Mastering Life in Your 20s…

I recently read a blog post entitled “10 Things Everyone in Their 20s Should Be Doing.” I thought it’d be a good idea to do some research since I am turning 20 in a few weeks.

Turns out I was wrong. This list should have been called “10 Things Everyone Should Be Doing Regardless of Age Because They Are Just Common Sense”.

  1. Eat more fruit and veges
  2. Drink water
  3. Exercise at least three times a week

Blah, blah, blah.

None of this is 20s specific. I already do all of those things. Except number 7, which was “Get involved in a group sport.” The list justified this as a good way to get fit and socialise, but anyone who knows me knows that I generally don’t like people, or groups, or sports that require coordination.
I also don’t do number 10, which is “Travel” because I am an almost 20 year old arts student. I do not now, nor will I ever, have enough money to travel further than my parents’ house every other weekend.

Step Brothers: basically just an entire film about what happens when you fail your 20s…

Since I have a pathological need to be right- and to mock things I find to be outright ridiculous, like this list- I came up with my own list of 10 Things Everyone in Their 20s Should Be Doing.

  1. Learn to Cook.
    Moving away from home for uni/study/general escape from rules and CSI reruns is great until you realise that Mi Goreng and toast are not a legitimate meal plan. Mixing it up with some basics like French Toast, Bolognese and fresh soups is a really good idea.
  2. Master the Washing Machine.
    Whites, colours, darks and towels all need to be sorted, washed separately and ironed once dry.  While my brother chooses to stubbornly ignore my teachings, I have faith that you, the lovely SolSat readers are much smarter than he is.
    The next lesson here is, of course, the machine itself. Hot wash, cold wash, low/mid/high water levels, front loader vs. top loader, and what-the-hell-bloody-brand-of- powder-do-I-buy!? Relax. Set your machine to cold wash and mid water level so you’re always good to go. Get the brand of powder that smells the best and make sure to check that the label clearly matches your machine ie: if you have a top loader, get top loader powder.
    Also, fabric softener is a money making conspiracy. It does nothing. Save your $6.
  3. Learn to Change a Tyre.
    Most people get their license at 18, buy a car at 19 and have a wonderful time with it all. Super, except that about 75% of people in their 20s don’t know how to change a tyre, put water in their washer bottles or change their oil. For the women this isn’t such a  big deal because we can flirt with the guys from roadside assist or convince a passing motorist to take pity on us, but guys don’t have that option. It’s a sad stereotype, but everyone expects you to be able to do this for yourself.
  4. How To Hold A Baby.
    Yes. This makes it into the top 5 because this the point in your life when your friends/siblings/colleagues are about to start procreating and whether you like it or not, at some point you’re going to be asked to hold their offspring.
    Did anyone else play Operation as a kid? Well, babies are a lot like that. One wrong move and they start making a god-awful noise that freaks you out more than the thought of actually dropping them. Remember; tuck their head into the crook of your elbow and support from below.
  5. Tie A Necktie.
    You can’t pass for young and deliberately scruffy anymore. You are, albeit reluctantly, an adult. It’s time to start dressing like one. Leave the pre-ties to the hipster kids and man up.
  6. Master Chopsticks.
    No, not that weird piano piece. I mean legitimate, Mr Miagi chopsticks. In your 20s, you do a lot of hipster/cheap activities (because they’re basically the same thing) like hanging out in China Town or Japanese Restaurants. If you want to immerse yourself in another culture, try using their table manners, too.
  7. Dress To Impress.
    The waistband of your jeans belong- wait for it- on your waist. None of this halfway-down-my-butt nonsense. You look ridiculous, and I think your common sense has escaped, along with your dignity, through your exposed crack.
    Spots and stripes do not belong together. That’s not avant-garde or unique or cool. It’s uncomfortable to look at.
    And just a heads up, real mean wear pink. Ladies love a man in pink.
  8. Argue With Respect.
    No, this isn’t an oxymoron. In our 20s, we’ve all got really strong opinions about everything from politics to which Kardashian we like best. Some things aren’t worth losing friendships over, so make sure you keep their feelings in mind. Use phrases like “I understand where you’re coming from, but…” and “Consider this…” rather than just shutting the other person down entirely.
  9. Make a Fire.
    Not in a supermarket or anything like that – I do not advocate pyromania. What I mean is that 20-somethings should be camping and cooking and all doing all that outdoorsy shit. If the cavemen could do it without a YouTube tutorial, you should be able to do it as well.
  10. Perform Basic First Aid.
    This should probably have been number 1, but I’m not going back and changing things now. The ability to perform CPR or properly splint broken bones is incredibly undervalued. Life skills like this one, quite apart from being insanely practical, look great on resumes and first dates. First Aid Classes aren’t expensive, so they’re definitely something to look into.

Also, a mate of mine really wanted me to add “Dispose Of A Body” to this list. I’m slightly concerned as to why, but here is his justification:

“Not because I need to hide a body at the moment, or plan to at any stage, but hey – we can’t predict the future. I just think everyone should have a plan in mind. I, for example, would probably dig a big hole on a farm somewhere and just drop that sucker in. Or feed it to the pigs that live on the farm… yeah, I’d probably go with the pigs.”

And on that note, I’m off to make sure my doors are locked.

− by Blaire Gillies

Easter as an Atheist

Every guy knows that you should wait three days before calling a girl you like. It’s just standard practice that, apparently, started about 2000 years ago.

Our main man J-Christ had dinner with some mates and his “just-a-friend” Mary one Thursday night, fell super hard for the blonde bombshell and felt the need to go underground- the old-school equivalent of turning off his iPhone- for three days to make sure he didn’t call her before noon on Sunday. Nobody wants to look too eager. Nobody wants to look too boring, either, and our leading lad knew that coming back from the dead was a pretty cool way to stand out from all the other guys who had pizza and beer with Miss Mags.

"Three days, bro. Trust me."

“Three days, bro. Trust me.”

Like anything, over the last couple of millennia the exact origins of Easter have turned into a bit of a game of Chinese Whispers. Somehow we’ve gone from the mourning/celebrating the life, death and undeath of the world’s saviour to hunting for Easter eggs while parents bemoan the cost of petrol over the long weekend and the difficulties of roadtripping with three kids on a sugar high.

Also, someone needs to explain how a rabbit handing out eggs came into the picture and why nobody thinks that is at all bizarre. I have a lot of questions about that, but we won’t go into them. All I will say is that nobody who has seen Donny Darko should feel comfortable about letting their children go up to rabbits handing out chocolate in the streets…

Me, sixteen years ago. I think I'm still the same height.

Me, sixteen years ago. I think I’m still the same height.

Those of you who have followed me on SolSat will know that I’m a bit cynical (I know what you’re thinking- “just a bit? Ha”, but shut up. Let’s be optimistic). I’m not against religion, I just don’t hold any theological beliefs myself. I’m aware of the hypocrisy that comes with celebrating a holiday I don’t believe in so when it comes to Easter, I, like most atheists, get to pick and choose what I want to put my faith in.
– Chocolate eaten at Easter has no calories.
– Hot Cross buns are a source of happiness, not carbs.
– Chicken is an acceptable replacement for fish on Good Friday. So is steak.
– Whether I believe in it or not, I’ll always support a four day weekend.
– Sunday is a good day for a feast.
– ‘Bright Monday’ sounds about as legit as Bonza Bottling Day but unlike BBD, this one is a public holiday so I’ll eat left-over hot cross buns and keep my opinions to myself.

One thing I think we an all agree on though, no matter our religion, creed, or gender (I’d say age, but kids are more concerned with the chocolate than anything else), is that the most important Easter tradition is spending time with the people we love. I know it sounds trite, but it’s true. Holidays like this, whether they’re actually real like Thanksgiving in America or “real” like Easter and Christmas, bring people together.

The other theory of Easter is of course that Jesus just had a really big night out on $3 Thursday at the local tavern and couldn’t get out of bed until Sunday so for those of you planning a big weekend, don’t feel guilty. For this weekend, and this weekend only, there is an 11th commandment: “Don’t do as I say, do as I do.” Basically, have a bloody good weekend and forget all the rules. You’ve got Monday off to nurse the hangover, so enjoy yourself.

Happy Easter everyone!

 by Blaire Gillies

Riddle Me This, Batman

For most people, it seems hard to believe that we’re already four weeks into the first semester of Uni. For all intents and purposes ‘most people’ is a gross generalisation including anyone doing sciences, maths, nursing, sports, media and just about any course that isn’t forcing you to study philosophy.

For those of us poor souls who are studying the ‘Great infinite abyss’, it’s hard to believe we’ve survived this first month with The Riddler as our course advisor.


Twice a week I rock up to uni and sit as my lecturer, my tutor and my peers intimately unravel the universe with questions like ‘What is thought?’ ‘How is thought?’ and say things like ‘Descartes’ theory of rationalism is sound in the knowledge that God is always able to perceive…’ blah blah blah.

I’m just that kid that sits in the corner with my eyes rolling in two different directions as the creepy voices in my head sing “round like a circle in a spiral, like wheel within a wheel…’ and blood drips slowly from the classroom walls.

Okay, so I may be dramatizing just a little bit, but if you were there you’d get it.

I am a person who, despite a deep-seeded hatred of maths and science, likes things to have answers. I like black and white, none of this ‘shades of grey’ crap.

Two plus two equals four. That is definite. Stop questioning it.

From what I’ve gathered so far, Descartes was just some guy who stood up one day, said “Cogito ergo sum” (which is Latin for “I think, therefore I am”) and impressed a bunch of other dudes who probably spent large amounts of time watching paint dry as an exciting alternative to listening to their mate Rene babble on.

A few years later, an Irishman named Berkeley put his Guiness down for a night to suggest that if a thing could be perceived it could exist, and everything existed because it was perceived by an all-seeing God.
Then a Scottish bloke named Hume came in, stirred shit up, argued with some other philosophers and then died just as confused as he was before he started asking questions.


You know what isn’t  great, though? I still can’t answer the really big, important questions about life, love and the universe.
Is a zebra white with black stripes or black with white stripes?
How long is a piece of string?
Do goldfish sleep?
Do Siamese twins pay for one ticket or two tickets when they go to movies and concerts?
Do bartenders have to go to another bar after work so they can unravel their problems on someone else?
What do I actually want for dinner tonight?
What was the best thing before sliced bread?

I need someone to explain this to me in a way that isn’t terrifying. As it is, my tutor is great but I’m at that point where I can’t even be sure that I exist, let alone any of you or the world we think we live in. The only reason I know God exists is because I’m drinking a cup of it right now; double shot cap, no sugar.

If you start freaking out (which is totally understandable), don’t stress too much.  You can come and stay here with me – we’ll get bunk beds and matching jackets.

Home sweet home...

Home sweet home…

– by Blaire Gillies (I think.)

Real Men Play Ice Hockey

When it comes to sport, I am hardly an expert. When it comes to checking out athletic men and judging them according to quality of skill, manliness, face and beard (where applicable), I am pretty bloody good.

Manliness is important. It is for that reason that I must blatantly exclude golf, soccer and men’s synchronised diving from the list of sports you shouldn’t be embarrassed to play. But rather than name and shame the rest of the lame sports out there, I’ll just say this: Real men play Ice Hockey. A game of ice hockey isn’t over until each player is wearing at least a little bit of O-Neg on their jerseys and another player’s tooth on a leather cord around their neck like a trophy.

Sport in nine words....

Sport in ten words….

Now, I love AFL as much as the next Aussie/female who like to perv on fit men in shorts, but I still can’t deny the obvious superiority of Ice Hockey, which is basically 12 dudes in battle gear, armed with sticks, charging up the ice and wailing on each other. It’s the purest, most delightful display of absolute testosterone just short of actual combat.

First off, let’s talk about names. Everyone in in the AFL has got names like Steve and Gary, or affectionate nicknames like Chappy, Buddy, Pods and Swanny. Easy enough to remember, but if worse comes to worst, all anyone has to do is shout out “hey mate!” on the field and 21 other blokes turn around.
In Hockey, blokes with names like Smith and Jones are up against players whose surnames use all twenty-six letters of the alphabet twice over and a few letters they made up just for fun. Turns out Tjarnqvist and Balmochnykh aren’t lunchmeats- one played for Sweden and the other was a Mighty Duck.

Then there’s the real stuff. The stuff that separates the boys from the men and the men from the ice hockey players.

Verbal abuse and rough conduct.
Footballers get warning for a first offense, 15m pentalty for the second and then get sent off the field.
Hockey players get cheered on and then someone makes a film about it starring a young Rob Lowe.

Spear Tackling (Using one’s own body to throw an opponent to the ground).
In AFL this equates to an instant penalty for the other side and can lead to suspension for the guilty player.
In ice hockey, this is how two players say hello.

Footballers have to be strong, fast, agile and disciplined.
Hockey players have to be strong, fast, agile, disciplined and coordinated enough to do it all on skates.

The Blood Rule.
In AFL, as soon as a single drop of blood is visible, you’re done. You get to stick a jumper on and let someone massage your calves inappropriately while you watch the action from the sidelines.
In hockey, the blood rule is an incentive. If you don’t bleed just a little bit, you’re not trying hard enough.

No football team can survive an entire season without causalities; concussions, dislocated shoulders, fractured eye sockets and more bung knees than your average old folks’ home. Everyone gets strapped up, wrapped up and rested up, missing half a season as they watch from the locker rooms…(with the exception of Jason Snell whose career-ending snapped femur is still talked about thirteen years later).
But unlike the footballers who go home in bubble-wrap, the Ice Hockey boys just keep playing. In 1964, Bob Baun broke his ankle in the third period of the Stanley Cup final, was removed from the rink and then returned in the overtime and scored the game winning goal.
In 2008, Richard Zednik had his carotid artery sliced open by a skate and nearly bled to death rink-side, hauntingly reminiscent of Clint Malarchuk’s near death experience in 1989 after having his jugular vein slashed by a skate.
Then of course there’s Johnny Boychuk of the Boston Bruins who  continued play with a broken nose, Mark How who suffered a femoral bleed in 1980, Bryan Berard who had seven eye surgeries and continued to play, despite being classified as blind and who could forget poor Nicklas Lidstrom from Detroit who ruptured a testicle during a game?

Then of course, there’s the Game Face.

868093-matthew-pavlich → 13 year into career- still has 32 original teeth
First day on ice- leaves with half as many teeth as he came with →first day on ice- leaves with half as many teeth as he came with

So all I’m saying is that after a lengthy career on the field, most footballers retire with minimal scarring, all their teeth and both testicles intact. Hockey players retire with more fingers than teeth, probably brain damage and one functioning nostril. If that’s not manly, then I don’t know what is.

– by Blaire Gillies