I was checking my page referrals and I came across some weird search requests. Piss funny, though:
“Keanu Reeves is gay”, “+fish +chip +bitch +pauline”, “boris yeltsin vodka” and “Yeltsin+vodka”.
Saw a couple movies in the past week. Here’s a few quick synopses :
A Perfect Murder – Pretty good plot (few flaws, but anyway) I enjoyed it… but it would’ve been better to borrow it on video rather than see at the cinema :)
Antz – Behind the cute animations this is a distinctly pro-Commie movie. It smacks of socialist ideals and also warns of the vileness of Fascism. Confused? Well it’s a story about Ants, who are roughly divided into Worker and Soldier class, all strictly controlled by the Queen and the General Ant. [Warning – semi-spoiler here] It turns out that the General (General Mandible, he’s called) Ant has a distaste for the Worker class (he thinks they are lazy and so on), and wants to create a new colony based on the much stronger, apparently “better”, Soldier class. So General Mandible sets out to exterminate the Jew… er… Worker Ants. Now all they needed was the cry of “Heil Mandible!” and the parallels would have been complete. They do promote individuality, though (something not fitting with socialism) but I reckon this was just socialist propaganda :) hehe. Enough cynicism – the movie was enjoyable and the animation just awesome. Vocal characterisation was extremely well done, with lotsa big names doing the voices! However, just watch the movie and you won’t even have to search for the politics in it – they will jump straight out at you at the bit where the Workers attempt to stage a revolution, only to be swayed by Mandible’s propaganda. Hmmm now Z (the protagonist ant, played by Woody Allen) reminds me of Trotsky (except that Z returns to the colony :).
FREEEEEDOM!!! Well I’m back with this big-ass update on what’s happened over the past month or so. It hasn’t been awfully exciting, but still it’s been, probably, one of the most important periods in my life (and for everyone else doing the damn HSC). Anyway, I’ll divide up this update into sections and if one starts to bore you, skip to the next.
The Higher School Ceritificate (HSC)
If you’re not from NSW, Australia, you just won’t understand how big a set of examinations this is. For most, this is the be all and end all of future career paths (despite what those feel-good people who say “you can still get where you want to get in life without getting a university degree” – yeah you can but honestly, how much harder is it gonna be?). It’s basically the culmination of 2 years of work (or 13 years of work for Maths and English) condensed into a set of exams that run for a month. Then, making it even worse, your performance is then turned into a single number (from 0.00 to 100.00 in 0.05 increments), which determines what university courses you’re eligible for. Apparently 65,667 people are taking the HSC this year, and that single number is your ranking – it measures the percentage of people you beat in the State.
Anyway, no doubt you’ll realise this was a particularly stressful time. I’m sure you’ve heard about the urban myth of the girl who sat a paper and realised she was stuffed, so she stuck two pencils, sharp end first, up her nostrils and slammed her head down on the desk (sorry for that gory image there, but we were joking about it before the exams just to try to relax – “Damnit girl! You got all this blood over my exam paper!”). When it all finished for me, midway through last week, the high I experienced when I came out of the Chemistry exam was … not drug induced :) Now here’s what I have to say about each exam.
2 Unit General English (Paper 1 – Reading/Writing/Topic Area)
“Anything that resembles the scrotum of the Jolly Green Giant is not meant for the dinner table.”
This is the famous “choko” paper. After the day this exam was held, the Sydney Morning Herald put on the front page “HSC Furore Over the Humble Choko”. What happened was that the comprehension section of this paper was a passage about a choko. However, it turns out that no one knows what a choko is and there were quite a few complaints that were lodged about people of “ethnic origin” (like me) not being exposed to food such as the choko, and thus how they were at a disadvantage. One guy even was reported to have come out of the exam saying “I still don’t know what a choko is.” This is total and utter pathetic bullshit. Here are a few quotations from the passage, and you tell me if you can figure out what a choko is :
“Under the alias of some rather exotic names, the common choko is rising to culinary heights.”
“‘They’re for dinner … I’m doing them with a bechamel sauce.” [bechamel defined in footnote]
“[The choko] is the dullard and the wimp of the vegetable world.”
“An irregularly-ridged, pear-shaped squash … growing on a trailing vine…”
Now they were just four references to what a choko is – there were tons more, and people are trying to say they don’t know what a choko was and therefore can’t answer the passage? Come on! Perhaps that’s why they call it “comprehension”. The rest of the paper was not fantastic, but okay – the writing task was a bit dodgy, however, because it constricted you to writing a letter. The Crossing Boundaries topic area question was a bit limiting, though.
2 Unit General English (Paper 2 – Drama, Poetry, Novel)
“What is the point of poetry?”
Nothing really exciting about this paper. Your ordinary English paper, but the poetry question (above) was quite an open ended one – initially hard for me to plan – but ultimately not a bad one. The novel (Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender – yeah I’m meant to underline titles, but screw that) and the Drama (Diving for Pearls) were pretty standard questions. I didn’t write brilliant essays, but I hope I went well, still.
2 Unit Economics
Quite a tough paper, actually. A friend of mine got a quote in the paper about it – something about the paper being like South Park, and how it required “analytical interpretation” (that is, thought :). Well, the whole state found it hard, so that’s a good thing.
4 Unit Maths
To copy a 4 Unit maths question onto an html page without scanning a picture of the question would be madness, so I won’t bother.
This was the paper of the hardest subject available in the whole HSC, and I had to sit it. Strangely, this year’s paper was, well I won’t say easy, but comparatively easy with regards to past years. So I felt quite good coming out of the exam (been stuffing up maths all year). It wasn’t as traumatic as it could have been. However, it still holds that an average person doing 2 unit maths could not score more than 10 / 120 in this paper :).
3 Unit Economics
Slightly harder than past years, but else, was ok. I neglected one part of a question, so I hope I don’t get penalised too much for it. Damn, eh? It was only a 1.5 hour paper where we had to write two essays.
3 Unit Maths
This paper, apparently wasn’t too tough. However, on this exam and on the day I took it… I just died. Nothing was working out for me and the whole thing turned out to be disastrous for me. But, as the saying that is normally reserved for 4-Unit maths exams goes, “I don’t need luck… I just need scaling!” I hope my 4-Unit will help my overall maths mark.
2 Unit Physics
“It is possible for someone on the ground to see lightning but not hear thunder.”
Stock-standard, but interesting paper. The quotation above is from a question in which they lead you to show how that is true (it’s got to do with refraction of sound), so I guess I learnt something new that day :). I felt I went quite well in it, which was a relief after the big maths stuffup.
2 Unit Chemistry
“Define the term fuel.”
Chemistry was my best subject, and it was quite amusing that just before I went into the exam I asked a few friends “What is a fuel?” Lo and behold, the question appeared! In another coincidence, we have an elderly Chem teacher from Egypt who was telling us about childhood experiences. He told us about how when he was a child, these Egyptian camel drivers (or something) used these special lamps. Inside the lamp case was a rock, and they used to drip water onto the rock, and it produced some sort of gas which could be lit to give a light source. Later, he found out that it was Calcium Carbide they were dripping water on, and it reacted with water to give ethyne gas which could be lit. This question then appeared in the paper :
Ethyne lamps were once used by cavers. The lamps worked by dripping water onto a supply of calcium carbide (CaC2), thereby generating a constant supply of ethyne gas. Light was obtained by igniting the ethyne gas.
I couldn’t believe that when I saw it :). It didn’t help that I knew the story beforehand, but it was a coincidence, nonetheless.
So, that was my HSC. Exciting, stressful and downright torturous. Results come out January 2, but I’ll worry about them later :).