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Archive for April, 2009

On Saturday April 11th, I lost my Roller-Derby virginity in Tallahassee, Florida. (Please be warned, if you are going to be offended by sexual references, than this is not the post for you. And if you are easily offended but read on anyway- you can join me in accepting this particular Tiger Lily. I am awarding this one to myself.)

Matt and I went to visit my sister and her family over Easter weekend. My niece, five years old, spent much of the weekend playing with her Hannah Montana guitar. She serenaded us with The Best of Both Worlds all weekend which, ironically, is the best way to describe our visit. In the first world, we celebrated the holiest weekend in the entire Christian calendar. We shared jellybeans from the kids’ Easter baskets, and even went to the Circus. In the second world, we went to the Roller Derby.

Let’s back up. A few days before we flew down to Tallahassee, my sister called me to make sure that Matt and I would like to go to the Roller Derby before she purchased tickets. Obviously I was confused, because at first, I was under the impression that I would have to strap on some roller-blades and join in. My sister quickly assured me that I was not Roller Derby material and that we would be spectators only. Well, as you might have guessed, I was relieved and told her that we would love to go.

Now fast forward to Saturday night. Southern Discomfort (the name of the tournament we attended) started at 5:30 p.m. The actual match didn’t actually start until 7:00, but the doors opened at 5:30 for us to claim our seats. We put our lawn chairs as close to the ensuing blood-shed as possible and went back outside the gates. I had on my new GAP t-shirt, matching bracelet with a cute little star charm and a preppy little white hoodie in case I got cold. I encouraged Matt to wear his khaki t-shirt with the pink piping, also from the GAP. He told me that he was worried he might look a little feminine and I assured him that he looked great. Obviously, I had no idea.

Back outside the gates, everyone enjoyed a few home-brought beers. I decided to hold out until I could get back inside, hoping they might be serving white wine, or at the least, margaritas, since I don’t really drink beer. But as our tailgating came to an end, and we lined up to go back inside, I began to get the feeling that I didn’t really have a good idea of what was about to happen– and that I probably wouldn’t be getting that glass of wine. I also began to notice that many of the soon-to-be spectators were wearing a lot of black, sporting some pretty cool tattoos and piercings and many had on “The Cure” t-shirts.

And then I saw them. The Roller Derby Girls. We had just rounded the corner where we could see the inside of Fairgrounds Building 2 where they had set up the make-shift roller-rink. Bitchie Cunningham skated right past me. She is the co-captain of “Capital Punishment,” the name of the Tallahassee Roller Derby team. Her co-captain, The Great Wall of Gina, was close behind joking with Robin Cradles. They were dressed in fish-net hose, panties, helmets and knee pads. They looked pretty tough. Feeling a little GAPish, I pulled my hoodie a little closer.

We took our seats directly behind the Jacksonville Roller Girl’s bench. Quite a seat, because I was close enough to read Anita HardOne’s helmet sticker that said, “I Love Porn” and got to see Jenna Talls ice her butt after a bad spill. This was a treat because, like most of the Roller Girls, Jenna just had panties on over her fish-nets and let me tell you– she has a great butt.

It only took me watching the girls skate one or two times around the rink before I understood the game. Each team has one Jammer and it is her job to score. They score by getting in front of the other team’s Jammer. The “pack” of Blockers and Pivots take off a few seconds before the two Jammers to make scoring a little harder. The Blockers slam you into the wall and I still don’t know what the Pivots do. But what I do know is this: Roller Derby girls are hard-core and I wouldn’t want to make one of them mad. For instance, one Blocker, I think her name was Tackle Boxxx, had a little skirt on that said, “Talk Shit. Get Hit.” She meant it. And I was hooked.

Capital Punishment beat the Jacksonville Roller Girls after three (or was it four?) periods of hard-fought jamming. I was having so much fun that I almost joined in with the crowd as they began yelling for one of the skaters, “Go Fat Ass Bitch!” In fact, I would have had the time of my life if only the toilets at the fairgrounds had been flushing. When I realized that my drink choices were beer or jack-and-coke, I went for a few of the latter and quickly needed more than one restroom break. Let’s just say, the no-flushing was just a little outside of my comfort zone and I decided to hold it.

Thanks to my naivety, needing to pee really bad most of the night and the GAP outfits I dressed us in, I award myself a Tiger Lily for my inaugural Roller Derby. I’m on the hunt for the next Little Rock Roller Derby where I will mentally award a Tiger Lily to the “me” in the crowd. She will be so easy to pick out.

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First, I’d like to start with a few of my observations about the British culture:

My limited experience with the British* has lead me to believe that their culture encourages people to be sensational. And by sensational, I mean their sensational reaction to everyday life. Every story is a “big” story. Every relationship is steamy. Each crime is horrendous and the most outrageous of all mankind. Every person is destined for greatness and has a hidden talent just waiting to bloom.

I have also found that the British culture finds humor in silliness. Just take a look at some of the most brilliant British comedy out there, the (original) Office, Monty Python, Mr. Bean, Bridget Jones Diary: it’s all a little bit silly. Sarcasm might even have to pack its bags and come back to America straight-away. It has no place across the pond.

Also, in the British culture, there are no “regular” people, are there? It’s just one amazing, astonishing story after another. With loads of amazing stuff happening all around you every day, there is no way to be bored, sad or unsatisfied; instead, you are just constantly entertained.

And maybe that’s just it, entertainment. This is a culture that wants to be entertained. Couple this need for sensational entertainment with their fascination with royalty and celebrity, and you get the following breaking news story: (I’ve edited some of the story out, but for the full story, go to: Did Michelle Obama break royal protocol by giving the Queen a hug?)

America’s First Lady Michelle Obama broke royal protocol during
a reception at Buckingham Palace when she placed her arm around the Queen.

But rather than take offence, Her Majesty took the unusual step of returning the gesture by putting her arm round Mrs Obama’s waist…

One said: ‘…The Queen started chatting to Michelle Obama. She appeared to look up at her and make a comment about how tall she was.

‘As she did, she put her arm around Mrs Obama and rested her gloved hand on the small of her back.’

Almost simultaneously, Mrs Obama put her arm around the Queen’s shoulders rather more firmly.

‘The pair then looked at their feet and appeared to be discussing their shoes.

‘The Queen then dropped her arm and, a few seconds later, Michelle did the same. The entire exchange lasted around eight to ten seconds but was absolutely extraordinary.’

No-one – including the ladies-in-waiting standing nearby – could believe their eyes. In 57 years, the Queen has never been seen to make that kind of gesture and it is certainly against all protocol to touch her.

How “absolutely extraordinary”! Perhaps all of the news of failing companies, lost investments, rising energy costs, and bailout negotiations have left the British media scrambling for a more entertaining and touching story. Well, Cheers! and Tiger Lily to the British. (Although I must note that CNN carried the same touching story this morning, just a little less sensational.)
*(In the sensational-style of the British I would like to note:) I am an expert in British culture. Having lived there for four weeks in college and visited almost two whole times, I have a firm grip on the ins-and-outs of British life. Moreover, I religiously follow the British celebrities in People like Jude Law and Kate Winslet, and they’re British, aren’t they?

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