Tag Archives: Newcastle

The Climb

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Yesterday was exactly one year since I couldn’t finish a fun run. I was doing the Maitland River Run and a surprise asthma attack had me sidelined at around the halfway point, waiting for a medical chap to come with Ventolin to my rescue. I had to make a decision: Do I do the run again this year to prove I can, or do I do something else?

I did something else.

Not because of fear or anything like that. But because, quite simply, I knew if anything went wrong again, that there wasn’t any real first aid stations along the course. It took ages to get medical help, and I was totally unimpressed that one of the official photographers told me he couldn’t help me and that I should walk up to the drink station, which was around 500 metres away. This isn’t an event I want to support.

So, the something else.

Mount Tomaree is a very big mountain. It’s near Nelson Bay. The gradient of the hike is Level 5 – very steep and difficult. But it promised stunning views, and I am generally up for a physical challenge. And so, off we went.

Within the first 5 minutes, I was panicking internally. This was steep, and we were nowhere near the summit. In my head I was trying to come up with the words to say that I couldn’t do it, and trying to justify to myself the reasons for not finishing this attempt. But while I was thinking all these things, my legs were pumping away and my feet were happily doing their ‘one in front of the other’ thing. It’s like they were not aware that I couldn’t do this, and they just kept right on going.

Something I see often, and have experienced particularly when it comes to running, is that your brain will give out long before your body does. You’re mind will challenge what you’re doing and tell you NOOO but if you don’t listen to it, your body can and will just keep going. It’s funny because it’s my mind that makes the decisions to do this stuff, but it’s my body that does it and it’s my mind that tends to be the first to back out.

But I digress.

The walk starts on paved ground. Then it changes to mega steep metal stairs and walkways. Then it changes to steps cut into the rocks. There are more metal stairs and more metal walkways, then more rock steps. And the whole thing just keeps going and going. But it goes somewhere. Directly up. Up and up and up.

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As the ups became steeper, I realised that I was doing it.

And as we got nearer to the top, the views got better.

One more step of steps. One more metal walkway. One more twisting path. And then!

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Amazing. Totally worth the climb.

But to be honest, we didn’t spend a huge amount of time at the top.

Because that’s not what the joy was.

The joy? Getting there.

Setting a challenge and completing it.

When we were at the top, I wasn’t really thinking about the views. I was thinking about these feet of mine. That have been to hell and back, rebuilt, relearning, and now doing the best they can to keep up with the goals and ideas I come up with. I was thinking about the way I was ready to pack it in before I’d even started. I was grinning because despite my brain and my feet, and a killer leg day on Friday, I’d done it. We’d done it. And I hadn’t struggled anywhere near as much as I had assumed I would.

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One of the reasons why?

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There she is, right next to me.

And so, Maitland River Run, you didn’t defeat me last year. And instead of coming back to prove it, I took on something harder, something more challenging, something that has brought me undone in ways you never will:

I took on myself.

 

 

Superhero Stride

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So now that beloved’s foot is on the mend, she’s started to join me on different walks. A few weeks ago she came along with me for the Mother’s Day Classic, and this weekend just gone we both did the Superhero Stride.

This one was to raise money for the rescue chopper. An important cause, one we both wanted to get behind. Because when you’re in an horrific accident, you need some angel to drop from the sky, get you stable and then whisk you off to hospital. We’ve both known people who have needed the rescue chopper, and recently the man friend of someone very dear to us was helped by these folks. So yes, we were absolutely in.

The thing about fun runs, or walks, is that generally they are being held for a particular reason. Usually to try to raise money or awareness regarding something specific. Now, because I am trying to do at least one a month (I’m doing three this month!), I tend to pick and choose which ones I actually try to drum up donations for. My entry fee usually goes to the cause, so I know I have already done my bit. And let’s face it. Cash is scarce and times are pretty damn tough. For me, the doing of fun runs is often more about breaking down that barrier of feeling like I’m too fat or too unfit for this kind of thing. Because I’m not. Not either of those things. If you can propel yourself in a forwards fashion for the distance, you’ll be fine. In fact even if you can’t do the full distance you’ll be fine. Just turn around when you’re feeling halfway finished.

It’s been peculiar. So much of the last 9 months has been more about discovering what I can do, after spending so many years very much aware of everything I couldn’t do. So every time I do something new, I get this little surge of bubbly pride. It’s quite nice really. Sometimes it feels like trapped wind, but mostly it’s quite nice.

One of the more annoying things I can do now is feel cold. I never realised how cold weather could get. Who knew my insulation was being so helpful? Certainly not me.

Anyway, anyway, the Superhero Stride.

It was a dress-up occasion, which I was thrilled about. I love love love dress ups!! SO MUCH FUN.

So here’s us. At the Newcastle Superhero Stride.

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Can you tell who we are?

Here’s a hint:

 

Game On

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I used to live in Sydney.

I have some awesome friends still in Sydney, and one of them ventured up for a visit this weekend. We shall refer to her as Sarah, because that is her name.

Now, being from Sydney, I felt a certain level of pressure to provide Sarah with a Novocastrian experience that demonstrated the superiority of my adopted home town. Newcastle is great. It’s laid back, it’s beautiful, it lacks the chaos and crowding that is hallmark of Sydney. So my little brain went into overdrive.

I considered beach walks, live music, the Thai Ladyboys show that is currently in town.

And then it hit me. A far greater idea. An idea that would go down in history, and perhaps should appear on the Top Ten of things to do in Newcastle.

Yes, I created a game show night.

I collected Sarah from the train station and went straight to the supermarket. Stage one: Supermarket Sweep. With a budget of $10, Sarah was issued with the instructions to collect ingredients that she would use to create a “tasting plate” dessert. She also had to buy one packet of paddle pop sticks for a later event. I had to do the same, but my mystery item was a bag of elastic bands. The plot thickens, friends.

Ingredients: check.

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Stage two. Within a 30 minute time frame, create a dessert using the ingredients purchased and basic pantry items.

I was a little surprised at the processes Sarah included:

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She expressed surprise that this would be how she spent a Saturday night. Little did she know the fun had only just begun.

We cooked down to the wire, friends. Both our desserts needed some fridge time, which allowed the perfect opportunity for Stage Three: The Price Is Right. This challenge was easy in theory. Make a list of the items purchased. With a time frame of 60 seconds, the challenge was to put these items in order of price, from most expensive to cheapest. The stakes were high. I won.

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Once victory was claimed it was time for the taste test. Now, neither of us knew what the other was cooking. My philosophy was to pick a dessert that I knew was a crowd favourite, but adapt it so that it could be whipped up quickly on a budget and still taste good. I present to you: Chocolate Cheesecake (complete with artistic smear that looked vaguely like excrement)!

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Sarah took a slightly different approach.

In my more generous moments, I can see what she was aiming for. The combination of savoury and sweet, the elements of surprise and texture variation, the bite size idea of the canapé. Upon presentation I was more than a little surprised to see Cheese and Bacon Balls.

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What you have just gazed upon is banana slices, with holes inside them. These holes are filled with banana lollies. The banana is topped with Ice Magic, with a crumbled Cheese and Bacon Ball crust. Sarah explained that she felt this would result in a taste sensation similar to salted caramel.

It did not.

Stage four was a sneaky one. It involved the creation of catapults. These catapults were then used to fire marshmallows across the lounge room. What was a bit sneaky about it was that this was a blatant trial run for Cubs. Sarah absolutely had the edge in this battle.

Ah, Newcastle. You have much to offer. I can’t help but wonder if I lived in Sydney still, would this evening of game show shenanigans would even been considered as suitable entertainment for a visiting friend.

I think it would, to be honest. But admit it. You’re jealous, right?

How do you entertain friends?

This Little Light

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It’s Mother’s Day today.

This is a day where people write extensive pieces shouting the wonder of their maternal influencer; the equality of male and female parents (particularly the solo parents); the longing for mothers adorned with heavenly garments and the joy of being a mother. This year I also noted an increase in posts regarding the importance to consider women who are unable to fall pregnant, or struggling to fall pregnant. An important inclusion.

Mother’s Day is a great day. When I was a kid I remember bemoaning the lack of Children’s Day, and my father’s response of “Every day is children’s day”. He’s correct. Our last Mother’s Day with Mum was spent cooking dinner for the fam to sit down to. I’m sure there were presents and words and wishes and loving. If I had known it would be the last one I would have made more of an effort, I’m sure. But we don’t know. Ever. So I hope that what we did for her was enough to let her know that we love her very much.

This Mother’s Day, I woke up early to the sound of beloved arriving home from work. I got dressed in my running gear and she did the same. Today was the Mother’s Day Classic – a fun run and walk to raise money for breast cancer research. We battled the parking and arrived, pinked up in shirts and capes.

I had told beloved it was a 4km walk. Doable for her, given her foot woes of recent months. Except I was wrong, it was 5km, and that last kilometre made a difference in terms of pain management. Plus she had just come off a night shift, and is battling an ear infection. She’s a champion, my beloved.

On the way home we drove through Newcastle, and saw a group of women sitting at a coffee shop. I wondered why they were painted as Greek statues as they flurried over their phones and lattes.

Turns out they were actually dressed as angels. I saw a photo of them on social media this evening. They’d dressed up as angels and draped themselves over the tracks that the coal trains use. Over 50 people were arrested today during the protest regarding coal.

I’m all for believing in something strongly enough that you want to stand up and let your voice be heard. I really am. This is something I really admire.

But when your actions put the life of people who drive on those train tracks in danger, then I have a problem. When your actions could result in my beloved hitting you with a train, I have a problem. And when I see you enjoying your latte while scrolling through Facebook and other bits and pieces on your phone – both of which rely on coal – I have a problem.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stand for anything. But I am saying that you need to think through the entirety of your argument. You need to consider the pros and cons of what you are speaking out against, but more than that – you need to consider the people who are going to wear the brunt of your actions. Because they aren’t the nameless faceless coal companies you’re so angry with. The people who you inconvenienced today? They’re parents. Brothers. Sisters. Daughters. Sons. People coping with life. People not really coping, who maybe needed just one more thing to shove them over the edge. People who would have loved to have been with their family for mother’s day.

Which brings me back to my beloved and I. Running and walking to help fund breast cancer research.

Save the boobies.

Dusting for Prints

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Woke up. Morning routine. Dog, shower, coffee, etc.

Pretty standard, until I went to go to the GP. Put my hand on the car door handle and it was already open.

Strange.

You see, being slightly anal, I check and double check that my car is locked. It’s one of my “things”. So I know my car was locked, with the doors shut, when I left it.

And then I looked inside.

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Now, my car is generally pretty neat and tidy. Again, anally so. For my glove box to be open with the contents thrown around the car? NOT NORMAL. For there to be scratches on the driver side door? NOT NORMAL. This entire event? NOT NORMAL.

Forensics came, and covered my car with dust in the search for fingerprints. Because of the strange circles around the locks on the car, they’ve concluded that it would have been kids or really inexperienced thieves who broke into my car, searching for money (pfft not likely).

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

It was a strange feeling, driving this car. It had been invaded by one or more humans who had no right to be in it. And they knew it. They had chosen to force their way into my car, in the search for… something. Driving it, I felt uneasy, like I was being watched, like a moving target. The feeling intensified after the car was covered in fingerprint dust.

There are, apparently, arseholes in the world.

About the only thing I can do in response to it? Try not to be an arsehole.

So, if you are the person who broke into my car, while it was in the driveway, locked:

If you had come to the front door, and asked for what you so desperately needed, we probably would have helped you. We’ve done it before, as recently as a fortnight ago. We’re not bad people. We’ve already had our share of bullshit this year. You didn’t need to do this.

Next time, just ask. You’ll achieve way more than what you achieved doing this.

Gizmo

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Dear Gizmo,

I can’t share the photos of your obnoxious number plate because I’m hoping that there is going to be some follow up legal action regarding this. But I can absolutely share your story.

I can’t share photos of the two year old and 6 month old fast asleep in your car.

But I can write about how it felt when we pulled into the Spotlight carpark. My beloved pulled into a carpark, pulled on the handbrake, turned the engine off and stopped. Paused. I looked to see what she was doing and her face said it all: there was something bad in the car next to us. I looked to see what she was seeing.

Two sleeping babies. A boy, maybe 6 months. A toddler, a little girl – around 2. Fast asleep. In the back seat of your car.

You were nowhere to be seen.

The windows were cracked open – maybe a centimetre at the front, and 2 centimetres at the back. I’m guessing you didn’t want to risk your sound system or anything in the front.

And to be fair, it wasn’t a beltingly hot day. Not like yesterday.

But Gizmo, that’s the thing about car park towers. They tend to hold in heat. And yesterday was hot. Really hot. 37 degrees. Those parking stations are made of concrete. So actually, Gizmo, it was warm in the carpark.

My beloved stayed watching over your two babies while I went into Spotlight and got them to page you by your number plate. In fact, they paged you twice. Then I returned to the car to be with my beloved.

Your son woke up. Had a wriggle, then went back to sleep.

And still, you shopped.

We stayed there, parked next to them. Watching over them. Waiting for you. While we sat, my beloved called the police, who sent the NRMA and a patrol car. They asked if an ambulance was needed and my beloved discussed the kids and how they looked with the words that parents use.

We’re a couple of women who came to Spotlight to get some fabric and some yarn, and some stuffing for a project. Neither of us have criminal records. We’re both good people. Honest. Protective of the vulnerable. Passionate.

You got lucky, Gizmo.

Because there are other people in Newcastle.

People who have guns. People who have less than humane intentions towards others. People who would see your children as a jackpot. People who would see your two little ones sleeping peacefully locked in your car, and rub their hands together with glee. People who are sick. Twisted. Criminal. Dangerous. Deadly.

And you were parked in the dark corner of a parking tower.

We could have smashed the windows of your car, Gizmo, and pulled the kids to safety. But if we had done that, they would have woken up. Fear would have etched across their little cherubic faces, and in that still sleepy haze, they would have panicked. Because regardless of how innocent we are, waking up to strangers smashing in a car window would be terrifying. But if you were parked in the sun. If it was a hotter day, and the heat was even more amplified than it already was. If your children were awake, or scared, or crying, or listless. Then we would not have hesitated.

Because, Gizmo, here’s the thing: Kids rely on adults to make smart choices for them. When you have kids trusted to your care, you have a responsibility to make choices that protect those kids. Leaving them locked in a car with the windows cracked open a touch does not equal a choice to protect those kids.

You eventually returned to your car and sleeping babies, with your hands empty. So what was important enough to leave your kids behind while you shopped? Maybe they were out of stock. I’d like to say you rushed back to the car. That you checked on the kids before you drove away. But you didn’t. You gave the two dykes glaring at you a smug smile, hopped into the car and drove away.

The police still came. We spoke to them. They are following it up. We’ve already had a call asking if we’re willing to give statements. We are, as it happens. And fingers crossed, if you have a wife, she might have a word or two to have with you about this.

You got a second chance with your kids, Gizmo.

Don’t fuck it up.

Hand gestures of a more exciting life

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Tonight, I was the person that you might spot when you’re out and about, making bizarre hand gestures while laughing. You would have probably wondered what the hell I was doing, and what I was trying to communicate. I was at Lizotte’s in Newcastle, a fantastic venue with awesome acts and food, seeing Gretel Killeen and Jackie Loeb. It was during the twenty minute gap between Gretel and Jackie that I was describing something my brain had just cooked up, and for one reason or another, the describing involved me grabbing at my boobs and making “hooter” gestures. Nice. Classy.

Now, my beloved is well-versed in me attempting to recreate different ideas or images that my brain has produced, and knows to wait patiently until I get to the point that makes sense. She usually waits, giggles in anticipation, and is generally just bloody lovely. To someone who was watching? Well, it would have been two women in a romantic corner, one of the women smiling and nodding while the other makes the universal gestures for breast grabbing while speaking in a voice that becomes louder as it is fuelled with ideas and imagery.

source: someecards.com

While I can’t remember the finer details of why I was partaking in public self-groping, I very clearly recall that moment when I realised I’d taken hand gestures way too far. It was reminiscent of the feeling I had when I was performing my sexy crutches dance to my friend as she drove towards me, and then realised that it wasn’t actually her car, or her in the car, and that I was gyrating and shaking my crutches at a very confused man. He didn’t seem all that impressed by my dancing. He certainly didn’t offer me transportation.

Anyway, Gretel and Jackie. Seriously funny women. Gretel made me laugh. So, so much. My beloved thinks it’s the everydayness of her comedy that makes her hilarious, I’m leaning more towards those throwaway lines that have been such a trademark – but maybe it’s both. Either way, it was worth the ticket to just see Gretel.

But then out bursts Jackie. Now, it was either the opening performance of Happy, or the closing performance as Beige (the alternative to Pink) that won me over. Jackie started well and ended well. The stuff in between was great, too. Particular highlights: waiting outside the toilet when an audience member popped to the loo just before the show finished; the elastics performance (as opposed to Pink’s silks performance); the kudos to female hip hop stars – and the real surprise – she plays a mean guitar and keyboard! Holy crap. I was stunned.

So, if you get the chance, go and see these comedic gems.

Source: lizottes.com.au

It was when Jackie was talking about being gay that I became a little more reflective. She asked an audience member what it was like to be normal. This question stuck with me.

Because being gay is my normal. And the normal of many, many other people.

Which is why this article is such a freaking outrage. But I have a hunch Mrs Woog is going to tackle this particular breast…

And by accidentally typing “breast” instead of “beast”, I’ve taken this post full circle.

G’night.

Stinky Dog

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I saw this picture today, and it is totally my Scouty girl to a tee:

ImageYou see, Scouty is many things: beautiful, protective, obedient, happy – but she is a little bit of a wuss. When we go somewhere, regardless of where it is, I have to spend a tiny small large extended amount of time giving her a confidence pep talk, telling her she is a big brave bear and after that we are generally stuffed ok. What can I say – I’m a nurturer.

Today I woke up to a frightful smell at the end of my bed.

It wasn’t me.

It was my Scouty. Scouty lives life very enthusiastically, friends. She gets in there and has a riotous time while she’s doing it. The only problem with this is that she hates having a bath. Hates it. With a passion. In fact the only thing she is more passionate about is playing catch.

We tried many different options when it came to bath time for Scouty. I’ve had her in the shower with me. I’ve had her in the bath tub. I’ve tried the hose, I’ve tried the drop off pet parlour dog washes, I’ve tried the mobile dog groomers. Every single one of these resulted in accusing eyes and panic attacks – and that was from me to my beloved. Scouty would simply freeze, make herself as heavy as possible, and then cry.

But one day, I stumbled upon a very cool service. It’s a dog wash with a difference. No strangers. No being taken away. No cold water, no stinky shampoos, no endless towels to wash.

Friends, I bring you SUDS Dog Wash, from PETQuarters!

ImageYep. Scouty is grinning. The water temperature is perfect for her and the pressure from the hoses is akin to a good belly rub.

The way SUDS works is simple: You’ve been to those car washes where you put the money in and use the different brushes and hoses to clean your car, right? Well this is exactly the same but for dogs! So easy! There is shampoo, conditioner, flea treatment, and (Scouty’s favourite) a blow dryer. All in the one hose. Just push the button and the hose shoots out the shampoo.

For $10 you get ten minutes. I’ve been there three times now, and I have never used the full ten minutes. It sounds like a short amount of time, but it is the perfect time limit to get a big sooky dog washed, flea bathed, smelling beautiful and dry. Dry! it is so hard to get any dog properly dry, but I manage it every time at SUDS.

So, being me, I sent Katie from PETQuarters an email and told her I had some awesome pictures of Scouty loving her SUDS bath. I told her I have a blog. We put these things together and today, I am pleased and proud to announce that Katie is offering a FREE SUDS WASH to one lucky Naughty Corner reader.

If you live in Newcastle and surrounding suburbs, you are eligible to win. PETQuarters have two stores, one at Glendale and one at Broadmeadow. So if you are willing to travel to these stores, answer the question in the comments field on this blog:

What is the PETQuarters tag line?

The correct answers will be numbered, fed into a random number generator, and that person will win one free dog wash at the SUDS location of their choosing. AWESOME!

Here are some more photos from Scouty’s trip to SUDS. The staff at PETQuarters are beautiful, and seriously, I wouldn’t ever go anywhere else to get my baby clean and buy the essential things she needs. Like dog coats car harnesses. And toys training tips. And treats food.

So hop to it! Entries close at 5pm, Sunday the 28th of April.

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Target: The Bakery

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My home is referred to as The Bakery. This isn’t because we cook a lot. It’s because it used to be a bakery, many years ago. It was remodeled into a duplex, and in moved myself, my flatmate and my awesome neighbour.

Well, readers, last week The Bakery was targeted in a scam. A scam that aimed to bring us to our knees. A scam that called for us to commit to a time, a date and a place. We did these things.

My flatmate and I had recently been reviewing our energy provider options. We found crap deals, we found good deals, we discussed, we disclosed, we wound up getting our current provider to match the best deal and then surpass it.

Happy.

Throughout this time, as you can imagine, we were making and receiving many calls about energy. So when we got a call from a rep from Energy Australia, offering to include us in their program assessing power saving options, we thought nothing of it.

We agreed to a date and time, and waited.

An hour after the rep was due to arrive, there had been no contact. With our stroppy boots laced up, my flatmate called Energy Australia and complained.

Silence.

There was no such program being offered in our area. Or in the state. A quick phone call confirmed that there was no such program being offered at all throughout Australia. In fact, Energy Australia doesn’t do these programs.

My flamate told Energy Australia everything about the call we had received. We hadn’t written down the name of the person who was coming, or any details about them. We had just agreed to this person visiting us – simply because they were from Energy Australia.

Well, the woman we spoke to was fantastic. She very efficiently double-checked the offer, in case it wasn’t bogus. She double-checked the details we had given the caller. She gave us the next step: Calling the NSW Energy Audit Team.

Again, awesome people to talk to. They were so helpful – ensured that we were safe and triple-checked everything. Then they gave us the next step: Call the police.

The officer my flatmate spoke to was fantastic. We had indeed been targeted in a scam with a very simple aim: find out when we will not be home, and visit us at that time. Not to provide energy solutions, but to steal our stuff and pillage our home.

Arseholes.

Whether it is relevant, it’s worth adding that my flatmate and I both have had our emails hacked in the last couple of months.

This post isn’t about humour or misadventures or lesbian encounters. It’s about scammers, and making sure my readers are aware of shit like this.

If you get a call similar to the one we received, here is some advice:

  • Make sure you get as much information about the caller as you can.
  • Check the information they have on you. Our phone number is unlisted, so don’t think that protects you.
  • Don’t offer a list of times when you will not be home. Ask them for an appointment time.
  • Then, rather than confirming on the spot, ask if you can call back to confirm. Just say you have to confirm with The Naughty Corner if there is no one you really have to confirm with.
  • Check with the company they say they are from before you call them back. Make sure it is legit.

We’ve got to be aware of this kind of crap, and we can’t be aware if no one tells us. So I’m telling you.

In thanks, you could VOTE for me using the button on the top of the column to your right! Or, you could do nothing. That’s fine, too.

Just consider it a community service announcement.

The Wheels on the Bus…

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Last night, I did something that may seem a little peculiar.

I went to a dinner for a woman I have never met, who turned out to be an awesome chick.

I went out with a bunch of girls, knowing two of them. One left before the shenanigans really kicked in. So it was me, my trusty neighbour, and a group of relative strangers.

I was on best good socially acceptable borderline OK behaviour.

Eat, drink, be merry was the idea. I did these things.

It’s strange, the reputation you have based on your online presence. One of these women was joking about me farting at the dinner table before I even got there. My neighbour had told me that if I let fluffy off the chain, she’d pretend she didn’t know me. I did not fart at the dinner table.

I saved it for the pub.

Lesson #1 when going out to dinner: Pre-venture drinks are necessary, but possibly not a good idea.

Let me contextualise this by saying that I am not a big drinker. I am a cheap and easy drunk. After two, I’ll be rolling around on the floor. I had two before I left.

Lesson #2 when going out for dinner: Don’t order noodles. Don’t order something with chilli in it. Don’t bravely eat the chilli.

This mistake paved the way for the next lesson.

Lesson #3 when out and about with near strangers: Don’t use the ladies toilets. Seriously. What happens in there? My god. It stunk. It was crowded. Instead, I opted for the disabled toilets.

Lesson #4 when at a pub with girls that you are beginning to quite like: Just because you only want one person to hear you fart, doesn’t mean that no one else will hear it. Eye contact means nothing when it comes to aiming noise.

Lesson #5 when leaving one pub and heading to a club: If you aren’t sure what a particular establishment is like, you possibly shouldn’t go there.

Now, I’m a music girl. I love music. I play it, I make it and I write it.

So when I am in a crowded room with many, many other people listening to dubstep noise, It’s probably not the time to contemplate my failed music career.

By this stage, we’re up to many more beverages consumed by this little black duck. People everywhere. Bladder full again. Noise. Strobe lights, which screw with my head.

Stumbling outside, I learned about lockout time and the necessity to remain behind the rope, thank you.

I decided it was home time. Sent a text to my neighbour and began The Walk.

I walked through the quiet and dimly lit streets of Newcastle, looking for a bus stop. Certain I was going to be attacked, I took comfort in knowing that I had one leg that was hairier than any gorilla. Surely these hairs would give me gorilla strength. I marveled at the stores that were closed, and decided that this was why Newcastle was dying. For every closed store there were a million parking meters, some asking for upwards of $4 per hour.

Having identified the city’s problems, I saw a bus. I got on it.

And crossed my fingers.

Fingers crossed did not help.

The bus took me through many suburbs. At the best of times, my sense of direction is rather stunted. But this bus driver surely had it wrong. Like a yellow submarine, we blobbed through streets and areas that looked very foreign. I was nearing the point of  pressing the emergency stop button, but the damn thing kept moving.

Coordination is also not one of my strong points.

Then I saw it: The 7-11 that is near my home.

My finger made contact with the red button, and the motion of the bus stopping suddenly propelled me out the door and left me, on the side of the road, drunk, confused, and needing to wee.

I walked.

Walked and walked.

Found my street. Remembered every mugging and accident that had ever occurred within a 50 km radius of where I was. Bladder became fuller.

I tried to walk with the strut of the brave. I remembered my hairy leg.

Made it home.

Had a shower.

Crawled into bed.

And now, remembering the night that was, the chicks that were and with my neighbour sitting opposite me, I wonder if I would ever do it again.

Hell yes.