Wednesday, March 30, 2011


It's been awhile since I had to write a letter to my bike. But apparently it's time to do it again. So here we go...

Dear Sportster:

You're so saucy and cute. You lanesplit like a champ. You're nimble and get great gas mileage. You don't have a lot of icky chrome on you to distract from your awesomeness. I love taking you to work.

So why do you keep crapping out on me?

You can't blame me for not riding you quite as often as I's been raining, for fuck's sake. A LOT. But c'mon, I took you out over the Softail on more than one occasion to show you off when the skies were clear. And with the new job I just started this week, you get to go to Borebank often.

But you apparently like to hold grudges.

What was it about yesterday that pissed you off so much? Was it the fact that I had to take the freeway the entire way to work? It couldn't have been the weather, it was sunny and cool but not cold. Borebank isn't so usually like the parking space that's right in front of the studio, where EVERYONE can see you, so it can't be that. I even took surface streets for part of the way home instead of taking the crapacious 101 freeway, and we cut through a shit ton of traffic. Yay, us!

When you died at the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Riverside, I was shocked. And pissed. Luckily there was a Mobil station right across the intersection from where you staged your protest, and after waiting in the middle of the westbound lanes on Riverside for an extremely harrowing streetlight cycle, I pushed you to the gas station. I had just filled the gas tank, so that's not the problem. The lights work, the battery is new, and you'd turn over but wouldn't catch. WTF?!?!?!

I let you rest for a minute, and tried starting you again. You refused.

A guy who may or may not have been a rider asked me if I was alright, but didn't have any tools. But he was very nice and said that if I needed anything, to go to the bar next to the gas station.

I should've gone and had a drink or five.

Instead, I called AAA.  Twenty minutes, they say. Fine, no problem, I say.

During the initial twenty minutes I tried a few more times to start you up. Same thing: lights, turning over, but you wouldn't catch. DAMMIT.

Twenty minutes later I get another call from AAA. They now say it'll be an HOUR AND A HALF before I get rescued.

I hope you felt proud of yourself when I did what any roller derby-playin', murdersickle-ridin' grown woman would do in that situation...I burst into tears.

It's not that the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Riverside is a shithole neighborhood, but there were definitely a few shady characters lurking about. What is it about gas stations that brings out the shady lurkers, anyway?! I notice one particular creepy weird dude wander by the bus stop on the opposite side of the gas station, talking to himself as I dropped to the curb and sobbed to myself. Then he starts lumbering towards the gas station. You know where this is going, right, Sportster?

After about fifteen minutes of me freaking out, my phone rings. It's the tow company saying that it'll be fifteen minutes. They had a couple of cancellations.


I try starting you up again just for shits and giggles, dear Sportster. Nope, not gonna happen.

The tow truck pulls into the gas station just as the Creepy Weird Dude who was lurking by the bus stop walks by me and starts to talk to me. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. The driver comes over and that is enough to shoo away the Creepy Weird Dude. Whew!

We talk about what went wrong with you, Sportster. And then you made me look like a total asshole by STARTING UP JUST FUCKING FINE when I turn on the ignition.


The driver asks if I still want a tow. The look on my face must've been priceless, for he immediately says, Ah, you don't want to get stuck again before you get home. Alright, let's get going. And off he goes to prep the tow truck bed to take your miserable metal self back to the Westside.

Since the Harley dealer doesn't have a drop off spot for broken bikes after hours, I bring you back to home. You got a smooth ride, the tow truck driver was very nice and very conscientious. By this time, it's late enough where traffic going to the Westside isn't bad at all, though the driver will be in Driving Hell getting back to the Valley after you're dropped off.

There's something about you, Sportster, that keeps AAA drivers from charging me the extra mileage when you're towed beyond ten miles. And I guess I'm a sucker for you, too, as I'm going to limp you to the Harley dealer on Saturday and see if they can track down what the hell is wrong with you. Because I DO NOT want to have any more towing adventures, Sportster. DO YOU HEAR ME?! You must be ridden, not towed!

C'mon, you don't want to be stuck in the garage any more than I want to leave you in there, unridden and neglected. Summer's comin' and you gotta get out there and enjoy it!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Brain Dead

I seem to be creatively brain dead when it comes to my own artwork.

Next week I start a new short-term gig, and I know I'll get my shit together to do a good job on that. But I'm squandering my free time away on...almost nothing.

OK, I did useful things like get an oil change for the car, purchased new contact lenses and eyeglasses, and started to go through the millions of packing boxes full of crap that the Dear Husband and I haven't touched in at least ten years.

But artistically I'm in the middle of a Sahara-sized creative desert.

I don't know whether it's continued stress, frustration and burnout from derby(part of it definitely is), or if it's continued stress and frustration about not having a steady gig, or about not feeling as confident about my own art as maybe I could/should.

I do know that I'm taking things on a day-to-day basis on just being not miserable. And that's OK for the moment. I'm enjoying stupid shit like this as I sit on the computer:

For some reason 80's funk is really making me happy when I listen to it. Nostalgia? I hope not!

And then there's this:

I can't say I like 50 cent. But damn, his music just grooves for me, especially when I'm out running errands on the bicycle. 

The Dear Husband just started a new job which makes him(and me)very happy. He's working in the mid-city area where all the gourmet food trucks gather at lunchtime. It's as if he's in Foodie Mecca. Lucky bastard!

Welp, I have two more days to waste before going back to work, so I shall get back to it. Not a very inspiring blog posts, but they all can't be winners.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Last London Photo Dump

This is hopefully the last installment of, Hey! I Finally Got Out of the USA for a Fun Trip!

When my sister and I got back to London from Amsterdam, it was my sister's turn to have a total meltdown. The hotel we were scheduled to stay at was, how shall I say? Icky. It was in a good neighborhood, right next to the east end of Hyde Park, and the lobby was newly remodeled. But the room? Small, cramped, and dirty. The hallway gave an indication of this when we noticed the door moldings appeared to have been gnawed on by rats.


My sister was still in the throes of sickness, and absolutely LOST HER MIND. She stated, I'M NOT STAYING HERE EVEN ONE NIGHT. THIS PLACE IS GROSS! She called her LA boss immediately(it was early evening in London, early morning in LA), told her about the squalid conditions, and even took photos with her phone to send to her boss to show that she wasn't exaggerating. So if you get reservations for a hotel near Hyde Park that rhymes with "cummerbund", change said reservations IMMEDIATELY.

Luckily her boss is awesome and quickly switched our lodgings to a place that's on the western edge of Hyde Park on Kensington High Street. This place was fancy, but not in the same fancy way that our Amsterdam hotel was fancy. This place was understated  modern British fancy.

It was so fancy, rich Arabs were staying there. THAT'S PRETTY DAMN FANCY, PEOPLE.

We were so damn happy, we celebrated in style:

In the morning, I enjoyed the view of Hyde Park from our hotel room window:

And when I looked to the left, I see...Kensington Palace!

My sister was too tired to come out and do stuff, so I was left to amuse myself.

After another ridiculously delicious British breakfast, I went out to take photos of me in front of Kensington Palace:

Then I wandered through Hyde Park. From there I wandered east and covered a great deal of Very Central London. I should go to googlemaps and see if I can map my route and get a mileage reading. My feet say I walked a LOT.

On my way back to the hotel, I found Royal Albert Hall:

And an Albert statue, right across the street from RAH:

And I had to get a photo with an iconic phone booth:

Later in the day my sister was finally feeling well enough to do something, so I took her to Camden. I went there with former ACDG skater Bette Noir before we went to Amsterdam, and got a quick tour of the place. This time, I got to linger a bit more with my sister in tow. It was fun!

Camden canals:

We also did some wandering on Kensington High Street. This is the only photo I got of my sister the entire trip, and it was akin to pulling teeth from a wolverine to get it:

The day of our departure I wanted to go to the Harley dealer in London to get the Dear Husband a shirt. I took an arbitrary LONG walk to get there, and on my way I spotted this:

The house where Benny Hill used to live!

I managed to get lost on the way back to the hotel, which freaked me out since I was cutting it very close timewise to finish packing and get going to the airport.

Oh, I walked across Tower Bridge. Not on the last day I was there, but here are the pix anyway:

Every time I look at my vacation photos, I want to go back SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Proven Wrong

Remember when I did some shit-talking about this logo?

Welp, it looks like I jumped to conclusions. A couple of Pearl River peeps commented on that post last night, saying that they indeed DID get permission to use that drawing from Sure Grip.


Which means I'm back to not being blatantly ripped off art-wise!


So there you have it. I'm a jaded, cranky asshole who got this wrong. If I'm going to be wrong about something, I'm glad it was over something like this! Carry on, Pearl River, carry on.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Final artwork for this year's Battle on the Bank tournament.



I think it turned out pretty good...I actually looked at a shit ton of derby photos before attacking this, as I feel that I use the same type of pose all the time. Now I know do this particular style with the pointed toes on the skaters really limits what works and what doesn't posing-wise! Ah well, as long as it works!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


The first day we were in Amsterdam, my sister and I found a flea market in our afternoon wanderings. While there, I found an awesome hat. Lately I've been enjoying hats more, and this one was way cool. However, since I was a dumbass, I didn't purchase it right away like I should have.

When I went back to the flea market the next day, the lady with the hats wasn't there. D'OH. I made it a point to go by the flea market every day to see if the hat lady with THEE hat would show up. I was sorely disappointed each day to wander down the aisle and see the skeletal remains of the booth with no hats inside said booth. Until the morning we were scheduled to leave to go back to London:

SUCCESS. A sunny day and a new hat! The photo makes the hat look like a bowler. It's not. It's a more feminine version of a fedora. And it's cool.

An atypical dinner in Amsterdam for us. NOM NOM NOM:

A typical building in the City Center:

A real live Rembrandt etching:

Watching the process of how that was done was really great to see. At the Rembrandt house they have a room with all the etching stuff and primitive printing press. While I was wandering around in that particular room, a small group of German tourists came through and started asking questions to the museum employee who was in there manning the press. He went into a German explanation of the tools used, the printing process, the type of paper used, etc. I don't know German, but I was able to follow the lecture the entire time. WEIRD.

On our last night in Amsterdam, we went for Mexican food. I know, I know. I live in LA, why would I go to a Mexican restaurant in Amsterdam?! Because they had this as a window display:

The penguin spun around. I couldn't pass that up!

First course: onion rings and what the menu called a "quesada", but it was really a quesadilla:

And we forgot to take a photo of the nachos before we destroyed them:

The margaritas they had were en pointe, too!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Is it about YOU?

I'm back to brooding today.

I remember when DIY derby was meant to be inclusive...every body type, every background, every woman was encouraged to join. The biggest bullshittery that went on a few years back was flat vs. banked track. Which I want to comment on in a different post. More on that later. Anyway, yeah...inclusive.

But now, it's getting more exclusive and dooshy. It starts with basic human nature stuff like cliques. Maybe it moves to how teams and practices are structured. Or it becomes difficult to even sign up as fresh meat for a league that may not be chock-full of skaters.

Maybe there's a power-hungry person or three who takes over a committee, or bullies others on how things should be done in their eyes within the league...whether it's their business to do so or not. These types probably haven't done a lot of team sports or team anything in their past with much success. Right now I'm seeing a lot of that type of crapaciousness up close and personal. If I wasn't subject to Code of Conduct violations, I'd be doing a lot of gut-punching on others this very moment.

I find it weird when teams and leagues get the doosh label when the majority of the individuals who make up that team or league can be perfectly nice. What is it about the group dynamic that takes a logically-thinking person and turn her into an asshole when she's with the dooshtastic team or league in question?

I'm also noticing a lot of petitions and groups on Facebook that cater to flat track only. Like the petition to get flat track derby on tv. Or the flat track derby announcers group. Gosh, jackholes, are you still insecure about fans liking banked track better than flat, or are you purposely ignorant that DIY banked track isn't all that you were told they were in the '70's? Get out of your box.

That means everybody. Get the fuck out of your box and really take a look around you at yourself, your team, and your league. Are the things you're doing by shutting others out really the path to grow this crazy hobby into a paying gig? There are standards for things, having whomever is running the league finances have some reasonable financial training, for example. Or the skaters on the travel team should actually be the best derby players.

On the other hand, if you shut out your skaters in your league from doing stuff, you're playing to your own ego and shortselling the future of your league.  You have to train the future leaders and skaters for your league if you expect it to last, and for them to remember you with fondness(if at all), instead of as That Cunt Who Needed To Get Her Head Out Of Her Ass And Thank Fucking Keerist She's Gone. 

As things are getting bigger, I don't know if it's getting better. Some of it is growing pains, sure. But some of it is preventable dooshiness. It's difficult to sometimes see when one is being selfish, but I'm finding that if others are as unhappy as you are, then something's going on, and it may not be good.

I'd like to see the fun put back in the dysfunctional of this adventure.

Monday, March 07, 2011


I'm still trying to catch up on posting photos from my European Adventures from January. Yes, I'm tardy. So what. I'm cranky today, so deal with it.

Going from London to Amsterdam broke my brain.

After having been in the UK for almost a week, my sister and I flew to Amsterdam. We flew on KLM, which takes a much more relaxed attitude about boarding the plane, listening to the safety instructions, and checking to see if one has turned off their cell phones or mp3 players or not. I had to give up my precious skates to checkin, as the flight was full, but they were very nice about it and I wasn't charged to check in the bag. Win? Their snacks sucked, but they had Coke with real sugar, and it was DELICIOUS. Fuck you, US Coke. Corn syrup is rancid.

Anyway, my brain broke as soon as we got off the plane and saw that all the signs in the airport were in Dutch. Now, everyone in Amsterdam pretty much speaks English, but for some reason I expected more of the signage to also be in English. Nope. Maybe it was the sugar from the Coke, but I just about freaked out.

My sister and I had to take a deep breath, get a coffee, and figure out how to get from the airport to Centraal Station via the train. It took us about seven tries with the automated ticket machines to figure it out, but figure it out we did!

As with London, I walked everywhere and got lost every day. The tram stops don't have the handy street maps that the London bus stops do, so I had to attempt to not look too much like a tourist as I pulled out my map every two blocks to figure out where the hell I was. I was more worried about looking like a tourist here than in London because I was told that pickpockets will swarm upon any tourist who made themselves obvious and pick them clean of any useful belongings.  No one bothered me at all.

Speaking of obvious:

That photo is SO Amsterdam to me. Very pretty architecture-wise, lots of old stuff to look at, yet there was a messiness to the place that's an interesting antidote to the prettiness.

This is the church across the street and canal from our hotel:

Here is the hotel we stayed in:

I should post the pix I took of our hotel room. It was RIDICULOUSLY nice. I was feeling all swank and stuff. The big drawback to the place was that the city had torn up the street right outside the hotel. So when we were dropped off by the taxi, we had to hike down the block through dirt and scattered cobblestones to get to the front door. My travel agent sister had a shit fit. I didn't care once I saw the room. By this time my sister was full-blown sick with a cold/flu thingy that kept her from having as much fun as she should've. I had brought some old-fashioned sudafed with me, and that was the only thing that kept her functioning on any level whatsoever.

The Salad Trouble that plagued me in London was evident in Amsterdam, too. All I wanted was green leafy foodstuff, and I couldn't find it for the life of me. Until I stumbled upon the Hard Rock Cafe in my wanderings. I hate places like that, but I knew they'd have a fucking salad.

Meet my so-so salad, delicious bottled water and fantastic Long Island Ice Tea:

I don't know what the deal is with this cool skull arch, but it's cool. So I took a photo of it.

This apartment window was funny. Bogart and gnomes. The Bogart was great enough...

...but it got better when one noticed the gnome-like critters:

I didn't drink in fact, I didn't hang out in a single Amsterdam pub. But hey! I had to document its existence for obvious reasons:

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Best Thing about Camp This Year.

March RADness is in full swing this weekend. It's pretty damn fun. I'm getting to take more classes this year, which rocks my world. Especially when those classes are led by skaters such as Deranged, Psycho Babble, Carmen Getsome, OMG WTF and Bonnie Thunders. We even have Pitchit from AZ out to teach stuff.

But the most fun part is this year's in-joke. It started yesterday at lunch. Some of the trainers are eating Italian food in the room where the trainers are designated to put their stuff. Lace N' Arsenic, Deranged, Psycho Babble, Carmen Getsome, Skatum O'Neal, Chargin' Tina, Cherrylicious, Isabelle Ringer and myself are amongst the ones stuffing our faces. Lace sees Chargy munching on a piece of pizza-ish bread and asks, Is that ice cream?  No. Chargy replied. We then ALL sigh and wish we had ice cream. I said, If one of the visiting trainers wanted ice cream, Demolicious would TOTALLY go out and get it. And it was quickly decided that Bonnie "I don't have an ounce of body fat on me" Thunders would DEMAND ice cream or else she'd walk out on camp.

Now, you have to know a little more about Ms. Thunders to realize how totally absurd this is. She's awesome in the best way possible. She is a great trainer, a dedicated athlete, and is very nice, though a bit aloof. She's a vegetarian and doesn't eat junk food. People are in awe of's really funny to watch. But from what I've seen she's very down to earth.

She wasn't in the room while all this silliness took place. Demolicious comes by and asks if we need anything. We tell her that Bonnie Thunders DEMANDS ice cream sandwiches. Neopolitan flavor. With the strawberry part cut out. She laughed and says, REALLY? We say, OH YES. She laughs again and leaves the room.

An hour later she comes back with a box of ice cream sandwiches. WE DIE LAUGHING. 

The joke of course has expanded to the point where Bonnie Thunders is "demanding" endless cans of regular Coke, a mini-horse who hates children, a gravel pit to play in and a swimming pool on the roof of the Doll Factory. We crack ourselves up.

During one of the afternoon breaks I came into the trainer room and see Bonnie and OMG WTF sitting next to their gear. I ask if she enjoyed the ice cream sandwiches. She laughed, but apparently hadn't been let in on the entire joke. She wasn't told until dinnertime, when more jokes about her "demands" surfaced, and she had been dismayed that anyone would think she's being a diva.  Once she was told that the joke wasn't on her, she joined in.

Being easily amused has its advantages!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cat's Out of the Bag...I mean, Hoodie

Back in November I was talking to Wanton Rebellion from Scarred Derby Designs while we were in Chicago for WFTDA Nationalships. We were joking about the Pivotstar contest to name their armless know, the contest I lost. She said, You should have your own hoodie anyway! I concurred.

About a month later she emails me asking if I was still interested in doing said hoodie. OF COURSE! I reply.

Then I got caught up in the new derby season and hating my life and going to Europe and rediscovering my reason for living. Wanton reminded me that she needed the design in time to start selling the hoodies at Wild West Showdown in Bremerton, Washington this weekend.

So I started to sweat, busted out a design, and hoped for the best.

Today she sent me this photo:


If you're going to Wild West Showdown, you can get a hoodie there. Or you can go here and ask them nicely how to order one.

Did I say GIGGITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! already?!


Sunday afternoon I was stumped.

I had to lead Fresh Meat practice in, "Jamming, Blocking, Light Scrimmaging".

Which should be a cinch, since "blocking" is right in there. But in reality, I was stumped on what to do. Why?

Because the previous night New York's Gotham Girls came and played against LA, and it was AMAZING to watch. Mainly for badass Gotham jammer Bonnie Thunders.

The girl's got smarts and footwork like nobody's business. The rest of the team follow suit; they're a team of long and lean athletes that know their stuff. I believe the only reason they lost to LA was because they didn't keep tighter packs. You can't go one-on-one as well on the bank against a fast-moving jammer.

Anyway, after seeing Bonnie skate, my mind became overloaded with awesomeness. How the hell am I going to teach our Freshies a damn thing about jamming when Bonnie's in town?!

I sat down to write up my lesson plan. And threw it away. Went back to a blank sheet of paper, started scribbling, and threw that away, too. I swear I threw away four to five lesson plans when I usually don't go beyond numero two-o. I had looked at drills, plans, and other training stuff online and that hadn't helped either.

I just couldn't get beyond not feeling worthy enough to do the job effectively.

I finally wrote up something that was semi-suitable and trundled off to wRECk League.

Which turned out to be the best way to use the cntrl + alt + delete on my brain to restart it.

I didn't play particularly well at wL, but there were a few skaters from a league in San Diego that have flat track experience but have never been on the bank. And that's where I was able to draw my lesson plan from.

After scrimmaging I took advantage of the hour of downtime between wL and Fresh Meat practice and quickly wrote up my lesson plan in about five minutes. BOOM. Finally done.

And FM practice ended up being awesome.

It's not that I came up with anything mind-blowing, but I came up with a series of drills that built up to the results that I wanted to see. Which I try to do at every practice, but somehow it worked particularly well for this one.

Which made me happy, as I saw some vital improvement in so many of the skaters! I hope that they take what all the trainers are giving them and putting it all to good use!

When it comes to other league stuff, especially politics, I'm really beginning to take this attitude:

Thank you, Xena.