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Character – by Justyna

1 Apr

Self-discipline was never really part of my character make-up when I was growing up. I think my father was responsible for inventing the term “in a minute” every time he was asked to do something, pick something up, fix something, get something, take something down from a high shelf. I was never discouraged for opening a packet of lollies or chips whilst still standing in the check-out queue of the supermarket. When we would come home after a holiday of camping, the unpacking process often took many days. When leaving for a camping trip we would say that we would get up at 6 am to be on the road by eight, but in reality we would just be finishing our breakfast at ten. My dad was perpetually late for everything, it seems, in his life (and still is). From birthday parties, to picking me up at school, to client meetings to pretty much everything that involved someone on the other side waiting, including weddings. As a result, punctuality (a branch of self-discipline in my book), was a flexible concept in my mind. The only thing I was yelled at for being too laxed about, was my studying habits and the cleanliness of my room. My mum, who and is the most organised out of us three, lived in perpetual hell, having to nag my father and I to do stuff that should have been done automatically. As a smoker and an incessant deli-cheese nibbler, she still lacked in the ultimate self-discipline department.

But over time I have broken away from my family’s lack of willpower. When I was in third year uni, for example, I joined the university rowing club. It involved me getting up at 3am to catch the 3:45am Druitt train that got be to Auburn by around 4:20am where I would meet my friend in the pub that her parents owned (which incidentally opened at 5am!) and we would then drive together to be at the rowing shed and on Lane Cove river by 5am. I was insane, I was young, the sun over the harbour amazing, the rowing shithouse, and the rest of the day spent sleeping on the grassy knoll at uni and missing all my lectures and tutes. I did this twice a week for about half a year.

I have also learned to unpack from wherever we come from, thanks to Michal, upon arrival. I am now an artist at packing and unpacking in about three nano-seconds. Today this involves two additional humans and I still do not falter. Also I have taken on the role of Domestic Dictator favouring discipline when it comes to certain aspects of raising our kids, whilst Michal tells me to take a chill-pill. Maybe I have a subconscious fear that they’ll turn out to be slack-arses like their mother.

But some things you just cannot erase from your genetic make-up. I still hand stuff in at the last possible second (either at work or uni related), I still put up late blog posts because I cannot discipline myself to be more organised, never send birthday persents on time and I still open chips maybe not at the check-out, but definitely on the footpath just outside the shop even if it involves rummaging around the other grocery products in my bag to fish them out.

5 reasons I love the character of Leslie Knope – by Tabitha

1 Apr

1. She has lovely, honest, real female friendships. Do you remember that episode where Tom creates a “word cloud” from Leslie’s emails, and “Ann” is one of her most frequently used words? How great is that. I feel like Ann and Leslie’s friendship is written for women, making it a totally winning example of how Parks and Recreation passes the Bechdel Test.

2. She loves her work, and is unashamedly hardworking and ambitious and derives personal satisfaction from doing her job well, even though it’s comedically unimportant. She is celebrated for being competent, which, when you think about it, is phenomenally unusual for a comedy.

3. She is a feminist; an actual feminist activist who agitates for women’s rights at all levels. Does this mean postmodern feminism is over? I HOPE SO.

4. She loves craft. She makes thoughtful gifts for her friends and colleagues and they really appreciate them. She is also really good at craft, and many other things besides. One of my beefs with Liz Lemon has always been that she’s crap at everything in life except work. Leslie Knope is an over-achiever and proud of it. Plus she’s great at bowling (ask Ron).

5. She’s enthusiastic and passionate and earnest, and is respected for it. After watching Parks and Recreation I now look at a show like Community and feel like the humour only comes from cynicism and taking the piss. It’s so early 2000s. I love that Leslie is kind and happy and gets to be the show’s hero rather than the show’s fall guy. Also, she gets to be freaking hilarious.

Ǯ – by Karen

31 Mar

You remind me of Lowercase Ezh-hachek. You’re a real special character.

Character by Beth

27 Mar

My favourite teacher from high school, John Campbell, died suddenly at the age of 62 two weeks ago. He had become a friend, as well as a mentor and a father figure, and at his funeral I saw how many young people felt the same about him. He was an English and modern history teacher, and an incredible one at that. He imbued every lesson he taught with a healthy cynicism, a wicked sense of humour and a love of learning. That sounds poxy about a “love of learning”, but it wasn’t at all – it was a real love of the process of acquiring knowledge and then holding it up to the light, shaking it around and questioning it. Seeing if a theory held up to scrutiny.

I wrote a tribute to him here and I’m still coming to grips with his loss. I hadn’t seen him for a year and I kick myself for that. Time spent with him always felt valuable, inspiring – you’d be zinging off one another talking about everything from current affairs to the mundanities of life with kids. I will never have another conversation with him and that makes me incredibly sad. I have had a few in my head with him already.

I would describe John Campbell as an enthusiast, and having been raised by two eccentric enthusiasts I think being an enthusiast is my favourite character trait in a human. Never too cool for school when it comes to appreciating a new discovery or a new connection. Encouraging other people in their passions, even if that ends up being something like collecting breadtags.

At his wake, another ex-Manly High teacher was talking about him, and he said that John had told him that his number one priority was to encourage kids to be passionate about something. He certainly did that time and time again for hundreds of kids. What an incredible man. We are all the richer for having known him, but that doesn’t make it any easier that he’s gone. He should be enjoying his hard-earned retirement – playing golf and visiting all the places in Europe he taught us all about.

I will never forget him.

P.S. This is the 100th post on FFF! HIGH FIVES all round!!