The mask giveth and the mask taketh away

I don’t know if you’ve ever attempted to do a HIIT workout while wearing a face mask, but I probably won’t be trying that again.

Technically I was doing vigorous outdoor exercise far away from everyone else in the park, so I would have been exempt from wearing a mask under current restrictions in Perth. But I wanted to show that I wasn’t a pussy who couldn’t hack it.

Turns out I am a pussy who can’t hack it. 😛

But I have managed a couple of (less intense) masked workouts in the gym since they reopened and I was okay. And the Premier has announced an easing of mask restrictions from this weekend so I won’t have to wear one at the gym anymore.

I don’t mind the mask too much when I’m not exercising though. I mean, I don’t love it. It can be uncomfortable and it’s annoying when my glasses fog up. But given a choice between wearing masks and going into lockdown, I’d take the former.

Besides, some people have had to wear a mask every day for over a year and counting, so I can imagine what they’d think of me whinging about my face being sweaty as I go on with my life almost as normal.

And if I’m having an acne breakout, the mask makes me look like a stylish ninja instead of a hormonal hot mess. 😉 Although some breakouts can be linked to mask wearing. The mask giveth and the mask taketh away. I’m sure that’s in the New International Corona-Version of the Bible or something…

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I feel lucky (in spite of my anxiety disorder and lack of stamina). Things could have gone very differently, but we’ve been fortunate in Australia. Which is not to say things don’t desperately suck for a lot people. But it’s not sucking because bodies are being piled up in the street for mass cremation while hospitals run out of oxygen.

I know I have a habit of catastrophising, but it’s not like I’m pulling that scenario out of thin air. 😦

Playthings review for Perth Walkabout

My review of Playthings — a play by Scott McArdle, presented by Black Swan State Theatre Company and the Blue Room Theatre — is now online.

Read my Playthings review at Perth Walkabout.

I first started writing for Perth Walkabout in 2010 and have done theatre reviews for them since 2014, but it’s actually been over a year since I last wrote one. (I think Tony Galati the Musical in February 2020 was the last review I did.)

All my systems are nervous

Today was a funny old day.

It started out like a pretty normal Friday in WA. I grabbed a coffee from my favourite cafe on my way into work. Recent talk of COVID-19 spreading through the ventilation in hotels was sort of in the back of my mind. But mostly I was thinking about what I needed to get done before the end of the week.

By lunchtime, the rumour mill about a possible snap lockdown was in overdrive and my colleagues and I were nervously waiting for Mark McGowan’s press conference. Just after 2.30pm, he came out and confirmed we’d had community transmission. Masks would be mandatory from 6pm and the Perth and Peel regions would go into a three-day lockdown from midnight.

It also means ANZAC Day dawn services are cancelled for the second year in a row, and anyone who planned to go away over the long weekend (Monday is a public holiday) had a decision to make quickly.

I’ve been on edge for a few hours now but I think I’m starting to calm down. I’ve done this before. I’m in a good position (mentally, financially, geographically, etc.) compared to so many other people.

And I’m about as far from an extrovert as you can get, so it’s not like I’m fuelled by going out and socialising.

It’s the uncertainty that messes with my head. 😦 And some of the exposure sites are places I go to, though I haven’t been there in the past couple of weeks so I should be okay.

Functioning within normal parameters, as Data might say on Star Trek. Those parameters happen to include anxiety, but medication and therapy helps with that. 😉

I try not to butcher Macy Gray, but you be the judge of that

This might be a slight detour from my usual programming around here, but I guess this blog isn’t old or established enough to really know what the usual programming is.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I — a verified no-hit wonder — performed I Try by Macy Gray in front of actual, living people. There’s a video of said performance (and others) on the VocalTech Studios YouTube channel. But you can only put one clickable link on Instagram, and I wanted that one link to be my website, so… for better or worse, here we are.

“I Try”

Watching myself is pretty cringey, and I can hear everything that could’ve gone better. But I’ve had some positive feedback (albeit from people who I’m pretty sure care about me and don’t want to make me cry) so hopefully you don’t find it too uncomfortable if you decide to hit play. 🙂

I’ve also made a playlist of some of my other VocalTech showcase performances, from most recent to oldest — so if you watch it in order, hopefully the quality of performance declines with each video. 😛

The creep on the bus looks just like us

Content Warning: This post contains descriptions of sexual harassment and assault.

Stop sign.
Photo by Pixabay on

When I was 17, a middle-aged man in a faded green polo shirt and blue jeans exposed his erect genitalia to me and groped my buttocks.

We were in a bookstore at the train station. I had seen this man on the bus earlier that morning. We had made incidental eye contact and he’d smiled at me and I probably smiled back. Like when I pass someone in the street or in the corridor at work. It’s something I just do without really thinking about it — and it sure as hell doesn’t mean “whip out your wang”.

But according to some well-meaning people I spoke to afterwards, I should have thought about it. I shouldn’t have smiled. I shouldn’t have been alone. I should have screamed or made a scene — instead of freezing and trying to pretend I hadn’t noticed.

But staying silent or laughing it off tends to be my default response to someone making me uncomfortable. I guess it feels like the safer option. Especially when you don’t really know what someone might be capable of.

And I don’t think there’s a perfect way to react to a WTF situation like that, but humans are pretty good at prescribing how others should behave. I know I’m guilty of it sometimes.

The man in the green polo looked like a perfectly normal person until I caught him staring a little too long over the top of a bookshelf. And I might have convinced myself I was just imagining it until he came over and pulled out his dong whilst asking me if I liked to read.

He probably looks and acts like a decent person most of the time in his everyday life. Creeps don’t wear signs telling you they’re creeps. Sometimes — I dare say, most of the time — the bad guys look just like everyone else.

I had a long internal debate about whether or not to publish this post.

But I claim to be a writer so… this is me writing a story. This one just happens to be non-fiction.

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