If you've noticed a lack of quality blogging around here lately, there is a very good reason!
Yours truly did not learn her lesson last time and has signed on to write another knitting book! It's going to be published through Andrews McMeel whom I'm excited to be working with!

More details to follow of course. Just know that blogging will be sporadic while knit and write, and knit and write, and....

In my quest to be in the best shape I can be, I've decided to challenge myself! This Tuesday I will be learning how to swim!

My fellow roller girl Racer does crazy amounts of laps at the pool. I asked her if she would teach me to swim so that I can add a new element to my workout and she said yes!

This is going to be a toughie for me. I HATE getting my face underwater! I can sort of tread water, and I can splash myself to the edge of a pool if need be. Actually getting my face wet and doing laps is going to be a whole new level of crazy for me!

BUT I need a low impact cardio workout, and according to Racer this is a great one! So wish me luck! Not only will I be in the water, I'll be, (horror of horrors) wearing a SWIMSUIT!!!!!

Do you have what it takes to be a roller derby announcer? Know what a pisskey is? Like big weiners?

Check out our announcers in Evansville, cheating on us by calling for the Demolition City Roller Girls. (Naptown Roller Girls are the Wife, Demo City is the Mistress we know about but tolerate)

Get a glimpse at what it takes to be a roller derby announcer, and why you should never, ever, bet against Joan of Dark when there is BEER involved.


A while back, I went on a jeans rant. http://joanofdarkknits.blogspot.com/2009/09/how-roller-girl-buys-jeans.html
Lately, I've been going on a tights rant. When I skate, I HAVE to wear tights. I used to not wear them. Then I fell on concrete. That lovely screeching sound of my skin sliding on the floor, then the equally lovely realization that some of my skin is no longer on my leg but still ON the floor.
So tights. No matter how hot I am, TIGHTS get worn.
Problem is, I sort of hate tights. I like them on my legs, but I hate how they go all the way up to my boobs. I've tried the hip hugger tights, but even when I manage to find them, all they do is give me a glorious muffin top that was NOT THERE BEFORE!

My solution lately has been to fold the tights over my manties (my derby shorts panties things) but inevitably they roll back up in the middle of a drill.

I was complaining about this to the girls, when Ima Hurchu said, "Cut the waistband off".
Wait... what?

Was life really about to be that simple for me? Seriously?

Next practice I tried it. Cut the waistband off my tights. Holy. Hell. They fit amazing now! No muffin top, they stay up (but not up to my boobs thank you very much)they don't unravel, I love it! Now, instead of hunting all over for the perfect pair of tights, I'm just cutting the tops off the ones I already have!

How I made it through 5 years of derby without realizing this I don't know!

Cheers to comfy tights!

This isn't going to be my typical bout recap post. I'm running low on time this morning! But here's some goofy pics courtesy of Mr. Tom Klubens, our awesome photographer!

Pre skating stretch

Doing a couple laps...

And braiding Brian's hair. He only LOOKS like a big scary dude. Really he is nice and lets me antagonize him!

A real post to follow!


I'm going to hop on my soapbox for a moment to talk about sportswomanship.

Once, we played a bout, and had a bit of a shock after the game was over. When we were announced as the winners, we got booed. Then when we slapped hands with the other team to tell them "good game" we got smack talked by a couple girls on the team.

Here's my thought. As a hot headed woman, I sometimes have to take a deep breath before I can face an opposing player off the track. But in derby you HAVE to do it. We all sacrifice a lot to play this sport. Personally I spend a lot of money in payroll to staff my shop and head off to an away bout. I'm sure lots of girls on that team had to make a lot of sacrifices not just for that game, but to get to the practice for the game, to pay for uniforms, skates, pads, etc. It's a tough sport that we all play not for money, or fame, or anything other than a love of an awesome sport.

With that in mind, if you can't shake it off immediately after the game, if you can't fake a smile and a high five with the other team... skate away. Don't talk smack to a girl that had to pay a babysitter, give up money at her job, piss off her husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/wife by neglecting the hell out of them to play roller derby. I would rather see a girl head back to her locker room instead of slapping hands with us than have a girl smack talk me and come across as a sore loser.

Believe me, I've had to do it myself. I'm a happy, positive, cheerful person who loves everyone. But put my skates on, have a ref make a call I don't agree with, or just make it so my team doesn't win, sometimes I get pissy. Not because I hate the other team. But because I know my team, I know how hard we work, how much we sacrifice, and I know we COULD have won. If we had worked a little harder, if I had looked left instead of right and seen the jammer... if. If. If.

But I can't take it out on the other team. Because they worked just as hard as I did. And it's not fair for me to give them grief over a win. No matter what I THINK happened on the track.

I say all this because I've been guilty of it when I first started playing, and I feel bad about it. It's been my goal to be a better sportswoman after the game than I have been in the past. Sure I'm not going to get along with everyone. Sure someone is going to foul me. But that doesn't give me the right to make them feel bad about their win.

No hard feelings to the girls who did this. Like I said, I've been guilty of it before, and we're roller girls. We get hotheaded. If we were all "pleases" and "excuse me" all the time, we would probably make crappy roller girls.

All I'm saying is that after a game, when it comes time to congratulate the other team, I'm going to flash back to kindergarten, and ask that ALL my fellow roller girls do so as well. "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all".

On the track however... let the smack talk fly! I know I will!

Way back in the day, I made a Neil Gamain Coffee for Strange Brew. It was fun, and lots of people like it, even though some of them have no idea who he is when they order. If they make the mistake of saying, "Why is this called a Neil Gaiman Latte"? they will be late for their meeting/work/birth of their child/etc, because I ramble their ear off.
ANYWAY, it occurred to me some time ago that we should really have an Amanda Palmer Coffee as well. There's a guy who comes in once a month and orders a Neil Gaiman Latte and a Blond Bombshell. It feels wrong when I call them out together. I was also asked on Saturday, by some Gen Con attendees who had made the pilgrimage for a Neil Gaiman Latte, why we did not have an Amanda Palmer as well. So, being highly caffeinated, we set to work!

Whenever I create a new drink, especially a new drink for a specific person, I try to think of the first word that comes to my head, that can translate to an ingredient. For some it's "Sweet". Others would be, "Strong". For Amanda, the first word that popped into my head was "Fuck". Well, that wouldn't work! The second word was "Spicy".
So the first ingredient was Cayenne Pepper.

The next thing I thought was, smoke, dark, and hot.
To me that translated to a chocolate drink with steamed milk.
If you follow her on Twitter you're also going to think "Sweet and Funny". I needed something to offset the overkill of chocolate and red pepper. Besides, chocolate and red pepper has been done before, by lots of people. I needed more spicy, and another sweet.

Honey. Honey is the answer to everything.

But then the honey on top would be overkill. Too much layering. The drinker would hit the honey and milk, then the chocolate and red pepper. You could taste each individual ingredient, one by one. I didn't like that.

So here is the final creation. And no, there isn't actually coffee in it. It's the Amanda Palmer Hot Chocolate. (Based on a sweet story Neil told a table full of derby girls that involved a statue, a flower, and hot chocolate. It made us all weepy)

Cayenne pepper, cinnamon, honey, chocolate, simple sugar, and topped with flake. Yummy right?

My love of Amanda's music came from writers. Melissa Marr mentioned her former band, the Dresden Dolls in her book, Wicked Lovely. Then of course, when Neil Gaiman started talking about her, I looked up her music on my Pandora station, and fell in love with the songs Guitar Hero, Runs in the Family (I love that song SO much) and Leeds United. Now I consider myself a fan.

So being a fan, and being a coffee shop owner, here's the deal. This drink is not going on the menu at Strange Brew until October. BUT, I'll make you one. I'll even make you one for FREE! IF, you flash me a proof of purchase for Amanda Palmer's new album when you come in. If you flash me your vinyl I'll even make it a large!

Oh, and why is their no whipped cream on the hot chocolate you ask? Because it's an Amanda Palmer, and comes topless.

I've decided to reevaluate my fitness goals. I've spent the last few months obsessing over losing the last 10lbs of my goal. I'm on the scale twice a day, stressing over the fact that it is NOT BUDGING!
Instead, I should be focusing on the fact that I've gained a LAP AND A HALF on my five minute drill, the fact that my endurance is so much better, the fact that I can do twice as many push ups as before... not some stupid freaking scale!
Scales and I have a bad history anyway. Those that know me know I've had a past with my weight, which was extremely unhealthy. At 5'7" I weighed less than 100 pounds at the age of 20. A lot less than 100 pounds actually. The wake up call was when I couldn't DO the things I wanted to do. I couldn't run a mile, I couldn't jump around on stage with my bass, I couldn't even play with my dog! So what was the point of being skinny? I've posted this pic before, but here's evidence of what I looked like as I started actually GAINING weight!

On the other side, when I got too heavy, I ran into the same problems. I couldn't run a mile, I wasn't as good of a skater, etc. I feel like weight wise, I'm at a pretty good place right now. Being a derby girl forces me to stay at a healthy weight. For one thing, I'm working out all the dang time, for another, I'm committed to this. To be a good derby girl, I have to eat and train like the athlete I want to be. My body needs good fuel if I expect it to perform at the level I want to perform at.

Which brings me to this; I'm hiding my scale. I'm done with it. I will no longer set my fitness goals by a number. My new fitness goal is not this final ten pounds I want to lose. Instead, I want these things:
1. I want to gain another half lap on my five minute drill. Goal date = Mid October.
2. I want to take my shirt off like every other derby girl. Goal date = First bout.

The half lap I will get by training harder. The shirt thing? That's all about my confidence. Derby requires girls of all sizes, and almost all of the girls on my team whip their shirts off when it's too hot. But me? I suffer and sweat because I'm not confident enough in the way I look. Which is stupid. So by the first bout, the shirt will come off. To hold myself accountable, I'll post a pic of it from the after party on this blog.
I said to a friend the other day, and I stand by this: I am not perfect. But I'm faster and stronger than I was last month. And next month I'll be faster and stronger than I am this month. That is all I'm going to focus on from now on. No more numbers. Just faster, stronger, and then a little faster than before.

Does your league do one on one skater evaluations with the coach? If not they should! Here's why:

I'm not a confident person. I tend to be shy, slightly socially awkward, and I don't always think the best of myself. While derby has given me a lot of confidence, inside I don't always feel as good about myself as I probably should.

For our league, there is no set "team" for the season. There's a charter which changes every few months, with our top 20 skaters. Out of those top 20 the top 14 get picked to skate in a bout.

I have never, ever not been picked. I've been one of the top 14 skaters since day one. That should give me a lot of confidence right? Not really. I still feel my heart in my throat when I look at the roster and search for my name. I never felt like my spot was secure, in all the years I've done this. Which I KNOW is crazy, since I'm a good skater, I'm smart in the pack, I know the plays, I know what I'm doing out there, in reality I know that I'll make the roster. But still, I lack that confidence in myself, since I never ever know if our coach sees those things about me. What if she only catches when I miss the jammer, and not when I hand out the perfect whip or call a great play?

Which is why this year, when our coaches announced that they would be doing individual skater evaluations, I had no idea what to expect. She sat me down to go over my strengths and weaknesses and I was really happy to see that she thought a lot better about me than I think about myself sometimes! She recognized everything that I've been working so hard on, told me the weaknesses she saw, asked what I wanted to work on, etc.

So at the next practice, we had a bench of Sirens (the "A" team I play for) and a bench of Belles (our "B" team). We had the Belles scrimmage for 2 jams, then the Sirens scrimmage for 2 jams. Coach asked me to go pivot for the Belles for the first two jams.

Before the evaluation, I would have been having an internal panic attack. "Oh crap! She wants to take me off the Sirens and put me on Belles"!!!

Since this was after the evaluation, I saw it for what it was. a) I had asked her to try my hand at being pivot, and she wanted to see how I did running plays with some of our newer skaters. I played pivot for 2 jams, had a hell of a lot of fun, worked with some of the newer girls, and was a successful pivot. b) We were short on skaters for the scrimmage, and she knows my endurance is really good, and that she could skate me as pivot for Belles, then as a blocker for the Sirens without needing a break. I don't get tired in derby. Ever. I get this crazed euphoric high when I skate! I have played every single jam in a 1 hour scrimmage before and crashed after, but during wasn't even out of breath!

So if your league doesn't do skater/coach evaluations, they should! Having a clear idea of where I am, what is expected of me, what my goals are; this is valuable stuff!

photo by Dr. X

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