Thursday, August 8, 2013

The last lesson my car taught me

Um, this is kind of weird to start writing about, but it's also important, and yeah. I'll start where I can and stop where I will.

This is one of the posts about my first car, and it was the last lesson that the Suzuki taught me.

I say 'last' because back in June, I broke it. Badly broke it. Like, it's not coming back, broke it.

And it was my fault.

I guess this means different levels of thing to different people. But we'd had that car since Hannam Vale (So, at least 2001), and Dad had looked after it. She went alright, and even when Dad bought a different car, he didn't sell the Suzy. It was lent to a couple of different people, and each driver added their own level of attachment to the vehicle. It was unregistered for a while, and Dad had people asking more than once, if he was planning to sell it, seeing as it had sat in our front yard, untouched, for a couple years. But he never did.

I first started regularly driving the Suzuki at the end of 2010, when I got a job that meant I needed to be driving a car that wasn't Mum's while she was at work. She was a tetchy thing to get used to driving, but we got on alright. The Suzuki was a 1989 Swift GTi model; built as a sports car. Highly strung; usually pretty difficult to drive if you weren't used to it. It'd be difficult to start in cold mornings, or on any morning, really.

Back at the start of uni, I took the Suzy to Newcastle. This was back when my housemate still lived in the house, and before she was able to drive, so I did driving for both of us frequently. Nothing bonds people and a car like losing it and thinking it was stolen in a car park.

And from there I gradually just got more and more attached to the car. She was difficult sometimes, because she was an old car, but Dad loved it and I loved it, and it was something of a family heirloom.

And then I did something stupid.

This was like a squire riding their father's warhorse out for the day and breaking its leg. It was like if Batman, still in his early days of being batman, through some fool maneuver, got Alfred killed.

I still have no idea whether or not I checked at the give way sign, but I was on a minor road of a T-intersection on a rainy day in Newcastle back in June, and I hit someone else.

Y'all can calm down a little; I didn't hurt anyone, and I emerged shell-shocked, but unscathed.

Shock erased anything I could remember of the event to prove that I had looked before entering the give way section, and the fallout of that was that I was in the wrong of the accident.

I had broken the car that was Dad's pretty, and my pretty, and Sam's pretty (Sam was one of the lads who'd driven the car in the interim years). I'd been told to look after it, and

and evidently I haven't gotten over all of this yet. Guilt takes time. The fault is still mine though, and I have a bit of a hangup over it.


There was a lesson learned. Let me tell you it.


Or rather, I began to appreciate grace a whole lot more.

See, I've known of and understood grace for a while. To a degree.

My Mum and Dad are both Christians, and they raised me and my siblings to understand the wonder that comes with having a personal relationship with the creator of the universe. But even from a young age, they taught me the value of grace. They're both like sixth-generation Salvation Army kids (Okay so Dad's only three generations, not sure about Mum). Well, they came from Salvation Army stock.

And I'm not up for debating a whole bunch of things right now, but when we left the Salvation Army, Mum made sure that I understood grace properly. That I understood that it's not the things we do that make us right; that following the laws wouldn't be enough to repair a broken relationship with God. We needed Jesus, and we needed to understand that he offered a way to get into a right relationship with God, without doing stuff.

That it was a gift.

That it was a grace.

And I'd known this for a long time. Been taught it for a long time.

But it wasn't until I was dealing with a written-off car, and being in the wrong, and trying to figure out whether my demerit points will carry over when I get my full license, that I realised the value of grace.

I think you can appreciate the value of something in one of two different ways.

You can understand how important it is when you come from not having it and then having it,
and you can understand how important it is when you have it and then it is taken away, or you have to deal with something without its aid.

That's not to say that I didn't want the law to be nullified - certainly not. If the law was nullified, then there'd be no justice. A world with no justice is a scary thought for me. We need justice. Without justice, things that go wrong get unpunished, victims are left to their broken lives and society, without stability, caves in.

Justice is important.

So I understood with incredible clarity why it was I was in the wrong over my accident. And why it was that someone had to be at fault. It's pretty rare that cars go and crash themselves.

It's just that I didn't want to be the one at fault. I wanted grace. I didn't want the law to be broken for my sake, but I also didn't want to be the one to have to deal with being in the wrong.

It was actually an incredible paradox, and at the same time a perfectly clear truth. Perfectly clear lesson. Painfully illustrated in screeching brakes and deformed metal, laid to rest clad in TARDIS blue.


It was painful to learn, and beautiful at the same time. And I hope that I never take the lesson of grace so for granted again that I have to learn this one over.

Grace abounded more when Dad found my new car; a Festiva. It's a gelding compared to the stallion that was the Swift, but I'm incredibly thankful for it. Not having wheels is something you can get around if you live in the middle of Newcastle, or if you have housemates with cars, but when you have neither of these things, even getting the groceries is a challenge.

Meet the incredibly tidy Daiko Bubbles. I'll be sure to post about it in the future. And about the Swift too.

But I think that's about as much talking as I can manage about the cars for now. I'll go back to aimlessly surfing the web in the art gallery, and listening to Explosions in the Sky.

Seriously. Go look them up if you like post-rock, or like forty minutes of absolutely radical instrumental music.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Updates: Final Semester, Glutton for Punishment, Future Cosplays and Life Lessons


Somehow it's now the last day of July. And I've had my first day off for this week.

Uni started back on Monday, and with it came the challenge of waking up on time, and remembering to do things in the correct order to maintain sanity and other general things.

I've started my last semester - I finish studies in November, and hopefully the University will give me the funny hat early next year. With this then, is a slight bittersweet feeling. I mean, I've really loved uni, but at the same time, there's a bunch of things that I'll be glad to have done and dusted when I leave the realms of tertiary education.

And hopefully, I'll be able to get a job at the end of it. And move into a house that's a little warmer in the winter.

I've got a couple of blog posts in the works; these are kind of things that I've been mulling over the last month or so. There's two that are about my first car, and one that's about communication. I'm still trying to figure out how to say everything that I want to say in those, which is why they're not up yet.

Also, NaNo is coming up again in November. Which is still a little bit away, but I'm beginning to plan story stuff now, because then you can just write during the allocated time. I'm ML-ing for Newcastle along with another mate again this year, so it should be fun. If I can figure out how to navigate time properly, I'll also try and finish last year's novel before we get to November. I got to fifty thousand on it, but it's probably closer to an eighty or hundred-thousand word novel. I haven't even written the scene with the granting of the superpowers yet.


Anyway, most of the plot of this year's novel is already planned. The characters don't have names yet. The story is about apathy, I guess. The main character is really apathetic because -*statement redacted*

More on it soon. The story doesn't have a name yet. But it's about fate and apathy and the future and a bunch of other things. Redemption?

And a gypsy curse, unless I can think of a better way to phrase that bit. Carnies with superpowers or something.

So, what else is going down?

Today, I woke up late, courtesy of playing Princess Uno with friends last night until I'd punched into the 'confused zombie' phase of overtired.

Yesterday, I started on my sister's 18th birthday present. It's her birthday tomorrow. Not sure if it'll be done in time. :/

I also attended my first Alchemy class for the semester, and made a big piece of chalk art at the church hub/office.

Yeah, that's right. Alchemy.

It's funny, because when Bec the Housemate and I were looking at the Fine Art Program Handbook back in first year, we both saw Alchemy listed and laughed our heads off because 'what? Like the lead-into-gold business? I knew Fine Arts was going to be a bit out there, but they seriously teach Alchemy?'

Yeah, they do. Sorry to ruin it, but it's a photography subject. You learn to print photographs with technology that was used back in the 1840's. One of the first exercises that we're going to do is make a pseudo-daguerreotype. I'm going to henceforth refer to that word as 'D-type' because I can't spell it without aid of a spell-checker. D-type photographs were the first type of photograph made, and the process happened when you coated a silver plate with a bunch of chemicals, exposed it to light, and then exposed it to a bunch more chemicals. Including mercury gases. I think we might be skipping the mercury bit of the process.


But D-types were insanely cool on a number of different levels. Firstly, they produced only a single positive from the process - unlike film photography, which creates a negative that can be printed from - so the end product was a complete one-off. Second, these photos were incredibly detailed, due to the nature of the light-sensitised metal; the surface was slow-reacting to the light, and could be compared with modern tech as having an ISO of less than ten.

(For my friends who aren't waist-deep in photography madness, ISO is light sensitivity. The higher the number, the more light sensitive. The trade off with having high ISO images is the grainy effect you usually see on cheap cameras)

So yeah. Alchemy looks like it'll be fun.

And I've got a substitute for Fibres this semester, but I've had her teach me before, and I actually get along with her better than my standard tutor, so this semester I'll actually want to do really well with Fibres. Which is good.

My theory course looks like a mix of philosophy and art, which should be interesting.

And I've got another photography elective on Friday.

So that's uni so far. I'm planning to make lace at some stage this semester, and I don't even know what else.


Let me tell you about today's finding.

Animania is one of the conventions that I frequent. Case in point.
The big one is coming up in September, and I was of two minds about going, until I got an update about the event this morning.

The special guest is the Japanese voice actress for Kuchiki Rukia, of Bleach.

And you're all like 'blimey, not Bleach again'

At that point, something in me sighed, and something in me went nuts. Because I then should totally go, and get a signature or something, and dress as Rukia, but not her standard attire, because that's too simple and there'll be fifty million of them at the convention.

Truth be told, I already had a Rukia cosplay planned for some time in the future. I was actually planning to do it at a point in time where I wouldn't have long hair though, because wigs are getting more and more difficult for me. Something about having hair down to my butt.

Anyway. We'll work that out when we get there.

A week later...


Okay, that's it. I've got gallery duty and I'm going to be here for the next five hours; posting will be done.

Also, I realised that all that post got incredibly detailed in a short amount of time. I apologise. If not careful, it's pretty easy to get stuck on the small details. A flaw of mine.

What was this week then?

I got very sick on Monday night. No idea why. Guts just decided to hit the 'purge' button and things got less and less fun after that. It's only today that my appetite has actually returned somewhat. Isotonic drinks in the meantime are the best.

I've also started patternmaking the outfit for Animania; I was supposed to get the fabric today, but for my amazing organisational skills. (Woo!)

I think there's a couple things I'm on edge about with the cosplay, and a couple of things I'm really, really happy about.

I dunno if I ever blogged about it before, but battle damaged characters are boss to cosplay.

I probably said something a while back about this too.


No hems. You can have something that's flowing and majestic and tattered as buckleys, and you don't have to sew hems on it. In fact, it actually looks better if you irregularly hack into the fabric with a pair of scissors. Authentic battle damage; stuff like that. Hems on giant flowing things are pretty nasty, so no hems make life better.

The outfit also looks really simple. I finished patternmaking it last night; the seams and stuff are all nice and neat.

Except for the collar.

Look at that thing.


It's like whoever designed this thing didn't even understand how clothes work. It was just 'oh, hey. This would look cool. Let's chuck this on here, and that on there, and whatever.'

*Throws chair*

It'll be done. Fortunately, Dark Rukia has been cosplayed before; so I can look at what other people have done in the past and figure out what I'm working on from there, but in the meantime it's a bit tricky.

Now, to away from this clunky update, and try and write something a little more coherent. I've got five hours left at the gallery. Plenty of time.