Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ideal Job(s)

As with most people in my early 20's, I struggle to visualize what career I will take after I finish my university degree. It is true that when I started my psychology degree I had every intention of being a counsellor or a psychologist, but as it oftens happens, I changed my mind. However, I would like to continue with my degree because I love the subject and may be able to incorporate this degree into another career, for e.g. animal behaviour.

Ever since I started volunteering at the SPCA, though, I have wanted very much a career working with animals. Whether it be animal behaviourist, vet nurse, animal trainer, or something in animal welfare, like working at the SPCA or other such worthy organisations. I just woke up one morning and thought to myself, what is something I am really interested in and really care about, and that is animals. As I have never really been able to relate to human beings, I have always felt an affinity with animals, and have always been happier when they were around.

So really I have no definitive answer to this question of 'ideal jobs', just that I would quite like to work with animals in some capacity.

- Stace

Monday, February 22, 2010


I always find that when one has an important an imminent task that needs to be dealt with, it's better to attend to something entirely different. Right now, I am meant to be writing a cover letter and completing my CV for an internship I'm desperate for. It's due tomorrow.

Instead of condensing my awesomness to one page, I ask you, Stacey Teague (and the wider internet, if you want) what your ideal job would be.

This may seem fairly prosaic, even a bit "high school" but frankly, I am at this stage in my life where people keep on asking me what I'm going to do after uni and I don't know. I barely remember why I chose to do the course I want. Dream jobs were easier to dream about when they actually seemed.. to exist.

Ever since I saw that movie Almost Famous (and speaking of high school) I wanted to be a journalist for Rolling Stone. Perfect job, cause it combined my 'love' for music with my love for writing. In fact I think I wanted to be the editor. Of course it would be nothing like that movie and nothing like I would picture it in my mind. (I've since grown less enamoured with print media - can barely review to save myself - or at least print journalism.)

Then I wanted to be Myf Warhurst.

I realise this is not strictly a career. I wanted to be on Spicks and Specks somehow - to put all my supposed musical knowledge to good use - and I wanted to be on triple j. I hated Rosie Beaton, by the way, still do, and can't believe she's still on triple j as opposed to darling Myf. My theory is that Myf just wanted to move back to Melbourne. I guess it was a good idea when Rove was still going.. Anyway, I liked that she played piano and that she was from a "random" country town in Victoria. I thought I could definitely be her, quite well. I didn't bother applying though. [oh yes ha ha]

It's hard to have a dream job when you actually want money. Or rather, when you NEED money. I don't really know what my dream job would be right now. I used to think I wanted to be a radio broadcaster (for triple j of course) but since living in Melbourne I confess to being intimidated out of all the confidence I had. Slowly regaining it though. But the problem is, all they want on radio is comedians. Or future comedians. Popular Australians are comedians. That's why Kevin Rudd was on Good News Week tonight, I reckon. He knows where the numbers are.

I'll give my answer a bit later in the week, when I've had a think. And after I've written my cover letter.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Like You by Roque Dalton (Translated by Jack Hirschman)

Like you I
love love, life, the sweet smell
of things, the sky-
blue landscape of January days.

And my blood boils up
and I laugh through eyes
that have known the buds of tears.
I believe the world is beautiful
and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.

And that my veins don’t end in me
but in the unanimous blood
of those who struggle for life,
little things,
landscape and bread,
the poetry of everyone.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

nihilism with Susan

I fear that my response to this nihilism topic will be far less thoughtful (read: thoughtless) than m'colleague's. As it brings with it an immensely broad spectrum of paradoxical discussions and conversations I will try to be brief and ask for the sympathy of our nonreaders because faced with what has come before me, I fear embarrassment.

Nihilism has followed me from an early age. For various reasons I was an unhappy child, lacking the carefree childhood that most of you out there would know. I dunno, life is rife with disappointment. Nihilism for me is one of those things that you can forget about if you concentrate on little things like: where am I going to live this year? will eating heaps of Lord of the Fries make my skin oily? did that busker think I was a weirdo when I threw a note into his guitar case? I forgot to take my washing off the line! the house smells like cats now! my cat pees everywhere and she's going mad! and so on.

But try as you might, you cannot escape it. When you are on long train journeys it becomes hard to avoid. For a good portion of last year I was constantly knee deep in nihilism. At this point, I should clarify my own understanding and personal interpretation of the word. [When I feel nihilistic it's like] a manifestation of all the negative feelings I have about nothingness and meaninglessness. When I was about 15 I used to call these 'fears of impermanence'. They come swirling at me out of nowhere (HA!) and drag me into this awful place, mentally of course, you muppet, where simply everything becomes utterly terrifying. Stacey has alluded to this in her post, so if you need clarification of just what perhaps I mean by 'utterly terrifying' you should read what she said. Back in the physical world, I lash at the tiles in my bathroom, claw at my limbs and try to breathe.

One must learn to deal, though and I should add that there is a positive side to this. After things are terrifying, you tend to realise how random and beautiful they are. It makes walking to the train station or sitting, watching people go by a whole lot nicer. Then while this is happening to you, you cheer up and then remember all your real life concerns. Nihilism can be strong, but the pull of real life is generally stronger.

At this juncture, there are various people that I want to quote for relevance, comfort and support but I'll just briefly mention their names: Neutral Milk Hotel, the entirety of the film the Hours, some Bright Eyes songs, a few other books.. blah. But an extract from Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (that I am currently reading, for those of you playing at home) seems most relevant:

Did it matter, then, she asked herself, walking toward Bond street, did it matter that she must inevitably cease completely; all this must go on without her; did she resent it or did it not become consoling to believe that death ended absolutely? but that somehow in the streets of London, on the ebb and flow of things, here, there, she survived, Peter survived, lived in each other, she being part, she was positive, of the trees at home; of the house there, ugly, rambling all to bits and pieces as it was; part of people she had never met; being laid out like a mist between the people she knew best, who lifted her on their branches as she had seen the trees lift the mist, but it spread ever so far, her life, herself.

Basically, nihilism is something that I live with. It comes and goes. As Stacey said in her post (more or less; I hope I have not misunderstood), I think that the value of nihilism is that it teaches us, most importantly, that life is valuable.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stacey presents.. Nihilism

"Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence."

I proposed a discussion of this topic because lately I've been feeling a bit nihilistic and also, I wanted to hear what Susie had to say about it.

Existential nihilism considers existence meaningless, purposeless, and without value. Although I do feel that we do not have any meaning, this does not upset me, because from the evidence that has been presented, this is the conclusion I have drawn. I do not, however, believe that existence is without value. Whilst it may be true that we exist because of very complex physical processes, that does not mean that we cannot create value for ourselves. And that, I think, makes the fact that our existence is meaningless, void.

Moral nihilism views morality as non-existent, and argues that nothing is inherently right or wrong. I am actually a fan of morality, via commonsense, mind you. We know that killing someone is wrong, and that is necessary knowledge. I do understand that morality is a human construct, but it exists for us, and it is important for the survival of our species. Because if anything, the purpose of life is survival, and there are a lot of things that we do to aide our survival, without knowing it. See: Evolutionary Psychology.

Epistemological nihilism is an extreme form of skepticism which claims that there is no knowledge whatsoever. I believe this has something to do with the idea of truth. I suppose it's like when you are writing an essay and get your information from various journal articles, you generally accept that the information is true, but this kind of nihilism asks, well, how do we really know it's true? But some things we know are true because we all agree on it, for example, it is true that this object I am holding is a hairbrush, it may be called different things in different cultures but generally, we know it's a hairbrush. Even metaphysical nihilism says, yeah, but does that hairbrush even exist? To which I exclaim, yes it does, shut up your face.

In summary, nihilism brings up a few good points but generally is just a grim view of the world which tries to explain how various things do not exist.

As an aside, whilst I was researching this, I read somewhere that Seinfeld may be a manifestation of nihilism on TV. Brilliant.

Further Reading:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jens Lekman

It all started with a queasy stomach and a warm Summer's night. Me and Xinia bought some drinks at the bar, I talked to the people I recognised and we scoured the merch table, Jens didn't have any t-shirts but he had a whole bunch of golden keys on necklaces. Then we watched the opening band, The Gladeyes, who were a couple of crooning, well-mannered girls. Jens then entered the stage to set up various things. I noticed that he was wearing cobalt socks, I told Xinia and we collectively squeeed. He looked very tidy and handsome, his grey trousers folded up below his ankles and his shirt folded below his elbows. I quickly got annoyed at the hipster couple in front of me who kept groping each other. No one needs that. When he came on again, everyone clapped and cheered. He was accompanied by a woman who played the bongos, quite sexily if I may add, and had a tambourine strapped to her foot. He started off by talking about first kisses which of course led into And I Remember Every Kiss. Some songs it was just him and his guitar, some with the samples on his laptop, others with stomps and whistles and hand claps. I always feel quite embarrased to dance, but Jens made it impossible for me not to. Song by song, I slowly built up my confidence until I just didn't care anymore. And luckily, by this point, a guy had pushed in beside me, so I no longer had to deal with the groping idiots, and I had a better view! My favourites were Black Cab, A Sweet Summers Night on Hammer Hill and Maple Leaves. His two new songs were a bit average. He kept getting us to sing, "I keep running with a heart on fire" and he would harmonize over top of us. At times, Jens and his companion would break out into sychronised dance routines, which were so wonderful. Jens passed out tambourines into the crowd, and got us to play this feather game where you couldn't let it touch the ground by blowing on it. It was just so FUN, the way he interacted with the crowd and really put on a show. You know how sometimes you see a band and they just play their songs and go? That's fine and everything, but it's so nice to have a change. Jens played two encores, and honestly, I wish he played seven. I never wanted it to end. All in all, he played for an hour and fifteen minutes and it went by so fast. I was in awe and completely happy. The last song he played was Pocketful of Money, it was a perfect end to a perfect night. We walked home, sweaty and aching, excitedly talking about the gig with loud voices and exaggerated hand movements.