Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Skinned'er Ella

Oh yeah - and I got my White Star!

I'm thinking of Skinned'er Ella as my derby name. What do you reckon??

A general rant against Canberra, and healthcare in particular

I just paid $145 to see a doctor. Because she talked too much, and the appointment ran over the alotted 15 minutes, I had to pay for a "long consultation". It's bad enough that a regular consult costs $75, but $145 (of which I'll get $60 back from Medicare) is just extortionate.

This wasn't even my regular doctor - to see her you need to book 2 weeks in advance, and lets face it, generally you don't know you're going to NEED a doctor 2 weeks beforehand!

This is health care in Canberra, where nobody but that dodgy doctor up at Dickson bulk bills. (Everyone in Canberra that you mention your suprise to about how nobody bulk bills invariably says, "Well, there is one guy up at Dickson, but he's pretty dodgy!"). Because apparently we're all cashed-up public servants with private health care, and we can afford it. Bullshit! Nobody should have to fork out $85 from their own pocket to go and see a GP for twenty minutes - that's just outrageous!

In Sydney I was really lucky. The doctors I had on-campus while at Uni were not only free, but excellent. Then when I left uni I moved to a local-ish female GP who was recommended to me by a friend. It cost only $10 above the Medicare rebate to see her, and there was certainly no time span, where if they talk too much or if you have questions they charge you double the fee!

Not only that, but you know what? This doctor that I saw this morning diagnosed me with 'excercise induced asthma'. I'm sorry, you've never seen me before today, and according to your breath-test thingy I have normal lung capacity for my height. But you're going to diagnose me with a new and potentially life-threatening illness like it's the flu, without even asking me any questions about my lifestyle LIKE FOR EXAMPLE DO I SMOKE???? As it happens I don't smoke, but I think perhaps there's more to a diagnosis as serious as this than just "Oh, you had a cough after some exercise? Just the once? You must have excercise induced asthma then!" And that wasn't even why I went to see her in the first place.

I found out yesterday that my contract at work has been extended until June 30 2011. On the one hand it's good news, because we're assured of at least ONE income in our household for the next year, and I am just getting into the local roller derby scene - good to know I can commit to at least another year in Canberra with that. But geez lord, sometimes this town gives me the raging shits and I can't wait to get the hell outta here! My only stipulation for when we do leave is that wherever we go has gotta have a derby team!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I got Derby on my mind!

So - roller derby. I think it's one of those things that once it grabs you, it won't let go! If you're wondering what the hell I'm talking about, here's a 2 minute video on YouTube that gives the basics of how flat track roller derby is played, courtesy of the Hammer City Roller Girls (from Ontario in Canada). And if you want to see something a bit closer to home (and a bit more 'live-action'!), here's a clip from SBS's Dave in the Life, featuring the girls from Sydney Roller Derby League!

So from the outside, it might look like a lot of biff goes on, but a great deal of time goes into teaching girls to skate properly and safely, which minimises the risk of injuries. I have just passed my White Star assessment, which is the first assessment in the Derby world of star ratings. There's still another two to go (Yellow and Orange stars) before I'll be deemed 'bout ready'.

And though there is definitely a perve factor inherent in the sport, it's best not to forget that it is indeed a SPORT, and these women are athletes. Though sometimes it may not look like it, you don't actually have to be considered 'hot' to play roller derby. The beauty of it is that it suits a number of body types, and in fact you use your body as a weapon. Having large powerful thighs gets you round the track quicker, a generous bottom is great for booty blocking, and being short gives you a lower centre of gravity so you can weave through the pack with greater ease. That's one thing I love about it.

The other thing that amazes me is that it's something pretty much anyone can learn to do. Eight weeks ago I could barely stand up in my skates, and now I can do a whole length of the track standing on one foot/skate! I can T-stop and plough stop within 3 metres, I can jump 10 cm in my skates, and I can fall down and get back up again within 3 seconds. And you know, I'm not exactly the 'sporty' type!

In fact I've never played a team sport, aside from a brief go at water polo in high school. I'm not a 'joiner' and I don't like relying on other people to win. I'm firecely competitive, and that's something I've tried to avoid unleashing, because it's just easier that way, both on me and on those around me! But with derby, I feel like This is The One - a sport that I can actually get into! I'm not sure if I can exactly articulate why it's different. Maybe coz it's a contact sport for women, maybe coz you get to play in fishnets if you want. But it all adds up to one very exciting new thing in my life, and I'm loving it!

Saturday, May 08, 2010


I don't like group situations. I'm not talking 4-5 people, I'm talking the group dynamics that form in numbers of around 15 plus, and which seem to get more apparent as the numbers get higher. It freaks me out. In classic Cancerian behaviour, it's my tactic to shy away from large groups - and if the situation gives me no choice, then I go into my little shell - pull myself away before people decide they don't like me - so I don't get hurt. Of course, this gives everyone the impression that I'm an aloof bitch, and actually encourages the very behaviour I'm trying so hard to avoid.

It's funny, coz I'm not exactly a shy person. I'm just simply not comfortable around larger groups of people if I don't know them.

This has started to become an issue with the roller derby. There's around 50-odd of us training as Fresh Meat, and there's some classic Alpha female posturing starting to happen, which makes me feel uber-uncomfortable. I know it's incredibly sexist to say this, but I do think large groups of women can lead to an increased level of bitchiness. And I'm not trying to pretend that I'm immune to being a bitch myself, in fact I'm pretty sure there's a lot of people out there who would use that particular word exactly to describe me.

But I don't want to be a bitch, and nor do I want to deal with bitchiness in this group situation. I just want to rollerskate, man! But pretending it's not happening and turning a blind eye is not going to change or defuse the situation - I still have to deal with "The Group Mentality", and try to find a place for myself within it. Because I really, really want to do this. Not just do it, but be a part of it. And at the moment, I don't feel a part of it at all. And so my instincts are to pack up my skating gear and run out the door! I really don't know what to do.