My name is Danielle and I am addicted to crap nursing TV.

I have to confess: I have a deep, sick love/hate thing for pretty much any nursing TV drama that comes along. ‘Nurse Jackie’ – love. ‘Getting On’ – love. ‘Mercy’ – wanted to hate, started off hating, grew to love just in time for it to be cancelled. The best worst best of them all is ‘HawthoRNe’ (see what they did there?).

I am quite obsessed with how utterly dreadful ‘HawthoRNe’ is. It’s Jada Pinkett Smith’s vanity project, as in, it is very clearly what would happen if a self-insertion fanficcer actually had the necessary resources to produce a TV version of their fantasy. Pinkett Smith fancies herself a rule-breaking, law-breaking, totally irresponsible, totally unethical hero nurse who Gets Things Done and Breaks Eggs to do it. Without fail almost every episode features another character being taught a lesson by her character, and the lesson is pretty much always ‘I am better than you in every conceivable way’.

Hearken unto my lesson, Inferior Nurse.

‘HathoRNe’ ticks every bad TV box, with bad acting, inconsistent characters, ridiculous plots, utterly insane dialogue – it genuinely creeps toward ‘The Room’ levels of bizarre.

So I have decided to recap episodes! The plan is to fool myself into thinking it’s vaguely related to my study for my Bachelor of Nursing. If I can watch Jada Pinkett Smith living in (and producing) her own make-believe world, surely I can allow myself a little self-deception?

You'll all learn not to underestimate my ability to overact!

(To confuse things, I’m starting at the beginning of series three, and will maybe go back to series one at some point in the future.)

Automatic forwarding from your webmail to your real email account.

Often throughout my first year at uni people missed out on important information. Sometimes it was the uni’s fault, and sometimes it was because the student didn’t check their clunky and gross (totally objective, me) university webmail. What I did was set my webmail account to auto-forward to my proper email account, so I actually get all the news as soon as possible. Since I am a nerd/former officey adminny person, I was all over being able to do this, but not all students are, so here’s a three step how-to for my fellow students:

Firstly, log into your yucky webmail. Then select the circled 'Options' tab.

Then choose 'Settings' and once the page has loaded, scroll down...

You'll come to a 'Mail Forwarding' section, and here you tick the 'Enable Forwarding' box, and then enter the email address you want to be automatically recieving your uni mail to in the 'Email Address' field.

And that should help keep you abreast of uni emails, for better or for maddeningly annoying!

The holiday, and the easy ride, are both over.

This holiday has been expensive! Because we went to… Launceston… and we had a mild time!

I’m back at uni as of today, since I signed up for a three-day full-on science intro course. Technically this is actually the last week of holidays, but as one of the first subjects I let slide when I gave up in high school was science, I figured I should attend and brush up. And what did we learn in the first session of the day? Last semester was easy. Here comes reality. 12 hours minimum per week should be dedicated to our bioscience unit alone. Sobering stuff, since I got very comfy with doing my lectures from home, only turning up on campus once a week, and being able to heavily rely on my own experiences in life plus general knowledge to get me through.

In between “how to study” and “how to use the school’s online resources” sessions were genuinely useful and helpful chemistry lectures. I felt good about what I was understanding during them, and then immediately when it was teensy revision quiz time I felt like a jellybrain again.

"My father was a jellybrain?" "Yes, that's why he et his own feet."

Between the ENORMOUS amount of money I’ve had to dish out recently for books, new glasses (that was a total disaster) and some clothing, and what feels now like insurmountable chunks of stuff I need to learn, I actually feel like real university is beginning to kick in. It’s a little bit daunting.

Perhaps I actually ought to complete the fluff “what kind of learner are you?” quiz thingie they gave us and like, structure my learning and do a daily schedule or something…

Actually, I should be less facetious about it. I am due to be an aunt any minute now, and the plan is to join Mum in October in a family descent upon unsuspecting Perth for baby inspection. Problem is, the first two weeks Mum’s in WA I’ll be on prac, the third week is my exam prep week, and the fourth week is my first exam week, which makes booking cheap flights in advance close to impossible. All I can do is force myself to really stay on top of my work, maybe get an assessment or two completed in advance, and cross my fingers for the next three months.

Now to waste more money on a lab coat…

SCIENCE!

I want to live where the people live.

Since 2004 I have been travelling on and off. It sort of began in the northern hemispherian summer/southern hemispherian winter when I went to visit Heather in Canada for a month, and carried on in 2005 when I moved to New Zealand in the latter half of the year. Although I have spent a lot of time travelling over the past five years I haven’t been to a large number of places. I travel at the rate of a tortoise, since each experience is a live&work one. I’ve now lived&worked in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom. Being a Commonwealth citizen has some huge perks in the visa department. Being a Caucasian mongrel with three passports helps too.

I’ve always known I would go out into the world in search of the right place for me. It’s what my family has done for generations, and I acknowledge that our being able to do this so easily is an enormous privilege. I have occasionally tossed around the thought that if I could hand over my Australian citizenship to an asylum-seeker I absolutely would. I’m not doing that yet, since I need that citizenship to get my education, but I think once I am established it might be time to think about resigning one of my citizenships.

Have digressed a little from what I wanted the point of this post to be! I wanted to write about how even though I still haven’t necessarily found my place, I have definitely found a lot of the things I want to be in my place. I am banking on knowing what I want from my immediate world and deliberately striving to find the place that meets a large number of those requirements as being one of the keys to being happy with my own life.

What a girl wants, what a girl needs:

  • To be able to live carless.
    • Which requires a good public transit network, and I’d like one with an active user community.
    • Also requires strong walkability.
    • And bicycle friendliness.
  • To be able to eat healthy.
    • Requires farmers’ markets,
    • health food retailers, and
    • stevia!
  • To be surrounded by positive people who like fresh things, new things, and are positive about change.
  • Trees, plants, flowers! (Also squirrels, ideally.)
  • “Late” shopping hours and 24 hour groceries.
    • Including cafés.
  • Travelability.
    • Overseas travel a few hours of flying away or,
    • domestic travel 45min-1hr away (max).
  • SEASONS. (Thank Kurtulmak that Launceston has a lot of imported trees.)

It’s actually quite hard to put into words what it is that has made me love the places I’ve loved, but I know it when I feel it, and I have the (enormous) luxury of being able to refuse to settle elsewhere.

*****

Lily of The House of Mirth is an evil wench who foisted upon me this “game of 8 questions” and it has been an exceedingly long time since I participated in one of these things, so I am indulging her and also indulging my own love of talking about myself.

1) If you could live in any time and place, when and where would it be?

  • I am pining away for my time of studenthood and clipped wings to be over, so I would like to be living toward the end of 2013. Ideally by this time I’ll have my BN and my Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing and a year of professional experience all neatly tucked under my belt, and I will be gearing up to head overseas to some fabulous new job and to enjoy some PROPER SEASONS (see above). I know it’s terribly wicked to wish away years of my life and blah blah blah, but that is where I want to be, and I can’t be doing with this fussing about working hard and getting there. I just want to be there now.

2) Other than Mr Darcy, who is your most shaggable fictional character?

  • Oh, awful. It’s absolutely Walter Blythe from the final Anne book: Rilla of Ingleside. The poor darling abhors war and cannot bring himself to go bouncing off to WWI to defend the “Old Grey Mother” as his brothers so merrily do. He gets white feathers mailed to him as he tries to carry on with his education, and eventually does go to war and is killed trying to rescue a comrade. He writes a poem while he’s there which eventually becomes famous across Canada, and he never gets to have his happy ending with his true love Una and oh, I am actually going to cry just thinking about it. That book kills me.
  • Possibly coming in second is Catman from Secret Six…

3) Do you have any hidden talents?

  • I am far too vain to keep what small talent I have to myself! So if I ever find any the world will be sure to hear of it. Until then I’ll just have to be content with being able to raise my right eyebrow and bend my thumbs down to be parallel with my arm. Sadly, I am also pretty good at being abused over the phone and remaining polite and forcing a constructive end to the call by sheer force of will. I like to keep that one secret because, when temping, if it’s found out you can cope with abuse you wind up shoved out in front of everyone else as the customer service/reception meat shield. Just because someone can suck it up and just do it, doesn’t mean they should always have to!

4) Tell me something embarrassing about yourself!

  • I am a complete and total lover of teacher’s pet status. I am utterly pathetic. If my academic record is examined you can tell which classes were taught by teachers I liked and connected with, and which weren’t. The connection is the important bit. If I felt respected and valued by a teacher I would do everything to make them proud of me, and I would truly die if I get a bad mark and make them hate me. In year 9 I tried to protest what seemed like being exhiled to “bottom English” due to lazy Perth Modern School administrative staff and I deliberately did a sloppy job on a piece of assigned work. Unfortunately, I really liked that teacher, and when I got it back from her with a C- and a note saying, “This is not to your standard and I know you can do much better” I was beside myself and pulled out all the stops for the next assignment and it all got me absolutely bloody nowhere.

5) What really gets on your nerves?

  • You are officially trying to make this the longest waffly blog post in history. EVERYTHING annoys me! Negative, unimaginative people annoy me; bad spelling annoys me; people who smoke walking on city streets or at bus stops annoy me; coverage of Australia participating in international sports events annoy me; “math” rather than “maths” annoys me; “Legos” rather than “Lego” annoys me; being the condescendee rather than the condescender annoys me; Wil Anderson annoys me; download limits annoy me; stories that begin with “I was SO drunk, hahahaa!” annoy me… oh, it goes on and on. I am an angry old person waiting to happen.

6) Do your family and friends read your blog?

  • Probably not! Look at how much nonsense I blab.

7) What’s your favourite movie?

  • I am SO predictable – it’s absolutely Labyrinth. That film is distilled joy for me. That it involves a Python, Bowie and a Dwarfer is the cherry on the icing on the cake.

8) What does your dream cat look like? (Mine is a big fat fluffy orange Persian with a squished face called Darren or Darryl.  Not liking cats is not an option!)

  • Pepper. My lovely grizzled, stinky, yowly baby in the sky. I’mma go ahead and pour out some cat milk for seniors.

"WAAUUUUM!"

Lucky for everyone I know that has a blog that I am too too lazy to write my own series of questions with which to tag you! Yeah, you can thank me later. (P.S. – Birthday, 28th of July.)

Have hit the halfway holiday mark!

"This exam is asking me WHAT?!"

I had my second and final exam for first semester on Friday morning. It was kind of a shocker and left me wondering if I had drastically misinterpreted the overall message of our narratives unit. I thought we had been given a number of loose theories and trains of thought on what nursing is today, how it came to be how it is currently, and how we can utilise our own strengths – and build on them – to contribute to the future of nursing. All lovely stuff which I could comfortably write about at length.

And then: THE EXAM!
Upon looking at the exam paper I briefly wondered if I was even in the right class. The questions were highly specific, far less wide open and broad than I expected, and entire topics we were told would be included were not there. Perhaps we were told to study them, and not that they were to be included. There were some rumblings about making a complaint from some of the students. Not sure I feel that way inclined, although I might change my mind when we get our final grades back on the 7th of July.

So, before me stretch three weeks of leisure. I have some projects planned, natch:

  • Hunt down cheap cheaper books for next semester. Big aim is to get the total cost below $550 (down from $630ish).
  • Get lovely sourdough starter going and begin regularly producing homemade bread.
  • Develop a daily routine inclusive of exercise and regular dish washing!
  • MEGA cleaning of the icebox flat.
  • Figure out where to get “black or navy blue” shoes that can be “wiped down” that don’t make me want to vom.
  • Get Hep B injection #2 and find out once and for all if I have inherited Mumsy’s resistance to the English measles vaccine (all signs point to yes).
  • Work on nursing numeracy book to hopefully counteract years of mathematical synapses going dormant.
  • Spend fourth week of holiday on campus taking booster bio introduction classes.
  • Finally arrange getting new lenses in new frames!

Doesn’t that all sound fun? I am genuinely looking forward to it! Errands start tomorrow with shopping for gifts for family in town and a dinner of recipe experimentation — I plan on making spinach and lentil soup and baked pepper potato chips, having just found the Veg Inspirations blog yesterday.

My pre-exam Mental State Examination of myself.

“Mental health examination” would be an oxymoron.

SO! In order to get a bit of practice in, I examined my own mental state the night before writing my first exam paper in NINE YEARS.

Appearance:

  • Appropriately maintaining personal hygiene, although exuding the scent of licorice from excess consumption
  • Dressed slobbishly in an array of fleece articles
  • Hair arranged into knotty pigtails, tangled around headset

Behaviour:

  • Nervous and frequently preoccupied with giving attention to anything that is not a textbook or her laptop screen
  • Frequently wrings hands and moans miserably (Lady Macbeth delusion?)
  • Often wriggles about and cannot seem to sit still on chair
  • Constantly gazing toward box of chocolate biscuits in corner of the room, then staring off into space

Thought form:

  • Highly distractible
  • Exhibiting perseveration, constantly returning to consideration of making self ill by ingesting far too much chocolate, contrasted by sudden expression of desire to “do very well!”

Thought content:

  • Obvious delusions of grandeur – see above interest in “doing well”
  • Overvalued idea that drinking as many energy drinks as possible prior to sitting exam “must be” helpful
  • Phobia of failing exam, perhaps tied to delusions in that “world might end” if a failure mark is achieved

Mood:

  • Anxious, characterised by weird breathing, hypervigilance, and badgering of poor boyfriend

Affect:

  • Congruent with mood in terms of erraticism and anxiety
  • Overly dramatic

Summary:

At risk of driving self and boyfriend unnecessarily bonkers. Possibly only staying sane by tethering self to the promise of a luncheon at delightful Cuccina upon completion of the semester! Consider that a strength.

Use social media for good, not evil!

I facetiously searched for 'evil social media' and got this and liked it better than anything that could possibly be more relevant.

Last night on the ABC’s Q and A programme (or #QandA as I think of it) a question was posed:

“Do you think that it’s a concern that Facebook and other social networking sites are encouraging a society of self-obsession and increasing the pressure to appear to be a success?”

A high school friend and I who both, as marginalized teens, used the social opportunities of the Internet to find supportive peer groups jumped to its defence in the Twitter #qanda conversation.

My own personal knee-jerk uneducated answer to the question is that social media are tools, and you make of a tool what you will. People who have self-obsession within themselves and feel pressure to appear successful outside of social media are going to view social media as tools to fuel those things (although perhaps not consciously). I’m not saying it’s black and white, either you care or you don’t care about whether people from high school think you’re a success because you got a job telemarketing for Telstra at 18-years-old.

For most teens, what you do the year after you finish high school is sort of a big deal. If social media was around in 2000 I suspect I would have been hiding what I was up to from my high school year group. I repeated my final high school year at a college and I am still embarrassed about it, but at 27 I am also capable of owning it. Of course, I’d like to think that were I 17 again, I would actually just have rejected Facebook friend requests from high school people with whom I was not actually friends – however, I’m not so different to myself ten years ago, and I have accepted a load of requests from high school people whose Internet etiquette was so poor they didn’t even bother with a personalised message and have never actually initiated direct communication with me, just added me to their tally.

Thing is, these days, I don’t much bother about what someone thinks of me if they’re not a person who I care for and respect. What I do care about is having control over what they know about me. So I generally give some thought to what information I provide. Yes, I have my Twitter, Facebook and blog all linked together, but I also don’t disclose anything on them that I wouldn’t be capable of owning if confronted by it in meat space. I have never, ever set my relationship status on Facebook, for example. For some people it’s fun and fine – to me it’s a massively creepy broken heart clip art if a relationship is over, regardless of how the participants in the relationship feel about its conclusion.

In the paediatric unit we’re taking at uni this semester the Internet, online bullying and predators come up often. I can’t say much about the bullying, since no-one at school could find me online when I was in a position to be bullied, but I definitely know about Internet predators. The place that was my Internet haven was also a pretty good haven for such predators – HOWEVER! Not only did I have an excellent relationship with my technology-literate mother, I also had older sibling figures within my online social circle to whom I could have turned. Newspapers and (God forbid) Today Tonight, ACA, etc. often portray children online as totally vulnerable and in need of protection and yes, that’s kind of true – but the protection they need is having an open, honest relationship with at least one adult to whom they can turn if things go wonky. Children with a support network aren’t so vulnerable.

While things are obviously different now to ten years ago, I’m a child of the Internet, and I used it as a positive tool with which to enhance my life as an adolescent. I still use it that way now. If approached in that manner, by children who have a supportive, mature role model in their lives, I think we can step away from social media just being something you use to stalk the girl in high school you hated and laugh at how she has chosen different things for her life than you have for yours.

I’d love to just be able to say to all the people who worry about this: Protect yourself, but also don’t care about the opinions on your life held by those that are meaningless to you.

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