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Beyond Pandora

Beyond simple curiosity, this is Thinking Too Much. If you're interested in philosophy and/or wild theories, you've come to the right place.

Location: Australia

Paddling somewhere between a mad scientist and an organisational artist. Indecisive, inconsistent and often incoherent.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Pandora, Innocence, Unicorn

A quiz result I'm fairly happy with! Or, at least, thought-provoked by. Plus it mentions Pandora! Yay! My blog name has mysterious relevance after all!

You are Form 3, Unicorn: The Innocent.
"And The Unicorn knew she wasn't meant to
go into the Dark Wood. Disregarding the advice
given to her by the spirits, Unicorn went
inside and bled silver blood.. For her
misdeed, the world knew evil."

Some examples of the Unicorn Form are Eve
(Christian) and Pandora (Greek).The Unicorn is associated with the concept of
innocence, the number 3, and the element of
water.Her sign is the twilight sun.
As a member of Form 3, you are a curious
individual. You are drawn to new things and
become fascinated with ideas you've never come
in contact with before. Some people may say
you are too nosey, but it's only because you
like getting to the bottom of things and
solving them. Unicorns are the best friends to
have because they are inquisitive.

Which Mythological Form Are You?

There was a 'brought to you by' line that got cut off in the copier, but you get the idea.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Rights to Inconsistency

I could use that phrase as the title for my blog. It would certainly be more relevant.

Hearing everyone's comments on the uni situation and allowing myself to talk through my options with other people has helped a lot. So thanks to Casyn, Pickwick, Diana, Violet, Kelcie, Lara, Jane, Liam, Dad and (who'd a thunk it?) even to Pat.

I've realised (and been reminded of) a few things in the short time between then and now:

Firstly, that I was blowing the decision out of proportion, or at the very least making it out to be something it's not.

- This decision does not set my career path in stone. It's merely a chance to open up my options.

- This decision is not between living a happy life and living a useful life. I could hate what I learned about arts and I could find engineering skills useless.

- This decision does not mirror the situation with the mobile phone, when I did something on the spur of the moment without considering the consequences. I'm definitely considering both options here - hence the conflict.

- It isn't even a decision between 'only Engineering' and 'only Arts'. There's nothing to say that I can't pursue one or the other outside my uni degree. If I studying Engineering, it does not mean I'm 'giving up' the arts.

- I will never give up my artistic inclinations. What I study at university cannot change that.

- If I want to, I can study one course after the other. This is just a matter of what I want to do next.

- I am unemployed at the moment. I have no trouble being artistic. I do have trouble feeling useful.

- If I study Electronics Engineering, I will be trying to slant it towards assisting with Creative Arts and expression. (there are electronics in theatre, film, television...)

- I want to study Electronics at some point in my life. It is not a clear-cut case of taking the 'financially sound' option - I have real interest in the area.

In case people hadn't picked it up yet, I'm tending towards studying Electronics. Again.
I'd already made this choice before. I decided to take Electronic Engineering instead of Creative Writing. It was a huge step between disciplines so unrelated. A traumatic step, because I had, for years, 'known' that the Creative Industries was the right decision - and I know people who are doing similar courses at the same campus of the same university. These factors made the step much more difficult - and made me worry when I looked back over the decision.
But I took that step - and I still think it was/is the right thing to do.

I want to learn some useful, practical skills - and it is easier to teach yourself to be an artist than it is to teach yourself to be an engineer. Plus, the plan is (and always was) that if I found myself a solid enough base (financially), then I could try anything I wanted to do - and have something to fall back on if I fail.
In addition, perhaps I will be more motivated to be creative when I'm under pressure to be logical and practical. I could get that oboe I've always wanted and learn to play!

In the metaphor of head vs. heart, this decision amounts to the head taking steps to allow the heart to be free.

Thanks again, everyone.

~ Draic

(BTW, As I bear the rights of inconsistency, don't be surprised if you find me writing a similar speech that contradicts everything I have just said - that's what it's like to be me. But, on the whole, I think I've compromised nicely.)


(Except that I may not hear from Casyn for a while...)

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

And then...

No sooner have I finished my spiel on how I probably should go with my heart and do Media then (than?) I receive an email from a friend who says she would back my decision to do Engineering 100%.
That's what I wanted to hear.
(insert screaming here)


I've never possessed this quality.
It's so bad that I agonise forever about whether to buy a CD or not.
I want to know every possible argument for and against, weigh up the consequences, and make an informed decision.
Of course, sometimes I will be 'impulsive', ignore all that carefully-gathered information, and just do it.
And I usually regret it later.
The example I have in mind is my mobile phone. I really only wanted a basic phone. One that rings, lets me converse with other people, and can send/receive text messages. About A$99.
So when I go in to set up my mobile, the dealer shows me through the phones. I see the low-range, basic phone that I wanted, but, giddy with the rush of 'doing something', I think, 'why not get the next level up?' and don't stop and check the price - $A300
Preparation? What preparation?

I am very afraid that I'm playing this same game with my future. Think, research, look around, decide what to study, then when it comes to the crunch, I think I can do better, and so I change my mind and regret it the moment I come back down to earth.

I should be satisfied with what I always wanted to do - Writing. Media.
Of course it has it's negatives - it's not an incredibly 'practical' area, and it doesn't have good job security.
But I wouldn't regret the time I spent in the area.
Electronics Engineering is a practical area. It has great job security, because things will always break down. But I can easily imagine having a horrible time for the four or five years that it will take to finish a course.

It's a toss-up between considering myself 'useful' and trying to do what I like to do.

And while that may seem like an easy decision, I really, really hate feeling like I'm useless.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Pet Project: Colourful Theories

As a reaction to quizzes that claim to be able to classify your personality as a colour, I've been thinking about the associations we, as a culture, make with particular colours.

I've been trying to write down the associations I make when I think about certain colours, but I'd like to hear from other people as well. So if you're interested, I'd like to hear the things you think of when you think of the following colours:


Feel free to add to the list, or split into light colours and dark colours, but let your thoughts be known!

I'll post my own thoughts a week from now - I don't want to affect your lines of thinking before you think!

Friday, August 20, 2004

The Word: 'The Thirty-Nine Steps'

Today I finished a book from 'the pile', and am very pleased with myself, as the pile has not been looking any more inviting the longer it sits there.

'The Thirty-Nine Steps' by John Buchan is an adventure novel, despite the murder that opens the story. The main character, Richard Hannay, must escape from the police and the 'bad guys' in order to get information about a certain global threat to the authorities.

I used to be an avid fan of the Hardy Boys adventure/mystery books, and so I found this story rather disappointing for its lack of mystery - the tension of the story is sustained by surprises.

Another sore point is that Richard Hannay has no personality! I can understand that the writer may have reasoned that a blank slate of a man can easily be overwritten with the reader's own personality, but it seems so ridiculous for a character to have a complete lack of defining characteristics!
Hannay is just a generic adventurous everyman who just happens to remember the right skills at the moment that they need to be used. The sense of reality in terms of people and relationships is only provided through the random (and mostly very helpful) strangers he meets along the way.

'The Thirty-Nine Steps' was, I felt, a very forgettable book. I think the only pieces of the story that caught in my mind were the ideas about acting and disguises, e.g.:'A fool tries to look different: a clever man looks the same and IS different.''If you are playing a part, you will never keep it up unless you convince yourself that you are it.'

So I can finally take another book out of the pile, content in the knowledge that I will never desire to read it again!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Roundabout and Stepping Sideways

I've found a solution, for now.
I want to work in communications and media, so what will I study?
Electronics Engineering.
It makes sense in a twisted sort of way - mostly because it is a fairly secure industry. The theory is that I can easily find work (and money) with this sort of practical experience. Electronics has big connections to media. TVs, radios, computers, telephones.
Not to mention intelligent lighting, control desks, cameras, projectors, etc.
There are connections to many areas that I'd like to work in, and it makes sense financially.
I just don't know that I'd be able to stand four years of such full-on practicality and dedication.
And where is the creative process I've always been so fond of?
It feels like the right thing to do. I just don't know if I can be the right person to do it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Knowledge, Not Assistance

I have it worked out: I want to work in communications.

But when I use the word 'communications', I mean it in both the direct and the artistic sense.

I want to work in the creative arts: to write, perform, and compose.

I also want to assist others who want to do the same. I want to direct, record, edit, publish, design, enhance, co-ordinate.

I want to watch, analyse and critique - but only if it helped the artist(s).

I want to give people ways to communicate - to talk to each other, to see another's face, hear a voice. I want to manufacture, research, experiment, invent, repair, upgrade.

See, I know exactly what I want to do. I want to do a great many things. The catch is that I can't do them all at once. My problem is that I don't know what I want to do now.


I haven't been getting much sleep lately; I'm not sure why.

It could only be due to sleep overdose - perhaps I've slept in one too many times and now I have to spend some awake time.

But it could also be due to other issues. Firstly, I may be sick and not really know it. I've had the bad ickle phlegm thing even though I didn't feel sick, and after going through a scratchy-growly-voice-phase I am now the owner of irritating and unprecedented coughing fits. Nothing too terrible, but it doesn't even seem to be for any particular reason - I don't feel sick.

Maybe I ran out of phlegm.

Anyway, aside from possible sickness, there's another reason that I may still be awake. Psychological issues.

I could be having trouble facing my future. Well, scratch that - I'm definitely having trouble facing my future.

Recap: Finished high school two years ago. Spent four months at a checkout counter, hated it, quit. Landed a position almost immediately as a trainee 'lighting technician' at the theatre. Full-time, paid, for one year. The short of it: I was screwed over by the training providers, and can serve as the average stagehand or a lighting assistant. I don't mind being a stagehand for a year, but I have a qualification that means next to nothing to me.

Traineeship finished in March. Planned to go to Uni in July. Thinking of something along the lines of creative writing, media/journalism, communication design (computers/multimedia). Course I was looking at vanished somewhere during the week I applied. Now have another 6-month gap to fill before I can go for Uni again.

Time enough to think, perhaps. And that's what I do. I think, 'hey, am I even sure this uni course is what I want to do?'. I realise there are so many options I've completely ruled out for no particular reason. So I return to the drawing board, get out a guide to all the universities in Australia, suddenly realise I don't have to go to university in Queensland.

Brain can't really process this. Narrow search to queensland universities. Area of interest: arts and communications. Four possibilities: Three in Brisbane, one here in Rocky (often ruled out for pointlessness). Time to check out course specifics.


What am I looking for in a course? Why am I limiting myself to arts and communications? What do I really want to do, anyway? Perhaps I'm devaluing the time I've spent in and around the theatre. I know a fair bit about lighting, acting, backstage. I'm serving as Stage Manager to an amateur production... maybe I should be looking at theatre courses - seems like my strength, after all.

Do I want to work in theatre? What are my job prospects like? Do I want to spend a few small lifetimes behind the scenes?

Maybe I should be looking at learning something more useful. After all, I'm going to be paying thousands of dollars to learn this stuff, I'm going to have to get something useful out of it - like a job, maybe?

I've been checking the papers. The jobs are there if you have the right qualifications - experience in things like Administration, Plumbing, Mining, Hairdressing, Sales, Retail.Shit, do I really want to pay to spend the next few years of my life learning about marketing or office skills? Is that where I want my life to lead?

And in the midst of all this, I discover another landmine beneath my feet: Do I even WANT to go to Uni?

I surely don't want to put myself in debt. I've saved some money from the theatre work, but not enough to pay my way through Uni.

My older brother is in Brisbane, just finished Uni. He's had financial difficulties, and is highly dependent on our parents. He took an I.T. course for three years and realised he didn't want to be part of that industry. I don't want to find I've wasted that much time and money.

I don't have to go to Uni. Not next year, not ever.

Stop. Gotta think this through, gotta sort this out.

I can get a job here in town, save up some money, get a vehicle, get out of town. Go somewhere. Look around, see what's out there. Try something else. Settle somewhere for a while, get a casual job, maybe take a TAFE course and get some practical, useful skills. Mechanics, or repair work, or even carpentry. Mobile home. Living outside the boxes. Could find something worthwhile to write about!

Stop. Too much. Pull back.

Where am I now? I'm almost 19, living with my parents, unemployed... I don't even have a driver's liscence.

So maybe that's the first thing. Driver's liscence. Sure. Whether I go to Uni or go tripping, being able to drive will help. In the meantime, I can get a job. Close to home, while transport is limited. Money helps.

I don't want to be tied down. I don't want to be in debt. I don't want to be useless. I don't want to be isolated. I have to live somehow.

Stop. Too much. Shut down.

Trying not to think so much about the years to come. Trying just to deal with the present.
But now I can't sleep. I can't help myself. And I just don't know...

Thursday, August 05, 2004


What the hell is the point of phlegm?
This thing is a serious sore point with me, so I just hope it has some sort of purpose other than making me gag.

Persona: Life On Hold

Things are difficult for my family at the moment.

My father works as a manager for Main Roads, and there has recently been a shake-up in the heirachical structure of the department. The result being that Dad's current position will become non-existent.This means that Dad will become part of the design office again. Although he will be paid the same salary that he currently earns, he will be taking a step downwards, as he will no longer be a manager. He is not terribly pleased with this arrangement.Of course, other management positions were created as part of the restructuring process, and he has applied for a few of them. I don't think they have been finalised yet, but the interviews are over and he doesn't feel he has much of a chance.
When he first found out about the new management positions, he came home to have a family discussion about moving to another town, as some of the positions are in other areas.
(For those who understand, the possibilities included Brisbane and Toowoomba)

Movement is a conflict point with the family.

Dad, I believe, would love to move if it means that he can sustain some sort of job satisfaction. As the breadwinner of the family, he works roughly 8am to 6pm, five days a week. He doesn't get a lot of time out, but that is currently okay with him because he enjoys his job. I personally can not imagine working full-time the way he does and not going psycho, so I believe that his job satisfaction is very important, as it probably keeps him functioning as a human being.

Dad also has heart problems due to heavy smoking (and we're pretty sure he's quit smoking now). He has a defibrilator installed in his body to jump-start his heart if it begins beating irregularly. Every time he needs to have a check-up or an operation to do with the device he needs to go to Brisbane. Moving to Brisbane permanently would make this situation a lot easier.

Most of Mum and Dad's family live in Brisbane, including his mother, who recently suffered a second stroke, and her father, who is on dialysis (he used to suffer from manic-depression and the medication he was asked to take destroyed his liver).

Mum had not enjoyed the time she spent here. She felt that none of the friends she'd made here were making any sort of connection, and it was only recently - when she joined a local art group and started painting again - that she began to seem like she was enjoying herself.

Mum works as a librarian on a casual basis. She is frustrated by the way her superiors minimise her involvement despite her training and experience. As an older casual worker, she had little job security until recently, when she complained as part of a small group about her unfair treatment (she deserved a pay rise and an offer for part-time work, after having been a casual for three or four years). It seems that now she has been offered part-time work but, as she says, 'life is on hold' for her until the business of Dad's own job has been settled.

So although I'm sure Mum would love to go to Brisbane, she's finally finding her place here.

My older brother, Liam, already lives in Brisbane, is finishing an Honours degree in Management (after having spent three years doing I.T.), and is considering going to Japan next year and teaching English. My parents still pay for a lot of his living costs, and that could possibly be made easier if we were to live in Brisbane as well.

I come next. I'm unemployed at the moment, after finishing a paid full-time lighting traineeship at the theatre in March. I intended then to go to Uni in Brisbane mid-year, and although that possibility was withdrawn, I still plan to apply for Uni in Brisbane for the start of next year. Because of this, I feel like I shouldn't be a factor in this struggle, even though the decision the family makes will affect me more than I like to admit.

My younger sister is in grade 10. She is mid-way through high school and is 'finally' settling in after a few years of unstable social relationships. Last year her friends were boy/clothes-crazy and she wasn't. She was all for moving last year. This year she has finally found friends she likes, and does not want to leave for another few years.

My younger brother is in grade 4, and his problems are also social. He has a lot of friends here, and will find it very difficult to say goodbye. The difference with him (compared to my sister) is that we think he is capable of making new friends fairly easily.

In addition to various family members' personal feelings, there is also financial considerations. "We can't afford Brisbane..." Houses in Brisbane are pricey - the home my mother's parents recently sold was worth almost three times what we might get for this house (which hasn't been fully paid off yet).

And the newest development is this:
Dad's been asked if he's interested in overseeing a major project in Brisbane. Although he would probably enjoy the work (though he won't be paid any more than he is now), he would have to leave for Brisbane soon, rather than at the end of the year as we would have planned. He has presented the idea that he could take the job and the rest of us could stay here until the end of the year. He would fly up every weekend...I'm sure he'd like to take the opportunity, but it would put a certain amount of strain on the family - especially because it would mean we would definitely be moving.
Of course, he hasn't been offered the job; he's only been asked about his interest in the job.

But still, it's another reminder that things could change very soon. And although I doubt the change will be easy for any of us, not changing could be just as difficult.

There's a lesson I should take to heart.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Quiz/Personality Relations

I hate personality quizzes. Firstly because they are ridiculous, have no base in reality, and no semi-intelligent person would ever think of wasting their time in such a manner.

Secondly because I never, EVER, agree with my result.

And thirdly because afterwards I feel stupid for having wasted my time on something any semi-intelligent person would have recognised as ridiculous and without base in reality.

It's not that I don't understand the lure of the quiz. You think it can tell you something insightful about your own personality, or about your relationships - or possible relationships - with other people.

I'm all for learning more about myself. I mean, in the sheltered world many of us live in, there are no real tests of character. No life or death situations, no matters of just one way or the other - there always seem to be other possibilities. I believe you learn through pressure and decisions, but if there aren't any real challenges to overcome, you just drift around, unchanging.

So it's no surprise that many of us turn to personality quizzes to learn more about ourselves.
It's also no surprise that I inevitably end up dissatisfied with any quizzes I attempt. See, I just can't trust them.

Firstly, they may be too simple to possibly be specific to me. Such as those quizzes which only involve one question - for example, "When were you born?" The most common form of this quiz gives your result as your starsign, and mystics go nuts with that.
I've come across a book that has a personality map for anyone born on a specific day of the year (ie, 365 personalities).

And then, of course, there's also the Mother Goose poem:
"Monday's child is fair of face, Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe, Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving, Saturday's child works hard for a living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day Is bonny and blithe and good and gay."

All three notions would be equally reliable.

(For anyone who is wondering, I was born on Thursday, the 3rd of October. So I'm a Libra, and I actually haven't the slightest clue what that is supposed to mean for my personality. Regarding Mother Goose, perhaps it is accurate to say I have 'far to go'; I sympathise with Thursday's phrase more than that of any other day. On the other hand, the profile for the 3rd of October in the book I discovered suggested I was innately concerned about aesthetics - that I would have a keen fashion sense. Anyone who has ever had anything to do with me will join me in snorting in derision.)

I'd like to point out that it is relatively easy to defend the notion that some greater power decided which day you would be born on - it even seems reasonable compared to the idea of the Chinese Zodiac - that each person born in the same year will have a similar (let alone an identical) personality.

On the other hand, I imagine there would be some argument between believers of the birth-day personality regarding a ceasarian birth as opposed to a natural birth. Also, I read a while ago that the cycle of starsigns as they appear in the sky does not fit within the cycle of a year. Which means that while the dates associated with particular starsigns has remained constant, the actual relation between signs of the zodiac and days of the Earth-year has changed over time. So the starsign you think you are is porbably not the starsign you were born under.

I firmly believe that your personality is decided by the experiences that happen to you. Whether or not you have some personal characteristics 'inherent' (decided through your genes) I am as yet undecided.
So for any personality quiz to mean anything to me, I have to actually put something of my experiences at that stage in my life into the quiz machine in order to get anything meaningful out of it.

Therefore, although things like numerology and personality analyses based on what my name is could possibly describe how I was when I was born, I don't believe it can accurately portray my personality for the whole of my life.

Moving on.

Personalities are complex, so if a quiz consists of three or four questions, there is no way it could pick out the various nuances of character. There is also no way it could confirm my answers, in case I found a few questions difficult to answer.

Which brings me to another point.

I have terrible problems working my way through the questions. I find myself always wanting to choose an unavailable option, or wanting to answer 'both', or 'sometimes A, sometimes C', or 'if I was in this situation, I'd pick B'. As far as I'm concerned, I can never answer any quiz truthfully. There just aren't enough options.

And even if I could answer every question with complete confidence, I'm often dissatisfied with the method the quiz uses to arrive at my result. I hate to find that a lot of my answers have been ignored because they 'don't fit' with the rest of my answers. I can't place any trust in a quiz that doesn't accept that all my answers - the whole of my personality - are valid.

The systems that I like best are the ones that say you are 47% this and 35% that, or you are a 94% match with this type/this character's personality. They tell you how 'close' you are to being of a certain type, rather than trying to convince you that you ARE a certain type.

But even then, I still don't trust the result I'm given, simply because I disagree with the writer's perceptions. What if I don't think a character has personality traits that the author of the quiz has pinned to that character? What if I don't think that a particular type of plant would be an introvert if it was human? I would need to know that I agree with the writer's opinions before I took the quiz in the first place. And even that would only lead to...

How can I give an unbiased answer to a question if I know the destination each answer is steering me towards? Obviously I'd be tempted to give the 'right' answers for a particular personality type instead of giving 'my' answers. If I know one of the final destinations is 'insomniac', (or even if I don't) then of course I will realise that all the answers that include the word 'sleep' will lead me to 'insomniac'. If I don't want to be an insomniac, I would tend not to select the 'insomniac' answers even if they ARE what I would usually answer.

And after all that, even if I believe I've been given the right label, and even if I agree with the sentiments expressed, it is usually not enough; there is nothing new to learn. I hate to find that the quiz has just reworded or recycled my answers to the questions - I took the quiz to hear something insightful, not to expand my vocabulary! The quiz has to tell me things I might not have realised about myself; things that challenge the perception I have of myself. That was the whole point of the exercise, after all - to learn more about myself.

I need something that is complex but subtle, that won't tell me what I want to hear but will use reasoning I can understand, and is not only flexible enough to accept my personality - my whole personality - but actually requires it in order to function properly.

I don't see any mere personality quiz passing those qualifications anytime soon.

But hey, forget about the quizzes - I might as well have been describing my ideal girlfriend.

Monday, August 02, 2004


My father recently decided he was a dove, one of my close friends is a Jane Austen heroine, and another has been warned that he will die by being mauled by a pack of midgets.
Personally, I have enough to worry about, what with being bestowed with the gifts of invisibility, a keen fashion sense (just because no one else can see me doesn't mean I have to look like a slob), a golden aura and a distinctive peppermint flavour.
You may have recognised by now the symptoms of quizmania, a very unusual (and highly contagious) disease, contracted by everyday people who come into contact with the alluring concept of personality tests.
"We just wanted to have a bit of fun," the poor victims often protest, as the disease takes over their system, guiding them to take more and more empty and meaningless quizzes, such as 'What colour is your aura?', 'What is your warning sign?' and 'What obscure death will you have?'
They seem to enjoy using the 'knowledge' gleaned from such tests in social interactions, having a stockpile ready to drop into any lapses in conversation:"Hey, did you know that I'm chihuahua?"
...It never works for me. Perhaps some part of the illness allows others to find such comments amusing.
So be warned, all of you who have not yet been overrun by this epidemic: do not be tempted, lest you become plagued by threats to your sanity as you discover you are, in fact, a radioactive squirrel.