A New Chapter

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Through this door, your life’s about to change.

From the moment I heard the thunder of skates, derby had me. Immediately, I saw myself bursting through a paper banner to deafening roars from the crowd, making the rounds to Sparks Are Gonna Fly, skating backwards while swallowing fire (just kidding. That’s dangerous. Maybe). It wasn’t “I want to do this;” it was “I have to do this.”

I was volunteering at the first bout of the season to learn more about the sport, meet some skaters, ask questions and generally see if it was something I actually wanted to do. I’ve never  I wasn’t expecting the contact rush of adrenaline or the welcoming community of badass women who didn’t treat me as an outsider even as I asked a thousand questions- sometimes more than once- and then still not-so-stealthily googled gestures or terms as they happened.

I made a very patient friend that night. She invited me to a meet & greet the following Friday, which I almost didn’t go to because social anxiety. But I recruited a pal and got myself settled with a beer and met a few other skaters. The next day I walked into Five Stride and got outfitted with a rookie package before going to the warehouse to watch the level 3 skaters scrimmage (and a lot more googling).

To say I’m Fresh Meat feels a bit far too advanced. I am raw- not even butchered- meat. It’s safer to assume I’ve never been on skates than to try to remember when I last strapped a pair to my feet, but I imagined it would feel the same as it does when I’m in the water- part of it, made to move in it. Not so. As OMG WTF helped me up in my skates and I realized I could not let go of her hands, my fire skating carney/derby dreams dissolved into visions of myself landing on my face in the ashes.

I am not a patient person. If I am not immediately good at something, I get frustrated and give up. It’s why I can’t play an instrument more advanced than a kazoo. As I stood there, wobbling to find my center, I understood this about myself. But roller derby doesn’t feel like despondent piano lessons or the cheap Fender bass my mom dusted off and sold at a yard sale years ago.

Roller derby feels like fire in my chest. Even if my feet don’t know it yet. I can barely imagine doing some of the footwork I’ve seen the advanced girls do. Hell, I can’t imagine propelling myself forward on skates without a slightly warped floor and gravity.

The first question I’ve been getting from everyone is “aren’t you afraid to fall?” No. Falling is inevitable. I know I’ll fall. A lot. I’m afraid I’m going to quit. So I’m going to document this journey from the very beginning because I am in LOVE with this thing I can not yet do. In 11 weeks when I can (hopefully) make it around the track and stop without running into walls, I want to remember that moment in the skate shop when I couldn’t even stand on wheels by myself. And I want to apply that memory to every frustration I have in the next round of Basic Training. And the next. And tryouts. And one day, with a team of supportive and fierce ladies who all started out wobbling.

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Friday Five- Sloths from Space!

Why do short weeks feel so long? I was off Monday so I spent the day absorbed in various space adventures and writing poems about space. Seems like from the moment Bowie died there’s been a lot of cosmic energy tingling my fingertips and everything I write reaches the galaxies. Among the stars- good place to be.

The five things I’m loving this week include sloths and space. If anyone can create a game about sloths in space, I will get on board as writer, editor and big idea-er! Can we make this happen?

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via Not From Caves

1. Sloth art! A coworker snapped a ceramic sloth at a coffee shop in Brooklyn and I waiting for her at her desk with a litany of questions. After the slothterrogation, she wisely returned to the coffee shop and picked up a card for me. That’s the story of how I discovered the whimsical slothtastic art of Not From Caves.

2.Out There Somewhere. This game is so wonderfully challenging and the music reminds me of a fist-pumping-Taio-Cruz-at-the-Jersey-Shore era jam. It’s short, but worth a play. My goal is to get really good at it and do speedruns. Maybe.

3. FIGHT MILK! Fight like a crow. Made fresh by bodyguards (and Charlie).

I just watched It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in its entirety and cannot recommend it enough. I rarely love a whole show, but these characters are such engaging, awful people and so representative of Philly I’m always cracking up. Every ep is gold.

4. Speaking of Philly, I’m going back for my 2nd year of running the Hot Chocolate 15k (that’s 9.6 miles)! I’m raising funds for charity here (note they don’t take AmEx or Paypal). Throw a few bucks in to help Ronald McDonald House Charities and keep families with sick children focused on the health of their kids. Please donate if you can and share the link either way!

5. The Deadly Tower of Monsters. As a fan of the 70’s era B film aesthetic, I’ve been waiting for this game. And it’s on sale! Star in your own Sci-Fi cult classic and battle REAL monsters that TOTALLY don’t have zippers on their backs. The “director’s commentary” makes a solid addition. Hilarious! Good writing! (Have I mentioned my dream of writing a game? Any artists/devs/musicians out there? I’ve already got a few solid story and character concepts. Just saying.)

Friday Five: Ch-ch-ch-changes

Nothing gets my hips swaying like a melancholy baritone. Saxophones immediately transport me to darkened alleyways glimmering with post-rain mystery. Cellos sound like the comfort and anxious energy of a small dark room. With my body rocking like a perpetual pendulum this week, here are five things I’m loving!

1. You Bred Raptors? I was introduced to a friend of a friend’s band this week who play experimental instrumentals under a name referencing Jurassic Park (albums include Grant, Hammond, Lex & Tim and Muldoon!). Obviously, I was way down for this. It’s three dudes who play a monster 8-string bass, drums and cello. They wear masks which change with each song. A lot of their stuff sounds like scores for unwritten cult films or video games. I highly recommend you check out them out!

2. I just bought this badass bodysuit and cannot wait to rock the hell out it.

3. Blackstar- Happy Birthday, David Bowie! Bowie hath gifted us with a new album today and I’m pretty much diggin’ it. I was lucky enough to score tickets to Lazarus, a stage production Bowie co-wrote inspired by The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis, so I got to hear Michael C. Hall sing some of these new songs with incredible Bowiesque precision a couple weeks ago. It was marvelous. Just a bloody brilliant piece of theater. Check out Blackstar, get tickets to Lazarus if you can and come to Bowie’s birthday party tonight at Rough Trade NYC.

4. Pocket Mortys. LOOK, guys. LOOK AT ALL THE MORTYS.
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I’ve never gotten excited over a mobile game before and most of me still wishes this could be on steam or 3DS or ANY platform other than mobile… BUT this combines a game style I love with a show a adore so I’m going to allow it. Out next week on iOS and Android.

5. I got the criffiest crif dog ever.

Lil Ma and cheesy tots from Crif Dogs

Lil Ma and cheesy tots by Crif Dogs

Shut up. I go to the gym 5 days a week so I can eat bacon wrapped hot dogs smothered in peanut butter and topped with potato chips with a big ol’ side of cheesy tots. Some things are just worth it, guys.

Games IRL

Lately I’ve had this strange feeling of being watched on my way to pick up a bagel. Always trust your intuition! This little guy, a mosaic installment by an anonymous French street artist who goes by Invader, has been lurking on the corner of 9th and A of late.

Actually, there are a handful of Space Invaders and other colorful pixelated characters popping up around the East Village and LES. It makes for a really fun photo hunt that marries my love of video games and art. Gotta find ’em all!

Follow me on Instagram for more #GamesIRL and tag your own real life game finds!

Games IRL

During some mindful meandering over the weekend, I stumbled upon The Evolution Store window in Soho. Two-headed taxidermied creatures, fossilized beast bits, glittering geodes and strange sea life jarred in formaldehyde pulled me away from the decadent Yuletide displays. After all, nothing screams “Christmas” to a carney more than a shop full of curiosities.

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How many can you identify?

Upon facing this wall of framed insects behind the counter I immediately felt like I was standing in the Trivoli Museum of Arts, Science and History (TMASH) marveling over my complete collection of creepy crawlies.

Follow me on Instagram for more #GamesIRL and tag your own real life game finds!