If You’ve Got the Power to Back it Up…

I’ve said it for years: technology is bad news. People have been pushing for interactive whiteboards and teaching screens and whatever else. I say there’s nothing wrong with a blackboard, a piece of chalk and some workbooks, because notably they can’t fail.

Now when there’s a school-wide power cut, everything is down, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Oops, there go all the interactive whiteboards. There go the lesson plans on people’s laptops and tablets. Well, at least those stick around until the battery runs out. See, I’d be a lot more accepting of all this if there were proper failsafes in place. If the school budget could extend to some commercial energy storage, then I’d sleep slightly easier. Then if the power went down, we’d at least perhaps have a bit of a backup. When the base your entire education system around technology that needs electricity, then I’m afraid you have to live with the consequences. And the consequences are things going dark in the middle of a lesson, but they can be mitigated if you just have some backup power. It’s not too much to ask, considering that we’re talking about educating children for the future.

Not that we get a massive amount of power cuts or anything, but there ARE those times when the technology just doesn’t work. What am I supposed to in the minutes it takes for the IT technicians to come running? Twiddle my thumbs, or perhaps play some old-fashioned singing games?

I’m bringing it up at the next staff meeting that we need to look into energy storage solutions, and fast. I might be known as the old fellow who hates technology, but I know the basics, and electricity doesn’t run on prayers. I’ll even use the computer myself to look up industrial energy storage solutions. Don’t you even think that I won’t.


Futuristic tangents

hyperbaric chamberSometimes, at school, we learn about the weirdest stuff. I’m serious. You’d think by law or something, they’d have to teach us things like Hitler’s birthday and what a cell wall is, but sometimes teachers just decide to take matters into their own hands and go off script. My biology teacher is a classic – I swear, if I’ve learnt anything new about bio by the end of the year, it’s going to be by a minor miracle and through a hell of a lot of study because my goodness that man knows how to go on a tangent. One minute (usually the first minute he’s walked into the room) we’ll be actually covering the course, and next minute BOOM interesting life story.

Do you want to know what Dr. Munn went on a tangent about today? Portable hyperbaric chambers. Apparently, it’s the technology of the future, which is great and all, but I’m not really sure how that is going to help me pass my exams at the end of the year. I mean, I guess we did review the cell structure and respiration cycle by talking about higher levels of oxygenation, but still. We have new course content to cover, and we really just don’t have the time to go back and review random bits of the subject from three months ago right now.

On the other hand, it was pretty interesting, I’m not going to lie. Apart from the fact that Dr Munn is a kick-butt story teller, it was kind of cool to hear about new technology like a hyperbaric chamber being used in Melbourne. It kind of makes me feel like we’re at the forefront of all this stuff – that it’s cutting edge, you know? Which is kind of nice, because being a part of the future was the whole reason why I got into science in the first place. So even though it may not be that helpful, it was kind of nice.

Apparently I’m Destined for Welding

Apparently, the my ideal career is a barista at a five-star restaurant. Not…exactly what I expected from this careers test. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? On the one hand, it’s not like I’m ever going to be a businessperson, or go to the moon, or invent some sort of machine that automatically cleans and refills cat litter. You know, stuff that’ll make an impact and have me remembered.

But then…it’s a five-star restaurant. I could’ve been a barista in a one-star restaurant, or a greasy cafe where the cappuccinos are made by pressing a button on a machine. So that could be a lot worse.

At least they gave me options. I could be a professional cabinet-maker, or I could do stainless steel marine welding in Melbourne. I’m seeing a trend of doing things with my hands, whether it’s whipping up world-class coffees or making fishing rod holders and crafting plate alloy boats. Honestly, I think I’d rather the third option. I reckon I could go home and tell my parents that I do marine welding for a living. I could go to a bar and meet a nice girl and proudly tell her that I do stainless steel welding, down at the docks, with the boys. You know how it is…it’s a manly career that nobody could look down upon, because you do important stuff with fire and sparks. It’s a rewarding job that is well respected because of how difficult and dangerous it seems. 

But then, people do like coffee. Coffee and cabinets, two things that are generally beloved, whereas boats are more of a niche activity.

Crazy though it may sound, I might just take a fourth option and do something that ISN’T working on plate alloy boats, snapper racks and cappuccino art that’ll please the finest of diners. But that’d be silly. The careers test has spoken.

Some Attention to the Sports Department?

At this rate, the only way we’re getting new sports netting is if there’s some kind of tragic wildebeest stampede in the middle of a game and everyone feels sorry for us. Then I can organise a Boot-Spur campaign, perhaps even put up a sappy video that’ll make people feel terribly sorry for us and the cash will come rolling in. Most of it will go to the grieving families, but hopefully there aren’t too many because then I can convince everyone that purchasing quality cricket nets is the best way to honour the memory of the fallen.

Alright, that’s one perfect plan all sorted. I wonder…how hard would it be to organise a stampede? Okay, fine, it’s not a good plan. It’s just that I’ve been lucky enough to get stuck with the current head. Nice lady, let me have the last biscuit in the staff room the other day, but NO interest in sports. I bet if that big fancy academy down the road needed any kind of sports netting…well, they probably have the stuff shipped in from Germany or something. Custom made, all sitting neatly in one of their absolutely massive sports sheds, ready for when the old stuff wears out, which it probably never does.

I don’t really care where our netting is from, to be honest. Australian makes have proven themselves to be pretty resilient even with what the kids do to them, so it’d be fine. But I can’t afford to replace every net in the place every time they get worn, and neither do I want someone punting a cricket ball right through one of the nets and knocking teeth out. Somehow I don’t think that’s worthy of a Boot-Spur campaign.  

Nope, the theatre needs to be built! More funding for the arts! All I want is some basic sports netting, seriously…


Deep Muscle Stuff Might Help

Is it just me, or are school seminars getting weirder? I get it, the teachers are trying to do something more interesting. But, like…I’m trying to do VCE here. Unlike a lot of people I take my studies and free periods seriously, so having to go to a compulsory session where we get to meet a guy who does snake charming? It’s…interesting. But not THAT interesting, because I have a SAC coming up for biology and I’m still trying to wrap my head around cell division.

Cell division aside, I guess there was one thing that I found helpful. They brought in some guy who’d done a dry needling course in Sydney somewhere, which sounds really random, and it really was, but actually in the end was sort of helpful. Dry needling gets to the core of muscle problems, sort of like the ones we’ve been talking about in Physical Education. It’s supposed to be a doss subject, but I’ve been finding it sort of difficult since you have to remember a billion parts of the body and I just don’t have a memory for facts.

Actually, I think trigger points are mentioned somewhere in my textbook…have to look at that later. Anyway, the people organising VCE want to give us, like, some career options I guess? That’s why we keep having these seminars, in case we all leave school and want to get office jobs or something. Not that there’s anything wrong with an office job…I hear you get to eat loads of cake and there’s usually coffee, like, all over the place.

But yeah. Actually, the dry needling course guy sparked a lot of thought about muscles and deep tissue damage. Might not have gotten much out of the snake charmer, but I can definitely see this being helpful.


A stubborn father vs a passive aggressive child

Okay, I know it’s like holidays now and whatever, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still get annoyed by things. The end of school for the year doesn’t mean I ascend to some higher plane, I’m going to continue to be as petty as I’ve always been and just try and stop me. Oh, and believe me, I have a lot to be petty about.

For one thing, I feel my train of thought wandering dangerously off course, even as I sit here and write this, due to that incessant hammering. It’s been going on for what feels like forty days and forty nights (although between you and me that may be a bit of an exaggeration). Looking out my window, I’m just about paralysed with horror at the sight of the massive red gum in our backyard inches from breaking through into my bedroom.

For the last six months or so, my father has had his heart set getting rid of that monster of a tree on his own. He doesn’t need to hire a tree removal company in Brisbane or anything crazy like that, no siree. Instead, he’s going to do it all on his lonesome. He’s such a stubborn fool, and despite the fact that he’s making a colossal mess of the whole thing, he doesn’t seem capable to just take a bit of a step back and look at it all objectively. Nope, he’s just going to let the darn thing plough through my window instead.

Being the passive aggressive soul that I am, I decided to take it upon myself to contact someone who is a seasoned professional when it comes to tree felling. Brisbane, as it so happens, has no shortage of excellent arboreal removalists, and during my conversation with them, I realised the red gum removal could be achieved for a reasonable price. All that’s left now is to convince my father to abandon his insane vendetta.

The science behind concrete

Melbourne concrete renderingIs there anything better than getting an exchange student? It’s so exotic and interesting to have someone in class from a completely different part of the world. I mean unless they’re from some place that speaks the same language then it doesn’t really count. We got a new class member today and she’s from France. I know, I know, calm yourself and breathe. She is quite the head turner, I’ll say that and no more. I think she’s part of an exchange program because annoying Betty has gone missing and nobody seems to care. I’ll take that trade any day of the week. She’s such a kind and funny person, you can’t help but smile when she is around.

It’s funny when she mixes up her English words, our language is pretty crazy. My science lab partner was Betty, much to my annoyance. You know what that means right? Yep the exchange student is my science buddy for the compound minerals project. We’ll be researching the Melbourne concrete rendering industry. I’m prepared to work late hours, weekends, whatever it takes. I know quite a bit about concrete rendering but she doesn’t have to know that. I’m normally not a fan of presentations in front of the class but with an attractive lab partner on my side I think I’ll be fine. I can tell that Audette is struggling a little in class so I’m going to offer to tutor her after school. The language barrier must be difficult, thankfully I speak a little french. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be surrounded by people who you can’t understand. Her English is pretty good but when I tried to explain about what goes into making concrete for rendering I could tell Audette was struggling. I’m happy to do most of the work for this project. My dad helped me get in touch with a few house rendering companies in Melbourne to get a better idea of what they do. I hope this project brings us closer together, I have hopes for a Summer fling.

Kid’s Parties, Bit of a Drag

Canberra birthday venuesIs anything more of a drag than having to be there at your sister’s birthday? For once, I rather just stay at school. I considered telling Mum and Dad that I had some kind of study emergency, but I don’t think they’d believe me. Mostly because I never study. Really wish I HAD studied before now, so I could use that excuse. But no, I have to be there to make fairy bread and…no other reason. Just because ‘family’.

Apparently it wasn’t good enough that I found an actual place to hold the party. Like, kids birthday party venues here in Strathpine aren’t exactl
y coming out of our ears, but Mum and Dad didn’t think our house would hold that many kids. Vicki is so annoying I can’t imagine she’d have that many friends, but maybe grade 3 kids nowadays all flock together like one giant ball of annoying and they all end up being friends. Plus it’s in the days when boys and girls can play together and it’s not weird, so Vicki probably invited her entire year level. Great. Just me and a hundred little kids. I’m just hoping I can either keep busy somewhere else or they just ignore me. I’m just some boring teenager who likes texting and studying and stuff, right? Why would they even bother me?

Besides, we’re having it at an actual party venue. There’s gonna be staff members doing the important stuff and keeping the kids entertained, so I guess I won’t have to do all that much. Just…make fairy bread. Man, kids are weird, the stuff they like to eat. Pretty sure at my parties I had carrot sticks and watered-down cordial. This is second child syndrome at its finest, seriously. And did I get any fancy birthday party venues around Canberra back when we lived there? Nope. Dinner with the family.


The wedding videographer

Melbourne wedding videoI am way out of my depth here. At first, it started as a hobby, but far out I can’t do this. Why can’t I just say no?

Okay just let me take a few deep breaths here, I need to calm down …. Okay I’m back. I realise none of this really makes any sense right now, so let me explain.

For my fifteenth birthday, I got a camera. It was really nice, and actually quite a bit of my own money went into it, but I’d always love film and had wanted to be a filmmaker since before I could remember, so I thought I might as well get started. It was just a hobby, but over the years, my videos started looking better and better. I showed them to mum, and over time she showed it to her friends. Fast forward two years and mum’s friend, Karen, decided she was going to pay me to shoot her wedding video. Melbourne has tons of amazing video production companies and things like that, so why she didn’t just hire one of them to capture ‘the best day of her life’.

Obviously, I don’t want that kind of pressure on my shoulders – I mean, I’m an amateur at best – but it turns out mum said yes on my behalf. I’m sure she thought she was helping, but now I’m stuck. I don’t want to have to do this. And I really don’t understand why she didn’t just hire a professional video production company in Melbourne. It really is the obvious thing to do in this situation, rather than trust some barely post-pubescent kid.

Honestly this is just way too much pressure for me but it’s gone too far now, I can’t back out anymore. There isn’t time. But that doesn’t make me any more qualified. Really, there’s only one possible outcome, here.

I’m going to ruin Karen’s wedding.

Me vs the rendering

rendering MelbourneIf you’ve read pretty much any article ever posted on this website, then you know that the public education system is in dire straights. From bursted plumbing, to ceilings that have caved in, to the constant building of new classrooms that never seems to ends, it seems like schools these days are more construction field than hubs of learning. I have to say, though, my school is no different. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of having fancy new buildings to take my learning to the next level, but when you spend years dealing with the interruption of a builder’s drill in the background, isn’t it really your education that bears the hit?

Thankfully, that time is almost over. The new theatre building, which has been under construction for over three years now, is almost done. Just as I’m about to graduate, which let me tell you is classic. All that they’re doing now, though, is the rendering. Melbourne schools like mine have, I guess, a certain look they need to maintain. I mean, if you’re going to spend all that money on a place, you want it to look kind of expensive. But I just don’t get it. I’d so much rather be in the building, using the facilities we’ve all heard so much about, than outside watching it get another layer of render slapped on. They made such a big deal of getting acrylic rendering on a Melbourne school, it kind of feels like no one really ever stopped to wonder if it’s all really necessary. As a student, I can confirm that I don’t give a hoot whether how the building looks. Why couldn’t they just leave the brick and call it quits?  

I guess I’m just bitter, knowing that I’ve only got six months left in this place before I move on to bigger and better things. Still, the knowledge that this rendering is all that stands between me and using those mega-hyped facilities is really annoying me.