Archive for March, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Grocery shopping

I have just returned from the grocery store with frozen chicken, frozen pizza, frozen burritos, taquitos, pizza bites & (not frozen) soy sauce. What made me do this terrible act? Hunger.

I’ve been going to roller derby referee practice for some months now & I’m still plagued by the same trouble: there isn’t enough time to eat before practice, and waiting until afterward leaves me starving. By now I’ve tried every horrible concoction in the frozen foods isle (except those things that look healthy) because of the tantalizing pictures on the boxes of shredded animal bits pressed into animal-inspired shapes. I must find a solution!

Now, the obvious one would be to grab a snack bar as I walk out of work or to have a plan for dealing with the hunger that didn’t involve a bag with the word “Chicken” in quotes because the authenticity of said critter is a bit uncertain. But no, those solutions are too easy. I must press on until I find a way to conquer hunger with little or no forethought and only a limited quantity of barbecue sauce.

Fruits and vegetables? What, are you crazy?!?!

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Jesus withdraws?

First off, I’m not making fun of religion. I’m perfectly happy to be agnostic & let everyone else believe what they want – or at least most of them. I get annoyed when people criticize someone for following a religion, even if I think that belief system is utter baloney. I get even more annoyed when people prey on people who pray.

In today’s mail I got a wonderful envelope stuffed full of suggestions of what I need to pray for. It appears that an all-knowing God needs me to properly file my desires for a better world with one church in order for Him to get to them in a timely manner. Included was a folded paper “prayer rug” where Jesus would look up at you with big puppy-dog eyes and a donation envelope with check boxes of common prayer requests. And, my personal favorite part, success stories from people whose prayers were answered.

So why do people need someone to pray for them? The one foundation of my personal beliefs, and the one that I can’t stand if others disagree with is that all people are created equal. I know, one person’s IQ may be higher, or another may be a faster runner, but every human life is of equal value. Why is it that only certain people can get God’s ear? Do you really believe that your heartfelt prayer will have trouble reaching its destination if you don’t have someone else send it for you? Just because you may not have as melodic of a voice or be able to chant in Latin (which Jesus didn’t speak, so why is it used anyway?) doesn’t mean you don’t count as much on the scales of Heaven.

Second, you’re sending money to a stranger who says they will pray based on what you’ve requested. What are the chances they will even be able to pronounce your name? Assembly line prayers – take the money out of the envelope & start saying “God please watch over… Ju, Je…Jennifer, I think?… in her…desire for a boat, a new car, and… something about her dad and the hospital, it looks like – oh, and grant her some better handwriting while you’re at it.”

I’ll wrap this up – people really do need help from others. The tsunami victims in Japan, for starters. The abundance of illnesses that claim millions of lives each year. Depression, physical abuse, drug addiction. Do the world a favor – don’t send $5 to someone who will say a few words in your honor, send it to a charity. Just over one month from now I’ll be participating in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s fundraiser at the local zoo and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation for Children’s Cancer Research head-shaving event – I’ll get my head shaved if people donate money. I’m not going to post the links to donate to me – if you want to support me in this be my guest, but that’s not why I’m ranting. If you believe in a higher power, that’s fine – just remember that you can make more of a difference through your actions than with a thousand prayers.

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Back again

Two days in a row? No way! OK, so I don’t have any real content yet, so I’ll keep babbling. And while I’m at it, I might as well keep going on the roller derby notes. There are a few things I had trouble finding out about roller derby reffing, so here they are:

  • Any ref can call a major on any player. Only the jammer refs should call minors on the jammers – if others call them it gets hard to keep track of when they get their 4th minor & get sent to the box.
  • Minor penalties can be announced, but don’t have to be. In general I think it’s simpler to just report them than to confuse people as to whether they’ve gotten a major or minor. Major penalties are announced as team color, player number, the penalty name with hand signal, the word major & pointing one finger off the track.
  • The “easiest” position to start reffing is outside pack. In general they’re responsible for minors & skate only 1/2 a lap at a time. Of course, that’s on the outside of the track, so speed is still pretty important (keeping up with the pack on the outside of the curve), as is stopping. Focus on the penalties that could cause injuries first, like back blocking, elbows, tripping, hitting above the shoulders.
  • When in doubt, don’t call it. If you see something that could be either a major or a minor penalty, call a minor. If you see a major but can’t tell for sure who did it, don’t call anything.
  • Major penalties are, in general, any illegal action that causes the loss of position to the opposing player. An elbow is a major if it knocks the target down or pushes her back. Minors are when a correction needs to be made, but position isn’t lost, such as a back block that causes the target to move slightly.
  • Only the jammer ref can react when the jammer calls off the jam. It’s not technically a rule, but the jammer ref will know if the skater isn’t actually allowed to call it off.
  • Check the training of the people you’ll interact with. Many of the NSO’s may be new, or at least new to that position. Make sure you both know what to expect from each other.

There’s a lot more than this – and I’ve only outside reffed 2 games. Hit me up with any questions – I’ll try to answer if I can. See ya tomorrow!

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Welcome back

OK, this has gone on too long – it’s been almost a year and no new status updates! I bought (and repaired) another pinball table, learned to skate, refereed in two roller derby bouts, and generally lost what remained on my sanity. Therefore, I’ll try to post some great thought each day. Starting with this:

If you’re starting to roller skate, possibly looking at roller derby, consider the following advice:

  • high-top skates are a good transition from ice skating, but they don’t give you much control on quad wheels. Skip ‘em.
  • Skates will cost $50 & up ($2,000+). In general, avoid anything under $80
  • Reidell R3’s ($99) are awesome skates… if they fit your feet. They’re pretty narrow – if you have wide feet, Rock GT-50’s are good. About the same price, but not as well made.
  • Skates are customizable – boots, plates, trucks, cushions, bearings, wheels, toe stops, toe guards & laces are all replaceable. You’ll probably need to upgrade bearings & wheels first – and definitely get a toe guard! You can also adjust what you already have – trucks can be loosened for easier turning, wheels tightened (slowed) for a beginner.
  • If you have flat feet, you’re screwed. Well, maybe not entirely, but from the research I’ve done you’re going to have a harder time. Many people with flat feet also have overpronation – your weight doesn’t rest on the same parts of your feet as most people, so your skates don’t sit entirely flat when standing. I’ve tried 4 shoe inserts from gel to rigid, full length, half length, tall & short. The first lesson learned is that skates are designed to fit snugly so your foot doesn’t slide around – tall inserts don’t fit. The gel one smushed around & moved out of place. Currently I’m in the process of getting a custom one made for about $200. It’s a steep price, but if it works it’ll be worth it.

Of course, I’m just a guy that started reffing recently & thought others might like to see my notes on the topic. I’m no doctor, so none of this is medical advice.  Good luck & happy rolling!

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