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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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Cost of Living

...is about $860 per month for my current lifestyle:
$440 a month goes into rent;
Roughly $220 a month goes to groceries (judging by how much I spent this month);
$50 to bus fares, with or without a discount card - although I could strongly limit this by taking the half-hour walk to uni and back each day;
$50 to my mobile phone, as I pay $30 a month for the phone itself and have no home phone;
$100 for extra things - lunches at uni and dinners out and movies and occasional alcohol

If I won a million dollars I could support myself for 97 years!

Fortunately/Unfortunately, Centrelink is currently providing me with about $780 each month. I think it was supposed to be more by my own calculations, but only by about $50, so I'm not about to complain...


In the month since I've moved here I have spent:
$660 for rent and bond - and I haven't paid for the last two weeks.
$296.70 on things I have a receipt for (groceries) - but this includes printer ink
$48.40 on bus fares - not including the $16 weekly ticket I accidentally bought that I can only use within the very inner city, and the ticket I bought for $32 that will cover the next month's fares to uni.
About $100 on my mobile - thanks to the five 15-minute calls I've had to make to the bank because part of my rent still hasn't gotten through to my landlord.
$270 to the university - part for student guild/administration fees, and $100 for an electronics set (pieces that result in a bikelight, two kinds of cable, a power supply, and a toolkit)
Something in the area of $200 for uni lunches, a trip to the movies, two or three dinners out, alchohol for two parties, two CDs (Carole King and Ennio Morricone), and DVD hire.

All up totalling about $1650!

I'm hoping this is a 'settling in' payment and isn't my norm...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Trick, Brick and Dick

I live in My Place with three other guys.
Trick was the only guy still living here when I moved in, as one guy had moved out recently and another was actually in the process of moving out, as I found out on Day 2. Anyway, Trick was the guy to give the greeting as me and Dad walked in the door. He's 30, very tall, slim, with a shaved head and tends towards singlets and beer. Give him an orange cap and he could almost have been the twin of a guy who worked at the theatre with me. Trick works as an IT guy for Caterpillar by day and as a DJ by night, so is almost never around. He's a pretty amiable, laid-back kind of guy. Dad seemed to get along with him well. :) He knows a fair bit about electronics, and tells me that he buys things cheap from second-hand stores that have simple problems, fixes them up, and sells them for good money. I would love to be able to do that - to have the knowledge to diagnose the problem and the skills to fix it. I hate throwing stuff away without even knowing why it stopped working.

Specimen Brick arrived on the same day I did, shortly after I'd returned from shopping. At first, (when it was me, him, our fathers and Trick) this guy reminded me of a volunteer at the theatre who'd had little social skills and the unfortunate habit of following people around only a few steps behind (which usually resulted in the followed turning around and running into him!). Fortunately, Brick isn't like that. He's quite open and chatty, and seems to always have a story to tell. He's from Chinchilla, which is a country town about 4 hours away (so he tells me - otherwise I wouldn't have a clue). He's a school-leaver (age 17-18), worked as a technical advisor for people with computer troubles, and is studying to be a primary school teacher. He's a fan of Home & Away and Blue Heelers, and by his own admission watches too much TV. He also is a habitual spender when it comes to his computer - we've laughed over how he says he's trying to stop himself and then talks about the next gadget that would make things so much easier. He listens to a particular radio station which seems to only play feelgood upbeat music, which I often find myself unexpectedly singing along to. It hasn't become annoying as yet because I play such varied music so often that it hasn't been the dominant musical style reaching my ears. The only part that gets on my nerves is when he plays the new remixed version of Belinda Carlisle's "Summer Rain". I've loved the original for a long long time and I can't stand the new one. Fortunately I have the original on my own computer and can override the other. :-)

Lastly is Dick, who moved in maybe a week and a bit ago. He's Norwegian, 28-29, bald, and studying genetics. He kind of unnerves me just because he has this sort of aura of confidence and piercing blue eyes and his generic expression is a sort of half-smile that I can't always read. But he seems a pretty cool guy (especially because he's getting the internet set up for us - ADSL networked through the house). He has two desktop computers and a laptop (I'm not sure why), he's the only one of us who has a car, and yet he prefers to ride to university. Oh, and he may or may not own a huge plush toy replica of Kermit the Frog which has appeared in the doorway to our TV room.

(For anyone who still remembers my description of the house, Brick and Trick have the rooms nearest the kitchen, Brick and Dick have rooms connecting to the veranda, and Dick's room is between mine and Brick's.)

A very motley crew aboard this ship, but I guess beggars can't be choosers. These guys will do. :)


Okay, here's the scoop on the freezer:

When I first arrived, we opened it up to find that the entire top half was encased in ice. Words actually translated to action in this case, and the freezer was soon out on the balcony, dripping over the edge. After I came back from my first shopping expedition, Trick discovered buried treasure: a bowl of something which was an interesting shade of yellow. Trick promptly denied ownership, yet put the bowl in the refrigerator anyway (!) Continuing digging, a box of ice-blocks was unearthed. Unfortunately it was empty, so I wasn't able to attempt to digest them.

And that's more or less that. The freezer now works fine and is filled with frozen pies, fish and pizza.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


I was walking around unknown areas of Brisbane today, and realising just how different houses are. Some houses are run-down and overgrown. Some houses are crammed into ridiculously small spaces. Some houses have very nice paint jobs but horrible structure. Some houses are on top of a hill but their view is obscured by all the other houses.
My dream house is two storeys high, on top of a hill or mountain, with a spectacular view of the sky and the land. I don't want any houses or trees blocking my view to the horizon. I don't want trees cluttering the view either. Between the house and the view I want a flat grassy area for sitting, reflecting, and holding parties. I want neighbours - other houses close by, but none blocking the view for any other, and as few fences as decently possible. I want trees nearby, shady and good for climbing. I want a skylight/window in the roof, so that I can still see the sky when indoors.

I want one of the types of flowering trees I've seen dotted around Brisbane. Its flowers are a deep, rich purple, and they are heartachingly beautiful.

I want a girl with hair like the one that sat on the bus in front of me today. Her hair was long and dark brown, but streaked with lighter shades. Moments would make it seem tinted red, or burgundy, or black. I wanted to touch her hair, to stroke it, to feel her hair against my cheek and her head on my chest.

I want someone to be there with me. Someone who understands that more than her words, I need her presence to show me that everything is all right, that I am not alone. That I am not empty. That I am not meaningless.

Such is loneliness.

My Place

It took us a while to find my new house originally, firstly because it was at the opposite end of the street to what I'd expected, secondly because the house numbers make sudden jumps for no apparent reason, and thirdly because the house itself is blocked from view by a wall of foliage.
The place is a long two-floored rectangle reaching away from the street. The dirt driveway runs along the side, leading to the 6/7-port open-air car-hold, of which one wall is artistic graffiti and the other end is old furniture and cardboard boxes. I tend not to venture too close for fear of spiders. :-0
On the opposite side of the house to the carport and between the house and the wall of foliage is the front yard, a smallish square of grass with the unlikely stump of a palm tree proclaiming itself slightly to the right of centre.
The yard leads into the lower floor of the house, currently reserved for the girls that may or may not ever choose to live here. There's a big kitchen/dining/living room area, and 4/5 bedrooms branching off the main hallway. Two of the rooms are joined by an arch, and another bedroom is just huge; it might originally have been a second bedroom/rumpus room.
At the back corner of the lower floor is the laundry for the house - it can be locked from the inside to stop boys from wandering in to the girls' quarters (unless the boys have a key. Or lockpicking skills. Or a screwdriver). The clothesline is up a step or two (supplied by cinderblocks) and beyond it is the cardboard-filled car bay.
Meanwhile, the top floor is accessible by a veranda (accessible by stairs at the carport end) that overlooks the driveway - and has a view west over the rooftops that makes me want to pull out my camera every sunset.
The veranda opens into the boys' kitchen/dining area, which is much cleaner now than when I arrived (there are fewer potato peels in the sink). The sink itself overlooks the front yard, which begs to be the site of a party every time I look at it. There's a dishwasher that is always full (usually because no-one wants to have to clear the dishes), a microwave that suffers from overuse compared to the oven, a combination fridge/freezer and a full-size freezer that comes with its own story...
The living room is on the other yard-side corner, is tiny and red and comes with a TV and air-conditioner (we drape sheets over the windows and doorway to stop the cold air escaping).
There's a bathroom and a seperate toilet next to the living room, and then comes the hallway, again with bedrooms branching out from it, except at the very end, where the hall deposits you in the second bathroom.

MY ROOM is the last one on the left. It measures a little short of 4 x 4.5 metres (when using my 30cm ruler) but includes a huge wardrobe, a huger desk (with really long drawers), and a king-single-sized bed (which means that I can finally stretch out and not have my feet sticking out over the edge!). Also a big blue rug, which is probably supposed to make up for not having the soft (and bright red) carpets that line most of the other rooms. There is a decent-sized window in the back wall (i.e., in the direction of the carport/clothesline) through which the sun arrives each morning to wake me up - definitely a good thing for uni days. The door can be locked from the inside (need a key to open from the hall) and, by the look of the screen in the window, it is possible to break in through the window if I lock myself out and have a tall enough ladder.
This is my space; this is my home.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Irregular Musing: Simplifying

The thought struck me the other day that perhaps I find it easier to communicate through media that limit the range of emotional expression (i.e., writing) because I am overly emotional, or especially receptive to/affected by emotions, and find it difficult (in other media) to block this out in favour of managing coherent (let alone intelligent) speech.

Then again, I could just be shy. (-:

Friday, March 04, 2005

Breaking the News

On the Sunday morning, we visited my dad's mother to break the news to her. Dad's mum is a variation on the stereotypical grandma - white hair, dentures, a little overweight, constantly offering food, a little deaf but nonetheless a heavy gossiper.
She'd actually got Dad to make tea and toast for all of us before he told her about Marie. She handled it better than Dad - she had to close her eyes and grip Dad's hand for a good moment, but Dad had a real choke in his voice for a long time after. I wasn't quite sure what to do immediately afterwards, so I left the two of them to themselves and washed the dishes.

When I slipped back into the room Grandma was still trying to get her mind around the idea of a brain haemorrhage, of the fact that Marie was still 'alive' but only because of machines that performed the functions her body couldn't; that though she was alive she could never again be conscious. She was just trying to understand, but I think it must have been painful for Dad to keep reinforcing the situation.

It's difficult being with Grandma sometimes. She is the sunniest, loveliest woman, but being a 80-year old in an aged care home, she has seen her share of death and tends to talk about it each time we visit. A particular pet hate of mine is the clock in the living room. The loud and constant ticking of the clock would drive me insane if I had to live there. It seems like a difficult (but not necessarily lonely) existence, and I don't think it's a position I'd like to be in myself.