Archive for the ‘Storys’ Category

On running (like there’s something after you)

In polite conversation, folks often ask about your hobbies. Acceptable answers to such questions range from ‘Gaming’, ‘Painting’, ‘Stamp collecting’ to ‘Cars’, but tell someone you run for fun and more often than not, you’re going to get a few odd looks.

Apparently being into running means you’re also a teetotaling, fitness freak with a perchant for tofu. People tend to clutch their cigarettes at me like Romanians clutch garlic to keep the vampires at bay. Im not, really. I drink with the best of them and I have a cute tiny beer belly called Gary to prove it. If you want to smoke, thats fine. Im not about to make you run anywhere. It’s ok, calm down.

I run for fun. It’s something that has always come naturally to me. No complicated equipment, no instructions, no boats to drag into the water or bikes to fall off of or sweaty apes making disgusting grunting noises. Just you, and the air (I avoid running on treadmills as it makes me feel like a mouse). You want to stop, you stop. But it feels so great if you keep going.

I was in the athletics team in primary school, and wound up being vice sports captain for my team (Go red team, yeah!). I dabbled in hurdles, long-jump, high-jump, and triple-jump but was only good at such things because I was good at running. There was no training involved, I was 12, it was just my thing.

I tried out for the athletics team in high-school, but my overwhelming geekiness made it hard for me to feel accepted by my cliquey pop music loving, bleached blonde, luddite peers. However forced participation in school sports meant that there was still running to do and I enjoyed it despite myself. I made friends with a fellow running outcast and we would jog around after school.

In uni I drank beer. Then I broke my knee, kept drinking beer and got fat. Aesthetics being my speciality, it was hard looking in the mirror and not being pleased with the view. Sure, you aren’t what you look like, body image, blah blah. But its hard for someone who is so focused on how things look all day to suddenly turn that off and think ‘I am happy with my thighs jiggling like that’. So once the fake knee had been assimilated I got on with the running, only this time (possibly due to alien abduction) I was aiming for distance.

I remember struggling, 3ks seeming so so far. I’d have to stop and walk in the middle, breathing like someone about to give birth to a small moon and as red as an English tourist who has spent 3 days at the Gold Coast in January. I enjoyed it despite the moon puffing redness.

After a while if I didn’t run every now and again, I would get these nightmares of something chasing me and not being able to run fast enough to get the hell away from it. My subconscious’ guilt is powerful stuff. And now if I don’t run I get crabby and have trouble sleeping, occasionally eye gouging can result.

My favorite part of running right now is Mordialloc pier. I go fast to watch the water rush past me on either side and deliberately make it hard for myself to dodge the fishermen. I like to convince myself that once I get to the end Im not going to turn around but run out onto the water road-runner style and eventually find myself in Sorrento with wet shoes.

A few weeks ago, thanks to an email from Nike, I signed up for my first race. I feel like a debutant, being presented to the world, or a gay man coming out; “I run, and Im proud”. Im terrified, what happens if I can’t finish? This terror has manifested itself into a training schedule of 5:30am starts, intervals, fartleks and vigorous stretching. And for a little while, my fear also stopped me from telling anyone I plan on doing it because if no one knew, it’d be easier to chicken out.

So now we get to the point; on the 31st of August, I am going to run my little legs off around Melbourne. My goal is not only to finish the race, but to finish it in under an hour. My first 10k training run will be this Sunday and currently my 9k is sitting on 55:56. I am both excited and terrified. Wish me luck.

Training

So right now Im on a train, in a tunnel under the Melbourne CBD. The dark outside of the window has just taken a highlighter to my reflection and is in the process of pointing out the red spots on my face to my fellow travelers.

The blonde next to me is squinting downward trying to covertly read what Im writing and I’m going to wish her luck because glancing back up the page, I’m going to have problems reading it myself, and I’m supposed to type it out later.

I’ll blame the train, and my blonde friend next to me for squishing me into this tiny space and denying my left elbow the room it needs to swing around should my handwriting be legible.

I promise I’m trying. Im trying (heres where it get’s tricky – careful now) because I’m going to Spain soon. And I have no idea about the quality of left hand side elbow room they have over there. So I figure I better get used to all kinds. This may not make sense to you, but you’re not going to Spain, I am.

I’m going to thank the blonde, and Connex (despite the inconvenience caused) for this mostly uncomfortable seat. ‘Cause it all feels like training for the multiple plane journeys I get to endure traveling over to europe, or the cross land bus trips or even rides on the Barcelona metro.

I can’t wait to be sweating my ass off while also baking it to the vinyl bus seat in the early Spanish summer sun. Not to say I thought this years Australian summer was a slouch, there were enough 40ºC days to bake my back garden dead, but I digress.

Im training for my first solo adventure into the unknown, the unknown being a plethora of things including, but not limited to: Multiple 12+ hour flights, booking travel insurance, Europe, travel backpacks and being alone. One would possibly observe that Im pretty excited about it all too and one would be correct. And amongst all the bubbly school girl excitement (next to the schoolgirl fear) is the urge to share. So Im training that up as well.

A little bit of history

I’ve had some form of a personal website since 1997, my first site was called “The Funny Farm” and featured some very pre-teenaged idol worship, pictures of my favorite tee vee shows and some drawings of cats. It was hosted on GeoCities and would have made any mySpace owner proud.

I then had a few flings with a few online diary sites, one almost ruined my very first relationship, another getting so famous it was talked about in a Sunday Age article about kids and technology. I got an awful lot of shit at school for that one too. Had I been a little more savvy I would have sued the author for damages.

So for a while after that, there was silence. And then there was Blogger. I started “Between an overload of information” during my very awkward teenaged growings up. It was very a typical “Today I ate this and trod in that…” type blog. And although even then I knew I was writing about complete bullocks, I persevered because it was just so addictive for so many reasons. Mostly because like any fifteen year old girl – I was a wee bit vain. I can’t say my writing improved from it a great deal, but my html sure did. I re designed the thing almost weekly.

My boyfriend-at-the-time owned his own domain and space, so one day I moved “Overload” to his server (from the POS free server I was currently on). At that time I was studying for my VCE which involved a less than healthy amount of physics and chemistry, the only useful thing to come from this torture was the name “Amphiprotic Junkyard” (Which I thought discribed me just right).

“Amphi” grew with me, it was angsty, raw and very badly written. Ive never been very good at spelling. I shared deep innermost feelings and desires with the whole world, wrote from the hip, left my comments open, but it was all okay ‘cause no one was interested.

The last stop of this journey was my attempt to break free, grow up a little, and make something of myself. I bought a domain and some web space of my very own – “Red Paper Crane” – I vowed to myself; would not be angsty, boringly personal, or embarrassing. No, it would be interesting and useful, it would get me a job, it would represent me.

The name is almost three years old now, has had 4 different blogs hosted on it, Its been hacked, its been taken down due to controversy and comment spam, but Im not at all sure If I have even started to achieve any of the above goals.

This time around, I actually want to persevere with the blog, I want it to grow old with me. My daily reading these days consists of quite a few blogging veterans and yeah I admire them, both for their perseverance and their skill with the written word. Its mostly due to them that I understand now that bloging isn’t just writing down how you think and feel; its publishing to a world wide audience, and that deserves a little more time and thought; especially if your goal is to be read.

Yes, Some people want to be rock-idols or movie stars, I want people to read my blog. Don’t need to live off it (although if it happens I sure as hell wont complain) I just want an audience.
The only way I get an audience, is by being good – I hope I can be good.

The Cat Bully

I really love my cat, she’s my best-est friend forever. Sometimes though I really worry, like if your firend is dating a real ass, or your sister wears something that is just so truly hideous you must throw rolls of loo paper at her untill her senses come back from their little trip to mars.

Its a bit like that with Rolly and I currently.

Today the situation reached its peak, I got home from work and called her from the back garden, was greeted by excitement because it was dinner time, fed her and then went about feeding myself. I hadn’t even finished nukeing the bowl of sweet sweet mac and cheese before she was at the back door miewing at me again.

“Whats wrong with you!?” I demanded. “You have a perfectly good bowl of fish waiting for you…” She just looked up at me forlornly. And when I glanced over at her bowl suddenly knew why, some other cat was eating her food. Not only were they happily eating it, but they had ousted her.

“Mew!” – The red cat.
“Mew miow” – It bullies me.

It was just pathetic.
I immediatly shooed the gigantic ginger away from my tiny cats food and brought it and Rolly inside.

“You poor thing”, I said “No wonder you’re such a scrawny thing”.
“Miow- slurp chomp” was all I got.

– and you would think it would finish there, this hideous tale of back yard cat bullying. But it didn’t. As I was finishing up preparing my food, I caught movement in the corner of my eye. There, near the back door was the orange cat, back apparently for the rest of my poor cats food. The bastard had the nerve to come back.

I simply flew out the back door making as much noise as I possibly could without actually exploding. Chased the thing around the corner of the house, and I would have chased it under had my physical size not provided a huge barrier for me.

Satisfied that iet wouldn’t be back for at least a little while, I wandered back to where my cat chomped happily on her tuna white meat. And as I came though the door she looked up and chirruped with gratitude.

Makes me wonder if she’s actually eaten any of the food we’ve given her all week.