Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Sniffles

So I'm in a Naval lecture, and have been for the last 40 minutes or so. And the guy two seets away from me has the sniffles.

I'm not talking occasional innocuous sniffs, which a good proportion of the class are engaging in on occasion. I'm talking big, loud, long sniffling. The sort with the lower harmonic of the pharynx getting involved.

The problem is, what can I do except cringe each time it happens?
I don't have any tissues on me, and despite other members of the class also periodically cringing, it seems that none of them is in posession of tissues.

'Stop being a whiny little shit.' I hear you say. 'When you're in a lecture of a few hundred, there is bound to be someone who is slightly diseased.'

But that's the thing. There are 12 kids in this lecture. We ALL know who the culprit is. The LECTURER knows who the culprit is. And this is a THREE HOUR LECTURE. THERE ARE ANOTHER TWO HOURS OF THIS YET TO GO.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

So on a whim, I downloaded the blogger app.
So now I can blog from my phone.
Wow. Such internet. Very androids. Wow.

Stay tuned, my darlings :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Adela vs. The Establishment Vol. II: Adela falls foul of the [Acronym witheld]

Those of you who have spent any time with me in the past forever will be aware of the fact that I teach swimming and waterpolo at the Unigym, once managed by UNSW and now managed by a certain acronym made famous by The Village People which I will not be explicitly mentioning for legal reasons. The Unigym used to be a marvellously run place, where rosters were given out weeks in advance and said rosters were valid for the length of the term, thus allowing you to actually plan ahead; a place where saying 'I have class, I can't do that shift' meant that they wouldn't ask you to take that shift every week, or indeed ever again, but never mind - I'll speak more on that in some later post.

The reason I write today is because I may have just had the most insulting meeting of my life. I say 'may' because I can't really compare it with the only other meeting which comes close, Adela vs. The Establishment Vol. I: St George Edition.

So last Friday I received a very vague text message asking if I could come in for a meeting. No mention of what the meeting was about, but considering the level of organisation I'd come to expect from those people, I cannot say that I am surprised. We tentatively agreed to meet on Monday.

Then on Saturday, I recieved an equally vague call telling me that Monday wouldn't work for them, and could I do midday Wednesday. The call also told me that they were taking away my Tuesday morning shift, but were giving me a new Monday shift. So I was reasonably sure they wouldn't fire me. Anyway, I said that I would have to check my diary to see if I was available and that I would get back to them; because I had spent the entire day teaching swimming for their institution and as a result, didn't have my diary on me at the time. So I got home, checked my diary, and saw that no, I could not do midday Wednesday. Because I had this weird thing called studying. So I sent an email outlining that fact.

Hi [Name witheld for legal reasons]
I can meet on Wednesday, although given that my aim is to spend the day studying, might I be able to meet with you in the morning or afternoon? Midday isn't the most convenient time for me.

I recieved the following reply:

Hi Adela,
I understand the time you have set aside for study.  Unfortunately, midday (rather my schedule of availability in-between school groups and swimschool) is the most suitable.
Please confirm you are available to meet on Wednesday 06/11 @1230pm.

Thank you.

Neither font nor colour has been changed.  Anyway, this was again quite a typical response from management (see my earlier rant re: 'I have class'), and so I replied accordingly:

Hi [Name still witheld]
I apologise for the fact that that is the most suitable time for you, but there are a limited number of computers with the software I require for assignments, and if I do not secure one in the morning and then never leave it, I will not be able to return to a computer after our meeting.
I am available all of Tuesday (except for the times when I am teaching waterpolo), or I am available on Friday between 11.30 and 3.30.

Perhaps it devolved ever so slightly into a dick-waving contest, but considering I won it (we met on Tuesday), I don't really care.

So I arrived this morning, still knowing nothing about what the meeting was about, apart from what was told to me in the astonishingly vague letter they emailed me:

It's been pretty heavily redacted by me. Unlike the original picture which I posted on Facebook, but my Facebook photos can't be googled. This can. I also deleted the facbook photo for safesies.

Anyway, there were three main complaints levelled at me (we're stepping aside the fact that the letter asked me to respond to the complaints in writing - kind of hard to do when you don't know what the issue is.

So - issue the first.
 Last Tuesday, there were school groups who had outsourced their PE to us. Having just taught 50 kids for waterpolo (and it's primary school, so a good 40% of them aren't strong enough swimmers), I had a half hour break before teaching my [Nameless high school] waterpolo girls (my favourite kids ever). As I was about to get my lunch, I was asked by one of the other instructors to help her our because she was in charge of three lanes of kids. So I checked with the guy in charge of schools, and he said go for it. At 1400, when my [high school] girls arrived, I left the swimming lessons to teach the shift I was actually rostered to do.

The complaint was that I had left halfway through teaching their children how to swim. They had sent a letter of complaint. And that was the main reason for me being called in. Did I get to see the letter beforehand? No. Did I even get to see it in the meeting? No. Was it a complete ambush? Of course not.

I mean seriously. Chaps don't call chaps into meetings they know nothing about with the express intent of ambushing them. It's just not cricket.

Stepping past that, apparently another issue they had was related to the other primary school waterpolo group. Issue the second:

I teach these kids on mondays, and this school (bless them) only lets the strongest swimmers play waterpolo. So instead of 50 kids, some of which aren't strong enough, I have 20 kids, all of whom can hold their own. Having spent all of last week teaching them skills, they asked me if this week they could play a game the whole time. I said yes. Because why not. And the kids were having a ball (lololol, punny).

Anyway, at the same time, the new manager was being shown around. Apparently she was talking to the teachers, and they said that considering that the kids were just playing waterpolo for an hour, they didn't know if I had a lesson plan. Never mind the fact that I was periodically giving the kids feedback or tips.

So their complaint was that I seemed unprepared. Did they raise their concerns with me during the lesson? No. They did not. But that's their choice. Whatever.

Slightly related to this was the fact that it's hard to get the attention of a whole bunch of kids who are in the water thrashing about. There always used to be whistles for the teachers to use. For some reason, the [Unnamed corporation] do not feel it necessarily to provide coaches with whistles. That's their choice, and I can see the health reasons for it. But they could at least tell us in advance that we need whistles. More irritating is the fact that for the first time in the two years I have been teaching schools waterpolo, we haven't had access to the women's waterpolo shed, in which lie all of the child and women's size balls. All I have access to is the men's waterpolo crate. This is an issue because primary school kids can't grip the men's size balls (shut up, I'm aware of the innuendo). This is also an issue because my [high school] girls actually compete, and probably ought to be training with the ball they will be playing games with. Indeed the issue was so acute that I purchased, at my own expense, a women's ball just so that I could train them.

But again, considering the quality of organisation, I shouldn't be surprised.

What really bugged me was the fact that they now want me to submit written lesson plans ahead of each class. And they'll be supervising my waterpolo shifts to "provide me with the support I need". It took effort not to laugh at that statement in the meeting. I did, however, manage. Go me.

The third complaint was the fact that parents find issue with my "voice" and the fact that my body seems "imposing". Not my body LANGUAGE. My BODY. So starting with that issue. I thought it best not to go off in the meeting about the fact that whilst parents can feel free to be dickbags and complain about the fact that I seem imposing, management cannot complain to be about that fact. I mean seriously.

I mean I could have, but considering the fact that I'm being paid exorbitant amounts to do what I do, and the fact that I can bitch about it on the internet later, I can sit there in silence for a while whilst my intelligence is insulted by some people who use the word 'youse' (I'm not kidding. It popped up about three times in that meeting).

And now onto my voice. Apparently parents find my voice "unpleasant" and "unappealing". As far as I could tell (and by this point in the meeting I was trying my best not to explode into a cloud of righteous indignation, because again, cashy money; so I wasn't really asking for much explanation), parents don't like my voice. Again, not my TONE of voice, but my VOICE. Maybe they don't like the accent. I don't know, and I don't particularly care either.

But really, a sincere thank you to management for raising issue with physiological issues which I cannot change in the slightest. I'd consider legal recourse, but I can't think of many other places which will pay me $33.21 per hour (with loading on weekends) and only have three hour long shifts which generally fit around my timetable.

So that's my rant for the day (also, you'll note that at the advice of Stephen, I removed the original picture from facebook).

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Adela liveblogs Eurovision Semi 1

I get the fact that this is a day late; don’t judge me, I’ve been busy.

The drinking game I’m working with is the same as last year’s:
Whenever the costume overwhelms the song, you take a shot.
Whenever there's ridiculous national dress, you take a shot.
Whenever a song has a stupid title, you take a shot.
Whenever anyone says the word 'baby', you take a shot.
Whenever there's a keychange, you take a shot.
If ever an entry tries to be serious by using an actual instrument, you take a shot.
Whenever a song gets political, you take a shot.
When Cyprus and Greece are overtly buddy-buddy, you take a shot.
When the Irish win, you take a shot.
When the UK come dead last, you take a shot.

And a special addition for this year is wind machine action or great columns of fire. Shot.

So I get the fact that the only interesting thing about Malmö is the fact that it has a bitchen bridge. That didn’t stop me from thinking that this was just SBS advertising The Bridge (side note: excellent show).
Opening act solid, the singing children was adorable. The host’s dress... entertaining.

I mean solidly sequinned mermaid dress? Hardcore. Seriously hardcore.
That joke about ‘bridge’ to the rest of the world was a touch uncalled for. I mean sure. There’s a bridge. Let’s move on.

Initial impression is I am underwhelmed. Secondary impression is that I am still underwhelmed. I mean she’s a perfectly legit singer, I’m just not... inspired. This is Eurovision, I expect eurotrash. I will be mightily unimpressed if it is not forthcoming.
Badly executed keychange.
Adela: 5/10
Sarah: 5/10
One shot.

I love Estonian as a language. What I don’t love are the syrupy power ballads I’ve been hearing so far. Also, that is a mightily postmodern dress.
Adela: 6/10. She gets an extra point for singing in Estonian.
Sarah: 6/10
One shot for the dress.

So. Dubstep. Alright. Those backup dancers with those welding masks. That is a shot right the fuck there. Sarah apparently ‘quite likes’ this song. I don’t. This is seeming like a mightily depressing year. Or at least a year which has not gotten off to an especially auspicious start. Either way, that was a mightily poorly executed keychange.
Adela: 4/10
Sarah: 6.5/10
Two shots.

Sarah feels she might like this one. All I can say so far is that’s an ‘obscure national dress’ shot. I’m liking the popera aspect of their ‘dudes singing quasi-classically’. Now that was some bitchen wind machine action. To quote Sarah: “Wind machine, coat, so heroic.” Solid effort, gents.
Adela: 7/10; amended to 7.5/10 as explained below.
Sarah: 7/10
One shot.

Legit instrument. That’s a shot.
Sarah loved the existence of the flute guy. So did I. I like the look of this drumming setup. She’s underwhelming, but there’s a ridiculous costume, compounded by the lack of shoes; and there’s wind machining. I am loving the whole drumming thing in the background. The song I could take or leave, but the ‘dudes snaring and bassing at the same time’ was spectacular.
Adela: 8/10. I liked the drumming, but not her.
Sarah: 8.5/10
Three shots.

Backstage interval: I’m loving these Croatian gents. They get an extra half point for adorableness.

“Don’t complain, it’s even more expensive in Norway.” Definitely the slogan they should have gone with. I mean seriously. Also, that’s a shot for overt politicking.

Four chord song. That’s adorable. Sarah hates it. I do too. It was her head voice which did it. That KEYCHANGE though. It made me want to kill myself a little, which means it was perfectly executed. The one redeeming feature of this song.
Adela: 4/10
Sarah: 4/10
One shot.

The Ukraine:
And then there was a giant, carrying her in a ridiculous fashion. That’s a double shot for ridiculous costume. Sarah likes her dress. I’m liking the song. I don’t know why, but I am. Sarah says it’s in serious need of backup dancers. I agree. Excellent key change. I knew it was coming, and it was just as cheesy and horrible as I thought it would be.
Adela: 8/10
Sarah: 5.5/10
Three shots.

The Netherlands:
Sarah: “Peculiar phrasing, terrible scansion. Don’t breathe in the middle of a phrase, do you even read music?”
This song could work within the prism of death metal. But that’s the only prisim in which it could work. I do like the tonal structure however. She’s atrocious, but with a different singer, in a different style it might be less shit.
Adela: 4/10
Sarah: 4/10
No shots. It was that dull and middle of the road. Shame on you, Netherlands.

I remember back when they were part of Serbia. Alas no longer.
So they’re astronauts, right. That’s an immediate shot for costuming.
I’m loving the rapping though. Unnecessary and indeed rather shitty dropping of the bass. That chick is ruining a perfectly good Cyrillic rap.
Adela: 6.5/10
Sarah: “Eurovision perfection. It was awful, but it was perfect. Give it a 10, I guess.” 10/10; amended to a 8.5 after Belarus happened. 8.5/10

Well. He looks like a creepy Eastern European. This song seriously reminds me of The Killers. I kind of like it. He’s a massive ham, as befits his creepy Eastern Europeanness, and it’s working for me.
Adela: 7/10
Sarah: 6/10
No shots.

Yes. So much yes. The tassles, the backup dancers with the MC Hammer pants, the disco ball, the constant shimmying. Fire. Drumming interlude precursing a keychange. So much fire.
Adela: 9/10 for trashiness.
Sarah: 9/10.
Three shots.

White grand piano. Drink, bitches.
Lighting interplay with her dress. Drink, bitches.
Sarah is mightily impressed by the backup dancers. I’m tempted to allocate a supplementary shot for her hair, but I won’t.
Also, she’s getting taller. And now there are flames on the dress. That’s practically fire. Drink, bitches.
Adela: 7/10
Sarah: 8/10
Three shots.

Sang as a supporting act for Jedward. I’m excited.
And there’s Irish drumming. Being done by attractive muscular tattooed gentlemen. This gladdens me. The song’s underwhelming, but everything other than the song itself is spectacular. The strobing, the dance beat, the Celtic knots as the backdrop.
Adela: 8.5/10. Authentic and in the spirit of the motion, but the song was shit.
Sarah: 7.5/10
Shot for the menfolk.

And now for the obligatory mention of Australia. Although this is the first time we’ve gotten an actual video spot. This is awesome. I’m so happy that they’ve finally realised that we’re all obsessed. Excellent. Hats off. Solidarity shot.

So apparently this song is going to be a study in minimalism. Her costume seems to contradict this notion. That hair though. That hair is just WAITING for a wind machine. And there it is. Which is fortunate, because the song is shit. Keychange, which doesn’t surprise me.
Adela: 3/10 – most of it for the wind machining.
Sarah: 3/10
Singular shot.

Watch those eyebrows go. Sarah asks: “Pourquoi Belgique?” I couldn't find a link.
Adela: 6/10
Sarah 6/10
No shots.

Those outfits. Dear sweet lord. That was uncalled for. That's a shot for each singer, and an extra for what the backup singers are wearing. Solid europop. I'm not a fan of the glissandi, but I'll allow it because it is terribly Eurovision. Excellent choreography, so congrats there.
Adela: 7/10
Sarah: 5.5/10
Four shots.

My ten who get through:

Sarah's ten:

The ten who got through:
Estonia. Sarah and I are both 1 for 0.
Denmark. 2 for 0.
Russia. That's a surprise. 2 for 1.
The Ukraine. I'm 3 for 1, Sarah's 2 for 2.
The Netherlands. Whatever Europe. Not judging. I'm 3 for 2, Sarah's 2 for 3.
Lithuania. 4 for 2; 3 for 3.
Belarus. 5 for 2; 4 for 3.
Moldova. 6 for 2; 5 for 3.
Ireland. 7 for 2; 6 for 3.
Belgium. And we equalise, both at 7 for 3.

And now for how much booze would have been ingested: 27. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On creature munching...

I recently had an appointment with a dietician, who informed me that I wasn't eating enough protein. this came as a bit of a shock, considering the fact that I had eschewed carbohydrates to some extent, replacing them with foodstuffs which used to be critters. Indeed, as a girl whose youth had been misspent playing strength-related sports, and as a result has a solidly solid mass of muscle to maintain (DEXA scans are awesome. If you've ever wanted to know your bone density or lean muscle mass, this is the way), the amount I was ingesting was nowhere near adequate. It was in fact about half of what it should have been. Surprise.

This does however explain why it is that during debating room parties I tend to be able to stay rather not shitfaced... but I digress.

Either way, I was provided with ways to up my protein intake to a level more suited to one such as myself:

Breakfast - Protein shake and 200g greek yoghurt.
That's a lot of yoghurt. A LOT.

Morning tea - 1/2 cup of nuts.
This doesn't sound like all that much until you actually look at it. To provide some perspective, make a fist. Now cut it in half. That's about half a cup.

Lunch - Protein shake and can of tuna.
Protein shakes aren't all that bad, as it happens. They're like Up and Go, only without the strange mushy weetbix flavour.

Afternoon tea - Protein bar.
Sensing a trend yet?

Dinner - Meat totalling ca. 60g protein i.e. 300g chicken or 250g steak.
Add to that all of the vegetables required to force in some vitamins, and the orange a day I've started eating in order to allay scurvy.

Suffice to say, it's a lot of protein. Five days into this regimen, I had a bit of a breakdown.
I came home after a day of university, to find a raw chicken breast sitting in the fridge. Faced with another evening eating 'chicken with lemon' or 'chicken with garlic' (Exactly what they sound like) which is all I have time to cook, I lay down on the sofa and almost burst into tears, much to the surprise of my mother who had never thought she'd see the day when her most carnivorous daughter would say "I hate meat".

So now, in an attempt to continue ingesting the protein (which one would assume would be having an effect on my crappy nails... I'm waiting), I will be trialling different recipes in an attempt to find things which are palateable.

Tonight, I began preparing tomorrow's dinner - chicken marinated in buttermilk.

So far, exceedingly stress relieveing - I quite enjoyed bashing the chicken with a mallet until it was thin. Hopefully it will prove to be more palateable than 'chicken poached in chicken stock', a suggestion of my mother's which turned out looking and tasting sodden and white.

Nigella recommends dredging the chicken (once it has marinated for 24-48 hours) in crushed Ritz crackers, but this is far too low-protein. So I shall dredge mine in almond meal, in a depressing attempt to get more protein into a meal which is already so meaty it would leave a T-Rex prowling for a nice leafy salad.

Of course on a more entertaining note, at 56 kg of muscle, I have more lean muscle mass than my younger sister has cumulatively.
Yay me.

And now for some meat-related humour - go to 1:40.

Monday, August 20, 2012

IronMen; Popular Culture Zeitgeist; The British Parliament

So this past weekend was the UNSW IV - an open motion intervarsity debating tournament hosted by the excellent peeps at the UNSW Debating Society.

I ended up short a teammate on the weekend (which is a bit of a shit considering the fact that British Parliamentary (BP) style debating is in teams of two), so in a fit of hardcore motherfuckery I decided to just go it solo.

Round 1 I ended up filling in on a University of Sydney (USU) team, debating the motion This house believes that Atheists should organise. We were CG and got the third, arguing that the whole idea of the Atheist movement was that they could go out on their own and figure out for themselves what they believe. The adjudicator was my older sister, so I have a feeling there may have been some unfortunate anti-bias in play there.
Unfortunately, since I was just filling in on a team, my team (team Because Boat Race) didn't get the point credited. This didn't make any difference later on in the tournament as will be seen later, but was still an irritation.

Round 2 I was iron-manning (the term for when one person does an entire team worth of debating) CO that This house would fake it. I got the third again in a heinously misdefined debate. But this is what happens when you let UWS define a motion. Dear sweet squiggly Jesus, they messed that one up.
Since it was such a clusterfuck of a debate, I decided to shrug and make my extension about the sex industry.
 On the topic of UWS, before each round they would psych each other up with a bit of chanting. The words 'not a TAFE' were mentioned. Oh yes, that happenned.

Round 3 I iron-manned again. By this point I was on (officially) one point after two rounds, which is dismal as all get-out, and so I was in the depths of the bin rooms. To add insult to injury, the topic was that This house would let Gotham burn. Needless to say, I had not seen any of the Batman films. Unsurprisingly, given the calibre of the room (two UWS teams along with some random first years from Monash - a bit of a surprise seeing as Monash is usually rather legit at debating) I got the first, which was basically the story of this meme:

Of course I did a damn sight better than speaks of 68. I got speaker points of 77 and 76 respectively (on a side note, thanks to Kristyn for being a touch nicer than I think my speeches warranted). I also got awkwardly hit on by a guy from UWS, so it was a win all round.

Day two and round 4 I had a substitute teammate: Adam M, who was supposed to be debating with Sarah F (one of my teammates from nationals) who was sick on the weekend. We were OO on the motion that This house would take no prisoners. We got the second, and must have done alright with regard to speaks, because round five was the round of death.

It was the round of death because despite the fact that my team only had three rounds of points, we were at the top of the 6 point bracket (nice work on the speaks, Adela), and were thus pulled up into the 7 point bracket. Which was really really bad. For me. Because I was against a whole bunch of scary excellent debaters who had all been debating for ages and had all garnered much success during their debating careers. We're talking top speakers at Worlds kind of success.
Add into this the fact that I was OG and thus actually had to set up the debate, and the fact that I was again iron-manning. I may or may not have spent the first 10 minutes of the 15 minute prep pacing around the room, swearing to myself.
The motion was that This house celebrates the rise of Fifty Shades of Grey. It didn't go well. At all.
I cringe at the memory.
Although I do thank Parker, from team Scary Cabal of Old People (not the actual team name, but that's what it was in reality) for asking a point of clarification. Because when your case is built on a foundation of smoke and mirrors and you're not entirely sure what it is you're arguing, a nice point of clarification can help sort shit out. Of course I still donutted hard.

By the time the semis and the final were on, I was so exhausted I thought it would be a good idea to do a Physics quiz (rookie error; I was clearly not a rational actor at the time). Of course, I can be smug in the knowledge that on aggregate speaker points, I was the best speaker of the tournament.

Is this because I did three more speeches than everyone else? Perhaps.

I regret nothing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Engineering, and other masculine pursuits

So today was my fourth day of engineering.

I started off with a maths lecture (Calculus 1100 - 1200, Algebra 1200 - 1300), after which I had an hour before Engineering Design and Innovation (ENGG1000 henceforth). Math was quite enjoyable (I know, surprise), and I've been getting some quotes for The Week, which I should be restarting rather soon.

During Monday's ENGG1000 lecture they had told us that MechSoc and ElSoc were having a BBQ and touch footy from 1200 to 1400, and being a sucker for friendly sporting activities, I went.

Of course, being an engineering event, I was the only girl playing. No matter. The gents were delightfully chivalrous insofar as there was no stacks on.

I then had to ditch early because I had to get from the Physics Lawn to Mathews, which for those of you who don't attend or have great cartographic knowledge of UNSW, is a pretty darn unpleasant walk.

Today's ENGG1000 class was an impromptu design task, wherein we were in groups of five or six and had limited supplies with which to create a build which would launch a projectile 2500mm over a 400mm wall. To say that our build was utilitarian would be reasonably charitable.

It was however quite efficient. Not bad for half an hour's work.

Note the deliciously post-ironic smiley face on the arm. That's the kind of thing to strike the fear into the Palestinians.