So, yesterday I had an opinion piece I wrote published both in print and online at the Sydney Morning Herald. You can find it here.

I was not expecting the overwhelming response of love, support and offers of work that came flooding in through comments, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Having been unemployed for so long, I was beginning to become frustrated by everything around me and figured if writing as a career wasn’t going to work out for me, I might as well go out with a bang.

This piece was my big bang. I wrote it out of frustration. How could someone like me and so many others I know be so hopeless in the job market? We have degrees, experience, actual former jobs on our resumes! We have glowing recommendations and great personalities to boot.

What I expected was that this piece would be my Titanic: bold, extravagant, insightful and beautiful, but it would sink any chances of me having a writer. Lucky for me, I love nannying and my back up career of childcare is always going to be there. It’s been a great part time gig but when you want something in your heart of hearts, you keep pushing, hoping to catch your big break right at the final second. I figured I had to give this writing thing one more, proper, serious gung ho shot – because I didn’t want to get to 80 and regret not trying my hardest to get what I want. That’s why I haven’t caved JUST yet. (but that doesn’t mean I’ve closed off doors to other options, I have explored MANY alternative options to see what might happen – including jobs in my next favourite thing: childcare.)

I didn’t expect yesterday’s opinion piece of mine to be such a catalyst for change in my life. However, I am thrilled to say I’ve had several job offers and I’m exploring each one enthusiastically, hoping that one of them is a perfect fit (for both them and me).

But this blog post isn’t about me and all my overnight (although, likely short-lived) success and mini celebrity. This is about everyone else like me out there, the hundreds of thousands of other Georgia’s out there, struggling, looking for their big (or little) break. We’re not looking for 100k executive jobs. What we’re looking for is that first rung or two on the ladder, the jobs that might LEAD to those mythical, top of the food chain jobs. A job that might even make us happy.

I was told not to read the hundreds of comments at the bottom of my article yesterday, but being the nosy parker I am, I couldn’t help myself. One in particular resonated with me and that is why I wrote this post. I am going to share that comment with you now.

“The lack of entry level jobs is a national crisis for Australia.
Today it affects young people out of schools and university, who don’t have the same range of opportunities to learn how to work in an organisation.
In five years, it will be a permanent underclass of people in their late twenties, who are disillusioned, depressed and unable to qualify for jobs appropriate for their age due to not having had stable employment.
In twenty years, Australia will face a shortage of qualified people ten times worse than we already have today. Permanently unemployable people will drain our resources and a lack of experienced managers will severely affect our businesses and public services.
It all starts with a lack of training and support for new job market entrants, but it ends wit the end of Australia’s status a a mature, developed economy.
There seems to be no urgency in how Australian governments are treating this issue, possibly because there are few political kudos for avoiding a problem, only for being seen to engage with one. However, there should be.
The lack of a sufficiently sized, appropriately skilled, trained and experienced workforce is one of the biggest risks facing Australia’s sustainability as a first world nation.
There are 100,000 Georgia’s out there – they are our future success, or failure.”
- Craig (surname unknown)

Craig is right, and this was much of the underlying notion of why I wrote what I wrote. I didn’t just write this for me, I wrote this for every single one of my friends who feels like I do, for every other twenty-something out there who feels the way my friends and I do. I want employers to look at our resumes properly, to say ‘Hey, let’s give this kid a chance, they might surprise us.’

I have a confession to make. The piece I wrote for the SMH was several weeks old by the time it went to print. It went through several rewrites (the initial draft was 1500 words long), passed through my lawyer dad for a legal check (he tried to talk me out of submitting it, he’s eating his words now) and then was submitted to ANOTHER news outlet that didn’t respond within 10 working days – so I sent it to the SMH. In that time, I had an interview for a job (that I’m still waiting to hear back from). The job wanted an experienced sub-editor, which I am not. But I have been a sub-editor, I love sub-editing and I loved the topic of the magazine, so I wrote a really passionate cover letter which landed me an interview.

The editor, who interviewed me, told me that she was also interviewing people who had five to ten years experience in the job advertised, but she took a chance on interviewing me, because she had thought she might train someone of my level into the role.

I hope I hear back from that editor soon (whom I won’t name), as it’s still very much a job I’m keen on. But even if I don’t get that job, I just wanted to say thanks for taking a chance and inviting me in and giving me a shot (even though I was a nervous wreck and stumbled a lot). I hope you’re not the only employer out there like that. I hope that my article changes the minds of other employers, who might not have considered the potential in a graduate.

Sure, I’ve been offered several opportunities as a result of this article. But based on the number of wonderful comments and emails I got, I’m not the only twenty-something struggling. (Remember, 17.7% of twentysomethings are just like me!) Next time one of our resumes crosses your desk, give us a go – we might surprise you.

A few cheesy thanks:

To my friend and editor, Matt, who reads everything I send him and is my most vocal supporter. Thanks for always having my back, buying me ice cream and publishing my work when you can.

To my mum and dad, who are my biggest fans and have backed me 100% with every crazy, insane, controversial decision I’ve ever made. I know sometimes I make you cringe and yesterday was no exception. I know sometimes it frustrates you that I take the less conventional route, but it always works out ok in the end.

To my little sister, Chloe, who sends me photos of my cats (who live 3000km way, with her), when I’m feeling down. These always cheer me up.

To my aunty Kerry, who I’m pretty convinced is my real mother. You taught me that I can be anything I want to be. Thank you for being my feminist mentor, without you, I wouldn’t have feminism and I wouldn’t be who I am today.

To the rest of my extended family, you guys are insane, but I’m so glad we’re such a tight-knit bunch.

To my friends, for always encouraging me, for reading my articles, for taking me out dancing and buying me a drink because I’m broke, for not forgetting me just because I’m broke, for letting me cry to you when yet another rejection email crushes my hopes and dreams and for not judging me when I eat an entire family-size block of KitKat in one sitting.

To everyone who reached out to me with words of support, who rushed to my defense over negative comments and who shared their similar experiences, you’re awesome and I hope everything works out for you too!

Lastly, to Kathryn and the team at SMH, thanks for taking a chance on me and my little rant, I hope you’ll consider future submissions from me. I’m no one-trick pony!

- Georgia Leaker

It’s been just over a week since Eurovision ended for 2013 and as is customary, I have brought my blog out of retirement in honour of the campest, most ridiculous week of Europop.

Before we get down to the highlights of the big finale, let’s cast our minds brielfy back to the semi finals:

Semi Final 1

I got a little bit excited when Loreen opened the semi final – not only cos it was spectacular and I adore her, but also because I HOPED WITH EVERY LITTLE FIBRE OF MY BEING that maybe, JUST MAYBE, that the wonderful, iconic Swedish winners of Eurovision would make a special appearance at the final. Yes, I hoped ABBA would reform for one night only. A girl can dream.

A few honourable mentions for the night:

AUSTRIA: Not a bad effort, but opening the first semi final AND being a little lacklustre on stage, meant poor Austria was never going to qualify for finals.

SLOVENIA: Straight Into Love was a FANTASTIC song! So catchy and on the night, I think Hannah shone. How dare you not put her through, Europe!

MONTENEGRO: The astronaut suits and robot lady singer were fun, but it seems Europe is bored with gimmicks? I love gimmicks.

That pearl caplet is supposed to represent angel wings.

SERBIA: Dear Serbia has a history of high quality Eurovision entries, from Nina’s kitschy Caroban to my all time favourite, gender-bending Milan Stankovic. I enjoyed their performance but the clear angel/devil theme of the song (the two brunette girls) was lose in the Katy Perry costuming. They went too abstract and missed the mark!

Cyprus made me yawn and Croatia was just a bit too old man for most of us.

Semi Final 2

LATVIA: These super adorable, super sparkly, super cheesy boys just didn’t make it through. WHY ON EARTH NOT? Europe, why did you deprive yourself (and me) of seeing two hyperactive twinks in sequin tuxedos again? Poor effort.

SAN MARINO: I had no idea Valentina could sing – last year she was TERRIBLE! This was amazing. Poor effort, Europe, for not giving San Marino points for amazing comeback.

SWITZERLAND: I haven’t enjoyed Switzerland’s entry for YEARS, but I liked this… Although I wonder if it’s mostly because of the two incredibly beautiful men they threw in for good measure?

Macedonia sent Ursula, Bulgaria sent a madwoman, Israel dressed their beautiful, curvy songstress like she was a sausage in casing (revolting) and Albania – well I can’t even remember what you sang so you were obviously shite.

THE GRANDE FINALE

ABBA didn’t open the show… but they were there, kinda… Benny and Bjorn’s Eurovision theme song opened the show, so that’s basically as close as we’re going to get. It counts, right?

HOMOEROTICA: Most people called this the year of the ballad, but for me it was the year of homoerotica gone wild. Eurovision frequently features some very camp acts but Ireland and Romania knocked it out of the park this year with some truly wonderful, unforgettable oiled-up, muscular and downright queer performances. I relished every second of it.

Ireland’s slick, musculr backup dancers!

IRELAND: How did Ryan Dolan come last? He had a catchy song, sassy fag hag back-up singers and sweaty, muscular men in tight, tight leather pants banging drums. It was all too gay and it no doubt turned on every woman and gay man around the world. Mind you, pelvic-thrusting Tooji got the wooden spoon last year and he was amazing. Europe is a prude.

Cezar is beautiful and he knows it.

ROMANIA: Europe may be a prude but they love things that sparkle and oh did Cezar sparkle. Literally, he sparkled with his Adam Lambert/gay vampire/Phantom of the Opera/just flat out queer performance. There were basically naked dancers, more rhinestones than a Dolly Parton concert, an entire army of wind machines and billowing fabric and a voice so high that only dogs could hear it. It was WONDERFUL and I desperately want Cezar in and around my life full time. Cezar did ok in the voting, but he still didn’t make top ten, so actually… Europe is still pretty prudish by my calculations.

EYEBROWS: This was also the year of eyebrows, lots of very special, very distinct eyebrows. Lithuania, Belgium, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Malta, Italy… Eurovision was all about the eyebrows!

What a babe!

LITHUANIA: What a babe, although he was a bit of a whinger, complaining about his shoes being painful the whole song. I would’ve liked to get a closer look at these allegedly horrid shoes and why they were inflicting his ability to completely be in love. Why not take a leaf out of Denmark’s book at ditch the shoes? His eyebrows moved more than any others during his performance.

These dancers look like they’re about to slap poor little Roberto

BELGIUM: Caterpillars had made their home on beautiful Belgium’s face and it was clearly making him uncomfortable, poor love could not have been more awkward on that stage! Song wasn’t nearly the best there, but his vocals helped – as did the pelvic thrusting backup dancers.

Catch more! Catch more! We need to win that money!

AZERBAIJAN: Azerbaijan always sends quality acts (not including the year they won, Running Scared was a TERRIBLE song and should not have won) and this was no exception. The song was heart wrenchingly wonderful and I loved his eyebrows and the ‘shadow in the box’ and the lady with the forever long red train. I could have watched this forever. Is he available? I’d like to wife him. Why couldn’t Azerbaijan won with a song like this instead of that bullshit Running Up Stairs song?

ARMENIA: Terrible song, terrible double denim, terrible facial hair. Nuff said.

MALTA: Adorable. Abso-friggin-lutely adorable. I liked that he couldn’t wipe the smile that was literally plastered to his face, I liked his little vest and his sweet little song that was so very ‘500 Days of Summer’. I would eat this song.

ITALY: I don’t even remember this song, but I remember him looking very bored and wearing the hand-me-down shiny blue suits from Blue a few years ago. LE BLEH!

SASS: Eurovision is usually full of sassy girls and this year they brought sass like nobody else.

FRANCE: Oh you sassy bitch, you, singing about hell and you in that leather tassel dress. You opened the show like you owned the place. Love it!

Sneaky lesbian kissing!

FINLAND: During the semi finals I thought Finland had found a way to bend the ‘six people maximum on stage’ rule by tag-teaming the groomsmen off and the bridesmaids on. I TOTALLY MISSED THE GENDER BENDING COSTUME REVEAL THE FIRST TIME AROUND! Costume reveal of the night, hands down! But did the song set feminism back 50 years or propel the marriage equality movement forward? It’s unclear. What is clear is that the song was fun and I’ve had it stuck in my head since. I also liked her trashy 80’s style wedding dress.

NORWAY: Margaret fed me her love, she fed me and I thought it was delicious. I also liked the white dress, very Eurovision – and I crave her hair, spectacular!. Seriously how is this woman NOT an international pop sensation? I’m requesting I Feed You My Love next time I go out!

SWEDEN: You sassy bitch, Sweden. Oh wait, you’re a dude! You’re still a sassy bitch in my eyes, babes.

GERMANY: Oh Cascada, evacuate the dance floor cos every time we touch I get this feeling… Glorious! So glorious! I especially enjoyed that massive clear Perspex staircase and the sparkly mullet dress. This song is the one that will be the most successful from Eurovision, cos it’s club friendly.

UKRAINE: Ukraine made me want to give up walking and hire a giant Viking man to carry me around because I am a butterfly. This song was incredibly catchy and she delivered it with purpose, no wonder Zlata ranked in third with the voting.

MOLDOVA: Lady, who designed your amazing starry night/fire dress? Craaaaaaaaaaave.

BELARUS: Belarus sent the Ruslana (Wild Dances, 2004 Winner) of the iGeneration. The song was remarkably similar, as was the style of dance. But Belarus jumped out of a disco ball in a silver tassel outfit – so very new agey!

Of course, we cannot forget the collaborations Eurovision creates. Greece and Georgia both submitted collaborative entries, but one of them reminded me of former Eurovision contestants…

Thinks alcohol is free, causes entire Greek economic downfall.

GREECE: It seems that Greece has lots of economic problems because some people are under the assumption that alcohol is free. Oops! I enjoyed the gothic cheerleader outfits and the Irish River Dancing they busted out to their ska style music. Thought they might win there for a second… lucky they didn’t! Germany doesn’t want to pay for another Eurovision for a while, methinks.

GEORGIA: Chanee and N’evergreen from Denmark (2010) moved to Georgia, edited their song slightly and dressed up as a Disney princess and her prince. It was a great performance, but yawn, been there, done that.

EVERYONE ELSE:

And who could forget the rest… Actually, I did. They were terrible and that’s why they’ve been relegated to the rest:

SPAIN: I yawn and I yawn again. Actually, the song isn’t the worst, but it’s so generic it gets lost in the crowd and the performance gave me NOTHING!

ESTONIA: I know you’re pregnant and your ankles must be so swollen, but your song was le bore.

RUSSIA: What if… you just go away now. Plskthnx.

NETHERLANDS: Anouk, where were you when Hitchcock was making movies? That song was creepy and now I have nightmares. Thanks.

ICELAND: Yellow leaf, yellow leaf… oh that’s not what the beautiful Viking was saying? He’s a pretty face, why bother to be more?

HUNGARY: Who knew Hungary was actually a place in inner-city Melbourne? This was the kind of hipster trash that makes people angry about hipsters.

UK: Bonnie Tyler, you are a hot mess, go back to retirement. I love you but lord that was embarrassing.

Oh… who have I forgotten? OF COURSE! The winner!

http://georgiaonafasttrain.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/19d26-1.jpg?w=490

DENMARK: This song felt like a call to arms, a battle song, it made me want to get up and do something, anything, maybe learn the tin whistle? A worthy Eurovision winner, if I may say so. I really love this song, really, really, really! And so convenient, with Copenhagen just 16km across that bridge, they can just move everything over on a few trucks. Done!

After all of the songs, we got a SPECIAL FUN TIME PERFORMANCE from LOREEN! It was actually amazing, and I love that they featured her twice. SHE IS THAT AMAZING! She probably should’ve won this year, Denmark was awesome, but Emmelie is no Loreen. I also LOVED the homage to all things Swedish – Petra was the most wonderful host and I would like to vote for her to host every Eurovision going forward… Denmark, are you listening? HIRE PETRA AND HER WHACK OUTFITS! Let her do a song about Denmark like she did about Sweden. I especially loved those dancing meatballs – does Denmark have any foodstuffs they can make dance for next year?

So that’s my annual Eurovision wrap up. What fun it was! I drank too much Rekordelig, ate too many IKEA meatballs and gave myself a third degree burn on an IKEA Cinnamon Bun – oh Sweden, I love you. Can Petra come to my next birthday?

Hello readers,

I retired this blog long ago. But as it is, I needed a forum to share a response I wrote to this disgustingly sexist opinion piece written by retired journalist, Geoffrey Barker. So I’ve resurrected it just for today to share this with you.

Usually I tweet my disgust, however unsurprisingly, this particular opinion piece made my blood boil and I needed more than 140 characters to share it.

I have sent this to editors of various news publications, as I think it needs to be shared with a wider audience. What do you think?

Please note that most of the following has been written with my tongue firmly in cheek. I do not care what news presenters look like, so long as they are engaging, well spoken and present all the facts in their stories. However, I don’t think it’s fair that Geoffrey Barker is allowed to say what he did about the beautiful women on the news without someone giving him a taste of his own medicine.

Dear Geoffrey Barker,

It has come to my attention that you do not appreciate an attractive woman reading the news on a commercial station as you feel she is not capable of reporting the news as it should be done.

Guess what? I do not appreciate all these unattractive, older men who appear on television and/or in the small photographs at the top of opinion columns in newspapers and magazines.

I cannot take seriously the news they are reporting or the opinions they are sharing because I am too busy being offended by the lack of pride these men have taken in their appearance.

The receding hairlines they have not bothered to get fixed at Ashley & Martin, the deeply-set wrinkles they have allowed to form due to a lack of proper skin maintenance. They have crooked teeth which were never corrected by braces and they have developed beer bellies from indulging in too much alcohol and fatty foods and not exercising.

What were the media gods thinking, shoving such unpleasant looking men in my face as I try my hardest to keep down my breakfast?

It does not matter what these men are reporting on, what matters is that all I can think about is how unfortunate looking they are. Who approved their droopy-eyed headshot? Who didn’t step in and suggest a toupee might be a good idea as not to blind everyone when the sun directly hits the top of their shiny crown?

Furthermore, the television men often have dull, monotonous voices which I find hard to listen to and even harder to remember what they are saying. If not that, they are the complete opposite: they are as vapid and vacuous as the so called ‘TV babes’ you spoke of in your column.

Yes, the women you spoke of in your article are beautiful, but there is no shame in being beautiful and taking care of your appearance by staying fit and healthy. I can only hope that all these women were selected for their roles because they were the best qualified, not because they were attractive. (Although that’s an issue that requires further inquiry – how come a female journalist’s appearance is held to a higher standard than a male journalist?)

 I was also mortified by your comments about how these attractive women should look to the women of the ABC and SBS. Are you implying that these women are better at their jobs because they aren’t necessarily blonde, big boobed and blue eyed? Because it sure reads that way. How dare you imply, through your crass suggestions that beauty equals bad journalist, that ABC and SBS women are any less attractive. That is not a judgement you are allowed to pass. It’s also inaccurate, I find these women beautiful.

IF any of these beautiful news-reading women of the commercial stations are truly useless at their jobs then they very well should be pulled off the air. However, I’d also like to see all the unattractive, balding, aging men who are DEFINITELY useless at journalism removed from all forms of news programming, while we’re at it. How did these men end up on our screens when they lack the journalistic talent AND are unattractive? (I can name several who I think fit this bill; in this case I will be diplomatic and choose to keep my suggestions to myself.)

All these women on television put pride into their appearance and there is nothing wrong with that. Maybe you should take a leaf from their books and try putting a little effort into the way you look? Actually, a lot of effort – you really need it.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Sincerely,

Georgia [Surname withheld from my blog]

P.S. To The Age and any other newspaper/news source who published this trash: how dare you give this foul, sexist man a voice! Would you have done the same if the word ‘woman’ was replaced with ‘Aboriginal’ or ‘homosexual’ or ‘Asian’, etc? Shame on you.

Georgia is a 24 year old journalist in the making. She attended one of the top universities in the country and has two degrees. Georgia attended law school for two years before deciding to pursue a career in the media. She is most certainly not vacuous. She also happens to take pride in her appearance.

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Eurovision has been and gone for another year and I am sad again because I have to wait a whole year until Sweden 2013 and that is much too far off!

So now I’ve got a spare moment and I’ve had time to recuperate from a weekend filled with cheesy music, lycra, pyrotechnics and wind machines in all sorts of languages.

Semi Finals 1 aired in Australia on Friday night and it was a race to the bottom between Latvia, San Marino and Montenegro… Could you get worse songs? One was literally a song about how she would win and everyone would know the words to her beautiful song (and she managed to squeeze in a few name drops), one was about Facebook and ‘playing cyber sex’ and well who really knows what Montenegro was grunting on about…

The first batch were a relatively weak group, especially when compared to what we had to look forward to in Semi Finals 2, so here’s a rundown of the highlights and low lights of the first night (I’m only mentioning those worthwhile – please note I’ve already mentioned San Marino, Latvia and Montenegro):

Iceland: The male singer’s eyes were incredibly intense and the female singer had way too much fake tan on, but their song was solid and there was no doubt they would get through.

Belgium: Sam Pang put it best when he said ‘What is Eurovision but a platform for a girl, dressed in white, singing a slow ballad’ and Iris didn’t disappoint with her sweet song about being in love with a boy who obviously wasn’t all that committed to her.

Albania: Gave me nightmares! Like a creepier Bjork, if that’s possible. She was hitting notes only a dog could hear.

Greece: Greece couldn’t afford full costumes, so they dressed the male dancers in pillow cases and gave the girls half a costume each. Thrifty! The song was fun, even if it didn’t make much sense…

Cyprus: Anne Hathaway’s doppelganger came out with a club anthem that will be playing in Europe for years to come. La La Love is exactly why I watch Eurovision: matching outfits, fun lyrics and dance moves that are reminiscent of high school musical productions.

Denmark: Denmark sent Jewel in British Royal Guard shoulder pads and a sailor’s cap – I don’t think the girl knew which defence sector she wanted to join! She even sang a song you could totally hear Jewel singing.

Russia: Bribing the audience with baked goods, these Russian grannies broke serious Health & Safety rules when they took the hot tray from the oven without oven mits! They must have asbestos hands, as Nigella Lawson would say. I liked that Russia managed to find a bunch of decrepit women in traditional dress who were willing to sing pure, unadulterated Europop on stage. Magical!

Hungary: Compact Disco must come from a town too poor to know that in the 21st century we no longer listen to CD’s. They should’ve called themselves MP3-o. Awful song.

Romania: So. Much. Fun! In Eurovision they only allow six people on stage at a time, so the group had to leave the trombone player out in the green room… Not sure why that mattered, as none of the ‘musicians’ played their instruments on the stage.

Moldova: I think my buddy Kris put it best when he wondered if Moldova were trialling a new sort of metallic spray on tan on the dancers legs – as that is EXACTLY what their skin-coloured metallic leggings looked like! The song was catchy, but like all former Moldovan entries I was pretty sure they had plucked this crew straight from the circus! If I took my knowledge of Moldova from Eurovision alone, I would believe they were a nation of circus freaks – especially if you look at their last few entries.

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Ireland: OH JEDWARD! You are flawless, even if you can only JUST sing (much like our idol Britney Spears). I was so thrilled to see Ireland sent these ridiculous, tower-haired, matching-sequined twins again. Jedward are pure Eurovision and Waterline, although not as good as Lipstick, was catchy and their silver Power Ranger-esque outfits brought a certain magic to the stage that many of the other acts lacked. In my eyes, Jedward could do no wrong. They were CHEATED out of victory last year! Cheated I tell you!

Semi Finals 2, as I mentioned, was a stronger cohort of songs and performers (bar Jedward, who are flawless, as I mentioned).

Serbia: Zeljko is a Eurovision favourite and his song this year was a solid entry, but no surprises there.

Macedonia: Lots of look-a-likes this year, this one was Catherine Zeta Jones

Netherlands: Another look-a-like! Hello young Cher, I wasn’t aware you were Dutch.

Malta: The man in the yellow pants kept trying to get in front of the singer – allegedly they are best friends, but I’d argue yellow pants was just jealous his buddy was singing and so he stole the spotlight! They had nifty footwork though, which made the performance memorable.

Belarus: Disappointed these guys didn’t get through – their song was catchy and although a little conceited, it was definitely better than many of the songs that got through.

Slovenia: In the video clip the backup singers were wearing amazing tulle hair pieces that towered above them. I would argue they lost votes by not wearing these during the semi finals.

Sweden: This was the stand out from the beginning. Loreen had it in the bag – her song was fabulous, her dancing was flawless and the excessive use of the wind machine had Eurovision fanatic swept away in her performance. However, someone forgot to put the lights on and she had to perform in the dark… Awkward.

Georgia: My namesake sent a real creeper this year, but the song grew on me and he had amazing back up singers/dancers in very Gaga-esque outfits that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Turkey: What an adorable front man, and the dancers all formed a boat around him and that was fabulous! Good use of costumes!

Estonia: This guy looked like Neil Patrick Harris. See what I mean by many look-a-likes?

Slovakia: Slovakia’s audition for Rock of Ages. Very 80s hair metal, very enjoyable.

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Norway: Tooji sang that he didn’t know what he was doing tonight. Well Tooji, I am available… any night, for you. I couldn’t believe he came last in the finals! LAST! A total of 7 points! TOOJI IS GORGEOUS! Also his dance moves were hot and he had amazing hair and tight clothes and… oh, Tooji. He should’ve been up in the top ten!

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Jedward want their shoulder pads back… oh and your song was boring.

Ukraine: Gaitana for Queen of Mardi Gras 2013! Classic gay anthem, although she sang about being her guest, so I didn’t understand why there weren’t any dancing cutlery and feather dusters a la Beauty and the Beast… Gaitana overcame the 6-people-only-on-stage rule by utilising a CGI rent-a-crowd. Nifty.

Lithuania: Donny came out in a rhinestoned blindfold – because he was singing about how love was blind and what better way to represent that in his performance than by blinging out a blindfold? Donny was also ADORABLE and danced like Michael Jackson. I liked Donny.

While the votes were counted we were treated to an interval performance of past winners singing their winning songs. We got the woman who looks like Penny Wong from Serbia, Russia’s Dima Bilan, Alexander Rybak and his wonderful violin playing, Lena singing about her blue underwear (was she wearing it?) and of course last year’s winners Nikki and El. Because Nikki and El would be performing ‘Running Scared’ at the opening of the finals, they chose to come out with Waterloo… and BUTCHERED IT! Nikki, without ABBA, Eurovision wouldn’t be where it is today and you wouldn’t be where you are – show some respect, learn the words to the greatest song every to come out of Europe!

Finals: (Here I will only mention Azerbaijan and the big five because they didn’t perform on the other nights)

UK: The night kicked off with Engelbert Humperdinck, or as I like to call him: ‘Hump-a-dick’. Such a has-been. He was over tanned, over saggy and overly dull. WHAT A SHITTY SONG! UK, if you want to be taken seriously in Eurovision, you need to take Eurovision seriously. Sending Blue last year was a great idea! They are pure cheesy euro-pop and their outfits were ridiculous. Take a few pages from Moldova’s book: send circus freaks!

France: Another country I expected to fare better – half naked male dancers and a catchy tune, what more could you want? Nothing, that’s what!

Spain: I fell asleep. But I did notice that her face barely moved, too much botox, perhaps?

Germany: Roman Lob sang about standing still… while moving around. I don’t think he understood what he was singing about…

Italy: AMY WINEHOUSE CAME BACK FROM THE DEAD TO REPRESENT ITALY! The song was fun, but a little forgetful. Maybe next year, Italy.

Azerbaijan: Just like the piece of turd song that won last year’s Eurovision (god only knows how), Azerbaijan sent a dull, lifeless song about music dying. Her outfit was fabulous though! Rhinestones and feathers! Love!

In previous years, between the songs, each country has had a little “postcard” made about it – a little ode to the country. In Germany 2011 they found people from each country who lived in Germany and filmed them, in another year they had a model’s hair constructed into each country’s land mark. Azerbaijan didn’t do postcards for each of the countries – instead they did postcards about Azerbaijan. During the evening I learned the following things about our host country:

Azerbaijan is the land of water

Azerbaijan is the land of horses

Azerbaijan is the land of carpets

Azerbaijan is the land of abundance

Azerbaijan is the land of poetry

…The list went on. I wasn’t aware that Azerbaijan was all of these things? Did you know horses came from Azerbaijan? Or that it was where all water came from? (Jedward were lucky they were in the land of water! How else would they have been able to perform with their fountain if they were in a land not of water?)

Oh Azerbaijan…

Of course I was disappointed to see Jedward go home again empty handed, but I think Sweden was incredibly deserving of the crown and I can’t wait for next year! I am crossing my fingers for ABBA 2013! Make it happen, Sweden!

The only thing that disappointed me at this year’s Eurovision was the severe lack of costume changes… In fact, I don’t think I saw any!!! Horrendous! Sweden 2013 better pick up its game, I loves me a good old fashioned costume change.

I wish Eurovision was every week…

Here are links to all the articles I had published online during my time at COSMOS Magazine, October/November 2011.

Apologies for messy link-posting, I had made up neat links for all of them but they refuse to show up on the post! Will edit when I work out what I’ve done wrong!

News Stories

Monday, 7 November 2011:
http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/4939/why-obese-people-regain-weight-after-dieting

Thursday, 10 November 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/4950/hagfish-revealed-be-slime-weilding-predators

Wednesday, 16 November 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/4983/even-fish-reap-health-benefits-massage

Thursday, 24 November 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/5017/spiders-use-chemical-weapon-deter-predators

Friday, 2 December 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/5044/koala-chlamydia-vaccine-trials-look-positive

Profiles

Thursday, 10 November 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/profile/4952/controlling-cravings

Tuesday, 15 November 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/profile/4975/reading-earth

Monday, 21 November 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/profile/4999/the-lizard-man

Thursday, 1 December 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/profile/5039/filming-ocean-blue

Intern Blog Entries

Thursday, 3 November 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/blog/4927/span-class%E2%80%9Dcap%E2%80%9D-blog-first-span

Thursday, 10 November 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/blog/4955/brain-food-and-dinofish

Wednesday, 16 November 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/blog/4979/fanatical-about-fish

Wednesday, 23 November 2011: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/blog/5005/end-era-or-well-a-month

It’s my final night in Sydney and while I haven’t been very good at blogging here (Manly has awfully slow internet) – I have been blogging at cosmosmagazine.com through my internship.

I’ve learned a lot since week one, and I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that I can do anything.

I kinda already knew this, but successfully completing a month at a science magazine and publishing several successful stories proved that if I could write about science (my most worstest subject at school), I could write about anything!

Luckily, I didn’t have to learn much in the way of chemistry or physics, because I think I may have struggled there… But I did get a chance to indulge my love of weird animals and the crazy shit they get up to by writing endless articles (including one 1000+ word feature) on animal behaviour. I think it’s safe to say I m a right old expert at animals now and could pretty much become David Attenborough’s successor tomorrow…

 

 

I also conquered my fear of Macs (following a string of virus-infected Apple computers in my high school years) and almost (key word: almost) mastered Sydney public transport! I got myself places I didn’t even think were on the public transport radar!

I did a bit of learning at a travel magazine during this past week… Although, oddly enough, it made me miss writing about science… Whoda thunk it? I used to run for the hills the moment science was mentioned!

I did a little shopping – I bought like one top and a dress – but somehow my suitcase seems MUCH heavier than when I left Perth and I am going to struggle with it tomorrow morning. I wonderwhat scientists say about the mass of suitcases based on how they are packd? Either way, I suck at packing and not everything wants to fit as nicely as it did when I left Perth.

Speaking of my West Coast home, I missed Perth, mostly because Sydney rained almost every day I was here, whereas Perth has been wonderfully warm and sunny.

I’m going to leave it here for now, I have to be up in a few hours and I am le tired from a HUGE weekend! But you can check out my work at the Cosmos Magazine website and look out for me in the Feb/March issue of the magazine!

p.s. I also made heaps of awesome friends!

So I learned may things today at my brand new internship in Sydney.

Let me recount the five top things I’ve learned over the past 12 hours:

1. I am not all that good at public transport. I caught the correct bus (hooray!) but in the WRONG DIRECTION! And it wasn’t until I was headed quite far North that I realised I wanted to be going south. I was an entire hour late for work this morning. They were pretty cool about it though, considering I’m from Perth and all.

2. Letting your brain “relax” for five months makes it a very lazy brain. VERY LAZY brain! I haven’t done anything that particularly requires any brain work for a long time. By the end of the day I was emotionally and inteligently exhausted… and trust me, I did very little. Yeah, that’s right. Work your brain people! Every day!

3. And keeping with the theme of 2, did you know I know NOTHING about science? I thought I knew a little bit. I was aware that I failed year 10 science, but I REALLY AM SCIENCE-INEPT! By the end of the day I was sure I knew less than I did at the beginning of the day… Oops!

4. I have a cold. I wasn’t aware I was sick until I was at work, feeling like I was going to hurl and pass out at the same time. That sucks.

5. Kim Kardashian is going to Melbourne Cup, Megan Gale is not… Useless, but hey it made the Telegraph so clearly SOMEONE thought it important!

So yes, considering my life recently has literally been spent at home, in my underwear, imitating my cat’s movements, this was a pretty thrilling day! I was EXHAUSTED by the end and ready for a nap (which I did take on the ferry home) and a good dinner (which I was lucky enough to have Kelly cook for me). I’m off to bed soon… I’m already pratically an old lady, and I’ve been in the workforce only a day!

Happy Halloween!
Good night!

For five years I’ve worked in retail, on my feet, at the beck and call of customers. By the end of the day, my feet were sore and at Christmas I would end up begging a family member to relieve the pain in my little toes. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered because of the flimsy ballet flats that I was wearing I had done a fair amount of damage to my feet. A podiatrist recommended I wear shoes with better support, but the ones he showed me were heinous (think nurses shoes, then think worse) and I was not about to let my feet commit such a scandalous crime against fashion! I’ve since done my research, and with a few new (cute) additions to my wardrobe, my feet no longer cry out in pain during the nine hour shifts. Check out these foot-friendly shoes that don’t skimp on style!

8th Jan 2011
So Chloe & Georgia landed in NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) rather early. While Chloe collected the bags, I sprinted around trying to find a toilet (“The RESTROOM is over there.” – Lady who was clearly offended by my use of the word “toilet”).
We then boarded a shuttle bus to the French Quarter, where our hotel awaited us. (Yes, hotel, as we were meeting up with our friend Emma and between the three of us it was the same price as staying in a hostel.)
After dropping off our bags and sending a text message through to Emma, Chloe and I were told there was decent Italian place around the corner. So we headed that way – finding hilarious horse-shaped street posts along the way (yes amusing photos were taken)
Lunch was good – we had delicious spinach & artichoke dip as well as an amazing pizza, and to top it all off: the tablecloth was paper and crayons were supplied! HOORAY!
From there we did a bit of a tour – using my travel guide map as a base – to discover all of the best the French Quarter had to offer! It’s really beautiful, and much of the architecture was French-themed, as the name suggested. We realised that this area hadn’t been badly affected by Katrina, as it was all still in tact. What struck me most about the Quarter was the colours: everyone had fun coloured houses! Nothing boring! Pinks, blues, yellows, greens – soft, but still vibrant enough that it was unusual, not normal neighbourhood colours!
We then hit the edge of the Mississippi River, where there were some little museums to visit (we were saving the big ones for when Em arrived!). One of the museums had paper and instructions to make origami ducks… Both Chloe and I discovered we SUCKED at paper-folding!
We visited the markets later on, they were a bit dead – but we figured that was because the weather wasn’t very nice so there wasn’t much reason for people to be out!
That night we struggled to find a place that would serve us dinner, as Chloe was not 21 and all the restaurants had bars so they wouldn’t let us in! How rude! So we ended up eating kebabs in our hotel room. :P

9th Jan 2011:
Emma’s flight was delayed coming in to NOLA, so Chloe and I headed for the two major museums close by. One focused on the history of New Orleans and Lousiana – from ancient times through to modern history, while the other had become a Hurricane Katrina museum (it had previously been a Mardi Gras museum! So sad we didn’t get to see the Mardi Gras one, as good as the Katrina one was, it would have been nice to see both!). Emma arrived while we were at the first museum, so we went around it again before venturing over to the second!
The weather was MISERABLE that day, and it poured with bitterly cold rain. So we decided to warm ourselves up with some beingets – deep fried dough with a mountain of icing sugar piled ontop. DELICIOUS!
We wandered along the river front, which was a bit miserable looking, but I wonder if that was cos there wasn’t a single scrap of sky that wasn’t forlorn grey… I’m sure the river is much nicer in summer!
We went to see where the ferries left from, and got caught waiting for the world’s longest (and emptiest) little train in the world! I reckon it took about 15mins (with a stop) for it to pass by us before we could get back into the French Quarter!
While we waited for the train, we discovered cool reflecting art and mucked around taking photographs of ourselves in it.
Lunch was $4 mexican food – so delicious! Cheesy quesadillas with roasted veggies and warm burritos kept us from starving.
Dinner was… somewhere? Obviously it wasn’t memorable!

10th Jan 2011
We started the morning by heading for the Mardi Gras museum – which is the LONGEST walk from the FQ and we should’ve just sucked it up and paid for a taxi!!! But the museum itself was worth it! There were endless floats to look at, all carved from styrofoam, in every shape, size, animal, human and colour of the rainbow! They even had Mardi Gras cake for us to try (it tasted much like a finger bun from the local bakeries here) and Mardi Gras costumes for us to try on! (Yes there are hilarious (“embarassing” – Emma) photos from this part of our tour!
We then ventured across the Mississippi on the ferry, only to turn right back around again cos there isn’t much on the other side of the river as it’s still all being rebuilt from Katrina.
Chloe INSISTED on visiting a Wal-Mart, and this was her last chance to do so – so we trekked and trekked until we came across one in a really shifty neighbourhood. Worth it? Yeah, she was THRILLED! It IS a pretty magical place though – it has EVERYTHING you could ever want or imagine wanting all under one gigantic roof!
We finally got out of the shifty neighbourhood (it was difficult, NOLA isn’t known for its public transport!) and found our way into a shopping centre, where we did a wee spot of retail therapy (also they had heating and it was still bitterly windy outside.)
For dinner that night we stopped into what claimed to be an authentic gumbo restaurant just outside of the tourist enclave. Chloe didn’t like hers – but Emma and I both enjoyed our warm southern stews, mine with beans and hers with seafood. We also all treated ourselves to ‘hurricanes’ – an INCREDIBLY potent drink that is the same colour as agrum but with long island iced tea affects! Delicious!
We didn’t go out after our dinner as it rained and rained and that’s gross.

11th Jan 2011
We started this morning (yet another cold one) with a trip to the old nunnery about 4 blocks from our hotel. The man who ran the nunnery museum was a bit of a nutter – and couldn’t see properly (so insisted on standing VERY close to you) – but thoroughly amusing.
The nunnery was totally worth visiting – the gardens were beautiful and the architecture was simple in the way many religious buildings are, but with hints of detail in the most unexpected places. The little church inside had a really southern feel about it – similar to that of the churches in Santa Fe – but with lots of old-world European decal (is decal even a word?). A little over the top in the religious figurines, but pretty nonetheless.
We then took a tram ride going north (past the cemetaries that many tourists like to visit, but that didn’t seem very appealing in 2 degree weather) to the art gallery of New Orleans.
The Art Museum was really random. I’ve been in art galleries all over western Europe and north America (not to mention Australia) and have never seen anything like the art gallery in NOLA! The art didn’t have much of an overriding theme to it and it wasn’t well organised. Much of the art was RANDOM as (like one Renaissance painting of a man in a chair with another man’s head peaking out from a hole in the ground below that chair!) and some… well I wouldn’t call it art! The top floor of the museum was dedicated to the kinds of trinkets you find at your grandma’s house – painted porcelain dancing ladies and animals, weird coloured glass shapes and those tacky glass animals you can buy at old lady shops. Art? Well… that’s questionable!
There was also one room that was playing Alice in Wonderland (the Disney version) with random dubbing over the top that made little sense – I think it was trying to be modern, but it didn’t make any sense and to me it looked like someone had taken Alice in Wonderland and then just decided to change the words! I didn’t like it, and I have a pretty broad appreciation for art… This was one weird ass art gallery!
Luckily, the sculpture garden outside didn’t disappoint and we spent a fair amount of time exploring the gardens before opting to return to central FQ.
On our way back, we met people from Taos (two hours north of ABQ, where Maja and I bonded over some weird chocolates) who were surprised to find I knew where, let alone had been to, their little town!
Freezing, we stopped into Maccas, where Chloe decided she wanted a Happy Meal. We all got one, and they came with hilarious little animals (I still have my unicorn toy that I specifically requested) that we took amusing photos of. The Maccas in NOLA also have signs on the walls that say things like “No loitering in McDonalds for more than 20mins” and other things like that… God, do they really have problems with people never wanting to leave? Well, I guess it’s Maccas and it’s a pretty sweet place to be!
That night, after dropping Chloe back at the hotel, Emma and I set out to see some jazz. We stepped in just intime to catch a really awesome band playing some sweet tunes. The only unfortunate thing was that the singer had no microphone/amplification so was difficult to hear.
From there, we wandered across the road to the Cat’s Meow – a karaoke bar that served GIANT hurricanes (I don’t know how Emma got through two, I was nearly passed out after one!) and was full of drunken antics and bad singing! I dragged Emma up on stage for two songs – an awesome rendition of Single Ladies, including dance moves and then a hilarious take on Down Under – after which the host asked what my downunder was like (to which I drunkenly replied: “HOT!”).
Sufficiently drunk and having publically humiliated ourselves enough, we wandered across the road for kebabs and some photo taking that I don’t quite remember… Kebabs so good drunk.
We then wandered back to our hotel, ready for some slumber after an awesome day.

12th Jan 2011
I woke up about 8am to still find Chloe lying in bed next to me… WTF! She was supposed to leave hours ago!
After pulling out dad’s emergancy credit card, we managed to book her a flight to LA that meant we had to get her down to reception asap!
Following that drama, Emma and I headed downstairs for waffles (did I mention we had waffles every morning for breakfast?) before taking advantage of the small amount of sunshine NOLA was offering us. We went to the markets again, saw some public art and ate burgers at a little pub before heading over to the New Orleans Cooking School for some lessons in down home southern cooking!
Our hilarious Southern Belle host taught us how to make chowder, gumbo and pralines (“praaaaaaaaahh-leeeeeeeeeens”), while we munched on treats. The lesson was right up both our alley’s and we left with special spicey mix ideal for gumbos to take home. Yum!
I have no recollection (or photos) of dinner so I assume it was lame.

13th Jan 2011.
Emma left at like 5am, while I was still sound asleep.
My flight wasn’t until 1pm and I wasn’t being collected by the shuttle until 11:30, so I had lots of time to kill! I walked around, mostly aimlessly, and took photographs of pretty houses. I also bought my mother an awesome “Cooking with Jazz” poster for the kitchen. Then I went to the airport and killed serious time (as the shuttle driver didn’t have to pick anyone else up) eating Subway and being bored as nothing was open.
Sadly, our trip was over, but I still had another month and a half in Albuquerque to look forward to! Going “home” to my friends back in the ABQ was so exciting and I was looking forward to being back somewhere familiar.

5th January 2011: ATLANTA!
Chloe and I arrive SUPERBLY late into Atlanta (so early it’s the next day!) and catch a cab out to our hostel. We get to bed ridiculously late, tired from our airplane flight. The room is freezing cold and we can’t work out why. We both freeze.
Next morning we are moved into a different, much warmer room.
We then head out to see Atlanta! We catch the MARTA (train) to downtown and head off to find the Magical World of Coca-Cola AND the biggest Aquarium in North America: Georgia Aquarium.
EVERYTHING has my name on it! It’s all very exciting!
The aquarium is spectacular, the floor-to-wall glass that we can watch all the different aquatic animals through. We spent quite a while in there, especially watching the otters and the beluga whales!
Afterwards, we headed for the Coca-Cola factory tour, which was convienently located RIGHT NEXT DOOR! Insane! The building is essentially a giant coke bottle, you know, just in the middle of Atlanta.
We went on a semi-guided tour, before exploring the centre on our own. The coke factory tour is essentially a LOOK AT HOW GREAT WE ARE show off kinda place, but it’s also pretty fun and hey it’s coke, it’s an icon.
In the final room, before you exit, there are over SIXTY different flavours of soft drink to taste. HOORAY! We had mouthfuls of each, and let me tell you, I was dry heaving at the taste of some of them. We both felt sufficiently sick at the end of it all, but didn’t forget to take our complimentary coke with us on our way out! Chloe loved that, she’s a bit of a soft-drink-aholic.
Afterwards, despite the drizzly weather, Chloe and I spent some time exploring downtown Atlanta, checking out all the shit with my name on it and buying souvenirs with my name on it.
We headed back to the hostel and asked where we should go for some good down-home Southern style cooking for dinner. We were told that there was a magical little place across the road called Mary Mac’s.
Indeed, it was magic! Chloe had the fried chicken with mac & cheese (ok they were magical BESIDES the foul mac & cheese), coleslaw and mash potato.
I had tomato pie, gross mac & cheese and coleslaw. Tomato pie is this magical Southern food that I’d never heard of before. DELISH!
The waiter also brought out lots of little tastings for us, as we were new to the South and that’s how they roll down there. Hence why it is called “Southern hospitality”.

6th January 2011
On our second day in Atlanta, we headed out for the capitol. This was a chance for us to learn ALL about Georgia’s history. Did you know Jimmy Carter was from Georgia? It was also an excuse for me to take HEAPS of photos of my name. :) It was even on the elevators! BEST!
From there we took the train out into the sticks, where the Martin Luther King Jr. home and museum were located. It was a fantastic tour and I highly recommended it, but it’s in a pretty dodgy end of town so don’t go strolling through there on your own! The curators of the museum had put alot of thought and effort into the displays, and we got a guided tour plus a cool movie that taught us about African American rights.
Dinner was at this cool little Cuban cafe. Chloe loves jerk chicken!

7th Jan 2011
Up a little later than we needed to be, Chloe and I RACED down to the bus station to catch a bus out to Athens, Georgia where the UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA is located.
The university is HUGE and took us several hours to tour across. I was in heaven. Here was a SHRINE to me, full of stuff about me. I knew that if I was American, this would have been where I went to university! It was PERFECT! It was huge and full of American school spirit and the most awesome football stadium and A WHOLE STORE FULL OF AWESOME GEAR WITH MY NAME EMBLAZONED ACROSS THE FRONT! Not to mention the fact that EVERYONE around the uni and it’s town were sporting gear with my name on it! HOORAY EVERYONE LOVED ME HERE!
After our tour across campus (which was a nice work out), we headed into the merch store to select my new wardrobe. I now have a Georgia hoodie, Georgia tshirts and a pair of Georgia shorts. HELLA YEAH I am all about me!
We caught the bus back to Atlanta and had dinner once more at Mary Mac’s, where Chloe decided she HAD to have their cookbook as she knew she’d miss the Southern food when she got back to Perth. Early night, as we had a stupidly early flight out!

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