Category Archives: More like Betsy

My thighs! My thighs!

A few months ago I said I was going to try out for roller derby. I hadn’t skated since primary school – apart from a few times in the hall at boarding school in year 8 – so I made a plan. It was an awesome plan involving Rollerfit (a fitness class on skates) to get used to being on wheels again, and the gym to “get fit”, which is as nicely vague as “getting my shit together”. So not really a plan at all, but two basic things so I’m not completely shit.

I went to Rollerfit four or five times, and then I got sick. Proper sick. Sick for two months. I was meant to go to hospital at one point to be put on an antibiotic drip, but going to emergency at midnight on a Saturday? No thank you. Even had to have a CT scan on my head to see why I was a dizzy snot factory. It’s still a mystery, but I’m better now and have some funny stories about the oxycodone days.

Anyway, suddenly – suddenly! – it was tryouts. At the info session I discovered that everyone else has been doing the raw meat course to prepare them for it. Oh well. And I still had the wrong skates. Oh well. But at least I wasn’t grey anymore. Yay normal face colour.

And I fucking did it! I got in!

Hang on, let me say that properly.

I FUCKING DID IT!

I GOT IN!

Ron Swanson

The glorious Ron Swanson doing the “News with Nipples is on the team” dance. The young people will be doing it in the discotheques soon.

Yesterday was our first fresh meat training session and faaaark me, do I hurt today. Two hours of knee slides, double knee slides, 180 degree knee slides, baseball slides, and hanging out in derby stance. I LOVED it but today my thighs certainly don’t love it. Nor does the side I did most of my baseball slides on – although it’s more accurate to call them “half stacking it and once getting a wheel in a place it has no business being in” slides.

Here’s a demo of 180 degree and baseball slides:

Oh, I got a pair of derby skates. They have the Black Wheels of Death so of course I stacked it while standing still. New wheels will have to wait ’til pay day.

I haven’t played sport or been on a team in 23 years and now I am doing both. Voluntarily. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

A post in which I examine my attitudes towards stuff I know nothing about

This is one of those posts where I’m mainly talking out my arse. Feel free to just look at the picture above and think about boobs and delicious boob cakes.

Mmmm, boob cakes…

Two women rang the buzzer this morning, wanting to talk about a god. I don’t know which god.

The conversation went like this:

Suspected God-woman: Hi, how are you?

Me: I’m well, thanks. You?

God-woman: I’m good. We’re just talking to people about some community work in the local area.

Me: Is this a god thing?

God-woman: Yes.

Me: Oh, then sorry, I’m not interested. I don’t believe in your god or any other god.

Confirmed God-woman: Have you always felt this way?

Me: Yes, I have. But you have a nice day.

And then I smiled at them to let them know I wasn’t going to be nasty, and gently closed the door.

They had a small child with them, probably three or four years old, which annoyed me because I thought “they’re bringing the child along so people don’t abuse them” and “they’re indoctrinating that child”.

And the more I thought about these things, the more I realised I am an idiot. Maybe the mother couldn’t get childcare? Maybe she was a stay-at-home parent? Maybe she didn’t think twice about bringing her child along, since they go to church and other church activities as a family. And maybe she did bring her child because it stops people being arseholes, and is that really such a bad thing? Just because you don’t like what someone is selling, there’s no need to be a jerkhead about it. You can just close the door and then they are magically gone.

But the indoctrination point made me realise I am a hypocrite. I have no problem with people taking their kids to anti-war/anti-discrimination/anti-violence rallies. I say this as someone who doesn’t have kids – and so it’s likely that I’m talking out my arse – but I’d like to think it teaches them to be engaged citizens who stand up for things that are important to them. And that it’s important to create a society that doesn’t fuck people over. Yet I tut tut when I see photos of kids at anti-carbon pricing/anti-marriage equality rallies, when it’s exactly the same thing. Same with including your child in an activity to promote a religion that’s important to you.

I feel like there should be some sort of deep insight at the end of this post. There isn’t. Other than to say, I’d like to think I’m above being a hypocrite in my attitudes, but turns out I’m just like everyone else. That’s a bit shit.

I’ll be back soon

I promise.

Just working on my Top Secret Project.

In the meantime, thought I’d share my new year’s resolutions with you. I don’t normally make them, because what’s the point, right? But these two are EXCELLENT (if I do say so myself).

1. Eat more dumplings.

2. Drink more Dark and Stormy cocktails.

What have you got?

Got jerks?

So, this charming comment was left on my blog yesterday, by some dickwad called “you stinkfucker”:

you sade old hag, with your smelly cunt hope you get aids,your husband left you for some one else know your bitter and twisted fuck off you old cunt,hope you die and give the world some peace.

And this one:

your just a dirty slut so is jenna price, you give woman a bad name why dont you pick on muslims on how they treat woman you sad little fuck, god help you

Such a generic insult. Yawn. And it’s wrong – I don’t have a husband. But I am 36, so I’m sure some younger people would say I have an old cunt.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with comments like this. On twitter, some people retweet abuse so everyone can see the pathetic little person who wrote it. Others block and report. When I get them on here, I read them to ManFriend, we laugh at the person who wrote it, and then I file them in a folder in case I ever need to pass that info on to the police.

Anyway, stinkfucker’s IP address revealed they’re an Optus customer, so I tweeted the company and got a quick response:

Tweet from NWN about abusive Optus customer and the prompt reply from Optus

Tweets between NWN and Optus

I freakin’ love social media.

I can’t stop people leaving comments like this, but I can make it someone else’s problem. And by someone else, I mean their ISP. In the case of Optus, the consumer terms fine print says:

5.3 Permitted uses of the service
(b) You must not use, or attempt to use, the service:
(ii) to transmit, publish or communicate material which is defamatory, offensive, abusive, indecent, menacing or unwanted

And then this:
(a) We may ask you to stop doing something which we reasonably believe is contrary to paragraph (b) above. You must immediately comply with any such request. If you do not, then we may take any steps reasonably necessary to ensure compliance with paragraph (b) above or the request.
(b) You acknowledge that, where the service is a carriage service, we, or any supplier whose network is used to supply the service, may be required to intercept communications over the service and may also monitor your usage of the service and communications sent over it.
(c) If you do not comply with this clause 5.3, we may be entitled to cancel the service under clause 11.3(a) (v) or (vi) or suspend the service under 12.1(a)(vii) or (viii).

The Optus Internet Abuse SWAT Team* also replied promptly, letting me know they’d be contacting the dumb jerk with a warning. I like it.

So, my new policy is to Report. Every. Single. One.

(*may not actually be called this BUT IT SHOULD BE)

Best. Birthday. Ever

Last night.

Zombie Prom.

I think you will all agree that this is a pretty special dress:

Hey, I spent a good $10 on this dress.

ManFriend looked incredible, as always:

Zombie ManFriend

HOT!

Thank you to my wonderful friends for making it an awesome night.

Zombie Prom

Zombie Prom

Fear and writing

Have you read 50 Shades of Grey? I haven’t. And I won’t. One of the things I’ve learned over the years of sticky-beaking at other people’s stuff (ie, house hunting) is that there are some people who only own two books – The Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that the third book they’ll buy is 50 Shades.

I highly recommend Katrina Lumsden’s fabulous reviews of the 50 Shades trilogy. From now on, all book reviews should contain gifs. Go and read them, I’ll still be here. I’ll put the kettle on.

The thing that’s most frightening about all the 50 Shades reviews is they all say the same thing: the writing is terrible.

As a writer, that terrifies me.

Sure, I write here for you. I self-publish – without a sub-editor and usually without too much thought – several times a week. Oh, ok, several times a month. I have no fear of publishing here. I should have that fear. It’s permanent and here for anyone who wants to Google me (or any of these terms).

But fiction, that’s a whole other kettle of sphincter clenching.

I’ve started writing again, for the first time in about 20 years. I’m fucking rusty (ew, that sounds tetanus-y). I had to have quite a few wines (ie, get drunk) before I could show my first story to ManFriend. I know, I know, you should never ask your partner to be your Reader because they’re not going to say anything bad about your writing. But I wanted him to really like it – even though it’s not his genre – and say how awesome I am at writing. That’s a lot of pressure. Particularly as, like I said, I’m very fucking rusty.

But what if it gets published and people say, “hey, the story’s ok, but the writing is awful“? I’d be mortified. How must E.L James be feeling about what’s being said about her books? She’s sold 20 million copies, but that criticism has gotta hurt. Hurt all the way to the bank, sure, but still hurt. I can’t stop thinking about what bad reviews would feel like. (Wow, could I sound any more arrogant? It’s not like an editor’s never told me a story is shit, but I’m talking loads of bad reviews.) I’m not suggesting that reviews should only be nice. Just using the reviews to share a fear that what if I’m no good at the thing I want to do?

This is me

News with Nipples at Franz Josef glacier in NZ

News with Nipples at Franz Josef glacier in NZ

(Ok, so it’s me from 2009, but all my recent photos include friends or the incredibly handsome ManFriend and it’s not my place to post photos of them here.)

The News with Nipples isn’t a pokey little place on the internet anymore. Ha ha, pokey little place. So I reckon it’s time to put a face to the nipples and introduce myself to new readers. Helloooo, new readers! My, what an intelligent, sexy bunch you are. Ha ha, sexy bunch. Gawd, it never ends. Ha, ends.

I’m a former journalist and now world’s worst doctoral student. I’m researching online news quality and what it means for young people who get their news this way. I drink too much, swear all the time, and have tinnitus from seeing bands. I think summer is revolting and winter is fabulous. At the moment, I’m single-handedly eating all the chocolate caramel slice in the bakeries in this suburb.

This is me. Tell me about you.

We don’t party like we used to

Now that most of my friends are coupled – myself included – we’ve stopped groping, pashing-for-fun, stacks-on-fifteen-people-dry-humping-on-someone’s-bed-and-where-the-hell-did-this-whip-come-from at parties. I miss that. (Ok, there is some boob groping, but not as much as there used to be and it’s generally just with one group of friends who don’t have many house parties these days.) If anyone suggests something more exciting than alcohol, there’s a ten minute discussion about what we have coming up at work over the next two weeks before deciding that it just takes too long to recover these days, thankyouverymuch.

And next to the line of eskies is a line of prams. I don’t begrudge my friends having kids, but apparently kids don’t respect hangovers.

My single friends must find our parties terribly boring. Particularly when I say things like “terribly boring”.

There are upsides, of course.

The wine is better.

When we talk about politics, we actually know what we’re talking about.

And when we act like pretentious wankers discussing raw milk cheese, it’s because we are pretentious wankers.

Yeah, I’m not sure those second two are upsides.

Anyway, I was invited to a 21st on Saturday night. I’m just as surprised as you are that I know someone that young. And no, it wasn’t a relative. I was Whingey McWhingeypants over the weekend with another cold (reckon it’s because I work part-time, so I’m not getting daily exposure to other people’s germs), so I went along for two drinks and then called it a night. Hey, do I know how to party OR WHAT?!

The next afternoon, as The Birthday Girl, The Tall Lady, and I enjoyed Jen‘s baked treats (sadly, not a euphemism – see the start of this post), they filled me in on all the fun that young people have: being obnoxious to old people (ie, people my age), pissing off the neighbours, and pashing and groping each other for the hell of it. Damn them and their fun times.

I try to keep a child-like joy in my life. Others probably say I’m immature but they’re not the boss of me. Yes, yes, I know we have to grow up and blah blah blah. But most of being a grown up is just so damn boring.

So, dear friends in real life, next time there’s a house party, you’ve been warned.

Poor me

ManFriend and I saw The Mountain Goats on Sunday night. John Darnielle’s songs can make you feel happy and sad at the same time. And everyone knows all the words:

How many folk rock gigs involve the crowd enthusiastically yelling “hail Satan“? (from 2.25 in the Satan link if you just want to hear the crowd.)

Anyway, there’s something about his songs that make me think about, well, let’s be honest, romanticise the idea of sharing poverty with someone. Romanticising those “remember when we lived in that cockroach-infested flat with no hot water and no food but we had our love and we boiled the kettle to fill the bath for each other” memories, as only a middle-class wanker who has always had hot water can do. Because really, living in that flat would be an enormous strain on your health, on your mental health, and on your relationship. And cockroaches stink, especially when they get inside the phone. Remember when we all had home phones? How old-fashioned that now seems.

As a writer, there’s also a middle-class wanker notion that you need to suffer for your craft. “Suffer for your craft”. Could there be a wankier cliche? Having life throw shit and used tampons at you doesn’t make you a good writer. It just gives you experiences to draw on if you want to write about shit and used tampons. It doesn’t mean your writing’s going to be any good.

I think I’ve been pretty lucky thoughout my life. Things have always worked out, even when I’ve been of no fixed address. Which has happened a few times. Luckily, there was always a friend with a cupboard I could sleep in. So while I was thinking “oh, I wish I’d lived in poverty in my twenties so I could write wistfully about love that ended because it was all too fucking hard but gee, for a while there we had our love to keep us warm”, I realised that I had lived in poverty in my twenties. I just did it while single.

There was my first flat when I moved to Sydney with my best friend after high school, where we lived on homebrand toast and rice for weeks because that was all we could afford. Things got really dire – and bland – when the soy sauce and instant coffee ran out. A few weeks after that we had to call our parents and ask for money before we got scurvy. We used to pretend we were high school kids so we’d get the $5.95 all you can eat deal at Pizza Hut, but they cottoned on to us pretty quick. Then we’d use a shop-a-docket to get a Big Mac at McDonald’s to share for dinner, but since we were both vego at the time, we’d pull out the patties and “enjoy” our bread and lettuce.

Then there was the sharehouse with the junkie, where you had to wear your workboots into the bathroom to kick the needles out of the way before a shower. Because I had the front room, dodgy fuckers would climb through my bedroom window at all hours, wanting to buy drugs from my housemate. And the pet ferret and pet rat would eat all my uni notes and bite my toes.

And there was the empty flat, where the only furniture we had in the living room was a cupboard door on two cardboard boxes for a table, and my flatmate and I sat on cushions on the floor. We only had two cushions, so when we had a visitor, someone got a sore butt. There was only one powerpoint in the kitchen so the kettle was in there and the toaster was in the living room and there was a mark on the opposite wall from where the toaster hit it when the powerpoint exploded. It almost took my hand with it.

Another sharehouse was held together with wire and gaffa tape and the kitchen floor was sinking from the weight of the fridge. The electricity was so dodgy that when someone boiled the kettle, someone else’s stereo in their room would cut out. Once I’d paid rent, I had to make $50 last a fortnight. That’s hard. Fucking hard. My housemates were stoners who didn’t like to get off the couch, so when they ordered takeaway they’d buy some for me if I went and picked it up for them. Win win, huh?

And these are just the dodgy places where I was really poor. It doesn’t include the place with the outside toilet and the rotting floorboards in the bathroom so you had to be careful getting out of the shower, or the place with water leaking from the light fittings and a male flatmate who stole my underwear, or the place where my religious flatmate said that having my boyfriend stay the night in my room “compromised her principles”. Those aren’t stories about being poor.

But I haven’t shared it with anyone. I was povvo and single.

So now I’ve shared it with you.

(And obviously, the title of this post is having at laugh at me being poor, not me playing my miniature violin.)

Getting my phwoar on

Late last year I joined a gym for PhD sanity purposes. Healthy body, healthy mind and blah blah blah. And despite working very hard at eating and drinking all the tasty things, I’ve still lost 5kg in 5 months. I’m a size 14 and if I was a celebrity, being seen in public would mean I was “celebrating my curves”. Possibly by smashing a bottle of champagne on my arse.

My usual exercise gear is a pair of trackies and a old Bonds singlet. Hubba hubba. But lately it’s felt like there’s a lot of fabric around me, so I bought a pair of cotton exercise leggings for the sweatshop sale price of $5. (I know, I know. But I only work two days a week and have to keep myself in alcohol. Not in a formaldehyde-y way, although I’m probably quite pickled.)

The first time I wore them, four male drivers almost cricked their necks having a perv. One man was already turning his head as I walked by, so he could check out my arse. I had to laugh. Anyone would think they lived in a culture devoid of sexualised images of beautiful women everywhere we look. Later, when I told ManFriend about it, he chuckled and said you know the reason why, you know that men and women generally have different ideas of phwoar. I listed reasons why they were mistaken in their phwoar – perhaps they were visually impaired, or drunk, and no doubt they got whiplash from the double-take when they discovered they were perving on an old bird – and he pointed out what I was doing.

I’ve blogged before about how being leered at in public makes me feel like I’ve been physically mawed. And often, the feeling of wanting to hide my body so they can’t see it anymore overrides my normal mouthy response to dickheads. There is a big difference between checking someone out and leering at them, and if you don’t know the difference then it’s safe to say you’re a fuckwad who thought you would see boobies on this blog.

But this isn’t a post about the arrogance of believing you have the right to comment on someone else’s body. It’s a post about an experiment. This is about getting my phwoar on. Because although we live in a highly sexualised culture, it isn’t very sexy. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to feel sexy in public much these days. Brightly-coloured/casually-dressed/work-attired/dressed-up/hot-and-sweaty-but-not-in-the-good-way, sure, but sexy, not so much. When my friend The Dressmaker gets her phwoar on, she could be drinking beer at a house party or wearing an afro at Wrong Prom, but everyone in the room has noticed her because she’s just so damn sexy. (She’s a designer, but The Dressmaker sounds more commanding.)

The next day I was walking down the road with a coffee, wearing jeans, t-shirt and hi-top volleys. It was way too stupidly humid for any of these things, let alone all of them together. I felt sweaty and gross. So I thought back to that stinking hot summer when ManFriend and I met, when we were already dripping with sweat before we jumped on each other. Perhaps the reason I’m sweaty is because I’ve been having bikram sex all morning… Suddenly I was walking taller, and smiling. Smiling knowingly. Because not only do I have the carnal knowledge, but I’ve had it all over the apartment. And people started to notice me. Perhaps they were checking that the crazy sweaty grinning lady wasn’t going to start talking to them, but I’m going to pretend it’s because I had my phwoar on.

A few nights later, I went to the fabulously funny and sexy Pirate Jenny’s Strip Club with Lady C and Mistress X. On the way home, in a teal singlet and red pencil skirt, I felt like an overstuffed sausage. I felt dumpy. Then remembered I was supposed to have my phwoar on, so I stood up straight and began striding up the street with as much stride as a tight pencil skirt can allow. I passed a group of young guys and one leaned over and smiled and said “pretty”. It was pretty funny.

All of this is not to say that I judge my physical attractiveness by the reactions of others. Not at all. It was an experiment to remind myself that attitude – rather than appearance and attire – makes you sexy in public. Which is something I tend to forget when I’ve divided my looks into “normal, everyday” and “dressed up, going out”.