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April 2007

The human memory is like a bit like a two-year-old iPod – temperamental, capricious, and an increasingly short ‘play’ time. On a good day, your memory might do you proud, spewing up pages of Music History 3 notes and replaying entire piano concertos within the warm fuzzy confines of your cranium. Other times, your memory works for about 30 seconds every five minutes, and for some reason refuses to play anything bar KanYe West’s ‘Gold Digger’, apparently completely at random.

But there is one function of our memories that (I like to think) separates man from machine. And that is our ability to retain copious amounts of Interesting, Questionable, and Utterly Useless Facts (Henceforth IQUUFs).

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The lights on the porch were just right, enough to see the glass you are drinking from but not the pores of the person you are talking to. There was a bunch of relaxed looking students enjoying their weekend in the best way possible, with a crispy snag rolled in a fluffy piece of bread. I sidled up to the evening’s host to get some clarification about the guests that I didn’t know.

D: “So who’s that guy?”
H: “Oh he’s the neo-realist.”

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A common affliction among University students, Facebook-itis ranks as the third most prevalent of student diseases behind none other than The Big Night and Procrastinator-Fever. In some journals it is in fact cross-listed with Procrasinator-Fever and to a larger extent, MySpace-Mania.

Facebook-itis can seem like a bit of harmless fun at first but can develop into a nasty addiction. It is a slow and painful killer of one’s study regime and academic marks. It is also unfortunately very contagious, especially amongst Generation-Y who all practically live through the internet.

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Exchanging Manning for the dusty corridors of Fisher, I've sublimated all urges into some long overdue research for an Art History essay. My old habit of leaving things to the last minute seems to have followed through from high school, but this time round, I'm not so sure I can pull it off like in the good ol' days.

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To do...

25 Apr

I make lists. Everyday. To do… To call… To finish. It gives me a sense of accomplishment before I even set about doing anything…Bad idea. I am constantly in a state of denial accomplishing all the ‘post letter’ type tasks while happily ignoring more crucial ‘finish essay’ reminders until the due date is staring me right in the face. Sound like you?

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s223001475_275815_8056.jpg Eager to get a break from their rigorous academic schedule, six intrepid twenty-something, sheltered Sydney students set out on a long weekend to discover the bush, themselves, and the local population….

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My heat for the USU Justice Michael Kirby Plain Speaking Competition was last Friday. And, I got through to the next round! Woohoo! Here's a recount...

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Maths and Biology...oh dear God.. read on. And now that the break is over and you’ve found you still haven’t done that much work, this might help.

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The big day

20 Apr

The day finally arrived after much anticipation. I was allowed to take my first day off work for the big day. My family took me out for dinner for the occasion. I bought new clothes for this event. (I was even going to get my hair coloured and cut but the hairdresser was totally booked.). Yes, the day arrived where I received recognition for 4 years of hard work at university. I graduated.

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When it gets down to the nitty gritty, most people have something which inspires them to stand on a metaphorical soapbox. This week, I found mine. It concerns the prejudice which a certain class within our society (I’ll call them ‘The Shod’) bear toward the minority (For clarity, they can be ‘The Un-Shod”).

It all started on Wednesday - I finished my piece, pausing appropriately at the end of the last note. My teacher walked over.

“Better, Liisa. I can see you’ve worked a bit on intonation.” My shoulders returned to the normal, relaxed level - a moment too soon, as it turned out.

“BUT,” my teacher continued, “No more performing in bare feet.”

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Following the furore that Richard Dawkins’ latest book “The God Delusion” whipped up, it seems that the Catholics on Campus could not resist, and have decided to run an “educational” event called “The Dawkins Delusion”. I could, and still cannot, contain my outrage at such an event, but in the interest of pluralism and free speech, I suppose everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, no matter how blatantly scientifically unprovable it may be, so long as they don’t push it on the rest of us.

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Also some stuff I did do and found tremendously useful.

So if you’re doing psych 1001 or 1002, listen up:

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It’s a motley bunch that does Government 2225. For those of you who are uninitiated, that’s International Security in the 21st century. Certainly one of my favourite subjects, not only for the subject matter but also the rip-roaring debates happening in tutorials.

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In the dark and dense recesses of my memory, recollections of a darker time bubble below my consciousness. An image surfaces - a younger me, munching on peanut butter toast and drinking tea, staring vacantly at an enormous modern history textbook on the desk in front of me. It’s hard to tell from my physical appearance, but you can tell that I was thinking ‘Gee, I can’t wait for uni. It’ll be so different - way better than school. I’ll be doing awesome subjects, I'll play my violin all the time, and I’ll be surrounded by jazz guys and guitar boys who will be, like, sooo much better looking than high school guys.”

Zooming out of my subconscious, you'll find that I'm still eating peanut butter toast and drinking copious amounts of tea. But if you look closely at my expression, you might notice that my eyes betray the weariness that comes with the burden of wisdom, so far removed from the happy-go-lucky HSC student of the past... OK, so I'm full of rubbish. But as it's my job to inform and entertain, I've collected some of the most common misconceptions about 'Con life'... If I've missed any good ones, let me know!

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Bodies in Exile Cover.JPG
When I set out last year to finish my Arts Honours in Sociology and Social Policy, it all really started as a personal project. I was out to investigate the experiences of same-sex attracted (SSA) Australians from Arabic-speaking backgrounds. Little did I know, but my 20,000-word thesis would land me a commission to investigate the issue on a larger scale. I am about to embark on writing a government-funded report which will form the intellectual infrastructure for a campaign to change homophobic attitudes in Arabic communities. Not bad for an Arts degree, huh?

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If you had told me in second year that there would be a time in my university life that I would make it through four weeks of semester having only visited Manning Bar twice, I would have laughed in the face of your naivety. Manning was my second home, for lazy lunches in the sunshine, afternoons that drift into evenings on the balcony, or concerts & club events that rock the stage. I knew the tech guys, the bar manager, the Access office crew, and the guy who booked the gigs. You could go alone and know there’d be someone there to talk to. We’d catch up and joke about our growing qualification… a Masters in Manning.

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I have grown up with an over-protective ‘I’m-going-to-worry-about-the-fact-that-you-will-get-cold-wearing-that-shirt’ mother. One of the pearls of wisdom my mum would throw out my way was to drive safely. This was usually rebuffed with a sarcastic retort that went something along the lines of - ‘wasn’t planning on it but I’ll reconsider now’. Whilst I am not your mother, recent experience has given me a great urge to remind you all to drive carefully over the Easter holidays.

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After a long, long, loooong hiatus, I am finally back in BlogTown. Oh yes, strap yourselves in, wave goodbye, and get set for the the comeback blog of your life...

As you can see, not much has changed. My blogs continue to be self-indulgent and ... well, self-indulgent. Forgive me as we return to where we last saw each other...

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Dear Asako:
Where
is Bosch?
-Paul

Thanks for all the responses. They were fantastic. Here is my first Ask Asako column:

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How can you make $1000 in 9 minutes? By winning the University of Sydney Union Plain English Speaking Competition, to be judged by High Court star, the Hon Justice Michael Kirby.

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