The fantastic (and unexpected) world of Roller Derby.

In our pursuit of the fantastic and the unexpected, we don't only sit behind our computers orshield ourselves with our books, but we go for it and take it. That's why I practice Roller Derby, almost a year now, a fantastic (and unexpected) sport, if possible. And last Saturday, I attended my first bout, at Sheffield City, right here, round the corner.

Hereby given, my impressions on the matter...

For an early start, gates opened at 1, so, as we live 2 hours away from the place, and my coach was playing in one of the teams, we set off at 9 in the morning. Temperature: 1 degree. So I grabbed whatever warm cloth I had and there I went, with other 3 girls from my team, to defy the road... half asleep in the back seat.

I was really surprised by the venue where the bout was taking place. To be honest, I thought it was going to be some sort of big depot, or football club, with high metal ceiling (and almost frozen, to speak the truth). But oh noes, an amazing sport centre, with everything and heating!!! (which I thanked for the whole day, believe me). The theme of the day was "Murder in the flat track express". Everything in some sort of 1940's England environment, with jazz music, people dressed in the fashion of the era, Poirot picture included. Awesome!!!

And this is what I like the most in roller derby: the people. Let's say that the sport itself is not the most tender and sweet of sports, more exactly, some sort of mosh on wheels, where the objective is to throw the opposite team into the deepest abyss of hell, by hip checking them. Nevertheless, the contenders, the audience and collaborators they all embrace in some sort of "derbyan" family (if the neologism is permitted). Everybody helps everybody, there are smooches and hugs, smiles and the odd joke about their favourite teams, but all of that in the best of vibes. The famous derby love. In every training session, scrimmage, bout, we break our noses and rip our thighs, yeah, but after 15 minutes we are all together eating cake. The whole day was like that.

The first bout, where my coach was playing, was real tense and warlike. In fact, it ended 109 - 110 to Tyne and Fear, and me eating my nails and so shaky I couldn't even make an update in our team's group. All of this, from our "suicide seats", just next to the line that separates the track area from the rest of the venue, so it's very possible to have a skater flying right to you face. in any moment of the bout. But, hey! THAT adds up in adrenaline. I got my first derby crush on Jammie Dodger, the jammer for The Inhuman League (where Benni Lugosi, our team's coach was playing), a cute and deadly little man who passed everyone like a lighting and left every blocker wondering what happened. That, and the fact that Benni stepped in our shoes (sorry, skates), going out there on track and living it, not just coaching from the outside, was outstanding to my eyes. Our team lost (and I mean "our" because we were there cheering for him), but just for one point. And we won a competing coach.

The girls bout, Sheffield Steel Roller Girls vs Big Buck High Rollers, wasn't as tense as the other but very entertaining, with good moves and tactics. The BBHR won 144 - 113. I had the chance to learn a lot, observing both teams, strategies, communication, situations, everything.

It was a real long day, but an awesome one. The second bout ended, and some voting was in order, for the best players. Then raffles, derby love, coffee and cake, more derby love, a Lego bout, even more derby love, farewells and goodbyes, and as such said Mickey Mouse, everybody to their house..

I hope to write soon, about how a bout is from the inside, I mean competing.

As it is said here, Loves and Shoves.

La Vikinga, writing today as Stomp Trooper #777 of H.A.R.D. (Hulls Angels Roller Dames)

Links to the teams:
H.A.R.D. Hulls Angels Roller Dames
Sheffield Steel Roller Girls
The Inhuman League
Tyne and Fear
Big Buck High Rollers

Lego LOTR minifigs

Look at them! I mean LOOK AT THEM! I want them all. I wonder if there will be more figures, of the likes of Saruman, Galadriel, Éomer and the Rohirrim, etc.

Via: pretty much everywhere: Geekologie, The Daily What, Forever Geek, Dragonadas Varias


Rock on, girls!

Last week we saw Juliet's amazing video of her singing about how much she loves her dog and her fishes, which is what 8 year old metallers consider as something larger-than-life and worthy to sing about. That and dinosaurs. Now we bump across this awesome girl's guitar skills. Can we safely assume that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that the future is safe?

Here's Zoe playing her guitar:

And Juliet's first hardcore song:

Via: WIN!

*Note: As we grow old, metalheads add things to our larger-than-life list, but our love for our pets stays right on top. Dinosaurs too.


Some thoughts on internet freedom

Unless you have been living under a rock you know why today Wikipedia, Google and other major sites are either blacked out or display messages about the SOPA and PIPA legislations.

Other places will explain better than me why these laws are just plain wrong. This is not about piracy, this is about censorship, about freedom of speech, of equal access to information. If these bills pass things like what we do here will be impossible. User interaction will be almost inexistant. Imagine if your site could be shut down beause someone in the comments section posted an image belonging to whatever corporation. That is not the internet we want. That is putting economic interests before freedom and search for knowledge. And will do nothing against piracy. The only way to effectively combat piracy is to revisit those outdated business models corporations seem to be clinging to.

The internet is a tool without precedents in the history of mankind. It has given people a means to express themselves, to learn, to share and keep in touch with one another. Bad things have come with it, too, and they should be addressed, but not that way. And other threats, like detecting and stopping pedophile networks,  should be addressed first.

Wheteher you are in the USA, or, like us are somewhere else, this concerns you.

The Fantasy Reader profile

As you probably know by now, your fabulous geek girl hosts read pretty much anything that they can get their hands on, with emphasis on fantasy literature. The reason for this might be subject of another post. Maybe. But the thing is, we have often found that we are not alone in our quest. Phil, from the fantasy literature blog A Fantasy Reader (check it out if you haven't) has recently used the answers to his various polls to shape a fantasy reader's profile.

According to his research, the fantasy readers:

  •     like to read epigraphs at the start of a chapter
  •     are a minority who also listen to audiobooks
  •     were introduced to the genre by Tolkien's work
  •     prefer series over stand alone novels
  •     like to have maps included in their books
  •     have bought at least one book for the cover alone
  •     do not finish all the books they pick up
  •     don't read extract before reading a novel
  •     have a backlog of at least 25 to 50 books
  •     read 25 to 40 books a year
  •     like completely original but simple names for their characters
  •     read only one novel at a time
  •     don't think they should diversify their reading habits from the usual genre
  •     already read e-books and if they don't it's because of the loss of physical book feeling
  •     are not influenced by author quotes when buying a book
  •     would like to see their favorite author write a sequel instead of a new idea
  •     read the same novel more than once on occasions
  •     would mostly like to see The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie made for TV
  •     don't wait for a series to be completed to start reading it
  •     don't watch book trailers
  •     are not embarrassed of reading Fantasy publicly
  •     are also reading YA novels
  •     think that the prodigal youngsters in Fantasy are too young

I think it quite hit the spot for me. I do not listen to audiobooks, though, and I'm not really into YA, with a few exceptions. I haven't read The First Law series either, but whatever brings more fantasy to TV is fine with me. Well made, of course, not another Earthsea shipwreck.

So what do you think?

Link: Original post by Phil


Ta'veren Tees succeeds at awesome and gender fairness

So one day I picked up a copy of The Eye of the World. And nothing was ever the same for me. But I'm not here today to speak about Robert Jordan's epic, which will come to an end this year by the pen of Brandon Sanderson. I'm here to talk about the official T-shirt line based on the Wheel of Time series: Ta'veren Tees, and why they're awesome.

First of all, they are made by people who really care about the series. It's not like some guy slapped a log on a T-Shirt and began to sell it. The shirts are well designed and well made. Currently there are over 10 designs to choose from (which is a lot - I almost had to resort to my lucky d20 to pick one) and they're hinting at more and some other items as well (Mat's hat please, let it be Mat's hat).

I love this shirt.

But one thing got my attention: ladies sizes availability. Pretty much all of the shirts come both in men and women sizes and cuts, except for some designs that refer to gender-specific components of the story. Even so, they are balanced. That is a lot, considering that most T-Shirt shops, whether online, physical, booths outside a concert, etc. nowadays have several awesome designs for men and one or two (if any) "girlie" alternatives which are way less attractive. It is great we are being considered as an equally important part of the fandom than men.

The Light illumine you, Ta'veren Tees! Keep up the amazing work.

Link: Ta'veren Tees site


Deathwing cake

My birthday's more than a month away, so my family has plenty of time to make me a cake like this:

This awesome Deathwing cake was made by a very skilled lady member of WoW guild Molten Core Swim Club to celebrate their recent ownage of a certain former Earth-Warder turned Worldbreaker. Me, I'm still so poorly geared I haven't even come close to his backyard. And in a whole year he hasn't burned me even once!

Via: The Daily What