Life

Sexpo Hobart: A startlingly straight affair

by Veronica on April 6, 2014

in Life

The music was pumping, the bass line hitting straight to my gut as we walked through the doors. Resisting the urge to giggle like a little girl, we moved slowly through the packed crowd staring avidly at the stage. A boy who looked to be bitterly regretting his choice of skinny jeans that morning lay on the stage while a dancer clad in a sparkly g-string and bra combo mimed giving his crotch CPR.

It looked uncomfortable, but the crowd lapped it up and the dancer took their adoration and played it for all it was worth.

Next thing you know there’s boobs out everywhere and all I could think was “she needs a bigger bra. That one’s left marks all over her.”

It was Sexpo Hobart and Frogpondsrock and I were there to show our support after the ranty conservatives had taken up all the media space talking about what a disgrace it was.

To borrow a line from my friend: “How DARE consenting adults enjoy themselves. FOR SHAME.”

He was being sarcastic. The conservatives were not.

The stage show continued and we watched for a bit, right up until she began pornstaresque masturbation on stage and the drooling from the men around us became untenable.

We cut through the crowd obviously enjoying the show. I threw a glance back over my shoulder and saw the dancer had been joined on stage by a couple of her friends who were helping her pull aside her g-string.

A quick look around the exhibitors and there were a lot of sex toys on display. Showbags gave patrons unwilling to showcase their preferences to passersby a chance to buy a “cheeky” gift, while pretending it was all for novelty value. I had a good look inside the bags, but for $60, I want more for my money than one vibrator and a selection of gag toys and fluffy handcuffs.

Bored boys stood around in loincloths, waiting for their stage time to roll around, while the topless dancers took photos with horny yet uncomfortable young men. Pricasso painted surprisingly good portraits with his penis, although I did spend a bit of time wondering if he’s well calloused, or if his penis gets sore.

Three circuits later and I was feeling jaded. Lots of toys being promoted which I’ve heard on the grapevine aren’t exactly user friendly, and lots of plastic junk I wouldn’t put anywhere near my vagina, no matter how desperate I was.

There were some toys I thought reasonably priced and nicely ergonomic. So I bought one. I also stocked up on lube – the good kind, not the shitty KY jelly we all start out fucking with until we realise it’s a giant pain in the tacky arse.

But it didn’t take me long after I left to work out what my problem with Sexpo had been.

For a convention promoting safe sex, open sex, consenting sex, it was surprisingly straight. One small stall held the typical gimp style kink gear, but kink and fetish weren’t readily visible.

Also, for all the vibrators, the dildos, the bullets, the giant fisting hands, I only saw one anal toy and it was a serious fetish toy, not something for general use. And maybe I missed it. Maybe there was a stall filled with anal beads and butt plugs and I just didn’t see it amongst the crowds. Maybe there was a huge gay presence and I didn’t notice because I’m straight and wasn’t looking.

Maybe all of those things.

But I can’t shake the feeling Sexpo could have been something more and it wasn’t.

It felt like a convention to encourage people to experiment, but only with vaginas. For women to buy a vibrator. For young single men to get up close with a sexy dancer they weren’t allowed to touch.

It felt startlingly straight.

I’m glad I went and saw, like the eternally curious writer I am. I’m glad I got to watch how people move in space like that (without making eye contact and with lots of nervous giggling, if you’re curious).

I’m glad I supported what Sexpo is, with an open mind.

But honestly, I’d have liked to see it being more supportive of different lifestyles, of different choices, and of different people.

Maybe next time.

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The problem with soap making

by Veronica on March 26, 2014

in Life,Soapmaking

There are a lot of problems with taking up soap making as a hobby.

First: So many soaps. So little time.

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Lemon soap – pre gel phase. It went an interesting translucent green colour after gelling.

[Gelling is when a soap heats up through the magic of science. The process of saponification speeds up, changing the oil water emulsion into soap a little faster. You can avoid gel and many soapmakers do, but it takes longer for your oils to saponify and let's face it, I'm impatient.]

The thing with gelling, is it can make a previously pretty soap an ugly colour for a bit.

Like this, which is the yellow soap post-gel:

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Luckily I have a soap I made previously which was this same colour, but since curing has gone yellow again.

SCIENCE.

Also, water evaporation.

This one is my favourite to handle and smell at the moment. It’s a honey chai soap, coloured with red oxide.

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The other problem with soaps is finding somewhere to cure them all. They’re in Evelyn’s bedroom at the moment, because she has the in-built cupboards.

This means that mostly Eve’s room smells awesome. But at the moment, the current curing smells of lemon mixed with apple mint are a bit headache inducing.

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The apple mint soap smells amazing, but it’s also really strong because it’s so new. In another week, it should have mellowed a little. In the meantime, I’m keeping her door closed.

She however, adores the smells. Requesting to smell all the soaps every day and sighing happily. Clearly she’s not really my baby and hasn’t inherited my sensitivity to smell.

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The final problem with soap making is it’s actually a bit of an expensive hobby. Between moulds (I’m using a lunchbox, and since I went to the hardware store yesterday, a length of PVC pipe cut in thirds, but I lust over a custom built wooden loaf mould), and fragrances, and colourings, and additives, it all adds up.

Thankfully, there’s a large cross over between ceramic ingredients and soap making supplies, so I’ve managed to just raid Mum’s studio a few times for added colours. Thanks Mum.

But seriously, it can be expensive. Especially in the beginning where you can’t sell anything yet because you don’t know how your recipes will hold up with regular use.

Also, there’s a fair amount of governmental red tape to jump through if and when I decide I do want to sell soaps. I have to register with NICNAS as a chemical manufacturer, which is technically correct, but makes it sound like I’m cooking up meth in my bathroom, not soaps. As well as product liability insurance.

It’s a fun hobby though, and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself.

I made a red and yellow swirled soap today which I am praying both works (it should totally work) and comes out of it’s mould (first use of the PVC pipe and I’m TERRIFIED). No photos yet, it’s been put to bed to insulate until tomorrow.

But fingers crossed, right?

Also, how adorable is that photo of Nat and the two younger kids?

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Does solar save you money?

by Veronica on March 25, 2014

in Life

I’m asking here. We got solar just before summer and so far, while it’s made a bit of a difference, it’s not a huge difference.

Firstly, we bought our solar panels on a payment plan. This was probably our first big mistake, but not having a large sum of money tucked away, it was our only option. With the maths we were provided, it all looked amazing on paper. (It always does, right?) What we were repaying each fortnight was equal to what we’d been spending on Pay As You Go power, so we weren’t going to be any worse off.

Our first power bill after having the panels installed therefore, was a bit of a shock. We’d expected a small bill, but $300 for 50 days?

I think my jaw fell open and stayed there for days.

We enquired some more. Why weren’t we covering as much power as we thought we would? What was going on?

Had we made a giant mistake?

Read the rest at Money Circle.

money circle logo

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Get off my bloody lawn. (Still alive)

by Veronica on March 17, 2014

in Life

I don’t even know what I’m doing lately. Not on the Internet in any case. I read through the latest dramas, the fitspirations, the omgamazeballs sponsored crap and you know what? I’m just bored. It’s all the same. It’s all been done before and my eyes are jaded.

I’m tired, you guys. The Internet was my happy place for so long and now I feel like I’m too busy to sink in deep and let it envelope me properly. I dart between soap making forums, facebook, twitter, the blog and click away, run away.

Eve clings to my legs and I can’t type when she’s awake and I’m too busy when she’s asleep. I want to tell stories, but taking the children out of the blog – they’re getting too old, the bigger two at least – means I’m left only telling my stories and I feel like I’ve said everything in triplicate already.

Jaded. Tired. Mostly annoyed at the shiny new things playing on my goddamned Internet lawn.

(It’s all been done before)

(Even this)

I’m not leaving, no. Maybe changing direction. Working out where I want to go with this space.

I’m really enjoying the making things from scratch, but oh, it’s so much more work than pre-packaged things. I feel like I spend all day washing dishes, preparing food, washing dishes, making soap, washing dishes, feeding children, washing dishes. It’s perpetual chaos and don’t get me wrong, it’s the very best kind, but my spoons are limited and sometimes you can’t have them.

This isn’t much more than a whinge, a whine, a giant complain out into the ether.

But it’s also a heads up, that this space is metamorphosing (again), into something new.

I need to get my head back together, write more, play more, experiment more.

And maybe this means I’ll write about making soap from a newbie’s perspective for a bit.

I definitely want to do a year of making things from scratch, but I need to plot and plan this out. I also need to juggle the time I spend here, with time I could be spending writing articles to pitch elsewhere (Hey, did I tell you: Essential Kids published an article of mine?) which will actually pay my bills.

In summary, I’m tired, and this space is changing.

But tis all good.

 

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It feels like it’s been a busy few weeks. Evelyn is amazing at hearing the clickety clackety of my fingers on the keyboard and deciding she needs to be sitting on my lap immediately. She also loves to climb onto my desk and type herself, usually deleting any project I’ve got open at the time.

Needless to say, I haven’t been on the computer much.

And considering it’s just taken me 25 minutes to write 65 words, I’m not sure this is set to change any time soon.

Gardening:

I say gardening like I’ve been “doing it” but what I’ve really been doing is watering the gardens, picking the produce and thinking about the things I need to do for Autumn, rather than actually doing anything. The tomatoes and pumpkins are doing well, although it turns out I planted three tomatoes of the late fruiting variety and hahahahaha I’m an idiot. They’re only just finishing their flower now, which gives them a month, maybe, to turn into green tomatoes I can pick and hang.

It’s unlikely to happen.

Luckily the cherry tomatoes are doing well and the little gannnets I call my children are thrilled to be able to search and destroy red tomatoes. Nom nom nom.

The pumpkins, well, I only planted one variety this year and I’m a bit annoyed at myself. They’ve done well, but not amazingly, and I think I prefer a smaller variety of pumpkin which produces a lot, rather than a larger variety which struggles to squeeze out two pumpkins per vine.

The vines themselves have done well, growing along the ground to catch any stray chickens who might be looking for an easy meal, but the female flowers have started turning yellow and dropping off before they even get any bigger than a 5c coin.

Which: Hmmmph.

Parenting:

Gah. Parenting. Who’d have thought having three children would make me so time poor?

Well, actually this is a lie. When I’ve got time to read books, play in the garden, game and do other things for pleasure, I’m really not time poor. I just feel like I am because yesterday, Amy talked non-stop. NON-STOP. Not even an hour at the dentist did much to stop her discussing everything from planets to oceans to the latest mods on minecraft in obsessive detail.

I had a headache by bedtime, but I was glad Amy was feeling better. She’s got an ear infection and I’m just grateful our doctor was able to squeeze her in so she could start antibiotics.

Isaac has adjusted to kindergarten amazingly well. I’m surprised and pleased at how well he’s doing. He’s confident in the space and comes home telling me about all the fun things he’s done at school. I’m pretty impressed.

Both kids had a great time at their athletics carnival. Isaac ran a fourth in the running race, and second, third, fifth in the novelties. So proud.

Amy did brilliantly too, running in every single race for her class group, which was frankly a miracle for a child as bendy as she is, and brewing an ear infection to boot.

Evelyn, she’s doing well. Not quite sleeping through the night yet, although now she’s back on pediasure rather than cows milk, she’s down to waking once, rather than five times. Turns out our dairy trial was a miserable failure, with Eve breaking out into eczema, getting constipated and otherwise being a miserable little git. Dairy doesn’t agree with her – although she seems fine with small amounts of yogurt and cheese. Something something enzymes partially digested proteins, something something.

I am worried about her overall mobility however. Her left leg keeps collapsing under her, sending her hurlting towards the ground more than I care to count. She’s hypermobile, and so low tone. I’d hoped a lot of this would improve when she was running around, but no, and in fact she’s been a bit worse. The physio team wanted to see her at 2, so I think I’ll move that appointment up.

She sees her Paediatrician this coming week, and while I’m sure he’s going to be glad to see how she’s grown and gained weight (HALLELUJAH FOR EATING), she’s not talking. Her receptive language is fantastic, but her functional speech is practically non-existent. At 19 months, she says Mum, Dad, Nan and HI! Occasionally if she’s in a good mood you can encourage her to copy words back at you, but mostly she silent except for various inflections of eh? eh! EH.

I’m hoping speech will just appear magically, but we’ll see what her team thinks. For a toddler who understands pretty much everything we say, I feel she ought to be talking more.

Soapmaking:

New obsession.

I asked Nathan last night to come and smell my newest batch of soap (who wants plain soap when you can add things? CHEMISTRY! YAY) and he looked at me plaintively.

“I didn’t think you’d make this much soap so quickly.”

But it’s like Christmas! Waiting to open a soap mould, waiting to see what the chemical reaction has done to the ingredients, it’s so exciting. AND, I’ve only made five batches in a week, so I’m not sure what he’s complaining about. Also, who wants to continue making the same boring base when you can add things to see what happens? Honey and oats for example. Or kaolin.

I’m still very much a newbie at it all, but the science of soap is endlessly fascinating and I love how tweaking just one ingredient changes my whole soap makeup.

Science! Is fun!

So I’ve been making soap, and hopefully some of it is going to be amazing once it’s cured.

Life:

Is good.

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