Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Month of Five Figures

Figure One
So I am now officially finished my first semester. That means that I am halfway-through the year! It happened so fast that I'm reeling. And since my first week of freedom is nearly over and I am mostly recovered from the dragging bone-tiredness that was causing me to fall asleep when my inaccurate microwave clock registered 9:37 pm(meaning it was only 8:37), I will attempt to write a quick catch-up post.

Of course, there is no way I can record everything that happened in one post, so I won't try. Let's just say there was a lot. Some spine-tingling migraines, endless bus journeys, surprise, despair, hope, Party Mix, more despair, many episodes of The Block, thrills, a lot of essays. And quite a few museum visits. But now the semester is past and my winter is my own! Here's a brief summary of some things that I did.

1. I started an internship at the Mint building (Figure Two). See Figure One for a pic of me geeky as anything and raring to go on my second day.
Figure Two

Figure Three
2. I went to the Museum of Sydney with my friend for the first time. I loved it! The museum has a series of models of every ship in the First Fleet, and on an interpretive sign are the stories of each one. It was fascinating. There was also a small theatre with videos of various fictional historical characters telling their stories, and the display incorporated a neat technology where you could pair two videos and the characters would talk "to" each other. So for example, you could place a contemporary Sydney businessman with a convict laboring on the treadmill. I tried it. It was inappropriately hilarious. I think the businessman ended up trying to sell the convict real estate.

Figure Four

3. I went back to the Museum of Sydney and ended up writing a paper on the exhibition Public Sydney (Figure Four). I loved the exhibition. As soon as I went into the gallery, I felt that I recognized things. It did a wonderful job of presenting noticeable elements of the city. Although it could have used a few pigeons, it was a fantastic and creative display. So then I wrote my essay. In my opinion, it was my best essay yet. I was able to use my anthropological training to discuss identity and representation in some depth. I also counted every single person in the photos on display.

Figure Five
4. This is a set of lawn chairs placed outside on some AstroTurf by the museum. It was part of the exhibition, and tried to create a comfortable space for people to sit and enjoy public space. There was also a giant chess set. Ironically, a few feet away was a sign forbidding skateboarders from using the museum grounds for their own purposes. So as with any attempt to celebrate the public, "the public" doesn't include everyone. There are preferred publics, such as chess players. All of this was covered in my essay.

Anyway, it was a good semester. I have finally created the perfect vitamin cocktail to help me manage stress (the secret is Fish Oil!) and I have started collecting strange postcards once again to hang on my walls. So I guess things are going well.

A Note on Party Mix:

Some of you may be wondering what the mysterious substance known as Party Mix refers to. If you are unfamiliar with it, I should explain that Party Mix is a delectable mixture of gelatin-based candies (or lollies as they say in Australia) in different sizes, shapes, flavors and consistencies.

There are gummy bears, fruit jube jubes, milk bottles that taste like marshmallow, tiny fruity frogs, two-toned race cars, and blobs that don't really resemble anything but are brightly-colored and as delicious as everything else.

The mix comes in a small bag that smells heavenly when you open it. Every mixture is random, and the best part is that you can buy it for only one dollar!

Since I arrived here, I have become a Party Mix addict. Around the time of an essay, or a stressful day, or a bout of homesickness, I get cravings for it. And then I go out and devour an entire bag bit by bit, and am happy the rest of the night. One bag is all I need, since Party Mix is always completely satisfying.

(I do not promote or condone any form of addiction to food or other substances. Seek help if needed.)

I'll try to include a photo next time I buy some.