Thursday, June 19, 2008

Incommunicado

My blistering rate of postage is going to experience a bit of a slowdown for the next two weeks or so. I_tried and I are doing a self-supported bike-camping trip through the Adirondacks. It's a blast! Also, very rainy. I'm in Lake Placid (home of the Miracle On Ice!) at a public library, but I doubt I'll have much Internet access for the next few days (which is going to be hell when I have to sort through my emails: I had ~100 for the last two days alone).

We're having a great time so far, though. Yesterday: 60 miles, raining the whole way, with 3500 feet of elevation gain. Wish you were here.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Chicks on skates

I still don't think I know exactly how the scoring works. Every time J and I thought we had it figured out, the round would end, and we'd be off by a couple points. Oh, sometimes we got it right. But not usually. "No, no -- that point doesn't count because the blocker skated past the jammer before time ran out!" "Do they get a penalty for riding their bike off the track? 'Cause I think she just knocked over the referee. Or maybe that gives them an extra point?"

Which is to say, I understand the rules of Roller Derby just about as well as I do any other sport: not at all. But I was utterly determined to not let that (and the $5 I had to pay for a can of Tekate!) get in the way of my enjoyment. So I grabbed myself a beer and a cookie, sat up on the railing, and did my best to follow along.

And really, how could I not enjoy an event that featured hot chicks on roller skates beating each other up, with pseudonyms like Kelly Kaboom, Crystal Deth, Judy Gloom, and Laura Palm-Her (points if you catch the reference)? Or a team whose mascot is the cookie monster? Where the sole objective of the game is to skate past the other team as they fling themselves into your way and try to knock you to the ground? Everything I could possibly want in live competition was there -- except chainsaws. Lumbersports still has a lock on that particular aspect. I've yet to attend a live sporting event that's nearly this much fun to watch. Although I suppose my only points of comparison at this point are American football and baseball, so competition's not that strong at this point.

Beyond the beautiful brutality on the rink, the spectacle on the sidelines was fantastic. Sure, American football has its halftime show, basketball its slam-dunk contests, baseball its... what the hell does baseball have, actually? But roller derby -- roller derby has ushers in fishnets and spiked collars, tattooed and pierced to the nines. Players committing too many fouls ushered off the field to Rage Against The Machine. A flag-wagging gorrilla on roller-skates setting up a marriage proposal in the audience.

And that's a beautiful, beautiful thing. I was going to go on a little bit here about how it takes talent to orchestrate a mood -- an ambiance, if you will -- and how important the attention to detail (gritty character bios on the website, disco ball shaped like a rollerskate) is for the overall effect. But then I realized blah, blah, blah, who cares? Dammit, there was a gorrilla on roller-skates! Waving a flag! Proposing marriage! Just put that image in your head for a little bit. Just for a second or two.

OK, done.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Developments

So it occurs to me that there are some random details in my life that I've been remiss in passing on to people. Details that a random reader of my blog couldn't care less about (arguably, that encompasses my entire blog), but that my friends might be interested in.

Banal stuff: I've (almost) made it through my first year back in school. It's been a good year; I'm almost used to being a student again, although that took a surprisingly long time to adapt to. Classes have been hit and miss: some really interesting, challenging ones and some really boring, challenging ones. I've also (finally!) started working on a research project; my adviser tries not to just hand off projects on to his students, so finding something on my own has been a bit of a challenge. I'm pretty happy with that, though. So yeah, overall, I feel like I made the right choice in coming back to school.

I've developed a fledgling social group. Nowhere near as extensive or deep as the groups I've had in the past, but it's definitely a start. As you may have gathered from my recent posts, I've done a pretty good job at keeping my life full and busy (next post: Roller Derby!) -- thankfully, LA makes that easy.

But that's all stuff you could have intuited; or, at least, it's not surprising. On to the bigger news. There's one piece of news, of course, that a few of you have learned about recently -- a pretty big development in my life. So, for obvious reasons, I've been on a bit of a hiatus recently; I've been trying to steer clear of commitment for a bit, and I wanted to enjoy taking a break for a while. Last time was good -- really good -- and I wanted to make sure that the next time I didn't make a mistake, didn't rush back into things before I was ready. It seemed best to try and make an intentional effort to avoid a rush decision, so that when I made my choice to jump back into the fray, I knew I was doing the right thing and (hopefully) wouldn't have any regrets. Those first couple months in LA were good -- steering away from commitment was definitely the right thing to do. And after a couple months of thinking about it, I decided I really was ready to start things up again.

So I got a new piercing.



(It's the bar across the top of my left ear -- sorry it doesn't stand out -- my friend K has my good camera at the moment, so you have to make do with the crappy cell-phone pic).

Oh, and also, I have a new girlfriend. Friends, meet L. L, friends. Play nice.



Summer plans that may be of interest to some. Those of you who read K's blog should know that the two of us are soon to be taking a two-week bike trip in the Adirondacks. Should be fun! I've spent far too much money on gear for the event, so it damn well better work out.

Also in the works. If you will be somewhere along the I5 corridor near the end of July/beginning of August, there's a good chance I'll be paying you a visit. L and I are making a road-trip up to Seattle, and we'll be wanting to see friends on the way. I don't know the exact schedule yet, so no promises as to how much of me you'll get to see. But hey, some is better than none, right? I'll keep y'all posted.

And that's that. Back to the grind. Love to all of you, and keep the dream alive!