Freshie 3: Off Skates Edition

Sorry if you came here expecting to see how Kerry was going to handle the approaching Lisa on the last lap of the last race of Samhain, but you’re gonna have to wait until tomorrow to see that, ’cause I’m goin’ roller derby on your butts.  That’s because I’ve been sitting on this footage for just over a week and I need to talk about what went down because–well, that’s how I am, yeah?

This was my third freshie practice, 11 July, 2017, and right off the bat you’ll notice something different in this intro:


The foot is bothering me a little still:  Monday I would manage about five to ten laps before I had to skate to the side and shake off the pain, and after taking a good fall and feeling some stabbing pain shoot up my leg, I sat out the last twenty minutes of practice.  But I’ll be back tonight.

Panzer–she of the broken wrist–was coaching as our usual freshie coach, Ida, was off celebrating an anniversary.  Present were Rachel, Laura, Ashley, Erica, and Gwen, and while I didn’t do a lot besides stand on the side of the track and film, I did manage to help out at the end.  You’ll see.

First up is something I wanted to do for a while.  With the GoPro camera in hand I set it atop Laura’s helmet and let her film what it’s like to skate in a pack and do things like weave in and out while doing pull throughs and bumps.  At times it gets a little shaky because it’s hard to keep one’s head still, particularly when you’re going around and ’round in circles.  So, if you were curious about what it’s like for us to do this, now you get an idea.


Because I had my camera on the side of the rink filming as well, here’s how that all looked from the outside.  Because this was a long video, it was necessary to cut it in two:


After removing the GoPro from Laura’s helmet I strapped it to my own head and filmed as the freshie went around the track practicing bumping each other.  We can’t use our hands to push people away, which means we use our shoulders and hips for that.  I tried to follow the pack as they did this:


And the camera on the side of the rink caught the same action:


While everyone began working on their own things, I decided to talk a little about skating the diamond, which is something you learn to do whenever you’re on the track, particularly if you’re doing your 27/5.


Now comes blocking and jamming.  This is pretty much the game right here:  three blockers–and a pivot–working to keep a single jammer–the person who scores points–from getting through.  The three blockers here are going into a tripod, because it’s like three legs, right?  The idea for the jammer is to get a hip and/or shoulder in between a couple of blockers and break up the tripod, while the blocker’s job is to prevent that and keep that jammer from getting past the jam.  It’s a lot of fun and a lot of work, and the blockers require communications with each other at all times, ’cause the moment that jammer moves to their left or right, you want everyone in the tripod to know.

I should point out that I’ve missed three of these blocker/jammer practices.  I won’t miss a fourth.


And lastly…  it was time to practice plowing and a great way to do that is to be pushed and pulled and let the plowing person set up resistance for the person doing the pulling/pushing.  Since there were an odd number of freshies in the rink, I offered to work with Gwen, since I didn’t need to be on skates to push or plow.  I took it slow as I didn’t want to cause her to put up too much resistance, but by the end she said her thighs were burning, which is something that has happened to all of us.


We are learning more and more with every practice, and of late we’ve done more practice with the vets our on Monday/Wednesday night practices so we can do more advanced things.  We are approaching some interesting times–

I do hope I can keep up.

On the Thin Ice of A New Day

And if you know your Jethro Tull–and I can hear some of you going “Who?” right now–you know the first part of this title is Skating Away, and that should be all the hint you need for where this post is going.

Last night was not only the only practice of the week, but it was my first chance to try out my new gear.  All this new shinny gear that doesn’t smell and isn’t faintly moist with the sweat of a dozen or so people before me.

Until next Monday… #HARD #rollergirl #RestUp

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Now, I didn’t have everything I wanted:  the elbow pads I wanted did not come yesterday so I have to pick them up Saturday, which meant using the fresh meat gear in the back.  But everything else was mine, mine, mine…  yeah, I was a bit excited to get out on the rink.

And about a minute after I hit the floor I was feeling like I wanted to get of.

Let’s be real for a moment:  when you imagine yourself skating about in your own gear you see all the best.  You got speed, you got your crossovers and transitions and toe stops down, and you can backward skate like a demon.

That’s the fiction:  here’s the reality.  You kinda suck at first.  You’re all over the place–or I was–and I felt like I was back on skates for the first time in a long time, just as I did when I first came out for the team in May.  I was told it would take about a week to get everything broke in, and I can believe that.

What’s so different?  For one, you feel like you’re setting back a little on these new skates.  That’s because the heel isn’t as pronounced as on rentals, so it feels a little off-putting at first.  Then there’s the front wheels:  they’re loose.  Being loose helps you do those quick turns and weaves that you need in derby.

Only mine were too loose.  And since my left ankle isn’t real strong yet, my left skate kept wanting to turn to the right and left all the time.  Like when I was trying to skate straight.  Or when I was going into the corner and it decided to go right instead of left.  Or when I was doing a lot of things that involved moving.  I gave my wheels a bit of tightening, but I fear I’ll need to tighten them up a little more tonight so I can get used to them faster.  And once I reach that point I can loosen them little by little until they are where I need them to be.

The trade-off, however, was I could turn tight and fast, and I could weave with little difficulty, and transitioning and laying down a toe stop was a breeze.  I even did my first decent plow and T-stop last night.

But the thing I noticed most is they are fast.

There is so much less friction now that you can roll long without having to put a lot of energy into your pushes.  Which is why when we were doing weaves I had to keep plowing to slow up when I was at the front of the line:  I’m used to pushing a certain way and that gets me going quicker than before.  Learning to slow my roll is gonna take as much work as going fast.

In the end I made it through practice–

I was on the new skates tonight. But did I die? #HARD #ROLLERGIRL #NoDying

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–and I was smiling for most of the way home.  Of course my shoulders were screaming by the time I reached my apartment–I had one good fall and that goes right up the arms into the shoulder joints–but ice packs and ibuprofen were made to help with that pain, so don’t deny your body that luxury.

Going to try a new restaurant tonight, then a few more days of rest before getting back into it on Monday and Tuesday.

Maybe by the end of the month I’ll be able to work on going faster…

The Future Folks: Let’s Talk Standings

Well, it’s been an interesting weekend.

First off, yesterday I went out and bought skates, so now I have all the gear.  And I even found an old backpack in my car that I haven’t used for years which will do for holding my gear.  Yes, pig, it’ll do.

My gear is ready for practice. #HARD #RollerGirl

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Tonight it’s gonna be write, then watch a little TV, then write again.  And tomorrow more writing.  I have down time until Wednesday so I may as well make the most of it, yeah?  Sure will.  And I’ll take a break tomorrow to go get a massage, so I’ll be a happy girl tomorrow.

Now, about my kids…

Now that Favorite Daughter has been greeted, attention quickly turns to Favorite Daughter’s SO, and it’s time for a little bonding over something the Kirilovi’s know–


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


“Of course, Papa.” Annie wrapped her arms around her father and squeezed him tight. “I’m sorry I didn’t hug you right away.”

“The fact were hugging now is all that matters.” He released Annie with a slight pat on her shoulder. “In case you were unable to make a determination on your own, your mother and I are excited to see you as well.”

Pavlina turned to speak to Kerry because she didn’t want him to feel left out. “So, are you excited about the racing today?”

He did his best to keep from nodding as he smiled and spoke. “Yeah, the coven is officially in second place as of last week and we’re only a few points away from catching Åsgårdsreia.” He wiped the smile from his face and returned something more like normal. “It’s going to be pretty crazy out there today. All the Åsgårdsreia racers are going to pressing hard the podium—and were going to have to press just as hard to keep them off the podium.”

A slight smile appeared upon Annie’s face. “Tell them the other part.”

“Oh, yeah. Mórrígan is four points behind us and third and they came on real strong last weekend.” He glanced between all three members of the Kirilovi family. “Like I said, if you get kinda crazy out there today.”


It makes sense that Victor–who was something of a big racing deal when he was at school–would ask Kerry about today’s main activity.  A long time ago I believe I mentioned that Victor would probably love having a race date his daughter, though he doesn’t understand there’s more than dating going on here, which might change his opinion of the Ginger Hair Boy.  Then again, this means that Kerry better do well out on the course today or Victor may be giving him some post-race stink eye.  Odds are good that if Kerry doesn’t have a good day he won’t make a snarky comment to Annie, who likely wouldn’t have any of that.

This leads to Kerry asking about Victor’s upcoming race:


“It was like that when you were racing.” Pavlina turned towards her husband. “Although it wasn’t Mórrígan you worried about back then.”

“No, it was Ceridwen we worried about.” Victor glanced at Kerry. “Back then they were always in competition for first place, while we were the perennial third-place coven. Our concern then was moving up into second.”

Knowing what he did of Ceridwen’s race team, if not for having seen their finishes he would have found it difficult to believe they were first and second place team back when Annie’s parents were in school. “We’re racing the best we’ve raced so far. We’re hoping we can carry the momentum through the rest of the year and maybe get the top of the podium.” Kerry quickly changed the subject. “How are you going to handle your race today in India?”

“As we handle every race: go out on the course give it our best.” Victor gave a soft chuckle. “It’s actually a good thing we’re racing in India because it allows me to ‘turn in early’ and come here. By the time we’re through watching the racing here, I’ll be able to go back and get a decent night’s sleep.” He winked at Pavlina. “With a little help from you’re pharmaceutical magic, that is.”

Pavlina shook her head as she turned to the children. “It’s nothing special: just a variation on the readjustment formulas you use.”

Kerry shrugged. “Any help is good help.”

Victor nodded in agreement. “That is so true.” He held his hand out toward his wife. “Shall we peruse the Hall of Remembrance?”

Pavlina spoke in a loud whisper to Annie. “He’s been asking to see this all week.” She took her husband’s hand. “Lead on, my dear.”


Anyway, we now have the standings before going into the races and surprise!  Mórrígan is in third because Åsgårdsreia and Cernunnos are beating the hell out of the courses.  This cannot be sitting well with Erywin and Nadine, who have gotten used to being in first most of the year every year.  And in case you’re wondering, after all the races are over there will be numbers after those slashes because those standings might change.


Åsgårdsreia:  (1 +3/)
Cernunnos:  (2 +4/)
Mórrígan:  (3 +6/)
Blodeuwedd:  (4 +5/)
Ceridwen:  (5/)


I wonder if there’s anything in the Hall of Remembrance that might worry Annie and Kerry?  Maybe a few things?

Maybe we’ll find out tomorrow?

The Future Folks: Get to Meeting

Let’s get all the personal stuff out of the way first, shall we?

Yesterday, after doing my video, I headed out and bought some skating gear.  I managed to pick up everything except for elbow pads, because it didn’t have anything in my size.  But I will go back Wednesday to pick up a pair in my size.  That way, I’ll have all that gear but I do practice on Wednesday.

Got some gear! #HARD #RollerGirl

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Then it was a trip out to Bethlehem, PA, for our game with Two Rivers Roller Derby.  Once again I was shooting video of the match and well before the bout began I picked up a neon green tank top with the team logo so I could feel more like one of the team.

In Bethlehem and sporting team colors! #HARD #RollerGirl

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We lost the bout by twenty points.  If things had broken differently in a couple of places there’s a good possibility would’ve won the bout: we started a player short and with only nine jams to go we lost another player when she fell and broke her wrist.  Yes, fractures do occur in the sport and I heard more than a couple of horror stories about injuries sustained by other players before returning to Harrisburg about ten-thirty last night.  Don’t worry, I’ll look out for myself.

Now, what about that novel?

Well I haven’t anything as of yet, I have laid out Chapter Fifteen.

Short and sweet, just like the last one.


Just like with Chapter Fourteen, Fifteen consist of three scenes.  Scenes one and three are unlikely to be very long, while senior to is going to contain most of the wordage of the chapter.  And as you can probably guess from the title, it’s not necessarily going to be a good scene. In fact, something rather shocking is going to happen at the end…

I’ve also determined the positions of all the race team’s each of the heats for the Samhain Round Robin Races.  It’s going to make for some interesting viewing, particularly for those parents who have decided to show up to watch the races.

And speaking of those parents who have arrived at Salem to be with their children and watch the races–hey, Annie!  How are your folks doing?  Yes, we finally get to see her parents standing in her old alma mater.  And wouldn’t you know it: Annie’s brought a friend–


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


Annie and Kerry hurried down the west side first floor corridor, moving at a fast walk. Annie was eager to see her parents but she didn’t want to be seen running into the area as if she were too eager. Staying on first floor corridor she knew she’d be able to get a look into the Atrium before anyone there would see her.

As expected, she caught sight of her parents before emerging from the shadows of the West Corridor. Both were standing near the middle of the space facing each other. She understood their posture: since they were unaware of what direction she would come from, they position themselves in a way that would make it likely Annie would call out to them as she approached. She couldn’t fault her parents for their practicality, because in many ways she was exactly like them.

She turned to Kerry and took both his hands in hers. “You’re not nervous, are you?”

He glanced in the direction of her family. “Just a little, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.”

“Good.” Annie smoothed down a few stray strands of his hair. “They’re not here to judge you.”

He nodded slowly. “I know that; they’re just here to watch me race.”

“And they’re here to see me.” She gave his right hand a tug before letting it go. “Let’s not keep them waiting.”


Annie is excited and Kerry is nervous.  Both of these emotions are to be expected.  For all her possible daddy issues, Annie loves her parents and it is obvious she is loved in return.  Kerry’s position is a little different: he’s the outsider in this group, the kid dating their daughter.  We’ve already seen him receiving some appraisal from Victor, and Pavlina has probably formulated a few thoughts about her future son-in-law’s well, though like her daughter, she tends to keep her feelings concealed.

Nearly all the conversation in this next part is in Bulgarian.  Therefore, I’ve included the translations in parentheses.  I’m still not sure if and when these novels are ever published if I’ll actually include the same translations.  To me it’s sort of makes the whole thing a little bit more real if you don’t know what people are saying while they’re speaking in their native language.

So, is everyone in the Kirilovi Family happy to see each other?


Annie hurried down the corridor and on to the steps leading to the ground floor. She was halfway down when she yelled out her greeting. “Mama; Papa.” The moment she reached the floor she spread wide her arms. “Radvam se, che mozhe da uspeete. (I’m so glad you could make it.)”

Pavlina Kirilova turned towards her daughter. “Anelie.” She wrapped her arms around Annie the moment she was close enough. “Radvam se da vi vidya. (I’m so happy to see you.)” After several seconds of hugging Pavlina held Annie by the shoulders and examined her. “Moyat, ti si stanal taka. Izglezhdash nyakolko santimetra po visok, otkolkoto si napravil, kogato si trŭgna. (You look a few centimeters taller than you did when you left.)”

Victor Kirilova nodded approvingly. “Kakto mi kaza otdavna, tya veche ne e nasheto malko momichentse. (As she told me so long ago she’s no longer our little girl.)”

Annie gave him a slightly disapproving look. “Papa.”

Victor approached slowly and stood directly in front of Annie. “Iskam da kazha, che stanakhte krasiva mlada zhena, za koyato sme tolkova gordi. (What I mean to say is you’ve become a beautiful young woman of whom we are so proud.)”

Annie glanced down as she blushed. “Blagodarya ti, tatko. Tova oznachava mnogo za men. (Thank you, Papa. That mean so much to me.)”

Pavlina turned and gestured towards Annie’s silent companion. “Kerry, please: come join us.” As he grew closer Pavlina held out her arm and pulled him into the group by his left shoulder. “I hope you didn’t mind us speaking Bulgarian.”


As you can see everyone is excited to see everyone else.  And Annie’s parents do take pride in her, unlike certain sacks of shit who decided to fuck off to Australia for a Christmas holiday.  Pavlina and Victor would never consider doing that to their daughter.

And now that they’ve greeted her, it’s time to bring that fourth person into the group–


Kerry chuckled. “I hope you don’t mind I can’t speak Bulgarian save for a few phrases.”

“Although you are learning.” Annie beamed at her parents. “I’ve been tutoring him now and then on the language.”

A broad smile appeared on Victor’s face. “It won’t be long before your speaking like a native.”

“I think that’s off a ways in the future.” He hurried to turn the conversation away from him. “It’s nice seeing you both again. And I’m glad you could come; Annie’s been looking forward to this for most of the month.”

“Has she, now?” Pavlina smiled. “You wouldn’t know that from the conversations we’ve had.”

Annie raised her right eyebrow slowly. “It’s because I’ve learned how to keep my conversations dispassionate.”

“And if she had indicated how excited she would be to see us, then we wouldn’t have the pleasure of seeing her excitement now.” Victor turned towards Annie. “May I have a hug?”


If Annie’s learned how to keep her correspondence free of emotion, you can imagine she’s picked that up from her mother.  And the reality is that Pavlina is likely not all that surprised, because Annie is her mother’s daughter.

So where does this go from here?

I think it’s going to go down the hallway…

Starting the Second Half

Of the year, that is.  Enjoy!


Freshie 2: Electric Boogaloo

Just wait:  I’m not even ready to get into Roller Boogie jokes yet.

I may have dug deep to get the title of today’s post, but freshie practice on last Tuesday was anything but stale.  We got into a whole lot of different things and I’m going to show them off for you below.  Because that’s the sort of person I am.

First off, you get a couple of intros.  The first one is just me doing a date and time stamp and you get to see me remove my pink mouth guard, which should be exciting.  Or not.  Probably more along the lines of not.  You’ll notice when I skate away that my right bra strap is twisted and likely stayed that way the entire night.  I hadn’t realized that was the case until I actually watched this video.


And here’s the second half:


Now we get into the skating fundamentals.  We do eleven minutes of Sprint and Skate, which is skate as quickly as you can for one minute, then sort of coast along for another minute.  It allows you to work on your form as well as figure out how to get around the track as quickly as possible.

On this recording and others you’ll notice four little yellow markers on the track–and I should point out, most of the time when we skated we stayed inside what would be the regulation derby track.  At the beginning of this tape Ida shows us how to “skate the diamond”, which is the fastest way around the derby track.  As Ida points out, if you skate the diamond correctly, you’ll do crossovers around the track the whole way.  So throughout this video you’ll see everyone trying to get as close to each one of those markers as possible.

I’m easy to pick out: I set up on the left side of the video and I’m wearing gray workout leggings and a blue sports bra.


Now we play fetch the ball, which is designed to help us learn how to squat and pick up things while moving.  You may not think this is important, but during our last match in Youngstown our jammer lost her pantie–  Okay, let me explain that:

There are three positions in derby: jammer, blocker, and pivot.  Blockers are pretty easy to figure out so no need to go into a detailed explanation there other than there are three of them. The the jammer is the person who scores points for your team.  They set up behind the blockers and the pivot and when the whistle blows it’s their job to get through the pack.  The first time allows refs to determine who is the lead jammer–the person who actually controls the jam. That means they can allow it to go on as long as they like or they can and it whenever they feel it’s necessary.  Once they get to the pack the first time, anyone they pass from the opposing team after that scores a point for their team–and that includes any opposing team members sitting in the penalty box.  The pivot (and this is my understanding) can control the actions of the other three blockers and can actually become the jammer so that a team can take control of the lead.

The jammer and the pivot wear what is known as a pantie: an elastic cover that goes over there helmet.  The jammer pantie has a big star on each side, while the pivot pantie has a stripe down the middle.  When the pivot takes over as the jammer, the jammer hands over her pantie and the pivot puts it on.  See how simple that is?

So getting back to what was said the first time: during one jam our jammer lost her pantie, which you wouldn’t think is a big deal except a jammer can only score points when she’s wearing her pantie.  So she had to come around the track and, while still skating, squat down and retrieve the pantie.  Needless to say, it’s not a good idea to come to a complete stop and bend over to pick this thing up–not if you don’t want to get hip checked right off the track.

So that’s what we’re learning here: how to squat and pick up while still moving.  Kinda.  You can see a lot of falling down, me included.  You will also notice I’ve got the bending over part down pat, but I cannot squat for shit.  I know; I gotta work on that.


Now comes the real fun…

After we finished with their first two things Ida said she was going to have us do our 27/5s so she could get an idea of where we were as far as the starting benchmark.  What is the 27/5?  This is something needed for certification and it’s something every skater hates.

It’s simple: you skate 27 laps in 5 minutes.  If you need to work that out, it’s 11 seconds per lap, or 5.4 laps per minute.  It may not sound like a big deal, but it is, and it can actually be a bit torturous for some people. Actually, it can be a bit torturous for everyone.

We went in three groups of two.  Below is the first group.  Steff sets up on the left side of the track and does the best out of all of us, nearly breaking the five minute mark.  She also has the best form and does crossovers constantly through her skate.  You’ll clearly hear Ida give her time at the end of this video.  Ashley, the woman who set up on right side of the track, did 21 1/2 laps.


So we come to mine… I skated with Erica who gave me one good piece of advice: whatever you do, don’t stop, just keep going.  I had heard from reading that stopping during a 27/5 is really frowned upon, so this is one of those instances where you fall back on the Two Rules of Roller Derby, particularly paying attention to Rule #2.

I set up on the right side of the track.  On my first lap I bobble badly twice and you’ll see them clearly.  My form is really kinda crap, which at this point is to be expected.  But I make it all the way through and you hear my exclamations several times leading up to the end of this video, where I come up to the camera and tell you how I did.  Erica did 18 1/2 laps.


And right here we have the last set.  I’m over on the right side of the track timing, which is a lot easier to do than skating these things.  Both Jackie and Tara ended up with 21 1/2 laps, if I remember correctly. If not, I’ll be corrected and I’ll fix this.


And for the last event of the evening, we do toe stops.  These are simple to do: you skate forward, do a 180 transition, and go up on either one or both toes to bring yourself to a stop.  After bringing yourself to a stop we’re supposed to skate backwards, but you will notice I have a problem with that–as in I couldn’t.  But I am getting that.

You’ll notice I manage a one foot toe stop pretty well and towards the end I even managed to do both feet.  It’s not easy doing these on rentals, but if I stick to my schedule I won’t need to do them on rentals much longer.


After all the skating we went off to the side and did about twenty minutes of stretching. Yes, we do a lot of stretching: we had some at the beginning and we do a lot at the end.  As I’ve said before–and even joked about it during practice–it’s like were training for sport. And we are.  There’s so many things you have to know how to do before you ever allowed to get out of the course with the ladies and, in some instances, put on that jammer pantie.  And this is why we have practices every other Tuesday for the fresh meat (which is what we’re actually called), because it gives us an opportunity to work on her fundamentals without taking away track time from the vets.

Which means I’m not only looking forward to our next freshie practice on 11 July, but I’m also wondering what I’m going to use for the title of that post…

Home From the Hio

Let me tell you, this weekend has bit a lot of an adventure.

It’s no secret where I was:  I headed off to the Wilds of Ohio–specifically an area just south of Youngstown, OH–so I could watch my roller derby team take on the local team there.  I took my camera and video camera and my tripod–which I left behind at the hotel but I’m having shipped back to me–so I snapped up a lot of stuff.  A lot of that got explained in this intro video:


Now, we didn’t do as well as hoped.  We lost by a pretty good margin.  But they all looked good in the teams shot after:



And even better when we went out for dinner.

How do we like to party? #HARD #RollerGirl

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I discovered something about myself, too.  Since we were rooming four women to a room I had to share a queen sized bed with someone else.  They said at one point I stared swearing in my sleep.  Not talking:  swearing.  They said first I made a strange sound and then went, “Well… shit,” then mumbled a bit later and clearly said, “You motherfucker.”  Believe me, I have no idea what I was talking about, but it probably wasn’t good.  Maybe Kerry was venting his frustrations with his mother.

The thing most important was that I got to see how the game it played–something I’m learning more of as I go over game footage–and I got to hang with the team members.  And I felt as if I fit in with everyone.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had the feeling that I “fit in,” and it’s nice to see yourself not as an outsider, but as someone who may actually be part of something.  That’s something I’ve craved for a long time and it’s possible I won’t have to feel that way much longer.

This was me returning home about four hours ago as I write this:

Heading home over Sideling Hill. #HARD #RollerGirl

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Someone on my Facebook page said I look tired but happy and that’s about as accurate as one can get.  I had a great time and I can’t thank everyone enough for what I experienced.

Of course this means I’ll have to go into this in more detail, but at the moment I’m trying to figure out how to copy video to YouTube that doesn’t suffer any degradation, as I noticed when moving some up to YouTube.  As soon as I figure that out I’ll bore you with the details of the game.  What?  You didn’t think I was going to do that?  Ha!  You don’t know me, do you?

There you have it:  Cassidy’s Excellent Adventure.  And this means tomorrow I get to go back to writing–

Maybe I’ll actually get this novel finished one day.