"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Saturday, 30 April 2016


Part Z of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.

It's not the zombies themselves that I love - they're not very good company. It's mainly thinking about how I'd go in a zombie apocalypse that I enjoy doing.

My frame of reference for zombies these days is The Walking Dead. So in this scenario, people form gangs or societies and try to rebuild some form of life before the attack. But the humans are also harder to deal with than the zombies themselves. My first (and major) problem is that I wouldn't be able to kill a human. When my clan is mugged for our supplies, I wouldn't really do much to stop them. I'm sure I'd be good in a fist fight if I actually tried, but right now I'm too scared of getting hurt myself. The zombies would be easier. unlike most Australians, we do have guns in our house. I haven't used them too often, but for someone who uses guns as rarely as me, I'm a decent shot. A while ago I went to a firing range and tried out a number of different handguns. By the time I got to the last one, I'd certainly gotten my eye in.

That's from six shots. The instructor was impressed.
So I'd probably last a bit longer than some others when it came to fending off swarms of zombies. But to really help out in that case, I'd make sure that my family and I got into immediate contact with my Godfather.

My godfather and his two sons are gun enthusiasts (enthusiasts, not nuts; that's very important to note). They have memberships to a gun club and go to the firing range practically every Sunday. And due to his work as a security guard, the Dad has permits to carry some weapons that others aren't allowed. Those three and the Mum would 100% be the first people I'd try to align with in the case of a zombie outbreak. Then there would be a family crisis meeting. My Dad and his brother would come together, each bringing his wife and kids, and they'd discuss what to do with their sister, who has mental problems. She'd be a nightmare to bring along - she has no ability to move any faster than a waddle, no matter how much danger she's in. And her screaming at the first sign of danger would be so piercing and hysterical that it would make me want to rip my ears out. But admirably, my Dad and uncle would accept that that's just something we have to deal with. If she slows us down so much that we end up being overrun, that's still preferable to the horrifying thought of leaving her alone and defenseless to die.

There would likely be a rift going on in my Mum's mind over this. My Mum is fiercely protective of those she loves, and she couldn't imagine leaving her kids' side for any reason at a time like this. But as unimaginable as it would be to leave us, it would be equally unacceptable not to be with her own Dad and sister. The only solution is for her Dad and sister to joins our group, but then she also has a brother, who also has a wife. Would he want to be with his Dad too, or would they team up with her side of the family? This is one side of the whole zombie apocalypse scenario that doesn't really get looked into enough.

So let's say that in the end, we form a group that contains myself, my Mum, Dad and sister, my uncle and his family (5 people), my paternal aunt, my Mum's Dad and sister and my Godfather and his family (4 people). Let's also include my Dad's cousin and her family (4 people) because her husband's side of the family all live in Melbourne, so their loyalties wouldn't be as split. That makes a group of 20 people. I'd then try to find a jail. The one they used in The Walking Dead was perfect. It was a place with high barb-wired fences and a lot of solid brick walls. It had watch towers for snipers and a maze of pathways for a quick escape if needed. There was also a big green field for growing crops, which for me was the best part. If you're able to produce your own food, you wouldn't have to search farther and father to find food that's already there and you also wouldn't be tempted to raid other humans for theirs.

But having said all that, I doubt I'd last long. I find it too hard to get my hands dirty. I'll just stick to watching The Walking Dead and stockpiling ideas just in case.

Friday, 29 April 2016


Part Y of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.

This is very similar to my Y post from last year. I've had so many great or at least fascinating moments because I have a generally accepting attitude. I love saying yes.

  • My friend Brooke had her 21st birthday in Thailand. Our mutual friend had the idea to go there with her to celebrate it. It was the first time I'd ever been in Asia.
  • I agreed to come along to an improv workshop after meeting a new friend at a stand-up show. I fell in love with it and dove right in, gaining great new skills and becoming friends with some of my favourite people in the world.
  • I spent a few weeks attending a Mormon church and gained a better understanding of what it means to believe in God.
  • It doesn't just have to be big profound things either. For example, my experiments with combining foods has lead to some of my favourite things to eat, such as peanut butter on cheese.
  • I now have a written list of movies, books, music, YouTubers, comics and TV shows that have been suggested to me by friends and even people I've just met. I'll never be stuck for media to consume again.
  • I was once in a band for about three months, despite not really being able to play my instrument.
  • Although I had no belief I'd actually get the job at the time, I applied for an 8-month contract touring primary schools with a kids theatre company. They liked my resume, then my screen test, and eventually it led to me getting to go to Sydney for a final audition with them. I didn't get the job in the end, but it was awesome to get that close.
  • I always make a point of investigating new work opportunities, no matter how likely it is I'll take it. That attitude has led to me hosting five trivia nights a week now and making more money than I can actually spend.
  • A few of my friends suggested I apply to go on The Chase Australia. I did, and after about three rounds of hoops I had to jump through, I've been added to the shortlist of contestants they've agreed are good enough to be on the show. It's no guarantee that I'll be called up, but they've basically said "If we can find a spot for you, you're in."
  • This whole blog came from my friend Sarah asking me to start blogging again. From that, I came up with the New Experience Challenge and that eventually led to amazing experiences like skydiving.

Thursday, 28 April 2016


Part X of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.

That's an X, as in wrong, as in, I couldn't come up with anything that I love that begins with X. I'm sure if I had more time I could have thought of something, but I'm going to be flat out for the last few days of April. I'll give the rest of this challenge my darndest, since it would be a shame to come so far just to peter out out the end. But no promises.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Winston Smith

Part W of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.

As I alluded to in my post about reading, my the best book I ever read was 1984, with its main character Winston Smith. I'm about to explain as best I can why I loved it so much, but it involves talking about what happened in the story. So if you haven't yet read it and want to be surprised when you do, perhaps find another post. May I suggest this one about the UN Declaration of Rights?

You see, 1984 was the first example of what became a new rule of mine - never to read blurbs on books. I didn't read the blurb on 1984 and that turned out to be a great move. When Julia slipped Winston that note that said "I love you", I audibly gasped. I hadn't seen that coming in a million years. Then as I was getting to the end of the book, I decided it was safe to have a look. One of the first sentences was "When Winston begins a secret love affair with co-worker Julia..." Thank goodness I hadn't read that, because for me that was the biggest twist in the story. My experience of the whole book would have changed.

The thing I liked best about the story of 1984 was the ideas it created that were so alien and yet made so much sense. Things like Newspeak, created with the idea that by reducing the number of words in the English language, they'd reduce the people's capacity for free thought. It gave us the realisation that we don't necessarily create words to convey ideas, - quite possibly the words create the ideas. By banning the use of words like "freedom", "will" and "love" until everyone had forgotten of their existence, they'd eventually extinguish the concept altogether.

Then there was doublethink - a concept I've ended up applying to situations in my own life. Doublethink is more or less the ability to hold two contrasting ideas in your head at once. In the book, George Orwell uses this to hold together the entire system of government that Ingsoc has put in place. Those in the inner party have created a system that places themselves pretty much in the position of gods. Whatever they say becomes the truth, even if it contradicts a previous truth. If it does in fact contradict a previous truth, the new truth simply replaces it. The old truth never existed. Orwell takes a lot of time getting this point across. It's very difficult to convey the idea that a contrasting thought doesn't exist, because the very conveyance of that thought proves that it does. The inner members of the party know this to be the case, but through the magic of doublethink, there is no second-guessing. They create the new truth, but it also always was the truth. Makes your head hurt, doesn't it?

Then of course there's that whole system of government. Orwell points out that every single system of government fails or will fail, and manages to create a system that contradicts this. It's a cyclical system that feeds itself and ensures that those in power remain in power for all eternity. It was too complex for me to recite here, but like everything else in the book, it made sense.

Winston Smith himself - the character that carries a nasty propensity for  free thought - I see as a largely unlikable character. The image the book creates in my mind is of a man who's bitter, ugly and pathetic. But I wanted him to succeed. I wanted him to somehow find a way to buck the system and be able to run away with his newfound love in Julia. But of course that was never going to happen. When they were eventually captured, it shouldn't have come as a surprise. They were saying from the moment they got together that they'd be captured and eliminated eventually. As they're being tortured to within an inch of their lives, you hope against hope that they'll be able to resist all the brainwashing and that the party will just give up. When they're released and they meet back up again, feeling next to nothing for one another, it's so very sad, but also very natural. I accepted quickly that it was the only natural conclusion to the story, much like a few pages later when the party finally puts him down. I guess that's my overall summary of the way I felt about the book - sad, but natural. The way it ended broke my heart, but it couldn't have possibly ended any other way.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016


Part V of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.

I had to get very creative with this one - velocipede was one of the first names given to what we now know as the humble bicycle.

I don't go bike riding often, but I really enjoy grabbing my cheap off-road bike and riding to the beach and back with my friend Mitchell. We've done it three times now and when Summer returns I'd like to do it more often.

The first time, Mitchell didn't have his bike. Rather, he took the opportunity to break out his roller blades once again:

The second time, Mitchell's girlfriend (now fiance) Jasmine joined us.

And the third time, we ran into a couple of problems. First, Mitchell's tire pump wouldn't work and we had to go down to the university where there was a bike station there. Then, on the way, I was happily rolling along when I suddenly heard a strong hissing sound. My front tire was completely deflated in seconds and we had to walk for 20 minutes to the nearest bike shop to get the tube replaced. On the bright side though, we did manage to come across this playground with a cool hamster wheel.

Monday, 25 April 2016


Part U of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.

As I mentioned two years ago, I'd intended to get into get into football umpiring a whole five years before I actually did. There was always something getting in the way of training, which was always on Thursday nights. First there was school, then there was work, then at one stage their was training for my own football club that I was involved in. But when I finally did get into it, I jumped in just as completely as what I had when I started improv.

Umpiring has taken me all over the place, officiating at many different leagues and levels that would bore you if I tried to explain it all. But I've been very well-received at every place I've been so far. After just my first season, umpiring for primary school games, my coaches gave me the award for the person who shows the most promise and the best attitude as an umpire (called the Corey Bowen Incentive Award) and they also asked me to come back the next year in a leadership role. Unfortunately in my second season, work once again got in the way. But this time, thanks to some clever working of the system, I managed to keep training on a different night while still doing games for the same people.

I have a cousin named Daniel who's basically the best at everything. He's tall, blonde and handsome, is studying law, gets fantastic grades, is a snappy dresser, comes from a rich family and is incredibly friendly, funny and warm. At one point during my five-year period of wanting to umpire, Daniel mused that he might get into it as well. By the time I joined the panel, Daniel was in his second year and just after I won the Corey Bowen Award, he was awarded Umpire of the Year. The next season, Daniel had been accepted into the SANFL (which for American readers, is the level of football just below our national league; Kind of like what college football is to the NFL). Feeling competitive, I made it my goal to achieve the same thing after my own second season. But due to not being able to train and umpire in the same place, that put a huge spanner in the works. This is where my next flash of inspiration came.

See, there are three types of umpires in Aussie Rules football. There's the field umpires, who are the ones in charge. Then there's the boundary umpires, who decide when the ball has gone out of play and whether or not it touched the ground or a player first. Then there are the goal umpires, who officiate and keep track of the scoring. At the end of my second season, I was asked to act as a goal umpire for an under-16s girls' SANFL game. I did it and enjoyed it, and it gave me an idea. I approached my coaches and asked them if they could put me in contact with someone who could get me into goal umpiring at the SANFL level. I figured that there would be less competition for spots and as such, the progression would be faster. They got me a spot at the SANFL's summer tryout program. The coaches were aware of my situation - that I'd come from field umpiring and was mainly looking to just get into the professional system. But that also meant I'd never goal umpired before. There were only a limited number of spots available and most of the others had been doing it for years. Still, I'd managed to win coaches over everywhere I'd been so far with my attitude, fitness and aptitude. I figured if I did what I always do, I'd be okay.

I was kind of right. At the end of the 5-week program, the coaches there took me aside and said "Look, we're not going to offer you a spot. But we've been very impressed. The attitude's there, the fitness is certainly there and you seem to be picking things up quickly. But at the moment those skills and signals aren't automatic, get a season or two into you so you can learn all those processes automatically. Then you'll be good to go."

They sent me back to what they called the Academy, which is a place where we umpire games for the South Australian Amateur Football League while still being on the SANFL's books for future seasons. Then one week, one of my coaches told me that in the next training session, we'd joining the senior umpires at Aami Stadium for a joint session. By a quirk of circumstances, I was the only person from my panel to show up and there were only four other umpires in the whole stadium - all of them field umpires. So I just joined in on their session. At the beginning we looked at footage of game situations and I answered questions from my knowledge of field umpiring (impressing the head field coach in the process). Then I joined them in their fitness session. Field umpires are required to be much fitter than goal umpires, so this was the roughest training session I'd ever had. But I just managed to keep up with them for the whole session, further impressing the coaches that were there. Two days later, I got a call from the head field coach.
'Hi Michael. One of our goal umpires has suffered a long-term injury to his foot and won't be able to join us for most of the upcoming season. That means we have a spot open if you'd like to fill it.'
'Absolutely, I'd love to!' I exclaimed.
So now I'm in what they call the "Center of Excellence", which handles all the different levels of the SANFL, from the under-16s right up to the senior reserves. I've more or less achieved that goal I set out to achieve - to enter the SANFL system after just two seasons. For the first time, I feel a bit out of my depth here. I haven't immediately picked this up to the standard they want like I have everywhere else. That's great, it means I have to actually work hard to achieve something for once.

Early on in my short time as an umpire, I was telling someone how much I enjoy it.
'You know,' I said. 'Everything I do, I do with the intention of making a career of it. My stand-up, the radio, blogging, acting, it's all going towards something bigger. Umpiring is the only thing I do just purely for fun.'
'And you know, that's the one that will end up being your career,' said my friend. It was one of the wisest comments I'd ever heard. Because within a few weeks I realised that I could indeed make this my career.

Saturday, 23 April 2016


Part T of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.

I guess for me it all started when I was doing my short-lived podcast. After the relative success of the two that Russell and I had recorded (and the two subsequent failures we recorded after that), we decided to bring in two more local comedians and do it as a weekly thing. One of them - Bridie - mentioned that she'd gotten a job as a weekly pub trivia host through a company called Quiz Meisters. I was working as a door-to-door salesperson at the time and was of course hating it. And since I had dreams of becoming a famous stand-up comedian, so I thought that the idea of having regular paid work in a performance area like that was very cool.

Months later, by some astonishing stroke of luck, I was on Seek (a job hunting website) for the first time in I don't know how many years and I stumbled across an ad from Quiz Meisters. They were announcing auditions for new hosts. They wanted applicants to turn up, talk for a minute about themselves and then read out some questions that they would provide. I contacted Bridie for advice and the main thing she gave me was "Be yourself. If you try too hard to be funny or witty, they'll see through that. They'll like you more if you just be yourself." That turned out to be the best advice she could give. In an audition group that was quite large and of a pretty high standard, they decided to bring me and two other people on board the team. At the time there was only one pub available to host. The plan was to put one of us into that pub and the other two would act as subs if they or any of the other hosts were unavailable on a particular week. The girl from our group of three that got given the available pub was let go after one week. Something about coming to the show completely unprepared. So they gave the pub to the other guy in our group. He's still there now and they love him. Me... well, I was stuck as a substitute for a whole year. There was one period of three months where I filled in as the host at the Barker Hotel while the regular host travelled through South America. But after those three months, he was given his pub back and I was back to being the occasional substitute.

I forget what the circumstances were that surrounded it, but eventually, The Barker needed a new host to take over permanently. At the time, I had just finished my first season of football umpiring and I could see a real future in it. Unfortunately, training nights were on the same night as the quiz. I took over the pub with the understanding that when the new season started up again in five months time, they may have to look for a new host again. Those five months passed and I fell in love with hosting the show. I had to make a decision - I loved quiz hosting and umpiring equally. Should I stick with hosting, which paid more but had no progression? Or go back to umpiring, which paid barely anything now but which had a very promising and lucrative career path? In the end, I made it work perfectly. I stuck with the quiz nights on Thursdays. I found a new umpiring panel that trained on Wednesdays instead. And since this new panel had an abundance of umpires and the old one was struggling for numbers, both of them were happy for me to train at the new one while only doing games for the old one (which incidentally was MUCH closer to my house). All three parties benefited from the arrangement and I was free to continue pursuing both of these things that I loved.

At this time, the Barker quiz had the lowest attendance of any Quiz Meisters venue in South Australia. The state leader blamed it mainly on the lack of a truly permanent host - it had changed maybe four or five times in the first couple of years. For a long time, I would turn up to the pub and have to worry if we'd even get the minimum 15 people required for the game to go ahead. A couple of times we didn't reach that number, so the pub dropped the value of the prizes to allow us to keep going. But it was always a struggle making the night fun when there was a lingering feeling in the air of "No one else wanted to come tonight." But over the course of time, two things happened. First, just like our state leader had predicted, having the same host week in, week out meant that I was able to forge relationships with the people that came. They'd come regularly, then another team would play and decide to start coming regularly, then another. We'd lose one along the way, then we'd gain another one down the track. Secondly, trivia as a whole exploded in South Australia. I only really noticed it last year, when I realised that all the pubs in which you could play free poker were replacing their poker nights with trivia nights. Our small team of Quiz Meisters pubs had grown from about five pubs to over 15. Now, it gives me a huge amount of joy to walk into the room in which I host my show and find a bunch of regulars already there eating dinner. By the time the show starts, we will have had to grab tables from other rooms to accommodate all the players. It's now the pride and joy of my working life.

But that's not where it ends. Early this year, I was contacted on Facebook by a man who runs a competing company in SA called QuizzaMe. He'd heard through a mutual friend that I hosted quiz nights and was in need of someone to start hosting for him. After talking it over with Quiz Meisters, they agreed to let me work for him as well. At first he was only offering a show that happened on Saturday nights. But then a show on Tuesday nights became available and he put me onto that as well. Very quickly, he realised he liked me so much that he convinced a third venue to move their show from Thursdays to Mondays so I could do that as well. Now I'm working as a quiz host four nights a week and I couldn't be happier.

I've hosted a couple of private quiz nights. People have heard about me through friends and relatives and hired me to host their fundraisers. Late last year marked the first time that I had to write a while quiz myself. I felt I did a really good job and that I got the balance of difficulty of the questions pretty well right. I think that's where my interest in trivia finally became a fully-fledged love. I spent a long time researching to write new questions in case I ever had to write my own quiz again. And when the game show The Chase came to Australia, I made every effort to watch all the episodes either as they aired or on the internet afterwards. I can beat all of my non-trivia-going friends in trivia games, some by a lot, some by a little. It's going to be a huge part of my life for a while.

Friday, 22 April 2016


Part S of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.

Superman's kind of out of vogue these days. What was essentially the first superhero became more of a background character as the Marvel juggernaut exploded into the world of cinema and became the new market leader. The biggest complaint about Superman is that he's too overpowered, and that you never really believe he's in trouble. People also say that the Marvel characters - Captain America, Iron Man, Spiderman, Wolverine etc - are more relatable because they're more human. They're usually ordinary people that come under extraordinary circumstances unlike the characters of DC, who are essentially presented as gods. I argue that while Superman is indeed unlike humans in his abilities, his psyche and even his origin story is human to a fascinating level.

Most people know the origin story. Superman came from the advanced planet Krypton where the people's desire for progress literally tore the planet apart. Already this parallels the priorities of our society. We make scientific advances at an alarming level and although some stop to question the morality or the consequences of such advancement, no amount of deliberation slows down that process. I view that first element of the story as a grim prediction for our future.

The next part of the story is that the wise scientist of Krypton, Jor-El, predicted his planet's impending doom and realised there was no way to stop it. He decided to give up his only child and send him off to a planet that was very similar to his own. Armed with all the knowledge that Krypton had ever accumulated, Jor-El decided that his son could ensure our planet didn't follow that path of destruction. He could be the bridge between the worlds, uniting humans and giving them something tangible to hope for.

The third part of the story is in his upbringing. Found by two farmers in Kansas, they brought him in and raised him as their own child. He had the most humble, human experience growing up that you can possibly get. Then of course he started to discover his powers. And this is something that the movie Man of Steel put a big emphasis on - his parents, both human and kryptonian, discouraged him from using them. They wanted him to really know what it's like to be human first. To feel helpless, to have to go to school and get a job, to have a teenage crush. In the movie, his father Jonathan Kent gets trapped in a car with a hurricane approaching. Watching from the safety of a bridge, Superman - or Clark as he's called on Earth - steps forward to rush in and rescue him. But Jonathan holds up his hand to stop him. He wanted Clark to learn that lesson of being human. It's a lesson that Jonathan sacrificed his life to teach. And it's what gives Superman his most human trait of all.

His Morality.

Superman struggles with what's right and wrong. He refuses to kill his enemies, but fears over allowing them to keep terrorising the world. He wants to be with his crush Lois, but knows that doing so would put her in danger. Superman has been given the task of being a messianic saviour of the world, and while he has all these abilities at his disposal, they don't really help with that task. He has to be the planet's leader as well as its defender.

There are plenty of other things that make Superman human or otherwise intriguing. I love that for all the power this guy has, his arch nemesis - the being that gives him more trouble than any other - is just a plain old human. Lex Luthor has nothing special to boast other than being rich, greedy and clever. And yet he finds ways to exploit every weakness Superman has, both physically and mentally. This is something quite rare in the superhero universe.

One of those aforementioned weaknesses is Lois Lane. I've heard a lot of people say that Lois is a terrible character because she gets herself into trouble all the time and has to have the big strong man come and save her. I see it the other way around. Superman depends on Lois. He loves her and needs her in his life. Lois is the most important human in the world because while Superman is off carrying the world on his shoulders, Lois is carrying him on hers. Superman does save her physically a lot of the time, but in return, Lois saves him emotionally. Plus there's the fact that for a character created in 1938, a feisty woman who puts her career first is actually quite progressive.

Then there's something about him that's completely opposite to human - Kryptonite. The one thing that can actually hurt Superman physically happens to be completely harmless to humans. I find a nice poetry in that and although I agree it can be used far to easily in the plot of a Superman story, any good writer can make it work.

Side note - how cool would it be to have a Fortress of Solitude? Part laboratory, part library of knowledge, and part just a place to escape the world and think. It's the perfect place for someone who, despite having the adoration of almost everyone in the world, really in the end feels alone.

And finally, there's this. I'll just let Bill explain it because he does a far, far better job than I ever could.

Thursday, 21 April 2016


Part R of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, where every day this month except Sundays, I'll be talking about things I love - one thing for each letter of the alphabet.

To me, the written word is a dear friend whose relationship I neglect. Nothing can open your mind and challenge you creatively like a book or an essay. But with the amount of time it takes to consume a book, I just never get around to it. The best I can do is cram in a chapter or two at night in bed while I'm trying in vain to stay awake. If I'm really, really into the book, I might be able to keep myself awake to hours that I shouldn't, but this is a rare occurrence.

One of the best things about books is that they have no limits. As opposed to a movie where one is limited by a budget and screen size, a book can take you to as far-distant a place as the author likes, the imagination of the author being the only variable. Books are also where you'd find the most original ideas. It's a big peeve of mine at the moment that all the movies that are coming out at the moment are remakes of or sequels to previous films or adaptions of comics and books. With the one exception being the studios of Disney/Pixar, the only place to find a new story to be told is on a page.

My love of reading is also a part of an even bigger love of mine - pop culture. I always feel the need to be across all the things that take root in the mindset of society. This is more than just books - it spreads from Harry Potter to The Simpsons, to Elvis and to Hitchcock. Anything that all of society is aware of to some degree. So there are a lot of books that I not only want to read, but feel I need to - Pride and Prejudice, Catch 22, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, Wuthering Heights, War and Peace, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, A Tale of Two Cities and Lolita to name a small few. Fairly recently I read Animal Farm and it became my favourite book. I didn't know that stories could be that beautiful and sad. Then I read 1984 and my mind exploded. It took the same social commentary as Animal Farm, took out the simplicity and ramped up the bitterness. It created ideas that were entirely original but so realistic that they made perfect sense. That for me confirms the idea that these books are in the zeitgeist for a reason.

Luckily we read some classics in high school. I read To Kill a Mockingbird in year 10 and Of Mice and Men in year 9. We also studied some of Shakespeare's classics - Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing. But there were also some really obscure stinkers on the curriculum - I doubt the names "A Wizard of Earthsea" or "Galaxarena" would mean anything to you and I wish they didn't to me. In all cases, the teachers had to explain the significance of certain moments. I'm not very good with metaphor.

One other thing - I haven't seen any of those teenage dystopia films such as The Hunger Games, Divergent or Mazerunner, because I want to read the books first.

And everyone knows the books are always better.
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