I Wanna Be a Derby Girl

Suburbia Roller Derby Suburban Brawl at ECE - 142

I am beginning a project. A very ill-advised project. I want to play roller derby.

It just looks so damn fun. The bouts I’ve watched remind me of playing on the basketball team as a kid. I never really went in for “school spirit,” but being on a team and accomplishing something with a group of friends is tons of fun to me. Plus, I feel like I’m ready for a new challenge and adventure in my life, and roller derby looks great on both counts.

It’s been a slightly rocky start. My friend Jenn and I have started skating together at a local rink, and this week, we went for a skating lesson — $5 covers the skate rental, a one-hour lesson, and the two-hour open session that follows, so we felt like we were getting a pretty great deal. Granted, we were the only adults there who weren’t accompanying children, and I was probably the worst skater in the bunch.  Well, there was this one guy who looked about as comfortable in roller skates as a cat with scotch tape on his feet. I feel guilty saying this, but that guy made me feel tons better about myself until this morning when it occurred to me that the rink might have been paying him to look bad. The only down side of the skating lesson was that the instructor was a creepy old guy who kept making awkward comments about my body while giving me instructions. I’m now looking for other places to learn skating so I don’t have to be inappropriately touched by grandpa.

I have fallen twice now — once when a girl fell in front of me, and I didn’t have time to move around her, and once when I lost my balance for no particular reason and got a nasty bruise. Falling is a little embarrassing, but I figure I better get used to it if I’m going to try derby. In fact, I even like that in derby, falling is part of the sport and not something to be embarrassed about. Ok, so the goal is to fall a lot less, but I’ll try not to worry too much when I do. Jenn, on the other hand, has not fallen at all. She talks a big game about being oh-so-clumsy, but I think she’s secretly a rockstar at everything and just doesn’t like to brag.

In addition to practice, I’ve been assembling and arsenal of information about derby rules, skating skills, and the people involved in the sport. This has been my go-to internet reading for the week.

  • Roller Derby 101 on the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association web site. In fact, I intend to spend quite a bit of time on this site in the future.
  • Even the “about” page for the Charm City Roller Girls (my nearest league) is awesome. I’ve been to a couple of bouts, and everyone seems really cool and nice. Definitely looking forward to watching more games so I can learn!
  • Reddit/r/rollerderby: With the tag line “not just for fans of Whip It,” I’m afraid I need to do some serious studying before I try to talk to anyone. These girls know their stuff, and they seems like a dedicated bunch.
  • The WFTDA’s minimum skills requirements list is now my study material.
  • This Youtube series has a bunch of information on derby skating skills, which I will eventually need to learn.
  • I also started following a bunch of roller derby chicks on Tumblr because they post cool pictures and good information. Plus, they inspire me. For example…

Diary of a Derby Bunny
Inconsequential Musings (Calamity Jane!)
Derby Deets — Funny derby related gifs. Ok, so they’re not particularly relevant to training, but they make me feel like one of the cool kids.
Shit Derby Girls Say

So, now all I’m missing is some skates, pads, helmet, and … oh right, more practice!

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MissDirt’s Unofficial Guide to Being Awesome

Since When Are Manners Sufficient Contribution to Conversation?

This is a response to the Goldman Sachs Unofficial Guide, which some folks seem to have mistaken for actual life advice.

  1. Shower, bathe, brush your teeth. Just do it. 
  2. Mind your Ps and Qs. Say please and thank you, etc.
  3. Listen to public radio.
  4. Read the instructions. Ask for directions.
  5. Do not apologize for your opinions, feelings or beliefs, but do be open to changing them when presented with good reason.
  6. Learn to disagree without having to “win” every conversation. People will be more willing to discuss interesting ideas with you if they’re not afraid of being shouted down.
  7. Smile and say hello when you see someone you’d like to talk to. If they don’t respond, leave them alone.
  8. Relax your face. Soften your jaw. Un-furrow your eyebrows.
  9. Smile.
  10. Put away your phone.
  11. Acknowledge when you’ve been wrong.
  12. Don’t waste time on revenge — it only deepens your own wounds.
  13. Expensive clothes aren’t important. Just take care of whatever you’ve got.
  14. Wear things that make you feel good.
  15. If someone tells you you’re too drunk, they’re probably right.
  16. If someone decides they don’t like you, don’t argue with them. You won’t win.
  17. Read at least one Jane Austen novel in your life.
  18. Never gossip.
  19. Skinny is not a compliment. Fat is not an insult.
  20. When someone speaks to you, give them your full attention.
  21. Wear comfortable shoes.
  22. Don’t wear clothing that’s too tight to eat a meal in.
  23. Cake is a gift from the gods. Eat it with joyful reverence.
  24. Learn to love your veggies.
  25. Split the chores with your roomie or significant other, but don’t make a huge deal if they miss a day.
  26. If you have to check around the room before telling a joke, it’s not funny.
  27. Respecting others never makes you look like an asshole.
  28. Use your blinkers.
  29. Learn to throw a punch, but avoid having to fight.
  30. Travel overseas at least once.
  31. Stop seeing others as competition. Befriend them and learn from them.
  32. Make dates with your friends.
  33. Do the fucking laundry.
  34. Have a hobby.
  35. Do not buy supplies for a new project before finishing the last one.
  36. Having children does not earn you any special privileges.
  37. Meditate.
  38. Go outside at least once every day.
  39. Try new foods and music whenever you get a chance.
  40. Do not blindly follow advice from strangers on the internet.
  41. Indulge in strange thoughts. They make you more interesting.
  42. Ask for help in times of turmoil.
  43. Never assume you understand someone else’s struggle. Just listen and show that you care.
  44. Masturbate. It’s not a sin.
  45. If there is a God, it wants you to be happy.
  46. Be nice to animals.
  47. Figure out your personal ethics, and stick by them.
  48. Don’t lie. It makes you ugly.
  49. Properly used curse words are fucking brilliant.
  50. Conflict is sometimes a sign of growth.
  51. If you’re fighting, make damn sure you know why.
  52. Tell people you love them.
  53. Make your home a place where friends feel welcome.
  54. Your parents are just human.
  55. Go to the beach sometimes. Even a bad one.
  56. Tip generously when you can.
  57. Try things you might fail at. Do it for the adventure.
  58. Make friends with people who are different from you. They have things to teach you.

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Weekly Assignment: Pick Up Shiny Objects

Shelves of Saves

This week, wherever you go, keep your eyes peeled for shiny objects, colorful knick knacks and curious tidbits.

Maybe you notice a piece of paper fluttering through a parking lot and pick it up. Is it a love note? A grocery list? A recipe?

Perhaps you see a glint of silver on the sidewalk. Is it a coin? A lost earring? A tiny toy gun meant to fit in a little plastic hand?

Inspiration and opportunity are largely related to simple awareness and openness. Countless ideas flit past us daily, and the ones we grasp are just the ones we’re open to.

Ellie is a human magpie and always finds odds and ends wherever she goes. This seems to be a combination of awareness and luck that leads to her best finds. She chose to make a bit of art with some of her findings while I keep mine all displayed on a shelf in my office or sometimes give them away like this little guy I gave to another friend:



Keep your eyes open this week, and see what odds and ends you can find.

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The Saturday Special: Full of Bad Kittens


Oh hey there, babycakes! Lookin’ good!

I hope you had a fabulous week and are now enjoying a well-earned rest. I hope wherever you are is warm and beautiful and you’re enjoying the company of loved ones or soaking up the gorgeousness of blissful quiet.

Here’s what I found the most fascinating online this week! Um … I may have spent a lot of time on Youtube. :-/

If this isn’t on every link roundup on the internet this week, it should be.

I can’t figure out what exactly is so hypnotic and wonderful about this video, but I wanna watch it over and over again.

I’m like two years behind on falling in love with this chick. Every time I hear this song, I walk around for the next three days singing, “One big room, full of bad kittens.” (Yeah, I know those aren’t the words, but whatever.) Seriously, though, I’m starting to love her.

I’m pretty confused about what’s going on in this video, but you can’t deny that this woman has an incredible voice and an awful lot of nerve.

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The Saturday Special: Daffodil Edition

The daffodils are starting to come up in our neighborhood, therefore I have hope!

Well, team, aside from the seemingly unending grey that is February, I’ve had a pretty good week. I hope you have, too. I got a bunch of good news about new yoga classes, plus some of our best friends have been in town for the past couple days. We have a house full of nerds, and I’ve been laughing for 3 days straight. Can’t complain.

Here’s some of what was cool on the internet this week:

“The real risk of interacting with unproven ideas is the fear that we might not react in a way our peers expect. The desire to fit in often overwhelms our curiosity.” –Seth Godin Yes yes yes.

Holy amazebals. ViHart’s guide to comments makes me want to jump up and go take all the risks.

This boy is unbearably adorable and smart. I was thinking “Is anyone besides me sick of Ted talks?” But then he started talking, and I was like “Shit, this kid is layin down the wisdom.” I’m actually somewhat jealous that I went to such a traditional school when I was his age, but it’s never too late to be inspired.

Finally, Ellie and I did our second podcast. This time it’s all about the adventure of self-publishing. You can listen or download it here:

That’s it for me today. Stay warm and enjoy your weekend. Spring really is just around the corner!

All my love!

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