Monday, February 26, 2007

Southside Roller Derby vs. San Antonio Blazin' Banditas, Pearland, TX

Last night I went with Christy (Savage Rose) to Pearwood Skate Center out in Pearland to see the Blazin' Banditas (formerly ACRG's Violations team) take on the new South Side Roller Derby league that is raising money for a banked track. My assumption as to why, when they have a Roller Rink at their disposal and are training and hosting bouts at their own falt-track, they are going banked- track is twofold. First off, the chick who is in charge out there rubbed some Flat Track chicks the wrong way and has been more or less blackballed by HRD. Secondly, I think the TXRD Lone Star Rollergirls have been trying to get another Texas banked track league started and may be assisting in some way. Might as well. Anyway, the Pearwood Skate Center is not a great place to see a bout, but it was OK (nothing like HRD).
The Blazin' Banditas are the new incarnation of my favorite Alamo City Rollergirls team last season, The Violations. These gilrs split off from the league after last season due to disagreements with ACRG management. ACRG is owned and operated by TWO skaters in the league and their accounting, etc is not transparent. Also, their promotion and production is lacking. That being said, it's a good little league. Unfortunately, ACRG took the path of least resistance this season when the Violations left and shrunk down to three teams instead of going for it and getting enough girls to either re-form the old team or just start a new one. Bad sign for the future. Anyway, the Blazin' Banditas only have 7 skaters, so they all pretty much have to skate non-stop during the entire bout. Star skaters on the BB's from ACRG last season include Tamale Hatchet, Honey Must Hurt and Copper Penny. Kay Mala is the manager/coach.
Basically the BB's pretty much creamed the SSRD. No surprise, given the experience, but the BB's are going to need some more skaters. The endurance of these girls was incredible, but going up against other all-star teams they will not have a chance unless they are able to rotate more girls in and out.
Rusty Pickup (referred to as "Rusty Truck" by announcer/SSRD league owner Brenda was there but wasn't permitted to announce, which was a shame since the announcing was so non-existent and bad that I can't really even call it announcing. The reffing was not so hot, either, but I have seen worse. The final score I can't remember, but it was a blow-out. It would have been worse, but inthe 2nd half SSRD caught a few scoring breaks- I guess to keep the crowd interested. Attendance was approximately 80 non-skaters. $5 cover was worth it, I must say.
HRD girsl in (LOUD) attendance included Becky Booty, Patsy Crime, Tawdry Hepburn and Savage Rose. Nurse Morphine's parents were there to cheer on the Blazin' Banditas. So cool! The pic of the lady wearing the Psych Ward Sirens tee is Morphine's mom. Dirty Sanchez, Rusty Pickup and Mrs. Pickup were there too. I enjoyed it, but I am ready for the major leagues. I hope the Blazin' Banditas will keep at it and play Battleground Roller Derby soon- I like the idea of an unaffiliated travel team!

Friends and Family Day- Houston Roller Derby

Sunday was friends and family day at Houston Roller Derby practice. Practice was early (10 AM- during church for a lot of folks) and turnout was light. That was sort of nice for those who came, because they got a good view of what derby looks like and what some of our practice looks like.
I got winded during warm up drills and sat out some of it. I had invited Bill Shirley to come to talk podcasting, so we did. After some debate (mostly internally between me and myself) I decided that we'll initially leave the girls out of the podcasts and focus on announcers only. This is because I've caught the vibe that certain girls are either nervous about the podcasts or think that they might do something like hurt attendance. I guarantee if Austin was doing these things girls would be clamoring for it, but since it's just the leagues up north forging the territory, the fear of the unknown is greater than the faith of them in me. No problem- we'll just limit it to commentary, like ESPN does 95% of the time. If they like it, we can expand, of not, we can operate independently. I know people will enjoy some HRD roundtable discussions from us.
The girls scrimmaged during practice and it looked good. The pictures are from the scrimmage section of the day. I really like the picture of Death By Chocolate and Carmen Geddit at the jammer line. It was cool and most everybody- new girls and vets- did well. There was some excitement among the F&F audience.
The practice ended with the girls being divided into their Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine teams for our first bout, which will be an exhibition and will not feature the normal teams. It will be vets vs. vets and new girls vs. new girls. A great situation to have some announcer preview commentary on. I am excited about that!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Playing bass tonight with the Allison Fisher band- Big Top

Hopefully I'll get a few pictures. The next 24 hours is going to be really cool and I'll be sure to shoot some shots and post them up. Tonight it's the band- a great band with one of the best singers in town in Allison Fisher (who now also plays in The El Orbits) and tomorrow morning it's Friends and Family Day at Roller Derby practice, Dairy Ashford Roller Rink. No skating for the amateurs, but you can come watch a scrimmage at our practice space. Practices are normally closed to the public and F&F Day is once a year- never promoted. Bill Shirley is coming- we're going to get this HRD podcast thing off the ground and I'll take whatever I can learn and apply to podcasts in Marfa at the club- interviews with bands, etc by phone to help promote the upcoming shows. There are so many uses, most importantly for me, documentation of local history. This little blog is exactly that for me.
Oh, yeah, by the way, I'm listening to Bigg Robb, a southern chitlin circuit R&B artist who I've seen live in Sunnyside at a club called "Club Nite Mood" at W. Orem and S. Post Oak. for more info. This guy is like all three of the Fat Boys but better rolled into one with a positive message. He is awesome. If you email him he actually emails you back. He tours with the Zapp Band, one of my favorite bands of all time.
Sunday night the "Blazin' Banditas" will take on the "South Side Roller Derby" at Pearwood Skate Center in Pearland (east of downtown on FM 518). The cover is $5. This is SSRD's first interleague bout. I would say they have a chance, but the Blazin Banditas are a spinoff of Alamo City Rollergirls, San Antoonio's WFTDA league and real skaters. The BB's left the league after a long and drawn out seriies of disputes with the girls who run the Alamo City Rollergirls. Now ACRG has three teams instead of four (way to make season 2 crappier than season 1) and the team formerly known as "The Violations" (2nd place ACRG 2006) has been re-formed into an unaffiliated travel team. They're going to kill SSRD, I am certain. I am going, along with a couple of HRD girls, even though HRD is a sworn enemy of SSRD (LONG story) and discourages ANY support of their league activities. $5 cover is hardly support, but I'm there for the BANDITAS, my S.A. home girls. Announcer Rusty Pickup and his wife Cynthia will be in for the bout as well, though no announcing. I am really looking forward to it. That's Sunday night at 5:30, I believe. Visit for more details.

Friday, February 23, 2007

RC Cola and Moon Pies for Bill Paulk

Today a group of people across the globe consumed RC Cola and Moon Pies while sending mental and cosmic energy to the original "Moon Pie Guy" Bill Paulk, who is dying of leukemia.
There's much more to this story, of course, but the end result was participation from folks as diverse as Moon Pie Bakery President Sam Campbell IV to San Antonio Roller Derby announcer D-LUX. Here's a couple of pictures of Allen Hill and I savoring a fine southern meal on the former site of the PIK N PAK, Waugh Dr at Welch in Houston. This space is now the Rudyard's parking lot.
We were later joined by Eric Feighl, who, despite being full of Stag's Head Pub Grub lunch ate a Vanilla Moon Pie and drank an ice cold RC for Bill.
Pictures include Allen Hill posing with the Murgatroyd and a shot of the 2 Liter and three assorted Moon Pies I consumed over the cours of an hour (I went a few extra miles- starting early and finishing late).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

More pictures of 225 W El Paso St, Marfa

Here's some more pictures of our future club.
The door picture is the stage door for band loading. The view with the tree is from behind and to the west of the club. The green space will be connected to our indoor-outdoor garage area and will be fenced to be part of the overflow area and/or to take advantage of the great weather.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A couple of things I love in San Antonio

Here's two pics of two things I love in S.A.
First, the White Wings/Pioneer Bakery, a family owned and operational flour mill that looks like a chess rook. This is in Southtown, near S Alamo and Main. They have a great restaurant as well- great pancakes- a Pioneer specialty. I beleiev Pioneer/White Wings makes HEB brand flour and some other items. They also sell pancakes, grits, flour and the like under the Pioneer and White Wings brands, avaialble in south and southwest Texas, primarily.
The next is an afternoon photo of Casbeers, where I played the monthly El Orbits show for about 3 1/2 years. Great food, great place, great music. 1719 Blanco Rd near Hildebrand. Ram from Taco Land told me they have the best burgers in San Antonio and Ram would never have BS'ed about that. - David

Back in Houston

I went to Roller Derby straight off the road from San Antonio.
I spent the early part of the day in S.A. pricing restaurant equipment and talking to a pool table vendor. The bottom line is that no matter whether I buy the stuff new or find it in a dumpster, I'll be hauling everything out to West Texas myself. The typical "free delivery and set-up" with a big order is not applicable for such a long distance. Since El Paso and Midland are both 3 hours away as well, I doubt there's any difference at all in policy.
No biggie, I'll just be sure to take at least one huge item every time I go out. Between the 18 foot flatbed and the 4X8 enclosed RC cola trailer I'll be able to get everything over time. Much cheaper, too.
At Roller Derby Mistilla "The Killa" was explaining new rules for this season. The team captains and trainers all went to Tucson to see the Dust Devil tournament last weekend and the rule changes are so our league can better adapt to interleague play. The pictures above were taken during demonstrations of new penalities, changes, etc. The biggest difference the new rules will make its that the "pack" of blockers, led by the team's individual pivots will be skating more as a unit, or individuals may face penalties. It's hard to explain the effect this will have, but I believe the girls are right in instituting this change and as our league gets more pro and the pack speed gets faster in general (like our DDD/HRD bout) it will all make sense. This will be more conversationalist fodder for my "exclusive" podcast interviews with Derby girls before, during, and after the bouts.

Bar hopping in Ojinaga, Mexico, alone

Oh, yeah-
In regards to my day trip to Ojinaga, I brought a ton of my homemade Jambalaya (prototype for the club recipe) with the self-imposed directive of finishing all of it before returning to Texas. Raw food is technically not permitted to cross the border, at least coming in to the U.S.
So, with about a half a quart or more of jambalaya to eat, I decided to check out a few cantinas in Ojinaga and have a beer at each. Well, I check out three, but only took a picture of one, and only the exterior. I was not too comfortable taking pictures inside. These cars are dark and inhabited by a barkeep (surely the owner) and a few laborers off work being loud. The Mexican equivalent of a redneck bar in Pasadena. Anyway, the most remarkable thing was the glass brick and yellow wall tiled bar with the "mother of bowling ball" formica top in one place. Really cool and worn out- a permanent install dating back decades. The best thing was the bar rail at the bottom front (where you rest your feet). it was built up about five inches of the same yellow bathroom wall tile and the well between the "rail" and the bar was also tiled. In the center of the bar was a floor drain and people were throwing junk into the gap. really, though, it was much more like a long urinal trough. That's exactly what it was- a yellow tiled trough with some glass bricks and more yellow tile above it. Incredible.
Father Bill and I are supposedly going back to "find our bar" in Mexico for the club. That would be great, actually, but a tough mission. I will definitely show him this place.
The picture is of the "Che" bar- the 1st one I went to. They took dollars and I was the only one in there. The barkeep spoke English but was defnitely a native. Beers at the bar (for Gringos at least) in Ojinaga are between $2 and $2.50. I noticed the prices were generally cheaper when you paid with pesos.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Alpine, Marfa, Ojinaga, Mex, Presidio

So I've been driving around the region in the big Brown Chariot checking things out. First stop Alpine, mostly because the Marfa Book Co (where I'm at now) was closed for construction on Wed and I wanted to check emails from Father Bill, James Linville (the architect) and Doug.
Alpine is a pretty neat town. Sul Ross St University is there. It was the only place outside of UH that I considered to be an option for graduate school (History). I'm glad I didn't go back to school, even though I would have liked the actual history part of it. There's a cool Italian-style coffee shop called The Trattoria that has free WiFi. It's right next to the Amtrak station, which I wanted to check out as well since I plan on using the train system whenever I can to get back and forth to and from Houston. The coffee was decent, served in a clear tall glass (the Poopie Face made me aware that coffee should be served in opaque glassware a few years ago). They also serve food and sell Olive Oil and pasta.
Small counters of specialty items for sale seem to be a trademark of the quality shops in the Big Bend region. I fully plan to embrace that. Perhaps we can have a counter of various apropos goods in our entryway. There is definitely room.
There was a guy trying to talk to me there. I gave him my recently perfected not-very-nice blowoff of one word answers to his questions and fairly obvious disinterest. It's a good thing, too, because the next customer took his bait and got her ear talked off. More funny was that he claimed to write for a "few newspapers out here". He later admitted, after avoiding the obvious next questin, "Which ones?" that he was "stuck out here and doing some freelance writing". That means no buyers, in my book. I then realized what this guy was doing in this shop as one of the hottest women I've seen in a long long time (wow!) walked in with a 3-4 year old boy, dropped him at the house computer, and took her place behind the counter. That's what this guy was here for- to talk HER ear off. Hilarious.
Oh, yes, cool thing about the (deserted) Amtrak station- plenty of parking marked "public" and cars that have been in that lot for literally years- like somebody took the train out and never came back. Parking is important for my train rides to Houston. The fact that it's free and trouble-free will make this dream possible.
After I got through with teh computer I walked the town. Unfortunately, the guitar store was closed this day since the owner was sick. I like that about this place- in Houston that would never fly, but maybe it should. Alpine has quite a bit of what you would need to have a normal life out here. Good thing it's only 15 minutes away. I ended my Alpine stay with a trip to Railroad Blues, the Big Bend territory's self-proclaimed #1 live music venue, which I believe.
Railroad Blues has been open for about 14 years. It's clear to me that the two owners have a passion for good rock, country and blues acts- acts that would go over particularly well at places like Galveston Mardi Gras or the Heart of Texas Biker Rally plus acts that play at the Continental Club and The Rhythm Room in Phoenix.. The bar itself is fairly large and they have an outstanding selection of bottled beer- perhaps 100 different varieties- plus plenty on draft on the wall. There's lots of neon and beer company banners- like out in area code 281 in Houston- and a pool room. I was there for happy hour. Lone Stars were $2.00 and there was a crowd of probably 15-20 people on this cold, sleety Alpine day. Everyone was having fun, and most were older (40's-50's) and smoking cigarettes. Very blue collar crowd.The place didn't stink like cigarettes, though and I was later told they had spent some good money on a filtration system. Good idea! The stage was properly sized, though the contraints of a ceiling beam kept it from rising up above a foot and a half off the ground. Equipmet was middle of the road JBL with the sound board positioned properly in the enter of the room beside the bar. Acts that have graced the stage there range from local stuff all the way to bands that would play 3000 seat theaters in some cities. I am sure the owners of this bar have lost plenty of money over the years keeping such a solid lineup of talent. They have probably made some money, too, and have definitely earned a good reputation for a live music venue. However, they definitely seem to lack any cutting-edge or even youthful acts in their roster. There's plenty of all this to go around so I think that when we open I will stay off their acts and focus on creating our own complementary identity and band roster.
Lastly, I may go see the Small Stars there Saturday night if nothing is going on in Marfa.
Yesterday I went down to Mexico. Ojinaga is just southwest of Presidio. I took the trcuk down there and walked around for about 2-3 hours. Saw the whole thing, pretty much. That town is so poor and kind of sad. Very very quiet. I saw nothing strange there, but was hit up for money a few times (and I look rough this week). It's clear that the drug running trade you hear about coming through here is likely the economic driver. I say that because there is NOTHING else and the town is pretty torn up- lots of abandoned buildings, ruins and vacant lots. That being said, it looked like the population is fairly content. This is real Mexican Indian culture territory- dark skinned and quiet. I even triedn to buy a sombrero, but couldn't find one for sale. I had a few beers in various cantinas that smelled like toilets, but it was an endearing and comfortable experience, despite what it sounds like. Oh yeah, there's great "radio Ranchita" AM radio Station in Ojinaga with a cool old sign in a run down storefront with the front door propped open. XERG AM 1230- Radio Ranchita. I didn't go in -dammit- got to work on the Spanish- but I love it. Anyway, by the time I was sure I'd been through the whole town I went on and left.
The border patrol situation is a pain in the neck. Long line of cars to gett in to the U.S. Surly Border Patrol agents who definitely thought my story of just going in for the day was either BS or just stupid. Probably the latter. Oh yeah, the questions. A bunch of them, but my favorite, "You're opening a live music club in Marfa? THAT will be interesting!" is probably what kept him from writing me a ticket for the two beers I didn't declare that I brought in (the sign didn't specify alcohol, although I was sort of testing it as it was).
Presidio- like a U.S. version of Mexico. Lots of small stucco frame houses and dirt roads. Few shops, few amenities. Sprawling. This place reminds me of a cleaned up verison of the outskirts of Tijuana where we built those houses back in high school. I went to the grocery store. Pretty crappy but functional. That's pretty much it for Presidio and I remember that ten years ago it was the same story.
Back to Marfa- tired- and made it through the local Border Patrol station no problem. The agent there seemed to be genuinely interested and excited that there will be a club for him and his fellow buddies to go to. Maybe we'll have a Broder Patrol/ INS special.
Adam came over around 10 PM when I was reading and I gave him the dual Coleman lantern tour of the dark club. Really fun.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Padre's Marfa in demo stage

I arrived in Marfa late Tuesday night. The drive is so far- even from Canyon Lake, where I tried to visit a friend but couldn't locate her- maybe on the way home.
Road construction between Alpine and Marfa is pretty brutal. HWY 90 is now a dirt road going both directions for about 8-12 miles. I arrived at the funeral home about midnight and decided to go over to Adam Bork's house to see if he was still awake, knowing his night owl tendencies. He sure was, so I brough in a few Lone Stars and we watched YourTube videos of 70's American cars. Nerds.
Anyway, I got back to the club/funeral home and got my flashlights out. I had brought two Coleman lanterns that I checked beforehand (last time I used them was Sept '98 and the fuel was still inside!- bad idea). What I didn't bring was matches. Anyway, the Mag Lite sufficed to get into the place, which has now been partially demoed and look around. I'm sleeping on a too-short couch in the office- a great space, actually, for an office. For my next trip out I'll hopefully bring a fold out small couch that will live here for good (likely in the band room as a usable band bed).
You can see in the pictures the difference between the photos I posted earlier and what's there now. Much better, altough the raw adobe walls have a really rough look to those who are not used to them. Authentic adobe housing and coomercial space is very sought after in these parts- for authenticity, aesthetics and fashion. I tried to take some picture angles from the same spots as in the previously posted pictures for comparison. Most everything speaks for itself.
I brought the big Brown Suburnban and RC Cola trailer full of stuff for the club, as it is my goal to bring as much as possible to town every trip so that the final move will be reasonable.
I brought the Chambers stuff, 8 cast iron ceiling fans (most from the 20's and 30's- totally awesome, some sound and light stuff, most of my collection of high quality pots, pans and cookware (assorted Le Creuset and bakeware) and a bank of blue lockers from Lamar High School that I've had since junior year. The lockers will be used for employee storage and as a lock box for band valuables while bands are staying with us. The bank has a total of 8 lockers.
Anyway, Wednesday morning I unloaded that stuff into the back garage space (that formerly housed the funeral cars.
There is no running water in the building right now, and there was no operational electricity either. Since my arrival, Jerry has turned on some electric so now I have a small heater and can read by the light of some old flourescent office ceiling lamps.
The first night was spent by mag light. Last night I had purchased kitchen maches in Alpine, so I had the Coleman lanterns going. Randomly, I realized the electricity in the office was on, so I was able to use the electirc heater (it below freezing at night this week and I saw some snow in Alpine yesterday). I'm wearing my long underwear plus jackets, etc, so I'm not really cold unless I'm out in the wind. More about my trip to Alpine (Wed) later.- David

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I'm in Alpine- have been in Marfa for about 12 hours.
I spent Monday night in Austin at Landis' house. My plan was to have gone to the Meshbanes show at Trophy's but when I got there they weren't playing. I wound up at the Hole in the Wall on a whim and caught a two-man act possibly called the Cartwrights. Drums and vocals. No other instruments. They were actually great after initially appearing to be a total fashion joke. Really cool songs- great stage energy. Dominic and I sat there and both went from being mildly annoyed to very enthused about the act.
I went to bed and Landis and I got up to meet Matt Eskey at Thunderbird coffee, which is within walking distance from his house. Paul Minor let us there and I shot these pictures of their practice they were having as I left for an Allen Oldies Band show they're playing this weekend.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Chambers oven and range- 1953

I went to mini storage today and pulled out the Chambers oven and rage that came from my grandmother's house. The kitchen in that house was bulit in 1953- using top of the line appliances built into the walls and counters. Surviving items include the (broken) GE refrigerator (pea green) and the Chambers set.
I initially tried to sell the Chambers set for my family and asked $800 or maybe $650 for the pair. Very cheap given that the hippest untra-rich kitchen re-dos have these old Chambers in them. Particularly this style- copper and stainless. For real, awesome appliances. "Cook with the gas off" was one of the oven's slogans. Keep the vent partially closed and heat with just the pilot light- enough to warm up any dish. Anyway, these items will be part of the Padre's Marfa kitchen and I'm taking them to West Texas with me next week so their measurements can be incuded. This will allow us to build them into the club. It's really the perfect use for these great items. My grandmother was a serious and wonderful cook and she would be happy that these are going to be used in a pro kitchen. I am too, as they will use less gas and create less stary heat than say a Vulcan or Blodgettt commercial set, but have the cooking capacity we'll need- beneath that of a true commercial kitchen but above that of home specs.
The pictures were taken just before I took them out of the house. The house is gone and has been replaced by 2 mansions at 9 and 10 Beebe Ln in Bunker Hill (Houston) TX. - David

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Night in Houston

I'm upstairs in my apartment, fooling around on this computer, drinking a Lone Star and thinking about all the things I need to gather up and get done before I leave for Marfa Monday evening.
Jug O' Lightnin' is playing downstairs. They have always been one of my favorite bands to listen to and still sound great. Unfortunately the sound is now tainted in my head since I became aware that Aaron (the singer/guiarist/songwriter is suing the owner of the Houston Studios building (whom I know well) for some type of accident he suffered on the premises. I mean, come on. Now I can't help but think that if he fell off the stage downstairs he might sure Pete. Not really, but that's because he knows us, I bet. I think lawsuits over true accidents are pretty much BS and should be avoided by self-respecting citizens. This is my opinion only. Anyway, I'm not enjoying the band like I used to and that sucks.
The Medicine Show is up next- one of Houston's best bands, for sure. Didn't used to be, in my opinion, but they're pretty much smokin' these days.
I'm reading Melissa Joulwan's Roller Derby book about her RD career with the Texas Rollergirls and TXRD (in their flat-track BGGW days). Great book- balanced about the notorious "split" that I vicariously winessed through The El Orbits' having played benefits for the early derby in Austin and my friendship with Clownsnack of TXRD and Randall Stockton of Beerland. There were a whole lot of other acquaintances as well involved, but I can't recall many names after all this time. Hydra Hellcat- now with txrg flat track, she was cool. I pretty much completely exited the scene when the deal went down; there was really dark energy (still is some) and I really didn't want to get in the middle. Thank God for the formation of Space City Rollergirls (transformed into Houston Roller Derby after a mild leadership overthrow in early 2005)- if it weren't for HRD I would still be out of Roller Derby and that would suck.
There's actually a decent article about the South Side Rollergirls from Pearland in a local Houston paper (can't remember the name). These girls are lead by self-proclaimed rival to HRD Brenda (last name begins with and H- can't remember) who also puts on the Roller Derby Boot Camp. Some feathers were ruffled early on between some HRD girls and this chick, I think over using HRD's name to promote Roller Derby Boot Camp (something like "Get ready for Houston Roller Derby tryouts at Roller Derby Boot camp!"). Anyway, what's happened since then, as I understand it is that this girl Brenda has been a bitch at times and is generally somewhat rude. I have no idea if that's true, but the end result is that the South Side girls (some of which tried out for HRD this season) are attempting to form a banked-track league, possibly in affiliation with TXRD out of Austin (Lord knows they need someone locally to bout against!). $30,000 in funds to raise, according to the article. I think the track itself is a cool $20,000. Now that you have a track, where do you do it? My vote is Pasadena Convention Center- great venue and seating. Hell, they're calling themselves South Side and Friendswood is near Pasadena. Anyway, obviously I'll be having nothing to do with this league, but will be watching from a distance and I'll salute and cheer them if they can actually pull the banked track deal off. You can visit them on myspace through a couple of pages or log on to the official website at . What the hell- the more the merrier! Plus, HRD girls are hotter, so no worries around here.- David

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Roller Derby practice tonight- new girls look better than last year's crop initially.

Yes, I said it. This is going to be a banner year for Houston Roller Derby as long as the one team (Burlesque Brawlers) that has shaky leadership gets their house in order.
Imagine shrinkng this league (with 21 NEW girls- and increase of 8 over last yaer's total) to 3 teams from 4. BAD idea. It wuld be a huge step backward. I'm powerless in this one, as usual (that's how I prefer it), but this should be an obvious situation; replace the leadership and start anew with the saem team name (merch, logos and familiarity are already in place). It's not like last year's team captains had any experience going into it- why should it matter? Maybe a team loaded with new girls? THAT would get the crowd talking for sure.

I'm heading to Marfa next week for a week. Going to TCB out in West Texas. I've got to scrounge up a few bucks first, since, after bills this month, I'm basically totally broke. Only two more months of poverty before I start earning a regular wage again.
It's late- outta here- David

Monday, February 05, 2007

Roller Derby Practice

I've been participating in the Houston Roller Derby practices this season. These practices are held twice a week at Dairy Ashford Roller Rink and are closed to the public. The only reason I am allowed to attend and skate is that I have been a volunteer and on the announcing crew for the league since its inception 2 years ago. I'm known as "the Colonel"
I'm nowhere close to as good as most of these girls, but can generally do most of what they do. I get off the floor when I think I'll either be in the way or that I could be hazardous. Plus, they work out pretty darn hard and on days like today I sit out when I get overwhelmed. I drank a bunch of beer last night at tw Super Bowl parties, so I felt like hell working out. The workouts are 2 hours straight of skating, drills, calesthenics, and stretches. As a veteran street skater I know this will improve my skills. However, it's doubtful I'll ever truly need to use most of the stuff I'm learning. Here are some pics of the girls doing their thing. Oh yeah, tonight I fell pretty hard (got a good ass-bruise) and was instantly made fun of. Comic relief is one of my specialties in this group. It's a great time- these chicks are the bomb.

Here's a few more pictures of the new club. The renovations have already begun, and when I arrive in Marfa next Tuesday most of the interior viewable in these hotos will have been torn out and removed.
The pews came with the building. We'll hold on to at least some of them for the club. Father Bill may have a use for the rest, or we may sell some eventually. They are in excellent condition and I believe they're made out of oak.
The pictures includ the prep room (embalming facility) the garage (will be the pool table area and possibly smoking section- not sure about our smoking policy yet, but I'm definitely going to encourage smokers to smoke outside whether we actually ban it or not. Probably ban it for bigger shows but tolerate some of it on regular (slow, slow) nights.
The long room with the door at the end will become our kitchen facility. The room with the chandelier will be the band room/VIP lodging quarters. There's an attached bathroom. Oh yeah, the prep room will be rebuilt into bathrooms. I plan to replace the majority of the exterior doors with steel doors. There may be a steel door or two withing the club as well to partition the office (not pictured), the band/VIP quarters and the showroom/bar area. Right now, our showroom/bar area is divided into two rooms and a halway section. Those partitions will be removed and we will likely put a steel beam in the place of a load-bearing wall, much like we did at the Continental Club here in Houston to get rid of the wooden post that was in the sightline of the stage. Big job, but did it from the get go and the club is much better for it.