Some words of advice if your girl decides to take up derby:

1. If she gets naked, and tells you to "come look at my ass, quick"! don't get excited. She just wants to show you a new bruise shaped EXACTLY like an Atom wheel.
2. If she's fully clothed, and tells you to "come look at my ass, quick"! again, don't get excited. She just wants to show you that her ass is now so well developed, she can balance a beer on it.
3. If she's whining about how much pain she is in, do NOT, repeat, do NOT, say, "why don't you just give up derby". This will only result in,
a) cold shoulder
b) yells of "you don't understand"!
c) the ENTIRE TEAM giving you the cold shoulder for your lack of support.
4. If she is whining about how much time derby takes, see #3.
5. Just accept the fact that sometimes her sweat will smell like beer.
6. Also just accept that your formerly demure, sweet, and quiet girl, may forget that she's not in the company of 60 other roller girls, and smell her pits in public.
7. If you smell something funky in your living area, it's the skate bag. Find it, hide it far away from you. Do not, under any circumstances, open the bag.
8. When she comes home and announces that she's going to wash out her pads, find an excuse, any excuse, to leave the house before she gets them out of her bag. Run fast.
9. Do not be alarmed if she has a "wife" in the league. It's nothing personal.
10. When she is on her period, chances are, the entire league is on their period. All 30-80 of them. Keep it in mind.
11. She will consider panties appropriate attire. Don't try to fight it.
12. Don't waste your money on jewelry. She wants new wheels. If you really want to get laid, new wheels AND bearings.
13. It's not a good idea to let her drive if she's just been skating. She will see the car as one giant roller skate, and every other driver as the opposing team.
14. Those cute feet that you love? Say your goodbyes. They will develop blisters, "pusher creatures", bruises and bunions. Make sure to tell her "they're not that bad" when she goes to wear flip flops in the summer.
15. If you're a girl dating a roller girl, don't try to fight it. You'll probably become one too.
16. If you're a guy dating a girl, either accept your derby widow status, or try to support her by supporting the league as a volunteer.
17. Overall, say goodbye to the girl you once knew. She's been replaced by a roller girl. She's still the same person, just stronger, more confident(and if you're smart) to you, a million times more beautiful.

After weeks of struggle, I finally got my butt out to the barn to go riding! It's been a constant battle of taking a couple hours off, only to have the sky open up with rain!
Since my horse is a little guy, if I want to ride I have to depend on the kindness of the barn people. Yesterday I got to ride Classic, whom I LOVE! He's a bundle of energy. From the second I get on and say go, he's all, "OMG! Yay! Riding! Let's go fast! Can we go fast yet? Is it time to go fast NOW? Hey what's that over there? Let's go FAST and check it out!!!!"

Since it was still too muddy to go outside, we did lots of controlled trots and canters indoors, which was not the FAST that Classic likes to go, but after about 30 minutes he had settled down.
After a couple hours, when I started realizing that I had derby practice the next day, and my calves were already killing me, I cooled him down, and went to put him in the cross ties to take the tack off and brush him.
When we had our "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING"?? moment.
See, even the calmest, sweetest horse, has that moment when a leaf, a plastic bag, or the same bucket they have seen every single day for years freaks them out! All of a sudden the leaf is a bloodthirsty dragon, the bucket is an instrument of torture, etc.
Classic had that moment when I went to clip the second half of the cross ties onto his halter. Eyes rolled back in the head and he BOLTED! Pulled out of the cross ties, saddle still on, martingale dangling and he took off! Luckily, I had closed the main gate, so it was only a few minutes of chasing him around the indoor ring. But still. My yell alerted everyone else at the barn, who already eye me suspiciously due to the pink hair, tatoos, and insistence on posting when I trot.
I caught Classic quickly and safely, got his tack off and put him out with the other horses, where he told his story of the big scary THING that almost got him, but he was quick enough and strong enough to get away!

That's Starkey, my miniature horse.

This is Bella, who is green broke and beautiful. I love her lots.

I'm going to try and get out again as much as possible in the next couple weeks. Classic is being GIVEN AWAY and won't be at the barn anymore. He's the 3rd horse to leave this year. Unfortunately, with the economy getting bad, horses are one of the first things people get rid of. The auctions have been beyond crowded the past few years, with more horses than buyers. I WISH we had enough to afford boarding another horse, but we just can't right now.
Hopefully it's dry enough before he goes away to get outside and GO FAST at least one more time!

My awesome friend Tom Klubens took a bunch of pictures the night we met Neil. He also does some of the photograhy/design for our yearly Naptown Roller Girls calender, AND takes lots and lots of pictures of us when we block/hit/score/fall/scream/cheer during derby bouts!

This thing was there. We didn't know why, we just knew we had to put our faces in it. And our cleavage. Because our tatas are wanted. No pictures of the cleavage. Just know that it happened.

That is photographic evidence of my excitement level. After some contemplation, I realized part of the reason I had said I never wanted to meet Neil. I didn't want him to be a jerk that didn't live up to the, for lack of a better word, expectations I had about meeting him.
But he did. So that was cool.

Mr. Debauchery's excited face.

Dill was excited to meet the food guy. We were cracking jokes with him while we were there, and he tolerated us... so props to food guy!

That's our group meeting Neil!

Neil speaking.

Dinner with Neil

Mrs. and Mrs. Ire. I love both of these gals so much!

So. That should be the end of my fangirl gushing. Again, it was nice, Neil was nice, Lorraine and Cat who helped arrange the whole thing were nice... that is all. Those of you that I have never met but have found my cell phone number and have called to congratulate me/ask for an introductions.. um, nice, but a bit creepy. So please don't do that.
Right, there is an agent eagerly awaiting me to finish up this pattern and send it to her, so I'm getting back to work!

I got some practice time in on my wheel this weekend. (Since it rained and I could NOT go riding. BOOO)
I'm making progress I think!

This is attempt number 1. It's a teeny tiny skein the size of my hand.

Attempt number two looked a little better, but I've got lots of kinks where the twist was too tight. I tried adjusting the tension but it didn't seem to help.

Attempt number 3 was lots more fun, but still overtwisting in some places and undertwisting in others. I like the way it looks though! I'm thinking of whipping up a scarf in it. Reminds me of the joker with it's bright green and purple!

Attempt number 4 was a tiny bit of super soft roving. Still overtwisting, but still nice. I'm trying not to get frustrated at my lack of instant perfection. This takes time to learn right???

I just went shopping for some new roving over at Bananamigraine's etsy!

Lots of pretty colors, can't wait to get it and try some more spinning!

I am turning into my Grandmother! (Minus the ability to make those awesome peach cookie things)
We bought this a week ago, and finally got it put together!

I tried to spin on it a bit, and discovered that I need oil. Also that it was midnight and I wake up at 330am. So... this weekend hopefully.

Speaking of this weekend... Project number one on the list, clean this up:

Project 2: Get my ass out to the barn, and go riding. Also hook Starkey up to his cart. Which means figuring out the harness...
Should be a very interesting Sunday!

Nuvo Street Team was at our last bout and took some lovely photos! Including this one of me with an ice pack. You can tell my jaw is a little wonky here...
But hey! Solid food today! WIN!

My friend Dylan (Mr. Debauchery) wrote this on facebook about meeting Neil Gaiman. With his permission I'm swiping it and posting it here, so you guys can have another perspective of the evening.

Meeting Neil Gaiman
Yesterday at 11:05am
I wrote all of this last night, but couldn't get my home computer to upload it, so sorry to those of you who have been waiting for it. (If you are tagged, please tag anyone who was there that I missed. I am not FB friends with all of them.)
This was supposed to just be about meeting Neil Gaiman, but it has turned into so much more. A love letter to my wife, to Roller Derby and to Geekdom. Please bear with me as I ramble.
It was well over two years ago that my wife, Amanda, and I went to a Naptown Rollergirls bout together. We screamed and drank and rowdied with the crowd until we lost our voices. We hung with the ladies at the after-party and screamed and drank some more. T’was a delight.
Upon waking the next morning we nursed our respective hang-overs, each in our respective manners. (Me= Orange Gatorade and Gordetto’s snacks, Her= water and coffee.) We then recapped the events of the previous night and she said, with no trace of irony, “I think I am going to try out for the team.” Just weeks later she was suited up and doing work-outs with other hopefuls. She would come home tired and achy, but excited. It is important to point out here that she was older than many of the other “fresh meat” (A derby term for newbies.) by some years. I do not do this to paint a picture of a 40ish woman going through a mid-life crisis. (We both believe that mid-life crises are for people who have not bothered to live fully.) I mention this because, at 41, my wife told convention to piss off and strapped on skates for the first time in 20 plus years and busted her ass with people 20 years her minor.
So, buckets of sweat later and her skin a canvas painted in bruises, she makes the team. She went to every practice and, literally, worked her ass off. Yeats and I supported her by having baths of Epsom salt waiting for her after each practice and the occasional back\neck\leg massage to ease her tired, sore muscles. The toughest thing was dealing with the time that the sport takes. Each lady is not just responsible for being fit and making the practices. They also take stake in the league, working on committees, performing community work and helping wherever help is needed. Bear in mind, this league was built and is now maintained in the DIY\Punk Rock Ethic. As large as it has grown, it is still very much driven by the people who volunteer time to make it happen. So, there were some weeks that we saw very little of each other, though she always made time for Yeats and I between all of the things going on in her life. (She had also just received a promotion at her job which required even more of her dwindling time.) Yes there were frustrations, but overall, the adjustment was good and I was, still am, a proud husband.
The plus for me in all of this is that I have made many great new friends and have had the opportunity to reconnect with some old ones. (My days in the sideshow and doing the Secret Cabaret encompassed a lot of the same people who are now involved in Roller Derby. Great minds.) I have been able to get involved volunteering time to help with setting up for bouts and I have become intimately familiar with the sport and grown to love it so much more.
“Okay, okay. But what does all this have to do with meeting Neil Gaiman,” I hear you cry. Geez, you’re so impatient. Well, I told you all of that so that I could tell you this:
How it happened:
As mentioned, I got to make a lot of new friends. Two of those friends make up what has to be the cutest couple I have met, Joan of Dark and Dill Hero. They both run Strange Brew Coffee House in Greenwood, ( and are genuinely good people. I once spent an evening with Dill and his friends having serious discussions about who could beat Buffy in a fight. (Of course, to me she was undefeatable, but Dill, Brownie and the rest felt that the DC Universe might contain a few contenders who could hold their own. The feud continues.) It was remarkable to me in that, again, here I was, an aging punk rocker with a tie-down job, and they invited me into the fold that night with no judgment other than my taste in fictional female heroines.
Okay, back to the story. Months ago the Indianapolis Public Library announced that the speaker at the McFadden Memorial Lecture was to be Neil Gaiman. Tickets were first come, first serve. Immediately I made plans to take that day off from work, pull Yeats from school early and he and I were going to have father\son bonding waiting in line with a bunch of other geeks to see Gaiman speak. Within minutes discussion was boiling on Facebook. Joan let me know that she wasn’t going to be able to get there early and asked if we could hold a space. It was a no brainer. If I am a fan of Neil Gaiman (I have been reading his stuff since his first Sandman came out on the Vertigo label. I rank him in my top five favorite writers, and, as those who know me know, while numbers 6-10 in my Top Ten are constantly changing, my top five, Vonnegut, Faulkner, Gaiman, Douglas Adams and Wille the Shake have not waivered in years.) then Joan is a disciple. If Yeats’ and my excitement could have been converted into energy we could have powered a small dairy farm for a week. Joan could have kept Vegas going for a year.
Yeats was beyond excited when I told him of my plan for the day. He immediately started a list of questions that he wanted to ask him about books he had written, the companies he had worked for and what kind of animals he owned. (We are a family who derive a lot out of the non-human company a person keeps.) So it was even more of a boost when just a few days later I got an e-mail from Joan stating that we didn’t need to worry about waiting in line anymore. We were going to be joining she and Dill at the VIP Reception for Neil at the Mariott. Now, I knew that Joan had been corresponding with Neil to some degree, but I had no idea that it went so far as to garner a meeting. (For more on that see here: Yeats was now about as excited as a child can be without literally exploding.
The week of the event was filled with Taxes and a huge, half-of-your-grade and you-are-out-of-this-school-if-you-don’t-do-well-on-this school project for Yeats. We had been working on this project since the fall, but, as it was due on that Friday, we were really killing ourselves to polish it and wrap it up. That Thursday I get another message from Joan. Apparently, Neil would like for us to join him for dinner after his lecture. Neil. Dinner. Us. Eating. Talking. Well, that’s when my brain broke. Luckily, it had broken before and I knew how to fix it. One Smithwick’s later I was good to go. Telling Yeats was better than anything that had happened up to that point. He was ragged from late nights working on his project and with it being due the following day he knew he had one more rough night ahead. However, when I told him about the dinner plans he screamed and jumped up and down and generally made as much noise as possible. It was one of those moments that makes you feel like the greatest parent in the world. (And even better as I really hadn’t done anything to deserve it, but, as parents know, you take the accolades whenever you can.)
The Happening:
That Friday was tough. Amanda had an eye appointment that morning. I took Yeats to school and he and I both made a pact to not think about it until that afternoon. (Yeah, right.) 3:30 seemed to never come. When it did, I raced from the office and picked Yeats up from school. He and I giggled and jostled all the way home. Amanda was already there, dressed and ready to go. A few minutes later we were back in my truck and heading to the north side.
We got to the Mariott and saw the group of folks we were meeting with, Joan and Dill, of course, then there was Jocelyn Hoes, Deadie Page, Lizzie Killmeister, Tom Klubens, Blue Messiah, Joan’s dad, Greg, Jane Ire (and if I missed anyone, I am sorry, but I was in a bit of a daze.) and over on the other side of the lobby was Neil Gaiman being ambushed by some fanboys from a horror fan group. (At least that's what we think they were from.) Eventually, we made our way to the reception room.
Now, Socrates believed that the key tenant to all knowledge and growth is “Know Thyself.” Well, I know myself and myself is a loud, obnoxious, speaks-without-thinking kind of guy who comes on very strong, especially when he finds himself nervous. I am also overly-knowledgeable, annoyingly so, of all things pop-culture and can very easily fall into know-it-all mode. (Hey, I am working on all of these things, but it takes time to change. Just ask Peter Brady.) I was determined to be none of those things this night. I wanted this to be all about Yeats and I was going to do everything that I could to make sure that he walked away with a night he wouldn’t forget. So, when Neil came over and introduced himself to us I mustered all of the self-control that I could and shook his hand then stepped behind Yeats.
It was then time to go to the lecture. It was awesome. We got to sit in a reserved section, very near the front of the auditorium. Our neighbor, a librarian, was sitting near us with her daughter who attends school with Yeats, and they were as excited as us. The atmosphere was alive. It reminded me a bit of the crowd at a Roller Derby bout in that it was so eclectic. There were distinguished older patrons of the library, there were young children, there were fanboys and fangirls, there were aging hippies and young punks. Neil gave an inspirational lecture on the power and importance of stories. He reminded us that libraries are as much a refuge from the outside world as they are repositories for books. He read three of his pieces and handled the Q & A with class and grace.
Then back to the hotel to meet him again and take him to dinner.
The restaurant we chose, Shanghai Lil’s, was the result of a flurry of e-mails exchanged between Joan and I that, upon seeing it that evening, Amanda said looked like it was written by two seventh grade girls. Neil showed up back at the hotel where we were all waiting in the lobby. “I do not have a car here, so how am I getting to this place,” Neil asked. As music played and a tumbleweed rolled across the lobby we all looked at each other through slitted eyes and tickled the ivory handles of our six-guns. Somewhere in the distance a coyote howled. Actually, as luck would have it, we were the ones that had room for him in my truck. Amanda and I spoke a lot the next day about the looks on Yeats’ face that evening, but none were so memorable as the one he wore when he found out that Neil would be riding with us.
Neil sat in the passenger seat then turned to face Yeats and answer his questions with a thoroughness that is still staggering to me. Not only did he show Yeats respect, he took the time to make sure that he fully answered his questions. When we arrived at the restaurant, I parked and turned off my car, but he made no motion to get out. Instead he continued to talk with Yeats until he was satisfied that he had fully answered him.
I worked at the Children’s Museum in the theater for a number of years. In that time I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people I admired. More than once, I was disappointed. In at least one case, an actress who had appeared in a number of my favorite films and whose work I admired greatly, turned out to be a complete bitch. Diva to the core and not very pleasant to be around. (If you want details I will tell you, but not in writing.) So, it was with great delight that Neil Gaiman turned out to be as down-to-Earth a person as one could hope.
Back to the Action:
We went into the restaurant and they had a table waiting for us. We were joined by Deadie’s BF, Mr. Page, Valerie Hurtinelli, and Jane’s wife, Kerri K. (Another old friend with whom I was reunited thanks to Derby.) and a couple of Blue’s friends. Neil was a gracious guest who talked of bee keeping and what projects he was currently working on (He’s writing and episode of “Dr. Who!!!!!!!!!”). He also told of how he met his fiancĂ©e, Amanda Palmer, which made all of the ladies swoon and all of the men feel inadequate. We sat for about two-and-a-half hours talking and having a better time than could have been hoped for. I got to know a few other people with whom I had only a passing acquaintance previously. Yeats was so tired that he fought to stay awake and listen to everything being said. He also learned a new word via Joan…. but that’s a story for another time.
After dinner Neil took a few more minutes to have his photo taken with Joan and her father. Then hopped back in my truck and we ferried him back to his hotel. Yeats again asked questions and Neil answered fully. When we got to the hotel I thanked him and gushed only a little. He asked if we would “like for [him] to scribble on something for us.” Yeats just happened to have his hard-back copy of “The Graveyard Book” with him. Neil took it and spent a couple of minutes drawing a picture on the inside cover of a gravestone that said, “Yeats, R.I.P.”, then signed and dated it. I shook his hand once more, he gave Amanda a hug then went into his hotel. We drove home in awe of how truly classy and gracious someone of his stature is. He conveyed both the hipness his legend portends and the classic demeanor of the English Gentleman. Yeats will not forget this night should he live to be 100 and Amanda and I will forever be grateful to not only him, but to Joan as well.
Wrap it up, Dylan:
I owe a great deal to my wife. She constantly makes me strive to be a better person, a better father and a better husband. She does this not with force, but simply by being her. She is such a good person and wife that she makes me want to improve just to keep up with her. There was talk that night of the high divorce rate in Roller Derby. I feel sorry for those husbands who begrudge their wives’ self-empowerment to the point of divorce. To think of all of the wonderful things they are missing all because of some misguided jealousy and good old-fashioned misogyny.
While meeting an idol was great, and I will not soon forget it, it is more of a side effect of something greater. That is that the love of my life and I have been together after all of these years, and the friends old and new that have been in our lives. We all feed each other, intellectually, emotionally and in some cases literally, and I am thankful beyond words for all of you.

Lined up and ready for the whistle Photo by Marc Lebryk

*As always, click a pic to make it bigger!

The last bout of our 3rd season (last year) we suffered one of our most mentally crushing defeats. Ohio Roller Girls beat us by a handful of measly points. It was painful, painful, painful!
So this season, when I heard that we were playing them again, I was all ready for retaliation! They're a great team of hard hitters, with a really solid defense. They had lost Barracuda this year, which I know had to be a blow for them as she is just an AMAZING jammer.
We came out this season as a whole new team. Our heads have been in it, our training has stepped up, we all do way more training on our own as well (Go me and my 50lb weight loss!!!!), it's just been a brand new Naptown. We've spent all season undefeated at home, and while we had a close call or two, I have really believed that this season was ours! There were a few games that had me worried, Burning River (close, but we pulled off a very solid win) Memphis (great individual skaters, but they lacked our teamwork, and we blew them out) Sioux Falls (Our come from behind victory this season) and Ohio.
Due to sending Octokitties to Neil Gaiman all season long, we ended up going out to dinner with him the night before the bout. Which meant that when bout day rolled around, I was on this incredible high. I felt confident, happy, and just ready to kick ass. To celebrate, I wore my Neil Gaiman shirt that Cat from Neverwear sent me for pre bout practice!

Tom Klubens

We hit the sidelines for the Belles vs. Gang Green bout. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'll put our B team up against some of the A teams out there and watch them win! These girls scrimmage against us and kick ass! I think it took about 5 jams before any points got put on the board and it was all Belles for a long time. Furious first half, but we were confident the Belles had a win on their hands.
We hit the locker room for the second half to get game ready.
During our prep time, I could hear the roar of the crowd, which seemed to be getting louder and louder. I attributed it to everyone being excited by the Belles victory. When we were told to get out to our bench for the Sirens vs. OHRG All Stars game, I realized what was really going on.

That's Mayor Ballard. But look behind him. At the seats. FILLED. All over the place, filled seats! I have never, ever, ever seen us pack the Coliseum like that! It was so loud that I had trouble hearing the whistles!
I was out in the first pack, and from the get go we were hard hitting and moving fast. We were putting points on the board, but just a couple at a time. Each team had solid defense. We shut down OHRG's jammer, and it took them a long time before they got their first points up there!

My friend Rusty nicknamed me the "Bitch Seeking Missile" for this bout. Photo by Marc Lebryk

Marc Lebryk
By the end of the first half, I think it was something like 51 to 5 in our favor. That may seem like a lot, but believe me, in derby, that is not a huge lead. In our bout against Sioux Falls Maiden America put up 28 points in a 2 minute jam!
We went back out after the half and could feel OHRG's rage. Their hits were hard, and they were frustrated. They got a few more points on the board, but they just could not shut down our jammers! At one point, I got tangled up in a pack of OHRG blockers and BAM! Felt this pain in my face as an elbow crashed into my chin. I saw stars, had tunnel vision, and heard the whistle of a ref sending me to the box. Holding my face, I skated over as quickly as I could, sat in penalty and realized that my jaw was out of whack! My face hurt, but my jaw was just uncomfortable. The best way to describe the feeling is when you really need your knee to crack. It just feels out of place and wrong!
Went back into the pack, was in for just a few seconds and was out again! What the hell? An NSO told me after the bout that they were even surprised, as I had only been in for about 30 seconds and had managed to accumulate 5 minors! So... either wrist slap on me or something got confused. Both scenarios are equally possible ;)
Back out again, half a jam and AGAIN! In penalty! WTF????
There was a time out, in which some jammer panty swapping shenanigans were discussed, and the head ref, who had just put me in penalty skated over to me.
"Who put you in the box"?
"Um. You did".
"OOPS! My bad! Get back out there"!
Heehee. I kind of love Dr. Vroom. She might be a Zebra, but she's pretty awesome to own up to her mistake!
Jam started up, and again, hard, crazy hitting from all sides. Jammer shut out after jammer shut out. Ohio managed to put more points on the board, but the final score was still 133-34 in our favor. Such a huge difference from last year!
There was hugging, and screaming, and I just burst into tears. There were of course, photographers all over the place, so I kept trying to bury my face away from them, but they totally caught me in all my snotty, blurry eyed, sobbing glory! I have never ever felt the need to cry after a game before, win or lose, but this had been such a perfect weekend. I met Neil, we had a winning home season, and I am just so in love with this sport, and these girls who sacrifice so much to do this crazy thing that we do, and these fans who support us, and pay to come to our games... it was just overwhelming!

Crying jag series by Tom Klubens

Normally, I hang and do autographs the whole time, but I got through just a few before the adrenaline started wearing off, and my jaw starting throbbing. I am so very sorry that I didn't hang and sign for everyone like I normally do, but I needed more ice and painkillers as quickly as possible.
Once I hit the locker room, I realized that if I did in fact, take painkillers, then my empty stomach would probably protest. I tried eating a piece of pizza, but there was no way I could chew. My brilliant solution? Get to the after party and drink as quickly as possible! That sounds like a great solution right???
Yea. I ended up drunk after two gin and tonics and with my jaw hurting more than ever from jumping around and dancing. So it was a bit of an early night for me!
I have NEVER seen the after party that packed. Or that many skaters without their shirts on for that matter! (No, you will not see those pictures, yes, everyone left their bras on and NO I won't tell you who did it)!
Some after party pics!

A couple of bonus pics from tom Klubens. A fun jammer hit and Booche with her gun show!

This may end up being a really, really long blog post. So if you want the short version:
I met Neil Gaiman.
It was the most awesome thing ever.
Before it happened:
The longer version, requires a little bit of background. I grew up with parents who read lots and lots of books, and in turn, read me lots and lots of books. I spent hours in our local Warren Township library, and would check out stacks of books so tall that my arms would be fully extended and my chin would be resting on top of the stack to try and keep everything from falling over. My parents completely encouraged this, and would also take me to library book sales, on the days when you could fill a paper bag full of books for a couple dollars. I would run through grabbing every single book I could (especially if it had a horse on it). My room was floor to ceiling bookshelves!
My Dad used to read me bedtime stories, Edgar Allen Poe (which scared the ever loving shit out of me and made me unable to sleep), Sherlock Holmes ( He and I would try to guess who the bad guy was) and Lois McMaster Bujold (Who was friends with my parents and slightly worried when she realized her books were my bedtime stories).
When I got too old for my Dad to read to me at night, he would still hand me books once in a while that he thought I would enjoy. One day, when I was about 12, he told me to try comic books.
I scoffed at him and rolled my eyes.
So he said, "No, I mean it! Here's the Watchmen. Read it"
I did and loved it.
Then he handed me the Wesley Dodds Sandman, and I liked it and asked him what else I would like.
He handed me a copy of Preludes and Nocturnes, I read it in one night and demanded another one when he woke up in the morning. He didn't have another one, so we went to Bloomington that weekend, went to the comic book store, and tried to figure out what was next in the series. The comic book clerks were slightly alarmed that I wanted to read these, but they still sold us the second book in the series. I read every single thing I could find that had the name, Neil Gaiman on the spine.
Flash forward to the age of 21, and I go on a date with Dill, whom I had known for about 5 years, but hadn't ever really talked to when we decided to go on a date and see whether or not there was something between us. I went out with him, we stopped off at his house, he went to grab something out of his bedroom, and I took a peek at his bookshelf. Absolutely crammed with Sandman books. I decided that he was worth a second date.
How it happened:
Flash forward 6 or 7 years, and a series of interesting events lead to me writing to Neil Gaiman once in a while, and him actually taking the time to write back! Then I start mailing him Octokitties because I am a superstitious nutter and believe they are a key to us winning derby bouts. (Perhaps not too much of a nutter, since as of last night we have a 100% winning home season)
He does not block my emails at this point, but instead, invites myself and some of the derby family to his speech in Indianapolis, as well as the meet and greet beforehand.
My initial reaction was total panic. I could NOT meet Neil Gaiman. It's hard to explain. I like him a lot, and not in a "oh he is so hot" sort of way, or an "oh he's so smart I'll feel stupid" sort of way. It's more that I really admire him, and I enjoy not only his books, but his online presence, and I couldn't imagine that he would be right in front of me. But you know, a 10 minute meet and greet couldn't be too intimidating right?
THEN, the amazing, wonderful, and truly fabulous Lorraine emailed me and said basically, "Neil is yours after the event, take him out for dinner and drinks", to which I replied, "Holy Shit", then realized that might not convey that myself and my friends were receptive to this idea, and send her a more detailed email saying that we would really enjoy that. She also told me that I should be thanking Amanda Palmer, as the whole thing was all her fault.
Meeting Neil
I think I then went into shock for a few days, until it was actually the day of the event. My fellow derby girl Jocelyn Hoes showed up to carpool with us and Tom, and we spent a few minutes squeeing before getting into the car, where we squeed some more. (She also very graciously fixed some of my make-up. The only make-up I wear is for derby, and that just involves smearing as much black eyeliner on as possible)
We got to the hotel, where we were going to MEET NEIL, and saw the back of his head, sitting in a chair, where he was being interviewed. We huddled over by a post, and waited for the rest of our girls to arrive. Once everyone showed up, he had moved into the actual meet and greet room, and we followed. He made his way over to us after a bit, and here, I need to interrupt myself. Every single thing I've ever heard from someone who has met Neil, is, "He's so nice"! I've always wondered about that, because really, how can that be the only impression that you take away from someone that interesting and important? But honestly, holy shit, he is really, really nice. Totally charming, and sweet, and he almost seems a little bit shy! He took a few minutes away from talking with library people to introduce himself to us, and made sure to tell us that it was all Amanda Palmer's fault.

We made sure to mingle with the library people ourselves, and discussed the possibility of Naptown doing some fundraisers for them. One idea that we LOVED involved having some of us read books to the kids!
Listening to Neil
Then we went to the event, where we had some lovely VIP seats and listened to Neil talk, read stories, and answer questions. He was funny, taught us all what a "clap trap" was, (which Dill used the next night at the roller derby) and we had a great time!

Eating Dinner With Neil

We went back to the hotel, where we waited for Neil. Jocelyn and I were trying to talk some of the girls into jumping into the pool while we were waiting, when, probably luckily for us, Neil showed up to go out to eat. There was a brief discussion on how to get him to the restaurant, (he looked slightly alarmed when I mentioned that he could ride bitch between Jocelyn and I) when it was decided that the family of Debauchery would take him. This was probably the best thing ever, as Yeats, the child of Debauchery, is a HUGE Neil Gaiman fan, and according to Mr. Debauchery, Neil paid tons of attention to him in the car, answered questions, etc. They were all thrilled.
At the restaurant, we were joined by Kerri and Valerie, who had apparently been at the bar having drinks bought for them by a man who thought they were hookers. Lovely.
During dinner, Neil was again, super freaking nice. He talked about bees, writing, travel, and... Amanda Palmer.
Neil on Amanda
For a second, I thought that I had stuck my foot in my mouth by asking Neil how he had met Amanda. As soon as I said it, I panicked and was like, "ahhh! That's really personal"! I tried to apologize, but he actually waved me off and told us all the whole story. Which was so sweet, and lovely, and had every girl at the table sighing at the way his face lit up talking about her. This seems really, really wrong to say about a distinguished, British, IMPORTANT WRITER PERSON, but holy hell, he was so freaking CUTE when he talked about her. Adorable even.
Neil on everything else
We spent hours talking, drinking and eating. He talked with everyone about bee keeping, music, Dr. Who, Big Bang, his library, and our insidious plot to kidnap the Fabulous Lorraine and take her to the roller derby. (It is so going to happen)
As we were leaving, I had to go up to him and geek out. I thanked him, told him that him meeting up with us was beyond nice and amazing, and I was extremely grateful. He said that if my emails hadn't been nice, funny, or had they been the slightest bit insane, this wouldn't have happened. Which took me a little by surprise, since my emails involved telling him that I was sending him stuffed Octokitties to ensure that we win derby bouts, so what does an insane email look like???
But all in all, it was the most wonderful evening! All weekend I've just been like, "that didn't REALLY happen did it"? but I've been assured by others that it did.
To cap off the perfect weekend, we won our last home bout of the season. I took my jaw slightly out of socket doing it, and all the photographers managed to catch a happy sobbing emotionally drained me at the end of it, but that is all for the next blog post.
Perfect weekend all in all.

Pictures to prove to myself that it did happen.

This was at the meet and greet. I think the look on my face is totally perfect!

Dill gets people to wear his hat in pictures. It has it's own fan page on facebook. My husband is slightly insane... (the next night he got the mayor to wear it at the derby) I love that Neil was such a good sport about it!

Sigh. I promised myself that I would not look like an idiot in a picture with Neil. Big ol' cheeseball grin here though. Oh well...

The baby gate.

Stupid dog.

I think I first realized, that Dan and I might have a problem with owning too many clothes back when we first moved in together. One morning, while laying in bed, I woke up to Dan yelling, "SHIIIITTTT" and then "fwoomp"! We were buried under a mountain of tee shirts. The shelf he had been cramming his hundreds of shirts onto had tilted towards our bed, and collapsed on top of us. We dug our way out, headed to the store, and bought a dresser. Seems the industrial shelving he was using (intended for garages) couldn't handle the clothing collection.
At the moment, we're in the process of converting the smallest bedroom in our house into a closet for my clothes. I feel I should offer some sort of justification. I used to play in a band, and playing twice a week, I couldn't go up on stage in the same thing over and over again right? Or the old, IT WAS ON SALE excuse. But really, the fact is, I own too many dang clothes. Clothing that I will probably never wear again. No matter how much weight I lose, my hips and thighs will never fit back into my size 3 jeans. (Or hell.... my size 7 jeans) I still have clothing that I wore in high school! The only excuse I have is that someday I want to have a daughter. And if she's anything like me, she would be totally into some of the clothes that I used to wear. I remember seeing pictures of dresses my mom and grandma wore and being totally upset that they were long gone!
Yesterday I finally started taking steps to orgainze the closet madness in my house...
Let me just shame myself publicly here shall I?

Yep. That's a fishnet shirt all right... Yea....

The sad thing is, most of these dresses have never been worn. That's my goal this summer, wear all my dresses!

I might have enough black boots. Maybe. That's about half of them anyway...

Closet is threatening to cave in on me...

Um, yea. I wore that shirt a LOT. All the time in high school in fact...

The skirt collection...

The hat collection... part of it anyway

I LOVE this dress. I would wear it, but the color is bad for me. My Grandma made it, and someday, I'm going to sit down and recreate it!

Apparently I'm awaiting a comeback from the grunge movement...

Never worn cute mod dress..

I counted over 40 pairs of shoes yesterday. FORTY! Holy hell...

Steve Madden is totally to blame for the shoe collection, fyi.

Oh wow. Silver heeled sneakers. I wore the heck out of those in high school...

I've never worn this dress, except in a photo shoot for Intake. WHY??? It's so freaking cool!

I found a shelf of never worn shoes. Being addicted to pink, I buy pink shoes. But then I never, ever know what to wear them with! I have a problem...

So yea, that was day 1 of organizing the closet. I did haul a bunch of stuff to goodwill, and gave a whole bunch of stuff to one of my employees to go through. Next weekend the goal is to go through the tubs of clothing that I never unpacked when we moved into the house....

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