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.

Exam prep wilting in this heat

air conditioning BrisbaneOkay. I’m just going to say it. This just plain isn’t fair. I mean, I’m at a genuine disadvantage here. As anybody and everybody knows, the final exams for year twelves around the country are on in the next couple of weeks. It’s a period of high stress, at least three of my friends have had to go on anxiety meds and this girl I know has actually started to have her hair fall out. Can you imagine? It sounds just ghastly. Anyway, nothing quite that severe or health-related has happened to me, thank goodness, but I’m struggling against an impediment of a very different kind.

For some unknown reason, my parents are total hippies who don’t believe in using air conditioning. Brisbane gets up to something like a billion degrees during the summer, and so even though the worst of it hasn’t hit yet, it’s so hot and humid at home that I can barely focus at all. My eyes just glaze over and I feel like I’m slipping against my will into a nap. It’s impossible. How they expect anybody to be able to study effectively under conditions like this I don’t know.

Naturally, I’ve been exploring my options. The most effective solution I’ve found is to go a library in the city, but that prevents its own problems. For one thing, I’ve discovered the constant hum of the air conditioning combined with the flicker of those unnatural fluorescent lights gives me a headache. I’ve even resorted to asking my parents about getting air conditioning repairs in Brisbane, but they’ve been adamant that we can live without them. I mean, of course we can live, but it’s one thing to just survive and another thing completely to succeed. They’re just so selfish. Getting good grades and going to a good uni is something that really matters to me, and they couldn’t give less of a hoot. Honestly, sometimes it feels like they don’t care about me at all.

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.

-Leo

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.

Little Miss Air Con

Brisbane air conUgh, I reckon classroom transfers should be made far easier than they are right now. Might help me escape little miss snob over here. There’s a girl in my class, and all she does it talk about her family, and how rich they are, and how if things aren’t going her way then she’s going to get daddy to buy it all up and create some kind of utopia. Despite how much she complains, I’ve yet to see anything actually happen on this front. Almost like she’s making it up!!

Oh, she’s probably rich alright, but I don’t think daddy has quite as much power as he says he does. Doesn’t stop her from talking about it though; everything from what we learn in Further Maths to the state of the air conditioning. Brisbane has better air con than Melbourne! Even the classrooms that have it aren’t good enough! It’s detrimental to my learning! I’m calling DADDY!

She just won’t shut up. I really don’t care what the air conditioning is like in Brisbane. It could be strong enough to freeze someone in a block of ice and it wouldn’t matter, because what we have here is just fine. I mean, other girls are complaining that it’s too cold in the classrooms, so I’m making a wild assumption that the cool air here is just as cool as the air needs to be up there. I guess this is just another one of those excuses to complain, although I’m surprised she didn’t just go for the ‘it’s too cold, I’m calling daddy’ response. You know, because yesterday she was complaining about it being too cold. Can’t have been that bad, because the name of the father was not invoked.

She does it in a slightly subtle way, I’ll give her that. Almost reasonable at times, even though she finishes her statement in the exact same way. But hey, I could be wrong. The mighty Brisbane air conditioning services could very well be ten times that of Brisbane.

Doubt it, though.

-Bradford

I need to be considered special

roof repairs in MelbourneOver the last week I’ve been trying to trawl through the maze of administrative websites and ‘how to know if you’re eligible for help’ forms and I am over it. The Victorian school board can suck it, I am “eligible” for special consideration and I know it.

About three weeks ago, I sat my final schooling exams. Like, that’s it, I’m done, it’s over, I’m free. Those exams. Any-who, during those two weeks of hell in the lead up to the exams, I had an unforeseen, external disaster. My studying effort was significantly hindered and I really struggled to make it through that period because of it, which should be the perfect grounds for special consideration, right? Well, apparently, needing roof repairs, in Melbourne, is not enough. Never mind that the rain flooded my house and subsequently all my clothes, notes, and made my computer virtually unusable for three days. Apparently that doesn’t really count for an unforeseeable emergency.

Really though, if that doesn’t count, what does? If I was in a car crash, would that count? Or would they just tell me that, really, I was taking a risk being on the roads during my exam period. With that logic, more or less everything turns into something that you should have foreseen and adjusted for. Which is just ridiculous. What’s the point of even having special consideration as an option if there’s no way to access that aid.

The fact that my parents haven’t quite gotten around to getting roof maintenance. A Melbourne workweek runs 9-5 five days a week, they don’t have the option to just be home during the day. It hasn’t been possible and there’s nothing I could have done to hurry along the process. Ugh, basically, the admin system is unfair and I’m sick of it. These bounce-back automatic response emails are ridiculous. I just want a drop of human compassion, here. Is that too much to ask?

Worst reason ever for chucking a sickie

Melbourne antennasIt’s official. My mother has become the most irresponsible woman on the planet. Not that she wasn’t always the most irresponsible woman on the planet, just that once again she’s proven it to the world. And, actually just thinking about it, she’s taken it to a whole new level. Because, as it currently stands, I am writing this from the computer. At home.

“But, Serena, it’s a Wednesday!” I hear you exclaim in wonder. “Shouldn’t you be at school?”

Why yes, observant reader, I should. But as it currently stands my mother is on a last minute flight to Rome and I am at home, waiting for the Melbourne antennas guy to arrive.

That woman has always been a wild child led more by her sporadic and short lived whims rather than her sense of reason. Finding that she’s left in the wee hours of the morning to some far-fetched corner of the globe is not as unusual as you might think. But pulling me out of school so I can play responsible adult and meet her commitments? This is a new low.

I’m a minor, for crying out loud! I have way better things to be doing than wasting my time and my education here at home. I mean, we really do need our TV antenna installation fixed. Melbourne had a bit of a storm a couple of weeks ago and we haven’t been able to get any signal on the TV since then, so yeah, it needs to be done. And someone needs to be at home to let the guy in. But why does it have to be me? Why does it always have to be me? I’m sick of never being allowed to do things all my friends do because I’m looking after my freaking mother. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

On the bright side, at least this gives me an opportunity to catch up on study.

My Father Will Hear About This

tree loppingYou’d think being so close to the sea would be pretty cool. Like, we’d go on school excursions to the beach, just because. The fact that we don’t is, like, one of the most disappointing things about this place, and I really meant that. I mean, we could at least go for science lessons to the beach and learn about seashells, or…sand. I bet we could spend an entire semester looking at sand. There’s loads of it, all over the world. Is it SO much to ask to want to have classes on the beach? IT’S RIGHT THERE.

Ugh, whatever. I bet I could convince Daddy to make some changes around here. He’s the president of the Clean Homes and Gardens Association (CHAGA) in Melbourne, and tree trimming doesn’t happen without his consent. No one so much as plants a sunflower without him giving the go ahead. He has contacts in the tree removal industry, the landscaping conglomerate, the florist alliance…basically, if it happens outside, Daddy is involved. Very involved. If I wanted it, Daddy would call a legion of tree removal specialists to the school and have them cut down every bit of greenery they could find. If the school confronted him about it, he knows ALL the laws. He could just claim that there were dangerous pests and that they needed to go, pronto. He could say that there was a rare fungus that could’ve been killing birds and insects, and that there was a very clear and present threat to the ecosystem. Daddy knows everything about the outdoors, and anyone who wants to be part of his association has to prove that they treat their garden like they would a child. Seriously, they have to log their hours. My father takes his duties very seriously.

Seriously, every tree lopping professional in the Melbourne area is just waiting for his call. And other people’s calls. I mean, he doesn’t own them, but they provide a community service just like any other business.

You know what? Never mind. I’ll just get Daddy to write a cheque, perhaps suggesting at the bottom that we instigate beach classes. Easy peasy, money solves everything.

My sister the beauty queen

beauty school MelbourneAllie is driving me absolutely crazy. She is so self obsessed, I don’t know how she has any friends because all she does is talk about herself. She is also only two years older than me but acts as if she has seen the world and knows everything about everything. I honestly can’t believe we came from the same parents. Her latest incredible revelation was that she is going to beauty school in Melbourne. Everyone is acting like she has just won a nobel prize but I mean honestly, the girl is going to be waxing legs and putting cucumbers on eyes. It’s like my plans to go to law school pale in comparison to Allie’s dreams of facials and hair removal! She is insisting on using me as a model and keeps pinning me down to do my makeup and exfoliate my skin.

She thinks she can just play with me when she is bored and then drop me as soon as a better offer comes along. It’s just so unfair and because she is the oldest she just gets away with it. I can’t wait until she goes to Melbourne to start her beauty course. Melbourne is a whole state away so that should be enough distance to finally give me some peace. Next week we are even having a ‘Allie got into beauty school’ barbecue to celebrate her amazing success getting into a non competitive course! When I became president of the law society at school my mum just about managed a well done and that was the end of that. It seems beauty therapy courses are the way to gain attention in this family. My dad has even started telling me I need to be nicer to her because she is stressed about the new chapter of her life and doesn’t need her younger sister driving me mad. I honestly feel like I live with aliens.