"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

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

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

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

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

Monday, 27 July 2015

Abuse Is Not a Sport

In May, the AFL had its annual Indigenous Round - a week of celebration of the role Aboriginal people play in the game. Adam Goodes, an Indigenous player who makes headlines for many controversial reasons, made them once again for doing this:

I'm amazed to find that two months later, talk about that moment is still going. Goodes played a game in Perth on the weekend in front of 40 000 people and was booed by all of them whenever he got near the ball.

Now the racial element to this event has been covered a thousand times. For the record I'm one of the (thankfully) many people who think it's ridiculous that any big deal was made about this at all. But to me this is an indicator of a problem that receives far less attention: abuse from sports fans.

To die-hard sports fans, abusing players and fans from the opposing team is natural and according to them, well-deserved. The same also goes for umpires, who are bombarded with horrific vitriol whenever they pay a free kick against the home team. This is done by people who are at all other times nice, functioning members of society. They would NEVER behave that way to anyone else. For some crazy, inexplicable reason, they feel it's entirely appropriate to become neanderthals once they're watching their favourite team.

I use the term neanderthal because there's no logic to it. The people who do this are sheep. They follow each other mindlessly and jump right onto the offensive whenever they're called on it. To them, it's just fun. I sit in the cheer squad and listen to them create witty, barbed new chants. It's a sport. They enjoy being abusive because the players and umpires have no right of reply. They feel big and clever. It gives them a sense of superiority. I've also seen them do it to players ON THEIR OWN TEAM. There's no reason for that! The idea just spreads that there's this one player who deserves to be slandered and it doesn't go away, no matter what the player does.

It spreads to social media as well. Everything an opposing fan says is screen-captured and used against them as evidence of their supposed stupidity. It's poisonous to the people at which it's aimed and also to greater society. It's completely dumb and utterly pathetic. If you're one of these people that gets abusive when it comes to sport, stop. Right now. Think for yourself. Ask yourself why you hate these people so much and if the answer ends up being "Because they're stupid" or "Because they deserve it", then grow up. Even if the answer is "Because they did it to me", then the way to beat that is to rise above it. Break the cycle. Being harsher and uglier than other fans does not make you better.

This is all without mentioning the toll it takes on the the mental state of the players and umpires involved. One of the saddest things about this epidemic is the complete lack of empathy from the culprits. Anyone who complains or speaks out is just a cry baby and needs to harden up or is trying to take their fun away. Again I say - grow up. Have some consideration and think for yourself. Then the sporting world will be immeasurably better off.

Friday, 24 July 2015

AFL Shenanigans Round 16: Spray Tan

Matt's been looking more and more defeated every time he does a challenge. He manages to win a lot more than us, but when he loses, he does some exceptionally good challenges.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Canberra Stories #1: Questacon

For ten days, between July 3rd and 13th, I was in Canberra experiencing Improvention - Australia's biggest improv theatre festival (out of a total two). I had an amazing time there, and I got quite a few really interesting stories out of it. The first came when I had my first ever meeting with a blogger friend, Elephant's Child.

I'd decided to fly in the day before the festival started so I could fit in some sightseeing, so at 8:30 that morning I arrived, found my way to the hotel, got settled in and then called the number given to me by EC. I sat out the front of my hotel, eating my lunch in the freezing cold and perking up at every car that pulled up to the curb. EC knew what I looked like from the many pictures and videos on my blog, but I had no idea what she looked like. Eventually a black car pulled up and I saw someone in the passenger seat grinning and waving at me enthusiastically.
"Well, either that's her or I'm about to be abducted by the government," I thought. "Not a bad start to my trip either way."

EC greeted me and introduced me to her husband, who was driving. They were both really cute together - the way people usually are when they've been married for most of their lives. They took me to Questacon, which is a centre of science and discovery which is really interactive and fun. There were lots of games, exhibits and challenges there and the three of us wandered through each room marvelling at the wonders.

The outside of the building.

A giant glockenspiel outside the building. I could play a few simple tunes.

There were sensors in the top and bottom of that harp which sensed where your hand was. You could select one of dozens of instruments and it would make the sound of that instrument. The pitch was determined by where in the harp you put your hand.

The staff there were eager to impart some of their knowledge. This guy was teaching me about muscle memory by stroking my hand on either side of the mirror. If I watched my hand in the mirror, the man could take his right hand away and I'd still feel it stroking me. It was awesome and creepy at the same time.

This hole was only about as deep as a frying pan, but the use of lighting and one-way glass made it look like an infinite hole.

I was challenged to find a way to balance these six hammers on top of the first hammer. I'm usually not good at lateral thinking puzzles, but I think I nailed this one.

Those lower ones aren't touching the table - they're being precariously balanced on the first hammer.

Those magnets were just strong enough to not come off the wheel when you span it, but weak enough to slide across it when it was spun. The result was that it made a cool pattern when you spun the wheel.

This hourglass was filled with rubber and has been slowly seeping down to the bottom since its installation in December 1982.

They had a lightning machine. 'Nuff said.

We entered an exhibit on Earthquakes, where we stepped onto a platform which shook like a tectonic plate. We were encouraged to find the most structurally sound way to build a structure that would withstand the trembling.

It took me a while, but I think I've figured this girl out - she loves science, but she hates kids. She shot off all sorts of facts about seismology with a practiced tongue, but she also didn't seem to care if the kids could keep up and seemed to be very condescending. EC, I'd love to hear if your husband agrees.

A giant H2O Rube Goldberg machine.

I played air hockey against a big robotic arm.

There was a screen next to the table which showed what the arm sees. When the puck came towards it, it would measure the puck's trajectory...

...and hit it back.

It did all this very fast. It had played about 300 games that day, each of 90 seconds in length. It had won 294 of them and drawn 6. There had been a total of 23 goals scored against it in those 300 games. So when I came away from my game with a 1-all draw, I was pretty happy with myself.

That slide was angled in such a way that for the first half, you're just freefalling through the air. You're actually not even allowed on it if you can't hold yourself up by the bar at the top.

There was a ball bearing inside this giant ball that I had to get through the maze.

It dropped in the end :P

I'm not even sure I can describe this. It was an INCREDIBLY intricate machine where billiard balls were propelled through tunnels, levers and loop-de-loops. They would travel down all different paths depending on the positions of the other balls and sometimes the arrival of other balls would release the first ball which was being held there. It was all completely run by kinetic energy, except for the conveyor belt you can see running vertically in the middle there.

Naturally, we finished up at the gift shop. What do you think of this?

Friday, 17 July 2015

AFL Shenanigans Round 15: Love Scenes

This is the first challenge Dimi did. How do you think he went?

Monday, 13 July 2015

AFL Shenanigans Round 14: Dance Lessons

This week's video was a pain in the ass to film, as I was on a trip to Canberra for 10 whole days. I'll be talking about that trip soon because it was amazing and because I had my first ever blogger meet-up, with the lovely and generous Elephant's Child. For now though, enjoy this very quick video.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Question of the Month (July 2015)

This is the second installment of Question of the Month, where answer a question... of the month. I guess that was pretty obvious.

This month's question is:

"What are three things you'd do tomorrow is fear wasn't stopping you?"

  1. Write something to completion.
    I don't care what it is - a play, a novel, a movie, a TV show... I just want to be able to say I've done it. What I'm worried about is that I'll spend three years working on it and then try to sell it and no one will want it. It would just sit there collecting dust, or the computerised equivalent of dust.
  2. Put my name out there more.
    I try to get myself into the jobs that I want, but I can't shake the idea that I'm just an inconvenience to potential employers. It stops me from really getting out there as much as I could.
  3. Ask out girls.
    I've tried making an effort on this one, but I've found that if I ask someone out that I've known for a while, it's made the relationship awkward at least for a little while. If I ask out someone I've just met, they think I'm creepy. I can't win there.

On that cheerful note, if you'd like to join the bloghop, there's a linky list below. We post on the first Monday of every month. Next month's question will be

"If your parent or child committed a major crime, would you turn them in?"

Friday, 3 July 2015

AFL Shenanigans Round 13: Vegemite

Matt lost and I got to make him eat that Vegemite. Yay!

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