Hubris.co.nz

An online journal since 1998

A fictional week in Surrey

Recently my most-of-the-time favourite (*) website The Spinoff (who I have written things forannounced a residency contest for a writer. I was of course super interested in it but realised I had no leave owing and I wasn’t sure what I’d work on during it. So I had another think, came up with an idea, and wrote it up, along with this letter.

I’m writing to apply for the Spinoff Surrey Residency… sort of. Actually, what I’m proposing is that alongside whoever wins the actual residency, the Spinoff might like to publish my semi-fictional account of what I’d do if I was on the residency. It might make a striking contrast between high art and low art?
I’ve started the piece already, though it’s not finished yet, and I’ve put the first draft below. I look forward to hearing from you!

When the finalists were announced, Braunias said “There were one or two time-wasters who will receive terse replies from the selection panel.” This is the reply I received, for the record.

Dear Joanna

Thank you for your sort of application, but the selection panel regrets to inform you that it hasn’t been successful.

Best regards

So perhaps they didn’t realise I was serious. Alas. Anyway, I like what I’ve written, even though I haven’t finished it, and Jo likes it too, so I thought maybe you might find it amusing or interesting? Here you go.

—-

The first thing about getting to the Surrey Hotel is that it’s in Auckland and I live in Wellington. But the idea of a whole week to myself in which I can write, in which I can knuckle down and focus, in which there won’t be a thousand household chores waiting for me to complete and the stress of my day job numbing my brain leaving me only capable at the end of the day to lie on the sofa and yell at the dreadful cooks on My Kitchen Rules is infinitely appealing. Not the mention  the lure of a free Domino’s pizza every night. I mean, that’s worth traveling the country for. So there’s shuttles to the airport and expensive decaf coffee because I’m too early and the terribly difficult choice of a cookie or the vege chips, and the embarrassed look on the flight attendant’s face when I ask for an extension belt. And then there’s the Auckland airport bus to the city and then an Uber to Grey Lynn, and then I’m there.

I had stayed here before back in 2005, when my ties to Auckland were stronger, before my university friends had fully scattered themselves to the wind. I was so proud to have been able to pack all the clothes I needed for a weekend into a carry-on bag. That’s an accomplishment for a fat person. Your clothes are bigger so they take up more space (You take up more space so the world believes you to be public property). If you wear skirts, you need to factor in something to prevent chub rub as your thighs get intimate with each other when you walk around. I’d even managed to pack my rarely worn togs, determined that since there was a pool, I would swim in it.  This time, I have a suitcase on wheels, because my laptop is heavy and I have brought more than one pair of pyjamas with me. Why wear anything else to write?

It seems like the place has had a spruce up since then, though it’s still odd having the swimming pool out in the open in the middle of the building. I find my way to the room, bounce on the bed, read through the manual of how to call reception and turn on the TV. Now what? The writing desk looks at me expectantly, like the Nick Cave line about the piano crouching in the corner with all its teeth bared. I’m here to write. I am going to write something. I’m going to write something momentous and have it published on the Spinoff. Maybe I’ll write something as great as the poem about Monica from FRIENDS which wasn’t really about Monica at all. But first…. I might as well take advantage of the hotel room and the relative anonymity of Auckland.

It only takes a minute to rewrite my Tinder profile. Tall fat girl looking for fun in her hotel room. I to be dommed and I’d like it even better if you have a friend too. In town for a couple of days only. I swipe right on solid-looking men with cheeky grins, especially those with Irish or Scottish accents. In a couple of minutes I have a match. “I haven’t dommed someone before, but I’m willing to learn” says Eugene. I ask him how rough he likes his sex and give him a detailed list of what I’m looking for  – light on pain but heavy on saying the kinds of things that get me off. Subbing could be a very confusing time for a feminist if I wasn’t a firm believer that whatever two consenting adults get up to in the bedroom is only between them and their readers. What I want is for someone else to be in charge, for someone to make the decisions and take the lead and let my brain be quiet just for a little bit. Eugene seems to understand and when he gives me his cellphone number I text him detailed instructions on how to circumvent Reception and get to my room. Then I send his contact details, picture and timeframe to my best friend along with a promise I’ll be in touch as soon as it’s done. I have a couple of hours to spare and I’ve been promised a roast. Maybe I can find a spitroast later on.

There are a lot of cafes in Grey Lynn but free is free, so I begrudgingly change out of my PJs, find some shoes and make my way to the dining room. I keep my head buried in the papers so no one tries to talk to me too much but I still check out the rest of the crowd anyway. A few middle age businessmen in polo shirts, one family. I guess the free parking is a drawcard. I guzzle house wine with my free roast and wish there was more crackling. In defense of the Surrey, I will always wish there was more crackling. Afterwards I stroll over to Countdown around the corner and remember how it used to be Foodtown and how when I first moved to Auckland my media studies friends and I always used to try to spot ‘celebrities’ (read: Shortland Street actors) there. I buy more cheap red wine with what’s leftover of my Spinoff stipend after my flights up from Wellington and return to my room to await my fucking.

Eugene is late so I spend extra time fussing over my lip gloss and trying and failing to take a cute picture of my flat ass in my ruffled panties for my secret Twitter account. Eventually he calls me, and he’s lost. He hasn’t paid any attention to any of the detailed instructions I gave him about how to get to my room, so I talk him through it, step by step, just as I had texted him earlier. Finally he knocks on the door, and I invite him in, pour him a glass of wine. Then I wait for him to take charge as he promised to do.

Instead, we make awkward small talk. What I’m doing in Auckland (I say “work”) and how the weather is warmer than Wellington, and how yes, this hotel is quite nice but I do miss my cats back home. Stop talking about your cats, Joanna. This is boring as shit. Can we get started please? But I’m waiting for him to take charge, as I said in my detailed instructions on what I was looking for. Oh, like the detailed instructions I gave him on how to get to my room? Shit. But finally he is pulling me forward and kissing me, his tongue crawling into my mouth and setting up camp there, lying down to sleep. Why are all British people such terrible kissers? A moment later he is unzipping his jeans and telling me to suck his dick, hesitantly, as if he doesn’t expect me to comply. His lack of authority is really displeasing but at least he’s trying? He leads me to the bed where I sink to my knees in front of him and get to work, hoping he is leading up to something. Some hair pulling, some face slapping, some language. But it’s just him groaning, hardly even grabbing at me, not making eye contact. A minute goes by as I try to be as eager as possible, despite how ripped off I feel. THOSE DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS. Finally he speaks. “I’m going to fuck you now”. My nipples each receive a cursory tweak as he rolls on a condom and slides in. My eyes drift to the ceiling and walls as he thrusts into me

“As an intriguing point of difference, hung on the wall of each executive hotel room is a photograph of a classic Rolls Royce car from The Surrey Hotel Auckland owner’s personal collection.”  declares the Surrey’s website but I barely have time to figure out the picture is a car before his grunts become a collapse. “I’m sorry,” he says, “it’s been a long time”. It’s fine, I’m flattered, I say automatically, ever polite like the good diplomat’s daughter I am. I don’t mind so much about the length of the actual fuck, but now I hear him moving around putting on his clothes and I’m furious. I reach down between my legs and imagine everyone I’ve ever slept with standing in a circle around me, looking down on me, judging me. It’s a basic boring orgasm, but it gets the job done. “Did you come?” Eugene asks me, shoes in hand. “Do you mean did I just make myself come? Yes I did,” I laugh at him. “Well… good. I’ll see you later then,” he says. “No you definitely won’t,” I reply, as I bolt the door after him. I text my friend to tell her we’re done and I’m safe and well, even if he’d just had sex at me rather than with me.  Well that was a waste of…. 15 minutes if I don’t count the time spent talking to him earlier on Tinder or the sunk cost of not banging someone else. And I still don’t know what I’m going to write about.

The hotel bathroom is infinitely cleaner than my one at home and the water pressure is fabulous, so I stay in the shower longer than the sex that dirtied me up, drafting my tweets in my head. The one that screams loudest to me is “I should have known better than to sleep with a EUGENE” so that’s what I type as I towel off. I get a “well actually, isn’t it an Eugene” and a “#notalleugenes” back from men I don’t follow, because of course I do, which I dutifully retweet followed by a gif of a woman being hit in the face by a thousand frankfurters. Food. That’s what’ll satisfy me. There’s no room service but there is a supermarket just around the corner. Grey Lynn Countdown in my PJs? Why the fuck not. It’s what Ernest Hemingway would have done, surely. Or at least Bukowski. Or maybe that other dude on the Road.  (Insert another sausage party gif here)

The next morning I wake up slightly hungover, eagerly anticipating bacon and hashbrowns, but still no more clued in to what I should be writing about. I browse the Spinoff seeking inspiration, looking at what gets the most comments. I am NOT going to write about the Auckland housing market, despite the fact that my room is so big you could probably sell it for at least half a million if it was an apartment. Such a prime location too. I wonder if it would be cheaper to move into the Surrey than buy a place. It might make sense, especially if you chose to get all your nutritional needs from the hashbrowns at the breakfast buffet.  Scanning the Herald with my breakfast, I could write about how awful white dudes are, pretty easily. Ugh, white dudes.  But then I’d have to deal with the douchebags in the comments section, and I don’t really have a new perspective to offer, except for the whole 23 years being a girl and then a woman on the internet. Maybe I could do some investigative journalism instead. I open NZdating.com on my phone.

* except for when old white cis-het dudes refers to women as cunts or chicks or just generally circlejerk around.

2015 in Review

Hey, it’s time for the six monthly Hubris update! And what better way to do it than with the annual review. 2014 is here for comparison.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

    • Celebrated a six month anniversary. And then a YEAR ANNIVERSARY HOLY SHIT.
    • Felt like I was going to drown, when we were at Cloud 9 in Fiji and the current was too strong for me to swim back to the pontoon against, and I thought I would have a heart attack if I tried, and was worried about Karen leaving me and worried about Karen not leaving me, but I managed to keep my wits and used the fist above the head signal for “help” and they came out in a boat and dragged us back in though that was kind of a drowning experience in itself and then I cried and my body went into shock from the adrenaline later that night. Uuuugh.
    • Worked three jobs in one year (quit one job to take up an eight month contract, then did four days in new job before Xmas)
    • Got OIAed by a douchebag because I called him a misogynist on twitter so obviously the best way to prove that he wasn’t was to stalk me to my work and threaten my job.
    • Drank on a Melbourne rooftop (with Jo & Kini, obviously) in this holy shit amazing apartment we rented.
      rooftop creed
    • Got asked to be a not-bridesmaid when Jo gets not-married (EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!)
    • Fourgy
    • Continued to work on verbalising my needs within a relationship
    • Worked on taking more n00ds.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I stopped playing Kardashian Hollywood and also stopped taking taxis to work (it was helpful that I moved to a job an easy nine minute stroll away, to be fair). I did have the #BESTGIRLS reunion and it was amazing, but I didn’t do great at keeping Hubris updated or dancing every week. Though I did have many particularly memorable dances though, so that was great.  

My resolutions for 2016 are written down in the Flat Bible, so I’ll have to check them once Flo gets off my back. Ah! My list, according to Jo is:

  • SKINNYDIPPING AGAIN
  • Maintain most excellent relationship
  • Pay down debt (for the record, I have a two grand overdraft and around $4500 owing on my credit card. Let’s not start on how much I owe my parents)
  • MMF ffs!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not only did Emily give birth but she also gave birth to a whole damn media empire along with Ronnie, chalking up over a million views of her first post. So proud of her.

OH! And I was messaging a friend from Uni who lives in London now to ask her if she could take Anna out for a drink and she was like “I would, but I literally gave birth today”. OMG WAY TO KEEP THAT QUIET (and congratulations)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No. But I am feeling other people’s mortality quite keenly, as well as other cats’. Florence is stone-cold deaf now. Boo.

5. What countries did you visit?

I went to Melbourne for #BESTGIRLS with Kini and Jo, and then I went to Fiji with Karen and my parents. Pro tip: even if you think you could not have been clearer about how you intend to sit by the pool and read all holiday long, you probably could be clearer.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

STILL that ever-elusive MMF? Maybe? Also, it is at times quite hard being someone’s secondary relationship when they are your primary, so I would perhaps like to find someone else to date as well. Or at least fuck on the regular.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

November 24 cos holy shit, year anniversary! July 25 for my 16 Years of Hubris party.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Maintaining my relationship. Getting hired twice. Being a person that other people could like. Liking myself.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I still get really really upset thinking about how I had to resign as refugee support partly because my team needed a way to get through to the Red Cross about their lack of support, and partly because of some other person’s awfulness. I hope you’re super proud of yourself.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing beyond the usual coughs / upset stomachs / entire body’s worth of blood pouring out of my cunt in an hour / the floor is lava type thing.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My great big bright blue hooded wool duffle coat. Essential for walking to work in. Also every cent I spent on Bae because I am a great big loved-up idiot.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Obviously my girlfriend’s, because for some reason she likes me. Her husband’s, cos this thing is far easier than it could be. ME for working on my self-loathing and getting better at articulating my needs. Bad Tom for always ensuring my glass is never empty. Everyone who ate dumplings with me. Demelza because working in the same building as her was amazing, it was great to have a shoulder to cry on at all times. The wonderful fierce feminists I know who fight the good fight.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Men. Mostly white men, but not all. Mostly right wing, but not all. The woman who suggested I should go meet up with the guy who’d stalked and threatened me, because “he was feeling bullied”. The ‘anonymous’ person who complained to the Red Cross that I was taking (my) prescription anxiety medication during an incredibly anxious situation. The police officer who used a 10 year old girl (and witness) as an interpretor. So so so so many people at the American School in Japan when I read the whole report about the sexual assaults of a former teacher there, whose house I stayed in, and how many people knew about it and covered it up. The continued rape culture in New Zealand (and the rest of the world)

14. Where did most of your money go?

Sebastian’s vet bills (regular blood tests), Flo’s dental surgery, a thousand dollar new window, two overseas holidays, a lot of food and drink. Oh and KMART

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

#BESTGIRLS, new jobs, girlfriend, the (too many) parties I threw, The Unbreakable Kimmy Gibbler. And going to KMART.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

‘It’s going to be more Beyonce isn’t it? Because of you. And because how I’m going to blush now when I hear certain songs. And maybe ‘Elastic Heart’ by Sia because apparently that was my most-played song. And also ‘Girlfriend’ by Billie because I figured out how to set ringtones for everyone, and that’s the one I have for Jo.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

I am fatter,  happier and richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Dancing. It is the best. Especially Witches’ Coven Dance on Mondays with the amazing Boganette and Rachel. I also wish I could have swum more but ear infections made me worry.  (yes this is the exact same post as last year)

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Sleeping all day on weekends, feeling lonely on Sundays and being passive/aggressive when things didn’t go my way.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

As per tradition, I spent the morning with Tom and Kris and then Keith, eating an amazing breakfast, drinking a lot of bubbly and reading each other quizzes out of the book that my work gave me when I left. Then we went to Karen’s apartment for presents and dinner and fun times, and I was greatly relieved that it was not nearly as hot as it was in 2012 when we were there and it was airless.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Toplessly FaceTiming with Jo and trying to accidentally flash her. Heh heh heh. (Again, this answer is the exact same as last year).

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?

Yes and there were literal fireworks when I declared it. <3 LITERAL FIREWORKS. Love is the best.

23. How many one-night stands?

Let me check my list. Six-ish, though one was twice-ish, and we’re still friends. That was 2015 right? (Ben V, fourgy, the ginger who had sex at me, the guy who looked like Danny Castelano and the other guy from Tinder who left me with fingerprint bruises).

24. What was your favorite TV program?

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Brooklyn Nine Nine. And the thighs of Outlander.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No but my levels of loathing for white cis straight men’s opinions has grown and grown and grown. OH LOOK, SAME ANSWER AS LAST YEAR.

26. What was the best book you read?

It was gruelling but Roxanne Gay’s An Untamed State was amazing. More importantly though, can we talk about just how fucking AMAZING The Spinoff is? Specifically anything by Alex Casey. Fuck she’s amazing. Her and Jess McAllen both make me real happy about the future of media in this country.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

28. What did you want and get?

An amazing relationship, chandeliers in my house, a  tropical holiday, #BESTGIRLS reunion, two new jobs.

29. What did you want and not get?

New tapware for my bathroom, someone who is able to shout from every single rooftop that they are in love with me, an MMF. GODDAMMIT.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

I don’t watch movies, don’t be ridiculous.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35.  For friends-celebration, a bunch of us went to dinner at Peking House and then got very very very drunk at Bad Tom’s afterwards. For Family Birthday, all EIGHT of us (Karen and I having partners for the first time included with family) we went to Hillside Kitchen. Wait, there were only seven of us cos my father was in Korea or somewhere for work.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A primary relationship.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

All the colour, always.

34. What kept you sane?

Benzos & Bae. Jo always being on the other end of Facebook or Twitter or text message or FaceTime. Tom for keeping me in booze. Demelza for letting me cry on her shoulder. Fellow feminists on Twitter. The way Florence burrows under my blankets to snuggle up to me at night. The enthusiastic greeting of Trixie Doggie. Fresh air and sunshine. Being kind to myself.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I have massive crushes on all of these people listed here by Stephanie

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Feminism as a whole, inequality in New Zealand and rape culture. SAME AS LAST YEAR.

37. Who did you miss?

Mostly I still have contact with all the people I care about, even if it’s not that frequent, so that’s pretty great.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

My flatmate-for-a-brief-time Ruby who was here doing a placement during her training. I thought she was 31 but turned out to be 21. It was lovely having a little sister, and she helped me learn what the yoofs of today are up to and we watched lots of terrible television together and it was great. I hope she moves back to Welly ASAP.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015:

I’m a good person and I deserve good things.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

McLeod’s all on your mouth like liquor.

18 Glorious Hours

Too often here is where I lick my wounds afterwards, passively-aggressively dissect where things went wrong and allude to events so obscurely I can’t even figure out what I was writing about two years later. So today, let’s do something different. Let’s talk extensively about a snapshot of bliss instead.

Last weekend was my six month Pashiversary with Pashfriend. !!! Six months! I also find it hard to believe that someone put up with me for that long, so I decided, as is my wont, to make a Big Deal about it. We talked and agreed to have our first sleepover, which of course meant that while she’s been to my house pretty much every week for the past six months, I decided to freak out about the state of it and hire a cleaner. I mean yes, I needed a spring clean anyway. And I definitely needed to find my bedroom floor again, which I haven’t seen since umm I first moved in 18 months ago? Turns out it’s still there.

The cats have been stressing out lately and Seb had taken to using the upstairs room as his toilet, which is as awesome as you can imagine, and then Florence peed inside also and there was blood in her pee so I whisked her off immediately to the greatest vets in the world, but all of this added to my stress levels, and cost a fuckton of money (turns out she’s also going to need $600+ worth of dental work. Oh and I’ve received quotes of 1k and 2k for a new sash! window (ECUADOR!!!)) and left me very uninspired to put away clothes. Oh god, so many clothes. Why the fuck do I have so many clothes??? My house is pretty small but the cleaner took seven hours over two days. She cleaned inside my couch. I am suitably impressed and if you want my cleaner’s details I am happy to hook you up.

But of course Thursday night was a panic of leg-shaving, nail painting and just SO MANY NERVES that I took a benzo and then in the morning fell asleep again clutching my phone after my alarm went off and dreamt about running late for an event and being disorganised, so I was late for work and disorganised. I felt jittery during the day but still managed to put out these tweets:

  • Tonight Pashfriend & I are celebrating our SIX MONTH PASHIVERSARY. And I am very excited. Also prob more nervous than when we first met 1/4

  • Because now I know just how fucking amazing she is. And how clever and funny and gorgeous. And how she likes me despite all my…quirks 2/4

  • So every time I get to see her, I get tingles. Because she is fantastic. And I am so lucky to have her in my life. 3/4

  • Six months ago I could not have imagined this, but it is glorious. Thanks to her lovely husband too. That is all. 4/4

FullSizeRenderI have nervous feelings about putting words out into the ether about how I am feeling in my head and heart, like if I acknowledge how wonderful things are that Fate will suddenly pay attention and snatch things back from me. but I am working very hard to convince myself that I actually deserve good things, so there you go.

After work found me with a fresh flower from a lovely gift from Demelza in my hair, replesent in my blue velvet dress that I save for going out in because cat hair and too much eyeliner, and I jumped a bus to fancypants Logan Brown, arriving exactly on the dot of 5.45pm as planned. Cocktails were ordered.  Hands were held. She’d had a hectic day too and was trembling with nerves. I like this girl quite a lot.

I’d booked over a week in advance but they gave us a table right next to a family by the wait-station, which wasn’t ideal for romance, with waiters hovering all the time. I wondered if their high end agenda would mean they’d hold off on bringing us bread while she unwrapped her present (I love giving presents) but no. We had the bistro menu with matched wines and everything was exquisite.

  • Shared Tastes of Logan Brown
    • Smoked Warehou Arancini
    • Air Dried Beef
    • Chickpea Soup & Chorizo
    • Warmed Olives & Aegean Garlic
    • Spice Braised Lamb Ribs & Brinjal Pickle
  • Hoisin Braised Beef Rib, Rare Bavette, Chestnut Steamed Dumpling & Onion Puree
  • Steamed Lemon Buttermilk Sponge, Poached Quince & Orange Ice Cream

My beef short rib was eye-rollingly good. I felt like the matched wines at $50 for three glasses wasn’t as good value though, until I located their wine list now and saw that the Schubert Dolce we had with dessert is normally $20 a glass. I’m used to paying $5 for a tasting of it at the Wairarapa Harvest Festival I guess.

I don’t go for formal dining very often because $$$ but I do fucking love it when they bring the wines to the table to pour for you, and when they have your coats waiting when you go to leave. $55 for three courses  – though we also ordered brussel sprouts – is pretty decent. And of course because we got there so early, it was around 7.30pm when we’d finished, plenty of time for another drink. We wandered up to Havana, but it was full so we strolled to Hawthorn Lounge instead, relishing our amazing fucking privilege of being able to be two women walking hand in hand down the street, pashing freely whenever we damn well felt like it.

At Hawthorn they remembered us from a week or two before when we’d been in after Singing in the Rain (great staging but cloying fake American accents and the fact that it’s a contemporary production makes the misogyny so much more apparent than the movie) and rustled us up a table out of nowhere. I felt like the queen of Sheba, merrily sipping Prosecco with a beautiful woman at my side. I rule this damn town.

Home is also where I’m a viking, with cats and a heat pump and crystal globes for whisky and ALL six types of the new Whittakers chocolate. We conducted some Serious Science Business for the state of the nation and discovered you can’t actually discern what flavour someone has been eating just by kissing them. I started babbling about interior design and bridesmaid dresses (same colour scheme you see) and just, well everything under the sun, because I could hear myself talking and I just couldn’t stop myself. I took a benzo to steady my nerves but I didn’t have to. Everything was just this bliss:

IMG_0565


Hey lovely Hubris Reader, while you’re here, why don’t you help me with party prep for #Hubris16 (July 25, you’re invited) by telling me a story about me? Do as many as you like!

Women who are good

I’ve been sick all week, chunks of my brain flying out of my nose and throat all swollen up like someone full of pride, and that’s not a lot of fun, and it’s not particularly inspiring. I’ve been so sick I DIDN’T EVEN FEEL LIKE MAKING OUT last night when Pashfriend was over. That is SICK. So obviously, writing about staying in bed with cats fighting for pole position on my legs is not very interesting, even if four episodes of Game of Thrones mysteriously showed up to keep me company, so instead, let me publish a list. The amazing Tash from Webstock contacted me recently and said she was doing a project on women of influence, and asked me who mine were. Here’s what I wrote.

International

Amy Poehler

How fantastic to use her platform as a comedian to be so so fiercely feminist. She’s aware of her own privilege in being pretty and white, and yet she still works to do great things for others – see Smart Girls At the Party for her excellent web series for young girls. And let’s talk about Lesley Knope! Parks and Recreation is fucking hilarious AND it’s about actual NICE people who support each other and achieve things. As a person who works in the public service sometimes, Lesley Knope is my role model, even though her patience and resiliance is something I will never ever ever have.

Shelley Bernstein

Shelley is one of my favourite Webstock speakers because I love the work she does in trying to open up a magnificent resource like the Brooklyn Museum to the community in which it is based. She’s so passionate about what she does, and she acknowledges the work of the people she works with, AND she has the greater good in mind. Umf!

Lindy West, Mallory Oldberg

Hilarious writers, strong feminists. I wish I could blog for a living.

New Zealanders

Anna Dean

Her life just seems so damn interesting! And her promotions that she does are so outside of the box and fabulous. She knows everyone and gets things done. Mega envious.

Marianne Elliot

Her life, what is it even? Such a gracious lady, who has done so much important work. I’d be full of admiration for her for La Boca Loca alone as its place in the community and that they’re paying a Living Wage, but then you add in all her lawyering in Afghanistan and woah.

Courtney Peters at Gather & Hunt

I wish I was Courtney running this beautiful website about places to eat and making a living out of it.

Tash 2.0 and Martha

Boss-as business women doing things their way.

Natasha Lampard

You should have seen this coming. You have the ability to make each and every person feel special when they interact with you, and that is a very special power. Whenever I am struggling with writing something that matters, I ask myself “how would Tash write it?” Your dedication and attention to detail is second to none.  The amazing thing you and Mike have done with Webstock, it is a privilege just knowing you.

Hmmm, you know, all of these women are very very cool, but they’re all very white as well. I need to find more POC role models… 

Shake it off

Jo wrote me a list last week because she decided to turn Hubris into clickbait. I guess at least that would mean I’d keep my New Year’s resolution to keep Hubris updated a little bit better than I have been. Lord knows I’ve hardly stopped taking taxis to work, and I haven’t been very good at dancing every week, though I did have possibly the best dance of my life to ‘Shake it off’ in my red ruffled panties with a friend over Easter in a context I flatout can’t explain. So I won’t.

Right now I am constantly checking the countdown clock until I go to Melbourne on May 1 to reunite with Jo and Kini in our #bestgirls reunion (another New Year’s resolution). I’m also watching the clock on April 24 too, as that will be my last day in my current job before I make the leap to another public servant role.  It will be within easy strolling distance of my house and it will be more money too, even though it will mean doing timesheets and contracting and all that crap. But I’ll be working with a woman who I met on twitter, and she’ll work me to the bone and I really look forward to that.

In other areas of life my cats still aren’t friends and I appreciate that it’s been nearly three years so maybe I should give up hoping to ever find them cuddled up together, but on the other hand, I’ll never give up the dream. Sebastian has learned to use the stairs Bambi gave me for Xmas in order to get up on my bed with his limpy limpy leg, and that makes me very happy. Not the limping part, of course. Because that is horrible and breaks my heart every time I see him, but all we can do about it is ply him with painkillers and ulcer-preventing medicine.

In other pussy news, Pashfriend and I have been seeing each other for over four months now, and frankly, she is actually just the best. The other week we were at the Wellington Wine & Food festival and Anji was there with Bambi, and Karen was there with Tom, and my parents were there, and it was like a family of eight of us and that is the first time that’s ever happened and it was bloody lovely. And then there were literal fireworks and oh, I am just a girl with hearts for eyes when she is around. It has taken me by surprise somewhat, because I had never really thought I would be a poly kind of person, but this way I have someone who cares about me and who I get to care about, but I don’t have to be afraid of losing my heart because I can’t go ALL IN when she already has a husband and a family, and also I am free to engage in whatever impromptu orgies fall at my feet. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally get sulky and pass-agg about not getting to spend enough time with her, but I’m a jerk so that’s to be expected.

Because I have a tendency to self-sabotage, I’m trying to remind myself that I do actually deserve good things, and sometimes life actually can work out good. I’ll let you know how that goes. Oh! And in other very important news, you need to keep July 25 free, because I am having the SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY OF HUBRIS on that day. The theme is “Your favourite Joanna story” so start thinking about your costumes now. You’re invited.

TOP 5 THINGS JOANNA WILL DO IN MELBOURNE

A guest clickbait list from the other Jo

1. eat dumplings
2. bath
3. hug
4. dance to the new Beyonce album that we’re calling will be released
5. not drink tequila
6. not spew
7. eat bbq
FOUR WEEKS AND TWO DAYS TO GO

Happy Galentine’s Day

There’s no brunch, because it’s a work day, and honestly, frittata is just quiche, but I figure Galentine’s Day is a good day to shout out to my ladies. Because ladies are the best. #blatantmisandry

In alphabetical order…

  • Anna, catsitter and couch-cleaner extrodinaire, who upped her game by leaving me apricot pie AND picking me up at the airport last weekend. It is always hilarious sharing online ‘dating’ stories – and online dates – with her.
  • #bestgirls, Jo and Kini. I’m going to see them in Melbourne in May and I cannot fucking wait. Why isn’t it now? Jo is always at the other end of FB Messenger for all of my subtweeting or if I need a safety person, and Kini, well, just knowing she exists makes me happy.
  • Cow-orkers, just a couple of them, but especially Iona, who is possibly even drier than me, if that’s possible. It is a pleasure being the “young” technical one with you. Thanks for all the bears.
  • Demelza, my married Single White Female, who tried to deliver me wine and cheese on a particularly stressful day for me, but was unable to buy the wine because she didn’t have ID. This despite the fact that she looks enough like me that Facebook is always trying to tag pictures of her as me. I couldn’t wish for a better identical twin, even though I wish she was taller so I could borrow more of her clothes without exposing my flaps.
  • Florence, who melts my heart every time she headbutts her way under my duvet and flops down against me. Her meow may sound like The Nanny when she wants attention, and I’d rather she didn’t hook a claw into me when she refuses to let me stop stroking her, but oh boy she is lovely. Every time I look at her I get the Phoenix Foundation’s “Going Fishing” stuck in my head because of the line “Sweet little girl…”
  • Heather, who I spent a very pleasant weekend with in Auckland, and who bought me wine tastings cos she felt so bad about accidentally making me walk up a big hill in the hot hot sun on Waiheke and accepted that I was going to be grumpy for a little bit until I regained the ability to breathe again.
  • Kates, all the Kates in my life, whether it be my best friend of 29 years Kate B, who is in New York but we’re planning our 30th anniversary already, Kate H who gleefully received my “I JUST HAD A BEN V” message and remembers the good (and bad) old days of uni, or Kate my neighbour who keeps our shared garden looking amazing, is always heaps of fun to drink with and just laughed when she heard all the swearing from my house on September 20th.
  • My mum who is finally mellowing out now she has reached retirement age, and doesn’t mind me posting videos of her Lorde impression to Facebook.
  • My sisters, who have come to accept that their little sister is useless with her money, and are okay with helping out their furry nephew (Anji) or fronting with the cash for our holidays (Karen). They’re also pretty damn supportive in general.
  • Pashfriend, who has, quite frankly, the most perfect ass in the land. I don’t know why she likes me, but she does, so that’s pretty great.
  • Raena, who is constantly thinking of me and sending me things that would interest me. The union spirit is strong with this one and I love it. She left a lemon party in my pantry, if you know what I mean.
  • Tash Lampard, aka the most lovely creature on the planet, one half of Webstock, which is next week and I am so happy about it. I used to have a sign above my desk that said “How would Tash write it?” because every piece of communication I read from her is like getting a hug and a high five from a panda bear. I dream of being her when I grow up.
  • The Feminazi Twitterati: Need I say more?
  • Wellingtonista women – we’ve been doing it for ten years now!

Chances are I’ve forgotten plenty of people. I hope I do enough every day to make you realise just how much I value you though.

HAPPY GALENTINE’S DAY. And let’s never speak about how Parks & Recreation only has five episodes left ever. Let’s end this here instead…

History, pre-me

Last year one of the teams I work in had their Xmas lunch at Siem Reap, and while I stared jealously at the people who’d opted for the set menu (I didn’t realise it meant all of the dishes, banquet-style, as opposed to one from each course), I got talking to one of my favouritest workmates about Europe, where she was about to travel. She has a Dutch background, so was really interested to know that I’m half Dutch (just don’t ask Mum where her accent is from), and quickly she started interrogating me about what Oma & Opa did during the war. I was able to say that Opa was a prisoner of war, but that he and some others had escaped by cutting a hole in the bottom of the train with a Swiss Army knife, and had lain on the tracks while the train passed over them. When I heard that story when I was about six, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. A pocketknife! My grandfather was as cool as the super cool Macguyver.

It wasn’t until I was older that Mum told me that there was a guard standing on the back of the train, that most of the escapees were shot, and that my grandfather was recaptured and spent the war in a prisoner of war camp. Meanwhile, I know my Oma became a nurse, and that’s how they met eventually. But that wasn’t enough detail for my colleague, and as I’d had a glass of wine, I took her urging and started to text Mum more questions about it all. Sadly, I have deleted all my texts from Mum showing her how it worked on her new iPhone, but I was really interested to learn more about it, though there were gaps in her knowledge as well. Especially around the Milk Strikes! I use an exclamation mark because my colleague told me to study up on the milk strikes while on holiday, and has been reminding me about that ever since. Well, you know I did buttfucknothing over the holidays, which was great, but in honour of my colleague moving to the desk right next to mine a couple of days a week, I thought I would make her a little tribute. And since it’s 2015, of course there are animated gifs. I know a lot could be written about glibly summing up some really bad shit with pictures of cats, but

¯\_(?)_/¯.

Here now, I present to you a summary of the Milk Strikes, cribbed largely from The Verzetmuseum but also Wikipedia of course. Now I’d love to know more about your family’s history too…

The involvement of the Netherlands in World War II began with its invasion by Nazi Germany on 10 May 1940. The Netherlands had originally proclaimed neutrality when war broke out in 1939, but Germany invaded anyway. On 15 May 1940, one day after the bombing of Rotterdam, the Dutch forces surrendered. The Dutch government and the royal family escaped and went into exile in Britain.

On April 29, 1943, the Germans announced that 300,000 Dutch army soldiers, who had been captured and released in 1940, were to be recaptured and sent to German labor camps.

Spontaneous strikes broke out in the eastern region of Twente and spread like lightning across large parts of the country.

Femy Efftink, switchboard operator at the Stork machine factory in Hengelo, helped distribute the news about the strike:

‘At Smit Printers the rumour went round that the prisoners of war would be transported to Germany. We sent out a few messenger boys from Stork to make inquiries. ‘

‘After three years of occupation the time had come for us to resist. In less than half an hour the factory had emptied out. When people phoned us I asked them, “Will you go on strike with us?” And I called a number of other factories one after the other. That’s how it got started.’

‘As soon as this was announced, workers in the town of Hengelo walked off their jobs in a protest strike. Word of the strike spread throughout the provinces. In the city of Eindhoven, every Philips factory shut down.’

In the province of Limburg, over 10,000 miners went on strike, followed by 40,000 total miners striking the next day.Rural Dutch farmers supported the strike by refusing to deliver milk to dairy factories.

To combat these strikes, Nazi troops began shooting at the strikers throughout the country, and those strikers who were arrested were sentenced to death. This caused the strikes to be suppressed everywhere except in Limburg. To put down the strikes in Limburg, a German police force was sent to suppress the strikes with violence.

A housewife from Lemmer wrote in her diary:

‘That morning, strange things had happened in the area. The farmers had gone on strike — they refused to deliver the milk to the factories. So everybody went to the farms to get milk. You could have as much as you wanted. I had three two-litre canning jars full. People came lugging buckets and washtubs.There was tension in the air, because you thought: this is going to lead to violence.’

The strikes later become known as the April/May strikes, or the Milk strikes, because the strikes were mainly in the countryside and in many places farmers refused to deliver milk to the dairy factories.

Piet Stavast was a technical school student in Pekela

‘At the town hall work was still going on under pressure from the NSB mayor. The strikers didn’t agree. They said they’d wait until 11 o’clock.

‘The mayor didn’t want a strike and threatened to call in the Germans. We just looked at the clock and waited until 11. At that moment a huge group of strikers stormed in and drove the staff out.’

The occupiers responded with force. Eighty strikers were summarily executed.

Their names were printed on posters as a deterrence.

Shots were fired on groups of strikers. On May 3rd most of the strikers went back to work. After days of carnage, the strikes had resulted in over 180 deaths, 400 casualties, and 900 prisoners of war being sent to concentration camps.

The strikes marked a turning point. After Amsterdam in 1941, the rest of the Netherlands had now experienced the German terror. Support for the resistance increased sharply.

A pamphlet published by illegal newspaper Trouw stated:

‘Finally the enemy has fully stripped off his mask. The myth of the Führer’s magnanimity is at an end. Now the Germans recognise us for what we truly are: enemies, and not part of the pan-Germanic Community.’

2014 in review

Okay, I didn’t do a 2012 or a 2013. But you can find 2011’s here. This is for KateB who demanded it.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

    • Paid a lawyer. And then another lawyer.
    • Paid for insurance.
    • Fucked in a royal box in the theatre
    • Went to my first body corporate meeting.
    • Called it off with S (yes, we’d been sort of toying with the idea of getting back togetherish kinda) because she couldn’t say that she was in love with me, no matter how much we loved each other.
    • Went to Maitu Somes Island. On a date even.
    • Dated a couple of pashfriends. Called time on one of them because I wasn’t over S.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My New Year’s resolutions were 1. To find an awesome new job (yup) 2. To finish reading The Lumineres (yup) 3. To only sleep with people aged 30 and over (5/7 and the two under were lovely and one was a girl which doesn’t count anyway) 4. To have an MMF (so close but no double cigar) 5. To get an invite to the WETA Xmas party. I was supposed to meet a guy from OKC who was a visual effects producer, I presume at Weta, which could have developed into a relationship that could have got me a ticket, except I googled him before then and all I could find was his reviews of Asian prostitutes, so I cancelled. 

This year my resolutions are 1. To keep Hubris up to date (look at me go!) 2. To stop playing Kardashian Hollywood (already deleted) 3. To organise a #BESTGIRLS reunion (flights booked) 4. To dance every week (currently have) and 5. To stop taking taxis to work. Which has been a dismal failure so far.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No one particularly close to me, but I know a bunch of pregos ready to pop.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

5. What countries did you visit?

I went to Vanuatu with Karen and got an ear infection. But I also got ear infections in New Zealand too. Stupid ears.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

That ever-elusive MMF? Maybe? Perhaps I am getting closer to being able to have a proper functional primary relationship with someone, at some time. Maybe.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

No particular day. Can I say November 29 from 2013 instead cos that’s the day I moved into my house?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Learning to let go and to put myself first sometimes. Also I am super proud that I have been able to help my refugees start to adjust to life here. When the translator told me that B said she loves my teammate Claire and I more than her sisters, that was pretty fucking special.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I still have a lot of anger about something that happened near the start of the year and it still gives me nightmares. Other people’s bigotry shouldn’t be my baggage, but I just can’t shake it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Three ear infections. Uuuuuuuugh ear infections are the worst. Now I have ear plugs for when I go swimming.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

That trip to Vanuatu because I really needed the sunshine.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

The amazing Raena’s, who kept me calm during trip to emergency vet, fed me whisky and gin, and provided me with some extra cash during the time she lived with me.

Also my family, who are very good people.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Oh god, so many people. Right wing people mostly. Some drama llamas. The aforementioned bigotrists. The person I’d like to Phoenix Palm right now.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Sebastian’s vet bills, that Vanuatu holiday, house stuff, far too much on taxis to work as a way to combat floor lava.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

#BESTGIRLS REUNION at my house in May, although sadly Kini couldn’t make it after hurting her back. So also then KINI COMING TO STAY. Any time Jo came to stay.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

‘XO’ because though it came out in 2013, it came out while I was at #BESTGIRLS in Sydney, surprising Jo at Kini’s house for her birthday, and since then it always reminds me of those two and always always makes me smile.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

I am fatter, probably happier and poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Dancing. It is the best. Especially Witches’ Coven Dance on Mondays with the amazing Boganette and Rachel. I also wish I could have swum more but ear infections made me worry.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Drinking on an empty stomach / not enough water. Having nightmares about old job.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

As per tradition, I spent the morning with Tom and Karen and Keith, eating an amazing breakfast, drinking a lot of bubbly and gin, then watching Nevermind the Buzzcocks. Then we went out to BAMJI’s house in Petone for presents and dinner and fun times.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Toplessly FaceTiming with Jo and trying to accidently flash her. Heh heh heh.

22. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Nope cos it had continued with S. She is very hard to get over when I think we work so well together.

23. How many one-night stands?

If we’re only defining it as at night, and for one night only, then only two – a douchebag in the last week of Mighty Mighty who I slept with because I was angry with S (awesome life decisions, Jo) who was just not a nice person, and then a nice boy from OKC who is actually the boyfriend of a friend of mine (she knew). Should I count someone if I saw them again many many times as a friend but we didn’t sex again? Three if yes then.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

Broad City, Bob’s Burgers, Scandal and of course and forever, Parks & Recreation. It is no coincidence all these shows feature strong female rolemodels.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No but my levels of loathing for white cis straight men’s opinions has grown and grown and grown.

26. What was the best book you read?

I read so many books while I was in Vanuatu! It felt really good. But then I didn’t really keep reading much after that. I did thoroughly enjoy Gone Girl though, it was perfect beach reading.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I got myself a Spotify subscription but I don’t know if i discovered anything new – more I revisited old friends.

28. What did you want and get?

A tropical holiday, good friends, a fantastic house (okay that was the end of 2013 but still)

29. What did you want and not get?

New tapware and chandeliers for my bathroom, a main relationship, an MMF. GODDAMMIT.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

I don’t watch movies, don’t be ridiculous.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 34.  For friends-celebration, a bunch of us went to dinner at a BYO Italian place in Thorndon then came back to mine for more wine and AMAZING VULVA CAKE the amazing Demelza made for me. For Family Birthday we went to Charlie Bill’s, also in Thorndon, and had fantastic Silere Merino lamb ribs and other goodness.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Feeling like I achieved more at work (the public service can be quite slow).

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

More Fatty Boom Clothing Swaps please! (Free is good!) Also, MOAR CLEAVAGE.

34. What kept you sane?

Jo always being on the other end of Facebook. Tom for keeping me in booze. Demelza for letting me cry on her shoulder. Raena. Upping my lexapro dosage. Getting benzos for the hardest moments. Fellow feminists on Twitter. The way Florence burrows under my blankets to snuggle up to me at night. The enthusiastic greeting of Trixie Doggie.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Ummmm I actually can’t think of anyone.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Feminism as a whole, inequality in New Zealand and rape culture.

37. Who did you miss?

Jo and Kini because the #BESTGIRLS should be together all the time. Sometimes I miss Kate & Jason and Tim but, what can I do? And also S. Duh.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I had met Raena back in 2009 at FullcodePress in Sydney, so I can’t say her, so maybe I’ll say her Shannon instead.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:

Acceptance Commitment Therapy suggests that you decide what your values are and then deal with situations so that you’re meeting your values. For example, this pile of paperwork might seem like bullshit to you, but if your value is “getting things done”, then do it because doing things is important to you (not because someone else thinks the paperwork should be done). If a value is “helping people” then when you see the government is not commited to helping people, then you volunteer to do what you can yourself.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

“I’ve got my fingers laced together and I’ve made a little prison and I’m locking up everyone who’s ever laid a finger on me”

Fleshing out the silence

It seems more than ever that Twitter, the place where I now tell my stories instead of here, dolloping them out in 140 characters at a time instead of the long drunken screeds that Hubris used to be home to (though make no mistake, those tweets are pretty drunken too – moreso even because of the ease at which they can be posted. I am amazed that I used to be able to write in Notepad and then work an FTP programme) has become a place where the people who I love online no longer feel safe. And I hate that. It is exhausting being a female online. I learned this when I was 13 and first signed on to a bulletin board system at ASIJ because Beth was doing it, and Simon Darby, who I had a tremendous crush on, was doing it. I used the username Beelzebub, because everyone had demonic usernames, and then older boys on the board talked about how they could prove I was female if they took my clothes off. Yet the sysops only interupted my emails to Beth if I used bad words about teachers. You learn these things. And this is why I have returned to Hubris. Not because I am fleeing twitter. Oh no. But because I refuse to be shut down. I will always be here, fat, queer, loud, angry – and hopefully also just talking about boobs and cats and periods and all those other things that make me who I am as well. My voice is important too.

So the other day, as part of my New Year’s Resolution to keep Hubris up to date, I wrote a list of what I want to write about that, and talking about Twitter was top of that list. And now I have done that, I can move on to the next thing about being a woman on the internet – this comment that I got on my post about getting date raped. When I first read it, I wondered for a second – did I write that? The comment I mean. It was just too perfect a summation of every single cliche. Stop lying. You enjoyed it. You were asking for it. Why didn’t you do {x} differently? And that’s why I allowed the comment through moderation. It was horrible, and it made me feel all kinds of bad, but for anyone who ever doubts what it is like to be female, and be on the internet, there it is. I didn’t respond, although the amazing strong and wonderful QoT did. However, what I did do was look up the IP address of the commentator, and discover they were posting from a Telstra Clear account. That’s when I got in touch with Vodafone. Let me be lazy and cut and paste an email I sent to them afterwards.

I’d to thank Dylan from your Twitter team for his response to my complaint. He was absolutely amazing and went way above and beyond what I was expecting.

If you’ll allow me a little backstory, (because there’s always backstory!), a while ago I wrote on my blog about how I was raped. It wasn’t a fun thing to write, but it was important to me, and I thought it would be useful for other people to read too, because unfortunately it’s a thing that happens to a lot of people. I got a lot of great feedback about it, and it helped me, and I think it helped other people too. Of course, putting something like that out on the internet is always super risky, but people responded really well. Until they didn’t.

Last Wednesday I received a comment that told me I had clearly actually enjoyed being raped, and that it would happen to me again (http://t.co/SS95L7BYMN). I hope you can only imagine how horrible that feels. I could have not published that comment, it’s true, but it still existed, someone had still decided that they could say that to another human being, so I decided I would share it with the world. But that wasn’t an okay thing to say, so I looked up the IP of the commentator, and discovered it was on an ihug IP. This is where the backstory stops, and where Vodafone comes in.

I sent a tweet to the @vodafonenz to check if iHug IP addresses were all under the Vodafone banner now to see if that was how I could make a complaint. I was expecting a “yes they are” and maybe a link to a page on your site about how to make a complaint. Instead, when I replied with a link to the nasty comment, I got a call five minutes later from Dylan.

Not only did he check that now was an okay time to talk, but he also was very sensitive, sympathetic, and honest about how he didn’t know exactly what Vodafone would be able to do. He gave me a timeline for when he would have answers, and did indeed call me back the next afternoon after the complaints team meeting, and was absolutely lovely.

I really appreciate how seriously Vodafone has taken my complaint, and that you have been able to send a warning letter to the asshole who left that comment on my site. Hopefully this will make them think twice before saying such horrible things again, and if not, at least it has established a precedence that will make it easier for the next complainant.

I’m already a Vodafone customer, but if I wasn’t, this experience would be enough to make me switch over. Thank you for making a really horrible thing much better. And please let Dylan know just what a great job he did.

Last year after Amanda Billingsly was brave and courageous, this douchebag rightwing blogger wrote a piece about how wasn’t it just a strange coincidence that the victim of an attempted rape was also a feminist (huh?) and had worked with Rape Crisis or some such before (given that 1 in 4 women will experience assault, no, I don’t think that’s a strange coincidence at all) and I saw from the screenshot of that post (because I won’t give them the clicks) that there was a Vodafone ad alongside it. I sent them an email about this, citing my previous excellent experience, and then a couple of weeks later I got a phonecall telling me that behind the scenes, they had been reconfiguring their google ads so they wouldn’t appear on the Oily one’s site anymore, because their staff were equally disgusted. I felt pretty great about that.

Around the same time, there was a bunch of disgust at Cannon for sponsoring the award that went to Oily for best blog, and as my twitter account was protected at the time, I used my profeshish twitter to add my voice to the outcry. Then I got this email – sent, by the way, not to my profesh-ish address, but rather to one that had no actual association with that twitter account, so the person had clearly done some stalking on me, as a “I know who you are, you need to shut up now” message:

picture of an email from an anoymous dickhead

Strangely enough, I never got a reply from them, and google didn’t turn up anything either. That’s when I opened my Twitter up again, because I will not be silenced. No. Not this time. Not ever. Keyboard social justice warrior, that’s me. And you say that like it’s a bad thing? Oh, and let’s let XKCD have the last word on free speech here too .

This is the thing that happens when you don’t write in over a year. You have so many stories to tell. This post is going to be epically long, but you will take it and you will like it, just because.

I’m back in the public service again now. I am part of a large comms team. I work in an area I believe in. I like that when I take off my lanyard at night, I don’t have to think about work anymore so much.

A little over a year ago, I looked at my Kiwisaver account and did some calculations and realised I had over $20k in it if we were to include the $5k first home buyer subsidy, and I was paying $375 a week for my flat in Mt Victoria, so I talked to my parents. On a Tuesday they agreed to help me put together a deposit, and by the following Wednesday, I had put a conditional offer on a house and had it accepted. I now live in half a cottage in Thorndon. Yes, I know, Thorndon. It is gorgeous and lovely and I share my garden with a dog who greets me more enthusiastically than I have ever been greeted in my life, and the best part is she belongs to the neighbours so I have all the love and none of the responsibility. The cats have adjusted really well too, except a couple of months ago, Seb disappeared for two and a half horrible days and reappeared in severe pain with a wrenched leg. He’s still limping and is arthritic and on painkillers every day. That sucks. Luckily Tasman Street Vet are the greatest people ever since I am spending so much money with them.

Speaking of money, I get that I am exceptionally lucky to have parents to help me buy a house, and family to help me with unexpected vet bills. After the election I realised that I needed to do more to help the most vulnerable in our society (ie: I needed to do something with all my fucking priviledge) so I trained as a Refugee Volunteer Support Worker with the Red Cross. After a whole bunch of night classes, me and another lovely woman team mate filled a house with donated goods and now we’re working with an Afghan woman and her daughter , who I will refer to as B and N. Because Claire is available during the day, she goes to WINZ appointments and stuff like that with them, and I take them to the things that can be done outside of work hours, like supermarket shopping. It can be absolutely exhausting, and it can also be the most amazing thing ever when there are tiny victories like getting B’s phone to work so she could call family back in Afganistan, being able to tune in the Hindi TV channel for them, or even just how happy and determined tiny little B & N looked behind Justin’s enormous loud lawnmower. I am extremely grateful that my friends and family are supporting me in supporting them – like Raena helping me set up their house, heaps of people donating things, and even just being able to go over to Demelza’s after two long hours in the supermarket and stress-cry on her shoulder.

Xmas holidays are over and I did nothing but bingewatch How To Get Away With Murder and The Good Wife, take two naps a day, get some sunshine, make out with my pashfriend some and host really great Orphans’ Xmas Brunch and New Year’s Eve parties. Oh, and spend quite a bit of time out with the refugees of course. It was nice surrendering to doing nothing and mostly not feeling guilty about it. I resolved to keep Hubris updated though, along with stop playing Kardashian Hollywood (which I have deleted), organise a #BESTGIRLS reunion (i might talk about that in my next update) and to dance every week. I throw some mad shapes to ‘Yellow Flickr Beat’. You should dance with me some time, then you’ll see.

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