Going KoKo with Projects @ Saturday, March 31, 2012

Not much happened this week, lots of work was due. We possibly failed a project, as we didn't really understand it, the "guidelines" weren't much help. So we just blabbed on about managing businesses and related things, fortunately we both had done a business subject before (the project was done in pairs). It was about new products, in relation to the fast food industry.

Earlier in the week it was winter. At the moment it alternates between winter and spring, though it's meant to be heading towards autumn. We went to KoKo Black for their Belgian Hot Chocolate (5.95) freshly brewed to a traditional Belgian recipe blending full cream milk, cream and 54% dark chocolate. It was lovely, creamy, though not as chocolaty as Lindt's. I think I'll stick with Lindt.

KoKo is located in the Royal Arcade, and at the time they had a gallery with their top 20 finalists for an art competition. The theme seemed to be cute bunny rabbits and "jar of dirt" broken style jars with music notes.  

Blue tint thanks to picnik, auto-correct.

We discovered this wonderful shop of Russian Craft.
They sell Babushkas, though around Easter they do eggs, and ornaments around Xmas.

At some point of the week we also stopped by the Spanish doughnut place, I think I like the glazed ones best.

Thursday, was doomsday the day of our marketing presentation. Concluding our week or organization fail in terms of food, I bought lunch. Spontaneously. Two random bakeries between the station and class. A lovely chicken bun for only 1.90 from bakery a, and a favourite, glutenous sandwiches from bakery b. Glutenous sandwiches, is an asian dessert, sweet green rice with a layer of yellow bean in the middle. It looks something like this but better. Being a rushed and 120% stressful day (I feel stress sick coming on within the next couple weeks) we didn't get pictures of everything. Plus the lighting in the library is epic fail in terms of photography. 

Shopping & Romping in the City @ Sunday, March 25, 2012

With the end of  "summer" or very early start of winter the NFP (not for profit) organizations are hosting their late summer events, and it's a very busy month. Today we were working at the Melbourne City Romp. It's like the amazing race - except family friendly, people dress up, and it's about fundraising rather than winning. In teams of 2-6 people followed clues to locations where they then had to answer a multiple choice question, I heard some where interactive rather in a quiz-y way, though we didn't have any. It goes over 4hrs, and you text your answer (though the system crashed today, fortunately they had plan B).

The City Romp raises funds for research to support the Burnet Institute’s fight against the ‘Big Three’; HIV, TB and malaria. With big three referring to communicable diseases which "can be passed on from the enviro to individual, from one person to another, via insects or physical enviro e.g. water" is and preventable.

Starting at 8.40, we set up, our location was the 1st checkpoint and as a result we had 300+ teams, and saw on average 900 people! It was very busy, till about the last hour. We were located as one of the other girls said in a "wind tunnel" walkway at 'The Dome' @ 333 Collins St, it was so cold... And then at the end of the day, in the afternoon it was so nice and warm, though not at that location. Though could be worse, there were people set up outside, by the river. Our role was to give the teams their question, and answer any questions (mainly technology failure Qs). Also we took turns standing out front to direct teams - a waste of HR, it's better just to stick a bunch of orange (the org's colour) balloons on a tree nearby. 

333 Collins St

It started out as a lame family event, but by the end it was kinda cool - providing that somehow you convinced all your friends to join you, and that they're available (rarely for me). If I'm not working next year, and can make a team we're doing it. :) Oh and there were 1-2 teams we saw that were signed up by their workplace, as a team building exercise.   

I loved the costumes, there was a Smurf team, Star Wars, lots of blue teams, Hawaii, way too many Mexicans with their sombreros, superheros, pirates, the yellow team, and lots more. You can check out the pictures here. Most creative team was the mime girls. Best dressed individual went to a guy who I swear was half giant; he went as a pirate, had a beard and plaited it and had beads. It was amazing. There was a guy who went as Superman (see pictures), he looks so much like someone I know. Maybe it's his slightly younger brother? Most I never thought of that theme, was a theatre troupe that went as the Peter Pan group (Hook, Smee, Peter, Wendy, her brothers, indians & pirates, and of course Tinker Bell).

Groups I was hoping to see: Mystery Inc. (Scooby Doo), Sweeney Todd Couple, Mario/L, Alice in Wonderland Team, Justice Laegue (Marval Superhero, though we had 2x superman + 1x batman) , The Wiggles, The Orginal Pokemon Trio (Ash, Misty, Brock). Though we did see an attempt at Team Rocket :).  

At some point it cold enough to get hot chocolate. When it comes to hot chocolate, I don't like the usual watery taste, and prefer milk. Conveniently we were near both Lindt & KoKo. I had Lindt's Milk Chocolate ($5.25 TA or $7), it was sweet and milky, and wonderful! Another blogger says "It is Lindt chocolate, and so tastes like chocolate rather than sugary milk". Interestingly one of the other girls at our location also went for a hot chocolate later on, and for the same price received a smaller size. :(

For lunch we received lunch boxes ^^ I love lunch boxes XD, containing water, a red apple, an apple crumble "cupcake?" and a wrap. Does deli shredded chicken and strawberry jam go together? O.o It does! It was surprisingly good, with the odd combo. Though Ad says it's like our turkey and cranberry sauce.

After the event, and packing up we went to the main area, which was the picnic area, on the side of the Yarra. Sandy, but with lovely green hills and... portaloo (scary). I think Nandos is a sponsor? and they gave all of us a free snack meal, a drink, chips and a mini burger. The chips were slightly better than KFC, though of the same 'hot chips' style (3.95), Grill'd is still the best. :) I'm not if it was me or Nandos, but my burger fell apart in its box. Pequeno Mini Burger (4.95) Lettuce, tomato, sauce and chicken, as always I opt for lemon & herb. It was nice, I do like it, but don't really see it something I would buy.

Mimco is having a 20% off sale and we could resist, getting a few headbands. With their $50 free gift cards with MC a few weeks ago, a birthday bonus (O.o, my birthday isn't for several months) and a random unknown $50 gift; I bought four headbands. Two last time and two today. Mimco's headbands are $$$ at $30-60 each, but they're great quality, and can be worn for the whole day, as they don't hurt your head. I got the Gypsy (last season) and the Capulet (new).

A Day with K @ Saturday, March 24, 2012

On Saturday, we had training at Oxfam all morning. On what the org does, we studied Oxfam last year, and it was interesting. Like most charities, they're international with a focus on the Asia-pacific region and Africa, and raise funds to help others. Though they spend 30% on emergency aid (food, water, shelter) for natural disasters & wars, and the rest is about helping them help themselves - sustainability! I could write a massive paragraph on it :P An example is giving someone in India a cow, which then will provide milk to keep/sell and manure (fertilizer). And after a while they won't need support, and would donate a calf to the org, which then will help others. 

After training we meet up with Kimiko (who wants a name change, not sure what her new name is yet...) to go shopping at South Wharf, next to the new Hilton. There was a bookshop, but we decided not to stop there, as we both wouldn't leave till they closed :P. We stopped by a range of stores. At cotton on she bought a few tops, while I got a package of bits and pieces (for craft projects) of earrings for $2. I love buying broken jewelery, as it's always cheap (except at FN) and you can create something new.

On our way to the mall, we passed a girl wearing a Gingerbread man costume :P
They were promoting English classes associated with some religious group.

Our main stop was Bras n' Things, where K endured waiting for me to try on at least ten things. They were having a sale, that was only updated on Wednesday. For $38 I got 11 items: a Playboy bikini, x2 bikini bottoms (one skirt), red xmas cami, x2 xmas hat (green & red), pink/bk cam, witch set (wand/headband/feather), x2 fishnet stockings (b/w) and white stockings. Most items were $2-3 with two being $7 and the bikini was $10. I love the xmas set, though it really has no use, and I would wear it only a couple times, and didn't get it.

After going to a few more shops, getting wooden letters at Typo, xmas deco at Witchery, $10 skirts & a lovely lace/cream handbag for K from Portmans, and tops at La Senza they have my size! My top size is quite rare, and BnT simply don't stock it. At the moment, if you sign up for membership you get a $20 voucher, no min spend required. 

We only left because the shops were closing at 6pm, next stop dinner. Saturday night requires bookings. In the mood for dumplings we went to Hutong Dumpling Bar, but the dish I wanted wasn't available for TA. Flower Drum across the lane was also full. We were about to give up and just go to Gill'd when we spotted Wonton House. Service was good, cash only as always. 

K ordered a hot lemon drink, and 'Beef & Vegetable w/Noodle' ($9.80). She didn't like it, as it was pre-seasoned and too salty. The noodle was interesting, while I had egg noodle, she got flat rice noddle (the type used in pho). Noodle Guide. K said it was odd, and egg noddle would have been preferred. Another issue with the noodles was that it was cut too short, and as a result very slippery and hard to pick up with chop sticks.   

Meanwhile I had the Prawn Dumplings (3 for $5.50), the inside was lovely, sadly the same can't be said for the outside. It was too thick and mushy at the seam. Horrible. We'll be back - but not for dumplings.

As the main dish I had the 'Fish Ball Noodle Soup' $9.20, yellow egg noodles, fish cake (4-5 pieces) 8 fish balls and some veggies. The soup was very nice. Highly recommended. :) Though I burnt my tongue... and it hasn't recovered yet, my sense of taste is greatly reduced. Wonton House is a franchise, two in the city and one at the end of the line where a friend lives. 

On our way home, we stopped at the supermarket. Charlie's Lemonade (my fav picnic/summer drink) for me, and a garden salad for Kimiko. The salad was interesting, it was in a container (like their cookies) and everything was in it's own package, so you had the DIY element.    

P.S Whenever I'm having lunch/dinner with Kimiko, she's the one taking the pictures - that or we're using her phone to take them.

Free Chocolate! @ Saturday, March 24, 2012

Week 4, 2 projects submitted, completely forgot about a picture that was worth 5% of one, till hours after the closing time. Sick on Thursday, though we made it for the project task, on products, and all that jazz, with our focus on the fast food industry. Lost & Confused, and mr market is very friendly, I don't quite think he gets it. We received a set of guidelines, read: things to include, though it wasn't particularly helpful. It's due on Thursday, and at this point we're working on structure. My partner, S, and I also live pretty much on the opposites sides, with me in the South and him the West.

Missed a test, messaged mr padington (no that's not his real name, but the subject is two words, hence odd as a name) and he hasn't replied, and isn't going to. He said last time not to email him, because then he has to reply :P, can't believe we're actually paying for an education! Fortunately they're not all like him.

Highlight of the Week: online shopping at Bras n' Things, a visit to Darrell Lea (a candy shop, mainly sells licorice and chocolate). They're giving out free chocolate, 20 small caramel filled Easter eggs, these ones. Just print this and bring it to one of their stores, there's one in the CBD. Don't forget to print/send some for your friends. :)

 More pictures coming soon, in a week or two.  

Footscray Rickshaw Run @ Monday, March 19, 2012

Coffee at Flinders, spontaneous choice: Hot Chocolate from the Spanish Doughnut place. Wrong choice, though their coffee is horrid and too watery, their hot chocolates are a different story. I ordered a caramel hot chocolate and received a hot chocolate custard "drink" with caramel flavouring from the bottom half. It was so thick and sweetly sick that I couldn't finish it. $5 wasted. If I wanted custard I'd go to the supermarket and get a litre for $3. 

Arriving at 10.45 (I left half an hour for getting lost/distracted time), I was the first to arrive at the Rickshaw Run site. The crew was taking out the rickshaws from big blue shipping containers, some drilling and assembling happened. The rest of the "volunteers" (the college signed us up) soon arrived, wearing pink hats and signed in. We helped set up bar tables (which where heavier than they looked!) and I almost knocked over a few in the container, and then marquees, 4 corners, you grab one corner each and pull - just hope it's not a windy day :P. We were then given highlighter yellow vests (the ones that construction workers wear) to wear, and given a quick brief, 20mins at each place, tell them when there's 5mins to go.

The team leaders then dropped us off at our locations, I was stationed at stop no.3, Hao Phong, armed with a clipboard (for security, I like my props) and a walkie talkie (that worked half the time), we had almost an hour to kill - though couldn't actually leave the location. Plus my purse was in the shipping container, so I couldn't go to the bakery a few doors down.

Fast forward to an hour later, and I have asked a waiter how to say the name of the restaurant twice, pronounced as "how pho-ong", (the 2nd part mightn't be right), and come to the conclusion that service at this place depends on who you get, and like all yum cha places - if you don't speak their language, don't expect service. Plus when you're eating asian food, you're there for the cheap food - not service. 

The first lot of rickshaws passed by, and disappeared around the corner. I completely freak out that they missed the stop. A few texts and calls later, and it was confirmed to be a test run. About 15mins later the first group arrive, I escort them to their table, get the sauce plates, pour the tea and suggest the sauces that should accompany the pho. A Vietnamese noodle soup, served with beef/chicken, and Asian basil, mint leaves, lime, and bean sprouts. 

After 15mins I inform them there's 5mins to go, the Rickshaws with the next group of 8 arrive and they leave, as the next group enters. Repeat 4 times. After the first round we gave up on the sauce plates, the eatery was quite popular and slightly understaffed for this event, and as a result they didn't offer tea to the party - which I took on the initiative, and also set out the tea cups for each party after the first. After pouring tea, I was meant to hang around outside, as a marker for the rickshaws, where they were to stop. Everyone was quite friendly, minus the incident where the toddler broke a tea cup, and the woman at the counter being unfriendly occasionally - she did hand me the tea thermos before I asked once. I found the first group, made up of older Australians slightly snobby though, the other groups were nicer.

After the last group left we headed back to the main site, collected our bags and were given raffle tickets to claim lunch, at Pho Tam. I made the mistake of not ordering pho, because that was clearly the specialty of that place - but I didn't realize it at the time, and thought it was the name of a person rather than the dish. I ordered crispy chicken with fried rice (fried rice, crispy skin fried chicken, salad, colestraw with side soup) and a custard apple smoothie as take away, as I was running late for my next appointment. Oh and found out you don't get the colestraw with side soup, if you get take away. Epic fail - especially since they had a picture of it on the menu. Service was minimal as expected and usual (remember: here for the food, not service), and our waitress got distracted half way through the order, showing other customers to their table. Oh and they ran out of plastic (TA) cutlery too, so I bought a packet of 20 forks from the supermarket. We won't be back.

The "crispy" chicken presented with orange rice, a small container of chili fish sauce and a packet of a few slices of veggies. The chicken wasn't exactly crispy, and to me it tasted like yesterday's chicken reheated. The supermarket's deli chicken are much much nice - and you can be guaranteed they're fresh. I liked the custard apple drink, but unfortunately it tasted as artificial as Boost, or perhaps even more so. 

Overall the experience of volunteering with the Footscray Rickshaw Run was interesting, not something I'd do again - but it's not the worst voluntary experience, that was the going around asking people for donations at the mall, borderline harassment (not my idea). It was a bit stressful though, as I only found out about it on the day, unlike with MS where they send you info, where/when to meet and exactly what you're doing (in dot points) and a Q&As sheet.

Oh and the Rickshaw Run is part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Not a fun ride, like the name suggests. It's $70-ish per a person for a food tour of Vietnamese food in Footscray, and you travel in a rickshaw (think horse and cart, but with humans pulling it, and the cart is made for two) from each stop. At each stop you'll served a classic/popular Vietnamese dish. The best stop is the bit where you get to make Summer Rolls.

Stops & Food:
D&K Live Seafood - oysters (alive, hope you swallow :P)
Little Saigon - fruit market
Sen (74-76 Nicholson Street) - DIY rice paper rolls (summer rolls)
Hao Phong - pho (noodle soup)
Sapa Hills - bun cha Ha Noi (Hanoi Style Vermicelli with Grilled Pork)
Dong Que - traditional VN spring rolls (blend of minced pork, black fungus, bean thread noodles
in wheat wrappers)
Pho Tam - your choice of sweet drink (they recommend one of the iced coffees)

I've just realized something. What happened to dessert?! A friend says that they don't do dessert, instead they have the fresh fruit from the market as dessert.

P.S. Here's a review of the event by Andrew Turner, perspective of another volunteer. And one from Lauren, Ms Baklover.

An hour and a bit later I find myself at a church. I've been here a few time before, but it was always full of people and you don't see much of the architecture. It's amazing though, and was styled with the Gothic transition era. There were a few tourists, a few in prayer and a teenage couple a few pews in front of me - eating each other's faces. I feel odd going to church, it's not that shivery feeling you get watching scary movies at night, but it's something.

As a result of not turning up to dinner & the play on Friday, with the excuse that he fell asleep, we planned to meet today. And of course he doesn't turn up, and doesn't text/call either. I carry on as always, and make a trip to Chapel st for some frozen yogurt. YoBar, is a new yogurt bar, a new trend replacing the ice cream parlours, as we become more health conscious. 99% fat free, though no mention of sugar. :P
1. We start with a size: s/m/l,
2. Pick a base: vanilla, choc, strawberry, lemon.
3. Add some sauce: choc/caramel/*forgot the other one...*
4. And last of all add topping from a range of candy, fruit, and breakfast cereals. (70c each)

I had with a medium vanilla with caramel sauce and crushed tim tams. It was lovely. And costs $1.70 ($1 for the deal) and 70c for each topping. Though the caramel sauce was too liquidly, as if the sugar and other parts of it have separated like oil & water in the bottle. The range of topping was quite nice. They had strawberry, kiwi, mango, canned lychee, dried blueberries O.o, oreos (warning: made in china), coco pops, rasp/white choc candy, tim tams, rainbow sprinkles and a few other things.

It's nice, but with only one location and not very convenient locating, we'd rarely go there. Though still with two vouchers left we'll be pack. Do try it if you happen to be on Chapel st sometime, they're open till 11pm.

Freud's Banana @ Sunday, March 18, 2012

Freud suggested that all such objects have phallic implications. - To see bananas in your dream, may be a metaphor for repressed sexual urges and desires. It is a phallic symbol and represents masculine sexuality.

What about if you're cooking with them? :P Further sexual repression? Can it not be that sometimes a banana is just a banana? I dreamt I was in the office kitchen, it was daylight, with the sun streaming through the windows on the 25th floor, and I was alone. The dinning table in the center of the room was the one from our meeting rooms, a large rectangular polished cherry wood, and on it were a range of ingredients, vanilla wafers, whipped cream, banana and a range of other foods. I found myself making a pudding of some sort. It was perfect, just as I was about to take a bite, the door bell rang - and I woke up. And now I feel like making Caramelized Banana Pudding with layers of vanilla wafers, pudding, whipped cream and bananas, Manzano Bananas my favourite.

Title Required @ Saturday, March 17, 2012

Another stressful week, first wave of tests/projects due next week, Qs for eco, some sort of reflection for PD, a test for marketing and another reflection for events. None, other than the Qs, of which I know what to do. Seeing the careers lady next week hopefully for a mid-yr college transfer.

Being super busy/tired we've been getting quite a bit of take away this week, vegan food on wed, pizza on thurs and fish&chips on fri. On Wednesday for lunch instead of the usual (subway & breadtop) we decided to be spontaneous and pick a random business card from my bag, we picked Crossways, an all you can eat for $5.50 (students) or $7.50, add 50c for t/a. CW is a small little eatery, upstairs, with a setting as some would describe a school diner hall, where the walls are bare of an deco & the lighting is set to warm. On a very hot day, the smell of Indian food in a room with little ventilation was overwhelming, and we opted for take-away. 

CW has a set menu, where they serve only a certain food (always served with rice & pappadums) & dessert. Wednesday was Chickpea/Spinich Subji & Jasmine Rice (+ pappadums) & Cherry Halava. The rice dish was filling & so very healthy, though it was a bit much for me, and I didn't finish it. I believe there are two types of people when it comes to mains: carb & protein. With the ratio of 1:3, some prefer more meat, others more carbs (rice/bread/pasta), I'm a carb person. This dish was 2/3 lentils. Pappadums, are thin, lentil crackers normally served as an appetizer with chutney, pickles, dips and salads, or as a bread to accompany an Indian curry. Fascinating, too salty when served with the lentil, but nice with the rice, as it was salty.

I love dessert, though perhaps not this time. My first attempt at Halava. What is it? I think it's a rice-y pudding, served with custard. Loved the custard as always :P, though the pudding was a bit scary, rice for me isn't a dessert thing, especially when it sponges up a liquid. CW is an interesting concept, I would recommend you try it, though check out the menu first.

On Thursday I picked up the wrong lunchbox, and got an omelette sandwich full of onion. Not a problem as I was too exhausted/stressed to eat anyway. We were assigned our first project for PD, a reflection on group work. Hmm... what am I meant to write? That we fail at group work due to language difficulties? And watching people get into groups was very amusing? For the groups we had to have half girls/boys, a different range of areas (e.g. accounting) and at least one asian bilingual person. Everyone quickly formed groups and it was a race to get the asians who spoke english without an accent. XD I got into the accountants group (everyone is good at maths we'll assume :P) we all speak english, some better than others. The problem with working/communicating with asian internationals is that they often don't do much work (not entirely their fault) as they don't understand. Contribution levels are also low, as they don't talk to us very much, or if they do we often don't understand them. It was quite assuming when you see people searching for another word for asian XD, this week the teacher chose "international" excluding me :P.

At college they have three types of food: packaged (e.g. chips), asian (pick a number) and a bakery. Limited choices. Though this week I discovered a small supermarket down the road, next to a McD and two pizza places (one being Pizza Hut, the other one of those $20 gourmet pizza places). We went for Pizza Hut, the local one is amazing, this place was decent but not as good. Mia Cheese was ordered, I love cheese. :)

Friday. Crashed from exhaustion/stress, considering transferring. Got up in the afternoon, still exhausted (proof: too tired to watch 3/4 of the shows I normally watch). Went for dinner at the Pancake place, and ordered "Barramundi with Cottage Fries" as part of their early dinner menu. The Pancake Palour is a bit on the $$ side, and for $10 you don't get much. Deep fried fish (think fish&chips) + small potato pancake with home-made tartare sauce served with cottage potatoes, sour cream and spring onions. The tartare sauce was lovely. The cottage potatoes were interesting, half were wedges, deep fried, while the other half was baked potatoes, the type you have with steak. It was nice, though very oily. Next time I'd rather go to a real fish&chip joint though. Oh and despite its fancy name "Barramundi with Cottage Fries", on the bill it was listed as "Fish&Chips"...

After dinner we (I, as jas never turned up, nor called/texted) went for a walk, and missed half a play. Mr Director, decided to change the time though only informed cast & their family/friends, not anyone who bought tickets online though! The Tempest, was good, though I was a bit lost, arriving half way through.

It didn't matter (that much) that jas didn't turn up, it's happened a few time before (e.g. thought the event was the week after) I just carry on with the plans, though I would prefer 24hr notice if you aren't going to turn up, and to text if you're more than 15 minutes late.

Grill'd with H @ Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Recently" (a few months ago) a Grill'd opened up near us, and they sent out postcards, offering a 2-for-1 deal on their burgers/sandwiches/salads, being a fan of Grill'd I found ourselves there yesterday for dinner with H. At the counter we were offered the choice of a panini (white sourdough) or “traditional” wholemeal blend bun, not being a fan of sourdough (to me it tastes off) I went for the wholemeal. My first few experiences with Grill'd were their kid's meal after debating (Grill'd being the closest source of food, and conveniently on the other side of the street, less than a mile away), I tried the beef and the chicken burgers. Though both amazing, I prefer the beef (more iron). This time I ordered 'Simon Says' without Bacon. While H opted for something a bit lighter, in the form of a Chicken Caesar Salad.

"Grilled chicken breast, avocado, salad, relish & herbed mayo."

The chicken was perfect (though it's not as hard to cook as beef - for me anyway), there wasn't much avocado sadly, and it was a spread as oppose to slices. The salad consisted of onion, a few slices of freshly cut tomato and 2 massive leaves. I didn't enjoy the leafy greens, as I hate midribs (the stem-ish, hard middle part of a leaf). I have trypophobia, so perhaps looking at it under a microscope wasn't such a good idea... The burger was very nice, though I'd like to try something else next time. For the price of $12, it's a bit pricey for fast-ish food, but perhaps it's better as a treat now and then again.

Unless you're going to Grill'd just to get a salad, which is like going to McD and not getting fries :P you have to get the chips. Grill'd makes the most amazing hot chips, they're crispy and not oily on the outside, and fluffy and light on the inside. "...seasoned with salt, perfumed with rosemary..." - considerthesauce.net. This being the 2nd time H's being to Grill'd we ordered two sauces, Tomato Relish & Sweet Chilli Mayo, for 70c each. The mayo was amazing as always, unfortunately the relish was really just tomato with chunks in it. And on the counter they have bottles of free tomato sauce, like Nandos. Won't be getting that again.

"Grilled chicken breast, crispy trim bacon, free range egg,
Parmesan, baby cos, dressing & croutons."

H enjoyed his salad, the egg being nicely done, not overcooked and rubbery. For $12.50 it was decent, like the chicken to salad ratio, though he says it would have been nice to have more chicken. It was interesting that the croutons came as a mini loaf rather than small pieces, though in this version it does look more visually appealing.

As the amazing picnik (which I wished came as a program on a cd) is closing down and we're migrating to Google+ picture editor, we're trying to make the best of out time left with picnik. So that might explain a few more pictures than usual.

If you have any suggestions for an easy to use photo editing program, I'd love to know *pokes cbox*.
The features I normally use are:
- resize
- crop (though I do this half the time on the MS img editor)
- adjust lighting (dark/brighten)
- sharpen
- add text with different fonts/colours (and be able to move it around, unlike in paint)
- add borders (rounded edges)
- has collages (2+ imgs in a grid)

Week 2 & Still Lost & Confused @ Saturday, March 10, 2012

Week 2 of the new college, and we're finalizing timetables, I think the program for it becomes view only on wed/thu this week! Moved Monday's class to Wednesday night, so that we only have to be there 3 days instead of four, with one just being an hour class. Ms Monday is very cool and open (something that would have gotten her in lots of trouble, if anyone told at my last college), but traveling for 3hrs for an hour class isn't very time/cost efficient. Plus she's a bit lost on what we're meant to do too - not her fault, nothing's very clear for anyone it seems. Not around here anyway...

On Monday for afternoon tea, instead of going for Cupcakes, as I had planned to bake that week, we decided to get... Milk XD. Oak's Vanilla Malt Flavoured Milk. It is the best vanilla milk you can get (at the supermarket anyway). My first encounter with it was about a year ago, at work, a jerk "in front" of me had pushed in front at the caf and bought the last pasta dish, and I ended up getting a burger from Grill'd, and so it came my turn to be served, and I had no idea what to get. Spontaneously I decided to get Vanilla Milk, it came in a 300ml-ish bottle and I've been getting it ever since. Fast forward a year later to Monday night, I bought Oak's Vanilla Malt. It was wonderful as always... until I got very sick from it, food poisoning I think. 

Wednesday, met M (psych class) to do some work, and went for lunch at Peko (again). She had the sweet n' sour peko box while I ordered the honey chicken. It was amazing as always ^^, this time the salad came in the form of green beans. I love love love their carrot & pumpkin spring rolls ^^, it's a shame that they don't offer a platter of them as an entree. For drinks, before we got there I got Big M Choc Honeycomb Twist ($1 promo from 7 Eleven), one of their limited editions. And once again got food poisoning from milk. In defence Oak & Big M were bought at different stores on different days, though the stores were on the same block/area, if you don't count the lane way in between.

"Take what you need... and leave..."
The art & deco at Peko Peko is interesting, black humour I think.
It's all done/designed by the guy who looks like an artist, who works there. 

In the afternoon we had the eco lec, by my fav lecturer, he doesn't have an accent :) (a very rare species around here it seems). Awk moment where I leave, (apparently only awks because he knows my name - I think) to go outside and throw up. I think I missed quite a lot, though it didn't seem that long. Bought two more textbooks, only two to go. For marketing you either get the textbook or ebook, not both :(. And with the ebook it's attached to your IP, so only your home computers can access it. And you can't bring it to class on your laptop - unless you live on campus.

Attempt no.2 at the college caf, mocha with two brown sugars. I got white. They don't do brown sugar I was informed, it costs more = less profits. This is stupid, I seriously need to find a good coffee place in the area soon. Coffee is for long days (9am - 7pm), and it takes about an hour to go to the city and back, and it all depends on train/bus times. The service was better :), I asked for a warm mocha, unfortunately that rude man was still there, though at the till rather than at the machine. It's very disappointing that the service here is just ok or na, like most asian places. They also don't smile. 

Monday's class was moved to Wednesday, ms monday was replaced by a guy - name unknown. He's one of those no nonsense teachers, no one's favourite - but he's good at what he does. In class we go over the lec stuff, rather than discussing homework questions. Oh, and he's scary. Work is to be submitted, with double space, certain font/size with certain boarders. And one question per page. My answer is a sentence, what a waste of 10c. 

Thursday was traumatic. Curiously I thought I was going to have an attack and it happened... Arriving at 2.15pm, I was early for the 2nd half of the day. Consumer stuff, I love this stuff ^^, I once found a blog on it. What I didn't love was the lecturer. Isn't it funny how when making a mean (but sometimes true) comment about someone we use the sand which approach? Honestly I got bored, didn't understand and fell asleep. A lady in my class who was also at the lecture, said that speaker, had an accent and spoke in slabs, punctuation failure. I didn't notice that, only that she was heavily accented and I was lost. 

At some point before Wednesday a package from the UK arrived :).

Friday. Still traumatized, missed both classes, including orientation... Tried to message the tutor, but it appears to be one of those one way addresses. Went to the library to make more notes, from Thursday. And went shopping. At first I got lost, because I wrote at off at stop x, but thought it was x street. Asked some construction workers for directions and ended up at a 18+ adult book store in the basement. A second look at the map, and it was on Eliz st XD. Wrong street.

Dirt Cheap Books. Dirt ain't cheap when you're landscaping :P. It's more like $20 a bag. In recent times the two major store under the book market have closed down/gone online: Boarders & A&R. Only Dymocks is left. When the stores close down they then sell their books to warehouses. Dirt Cheap Books is one of those warehouse bookstore chains. Most books go for $5. Though today they're going out business too! And then there was one: allbooks4less. In an economy when one loses, others benefit. They have books with 50% off the already cheap/discount prices! People die when they go book shopping with me XD, books for me is like shoes to other girls. The boys end up waiting at cafes, while I check out every book in the store. 2hrs later I bought 7 books for $20 :). They were all $2.50-$3 each. One is trashy so I won't post it, though it will be very amusing as a gift to a certain someone ;).


Missed Glee on Friday (was at the library), watched it online and I realized something. In the first episode Rachel shows a picture of her dads, one of African American and the other has glasses. But then in the last episode, the V'day one, her dads look older and are completely different. Producers failed to think ahead :P.

Tingling Tensions @ Thursday, March 08, 2012

The air is stuffy even though it wasn't hot, it's almost disappearing, the air, there's not enough air in here! Tingles in my hands and face, dizzy, my heart is racing, she's laughing at me! everyone's watching... I think I yelled at her. Or maybe I just screamed. The button on the door turns green and beeps, and I grab my bag and bolt out the door, not knowing where I am, or caring, I just needed to get out of there. Almost as soon as I'm out the door, on the platform, I collapse against the fence hysterically crying, unable to stand, while the other commuters ignore me or edge away. 

It all happened so fast, I don't really remember what happened exactly. I suppose I'm lucky to be alive, the last time I had a panic attack I passed out, though that time it was on stage (in the wings) and not anywhere near a train. It's not very clear what happened. I was cleaning my glasses (didn't have time for contacts this morning), and I put them on the seat opposite me. Blank. The next moment a sz16/18 dark haired woman in a black pant suit with big black (round?) sunglasses, was sitting on the glasses, though I didn't notice, and nor did she (O.o, you'd think if you sat on something that wasn't flat you'd realize right?) till I looked everyone and couldn't find them - and then realize she was on them. I got them back somehow. Called someone for the closest optometrist, as the frame was bent. I told the person on the phone that a woman had sat on the glasses, and the woman yells at me, for putting my glasses on the seat in the beginning (it wasn't a peak hour train!). I resist the temptation to slap her, or comment on her size (no offence to anyone of that size, it was just that one woman, driving me crazy) I was close to losing it. I got off the phone. Put on some hand cream, in a psychotic manner, I tried to stop, but couldn't, and it just got worse. 

Somehow I managed to stop crying, and breathe. And I notice that one of the lenses on my glasses is missing, a lady nearby helps me look for it on the platform, but it's not there. The train arrives, I'm ok I think, but not enough to carry on and go to class. Not now that my glasses are broken and I feel like I'm crazy. I think the lens is either still on the train, or on the railway. At the main station the station master helps me find the train, while a paramedic asks me questions and checks my breathing. They found the train and stopped it, the carriage was searched, but they couldn't find the lens. 

Without my glasses/contacts I can't see, instead of going to class I made the 1.5hr trip back to get my contacts. I felt a lot better not being surrounded by people and lots of noises. Crashed, and had a nap. And that was half of Thursdays, leaving at 7.15am, and arriving at college at 2.30pm. With a total of almost 6hrs spent on traveling/at the station wait for the bus.

The 2nd half of Thursday will be in the week recap post - sorry about the order.

Today we spent 3hrs traveling for a one hour class in which we discussed two questions, one of which still confuses me. Originally I also had a lecture on today, but I changed classes (the guy had an accent). I'd change the other class, for a better time/day, but then I might get a tutor I don't understand.

The first question today we discussed was about the incentive the government is suggesting, where high performance teachers be rewarded. Two were for it (including the guy on my right) and the rest were right-fully against it. If teachers were offered this reward then there would be more people who'd choose the career for the wrong reason, thinking that they could be the best in that subject, I can certainly name a few people like this. But the thing is, people who choose to become teachers do so because it's what they want, to be a mentor to kids (in some cases) and be a good influence on them, and to hopefully be remembered as an awesome/fabulous teacher. If you're in it for the money you're weird, seriously another degree that takes the same time could get you earning much more. Though if we were in it for the money, we'd all be accountants.  

Along the way we defined what a high performance teacher was and how it would be measured - the complete topic's link to economics is unknown -, and promotions. Last yr mr health got promoted, and we all know why he got it, exp (lots of it, I swear he's older than he looks, he's not even old, he's more young-ish), he's very dedicated (even though he has a life and family) and spends a lot of time helping kids; and it does help to be that person everyone like. -There is a relevant point here - It was not about hours spent on admin. and research.

To be promoted at this college, it's all about admin & research hours. Time spent helping kids out of class is called "consultation hours" and are often very limited. What if you have a lecture/another class on at that time? Email it I suppose... Tutors here are in fact aren't rewarded or gain any sort of points towards a promotion, and this in a way is discouraging them from helping the kids out of these hours. And with an emphasis on "self-learning" no wonder not many are understanding anything and as a result failing. And what makes it even worse for this subject, if that it used to run for a year, but now partially due to lack of funding it has been crammed into half the time, but still with the same amount of work.   

One Stormy Carnival @ Saturday, March 03, 2012

Sorry for the lack of posts, figured that when I have free time I should start creating posts that don't need to be time lined for auto-post while I'm away working/traveling, which has been a lot this past week.

Things to look forwards to:
  • Five $5 Eats in the CBD
  • Book Review - Consumed by Caroline Hamilton
  • Book Review - The Mistress by Martine McCutcheon
  • A Guide on Buying Books for College
Monday started with a lecture on economics, I didn't understand it, or rather the lecturer's accent and soon started daydreaming, I might have also fallen asleep at some point like some of the other people around me. Being at one of the top 11 exclusive private colleges means that they hire only the best (actually I can name one person who is just average), and the people who are selected are selected for more than just their qualifications. If you have a particular accent that could be just why you weren't hired. It's not discrimination, it's just that we have difficulty, or at least brain lag when you speak. Don't take it personal. 

At lunch they had a carnival thing on, with free popcorn, churros, cotton candy. Unfortunately they didn't have the clown that made balloon animals around. We had the class for eco after lunch, the tutor, was fascinating and very open - she's Australian, had 5 piercings in one ear, short hair and recommended the best coffee shop in town. 

Yes that is popcorn on the side.

My next class was on Wednesday, eco repeat. This time the goal was not to fall asleep, that did go well, I even did some notes - and this time I knew to bring the slides. It did help a lot that it was a different lecturer, no accent.  

Thursday, early start. An hour late, when it's stormy the trains run late up to 20mins, but the buses don't run late - and they come every 30mins. PD, what's is the point of this class? The first class was like networking. We got partnered up randomly and I was with a boy from China, and got bit and pieces of what he was saying. I don't understand accents. First I first arrived, the teacher introduces me "This is Charlotte, from Canada" and I'm like O.o. It was like that moment in Mean Girls, except that being Caucasian I could have come from any English speaking, caucasian as a majority country. I'm not from Canada nor have ever been there. I'm American.

After lunch on level 3, which turned out to be ground level, when you see it from the street (this college is in an interesting location, in the side of a hill), we had Marketing. I'm starting to notice something. Sasha, that girl in my first class is in all my lectures O.O and makes it a point to challenge me each time. It's actively competitive around here with some people. Marketing is my favorite subject this week, and I spent 4hrs doing notes. Another accented lecturer, but he's slightly better than the other one. The problem is that when I get what he's just said he's moved on, due to my brain lag in translation.

Everyone loves Fridays, but I love them for another reason. Computers. I don't bring my laptop to classes, it weighs too much and costs way too much. The library has many computers, and they take booking a week in advance. On Fridays after lunch no one's in the library, and you can book 'em for up to 6hrs. Slept in and missed events, and they let everyone out an hour early. Though the class was still on, though now it might be cancelled. As there's 4 of us, and apparently it's not worth running a class for four. Being the last class of the day we were the last to pick time slots for an activity, and as a result I'm probably going to fail. There's morning and night, and I can't do night w/o an escort, for safety reasons. 3/4 of the class wants to be a wedding planner (the one being a boy) the competition is so intense you can feel it. Fortunately I'm not in the 2nd class where 22 girls want to be wedding planners. There's so much competition, it's like a clash between the amazing race and survivor with the bitchy-ness of Four Weddings.

We had coffee on campus today, finally summoned the courage to do it XD. The place I always go to for coffee is sadly on the other side of town now and 2hrs away. Vittoria Coffee, it was decent, nothing special - till the end where you get all the sugar. Service was na like most cheap asian eatteries - the deal is you don't speak their language, they don't speak yours, or if they do speak English it's very little. Though the coffee here is better than the Spanish Doughnut ones at the station.

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