28 February 2006

At the altar of the Rollergirl gods

Okay, so, rundown of last night’s Philly Rollergirls fresh meat tryouts:

We got there, realized we were a handful of people who didn’t already own skates, filled out a bunch of paperwork, which included the requisite “tell us about yourself” and “why do you want to be a rollergirl?” (I included ‘I’ve been hit nine times by cars, getting hit by girls doesn’t scare me. In fact, I look forward to it.’) and then went out and rolled around.

They had us skate five times around the track, looking for speed and style (I sucked ass, and was probably slow as all get out), skate between cones, slalom-style (I actually said, ‘Whee!” while doing it, which could either work in my favor or put me out of the running entirely), running start on the toe stops (essentially balancing on this little nubs of worn rubber at the end of your toes, defying gravity and the gods and making you look like a cross between a chicken and an epileptic sneaking around), and an in-person interview.

That part was particularly grueling as it was about this point the caffeine and wine combo I’d employed at home to simultaneously mellow me out and get me moving fast kicked in, causing me to talk far too fast, sweat profusely, act like I was still in third grade and twitch, although the latter bit I think I disguised by spinning around in circles until I almost threw up.

When we were done doing all those things they sent us away, with nothing more than the promise that the few selected (10 tops, and there were probably 50 people trying out) would be contacted at the end of the week.

For the rest of us, there’s the sorrow of knowing that we weren’t good enough. Yet.

I’m driving to Delaware as soon as I can find the time to buy my own pair of skates. And yes, I’m gonna put pom-poms on them, just like when I was 12!

26 February 2006

Tales of a Badass Rollergirl Wanna Be, Vol. 2

Okay, I’m just going to spit it out: tomorrow’s rollergirl tryouts.


It’s okay … it’s okay.

Cat and I have been skating like quad-crazed fiends, and I’ve got a blister the size of Texas on my right heel, and a sore ass from landing a few too many times after getting a bit too cocky re: my abilities. But, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and whatever’s in between, well, there’s ice and Advil.

Wish us luck…

Never mind the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame...

24 February 2006

Time to use our remaining choices: at the bank and voting booth

I don’t even know what to say. What is there to say in response to the ban on abortion signed into law today in South Dakota?

Words have made little difference to those who do not even consider the procedure an option for women who have been raped, or are carrying a relative’s child.


There’s something more powerful than words here in ’Murka, and although I too tend to picture a shotgun as I write that, I’m speaking of the single most powerful thing to the genteel citizenry and powerful white men controlling this country: Money.

I’m putting it where my mouth is, and I’d like to urge everyone else to do the same, because, let’s face it, abortion sucks, it’s the last thing anyone wants to happen. But it does. Period. No hearts and flowers, wishing it away or forcing it away.

Start with Planned Parenthood. They’ve been there for my uninsured ass in the past, and it’s always been comforting to know that no matter what I might need in relation to my sexual self — pain relief, condoms, birth control, STD tests, prenatal care or abortion — I can count on them.

I want to make sure the next generation can as well, for whatever care they need.

Anyone delusional enough to think abortion will end if it’s illegal needs a kick in the teeth. It never has, never will, and these dumbasses really need a clue. Each one signs the legislation in the blood of some poor, desperate women as she bleeds to death from a botched back alley abortion. Remember those? Don’t worry, you won’t have to: they’re coming back in fashion.

It's time to talk through the pure force of funds.

These bastards are hijacking every scrap of free will, free speech and self-determination the citizens of what was, way back in the day, the best country in the world, are barely clinging to.

I’ve had enough, and I’m sick and tired of sitting around talking about things. It doesn’t work on these thugs. Time to get serious and Just. Say. No.

Because, you and I both know that if the daughter of any of those South Dakotan bastards came home knocked up she’d be secretly whisked into the operating room of some MD for an abortion faster than you can say “amen.”

12 February 2006

More Fun with Cheney!

To be perfectly honest, I cannot even begin to discern which element of the news that VP Darth Cheney shot a fellow hunter is more disturbing:


µ      The vice president's office did not disclose the accident until the day after it happened.


µ      [Property owner Katharine] Armstrong said she was watching from a car while Cheney, Whittington and another hunter got out of the vehicle to shoot at a covey of quail.


µ      [The victim, Harry] Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself," Armstrong said.


µ      "The vice president didn't see him," she continued. "The covey flushed and the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by god, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good."


µ      "Fortunately, the vice president has got a lot of medical people around him and so they were right there and probably more cautious than we would have been," [Armstrong] said. "The vice president has got an ambulance on call, so the ambulance came."


So, essentially, what we're to believe is that Cheney drives around looking for things to kill. When he finds something, he has his driver stop the car, which, I'm assuming, causes the assorted other vehicles that travel with him to stop as well. These vehicles include at least one ambulance. He then gets out, finds what he wants to kill, locks his prey in a visual death grip (much like a predator missile, I'll betcha') and does not register a human being in his gun's path.


Tell me, which part is more frightening? I cannot decide…


11 February 2006

H Stands for Has-Been

Christ all fucking mighty, Henry, can you give it a rest already?

Yes, I know, we all understand you need to pay the rent, and the residuals from those Apple commercials and Nissan voice-overs don’t last forever.

But really, honestly, I say this with as much love as I can muster: no one cares.

The last time I saw you, with dear ol’ Mags, I had such bronchitis I couldn’t speak, which was your lucky day, because, really, if I’d intended to pay good money to sit around listening to some undersexed big-necked middle-aged white man talk about how women, once they get into a relationship, suck their partners’ souls dry and just want to go shop for curtains, I could listen to Fox News.

And that’s free.

I know, Henry, I understand this must be tough. I’ve followed you, Henry, was part of the audience, mosh pit, fan base for years. I played the Rollins Band on my radio show, listened to Black Flag, fantasized about bearing your love child.

But those days are gone, Henry, gone the way of the telegraph, trust in government, budget surplus and your virility.

So please, Henry, please understand: we who followed you, who understood you, believed in what was once your brilliance, cannot stand you.

And if I happen to see you wandering around my dear ol’ city of brotherly love next week, don’t worry, I won’t talk to you. You don’t like interviews, or conversation, you need to keep your concentration, keep focused on the task at hand. I know. I remember.

It must be so hardcore being you…

A love letter of unbridled desire

I can no longer deny it, and must shout it out to the world. I wish to sing a love song, jump on a couch like Tom Cruise; I cannot be silent any more.

You are my love. My desire. My passion.

I walk through driving snow, sit in rush hour traffic, go out of my way to embrace your tender sweetness. You are my everything.

But, like all good things, you are fleeting, coming into my life on winter’s darkest days, brightening my spirits and sweetening my tongue.

And alas, my love, I crave you! Crave like no other. Yet when you go, I forget about my love, the way I feel when you’re around, until you return, bringing with you a stronger ocean of longing each time.

And alas, my love, you, like so many others, are so bad for me. The way you make me feel, the person you turn me into, I scarcely recognize. And, like so many others, I must let you go.

But, for now, I cannot.

Because I know that soon, my love, soon you will, again, be gone…

05 February 2006

A beginning ?

Do pain, death, desperation, sorry carry from generation to generation, ancestor to ancestor? Is it possible to feel the pain of one's forebears without having any physical connection to them? Can something that happened thousands of miles away, years ago resonate with the same pain as a tragedy that happens today? I'm willing to swear on it.


"I just feel so depressed," my mother lamented from the other end of the phone, 300 miles away on this cold, wintry Sunday. The weather matched my mood—cold winds blowing with an angry ferocity, with dark clouds threatening to drop anything from fluffy snowflakes to torrential rain.


Mother's solemn mood, however, diffused my own angry edge, bringing us both to tears with each click.



Auschwitz functioned throughout its existence as a concentration camp, and over time became the largest such Nazi camp. In the first period of the existence of the camp, it was primarily Poles who were sent here by the German occupation authorities. These were people regarded as particularly dangerous: the elite of the Polish people, their political, civic, and spiritual leaders, members of the intelligentsia, cultural and scientific figures, and also members of the resistance movement, officers, and so on. Over time, the Nazis also began to send groups of prisoners from other occupied countries to Auschwitz. Beginning in 1942, Jews whom the SS physicians classified as fit for labor were also registered in the camp.


Stanislaw Wiecek was a teacher.


A member of the intelligentsia?


Particularly dangerous?


"Never mind—he's one of ours," I thought, the first confirmation, thanks to Auschwitz-Birkenau's new website, of what we always figured, but never had concrete proof, that we'd lost. A Polish teacher. Possibly a member of the resistance movement.


Never mind. He's one of ours.


You hear for years about something horrible, but what is it about the human mind that cannot fully, or truly, understand or care about something until something accomplishes the proverbial brining it home?


Oh sure, there's the moral outrage, the sadness at an event that never should have happened, perpetuated at the hands of a madman, but even it its horror and unbelievability, nothing had ever really brought it into my life.


Wiecek, Stanislaw
b.1908-01-05 (Cieklin), died 1942-04-16, denomination:katholisch

From among all the people deported to Auschwitz, approximately 400,000 people were registered and placed in the camp and its sub-camps (200,000 Jews, more than 140,000 Poles, approximately 20,000 Gypsies from various countries, more than 10,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and more than 10,000 prisoners of other nationalities).


140,000 Poles; 20,000 Gypsies. My family. Dead.


I suppose I should be glad for Stanislaw and his ilk: they died for what they believed in. The Jews died for what they were born into. They had no choice, they were murdered simply for being born.

04 February 2006

Tales of a badass Rollergirl Wanna-be, Vol. 1

Goddamn am I tired! Holy shit this Rollergirl thing is going to kick my ass, though that's not necessarily a bad thing…


Today was Day 1 of "let's see if I can still skate." With Christine and my cousin Dana, the first step was getting to the rink. A mere minutes away—and the rink the Philly Rollergirls use—is Millennium Skate World in Camden, N.J.


That's right, Camden. Most dangerous city in the country Camden…


Needless to say, there was a certain measure of fear as we made our way across the bridge and through a red light (my bad!), making a turn at the chop-shop and down the road, past the projects, to the rink. Upon entering we were treated to the mother of a young child who'd just had a birthday party at the rink threatening to, I'm not sure, it was hard to hear, but I think possibly dismember, sit on, shoot and/or not pay the manager on duty.


Forty-five minutes later, after waiting in a long, snaking line because, well, there's nothing else to do in Camden but wait in line or get shot, right?, we were in, and following an in-depth consultation with the magic tan rollerskate master regarding shoe size, we three laced up, stood up, and … proceeded to fall.


Okay, okay, it wasn't really that dramatic, we actually ventured out onto the rink before planting ass, but we certainly did our share of giving in to mighty gravity. Well, except for Dana, but she's not trying to be a rollergirl, she just wanted to get around the rink a few times!


I am happy to report, however, that Ms. Christine and I, by the end of the evening, were pushing into each other, skating backwards (wobbly and slow, but not too shabby nonetheless), crossing over on the turns and basically vowing to practice a lot more before going up before the judges Feb. 27. . .


Two of whom I met after returning to the (relative) safety of the City of Brotherly Love. They were manning (no pun intended) the Rollergirls booth at the Philadelphia Tattoo Convention ( i.e. Land of inked gods. Holy motherfuck!). As I walked away, the one girl's parting words—"I look forward to pushing you around"—just made me want to skate more!


Which I will be doing… as soon as this Advil kicks in. Ow!!!

03 February 2006

My life, part I

Holy shit. Okay, somebody smack me with a bottle of champagne, it’s a celebration!

It’s 9:30 Friday night, I’m sitting in my flannel kitty PJs with a glass of wine, listening to the Killers. I’ve been to McMenamin’s, blown off Christine (sorry chickie!), blown off an hour of work on terrible web copy, and finished the final edit on the first real, honest to goodness, complete chapter of my b.o.o.k.!!!

How do I know it’s the first chapter? It just is. It’s done.

And now the hard part.

I was telling my roommate the other night I’m at the point where the writing gets really raw, really real. And I can’t seem to hit the keys. But I’m getting there.

It’s an interesting process, something I’ve never attempted before. But even if the fucking thing sits trapped for all electronic eternity on my hard drive, untouchable by publishers and readers alike, so be it. It’s managed to get my brain moving in a direction it never could before.

I kid you not, it’s like goddamned therapy!

Although, there are times when I wonder if perhaps it’s making me a wee bit too eager to blindly forge ahead.

Let me explain:

Last night I had a vision of myself standing on the corner of 48th and Baltimore, hand jammed as far as it could go into one of those big, blue government-issue mailboxes, alternating between whimpers for help and a blind determination to retrieve the piece of mail I’d just tossed, almost nonchalantly, into its big, steel belly.

Why this vision?

Because I was standing at the corner of 48th and Baltimore weighing the pros and cons of shoving my hand as far as it could go into the big, blue government-issue mailbox standing in front of me, taunting in its blueness. I’d just tossed a piece of mail, nonchalantly, into its big, steel belly.

And part of me wanted it back.

And part of me wanted it to go to its destination, come what may.

See, its intended recipient just happens to be an extremely integral part of Chapter One, and by writing I’ve managed to get to the point where I miss said character more than I miss the comfort in the ignorance of how much this said soul could, potentially, want me dead.

And so yesterday I sent something I’ve wanted to send for years. Hell, yesterday I reached out to the other half of my soul, and no matter what, damnit, it’s done.

As is the chapter.

Let’s fucking rejoice!

Because now, it’s on to Chapter Two…