Darnielle

Hoi. I'm Darnielle.

I'm a 30 year-old mistress of dorkness, digital creative, aspiring crime-fighting superhero (using my powers of psychology and education), level 90 spoonie, pop-loving metalhead, stationery hoarder & eternal narcissist. I speak with an ukcint of the Kiwi variety & live with my epic nerd husband & our mischief of pet rats in the happiest town in the Netherlands. This is my blog.

I apologise to anyone who saw my Instagram post from a few days ago and was expecting to see a post about my planner, but it’s bloody hard to arrange the metric fuckton of information I want to include in a clear, easy-to-read way when your brain isn’t remotely functional. I’m 99% sure I am going to film it instead. So, in order to stick to my goal of at least one post a week, this week’s blog is going to be about one of my totally lofty but probably still doable goals.

I want to become a roller derby girl.

Although it’s not immediately obvious when you look at me (what up, fatty boombah!), I love to move my body. I was somewhat of a ~sporty~ kid, and I even had distance running Olympic dreams at one point, but then puberty was all “Here, have some unreasonably large and terribly cumbersome milk sacks which you won’t find a supportive bra for until you’re in your late teens but by then it’ll be too late because you’ll be totally unfit and about to develop a couple of chronic illness!” Thanks, puberty. I’m not bitter at all! 😏

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I first learnt that roller derby existed, but I do believe it was after I fell ill, but before the movie Whip It was released, so somewhere between 2006 and 2009. I originally dismissed it as being super fuckin’ cool, but not something I’d ever be able to do because of my health, so I just admired it from afar. It appealed to me because it’s a sport with a fair bit of movement that wouldn’t be hell on the boobs, it attracts alternative types, can be played by big girls, and it’s a good way for my grumpy ass to work out aggression.

As my health became easier to deal with (I can’t say improved), I started considering it more and more. I looked into doing it back in New Zealand, but decided against it when it became clear that it was going to be an expensive hobby to have for an unemployed (financially dependent) disabled woman who was stuck in the mindset of “you suck, give up!”. When we moved to the Netherlands and I started working for the first time in forever, I started thinking about it again. I was less hesitant about it knowing I would be buying the gear with my own money so if my health or self-sabotage habit stopped me, the guilt would be limited.

So, last year… I bought some gear! My intention was to skate on my own for a few months, get my fitness up, then go to a Fresh Meat session with my local league. The toe stops were put on that plan when the second time I put my skates on just to mess around in my living room, I fell and hit my head. I was technically fine, but my health went absolutely haywire after that, I developed some serious (health) anxiety and I haven’t been back on my skates since.

However, Sam and I went to see a few live games of derby yesterday and I have a renewed desire to do the damn thing. I have a lot of work to do, and I still have a bunch of irritating health issues I have to work through, but I’m so over letting my shitty health spoil my fun. If I’m gonna be sick and in pain, I might as well be sick and in pain for a good reason!

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 14th January 2018

This isn’t what I had intended to post this week, but as one of my goals for this year is to blog once a week regardless of how much of a garbage fire my health is at any given point, I decided to pull from my list of cop-out topics. Deal with it. 😎

Fun fact about me: I’m a screaming, crying, dance routine copying, “no, he’s MINE”, “no, I’M Ginger!” teenybopper from way back. My poison of choice was (mostly British) boy bands and girl groups, and as I circle deeper into nostalgic hell with every re-listen, I realise that so many good jams by my faves that SHOULD have been released as singles never were.

So, here’s a list of my top 10 boy band and girl group songs that should have been singles but weren’t.

Little Mix – Lightning

Okay, so this one isn’t that nostalgic being that the album it was on (Get Weird) was only released in 2015, but it needed to be on this list because every time I hear it, I’m like “Little Mix’s management are on some serious bullshit!” for not releasing this track as a single. Don’t get me started on adding rappers to their recent singles…

a1 – Make It Through the Night

Like a lot of the stuff that ends up being my favourite, a1 were criminally underrated. Especially with the release of their third album, Make it Good (2002), which was written almost entirely by them and they played their own instruments. This was back when it was strange for boy bands to have input in their own music. This track is my absolute favourite of theirs and actually one of my favourite songs of all time. OF ALL TIME!!!

Girls Aloud – On the Metro

At first I understood why this one wasn’t a single because it was just a bonus track on their Greatest Hits album (TEN, 2012), but they released ‘Something New’ (meh) and ‘Beautiful Because You Love Me’ (*facepalm*) from that album, so… EXPLAIN THAT! But I also LOVED Untouchable which was their first single not to make the top 10 in the UK, so what the hell do I know?

Five – Don’t Fight It Baby

This track was on the US release of Invincible (2000). I believe the intention was to make it a single there, because it does have more of a Backstreet Boys/NSYNC vibe that an American audience would appreciate, but I don’t see why it wasn’t given to the rest of us! If you’ve seen the movie Loser, this will sound familiar. It was used in the scene where Paul is dancing with his sister’s friends.

Girl Thing – Pure and Simple

This one is likely familiar to most readers from the Commonwealth because it was the winner’s single for Hear’Say from the first season of the UK Popstars. For whatever reason, their self-titled album (2000) was only released in Australia and New Zealand, so I knew of this version of the song for a fair few months before Hear’Say released their version. I was a hardcore Girl Thing stan and I was FURIOUS that their song was poached which may have influenced how I felt about it, but I still think their version is better today.

Blue – Like a Friend

Listening to these lyrics now that I’ve been exposed to the concepts of “nice guys” and the “friendzone” makes me giggle a little, but this song from their second album, One Love (2002), was one of my favourites for a loooong time. Considering how bloody fickle I was at that point, that says a lot. I’m not actually too sure it would have done so well as a single, but I would have love to have seen a music video for it!

Sugababes – Who

Sugababes actually have a TON of non-single songs that I could have put on this list, because again, underrated popular music seems to be my jam, but this one wasn’t even on an album. It was a b-side (lol!) to their single ‘Hole in the Head’, which was from their album Three (2003). I think the reason I thought this would have done well as a single is because a few years earlier, Mr Oizo’s Flat Beat was big and it has a similar sound to it.

Hanson – Yearbook

Because I wanted to know where the fuck Johnny went, TBH. A music video may have helped with that. But more seriously, this is actually an amazing song. It’s really dark for the band that also brought us MMMBop, and now that I’m all growed up and into the metulz, darkness appeals to me. It was released on their album Middle of Nowhere in 1997.

Spice Girls – Never Give Up on the Good Times

Did you really think I was going to make this list without a Spice Girls song?! This would have been released if Geri hadn’t left, so it’s pleasing to know I wasn’t alone in my thoughts about this song. It’s just super fun and would have done just as well as the rest of the singles up until that point. For anyone who doesn’t know (wat?!), it was released on Spiceworld in 1997.

O-Town – From the Damage

Although ‘These Are the Days’ is my all-time favourite O-Town song and they did the right thing by releasing it as a single, they fucked up releasing ‘I Showed Her’ from O2 (2002) over this. I’m convinced that decision killed their career. Ignoring Hanson because they were a special type of boy band, O-Town were my favourite stereotypical American boy band. BSB and NSYNC were always ‘meh’ for me.

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 7th January 2018

2017 was the year of not blogging. For the first time since I started blogging in 1999 (!!!), I didn’t have a blog for (over) a whole year. A combination of my failing health, frustration with the “blogging scene”, and a continuing trend of deciding I don’t like something when I’m only a few tweaks away from finishing it caused me to throw in the towel for the year.

But I’m back, full of good intentions and a renewed creative spark.

So, what happened during my year-long blogging hiatus?! Let’s break it down by month, shall we?

2017 First Half
Photos from the First Half of 2017

January

  • Celebrated being in the Netherlands for one year.
  • Visited Eindhoven for the first time to buy roller derby gear.
  • Fell on my ass and hit my head in skates, possibly triggering this very long run of bad health.
  • Developed a case of gastritis that ended up going pro (chronic) and plaguing me for six months.

February

  • I bought a Fitbit which started my weight loss journey for the year!
  • My hip started playing up, leaving me bed-bound for most of the second half of February.
  • Started seeing a chiropractor.

March

  • I MET DEVIN TOWNSEND!!!
  • … and saw him live for the first of three times this year (in Tilburg).
  • I went to Germany (Düsseldorf) to see Devilskin live for the second time.
  • We went to Disneyland Paris.

April

  • The husband turned 30.
  • Went mini golfing for the first time in the Netherlands (something we did a lot in NZ).
  • Found out that we had to leave our apartment in Wageningen.

May

  • I turned 30.
  • Spent a night in Rhenen & went to the zoo.
  • Developed some serious anxiety attached to my health.
  • Finished my temporary data entry job.
  • Found a new apartment in Ede.
  • Broke a molar and went to the dentist and only had to pay €30!

June

  • Saw Rotting Christ live for the second time (in Arnhem).
  • Moved to our new apartment in Ede.
  • Bought a new computer after my laptop died.
2017 First Half
Photos from the Second Half of 2017

July

  • Celebrated our 10 year relationship anniversary.
  • Saw Devin Townsend live for the second of three times this year (in Eindhoven).
  • Had an endoscopy to find out what was up with my tummo (nothing, apparently).

August

  • Finally got around to having a housewarming party.
  • Celebrated the 1st ‘Gotcha Day’ for two of our four rats.

September

  • Celebrated the 1st ‘Gotcha Day’ for the other two of our four rats.
  • Visited Bulgaria.
  • Saw Devin Townsend live for the third of three times in 2017 (in Bulgaria)!

October

  • Celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.
  • Took a short trip to Amsterdam.
  • Saw Stam1na live for the first time!

November

  • Sam’s brother, Henry, came to stay (for more than a month).
  • That’s apparently all that happened in November.

December

  • Went to the zoo in Arnhem.
  • Went for our first ever walk in a blizzard!
  • Visited Nijmegen for the first time.
  • Spent Christmas with an extra family member this year!

And those were the highlights and lowlights of 2017. Here’s to well-balanced 2018, and more blogging!

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 1st January 2018

Although I have always been fairly sure of my ethnicity, I fell down the rabbit hole of ancestry DNA videos on YouTube early last year and got a wee bit obsessed with them. So naturally, I wanted to do it myself. With the first proper paycheck I’d received in over a decade, I decided to treat myself to a 23andMe Ancestry + Health kit.

For those of you unaware how these kits work, you’re provided with a method of collecting your DNA. Some services use cheek swabs, but 23andMe has a decidedly more gross method: you fill a tube with spit. Once you’ve done that, you send it back and wait for the results. Mine took just over a month to come in, but the processing time can be up to eight weeks, especially when there’s been a special on the kits.

Before taking the test, I knew I was mostly British and around 12.5% Māori. My maternal grandfather is a full Brit who migrated to New Zealand in the 50s, and my paternal grandfather was at least half Māori. Both of my grandmothers were New Zealanders with British, Scottish and “some kind of Western European” heritage. I wasn’t expecting to be too shocked by any of my results.

So, these are the results I got from 23andMe.

Sam & I
23andMe Results

For those of you with screen readers or images turned off, I am 88.6% European, which breaks down into 48.9% British & Irish, 4.4% Scandinavian, 4.2% French & German, 0.2% Finnish, 27.9% broadly Northwestern European, 0.7% Eastern European, 0.2% Southern European, and 2.7% broadly European.

None of this section was too much of a shock. I expected a higher amount of British & Irish, but the ‘broadly’ NW European percentage could potentially still be British. The small amounts of Scandinavian and Western European were expected too.

The next results were the ones that initially shocked me. I hadn’t done much research into what my Māori blood could come back as, but I saw that 23andMe tested for ‘Oceania’, so I figured that’s where it would be. So, imagine my face when I saw 7.5% East Asian & Native American and only 2.8% Oceanian.

The 7.5% percentage broke down into 6.8% Southeast Asian, 0.1% East Asian, and 0.6% broadly East Asian & Native American. When I saw Southeast Asian, I started to consider the fact that historians believe that the Māori migrated from an island they think was most likely Taiwan. I went to the message boards to find out what the deal was, and sure enough, all other Māori (3) users of 23andMe had the same combo.

The final assigned result I got was <0.1% Middle Eastern & North African, which is probably standard for most people because we all came from Africa.

Through the message boards, I found out about a few other services that you could upload your raw DNA data (for free!) to and get different/more results, so naturally, I did that too.

NOTE: I know some people are probably on the conspiracy theory tip right now, but if someone wants my DNA for nefarious deeds, there are other ways to get it without me actively donating my data for research purposes.

The three services I ran my data through were DNA.LAND, GED Match and My Heritage DNA.

Sam & I
DNA.LAND, GED Match & My Heritage DNA Results

The DNA.LAND results were the most similar to the 23andMe results, but still different enough that it was quite interesting. I came up as 89% West Eurasian, with 64% Northwest European, 13% Balkan (which didn’t show up at all in my 23andMe test, but I did have a small amount of Eastern European), 7% Finnish, and 5.3% Southwestern European.

My East Asian percentage was a little higher at 7.8%, and broken down into 4.3% Southeast Asian and 2% Taiwanese (which further confirms the possibility that the Māori people originated from Taiwan), 1.5% East Asian, and 1.5% ambiguous. My Oceanian was slightly lower at 2.1%. The rest (1.2%) was ambiguous.

GED Match offered a number of different tests that would give various results, but I chose the Eurogenes K36 as it produced the most ethnic populations. The percentages are not visible in the image, but percentages are provided on the page. I found this test the most interesting because it broke it right now.

The highest percentage I got was 17.92% North Sea (which encompasses both the British and Scandinavian covered in my 23andMe test), followed by 17.79% Iberian (Southwestern European), 11.78% North Atlantic (which again covers Britain and Scandinavia), 8.14% Italian, 8.14% Central European, 6.24% Malayan, 5.5% Fennoscandian (Scandinavian and Finnish), 5.28% French, 4.29% Eastern European, 3.12% Basque (Spain and France), 2.84% East Central European, 2.36% Indo-Chinese, 2.08% Oceanian, 1.44% Volga-Ural (Russia), 0.58% East Balkan, 0.55% Siberian, 0.35% South Chinese, 0.29% South Central Asian, and 0.14% South Asian.

And finally, the test I think had an algorithm programmed by drunk monkeys: My Heritage DNA. It was generally accurate, but there were two results I was like ‘REALLY GURL?!’ about.

98% European, with 74.7% Northern and Western European, broken down into 31.6% Irish, Scottish and Welsh, 24.4% English, and 18.7% Scandinavian. The separation of Irish/Scottish/Welsh and English was bogus because Irish is an actual separate ethnicity, but Scottish and Welsh is British. So the 31.6% and 24.4% percentage should have been combined as British. I don’t have any Irish ancestry.

My Heritage did pick up on more Eastern European (19.9%) broken down into 18.6% Balkan, and 1.3% East European, and 3.4% Iberian. These results matched the DNA.LAND and GED Match results pretty well so I was okay with that. But My Heritage almost completely erased my Māori heritage by detecting only 2%… um, Nepalese as my Asian/Oceanian blood. I definitely wouldn’t recommend getting your DNA tested with My Heritage on the back of these results.

I definitely recommend 23andMe if you’re interested in getting an ancestry DNA test done. They have occasional sales on the kits if you don’t want to lay down the big bucks, so keep checking the website.

(This post was not sponsored, by the way.)

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 31st December 2017

Our hometown of Hamilton in New Zealand is known as one of the bogan capitals of the country, and Sam and I happen to be friends with a fairly famous Hamiltonian. His name is Dave and he’s a bogan. More than that, he’s a doctor. He has a PhD in the field of community psychology, and his thesis was on the topic of bogans. Particularly those of the heavy metal persuasion (like myself!). He’s basically one of the coolest academics you will ever meet.

Because Dave is pretty much HBIC, he was asked to be part of a comedy show being filmed for television which celebrates “small town” New Zealand. The producers wanted to film Dave in his natural Friday afternoon/evening environment, so basically, the usual suspects were rounded up, told to do what it is we do on a typical Friday afternoon and put in front of a camera crew for a few hours.

One of those usual suspects was me, and naturally, I got rather enthusiastic about the subject of bogans on Twitter. Following a string of ‘bogan’ related tweets, my friend Brendan told me that he didn’t think I was a bogan, but he admitted it was because he has a stereotype in mind. So, I got to explaining and this is the result.

Bogans!
Dave, The Feral Crew & comedians, Ben Hurley and Steve Wrigley

First of all, it would be wise to ignore any of the definitions featured here. Those ‘definitions’ are derogatory, and mostly Australian. While the word originated from Australia, and we still borrow some of its meaning here, it’s not the same. And just before any Australians have a whinge about us pinching the word and turning it into something to be proud of, you stole Russell Crowe and got all proud about him, so fair’s fair.

Bogan, in Australia, is used to describe someone who is of the lower class. In New Zealand, it’s used to describe someone who is from any class but chooses to live as though they are lower class. We don’t see simply being lower class as a bad thing. There are some negative behaviours that tend to go along with the idea of lower class people, but just like in society, only a small section of bogans engage in those behaviours. An example of this is the fact that bogans are more appreciative the cheaper versions of things. Cheap alcohol, second-hand furniture, clothing that doesn’t cost half a week’s wages…

Speaking of clothing, some people will describe a ‘bogan uniform’ as being a certain way. While a lot of us dress in black band shirts and jeans, there are bogans who dress like professionals. Because they actually ARE professionals. Imagine that! You don’t have to be “out and proud” to be a bogan. It’s more a state of mind, and an interest in heavy metal music and/or cars. It’s not a requirement to like both, but a great deal of bogans do. You can be a bogan if you drive a V8 but only listen to Nickelback. You can also be a bogan if the only thing you know about your car is that it’s green, but SLAAAAAAYER!

Some could argue that bogans are just metalheads or petrolheads, but there’s also an attitude that goes along with being bogan. Bogans are generally laid-back, go with the flow, “shit happens” kind of people. We also don’t really care what others think of us. We do our own thing. Why the fuck else would I have a rainbow-themed blog, and openly admit to loving late 90s boy bands? Not all metalheads or petrolheads are like this and some would even get offended if you referred to them as bogans.

Then there’s the idea that bogans are uneducated. Some are, but some like Dave and Sam have PhDs. Most of the bogans I know have a degree or diploma of some sort, and the conversations that go on at bogan parties can get very intellectual. Political even. We run the gamut of ideologies as well. And religion, well… here’s another little ‘blow your mind’ fact about bogans: we’re not all atheists. A real life example is our friend Anton, who is one of the “double bogans” into both cars and metal mentioned above. He’s Christian… and not just for Census purposes.

It’s hard for some people to see bogans as being anything other than that basic derogatory Australian definition, because well, they are the original bogans… but like I said earlier, we’ve taken the word and given it a slightly different definition and we’re proud of it. It’s a subculture that gives those of us in it a sense of community and belonging, and just like every subculture there are good and bad members. I would be lost without my fellow bogans. They’re all good cunts.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here’s the clip. Sam and I are relegated to background actors, but I’m still mighty proud to have been a part of this.

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 30th December 2017

It was June 2007. I had not long turned 20 and was almost a year into a self-imposed “man ban” in an attempt to cure my serial monogamist tendencies.

A friend of mine had been telling me about her adventures in online dating (which wasn’t really “a thing” back in 2007), and one story about a dodgy older guy who ignored the ‘seeking’ age bracket on both of her profiles not long after they were created and sent some pretty hilarious messages. She wanted to know if he was specifically interested in her, or if he messaged every female who signed up. So I signed up. FOR SCIENCE!

Despite my “man ban”, I was naturally drawn to the little link that told me I had matches. I figured looking couldn’t hurt. Right?

And that’s how I found Sam. He was ‘rather_tall’ with, quite frankly, an awful profile picture. I clicked anyway, because the username drew me in. His profile almost read like me writing a wishlist for the perfect boyfriend, so I sent a message. Containing a dead baby joke, the best foundation to any budding romance. A few more dead baby jokes later, and we were chatting to each other (on MSN Messenger!) for hours every night.

A few weeks later, we decided to meet up. He was at university, and I was living a 45-minute drive away in the country. I had stopped working due to my health and I had a car, so I went to him. Because we had been talking for a few weeks, we already knew a lot about each other, so our first date ended up being an entire weekend long, filled with movies, fast food, and a walk around the Hamilton Gardens. We became “official” that weekend, on the 2nd of July.

Things progressed really quickly from there. I had planned to start university in 2008 which would have meant moving from the country into Hamilton, so I started looking for a place to live. I’m still not sure exactly how it happened, but I ended up moving in with Sam and his flatmates. A few months later, just before the academic year started, we moved into an apartment, just the two of us.

Sam & I
Sam & I on our wedding day

For the following seven years (and many more apartments and houses), we lived together with no plans for marriage. It wasn’t until Sam’s mother passed away and we’d started considering moving overseas that our view on marriage shifted from ‘just a piece of paper’ to ‘a symbolically nice and eventually helpful piece of paper’. I had also expressed interest in taking his last name, because come on… Sarjant is a super cool name, is it not?!

We were married on the 27th of October 2015 at the courthouse with my parents, two family friends, and my sister and Sam’s childhood best friend as our witnesses. We then went to the Hamilton Gardens for photos, then had a meal with our closest friends and family, and that was our wedding! Nothing fancy or expensive, which was very “us”.

So, that’s our story! At least the logistical parts of it.

Oh and… in case you were wondering, the dodgy older guy DID message me a few hours after my profile went up. I wish I knew I’d be writing about this ten years later and saved the message as a memento. Because nothing says romantic love story like a comedic message from a pervy old man!

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 29th December 2017