Monday, March 31, 2008

The (Honest) Truth

As a kid, I was the queen of bending the truth when it came to relaying things to my parents. My parents were overly strict, and I was an only child, which made it difficult for me to balance being a kid (for better or worse) and not getting grounded for doing what everyone else was. I wouldn’t necessarily lie to my parents, but I would stop short of telling the whole story in many, many cases.

For instance, I would ask if I could go over to hang out with a friend of mine one evening. What I wouldn’t divulge was that the person’s parents were away for the weekend, and many other people were going to be there. Then, when I was asked how things went, I’d leave out instances that involved other people and situations in which things happened that wouldn’t have happened if parents had been there. It was a graceful dance (and the only good dancing I’ve ever been able to do).

I’ve pretty much continued this line of communication with my parents since I learned to do it. It keeps them happy, keeps me happy, and no one gets hurt. I suppose I had lightened up a bit and divulged more as I got older – once I was out of college and became an adult – but even now I still managed to do it to some extent.

This past weekend I attended my grandmother’s 91st birthday party with my mom and some other relatives. It was a good time, and we were all happy to be celebrating my grandmother’s 91st year, knowing full well most of us won’t make it that far! We started talking about age, at which time my aunt pointed out that I was “getting old” (come on, 30 is NOT old!). This transpired into a conversation about my plans to celebrate my 30th in Vegas with my girlfriends, which in turn transpired into my sharing too much about how Anna has already researched bail bondsmen in Vegas incase any of us wind up in the pokey. My mom, sitting across the table, but down some, gave a disapproving laugh and continued on with another conversation. I went on to tell my cousin-in-law, Kathy, about our “insurance policy” against actually getting arrested. This made my mother’s ears perk up.

I was midway through explaining what exactly this insurance policy entailed, when I see my mom out of the corner of my eye stop her conversation and look right at me. See, this is something I would have conveniently left out had I been talking to her.

“Mom, stop listening!” I say. “Go back to your conversation.”

“No,” she says, “I want to hear this.”

Then it hit me. Why does it matter? Yes, she’ll disapprove of what I’m saying, but so what? I’m an adult. I own my own house. I can’t be punished by her. It doesn’t matter. It does… Not… Matter.

“Well, fine.” I go on to say. “Two years ago when we were in Vegas we were drinking in a parking garage and wound up having our pictures taken with these cops. They have my friend, Anna, in handcuffs, and I have my hand on one of their guns, so we’re going to print these out and each keep a copy in our back pocket as an insurance policy. We have the negatives.”

Surprisingly, I don’t remember my mom saying a single word. Except maybe, “Don’t you dare get arrested.”

The thing is, I won’t. I never have. I guess the dance I did for many years between “fun” and “overprotection” actually paid off – well, the “overprotection” did (I can’t believe I’m saying this). Perhaps if they hadn’t been so overprotective, I would have been closer to the “fun/jail” line, like many of my friends were. The overprotection kept my choices somewhat conservative.

In the end, it is really liberating knowing that I can say whatever I want around my mom – I’m an adult! But, I think I’ll still choose to leave some things out. Maybe those “things” will just diminish in number.

Friday, March 28, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: BEE A. FRAYED

For this week’s Real Booty we travel back to the US to the west coast. Not only does the owner of today’s booty have a nice (and sassy) one, but also she’s one dedicated woman. Head Referee and Sponsorship Director for Angel City Derby Girls, BEE A. FRAYED!!!



Bee is sassy, and she likes to showcase her booty to the audience, “I love to flip my skirt up when I skate out or in the slow moments, and when I do you see ‘bee a frayed’ on my jersey and ‘bee very afrayed’ on my behind (or as I like to say… My bee-hind!).”

I first met Bee at RollerCon 2006 when a handful of us met up outside the confines of the Con at an overpriced diner on Freemont Street to talk about managing Treasury and Sponsorship for our leagues – sometimes daunting tasks that both Bee and I were managing at this time. The following summer, this initial meeting transformed into formal Sponsorship and Treasury/Finance sessions at RollerCon 2007, and you will find them available again at RollerCon 2008.

My kudos to Bee for not only giving real bootys a good name, but also for being one of those great, influential derby women who care so much for the sport that they go above and beyond. Bee has played a part in helping newer smaller leagues establish themselves, if only through sharing all her tips at that diner back in 06. This is the spirit of derby: sisterhood, and Bee’s got it!

You can catch Angel City competing next at The Big One, California Women’s Flat-Track Derby Championship 4/5-6 in Davis, CA.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Expectations

As I sit here editing today, I’m listening to an old album that takes me back to a time that reminds me of this guy I was on-and-off with for years. In my mind, he was the perfect person – thoughtful, sensitive, sexy. It went on for what seemed like forever, but it never worked out between us. The problem was that I was lying to myself about who he was, only I didn’t know it. I had this image in my mind of him, but when I tried to cram him into that image, he never fit. I would repeatedly get frustrated and angry with him for his not being who I wanted him to be. But, it never really was his fault – it just wasn’t a good fit.

It’s funny how we do this – it’s like a daydream taken too far that’s crossed into reality. It happens with other things too, not just people. For instance, leading up to a vacation or a new job, you get these preconceived notions of what things will be like, and it’s hard, if not unsettling, when things don’t turn out as you expected.

I’m not one who particularly tends to believe honesty is the best policy, but I do believe honesty is the best policy when you’re talking about and to yourself. If I can’t see something for what it is, then I’m bound to have problems with it at some point, whether it’s acting on something that’s unreal or just me getting my feelings hurt because my expectations aren’t met. For me, as hard as it is sometimes, I need to know where I stand.

Inevitably, this takes much of the “romance” out of life (because much of the romance I’d previously experienced was only conjured up in my own mind). That doesn’t mean the romance is completely gone, and in some cases I think those instances when I do experience it are even better because they’re rarer.

Better yet, I think knowing where I stand, the true character of people, and accurate knowledge of situations leaves me better poised for successful mutual interactions. Although it sounds cold, it’s not. It’s actually very fulfilling.

Yet, often times I still find myself slipping into a daydream about something or another, and I have this perfect image of how things would be. And I think that’s okay too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pre-Bout Heart Attack: The Sandwich (and Fish Tacos)

I’ve been obsessing over food for the past few days, and that obsession is entirely due to PMS. So, as I was sitting here about to type today’s entry, I wondered how I could manage to slip in the very yummy fish taco recipe I made last night for dinner, and then (BAM!) it hit me. Today’s entry will be about derby food – mainly, what I eat before a bout. But since I’ve lead you all on about the fish tacos, I will relive my exquisite fish taco dining experience as well.

What I eat… I think I must first tell you I’m neurotic when it comes to food. What? You knew that already? Could have guessed? Well, I’ve had varied success (mainly little-to-none) with various “diets” over the years; I’ve been kicked out of Weight Watchers on three separate occasions for gaining weight, and my nutritionist ditched me last year, because even after blood work, medical testing, and trying just about all combinations of calories, she too was unable to help me (gasp!) lose weight.

I gasped there, because it’s a conundrum writing this blog and admittedly trying to lose weight at the same time. But, as I was telling a friend last weekend, when I say I want to be “thin,” I don’t actually mean “thin” as in “conventional thin” – I want to be my image of thin, which is still considered “fat” to most people. I want an ass and thick legs, but yes, I do want to lose some poundage, which will make me more agile on the rink, and it will be easier to shop for clothes. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, and I’m certainly not shunning my body type as it is now, because if you ask my boyfriend, J, he will tell you that I strut around the house a lot wearing ass-hugging jeans and repeatedly asking him (or telling him), “my ass looks hot!” and it’s a size 16/18.

Back to the food. If I don’t watch what I eat, I will gain and gain, so what I have found works for me is eating very little carbs (about 40g a day) and processed/prepackaged food. This is not right for everyone. Trust me, I wish I was the type of person who could lose weight or even just maintain by doing strictly calorie counting, but I cannot – I’m severely carbohydrate sensitive. I’ve come to accept this fact, so this is the reasoning behind the high protein/fat recipes I’m going to be sharing (plus, really, fat tastes good).

The day of a bout I eat one meal, which consists of a grotesque sandwich that supplies me with protein and fat, both of which keep me full until after the bout (if I eat too close to a bout I will get the mouth pukes, so I eat this about 5 hours pre-bout). Here are the sandwich components:

2 slices Healthy Life wheat bread, toasted
3oz ham lunchmeat
1 slice white American Cheese
1 egg fried in butter
1 tbsp mayo
1 tsp catsup
(optional: tomato and lettuce)

I’ve been known to substitute out the ham for a steak-um, and that is delicious as well – it’s like a cheese steak with a fried egg on it – holy moly is that good?! Sometimes I even eat two.

Now for the fish tacos. I became obsessed with fish tacos after a trip to San Diego 3 years ago. Although we have some very authentic Mexican food in Baltimore (owned and operated by Mexicans), I have yet to find a place that serves fish tacos! So, after 3 years of dreaming about fish tacos, I decided I would make my own. Really, I don’t know why it took me 3 years to think of it. So, I made the fish tacos last night, and they were delicious! Here’s the recipe:

Mission Carb Conscious tortillas
Flounder, sliced thin
Egg “wash”
Flour
Butter
Lettuce
Sour cream
Diced tomatos
Salsa verde
Mexican-blend shredded cheese

Beat the egg like you’re making scrambled eggs. Dip the fish in the egg and then coat the fish lightly with the flour. Preheat skillet with 1tbsp butter, add fish, and fry.

Chop lettuce and tomato, and prepare a tortilla with all of the above ingredients!

Man, I love food!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Accident Prone

Accident prone is a term that has been used to describe me since I was a child. If there was a way to injure yourself with something, I’d figure out how to do it. From fishing hooks embedded in my legs (because I didn’t know how to cast a line) to numerous skateboard and bicycle accidents, I was always getting pavement scrubbed out of my wounds and being bandaged up. One such bicycle accident was pretty bad.

One evening my dad and I went for a bike ride that turned into a race. We were speeding down a hill and needed to make a sharp right to get onto our street when my bike skidded out on some dry pine needles that had collected by the intersection. I laid my bike down and proceeded to skid on my face for what seemed like forever. My dad looked panicked. He made me get back on my bike and continue to “race” home – only this time we were racing because I was seriously injured and we were still about a half mile from home.

My mom screamed when she saw me. All the skin on the right-hand side of my face was gone. My eyebrow was gone, and my eye was already swollen shut. My face wasn’t bleeding per se. It was more of a plasma ooze. I was out of school for at least a month while my face healed, each day my mom inspecting me and hoping I wouldn’t need reconstructive surgery. I was 7 years old when this happened, so I wasn’t too freaked out by it – I guess I hadn’t yet developed that sense of self that would have made me extremely self conscious. I liked that my mom bought me a new pair of red sunglasses, and I liked that I was allowed to wear them indoors when we were running errands. I did not like having to do schoolwork at home and not being able to see my friends at school.

Eventually my face healed and my eyebrow grew back. The only noticeable repercussions from that accident that happened many years ago are a slightly “off” eyebrow and more oil production on the injured side of my face.

Twenty-two years later, and I’m still accident prone. As I sit here typing this I’m about to fall asleep from the muscle relaxers and pain killers, and I have a heating pad wedged between myself and the chair. This time the injury’s not as cool as a bike accident. This time I just overdid it by doing yard work this past weekend. Totally lame.

Even lamer, I had to miss practice last night because of it. Finally, the weather is getting nice here in Baltimore, with an expected high of 56 degrees today – the perfect weather for skating at the Lake after work – but I probably shouldn’t.

Do I wish I wasn’t accident prone? Not really. Yes, it’s hard having those days where you’re “laid up” and can’t do what you want, but if I didn’t do what I want, I suppose I wouldn’t be accident prone. And really, I like doing what I want, so the accidents are totally worth it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

What’s the Skinny?

It’s not uncommon to hear your friends talk about wanting to lose weight. Whether it’s for a wedding, a vacation, or just the summertime, I bet it’s actually a quite common topic of discussion in many different circles.

Saturday night, after a time at the bar, I retreated back to a friend’s house with four friends of mine. Quickly, the conversation turned to losing weight, and there were two different conversations going about the topic – one between the men and one between the women. In all honesty, I may have been the perpetrator ofthis discussion when we were back at the bar. I mentioned I wanted to get myself straight before my 30th birthday, which was closely approaching.

Of the four friends I was talking with, no one in the room was obese, and sizes ranged from what many would consider thin and up. It started out with discussions of how the people in the room “used to look,” and then we had an argument about how many calories were “too few” calories for a man to eat each day. In the end, the men were concerned with muscle definition, while the women just wanted to feel confident in clothes.

During the discussions, I remember thinking it was odd that weight was something everyone in that room was concerned with – it made me realize that no matter who you are, you probably feel like you should be thinner. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because maintaining a healthy weight is an indicator of physical fitness for most people (there are, however, some of us who fit the “fit and fat” bill), and it’s admirable that a person wishes to stay healthy, yet not once did anyone mention health as a motivator behind their yearning for a slimmer physique.

Late last year a study came out that indicated a “fear of being unattractive (fat)” was the biggest motivator for people to keep going to the gym, so maybe my friends aren’t so far off and will be successful in their weight-loss endeavors. I find this sad.

Perhaps we’re still too young to be worrying about high cholesterol and heart disease, perhaps we can’t see that far into the future, or perhaps we just don’t care. I really hope it’s not the last one. We all know our waist measurements, our weights, and our body fat percentages, but how many of us know our lipid levels, cholesterol levels, and average blood pressure? Even if we did know our medical stats, how many of us would know what they mean? What should the ranges be for good health?

There’s a million and one articles out there, on the evening news and splashed across the “Health” sections of news organization websites about weight loss, what your waist-to-hip ratio should be, your BMI, etc. No wonder we’re more concerned with the outside than the inside – we’re immersed in perception. On some level, it’s not our fault that fear of being unattractive is our biggest motivator, yet I still find it disturbing and not quite right.

This summer, when I’m on vacation celebrating my 30th with my ladies poolside, I will inevitably be looking around at all the other people there, comparing myself to them, because unfortunately that’s where my brain naturally goes. But, I can also take comfort in the fact that each other person there likely wishes he or she was thinner, and I know that regardless of my packaging, I’m healthy, with wonderful cholesterol and lipid levels.

Friday, March 21, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: SOUR CHERRY

Here we are, and in our 5th week of the Campaign for Real Booty, I’m excited to go international with this one! She helped found her league in September 2005 and has been a derby fan since she was a kid – all the way from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, skating with the Oil City Derby Girls, I give you SOUR CHERRY!!!



Her love of the sport started early, as she indicates, “My sister and I used to sneak downstairs in the middle of the night and watch roller derby.” Now all grown up with a league of her own, she’s mad proud of the “insulation” that not only keeps her warm in the -40-degree C winter weather (yikes, girl!), but also contributes to her game.



“I may not have a rock hard ass but I like it. LOL, I like the ruffles… I'm built like a brick shithouse and I have a sour disposition,” she says, “In derby it's an asset not a fault.”

Damn, straight, sister! Thanks for the entry, and NICE ASS!!!



On April 5, Edmonton will be playing Calgary in the Wild Rose Challenge.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Art of Ignoring

Tonight is the night of The Gutter Twins show in DC, and I couldn’t be more excited. This morning I’ve been chatting with Betty Beatdown, who will also be in attendance tonight, and we’ve been discussing the possibilities of seeing people we haven’t seen in years at the show – just like we did at The Pogues last week. What will we do? Go up to them or ignore them?

We all experience this conundrum. You see someone you haven’t seen in a while, and the distance associated with time keeps you from go up to that person and interacting with him or her, even if you were the best of friends.

Why do we do this? Are we afraid we’ll be rejected by the person? Do we not know what to say? Do we have nothing interesting to say?

I told Betty that I’ve been “into” going up to just about anyone I know or knew lately and talking to him or her.

Firstly, I’m really shy on the inside. I was painfully shy as a child. I still sometimes have a hard time returning phone calls to authors, vendors, or my doctor’s office. By going up to someone, I’m forcing myself to face my fear, and I swear to you I get high from it – it’s a total rush. Skydiving? No thanks, “talking to strangers or old friends” is enough of a rush for me.

Secondly, I like seeing the reactions of the people I go up to, because we both know we’ve been eying each other from across the room for half an hour or more, yet the person always acts like they haven’t seen me, which is total bullshit, but that’s fine. Aside from that, I really enjoy hearing about how someone is doing or what he or she has been up to. It’s just about the only time I can shut my mouth and listen. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but I do like to talk a lot, and I sometimes realize I’ve been talking AT someone at a party for a good 20 minutes without asking him or her a single thing about him or herself.

So, what do you say when you go up to that old friend and they ask what you’ve been up to?

Well, for those of us who skate, derby is a good thing to pull from under your hat. It’s interesting. If people know about it, they think you’re cool. If people don’t know about it, they want to, so you have something to talk about, and then they think you’re cool.

It’s a bit of a moral conundrum, however. Most of us involved in derby are the people who hate popularity as it exists anywhere, yet by dropping the “I’m in derby” line, we’re for better or worse buying into that ourselves or presenting it to the person to whom we’re talking to buy into. But then what do you do, not tell people about derby – that thing you do 30 hours a week outside your job? That thing you work so hard for and are so proud of? It’s hard NOT to talk about it. Perhaps it’s just the universe righting itself, and I’m thinking about it too much. What’s up with me digressing?!

In any event, if I see anyone I know tonight, I’ll go up and talk to them – as long as my spot where I can see the stage is secured (I’m 5’1”). It should be interesting.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Routine of Routine

I’ve lately fallen into the routine of routine. I’m doing everything I’m obligated to do, but not much else of anything I want to do or had planned for myself to do by now.

Perhaps it’s the barrage of weddings, bridal showers, and baby showers I’ve been involved with attending, planning, and hosting lately. Perhaps it’s that just making it through my average day takes it out of me. I’m not sure what the reasoning is, but I know I need to get back on track trying to accomplish some goals I’ve set for myself, namely to write more.

I remember some of my first attempts to write just to write – not because I had a paper due or was writing a letter. I would try and find inspiration – I’d sit outside, having no clue what I wanted to capture on paper or how to do it. I would spend hours in my room typing away, mostly satirizing well-known fairy tales, but making them warped in some way. I had all the time in the world, but nothing really to write about. Now I have a million things to write about and no real time.

I guess this is why people never fulfill their dreams – unless your dream is the job or family you already have, you just don’t have time. Maybe that’s why so many people shift their dreams to be about “the kids” when they really wanted to travel or do just about anything else they simply no longer have the time to do. In some way, I guess I’ve set myself up to have a better chance at following my dreams. I don’t want kids, because I want other things. I digress.

I could have sat down and written for hours last night, but instead I watched too much television, including TMZ, E! News (why can’t I quit you?!), and all 2 hours of The Biggest Loser (does it really need to be 2 hours?). I never used to watch this much television.

I think I’m going to have to make time to do the things I want to do, even if that means placing predetermined times on my day planner like the dork that I am. I can’t stand to lose myself in the every day, and I think the only thing that will come of that is regret, so I’m putting a moratorium on routine. After all, the only thing that comes from routine is predictability, right? I don’t want predictability – I want excitement! And by “excitement” I mean sitting at my computer at home and writing regularly. D’oh! I guess that’s predictable too. Well, hopefully what I get out of it won’t be.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Self Doubt Is A Good Thing

I got up and arrived to work at the butt crack of dawn today, so I can leave early to make my appointment with the Endocrinologist (the one who says “underpants”) this afternoon. Honestly, I’ve been freaking out a bit. I’m pretty much there for metabolism issues, and I know he’s going to weigh me, and I’m going to weigh more than I did this time last month, because of the wedding this weekend.

Then I think to myself, “Self, why do you care what this man thinks?”

And then someone else inside me answers, “Because he’s supposed to be helping you with this, and you’ve gone and fucked it up for him.”

I reply, “Yeah, but I’ll get back on track- it’s not a big deal.”

Which is followed by, “What if you don’t get back on track? What if you fall off the wagon? What if you gain 30lbs, are no longer able to keep up with derby, and the fresh meat become better than you?”

S-T-O-P!

Aside from the voices in my head, I’m pretty sane. I’ve come a long way from always doubting myself and not believing in myself - that I can elicit positive change and health in my own body. I’ve owned it, and I’ve taken action to make what I once thought was a lost cause change for the better. Yet, every single time I “fuck up” either by eating something bad (read: eating a shitload bad) or missing my daily exercise or a derby practice (all 3 done in the last 4 days), I freak out and wonder if I’ll slide back downhill and ruin all my hard work up until this point.

In all honesty, if I heard this coming from someone else, I’d say that person was neurotic. So what if you aren’t perfect all the time? Yet, I hold myself to a higher standard, and ultimately breaking that unrealistic expectation of myself sends me into a panic and does increase my chances of saying “fuck it” and regressing.

The hardest thing for me when it comes to staying healthy is the ability to forgive myself, let it go, and just get back on track. Why is this such a problem?

I think this is why a lot of people fail at things. I may be smart enough to know that I can’t change my health overnight, but I’m also dumb enough to think I can be perfect in exercising the tasks I must do daily to achieve good health.

I guess the good news is that I am hearing voices, because this internal conflict is a step in the right direction for me, whereas in the past I wouldn’t even be hearing the voice of self doubt – I would already be off the wagon eating doughnuts in the gutter, never confronting the realization of the repercussions of my actions.

“I do say, self, you are a smarty pants, now aren’t you?”

“Why, yes, I am. Thank-you-very-much!”

Monday, March 17, 2008

Too Much Food, Too Little Time

I don’t really have anything too thoughtful to write about today. I have polluted my body with food, alcohol, and cigarettes this past weekend, gained 7 pounds, and feel like crap.

I officiated my friends’ wedding on Saturday, so the food/drink/smoking began on Friday at the rehearsal dinner that was held in Little Italy. Now, I normally don’t eat pasta, but I wasn’t about to pass up a free meal in Little Italy, so I did it up, drank 5 glasses of wine, and finished with a cannoli, at that. Then we continued to drink.

The next day I tried to avenge the dark mistress of excess, and I kept with what I usually do on the weekends by going running at The Lake with my dog. But, I won’t lie; I was slow and it hurt. Yet, it felt great to get all the shit out of my body. Fast forward to that night, the night of the wedding. It all started with bacon straws. What is a bacon straw, you ask? Well, it’s a mini breadstick wrapped with bacon, coated in a glaze, and baked to finger-food perfection. It didn’t stop there. The buffet was amazing, and they had some sort of specialty cupcakes for dessert that had about 3 inches of glorious icing on top. I also drank 6-8 glasses of wine and did “das boot,” which is a glass boot my friend Dave brings everywhere that we chug beer from while everyone else chants “DAS BOOT! DAS BOOT! DAS BOOT!” And, yes, I know we’re actually saying “the boat,” when we chant that – we’re just some stupid Americans. After the wedding we went to a bar, followed by a local breakfast spot. Luckily the food there sucked ass, or I would have eaten more of it.

Then came yesterday – the day to “get back on track.” It started off well but then went downhill when I got a call to meet my boyfriend and another couple out at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Salto. I wasn’t about to pass up a margarita from there – firstly, their margaritas are amazing, and secondly, I could have used a little hair of the dog. Hair of the dog probably equals about 1 drink though, not 3. We ordered 3 dips for our chips, full on meals, and fried ice cream. I’m not going to lie, it was delicious. I went to the bathroom to loosen my belt, but to my surprise my pants were fine – it was my stomach and skin that was tight! The massive amounts of food culminated in heartburn that lasted all of last night. I literally ate so much that it hurt. Why did I do this to myself?

Today is the dawn of a new day. It’s Monday, and unfortunately my indiscressions this weekend led to a 7 pound weight gain. That’s right, 7 pounds! I assume a lot of it is water, because my fingers are swollen, but still. I feel like Jabba the Hut. Skating tonight is gonna be fun!

Friday, March 14, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: SHEEZA BRICKHOUSE

It's week 4, and we're still going strong, thanks to all those ladies out there with the thighs and glutes of steel. Today, I'm happy to bring you some west-coast booty. She may not be corn fed, but SHEEZA BRICKHOUSE!



After being a derby fan for 5 years, Sheeza decided to try out and has since been skating for the last year and a half. She's captain of the Bellingham Roller Betties' Thigh High Samurai in Bellingham, WA.



Known for her loud voice and big hits, Sheeza writes: "What can I say? I'm the Brickhouse! I'm built like an amazon and will bring any strong man to his knees. There's no way you can break this Brickhouse down!"

Daaaaaamn, girl – that's what I like to hear! With any luck, you too will have a marriage proposal when all the men see this (check out the comment made on last week's Campaign for Real Booty: Badd Mudda Trucka). Then again, who really needs a man when you have derby? After all, derby gives back to you what you give to it, and it's always hard.

(Okay, okay, perhaps I've gone a little too far – my boyfriend reads my blog now, so I'd better keep the jokes to a minimum. Love you, J!)

Keep the photos coming! I'd like to see some east coast ass in my inbox, so go through those Flickr sites, and check your cameras!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wacky Wednesday

Yesterday was a truly surreal day. It started off normal, but by noontime I was seeing ghosts – people I haven’t seen in 8 years or more were appearing from out of nowhere.

At lunch, I ran into an old neighbor, who I had heard the day after Christmas lost his foot in a motorcycle accident. At night, at The Pogues show, I saw a guy I use to hang out with when I worked peddling smokes, my friend, Zakiya, who lives in San Diego, and a guy I went to college with (who was working the bar and contributed to my writing this blog so late today).

It’s funny, really, because I had completely different reactions to seeing these four people.

I avoided eye contact and hung my head when we were sitting next to my old neighbor in the food court. I know he recognized me, but I didn’t really want to talk to him. Why? I don’t know. He was kind of a religious fanatic, and I was on my lunch break with no extra time to hear about how god had a plan for his losing his foot.

I had seen the guy I use to hang with when I was a Camel Girl while we were both outside smoking several times early in the evening, but I didn’t approach him. Finally, a third time out front smoking, I decided to just go over and say “hi.” We chatted for a while, he asked me to officiate his wedding, and we went back inside.

On my way back outside for my 20th cigarette that night, my friend, Zakiya, from San Diego, jumped out in front of me and screamed “HEY!” before I even knew she was on the east coast. “HOLY FUCK!” I screamed, “HOLY FUCK, HOLY FUCK, HOLY FUCK!” I jumped on her, dry humped her, and really upset the guy standing behind her. It was really great to see her back in Baltimore.

Coming back inside from my 20th cigarette that night, Betty Beatdown and I go up to order beers, and our bartender and I did the “How do I know you?” dance, eventually realizing we went to college together. We reminisced about the girl who use to pull her hair out from the root while sitting in front of the class and the older divorced woman who had just went back to college and use to drink TAB… in the 90s. It was a fun chance meeting that resulted in an unexpected but greatly appreciated night of free drinks and shots.

My responses to each of these people was at times proportionate to our relationships back when, but some weren’t. I used to talk to the guy with no foot daily, yet didn’t say a word to him, let alone acknowledge him, while we spent a good time at the bar talking to the bartender who I only ever talked to in class.

It’s odd, today, thinking back to where each of these people were 8 years ago and hearing just last night where each of them are now. Some people’s lives turned out way better than I expected them to, while others degraded, and although I recognized their faces, I felt like I no longer knew who they were – they had actually seemed to regress. I wonder what they thought of me?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Salvation

I purchased The Gutter Twins (Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan) album last night, Saturnalia, and I’ve been listening to it today as I edit. It’s kind of a reflection of both artist’s lives told through the traditional Christian religious beliefs/mythology. I usually really dislike religion of any kind being intertwined with art (even though I love the influences Gospel has on certain musical endeavors), but I think it works in this instance as nothing more than a vehicle to tell the stories of the artists’ lives and their falls from grace and search for salvation in life. I think “salvation” for Dulli is love. I know less about Lanegan, but I suspect his salvation is success – perhaps not in the typical way we think of success, but I think its success however he defines it, nonetheless. This got me thinking about what my salvation is, salvation being that one redeeming factor in life that you strive for or that makes everything else okay, no matter how fucked up everything else actually is.

The answer as to what my salvation is, is I don’t know.

Salvation for me isn’t success, although success in doing something you love is really gratifying. I don’t, however, know that I could be happy with just that and nothing else.

Love, as in romantic love, doesn’t really seem like salvation to me either, though. I think of romantic love as one aspect of my life that’s great – it makes everything else in life better (better as in “enhanced”), but I couldn’t survive on that alone either.

My personality is the type that I have to be involved with and doing a million and one things at once. I like eliciting happiness out of other people. That makes me happy. I suppose I’d rather care than be cared for. I don’t know what that says about me, but I think it’s true.

If you were to define love as the single driving force behind everything there is – many different religions use some version of this type of love disguised as their unifying/creative force (e.g., God is love) – I could maybe be inclined to say that this type of love is my salvation, yet still I'm not so sure.

Wow, I think I just blew my own mind. If I follow my own logic above, God is my salvation, yet I don’t believe in “God,” a typical all-knowing, singular creative being, and I certainly don’t identify with the Christian culture. Maybe this is how the concepts of religion have been spun into what we see religion as today?

Generally, I dislike religion, because I feel it can’t be trusted, having been retranslated, morphed, and twisted with each subsequent generation following the inception of whatever that religion is. Then, even further back, comes the notion that a religion was “started.” This, too, seems suspect – like someone just made it up. Many people discredit Scientology and Mormonism for the exact same reason – they’re just newer to people living today. I can’t put faith in anything that mimics the telephone game or is generated from some seemingly improbable feat, and all religions I know of fit one bill or the other, if not both.

Now I’m off on a tirade. I sincerely hope I haven’t offended any of you, because even though I’ve laid my non-religious beliefs out there, I actually do respect everyone else’s beliefs. I hope this rant doesn’t make you hate me – I’m just trying to make sense of the confusion, which appears to be tied to everything out there for me, the new Gutter Twins album included.

There is no good way to end this entry, because these subjects will not end with definitive answers in my mind. I’ll continue to think, and write, and be random occasionally – hey, maybe that’s my salvation. Hmmm…

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ms. Lop-her’s Neighborhood

This past Saturday I took a trip to the accountant with J and my mom, so we could all three get our personal taxes and my league’s taxes completed. Although it sounds mind numbing, and much unlike something you’d actually want to get up early to do on a Saturday, I had a better time there than I should have – it helps that everyone in the office is derby obsessed, but aside from that we generally just had a good old time, with several instances of laughing so hard we were doubled over and crying.

Afterwards my mom asked me, “Do you know everyone in Baltimore?”

Certainly not, but this got me thinking about all the people outside of my usual friend/coworker group that I have some sort of relationship with on a regular basis, and it was then that I realized I talk to strangers – a lot.

As soon as I leave the house in the morning: strangers. I take all sorts of side and back roads to avoid rush-hour traffic, and one such road is a little alley-type road behind a mom-and-pop bank – you know, the kind that’s named after the neighborhood sub community. More often than not, one of the bank’s workers is outside sipping his coffee, and I’ve taken to waving at him each day. I think it was he that waved at me first. Perhaps he thought I was someone he knew, perhaps he’s just friendly. Either way, we wave and smile at each other nearly every morning.

I get to work and immediately need coffee, but not the “one bean dragged through a mud puddle” shit we have in our break room – I need something stronger, so I head to the deli downstairs where I chat with the guys at the counter and occasionally talk to other patrons who frequent the place like I do. We talk about work, derby, haircuts, and coffee among other things.

When I leave work for the day, I always wave and wish my friend in the ticket booth at the parking garage a good night or weekend. I have no idea what her name is, but I absolutely love her, and I get worried if she’s on vacation and I don’t see her.

Aside from the usual suspects, mentioned above, I also have friends at the bank (both my personal bank and our league’s bank), the post office, the deli counter at my local grocery store, two liquor stores, the pharmacy, and a barrage of restaurants. What can I say, I like people?

As I answered my mom’s question, I explained that the experience we had just had at the tax office was way better than one we would have had at an H&R Block, because it’s a small business, and the people remember us. I really like the sense of community. I like knowing someone everywhere I go. I like feeling like I’m supporting people I know and not just some big corporate conglomerate. We’re all part of a working machine, in a sense, and I like being friendly with the other parts. It makes me happy and generally makes my day better, which is why I’ll continue talking to strangers.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fail: It Just Doesn’t Matter

Did you ever quit something because you were bad at it? Maybe it was drawing, riding a skateboard, or playing an instrument when you were younger. Maybe it is a relationship, a hobby, or a job now that you’re an adult. Regardless of what it is that you’re bad at, we can all agree that failure can make you feel pretty shitty – often shitty enough that you say “screw it” and you quit whatever it is you can’t make work.

Yesterday our B Team scrimmaged our Travel Team to gain some experience skating together as a team. The result was a clusterfuck, initial frustration on my part, and a lot of bruises (it’s been years since I’ve come away with this many bruises). Luckily, we weren’t counting points, which was good because just the general lack of success we experienced jam after jam was enough to make a grown woman cry.

I was the only vet skating with the B Team, and time and again I felt like I was the only person out there. Then I noticed that everyone else had to feel that way too, because we just weren’t working together. I won’t go into the areas in which we could improve, but it was almost enough to make you say “screw it,” and we probably would have if this wasn’t roller derby.

I started this blog some time ago when we had an influx of larger ladies join our league. Morale was low, and they wanted to quit, but day after day I talked them down. They all hung on for a bit, but about half of them did wind up quitting in the months to come, which I find sad, because even if you’re a known quitter, derby is something you can use to break that cycle and empower you to break that cycle in other aspects of your life as well.

Life’s not always easy, and as our B Team found out yesterday it can be downright cruel, but if there were nothing you could do to better yourself, then success wouldn’t be part of our vocabulary. Three years ago when my league formed, I know I played like the newbies I saw yesterday, but we all did. The frustration of being at the bottom of the skill ladder was frustrating, but you took comfort in the fact that everyone else around you was on the bottom rung as well. I’m sure that’s how many of our new girls feel now. I, on the other hand, am experiencing new frustration. Chalk it up to being old, but my frustration lied in the inability to control the chaos of others’ inexperience.

The good news is that I doubt anyone will quit over something like this. Like the chant Bill Murray lead with his fellow camp counselors and campers on the eve of their ass-kicking in the movie Meatballs: It just doesn’t matter. This may sound harsh or come off like I don’t give derby the respect it deserves, but it’s not meant to.

For the vast majority of us, derby’s a hobby. When it comes down to it, our losing a game or playing shitty just doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life. That’s why derby’s a great launching pad for breaking the cycle of quitting; it’s somehow easier to overcome something difficult if the results either way aren’t life changing. This is why people quit following their dreams, but instead settle for mediocre jobs – it’s safe. And many people play their whole lives safe. Yet, derby is a place where you don’t have to do that, and that’s why so many people do succeed at derby – the failures along the way don’t mean as much, you learn from them, and you can actually achieve your goals. Actually, that’s something that can exist outside of derby too. You just have to change your perspective. The only thing standing in the way is your ego.

I have about 15 bruises all over my body from yesterday, but they, like failures, will fade in time, and I’ll be better for it – further along than I am today. Failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, I think you can learn more from failure than you can mediocrity and success. So let’s all get out there and fail. Hands together: 1-2-3... FAIL!

Friday, March 7, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: BADD MUDDA TRUCKA

Today I give you someone who, to me, is borderline on the “big ass” – she actually seems to have the ass most girls (derby and non-derby alike) would like to have, but it is real, and nonetheless, it is bad as hell. Today I give you, Badd Mudda Trucka, #96Beers, from Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls (again with you Midwesterners)!



Following their 2007 season, Mudd was voted Best Jammer, Rookie of the Year, and Crowd favorite Jammer. Her bio indicates that “as a kid, Lil'Mudd played with toy trucks, and she loved to go to monster truck rallies with her daddy, or go boony crahing in the bayou of Mississippi. It was inevitable that Mudd would learn to drive and her first job was driving a 2-ton trash truck.” She certainly didn’t get the double-sided ass bruises from sittin in the cab of a truck, however – ouch!



As Mudd said in her entry, “The best thing that every happened to me was hearing the home crowd chant ‘MUDD MUDD MUDD MUDD...’ One of the announcers named the panty flash my "signature butt move" and another said, "Everyone should have a signature butt move." I couldn't help but crack-up while I was jamming. “

Indeed, EVERYONE should have a signature butt move! I think mine is just shaking it at the starting line – I’m going to have to work on that. I digress…



The last pic shows Mudd smacking her derby wife’s lovely ass – now THAT’s a real booty!!! Who is this woman? My apologies for not getting her name prior to this post. If anyone knows her name, let me know, and also tell her I said, “Nice ass!”

Mudd will be representing her league at Philly's East Coast Extravaganza June 21-22, 2008 - if you've yet to see her, look for her there! (And grab her wife's ass)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Product of Our Capitalistic Society = Controlled Poverty

Last night I watched an eye-opening documentary on Showtime called American Drug War, by Kevin Booth. The documentary chronicles America’s War on Drugs, and through a series of interviews with ex-CIA and DEA agents, and a national Drug Czar, postulates (quite effectively) that the American government actually started the very epidemic that they have been “at war” against for years: the drug war.

It was President Nixon who, during his presidency, announced the nationwide “War on Drugs,” only after the former “War on Poverty” had failed. Simple decision – you can’t keep people from being poor, so instead of helping them, you’ll put them in jail. Call it sad, call it ethnic cleansing, call it modern-day slavery, and it’s all accurate.

Poor people use drugs because their lives lack hope. And people in poverty don’t just use any drug – they use cheap drugs, because (you guessed it) they’re poor. In comes the crack cocaine epidemic that started in the 80s in Los Angeles. Through a series of interviews with ex-high-ranking government employees who were directly involved with one of the most unknown scandals in US history, Booth’s documentary shows that the US government itself was importing cocaine (to be turned into crack) into Los Angeles, and using the profits to support the Contras (remember Ollie North?). Not only did we whore out our own citizens to give money to provide weapons to the Contras, but we set ourselves up for a long term problem… Or did we? It depends on who you ask.

Creating addiction, and then the War on Drugs, allowed the US to imprison non-violent drug users (which is still happening today) in addition to violent ones. Today it is estimated that 60% of the prison population is imprisoned for drug-related offenses. Prisons run by the government make money for the government. When the War on Drugs started, new prisons had to be built to house all the drug offenders, and the government got use to the income generated by having full prisons (income that comes from our tax dollars). This caused the vicious cycle of keeping our population addicted, and not legalizing could-be medicinal drugs, in order to keep the prisons full and money coming in. Sicker yet, some privatized prisons (government contracted) are actually on the stock market, and whether their stock goes up or down is determined by how full their facilities are. So, what is the incentive to get people rehabilitated and clean, or to legalize medical marijuana? There is none, because by doing this the government would lose money. Additionally, legalizing drugs could mean a decrease in alcohol sales, which would be bad for all those booze corporations providing money to the government in the form of taxes!

The documentary went on to talk about who actually benefits from the drug money today, and it’s people our government is (or was) holding hands with, like Bin Laden. Look the other way, contribute to the US economy by helping to fill our prisons, and we’re cool w/it. This has got me thinking…

The whole cycle is simply disgusting. I work for a publisher that deals a bit with subject matter used by social services and home visitors, and those people who assist others in poverty, and I know (I believe) education is the only way to stop the cycle of poverty. To think that by consuming alcohol or doing drugs that a person is directly contributing to poverty is surely a vile thought.

Lately there’s been a big push in Baltimore to “buy local” – buy produce from local farms, independent companies, etc. It sounds sick, but what about supporting your local drug dealer? Only using organic drugs, and drugs that you know were grown in the USA, that type of thing? Make your own booze, grow your own tobacco?

I’d encourage everyone to see this documentary – J and I were glued to the TV watching it, each fact more absurd than the prior. It was something we had never thought much about, but I’m glad I am now.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Follow Your Dreams

Two nights ago I had a naked dream – the kind where I forget to put my clothes on before I go to work.

I’ve had these dreams before. We all have. It’s the same typical scenario: you are at work, school, or elsewhere and you look down and realize you’re naked. Then you freak out. According to dream-meaning databases, naked dreams can have several meanings depending on your current situation (in real life) at the time that you have the dream. It can reflect your vulnerability or shamefulness, that you’re hiding something and are fearful someone will find out, or that you’re trying to be something you’re not.

But my dream was different. See, the night I had the dream, I wore a pair of gold booty shorts to derby practice. J had assured me they looked good and not ridiculous, but I was still really nervous to wear them in public – they were shiny gold, and my thighs were completely exposed, which I’ve never done before. I had on the same booty shorts in the dream, but nothing else.

The dream went like this: I was at work in the middle of a meeting when I realized I was essentially naked. I freaked for a millisecond, and then I looked around and noticed that no one else around me seemed to care, so I said “fuck it,” and went about my day. I continued the dream completely topless and actually felt pretty good about it. I took notes and contributed to the meeting, I got coffee from the break room, and I even remember checking myself out in the bathroom mirror and adjusting the booty shorts, followed by the thought “I look good.”

I’ve never had a naked dream in which I’m okay being naked and haven’t been made fun of for it. According to dreammoods.com, “For a small percentage of you, dreaming that you are proud of your nakedness and show no embarrassment or shame, then it symbolizes your unrestricted freedom. You have nothing to hide and are proud of who you are. The dream is about a new sense of honesty, openness, and a carefree nature.”

Wow. I don’t know who writes these dream interpretations, but I hope they’re right! I really do want to have a sense of unrestricted freedom, and I think I’m getting closer to that goal each and every day.

I think part of my not caring about being naked in the dream is due in part to the feedback I got at practice the night before –nothing but good, positive things were said by my peers (at least to my face). I think their compliments on my ass in the shorts validated a feeling I’ve been having lately, which is pride in myself. I may not be that size 8 (double that number, and you got my size), but I’m strong and toned (yes, even big girls can be toned), and I’ve been feeling good about myself. And really, they say that confidence is the best accessory, and I think that’s true. I’ve been forcing myself to be confident, and it’s paying off.

My dream always used to be to be thin. That’s it. If I am skinny, I’ll have it all. But, for the past year or so, I’m realizing that skinny people don’t have it all, and a dream to be thin is a stupid, shallow dream. My dream now is to do something that really matters, to encourage people to find the good in themselves and experience confidence themselves – no matter their size, to be healthy and strong and confident, and to have a good time, because really, what is a lifetime of self-imposed restrictions due to a poor perception of yourself? It’s a waste, and I don’t want to waste another single second being that person.

Tomorrow I’ll be wearing gold lame booty shorts and no top to work – okay, maybe I won’t, but in my head I will!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Luck & Destiny

This year I’m turning the big 3-0, and to celebrate my girls and I are taking it on the road to Vegas. One of these ladies is my partner in crime, Betty Beatdown, who has requested that we get commemorative tattoos while we’re there. Of course! Who am I to turn down a commemorative tattoo? I have quite a few commemorative ones already: a strawberry from Toronto, a fingerstash and a broken off finger squirting blood with a fingerstash from Vegas, and last but not least, my home team logo and derby name from good old Bloodymore, Murderland. What should we get this time? I left it up to Betty, and she came up with a great piece of Sailor Jerry flash – a horseshoe with “luck” scrolled across it. I’m going to get one on the inside of each wrist, one saying “luck” and one saying “destiny” – the “luck” one on my right wrist, because that’s the one I shake hands with, and in some way I’ll also be wishing people luck when I do so. “Destiny” on my left wrist, because I don’t fully believe in luck – I think part of success in anything is making your own destiny, and the opportunity that can lead you to doing so can be luck, coincidence, or something else for which you’ve been searching.

I’ve had a journal or diary since I was 7 years old, but I didn’t start to consistently write in it until I was 11, at which time all the entries were about boys I was “destined” to be with. At that time I believed in true love, fate, and destiny, in its purest sense. I thought someone or something out there had predetermined what my life would be like, and all I’d have to do was wait for it to unfold.

Then the harsh reality of life as it really was hit me when I was 17, and I realized that there were no handouts, at least for me. For one, there was no college fund, which meant that if I wanted to go, I’d better figure it out myself, and fast. And I did. That was when I started believing that the only way you got what you wanted was by taking it, because no one else was going to waste the energy to help someone other than themselves. So, since then I’ve taken. I went to college, got a job, got a better job, and then an even better one. And then I got sick with the dream.

Being involved with the game of life is a bore – school, job, family, retirement, death. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that I applied myself and fought for what I wanted at the time, and I learned a hell of a lot by going through the actions that let me accomplish my then goals, but I don’t really want to continue to follow the game board that 99% of the other people follow. I want to do something more. Perhaps by saying that I am following the same path as everyone else, but I think that by actually doing it I won’t.

Believing in fate and daydreaming of the perfect life and perfect happiness was easy. Going out into the world and taking what I wanted was hard. I’m currently considering a middle ground: I’ll do what I want and what I believe will make me happy, but I’ll follow the current and also be open to considering that maybe there’s a way I haven’t considered yet that would make me happier in practice, hence luck and destiny. I’ll make my own destiny, but I’ll also be open enough to take advantage of luck if it comes my way.

It’s strange how you change perceptions as you age. With any luck, I’ll continue to evolve into a person I’m happy being, I’ll have done everything I want, and I’ll be better for it. I guess only time will tell!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Open Letter to the Bodybuilder Who Helped Me in the Gym During My Lunch Break Last Thursday:

At times it can be intimidating for me, a woman, to enter “the cage,” the portion of the gym that is dedicated to free weights. The air is so thick with testosterone, you could cut it with a knife, bottle it, suck some out with a syringe, and inject it into Roger Clemens without him knowing what you were doing. This is why I wear headphones, the international gym-symbol for “don’t talk to me.”

However, I thank you for stopping me after my first rep of squats while using a barbell to assist me in the proper height adjustment of the thingies that hold the barbell when I am no longer using it (even though I was wearing headphones and avoiding eye contact).

True, I was wearing weight-lifting gloves, an item I bought when I had a personal trainer and was obviously spending way too much money (for the amount I spent, I could have had lipo), but as you can probably tell from my physique, I am not a bodybuilder, and I don’t care to discuss the intricacies of lifting – or where I work or have to go back to work, which you ask me after I tell you, in an attempt to cut our exchange short, “thank you, but I have to get back to work soon, so I’m just going to do my thing.”

I try and keep an open mind and assume the best intentions of others, but your awkward attempts to flirt land you smack-dab in the center of that weight-lifting meathead stereotype. Please do not leer at me as I work out. For one, if you make me too uncomfortable I may stop coming and then you can’t look at me at all. At least be discreet. Secondly, I’m not above ratting you out to club management. Shit, I would have done so had you actually followed me into the women’s locker room like I half expected you to after you followed me around the gym for 20 minutes. That’s right, I’ll tell Dino Broccoli, the strangest name I’ve ever encountered, but the very real name of our club manager. I can only hope he would go all dinosaur-that’s-eaten-too-much-broccoli-and-has-gas-so-bad-he’s-in-pain on your ass.

An honest attempt at help is appreciated. Otherwise, follow the headphone cue, and let me be. That’s the last time I’ll wear lip-gloss to the gym. From now on I’ll blame you for my chapped lips.

Regards,

The Girl in the Ramones Shirt Wearing the Headphones