Amy Tries Again

Amy Tries Again…Again
August 25, 2010, 1:04 PM
Filed under: In Which I Try Again | Tags: ,

So.  I kinda sorta never mentioned it again, but you know the bold plan I announced some months ago involving not living in a pigsty?  Yeah.  Didn’t quite happen.  I think I kept the flat clean for about two days.  Well, clean-ish.  I sunk back into my slothful ways fairly quickly, and kept quiet about the whole thing.  It was okay at the time, as hey – it was my washing up.  It was my dirty laundry.  They were my cockroaches.  We cool, G.

But things changed.  You see, a few months ago, I began living in sin with a certain damn fool who wouldn’t know good music if it bit him on his prominent chin.  Unfortunately, his personal style is distinctly minimalist, while mine is DON’T THROW THAT OUT I MIGHT NEED IT.  He makes beds.  He washes up.  He declutters.  While he’s doing all these important things, I tend to faff about musing on how awesome my coffee table would look if I painted it with chalkboard paint (idea shamelessly stolen from some friends’ most wonderful bathroom).  Never mind the fact that I will never actually do it.  Never mind the fact that it would be a really terrible idea for a coffee table (I do not want chalk dust in my caffeinated beverages, thank you very much).  Ash patiently hangs out the washing while I wave my hands around animatedly talking about how I should fill my Nanna’s old sideboard with thousands of tiny origami stars and attempt to make wholemeal fajitas from scratch.

I am Walter Matthau, even though I don't have a salami, a cigar, or a theory on what Freud might think about either.

It is not quite fair.

For that reason, and for all the reasons listed last time I proposed this foolish endeavour, I am going to have another crack at it.  But I’m a realist.  I am going to take things a week at a time, and report back with any earth-shattering discoveries I may make.  I predict that these blog entries will consist of ‘cleaning is boring’ typed 1000 times in a tiny, ragged font.

Will post my Dr Who roundup tonight.  In the meantime, I have some washing to hang out.

Things I Do Not Like: Dr Who
July 28, 2010, 11:54 AM
Filed under: Things I Do Not Like | Tags: ,

Please don’t throw rocks at me.  I am aware that many of my esteemed associates are very, very fond indeed of Dr Who, but you know what?  You’re all nerds.  Yep.  I said it.  Thing is, I’m allowed to use the n-word, because I’m one, too.  I’m of the subset drama nerd (sub-subset comedy nerd), but I’m a nerd nonetheless.  And yes, I’m aware that there’s a lot of crossover between scifi nerds and drama nerds, but I’m a one trick pony.  I don’t care for your anime.  I laugh at your Dungeons and Dragons.  I do not give a hoot for Star Wars, Star Trek or Stargate.  I am far too busy doing Silly Walks and imploring people to understand that ‘wherefore’ does not mean ‘where’.  (It means why.  She is asking why on earth he had to be a Montague when everything would be peachy if he were a Smith or a Jones or a Takanawa.)

I digress.  The fact is, I have always regarded Dr Who as the nerdiest of nerdy nerd things.  An alien who flies around in a magic box, assisted by a pretty girl, fighting monsters made from aluminium foil and plasticine?  No thanks.  I was vaguely aware of a man in a scarf after my sister, who does belong to the scifi nerd subset, knitted a replica.  How I laughed!  On the inside, though, Dear Reader, I was crying.  Why?  I was very severely traumatised by Dr Who at a young age.

As far as I remember, sometime in the very late eighties/early nineties Dr Who used to be shown on the ABC at 6pm.  We were only allowed to watch the ABC – and in very small amounts – because my mother is very, very mean, and after Widget the World Watcher or Captain Planet or whatever was on at 5:30 the TV would usually be switched unceremoniously off.  On occasion, however, we happened to be watching after 6pm.  I’m not sure why, perhaps our grandmother was babysitting us (we got to watch sitcoms and eat icecream.  It was awesome!).  Dr Who came on, and while I remember absolutely nothing about the show in general, I do remember very, very clearly that on this occasion he was battling some kind of cactus man.  I was terrified of the cactus man.

To be honest I don't recall the Dr himself being a cactus man, but this image seems pretty relevant.

As the fact that I have found a picture may indicate, I have done some Googling.  Apparently Cactus Man was called Meglos.  He was a baddy.  Obviously.  All I really remember is a man (maybe Dr Who, I don’t know – he would have been just some dude in a scarf to me) changing into Cactus Man in a shower-like chamber.  Needless to say, I had zero interest in taking a shower that night, but I had to anyway.  I was scared of the bathroom in general for a few weeks.  No, I didn’t really think I would turn into Cactus Girl, but I was fearful nonetheless.

That killed any chance Dr Who ever had with me.  In the years that followed I have had very little to do with him.  Some friends of mine, as I said, are quite keen, and in the era of the reboot I’ve been to a Dr Who night of theirs after a special was released online.  He did not have a scarf this time.  He had a leather jacket and he was on a big bus battling sand monsters.  Meh.  It wasn’t torture, some of it was mildly entertaining, but I was the annoying one up the back asking ‘Who’s that?’  ‘Is she bad or good?’  ‘I thought he was dead.’  I just didn’t know enough about the characters, and to be honest, I wasn’t too enthused about finding out more.

But all that is going to change.  In a wonderful bit of cross-promotion, I have been cast in an Impro Mafia show called ‘The Professor: Adventures in Space and Time’  (Sunday, August 22, Brisbane Arts Theatre).  As you may have guessed, it is a Dr Who homage/parody.  If you are a fan of the good Doctor, worry not.  Everyone else in the show would kill for him if necessary.  And then there’s Amy!  Needless to say, I am going to do a bit of research.  Advise me.  Teach me.  Warp my mind.  Then come to see if any of it sinks in.

How should I start my educational journey, dear nerds?

AFL Adventure – or – Amy Finally Goes To The Football
June 20, 2010, 5:41 PM
Filed under: In Which I Try Again | Tags: ,

Hell hath frozen over.  Last night, gentle reader, I went to the football.

But wait!  Before you all fall over in a collective faint, I must advise you that I didn’t actually go to the football that I said I’d be going to.  I had planned to investigate some rugby league and attend a game at Suncorp Stadium, it being my local, so to speak.  Last night found me, however, at the Gabba, watching the Brisbane Lions boldly battle the Richmond Tigers.

It wasn't actually like this.

Yo Gabba Gabba!

The reason for this change of plan?  My lovely assistant, Courtney, won tickets through her work.  It was a sign.  I had been putting this Try Again off for long enough.  It was time to get amongst it.  After a quick google to make sure we weren’t accidentally wearing the other team’s colours (black and yellow, like dear little bumblebees!), we actually went to the football.

Despite the fact that it wasn’t at ‘my’ stadium (I live quite close to Suncorp Stadium – aka the former Lang Park), the stadium still had a bit of personal significance.  You see, the Gabba was the stadium I used to live close to (I have quite a knack for living by stadiums close to the city, for some reason).  Its lights used to glare annoyingly into my bedroom window on game nights.  Neighbours would sell parking spaces in their backyards.  (Our motley sharehouse would think about such a magnificent money-making scheme, but it would have involved returning our collection of trolleys to the IGA, so we always decided against it.)  You could hear each whistle, each siren, and each team song.  Despite this, I had never been inside the stadium.  This probably explains why I was often so puzzled when hearing said team songs – France was playing?  Again?  (I have since learnt that the Lions’ club anthem is set to the tune of La Marseillaise, which explains a great deal.)

I was excited.  I was to learn exactly what had been going on at the stadium on all those evenings.  Although I’d seen the crowds heading for the game many times before, I was still surprised at how many people were there.  Unsure what gate to go to, we swam upstream against a river of people.  I clutched my handbag tightly (I am mildly paranoid about robbers).  We thought we’d finally found the right gate.  We hadn’t, but they let us in anyway.

I was a little surprised about how lax the security was.  I had expected metal detectors, sniffer dogs, random bag searches.  I won’t make any jokes about the suitability of the venue for untoward behaviour on the off-chance that dear Senator Conroy is a regular reader, but it wasn’t what I was expecting for a building full of tens of thousands of excited drunk people.

Anyway.  We pressed on, clutching our tickets for dear life as we searched for section 27.  Behind the crowd the background started repeating like a cheap cartoon – toilets, snack bar, glimpse of field, exit, repeat.  The atmosphere struck me as somewhere halfway between an airport and the Ekka.  We acquired some beer in plastic cups before realising we were in an unlicensed section and had to stand in a special designated area to consume it.  After we’d had our beer and finally found section 27, we couldn’t find our row.  It simply didn’t seem to exist.  Three different sets of creepy old men kindly volunteered seats next to their inebriated selves (we are, after all, comely lasses of virtue true).  An official-looking man told us we had to go upstairs.  The man upstairs told us we needed to go outside and re-enter through the corporate gate.  Then a loud buzzer sounded and the crowd stampeded towards exits, beer and toilets.  Was it half time already?  Could this be?  Surely it’d only being going for about half an hour?

Luckily, I had a vague recollection of there being a football show called ‘The Fifth Quarter’.  I cunningly deduced that if this hilarious impossibility was referring to the robust intellectual debate that takes place after AFL, then all hope was not lost, and we had only missed a quarter of the game wandering around.  Finally, wonderfully, we located the corporate gate, the middle tier part of section 27, and our seats.  My airport metaphor was appropriate.  We had just been bumped to business class.  Legroom!  Cupholders!  Permission to drink alcohol at our seats!

What I’d glimpsed standing in the beer zone behind the seating downstairs suddenly made a lot more sense.  With the addition of a little height, things looked more like the games I’d caught a few seconds of before changing the channel.  The stadium was vast – but not as vast as I’d thought it would be.  I was surprised at how close the players were.   I realised how thrilling it must be for supporters to see their favourite players, usually characters on tv, right there.  Football was real.  I couldn’t change the channel.

I do not feel I am qualified to comment on what happened on the field in great detail.  Some men in different colour uniforms did things with a ball.  Sometimes they kicked it into the air.  Sometimes they grabbed it out of the air and crashed on to the ground.  Sometimes they kicked it between four posts.  If they kicked it in between the outer posts, that was pretty good, but if they kicked it in between the inner posts, that was really good.  Courtney pointed out Brendan Fevola, and this pleased me because I had actually heard his name before.  We shouted ‘Fev!’ when everyone else did, although I’m not sure if he’d done a good thing or a bad thing.

I’m exaggerating, but only a little.  The scoring system puzzled me somewhat, but I did get into it and it was quite exciting when someone tried to catch a ball and just missed, or kicked the ball away from someone when you didn’t think they’d be able to.  We cheered for the wrong team on a few occasions, but it was all very jolly.  I didn’t have a team scarf or anything like that, but I felt a split-second of real solidarity when I remembered that my sports-hating father once gave me a Brisbane Lions hat as a joke when I announced my intention to bugger off to the other side of the world.  I was a merchandise owner, too!  This was MY TEAM after all!

I dug it out when I got home, and was very pleased. I wasn't pleased enough to wear it, but that's not really the point.

After a really wonderful fight between quite a few of the players, it was interval – sorry, half time.  This was all about advertising, both on the giant screens and via banners (that were trotted out during each break, even the short ones).  Small children were sent to play little miniature football games on the field.  They had the requisite too-large jerseys, gap-toothed smiles and, in some cases, pigtails (well done, sister suffragettes!).  It was very endearing, and I am going to suggest to Impromafia that during the break for our next longform show we slap our logo on some children and have them do some shortform while most of the audience goes to the bar (actually, I’m only half joking.  Maybe they could do it in the courtyard.  Hmmm…).


As the second half of the game began, my interest level in the actual game waned a little, but the novelty of being at a football game was quite enough to sustain me.  The whole experience was genuinely foreign to me, so it was quite fascinating.  I was amused by small things (as usual) – the four bright stadium lights gave each player four shadows, which looked a bit like they each had a small helicopter flying directly over them.  Some men in fluro shorts and shirts kept dashing out onto the field, but I don’t think they were the referees (they were in green and weren’t on the field with the players).  The mystery was partially solved when we saw a fluro man handing a note to a player.  Was he a courier?  We tried to figure out where the commentators were sitting, and decided it was probably in the large, highest-up box.  Musings of this nature occupied us for some time.

3/4 time. I only took this because I am mature and found the public deep-tissue massage rather amusing.

Eventually, it became apparent that the game was lost (not a surprise, according to this website).  Sadly, my right glove suffered a similar fate.  I didn’t really mind about either.

We escaped when there were two minutes left on the clock in order to beat the crowds.  This plan backfired somewhat when we realised that approximately half the people in the stadium had had the same idea.  Swept out on the wave of the crowd, we were a little shell-shocked.  We had been to the football.  We had cheered.  We had seen people actually wearing giant inflatable hands.  We had paid $9.50 for some chips and a bottle of water.

After getting on the wrong bus (it was at the Gabba busway on the platform that usually goes to the city.  I don’t think my presumption that it would be city-bound was entirely unrealistic, but there you are), there was little to do but contemplate the experience.

So did I enjoy myself?  Yes, very much indeed.  I’m pretty sure it was the novelty factor, though.  The actual game wasn’t the focus for me, I was too busy playing Amy Goes To A Football Match.  The atmosphere was quite fun once we were safely in our seats, but the crowds were a bit too intense before and after the game itself.

I would do it again, but not very often.  I was on safari, observing the odd behaviour of another tribe, and that was where the interest lay for me.  Still, I think I’m going to go to the rugby in order to render my experiment complete, as that’s what I originally planned.  Of course, that could open up a can of worms where I have to attend a game of every code of football possible, and I’m not sure I’m up for that.  Too many vuvezelas.



Things I Do Not Like: Basic Housekeeping
June 2, 2010, 6:17 PM
Filed under: Things I Do Not Like | Tags: ,

Cleanliness.  Apparently it’s next to godliness, but I am both a slob and a heathen.

I have never been what you’d call a tidy person.  As a child, my room got so bad that my mother would order me out, arm herself with gloves and a garbage bag and sort out the worst of the mess – each time telling me that from now on I really had to keep it halfway decent.  Half-eaten pieces of fruit would be found under my bed, my school swimming bag would moulder in the corner for days, and I would think nothing of leaving the school jumper I’d spilt yoghurt on at little lunch stuffed behind the door for a week or so.  I really was a disgusting little creature.

Do keep in mind that I didn't have any teeth. It's hard not to spill yoghurt without teeth to hold it in.

Of course, adolescence did not make me any better.  Stinky shoes, an apparent sighting of a rat in my locker in year 9, my room’s collection of old, dead bowls of 2 minute noodles, an impressive floordrobe and rebellious teenage half-smoked cigarettes saved for later stashed stinkily in a coat pocket (sorry, Mum).  Again, quite disgusting.

(No, no picture of teenage Amy.  That’s another story for a another time.)

Sharehouse life a few years later wasn’t the madcap freedom I’d dreamt of.  My first sharehouse was with some girls I’d gone to school with, and they insisted on things like cleaning the bathroom and arranging to have the lawn mowed.  Thankfully, a few years later I found myself in a far more appropriate venue, complete with trolleys borrowed from the local supermarket, magic mushrooms growing in the bathroom cupboard, a kitchen that was frequently home to a possum you had to practically attack with a broom to get to leave the benchtop, a secret cat and an extra tenant whose room was made out of sheets and plywood.  For quite some time, I didn’t actually have a key.  I just climbed through the window on the back verandah if nobody was home.  Keeping our home sparkling was not our priority.

Pretty much.

I am not quite like that now.  I’ve been living like a semi-responsible adult for a few years now, but I am still definitely…pleasantly bohemian in my cleaning habits.  I’ve had times where I’ve gone quite domestic, though, because there’s a flip side to my slobbish ways.

You see, it’s not that having a cosy home doesn’t appeal to me.  On the contrary, I am quite obsessed with decorating and design blogs.  I love the idea of having things…well…nice.  One of my favourite things to think about as a kid was what I would do if I could pick my dream bedroom – I treasured a book about children’s bedroom makeovers and would move my furniture around my room, ‘decorating’, quite a lot.

During the cranky, stinky teenage years, I was obsessed with the op shop, with any terrible old furniture I could persuade my mum to let me drag out of storage downstairs to adorn my room. with putting together the perfect poster wall and with ironic trinkets (this obsession hasn’t yet worn off).

Even during the dodgiest of sharehouse years, couldn’t help myself sometimes.  I turned our back verandah into a tiki hut with fairylights and bamboo.  (I would occasionally clean THE ENTIRE BATHROOM or THE ENTIRE KITCHEN in a glorious display of effort, but that was about it.)

How could I be both these people at the same time?  I’ve even gone through parts of my life as a neat freak.  This  always seems to happen when I’m stressed – I must have inherited my mother’s cleaning-the-bathroom-in-times-of-worry gene.

So what’s the middle ground?  It seems to me that the sort of standard housekeeping that people just have to do on a regular basis is boring.  I want to do creative pretty things to my house, but I don’t want to do the washing up.  I’ve attained a level of basic hygiene in my old age, but things could be better.  Maybe instead of analysing it to death, I should just start cleaning up after myself.  I read that it takes 21 days to gain a habit, so for the next 3 weeks, I’m going to keep my house clean.  I’ll report back then to see if my ways have changed at all.  I don’t want to coast on enthusiasm for a week and then burn out, so I’m just going to try to do the normal amount that people do to keep things shipshape.

The next three weeks.

See you on the other side.  Maybe I’ll distract myself from my drudgery with another, smaller, Try Again.  The football is on soon.

In which I share an interesting fact about football, and list some more Things I Do Not Like
March 9, 2010, 5:50 PM
Filed under: Things I Do Not Like | Tags: ,

Gentle reader: I have not yet gone to the football.  I sort of assumed that football was on all the time (the seemingly constant parade of yokels rolling from the Caxton to the Normanby via my front yard suggests so).

However!  As I did know, somewhere in the back of my brain, football is played in seasons.  This fact means that the first game of the season (for I have resolved to attend a Broncos game at Suncorp Stadium, given that I’ve heard so many) doesn’t take place until this Friday night.  I can’t go this week, so I looked at the next one, on March 28 – but it’s a Sunday, and I’ve got rehearsal.

(Incidentally, there’s a great play opening at the Brisbane Arts Theatre on April 10.)

F2: Return of the Felafel

Right!  Anyway, my point is this: I may not get to the football until April.  Don’t worry, though, punters, I intend to carry on with my quest.  As a result, here, for your perusal, is another edition of Things I Do Not Like.

  • Horror movies.  I am a complete and utter girlyskirt when it comes to scary things.  I’m not a fan of grisly slasher horror stuff, but the scariest part of any horror or suspense film is, for me, the suspense itself.  Knowing that you’re about to be frightened, that a horrible monster is about to leap out or someone’s about to take a chainsaw in the face (accompanied by dramatic music) is not my idea of fun.  I know many people enjoy this, but I avoid it like the plague.
  • Certain types of music.  I love what my significant other (hereby known as SigOth) calls ‘Geezer Rock’: the Beatles, Bowie, the Stones, the Kinks.  I also have a soft spot for ’90s Britpop (Jarvis Cocker is not Jesus, but he has the same initials).  These are my favourites, but my taste varies – there are tunes I like in almost every genre, excluding the following:
    • Country music
    • Death metal

Country music could, possibly, be enjoyed ironically.  Death metal sounds to me like I have done something very terrible and am being yelled at hysterically. I am frightened to say anything further about the music described in point 3 as I am not familiar with the millions of sub-genres it encompasses.  I would hate, for example, to boldly declare my hatred of sci-trance-happy-hardcore when what I really dislike is, say…actually, I can’t think of any more semi-plausible names for genres.  You get the idea.  I do not like it.

  • Cleaning.  I am a slob, but a slob who yearns.  I totally get off on the idea of having a cosy, happy little home.  I have urges to decorate, to bake, to light delicately scented candles, to make my flat a clean and lovely refuge from reality!  Sadly, however, I am far less interested in things like cleaning the bathroom or not leaving my socks on the floor.  I occasionally rally enough to do one glory job – like doing ALL the washing up (usually because I do not have a single clean plate, bowl or non-Tupperware container out of which to eat).  I can’t seem to keep the place clean on a regular, everyday basis.  It’s just so BORING.  I’ve resigned myself to being disgusting forever, more or less.

Perhaps a night of cleaning, watching horror movies, whilst drinking excessive amounts of Ouzo?  Something must be done.

Things I Do Not Like
February 13, 2010, 7:37 AM
Filed under: Things I Do Not Like | Tags:

This list is a work in progress as I’m quite full of hate and can’t possibly list all the things I Do Not Like in one go.

  • Peanuts.  No, I’m not allergic.  I just think they taste disgusting.  At least, that was my opinion last time I tried them, many years ago.  I particularly despise peanut butter.
  • Football.  I have never been to a football game in my life (well, at 15 I went to see my first boyfriend play soccer.  The ball hit me in the head.  Even before then, I didn’t care for it) and had planned to keep it that way.
  • Camping.  Tents.  No toilets or showers (or school camp level ones at best).  Hell on earth.
  • Maths.  I decided at about age 6 that maths was a waste of my time.  Even then I knew that I liked words much, much more.  I had a calculator.  I didn’t imagine that I would ever need to use anything beyond maths in everyday life (I was right, by the way).  I resolved then and there to ignore mathematics completely.  In grade two, we would write in our journals of a morning before doing maths.  I once wrote in my journal for three and a half hours to avoid ever getting to maths.  I refused to learn my times tables.  I would not have any part in long division.  In high school, you could technically give up maths at the end of year ten.  I say technically because nobody else did, and it was very, very strongly recommended against.  I did.  I’m fine.  Screw maths.  (That said, of course maths is very important in the grand scheme of things, blah blah, etc etc.  For me, though, it had the misfortune to find itself on one of my earliest mental lists of Things I Do Not Like.)
  • Ouzo.  I was 16.  I drank a lot of Ouzo one evening at a friend’s (I am not entirely sure why we chose Ouzo – if you’ve never encountered it, it’s a Greek aniseed spirit) and threw up.  A lot.  Had-to-be-showered-and-put-to-bed sort of a lot.  I was a rather rotten little teenager and was very keen on practicing drinking at every opportunity, but this was really pretty terrible.  I have not touched it ever since.
  • Sci-Fi and Fantasy.  Dragons bad.  Spaceships bad.  I am sure there are a few good examples of both genres, but I haven’t found them.  I did AMEB drama exams for a while in early high school, and my teacher thought The Hobbit would be a good book to read a section from for the exam.  I refused to read anything but those few paragraphs.  During the exam, the examiner asked me to improvise a scene where Bilbo Baggins encountered a villan from elsewhere in the book.  I had never heard of this character, but thankfully the examiner referred to him as ‘xxxxxxxx [I have forgotten the name, of course], the snake monster’.  I hissed and slithered around threatening hobbits for about a minute, but didn’t have a clue.  Anyway, it worked.  My point is: Tolkein is generally thought of as a rather good writer of fantasy, and yet from childhood I’ve been deeply against even him.  Those terrible series with badly drawn dragons on the covers haven’t got a chance.  (I admit that I have read a tiny smattering of halfway decent sci-fi short stories – Phillip K Dick springs to mind – but there’s a lot of crap out there…so no.)

I think that will do for now.  Even writing this has made me think that I’ve already half outgrown many of these opinions.  I think I’ll have to start some practical tests.

The question is: what to try again first?