• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Finally, you can manage your Google Docs, uploads, and email attachments (plus Dropbox and Slack files) in one convenient place. Claim a free account, and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) can automatically organize your content for you.


Lyd B's Productions

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 3 months ago




My penguin is better than your penguin!






Everything and Nothing: Against Me!


This is my column that I write regularly for Sink Hole Zine, a section of Bacontowne Records.


Have you ever had that favorite band? You know the one, the band you’d give your life to see, the band you’d follow anywhere in the country, the band whose tattooed on your arm, the band whose music makes you smile when you are down? Well for me, that band is Against Me!

I know, Against Me! Right? Didn’t they sell out? Aren’t they major label now? Scene kids listen to them, don’t they?

At least that’s what I keep hearing, but for this writer, the love affair with Against Me! began long, long ago.

It started at a small bar in Ybor City, Florida called The Orpheum. A hole in the wall bar if you will, it’s a great place to see a show. Many bands, throughout their growing up in the music business have graced this bars stage. It’s on a fairly dark corner in Ybor, and it’s pretty grungy on the inside. Near the door is a huge wrap-around bar, that’s prime seating for any show, and if it’s filled, forget getting a beer. There’s a modest dance floor, and a smallish stage, but it’s not necessarily the venue that makes the show, it’s the band itself.

This is where I first came across Against Me! I was young, 18 or 19, I’m sure. A few of my cousins had heard of them via the Gainesville scene, and they were going to see them, so naturally, I went along for the ride. I like going to shows, and I was excited to go. Against Me! rocked that night! ‘Pints of Guinness Make You Strong’ and ‘Baby, I’m an Anarchist’ are the two songs I really remember being played that night. I remember how energized their music made me feel.

So a few months later, when I heard they were coming to Ybor again, I had to go. I ended up getting the last ticket at Ticketmaster that night. Off to Ybor I went, again, with my cousins, again, and again I loved Against Me! This time I bought a t-shirt, which I still sport, and ‘Reinventing Axl Rose,’ one of their first great albums.

So the love affair continues. After seeing them twice at The Orpheum, I got to catch them at The Masquerade, also in Ybor, after that a Warped Tour Stage. By this time I’d met my husband, and he was into them too. He bought me more of their albums; he’s the one who gave me ‘As the Eternal Cowboy,’ which is my favorite complete album. He also would buy me their vinyl.

2007 rolled around, and I was getting the itch to see them again. This time they played one of my favorite St. Petersburg, Florida venues called The State Theatre. Another timeless venue, that has seen some of the greatest acts out there. It was February, and it was cold. I ran into a really old friend of mine that night, and had no idea she was even into the band. They were great; I almost broke my nose in the mosh pit. In August of ’07, they played at Janus Landing, also in St. Pete, and this time they rocked my socks off. Confirming, in my heart and soul, my undying love for the band.

It was at that show, I knew, that no matter where they went in their career, I would be a loyal supporter.

My husband and I were married October of 2007. For a wedding gift, two of our bridal party Members, lovingly referred to in this piece as L and R, took us to see Against Me! at the House of Blues in Orlando.

Friday, October 3, 2008, they graced Janus Landing’s stage again. And it was full on. I had been in contact with the band the week prior to the show because I wanted to give them a cake. I had a need to fill, and that need was to meet my favorite band. I also assumed, that a bunch of guys driving around the country in a tour bus might want something homemade and wonderful.

So the Myspaceing helped a lot. Tom contacted me back, and said “Fuck yeah we want a cake! Vegan please!”

I figured, how could a bunch of guys on a tour bus resist a good, homemade, vegan baked good. After that email, I gathered the ingredients, and looked up the recipe my great-grandmother used to make during the Great Depression, and got to baking.

And that night, my dream came true. Not only did they rock out Janus Landing, I got to watch the show on the front gate, I still have bruises on my knees from the show. Afterwards, I made contact with James, the guitar player. He was standing on the balcony of Janus.

I screamed up to him “hey, you want some cake?”

He screamed back down, “hell yeah, I want some fucking cake!”

Off I went, racing to my car to get the cake I’d made for Against Me! My husband and I ran back to the front of the venue, and there were Tom and Andrew.

I waited a moment, and then got right in their faces, and said “Here’s your cake, I made this for you!”

They gladly took it, and I got my pictures, and my autographs. Call me a big loser, but they are the best, and if you’re favorite band was hanging out front of the venue you’d just seen them in, you’d have a similar reaction.

Saturday evening I checked MySpace, and I had a message from Against Me!

Tom said, “Thanks for the cake. I ate so much last night I almost went into a diabetic coma.”

I claim to be their biggest fan, and the next time they come around, I’ll be there to see them, probably with another baked good.

Oh, and by the way, I’m compiling a list of vegan baked good recipes; so if you have any suggestions, send them my way.


Matt Norris: Custom Tattoo Artist


I wrote this article for the fun of it. I didn't really have a reason to write it, but I'm glad I did. Matt Norris is my tattoo artist!


Webber Street Studios sits in a strip mall between a bar and a wedding dress shop. The paint on the building is starting to fade, and most all the storefronts blend together. Not Webber Street Studios, however, their bright red entrance way stands apart from the rest of the building.

And when you walk inside your greeted by a mixture of sounds. There is the soft churning sound of a coi pond, highlighted by the consistent sound of a whirling tattoo machine. The white walls are covered with various styles of paintings, and metal works. A few comfy couches call you from the front door.

If you head towards the right and walk down the hallway, the first door on the left belongs to Ian Cherry, a tattoo artist. A little further past there, the next studio on the left belongs to 30-year-old Matt Norris.

Norris’s studio has a pale, olive green hue on the walls. In the corner is his desk, which is covered with drawings, a Macbook Pro, and a lamp. Next to it is a set of drawers to house his art supplies, and a bookshelf filled with different art books from all sorts of genres.

In the middle of the studio is a baby blue vinyl podiatrist chair that looks welcoming, and comfortable. Behind the chair is where the tattoo supplies are kept in a red tool chest, his machine sits beside it, a roll of paper towels sits atop the chest, and his bio hazard container sits nearby on the floor.

The setting is quite peaceful; the studio emits a relaxing feeling. This is where Norris spends his working hours five days a week.

Norris didn’t dream of being a tattoo artist, it was just something he was interested in. He attended Manatee Community College in Bradenton for graphic design.

Norris got his first tattoo at 16 years old, which he says is long gone. And when he turned 17, him and some friends bought a tattoo kit out of a magazine. He said that it was harder to do than it looked.

“It wasn’t easy,” said Norris. “And they (tattoos) looked bad.”

So the love affair with tattooing began. He got some flash on his 18th birthday. Flash is a piece of artwork that most artists in a tattoo studio can ink on someone. Norris’s flash is a skull and barbwire arm band, an “ooh, I want that one!” That tattoo is almost covered as well.

“Most people learn the hard way,” Norris said of flash art. “They get a few pieces of flash done, then they get a piece that’s well thought out, realize they’re mistakes and move on to better ones.”

In fact, Norris is about 50 percent of the way covered in tattoos. He said he’s got a lot of space open on his legs and back, but his chest is most of the way covered, as are his arms and neck. He’s currently having a stomach piece done; he said it’s the most painful.

He got his start doing freelance graphic design work for a studio, he would trade his designs for their ink. They saw the quality of his artwork, and asked him if he’d ever tried it before. He said no.

Other than some tattooing at home with his friends, Norris never really saw a drive to get into the business. It was more of a hobby, until he met up with Ed Bell.

Bell, a Bradenton artist, was a fan of Norris’s artwork. Bell had relocated to a studio in Panama City Beach, and got Norris an apprenticeship at his new studio, Oxygen.

He wasn’t having a normal apprenticeship. Most apprentices get to tattoo one or two pieces a day, he was doing about 10 a day. In fact, Bell is one of Norris’s biggest inspirations in the business. He didn’t stay up there long; he missed his family, all of whom are Bradenton locals.

After Oxygen, he went to the Tattoo Emporium in St. Petersburg. After a few months there, he and the piercer, who goes only by Peat, left the Emporium to go to Level 5 in Sarasota. Norris followed him.

There Norris interviewed for a job with Joel Illch, an artist at the shop. Illch was looking into opening his own custom studio, and Ian Cherry, Level 5’s manager, was planning on leaving with him. So Norris decided to wait for Illch to pursue his business.

“I was in way over my head,” said Norris about the opening of Webber Street Studios.

Webber Street Studios is located on the Northwest corner of Webber Street and Beneva Road in Sarasota.

In a custom shop, there is no flash to choose from, except maybe a tiny binder from each artist. Illch was, and still is, Norris’s inspiration behind getting into the custom business.

“I busted my ass,” Norris said. “Joel encouraged me to draw more, he forced me to get better.”

Illch encouraged much of Norris’s artwork, and pushed his creativity. Other tattoo artists, such as Phil Holt of Tampa, also inspire Norris. Holt produces local art shows in his studio called Gallery.

Of the field, Norris said, “other tattooers are finding success in the art community. People are being creative, and they are finding success.”

Another aspect of working in a custom shop that Norris enjoys is getting to produce a lot of his own work on other people.

“When we’re doing something we want to do, we’re going to put that much more thought into it,” Norris said.

Norris’s style derives from traditional America and traditional Japanese tattooing; he calls it neo-traditional.

Norris only has one of his own pieces done on himself, something he doesn’t plan on doing again. He wants only other artists works on him.

Norris gets tattooed at Red Letter 1 in Ybor City.

“To see what they’re doing puts your career in perspective,” said Norris of the studio.

He is currently being tattooed by Jeff Scersic. Norris said that every time he goes up there he learns something new, and that Scersic is inspiring, and will answer any questions.

Norris loves the tattooing business but it’s not his only passion. In his spare time he hangs out with his son, Riley, six, and works on his extensive collection of Volkswagens. And if he’s not painting or drawing or working on cars, he hangs out with his girlfriend Liz, 20, that’s his life in a nutshell.

He likes to watch episodes of the Office on DVD, but doesn’t have cable or the internet.

“It forces me to be productive,” he says of his sacrifice.

He likes comedies, cheesy 80’s B movies, and likes to watch newer Disney movies with his son. He’s also seen every installment of the Harry Potter series, but has not read a single book, nor does he intend to.

And if you ask him why he’s so cool he’ll say, “It comes naturally.”


This is How I Roll...

I love the Dead Milkmen, Punk Rock Girl happens to be one of my personal anthems... I've never gotten to see them live before, and I hope to someday! Enjoy the video.


I want to be a writer when I grow up. I guess you could say that I’m all ready sort of grown up… I mean grow-up in the after-college-you-have-to-get-a-career-cause-you’ve-educated-yourself-enough-to-move-out-in-the-real-world version of grown up. I’ve definitely taken a detour to get to my 25th year of life and have followed many roads that have taken me the oddest of places, but I’m okay with that, I like where I’m at.

My favorite question to ask people as a journalist is “Tell me five things I don’t know about you.” In this situation, since no one knows much about me, I’ll give you some random facts about myself.

1. I was born on National Girl Scout Cookie day, and was never a girl scout.

2. I’ve always been a tomboy, and I blame this on the fact that on my mother’s side, I am the only female in my generation. I will add that I am fifth generation Manatee County Native as well.

3. My husband, who is the most awesomest-coolest-amazingest person I know, is a plumber, but don’t think he’s going to fix your toilet.

4. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, especially a journalist.

5. I don’t do spiders.

I grew up in Bradenton between two brothers. Stephen, who lives in East Tennessee, is the oldest. He turned me onto punk rock music, and threatened just about every date of mine that ever approached our front door. He works at Applebee’s and hasn’t quite found his calling yet. Aaron goes to Valencia, his major is theatre tech, but he’s not gay, that’s so stereotypical of me to write. He is the youngest of us three, and the one I tormented the most growing up. Aaron is awesome, he’d do anything for me. Aaron has an awesome girlfriend named Marissa, they’re high school sweethearts.

Mom and Dad have been married for thirty years. They still love each other too. For their anniversary, we sent them to see Neil Diamond. That’s when they informed us that at least two out of the three of us were conceived to Neil Diamond. Mom is a Mac tech for Bayshore High, which happens to be my sib’s and I alma mater. My dad sells industrial oils to factories all over Florida, his passion is raising orchids. Mom likes Disney Movies, dreaming of Grandchildren, and editing films in Final Cut Pro.

I’ve always had cats, I LOVE Cats. I had three until I left for class Thursday (1-8) morning, that’s when we found the recently passed Miss Kitters lying in our back yard, we believe she was hit by a car. She lived a short tramatic life, and will be greatly missed. She was the kind of cat that would pet you back, she could sit on command, and her mew was more of a chirp.

RIP Miss Kitters

Now we're down to two. We have Haizey, the alpha cat, she’s the same age as my niece. She's been my saviour in moments, I've had her longer than I've been with my husband.

Shes a pisser

And Moose, he’s all ready 15 pounds, and just turned two. He is a feral cat, but you’d never be able to tell because his pastimes are snuggling with momma, eating, mewing, and being nosy. If you look closely in this picture, he is on a tree branch sniffing the flowers or something like that.

Moose is Panther

My husband’s name is Chris, we got married in October of 2007. We were married on our two and a half year anniversary. I met him for the first time through a mutual friend, Chris had a girlfriend. Almost a year later, I re-met him, he wandered into the jewelry store that my boyfriend at the time worked in, they’d been friends in high school, and had worked together. Chris and his ex, and my ex and I began double-dating almost every weekend. We also split up with them in the same summer. That was in 2004. Throughout the next nine months or so I would run into him in some random places, hanging out with some random people.

I had his number in my phone, and I called him to go out one night. He blew off a blind date to hang out with me. A few weeks later I’d be turning 21, and I asked him to take me out that night.

My birthday came in went without a call from him, he got several drunk-dials from me though! About a week or so after my birthday I got a call from him, he’d been in a serious car accident, and was immobile. Two weeks later I had my tonsils out. So from our initial first date, it took us about six weeks to have a second date. When we finally went out that second time the sparks flew and I’ve been with him everyday since then.

So what if we got married young, who cares? Almost everyone we know had an opinion about our wedding, from the music to the flowers, to where it should be.

We got married in the same church as my great-grandmother. I walked down the aisle to ‘I Feel Fine’ by the Beatles. We had sushi at our reception, and our cupcakes where topped with clay figures of us I ordered from Mexico. We honeymooned in St. Maarten. It was beautiful.

We go to shows, in fact we go to A LOT of shows, we’ve probably been to well over a hundred in the four years we’ve been together, and that is guessing low. We like to watch movies, and TV. We go on bike rides, and he is the best road-tripping buddy ever. We like to go to the bar too, and make our mother’s wait for grandbabies. He is my shield. I love him more than anything.

That’s my life in a nutshell, it revolves around Chris, my kitties, SCHOOL and my job waiting tables at a breakfast and lunch joint called Peach’s.

Feel free to ask me questions…

As far is gaming is concerned, the only one I’m good at is Scrabble, and I mean that as a board game. I aced Mario 3 with my mom and big brother when I was a kid, but for the most part my time with video games ended loooong ago, except for tetris on my phone.

I’ve got a game for you… Tell me five things I don’t know about you.


1. What I think about Chapter 1 in Persuasive Games: 1-15-09

I read most of the chapter, it's very jargon-y.


This book is incredibly hard to read, and one I will, most likely be first in line to sell back at the campus bookstore at the end of the semester. I did not get to finish chapter one, however, the first 40 pages of the book offered insight into how society will persuade to sell objects.


What I liked most about the chapter is how people are using procedural rhetoric to strike back at advertisers. For example, Freaky Flakes is a site for children to design their own cereal boxes, while children see it as a game for them to play; the undertones allow them to subconsciously learn how advertisers target them. The McDonald’s Videogame is another example of how visual rhetoric can be used to persuade, after playing that game would you want to work at McDonalds, or support their establishments?


I suppose I find the whole art of persuasion AWESOME! I’m in the class to fine tune my persuasive skills. I will provide you with a real life example of (at least what I think is) procedural rhetoric.


My husband wants me to play videogames with him. Anything I find remotely interesting he’ll buy in the hopes that I’ll play more often with him. One day we were out shopping and happened to pass by our local Best Buy. Our standard procedure for Best Buy is to peruse the music first, then the DVD’s, then a quick scan around the rest of the store, and eventually we’ll make it out the front door hopefully spending less than 50 dollars.


On this particular visit we stopped and checked out the new music, then the new DVD’s, a quick look at the iPods, around through the HD flat screen TV’s, and then suddenly we were on the cheap videogame aisle. This actually could be a section of one aisle, but all I knew was suddenly, I was surrounded by Playstation 2 games that were under 20 dollars. Chris asked me to pick out a game I would like and he would buy it for me so we could go home and play it. I was shocked because I hadn’t realized where he was going until we were all ready there.


I felt cornered, he knows I’m not much of a player, how could he employ such a tactic on me? Through process of elimination, first the first person shooter games, then the grand theft games, followed by the driver games; I finally picked up a copy of Kingdom of Hearts, the Disney version of Final Fantasy.


Chris was taken aback, neither of us are big fantasy fans. I’d heard from my gaming cousin that it was a fun game. I tried to sell him on buying it, it’ll be interesting, it’s different from what we’re used to. He wasn’t having it, so we left the store empty handed.


His attempts to persuade me failed, as my attempts to persuade him also failed.


Creative Commons....

This is how I feel about that... (I love ellipses)


I selected a Creative Commons Attribution No Derivative Clause because I don't want anyone altering my writing. My writing is my creative exploration, it is the way I express myself. I don't want some going in and upsetting that for me. When someone alters your personal work, it messes with the voice of the piece, the ongoing tone. My voice is unique to myself, therefore no one may alter it. It's just a personal opinion.

I took a writing class last semester that required me to sign a paper for the portfolio process stating that I would be okay with someone altering my work. It really offended me. I believe myself to be a capable writer, I don't want someone to alter my work unless I have approved the alterations.

You wouldn't buy your wedding dress after it was altered unless it fit you 100 percent. You wouldn't allow a contractor to alter your house in a way you didn't all ready agree to. See the point I am trying to make? When something is unique, as I feel any person's writing is, an intruding voice can ruin what was all ready a masterpiece.

However, I have approved my work to be used because I want to be discovered, I want my name to get out there as a writer. The internet is a powerful tool in the hands of a writer. By using it wisely, you can go far and do great things with only the click of a mouse. So if this wiki is the way my name gets exposed to society, I’ll be okay with that.


Open Source... President...?

Interesting video on Youtube comparing President-Elect Obama to open source computers.



Creative Commons License

This work by Lydia Beljan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Everything and Nothing: Loss

I had a really hard time writing this piece, I couldn't wrap my brain around it. I hope you like it

Something I always get enjoyment out of, when I have free time, is going thrift shopping for records. It’s always a mystery as to what you will find. Sometimes the selection is heavy on the musicals, sometimes there’s a bunch of 80’s pop, and sometimes all that’s left is Duke Ellington.

I’ll buy musicals, my personal favorite is any old copy of My Fair Lady featuring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. I like 80’s pop too, or really anything I can find. I’ll take 33 rpm’s or 45’s, whatever I find to my liking.

I’ve never been to Sound Idea, I didn’t know it was closing, or even existing, until I met The BaconTowne’s a few months back. They spoke of the place with honor in their voices; it was a second home to them, a place for them to buy their vinyl.

But I’ve typically stuck with thrift stores, buying cheap records that I know only one track on the label. There’s something magical about buying someone’s used records, it’s like a spotlight into a moment in their life. And then there’s that smell. The sweet odor of pulling someone’s old record out of its sleeve, you’re hit with it instantly, I think it’s like a breath of fresh air. That musty scent, the smell of it being on someone else’s shelf for 20 years, and the yellow paper that the record is wrapped in.

Sometimes you wonder, how was the former owner feeling when they bought this record? Were they a huge fan? Did their parents like this music too or were they rebelling? Had they seen the artist in concert? Has this record ever been used as a weapon? And why did they get rid of it?

Why did they get rid of it? Why do people let things go? Why do we have a place where we can go buy someone else’s junk and make it our own treasure? And, after someone get’s rid of a record, do they ever regret it? Do they ever look back and wonder, thinking, I shouldn’t have let that go?

Yes, I think at times people experience loss after donating something on a moment’s notice, just to clean out the house, or just so they don’t have to move something. They feel remorse for letting something go.

I’ve often thought that Miss Kitters was looked on that way. She was our precious cat that recently passed. Kitters led a short wild life, and she will be greatly missed.

She was found on the side of I-75, she was about three weeks old. A guy driving a wrecker found her, he didn’t want her life to be lost to traffic, so he scooped her up and brought her home.

Kitters was passed on to a girl who collected cats, Miss S we’ll call her. Miss S nursed her to health, bottle feeding her everyday, giving her love and affection, so that she would grow up to be a loving cat. Miss S named her Bug because she had giant eyes.

Unfortunately, Miss S couldn’t keep her. She had so many cats all ready and was planning on moving into a new home, so she began finding homes for her precious felines.

Bug (Miss Kitters) went to live with a couple of guys. Although they claimed they could give her the attention and love she needed, they couldn’t. Bug was no longer her name, in fact, while she lived with the guys, she never really had a name, they kind of one day decided on calling her Kitters.

Kitters was ignored, living in a testosterone filled apartment with a bad case of worms, and in heat, she went nuts. She had what came to be known as the “tweaking hour” every night. She would race up and down stairs, the stairs where carpeted so she could scale up the bottoms side of the stairs as well. She would steal her owner’s pot, eat it, and spread the remainder across the apartment floor.

More so, no one could touch her, she didn’t like people to pet her, or get near her. She liked being left alone.

One evening before Christmas in 2005, I got a phone call from one of the guys, they wanted to come over, they had a question to ask me. I said all right, and soon, they were at my house.

“We have to get rid of the cat, we’re moving. Can you take her?”

My options where limited, I wanted to say no, I only needed one pet, but on the other hand had she gone to the pound she would have been euthanized. So I said yes, and Kitters came to live with my husband and me.

It took some time, but over the course of about six months, she began to come around. Her and my other cat started to get along, and Kitters began to get used to us.

She was really a loving cat. She liked to pet you, meaning she would hold your arm down while she licked you with her sandpaper tongue. She didn’t mew; she had more of a chirp. If you looked her in the eye you could see her brain going a mile a minute. She was an avid hunter, and was good at killing lizards that snuck into the house as well.

She loved to ride in the car; she would mew at the other cars driving by, or curl up in your lap and go to sleep. On one particular car ride, she crawled up on my brother’s shoulders and fell asleep on the drive to his house.

Yes, Miss Kitters was very loved after she came to live with us. And she is greatly missed now that she’s gone. She had been discarded a few times in her life but to us she was a family member, a great friend, and we will always hold her memory dear.

Kind of like Sound Idea, most of you won’t forget the good times you had there, the vinyl you bought, and the friends you made. Fortunately there are plenty of thrift shop records out there looking for homes, for someone to love them, and for someone to turn them from discarded trash to a valued treasure.



Lydia's Definitional Argument Vinyl vs Digital


What is Roller Derby? Dr. Silvia gave me a C+ on this...

If you’ve ever driven past the Police Athletic League (PAL) on a Wednesday night and glanced over at the outdoor hockey arena to see the lights on, you probably wondered what was going on. The scoreboards not on though, and there’s no one in the stands. The concrete rink does have movement, but you’re not stopped in your car on the street long enough to really notice what’s going on.


It’s not peewee hockey, and it’s not an adult league, it’s not even hockey at all, it’s roller derby.


“Roller Derby?” you ask. If you’re middle aged, you might remember something like that on TV in your childhood. If you’re older, you most likely are familiar with the sport. But if you’re a kid, or at least under the age of 25, you might not really know exactly what roller derby is.


Or maybe you do, roller derby is coming back by force, women around the state have joined teams such as The Bradentucky Bombers or the Sintral Florida Derby Demons. They skate under pseudonyms such as Suicidoll Hotline, Shovey Dovey and GiGi RaMoan. They are mothers, wives and single women all over the age of 18 who come from a melting pot of backgrounds.


Recruiting for the team is everywhere, including churches and the local flea market. The Bombers, are trying to increase their team’s size, the A-team goes by the Bradentucky Bombers and the B-team goes by the Nuclear Bombshells, all the girls are called Bombers. There are teams throughout the state, as well as the nation.


But what is roller derby? Some people consider it to be an entertainment sport like World Wrestling Federation; this writer believes it falls somewhere in the middle between sports for entertainment and real sports like football. But then, I guess it would depend on your definition of sports.


Essentially, roller derby is a sport of strength, courage, balance and camaraderie. Five women, from each team participate in bouts, or rounds, on a specific derby-regulated track. The Bombers are in a flat track league; that is they lay their own track down at the local roller rink, Florida Wheels Skate Center, the track has specific regulations intended to keep the derby girls safe.


The Bombers practice four times a week, but only require the players to make two practices. Three of the practices are at the skate center, this allows the girls access to whatever equipment they need for a small rental fee. Wednesday nights they’re at PAL, the team has a community gear bag for those who don’t have everything they need yet, the players will also bring extra sets of skates if they have them, so girls without them can play.


So how is the game played? According to the Bomber’s newcomer’s guide, each team has five players on the track, essentially it is a race called jams, there are three blockers, a pivot, and a jammer for each team. Each period last 20 minutes, and it’s crammed with as many two-minute jams as possible, the teams have about 30-seconds to change players before the next jam starts. There are three periods per bout.


The pivot is the lead blocker, and the jammer scores the points. The blockers and the pivot for each team form a pack, and skate together tightly around the track. The pivot sets the pace for the pack, and calls out plays to her teammates while keeping an eye on the jammers. She wears a stripe on her helmet. Blockers play both offense and defense.


The jammer is the player that scores the points; she wears a star helmet panty. The jammers start the race about 20-feet behind the blockers and pivot, her job is to score the points for the team. Points are scored based on how many opposing players the jammer passes in any given lap. The first jammer to pass the opposing teams pivot without penalties is called the Lead Jammer, she can call off the jam before the end of the two-minutes by placing her hands on her hips. This prevents the other team from scoring more points.


Okay, so we’ve got a group of 10 women skating around a track covered in pads, helmets, and helmet panties, do they skate uniformly? No! This is where the action comes in; the purpose of the blockers is to get in the way of the opposing jammer. There are two ways to block; one is positional, literally skating slowly in front of the opposing player to slow her down. The other is physical, you can bump with your hips or upper arms but you can’t throw elbows, trip, or fall in front of another player, that’s how you get a penalty.


The action can be brutal. These girls get going pretty fast around the track, at one bout a girl left with a concussion after she was knocked out of the track and her helmet bounced off the wood floor. Other girls have suffered knee injuries, or broken wrists, but they do it for the name of the game. However, this sport is about camaraderie, the teams are mindful of each other. They kneel for each other if a player is hurt, they high five each other, and party together after the bout.


Yes, it truly is a sport about camaraderie, probably first and foremost. These women have united because of roller derby, it’s an inclusive sport, a sport any spectator can enjoy.

This weekend, the Bombers are in the Sunshine Skate, a competition between all the roller derby teams in the state. February 22, the Nuclear Bombshells are up against the Sintral Florida Sinners, called the Heart Break Skate at Florida Wheels.


Up next, the Origins of Roller Derby, and how the Bomber’s got their start.


Can there be a form between a Game and a Story? by Ken Perlin

I liked this piece, I think it spoke to me because it calls into question video games as stories.

I think the reason I have such a dislike for video games is because they don't seem to have a plot, or characters that pull you in, encompass you in the story, immerse you. I love immersion, it's my favorite style of journalism. But video games just don't seem to have that for me, they don't pull me in, I have to create the story, not enjoy it, and that's what I think I don't like about them.

Perlin says the challeneges of video games are that you have a good story, and you know how you want to direct it, but you don't necessarily have the actors to drive the plot. The elements, writing, directing and acting are what draws your mind into the heart of a movie's plot, without one of these elements, it becomes more difficult to really be involved in the story.

So there is immersion, giving video game characters a face and a story, although it seems some gamers wouldn't like this because they wouldn't be the ones driving the story, the characters in the game would be.

I liked this piece because it gave me insight into my dislike of the gaming world, and a decent reason to feel that way, when I want to kick back and relax with a good story, I want it to be told to me, not me telling it.


Peer Grading


Lydia's Peer Grading


McCloud, I though I all ready posted on this but...


I have really enjoyed reading McCloud this semester. Of the three books we have for the class “Understanding Comics” is by far my favorite. My main attraction to the book is that he is defining his genre using his genre, using comics to explain comics is genious.


Chapter one outlined the history of comics. This was the first time I’d ever considered heiroglyphics to be comics, nor paintings on a cave wall. I’d always referred to them as words, ancient writings if you will. I liked how McCloud showed you the glyphs, then explained what they meant, it gave a better understanding of the images as well as the point McCloud is trying to make.


I also liked his definition of comics, and how he utilized the whole chapter to explain what they meant. He didn’t give a one line definition he gave an evolving definition that was inclusive to all branches of comics. He also provided a good argument on comics place in history and how beneficial they are to a large audience of readers. Comics can be utilized in a number of ways to inform, to educate, and to entertain.

The first section made me interested in the rest of the book. I have never really been a person who has read comic books, or graphic novels, McClouds approach makes me interested in exploring the genre. If he was arguing to sway opinions, then he is definitely winning me over. Who knows, maybe I’ll start with Zot comics.


The second section talks about images as words, icons or symbols, how we associate images with words. The chapter is also about how comics are inclusive, so that everyone can enjoy them.


McCloud uses the example of a man’s face to illustrate his points about how comics are universal. To explain, he took a very well detailed drawing of a man’s face, and broke it down until it was a mere smiley face, which is a symbol that everyone recognizes. In most cultures, smiles are associated with happiness.


He uses the face illustration later in the chapter when he compares the images to a break down of words. Ultimately the series of faces on the left become symbolic of the words face = two eyes, one mouth.


McCloud calls everything of icon and gives them different sections. He calls letters the icons of science and language. Symbols are things like peace signs, anarchy symbol, etc. Pictures, he says, resemble their subjects- that is a picture of a cow is a representation of a cow, drawn on a page.


I liked chapter two because it gave me a better understanding of the association of images and words. Images are a huge part of our every day lives, and sometimes the only clue we have as to what is going on around us.


Chapter three is about what we know beyond what is in front of us. McCloud gives the example of the house across the street, even if you’ve never been inside, you know that there is an interior with furniture, and a kitchen, most likely.


I liked chapter three because it explain what goes on in the in-between, and beyond in the comic book world.


Overall the chapter is about closure, and how a person needs closure. If a movie ended in the exact middle of the story, there’d be a very angry and confused audience. People like to know the outcome, and McCloud’s argument defines that.


McCloud talks about the gutter in between comics, and how people precieve what is happening from frame to frame, implying that our brain basically fills in the blanks. This makes since because if you are given the fragmented pieces of a story, typically you can infer the meaning by putting the pieces together, like a puzzle. This is especially easy if you know the players involved.


Overall, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the book so far, and I look forward to reading more of it in the next few weeks.




Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.