Monday, June 30, 2008

Another Rollercoaster

Note: this is heavy-duty Derby Drama. It's not for the faint of heart, or for those who have only a casual interest in my little roller derby hobby. You may want to skip this one if you want your image of what I do on my off-days to be fun and happy.

Proceed with caution...

I was soooooooooooo high on Saturday.

Today I'm sooooooooooooooooooo low, it looks like up to me.

When we last left our intrepid blog, we had a triumphant First Day of the Battle on the Bank Tournament. I barely slept Saturday night, but was pumped and ready to go yesterday.

Got to the track early, warmed up for what seemed like hours, drank an obscene amount of energy drinks, and was generally ready to kick more Team Awesome butt.

The first game of the evening saw a buttload of ejections from both teams (TXRD vs. San Diego), so the LA Ri-ettes and Team Awesome captains met with the refs to tweak the rules so that if anyone gets ejected in the first half of the game, they can still come back for the second half. You think you know where this is going, don't you.

Game time.

Things start off great. LA pulls a decent lead on Team Awesome. I'm put into a couple of jams, but get sent to the penalty box both times in the first quarter. Damn! But overall the team's doing well. I do my thang in the second quarter, and penalties on other skaters rack up. One, Krissy Krash, is ejected before halftime.

A rare shot of me skating while jammer Mila Minute is knocked down by Team Awesome skater Demanda Riot(she's the uber-scary girl with the face paint and dreadlocks. She hit me into the rail a few jams later and I thought my right breast was going to be ripped free of my body):

Score at halftime: 37-24 in favor of LA.

After halftime, things got ugly.

Team Awesome kicked into high gear and came back on us BIG time and started kicking our butts. As the second half of the game wore on, I noticed that I was put up on the track less and less. Team Awesome got the lead and held on for awhile.

By the fourth quarter, I skated in one jam. I didn't accrue a single penalty in the second half of the game. Krissy Krash got ejected again. I still don't get put into game rotation.

At first, I assume that it's because of the whole penalty thing in the first quarter. But, by the second half, my penalties are gone. So...why wasn't I put into game rotation?

I don't know.

Now, I'm not implying that because I wasn't being played, that Team Awesome was able to catch up to LA score-wise. However, there's nothing that can convince me at this point that I didn't at least play as well as the rest of the skaters on my team. So "choking" isn't an issue in my mind. If a skater is on an "all-star" team, they should play. Plain and simple.

EDIT: well, apparently choking was an issue in the captain's mind. She claimed I didn't skate well in the game. I still dispute that, but I gotta wait for game footage to see if I really sucked more than the other players that got to stay in.

I also think I was handicapped for that going into this situation, and had I known what the captain thought of me before the tournament, I might've done things differently...namely stayed on the Golden Girls team.


Oh, look, here I am...sitting. I got really good at that:

I got frustrated about not being played and said so during a quick break, and the Ri-ettes captain said, But Tara, it's for the good of the team!


The game wears on. By the last jam, LA was ahead by 4 points. But, in the last jam, the LA jammer commits a major penalty, which means that the points she earned is given to the other team and an overtime jam is run with no jammer from the offending team. The score is now tied as a result.


That caused some drama on the team. The LA team captain calls for "four big blockers", since LA has no jammer. I stand up, and get ignored. I sit down.

And cry like a big baby.

The overtime jam is run, and ANOTHER major penalty is thrown, so a SECOND overtime jam is called for.


I tried to leave the track at this point, but one of the refs wouldn't let me. I go back to the bench and continue to be miserable.

This has never happened before, and it certainly wasn't anticipated. The crowd is going NUTS. The announcers are confused, and say so over the loudspeakers. They practically demand an explanation from the head ref of the game, but he has his own problems to deal with.

LA's captain has skated over to him and started screaming in his face. She throws a helmet. Another LA skater throws her helmet. Those are grounds for getting ejected in the ruleset. Water bottles from the audience start flying into the infield. The head ref takes the abuse and tells LA's cappie to set up the next jam. He doesn't kick her out for insubordination.

She has the nerve to let herself and the other helmet-throwing skater skate that jam. While I still sat. Both teams have jammers.

The jam is played, and LA won by a single point, 63-62.

Btw, if you want to read the Dear Husband's furious text messages of the game as it happened, check out Derby News Network.

The instant the last whistle is blown I gather my sad self and quickly exit the track and go to the dressing rooms. On my way I pass the head ref surrounded by a phalanx of refs, also on their way to the dressing rooms.

As I start tearing off my skates, I hear a whistle being repeatedly blown. I go back out, and see the aftermath of a "fan" who had ACCOSTED the head ref. The "fan" was luckily thrown out without further incident.


I finish packing up my gear, and in my still-gross skate clothes, text the Dear Husband that I wanna leave ASAP. At the time he's caught up in the rules debacle and doesn't have a clue about my own personal Waterloo in regards to the game.

In a comedy of errors, I end up outside behind the dressing rooms, smoking like a fiend and waiting to get the hell out of there as skaters mill about, celebrating. Have a beer? Um, no thanks. Going to the afterparty? HELL NO.

I had several people come up to me to tell me how great I skated and how badass I was in the game. WTF?!?!?!? Didn't they watch the game? It was truly disturbing to me, since all I did was warm the damn bench.

Finally, DH and I got ourselves squared away with late dinner plans with one of the TXRD retired skaters, Cherry Chainsaw. On our way out I came across the LA Ri-ettes co-captain. She smiled brightly and says, "You're the only one I didn't hug tonight! It was great skating with you!" I stared at her in absolute astoundment and said, "I practically didn't skate in the fourth quarter. What the hell..?" She stared back and whispers that she's sorry. I believe her, but I wasn't going to discuss the matter with her right then, so I made my exit quickly.

Thank gawd we got away from everyone for awhile. Had a fun and funny dinner with Cherry, and dropped her back off at the track at around 2:30am.

Drove home.



Tried to sleep, but couldn't.

To keep things on a lame note: I had to turn in my freelance today. My computer monitor decided to malfunction while I was trying to print out my invoice, and I lost a contact lens while riding home on the murdersickle from Woodland Hills. It ain't easy trying to ride a murdersickle on the freeway when one is half blind. When I got home I cried some more and drank a beer.

Go, me.

apparently this entry is causing waves. I could take it down, but for now it stays up. My attitude is still going up and down, but I'll get over it. So will everyone else. I'm happy to hear that the visiting skaters overall had a blast, so that's good.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


After day one of the Battle on the Bank tournament, some amazing things happened.

Namely, the LA Ri-ettes (our "A" team) gave the first-ever defeat to flat-track's superteam, Team Awesome.

Oh, yessssssss!

And then,



That one was a sweet, sweet victory.

Today I'm exhausted and a little sore, but I gotta play again, as it's day two of the tournament. We go up against Team Awesome again, as Team Awesome also smacked down Texas in our bracket.


Here's the amazing and thorough bout intro from yesterday:

Friday, June 27, 2008


SOMEBODY likes Fight Crew!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sweaty Betty

There was a training emergency this week, where the trainer for the Fresh Meat skaters couldn't lead practice.

So I took a break from my Freelance Hell and lead said practice.

The league's latest awesome photographer, Rinkrat, was there testing some lighting techniques for this weekend. Here are some of the results...

Me and PITA demonstrating how to give a whip. It's hard to tell in this photo, but PITA's taking off after receiving a whip from me:

Me addressing the troops. It's common for skaters to associate me with the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket. It's the voice...I don't call people "Private Pyle", and no one has blown their brains out due to my abuse.


A beautiful wide shot of our track. I'm skating on it, about to demonstrate something mindblowingly stupid, I'm sure.

The Battle on the Bank tournament is closing in this weekend. It turns out that I won't be skating much in it, based on last night's practice with the game lineups. Boo. I would've been better off staying with the Golden Girls(the "B" team...or the Bea team, as the case may be...uh, Bea). Ah well, I guess I should just be happy to be playing at all, but I'm pissy because I've been working my @$$ off on all fronts to be ready. Phooey.

So what I was going to put towards being disciplined and training hard is going towards me just concentrating on finishing my freelance before the weekend and then celebrating appropriately. Which doesn't involve much discipline. In fact, pizza and beer are visible on the horizon. Hell yeah!

Back to work...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Still Trying to Breathe...

I probably won't be able to update as the week goes on, so enjoy!

As I've been slaving away on Freelance Hell, I've been watching and rewatching a buttload of film noir. The box sets that I got at my last job are keeping me from going on a neighborhood killing spree at 3 in the morning.

Here's a couple of doodles from the last job, speaking of noir:

Apparently in my subconscious, film noir blondes like to drink. Maybe that's not just an opinion, but a simple fact, I dunno. Hell, I'm not a blonde but I'll drink, too.

The fun part about watching all the noir stuff is listening to the bonus audio commentary while the film is playing.

I found out that the average "historian" is dead boring.

Directors are generally more interesting, but having Peter Bogdanovich explain the same damn Otto Preminger story about how superior filming on location is compared to a soundstage because one has to work in the confines of the location space and get creative about solutions to filming, lighting problems etc. ad-freakin'-nauseum isn't compelling after the tenth time he's said it.

James Ellroy is amazing to listen to. He's kinda creepy and morbid, but there's no doubt that he loveslovesLOVES film noir Los Angeles and knows his locations inside and out. His enthusiasm for the old city is commendable, really.

So another week of this, then the Battle on the Bank tournament, and then REST. Blessed rest.

Until July 4 weekend, where we'll be having a riot and a beach skate stemming from our house.

That can't happen soon enough!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This Lifestyle Will Kill Me

And I ain't talking about the roller derby...

I've rediscovered my propensity for staying up ridiculously late and drawing. Unfortunately, it's not for fun, but for work.

My routine the past couple of weeks has been to wake up around 8am, stumble to the kitchen, feed the cats, slurp down a Red Bull, do some push-ups and abdominals, run an errand or two, get to work, goof off while "working" all afternoon, do some evening exercise such as jogging or roller derby, get back into the art room around 10pm, and then really get to work until around 3 or 4am.

Rinse, repeat.

What a stoopid schedule.

And of course this will last through the end of the month, when the Battle on the Bank tournament will take place.

Why the HELL does everything have to happen all at once?!

To add to the fun, the Dear Husband has been cutting back on the nicotine gum. So he's cranky.

This house ain't big enough for the both of us to be cranky.

It's an ugly situation.

Alright, enough of my kvetching.


I found out that due to a lineup change, I'll be playing again with the LA Ri-ettes (the best of the best of the LA Derby Dolls) in Battle on the Bank. That means that I'll be skating BOTH days of the tournament. Woohoo!

Moar doodles:

Obviously done while watching/listening to moar old movies. This first one was done while I was watching Detour. This hottie looks a lot like the female lead in the flick:

I forget what I was watching while drawing this one:

I had these and a couple other similar doodles taped to my desk at work. People would come into my office, stare at the doodles and say, "Wow, I didn't know you could do that!"

Uhm, thanks?

No wonder I have an insecurity complex.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Quick Breather

I have an evening off while I regroup, gather notes, and generally have a nervous breakdown.

I'm working too hard considering the amount of time and money I'm getting for this particular freelance project.

That's true for just about everyone I know btw, it's not just me being a conceited jerk.

Though I can be that sometimes, too.

Here's some stoopid roughs I had lying around. The first is a rough of the Dear Husband's Valentine's Day card:

The final version was done in marker and it turned out fairly cute. I'm not that great with marker, but I try.

Well, unless it's on someone's flesh.

The second is a rough of Maude Lebowski from The Big Lebowski for the husband of one of my Fight Crew teamates:

He had a fabulous birthday party at a bowling alley in Koreatown. Complete with cheap (but small) drinks and cupcakes that had Lebowski quotes printed on tiny slips of paper that were stabbed into the cupcakes with toothpicks. That was fun.

This guy (whom we'll call "Hot Carl" because that's his skate name) is as big a fanatic of The Big Lebowski as CH and I are. Hot Carl will send out text messages of Lebowski quotes on a fairly regular basis. I'll quote back at him. This has been going on for months and we still haven't quoted the entire movie yet.

Which probably means we haven't watched it enough times to memorize every. single. damn. line.

Ooooh, a goal!

And now for something completely different, Beavis put on a little show for the Dear Husband's family tonight. Lourdy!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Well, Lookit That!

For those of you who read the LA Times, you've probably already seen THIS ARTICLE in today's "California" section. Nice mouf, don't you think?

The funny thing is, yesterday a bunch of us skaters went to an "audition" looking for stunt doubles and background skaters for the upcoming "Whip It" movie. What a total waste of time it was.

Basically, the production people already had their "short list" of skaters that they wanted. No fatties or old broads need apply. All the cute, tiny girls(with the exceptions of Juana Beat'n and Krissy Krash, who are both large and formidible in good ways)were chosen. Not that I begrudge most of them for getting in, but they're all of a similiar body type.

I can kinda understand on them wanting younger skaters, since the book the film is based on features high schoolers and just-post-high schoolers. But for stunts and stuff where one doesn't really see faces, even an old bitty such as myself or Broadzilla can still pack a helluva punch.

It's the lack of body variety that gets to me, especially since the amazingly wide array of women in derby is what makes derby so damn interesting. There's little stick-figure girls like Mila Minute and Kung Pow Tina, then there's big monsters like PITA and Trixie Biscuit. There's short and sweet like Suzy Snakeyes, there's the hot librarian in the form of Judy Gloom, the sultry Fighty, the philosophical Axles of Evil, and of course YOUR favorite, the loud-mouthed Tara Armov.

That doesn't even begin to cover the different types of women that are involved in DIY derby.

The Dear Husband made an interesting observation: derby as it is right now wouldn't have happened if 30-something women weren't involved. By the time people hit their 30's, they're not supposed to have dreams anymore; they're supposed to be practical, responsible adults.

But then there's the women who resurrected derby. A lot of them were in their 20's, but just enough of them were in their 30's and brought their experience and wherewithal to actually stop talking and start making things happen in a way that young'uns are less likely to do(make note: I'm generalizing).

A woman in her 30's is generally at a point where she doesn't give a damn what others think as much as she probably used to. She doesn't mind that she doesn't fit into a nice, tidy little stereotype that's been supplied to her; she's just going to BE who she's gonna BE and THAT'S IT. And that's what makes DIY derby so damn interesting: it's FULL of women like that, whether they're in their 30's, 20's, or even their 40's or 50's.

We knew that the homogenizing of the sport would happen; it's already beginning to change. It's going from punk rock underground to a more athletic real sport. But "Whip It" will accelerate the homogenization. By the time the full effects of that hit me, I'll be retired. But it makes me VERY glad and extra appreciative that I found this amazing outlet when I did. While it's still fun and open to anyone who's willing to strap on a pair of skates and hope for the best.

Timing is everything!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Blast from the Past

Once upon a time I worked on a tv series featuring a stoner and a talking Great Dane. "What's New?" was part of the title, but the irony of it was that not much of anything was new on the show.

However, the first couple of seasons were very fun to work on, because the crew was silly. Silliness is a beautiful thing that is sorely lacking in the animation biz these days, mainly due to the INSANE schedules that we're under(see previous blog entry where I was whining about deadlines and my own insecurities).

Below is a prime example of crew silliness. This was taped on a now-no-longer-existing Wild West backlot somewhere in Borebank. The Wild West lot has been replaced with a seethingly boring New England set.



ANYWAY, have fun watching the clip. I'm not in it, but I was there, and you can hear my cackling in the background:

AND, more Redneck Theater. It's actually getting scary.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Been a busy week trying to keep up on the ol' freelance.

The schedules are RIDICULOUS.

I don't know how anyone can keep up with them, but I think that most people aren't...they get a goodly chunk o' stuff done by the deadline, they turn it in, then continue to work on the stuff that still needs to be done while the overworked directors, producers, etc. try to find a moment or two to squeeze in some notes on the boards that have already been turned in.

So here I am trying to finish my first pass on this board by the deadline.

Which ain't gonna be met.

But I'll have a goodly chunk of it done to take over the hill to drop off to the very frenzied director and producer at the end of this coming week.

I feel like I've failed, even though a lot of professionals do this, do just fine reputation-wise, and end up doing as good a job on whatever particular project they're workin on as can be expected under the circumstances.

On top of that, last night we went to the Hive gallery in lovely downtown LA (read: bums were outside of the gallery mixing with the crowd begging for change or alcohol) to check out their monthly group show, which featured the GirlsDrawinGirls group as well as a buttload of other artists.

As usual, the intimidation factor of seeing a buttload of art got to me.

I wish I could be just a little bit confident about my artistic abilities. Why can't Sandra be as confident about her abilities as Tara Armov is about hers? Is it the nature of being shut away from the rest of the world while I create this stuff, and therefore the solitary mindf*** gets to me? Or is it because being a good roller derby player is way more cut-and-dried than what makes good art, which has got to be up there as one of the most subjective outlets in life to be had?

I don't know how other artists deal with this very general, very common insecurity.

What's weird is that last year on My First Directing Gig, I figured out where I fit into the world of that particular production...

I do "stupid" really well. I didn't get hired to draw nice, to be able to do heavy-duty action sequences, or to compose Citizen Kane-esque beauty shots. I just do stupid.

But in the bigger world of art, I don't know where I fit. I like doing stupid doodles or pinups, and both are filled with some ridiculously talented artists who make me look like a retarded third grader on crack. I like my small pond where I know where I fit. The ocean's still overwhelming to me, as I don't know who my audience is, or even if I really have one.

The Dear Husband was looking around, admiring the art, and would whisper to me "advise" on what he thinks I should do to sell more artwork in galleries. On one level, he's right, but that insecure level says, "Why bother? There's ten BAJILLION better artists out there that do better work!"

See? Total mindf***.

This why too many artists in the past weren't bigger when they were alive, methinks. Artist insecurity.

Welp, back to work for least I'm enjoying the current project I'm on. It's funny. And I'm watching a bunch of film noir on the ol' computer sitting on the divorce desk. I get a lovely view of neighbor Beavis' domestic intranquility on top of all this, too.

Maybe I have it made after all.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Oh Lourdy...

I have to be the LEAST photogenic person on the face of the planet:

That's a real nice "I Can Do It" pose there, dontcha think?

Markie D Sod and me:

Me so cranky!

I can't help it that I look like a doofus. I just wish that cameras would make that whole doofus thing look better.

The most recent installment of Redneck Theater is up. Go laugh. Or cry. Whatever!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Still waiting for pix from Saturday's game.

I didn't look like me, which was FANTASTIC. You'll see.

In the meantime, enjoy the bout intro:

Edit: OK, I give in. Here's a sneak peek:

Yep, that's me on the left.

In the Girl Scout Leader uniform.

I rocked that thing.