Sunday, October 31, 2010

When Enough is Enough

Remember those Formspring trolls that I blogged about a few weeks ago? Well, they won't be getting to me anymore. Today, after much consideration, I set my Formspring to protected. This means that only people who follow me on Formspring can view my page and/or ask me questions. If you wish to follow me, I must first approve your request. My followers still have the opportunity to ask me anonymous questions, but it's likely I will guess their identities anyway. I know what you're thinking - this is an extreme measure, and it defeats the purpose of and sucks the fun out of Formspring. Well, my last day with a public Formspring wasn't fun at all. I was bombarded with comments from a guy who attacked me over various opinions I had made in this blog. Some of his points were valid, but he was abusing the privilege of anonymity. Here's an example of something I received:

I am going to start a blog soon, possibly after HSC. It's main objective will be to critique the shit out of you, be warned. Your days on the internet are numbered buddy.

Also, I received a bunch of comments that were downright stupid, such as: 

 i'm feeling so fly like a g6, like a g6, like a g6. Do you feel like a g6?

I mean, why would someone ask the above question? What does he/she get out of it? In fact, I received a lot of song lyrics today. Some lyrics were intended to comfort me, while others just had no relevance to me at all. It was becoming evident that my Formspring was no longer a place where I could go to answer genuine questions about myself. It had transformed into a cesspit of nonsensical statements and insults. The anonymity pissed me off the most. The trolls would be nothing without their guise of anonymity. Whenever I asked a troll to reveal him/herself, they wouldn't do it. Fucking cowards. What is more astonishing is that even the nice people, the ones who complimented me, wouldn't reveal themselves. I mean, is contemporary society that fake? All of this crap made me feel like shit, and I started to doubt if I was even a good person. I just don't get it. I've always been a nice guy. If I show disrespect to someone, it's only because they show me disrespect first. I couldn't help but think "Why me?"
My Formspring is undoubtedly the most popular one amongst my circle of friends and acquaintances. I receive and answer at least 80 questions/comments a day, on average. I believe I receive so many questions because I respond quickly. I practically spend my whole day on the computer (that's no exaggeration, sadly), and receive an email notification whenever a new question is asked. I think I appeal to trolls because I fight back. If a troll posts something that insults me, I won't simply make a joke about having sex with the troll's mother, but I will defend myself and make it clear to the troll that he/she has offended me. It would often tire me out having to answer up to twelve questions at a time, especially when the questions were of little substance, or if they were merely insults.

So I decided that enough was enough. I couldn't take it anymore. It wasn't enough for me to simply delete the posts by the trolls, because I would still read over their comments regardless. Also, I wasn't so sure if blocking their IP addresses would be effective. So, after responding to 2127 questions/comments on my Formspring, I decided that I had to alter my privacy settings. The trolls can no longer have their fun, and I will get some peace. Sure, my Formspring may now become barren, but I couldn't handle any more emotional pain. Yes, the trolls were getting to me. I'm very sorry to those who used my Formspring properly, and asked me insightful questions. I am extremely grateful for your support and participation, but you must understand the toll that this was taking on me. I am also sorry to those who enjoyed reading my responses in general. 

Moments after I had set my profile to private, I checked to see if I had received any new questions, to no avail. You see, answering so many questions made me develop an addiction to Formspring. It became a daily routine for constantly check my Formspring and respond to questions/comments by the minute. It sounds like a pathetic addiction, but then again, I live the life of a hermit, and don't have much better to do. I'm confident that I'll adapt to my new settings in a short while, and will be able to fight my impulses to check my Formspring. What I'm thinking of doing is to have one day of the week where I open my Formspring to anyone, just to make things more exciting. What do you guys think? Could you perhaps suggest any alternative to making my profile protected? What is the best way to make Formspring an enjoyable website without having to put up with trolls? All suggestions will be appreciated.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Commemoration of the One Year Anniversary of the 'Liturgy of the Light'

It's hard to believe that this time last year, the Class of 2010 at Patrician Brothers' College Fairfield were on their Year 11 Retreat, packed into a community hall at the Elanora Conference Centre at Elanora Heights, in what was a most reverent occasion - the Liturgy of the Light. It baffles me to think that it has been a year already. In a sense, it's a depressing, though much-needed reminder, of how time is continually fleeting. I still regard that liturgy as the moment in my life that has come closest to being perfect. I hope that everyone from the Year 12 cohort took something from it. Personally, I didn't participate in the 'forgiveness' part of the ceremony. Instead, I used the occasion to give thanks to people who had touched me in some way, whether it be over the course of the retreat, or throughout my schooling in general. For many involved, the occasion would have provided much spiritual fulfilment. Those who know me enough would know that I am not a religious person, and that my faith is quite weak. Did the liturgy improve my faith? Not one bit. What it did do though, is reassure me that life is a beautiful thing. Living...breathing...feeling...experiencing. It's just great to be alive, and to have been part of such a profound moment. If that moment was to be recreated, it just wouldn't be the same. There was a certain atmosphere of togetherness and mutuality in the room that night, one that, in my opinion, should not be imitated in the future. has been a year, and I realise that not everyone's promises from that night have managed to stay intact. That's life...shit happens. What's important is that you remember the way you felt on that night, and pat yourself on the back for having the courage to make such bold promises in the first place.

What you just read are the only spontaneous thoughts that you will come across in tonight's blog. I'm composing this blog to give anyone who was involved in the liturgy a chance to reflect on the occasion, seeing as it has been a year tonight. Below, I will post an original poem of mine, Absolution?, which I wrote for an English assignment earlier this year. For this assignment, I had to compose a creative piece based on a memory of mine that bears great significance. I chose to document the Liturgy of the Light. Personally, I think it could have been improved, but the teacher who marked it spoke highly of it. I will also post two songs that were playing in the background during the liturgy: The Living Years by Mike + The Mechanics, and Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own by U2. I instantly downloaded those songs when I arrived home from the retreat. This is just a suggestion, but if you are part of the Class of 2010 at Pats, and have your Year 12 Graduation candle, perhaps you could light it while you read the poem and listen to the songs.


We came in from the cold,
not knowing we would leave
with tears in our eyes.

Our faces were made visible
by the flicker of candlelight,
which enticed our eyes to the centre of the room.

                                                       A tragic revelation
removed all triviality from the occasion,
and it was then I felt the tears building up inside of me.
But I used my strength to hold them back,
because I sensed that I would need them later on.

We were invited –
not forced, to make amends for past wrongs.
Ashes would mark the start of a new beginning.
Bono’s voice permeated across the room,
singing ‘Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own’,
as boys zigzagged through chairs, looking for old foes.
I had no scores to settle with anyone in the room,
so I sat, and I waited to be approached.
Nobody came to me.

Was my slate really clean?
                Or had I done something unforgivable?
I suspected the former, and felt a gratifying reassurance.

But the night was not over,
and it was time to recognise the good people:
the ones who made us smile,
who supported us when we felt like crumbling,
who made our stay at this retreat that bit more comfortable.
So I rose from my seat,
and panned the room for the ones who illuminated my pallid life.

My first true friend – he received an ash.
My quasi-cynical friend – he received one too –
I even gave one to the boy who asked “How are you?”
while I was making tea earlier in the evening.
In total, I must have marked over a dozen students and teachers,
every single instance brimming with a deep-rooted appreciation.

Two paper crosses would hold our special intentions,
so I waited in line behind my fellow friends.
A momentary stumble did not
distract my mind from the solemnity of the occasion,
and it was now my turn to put pen to paper.
I wrote both of their names:
Barbara and Peter,
and imagined their radiant smiles beaming down on me –
creating cracks in the roof,
in an effort to reach me.

When I was seated,
I looked across the room,
and saw my reflection in the tearful eyes
of innocence and youth.
Tears streamed down my face –
a deluge of sympathy, regret,
                                       and optimism.
Blackened foreheads told the stories
of tortured souls
who had been pushed around,
or berated for their independent beliefs.
I looked at the ones whose
foreheads presented more ash than bare skin,
and I was moved,
moved because I had understood them all along.

As people left the room in stunned silence,
those who remained
drew closer to the sacred space –
for warmth, inclusion,
or serenity,
for the space was a picturesque island in itself –
our intentions like messages in bottles:
released, yet still secure.

Pairs of boys,
strewn around the space,
comforted each other
with a gentle embrace.
I marked one pair with ashes –
their faces were portraits of grief.
They could have stayed by that light forever,
but time was a thief.

Prayer signalled the end of
this memorable night.
I embarrassed myself –
not knowing the correct order
of prayers in the Rosary.
I was a victim of my upbringing.
But this embarrassment lived only in me,
for those surrounding me
carried on as if nothing went wrong.
They knew better than to scoff or jeer –
this night had changed them.

When I felt content
with what I had seen in the room,
and with what I had learnt about my peers,
I stood up
and bowed in front of the sacred space,
keeping the peace intact.

I walked out of the room,
into the bitter arms of the October night.

All of my friends had by now
retreated to their cabins,
eager to rest their weary heads.
One of them came to check on me,
like the paranoid ewe,
in search of her lost lamb.
His mission was cut short,
as our paths intertwined;
I felt guilt digging his ugly claws
into my back,
because my friend –
he shouldn’t have been that kind.
I had put him through too much
in recent times.

He guided me back to the cabin we shared –
not a word was spoken.
I walked through the door
to a warm welcome.
                             A hug,
then my affirmation that I am
“a spiritual person, not a religious person,”
followed by sleep.

That night –
it has nestled itself
into a tranquil pocket
of my mind.
It often wakes up
making me smile,
and sigh –
is a verisimilitude
in itself.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

If Only One Thing Had Happened Differently

Last Wednesday, following my Modern History exam, I went to McDonald's with some friends. After finishing my meal, I had five minutes to get to the station to catch my bus home. So I said bye to my friends and made my way to the station. Along my path was a pedestrian crossing, and as always, I waited until the light turned green, and then I crossed the road. When I got to the other side of the crossing, I could see that my bus was at the station, and that passengers were boarding, so I quickened my pace in order to catch it before it left. While I was running, I could have sworn that the bus was going to leave without me, because it looked like the last passenger had boarded. I made it to the bus after all, much to my delight. When I stepped on to the bus, there was still one man receiving his change from the driver. After I showed my bus pass, the driver accelerated, and I realised that I owed my place on that bus to the man who had boarded it before me. If he hadn't caught the bus, then the driver would have left before I made it. Or, if he had paid using the correct fare, the driver wouldn't have taken the time to give him change. When I arrived home, I was feeling the heat, and realised that I would still have been at the station in the blistering heat, waiting for a bus, if that man hadn't caught the bus before me. It got me thinking about how our actions, no matter how insignificant we may think them to be, can impact on the lives of others, for better or for worse. It only takes ONE action to act as the catalyst in a convoluted chain of events.

Here's a scene from the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that encapsulates this concept quite explicitly:

In this scene, Benjamin Button (Brad Pitt) remarks "Sometimes we're on a collision course, and we just don't know it." This is very true. It's not as if the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks were aware of the fate that they would meet that day. They would have woken up in the morning, had breakfast, kissed their spouses and children, and walked out the door for another routine day. Little did they know that they would never return home to their families. Even more applicable to this notion of fate is the decision made by the people who caught the planes that were to be hijacked. Perhaps some people would have been alive today if they didn't desire an earlier flight. It's not their fault though; our world should be one where people feel safe to catch any plane. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world. Our world is infested with some despicable beings, who I find it difficult to label as human.

We also hear Benjamin describe life as a series of intersecting lives and incidents, out of anyone's control. The truth is that we can in fact have control over our lives, however, there is only so much that we alone can determine. For example, I have control over whether I want to go to the video store. However, I do not have control over whether the DVD I desire is available or not. Perhaps it was hired ten minutes before I got there, and maybe I would have made it in time if it weren't for a car accident disturbing the flow of traffic. When I think of intersecting lives, I imagine what the world would be like if everyone just stayed in bed for a day. Would civilisation collapse? Perhaps, a little. I also think about who my parents are. I am the son of Henry and Sue Savona, but it could have been different. I often think how lucky I am to be a human being. I could have been born as an animal...something as insignificant as a fly, or even a gnat.

When I consider this notion of intersecting lives and incidents, and the inner complexities of life, I am also reminded of Neil Finn's song Anytime. Finn wrote the song after witnessing his beloved dog almost get run over by a bus. Here are the complete lyrics to this beautiful song:

I see a dog upon the road
Running hard to catch a cat
My car is pulling to a halt
The truck behind me doesn't know
Everything is in the balance
Of a moment I can't control
And your sympathetic strings
Are like the stirrings in my soul

I could go at anytime
There's nothing safe about this life
I could go at anytime

Find the meaning of the act
Remember how it goes
Every time you take the water
You swim against the flow
The world is all around us
The days are flying past
And fear is so contagious
But I'm not afraid to laugh

I could go at anytime
There's nothing safe about this life
I could go at anytime

Anytime (come without warning)
Anytime (it could be so easy)
A walk in the park (or maybe when I'm sleeping)
Anytime (see the clouds come over)
Rain or shine (I make you so unhappy)
Let's make it right

I feel like I'm in love
With a stranger I'll never know
Although you're still a mystery
I'm so glad I'm not alone

I could go at anytime
There's nothing safe about this life
Make it so easy to fly in the night
I could go at anytime
I could go at anytime

This song is essentially about the fragility of life, and how we often take our lives for granted. I'm sure that many of you assume that you'll live to be at least 70. Personally, I hope that I will make that age, but I know that it's no certainty. Any of us could die tomorrow due to some freak accident. Of course, that would be horrible, and in no way do I mean to trivialise such an occurrence. I just want you all to know that it's the truth, no matter how harsh it may be. Look at someone like Steve Irwin. I still remember how shocked I was the moment I learnt of his death. He worked with animals for a great portion of his life, and in a bitter irony, it was through one ill-fated encounter with a stingray that he died. It's no wonder they say 'truth is stranger than fiction'. When Finn sings, "...fear is so contagious, but I'm not afraid to laugh," he is referring to how life is so short in the scheme of things, and hence we should make the most of it. We shouldn't count down the days, or the years, to our death, but instead revel in the beauty that life has to offer.

As I draw to a close on this blog, I'd just like to clarify that I do not believe in destiny or fate. I believe in living in the moment, completely aware of our surroundings, and how they can impact on us. I don't believe that things happen for a reason, instead believing that life is one huge game of chance and circumstance, where one tiny instance can change the entire course of things. The irony in my reasoning is as follows: what if that one tiny instance was destined to occur?


Sunday, October 24, 2010

100 Random [and Possibly Amusing] Facts About Myself

1. Before I sat down to type this, I had a slice of chocolate cake.
2. This sounds disgusting, but I occasionally bite my toe nails!
3. I have stepped inside a wrestling ring.
4. One of my cousins, Dallas Weston, played in the NSWRL/ARL/NRL from 1993 to 2000. He played for both the North Sydney Bears (9 games) and the Parramatta Eels (68 games). He only scored a total of 3 tries in his career. Meh.
5. My favourite five-letter word in the English language is ennui, which is synonymous with boredom.
6. I once collected a few snails and kept them as pets. They died within a couple of days, and I mourned their death. No fucking joke!
7. The first movie that I remember seeing at the cinemas is Bride of Chucky, which was released in Australia in 1999, when I was 5 years old. Oh yeah, I was brought up on horrors, and I loved it that way!
8. My favourite McDonald's burger is the Double Quarter Pounder.
9. The first NRL game that I remember going to was Parramatta vs. South Sydney in Round 26, 1999. It was the 29th of August, which was a Sunday. The Eels won 34 to 16.
10. I once uploaded a video of myself doing a Borat impression to YouTube. It's not there anymore.
11. My favourite actor is Kevin Spacey. My favourite actress would probably be Kate Winslet.
12. My favourite director is Stanley Kubrick, although David Fincher isn't far behind.
13. I have a birthmark, about the same size as two adjacent 10-cent coins, to the right of my belly button.
14. My middle name is James.
15. I have never tried a prawn, and I don't intend to, either.
16. My favourite three-letter word in the English language is wry, meaning humorously sarcastic or mocking.
17. I have a Miniature Fox Terrier named Boyo, and a cat (unsure of breed) named...OK, she doesn't really have a fixed name, although my mum calls her Prissy or Priscilla.
18. I think that The Hangover is an extremely overrated film.
19. I can cross my eyes on command.
20. I have never seen snow in person, only in images and on TV.
21. I have never been on an aeroplane.
22. I hate the feeling of sand between my toes.
23. As a child, my favourite cartoon series was probably Scooby-Doo.
24. I'm going to make a cup of tea right now. Excuse me; I won't be long.
25. Favourite time period of the week is Friday night, around 7:00 P.M. onwards.
26. My favourite song by The Beatles is either Hey Jude or Yesterday - can't split them.
27. I have never seen a complete episode of Friends. I have only ever seen ONE episode of Seinfeld (thought these two facts should be condensed into one).
28. I have never read a single Harry Potter novel, or seen a single Harry Potter film.
29. Favourite spread to put on toast is Vegemite. You either love it or hate it, and I love it!
30. I talk to myself A LOT!
31. My favourite novel is probably High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.
32. I like going into a cinema early, because I secretly enjoy watching the trailers! Oh well, not a secret anymore.
33. When DVDs first came out, I was obsessed with watching the special features of every DVD movie I watched.
34. I haven't vomited since I was about 6 or 7 years old.
35. I have never had a nosebleed in my life, and I don't understand how someone's nose can just start bleeding out of nowhere.
36. I cried when I found out that the Easter Bunny wasn't real.
37. I occasionally listen to Love Song Dedications on Mix 106.5.
38. To cure hiccups, I usually eat a teaspoon of sugar.
39. I occasionally turn light switches on using my nose.
40. I have been known to laugh during my sleep, and I have woken up in tears a few times, due to a depressing dream.
41. I can't stand black licorice.
42. My favourite episode of The Simpsons  is probably Team Homer (AKA, the Pin Pals episode).
43. When I was younger, I would say that I wanted to be an actor when I grew up. I would still pounce on the opportunity if it arose.
44. At 6:00 P.M. on weeknights, I watch Letters and Numbers on SBS. It's addictive viewing.
45. My date of birth is January 14, 1993.
46. If I could invite any three people (alive or dead) to dinner, I would invite Oscar Wilde, Neil Finn and Stephen Fry.
47. I have an appreciation for the natural world and serenity.
48. I can spell surnames that most other people have trouble spelling, such as Tarasiewicz.
49. My favourite teacher that I've ever had is Ms. Durand (Year 10 English).
50. I haven't eaten fairy floss in years, and could really do with some right now!
51. My favourite railway station on the CityRail service is Circular Quay. 
52. I brush my teeth in the shower.


53.I have only tried Red Rooster once in my life.
54. I listen to talkback radio (usually 2GB) during the night while I'm trying to get to sleep.
55. The first DVD I ever watched was the film Black Knight. The first DVD that I bought was Wrestlemania XIX.
56. Favourite TV programs as a child were Art Attack and Round the Twist.
57. I don't like lemon-flavoured soft drinks, such as Solo, however, I like lemon-lime flavoured soft drinks.
58. The worst film that I have ever seen is a low-budget independent film called Scarecrow.
59. Five things that I can reach right now: The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary, a Rubik's Cube, a pack of highlighters, my headphones and my school tie.
60. I collect tickets from NRL games that I attend, and movies that I watch at the cinema. The oldest NRL ticket I own is for an Eels vs. Knights game in 2005. The oldest movie ticket I own is for House of Wax in 2005.
61. I think that the scariest film of all time is The Exorcist (1973).
62. I just decided that I'll be watching Adventureland at 8:30 P.M. on Foxtel tonight.
63. I used to be a massive fan of professional wrestling. I've seen the WWE perform live twice.
64. I have never been to a concert...but I want to go to one.
65. I once called my Year 4 teacher, Mr Stewart, a cow by accident. It was hilarious.
66. I secretly follow horse-racing, although not for the whole year. It's probably because of my dad's avid interest in it. Once again, not a secret anymore.
67. My favourite colour is turquoise.
68. The most bizarre music video I have ever seen is for Peter Gabriel's song Sledgehammer.
69. I once auditioned for the Red Faces segment on Hey Hey It's Saturday. I was five years old (perhaps even four), and I sang two songs which my dad taught me. They were Young at Heart by Frank Sinatra and Camptown Races. I was turned down by the judges.
70. I just finished playing a game of online Scrabble, in which I beat my opponent 322 to 255.
71. My favourite album of all time is Crowded House's compilation album Recurring Dream: The Very Best Of Crowded House.
72. My favourite pizza place is Dom's Pizza Bar at Bossley Park.
73. I have a habit of cracking my knuckles.
74. I STAND UP to wipe.
75. Regular readers would know this, but for those who don't, my favourite band is Crowded House, and my favourite singer-songwriter is Neil Finn. I would kiss that man's feet if I was given the chance. What an amazing talent!
76. My favourite comedian is Carl Barron.
77. I have hairy toes.
78. I have an interest in the paranormal, and would like to visit some places in Australia that are regarded as 'haunted'.
79. I have a talent for impersonating people.
80. I have a specific order for washing my body parts in the shower.
81. I have a habit of alphabetising items.
82. I have a very limited number of clothes that I wear around my house.
83. If I do not appear on MSN for longer than a day, I'm probably dead.
84. The last thing I read was Oscar Wilde's short story The Selfish Giant.
85. I have licked a door knob before, out of sheer curiosity. I hated the taste.
86. I once accidentally swallowed a fly.
87. I walk with a slight limp in my right leg. That's because I injured my right leg when I was about 6 years old. I was playing with my brother on the trampoline in my backyard, but quite stupidly, I encouraged my brother to soap up the trampoline's surface. I accidentally did the splits, and it fucking hurt.
88. Smoking is a massive turn-off to me, and I look down on the habit in general.
89. I have never kissed a girl [romantically].
90. I think the best movies are the ones with very few locations, and with only about four central characters.
91. I have an irrational fear of caterpillars.
92. My newspaper of choice is The Daily/Sunday Telegraph.
93. I enjoy watching tennis.
94. I own something which I call the Jar of Grot. It is a jar which holds things such as two dead flies, the largest piece of ear wax I have ever taken out of my ear, and a few of my dog's claws which have fallen out. It serves no purpose, and it smells quite foul.
95. I have an interest in reading famous quotes. My favourites are from Oscar Wilde and Friedrich Nietzsche.
96. I used to spell hatred as hatrid. See? Even I make spelling mistakes.
97. I really like milkshakes, thickshakes, or any other milk-orientated beverage.
98. I usually get paranoid when lending things to people, because I'm afraid they will be returned in bad condition. That said, I'm more prone to lending things nowadays than I used to be.
99. I have an interest in the JFK assassination and its various conspiracy theories.
100. I saved this one for last, because I think it's the most amazing fact of all - I have a cousin named Spartacus! No word of a lie, I'm being dead serious.

Well, this list took longer than I thought it would, but it was enjoyable to make, and I hope that you, in return, enjoy reading it.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Foul Bachelor Frog

Lately, I've become addicted to an Internet meme known as Foul Bachelor Frog. It's a simple concept, but quite hilarious. The format of a Foul Bachelor Frog photo is as follows: There is a picture of a frog's head in the centre. Above the head is a problem, and below the head is the solution to that problem. The problems and solutions are targeted at males in their youth or young adulthood, although anyone with a sense of humour should be able to enjoy them. You can find a whole heap of these images by typing Foul Bachelor Frog into Google Images. This is just a short blog to share some of my favourite Foul Bachelor Frog images. I'll most likely write a 'proper' blog entry later tonight. By the way, a special thanks goes to Michael Nguyen, for introducing me to the genius that is Foul Bachelor Frog.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Walking Dictionary

The title of this blog is one of my nicknames - one that I've had since primary school. As most of you who know me would discern, I was given this nickname due to my expansive vocabulary, as well as my tendency to correct spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes. Whether spoken or written, if I'm in the vicinity of a language mistake, I will most likely pick up on it. Now, I'm not writing this blog to boast about my prowess with language, but rather to give some insight into why I am so captivated by words and language. I'll also share my thoughts on my habit of correcting people.

My interest in words could best be summed up in a paragraph I wrote on my Formspring a few months ago. For the benefit of your understanding, I think it's best if I included that paragraph in this blog. I know it may seem like a cheap gesture, since I'm not producing something original, but I feel that this paragraph really encapsulates my relationship with language.

Here's the statement that I received:

"I think you are very lucky because of your strength with words. Words can easily brighten one's mood. Words are so strong and I think you are very lucky because you have the ability to easily make people happy if you use words the right way."

Here is my response:

I am not lucky that I have a strength with words. Do you think that I was born with the ability of great articulation with words? Of course I wasn't. From an early age, I showed an interest in words, semantics, phraseology, grammar, punctuation and morphology. I agree with you when you write that words can brighten one's mood. Words have a profound aesthetic quality to them, and are fun to manipulate. Words are indeed strong, and one word is enough to shatter a person, or to make their day. I don't think that enough people appreciate the way I use my words, though. I've heard many people accuse me of being pretentious, because I 'use big words'. However, there is no pretence involved. I speak the way I speak, and write the way I write, because over the course of my life, I have developed and sustained an interest in words and language. By nature, I have a creative mind, so I tend to talk and write with a distinct flair, without trying to sound self-obsessed. I make sure to keep my brain well-acquainted with words by frequently doing crossword puzzles, looking for anagrams in words, and playing Scrabble. I actually don't do a lot of reading, but when I do, it is generally a pleasure if I'm reading the right stuff. What I want you to understand, is that my vast knowledge of words is not due to luck. I am good with words, because I LIKE words, and find them to be intricate structures of our existence. Who knows? Maybe you could improve your own skills with words, with enough interest and practice. 

Essentially, it all boils down to my childhood interests, as well as my upbringing. As a youngster, I would immerse myself in the Little Golden Books series, as you may have already read. I would sit in my room on a small green plastic chair, and I would read them with the utmost enthusiasm, often for hours uninterrupted. My dad was a major asset to my intellectual development, in the sense that he cultivated my interest in the English language. He would occasionally give up his time to verse me in a game of Scrabble, teaching me new words along the way. Another favourite game of his was making words out of words. I still have sheets of paper lying  around my house that have a long word written at the top, and various smaller words below it, all of which can be found in the long word. My dad is also responsible for fostering my interest in game shows. Every weeknight, we would sit down together, just us two, and watch Sale of the Century, even if I was too young to know most of the answers. I still remember being around seven years old, and my dad sitting me down at the kitchen table, late at night, and writing out a virtual biography of Princess Diana's life. He's always had an interest in the Royal Family. In all honesty, I didn't really care for what he was saying at the time...but I kept that piece of paper - it's resting in one of my drawers as I type this. I'm sorry if I went off on a tangent there. It's just that I miss my dad a lot sometimes. We had so many happy times together, but unfortunately, things will never be the same. At school, I remember looking forward to spelling tests, and being really excited when the class would play Buzz Off. I would either win the game, or be eliminated because the two people next to me said "Buzz off." I would never (OK, maybe once or twice) misspell a word. I still remember being in the primary school equivalent of Advanced English, which, back then, was known as 'the smartest English group' or Ms Marsman's class. I recall her commending me on my fluent reading voice. I remember her teaching my class what the word pelted means. Just a random insertion. All in all, a passion for language isn't something that just spontaneously occurred in me one day. I like language because I wanted to like it, and thankfully, the people around me made that possible. From a very young age, I knew that language would be my forte in life. And I'm far from reaching my peak...there is still a lot of intellectual nourishment to go.

Now on to my habit of correcting people's language. It's not a selfish pursuit. I do it becuase I want people to know right from wrong. I want them to learn from their mistakes, so they do not repeat them in the future. Unfortunately, a lot of people repeat their mistakes. I actually don't correct people as often as I used to. I toned it down a little after sensing that people disliked me for it; that they dreaded my presence, because it meant that they couldn't converse for three minutes without me intervening. Nowadays, I only correct someone if I feel that their mistake is exceptionally bad, or if I sense that the person isn't aware of how to spell a word, as opposed to sheer laziness. I only correct someone if I know him/her as a person. I will not correct someone who I have barely comes off as rude. Correcting my close friends is awkward, as it feels like I'm scrutinising them. I tend to correct my acquaintances more than any other group of people. Many people have told me that they feel pressured to type coherently when talking to me online; that they feel afraid to make an error, or to just type casually. If you're one of these people, then please, don't change yourself just for my sake. Type as you would with anyone who isn't a 'Grammar Nazi'. I'm not going to correct many of your online mistakes, only the ones that I think are genuine. However, if you are someone who types 'lyk dis', then it's best advised that you delete me from your contact list. I often think that I'm the only one who corrects people's language, but I occasionally see others do it too, and it makes me smile inside.

Well, as I draw to a close on this blog, I will reiterate the two points I would like you all to take from it. Firstly, an interest in language, or in anything for that matter, does not develop by itself. It needs to be cultivated in a way that suits the individual. More importantly, the individual must take an active interest in what it is he/she wants to master. Secondly, on a personal note, I do not correct people's language for purposes of selfishness; I merely hope that the person in question realises their faults, so as not to repeat them in the future. I'll leave you with a brief list of common misuses of the English language, which I often find myself correcting. 

* Mixing up your/you're

* Mixing up there/their/they're
* Anyways instead of anyway
* Mixing up did/done
* "Me and (insert name) instead of "(insert name) and I"
* Mixing up its/it's
* Double negatives, such as "I didn't do nothing."

There are many more examples out there, but these are just some of the common ones.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Reflection on my Favourite Film - 'American Beauty'

"I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn't a second at all. It stretches on forever, like an ocean of time. For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars; and yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined my street; or my grandmother's hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper; and the first time I saw my cousin Tony's brand new Firebird...and Janie...and Janie...and...Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst, and then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain, and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't will someday."

The above monologue constitutes the final words spoken in American Beauty, my favourite film of all time. I'm not exactly sure if this blog entry counts as a review or an essay. I'm just going to write about the film until I get sick of it. 

The Basics
Director: Sam Mendes
Screenplay by: Alan Ball
Main cast: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Chris Cooper
Genre: Drama + Comedy
Running time: 122 minutes
Rated: MA 15+ (Australia)
Awards: Won 5 Oscars. Another 83 wins and 74 nominations
Plot outline: Lester Burnham, a depressed suburban father in a mid-life crisis, decides to turn his hectic life around after developing an infatuation for his daughter's attractive friend.

My Reflections
Now, some of you may have read that plot outline and thought "This film sounds sick, and thus it probably is." The mark of a great film, or a great piece of art in general, is that it can focus on a theme that is generally frowned upon by society, and make the audience accept it. I didn't feel the slightest bit sickened by the relationship between Lester and Angela. That's because both characters seemed enthusiastic about the possibility of sexual exploration. It should be noted that the story of American Beauty isn't centred upon Lester's infatuation over Angela. Rather, it is about Lester realising that he lives an unhappy, monotonous life, and taking steps to fix that problem. He comes to realise that the 'American Dream' is just a myth, and that he needs to start doing things that make him happy, not things that society believes leads to happiness. We see Lester change his lifestyle by rebelling against his family and society's expectations in general. He lusts over Angela, as his marriage to wife Carolyn has fallen to pieces. He starts smoking marijuana once he is acquainted with his new next-door neighbour, Ricky Fitts. He quits his job as an office worker to work in a fast food restaurant. He eventually buys his dream car - a 1970 Pontiac Firebird, without his wife's knowledge. All of these actions help Lester to recapture the essence of his adolescence - a time when life's challenges weren't so distressing.

Lester's wife, Carolyn, symbolises the irritating demands of society. She is a real-estate agent who is a portrait of materialism, without even knowing it. She doesn't have to be happy to find contentment. Seeming happy is good enough for her. Her life revolves around the constant struggle of projecting an image. In one of the film's most powerful scenes, she fails to sell a house, and hence slaps her face with brute force and bawls her eyes out in that very house she failed to sell. All behind closed doors, of course. She tries to keep herself together by listening to a self-help tape which features the mantra "I refuse to be a victim." Carolyn becomes involved in her very own adulterous sexual exploits, as you will find out.

Ricky Fitts is characterised as an 'outcast' of society. The weird kid. He sees beauty in a dead bird, and in a homeless lady freezing to death. In arguably the film's most recognised scene, he shows Lester's daughter, Jane, the most beautiful thing he has ever filmed - a plastic bag 'dancing' in the wind. Ricky explains the significance of this bag to his life:

"It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing and there's this electricity in the air; you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that's the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and...this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. The video's a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember...and I need to remember: sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in." 

Ricky's words resonate as the film's enduring message. There is, after all, so much beauty in the world. We just don't always realise it, as we don't attempt to look closer. "Look closer" happens to be the film's tagline. By the end of the film, the major characters have all taken a close look at themselves, and they come to realise that the dreams they aspired to at the beginning are nothing but mere illusions. Some of them realise the beauty in this, whilst others are left to slay their personal demons.

I have vague memories of watching American Beauty when I was six years old. I could only remember specific images from it, but that was enough to make me buy the film on DVD, one Thursday afternoon in Year 10. I immediately watched the film when I arrived home, and my eyes were filled with tears from the moment the credits began to roll. The film touched me in a profound way. The last film that touched me as deeply as American Beauty was Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby, and I watched that a little over one year ago. Regular readers of my blog would know how much I value truth. Many people have labeled American Beauty as a satire of American suburbia. I agree with that view, to a certain extent. The backdrop of American suburbia elegantly complements, though paradoxically contrasts against the film's truthful elements. Though the film's story is fictitious, I felt for the characters as though they were real people. I felt their joys, however scarce they were, and I occasionally ached for them.

This is all I have to say about the masterpiece that is American Beauty. There are a heap of other things relating to the movie that I could talk about, but the vast amount of interpretations this film has garnered makes it difficult for me to form my own opinions. Occasionally, people will ask me for suggestions on a good movie to watch. My first instinct is to say American Beauty, but I realise that the person is most likely more interested in some second-rate action film, or a comedy that gets 90% of its laughs from toilet humour. Right now, I will recommend to you all that you watch American Beauty. Download it, hire it, borrow it from a friend...heck, go out on a limb and buy it if you're confident. Just experience it, somehow.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

50 Things That Piss Me Off

This blog is a response to a previous blog of mine: My 'Cheap Thrills'. This time, instead of listing things that I find amusing, I will be listing things that I find rather annoying. They won't be things that I loathe, such as animal cruelty, just as my cheap thrills were not things that I had a great passion for, such as cinema. Instead, this list will comprise of my 'pet peeves' - the things that make my life that little bit more frustrating.

1. Incorrect TV guide listings.
2. When people sign out of MSN in the middle of a conversation, without saying goodbye.
3. When someone says "Sucked in!" I just find it to bloody disrespectful. There are worse words to say to someone, but for some reason, when someone says "Sucked in!", it sounds so...heavy and brutal.
4. Gherkins on fast-food burgers.
5. When a game show host cuts to a commercial break during a suspenseful moment. *Cough* Eddie McGuire. *Cough*.
6. People who don't appreciate wit, irony and comic timing when it comes to humour.
7. People who see The Simpsons as a pussy show because it isn't as risqué as Family Guy. By the way, I stopped watching new episodes of The Simpsons years ago. Classic episodes FTW!
8. People who click pens.
9. When a bird shits on me.
10. People who try to trivialise the aforementioned occurrence by saying "It's good luck when a bird shits on you." No. Just no.
11. The reaction people give me when I tell them that I have not seen The Godfather.
12. People who use big words thinking that they're smart, yet they use them in the wrong context.
13. Getting trapped behind slow walkers.
14. When I'm about to say something, but someone cuts me off.
15. When I miss a bus.
16. Students who borrow my stationery and don't return it (THIS ONE REALLY AGGRAVATES ME!).
17. People who ask me to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (from Mary Poppins) when I tell them that I'm a good speller. Generally speaking, these people think that they're hilarious!
18. When I continuously bowl gutterballs in ten-pin bowling.
19. When I'm a passenger in a car, a good song comes on the radio, AND THE DRIVER CHANGES THE STATION.
20. When my mum tells me to get off the computer during a thunderstorm.
21. Soggy crust on pizza when I warm it up in the microwave as a leftover.
22. When I put my hand into a box of tissues and there are none left.
23. When I'm at a video store, and I can't make up my mind on what to hire, therefore I am stuck there for a large amount of time looking like an absolute idiot.
24. The weird looks I get from the people who work at the video store, referring to the above sentence. They must think I'm carrying a bomb or something. No; I'm not plotting an evil scheme...I just have specific tastes.
25. Accidentally tearing a cereal box when attempting to open it.
26. When I decide to watch a much-anticipated film on TV, but I have guests at my house who will not keep their voices down.
27. Trying to throw a scrunched-up ball of paper into a bin, but missing, and having to take the 'walk of shame' to pick it up and place it in the bin properly.
28. When people use "Because." as a reason for doing something. IT'S NOT A FUCKING REASON, UNDERSTOOD?
29. Being able to do something over and over again when by myself, but not being successful when I try to show someone else.
30. When I extend my hand in the hope that someone shakes it, but no-one is paying attention, so I retract my hand and pretend as though I am scratching my nose.
31. Incorrect spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.
32. When I am labeled an egotist for commending myself on something. Modesty is a tad overrated if you ask me.
33. Realising that I am out of ice cubes.
34. Pouring a bowl of cereal, THEN realising that I don't have enough milk for it.
35. People who get their ear/s (or other body parts) pierced because they think it's cool. By all means, if you think there is some artistic purpose behind it, then do it. Otherwise, I don't get the hype.
36. Having a vending machine steal my money.
37. Films with a Hollywood ending.
38. Realising that I have missed a spot after I finish shaving, and having already put away my razor.
39. The quality of late-night free-to-air television.
40. Going to sleep in warm clothes because the weather is freezing, but waking up in those clothes to humid conditions.
41. The perception that the greater number of pages written in an exam equates to greater marks.
42. Spilling food or drink on my clothes. If I am at home, I will immediately change into new clothes, even if it's just a slight speck.
43. Playing Scrabble and having nothing but vowels on my rack.
44. Practically forgetting how to tie a tie after not wearing one in a while.
45. Accidentally biting my tongue.
46. Seeing graffiti on someone's property.
47. How I have Foxtel, but there's hardly anything on it that's worth watching.
48. A cold toilet seat.
49. Losing the lid to a pen.
50. That fact that this blog took far longer to compose than it should have.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


We cannot discard our emotions. A lot of people only tend to notice their emotions when they are at extremes - either at the height of ecstasy, or during complete and utter devastation. We often don't realise that our daily lives are filled with a vast array of emotions. Right now, as I type this blog, I am expressing my enthusiasm to write, both for myself and for others.

The format of this blog is as follows:
On Wikipedia, there is a list of human emotions. I will be listing each of these emotions and their definitions, and next to each one, I will recall a time in my life when I experienced that emotion to a great extent. I will not include experiences where someone has shown a particular emotion towards me. Now, my elaborations on each emotion will be brief, as I have 75 emotions to get through. Never knew there were that many, did you? 

Affection (fond attachment, devotion, or love)It is generally accepted that there are two types of affection. There's the type of affection that a mother shows her newborn child, then there's the affection between two lovers - kissing, hugging, etc. I cannot relate to this emotion very well. I'm afraid I'll have to skip it.
Ambivalence (uncertainty or fluctuation, esp. when caused by inability to make a choice or by a simultaneousdesire to say or do two opposite or conflicting things) - Many of you will gasp at this revelation. Some of you may already know this about me. The truth is that I was originally planning to leave school at the end of Year 10. That's right. It's what my brother did (although his behaviour was not up to scratch, and he didn't care for the academic component of school), and for whatever reason, my mum wanted me to do the same, despite the fact that she knew (and knows) of my capabilities. I was seriously considering it, but within three days of being in Year 10, I changed my mind. I felt that my life would feel somewhat incomplete if I did not continue my schooling. It's a decision that I'll never regret.
Anger (a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire) - What I'm about to recall is not the moment in my life where I've been most angry (I can't think of that time), but it is a moment that I felt angry, nonetheless. It was either late 2005 or early 2006. The location was Fairfield McDonald's, and it was after school on a Thursday. There were a few other guys from my grade there. Anyway, I ordered a large Quarter Pounder Meal, received my food, then grabbed a seat. When I sat down, I realised they had given me a Big Mac instead of a Quarter Pounder. So, I left my fries and drink at my table, and took the burger back to replace it. Meanwhile, some of the other guys from my grade who were there began stealing my fries. I can vividly remember Andre Martino being the main culprit. When I got back to my table and noticed that three-quarters of my fries had been taken, I raged it, thus causing a scene for everyone to see.
Angst (a feeling of dread, anxiety, or anguish) - I used to feel a sense of angst at primary school, whenever it was time for annual swimming lessons. I was never a confident swimmer, and I used to hate being at the pools for those supposedly compulsory lessons. From the moment I received the permission slip, to the moment I took my final stroke, I was feeling rather uneasy.
Annoyance (an unpleasant mental state that is characterised by such effects as irritation and distraction from one's conscious thinking) - Whenever flies buzz around me, or when someone nearby is clicking a pen. Argh!
Anticipation (pleasure in considering some expected or longed-for good event, or irritation at having to wait) - I am gleefully anticipating the end of the HSC! Once it is over, I will no longer feel constricted.
Anxiety (distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune) - The night that I realised I had idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) - a condition caused by a low platelet count. It was just past midnight, and I looked in the mirror to realise that I had broken out in red spots. I had been sick for the whole week with a severe cough. When I realised that I had bleeding gums, I knew that something was wrong. I was scared that I may have had meningococcal disease. I woke my mum up, and within twenty minutes, I was at Fairfield Hospital, and was soon transferred to the Children's Hospital at Westmead, where I stayed the night (but didn't get any sleep). It was one of the scariest nights/mornings of my life. I'll never forget June of 2007.
Apathy (absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement) - Whenever I procrastinate by staring at my computer screen. I don't read anything...I just stare blankly.
Awe (an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime,extremely powerful, or the like) - During the Year 10 History excursion to the Australian War Memorial, I stood on this elevated walkway that joined the gift shop to a part of the museum. There was a strong breeze blowing, and the sky was overcast. I had a perfect view of Parliament House in the distance, and the road that leads to it. For some reason, it inspired the most profound feeling of awe within me. I stood still and soaked up the moment for at least three minutes. I felt like a Romanticist.

Boredom (an emotional state experienced during periods lacking activity or when individuals are uninterested in their surroundings) - The Patrician Brothers Bicentenary Mass in 2008. *Snores*.

Compassion (a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering) - This is somewhat concerning, but I can't think of a moment in my life where I have been truly compassionate. Skipping this one. 
Confusion (loss of orientation sometimes accompanied by disordered consciousness and often memory) - This emotion does not refer to the state of being baffled, or not understanding something. Rather, it refers to 'mental confusion', which I have never experienced. 
Contempt (the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn) - I have contempt for the people who troll my Formspring.  
Contentment (the experience of satisfaction and being at ease in one's situation) - I am content with living in the house that I live in. Sure, it's small, and has quite a few imperfections, but it has been the place I've called home for my whole life, and I have a sentimental attachment to it. 
Courage (the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery) - In kindergarten, my class had to receive injections (for the flu I think). Anyway, I was the only kid who didn't cry whilst getting their needle, and I was rewarded with a jelly bean, or a similar lolly.
Curiosity (the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness) - When I was younger, I always had this burning curiosity to find out what my parents kept in their drawers. It was mostly a bunch of photographs...but one time, I found some condoms: OLD condoms (unused), and another time, I found an erotic novel. Disturbing.

Desire (to wish or long for; crave; want) - As a child, my greatest desire was to have my very own wrestling ring in my backyard. I used to be a huge professional wrestling fan. I never got that ring, but it was something to fantasise about, more than anything.
Disappointment (the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations to manifest) - I was speechless after seeing the Broncos beat the Eels 30-26 in 2008. The scores were level with ten seconds to go until golden point extra time, and then Darren Lockyer put in a deft kick for Denan Kemp to score the winning try.
Disgust (a strong distaste; nausea; loathing) - I find it really repulsive when I see people spit in public.
Doubt (a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something) - I doubt that most TV evangelists believe a word of what they preach.

Ecstasy (a subjective experience of total involvement of the subject, with an object of his or her awareness) - Hmm, this is a tricky one...I'm skipping it.
Embarrassment (an emotional state experienced upon having a socially or professionally unacceptable act or condition witnessed by or revealed to others) - The last time that I pissed my pants at school was in Year 4. That's a bit late to be pissing your pants at school, which is why it was so damn embarrassing for me. It was during English groups, and the whole class knew about it. I had to go and get a spare pair of shorts from the office.
Empathy (the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another) - I empathise with the character Seymour from the movie Ghost World. I see elements of him within myself.
Emptiness (a sense of generalised boredom, social alienation and apathy) - I generally feel empty when I arrive home at the end of a fun and eventful day out.
Enthusiasm (absorbing or controlling possession of the mind by any interest or pursuit; lively interest) - When I was younger (5-6), I had a great passion for reading those Little Golden Books. I could stay in my room all day and read them if I had to. I think that habit led to my interest in language and writing.
Envy (a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.) - I used to envy my brother because he was more popular than me (and still is). More friends, more phone calls, more outings, more recognition. As I've grown up alongside him, I've come to realise that I will have my fair share of popularity...eventually.
Euphoria (a feeling of happiness, confidence, or well-being sometimes exaggerated in pathological states as mania) - I miss that euphoric feeling of waking up on Christmas Day to a stack of presents under the Christmas tree.

Fear (a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid) - My biggest fear is death - the fact that those close to me will someday die, and the fact that I will eventually join them. I don't believe in an afterlife, only eternal unconsciousness. I put it down to my father for making me fear death so much. I still remember him talking to me alone when I was about 9 years old. He told me how much he feared death, and then he began crying, saying "I don't want to die, son." I'll never forget that conversation we had, or the way that it made me feel.
Frustration (the feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals) - It was Year 7, and I was playing Tee Ball for sport on a Thursday afternoon. It was my turn to swing the bat, and because I was rather uncoordinated on that day, I couldn't hit the ball off the tee. After my seventh swing, I still hadn't hit the ball, and was subsequently made to sit down. What made it especially frustrating was the fact that Christian Hernandez was screaming out "UNCO!" every time I missed the ball. 

Gratification (the pleasurable emotional reaction of happiness in response to a fulfillment of a desire or the fulfillment of a goal) - The day that I found the movie Repossessed sitting on a shelf at Big W. It's a rare movie, so it's not often seen in stores. The movie itself is quite bad (it's a spoof of The Exorcist), but I was so intrigued to watch it. When I found it, Marbo and I exploded into a fit of hysterical laughter. We must have looked insane to everyone around us.
Gratitude (a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive) - Whenever I receive positive feedback about my blogs, I am extremely grateful that people take the time to read them.
Grief (keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret) - The day that my grandfather, Peter Rizzo, died. The 27th of September, 2004. There was a phone call, and I knew what it would be about. It was from the hospital; he had passed away. I never got to say goodbye. He was my last living grandparent.
Guilt (a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined) - I feel guilty for putting a friend of mine through so much hurt during Year 10 and Year 11. He knows who he is; I'm sorry.

Happiness (a state of mind or feeling characterised by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy) - I was immensely happy when the Eels defeated the Bulldogs to get to last year's NRL grand final. It sounds superficial, and that's because it kinda is. Being a first-hand witness made it all the more special.
Hatred (the feeling of one who hates; intense dislike or extreme aversion or hostility) - I absolutely LOATHE people who are cruel to animals. 
Homesickness (the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from the specific home environment or attachment objects) - For three consecutive years, I spent a week away with my friend Dean Pisani and his family up at Port Stephens (and one year at Forster). They were good times, but from time to time, I would get a feeling of homesickness. I've never told you this, Dean, but it's the truth.
Hope (the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best) - I am constantly hoping that society will fix itself; that people will realise how insensitive their actions are; that people will stop blindly conforming to the mainstream.
Hostility (a hostile state, condition, or attitude; enmity; antagonism; unfriendliness) - I believe it was Year 3, 2001. It was around the time that you could get those Digimon holograms in chip packets. There was this kid called Anthony Obeid. The two of us had a Frigimon hologram. For some reason, I asked if I could swap my one for his one, all in the name of fun. It wasn't long until I realised that his had a scratch on it. Being a neat freak (which I still am), I couldn't stand this, so I asked to have my original one back, which was in mint condition. The bastard wouldn't give it back. I tried chasing him around the 'paddock', as it was called at my primary school. I caught him, but couldn't retrieve the hologram. It crushed me. I went home and even cried about it. I never got it back.
Humiliation (the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission) - My first serious 'teacher crush' was in Year 3, over Miss Pagano (some of you boys may remember her). Anyway, I unwisely told a few people about my crush on her, and it didn't take long for word to spread. One day, during class, Holly Booker and another girl (possibly Taylor Balk) began making mock invitations for a fictitious wedding between Miss Pagano and I. Anyway, the girls stuck one of the invitations to the whiteboard using magnets. I was fuming. I got out of my seat, went up to the board, and snatched the invitation. I ripped it up in front of the whole class, and yelled at the top of my lungs "LEAVE ME ALONE! STOP DOING THIS TO ME!", or something along those lines. My teacher, Miss Kelly, was worried. She looked at me with a sincere, frozen expression and said "Just calm down Steven; calm down."
Hysteria (an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality, laughter,weeping, etc.) - Hmm, I don't think I can relate to this one. Oh well, on to the next emotion.

Interest (the feeling of a person whose attention, concern, or curiosity is particularly engaged by something) - As a child, I had an obsessive interest in looking under rocks in my backyard. I was always intrigued to see what insects were hiding underneath. 

Jealousy (jealous resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself) - I'm jealous of anyone who was old enough to appreciate or attend Crowded House's Farewell to the World concert in 1996. I'm happy for them, but also slightly jealous. 

Limerence (a cognitive and emotional state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterised by a strong desire for reciprocation of one's feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship) - Oh no, I don't want to talk about this one.
Loneliness (a feeling in which people experience a strong sense of emptiness and solitude) - One time, I got locked in Myer at Liverpool. It was only for about two minutes, then I went to someone who worked there, and they solved my dilemma by leading me out via an alternate exit. Awkward.
Love (a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person) - I have never loved anyone in a romantic sense, but I love my mum, my brother...and even my dad, despite the fact that his love for me hasn't always been evident. I also love Uncle Pete. As for my other relatives, I haven't had enough opportunities to truly appreciate them.

Lust (intense sexual desire or appetite) - Too many times to list. Every time I watch pornography, for one.

Mono no aware (the awareness of 'mujo' or the transience of things and a bittersweet sadness at their passing) - I can't recall a specific moment in my life where I have felt this emotion, but I am definitely aware that all living things will eventually die. It's a depressing thought, but so is eternal life, in a sense. In fact, the very notion of eternity depresses the fuck out of me. 

Nostalgia (a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one's life, to one's home or homeland, or to one's family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time) - I miss the days when my parents were together. I miss the days of sleeping at my grandparents' house on Friday nights. I miss the days when I was content with only a Happy Meal. I miss primary school. I miss the days when my brother had time to hang out with me. My nostalgia will be in full swing this Friday, when I go to the St. Gertrude's Fete. I haven't been in years. Can't wait! 

Optimism (a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and toexpect the most favorable outcome) - Right now, I'm trying to remain optimistic that the Modern History HSC exam will NOT be the death of me.

Panic (a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals) - The split second before I stacked it on a bike whilst riding with Alex, Ralph and Diego. No serious injuries, just a bit of blood.
Patience (the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like) - Whenever I cap my Internet, I must be patient until the first day of the next month.
Passion (any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate) - The English language and cinema.
Pessimism (the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasise only bad or undesirable outcomes, results, conditions, problems, etc.) - I always assume that people don't enjoy interacting with me, even though most people appear to enjoy it, or at least tolerate it.
Pity (sympathetic or kindly sorrow evoked by the suffering, distress, or misfortune of another, often leading one to give relief or aid or to show mercy) - I pity those people who try so hard in life, but are never rewarded for their efforts.
Pride (a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether ascherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.) - I pride myself on being comfortable with deviating from the mainstream.

Rage (a mental state that is one extreme of the intensity spectrum of anger) - When I received my mark for my Visual Arts Body of Work - 28/50. 
Regret (a negative conscious and emotional reaction to personal past acts and behaviors) - I don't have many regrets about events in my life. I slightly regret not taking up a sport when I was younger. It probably would have made my life more interesting.
Remorse (an emotional expression of personal regret felt by a person after he or she has committed an act which they deem to be shameful, hurtful, or violent) - I once removed the wings of a fly, and felt somewhat remorseful after doing it.
Repentance (deep sorrow, compunction, or contrition for a past sin, wrongdoing, or the like) - This emotion is a bit too vague for me. I can't think of any situation in particular. I'll have to skip this one.
Resentment (the experience of a negative emotion felt as a result of a real or imagined wrong done) - I resent people who take the lives of others. Murder is a pathetic act.
Righteous indignation (a reactive emotion of anger over perceived mistreatment, insult, or malice) - When someone keeps doing something to me that is annoying or insulting, and I tell them to stop, but they keep going, I believe that I have the right to be indignant.

Sadness (an emotion characterised by feelings of disadvantage, loss, helplessness, sorrow, and rage) - I am often saddened by things ending. A good movie, a fun day out, a great song, a delicious meal - all of these things end.
Saudade (a feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost) - I often wish that I had a proper family. I miss the days when my parents were together. Sometimes it feels as though my father doesn't exist. I may go as long as two months without making contact with him. Oh, and I miss having grandparents.
Schadenfreude (pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others) - I will admit that I sometimes feel happy when I hear that certain people have failed assessment tasks.
Sehnsucht (a German noun translated as "longing", "yearning" and "craving", or in a wider sense a type of "intensely missing") - This term is almost synonymous with saudade. I won't bother putting something down here.
Self-pity (the psychological state of mind of an individual in perceived adverse situations who has not accepted the situation and does not have the confidence nor ability to cope with it) - All you need to do is read my earlier post: Formspring Trolls + the Notion of Self-pity.

Shame (the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another) - Refer to Guilt. 
Suffering (an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm) - My emotions suffered a lot in Year 10 (see my first ever post to find out why). Physically, I've been on a few strenuous bike rides with my friend Alex. My body really felt the full impact of those. 
Surprise (a brief emotional state experienced as the result of an unexpected significant event) - Scoring the equal second highest result across the grade for this year's half-yearly English exam. I achieved 40/45. 
Suspicion (a cognition of mistrust in which a person doubts the honesty of another person or believes another person to be guilty of some type of wrongdoing or crime, but without sure proof) - I never truly believed in Santa Claus, not even as a child. I used to think "Hmm, wouldn't that constitute trespassing?" and "Reindeer cannot fly or operate a sleigh." I guess I've always been a non-conformist.
Sympathy (a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings) - I sympathise with anyone who is mocked because they believe in something that deviates from the mainstream.

Weltschmerz (the kind of feeling experienced by someone who understands that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind) - Hmm, I guess this emotion is all about the notion of 'wishful thinking'. I do a lot of that.
Wonder (an emotion comparable to surprise that people feel when perceiving something rare or unexpected) - I wonder what would happen if the whole world stayed in bed for a day.
Worry (thoughts and images of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats) - I often worry about the future, and how I will one day realise what life is really like. Life is easy now, but as we get older, our responsibilities increase. We won't always have parents there to guide us. I worry about getting old - that day I look in the mirror and realise "my appearance has changed."

YES! Finally - it's over. Well...writing this blog was a very interesting experience. It made me thoroughly reflect on my life to date. If you have taken the time to read the whole thing, then I commend you.