Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
- Do not fire a RPG while standing in dry grass. While watching the resultant destruction you will be caught in the brushfire.
- After creating explosions - for example in a roadblock - wait before charging in to mop up. The heat will cook off ammunition crates. This is handy unless you are caught in the explosion, then it is not so handy.
- Far Cry 2 is one of the few games I have played where effective recon is handy during game play. You have the tools, use them.
- Remember, the night time is the right time...for destruction.
- Running over gazelles with a Jeep does not cause damage to your vehicle.
- Shooting zebras doesn't really do anything except waste ammo.
- As far as I can tell there are no crocodiles or hippos in the water so don't be afraid to splash around.
- Try to unlock as many of the safe houses as early as you can - some of them have pretty kick ass weapons laying around.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
- I was having a dream about dumplings. Yes, I dream about food sometimes. No, they are not sexy dreams. I was dreaming about the giant meat dumplings at Tai Shan. They are the size of steamed buns but have a dumpling wrapper. Plus they helped me survive a long stretch of the late 90s. So I was dreaming about the dumplings and then I dreaming about Jamaican Beef patties. Then it was a short jump to pastys or pasties.
Huh. Things you never knew. The standard recipe goes like this:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups ice water
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup diced rutabagas
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons monosodium glutamate
1 cube beef boullion
1/2 cup hot water
- Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut shortening. Make a well in the center of the mixture, and quickly stir in ice cold water. Form dough into a ball. Set aside.
- Dissolve the boullion cube in the hot water. Combine uncooked vegetables, uncooked meats, salt, pepper, monosodium glutamate, and boullion.
- Roll out pastry dough into 6"x8" rectangles. Place about 1 1/2 cups of filling in the center of each rectangle. Bring 6" sides together and seal. Cut a slit in the top of each pasty. Place on a dull, not black, baking pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The current Prince of Persia was kind of a fluke. I rented it because Far Cry II wasn't on the shelf and I wanted something different to play. Prince is challenging but not punishing platformer, with a fairly decent story, and some stunning art design. All in all a good game. If you're the kind of person who only picks up a controller once a week then you'll be glad to know that Prince is forgiving. Yes, there's acrobatic derring-do but the controls are pretty simple and if you miss your jump then you're automatically brought back to life at the last piece of solid ground your character was standing on.
I was, and still am, impressed by the graphics and art design. The game is cel-shaded but not. That doesn't make sense but Prince doesn't have that paint by numbers look that earlier cel-shaded games had. Sweeping vistas, etc, etc, etc. There are one or two moments of vertigo as you sprint across beams and walls. Pretty neat actually.
I also really dug the characters. The Prince - standard vagabond rogue - and Princess - scrappy, no nonsense whose brains are in her head and not in her tits - are both solid characters. The voice acting sold me. The Prince had just the right amount of smary self-confidence disguising a painful past. The Princess had just the right amount of scrappy yet slightly vunerable but not storybook useless - she actually has a couple of sarcastic lines about princess stereotypes, "Yeah, gee, I don't know what I would do if you weren't here. Probably curl up in a corner and cry."
Prince of Persia is pretty short - I think I finished it in about fourteen (?) hours. I don't know if that's worth $60 but it's definitely worth renting or picking up for someone who takes their time with games.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Texican Lasagna. Tex-Mex is all well and good but I think Texican is a more accurate term. Lasagna because:
- 1lb ground chuck - use the cheap shit, yeah it's fattier but I'll tell you a trick in a second.
- 1/2 lb of chorizo - beef.
- 2 cups diced onions - any color is fine, decide what flavour you want yourself.
- A shit-ton of garlic - sliced it, dice it, mince it, whatever.
- 1 Red pepper - diced
- 1 Green pepper - diced
- 2 cups of corn - I use frozen, sue me.
- A can of Rotel - We always have the Mexican style in the cupboard. It has lime juice. If you don't have Rotel in your region then I guess you could use something from the "Ethnic" aisle. Buy the can of tomatoes with the least amount of English on it.
- A 20-30 pack of corn tortillas. Note: Don't use flour. They'll turn to mushy ick.
- A punch of my spice mix. A punch is two or three pinches.
- A can of El Pato. Use the stuff in the yellow can if you are a'feared of the spicy.
- Cheese fool. I use big bags of shredded pepper jack and cheddar. I'm sure you could use queso fresco or y'know that Mexican version of mozzarella.
- A colander.
- A bowl the colander fits in.
- An oven.
Okay, after all the prep-work is done...
Here's a side note:
Do all of your prep work before you start cooking.
Yes, it's a pain in the ass. Yes, it takes time. Listen, what would you rather do? Attempt to dice vegetables while sauteeing and making sure you don't set fire to yourself? Do the prep work first. Plus it makes stir-frying much, much, much easier.
Also, open your canned goods after you do your prep work.
Start cooking up your onions and garlic. Drink and stir. Toss in the chorizo. Stir it all up - keep it moving. Please don't wander off and let this burn. When the garlic, onions, and chorizo (beef) are starting to smell all good add the ground chuck. Keep everything moving. Yes, it looks greasy and vaguely unnerving. Safety tip - do not read the ingredients of the chorizo. When the chuck and everything is cooking and looks right put the colander in the bowl that the colander fits in. Pour everything in the pan into the colander.
Return the pan to the stove top, add the canned goods, corn, and stuff. Start cooking all that. With the meat and what not - strain out the grease. Hey, neat - you just strained off all the grease with no fuss, no muss. Throw the meat'n'stuff into what's cooking in the pan. Stir. While this is getting combined get out a casserole pan.
Spray the casserole pan with oil or slop some Crisco on there. No stick. Place corn tortillas on the bottom of the pan to cover. Spoon meat'n'stuff onto the layer then put cheese on there. Another layer of tortillas, meat'n'stuff, cheese, etc etc... continue until the pan is full.
Yeah, yeah, yeah - preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
When the pan is full put the whole thing in the oven. Go smoke some cigarettes or watch a sitcom. This is one of those dishes that is done when it is done. Remember to let it cool before you slam your face in it.
There ya go kids. Texican Lazagnaz y'all.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
- The Sims/fantasy-land aspect. Apparently every business, home, building, shanty is for sale in the game so you can basically become some kind of real estate magnate. I love buying property in games and in Fable 2 once you purchase a residence you can rent it out. Then you can jack up the rent or do all kinds of stuff. There is also a lot of NPC interaction, build relationships, get married, have a family, and your actions make people react to you accordingly. Right now my character - my standard female default rogue - has people chasing her around with amorous intentions. Is this what happens in RL when you wear a corset?
- Humor is tough and humor in games is exceedingly difficult. More often than not humor in games falls flat. Fable 2 is pretty solid. Granted, some of it sounds like Monty Python...again...but for the most part it's a pretty funny game. Apparently NPCs love it when you kick chickens. As much as I do.
- I really like the MMORPG-lite CO-OP. If you don't understand what the hell that means then dig - you can play with your friends but not have to run around interacting with the entire world like in World of Warcraft. Also a second player can join in and it's not a big deal. The second player plays a henchman character. I played last night with Farley but the system was getting all glitched. The cool thing about the co-operative play is Amanda and I can actually play something at the same time.
- I like the pseudo-bizarro Victorian land the game takes place in. It's not steampunk - though I like steampunk just fine - but there's just a skewed Dickensian feel to the game. Plus there are guns.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
They get everything right: fresh jokes, great ensemble cast, actors committing 100% to their characters. This week's episode exemplified all of this.
And here's one little example of why I love "Big Bang Theory":
"The Lizard-Spock Expansion"
*photo stolen from the AV Club review.
Here's how it works: Scissors cuts paper. Paper covers rock. Rock crushes lizard. Lizard poisons Spock. Spock smashes scissors. Scissors decapitates lizard. Lizard eats paper. Paper disproves Spock. Spock vaporizes rock. And as it always has, rock crushes scissors.
Thank you, Sheldon, thank you.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
All in all it's pretty cool. Mainly a reorganization with a new coat of paint. The big draw is being able to stream/download movies from Netflix onto the XBOX. That's pretty sweet however:
- I need to have both an XBOX Live Gold membership and an active Netflix account. I suppose that makes sense but I was under the impression that if you had a XBOX Live account then you could download movies from Netflix for free. Stupid when I think about it now but at the time it made sense.
- The movies available for download are not necessarily the best movies or rather - movies anyone would really want to see - i.e. Brainscan.
Right now we're in the process of re-evaluating what services we need (i.e. Internet) versus what we don't (cable). I'm not sure if there will be a savings if we switch from cable to just Netflix. We shall see. If we do go with the XBOX/Netflix combo I will let you know how it works out.
By the by I downloaded The Strangers and should have a review up in a few days. Was going to watch it tonight but were going to the tattoo shop this evening - Amanda's getting more color done.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Yes. Yes I did.
Yes that is my skillet.
I might be one of the last of my friends to get a tattoo. The initial shock of getting ink hasn't worn off yet. For a long, long time I took pride in not having any tattoos. Hell, I've know Jews with more ink than me. For some reason though now was the time.
The design was something I came up with while doodling in Poli Sci. People are asking me what the meaning is. If you know me then you get the point.
For those of you who don't - cooking has basically changed my life. Changed my life for the better. Well, unless you count the fact that I have yet another aspect of life to argue and be uppity about. I love cooking. I love food. Now I love getting tattooed and thanks to my research I now have a love of Victorian cutlery.
"Did it hurt?"
Compared to what? The time I smashed my head - y'know that one time? The lung infection that nearly killed me? Self-mutilation? Falling out of a tree and landing on a stone wall? Getting sun poisoning? High school? Cutting a divot out of my thumb? Watching The Core? Cleaning up shit -no literally human scat - at Barnes & Noble?
Yes, getting a tattoo hurts. It's a fucking needle covered in ink getting jammed into your skin a bajillion times a second. Actually it doesn't really hurt that much. Maybe if I got my eyelids tattooed or my taint inked - that would really hurt.
The main problem is the blood and the pus that sprays everywhere. That and the midget who dances around you whacking you on the funny bone.
In all seriousness, getting my first tattoo was completely awesome. I strongly suggest not getting a Disney character...unless it's a Man's Ruin tattoo with Tweety Bird.
By the by I'm already planning my next tattoo.
If you're in Nacogdoches and planning on getting a tattoo then I strongly recommend Tat-2-Majik. Amanda's ink looks absolutely stunning and my tattoo looks totally wicked bitchin'. Plus the guys are Joe Strummer and Trojan Records fans. Cheers to ya guys.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In other news:
Fallout 3 is still chugging along however:
- My first piece of advice to new players is: if you want to get the most out of the game then avoid the skill that gives you more XP and the skill that gives you an automatic extra level. There is not really any point in picking up skills that only give you a few extra points in skills - i.e. Gun Nut only gives you 5 points in Small Arms and Explosives.
- I like the level cap - Level 20 - in Fallout 3 but gaining XP is absurdly easy on Normal Difficulty. Every computer hacked, lock picked, enemy killed, and side quest gives you XP that adds up very quickly.
- I've maxed out my levels and have hardly touched the main storyline. This makes completing quests much easier. They are still challenging but I'm not in mortal fear of getting blasted into little bits.
- In order to get your exploring/adventuring money's worth avoid the level 20 perk Explorer. It reveals all locations on the map. You still have to get there in one piece but some of the mystery is gone.
- Fallout 3 has a nasty habit of freezing. I don't know if there's a problem with my copy or with my ancient 360. Actually Fallout 3 freezes as much as Elder Scrolls: Oblivion did for what that's worth. Remember to save often and don't rely on the autosave file.
- Walter - resident of Megaton - has completely disappeared. Maybe he got a gig in the Republic of Dave but I seriously doubt it. I checked some of the forums and apparently Walter and some other characters have a nasty habit of phasing through the environment and dying or simply vanishing.
- The inhabitants of Little Lamplight are the current focus of my wrath - even more so than giant radscorpions. You'll find out.
On the upside:
- Yes, I have hit the level cap and have kick-ass armor and weapons and a hired goon - pictures pending - but wandering through the Wastes is still dangerous. Higher level critters are roaming around and the damned giant radscorpions show up in pairs - I loathe giant radscorpions but I am glad there aren't giant spiders...I might get too heebie jeebie out to play. I should have gotten the "does an extra 50% damage to insects" skill.
- I am still having a blast playing the game though I am glad I've eased back and playing less. It's an easy game to tear through - on Normal difficulty.
- The new bad guys are awesome. I will say no more about that.
- The main story - what I've played is pretty darn awesome and I actually regret some of the decisions I've made.
- Fallout 3 is the first RPG in a looooooooooooooooooooong time I am actually excited about playing through again. I've already started planning my next character. If I wasn't so far into the game time wise I'd start over. My new character is going to be a psychotic cannibal who likes melee attacks, long walks in the Wastes, enslaving the weak, and explosives.
- Oh and by the by: Dear Bethesda dudes. xoxoxo thank you for the rolling pin. It is the neatest.
Okay folks, time for me to get inked up or tatted or whatever it's called.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
- I ran across slavers yesterday out in the Wastes. Fortunately they kept their distance. I found the slaver main base and have had an offer to be paid for slaves but personally I don't like the idea unless it's raiders or slavers. My god, do I actually have scruples?
- During further investigation of the Wastes I found the Talon Mercenary HQ. These guys are a bunch of dicks who have had a contract out on me for quite some time. They have a tendency to show up at inopportune times. Pinche mercs.
- As much as I love Sergeant RL-13 he is not the best back up in a fire fight. I think he is best used as back-up/pack mule for searching the Wastes. I haven't been able to figure how to repair damage but I'm working on it.
- Not really a spoiler just a warning - if you're not well-armed or prepared AVOID OLNEY CITY. The place is crawling with critters called deathclaws. These nasty fuckers are some kind of horrible mutated version of something whose entire genetic code is made up of rage-o-hol. I shit you not. If you are going to go after these things I recommend blasting off their legs with grenades and land mines so they can't sprint and bound after you and then picking them apart at distance. I've heard the dart gun instantly cripples limbs but I don't have one yet.
- I heard a rumor about a kick ass weapon being at the base of a statue next to the entrance to the Tepid Sewers. Will investigate for more info.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
A piece of advice for starting - the ign.com beginner's guide is helpful. While some games favour well rounded, jack-of-all-trades characters it seems like Fallout 3 is a specialist based game. I really enjoy being able to have a character that has "useless" skills and still be rewarded for using them. In Elder Scrolls: Oblivion the main skill sets I chose - Speech and Alchemy - weren't particularly useful or helpful. I take that back - alchemy was useful for crafting some gnarly poisons. In Fallout 3 speech and a higher charisma can unlock dialogue threads and if used successfully award XP. I also chose the skill "Child at Heart" - unlocks dialogue options with NPC children - because I was hoping I could take care of a deceased NPC's kid. I thought about reloading the prior save to choose a different skill but I'm going to keep "Child at Heart". One kid gave me the combination to her Dad's safe. Kids say the darndest things.
I really enjoy the survival horror aspects of the game as well. Combat - depending on the critter - is pretty harrowing at times. Two pieces of advice:
- Learn to use the targetting system ASAP.
- Don't waste ammunition on insects. Use a melee weapon.
I also unlocked a house to use as a base of operations and am probably going to spend the next block of game time trying to get enough funding to furnish the place. It's just nice to have place to stash equipment I don't want to sell.
Other cool things about Fallout 3:
NPCs have different personalities and different voices. If you've played Oblivion for any length of time then you know how boring/annoying it became to hear the same three or four voice actors for every character.
Crap got to go to work. More ranting later.
Have a good weekend. Happy Halloween.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Yesterday we bought a binder for recipes and assorted kitchen mumbo jumbo. It has kittens on it. We also wanted meatball subs...not made from kittens. We were going to go to a local deli that has pretty solid subs - for Texas - but then I thought, "Why not make them myself?"
I wish I had taken some pictures of the meatball subs but alas there are none. Here's the general gist:
- Make meatballs. Personally I like to keep it fairly simple - meat, egg, breadcrumbs, kosher salt, pepper, paprika, diced onion, thyme, and a touch of the chiles. I prefer meatballs to be about the size of golf balls.
- A tomato sauce based around sauteed onions, garlic, roasted red peppers, chile, and fresh tomato. We used Newman's jarred sauce and a can of sauce to give it added sauciness.
- Bake meatballs. Construct sauce.
- Combine meatballs and sauce. Turn to low heat and prepare bread. I suggest getting a big ass loaf of Italian white bread. French bread is all well and good if you want to cut up your mouth and get shards of crust jammed into your gums. Heat oven to about 400 degrees. Have you made garlic bread before? No? Simple, butter the shit out of the bread (please remember to cut the bread open first) and liberally apply garlic powder or garlic paste if you have it. Toss this in the oven and cook just until the butter melts.
- So far so good? Here comes the hard part. Take the bread out of the oven. Spoon meatballs and sauce onto the bread. Put mozzarella (shredded) all over everything. I sprinkled Italian parsley on to the cheese as well but this is at your discretion. Put everything back in the oven. Wait until the cheese is melty and awesome - estimated 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow everything to cool. You will suffer horrible burns in your mouth if you try to eat something that came out of a 400 degree oven. Honest.
- Prepare to wage total war on sandwich. I recommend putting on feeding pants or not wearing pants at all. Focus chi. You will not fear. Fear is the mind killer.
- Unhinge jaw. Commence feeding.
All jesting aside this is a absurdly cheap, easy meal to make and if you make a big batch of meatballs and sauce you can feed on it for awhile. While eating leftovers today I began thinking of other types of meatballs I could make. Let me know if you have any favorites.
Wait. So...hmmm...I could see Jude Law as Holmes and Ray Winstone as Watson but...
Oh yeah, hey Jude Law - Shia wants his 'stache back.
Fool's Gold is not a bad movie - a la Six Days Seven Nights - when the chips are down. Senor "No shirt" Matthew McConaughey doesn't wear a shirt or shoes for most of the movie. You know something? If I was built like him I wouldn't wear a shirt either so there. Kate Hudson is adorable and pretty scrappy - she hits a guy in the crotch with a shovel. This is one of those movies where the cast is just having fun. Shit, hanging out in the Caribbean on yachts and drinking and diving and generally yukking it up? Sign me up.
It really is a lot better than it has any right to be though I wish there were sharks. Into the Blue had sharks and Jessica Alba. Oh yeah and Kate Hudson hits a guy in the crotch with a shovel.
I don't want to say that Cold Creek Manor was terrible but y'know what? It wasn't even bad enough to be terrible. Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas, Stormy Monday) knows how to make a movie look pretty and get halfway decent performances out of his actors. Dennis Quaid is an actor I like and I don't think he gets a fair shake most of the time. Sharon Stone, meh, I like her in Casino. Stephen Dorff kind of rules. Juliette Lewis is an actress I wish Shia LaBeef would roll his SUV over. On the upside - and I do not support, condone, or advise domestic violence - Stephen Dorff straight up decks Juliette Lewis. Dennis Quaid decks Sharon Stone but accidentally and for a tension relieving laugh. Wow...that sounds terrible.
The whole premise is Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone are New Yorkers who move their family to Upstate and have a terrible time with the locals (Dorff and Lewis). There's some...I dunno...bullshit about slaughterhouses and the "Devil's Throat" and "Hammerhand" and murder and is it a ghost story? is it a thriller? is it a mystery? is anything going to happen? by the time anything happens am I going to care? when will it end? will stephen dorff fall through the window foreshadowed in the beginning of the movie? is there more popcorn? am I really hungry or just bored hungry?
- As sick as it sounds - it's nice to be back in Silent Hill. The place still looks like an ashen wasteland. When the claxons ring I still get a chill knowing that the whole place is going to become an industrial nightmare within moments.
- The monster design is potentially creepier than any of the Silent Hill series. Yes, your favorites are back but the bosses are turned up to eleven. I think I said, "Oh, you have got to be fucking kidding me." when I confronted the third boss. That was one of the better boss fights I've played in a long time.
- Boss fights. I can't remember the last time I had a good solid boss fight outside of a RPG. While the fights in SH:H aren't particularly difficult they definitely have the, "What the Hell am I supposed to do now?" factor.
- Industrial hell looks awesome on the next-gen system. Double Helix Games went kind of beserk designing the Hell levels, cheers to you guys.
- Welcome to Silent Hill where the air is filled with grey dust, horrible beasties want to make your insides on the outside, and the camera control stills sucks. While yes it is a bit better - the right analog controls the camera like any other game of its ilk - the camera moves like a GTA VC yacht. I also had trouble with the pitch - with or without an inverted Y-axis. For some reason the camera work was slow and awkward while moving around and trying to survey the environment but was convulsive during combat.
- Combat. Dear anyone who makes a Silent Hill game, every game in the series has had crappy combat control. You should know this. If you know this then why does it still suck? There were moments when I ducked or dodged correctly and either I was hit or not. In SH:H the protagonist is a soldier - hence Homecoming - so you'd think he would've received some military training. Maybe it was it was the Special Olympics Brigade. I eventually just said the hell with it and ran past monsters and saved ammunition for boss fights.
- Level design. Perhaps it's because this is the fifth time I've been to Silent Hill but I got bored after one night of running through the same halls and corridors trying to find a door that actually opens and isn't locked or jammed.
- My number one complaint - even if it's number four on here - Silent Hill: Homecoming your puzzles are terrible. I realize that a majority of people in this world have a hard time walking and chewing gum at the same time but come on...seriously? Just because shifting around some tiles to make a picture might tax the minds of mouth breathers every where doesn't mean you have to dumb down the game. Why didn't you design a dual difficulty like in the old Silent Hill title (2 or 3 I can't remember now)? You have one difficulty for monsters and one for puzzles. As it stands Professor Layton wouldn't even wipe his nose with these "puzzles".
When all is said and done and all bitching aside - it's a Silent Hill title and it's October. I wanted something scary/creepy to play and SH:H worked out just fine to fill the slot. Plus I needed something to distract me from the waiting for Fallout 3.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Maybe it's bein' a Yankee - borderline New Englander that is - but a lot of people I know don't get the joke. Alice's Restaurant is the perfect example of Yankee dry wit. You laugh until you realize the joke and realize that it ain't funny at all, it's just honest.
When all is said and done I gotta say that I'm proud of being a member of the "Group W Bench".
Friday, October 10, 2008
Josh Brolin = awesome.
Josh Brolin as Jonah Hex = is anything allowed to be that awesome?
I really dig Jonah Hex but then again I'm a sucker for Weird Westerns. More as news comes out.
Smug self satisfaction: I posted about this Jonah Hex movie last August.
Looks like Warner Brothers is going to be starting a new part. As long as it's not on the Sci-Fi Channel it should be pretty awesome.
Otherwise classes are going well. American History is trucking along - hopefully we'll get past the American Revolution soon. I've never been a big fan of the Founding Fathers and birth of our Nation, etc., etc., etc., I've never really had much interest in it. I think my interests lay more along the lines of the Age of Exploration and misc. military history but we'll see where my studies take me.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
While living in Austin, Texas during the early aughts I saw ads in the Austin Chronicle for women’s roller derby. I had some vague memories rattling around of watching derby on UHF while growing up – primarily women on roller skates in hot pants clothes-lining one another. I shrugged off the idea of going to check it out, figuring that it was some kind of Austin hipster flash in the pan. Over time a number of friends told me I had to attend a bout, “Dude! It’s so awesome! Hot chicks on skates beat the shit out of one another! Dude, it rules!” What could I say? That kind of eloquence appealed to the baser instincts of my nature. A group of us went and sucked down Lone Star and “WOO’d!” enthusiastically. Afterwards we all agreed that an evening attending the roller derby “kicked ass”. That was the extent of my experience with the sport until 2008.
My burgeoning interest in modern feminism led me to wonder, “What kind of women join roller derby?” Are the participants escapees from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!? I began my investigation of women’s roller derby with skewed misconceptions, a questionnaire, and complete ignorance of the sport. As responses came rolling in from across the United States I quickly learned the truth about the derby subculture. My assumptions about the game and the women involved were wrong. Women’s roller derby is a serious sport, not some tramped up skate party. The theatrics I grew up watching were a thing of the past. There is not a typical woman who becomes a “derby girl”. Involvement is not a passing fancy or whim – these women give one hundred percent. They often pay for their own equipment, training, and more for the love of the game. Respondents also spoke ardently about the camaraderie surrounding roller derby.
My first order of business was to develop an understanding of roller derby’s fundamental rules. Chica Loca provided an excellent synopsis:
Basically, there are two teams of five chicks on the track during each two minute jam. Each team has one scoring position called a jammer, one pivot, and three blockers. The pivots and blockers form what we call a pack. The pack starts out twenty feet ahead of the jammers and start sprinting at the first whistle blast. The jammers start sprinting a few seconds later, at the second whistle blast. The jammers have to break through the pack and skate another lap before they start scoring points. On a jammer’s second and future trips through, she gets a point for every opponent she passes. The blockers and pivots try to stop the opposing jammer from getting through, while assisting their own jammer.1
This makes for a fast and furious game that takes practice to be able to follow, let alone participate. Derby moves faster than any other sport I’ve watched and is far more exhilarating. “This is a sport of skill [and] strategy where you’re playing offense and defense at the same time.”2 The amount of training and athletic ability required is astounding and derby is a full contact sport. One woman suffered a knee injury that ended her derby career and still affects her today. Broken bones – wrists, ankles, and ribs – are frighteningly common. Their equipment consists of helmets, pads, skates, and attitude.
With a hard knock sport like roller derby player stereotypes abound: “it’s just a bunch of women in short skirts beating each other up”3, heavily tattooed women as likely to punch you as kiss you, amazons built like brick outhouses, lot lizards, rockabilly barmaids, juvenile delinquents, hair pulling lesbians, and assorted good girls gone bad. Derby girls adopt personas that play off these stereotypes with noms de guerre like: Seoul Crusher, Starr Doom, Texas Chainsaw Sassacre, Chica Loca, Scrappy Do, and Madame Furie. How and why they choose these personas will be a topic to explore at a later time. The women I interviewed haven’t leapt off some Grindhouse screen. Their backgrounds run the gamut: business women, teachers, blue collar workers, waitresses, librarians, housewives, mothers, and more. There are just as many reasons why they joined derby. Some had seen the A&E reality television show Roller Girls and been inspired. Some felt it was “a cool, edgy thing to do”4. Others joined simply because they wanted to, because they wanted to challenge themselves. One woman responded, “It makes your butt go back to where it was before kids!”5
The strongest response I received was about the intense camaraderie among these women. What surprised me is that this did not take the form of the standard underground culture “us vs them” punk mentality. Derby certainly seems to have the punk aspect of members being outside societal norms and of finding a place to relax with a group of people they could be themselves around6. Seoul Crusher responded to the questionnaire:
I think as women sometimes we are hard on ourselves on what we think a woman should be from our views of magazines and television but when you are surrounded by so many different women who choose a crazy sport like roller derby it’s amazing how that can boost your self confidence in yourself and remind you that you are just like every other woman and no different. I’ve never been part of a team sport before roller derby so it’s neat how you feel like you belong almost immediately.7
When I asked the women if roller derby was a phase they said no. Many members of underground subcultures reach a point where the put away the trappings, wear long sleeves to cover tattoos, and blend into accepted culture. While not all the women were still involved with derby they maintain friendships with former teammates, follow league rankings, and bust out the skates more often than not. A common sentiment was, “I think I sweated and worked my ass off too hard to say this was a little hobby I picked up then quit.8
After interviewing these women I have much greater respect and appreciation for the sport and the women involved. The “you don’t have to be [any] kind of type to join roller derby”9 vibe is impressive. Scrappy Do – jammer and blocker – stands five feet tall. A number of the women were surprised by their athletic abilities once they joined. Some hadn’t put on skates since they were children and some had never donned skates before. They aren’t stereotypical athletes and certainly not average women. Unlike many other subcultures, women’s roller derby is open to anyone willing to give it their all.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
|From Blogger Pictures|
You can see the busted kitchen table behind George (left) & Moxie (right).
|From Blogger Pictures|
|From Blogger Pictures|
|From Blogger Pictures|
Moxie does this all the time. Yes it's cute but when it's 3am and you have a kitten sucking on your ear - noisily - it's not so cute in the least.
The kitchen table's legs were pretty much torn off in the move and I've been at a loss on how to fix it. While I was going to sleep the other night I had one of those, "Huh, I wonder if..."
Y'know - it's rare - but sometimes I do have moments of smartness. It worked and in all honesty I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner. The whole set up is astoundingly solid.
Amanda laughed because we are getting to the point that we can use books and bookcases as construction materials.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
a. Third wave/post-feminist, riot grrrl ideals?
b. The punk rock underground aspect?
c. I wanted to?
2) What was your background before you joined?
3) When did you join?
a. What position are/were you in?
4) Did you have any preconceptions about Roller Derby before you joined? What were they?
5) What are the stereotypes surrounding Roller Derby?
6) What were peoples’ reactions when you joined the League?
7) What was your alter-ego/nom de guerre?
8) How did you choose your alter-ego?
a. Was it always there – waiting to be let out?
9) How did your personality change after joining the League?
a. Did your alter-ego start appearing in your day-to-day life?
b. Did you leave it at the track?
10) How long have you been in Roller Derby?
11) Is Roller Derby just a “phase” for you? Why or why not?
In the midst of all these questions did I forget something? Is there a fundamental aspect I am missing? Would you like to add anything?
Thank you for your responses - keep 'em coming - and your continued helpful comments and suggestions.
Friday, September 26, 2008
So now when you take a look at HYR please drop a line - just click the box and type. It's a pretty neat program actually. It allows you to basically put all of your chat/IM/social networks into one...uh...thing. Widget? Cockamamie folderoll?
Long and short drop me or anyone else who is on the site a line. The future is now - more or less.
So if you or any one you know is a current or former member of a Roller Derby league please -avec sugar on top - contact/put them in contact with me. I really appreciate the help and look forward to hearing from you or someone else.
I also have a questionnaire to fill out for documentation purposes. If you're interested I can send that to you. If there are any questions/issues/problems with me being ignorant - in regards to the questionnaire - tell me and I will fix them.
If you have any questions or need clarification please let me know.
p.s. I am under a deadline of next Friday so a prompt response would be neat-o.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
After looking at the Corn Refiners Association "Sweet Surprise" FAQ I am less of the opinion that these people are completely evil. That is a knee-jerk reaction to the ads I have seen on Food Network.
Part of my anger stems from the fact that these commercials have a thick patina of smug all over them. I appreciate the subtle humor of the two women at the kid's party. The snotty white lady tells the black lady that the red drink is something that the white lady would never give her kids. I do like the black lady basically telling the white lady to basically, "jog on". Then I wondered, "How come the black lady is giving her kids red drink? Why isn't the white lady pouring red drink down her children's throats?" But I digress...
The tone of these two commericals also just plain pisses me off. The condescending pro-high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) characters reminds me of a guidance counsellor or bible pusher, "Oh, you poor uninformed soul. You aren't able to make an informed choice in your life. Let's soft talk over your head until you are compliant." And remember kids, "It's fine in moderation." Bunch of dicks.
In one way these fuckers are right. We are uninformed. Most people jump on whatever band wagon that allows them to blame and point fingers at anyone except themselves. It's not the fact you're a shitty parent, it's the video games, and the ipods, and the HFCS.
I'm going to start looking into HFCS a lot more. Personally I believe that eating naturally is the way to go - buy local, grow what you can, cook your own food when you can, be aware of what you put in your mouth and your body. In practice it's a lot more difficult than that but I'm trying.
p.s. I've already written a pretty unhappy email to Food Network about having these commercials on their station. You might want to think about doing that yourself.
Last night I cleaned out my misc quest queue except for a quest to fight a dragon in case someone comes over and wants to see me fight a dra...
You're probably wondering why I am doing a TV review post, or you might not be, *shrug*. As many of you regular readers may know (or RL...
One of our favorite scream queens here at HYR, Jamie Lee Curtis. Still one hell of a good looking woman, must be all that activia s...
Achtung! Spoilers! The long and short? If it hadn't been an addition to the Alien mythos it still would have been a very well poli...
Blog Archive (s) It's like a Wayback Machine!
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- Thanks to Amanda for coining the term:
- I'll write more about this when I can remember wha...
- Far Cry 2 (2008) - more fun.
- Far Cry 2 (2008)
- Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008)
- Pastys/pasties/pastes/empanadas - part iii
- Pastys part ii - making dreams come true.
- A foray into the world of pastys. Part I.
- Prince of Persia (2008)
- Correction: random videos.
- Texican Lasagna
- Fable 2 (2008)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008) dir Louis Leterrier
- Tropic Thunder (2008) dir. Ben Stiller
- ► November (9)
- Fallout 3 continued initial impressions.
- Initial squeeing (aka enthusiastic) impressions of...
- Normally lolspeak makes want to gouge out my eyes ...
- Saint's Row 2 (2008)
- Apologies for the construction.
- Out of the pan and into the fryer.
- This is truly the sandwich of a warrior.
- Guy Ritchie directs Sherlock Holmes movie...
- Fool's Gold (2008) dir. Andy Tennant
- Cold Creek Manor (2003) dir Mike Figgis
- Silent Hill: Homecoming (2008) XBOX360 Double Heli...
- "With shovels and rakes and other implements of de...
- Josh Brolin to be Jonah Hex? Dude! Sweet!
- A new incarnation of "V" - effing sweet!
- Pinche mathematicos y Friday update.
- Roller Derby paper. Part 1(?)
- Yay cat pictures!
- What do I do with a broken kitchen table, a wire r...
- What's goin' on Schenectady?
- "Classic" HYR finds:
- Puzzle Quest: Galactrix site has trailers!
- LEGO Batman (XBOX360) - Final verdict.
- Roller Derby Questionnaire - newest draft. Deadli...
- XBOX Live offline today for overhaul.
- Miss Platinum - Chefa
- NEW! NOW! CHAT! WOW!
- ATTN: Current or former members of Roller Derby Le...
- LEGO Batman (XBOX360)
- I <3 OCP.
- And people wonder why our generation is so cynical...
- "It's fine in moderation." or You have got to be k...
- ▼ December (15)