I've worked as a barista for many, many years now. It's not an easy job, despite what most people on the other side of the counter may think. And I'm going to be 100% honest with you: Your barista is totally judging you by your drink order.

Doesn't mean you shouldn't order what you want (with only a couple of exceptions)!

*** Please note that this is completely tongue in cheek!***

Black coffee = No fuss, no nonsense. We could be friends.

Flat White = You're slightly trendy, or an expat missing home.

Pour Over = You're very trendy. Borderline hipster.

Deconstructed coffee = You're so damn hipster you rode your weird, 18th century bike here wearing your boat shoes, fedora hat that doesn't really fit your head and a tank top. Also hell no. We aren't making that.

Extra hot, no foam*. Absolutely no foam = You probably have a lot of friends that talk a lot of shit about you behind your back. Also, you failed 8th grade science. But somehow, you drive a better car than me and don't need to work for a living.
*Note: No foam is fine. But extra hot no foam means you hate baristas. Like, a barista stole your barbie when you were 4 and took the head off then returned it after you complained to your mom, and they told you it was fine because they put the head back on but it made the neck about half an inch shorter and looked completely weird. Barbie was never the same. So now you relish the look of pain on the baristas face when you say "extra hot no foam" because that's the pain you went through! Now they can feel it too!

Espresso Macchiato = You appreciate quality espresso. We like you.

Chai Latte = You went through a hippie phase your freshman year of college and totally gate rushed at Woodstock.

Dirty Chai or Dirty Hippie = You're a little weird and don't care who knows it.

Blended Caramel Mocha with extra caramel, extra mocha, only 1 shot in a large with extra drizzle and extra whip = You're 13. If it's "for here" and you're meeting a bunch of friends we're giving you decaf.

Medium cappuccino with cinnamon powder in the bottom of the cup, shots next, skim milk microfoamed and extra dry = you've owned a coffee shop for 12 years and you're freaking obnoxious when you order coffee anywhere else. Also, your friends pretend they don't know you when you're ordering! (If you can't tell, this is me)





The final roller derby bout of season 10 is over and done. The Star Wars night is usually the best attended bout of the season and this seemed to be no exception. Bleachers were packed, suicide seating pretty full, and I saw them dragging more chairs out!

**Also, a quick note on a trend I was noticing. More and more parents were trying to sneak their kids into the suicide section. Including parents with infants. Like, teeny, tiny, infants. I also saw people get pissy when they were asked to move, or go right back to suicide seating once the security or team member was away from that section. Parents, the roller derby team isn't just being a jerk to you by asking you not to sit trackside. They don't hate your kids, they aren't judging you for having kids, they're trying to keep you guys safe! I've taken a skate to the gut in suicides before. It hurts. But a skate to a baby? That's not going to hurt, that's going to severely injure or even kill your child. (Not to mention the time that, as a skater, I was knocked towards an infant in a car seat in suicides. I hurt myself trying to avoid hitting the baby. If I had hit the kid I can't imagine the emotional impact it would have had on me.) So come on, don't give the team a hard time about it and try to sneak back as soon as they turn around.


photo by Greg Dunn


Both games were played against pick up teams, and it was the only unsanctioned bout of the home season.

Belles lost against the Midwest Corn Stars. It was a crazy exciting game to watch, and included this apex jump, which I swear took about 5 seconds.


photo by Greg Dunn

The talent pool on the Belles is really deep. Lots of new jammers have been emerging this season. Including Brickhouse Massacre. She was an alternate for the bout, and ended up with a very well deserved MVP award for the night. Amazing to watch, and I would bet money on her being a siren jammer next season.


Photo by Greg Dunn

Naptown has turned into a flying team the past couple of seasons. I think they spend more time in the air then on the track!


Photo by Tom Klubens


Also cartwheels. Naptown does cartwheels to avoid out of bounds penalties.

CLICK HERE TO SEE IT

The Sirens game got a little boring. It was a blowout and for the first half they just racked up the points. I had hoped that in the second half they would mix it up a little. I'm not saying take it easy on the losing team, but since it was an unsanctioned bout, I would have loved to see them throw blockers in as jammers, mix up positions, that sort of thing. I think it's a great way to cross train your girls without risking a rankings slip. (Because you can practice and scrimmage new positions all day long, but nothing is the same as actually bouting!)
Still, the last 20 minutes aside, it was an exciting game. And when you considered the sirens opponent was a team made up of retired skaters and girls that hadn't really practiced together, they did a great job!
Bambi has always been one of my favorite jammers to watch. I'm so glad that, even though she retired from Demo City, she's still skating! (For SOS, aka "Straight Outta Shape")


Photo by Tom Klubens

Music, of course, on point. I don't think NRG has ever had a bad DJ, though DJ Kyle Long is becoming one of my favorites. Probably because he plays the soundtrack of my angsty youth. He's the sort of person that you want to become friends list, just to drop hints that you need a new mix cd and "sigh" wish you had someone who would make you that sort of thing.

So excited to see what happens for playoffs this year, and for the Sirens and Naptown Roller Derby next season!





Matching manicures with my mini horse. Because who wouldn't? 


And his super sparkly black hoof!



Who needs a normal life anyway? 


Sometimes, you just need to put things out in the world. It's a running joke with my friends about how badly I want to meet Paul Auster. Some people obsess over rock stars, some over actors but for me, it’s always been writers. In this case, a writer who doesn't use social media and still writes his books on a typewriter.

I consider myself pretty well connected. I’m a writer. (Of knitting books, but hey! It counts!) I know a lot of writers, many of them very well known, very famous, and friends with a lot people. I have representation at a fairly large agency. I know multiple publicists at multiple publishing houses. Yet... no Auster connection. Believe me, I’ve asked all of them.

I'm taking my first ever trip to New York City this summer, the city where I believe Mr. Auster has spent the majority of his life. This may be the one chance I get to make my dream of meeting him happen. Despite my daydreams of just bumping into him on a corner, I've been warned that New York is in fact, quite large, and my chances of meeting him by chance are very small. With absolutely no connections, and at the advice of a friend, I'm just going to write about my desire to meet my favorite author and maybe, just maybe, someone who knows someone will see it and a magic moment will happen.

So here's what I would love to say to Paul Auster, if by chance, he does see this.


Dear Paul Auster,

I'm sure you get this every day, but your books changed my life. One book in particular, which, if you'll allow me, I'll get to.
My Dad got me a copy of "Mr. Vertigo" when I was 14. I really enjoyed it and you became one of those authors I would scan the shelves for when I went to a bookstore. When I could afford a new book, I would first look for a book by you. I loved them because they made me think. They weren’t always happy books, in fact Timbuktu made me cry so hard that while reading it in a park, a gang of Christian Harley Riders tried to offer me food and a blanket because they thought I was a runaway teen that was missing home. My jaw hit the floor the first time I read the New York Trilogy. I spent hours discussing it with my brother, who has a doctorate in theology and was equally obsessed by some of the concepts in the book. He used the phrase "linguistic construction of reality", which is proof that he is smarter than me. The Music of Chance made me so nervous for the protagonists that I was physically stressed about what was happening to them while I was at work and in between chapters. I may have taken a sick day towards the end so I could finish reading.

I picked up "The Invention of Solitude" from the library during one of the darkest points of my life. I had relapsed into an eating disorder without realizing that it had happened. I just told myself I was poor and couldn't afford to eat, not realizing I was using it as an excuse to be skinny. In hindsight, I was trying to escape myself any way that I could. Parties, music, starvation. I didn’t really want to exist.
When I read your book, it was like the world put on brakes. I read and reread that book until the cover was falling off. I couldn't bear to give my copy back to the library because even if I got a new copy at a bookstore, it wouldn't be MY copy. The copy that was changing me. I was scared some of the magic of this book would go away and I wouldn't be able to continue on this path that your book had started for me.

"Only one thing is certain: he cannot be anywhere until he is here". That line was a punch to my gut. I quit drinking to excess, I quit dating and with the exception of work I spent my days and nights holed up in a corner of my living room writing. Page after page of who I was, where I was and why I was. I most certainly was not "here". I was a girl waiting for the right guy, waiting for my band to get famous, waiting for a good job to fall into my lap. I was living in wait for a hundred potential futures, but I wasn't actually living my life.

I’m sure that your intent when writing wasn’t to tell some 19 year old, “Hey, skinny girl! Eat a sandwich and get yourself together!” but that’s what it did for me. I got myself together. I started living and repairing myself. That book wasn't just a book for me. It was a call to become a real person.

I know posting a letter and requesting to meet one of my favorite authors is a pretty easy way for me to get labeled as batshit crazy and that there’s only the slimmest chance that this effort will end in a meet and greet. However, my chances are even smaller by not posting this, so why not? Heck, I met Neil Gaiman by sending him knit octokittys as part of a superstitious good luck effort for my derby team. John Scalzi and I became friends after I helped put frosting all over his face for a charity poster. My life happens because I make an effort to make it happen. I learned that by reading your books.

So Mr. Auster, I’ll be in New York the third weekend in August. If you’re free, I’d love to buy you a beverage of your choice and say “hello” and shake your hand. If not, I hope that you at least see this letter and know how much your works have meant to me over the years.

Sincerely and with many thanks,
Joan
PS- If you’re judging me for not giving the library book back, I did lie and tell them that I lost it. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to check out more books! I paid the fine so that they could buy a new one, and I only feel a small twinge of guilt when I see it on my shelf.



I hope that if you're in indy this weekend, you're here at pop con! 


I've been looking all over for Tony Stark. We've had a disagreement and need to hash things out. Couldn't find him (coward!) but I did find this pretty rad Deadpool! 


I'll be wandering around again tomorrow. If you see me, say "hi"! 
Also, for my knittas, this is the America! dress from Geek Knits. It's a size small, though I would fit much more comfortably in a medium. I'm 5'7, 140lbs on a good day, 145lbs today. Also I have so much derby booty! (Derby babies, you know that butt you're getting from derby? It never, ever goes away.) 
This dress is super friendly as far as stretch goes. But a size larger would have the length a little longer, and would give me a little more room in the upper body. Thought I would post the stats in case you want to knit this and would like some size comparisons! 

Xoxx 

About twice a year, a spike happens in sales for my first book, and I start getting questions on Ravelry and through email, so I thought I would put up a little blog post!

As many of you know, Knockdown Knits: 30 Projects from the Roller Derby Track was my very first book. (If you're local, part of my talk at Pop Con this Saturday will cover how I got published.)

I was lucky. Even though Wiley is a historically conservative publisher, they gave me a lot of freedoms, such as letting me use my team, the Naptown Roller Girls, as the models.

Of course, there were some points where the conservative publisher leanings became evident. I wanted this picture in the book:


Red Rocket and Smackie O'nassis photo by Matt Bowen

And with much fluttering of their hands the publisher went with this picture:


Photo by Matt Bowen

Which of course, is an awesome photo, so it wasn't the worst thing in the world. And honestly, I didn't realize it at the time, but for a publisher to let me come to the office, sit down, and pick out the photos I wanted for the book isn't something that happens to every author.

Although there's a lot I would love to change since I've grown as a designer and writer over the past decade, I also kind of love it as is. This little glimpse into the early days of roller derby (I think in the section talking about derby, I mention how there are "almost" 100 teams around the world and "almost" 30 WFTDA leagues!) is pretty fun.

I've had requests to do another one, and I'm not saying it's outside the realm of possibility. I have a couple of other projects that have to get finished first, but revisiting a derby knitting book would be a good time. Of course, if I do it again it would definitely involve more leagues than just NRG, especially since the requests I've done to do another come from knitting derby girls in other states who have their own pattern ideas.

And a quick note to say that when Knockdown came out, I think I was one of TWO books about derby available. Now, there are a LOT more!
Here's a list:

roller derby books




I just read this one,
and it was so dang cute I got teary eyed! I seriously love it.

And hey! I'm in this one! Screaming my head off at a ref I think.

Anyway, I thought I would put this blog up in response to my most recent question about Knockdown. Speaking of which, if you ever want to get in touch with me, comment here on the blog, or use the contact link on my site. (Or find me on twitter, facebook or instagram!)

It's one of my favorite times of year... the summer concert series in the park! 
Almost every Saturday our little town has free concerts in our local park. Beer, wine, music and snow cones. 
Our friend John (who used to play drums in a band with Dill) is the head brewer at our local brewery. So Dill got his servers liscense and helps John pour beer at events. 
It's not a bad way to spend a Saturday night. Listening to music, drinking beer, and of course... knitting! 


It was about 90 degrees and I was knitting with pure wool. Not my first choice, but I'm working on a proposal that is kicking my booty at the moment, so work has to get done! 



I did take a snow cone break.



And Dill poured many beers. Many of them for me!



We ended the night by being gifted free bottles of wine from one of the other booths (yay! Since I'm in indiana and can't buy wine on Sunday it was much needed!) and helping john unload all the empty kegs. Hung in the closed brewery for more beers, ready to head home and then... food. One of the cooks brought us so much food! 
Which meant we ended up staying until midnight. Which meant we crawled into bed at 1am. All fine for a Saturday night... except when you have to wake up at 4am to go to work on Sunday! 

This summer the brewery is also serving at the local water park. You can take your beer and float down the lazy river! I see so many more sleep deprived Sunday's in my future!






That's right! Impact made a roller derby board game, and yours truly is featured on some of the cards! I also have my own miniature for the game!


Tripping? None of us EVER trip! Heehee. Photo by Tom Klubens


photo by Tom Klubens
It was so weird to do these photos. "Okay! Look like you're moving! But stand perfectly still!"

Yet another example of weird things that Naptown Roller Girls participation has brought into my life! You should check the game out if you get a chance! I'm a board game geek (Thanks Mom and Dad for all the conventions you dragged me to as a kid. Did wonders for my popularity!) so of course this was something that sang to me from the get go, and I was SO excited when they asked me to be a part of it.

You'll have to excuse all these "blast from the past" blogs. I'm putting together the media page from the site (with apologies to my publicist, who mentioned that I needed to do this LAST YEAR! Whoops.) so all these things are coming right back to the surface for me.

Also, it reminds me that I gave one of my friends my miniature to paint and he hasn't done it yet!

xoxx

Dealing with all this drama lately has me thinking a lot about the derby community, and what we've built (in Indy) over the past decade. Ten years is a long time to have my foot in the water of roller derby. As a skater, score girl, coach (for my lovely Wisconsin girls) fan, personality, and sometimes just a tag along for my announcer husband. (Or holding down the home fort when he's in Detroit, Canada, Nashville, Atlanta, etc...

The 10th anniversary season for Naptown Roller Girls is almost over.

Ten years of Naptown has been a wild ride. I get chills thinking of how it started with Strawberry Jam saying, "Why isn't there a derby team in Indiana? We should start one!"

I mean TEN YEARS. Some marriages don't last that long! (And let's be honest, a lot of time derby is a catalyst for that!)

For the anniversary season, they put us old gals on the posters and programs. I was on the bout opener, which was a total honor. (Photo credit to Tom "one b" Klubens)




A lot of us alumni, retired and active, showed up to participate and kick off the season. Of course, one of us couldn't be there. I was honored when her husband asked me to walk out her jersey, but I couldn't do it without crying.





But of course, it wasn't all sad! In the weeks leading up to the bout, Naptown produced these awesome videos, talking about how the league got stated.



Part 1




Part 2

There's only one game left for season 10. The STAR WARS BOUT! (Don't worry, the league gets permission from Lucas and Disney!) Storm Troopers, Jedi, R-2... it's always the best bout of the season!

A few years ago, I wrote this blog post . Times change, we grow, and now I have some more things to say...

I don't feel the same way about boys playing derby as I did in 2013.It's actually unfortunate that my blog got picked up by some media outlets last year, since my feelings had already changed a bit by that point.

While I still have some of the same feelings about that particular game, I don't feel the same about male derby in general. (And I will say, my thoughts about that game aren't quite as harsh as they used to be. I still think that from a business standpoint, it was not the best idea, as the fans weren't into it, but Naptown has always been on the cutting edge of the derby world and trying new things, so kudos to them for pushing the envelope and trying it out.) I probably would go to an all men's derby bout and enjoy it, something I wouldn't have said two years ago. I no longer feel like the guys are trying to cut into our turf. They saw an awesome game, and wanted to play it. Same as hundreds of derby girls around the world.

One of the things I really like about having this blog is it gives me the ability to look back at thoughts from years ago and explore them. It's nice to realize I don't feel so angry about something any longer, and admit that I was wrong about quite a bit of it. Mea culpa to any dudes that were offended by my post.

Anyway, if you want to check out men's derby in your area, check out the MRDA.

xoxx
JoD

I don't typically share go fund me drives on my blog. But Dill has announced at tournaments with Sasha for many years now, and considers her good derby people. And good derby people deserve our attention when they need help.

So if you can spare a few pennies, please check out Sasha and her Go Fund Me Page.


xoxx



Remember this awesome photo Kyle Cassidy took for Geek Knits?





Those are my friends Whitney Avalon and Steve Gossett. Sure, they're wonderful Geek Knits Models, but they also created this series of videos:




I remember Steve telling us about this when he was in town visiting. I admit having my doubts. I was like, "Whitney is gonna rap? Dressed as Snow White? Ok.. that'll be cool I guess..."

And of course when the first video was released I watched it about 20 times, laughing my butt off and cheering out loud as it went viral.

Well, good news if you're in Indy for Pop Con, Whitney is going to be there all three days!

I really hope that you make time to see her!

Now, let's all admire one more Kyle Cassidy pic!

Ugh. Just when things are going well, off goes the google alerts! Turns out that a couple of derby skaters are using the name "Joan of Dark". My name has been trademarked for a long time. As soon as I started publishing under my alter ego, I knew it had to be protected.

Of course, not to toot my own horn, I've been lucky enough to be pretty public in a very good way. So anyone even thinking of picking up the name Joan of Dark, just needs to do a quick google and they would see me all over the place... or so I thought.

Then I get the alerts to my phone, hey! Derby girls! Skating under Joan of Dark! That's not cool! First thing, send emails. Because lawyers are expensive. As of this minute, one of the girls has not responded. The other... well, the short answer is that she said no. She actually said changing her name would cost her money and that would be "silly".

If you aren't familiar with how trademarks work, if you don't protect it, you can lose it. Which means I have to spend MY money on my lawyer to protect it for me. Which frankly, is really crappy. Believe it or not, being a knitting author and cafe owner doesn't have me rolling in money.

Not to be all "get off my lawn" here, but this whole situation sucks, and it sucks that this skater can't just be sensible about it. Instead, I've got to fight to protect what I've been building for over a decade. And from what I'm hearing from Dill Hero's announcer friends and WFTDA officials commenting on the situation, it's not just my issue, it's happening all over with a new generation of skaters not respecting classic names, especially moderate to really famous classic names.

So cheers to legal fights and derby drama!



* quick edit. For those of you that have messaged me saying "ask her nicely! Surely she'll understand!" I did. Her one line reply? "I think my new derby name will be Toni Carr;)". So no. No reason here. Also I miss old derby where we were all bitches but we were bitches in this TOGETHER. 

The I'm Sometimes it's so hard to keep up with every social media platform I have. Instagram, facebook, Twitter, tumblr... I tend to focus on one for a while and let the others fall away for a bit.

But this blog means a lot to me. It's how I first connected with the knitting community, it's how I got my first TV appearance and it's how I made some great friends. Which means that in the interest of organizing my life, I've actually started blocking off time every other day to blog.

For today, I'm catching you all up on starkey!


After struggling to find a new boarding situation for him, we decided to just move him home. We have a big backyard, we have a mini barn, so why not? We asked our neighbors permission first of course. Don't want to irritate anyone we share a fence line with! 

Luckily, everyone loves having him around. And I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to see him every day, as opposed to 20 minutes a time twice a week! 
Bath day. 



Playing my mandolin in the backyard. I sing the white stripes song "little ghost" to him, but change the words to "little horse little horse you're the one I love of course..."



He even comes in the house! 

We have such a weird shit life...


Till next time! 




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