sextus was the name given to the first born son of each Julius Caesar, followed by Gaius and then Lucius. This is not always followed; some sources claimed that Lucius Cornelius Sulla should have been properly named Publius Cornelius Sulla as he was the only son. Sometimes the eldest son was named after the father, and then the younger sons after grandfathers and uncles - this is essentially why everybody has the same name, because they're all named after each other.

For some poorer patrician families it was not profitable having more than one son; 'surplus' sons were adopted out to wealthier families - a son of a senatorial family was nothing more than a burden until he married and brought a daughter in law, children and a dowry; he was not of any political importance until he entered the Senate at the age of thirty. For example, Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus was not an actual Scipio; he was adopted by Publius Cornelius Scipio and named after him, but because he was originally the son of Lucius Aemilius Paulus this is acknowledged in his agnomen, or fourth name, 'Aemilianus'. How you referred to someone, and how someone preferred to be known was a status symbol. For example, prior to Caesar's rise to power he was merely a member of a senatorial family, and would have been formally referred to as 'Gaius Julius' - just 'Gaius' by friends or relatives. As Caesar grew to power everyone, including himself, referred to him as merely 'Caesar' - this is saying he is not just 'a Caesar' but 'THE CAESAR', and has eclipsed everyone in his family in fame. Yes, Caesar did refer to himself in the third person.

Caesar did not acquire an agnomen in his time, which was common after prestigious military or political feats. Sulla became Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, which means 'lucky' - Gnaeus Pompeius didn't have a cognomen so made up for it with the hilariously up himself agnomen 'Magnus', which is 'the Great', and is now known in history as Pompey Magnus. Some, like the aforementioned Aemilianus, had several agnomens: his full name was Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Numantinus, although he is now known in history as 'Scipio Aemilianus'.

By the late Republic patrician girls were not given praenomen; they only existed in the lower classes. A girl was named after her father's nomen - so Gaius Julius Caesar's daughter was Julia. This meant that all your sisters, paternal aunts, grandmother, cousins, nieces ALL HAD THE SAME NAME AS YOU. Girls were 'distinguished' by either the use of a cognomen or by nicknames, for example, Julius Caesar's daughter was referred to as 'Julia Caesaris', marking her as the daughter of both a Julius and a Caesar. If there was more than one daughter they could be Julia Major and Julia Minor (Julia the Elder and Julia the Younger), or Julia and Julilla, or they could be given a numerical nickname; Servilia's daughters were known as Junia Prima, Junia Secunda and Junia Tertia (Junia the First, Junia the Second and Junia the Third). If you were minted onto coins (not common for women, but not unheard of) you could be distinguished by your male relatives; Julia Caesaris was minted as 'Julia Caesaris, Caesar's Daughter, Pompey's Wife' and Caesar's mother Aurelia was known as Aurelia the Mother of Caesar. Aurelia was not the only woman known by her offpsring: Cornelia Africana was always known as Cornelia the Mother of the Gracchi - Cornelia was known as 'Africana' because her father was Scipio Africanus. It was also common for women to take their husband's nomen; the Julia known as Julia Antonia was actually a Julia Caesaris, but married an Antonius. Some women were named to boast their father's importance by using his agnmomen the daughter of Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus was known as 'Caecilia Metella Dalmatica' to boast of his defeat of the Dalmatians. Have I confused you enough already???