Thursday, September 29, 2011

She's been hunted, she's been shot at, she's been...

Well, again, I have left it a little too long.  I kinda think I have an excuse though, as I am currently on my small business (cert IV) course.  'For what business' you say?  I can't tell you.  But, in good time I will be plastering it all over here and shoving it down your throats so don't despair.  Some things I can tell you it's not:
  • It's not a pyramid scheme,
  • It's not a nutrimetics franchise,
  • It's not a personalised lingerie line (though that would be very lucrative, presuming everyone wants nothing but boyleg hipsters),
  • It's not manufacturing life-like 'companion' dolls,
  • And it's definitely not workin' for the man, I will be my own boss.  Cos I'm bossy like that.
Ok.  News:
  1. I was selected to play roller derby for Adelaide and then Australia,
  2. I decided to start my own business (already discussed),
  3. I got a 2A for my honours and
  4. I sing in a band.  I use that term loosely.
Ok, so firstly my honours.  Since I was simply praying for a pass, I was stoked.  Now, giddy with the knowledge that somebody liked what I wrote - I'm going to apply for my PhD.  I might get accepted, I might not, but I'll never know if I don't go for it.  So that's in December.  I have a (what I think is a) killer plan for my project but again, I can't divulge lest one of you crooks steal it.
Moving on.  So, Michi called me a few weeks ago, the convo went like this:
Me: 'hi!  What's up?'
Michi: 'nothin.  Wanna sing in our band?'
Me: 'ok!!' (thinking that she meant practicing for a few months so I can actually learn to sing)
Michi: 'wachoo doing this Sat'dy?'
Me: 'oh... nothin' I don't think...'
Michi: 'good.  We have a gig.'
So.  I had about five days to learn 10-15 songs.  Now, you think that would be easy - just listen to them a few (hundred) times and the words will sink in.  Nope, not quite how it works.  When you have Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder or Jim Morrisson singing along with you, you can fudge the notes a little and just sing soft and it's all good.  When you are the only singer, it gets hairy.  We had two jams before the gig, but surprisingly, it went well!  It helps that Michi, Jars and Tash are so talented (at the bass, lead guitar and drums respectively) so they sound wicked.  The gig was a private party with an interesting array of ages present, probably from about 18 to maybe early 60s.  We play covers of old rock, new rock, blues and a bit of other stuff in between, so there was something for everyone.  In a fit of nerves, I introduced myself as Robot Rocket, RoRo for short.  It was heaps of fun, we had people dancing and all!  Thus, 50 Cycle Hum was born.

We had another gig recently at the same place.  We had some more songs by then, and I sang for three sets (after the usual acoustic style set with Michi and jars which they KILL).  Set one I loved - Creep (Radiohead style) was in there, and I friggin love singing that, especially when I can hit all the notes.  Set two I made a few booboos, but the fantastical music stylings of the band picked up my slack.  Set three was wicked and ended with Michi and I swapping - I played bass (like Rainman) while she sang Rockin' in the Free World.  Michi and Tash also do some wicked fusion kinda thing with Michi singing verses of things and Tash rhyming in between them.  They did it to Mercedes Benz that night.
We even met a lady called Trudy - who likes to dance:
The gig was for Tash's Dad's birthday and he was super pleased.  We took a few other friends with us and also met some crazy Kiwis who were doing up a bus for road tripping and drinking homemade alcohol.  They poured it on the bench an set it on fire.  Then they let us get on the roof of the bus.  One of the people we brought with us was a Canadian girl who is playing hockey with the local chick's team, the Adelaide Adrenaline.  She and I shared this exchange:
Me: 'I'm a robot.'
Her: 'no you're not.'
Me: 'well I'm not human.'
Her: 'no, of course you're not, you're a precious gem stone.'
Me: 'really?  Ok.  Wait, what?'
Her: 'you're a piece of amber (which, by the way is my favourite stone).'
Me: 'are we even having this conversation (I turned to Mercedes and she confirmed that we were) actually, I really love amber, but I think it's only semi-precious at best.'
Her: 'I'm not even human!'
Me: 'wait, what?'
Her: 'I'm not a person.'
Me: 'then what are you?'
Her: 'uh, duh.  A shiny diamond!'
Me: 'I really feel like I'm on acid right now.'
Then she laughed and fell asleep on the couch.  The moonshine did it, I think.
So, that's the band.  We have a gig at the Squatters Nov 18th to raise money for my trip to Canada to play in the world cup for derby.
Ok, onto derby stories.  So yeah, I'm playing for Adelaide and have now been selected to play in team Aus.  I'm super pumped!  The world cup is in Toronto in December.  In the meantime we have had two games for Adelaide (the Adeladies), one in Perth (where I did not play) and one in Newcastle just this weekend gone.  We then have one coming up at the end of this month in New Zealand.
So, the weekend.  first, the team.  An absolute pleasure playing with all of them.  As it happened, there were quite a lot of Road Train Rollers on the Adeladies that trip, so I was comfortable playing with GoGo Fiasco (a blocking machine), Bride of Skatan (a calming influence and great spacemaker), Whimsical Mimsical (jammer extraordinaire and comic relief), Letta Loose (fearless blocker and premium whip-giver) and Kit Cat Krunch, who can only be described as a GUN.  Salties we had on board were Coconut Rough (wall-making genius), Moe Skeeto (back-of-the-pack assassin), Melvin Star (wicked jammer and even wickeder jammer assister) and She-Ra (sneaky surprise blocker).  Mile Die Club was repped by Grimy Knickers (dark horse surprise blocker) and Wild Hearses sent The Little Murdermaid (partner in crime of Letta Loose and relentless jammer smasher), Lashez (creepily calm murderous sniper) and Pixie Pincher (lithe, dancer-type phantomish jammer and sneaky blocktress).  We were coached by Vaderella (famous for booty block straight from the depths of hades) and our Bench Manager was Psycho Fox (cool, focused and quick-to-think).  We all traveled to Newcastle on Friday or before, settled into our various accomodations and tried to get some sleep before the big game.  I was nervous, as I knew Newy had some wicked skaters on it and also I was not nearly as fit as I wanted to be.  I've been having back issues and also my tummy is playing up so I've been a little off.  Anyway, I woke up with conjunctivitis in one eye.  Just one.  The left one.  Great.  Luckily my sister Francesca had an unopened tube of eye ointment which I put in.  It began to help almost immediately, but my conjunctiva was still inflamed and my vision was all screwy.  I was really hoping to be able to see the track, or at least differentiate colours of uniforms.  Francesca dropped me off and I went inside - it was a lot bigger than the venue in which we play at home.  It had room for a few thousand.  The team arrived shortly after and we went into our changerooms.  I decided which chair I wanted and clarified with Skato that it was cool.  Then, every time throughout the day after that when I caught her in my it, I said 'this better be some sort of sick fucking joke' and she moved.  We warmed up, discovered the track was sticky as snot on loctite and changed our wheels.  Blah blah time passed and we found ourselves ready to roll.  It was really different and I won't lie - nerve wracking to play a team where 90% of them I had never seen play.  I didn't jam much in the first half - I kept getting put in the pack, which was fine with me, as I want to be a better all-round player anyway.  The bout started and it was clear this would not be an easy slog for either team.  Points crawled onto the scoreboard until we capitalised on a jammer penalty for the Dockyard Dames and cranked a few up there, giving us a 15-20 point lead (you know me, I can never remember much from bouts)  At one point, they took the lead back, and then we did again.  The Dames never let up, and we ended the first half with a similar lead, maybe 15-20 or so.  There were some great plays by Newy - Suzy Pow, GodJilla, DangeRass, Beaver Destruction, Booga, The Cramp, Babycakes, Hippie hardass and more.  The half-time entertainment was a Kiss tribute band, Dressed To Kill.  They were amazing - though if I never see another man in a lycra onesy again, it'll be too soon.  Well, I do know one man who can pull them off - The Brain of Morbius can wear them every day of the week.

We came back out to the track, and after they announced the myriad of jubilant winners from the plethora of raffles, we were ready to get underway.  Fittingly, Eye of the Tiger played right before we started, and despite getting the chorus in the wrong spot and having to awkwardly mumble until it did come on (then finishing with gusto and roof punches), we got down to business.  The second period was very penalty-heavy for us and very nearly led to our downfall, and we began to trail the Dames.  Vaderella and Psycho Fox were super calm and collected, which helped heaps. 
The jams go into a blur for a while there but I can remember coming off after a pretty good jam, I think I may have got a double grand slam (the other jammer was in the box I think) and looking at the score only to see we were still quite a way behind, maybe something like 89 - 103 or thereabouts.  I started to get worried, I think we only had about 6 mins left.  But, we started inching and inching our way back up, and all of a sudden Fox handed me the jammer panty and sent us out for the last jam - 119 points each.  Blocking in my pack were Grimy Knickers, Coco, Murders and I think Moe (stupid memory).  I was up against Babycakes, who was on fire.  The crowd were stomping their feet on the grandstands and chanting 'NEW-CA-STLE'.  We smiled at each other and I think I said something lame-o like 'this is why we do it, eh?' - say that out loud in the voice of a douche and you will perfectly recreate what I sounded like.  The whistles blew and we were off.  As I was about to exit the pack, I was hit to the outside of the track.  As is my habit, I looked at the feet of the girl who hit me, and saw that not only did she go out of bounds, but she fell down also, putting her out of play and allowing me to jump back on the track in front of her sans penalty.  Somehow, my jam ref didn't see this and started yelling at me to go off for a major.  I just kept skating, presuming that he would be set right by his outside ref who surely had seen it, but that didn't pan out and he was screaming at me to go off.  I then turned to him and shouted whilst pointing in the direction of the fallen Dame 'NO!  SHE FELL DOWN!!  SHE FELL DOWN!!'  He then finally looked to his outside pack ref, who must have given him the nod and looked at me, rolled his eyes, sort of shrugged and said 'uh... ok, minor then.'
So I skated my ass off to catch up to Babycakes, who had a half a lap lead on me since that whole fiasco started.  It felt like my whole bench was screaming at me to skate hard and I thought I might hurl my cookies all over the track.  I think this is what happened next: my amazing blocking team held up Babycakes at the back for enough time for me to catch up.  I think we then started scrambling through the pack together.  She was lead and called it off after passing two, I had only passed one.  Luckily for the Adeladies, there were two Dames in the box, which gave me two ghost points when I passed that one blocker, which meant ADRD 122, Dames 121. 
It was a bloody hard game and such an exciting finish!  The thing I love the most about it is this: people who don't know a lot about derby can easily get caught up in the jammers, to the point of thinking they make or break a game.  I don't care how good of a jammer you are, without amazing blockers in your team of five out there on the track, you have nothing.  If they didn't hold her up that jam, I would have never made it to the pack.  Boom.
So that was that.  Mad props to Kit Cat Krunch and Godjilla Sold Separately for winning player of the match, they worked so hard!
The afterparty was cool, but a bit annoying, as Newy has a curfew.  I don't mean that the police roam the streets shooting anyone who isn't in their bed by midnight.  I mean that if you are not inside a club by 1am, you can't get in.  Game over, go home.  We were inside the great Northern, who promptly kicked us out at about 1:45.  Thanks. 
So, we were all milling about outside when Skato ran up to me, grabbed my arm and wrenched me over to where they had found these two french Canadian guys.  They wanted me to speak French (even though Letta can speak it fine and they spoke English).  The guys were super nice and took us back to their place, where they had beer, wine and clean undies in the dryer which Mims and Skato then wore as hats:

The first time I went to the toilet, I used the tap to wash my hands - it looked like this:
I grabbed the handle bit and pulled.  The wrong way.  It snapped off.  I made a noise like 'LLLLLLLL' and tried to put it back on.  It was a gonner.  So I hid it.  Later that night, I used the hand towel to dry my hands and knocked a tea light candle into the bowl.  Winner.
After a while, we decided to leave.  Lashez tried to steal a wicker vase as big as herself to no avail.  We returned to the Backpackers and I was taken into a room where some people had made a fort.  The lights went out and I stumbled into it, flailing and knocking it down.  I thought it was time for a cab, so I called one, and made him stop so I could go into a 24 hour coles and buy pepperoni sausages.  When I got home, I realised I had been walking around for hours with the bottom of my pants rolled up like a goon.
The next day we had to catch the train back to Sydney.  I think I injured my abs from laughing.  Letta nursed us all on her lap for a cuddle (called 'shush-a-go'), we re-enacted the scene from Dirty Dancing where Johnny lifts baby in the dance (Skato was Baby and we were all Johnny) and Mims and Skato performed a play about an underwater half eel-half woman.
The weekend was a screaming success, but not just because of the game.  We all had a wicked time.  I got closer to girls from the other teams in my league, I got to see my sister and her partner for the first time in over a year, and I figured out just how taps work.
So, at the risk of rushing the end to this, I'm ending it here.  It's long enough.  Thank you for your time.
Remember: Only a half man-half eel will match up perfectly with a half woman-half eel.
Until next time,
P.S. How much of a creep do I look like here?