: : crazybrave has moved to <a href="http://crazybrave.net">http://crazybrave.net/</a>: June 2005

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Let's get physical, by all means, but do we have to get utterly mental as well?

I've been going back to my lunchtime boxing classes again. Good girl, I know, and bless you for saying.

It's usually a fairly small class, never more than about 8 or 10 people. The music is unbelievably horrendous. I am always enraged by Ashlee Simpson's "La La" so it's nice to be able to smack something hard when you hear it. Even more effectively, the version of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" found on special exercise record "Exhilarate 14" is such a mindscrewingly brutal crime to commit against that genius song that having the means to immediately express your pain feels like you've been blessed.

Most of the time you have to work with a partner. This part is the real problem. You see, I am all for encouraging exhortations from the instructor.* But not from the other grunt pounding away on the focus mitts. I love people, and want to know them and know all about them. But I need a great deal of time unmolested in my own head, and I think I should be able to get some of my meagre ration of that in my boxing class wearing my bad shorts and a sweaty red face.

julia, apparently
Shucks, no! It's my sister.

Today's partner was a woman called Scarah. She's a freakin' maniac. She had the most beautiful complexion you've ever seen, but you can ignore that because it's one of nature's cruel tricks to make you think that being an endolphin junky is a good idea.

I don't have a big issue with people telling me I've got 20 crosses or head hooks or whatever to go, or that I'm nearly finished, or that I am generally fantastic, but Hewitt-esque exhortations are just not necessary. Ever. Ask Flute. "C'mon Zoe! Go hard! Suck in your tummy and just go for it!" Oh, fuck off, Scarah. Fuck off and die of boxing yourself to death. 'specially if you can't remember the frickin' combinations. (left jab, right cross, left head hook, right uppercut, left uppercut, left jab, jump back, right cross, left jab, duck, right cross. run like buggery to another part of the room. easy.)

There's also a fantastic blonde crazy woman whose name I don't know. She always wears a tight red singlet and red shorts, and I am convinced she does so in the belief it will make her go faster. Whenever it gets really hard, she starts to whoop with pleasure. Really truly whoop. I thought this was an amusing idiosyncrasy, until I realised the reason she skipped the stretches at the end was to go and get on the treadmill for another coupla hours, ie she is another endolphin junky.

Astrology woman I boxed with once, and I really enjoyed the first part. She was a spunky cute Greek girl, shortish with beautiful long curly hair. And she had some technique, which lots of people at random lunchtime cardio boxing classes - and in particular girls - don't. Somehow we started discussing astrology, and 40 minutes later we knew really quite ridiculous things about each other. She was a Leo. He was a Gemini. And a cunt.

Anyhoo, my worst boxing partner ever was a Kiwi bloke a couple of weeks ago - let's call him Murray, a sad fate that has befallen so many of our New Zealand brothers. Now I am very tall, much taller than pretty much all women and a lot of men, including Murray. And I am quite strong because I wrangle a 17 kilo toddler around a lot. But never in my four years or so of boxing have I had the instructor try to settle my partner down because of the ferocious pounding that I was copping.

I didn't mind that, and I told Murray not to mind (although I said mean hearted things about him the next day when my shoulders were crippled). What I couldn't stand was his relentless and amateurish personalised Zoe encouragement track. He's not a bad guy, I'm sure. Not quite sane, but that's no reason to dismiss the man entirely. But how do you get those people to understand that while you're happy for them to knock themselves out, you need them to Just. Shut. Up?

* And one in particular if you must know. In a mates way. He's 150% gay, and it's by no means a sexual thing. But I've always wondered if gym instructors talk in the bedroom like they do at the gym. Anybody know?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

In defence of crap and excellence

Copped a bit of (an indirect) serve from Naomi at the Lav for my love of Big Brother.

What can I say? I don't read crap books, I don't eat crap food, I try and avoid crap conversations wherever possible. The only magazines I occasionally read are the Gourmet Traveller and I liked the last Monthly very much. The only telly I watch is the ABC news, the 7:30 report and the Insiders (when my two year old tolerates it); I am asleep when Lateline comes on, which is the only other thing I'd watch.*

So I need to get some crap somewhere. And Big Brother it is.

I'm something of a voyeur, I suppose, which I prefer to think of as a profound interest in people. I'm not going to pretend the housemates are particularly interesting or appealing people - but that's not the point. It's the ability - the access - to watch and discuss the ridiculous details that I love.

I love that O's workmate Zoran, a Macedonian, picked Vesna for a Macedonian the minute she walked into the house and said "Maaaate. She. Will. Crack. She will crack and go nuts at everyone. It's In The Culture." Now I don't know whether she has any Macedonian heritage or not, but I love to see a feisty girl, especially one attempting to explain to a mean spirited passive aggressive that when she voices what she's feeling, she isn't asking for a solution, or sympathy, or having a whinge-fest, she is just expressing something she needs to say.

I love to watch the way that a really very beautiful 19 year old girl - Geneva - struggles that she is a size 14 in a house full of what she calls "sticks". (And she's right about that, they are sticks.) Not that I love the anguish she feels, but it's real. If I had a teenage daughter I would be watching Big Brother with her, and talking about who they pick, and why, and the way life is easier when you're conventionally beautiful. I'd remind her about last year's "big girl", and what her experience was like, including her complaint to Big Brother that she heard a camera operator make a mean remark about her in the shower, and how her feelings were respected and validated. My putative daughter would probably think I was an irredeemable dag, and carry on texting her friends, but I'd try.

I love the way that the pack mentality of a particular group of boys in there is becoming apparent. I'm looking forward to them having to nominate each other if no-one's left and watching the facade crumble.

In fact, the only thing I don't love is the ridiculous adoration of Kate, who is undoubtedly beautiful, but whose "hotness" has always escaped me. But I realise that's untrue - I also don't love that Michael got evicted, because he rocked.

Another thing I love is Philip Roth. This is from The Ghost Writer:

I soon began to feel over the thinness of my imagination and what that promised for the future. Dad-da, Florence, the great Durante; her babyishness and desire, his mad, heroic restraint - Oh, if only I could have imagined the scene I'd overheard! If only I could invent as presumptuously as real life! If one day I could just approach the originality and excitement of what actually goes on!

People are cool. Except Dean. He's way uncool. To agree with me call 1902 5555 61 or text "Dean" to 19 10 10. Heh. I don't have a number where you can text disapproval of Philip Roth. Sorry. I'll do a google.

* And yes, I do realise what an hilariously tragic stereotype I am revealing myself to be. I'm OK with it.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

dum de dum de - oh, hello! must be time for my weekly post!

Fortunately slackblog.com (tm) has been assisted this week muse-wise by Purple Mark , who has tagged me with a book meme.

I did a slightly different book meme a little while ago.* Apologies to my fellow LBJ nerds Mark and The Currency Lad (and your bloody feed's still crook, Lad), but I couldn't finish the goddam Dallek I was reading then. For not-yet-LBJ-nerds, there are two major histories of LBJ, Dallek's and one written by Robert Caro, a journalist-turned-historian. Dallek's is in my view undoubtedly the better historical biography. Having read more about LBJ than is common or actually necessary, I can tell you that the economy with which Dallek explains and illustrates his arguments is really quite outstanding. But. But Robert Caro writes a frickin' ripper psychological dissection. It's less contextual, and more conjectual, than Dallek. But it's a really good story. And it doesn't have to go back to the library. And I'm only reading for kicks.

I am continuing my Roth project too, having finished Operation Shylock and started The Ghost Writer yesterday. After I decided to read all his books, I couldn't decide on how to go about it. I even paid a visit to the Philip Roth Society website. Oh, it's a real giggle there. They have this magnificent troll called "helge normann nilsen". Helge's as good a troll in her way as EP is in his, although sadly she is Norwegian, not Swedish. I tried to put her through some cheap internet translator so I could meanly make fun of her, but I was foiled by the utter humourlessness of everything it had to say. Except "very much to the point post" which is Norwegian for email. Heh.

Helge appears to be a Professor of something (which I can't work out) and her iss-ewe with his latest novel The Plot Against America boils down to "Roth's novel is contrafactual." I know, outrageous! He made his novel up! Anyway, here is a link even though you will never read a more poorly designed forum in yer life. But you never know who's keen do you? And I have finally settled on an innovative plan for Roth reading, by getting whatever ones are there in the library when I take the last ones back.

* I only just realised, going back to get the link, that I never pulled up Fyodor on his ridiculous comment: "Darcy is a pompous, parasitic snob who never earned anything in his life." Any savage can tell you that Darcy earned the respect and affection of an intelligent and beautiful woman, which is about as good as it gets, Fyodor. You go right ahead and tell me how I'm wrong if you don't believe me.

Anyhoo, back to the meme. You already know what I think, so it's time for crazybrave's first ever guest post, by Sage Salvador aged 2 3/4:

Total number of books I've owned:

There are nearly 100 in my bookcase in the lounge room and at least that many in my bedroom, but I'm asleep so Mum's not checking. Mum has thrown out some that were crap and made squeaking noises of various kinds.

The last book I bought:

I don't yet operate in the cash economy directly, but the last book Mum bought me was "Kipper's Monster" by Mark Inkpen. She got it from the secondhand book shop because she's tight like that.

It's a top read. Kipper's friend Tiger has a new torch, and you can shine it on stuff and make shadows that are sometimes scary. After cracker night I have a new torch too. Anyway, Kipper and Tiger get freaked out in the woods by a monster noise, but it's just a wise old owl and they go and camp in Tiger's bedroom and read stories. I think monsters are very cool, and I like to hide from them under my blue blanky.

The last book I read:

Hairy McClary's Rumpus at the Vet by Lynley Dodds

The olds get right into the rhythm of this one, and I love to watch the animals go nuts. It's more fun than trying to make my animals go nuts, because Mum and Dad get cut about that.

Five books that mean a lot to me:

The Sneetches and Other Stories, by Dr Seuss

While all of the stories in this book are excellent, "What was I scared of?" is the best story ever. It has got spooky pale green pants which do stuff even though there is nobody inside them. In the end the little furry kind of guy makes friends with the pants, which is cool. There is also a "snide field" which always cracks Mum up.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle

This book has groovy collage animals that are different cool colours, like a blue horse and a green frog. If Mark still needs a gravatar, he could do worse than the "purple cat, purple cat".

Welcome Home, Little Bear by Maurice Jones & Anna Currey

My Mum is clever. She can read this whole book to me with her eyes shut. It's about a little bear who gets lost and has to look in lots of caves until he finds the other bears. Then they all have a cuddle. Mummy and I always have a cuddle in that bit, too. This is a very good story. My Granny bought it at the academic remainder bookshop in Fyshwick 'cos she's tight like Mum.

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox & Judy Horacek

This is just about the perfect book for a toddler like me. Colours, action, rhyme, pattern, rhythm. It's a miracle of pre-literate learning, I think. Well actually, that's what Mum says. I like it because it's funny and it's got sheep in it and because I get to throw up my hands in an adorably faux-crazy-jew fashion every time Mum says "Where is the green sheep?"

Mighty Machines by the mysterious authorless phenomenon that is Dorling Kindersley Children's Books

This book has tops pictures of big rigs, racing cars, tractors, fire engines and so much more! This is my best book for making noises too.

I am tagging:

Bumblebee, Liam, Charlie, Olle, Dash and the little Dude.


How cool this turned out to be! I really love good kid's books, and it's important to me that Sage finds reading easy - whether it turns out to be something that is a major interest in his life is another matter, but I'm doing what I can. The other parents tagged have done beautiful posts which show how much they love reading and their kids too, and you should go read them:

Bumblebee is 8
Liam is 3
Charlie is 2
Olle is 6
Dash is 2
and the Dude is 2.

Monday, June 13, 2005

unbloodyaustralian wowserism

I think if we are going to be saddled with a monarchy, we should at least have something to compensate. Like one long weekend a year when pissed men with eyes wild with excitement get to light explosives in the street.

We live in a cul de sac and have been steadily breaking our square neighbours into the idea of having a really good time on cracker night. Our third year in, they seem to gave got the point. The next door neighbours invited their mates and their kids, and our new neighbour Marco borrowed our firedrum and set up deckchairs in the front yard. Gossipy Mrs Next Door had filled me in on his severe agoraphobia earlier in the night, and I thought he did really very well, only nearly hyperventilating after one particularly loud bang. At least now I understand that all the time he spends standing on the street corner on his mobile is a therapeutic challenge rather than random posing - but I wonder what she's told him about us? Heh.

If I think about cracker nights when I was little it was all about the kids - I never even registered if the adults were having fun, or how much. The kids got jack of it after a while last night and went to watch Shrek and play cars. Which was silly of them, but it would have been even sillier to try drag a happy warm child out into the cold against their will and the might of Shrek.

The kind of crackers you can buy now are much quieter than the ones when I was little, but still very pretty. We had managed to save a few of the REALLY loud ones from a few years ago, so the show finished with some big bangy ones which had everyone cheering. Then bottles of wine kept appearing, and Achilles showed us how to do proper Greek dancing through the kitchen, past the sleeping Sage's room, down the hallway, around the couch and back through the kitchen to "Great Film Themes No. 2" by The New Hollywood Orchestra (a record that every household needs).

The only damage incurred was the odd hangover this morning - but who cared because Ducky's husband cooked us Eggs Benedict and cranberry crumble muffins for breakfast. Obviously the dog thought it was a pretty poor idea, and she was found at one stage huddling terrified in the shower, but she got over it with a sausage and lots of pats. The cat just looked at me like I was an idiot, but I'm used to that.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Helen Balcony, Investigative Genius

I used to think that Helen didn't write enough on her blog until I discovered the joy of slack blogging. Everything she writes is interesting and worth reading. Especially this. heh.

In further exciting news, Jo is back from a nice long holiday with a special Breakfast Club post for the children of the eighties. Also sad men who think Molly Ringwald is hot. Or Ally Sheedy. Eew.

Monday, June 06, 2005

"simultaneously gay and irresistible to women"

Ducky and I met up with harry yesterday for a drinkie. The post title is his self description to enable us to identify him. As it turned out we had to wait for quite some time which was apparently related to the excellence of the directions I had provided.

Duck wondered whether harry was the 400 year old man in the orange kombi with a long grey ponytail who kept doing laps of the car park, but I reminded her that he was supposed to be in his twenties and strangely attractive.

Cruelly, she reminded me that people can lie on the internet, and when I reconsidered his self-description, I started thinking of someone more like this:

not harry

Not harry, though. Motorsport boxer shorts showing through your tulle is quite resistible, I find.

I'd had a couple of beers by this stage, and my imagination had moved on to something (hopefully) more accurate. Like, oh - I dunno, maybe this:

sadly, not harry

Eventually the real harry arrived. He was immediately identifiable because he was leering and caressing his own elbow. And as a result of a brief but detailed presentation that he had prepared earlier, I can now sort something out once and for all:

Army Pants:

army pants

This is not harry (although I can't promise it's not DREADNOUGHT). As we can see, "Army Pants" are cool, and have no side pockets.

Cargo Pants:

cargo pants

I am fairly sure this is not harry either, as he would never wear cargo pants. They have pockets on the side, which is A Bad Thing.

The pants presentation was a surprise. But perhaps I should have expected that kind of effort after seeing the thoroughness he displayed in this comment thread at Duck's.