Sydney Universities Dates 1H 2010

Edit: ANU added to list.

I’ve decided to compile the semester dates for the major Sydney universities, so it becomes easy to plan your plans! And also in true Wikipedia style, I’ve listed the websites from which the information comes from, so you can verify yourself if you need to.

Hope you find this useful!

DATES 2010

Notes: As reported by the university, therefore weekends may or may not be counted. If you have additional information, please email me.

Mid-Semester Break Study Vacation Examinations Mid-year recess Semester 2 start
MQ 5 Apr to 16 Apr 8 Jun to 25 Jun 26 Jun to 1 Aug 2 Aug
UNSW 2 Apr to 11 Apr 5 Jun to 10 Jun 11 Jun to 28 Jun 29 Jun to 18 Jul 19 Jul
USYD 2 Apr to 9 Apr 7 Jun to 11 Jun 14 Jun to 26 Jun 27 Jun to 25 Jul 26 Jul
UTS 26 Apr to 30 Apr 12 Jun to 2 Jul 3 Jul to 1 Aug 2 Aug
UWS 19 Apr to 23 Apr 5 Jun to 9 Jun 10 Jun to 27 Jun 28 Jun to 23 Jul 26 Jul
ANU 2 Apr to 18 Apr 5 Jun to 9 Jun 10 Jun to 26 Jun 27 Jun to 18 Jul 19 Jul



Photography Roadmap 2010

I wrote about my technology roadmap earlier on, and now I’d like to share with you my ambitions for my photography this year. It’s better to write it down, than to reproduce it in verbal form when someone asks.

With the workload from university steadily increasing, less time is being spent on getting out there and shooting things. The upcoming mid-semester break invites more chances to shoot stuff, but sadly, it will still be filled with work.

The first step for the next three weeks or so, is to start again, and find things to shoot.

I’m also finding interesting places for photo shoots, because I really want to focus on portrait photography this year. Other genres that deserve my attention this year include music photography and to a smaller extent, sports photography.

For music, it is simply going to people’s gigs and shooting it. Very simple. If you have seen my work from ‘Coffee House’ in years past, you will understand what I mean.

While sports isn’t something I want to specialise in, the Winter Olympics has reminded me of the occasional sports shoots that I have done. And do you get that feeling where you want to occasionally revisit something that you like but don’t normally do/have? Well that’s how I feel about sports photography.

But let me tell you what I want to achieve with portraits. What motivates me is the thousands of ugly, disproportioned, and terrible photos on Facebook. (I might have written this before…) I want to give people nice photos of themselves, for free.

The most difficult part is to start, and that is what I must overcome soon. Because a lazy attitude won’t get me anywhere, but leave one in the pits of misery.

In the meantime, you can browse photos that I shot in the past from the links of my main website.

Film Review: LOL

I think I’ll write short, sharp reviews because I don’t think people want to know everything about a film before they see it, just the general gist of it. See what you think.

Review: LOL (French Film Festival)

If there’s one word to describe LOL, it’s ‘parallels’. Because that’s essentially what it’s about.

Lola (Christa Theret), a student at a Paris high school has her fair share of friends, complex relationships, and a full social life. Anne (Sophie Marceau), recently divorced, juggles her professional life with raising four kids, and a renewed interest in finding love. We follow both of them, and the events of their life over the course of three trimesters.

The juxtaposition of seemingly mundane events, like a house party and an anti-drug presentation at the school complement perfectly with witty dialogue and screenplay. This along with plenty of laughs throughout make LOL a refreshing feel-good film.

When watching it last Saturday, what was interesting to note, was that at times the subtitles were necessary, not because of the French language, but because of the amount of laughter. If you want a fresh view on teenage life, then this is a film to watch.

The last screening is on Wednesday 24 March, 8:15pm at Palace Norton St cinema.

Politics and Personal Agenda

Just a quick one tonight! Again, something I want to get off my chest. Also, I promise that the review for Skirt Day will be up tomorrow morning!

I’ve just finished reading this article in the Sydney Morning Herald, and it reminded me of some similar stories during this week. The article is about NSW Premier Kristina Keneally cycling to work.

Much news has been written about the NSW Government’s commitment to make Sydney more cyclist friendly. One project that is in progress is the construction of bicycle-only lanes in the CBD. Some would infer that Keneally, a frequent bicycle rider, appears committed to completing this project to please people with a similar interest (and also to appear to have done something useful while in office)

A similar issue was discussed during the last week.

Waverley Council, who are responsible for the Eastern Suburbs and Bondi area, introduced new rules that ban smoking around parks and reserves, and outside restaurants and cafés. This was welcomed by anti-smoking groups and beach and coffee lovers.

Later in the week, Willoughby City Council, who are responsible for the Chatswood area, made a statement saying they will not follow suit yet, pending further discussion on this matter.

What you ought to know, is that the councillor who introduced the rules at Bondi was a former chain smoker who has lost a lung due to cancer. Also, the mayor of Willoughby City Council, is a reformed smoker. It seems that personal stories are now the new way to convince people into supporting policies.

Does it appear to you that politicians are doing things to satisfy their personal agenda? Granted, the entire society can never be completely happy with any decision. Do you think that public servants should keep their personal agenda out of politics?

Grow(ing) up.

Before I begin, I feel that some people haven’t got the capacity to take into account all sides of this issue. So let’s set things straight.

Every time a celebrity or well-known person does something outside what we are used to seeing, there is always a group of people who will whinge about how what they have done is demeaning and offensive to greater society.

One example is when Daniel Radcliffe, who we all know and love as the actor who plays Harry Potter, appeared in a stage of production of Equus. Equus is all about a boy’s love of horses, and features Radcliffe fully nude in one scene.

Another is Lindsey Vonn, the American alpine skier. She was on the cover of Sports Illustrated recently, and not only that, but also had a section in the Swimsuit Issue.

Also from the Winter Olympics, the Canadian women’s ice hockey team were caught out on the ice drinking and smoking after their win against the United States for the gold medal.

The problem arises when someone or a group of people (e.g. a parents’ organisation) makes a lot of noise about said well-known person and condemns their actions.

Parents (especially from England) said that Radcliffe was setting a bad example to children, by encouraging them to do something risqué (possibly something related to nudity). Likewise, people said that Vonn was no longer a role model for young girls getting into snow sports.

The first thing these narrow-minded people need to realise is that celebrities and people in general mature as they get older. Daniel Radcliffe can’t play characters that are geared towards children forever, he has a career path to follow that leads to bigger and better things.

In Vonn’s case, athletes like people in general like to have some variety in life, and it is completely harmless doing a fashion shoot. Especially when you just happen to look good.

As for the Canadians, they deserved that gold medal because they won the match. So what’s wrong with celebrating? I’m hoping you’ve been to a party before.

For parents, what they need to realise is that by over-protecting your children, you are exposing them to higher risk activities in the future. For example, if your kid climbed up and fell off a tree when they were young, would you think that they have learned not to put themselves in such a risk in the future?

For narrow-minded people, if you think something is socially acceptable, shouldn’t those in the public eye be allowed to think the same?

Why are we so selective about what is correct and what isn’t? Why have we not said anything discouraging about Emma Watson becoming a major figure in the fashion world?

Have we forgotten how society learns from the risks it takes?

Week 1 of 90+

13 years of Primary and Secondary education is hardly worth blogging about, but the first week of university after 13 years of the same thing is undoubtedly interesting by any scale.

And so my first week of university concluded yesterday (Friday). It is always a little hard to get back into a weekly routine after three months of well-deserved vacation. And also, the first lectures in every subject are about the same introductory information. The first week is also a great time to join an interest club/society, meet new people, and to explore the campus.

Macquarie Uni is right next to the shopping centre, which makes it easy for me to walk right over and have cheap lunch. Also good for killing time between lectures.

And to sweeten it all, I have Mondays off. Which makes it very convenient to cram study in catch up sleep.

I hope 2010 goes well for all of you.

Heads Up: French Film Festival

From now on, I’ll be writing more about the ‘arts’ scene in Sydney. This includes music, film, art etc… I want to eventually spin this off into a new blog, but first I need to gather a few supporters. So enjoy.

The Alliance Française French Film Festival is happening in Sydney from the 2nd March to the end of the month. In the Palace Cinemas in Paddington and Newtown, a total of 43 films will be shown and essentially be used to garner interest into the world of French film.

If you think about it, many films that come out of Hollywood follow the same dry boring formula. Which makes foreign films relatively ‘fresh’ when compared. Now this makes every film equally interesting to the average movie goer. At this stage, I’ll take this position to broaden my view of French film.

After having read some of the synopses of the films, there are already a few that jump out at you. One that I want to see called “LOL” deals with the search for life and love from two contrasting perspectives. Another, “Welcome”, explores separation, risks and persistence.

As with any film screening, theatre production, or music concert, it is always much better when one is accompanied with someone else. This is not only to not look awkward being alone, but also provides a bouncing board for criticism and discussion. So, I encourage you to go along to a film with someone for what I think will be a great night out.

French Film Festival: Sydney website

Location Social Networks

Recently there’s been lots of commentary and criticism about location social networks and services such as Google Latitude, Foursquare and Loopt. A website called Please Rob Me set up this week has aggregated users’ tweets from Foursquare and reported these users as not being at home. The point they are getting across is that when one broadcasts their location, they also tell their followers that they are not at home.

Initially Foursquare has responded to the site with this blog post. The main point it tries to convey is that your data is only broadcast within your group of Foursquare friends, unless you choose otherwise. Many users choose to broadcast their locations on Facebook and Twitter, which is the feature that Please Rob Me is trying to exploit as the weak point of one’s privacy.

I’d like to point out a few things about the use of these social networks that emphasise users’ control of their own data.

First, it’s pretty obvious that you are responsible for what you put on the internet, and that when information is public, it is effectively out of your control. You have the choice of revealing your home or not, obviously. Thus this is where Please Rob Me fails. If people don’t share their home information, then telling people where you are is not a problem.

Second, and to build the case against Please Rob Me, you can control what your network of friends can see. Facebook allows you to control what information is seen by who. Foursquare gives you the option of broadcasting your location to Facebook friends and/or Twitter followers. It is up to the user to decide how comfortable they are with sharing their location. It surprises me how much people are sharing about themselves unknowingly.

On a side note, someone asked me whether I trusted everyone in my Facebook friend list. Well the answer is yes. The reason is, that I don’t add ‘randoms’ and I know exactly who is on my friend list. I have a policy when it comes to adding friends on my list, and I do trust them with my location information.

This forces the user to be aware about the information they share, and be smart about it. For example, I know exactly how many people have access to my home address. Please Rob Me essentially is a wake up call to those who share liberally.

But let’s look at the other side of this argument: the benefits of location social networks.

The obvious benefit is that you are able to see whether your friends are near you, so you can meet up and do cool stuff together. Foursquare’s points system encourages you to explore your city, and meet up with friends too.

Another reason who location social networks are useful, is to let someone know where you are. I have used Latitude for this purpose before.

So to sum up, the user is in control of their information, it is up to them to decide how comfortable they are sharing different types of information, and also to be aware of who the information is reaching.

(St.) Valentine’s Day

Unfortunately Valentine’s Day has turned into a day dominated by flowers, chocolates and romantic dinners. Basically it’s been commercialised too much. And considering that in some situations so many people feel left out, why not widen the scope of Valentine’s Day?

First, let me introduce a bit of history. The feast of Saint Valentine, is February 14. St. Valentine is the patron saint of couples, happy marriages, love, epileptics and bee keepers. It just so happens that the first three items are preyed upon by industry as mentioned. The last two, not so much. So, if we celebrate all things Irish on St. Patrick’s Day (St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland), why not celebrate and recognise those who are epileptic?

But there’s another thing about love. Love is a wonderful thing, but the word itself is terribly ambiguous. Why, on that particular day, does love have to relate to one thing? Why can’t love, on that day, be interpreted by everyone in their own way?

I tend to see Valentine’s Day (in it’s current state) as an expression of one’s liking for another person. As some of you know, I have tried (and failed) to do that on previous February 14s. So for people like me, one should interpret love in their own way. You’ve heard the expression “share the love”, so why not do that on February 14? Someone like Grandma Dawn could share her love of baking cookies to her grandchildren. A botanist could share their love of flowers (especially different coloured roses).

Why can’t we have awareness campaigns about epilepsy, instead of being confused about said illness? And the same with bee keepers?

And my final proposal. Help someone be loved. Introduce a friend to another friend. Wouldn’t the world would be a better place if there were less lonely people?

Review: Olafur Eliasson at the MCA

The foyer of the MCA is now lit by an elaborate spherical light. This light, with a complex arrangement of mirrors surrounding it, is the work of Olafur Eliasson, the Danish/Icelandic artist. Eliasson specialises in large-scale installations that “transforms our experience of the space around us”.

Contemporary art for me is always somewhat controversial. Sometimes the artworks are too abstract to interpret, sometimes the message is clear (this is good), and sometimes they raise questions about whether the work is authentic. In regards to the last point, have you ever seen an artwork and said to yourself, ” I could have done that!” ?

Upon walking into the exhibition, there lies a large table of white LEGO blocks, and constructions. There are three tonnes of these ubiquitous blocks, and this installation could potentially win the award for the longest interaction with the audience. Yes, those LEGO blocks are for you to build something to your heart’s content. I must have spent about 20 minutes joining blocks into something unsubstantial. Still, it’s a nice metaphor for “I’m lazy, you make something cool.”

Another of Eliasson’s installations is a room of ‘monofrequency’ lights, shining down to the ground. Once you walk in to the room, your vision is altered by the intense colour of the light. Trying to return to reality is tempting, although your vision entices you to watch it go by, as the sights are somewhat peculiar. Eliasson has several other installations that play with light and your sight.

I was somewhat surprised that I was able to offer an interpretation to most of Eliasson’s works. But I was also surprised that simple elements (like water and light) can combine to create something visually interesting.

If you want to see some ‘different’ art, I would recommend seeing this exhibition. Just make sure you know when you need to return to reality.

MCA website: Olafur Eliasson

Update: The exhibition finishes on the 11th April.