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Sexpo, Go Karts and a Secret Lagoon - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
Sexpo, Go Karts and a Secret Lagoon
Summary: Went to Ahmets, went to Sexpo, rode a Sex Train, went to Go Karts, I turned out to be surprisingly good dangerous, took jump photos, and swam in Secret Lagoon.

On Friday night, a group of us (Joey, me, Rosa, Mark, Elizabeth, Scott) went to Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant at South Bank and had a mighty feast of deliciousness. The only thing Joe and I were sad about was that they didn't have the sour cherry drink in stock! Woe! The hot apple tea we got instead was amazing, though. Afterwards, Wang and her guy Matt joined us and we all trooped over to Sexpo.

I'll admit, I went in with low expectations, knowing how cheesy some of the stalls / shows can be from previous years. But I think the group I was with counted for a lot, because we got there at around 9, and we didn't leave 'til it closed at midnight, and we never once ran out of things to do and see! From cataloging the worst sex toy names we could find (winner: the Muffin Mucker), to running into familiar faces (like turner23), to riding the horrific Sex Train, to cheering on the male strippers, to having a group photo taken together with some topless girl strippers... it was wall-to-wall fun! Also, we all came away with some very neat merchandise. Oh yeah, and Rosa bought a giant stuffed penis pillow, and has bought it into work, where it now sits proudly (or floppily) on Mark's desk.

We were sad because we missed Susie Q, a famous pole-dancer, who Liz and I were keen to see. But this was in part made up for by the excellent male strip show. The girl strippers didn't do anything too special, but the guys were genuinely talented - lots of backflips, single-hand-stands, and really well-choreographed routines. As resident shortasses, Rosa and I managed to get to the front row for that show, and when the lead stripper guy pointed in our direction we had a mock push-fight over which of us he'd been pointing at. "He pointed at me!" "No, he likes ME!" This amused our boyfriends greatly.

So another late night was had; it was well after 1am by the time we finally got home. The next morning, Joe couldn't drag himself out of bed for the writing class, so I went solo and met Mark there. The class was enjoyable, but once again, the hour format was far too limited for the subject matter. It was really nice hearing from a local speculative fiction writer though (Trent Jamieson), and we had fun. Also, I'd forgotten about the little aquarium in Toowong Village, how amazing is it?? I helped a couple of little kids find Nemo.

Mark and I picked up burgers for ourselves and our spouses, then hopped a train to meet said spouses at Central, where we all nommed burgers and chatted while we waited for our train to Kingston. On the ride there, we had a fascinating discussion about religion. Mark and Rosa were both raised in religious families and later broke free of it - Mark's parents in particular are religious to the extreme; not just young-earthers, but they believe (for example) that human beings used to live longer because there was a layer of water wrapped around the atmosphere, which prevented harmful cosmic rays from getting in and ageing people, and that the Great Flood was caused by the collapse of this layer into an epic rainstorm, and that's why we age now, because we're no longer protected from the sun's rays.

We also discussed how "The God Delusion", while making some very strong points, takes the wrong approach in that it is too agressive and unsympathetic to religion from the outset. Mark says that if he'd read that book while still religious he'd have been put off by the tone of it; he feels that it will only capture "swing voters" (religion-wise) and that any of the seriously extreme religious who the book is aiming to influence will only be put on the defensive. He said that a more subtle approach would work better, and I agree. Interestingly, he turned away from religion of his own accord in his early teenage years. He had difficult life questions at that age, as we all do, and was told that the answers were in the Bible. But all his reading only raised further questions, questions that the Bible seemed unable to answer. He discovered the more he read, the less he believed.

Fascinating! I went through a short phase as a teenager where the majority of my friends were Christian, and I briefly wanted to be the same, as my lack of belief clearly distressed them and I didn't like seeing them so upset. I began to read up on the Bible and had a similar experience to Mark's; I found no answers there and in fact only found things that were, well, a little offputting and in some cases angering, especially some of the attitudes towards women. I tried very hard to believe for a while, but it just wasn't there. I could have gone ahead and joined a church anyway, but it would have been fake. Rosa said she lost her faith that way: it just wore off as she grew up, and eventually she was only going to church because she was going through the motions (and at one point, in order to impress a boy she had a crush on, heh). She reached the same point I did: Better to be an honest atheist than a false Christian.

Sadly for Mark and Rosa, their parents are still highly religious. Mark's are so traditional that they disapprove of him dating Rosa because she is Filipino. I get the impression that home trips can be difficult for both of them.

Enough on that. We reached Kingston station, crammed too many people into the back of JB's friend Ivan's car, and joined Liz and co at Kingston Park Raceway.

Go-Karting was more fun than I could have imagined. The carts had a top speed of 80kph (50mph). We had a practice race followed by three official races. Each race was roughly 8 laps and took about 10 minutes - so with all that, and the waiting periods between each race, we filled the entire afternoon with racing and were still going at dusk.

In the practice race, Joe and I came 14th and 15th respectively. After that I realised what the carts were capable of, vowed to crack the top ten, and in the first official race, I beat all my coworkers and friends bar one - a guy friend of Liz's - and came in at 10th. Our little group of thirteen had to share the track with a bucks party group of about the same number, and those guys were taking it all WAY too seriously - they'd clearly done it before and were aggressive and pushy out on the track. Happily, I beat a couple of them in Race 1, haha. In Race 2, I was determined to beat my result from the previous race. TOO determined. I overtook Rosa and decided to be a smarty-pants so I hollered "IN YOUR FACE!" and shook my fist at her, only to then realise I was taking the next corner too fast. I spun out, coming to a stop in the middle of the road. Two or three other carts clipped me. I laughed hysterically throughout it, and once they'd passed and the road was clear, turned and kept going. Sadly, this incident caused me to be black-flagged, which meant my speed was cut for the rest of the race, so I only came in 17th. Cry.

Race 3, the Grand Final, was my chance to redeem myself. I was so focused in that race it was like being in a trance. It's funny, because Mark was freaking out a little at the speed of the carts; after each race he was shaking with adrenalin, but Joey and I both found the opposite effect: the speed and power of the carts was incredibly calming. I felt fantastic after each race! I had my period at the time, so perhaps this was exactly what I needed to work my frustrations out. ;)

In the last race, I came 9th, beating everyone on my team and a good portion of the aggressive bucks party too. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased (especially when Liz gave me a plastic medal and a bag of chocolate coins, haha). JB was all, "Tell me again, WHY don't you have your licence??" and I reminded him that driving go-karts well is no indication that you'll drive actual cars well. Probably the opposite, actually. Suicidal risk-taking is an advantage on the go-kart track.

People started to drift home afterwards. Rosa, JB, Mark, Ivan, Joey and I all started taking group jumping photos, which came out really well. I'll put them on facebook when I remember to get them off Joe's camera. On the spur of the moment, Joe and I decided to call Joe's dad and go to the farm instead of returning home, as we were already in the area. We had a nice relaxing night there, and went on a fog walk up the Tyrannosaurus Track (in-joke), slept in the next morning, got stuck at the farm because Joe's dad was fixing the car and couldn't give us a lift to the station, and sadly missed the open training time at the pole gym. Siiiigh. Still, what we did instead was really different - we went with Joe's parents on this long walk down a dirt track in the bush. Fifteen minutes in, Joe's mum led us off the path, through the long grass, and the terrain opened up into a beautiful lagoon covered in water-lilies. We went swimming in there with the dogs. Little fish nibbled our chins. It was just gorgeous... swimming in murky water is always a little nerve-wracking, but the cold layer under the top warm layer was refreshing after the long walk we'd taken to get there, and the scenery was beautiful. It was a surprising thing to find in the middle of nowhere. Apparently Joe's mum used Google Maps satellite images to locate it, and requested that we not tell anyone exactly where it is, as it's her Secret Spot.

Joe and I eventually got a train back home, and wound up the night with spaghetti bolegnaise and the last two 'Pirates of the Carribean' movies. And then there was sleep, and cuddles. So ends a brilliant weekend.

Oh! And the big news this morning is that The Fonz, the largest of our hermit crabs, has moulted - above ground! He's hiding in his Hermie Hut. We figure it's because he's so enormous he has a hard time fully burying himself. He seems happy enough, and we're glad - moulting crabs are comfortable crabs, so we must be doing something right, as all of ours bar one of the smallest have moulted now.

Also, the French is going well. I'd been using the more difficult of the two DS programs because there'd been a bluescreen while I installed the other one and it wasn't opening properly. Fixed that today, so the French learning should accelerate from here. I'm having a great time with this, though when I listen to the iPod lessons on the bus and train, I think I may be concerning other commuters slightly when I repeat the words under my breath. I imagine it must look peculiar.
12 have fought ~ fight the power!
rainbow_gash From: rainbow_gash Date: March 2nd, 2009 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)
RE: Dawkins, have you seen Religilous? It's quite fantastic, presents similar arguments in a much more light-hearted manner, and the guy isn't even an atheist.

And Sexpo: Did you see the guys from the Australian Sex Party? What'd you think, if so? :D
tania From: tania Date: March 2nd, 2009 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't seen it, I shall have to look it up! I saw the Dawkins doco "The Root of All Evil" and thought it suffered a little from the same tone as his book, plus too short a running length for the subject matter, plus a title that was horribly slanted even to atheistic ol' me. D:

I did see the ASP! I'll have to ask Joe what he thought; he stopped to talk with them at some length. :) Are you involved with them?
rainbow_gash From: rainbow_gash Date: March 2nd, 2009 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Do! It's by a professional stand-up comedian rather than a scientist, and whilst the message is similar it is executed far better than The Root Of All Evil, not to mention quite funny!

And no, unfortunately, but they're pretty awesome as far as political parties go.

ranshire From: ranshire Date: March 2nd, 2009 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
To be fair, Dawkins hates the title too. I'm not sure what he wanted to call it, but it was the BBC's idea to call the doc. "The Root of all Evil?"
hammond From: hammond Date: March 2nd, 2009 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought there wasn't much to be desired of the male strippers. They were attrociously bad on Sunday.. or maybe I expect too much from them.
tania From: tania Date: March 2nd, 2009 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe it was a different mob? The main guy of the three we saw was amazing; he was doing backflips, front-flips, cartwheels, and at one point he had a girl sitting on a chair on the stage, put his hand on the chair seat between her legs, and raised himself into a one-hand handstand! It got a gasp from the audience (and the girl looked like she thought her life might be flashing before her eyes!)

Also, the main stripper was wearing these armbands that were pretty awesome. I commented as much to Rosa halfway through the show and she replied, "You're watching this and you like the ARMBANDS? Get your priorities straight!"
ranshire From: ranshire Date: March 2nd, 2009 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I read "The God Delusion" in very much the same way as your Mark did. I couldn't help but read it while imagining still being a religious person. While I found many parts to be profound, funny and good references, yeah, it was a little too aggressive over all (wait until you read "God is Not Great" by Chirs Hitchens. Makes Dawkins look like a hippy). If I were still religious I would have stopped reading quite early on.

I still think Dawkins can be a great writer, particularly when he's writing on a subject he loves and is an expert in: evolution. I highly suggest "The Ancestor's Tale"; it's very readable and you can just tell he had a blast writing it. Also the doc. "The Enemies of Reason" was enjoyable. Reminded me of Bullshit! at times, only with less swearing.

So many of my friends are religious (I do live in America, after all). One of my close friends was home schooled, which wouldn't be so bad, if she weren't told that evolution has no evidence for it and that it's based on as much faith as any religion. *sigh*
stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: March 2nd, 2009 07:30 am (UTC) (Link)
they believe (for example) that human beings used to live longer because there was a layer of water wrapped around the atmosphere, which prevented harmful cosmic rays from getting in and ageing people, and that the Great Flood was caused by the collapse of this layer into an epic rainstorm, and that's why we age now, because we're no longer protected from the sun's rays.

I was exposed to that in high school. I did my best to believe that particular concept, because I thought I was supposed to, but when they got so far as to tell me that this particular phenomenon would have turned the sky pink and that, moreover, a pink sky is of some sort of psychological benefit to humanity, my suspension of disbelief couldn't hold that up. Though Lord knows I tried. e_e

I'm glad that I learned that being a Christian does not mean that you have to turn your brain off, and it does not mean you have to blithely accept everything from the pulpit (up to and including the doctrine of Biblical infallibility). If I hadn't reached those conclusions, I'd probably be an atheist too. As a consequences of them, though, I find myself really embarrassed by the actions of a lot of my well-meaning brethren. >.>
stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: March 2nd, 2009 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and also: What in the name of all that is horny is a Sex Train? o__o
tania From: tania Date: March 2nd, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a typical carnival Ghost Train that they've bought and retconned into a Sex Train... mostly using dummies rigged up to hydraulics, dudes who touch your hair or leap out at you throughout the ride, penis-shaped handlebars on the ride car, and a whooooole lot of dildos. Scarier than any ghost train I've ever seen. ;)
stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: March 3rd, 2009 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
That...sounds like one of the creepiest things I have ever heard of. XD
tania From: tania Date: March 3rd, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, it is. It is. D:
12 have fought ~ fight the power!