Being a student and finances

An excellent piece on how to control your (yes, your) horrendous money-wasting habits.


Looking Back, Going Forward – The Path Ahead

So I’ve dedicated the vast majority of my blogging energies (oh who am I kidding – all of my blogging energy) into my food blog – I’m Still Hungry. I’m not ashamed of neglecting this main blog of mine. The simple fact of the matter is, I don’t really like talking about myself – it really doesn’t accomplish all that much. After all, the good things are usually just me being all boastful, and the bad things…well nothing draws as much flak as criticisms of almost anything, when posted online.

Still, I feel that I’ve been keeping some stuff pent-up that need to be said here – not food related. It’s going to be very stream of consciousness-like, especially as I haven’t posted for so long.

The Year That Was

2012 was one HECK of a year, I always feel that at the end of each year I metaphorically sit back and think to myself “whoa, that was my busiest year ever in my 18/19/20 years on this Earth”. Is that where I’m headed? Do my years keep getting busier? 2012 felt like a rather cruel troll, scrunching up all the drama and events of 2009 (HSC!), 2010 (OMG FIRST YEAR UNI!) and 2011 (LOUSIEST YEAR EVER) all into one, and giving it to me in one svelte package that in reality, was anything but.

Still, despite the immense stresses of 2012, I’ve gotta say – I freaking loved it.

So much has happened this year – so much. And though many of you would know from…you know actually socialising with me in real life, to those others here’s the low-down (since I didn’t exactly make frequent posts…errr)

  1. I got into photography – thanks January NZ trip for giving me the inspiration to ditch a cameraphone (not that you can’t take good pics with one) to take up more serious equipment.
  2. I’ve met several new friends and reconnected with some older acquaintances – who are now awesome friends. I don’t want you guys out of my life (again). You know who you are – and if you’re unsure, you’re probably not one of those people :P
  3. Third year uni is done! And it was my best year in terms of marks yet. Still not killing the WAM yet, but for once, it didn’t drop! Only one more year to go!
  4. Three (!!!) overseas holidays! China and NZ in the beginning of the year, America RIGHT NOW!
  5. Road trips – the Shen Trips 1.0 and 1.1 – Brisbane & Hunter Valley. So much fun had, for sure!
  6. FOOD – my passion for food was always there (who doesn’t like food?), but now I’ve taken it up to a new level with the food blog. I’m in it for the long haul peeps, unless a law’s passed forbidding photography at restaurants…(and that for me, is my 2012 apocalypse)
  7. And the above 6 points was just about me! So much else has actually, you know, happened around the world. Obama winning another term, the rise of the patent-trolls (hi Apple v Samsung), North Korea doing some scary but rather useless things, GANGNAM STYLE, London Olympics, China’s change of leadership (please do a good job, Xi JingPing), the Mayan troll-pocalypse…the list goes on and on and on.

Yeah a lot has happened. Actually, much more than what’s on that list has happened – but we’re stepping into private lives here…

Going Forward

One hell of a year, really. Lessons learned? Of course. Are they rehashed and applicable to almost anyone and everyone in almost any situation? Naturally, but you’re always forced to re-learn them and reflect:

  1. People who can balance sleep, a good social life and study are awesome. I’ve learned the hard way that I am not awesome. This year, I chose to sacrifice, for the most part, study. I’m so lucky I still did fairly well. Such a close shave will not happen again for next year as I’ll be doing ridiculously difficult 4th year subjects. 
  2. Timing is everything. There are various interpretations and applications of this, let’s say I’ve experienced most of them. Unfortunately, you can never truly “learn” from this.
  3. Good food + good company = fantastic times. Always.
  4. Spend more time with the family (or in my case, just parents as I’ve no siblings) – friends are great, but when it comes down to it – family is more important than anything. If you feel a friend becomes that important – they become family.
  5. Saving a ridiculously high proportion of your income for a rainy day while we’re this young is stupid. Unless you’re saving for something tangible in the immediate future (e.g. exchange), just spend it! Save like 10-20%. A lot of you will disagree here, but with money in the now, I can carpe every trucking diem. You’re going to make substantially more money when you graduate and get a job anyway, so why would you forfeit experiences now – when you’ve the time and youth and hot-blooded friends to experience them, instead of saving them for later – when you’ll be spending most of your hours behind a desk, earning lots of money but having much less time to spend it? Your call.
  6. Don’t live every day like it’s your last – you’re going to do some stupid things if that happens ;) :P, but live every day like it’ll be your last meal. You’ll always be treating yourself to something good :)
  7. Exercise – do that shit. I don’t even need to explain this. 3 hours a week, you can do it. I can do it, and I go out almost every single night. The rewards are amazing.
  8. But above all else, since you’re not going to remember these rules plastered to your brain – just go out and have fun with it.

In the end, my lovely friends, my incredibly tolerant family (seriously you’ve no idea how much crap I put them through), my rather dumb luck with monetary and social issues, my exercise regimen borne out of self discipline…and to a lesser extent, my studies and work life…y’all made my year in 2012. I very much look forward to what in this small world will bring me come the thirteenth year past the millenium.

Also, if you’ve just spent your five minutes reading this 1000-word verbiage and you’re in Australia…YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Go out and enjoy a drink or camp for a good fireworks-watching spot! This post can wait.

Oops, too late :P

I know what I’ll be doing in 2013, do you?

That Apple Maps Story

I’ve been reading too many articles about Apple’s massive kahooney with its new Maps implementation in iOS6…


Whoops, so in a bit of irony, because I’m reading around 200 tech-related articles a day some facts have been getting pretty muddied up in my head and things I was sure about aren’t actually so certain. Thanks readers for pointing them out.

  • Public transport navigation is actually available on Google Maps for iOS5. Just keep in mind that this piece talks about Apple Maps vs Google Maps, not Google Maps for iOS5 vs Google Maps for Android.
  • Yes, it is true that the closed software ecosystem argument is beginning to lose much of its relevance. Android and iOS differ in other respects much more significantly. Widgets, distinctive OS-specific features, etc.
  • There are apparently locales in which Apple Maps is actually superior to Google Maps. I’m not going to bother validating these claims – suffice it to say that I doubt this is big enough of a deal to void the essential point I’m making with this article.
  • Yes, you don’t have to be a ‘power user’ to be able to use replaceable batteries/use a microSD – but Apple’s reasoning here “to keep the design simple” is not very encouraging. “Give us the option” – so they say. Clearly, you can still make a relatively thin and light phone whilst offering all that (Hi GSIII).

Why hi there dear readers.

If you’re one of my friends who know me well, you have long known about my stance against Apple. If you’re one of my friends who know me well, you would also know that my reasons for being anti-Apple isn’t coming from any core “hater mentality” against them, because I’m jealous of their products, or because I don’t want to be mainstream, or whatever. I have completely objective reasons to not buy Apple products, but that doesn’t mean I’ll try and evangelize everyone on this. After all, I have made the iPhone my top recommendation several times before – it all depends on the use case.

You’d have expected a post about Apple to have come up a long time ago, given my long-standing beef with Apple’s product design mentality. I won’t cover them again here, but in short:

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The Mother Review of ALL Revues (Well, Not Really)

Why hello there fellow humans.

I feel almost obligated to write this considering the furor that was stirred up by my rather controversial (not that I believe it to be the case) review of the 2012 UNSW Law Revue. I literally had people from the UNSW CSE Revue (the last revue of 2012 as far as UNSW and Usyd are concerned) come to me and say things such as (and this is NOT verbatim)

“The directors [of the CSE Revue] are using you as a threat – ‘step up your game guys – you don’t want to have some guy write a negative blog post about our revue!'”

“Opening night didn’t sell all that well…people are scared of going to them now!”

Actually, WRT that last one – I apologise if that was truly the case, but though I can be held responsible for this, I can’t be accountable – I had to say what I said about the Law Revue. Besides, the people who don’t go to CSE Revue based on a revue done by a completely different faculty…well that’s just shortsighted. Because CSE Revue is worth going to.

Before I get to CSE Revue, I may as well make this definitive. I am going to try and cover ALL the revues I’ve seen this year. For my own sanity, I’m not going to make them long because frankly I’m too lazy to do a 2k-word commentary on each. This is really more of a summary. Here goes.

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An open letter to the creators of the 2012 UNSW Law Revue – Addendum

Before I start, I don’t think I need to mention that you should have read my first post regarding this subject. Please remember it applies only to the OPENING NIGHT of the revue, not subsequent nights.

Finished? Cool.

So here’s the low down:

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An open letter to the creators of the 2012 UNSW Law Revue

[UPDATE] Several updates have been made in red text.

Oh wow, so it’s been quite some time since I’ve put out a blog post. Over 6 months in fact. I think that when it comes to saying something along the lines of “could I possibly get any worse” the answer to that question is clearly a resounding “yes”. But this post isn’t about that, I’ll detail the reasons why it took me so darn long to put out another post in…you guessed it…a future post (2013 anyone? :P)

This post is actually about a revue. Specifically, the 2012 UNSW Law Revue OPENING NIGHT SCREENING. I have been informed that the opening night experience is drastically different to subsequent showings. Thus, comments made in this post may not necessarily reflect on the later showings.

So a friend told me I should have posted this critique after the revue had actually finished showing on all nights. This being for the reason that in case performers stumble on this post they might get psyched out in a bad way. I had not realised that this could potentially happen. Apologies if you have already read it, if not – DO NOT READ UNTIL THE REVUE IS DONE. You have been duly warned to the best of my ability.

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Japan day 25 & 26 – the end of a remarkable journey

To think that I was actually able to reach this milestone. Well, I always knew I was going to pull it off eventually. The variable was obviously going to be “time”. Looks like I made it, before I died that is… Sure, it may have taken literally 13 months from the end of the trip to actually finishing the blog for it – but I bet very few holiday diaries would be anywhere NEAR as long. I’ve essentially written a short novel here.

Not a particularly good one mind you (particularly considering it’s actually a work of non-fiction and a novel doesn’t really go there…), but still one nonetheless. If you’ve read every post before this (I don’t count you skimmers out there!) then congratulations. For bearing with it all this time, and staying with me till this final post. #melancholy

Eh, whatever. I’ll go on bigger holidays in the future, bigger posts await. Or I could just do a video blog. Why not let technology make our lives simpler? Indeed. Without further ado, I present to you day 25 – penultimate day. So, after the awesomeness that was the 5 hours of onsen the previous night, we expected to rest quite well back at JGH.

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