Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Final Champs post: Goodbye

Hours after my alcohol-soaked reunion with my old friend, I once again awoke before dawn. My body was still on East Coast time and I needed to get up. I called Dread, recapped my weekend while tossing in enough repetitions of "I love you" to make me sound like an Amy Grant song. After hanging up, I was exhausted, but in love. But I had no energy. I needed release from this foggy haze. A walk to the local strip mall offered me options:

Leavehimhere
They weren't good ones.


Rainman and I walked around this strip mall in horror. It had a theme. There was a store named "Karma," followed by a Doctor's Office (in a strip mall?!), and finally the Cremation depot. People don't want to waste time in Colorado. The only other thing of note in the parking lot: A Wendy's. Red pigtails = death?

The venue was turbo-charged with energy. KCRW vs TX and Gotham vs. Oly was on the agenda. Behind the scenes, officials were bracing up for the high profile games, announcers were researching every aspects of these teams before we did our parts, and skaters geared up for the truly titanic games they were about to play.

Ladies
Spydr, Draggin Lady, Plastik Patrik, and Double H looking "teh s3x."

DNN, the archives, Derby Deeds, and RDIT already covered this stuff better than I can. I'm also a month or so out. Thus, I implore you to go to their sites and read up if you're curious.

celebration
Gotham was damn gracious with their victory.

AFTDA got a mention in the awards ceremony, which brought us to an emotional overload unseen from the rave days of the 1990s. In the picture below, we're screaming to Papa Razzo for our glow-sticks and pacifiers.

2011, I'm a love you, I'm a miss you.
Success came unto us. A few of the announcers ate with each other before going to the Grizzly Rose, a line dancing bar. Eating with my buds, feeling a big sense of community made me homesick for another one. One that I left in June. My Bennington friends, scattered throughout the world, don't have a regular excuse to see one another. I decided to carry you, my fellow alumnae, with me to this bar. Don't believe me?



The bar was gigantic. It boasted a maximum capacity of 2000. Four hundred of them were derby folk, Twelve hundred, however, were cowboys and girls who were regulars. This bothered some of the people we came with, which was strange to me.  We were in a major city, coming into someone else's "house." Complaining in said house is only playing into mutual discomfort. But within an hour, the regulars ceded territory on the dance floor and the music went from Toby Keith to Lil John...with no sudden war. The regulars were pretty cool, and the staff seemed to love the amount of liquor and beer a derby crowd can ingest.

drinkingwithdumptruck
Three drinks for every derby person made us the majority.
After dancing the night away with Philly, we left early to go to bed and prepare for our respective morning flights. Draggin Lady was kind enough to get up early to drive me to Denver International where I met up with CMRD and Belle and dined on Pizza Hut before making my way home.

Since I returned, it's been nonstop activity. I have had job interviews, writing groups, and family obligations that have pushed back any time to reflect. This makes these posts more like records of what I did than joke-fueled missives to the masses. Sorry about that.

In the past three weeks, I've been overjoyed to have spent time with NHRD, my beloved home league, Dread, and PRD. I even got to call with my announcin' spouse, Lady O, for the first time in months. Let's hope that everything evens out in 2012.

Be well.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Part Three: High Gear is shifted into, not kicked...

Within the Denver area, outside of obscene names for their Chinese restaurants, things differ from my native New England. Colorado has a different set of priorities. The Comfort Suites understand the needs of the Southwest. When you wake up in Denver, coffee is essential. But did you know what goes best with coffee? Not a doughnut, buddy. You were close. A bag of popcorn.

popcorn
Priorities!

I make popcorn for Dread every day. It's a nice, low-calorie snack that we both love. Discovering this on the second morning made me think of home and the lady I had at home. Maybe Dread and I should move to Denver. Popcorn in every hotel and eating at Pho China. That sounds heavenly. Almost as heavenly as Joe Mama's flight suit. Ah well. Wait, we're talking about Champs. Okay...

In the name of research for interviews and recaps, I decided to sit in the stands and watch Minnesota vs. Texas. This decision paid me back with interest. Across from my seats were Minnesota's collection of widows and family members, decked out in war paint. On their tummies. This is the future. Unlike many sports fans, however, many of these dudes have yet to grow the beer gut of wasted energy. Thus, I love it.

minnesota rebels
YEAH


For my part, I wasn't alone. The ladies of CMRD, HARD, and Boston's very own Belle Air Bomber were there to keep me company. Texas won the bout, and that meant I'd be calling their game against Gotham that night. I skipped back to the Green Room to make sure my hair was sculpted and my breath fresh. By the mirror were all of Double H's toiletries and something that I cannot confirm was hers, but was pretty sweet to have out in a room full of jack asses.


nasalspray
You mean it's not communal? Whoops.


Nostrils clean, I met up with Mike Chexx to call a bout that was definitely one of my best and bar-none solid, solid derby. Mike's analysis and stats information were invaluable. We were tearing through sponsors, play-by-play and quips like they were a phone book in the Rev Al Mighty's hands. Better yet, we had unintentionally color-coordinated our outfits.

chexxandPelvis
I bring this ladder with me to every bout. It makes it easier to pass for human.


Swimming the sea of a fantastic day, I went to the Announcer party at the Westin to have a celebratory drink with my mates before one my oldest friends in the world arrived to catch up on old times. Worlds collided as tales of a young, out of control Pelvis were told to an immortal, gorgeous Plastik Patrik. It was strange to have a beloved friend from back in the day hob-nobbing with the amazing present. When Penny and I rocked New England, I looked different than the hirsute fella y'all know.
I like me.
Not far back enough.

HA Haahahaha hahaha erm ha.
Too far back.

blackhair2
Yeah...the time.

We spent some time with AFTDA before we made our way to the Westin bar. There I learned about the dreaded Denver pour. You want a single? You get a double. You want a double? You're taking a cab home at three. Which is what we did, but not before a wonderful lady from Chicago told us the wonders of her type of dude. And then did show-girl kicks.

KICK
You are fantastic.


Tired, tipsy, and tremendously overjoyed, I crept into my room and slept the sleep of the just. Or just drunk. I don't know. Quit judging me.

Expect the final post on this Champs tomorrow. I got to get current.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Champs, Part Two: Getting it going

What was the delay this time? Thanksgiving. Sorry. Here's a picture of Goblin eating her Thanksgiving treat to pacify you:

"I love human ears."

We arrived at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield within fifteen minutes. The sun shone down on our pretty heads as we had to walk on gravel and make our way to the East gate where all volunteers, skaters, and officials needed to check in. The Denver Roller Dolls were friendly and patient with us as we interrupted their efficient process to hug our friends from around the world who were also waiting in line. It was only Friday, so people were still patient, calm, and had their voices.

Before we began to annoy and anger small pockets of dissent around the country (and make larger groups happy), we had a green room meeting with WFTDA, venue, and broadcast representatives in our super sweet greenroom.

1st day prep meeting
Chip is complaining that without dry ice, he can't project the "virtual Texecutioner" over every intro. Gert Derned Texas!

Pumped up speeches and lists of "dos and don'ts," we made our way out into the sports arena proper and prepared for the first game of the day. Minnesota vs. Charm City! Calling it live was super, but here's the part that was so amazing. From our perch, you could see everything right up close. This was almost as good as the HQ feed.

Charm Intro 2
Charm City coming out of those sweet curtains.
The first day's opening salvo of games made me as happy as they did exhausted. Philly's game against Naptown was a fine message from the East Coast team that so many people have slagged off in the press. They had a tough year, but they played everyone, utilized almost all of their team, and they still came into Champs strong. That is a team that pushed themselves to the limit and when they won the spot to face Oly, I am sure that many a viewing party back East turned into a Brazilian soccer riot.

Calling two games on Friday was fun, and invigorating. What I was not prepared for, however was the side-splitting headache that came with not drinking enough water for a high-altitude, dry locale. After going through the stroke checklist, I determined I was merely dehydrated. Draggin and I headed to Old Chicago for food, watched a drunk woman fall to the floor and get sent away in ambulance, and headed back to the hotel.

The next day would be a fun one. One that brought us matching outfits, dancing, high-octane action, and me learning the evils of the "Denver Pour."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Champing at the bit for a Championship recount? Part I: Getting there

It's been a week since Gotham brought the Hydra back to the East Coast in a phenomenal game against Oly. People from around the world tuned into derbyaccess.com to see the best in our sport compete in action that brought us more highlights than a Project Runway reunion special. Is Hymen Heaven our Tim Gunn? She does have that calm, fashion sense, and "concerns" that mark her as a wise guru of sorts. And I hear men and women want to marry her all the time, just like Tim Gunn. So, yeah. Let's just get into it.

I arrived late to Denver International Airport, worried that I would not get to my Super Shuttle on time. Dee Stortion,  Bad Ass Momma, and I wandered through the airport looking for our respectful modes of transportation. A helpful clerk directed me outside to the shuttle's pickup spot. Now, I had checked and re-checked my itinerary before I started my trip. The shuttle should have taken me to the Comfort Suites where I was staying with Draggin Lady. I arrived at the Comfort Inn in Westminster and was told to get out. The main doors of the motel were locked. Through an intercom I heard, "Can I help you?"

"Yeah, I'm here to check in."

"Name?"

"It's under ____."

I was buzzed in where a nice, if strange woman told me that there was no one there by Draggin's name. Under the flickering fluorescent lights of the lobby, I was told to call the other Comfort Suites in the area. I did so. Yup.  I was in the wrong place. Instead of the almost-posh Comfort Suites, I was in the bastard hybrid of the movie Hostel and Roadhouse, The Murder Comfort Inn.

"Welcome, Pelvis! I'm the voice of a dead clown."
Draggin Lady was nice enough to pick me up and bring me to the real hotel where there was a pool, hottub, and a concierge who loved watching Chelsea Handler on the lobby television and cackling like a methed-up witch.

Bob Ross vs. Postal Meth Witch
Wait, an Image Search for "meth witch" had results that were exactly what I typed? The hell?

Our room was pretty sweet. Draggin and Rainman of Rose City allowed me to have my own bed and I passed out quickly with dreams of the competition bouncing around in my skull. I woke up two hours before my roommates, showered and got a coffee before we headed out.

On the way to the venue, I marveled at the landscape. Giant mountains in the distance, sprawling strip malls in the forefront. Is this heaven? The store names, thankfully, showed that people around here had a sense of humor. "Pho China," "Just a Noodle Shop," and a gaming store that I believe was named "Basement Hobbies." I might not accurately recall the last one, but "Pho China?" That's really there. People dress different, too. We pulled alongside a woman who really understood color coordination.

Color Coordination
Same shade of car, coat, frames for her glasses, and the College sticker on her rear windshield. Wacky.


I was no longer in New England. I had come to a place where primary colors meant everything. It was Aldous Huxley's Brave New World only with tumbleweeds and really dry air.

In the posts ahead: Ego! Dancing! The perils of Denver bartenders pouring really strong drinks! And COWBOYS!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On my way

Here we are at the beginning of my trip to beautiful Denver, Colorado to take part in the WFTDA's 2011 Championship Tournament or as it's known to the hip, swanky internet kids:



Three days in the suburbs of a town filled with fun, friends, and competing skaters. But first, I have to get there. I'm currently in Logan Airport, waiting to board my flight and travel through space and time to arrive a mere three hours after I take off. The ride will only take 5 hours or so. How did Doc Brown get a DeLorean to break this barrier at 88mph when a plane can go far faster, but only go back a few hours into the past?

Flying without Dread is a mixed bag. While her fear of flight makes the actual plane ride a chore, she often distracts me at the terminal gates so I don't eavesdrop on the some of the absolute mundane  conversations this side of a moms' lunch out at the local kid-friendly restaurant.

Damn, woman. You know way too much about ABC's comedy lineup. That's a fact.

My ability to keep from laughing aloud or sighing like twelve-year-old girl aside, I am jazzed as hell to get my ass to Denver. Last year, our trip to the Windy City was absolutely magical. Walking with Dumptruck and Lady O down the streets of Chicago at three in the morning, with DT in an old Dairyland Dolls uniform/dress, was one of the highlights of the weekend. That and never going to bed. This time around, it's a bit more business than pleasure, but I'm sure I'll get in some dancing. Of all the activities I can do on a big trip like this, that seems the least likely to adversely effect my performance.

I'm starting tomorrow's festivities on the House Mic with John Maddening and Dill Hero, which should be a great time. After that, look for me on derbyaccess.com throughout the day for interviews before Mike Chexx and I call Philly vs. Naptown for the internet at 7:15 Mountain time. That is , if the games start on time...which may not happen, but who cares? There is so much to see.

My goals for the weekend:
  1. Call the best games imaginable.
  2. Get Prissassin her shirt.
  3. Ger patches for Dread.
  4. Take photos like nuts.
  5. Kick a lot of hiney.
  6. Catch up with some people I rarely get to see.
Hm. Those seem as pedestrian as one of my fellow travelers' explanation of the ABC series "The Middle," which I just googled. Is this a "Scrubs" spinoff? I see the janitor. Anyway, what do you want to see? What pictures or features might you, the reader wish for me to put up here?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Getting ready

I leave for Championships in three days. Continental Divide and Conquer is looking to be the event of 2011. While the World Cup is just weeks after that, it's clear that what the top teams of WFTDA have been training for all year to win the coveted Hyrda and bring it home.

And I get to bring it to you live, thanks to New Hampshire Roller Derby and everyone who made this happen:
Thank you!

Over the past month, I've been studying rosters, watching games, and writing up a storm on unrelated projects. Has there been time for family? A bit. But Goblin seems to be aware that I'm leaving again and has begun to impersonate a diabetic iguana to show her subtle disapproval.

I just wish she'd talk to me.

Because of my sheer gratitude, I'll be blogging on the trip, letting you know what's up. You're a fantastic group, readers and benefactors. I love you.
 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I am a lucky, lucky man.

After East Region Playoffs, I believed that the off season had officially started. The life of a freelance writer is a complex one (and one of variable financial stress). My autumn was to be comprised of watching the rest of the Big 5 tournaments online, work on my novel and other writing assignments, and create the best Ice King costume imaginable for Halloween.






Then New Hampshire Roller Derby (NHRD) did something yesterday that exploded my Facebook into a sea of unbelievable links, all directing users to this picture on NHRD's page:


Uh, that is me.
No way.

I have become the poster-child for a fundraiser benefiting me. My surprise and overwhelming gratitude washed over the internet (sorry if your screens got damp). The rallying cry that came from the 603 area code was as unexpected as it was enthusiastic. Mack Truck Mel has gone so far as to say that any donation received that beat hers (over twenty) would result in her hand-washing the donor's derby pads. If you're not familiar with derby, cleaning one's pads is the modern day equivalent of Hercules cleaning out the Augean Stables.

Dread and I have been floored by this incredibly kind, over-the-top gesture. Not only did they take up the helm, they stormed the internets and have collected money from people all over the country.  In one day, they've made half of their goal within twenty-four hours.

Judging by this graphic, the plane needs more "fuel."

This is an amazing gesture from the ladies that allowed me to go on their mic in their first season and keep inviting me back due to my ability to exhibit qualities that I am still unsure I possess. They're so generous, that they're even giving stuff away. Apparently, the top donors will win a pair of VIP passes to NHRD's 2012 season, NHRD merch and other schwag!

It's one thing to be thanked for what you do for a league, it's another thing entirely to be treated like you're that vital to their personal lives. NHRD forever has my heart and my loyalty. As their league continues to grow and compete, I'll be there. And I hope you all will, too.


Go to http://nhrollerderby.com and check out their events. Like this one!


Friday, October 28th 2011


4th Annual Monster Bash
Halloween Costume Party

Come prepared to dance the night away with your favorite rollergirls featuring DJing by MC Productions! There will be 50/50 and basket raffles, a dance contest, and more! Win a $100 gift certificate from the Bruised Boutique or other great prizes!
8:00pm until last call!
$5 with a costume, $7 without.
21+, valid ID required at the door

The Yard
1211 South Mammoth Rd
Manchester, NH
(across from the Best Western hotel)



















Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Invasion of the Faire Or Hayley reaps the whirlwind

With East Region Playoffs behind us, Dread and I had been looking for an outlet to slap off the dust of the flat track and relax with friends. Dread had been hankering to go back to King Richard's Faire ever since we went with Mike, PeeJay, and Hayley. I appreciated her desire, but hadn't we just been there? No. It was over two years ago. Thus, an open invitation was sent out to our dear friends. We would be relaxing in a world of fun spectacle, great costumes, conflicting egos, and large crowds. What was missing?

Skates.

The opening ceremony in front of the gates was entertaining. I had forgotten about the opening presentation, and the "new" Richard was on top of his game. I had wished Lady O had made it, as I couldn't help but make comparisons between what they were doing and what we do. Except we're serious people (ha).

Derek, Dread and I wanted to start our  day with a bang. We found it in the Torture Show.
He made us leave our seats to spit that fireball.
Hayley arrived in the middle of the show, right after Ses Carny (that's his surname) had performed his human blockhead routine. She arrived just in time to see him insert fish hooks into his orbital sockets. Carny's act was refreshing, and though it had been around for a while, I can't recall ever seeing it. Hayley, at this point, began texting on her phone. I imagined she was relaying the disgusting scene to those who had yet to arrive, but it was more likely she was "supping dudes."

After Dread and Derek browsed longingly at the series of warhammers in the weaponsmith's booth, I ran into May B. Knotty and Mr. Knotty as I gnawed on my giant turkey leg. The Cirque De Sewer, a circus performed by trained rats, was going on not fifty feet away. Vermin that close to my food enhanced the illusion of the park.  Hayley continued to text. Goddamn it.

More friends arrived. Crash Daily snuck up on us, as he has a habit of doing. Our running crew was nearly assembled in time for the first joust. All we needed was the Bomber family, who arrived in much the same manner as Crash. We took our seats on the "bad guy" side this year.

Ready to heckle some hobo and a dude with a dragon shield. Those guys suck.
Sir James is the man!
The workers were unprepared for our noise. There's an art to cheering or jeering in a crowd. If you go too far, you're just a loud douche. However, if you're keeping with the spirit of it, not picking on people around you, or interrupting the action to appear cool, you're fine. This rule doesn't apply to stand-up comedy, literary readings, or eulogies. If you're not performing any of those, you need to keep quiet.

Our knight, Sir James, was a pretty shady dude. He was rude, crude, and likely slept in the nude. I liked him. We got his attention with our chants, and he flashed us the devil horns. Huzzah! We had made our mark. Hayley began to text again. We punished her.

Which she quickly told people, via text.
Dread was having a great time. Crash and Hayley tried their hands at the Throwing Axe booth. Out of the seven participants, only Crash successfully got his axes to stick into his targets. Thus, he earned an honorary knighthood.

If this were a stained glass window, that water bottle would look wonderful!
I hadn't tried any of the booths in ten years. So, I tried to scale the ladder. How hard could it be?

Hard.

Covered in hay, my mishap brought a huge smile to Dread's face. A five-year-old girl dressed as a fairy ran into the center of our circle of friends, smiled at all of us, and tossed pebbles into the air, hitting a few of us in the head. Her mother did nothing. It's moments like this that you wonder why it's always the good kids that go missing. I appreciate that those heartless monsters who prey on kids like to make it easy for us to hate them, but come on. Take one for the team and get a few shitty kids once in a while. If that offends you, be a better parent.

Dread sees the best sight in the world. We missed Pepper at this point.
As the day wore on, we saw plenty of cool things. If you kept your eyes open and listened, the drama and comedy wasn't just coming from the staff, but the other people. I mean....What the---


Goddamn it.

Here's where we had some fun. The herald of Sir Joseph (we won't hold that against him), helped us dispense justice upon Dame Hayley and confront her with her witchcraft. Never mind that he posed for the photo.

Pictured: Comeuppance.
Hayley-face, a medical condition that renders its victims with a case of permanent sour puss, is well documented in the Boston area. However, my little sister's a huge supporter of taking the piss out of people, and she played along. Surprisingly, she stopped texting, too (UPDATE: no, no she didn't).

With mere moments before the final joust, we assembled at our chosen seating place and prepared for the lack of chivalry and honor that Sir James rained on the crowd. The cheering section for the "heroes" tried to outshout us, but no one can yell over Crash and Derek. Our chants of "Hail Sir James, Kill and Maim!" and "Crush Kill Destroy!" echoed over the tourney field. The chant leaders of all sides looked at us, many of them laughing. However, two little boys that resembled Curly Howard started yelling directly at Crash.

Crash, bathing in their hatred and returning their taunts a hundred fold.
Click on this picture, it's animated.
Their father gave us the thumbs up as these kids insulted our knight, our clothes, and said things that ten-year-old kids shouldn't know about. Crash played along. When Sir James smacked around their chosen knight, he would point at them and cheer.

Sir James. Hair and Sword by the Kurgan, loved by loud derby folk everywhere.

He set his sword on fire. It's like he knew us!

Sir James fought with the power of a thousand rabid tigers, but was defeated by Sir Joseph who looked like the type of dude who does tai chi at a dance club to appear suave. When they decapitated Sir James for his crimes against the realm, Bell Air Bomber's youngest asked, "How did they do that?" I couldn't love her family more.

At the end, the knights saluted the crowd and thanked everyone for coming. We kept chanting for James. When he came out to sign autographs, he pointed at us and nodded. He knew where the real fans were. It was a great time in ye olden days.

Attending King Richard's this year was special. For a few years, it was almost boring. But the staff pulled out all the stops to entertain, my friends were ready to ham it up, and we just let ourselves get lost in the illusion...if only text people outside of the park about things that don't even matter when we're home. Hayley.

The rest of our photos can be found here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nightmare on 95: Day Three Am I salty? Because I ham up the camera all day long

So happy together!
The last day of the tournament started earlier than all of the others. Without my own car, Dread and I took a ride to the venue from Xena. If you know me well, punctuality is another of my spouses. And unlike Dread and Lady Oshun, I get all kinds of irrational if you come between me and being anywhere on time. Say what you will to me, or punch and old lady, and I am unfazed. Delay me... your funeral will be interrupted with a dance party put on by yours truly. Well, Xena not only got me there on time, she got me there early.

Teflon Donna, Me, and ....
Damn it, Crash. Always so damn smooth.
This ain't a dating web site, it's my blog.

My morning's cup of coffee never manifested itself. Instead, I was treated to two games of New England fun as Maine took on Carolina and then Dutchland took on my area code's ambassadors of derby, the Massacre. While Maine was defeated, Boston won the day and were overcome with the emotions that go hand-in-hand with a tough slog through a physical and mentally exhausting weekend. During this doubleheader of New England awesomeness, the Reverend Al interviewed Punchy O'Guts. For a man who is more comfortable in front of a camera wearing next to nothing, he was super fly in his paisley shirt, spitting out thoughtful analysis like no one else can.

Ever since Planet of the Apes, Rev. Al's really into grooming.
Bout after bout, our announcers brought their A games to live and broadcast audiences. One of my favorite pairs of announcers were calling the most dramatic bout of the day, Montreal vs. London on the PA. Plastik Patrik and Sashion Victim were magical. They managed their voices, energy and the crowd with such skill that I was learning something from them.  But it wasn't merely their calls. I had taken a page in fashion from our dear elf from Quebec:

You can't tell by the picture, but I got Patrik to laugh the moment I dropped my pants.
 I pray it's because of the design.
London and Montreal fought all the way to the last jam where Montreal took the last few seconds to claw up close to London's definitive lead, coming only two points shy of a tie. The Du Burns Arena was filled with the cheers and applause of everyone in attendance. London's place in our region was controversial due to their lack of wins in official play over the season. But their victories over the weekend were all that mattered, and they wound up going from 10th place to 5th. The excitement in the air was electric, but nothing prepared Double H and I for the enthusiasm of Raw Heidi when we pulled her in for an interview. Here's a clip of the last third of our talk:



Charm made short work of Steel City in the battle for third place, but Steel's rise to prominence in the East is indisputable now. During this last game, Dolly Rocket and the ladies of Baltimore played cleaner than their earlier outings, and came out far ahead. 

The last bout of the night, Gotham vs. Philly, was another hardcore battle where the score didn't reflect the strategy and action employed by both teams. While Gotham was dominant, I was floored by the never-say-die power of the Liberty Belles. Reverend Al and I called that game, but there were hiccups. My view of the game was obscured early on by overzealous fans and skaters that had Rev Al had to personally move. That's always a dicey affair, but who is really going to say no to that man? We rolled with a few other snafus, but we ultimately focused on the action. I was proud to have come so far from my days in an ape suit. 

Once we were done, we said goodbye to the folks at home and I then made my exit after a nearly tearful goodbye with my announcing team. The next eight hours were spent on the road with Crash Daily, Hayley, and Dread. At only one point did I suffer road hypnosis after I took over driving, and we were all thankfully spared from death by the straight roads of Rhode Island and Dread's snappy banter. 

Ultimately, the weekend belonged to so many others, and this reflection is merely on my own experiences. Still, my largest takeaway is that, for now, there is still a sense of community in derby that goes beyond a sports league. So long as that survives, there's no need to fret too much about the future. The biggest gem from that weekend is that we're all still necessary to the growth of the sport. The divisive voices, regardless of their cheesy stances, ultimately know in their hearts they have a good thing. Only the truly blind or stupid have become blind to the virtues of sport and spectacle continuing on this road together. Catty, high school era gibes are just so much hissing and self-loathing. Equanimity is key.

There is no one who can't tell me this isn't wonderful:

Awesome.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nightmare on 95: Day Two Epilogue or is Hayley Contagious Sandor Clegane?

I am no "bro."
I'm taking a page from George R.R. Martin here and writing an epilogue to that last post. The writer behind the whole Game of Thrones series is notorious for packing a huge wallop of tension and action. His books are proof that genre fiction can be just as emotionally true as literary fiction, and his audience has grown beyond the stereotypical basement dwelling dork (of whom there are fewer than you imagine, a lot of "nerds" are damn cool). Many skaters I know have identified with certain houses found in Martin's fiction, or seem to fit into them almost too perfectly.

Here, we're dangerously close to LARP territory, but I am okay with that.
(original photo by Joe Medolo...who is amazing)
Anyway, Martin is a fan of epilogues, and so am I. The end of Day Two brought the merry band of Xena, Johnny Deep, Dread, Slack Kerowhack, Hayley Contagious, and me to the Paper Moon Diner. If you've never been, it is an eatery that is one part Tim Burton film, two parts Pee Wee's Playhouse.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not Plastik Patrik.

The decor itself was eye-catching and the staff were nice, although our waiter's poor enunciation made me feel like I was listening to the Dresden Dolls' Amanda Palmer singing the menu.

Toys, mannequins, and in a few seconds...a creepy Crash Daily

Not texting. Reading a menu...okay, texting.

It was here where we were introduced to the delicacies of bacon milkshakes and crab macaroni and cheese. "Baltimore has, bar-none, been one of the best cities for food," Johnny Deep said. "No meal was disappointing." I am inclined to agree. Of course, all meals are better with crass conversation, razzing each other over our home leagues, and Crash Daily appearing from behind a clown mannequin making a face that will follow me in my nightmares for years to come.

We ended the night sated, ready to engage in the last day of derby before heading home.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nightmare on 95: Day Two - Land of a thousand interludes

Miss the previous post? Go here.

For most, the day started with Carolina vs. Montreal. The action began for me not at the first bout, but as the New Skids' jam coach, the Rev, got ready for battle:
DECENCY!

Truly, the broadcast section was a cavern of wonders. Adding to the magic of the picture is that it appears The Rev's change of clothes was kept in a briefcase.  Lady Oshun interviewed Beater Pan-Tease about the way Montreal had been training. I work with Lady Oshun all over North America; it was a pleasure to watch her deep in her craft next to a person who could look over her shoulder instead of right at her boob.

Sort of.
Montreal continued to excel. When it came to Maine vs. Boston, I was in the quality control seat, listening to newcomers Latenight Lyle and Mello Joe call the action. Sitting next to the two of them, writing notes and feedback, I got to see the game. Regardless of brackets, it was wonderful to see these New England teams duking it out on Day Two. Punchy O' Guts and Itsy Bitsy Fighter are very proud of their team. As they should be. Coming to the big dance after a long time being on the sidelines was a kick. Likewise, Boston was able to field new people in this big dance that didn't get play during the Charm City bout. Ginger Kid continues to impress and I hope to see big things from her in the next year. Stay healthy, sucker.


The folks behind the scenes worked their butts off like crazy and were able to tolerate me surprisingly  well.
Speed Bump is on the case. Or ignoring me. Why not both?

Bout after bout, I rushed around the venue to make sure that people were doing all right, that our objectives were being met, and that my hair was still holding up. The last was vital to the other two, as I was also on camera interviewing folk. That part was just gravy, I was just there to help in any way I could so people could focus on what drew us all to the sport...

ACTION!
It was around our interview with Teflon Donna of Philly that I realized that I had forgotten a vital key to survival.
Reverend Al's microphone began to resemble a flame broiled hot dog.
Food would be necessary if I was expected to last the night. Thankfully, Pad Thai arrived for me before Double H and I called London vs. Boston, the last bout of the night. And what a bout it was. The sheer defensive power and track awareness of London was an impressive and surprising sight for the Massacre fans in the crowd and online, but the Massacre wasn't about to take it lying down. Here, the story of the bout unfolded beautifully for anyone with eyes, and Double H and I did our best to give the action justice. The victory was sweet. Sure, my "home team" lost, but this was the playoffs and my real team was bringing the action to everyone watching at home. Thus, huzzah!

Stomach rumbling, we interviewed the winners, said goodnight, and I left with my buds to consume something other than fallen skaters.