Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Merry

To be honest, I had a perfectly great Xmess day. Got to go up to Woodland to visit the parental units with the DH and Leetle Seestir, hang out, eat a ridiculous amount of food, walk in the rain, eat some more, cruise around Woodland to see if every single Starbucks was closed (they were), eat yet more, and hang out with my new favorite cat.

Sidebar on the cat:

First, my mom has...four cats...I think. Maybe three. There's definitely no shortage of cats around the house. They're all calico cats, as that's my mom's favorite type of cat. She gets them from various rescue groups in the area. The most charismatic one of the bunch is a tiny six-pound ball of fuzz named Kacy. She's not a young cat, and apparently she was part of a hoarder's dream/nightmare; she was stuffed in a house with about 35-40 other cats when she was rescued a few years ago. When my mom adopted her, it was discovered that Kacy's teeth were rotted through, so they had to be removed. You'd think this would have made for a cranky cat. But no. She's the sweetest little creature who really, really likes to cuddle. As an added bonus, when she purrs, she drools due to her lack of teeth.

Whenever my sister and/or I come to visit, Kacy slowly saunters to us when we're sitting on the living room couch and stares at us until we pick her up and deposit her on our lap or chest. She then proceeds to purr up a storm, drool prolifically, and settle in for a nice long visit. Yesterday my sister and I would tag team cuddling with Kacy; whenever my sister had to get up to do something, she'd plop Kacy on me. I'd do the same in return when needed. This fazed Kacy not at all. And so she gets a year's worth of attention in the space of a few hours.

ANYWAY, after a lovely family visit, we skedaddle to the airport for our flight home. Note: it's raining. Our flight on a plane that's one step above a peesa-crap puddle-jumper prop plane is delayed by about 45 minutes. Not too shabby considering the weather. The plane finally shows up, we board as fast as we can, and after a few hitches and glitches, we're finally on our way.

And that's when I realize I'm in hell.

I've mentioned before that I fucking HATE gum-chewing. Yes, the DH constantly chews gum. Yes, it drives me apeshit. Yes, I've had to leave the room when he's aggressively chewing his goddam gum so that I resist the urge to slap the gum out of his mouth. I believe I inherited this hatred of gum-chewing noise from my mom, who ABSOLUTELY FORBADE me from chewing gum as a kid. I didn't understand back then. I do now.

Across the immensely small aisle of the immensely small plane was a couple who were subconsciously BEGGING for me to bitchslap them. The girl was a typical skinny, flat-ironed, fake tan, Uggs-wearing idiot who was enamored with herself and her boyfriend while laughing CONSTANTLY. The boyfriend was wearing ridiculous huge cubic zirconia earrings and chewing an insane wad of gum that would've made Violet Beauregard insanely jealous. Open-mouthed, cow-cud-chewin',  gum-and-lip smackin', gum poppin', totally fucking OBLIVIOUS TO HOW MUCH OF AN ANNOYING ASSHOLE HE WAS BEING DOOSHBAGUE. I had to listen to these two mental midgets with their inane stupidity while the plane was taxiing for takeoff. Which took FOREVER.

THANKS, RAIN.

Oh, and as an added bonus, the plane was a sweatbox. Air flow? Nah, that would distract me from having to listen to the incessant idiocy across the aisle from me. FUCK.

When we finally were up in the air and cleared for electronic devices, I couldn't get my mp3 player out and running fast enough.

After a turbulent flight, we finally were coming in for a landing at LAX. As soon as I had to turn the mp3 player off, the never-ending cow-cud impersonator was high on my radar again. With his dipshit girlfriend. Holy FUCK, why doesn't his jaw get tired?!?!?! Here is a very badly drawn visualization of my nightmare:
















As soon as the plane landed and we were allowed our electronic devices, I had to vent on twitter to keep me from slapping him. No, really, I was going to slap him. It didn't help when we had to taxi across all of LAX for about ten minutes and then wait outside our gate for another ten minutes while the plane that was already at our gate took its sweet time leaving. And all the while I was sweating profusely due to the lack of air circulation.

When we finally got off that tincan of a transportation device, I ranted for a good 15 minutes as we walked out of the terminal. So I turned into as much of an asshole as the gum-chewing asshole.

But at least I had the good grace to do so in an open area where everyone could avoid me if needed!

I have never been so happy to be off a plane in my life!

Oh, and I was able to make another appearance on Derby Deeds for this week. Squeeeeeeee! Those guys are super-fun to talk to and I was glad to be able to step in at the last minute!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hibernating

After doing a bunch of running around for the past couple of weeks, my life has slowed down. And now I'm sick. WTF?!?!?!?!?

I've tried to sleep off the ick, but after two days of hibernating I've come to the conclusion that I gotta man up and just deal with life despite the sick. At least I'm not working. So pardon any spaciness you may encounter with this blog entry.

Cat update:

Remember our outdoor visitors, Kitty and Blue?
















Kitty has disappeared. One day he was around, the next he was gone. He's been gone for about two months now, and it makes the DH and I very, VERY sad. Kitty was willing to come into the house more; he had gotten skinnier than we were used to. He still ate, but it was obvious that he wasn't the same as he was in years past. I hope that someone took him in...I'd hate to think about any other conclusion.

And then there's Blue. He of the eternal diarrhea and hyperness. He stuck around, ate like a fiend, and teased our cat LouC by frolicking outside. When the weather got cold, he insisted on coming into the house. Which makes sense, as where else was he going to go to? He didn't have Kitty to cuddle with in the outdoor catbed anymore.
















When Blue came into the house, we found out that not only does he have constant diarrhea, but he didn't know how to use a cat box. Oh, and he vomits a lot. Needless to say, his adjusting to being an exclusive indoor cat has been quite the learning--and cleaning-- experience.

So off to the vet he goes. After two different antibiotics and a shitload of testing...literally(nothing like carrying around stool samples of a diarrhea-filled cat when running errands), the vet figured out Blue has some kind of Irritable Bowel Syndrome that may or may not require medication for the rest of his furry life. We're still figuring out the medication thing for the poor little dude...at least it's not too terrible to give him the medication. Lardo and Max were HORRIBLE with trying to pop pills down their little gullets; Blue is surprisingly docile about it.

I know that Blue is beginning to feel better since he's started to sit with me on the futon couch in the den while I'm watching TCM. LouC will get jealous and will sit on me, so I've become covered in cats. At least I'm warm. Blue's favorite sleeping spot is a paper bag lying on the couch, though. It's so cute...I'd post a photo of said cuteness, but we lost our camera in Chicago back in November. Oops.

Anyway, I gotta go do last-minute crap for Xmess. If you haven't finished all of your shopping yet, may I remind you of the rad crap I have available through Wicked Skatewear:

Better Red Than Dead 

You Can't Hit This

Girls Who Skate Derby Are Filled With Fury

SOOPERLACE

Hit Her Out!

BORRRRRRRINGGGGGGGGGG

Friday, December 17, 2010

Legendarily Notorious

At some point last year, the Derby Dolls decided to set up a category of long-time skaters who have been with the league for at least five years called, "Legends".  What's the advantage of being a Legend within the Dolls? So far, a still-skating Legend doesn't have to work the games (unless she's skating in said game, of course), and retired Legends get to come to any Dolls-hosted event for free. There's also talk of hanging all the Legends jerseys up in the flat track area.

On the surface, that doesn't sound like a lot to get out of it, but when you think about it, five years in a new sport is a LONG time. So many experiences and memories.

LADD's very own Vince (responsible for our RaD Dept. who does our amazing game intros, video, lighting, sound, etc.) decided to throw together the first L.A. Derby Dolls Legends Induction ceremony within a week's timeframe. Ridiculous. Email invites went out, requests for old fliers and photos quickly followed, and next thing I knew Ceremony Day was upon us.

Apparently I was scheduled to give a speech. Which I didn't know I was going to do until day of. I was told I didn't have to do it, buuuuuut, by the way, I'm last on the list.

That's a gauntlet being thrown at my feet, people.

I still hemmed and hawed as to whether I'd actually give a speech. I spent the day running errands and so I didn't have time to sit and ponder it. Then, finally, at 7pm I sat and scribbled something out just before hitting the nasty LA traffic to go to the ceremony. I still didn't know whether I'd give the speech until other Legends started giving their speeches. There were quite a few memorable moments brought up with quite a few laughs. After 31 other Legends were acknowledged, I, as number 32 got up, mumbled for a few seconds and said something along the lines of this:

Back in January 2004, I believed certain things about myself and my place in the world. I thought I was:

  • too old
  • too fat
  • too awkward
  • too shy
  • too ugly
  • too loud
  • too goofy
  • too geeky
  • too stubborn
  • too strict
  • not pretty enough
  • not artistic enough
  • not jock enough
  • not smart enough
  • not clever enough
  • not savvy enough
  • not diplomatic enough
  • and not funny enough for my little corner of the world.

Then I found the Derby Dolls.

And my world totally changed.

Well, it's not like the list I just rattled off stopped being true, because I know that everyone here would agree with something on that list.

BUT, I found a group of misfits and crazy people who made me feel I have a place and something positive to work towards, and I hadn't had that in a LONG time.

So, THANK YOU Derby Dolls, for allowing another freak onto your island of misfit toys. And especially to Demolicious and Thora Zeen--what you started has been AMAZING, and has made a difference to so many women. What we're doing is crazy, but as I keep saying, we're too dumb to know that this can't work. So keep working it, everyone!

Thanks!




I apparently made people cry with this quickly scribbled out missive. Without resorting to making them come to my Fresh Meat practices. I surprised everyone, including myself. Which is OK, because that's what derby has been...a long line of surprises.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hi, Atus!

Chicago. It's a helluva town. A great place for roller derby, I tell yew whut.

The Red Bull-sponsored game against Windy City was fun. Really fun. And the Ri-Ettes won. By a comfortable margin. 118-81. I'm proud of the team for that. I'm also proud of myself, I must admit. I tried to not be an egotistical dick about being the captain of the travel team this year, but you know what? I'm feeling pretty damned prideful about this. So there.

Co-captain LEGacy really helped make this happen, too. When push came to shove(and when doesn't it in derby?) she stepped up and took on whatever came our way full-force. I now feel she totally has my back, and that's a good feeling to have for this loner.

And the team? We came together and worked as a team in the best way possible. The difference in us from the beginning of the year to this game is profound. And it's great. Next year's Ri-Ettes will be a very different beast...I'm glad I got to be part of this year's roster.

Other highlights of the weekend include:

  • Taking part in the most outrageous game of Hangman ever. Have you ever played Sexually Explicit Hangman? I was surprised that it's a good way to spend an hour before a derby game. And I learned a few (icky) things, too.

  • Finding out the coat I bought for both Chicago and my upcoming trip to London and Amsterdam in January works really well in cold weather when it's layered with...just about anything. My general non-skating attire included silk longjohns, a t-shirt and pants, a hoodie, the jacket, gloves and sometimes a hat. I was toasty warm when wandering around in the 19F degree cold and snow.

  • Windy City skaters hit hard. Really hard. But they're nice off the track. Really nice. And fun. Really fun.

  • Vinyl decals on banked tracks are no fun due to a lack of traction. I landed on my face after trying to use my toestops to get back up on the track and stepping--no, slipping back off because of the decals. UGH.

  • Afterparties at lame doosh-filled bars can still be fun when you throw enough derby skaters into the mix. 

  • The Hard Rock Hotel is kinda cool, though it's unnerving to have a huge photo of Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant watching me sleep, and it's REALLY creepy to have Thin White Duke-era David Bowie watching me use the toilet. Yoiks!

  • The dudes from the band Less Than Jake came across like typical rockers-who-get-laid-too-easily dooshes. I didn't like their music to begin with, but to listen to them "compliment" us by saying, "I'd bone every last one of you" made me want to kick them in the crotch with steel-toed boots. 

  • Luckily the Red Bull crew were infinitely more professional.

  • Snowfights are fun until one gets hit in the face even after saying, NOT IN THE FACE! NOT IN THE FACE! And bee-tee-dubs? You can't throw a snowball at my head and then say you were aiming for my butt. I WILL NOT BELIEVE THAT.

  • Missing flights home due to weather sucks. Luckily I had a long book to read and derby girls to snuggle with while we waited for the sideways snow to stop long enough for us to make our escape. We were delayed only by about 11 hours. 

  • Making 118 calls to Derby Deeds in a 24-hour timeframe. I even wrote a song to the tune of Motley Crue's Home Sweet Home that I sang in the airport bathroom while waiting for the flight home. That's dedication, people. Or insanity. Whatever. 

  • Surly cab drivers at LAX. Really, if you don't like what you're doing, why the hell are you a cab driver?! If you want a fucking tip, shut up and drive, honky.

And now for some photos:


I look like I'm prancing:














But in actuality I'm doing something useful:














This photo shows my first time on the track for the game during the second jam. WCR jammer Ying of Fire was trying to squeeze her way on the inside. I see her and go in for the hit. Funny thing is, I MISSED. However, my flying body forces her off the track. Which is good. What's bad is that my landing on the coping of the track hurts my back and hip. I somehow jacked up my right shoulder in the process as well. This was just the first in a long string of falls I took. I haven't been this sore after a game in years.














Waiting for the weather. LEGacy and I on the Hard Rock Hotel lobby couch with PITA in the background. A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Yesterday I turned 42 years old.

Which doesn't feel very different from 41, especially with the nagging ankle injury. In the morning I'm limping around the house like an old decrepit woman until my ankle warms up and I can walk normally. Then I go do the usual shit that I do. Beach skating, bicycling, derby, whatever. I still can't really jog, though. And that actually bugs me since I like a slow, casual jog through the neighborhood.

Anyway, I see more lines on my face, and have more aches in my body, but I'm still hanging in there. I even had practice, which was GREAT. The Ri-Ettes were KILLING it, everyone was in a good mood, and I even got birthday pie! YAY! I was in a great mood, until...

I got pulled over for speeding on the way home.

DAMMIT.

That's what I get for driving as if I'm still skating!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Wow! Moar attention!

I'm really excited about this interview.

I'm super-DUPER excited that it also got mentioned in the DNN weekly roll-up.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Fave Monkey Girl

Derby has introduced me to more friends than I ever imaged I'd have. Which is a bold statement, considering that before derby, I had a shit-ton of biker friends whom the Dear Husband and I would visit whenever we went on a road trip. It's really an interesting and comforting feeling knowing that wherever one goes, one has a friend waiting to hear from them.

Anyway, back to derby friends. When I went to my first Derby Dolls practice almost seven years ago(holy crap), I was struck by some of the strong personalities that were there. Demolicious, one of the league founders, was her gregarious self. Emma Geddon, a true personification of a Viking, scared the crap out of me. Kasey Bomber talked to me because I was wearing a bar shirt from her hometown of Dallas. And then there was Bonnie D. Stroir.

She stood out not just because of her enthusiastic skating(which continues unabated) as well as the constant smile on her face, but her tattoos made me take notice of her. Why? Because she had a couple of girl centaurs from Disney's Fantasia tattooed on her right arm.

She came up to me and asked if I rode motorcycles(I was wearing my leather jacket at the time). I said yes, and her eyes lit up. She's ridiculously engaging and extremely likeable, and talking to her is always fun. We found out that our birthdays are only one day apart and we both were born in the Year of the Monkey(though twelve years apart) according to Chinese astrology. What's not to like?!?!?!


She lived in San Diego but skated in LA for quite awhile. She then made the decision to start the San Diego Derby Dolls when the commute got to her. Now, after years of running a league and skating and teaching and being an all-around badass, she's leaving San Diego and is moving to Humbolt. It makes me sad that I will see her even less than I do now, but knowing that after a sabbatical, she'll be back skating with the local league and not have the heavy responsibilities she had in San Diego makes me happy for her.

And she also started a blog, which you should read here if you like reading about cool derby stuff.














This is a typical photo of Bonnie smiling and me looking goofy at the Big One tournament two years ago.



Over Thanksgiving break I participated in the yearly Thankscrimmage that one of the local leagues holds. It started as a modest pick-up scrimmage in an outdoor park in Chino Hills with a potluck brunch. It's now an event that needs two tracks, team sign ups, a taco truck, and advance planning to contain all of the derby activity.

I got sucked into one of the challenge scrimmages. These are semi-organized, very similar to Rollercon challenge games, where you see tall vs. short, old vs. young, girls vs. boys, etc. All fun, all silly, and all vital to what makes modern derby the weird sport that it is, in my overly cranky opinion.

In this case, it was Les Foxes Francais vs. the US Rednecks. Guess which team I was on?! The French team. Yeah, I'm surprised, too. It all started at Suzy Snakeyes wedding over Labor Day weekend. I was busy eating and drinking(as one is wont to do at a wedding, and this wedding was a FUN one), and talking to Angel City skater Duchess von Damn. She's also one of my fave derby people for many reasons. She trains hard but keeps a sense of humor, and is one of the steel supports for her league. She mentions Thankscrimmage, and how funny it would be to have a French-themed team for it. Would I be interested? Well, DUH.

Because we had this conversation in the middle of a bottle of wine, I kinda forgot about it until a month ago when she emailed everyone who was to be on the team. Oh shit! I thought. I gotta go through with this! And go through with it I did, even though I wasn't very foxy:
















In case you were wondering, yes, we drew moustaches on ourselves. We were the best dressed team there. AND we won. By two points. Against rednecks. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.



Speaking of winning, did I mention that Fight Crew won its last game of the season a few weeks ago? No? Yes? In case you didn't know, WE FUCKING WON THAT SHIT.













I wish I was able to skate that game, but the team did wonderfully without me. I did my bench coaching job well enough, I guess, so I wasn't completely useless.



Next week I go back to Chicago to skate with the Ri-Ettes against Windy City Rollers...ON THE BANKED TRACK. We're shipping out San Diego's track for this event. It's sponsored by Red Bull and I hope it goes splendidly. It'll be cold as fuck, but the skating and the derby girls and the experience will be amazing, I'm sure. Can't wait for it, and I can't wait for it to be over. If I ever say I'm considering captaining another team, please punch me in the face, mkay?

 My hurt ankle and knee continues to bug me. I hobble around like an old lady when I've been sitting for a long while. Exercise helps, but I've overdone it over the weekend, and have aggravated the ligaments or something. I keep telling myself, One more year, one more year, one more year in regards to staying on a team. I hope I can stick with it through 2011.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Gettin' Real, Y'all...

I haven't done any type of writeup on my trip to Chicago at the beginning of November for WFTDA Championships. Yes, I'm remiss. Yes, it would be impossible to describe the fun that was the weekend, including but certainly not limited to getting to draw on half of the winning team, the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls.

But here is a typical Tara placing for the weekend: doing textcasting for Derby News Network. Here I am with Roxy Horror from COMO Derby Dames (Columbia, MO) and Ivanna Clobber from Rat City Rollergirls(Seattle, WA). You can instantly see who is representing the various geographical locations from around the US in cold, chilly, 40 degree F Chicago. Roxy in the tank top is obviously the midwestern soul. Clobber in her light track jacket is PNW all the way. And then there's me: jacket, hoodie, hat and scarf being Very Californian.














photo by the amazing Axle Adams




Roxy and I have been friends on Facebook for awhile, but I had never met her before. A few weeks before Chicago, Roxy had made a status update comment about boxed wine. I commented on it, and we were joking about bringing boxed wine to Chicago for Champs. She then emailed me privately saying that she wanted to get a tattoo of one of my Sharpie tatts. A REAL tattoo.

Now, this has happened before...I've gotten several emails over the past few years from people who claim they're going to get a real tattoo of one of my drawings, with little to no follow-through. As far as I know, only one person has ever gotten a Tara Tatt done. So with light skepticism I replied to Roxy that of course we can meet in Chicago and I'll draw on her and then she'd take plenty of photos and get the tattoo done when she gets back home. Our negotiated terms included...a box of wine. I'm so easily bought.

I instantly liked her when I met her in person. We got along instantly as we textcasted, and found we had very similiar, very sick sense of humor. She said, I brought the wine! and I then figured out that she was SERIOUS about the tattoo.

So I drew this on her:
















Not too shabby. It was the first Tara tatt I did in Chicago, and arguably the best I did all weekend. Which is a damned good thing, because last week Roxy followed through and got the tattoo done for realz. Check it out!





















The 75 on her arm is her skate number. I think the artist who did the tattoo did an amazing job of following my drawing while making it work as a real tattoo. I'm excited that Roxy did this!


I've also been on the Derby Deeds Done Dirt Cheap podcast a couple of times in the past month or so. Megatron, Pitchit and Sheeza Brickhouse are the hosts and bring a well-rounded and intelligent voice to derby. You can listen to me babble on like a doofus in last week's episode here. One of the best aspects of the podcast is that new episodes usually come out on Fridays, just when the workday is draaaaaaagging by soooooooooo slooowwwwwwwwwwww. Perfect timing.

Friday, November 12, 2010

One Thing Before You Go...

The sooper-funny and cool Ernessa over at Fierce N' Nerdy gave SooperLace a boost. Yay!!!! Unfortunately Chicago was too cold to show off SooperLace myself this past weekend. Boooo!!!!!

But that's what the internet is for! Go order one if you feel like having a fancy shirt!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

GIGGITY!

This weekend I'll be picking this up in Chicago:



















Tuesday, November 02, 2010

HOODIE

On Facebook the other day, the proprietress of a skater-owned and operated clothing line dropped me an email about lending my name to a competition for their new sleeveless hoodie.

Tara Armov + sleeveless hoodie = brilliant marketing.

If you're on Facebook you can vote BY THURSDAY, NOV. 4. Go to the Pivotstar page and "like" it. Then go to their sleeveless hoodie competition, find my photo, and "like" that, as that counts as your vote.

DO IT DO IT DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Goodbye and Hello(again)...

My fave logo that I've designed:



















Unfortunately, the Aftershockers will be no more. The league has decided to make all our home teams "B teams" to skate against home teams from other leagues(flat or banked), or skate against the newer banked leagues that are beginning to pop up all over the place. It makes sense, overall.

But it still breaks my heart that the Aftershockers will go away. Especially since the logo is actually kinda cool.


The Aftershockers are dead! Long live the Aftershockers!




BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT...

Remember this little gem?




















Don't call it a comeback, they've been here for years...

No, wait, they weren't. League split, dramamama, silliness. But the phoenix is slowly rising out of the ashes, and Bakersfield Rollergirls is coming back. With the second-best logo I've ever done.

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

WE'VE GONE LIVE

...in regards to new shirt designs, that is.

For those of you who are sick and tired of yelling "BORRRRRRINGGGGGGG" during a game, your shirt can say it for you:








Maybe ennui isn't your thing. Maybe you want to give coaching advice:
















Last but not least, SOOPERLACE IS LIVE AND SHE'S AMAZING:
























And there's still some Team Heckle slogans that haven't gone online yet. These three will have to do!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ZOMG NEW SCHERT

So...remember my flier with SooperLace?

Well, now I'm making a shirt out of it.

See how I hope the shirts will look:












































Every one who has seen the .jpgs have said, OOOOOOOOOOH, I LIKE THAT! so I hope that translates into shirt sales. Because I want to make a living with this crazy derby crap. So I'll have a little Fuck You money for when the animation biz ticks me off to no end.

Will update with link to buy when it's live...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's True...

If you thought the whole "gingers are soulless" theory was untrue, get a load of this:
























Delightfully creepy.

An Open Letter to My Sportster

Dear Sportster,

You have been neglected in the past, unneedlessly so. Yes, I realize "unneedlessly" is probably not a word. I don't care.

So, you were neglected for years. Years. You sat in the garage, forlorn and covered in dust. But listen, I finally got my head out of my ass and saw the light. You gotta give me that. I took you out of the garage, cleaned you up, and deposited you at the local Harley dealer to perform a Lazarus on your dusty self. Cost was not a concern, getting you running was.

And how excited was I to finally hear you roar out of the service bay a week later? You have NO idea. Riding you out into the world was a glorious feeling. Like something that had been a little off-kilter was put back to rights. I had forgotten how nimble you are for a Harley. That you're soooooo perfect for lanesplitting. That even though I barely fit on you, you still feel "right" in so many ways.

Then the shakedowns started happening. There was the big glut of old oil that came spouting out after I took you to Burbank. Oops, so the oil tank wasn't as completely drained as it should have been...that's what happens when a bike is left sitting for so long. Easily solved after getting you towed back to the Westside courtesy of the Boops.

And how about the gas leak from right behind the petcock? Yeah, that's what happens when a bike is left sitting for years; the rubber on the diaphragm that holds the petcock in place rots through and gas starts leaking. At least I was able to ride you to the dealer myself just before you died due to one of the vacuum lines being unhooked(not the dealer's fault, btw).

 There were a few other minor things that came up...the backfiring at that one specific spot on the Sepulveda Pass, how sometimes the speedometer wouldn't register the correct speed, and the slow warm up when first starting you up.

But yesterday? Goddam, yesterday scared the piss out of me. I thought we had a deal. I'd try to ride you as much as possible during the week because you're really the best bike for the job in the land of narrowed freeway lanes due to major construction. I thought we had the major shakedown shit worked through. I thought you had forgiven me. But nooooooooooooooooooooooo, you hadn't.

You did the backfire thing in Sepulveda Pass again. Just once. Hmmmm. But other than that, you were great. I continue through the Valley to work, and I come off the freeway in Borebank thinking how great the day was going to be. I had ridden you to work the day before, and I was so excited to be riding you two days in a row.

And then, you died. Quietly. I was rolling to a stop sign, and so the clutch lever was pulled in, and you went quiet. WTF?! I frantically thought. I tried the obvious: turning off the ignition key, turning it on again and pressing the start button. Nothing. Not even a click. O NOES.

I pushed you to safety and started to freak out. Luckily, a former Derby Doll skater spouse passed by, stopped, and asked if everything was all right. That made me get out of my own head, collect myself, and gave me a course of action. I called the Dear Husband, who couldn't offer much help. I then called AAA.

I waited for about half an hour to be picked up, but after that things went well. The tow truck driver was actually pretty cool and funny. He made sure you, dear Sportster, were tied down safely and securely. It was a tedious drive back to the Westside due to traffic, but we made do, and thank goodness the carpool lane is open past Wilshire Blvd. on the 405. Did you know that the driver didn't charge me for the extra 20 miles beyond the AAA limit for towing? All for you, little Sportster?

The guys at the dealer remembered you, of course. You've been visiting them so often. Are you lonely? Do you prefer their company to mine? Talk to me, Sportster. Let's work this out. They even chided me for you. That's what you get for letting the bike sit! the mechanic tells me. I take it out and it shits on me! I replied.

It's true, Sportster. You know it is.

So, once the voltage regulator gets replaced(whenever it comes off of backorder, that is), can we stop the shenanigans and just ride together without negative incident? Let's get past this, Sportster. Let's work together, because both of us can go so much farther if we do!

Love,

Me
xoxo

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Derby Rant

First off, blogger keeps fucking with its photo uploader and now I can't do a damned thing with it. So this will be a boring, non-photo post. Fuck you, blogger. Fuck you very much.

Second, I've had to come to the realization that I am a derby relic. Already. It hasn't even been seven years since I first got started in this adventure, and I'm already on my way out. Some would say I've lasted a damned bit longer than most. Which is true, but I'm not solely talking about my actual time as a team skater that I'm talking about. It's also my attitude towards this so-called sport/lifestyle/mental illness.

I've yakked about derby attitudes in general on this-here blog before, so I guess today is Chapter Two in the continuing saga of Tara Armov Has A Big Fucking Mouth With An Attitude To Match. It started with listening to one of my new favorite podcasts, Derby Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. They focus on all leagues whether flat or banked track on the west coast, which is fantastic.

On a recent episode, "derby fashion" was discussed. But it wasn't really about "fashion" as much as it was about looking like a professional team out on the track. There was the skater viewpoint of: It's best to look as much like each other as possible so that it confuses the other team as to who the jammer is. Then there was the announcer/audience viewpoint of: It sure would be great to know who the hell is who...put yer names as well as yer numbers on your fucking uniforms because we don't know who the fuck you are if you don't. Somehow this conversation evolved into a comment made along the lines of, When you see a team that doesn't have wonderfully matching uniforms, don't you think that they won't play the game as well?


What.

The.

FUCK?!

Back in the "good old days" of modern derby(not even ten years ago, btw), part of the goddam POINT of it was to not be like other sports.

To not be mainstream.

To not blend in.

Because we do that every damn day in our regular lives, for the most part. Roller derby was never really considered a mainstream sport, ever.

And to see how many people that have a spotlight in this adventure who wouldn't get it otherwise...whether it's announcers like Windy City's Val Capone to Denver's Dumptruck, or entrepreneurs like Wicked Skatewear's B-Train, or BAD Girls' Motley Cruz, Derby News Network's Hurt Reynolds and Justice Feelgood Marshall, or even Demolicious of our league as a league founder...how fucking boring would the sport be without all its colorful characters that don't need a damned thing manufactured about them like Old School boring-as-fuck derby?

Despite all this, there is a growing group who want the current modern/DIY derby to go mainstream and professional. To be covered in the local sports page. To be in the Olympics. To look and act completely and totally like professionals, whether the skaters are paid at this point or not.

Which takes away the attraction to this non-mainstream sport to begin with. At least for most of the current crop of involved skaters, of which there are...what, 10,000 or so worldwide?

Some people think derby names and fishnets are stupid for sports, but roller derby isn't like all other sports. Even though I've been involved in derby for so long, I still don't give a rat's ass about other sports. Sorryyyyyyyyyyy, but I don't.

I like that Tara Armov can skate around, be loud, hit skaters, and say a lot more than I can in my everyday life. Tara gets away with a shit ton of stuff AND she's liked for it. When I try even one fifth of what Tara does in real life, I get in trouble.Tara doesn't need validation from a weekly update in the LA Times sports section. Tara doesn't need validation from being in the Style section either. Whatever I get from derby, it does NOT come from the mainstream, so why try to pander to it?

It makes me appreciate the acidity of Hellarad so much more in the face of "We must make derby more palatable to the masses" mentality that's going on now.

And I'm going to be an asshole now...

A lot of people are all up in arms about the Oly Rollers. A league that started in 2006 with a bunch of former professional speed skaters and until this past Sunday had a 22 game winning streak in the WFTDA and were even National Champions last year. A lot of people hate them. Why? Because they act like a professional team in a still-amateur sport.

So what's the big deal? you may ask. Isn't that one of the goals of modern derby? To be professional?

Sure, for some. But that doesn't mean a team or league should be anti-social d-bags in the process.

They never hang out or are social or involved in the general derby community. Before a game I can understand that. But after a game? Fuck you, that type of snobbery is why I fucking hated jocks in school. School's out, kids. Time to act like adults. No one's gonna steal your winning essence if you go to an afterparty and and get to know other skaters from other leagues or even say hi right after a game that you fucking won, for fuck's sake. NO, I'M NOT KIDDING, YOU WON'T LOSE ANY OF YOUR MAD SKATING SKILLZ IF YOU GET TO KNOW OTHER SKATERS FROM OTHER LEAGUES.

So it's no surprise that at WFTDA Western Regionals last weekend when Oly got their asses handed to them by Rocky Mountain, the derby crowd was overwhelmingly in favor of Rocky Mountain. Rocky Mountain not only had expressions on their faces so that they didn't look like derby robots, but their uniforms weren't absolutely perfectly uniform, and some of them wore face paint. THANK YOU for being interesting while having bad ass skating skills, ladies. You were THEE most fun to watch!

So with this rant I now realize more than ever that my skating time is definitely doomed. It is anyway just by the mere march of time, but heading full-force into the mainstream when it sucks the soul out of what attracted most of us into this madness just doesn't make sense to me. So as the entitled old woman that I'm quickly becoming, I'm going to bitch a lot.

Get used to it, people.

Monday, October 04, 2010

I'm Not Dead...

But I have been busy.

I've been having more motorcycle "fun" lately. The Sportster decided that leaking oil and gas at different intervals would make life interesting. Yes, it does, but it doesn't make it very fun to own said motorcycle. Ugh. And I'm sorry for the huge oil slick that the Sportster coughed up at work a few weeks ago. It didn't mean it. Much. Hopefully the gas leak it's in the shop for now will get fixed and I can ride the little monster for more than a 24-hour period.

Oh, derby. You have been a beast and wonderful. Usually at the same time, usually for different reasons.

My team FINALLY won a game this past Saturday. YAY! I tweaked the hell out of a ligament or tendon or something in my ankle while playing said game. BOO! It kept me in the game because I asked to be taken out of the pack rotation until the last jam. That was nice.

I have a cold. It snuck up on me last week when we had that heat wave. The bedroom fan was on high and dried my throat out. I thought the soreness from said dry throat was from said fan. No, it was from the cold I caught the previous weekend when I went to Phoenix to yell and scream at the first banked track championships for the Arizona Derby Dames. It was a Good Thing to go to Phoenix nonetheless.

The job has been busy, but I have maybe two weeks left. Then I nap for a solid week. Then I figure out what to do about medical insurance, since I don't think I have enough hours from my union to qualify. Oh, and the Dear Husband was suddenly laid off from his job last week. Crap. Which means this whole oh-crap-my-ankle-is-hurt thing is suddenly more serious and dire.

Because it's early in the morning I can't really think of other stuff that's been going on. All I know is that I have to figure out a way to do my morning exercises without annoying my hurt leg and get to work without getting rained on or squished or going insane while sitting in traffic.

I'm stressed as hell. I'd like a vacation. I won't be getting one, but I'd like one nonetheless.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wow! An interview!

Look!Look!Look! A cool, short and sweet interview with me! Done by the amazing, amusing, and ridiculously clever Betty Bamalam! Read it here!

My fave quote:

Frame neither justifies nor apologizes for her take on sexual politics and credits the portrayed confidence in her illustrated women to the strength of character she has developed playing roller derby, citing pride in participating in a sport that celebrates the full spectrum of womanhood. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Can Explain...

As usual, my schedule is crazy. The day job has settled into what can be best described as a frenzied comfortable-ness that I can mostly deal with. Derby is just freakin' insane with upcoming games and scrimmages galore. And apparently it all caught up with me while I was waiting for practice to start on Wednesday when a sudden wave of exhaustion took over and I had to take a power nap:






















I can't believe I look angry even when I sleep!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Moar Adventures in Motorcycle Ownership

In short: I have both motorcycles home and running. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The long version meanders below:

Sportster wrap-up: on Thursday I get a call from the local dealer where I had dropped off the Sportster last weekend. They say the bike is ready and running wonderfully. Great! I tell them I shall come pick it up Friday morning. No problem! they say.

Friday morning I get dropped off to retrieve the bike. I'm greeted by the service manager by name. As he's printing up my receipt to take in to the dealer to pay, he says, Do you happen to draw cartoons?  Whoa. Uh, yeah...I reply with a combination of suspicion and nervousness. He sees my expression and happily explains,

When you brought in your bike, I thought you looked like an actress. And while the mechanic and I were working on your bike, we talked about that and the mechanic saw your personalized plate on the bike and so we thought we'd Google you to see if you actually were an actress.

HOLY CRAP.

I laughed heartily at that, and told him how I worked on Scooby Doo for seven years, blah blah blah. We laugh and I go in to pay for the Lazarus they managed to pull on the bike. I come back out, wait a few minutes, and hear a mighty roar. The service manager rides the Sportster out, and it. Was. BEAUTIFUL.

So the local dealer is now OK in my book, as the bike ran great when I took it to work on Friday.


Softail wrap-up: Fred and I play email tag about me picking up the bike yesterday. Friday night we proceeded to phone tag. On one message he starts up my bike and says, Do you hear that? Your bike is saying, "Come get me, baby!" On another message he threatens to sing if I miss his call again. Obviously, everything went well in putting the bike back together with its upgraded cam chain tensioners.

Yesterday morning I run errands, dig around for a black Better Red Than Dead t-shirt, and make a thank you card for Fred. Of course I didn't think to scan in the finished design, but you can get a clue-by-four of what I did below:





















With helmet, shirt, and card in tow, we make our way to Orange County for bike retrieval.  We hang out with Fred and his wife Cindy for a few hours, and he shows me that the stock cam chain tensioners that the Other Dealer SWORE were shot to hell were barely scuffed at 25k miles. I really didn't need to switch out the tensioners, but the Dear Husband insisted that he get a little peace of mind by mildly upgrading the cam tensioner system where they don't have to be checked for about 50k miles. In other words, the Other Dealer was totally wrong about what was wrong with my bike. I'm not going back there again anytime soon. Fred says, If anything ever goes wrong with your bike again, DON'T TAKE IT TO A DEALER. Bring it here. I know it's kind of a pain in the ass, but I'm not gonna fuck you over on it. ISN'T THAT AWESOME.

So I gave Fred the shirt and card(I think he was more delighted over the shirt!), and we take him and Cindy out to lunch at a local Italian joint that had ridiculously delicious pastrami and calzones with the best meat sauce I've ever had.

After that, I rode the bike back to the Westside...and took a weird detour. Usually, I take the 105 to the 405 freeway to get back home from Fred and Cindy's house, but I spaced and took the 110 freeway instead of the 405. So I ended up lanesplitting to downtown before finding my way to the 10 freeway headed west. Silly me!

I'm tickled to death that the bikes are back up and running. I'm also damned lucky to have good friends!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How Would You Feel?

Today I got another bite from the past.

I learned that a classmate died back in Woodland. His body was found in a storage unit, sitting in a car with a laptop computer in his lap. No obvious signs of foul play. He was 43 years old.

He was an interesting case in my life in that during jr. high, he was a tormentor of mine. Not as bad a bully as a couple others that I made the mistake of catching their attention in the hallways of hell known as middle school, but he was definitely a dark little cloud on my horizon on a semi-regular basis.

That changed in high school. How? Welllll, as I've mentioned before, I found my own little freak flag by hanging out with the punk kids. He found his tribe with the heavy metal kids and was in a few bands. One of those bands would hire my dad to fix their sound equipment when it went on the fritz...which turned out to be quite often. I don't know how they initially got in contact with my dad, but I clearly remember the first time I found out that my dad did repair work for him and his friends when they came by to talk to my dad about something-or-other-that-was-related-to-whatever-job-he-did-for-them and I answered the door when they came by my HOUSE. Have you ever had a tormentor show up on your doorstep before?! It's...SURREAL and a bit FRIGHTENING to say the least.

But he stopped tormenting me after that. I assume it's because he didn't want to rock the boat when it came to having my dad fix his band's equipment. The kicker is I never said a thing to my parents about him. I didn't want to be weak. To be needing help, or to rock the boat. I assumed that being bullied was part of my lot in life at that time.

And, really? If he stopped bullying me, what would have been the point to bring it up to my parents?

So everyone benefited...my dad got work, the guy who used to harangue me stopped, and best of all, I was left alone. Win/win.

I'd see him occasionally at parties or concerts through high school, and he was polite to me. I never saw him after I left for Los Angeles.

I'd like to think that he stopped being mean to me for more than what I could've done to wreck his easy access to getting his band equipment fixed for cheap. That he matured to the point where he realized that I just wasn't worth the effort. And so I shall say that I hope David is in a good place now. Take care, hope you're all right now.



This photo doesn't have anything to do with anything...I just thought it was interesting.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Adventures in Motorcycle Ownership

A week ago last Tuesday(or...almost two weeks ago)my 2000 HD FXST Softail motorcycle got sick. After taking it to the HD dealer closest to me at the time, I waited for them to get to tearing into the bike to see what was wrong with it. Initially they said exhaust leak, shot cam chain tensioners, and probably Other Stuff.

Now, I bought the bike at that dealer, but I hadn't taken either of my motorcycles to that particular dealer in about five years due to them kinda screwing up my other bike, a 1998 HD Sportster XLH. I had taken it in for a routine checkup, and came out with a bent rear axle and other little mistakes. Some added irony: I remember one of the service guys remarking at the comparitively high mileage the bike had. Most people who buy Sportsters aren't actually wanting a Sportster; they want a bigger bike but didn't get one because of money or they see the Sportster as an "intro Harley". Which is crap, but whatever. So they generally sell off such a bike before reaching 15-20,000 miles. I think I have around 40,000 miles on my Sportster. Which is apparently a Big Deal to the average city HD rider. FML. As a result, I didn't feel safe on the bike, and let it sit in the garage, always intending to get these little things fixed, but didn't. The poor thing became my personal Entropy Project for years.

SO, back to the Softail. While it sat at the dealer, I emailed a smart friend of mine who happens to know a lot about motorcycles and happens to drink a lot of beer(it kills the slow brain cells), Fred. I told him the symptoms of the bike, and asked him if it was possible that the dealer was right about what's wrong with it. He said yes, and also offered to look at the bike himself if needed. I said I'd give the dealer a shot first, but would let Fred know if I changed my mind.

On Friday, I call the dealer and ask about my bike. They still hadn't gotten to it, but were planning to get to it that day. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. I told them to not do anything, I'll pick the bike up Saturday morning. They apologize but agree. Fine. I tell the Dear Husband what's going on, he says he'll go to the local Uhaul to reserve a pickup truck for the bike. I email Fred asking if his offer to look at the bike is still open. I then get a call back from the dealer about an hour after the previous call to say that they "pulled strings" to get the bike looked at right away. Riiiiiiight. The preliminary work they did still says bad cam chain tensioners, bad lifters, and they'd have to drain the oil to see if pieces of the cam chain tensioners got sucked into the engine. JEEEZ.


I had made all these calls while sitting in my cubicle at work. When the dealer started to say that they could start work on my bike, I apparently got quite loud when I told them politely but firmly that they can stop looking at the bike because I WILL BE PICKING IT UP IN THE MORNING. I also mentioned that I can't drive my car for much longer because I was going insane. The reason I know I was getting loud was because after these calls happened, I had three or four coworkers stroll by over the course of the afternoon saying, So, you're going to go pick up your bike tomorrow, eh? Is it fixed? D'OH!!!!! Next time I'll go outside to be an asshole.

I hadn't heard back from Fred for the rest of the day, but I figured that even if he wasn't available, I'd take the Softail to the dealer closest to me, who I'm not particularly fond of either sometimes, but they're the only other dealer that's reasonably close by, and they had done a good job on the previous routine checkup of the Softail, which was done right before I started on the current job. Saturday morning I decide to call Fred to see if he was around. He wasn't. He was down at Sea World in San Diego. Ca-RAP. I tell him what happened with the dealer, and he muses for a few minutes and says, Drop the bike off at my place and I can get to it when I get home from San Diego Sunday afternoon. I'll tell the housesitter to expect you and I can have my neighbor leave a ramp to get the bike out of the truck. Awesome! The DH and start the Great Wanderings on a Saturday Afternoon.

We gather the pickup from Uhaul. We drive to the dealer where the Softail sits. They're expecting us. One of the service guys(who wasn't the one I'd been talking to when I brought the Softail in) comes up and apologizes. Profusely. And he keeps saying the same thing, which was meant as a compliment, but I was a little unnerved by it. He kept saying, I know who you are. I know your bike. I know you used to come in here all the time. But it was the I know who you are which stuck with me. I think his apology was actually sincere as he explained that last-minute riders headed for Sturgis clogged up the service area, as well as losing a key mechanic who has proved to not be easily replaced has tripped them up too. I get it, but the bike sat for almost TWO WEEKS. Whatever, they were actually very helpful in getting the bike into the pickup and getting us on our way.

We get to Fred's house. With the help of his neighbor we get the garage open, the bike off the pickup and into the garage without a hitch. As we're heading back to home, the DH says, Since we don't have to return the pickup until tomorrow morning, what about getting the Sportster in to the local dealer to see if it can be resurrected?  Ooh, good idea!

I call the local dealer to see if they'll take on the job(some HD dealers won't work on bikes over ten years old. Yeah, I know). They can, and they will. But they don't have a bike ramp we can borrow to get the bike onto the truck. Hmmm. So we arrange to drop me off at home to clean the thick layer of dust off the Sportster while the DH goes to buy a ramp to get the Sportster on to the pickup.

An hour later we have a ramp and a reasonably-cleaned-up-Sportster to transport. We get the bike in the pickup without incident and go to the local dealer. The bike gets dropped off and we return the pickup before 5pm that day. BOOM. Done.

Yesterday afternoon I get a call from Fred asking me what the symptoms on the Softail I heard. We go over it, and he muses about the cam chain tensioners and says he'll call me back when he opens the bike up, probably the next day. Instead, I get a call about two hours later. Fred excitedly tells me that it's NOT the cam chain tensioners, but a locknut that had eased off one of the pushrods. The nut fell down and lodged itself onto a small shelf inside the cam chest. The pushrod then pushed itself short and that's what caused the ticking I had heard as well as the lack of acceleration. The pushrod can be easily fixed. The lifters were untouched. The cams are fine. The tensioners had about 25% wear after over 20,000 miles(most folk recommend to switch out the tensioners at 15,000 miles, so I got good performance from these tensioners).

If I had left the bike at the shady dealer, heaven knows what they would've done to the bike. Or if they would've been honest about the cam chain tensioners. Or if they would've found the real problem with the missing nut off the pushrod. So for now, it seems that I'm going to be spending way less to get the Softail back on the road than I had feared. It's going to cost a pretty penny to get the Sportster back up and running, but it'll be worth it. I'm pretty excited to have both bikes back up and running again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What a difference a day makes...

After much futzing, it looks like we have ourselves a flier:























YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!

Not quite there...

Here's the latest on SuperLace:




















This is tweak #2. The first one is just...weird, mainly in composition.

Obviously, the writing on the side of the building needs desperate fixing. I've been playing with the "shear" function in Illustrator(results NOT seen here), but I haven't gotten the right amount of shear in the right direction...yet. It doesn't help that the font I chose for the Derby Dolls/team names/date is sheared in the wrong direction that I need it to shear to. DAMMIT.

Ah well, I'll figure it out eventually...well, before next Monday, at any rate...

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Just starting...

What happens when you take one completely kickass photo that Stalkerazzi took at Battle on the Bank this year:
















And give me a deadline and an idea for derby artwork?

You get this preliminary result:





















More to follow as soon as I get more than a 3 hour stretch of free time(which has been pretty much IMPOSSIBLE these days).

Oh, and my motorcycle is sick. Very sick.

I was riding in to work on Tuesday when I noticed that the bike's exhaust started getting louder and more choppy, as if it were imitating a very low-flying helicopter. Hmmmmmm. Since I was lanesplitting down the freeway at a not-too-crazy-fast speed, I also picked up the distinct sounds of ticking coming from the engine. Uh-oh. And then I noticed that when I tried to accelerate, the bike was sluggish in responding. OH CRAP.

I had to make a quick decision whether to limp the bike to work in Borebank, or limp the bike to the Glendale HD shop. I chose limping to Glendale.

After a terrifying ride to Glendale, I was quickly informed that just by hearing my bike come into the service yard, the service tech determined I had an exhaust leak. Okay, I can deal with that. We let the bike cool down to see if the studs holding the exhaust pipes to the engine could be tightened up. They couldn't, because they were rusted over. The service dude hinted that I might need a whole new exhaust(which I'm not going to do. I'm digging up the stock exhaust pipes for my bike and will have them reinstall those if they insist that I need new pipes). Then I tell him about the engine ticking sound, and he listens and says that it may be the cam chain tensioners. That would explain the loss of accelerating power, too.

The cam chain tensioners have been replaced before, but apparently they need to be replaced periodically unless one switches to a gear-driven cam system. Which if the cam chains are the problem, I'm going to do.

The lame part of all this is that it's now Sunday and the dealer hasn't had the chance to even inspect the bike for reals. LAME. So I've been having to drive more and borrow the Dear Husband's unused motorcycle for work purposes.

The cool part of all this was that when I texted the show producer that I was going to be late because of the bike woes, she arranged to have someone from work come pick me up so that I wouldn't have to take a taxi from Glendale to Borebank. How many studios would do that?! I was able to catch a ride home from a former Scooby colleague who happens to work in Borebank and lives on the Westside, so I totally lucked out on transportation that day.

So life continues to be very, very interesting these days. I would totally dig it if I was able to get a full night of sleep one of these eons. So far, no luck on that front.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Rollercon '10

It was the best of conventions, it was the worst of conventions...it's ROLLERCON.

Highlights and stuff in no particular order:

  • Flying Southwest Airlines from LAX to Vegas on a delayed flight on a Friday night is almost fun when the flight attendants decide to pass out peanut packets by dumping the entire bag onto the aisle floor on takeoff and shoving the peanuts down the aisle. You should've seen how they served the drinks.

  • Not having to stay in a dumpy room at this year's convention hotel, theTropicana. Apparently they screwed up our room reservation, and instead of the usual dumptastic Rollercon room, we scored a pad in their recently remodeled Paradise Tower, and that was a fantastic place to leave our derby shirts while we wandered around.

  • Next year the convention hotel needs to be Hooters, which happens to be right next door to the Tropicana. The rooms are a more uniform scuzz than Tropicana, but they have a 24-hour pool and bar. That turned out to be the default hangout spot for skaters. 

  • Finding out one's daiquiri tolerance. Just because you're in the heat and you think you're sweating out the alcohol you're busily consuming from a huge plastic football filled with the stuff that you purchased on Fremont St. doesn't mean you can get away with it for long. Drinking two daiquiri footballs creates more folly. Trying for three is attempted suicide. Thank goodness I didn't have to figure this one out firsthand, but I heard the stories.

  • The drink line at the Black & Blue Ball was horrendously long. Luckily I didn't have to stand in it because I got loaded on a melted football daiquiri, grabbed my Sharpies, and made my way down poolside to the Ball and started drawing on everybody in sight in exchange for drinks. I needed a drink caddy that night. And a new liver.

  • Being greeted at the Black & Blue Ball by many skaters from many leagues as if I was Kind Of A Big Deal.

  • Volunteering. Apparently when one receives a last-minute email about volunteering for Rollercon, one shouldn't assume that because they're going to be volunteering all day that they're actually be on the Volunteer Check-In List. That was fun to work out. Wait, NO, it wasn't. It fucking sucked, and I'm still a little pissy about it.

  • BUUUUT, my volunteering was in the form of announcing ALL DAY. I started with a hoped-to-be-webcast game of Team Awesome vs. Team SeXY. Awesome=women skaters. SeXY=men skaters. I met and worked with Jet City announcer Bulldog, who is fantastic at play-by-play, so I let him do most of the work. After the Awesome/SeXY game, we made our way to the Fremont St. Challenges where we announced three silly challenges: Team Derby Name that one named after an Animal vs. Team Derby Name that one named after a Celebrity. Team Bimbo(mostly white and blond skaters) vs. Team NAACP(Nat'l Association for the Advancement of Colored Pivots...some were black, some were NOT), and Team 420 vs. Team Wasted. I thought my performance was severely underwhelming due to the heat and tragic lack of sleep. Luckily I made up for it by going back indoors to announce one last referee skating challenge between Team Banked Robbers vs. Team Flat and Furious. I got to work with the amazing Bob Noxious, and since this wasn't a public game, we had more leeway to be funny and free-flowing. When people could hear us through the shitty sound system at the Sports Center, we were apparently good. I also got great announcing tips from Chip Queso, who has been announcing for TXRG for the past seven years, as well as TXRD's WundaMike. I'm stoked.

  • The Rollercon Volunteer shirt is awesome.

  • Wicked Skatewear rocked the world. First, they offered to sell the shit-ton of Notorious that I brought with me. Then they had a Party Palace set up in their room at Hooters with not one, but two slushie machines full of margaritas. If that wasn't enough, they had bottles of wine and beer for guzzling at a moment's notice. Founder B-Train is scary smart and savvy...she's gonna take over the world.

  • Australian skaters. They were out in full force this year. They put together a Team Australia vs. Team USA challenge where they named their team Mortal Wombats. They now need to make shirts to sell to other skaters due to the popularity of that theme. They had a mascot in the form of a wombat hat. Yes, a wombat hat. They were making everyone wear it poolside at Hooters Saturday night. And yes, I got a turn when I ended up drawing on a few of them. And there's video. I hope it surfaces soon!

  • Nobody wore pants, except for the Dear Husband. 

  • While Rollercon was going on, there was a national annual meeting of the Buffalo Soldiers that was going on at the same time. Mix roller derby skaters with black motorcyclists and you have a big fuckin' party. I was told it's a shame that I'm married and that I have nice legs. I'm sure the second part of that previous sentence was uttered to just about every skater in Vegas this weekend.

  • We didn't get to the Hash House-a-Go-Go. We settled for inferior eggs and toast at Hooters instead.

  • No all-nighters, though we didn't get more than a couple of hours of sleep each night.

  • Derby Dolls were representin' big this year. 

  • Hanging out with the Enforcers is a guaranteed good time.

  • Not skating at Rollercon sucks, but the classes were crazy-crowded, and I think I would've been very unhappy with the crowded skating conditions if I had brought my skates. On the other hand, not skating in the challenge games this year was a major bummer.

  • So, SO glad we didn't drive. It's always a nightmare driving home, and I'd rather spend a little bit more money by flying to and from Vegas to avoid traffic, wear and tear on the car, and not getting into pissy fights with the DH so that we can get home when we want to. The only downside is that it puts a severe limit on how much crap I can buy. Wait, maybe that's a good thing.

As usual, Rollercon is what you make it. Some people complain about how it's a big party. Well, DUH. It is. But it's also a great place to get a kick in the butt by watching skaters from all over the world do their thing. Or to get new training tips. Or to get ideas on how to start a derby-related business. Or to promote your own derby-related business. Work it out, and you'll have the time of your life...

Friday, July 30, 2010

I did it...

I broke down and got a Twitter account. Why? I don't know. My name on there is,

NotoriousRED.

Get it?

Hahahahaha.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Alrighty then...

So...

Luckily this week has started to get moar betterer than it was from my previous post. Thanks to a little introspection, talking with a couple of coworkers, and some advisory kickassery from former LA Derby Doll Kid Vicious, I think I've found some temporary coping mechanisms to get my brain a-thinkin' in a more positive direction.

A little non-brain-using work is also helpful.

Below is the result of a quick night's work of making Notorious, the spray I use on my pads to help prevent them from stinking to high heaven and back several times over. This has been a very minor league side project of mine...I first started making this stuff for post-jogging relaxation on me feets over seven years ago. At some point I started spraying it on my pads after skating. It's a well-known fact that the only athlete that smells worse than a roller derby skater is a hockey player, hence the need for such a spray on one's pads.

From there, it's become almost a heroin-esque product within the LA Derby Dolls. I sell bottles of the stuff. When buyers need a refill, I have them give me the bottle to reuse, to help minimize waste. HOW CONSCIENTIOUS OF ME.

But...it sells. Which is good.

Not what I intended on being known for or being in demand for...but I gotta take what I can get, I guess.


Anyway, here is photographic record of me making a decent-sized batch of Notorious to sell at Rollercon this weekend:






























33 bottles of Notorious is now ready to be sprung into the wider derby community. We'll how it sells!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Grind

After spending a very tiring weekend in San Diego for Comic Con, I'm back home and back in the grind.

Along with the grind comes a lot of frustration about...everything.

Work, stability at work, ability to do the work, spending so much time at work, not being able to get to know people that I haven't worked with before at work, trying to sneak in derby emails while working, looking at derby schedules, new derby protocols, derby planning, derby discussions, and derby derby goddam derby.





















I'm about to start a lovely burnout run that will go on until October, unless I either get shitcanned off the job or I quit half my derby responsibilities. None of these options sound very fun.
























I feel very stagnant in my life right now. Nothing seems to be moving forward; I feel that I'm struggling to keep a status quo that is slipping away into the ether. But I don't have a lot of time to sit and come up with an Alternative Plan For My Life. Hell, when I did have time to come up with such a plan, I procrastinated like an asshole.

So I'm essentially backed into a corner of my own doing.

But...what would I do with myself if I didn't do derby and animation? Could I eke out a living doing my own art, even though I'm THE WORST salesperson for myself EVAR?















While I ponder my life falling apart, enjoy the photos of the cute animals.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Debbie Downer

I've been feeling ill all weekend.

Which sucks for so many reasons, the foremost being that I should've used some of that sick time to get work done over the weekend, but there was NO WAY I would've accomplished anything while feeling crapacious in Borebank during the summer when there's NO AIR CONDITIONING. Blargh.

So I stayed on the Westside and figured out a last-minute Comic Con booth babe outfit and slept incessantly. I now think my "illness" was my body rebelling against the stress I've been piling on since I started the New Job. I now can only hope to survive until October with both sanity and body somewhat intact.

To top off this weekend of blah, I heard that the Disney artist I donated platelets for died over the weekend.

GODAMMIT.


While I finish out the weekend in sleep-filled anger, enjoy these random photos: