“So, how’s the car salesman doing?”

by Jinryu

I’ve been playing Farcry 2, and I’m about 18% through the game. I took on a mission for a tough european guy with a moustache in his late 40s, who seems to be a bit of an alcoholic and a bit overweight.  He seems pretty tough though, so I figure, maybe I should befriend him.  Turns out that one of the things you can do to get on his good side is to kill someone from a neighboring country who sold him a shit car.  “He sold me a shit car, so he is shit.”

 

(Mission accomplished.)

 

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I find it difficult to write when there’s stuff going on.  Not bad stuff.  Actually, if bad things are happening, then I probably tend to write even more– blogging is just one of those ways that I vent, when I really need to, and it’s about stuff that I don’t want to trouble people with in person.  It’s also somewhat of a cathartic process, because writing takes so long that the process of defining and putting out what makes me angry tends to have me a bit calmer by the end of it.

I digress– my point is that it’s been a while since I’ve had the time to write, and it’s not for lack of anything to write about– it’s just that I haven’t made time to do it.

 

I’d like to think that some day, I’ll be famous for something, and maybe someone will look back here and find that there’s some insight into a great mind.  But until that happens, I guess I’ll just keep saying it as I see it, whenever I can.

 

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So, I got through midterms without any sense of regret.  I don’t have the grades back, but I think I’m doing pretty well. 

 

I kinda have some insecurities when it comes to some of my peers.  The fact is, a lot of these people are simply smarter than I am.  They work less hard and get the same results that I do.  Is it something about their technique? I’m not always sure.  And yeah, some people work harder than I do to.  I guess if they worked harder than I do, then I can’t really expect better grades– but if I do work harder than they do, you can be sure that I feel ripped off if the grades don’t reflect it.

While it is true that I live by my own standards, the school itself is the one that gives the grades, and eventually, that’s what the employers might be looking at.

 

So where do I stand?  Well, we did an in class case-brief thing, which is basically that we have to read a case on the spot and write up a summary of it.  The practice version gave us 90 minutes to work our way through 15 pages of reading, and write as much as we could.  The actual exam was 35 pages long.  Which, frankly, was a pretty big surprise to most people– and it was quite the mad dash to read and write quickly.

I’d like to think that all those times that I skipped out on a social lunch because I wanted to do case readings will pay off.  A lot of my classmates are always bragging that they never read the cases (they just read summaries online).  Well you know what?  Nothing personal, but I hope you all flunk the case brief.  We’ll see how that turns out when the grades come back in a couple of weeks.

 

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As it stands, my current average is about 77-78.  Turns out that this is the bottom borderline for First Class Honours in the program.  I guess I should try and pull that up then, shouldn’t I?  In the past, the honours cutoff has ranged from about 74 to 79% (it depends on the average of the whole year) so it’s rather hard to say how things will be when I graduate.  But that’s what I’m aiming for.

 

 

It’s funny how if you took me a few years ago, I couldn’t give a damn about grades, but somehow, now it’s a big, important thing.  I guess the truth is it makes a huge difference when you care and are interesting in what you’re doing.  Doing the internship work at the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre kinda teaches me that there’s a lot of difference a single person can make– just how much difference is limited only by my own individual abilities.  So why wouldn’t I want to get better?  Why shouldn’t I take some pride in my work?

 

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Last week on Wednesday, I went to Younggil’s Go Academy. I arranged a field trip for the UNSW Baduk Club to head out there and play.  There weren’t all that many players there, but Younggil himself was there.  He’s an 8dan player, so that’s nothing to sneeze at.  In fact, I think the quote of the night was where he asked a pair of players what happened.

“I made a mistake and lost this group.  It’s huge, so I resigned.”

“Ah, I see.  Let me finish this game for you instead.”

 

… and he proceeded to take over the ‘lost game’ and win it, from well past the midgame. 

 

Younggil is one of those incredible people you meet in a lifetime who is just so good at something that you almost don’t understand.  When I do martial arts, there are a lot of things that I can see going on– but I usually “understand” what’s going on.  Whether it’s going on with striking, trapping, grappling or throwing, I have at least a basic understanding to see what’s going on, and in theory, I know why it’s happening.  I think part of it is that human bodies are limited in the range of motions they’re capable of– so really, a lot of situations in martial arts are variations on the same theme.

Baduk, on the other hand, is mysterious to me.  I’m not capable of thinking 7 moves ahead.  So when a stone goes down in an open looking area and then Younggil starts ignoring that fight because he’s got bigger fish to fry, I just can’t help but feel that I don’t know anything at all.  It’s like, the physics of his play are completely different from what I’m allowed to do.  It’d be as if you were playing a game of Street Fighter IV and then the other guy chose a character whose physics behaved like Marvel versus Capcom 3: Ultimate.  You’re throwing fireballs– but the other guy is super jumping and bringing down a beam of energy from HEAVEN.

 

I don’t go to Younggil’s often.  I don’t have the time.  But every time I do go, I pick up something for homework, that I try to integrate, like a module, into my playing style.  And then I try it on him the next time I go.

 

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I’ve been going to boxing a bit more often.  I’ve been to a total of three lessons, but like with Younggil’s school, I tend to have a lot of space in between them to work on things on my own.  Surprisingly, I’m a terrible boxer.  All the years of kicking has made me really reliant on my legs as weapons, and as a result of this, I simply don’t have a boxing range.  I’ve got a kicking range, I have a clinch range, and I have a grappling range… but I don’t have a boxing range.  Isn’t that funny?  That’s like saying you’ve got a complete kitchen, but for some reason, despite that you’ve got a butcher knife, a chef’s knife, a pearing knife, a soup ladle and a pot, you’re somehow missing a frying pan.  I mean, sure, you can rely on other things and get by, but I suppose the whole point of boxing right now is to fill in one of the large gaps of my development.

 

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Yesterday, I was filling out an application for an internship at Civil Liberties Australia.  Not that I don’t like my work at NCYLC, but from a strategic perspective, a range of experience in different fields is preferable.

 

I hate filling out applications.  The whole business of cover letters feels like a waste of time if you don’t even get a callback.  The only thing worse than filling out applications is hunting for jobs.  I just hate it.  The whole process is tedious and feels so very fake– and really, what you’re hoping on is that the person reading your application enjoys the style of fiction that you write.

I resent the fact that the modern world requires that I be good at marketing myself.

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