On the Turning Back: Let’s Get Comfortable

Well, isn’t this a welcome sight!  In that I’m actually posting an excerpt from the novel today.  Part of that reason is that I just finished up nearly five hundred words, so I have enough in the book bank to post for the next few days before heading into the next scene.  And since I’ll likely post other stuff this week as well–I have video footage from last Tuesday’s freshie practice I need to edit–there’s a pretty good chance it’ll take me most of this week to get out the first scene of Chapter Eighteen.

From where I’m sitting it looks kinda pretty.

 

I said I was gonna try and write yesterday, but… I lied.  I had way too much going on with getting a merch table set up for our afternoon event, then heading thirty miles down to York to watch our sister team, the York City Derby Dames, come from behind and win the bout–though one of their players, Awe Shux, suffered a pretty bad concussion and was wearing sunglasses at the after party because the light we hurting her head.  We were told she’s off skates for the week and maybe longer.

Speaking of the after party I was in sort of a good mood…

See, Jackie, having a drink by myself.

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That drink in my hand is the only one I had, a gin and tonic that was cheap and easy to come by.  Given that I had thirty miles to drive to get back to Harrisburg, I didn’t want to get too boozed up before hitting I-83.  Oh, and Jackie is one of my freshie teammates.  She was at a friend’s birthday party, where she assured some of us she was gonna get hammered.

But enough about me–how about my kids?

Now we get into the testing phase of Kerry’s Day of Girl Power, because since the Gift changed her to how she is now, she’s supposed to be able to change herself back at some point–at least that’s what everyone is telling her.  I mean, it worked the other six times, it should work this time, too, right?  This means breakfast is over and it’s time to see if Kerry can get some control over her life…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

It took a bit longer than just after breakfast to set up the first transition test. Isis needed to come in with one of her people to set up the raised dais that Kerry would used not only for the test, but for the three dimensional modeling that would come later. And once the dais was in place, Isis needed Kerry to stand upon it so she could set up the Spy Eyes and adjust them so they could perform the modeling requested by The Foundation.

Due to these delays it was nearly ten-thirty before Coraline was able to proceed with the first transition test. She had Kerry go behind a three-sided privacy screen and change out of her night clothes and into a hospital gown she’d wear for both the test and medical scan/pelvic examination. When she came out with Annie at her side Mathilde had left with Isis, leaving Deanne, Jessica, and Erywin behind with Coraline to witness the test.

Kerry looked uncomfortable in the gown, which seemed to hang on her smaller frame. She frowned as she approached Coraline. “This thing is like a sack on me.”

“It has to be bigger so it’ll fit if the transition test is successful and you turn back into a boy.” She gave Kerry a slight grin. “You wouldn’t want to burst out of that if that happened, would you?”

The frown turned into a grimace. “Nope.”

“Then it has to be a little large—okay?” As soon as Kerry finished nodding Coraline turned to the transformation instructor. “Jess, you wanted to speak with her?”

“Certainly.” The Mistress of Transformation knelt next to Kerry, bringing herself down to the girl’s eye level. “You remember what we discussed as far as this voluntary transition is concerned?”

Kerry nodded slowly. “It’s just like doing any other transformation magic: visualize the effect and expend willpower to make it work.” She looked up as she sighed. “And don’t try to expend energy.”

“Correct. Just like when we worked on your Mimic Gift last year.” Jessica turn to face the other women. “Anything you’d like to add before I turn this over to the good doctor?”
Erywin glanced over to her right at Deanna. “I don’t have anything to add.”

Deanna shook her head. “Neither do I.”

Jessica stood and placed her hand on Kerry’s back. “Then I’ll turn you over to Coraline.”

 

Everything’s pretty simple at this point.  Kerry’s dressed for the test and people are there to make her feel comfortable and able to get through this transition test.  It makes sense that Jessica would offer a few words of wisdom before handing Kerry back to Coraline–and one other:

 

“Thank you.” She waved Annie and Kerry forward. “Both you, come here.” While Coraline wanted to address Kerry, she knew having Annie by her side offered her comfort and at the moment that was exactly what Kerry needed. “Okay, this is how we’re going to proceed. Kerry, I’ll have you step up on the dais while the rest of us remain over in front of you, so you can see us. I will direct you to transition, but I don’t want you to do anything until I give you the go-ahead. You can do all the visualizing you want, but I don’t want you to take any action on the activation of your Gift until I say so. Got it?”

“I got it.” Kerry offered a weak smile. “I mean, it’s pretty simple, yeah?”

Coraline smiled back. “It sure is.” She looked at Annie. “I’m sure you have a couple of things to say, so I’ll let you say them.” She joined the other women standing five meters away.

 

After all the advice coming her way, Coraline is smart enough to know the best thing to do is allow Annie to have the last word, because if anyone is gonna calm Kerry down and get her in the right frame of mind, it’s her.

So what does she say?

It’s a good bet you’ll find out tomorrow…

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From the Other Side Now

30 May, 2017, was the day I went and did something crazy.  That was the day I decided to show up at a roller rink and attend the Harrisburg Area Roller Derby Recruitment Night.  At the time I didn’t know what would happen: in fact, I contacted a friend who was already a member of the team and told them I was worried I’d show up and make a complete fool of myself, and the likelihood was great I’d never be able to keep up with the rest of the team.  My friend’s comment was, “Come on out anyway. If you don’t like it, don’t come back.”

That was three and a half months ago.  And I’m still there, though I shouldn’t be.  I mean, look at this crazy bitch in hand-me-down gear:

So… Guess who tried out for roller derby? #Crazy #SkateOrDie

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Who expected me to last this long?

That was then, this is now–or I should say, last night.  Because 12 September we held our third, and likely last, Recruitment Night of 2017.  We’ve been advertising this one for about a month, so the word was out we were looking for people.  And I was looking forward to the evening as well, because…

Well, this would be my first Recruitment Night where I could greet the new freshies.

I won’t say I wasn’t a big worried.  The fear was there that only a couple of people would come out and make our team’s endeavors seem wasted.  But that faded quickly once I saw there were four women waiting for Ariel to show up and begin her presentation and more filtered in soon after she arrived.  In all either thirteen or fourteen women showed, with one of them bringing her two children along as she couldn’t get a sitter for them.

With gear ready to go and seven of us–myself included–ready to help out the freshest of the Fresh Meat, the new recruits were let out ready to gear up and get to skating.  I was given the task of helping one woman get skates, get her gear on, and help out where I could.

We did simple things like skating around the rink, something I could barely do my first night.  The woman with me was a good skater because she’d had a lot of experience on roller blades, so she picked up on quads fast.  I had to remind her a few times not to drag her foot to come to a stop because it was a good way to twist your foot and break your ankle–which is exactly how Arial broke hers.  We did plows and meatballs–or knee drops as I know them.  We even did T stops, and while I was explaining to my freshie why she shouldn’t drag the inner wheels of her back skate to stop, I spun around and skated backwards for about thirty feet while talking.  It wasn’t until later that I realized what I’d done…

We finally got a pace line together and nineteen of us skated around weaving in and out between the other skaters.  We had a few people fall, but that’s to be expected.  We stopped, let them get up, and got them back into line.  It took a while and one new recruit needed help from Ida getting through the pack, but all skaters made it through the line once.

After that we sat for some stretches–

And to let everyone process what they did last night.
Photo taken by Kiley Van Kirk.

 

And then we got everyone together for a group photo.  (If you’re looking for me, I’m on the outside left in the back.)

Every good get together deserves a group picture.
Photo taken by Laura Mowery.

 

Oh yeah, and after we finished we went out and had a couple of beers to celebrate the newest members of the HARD family.  It’s likely they won’t all stay:  of the ten or so women who showed up for my Recruitment Night, Jackie and I are the only ones who remain, so the possibility exists we could lose seventy-five to eighty percent of this group in the next few months.  But for those who remain and push to make themselves derby certified, they’ll realize how hard, difficult, and mind-bending this sport can be.  They’ll also realize just how much fun it as well and they’ll find when the next Recruitment Night rolls around, they’ll be the ones ready to help the newest of our Fresh Meat, just as I did–

We had an extremely good recruitment night tonight. #HARD #DerbyGirls

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Though I doubt they’ll break out the green wig as I did.

Freshie 7: The Almost Magnificent Seven

Sure, it’s been a week since I did this practice and shot this video, but hey:  life gets in the way, right?  That life included more practice and a lot of depression, but I got through both for the most part.

Anyway, with this being my seventh freshie practice the movie The Magnificent Seven comes to mind, which means the movie The Seven Samurai also comes to mind as that’s the movie The Magnificent Seven was based upon.  While there were seven of us–at least–I would say we weren’t quite as magnificent as the characters in those movies, but we did our best.

And while there were seven of us, only five were skating:  Tara was down with a concussion and Laura had a bad tummy, which kept her off skates but didn’t keep her away from mischief, as you’ll see.  That left Kiley, Erica, Mary, and myself to do practice with Ida.  Like I said, seven of us.

First up is my intro, which doesn’t say much, but it’s me yacking to the camera.  So gotta do it, right?

 

That leads into push drills, 2 to 5 to 2, with Kiley and Erica as one group and Mary and me as the other.  As you’ll see Group 1 sorta crashed and burned at one point, while I had to bail from Group 2 for a few laps because my back was locking up.  While this was going on Ida decided that she wanted to attempt a 27/5, ’cause when she certified she only needed to do a 25/5 and she wanted to get it done.  Needless to say she did her 27/5 with seconds to go, so I guess this means she can stay a coach.  🙂

 

Then we skated around the track and every time the whistle blew we had to transition 180 degrees and do a toe stop, then head off in the direction we were facing.  You’re going to hear a lot of Whooing going on in this video: that’s Mary doing a tornado every so often (spinning around 360 degrees) before coming to a stop.  I’ve already suggested her derby name be Tornado Whooie.

You’ll also notice I fall down a few times.  Yeah, get used to seeing that.

 

Now we get into some pain–and I do mean that.  The idea here was to sprint to a couple of sets of cones and plow to a stop.  Since I can’t plow for shit right now, most of the time I just blow through the cones.  Then when we get to the far wall we were to plow or use our toe stops to, you know, stop, and sprint all the way back.  If you watch this you’ll see me not only fall down (I think the fourth time), but the first time, maybe the second, it looks like I kind of shake all over.  That’s because I started thinking about which way I should turn to stop and by the time I did manage an “Oh, shit!” stop, I slammed into the wall with my back and shoulders.  Not a lot of fun.

Now, you can’t see it, but around the 5:30 point you’ll hear shout of pain from me.  That’s because Laura, who needed something to do, decided to throw a hand full of floor cones at me and they made a bee line right for my crotch.  While things don’t work down there the way they used to, getting hit in my lady parts can sting like a bitch and did.  Not only that, but I had to get up and skate to the end and back.  Yeah, not fun.

 

Last but not least we did T stops and drunken sailors, which involves slowing brings one leg over the other as you balance on one foot.  You’ll see me fall down a couple of times and by now I was getting a bit frustrated not being able to pull this off as well as I would have liked.  In fact we did these again the next night and I found it necessary to have a two minute cry-out because of said frustration.

 

There you have it:  seven practices down and another five weeks to go before freshie practice 10 rolls up.

I hope I’m not slamming into walls by then.

Falling Down to Get Up

What is going on?  Why am I falling?  Well, there’s a reason…

Freshie 6: Big Freshie Six

I know:  most people checking in thought they were gonna find out what happened to Annie and Kerry as soon as Coraline arrived at the ICU.  And I had fully planed on presenting that excerpt, except…  well, I’ve been sitting on this video for a week and yesterday I thought it would be a good idea to get off my ass and edit it for proper consumption between watching episodes of The Defenders.  By the way, while I know Jessica Jones is a fictional character, I want to kanoodle with Krysten Ritter in the worse way.  And she knits and crochets as well, so she’s got that going for her.

So you’re gonna get that excerpt tomorrow.  Today you get my look at my last freshie practice, where I have dipped into the Disney for the title, though unfortunately I don’t come off at all looking like Go Go:  I’m more like Honey Lemon ’cause I have a big purse and science is my thing.  But I need to get this out because after a week I cannot sit on it any longer.

As always it’s have video, will travel, and I was set up.  This came the night after a totally ass busting cardio session and everyone was feeling it–something I allude to in the intro below–

Introduction:

 

We did a quick thirty laps of cardio, though mine weren’t fast.  I was last off the track and suffering from a lot of back pain.  I mentioned in my last derby post that Shux said my posture was bad and I was “tits over skates” a bit, and that can lead to a bit of back pain, so tonight I’ll do what I can to get that posture right.  That and work on my core, which is gonna help.

So…  for a while I’ve been anticipating we’d do another 27/5 (skate twenty-seven lap in five or fewer minutes) and sure enough, that was the first hour of the night.  With six of us ready to do one, it was time to get two skaters on the track at the same time and let us have at it.  Panzer timed one skater and I timed the other, and unlike the first time everyone did five laps and got their final time after it was over.

First up were Laura and Jackie.  Both have done this before so it wasn’t unknown territory to either.  And having done this before you know what sort of hell awaits, so you just suck it up and go at it.  For reference, Laura is on the left side of the screen being timed by me and Jackie is being timed by Panzer.

27/5 One: Laura and Jackie.

 

Next up were Ashly (or is it Sarah?) and Mary.  This was Mary’s first time at only her second freshie practice, much like what happened with me, but Mary is in a hell of a lot better shape than I was when I did my first 27/5.  For reference I timed Ashly on the left side, and Panzer timed Mary on the right.

27/5 Two: Ashly and Mary.

 

A long last it was my turn and, like the first time, I did mine with Erica on the other side of the track.  The first time I did this I wore rentals so I anticipated I’d do better on my own skates:  in fact, it was my goal to break at least 20 laps in five minutes.  And I knew I could do it.  I just knew it.

Annnnnnd…  well, watch for yourselves.  Erica’s starting on the left, I’m on the right.

27/5 Three: Erica and me.

 

*Sigh*

My final time was 7:18 for 27 laps, and it was all I could do to keep from melting down.  I didn’t improve at all:  I managed only 18 laps in that time, which was the same thing I did on rental eight weeks earlier.  For a bit there I felt like a certain incestuous drunk queen stripped naked and forced to march through a angry screaming crowd.  With my teammates around me I felt like I was on my own Skate of Shame and all I needed was a nun with a bell…

 

I did meltdown later: it was Crying Time all the way on the drive from the rink to the apartment, and I don’t hide that fact.  This was probably one of the most ego-shattering moments I’ve ever experienced and it almost got me to the point where I wanted to quit.

Almost.

See, there are two rules in Derby.  Let me show you:

 

Yeah, you just don’t walk away because you had a bad night.  You think about what you did wrong and work on making it right.  I heard from a number of my teammates in the aftermath of this 27/5 and they had their own horror stories about their own struggles to certify, so as I said on my Facebook wall, I’m not the last derby woman to cry over a bad practice and I certainly won’t be the last.

It’s all about getting up and doing it all again.  And doing it better next time.

In relation to this–I did some checking on my skate due to something I was told early Wednesday morning, and after some research I’m taking a different track on my hardware.  Let me just say, setting up your skates for optimal performance is not all that different from setting up a race car for a track.  Good thing I know how to do that…

Enough of this sobby bullshit.  Onward.

We did a lot of 180 transitions and toe stops.  Sort of working at our own speed.  I’ve had to cut this into two parts because the video was too big unedited to upload to YouTube–and I had four of my teammates–Erica, Ashly, Mary, and Jackie–decide to leave a message.  It’s the last minute of this first one if you just wanna jump to the end.

Start of transitions/toe stops:

 

And here we have the end of the Great Transition/Toe Stop practice, one where I spent a good deal of it on the far side of the rink talking to Panzer about stuff… and things.

The End:

 

One thing I learned from these two videos is that I’m far too timid on those transitions.  I need to get a little more speed behind me before I turn and stop, because you may not be inching along on the track in the middle of a jam, right?  Right.  You know it.

You might say, however, well, what if you are zipping along and you fall?  Isn’t it gonna hurt?  Answer:  yeah, it likely will.  But guess what?  It’s not about falling–

It’s about how fast you get back up.