Category Archives: university knowledge

Sac Exchange, WWE party, Why I am still a good for nothing…

(L2R Alex, Andrea, Allen, Aviva)

Apparently, I am amazingly talented. In a house of almost 130 good for nothing drug-addict-raver-zealous-party-goers, I am still considered to be one of the top procrastinators. People regularly see me cooking an unnecessarily detailed lunch, or planning to paint a mural and say “oh, you’re the one who does like, no schoolwork, aren’t you?”

So, this post comes along with my realization that sooner or later it’s going to come back to bite me. Prepare yourselves for weeks of silence, or stressed out and unintelligible posts 🙂 Eep!

But with my favorable crastination skills come amazing adventures!

First up, where we left off: the Sacramento Lindy Exchange. Goodness, I’ve been lazy with this blog! Procrastinating my procrastination tool = classy 🙂

It’s a small event, and sadly in my time in California’s capitol city I did not run into Mr Shwartznegger. But I’ll be back. (giggles to self) but the dance attracted a heap of wonderful dancers from all over the coast, including an unexpected rockstar. The highlights of the event for me were definitely: Staying at Andrea’s place in Sacramento, with Allen and Alex, two of my friends from San Fran. Alex and I fought over the couch, we ate copious amounts of food and watched the Emperor’s New Groove. They were all DJ’s for the event so I was in with the organizers 🙂 Andrea has one million decorative hair flowers, and playing with them was super fun times….

check out Gina being super dopey 🙂

My favourite was the final set of the Saturday late night. Alex DJed the 3am set and after the first two songs happened to be food songs, someone asked him if every song was going to be about food. He considered them carefully for a moment, and then just said, ‘yes!’

It was epic. Not the kind of set where you resort to bad music just to go with a theme. All awesome songs, and it’s been a while since I’ve heard ‘down in Arkensas, they serve you Coleslaw!’ so I was a happy camper. Also, the fact that we were dinking bottles of, ahem, juice, didn’t hurt either ;). We were all being so silly and jumping around and just STFOing. My favourite night of dancing in a while, for sure.

Jean and Bromley having ‘Tango Dreams’ (thats what the poster on the wall behind them says :))

me & Matt

The other highlight of the night and the weekend was my PRETTY new dress. Oh, it’s so very pretty! Blue and spotty, and I’d been dying to wear it ever since I fell in love with it in New Orleans. And I did, and felt like a princess. Joy!

So that was the third lindy exchange weekend in a row, proving that no amount of Lindy Hop is ever too much.

Other than that, I’ve been going on some splendid adventures lately! Antho and I biked down to this garbage dump that the hippies have turned into works of art, and its right by the sea and it was awesome. Good place for playing castle and mucking around like kids. Melbourne uni kids would like it lots. Also, I went adventuring up the hill and off the road in the Berkeley hills on the day the weather broke and the rain started to come down. I found yellow gum boots in the free pile and put them to good use. After practically falling down a cliff to get there, we found a river with a canopy of trees and a swing and a birds nest. And so we danced there and got rained on and it was wonderful. Berkeley is beautiful!

the view of the sea!

cool castle window

Antho on the swing in thew woods

I went on an excursion with my swing students to Cat’s Corner, the Wednesday night venue in San Fran. It was great! They were so enthusiastic and danced almost every song. It makes me want to be as energetic and enthusiastic again. (Not that I’m old and withered or anything, just things are exciting in a different way when you’re a total beginner) they were awesome and I felt chuffed. 🙂

Curtis the Pumpkin

bunch of the pumpkins (mine is the giant one!)

Tonight I got home from a super long day only to be greeted by PUMPKIN CARVING in the common room! Woop! So exciting; Halloween is just around the corner. So I carved my first Pumpkin, which started as evil Harry Potter, and ended up as Curtis, a friend who boards at CZ 😀

Curtis with the back side of my pumpkin 🙂

Curtis and I 🙂

Gareth is in the stripey shirt

Oh, I thought I was done. But I seem to have forgotten the most epic event of the last week: the WWE party. It involved a Keg race between the two sides of the house, sumo wrestling suits, and a foam pool. It was CRAZY. I am BRUISED. It was so much fun! The hundred’s side won the keg race, (of course; we are definitely more awesome!) I sumo-ed against Gareth and lost spectacularly (he is a quarterback), and the foam pool…. Was just a free for all that I’m not sure I can even talk about on this blog. Suffice to say the one photo I took of it is never being displayed publicly 😀 it was awesome!

Australia Vs New Zealand

So behold: I manage to balance dancing with non dancing!

Love and miss you all 🙂

xx

Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon

So my housemates are seriously discussing an intervention into my apparent dancing madness. It’s probably a good thing. A vague hiking trip to Lake Tahoe is planned, as are a few shopping days in San Francisco. I’m excited. This week I have a midsemester exam, and an assignment due, which is good. I’m coming to like the way things work here; there are always things due, but they are never worth very much, so you are never too stressed for an assignment.

The weather is still holding strong; it’s about 30 degrees every day which is lovely. This makes evenings in our house hot tub, or sleeping on the roof with 6packs of beer possible. I’m telling you, this is the life! 🙂 I’ve spent many lazy afternoons in the sun on campus lying on the grass.
The Campanile (giant Clocktower) at night, from below

The Geodome on the 30o’s roof where I have been sleeping the past couple of nights 🙂 isn’t that pretty?~

Last night was Oktoberfest at CZ so there was folk-y German music playing in the commonroom and a lot of beer. Fun times!


In other news; I’m very torn and trying to extend my stay here a little, if possible…. 5 months isn’t nearly enough! But am waiting to see what Melbourne Uni says about it. If not, I’ll just have to go on exchange again during postgraduate. Lau, we should totally go to the same place at the same time.
Otherwise, last weekend was boogie by the bay, a giant West Coast Swing event with a little Lindy Hop on the side. It was an experience, I’m telling you that!
What I learned:
• West Coast Swing is like the awkward niece of Lindy Hop who has gone off the rails a bit and no one likes to talk about.
• If you want to West Coast, you should quickly attain some fancy work pants, an off the shoulder sparkly top, and an ability to act out the words of a song as you hear them, charade-style. Also learn how to backlead.
• Many of the people who dance West Coast are Cougars and creepy old guys
• Listen to a lot of top 40 music. As a dj, play the same song more than once in a night, perhaps even in the same set.
• Learn how to body roll a lot and flip your hair. Learn how to stare deeply into your partner’s eyes without blinking whilst dancing.
• Learn how to dance lyrically and learn amazing spin technique.

As far as I could tell, that’s all you need to know to be able to fake it decently at west coast! Westies all dance down the line a lot which makes their dance floors very organized, with few collisions. We earned many dirty looks when we danced a bit of Lindy on those floors (Lindy is far more circular and disorganized, it moves around creatively as it wants to. Leads have to work far harder in Lindy to protect their followers from collisions.)

how wonderful are Bearded Rhythm?!

So the weekend was grand heaps of fun, a small event Lindy-wise, but still good times! This weekend is Sacramento Lindy exchange, which should be small and heaps of fun!

Finally, Laura, you know how when I was packing you let me bring hardly any clothing at all? Remember how you said I would go shopping and buy heaps of stuff?

Well you lied! I haven’t had time to yet, and I’m having to do washing almost every week! I’m practically wearing the same thing every day, and its more than a little frustrating! Gah!

the sun this morning over campus 🙂

To wrap up, MAZEL TOV to Bonnie for getting principal bass In the Australian Youth Orchestra, you should ALL go catch her playing sometime, she is a rockstar. 🙂

Also, Hannah, your package is the light of my life, and my room is fully adorned with glowsticks. You’re truly excellent!

Mbali: how were October tests? Not quite as good as Oktoberfest? (bahaha, hilarious me.)

Wow, bad jokes means it’s time to post this! xxxx

chairs atop the watermelon slice

The Berkeley Diaries Cont….

Lots of wonderful things are happening! Small moments of productivity, big discoveries, down time, too much up time, but most of all this is a wonderful place to be.

Last night Kyle rocked up at CZ (literally, he broke in, I looked up and there he was in the living room) and kidnapped me into a concert at a place called Freight and Salvage. It was totally unexpected, and totally wonderful! This traditional Irish band was playing, 5 guys; an Electric Bass, a fiddle, a guitar, an Irish Piper and a flautist….. it was amazing! They were so together, and I loved the Irish accents. After only hearing my awkward Australian-ness in the midst of the American drawl, it was super refreshing!

A beautiful thing here is the afternoon sun. It catches on the buildings in campus and on the redwoods in the Berkeley hills and makes them glow in a golden sheen, as if someone has draped a gossamer blanket over the world. It kisses your face and makes you feel as if you have energy when you’re running on empty. I love the afternoons here.

So, also, I am helping vamp up the dancing scene at Berkeley. There is an amazing structure in place for introducing new dancers to the scene; they have a troupe for newer dancers, as well as the SwingCal subject that I’m helping teach! But they don’t have anywhere for students to practice, for whomever to come and just dance, because there is no equivalent here to the Unimelb student union which lets us use rooms with wooden floors…. And after 3 weeks of dancing on concrete, I have had had enough!

So I am using my copious inside connections, (thankyou, co-op with 126 roommates!) to book us a room, as well as the super sneakiness taught to me by S.C.U.M to help break us into empty rooms when we have no booked ones 🙂 it is fun!

Also, teaching is heaps of fun. It’s really nice to be able to give people dancing tips in a constructive way that doesn’t make them upset. When you’re put in a position of a teacher, people listen to you! It’s exciting to see people improve and get excited about Lindy Hop.

What else? I had to drop my Harry Potter DeCal 😦 I really needed the time in the week to do other work and catch up on sleep, especially as I have about 4 dance exchanges coming up in the coming month. There are only 3 days left until ULHS and I really can barely contain excitement….

but here are some people playing land quidditch, for all you furious Potter fans who are now out for my blood 🙂

I went to San Francisco the other day, and went on this cable-car tour ride thing for free with a friend, behold some of the photos!

Also, we went up the clear elevators in Union Square. They are magnificent and amazing…! You get this rushing view of the city as you zoom up, and suddenly pop! You’re at the top with a full moon and shining city out in front of you. Incredible. Sadly, it’s not the kind of thing you can capture on camera, which, in some ways makes it better.

Right now I am sitting in Zak’s room doing work and listening to his electronic music/ DubStep….. well, by doing work I mean procrastinating.  Zak has a fluffy dresser. It looks like a muppet with drawers. Odd.

Last night we had Human Chess in the common room, but apathy won. The pieces who didn’t get developed early enough soon got bored and left…. Boo! I was getting really into it. I’ve become somewhat of a chess addict whilst being here. People are always invariably sitting on the balcony playing chess, and so I have become sucked in…. ditto for foozball, the ‘gentleman’s sport’.

Also, I went to a frat party! My first, and hopefully my last one…. I knew a couple of people who lived at the frat, so that was fun, but the place was filled with overly drunk individuals who either have no intelligent ability left, or simply want to take advantage of the people with no intelligent ability. The average age was a little younger, and everyone was dancing all up in each other’s business in a way that I had just ever seen so blatantly before. I went to dance but soon had to leave because I was just going to have to hit too many people in order to get my own space 🙂

The Frats and Sororities here are apparently not all as bad as we see in Legally Blonde, but I haven’t seen it yet…. It’s pretty much a Jocks and their Gals kind of culture that I don’t really get, a kind of voluntary idiocy with the aim of hooking up with randoms…. *sigh*

I also went to a blues house dance party…. (Isaac and blues co, emulate this please!) It was awesome! Just a beautiful big hardwood floor, fairy lights, nibblies and good music! And a sukkah out the back, with these beautiful hanging candles. I got excited because I didn’t think I’d be in a sukkah this year, what with living at the coops etc. It was really the perfect venue, and I enjoyed myself super much-ly.

Lastly, handed in my first big Berkeley paper (assignment) today…. Eep!

Now, it is more than time to end this, it is getting egregiously long.

Xxxxx SO much love to Hannah and Amy, for their amazingly wonderfully beautiful letters which made me so ridiculously happy!

Trying to do too much!

Oh, the magic of procrastination! Lets tell you all some Vivi-related-news!

Yesterday I spent a few hours in the sun on Lower Sproul learning a Hip Hop routine for an audition to a dance team I had no intention of joining, and now I resemble a tomato. It was fun, but I am hopeless at Hip Hop. Luckily, however, better dancing was to be had last night! I decided to skip CZ’s first giant House party (with outside guests invited) to go dancing at the Rhythm Lounge in Redwood city. it was great! Carla Heiney (who runs it) had just got married so they were celebrating. she was really shiny and glamorous! and they had a welcome dance for me, and it was really nice 🙂

A wonderful thing is that I’m getting to know lots of people in the dance scene here, so am slowly feeling more comfortable. I can actually chill out an be my silly self and not worry! phew!

(two of my new dancing friends, who make Michael and I’s colossus attempt look like childs play! they DEMOLISHED everything on the table!)

In America, they bring you refills of EVERYTHING, even hot chocolate! (mum, I had the strongest hot chocolate in EXISTACE. I couldn’t sit still for 20 minutes afterwards!)

I’ve had my first week of classes! I’m taking a college writing course; creative non-fiction, an English course about race, ethnicity and creative writing, which has sparked LOTS of contentious discussion (my teacher for that is so funny! he said he runs the class on creative writing and race because he thinks race is taboo and therefore sexy :)) and a class on musical theater in American history. (YAY! “what never?! no never! what never!? well… hardly ever!~!! he is hardly ever sick at sea!” *minces around like the captain of the HMS pinafore*)

they are all great, but as well as that, I am taking two DeCal subjects (subjects taught by Grad students). one is a journalism on film class, and the other is a HARRY POTTER CLASS. oh yes. I get university credit for discussing Harry Potter, going on a field trip to see the 7th movie part 1, and playing land quidditch! I can let out my inner HP nerd for two whole hours every week! YAY 🙂

also, I decided on a whim to audition for the University chorus, and got in! they are SO good, im SO excited. they are really serious, and the teacher wants me to go to a supplement voice class, which is exciting, as i’ve never had vocal training properly before! also, I might go to a beginner ballet class run at the university.

OOH. ALSO! I am going to be TEACHING at Berkeley!!! CRAZY! They have a swing dance DeCal, and I’m teaching classes on solo jazz movement and Lindy Hop in it! so I am officially teaching a university course!!! as well as teaching dance for the first time!!! woop!!! 😀 😀 :D!!!

SO. if you haven’t already got the gist of this, I have CLEARLY already bitten off way more than I can chew. Uni is hard here, its like school. they give us homework every day, and make sure we did the reading. its just as well things are so so interesting here, or it would be seriously annoying already. 🙂

other than that, many wonderful things have happened, like, I am learning to cook all sorts of new things in our industrial kitchen! I can poach an egg! also, a friend drove me down to a giant junk store called urban ore the other week, and I bought a super cheap couch! we had to totally revamp the room to accommodate it, but it looks shmick, or as my roommate Olga would say, tight/badass. 🙂 also, I have become a drug dealer.

STAM, lol, just checking to see who was still reading ;D…!

in funny news, the Party that I skipped last night went full over capacity by 11.30 pm. they stopped letting people in, so the rowdy crowd outside got really angry, and bum rushed the door! someone pulled the fire alarm and now my house isn’t allowed to have out of house parties till January, because the cops came an gave them an Exhibit A. I missed all the drama (not sure if that is funny, or annoying), but am disappointed, as apparently they have to cancel the house’s notorious stripper party which was going to be in like a month. boo! ah well….

I’m going to leave it there, so as not to bore you/procrastinate TOO much, but a shout out to lovely Kerryn and Bonita, both of whom have admirably succeeded in turning 21! love you girls! and am sad to miss out on celebrating with you!

now I wish you’d all just be sensible already and come hang out with me on the 300’s roof. I’ll be up there for about an hour. who’s in?

xxxx

Settle, Gretel…

you know, I’m rather comfortable here…. the food is excellent, there is always entertainment, classes are quite awesome so far (I started Thursday), and all the while, Australia seems to be going to hell in a hand basket! (politics wise, at least)

not very much incentive to come home. no siree.

My agenda today is an interesting one, but has been stomped on thus far by the fact that it is really quite hard not to stay up until 3 am talking to the people who pretty much seem to be constantly hanging around in our common room.

for the meantime, things that have happened are;

I moved in to my new and proper room for the semester…. things are in DRAWS. it is MAGICAL!

behold, my corner of the room thus far (I plan to paint it all different colours. if anyone has any ideas, stupid or otherwise, let me know :))

glow sheep are up!

as are love letters that I have been sent…!

and this is the other sie of my space. check the awesome hat that I got in the free pile!

a great thing that this house has is the free pile. They’re all about the recycling, the reusing, the not throwing things or people away. So whenever you need something, the first place to go is not Target, or Walgreens! No sir! Go free pile hopping! Every co-op has one. Trash or treasure, opp shop style, they can be alternately awesome and completely unhelpful. Im simply pretty sure that they will help me accumulate clothes quicker and more cheaply than I had ever thought possible!

Today I went to Lindy on Sproul, Cal’s weekly swing dancing event. interesting, dancing on concrete, but lots of wonderful people there! I immediately set to work teaching them things like “TOV“, how the opposite to concrete is anti-concrete, and “hooray!”

they perhaps didnt learn as quickly as S.C.U.M* would have, but they were most enthusiastic, so joy abounded! Also, I have had an offer to help teach the Berkeley swing dancing subject, also known as a Decal Course. isn’t that ridiculous! they get ACTUAL UNIVERSITY CREDIT to learn swing dancing. as a SUBJECT. the jealousy! if ONLY! amazing 🙂

later on: my first cleaning challenge…. the BATHROOMS. *dramatic music, wails of terror*.

I got my scrubbedy dub on 🙂

and fulfilled a challenge from home :D!

see if you can spot my excellent sharpie pen work! 🙂

so the bathroom is sparkly, and tonight we have room to room! this is a party where everyone opens up their rooms with a different theme, and people go from floor to floor, acting like responsible adults, meeting each other in a non rowdy and drunken way. then we all sit down and have tea and biscuits that are not dodgy!

hooray! now I’m going to go make some jelly (jello) shots 🙂

if anyone wants to send me anything, the official address is:
Vivi Kalman, room 301, Casa Zimbabwe, 2422 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA, USA 94709

*Swing Crew UniMelb