Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My heart is just BREAKING for Chris Brown

I mean can't a dude beat the shit out of his girlfriend's face and not have people ask him about said violent beating two years later? Stay strong, Chris, violent spouses around the world are standing strong behind you on this one.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.

I don't know how closely everyone has been following this story out of Sydney showing footage of a fat older kid being bullied by a younger boy. For anyone who hasn't seen it the older kid is being picked on and hit, picked on and hit until he retaliates by picking up his bully and dumping him on the ground. I've been fascinated by the story, in part because it's pretty tough to know how to feel about it.

On the one hand, I genuinely don't think that violence is ever the answer but only breeds more violence blah blah blah. If the younger kid had been badly hurt, which he could easily have been, we'd all be talking about the case in a very different way and the older kid's life would be even more fucked. I know kids who were bullied but I also know kids who were the bullies, and they're not evil people who deserved to die - they were just little shits who didn't know any better and were probably being bullied themselves. I'm sure there are plenty of childhood bullies who didn't come good but the people I know did.

On the other hand I can't help being a little bit delighted by the story, like a lot of other people apparently. I could pretty much watch the footage of the bullied kid picking up his tormentor all day because somehow this little incident seems to have become a flashpoint for something much bigger. It's pretty tough to have any sympathy for the younger boy when you hear the older one talk about how he contemplated suicide as a result of all the teasing that he seems to have suffered for most of his school life. Similarly it's tough not to feel admiration for the victim because he so obviously just took it and took it and took it until he... didn't take it anymore.

For some reason it makes me think of the brilliant film, Network, and its protagonist's mantra: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore".

It's a pretty shitty lesson for kids to learn but I'm betting that the older kid's situation at school will improve as a result of this incident, in a way that years of asking for help from his parents and teachers has not.

I would love to see someone revisit this story in five years time to talk to both boys about how it shaped their lives, as I'm sure it will.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Things that Do and Do Not Feel Good After Finishing a Brutal Workout at the Gym

DOES FEEL GOOD: The sense that I am getting my fitness back ("back"? Really?) and could maybe run away from a very slow, possibly wounded, predator.

DOES NOT FEEL GOOD: Walking into the (otherwise empty) change room to find a (male) cleaner mopping the floor. Am I seriously expected to take my clothes off in front of this guy or do I just pretend to be super interested in my little locker and the two pairs of shoes within it? Enquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pemberton, I love you, but you're bringing me down

To Pemberton where I spent my weekend watching a load of very skinny boys ride past me very fast on very expensive bikes. To my slight surprise it was great fun (and not only the bit where I got to legitimately spend a day staring at one of my favourite things in the world: skinny boys). It has, however, put me off my One Day plans to watch a stage of the Tour de France because, without the commentators to explain what's happening, it is, to put it mildly, fucking hard to work out what's going on.

My spectator chum, Marnie, and I spent several hours curled up on a handy park bench in what we thought would be an advantageous spot to watch the race. We were half way up a big hill so we got to see the riders dying on their arses on the way up and then moving scary fast on the way down. In between the laps when we saw nobody I re-read Madame Bovary and she read something on her e-reader, shivering in the freezing cold. (And damnit if don't now kinda want an e-reader, having spent so long railing against them).

Anyway, it was all fine when the riders went off in their respective groups at the start but by the time they came around for Lap 2 we had no idea whether the lone riders were completely shit stragglers or amazing riders who had pulled off a one-man breakaway. Should we have clapped or averted our gazes politely? We chose the latter. Adding to the, er, fun, was that several riders got completely lost and would ride by at random times, looking confused. To top it all we managed to miss the finish and didn't realise the race was over until someone cycled up to tell us so. Brilliant.

The best/worst bit of the weekend, though, was our motel - which I won't name here lest I manage to defame ten types of hell out of them.

Clearly I am a massive snob - I must be, I've never stayed in a motel. But the weirdness started with the man at reception ("Just don't leave any sugar out, or the ants will come") and ended with the cleaning lady who performed her duties while wheeling a wheelbarrow. No, I don't know either. Adding insult to injury was that when we went out for breakfast at the Lavender Farm (exactly like it sounds) the next day we discovered they rent out some darling wee cottages with a view of the lake and, yes, the lavender. Opportunity missed.

I guess what I'm saying is that I am already planning my return trip to Pemberton for the Pemberton Classic road race next year. But this time I plan to book ahead at the Lavender Farm. And possibly bring some binoculars. Those skinny boys are worthy of a close up.