Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kia Ora and other stuff...

Wow. What a weekend.
Ok, so I'll be honest. I've never been to NZ before, and I am actually pretty ignorant about that country in general. I guess I have always just been so hooked up on destinations further away, that I never bothered to look close to home. I thought it would be just like here. Wrong.
I was initially worried about getting there with all the airport bullshit going on. I really hate to follow the news, so I'm not gunna pretend I know loads about it. I'm just gunna shoot my mouth off instead. People so worried about money that they will use the power they have to fuck with people's lives... It's dumb. Rant over, cos it actually didn't affect me and I got there fine. Owing to the fact that I am essentially a fool (please say in a QLD accent) I didn't even print out the itinerary for the trip and when I arrived at Auckland realised that I had little to no idea who was coming next, and when. I was not too fazed, as I was hungry, so I went to Maccas to get a couple of meat patties, cos they are gluten free.
'Hi, can I please have two cheeseburger meat patties, just the patties, and a medium chips?'
'So, you want just the bun, cheese and meat?'
'Umm, no... No bun, no cheese (cos that would be just a CHEESBURGER), just the meat.'
'...just the meat...'
'just the meat.'
She turns around and tells the chick making the food, who then shouts 'ARE YOU SERIOUS?'
Yes. I am serious, as serious as having IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME SO JUST GIVE ME THE FUCKING PATTIES! Please.
Anyhow, they were actually really tasty so I was sufficiently placated.
So, I sat around for an hour or so before I spotted Juju and her beau, then I felt a little better, as they had the details I didn't. Long story short, we got to the accomodation and headed out to dinner. We ate in a place that was made of an old stable. It was super cool, full of hipster charm and I ate veggies (cos, only negative thing to report, hardly anyone knew about gluten free stuff and I rarely noticed an option on a menu), but they were delushus (see what I did there?).
From there we went for a walk and that's when I first noticed how beautiful the city is. In the main st (Queen st?) there is a ridonkulously huge New Zealand flag hanging over the street. I think Kiwis are super patriotic which is a really cool vibe and also they seem to embrace their Maori heritage way more than Australia does (with Aboriginals, we don't have lots of Maoris).
I went to a supermarket with Bessy, Coco and Holga. Again I was surprised at the things in the country I was so sure would be no different from my own - they call shopping trolleys 'trundlers'. Trundlers. Like a robot. Knocked up another notch in my book. Bananas were LES THAN THREE DOLLARS A KILO. Another notch. They sell pork rind that freely advertises that only people with strong teeth should attempt to ingest them. Notch. Average gluten free section but I was still on a trundler high so I didn't mind.

Dinner, bed, sleep in. Some peeps were going to a market so I tagged along. Turns out the 'market' was a strip approximately 20m long of about three stalls, but I did find a sweet shirt there, so still a win. It was only $10, which is like $8 AU so, yeah, win. This shirt is for our upcoming gig, it is part of my costume changes, so you don't get to see it yet.
On the way to the markets, we passed a poster advertising our bout. We then stopped for photos, attracting the attention of several drunk men loitering outside a 24hr bar. At 11 in the morning. They then posed with us, which was cool. That poster was popular for the rest of the trip.
I then bought a new robut - behold, SpeedyTrundleTron:

He goes FAST. I took him to the bout as a calming influence. We consulted him several times when we got a little ratty.
Oh yeah, the bout.
So, the venue was pretty cool. It only had stands on one side of the track, but they had the same setup we do, with the announcer stage behind the penalty box, which is between the team benches. I like it like that. They also swapped benches half time, which I've never done in derby before, and I like that too, it's more fair I think.
The only things Ididn't like were the sticky floor and the raised track, it ripped up a but too easily, but that could have been because the people who laid it had no idea how that tape would work with that surface. Both things out of anyone's control, so meh.
We had a pretty dynamic warm up, I drew our agility ladder on the floor and the team got right into it - it's cool cos it gives everyone the freedom to warm up how they like. I then took the customary ten minutes to get my bloody tight skins on, grunting like Octomum bearing down for her litter the whole time.
We had a 45 min on track warm up, which went pretty well considering we were all sticking to the floor like snot to a finger. We knew the Pirate City Rollers were big hitters - we had been preparing for weeks, and then we cemented it by training as hard as we could. I felt my neck crack once.
Onto the bout. Sweet tune for the skate out thanks to Coco and the crowd (who were really cool actually - way nicer than some of the ruffians at the Newy bout, but to be fair I think they were from Sydney lol) clapped along, they were ace.
Play began and, well, let me just say that we were right about how hard they were gunna hit us. I haven't been hit that hard since TGSS, against SSRG. My first jam, in which I blocked, I came up against Skate The Muss, who LAID. ME. OUT. lemme just say something about Skate The Muss. I watched her play in TGSS and can remember thinking 'hard core. I wanna be just like her.' so, I was actually super pumped to skate against her and (like the weirdy I am) was stoked when she belted me. The fact that I didn't die bolstered me and I was motivated to skate harder.
PCR have some wickedly talented ladies playing for them - Muss, Terror Satana, Pieces of Hate, Pentakill, Perky Nah Nah, Fia Fasi Oe, Big Mack, TinkerBash to name a few. Heaps of the team also play for team NZ.
So, like I said, they came at us like a bull from a gate, and I think we definitely got a little rattled. We started to play ratty and get some time in the box. I'm not sure what changed it (possibly SpeedyTrundleTron) but somehow we pulled our heads in after maybe 5-10 mins and started to calm down, play the strategies we had practiced and things started to fall into place. We were able to get some high points jams, owing to some great bunnying and our super fit jammers, so we finished the half leading by 58, at 106 - 48.
At some point in that first half Pentakill was ejected, I think for an 'egregious low block', but I could be wrong.
Quick pee (and subsequent struggle with my skins again), and we were back on, but with a terrible start. If I recall correctly, we had two blockers in the box, our jammer in the box and one of the other blockers waiting for a seat there. This was a recurring theme for us in the second half, which could have almost led to our downfall, as PCR began to capitalise on this and claw their way back up the board, closing the gap. I gotta be honest, we really did struggle with penalties that second half, and it sucked, but we managed to hold onto and then boost our lead back to 59, to win the game with a score of 185-126.
I know this isn't a very descriptive account of the bout, but I just plain can't remember details. It's normal for me, and a curse. For an actual rundown of the bout, along with some hilarious banter from Those watching, go here.
Bus back to the accommodation for a quick deodorant application, then off to the after party. We needed to get dinner first. Quick pause for a phot shoot with the poster:

Though I was about to violate my insides with liquor, I didn't want to eat stuff that would make me sick, and since nobody there seems to know about gluten and all that jazz, I ate a packet of chips for dinner. This, coupled with the fact that I drank two bourbons, five Smirnoff blacks and several ciders led to me being somewhat drunk, somewhat quickly, and by 'somewhat', I mean 'very', and by 'very', I mean 'mammoth-daddywalrus-stoooopid drunk, almost instantly'.
At the bar, there was a WICKED band playing, Masters of Metal I think they were called. The front man was wearing a pink, one piece jumpsuit with a cut-out heart at the chest, exposing all his man pelt.

We danced. We moshed. He crowd surfed. Then SparKill (talented player for PCR having a year off) got up and played the keys to Final Countdown and we went crazy. See for yourself:

The only thing that could rival the coolness of the band was Kit Car's air guitar. She uses the air effects pedal even.

Note: all this time I am still wearing the painted-on skins, making toilet breaks not only wobbly but an arduous workout. I did meet some wicked awesome chicks there though, which took much of the focus from the pants struggle. If there was ever a time I truly wished for an adult diaper, it was then.
So, great after party, but the absolute highlight was that I scored myself a new derby wife. Let me begin by saying that this does not mean I love my other wives any less, they are just both far away from me. So. For the longest time I have been in awe of this player. Two years to be exact, since I started playing. She is just so derby cool. She has the focus of a robet, the stealth of a puma and the stone cold gaze of a King Cobra. Nothing ever seems to faze her and she is lethal on the track, making brilliant plays, swift decisions and dishing out big hits. She also jams fantastically too. She is a great all rounder, just like what I'm striving to be, and I've also grown really attached to playing with her. I would never have had the guts to propose though, so I was ecstatic when she did! My new derby wife is Coconut Rough, so from this moment on anyone that fucks with her will get bingo wing pinches from me like never before.
Ok. So the evening was going swimmingly, and we spilled out of the bar and on to better things, namely SparKill's place. Quick pause for a pic with the poster:

I don't think I have ever seen a cooler apartment. The door is on the street, between two places, maybe a cafe and something else. Owing to all the vodka and cider and the lack of foodstuffs, I cannot elaborate at this time, except to say that her windows opened directly out onto the roof above the shops and we spent the majority of the night out there, having meaningful conversations that I can't remember and heckling the passersby. Maybe it was just me that did the heckling. Things I can remember are:
- SparKill has a million pairs of shoes and Kit Car berated her for not looking after them properly,
- Pieces of Hate has a sister who is a really good Rugby player and coach,
- Skato can twist your arm back up painfully behind your back really quickly and make you squeal like a Nancy,
- SparKill has a giant sketching dummy thingy, see pic below,
- and when I am that drunk, I can't even play chopsticks on the piano, and forget about a duet of Heart and Soul.
At some point Hate's sister Jaxs came back and somehow forced me to leave with her and go to a night club. It was closed. I think we may have been trying to get into another when dawn happened and we started to see people that were up and about for a marathon that was on that morning. It was pitiful. We then went to Wendy's for a burger. Insert the same 'burger with no bun please' speech here, complete with the confusion about why on earth any human being would want to eat a burger without the bun. If I wasn't already enough of a douche, I then became that guy with a speech about the toilets. 
'where are your toilets please?'
'upstairs, but they are closed until 7.' (it was about 6 at this point)
'yes... But I need to use them now...'
'uhhh, Ill get my manager...'
*manager saunters over*
'I need to use the toilets please.'
'Theyre closed til 7.'
'yes, but you are required by law to provide them, so show me to them please.'
*stares me down, then shows me to the toilets*
I win.
After this, I ate my bunless burger, complete with the lugies that I'm sure would have been present and made my way home. I actually cannot believe I remembered the way in that state.  This is me on my journey home:


I woke up in the morning with my eye stripe still on and in my smelly singlet too. I evidently had the presence of mind to change into my trackies.
Krumbs woke me up and I ventured out with her, Skato and Holga to get food. I thought I was dying. I realised my new hat was gone, and the fretting about that took my mind off the fact that I was dead from alcohol consumption. I found out my hat was at SparKill's place and rejoiced, then felt dizzy from the rejoicing.
Later that night, we went to a place called Burger Fuel. It is a freaking sweet burger joint that offers gluten free burgers!! I actually became so excited about the impending burger that I forgot to order it gluten free. Luckily I remembered just in the nick of time and they changed my order. We all ate in the square as the sun was setting and watched people doing all different stuff. There were some girls doing the Haka, some guys using freeline skates and a funny little security guard wearing a day-glo vest meant for a bigger man, who alternated between carrying a skateboard and riding it with the stance of a startled rabbit.
On our way back, Skato and I came across this little guy:

He is a butterfly without wings. We named him La Mouche (here Skato is giving him a shush-a-go), and had hours of fun with him, while we all sat around nursing our heads and reminiscing about our antics the previous night.  Allegedly, I was perched on a roof hurling advice at passers-by, and here is evidence to prove it:

I also learned that I gouged Skato's neck hole whilst trying to bring her down in a pressure point war.
A little sleep in, a little flight and I was home, miraculously unaffected by the airline strikes. A very successful weekend by all accounts - not just the bout, but all the new mates I made and the fact that I fell in love with ann amazing country and WILL be back.
My favourite comment from the weekend was when Hitty came into my room, looked at my puffers and said 'you know, natural selection dictates that you should probably be dead.' lol I love my team!

Just before I leave, on another note - I have been fundraising for my upcoming trip to Toronto for the Roller Derby World Cup. I made myself a Pozible project, which is basically a community funded sorta thing. I have received an overwhelming response, with friends, family and even people I don't know pledging to help me get there, it's amazing. So, I just wanna give a shout out to the following people for helping me to get there and represent not only Australia but Adelaide too:
Rhiannon Burner, Wayne Hall, Kathy Lee, Melanie Hocking, Lana Vickridge-Smith, Kylie Cardell, Melanie Jones, Susan Hall, Leisa Gosling, Shannon Hall, Sarah Mooney, Tim Talbot, Cat Lynch, Courtney Ball, James Hopkins, Suzy Pow, Olivia O'Poconower, Luke Boyle, Pistola Balboa, Samantha Burgess, Christina Gonzales and the lovely Lula Belle.
In addition to this, the Little Adelaide Rollers have jumped on board from day dot and done SO MUCH for me, they are just amazing. If you live in Adelaide and have a kid aged 8 to 17 who wants to play roller derby, get onto LAR, they're on facebook and here.
If you live in Adelaide and want to help out combined with a good time, come to our fundraising gig, facebook invite here. I sing in 50 Cycle Hum and will be having some interesting costume changes on the night, in fact I have decided that if my Pozible reaches $1000, I will do one of our sets in a lycra onesy.
Alright, that is about it! Thanks for watching and stay cool San Diego.