July 30, 2011
Yesterday was the first test run of scheduling posts for future publication in wordpress; today is the second. If you’re seeing this and you saw the Chicken Lady yesterday, then all is good!
The picture above is a wholly inaccurate illustration of what goes on the first Saturday of Pennsic War. How the day actually goes is something like this:
-arrive at The Barn at 8am and grab a cup of watery coffee;
-stand around in the already hot sun scanning the growing crowd for the Land Agents of the other groups camping in our block (about six or seven groups this year);
-marvel at how the same people as always are there, some of them wearing the same wacky uniform they always wear (I should get a photo for y’all sometime of the lady who dresses head to toe in about seventeen different colours of camouflage);
-wait a Very Long Time for the last Land Agent to show up (I’m not saying who that is but it’s usually the same person every year who is late);
-draw campsite boundaries on seven copies of a map of the block of land we’re sharing with these groups, based on the square footage allotment given us according to how many have pre-registered to camp with our group
-sign every map (but not before arguing a bit about whether we’re supposed to use our Real Name or Fake Name) (no I’m serious);
-crowd around the barn opening at 9:00 in order to be lectured in a condescending manner by people who think we are stupid;
-run in a group to try and get to the front of a confusingly roped off queue that snakes through the barn in a different pattern each year just to keep us all guessing;
-make it to the front of the line, hand over our maps, receive cards and stickers and temporary parking passes which will allow us to bring our vehicles off of the Battlefield and down the hill to our campsites;
-leave the line and then realize that someone in our group doesn’t have enough parking passes for all of their cars, and bumble around in confusion asking for more passes, counting and re-counting everyone’s cars until it’s all sorted;
-make haste to the Battlefield, pile into cars (for some this means breaking camp as well, as many people sleep on the Battlefield next to their cars on Friday night) (we, having done this for too many bloody years already, have taken to spending Friday night in a hotel so as not to be kept awake all night by obnoxious revelers) (oh, just saying that makes me feel SO OLD and also like a fuddy-duddy);
-spend up to an hour waiting in a bottleneck of cars all trying to get off the Battlefield and into camp proper;
-drive down the hill to our block, where we now have to measure and mark off for real those boundaries we drew on our maps;
-talk for an hour about how to configure our camp;
-unload vehicles, set up pavilions, set up carport tents for the kitchen and dining room, perform the magic that transforms our campmate’s trailer into a shower platform, set up the shower, set up the kitchen, set up set up everything, all of course contingent on how quickly the neighbouring group unloads their storage trailer, which remains on site year round and in which we rent space for our kitchen and dining tents and our things always seem to be the most buried in their trailer because of course they are;
-get everything to the point where we can throw tarps over whatever isn’t finished, usually sometime after what would be our normal suppertime, then leave it all and drive into Grove City;
-traditional family supper at Hoss’s Steak and Sea, which for my family means struggling to get enough protein off the quality of salad bar you’d expect to find at a place called “Hoss’s”;
-get back to camp after dark, realize we don’t know where any of the candles are and didn’t set up the tiki torches, fumble for lights;
-rest, take off shoes, open a can of Guinness (if you are Thorvald), Mountain Dew (if you are Tarl), or bottle of water (if you are Peter, Claire and I).
-build a wall of 2x2s and rope and sheets;
-assemble our gate (another, slightly nicer carport tent), hang our sign and our heraldry;
-drive into Lyndora for food and supplies which also includes the first of many lunches at Rey Azteca, the only good Mexican restaurant anywhere near Pennsic;
-return to camp, put away groceries, finish setting up kitchen, finish setting up whatever else isn’t done yet, be too tired to make supper;
-while away the evening discussing all of the work that still needs to be done.
-start having a holiday. But only if there’s no more work to do (realistically, we usually don’t actually build the wall or put up the gate until Monday; doing it on Sunday is just always my ambition).
Posted by jodi on July 30, 2011 at 3.03pm
July 29, 2011
*if it wasn’t obvious, this should always be said in Chicken Lady voice
142 Columbia Drive: spring or early summer 1975 to summer 1981
What the house looked like in 2006. Who puts those stupid stars on houses, and why? This trend baffles me. Also I don’t understand what people like about those angled-cut 2×2 railings that make every house look like a trailer. Bitch-bitch-bitch like a crotchety old lady In My Day we didn’t use pressure treated lumber et cetera.
No socks got shoved down the heat registers in this house, and no fires started. There was, however, a 15cm diameter hole in my bedroom wall, kicked there during a fight with a babysitter who wouldn’t let me stay up late to watch scary movies. The dislodged piece of wall didn’t fall out completely, but hung there from a hinge of plaster and old painted-over wallpaper, swinging like a little door to let in and out the small monsters and demons that I was certain lived there. Things did disappear into the hole from time to time: pencils; hair baubles; doll shoes; super secret notes; at least one sewing needle; and yes, a few socks. I would lie on my right side in bed, back to the hole, spine tingling with what I just KNEW was the fingers of the wall-dwellers tickling my skin, too terrified to peek over my shoulder lest I catch sight of one. The only time I’d ever turn onto my left, facing the terrifying portal head on, is when my dad would play a certain record that frightened me because it sounded like monsters. He’d only play it after I was in bed, unaware that I was lying awake upstairs panicking while the monsters danced behind my quivering back. Years later, as a teenager, I figured out that the “monsters” record that frightened me so much was Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma. Of which I now own two copies and can listen to it at night or alone or whatever, without incident.
Here is what the front of the house looked like in 1978, when it still had the wartime concrete slab porch and fat pipe railings, corrugated aluminum window wells, and wooden screen doors (how I’d love to find plain wooden screen doors like this for my house!):
A couple of years later those doors got painted red:
One more from around 1976: I don’t even know what pleases me so much about these plain slab porches. Growing up in military housing gave me a love for utilitarian blandness. Also, brutalism.
Those bars were perfectly spaced so that if you were sitting with your knees wrapped over the bottom bar and holding onto the top bar, and you accidentally lost hold on the top bar, you’d swing backwards and crack your skull on the side of the concrete slab. It happened to all of us, all the time.
Here is the car we drove when we lived in this house: a 1976 Volvo station wagon.
Bikes in the snow!
Posted by jodi on July 29, 2011 at 12.38pm
July 28, 2011
Last night at derby practice I had my first real ugly collision, when another skater went down in front of me with her skates out in my direction and I was unable to stop and ended up falling skates-and-arse first into her legs and possibly also stepping on her (sorry Bloody!). I also sustained my first, very small derby bruise in this fall. I know the bruises are supposed to be some kind of badge of honour so I’m showing it to y’all, but really it’s not much, and I sustained a better bruise than this last week when I slammed my knee on the bathroom vanity while lifting my leg to get my Fleur Cup out. Ah, it’s a good day when I can slip in a reference to my crotch in a non-crotch-related conversation! YESSSSSSSS.
Later on during scrimmaging practice I had an even bigger, more exciting first, and while it’s doubtful anyone else even saw it I’m pleased and proud nonetheless. I’m pretty useless in a scrimmage at this point and haven’t gotten myself past spending all of my energy trying to keep up with the pack and not hurt other people (I’m probably more of a handicap than anything else to my team right now, but I need the practice too, so, whatever). The pack was coming out of the straighaway at a pretty good clip and Bloody Cupcake, the same skater I collided with earlier, went down in front of me on elbows and knees, and without thinking I lifted my skate HIGH while turning left into the corner and my foot sailed right over her back and safely back down and I did not kick anybody OR fall over. It’s one thing to practice stuff like that (although I’ve never lifted my foot that high during one-foot-gliding practice) and another to have the instinct to avoid slamming into someone so perfectly. It felt good. I kind of wish someone had seen it, though.
Posted by jodi on July 28, 2011 at 10.38am
July 27, 2011
It’s probably painfully obvious, when looking through what music is on my mp3 player, that I will be turning 40 in a few months’ time.
Also there was Me Mom & Morgentaler’s No More Nervous Breakdown, which I can’t find a video for.
Posted by jodi on July 27, 2011 at 11.43am
July 24, 2011
I didn’t work out at all last week, too exhausted from the double whammy of hideous chest cold and brutal heat wave, sleeping fitfully sitting upright on the couch on account of not being able to lie down for coughing. There was some skating, an hour and a half of lazily circling in the schoolyard on Tuesday morning (while chugging a half litre of iced ginger tea a neighbour/teammate brought me), and two more hours on Saturday when another friend booked the arena for her birthday. Peter came with me to that and we worked on my crossovers a bit.
In other skating news, Pennsic is coming up and since it encompasses 5 derby practices and that’s a long time to go without skating, I did a bit of online searching to see if I could find somebody out there who would fit into the slice of Venn diagramme crossover between Pennsic and roller derby and guess what? I found somebody, and after creepily lurking on her twitter and signing up for livejournal only to send her a message, she hooked me up with another person who’s also into derby and going to Pennsic and bam, just like that we have plans for a skateup, we’re email blasting SCA lists all over the Known World and of course there is already a heraldic badge in the works as well as a name (Sisterhood of the Four Axles) because nerds roll like that. And I am beyond excited at the prospect of skating at Pennsic with a bunch of derby people I don’t know even if I am the worst skater. Nerd crossover FTW!
Incidentally. I am not so very down with the idiomatic expressions of this internet, apparently. It recently came to my attention that this acronym, “FTW”, which I have used a bit in the same context that everyone else does, pretty much, means “for the win” and not “fuck the world” as I had previously thought. And all of those people with the faded old green-ink FTW tattoos from the 1970s now have to contend with The Kids These Days thinking their tattoos mean something different. Something perhaps interchangeable in a lot of contexts, but still different. Nerd crossover fuck the world! Yeah!
In actually NEWS news: soon I will be moving my studio out of the front room of our house, FINALLY, and into The House. More on this later as I get down to actually moving, but for now, I’m packing up my pencils and paper and getting ready for “studio” to be a full time job again, with hours and a commute and little opportunity to dick around in the kitchen or on the porch or in the garden during hours when I should be working, when I will now have to be working because I will have some rent to pay. Motivation and work ethic have been a serious problem for me since the end of grad school, and I’m looking forward to a change in routine and a step up in productivity, and excited to be in a new space surrounded by other creative people and activity. If anybody wants to help me move, or paint (because painting and moving are FUN, y’all) then hit me up. I won’t say no.
Posted by jodi on July 24, 2011 at 9.50pm
July 21, 2011
You guys. 20 foot animatronic Triceratops. Okay, so the copywriters at Hammacher Schlemmer did not get the memo about Triceratops not actually being a real dinosaur at all but merely the juvenile Torosaurus: SO WHAT. The only thing more awesome than a 20 foot animatronic dinosaur is a 20 foot animatronic BABY dinosaur, right? Listen: “motion activated cameras. . . work in unison with customized interactive software that enables [it] to recognize multiple subjects’ facial features”. AND IT BELLOWS.
Posted by jodi on July 21, 2011 at 9.29pm
July 20, 2011
Yesterday I received a message from a friend who works at the CBC, inviting me to comment on the 20th anniversary of Gwen Jacob’s arrest for walking topless down the street in Guelph, Ontario. Unfortunately, I’m sick with an awful cold this week, so sick that last night I resorted to sleeping sitting up on the TV room couch in an effort to keep the coughing jags under control. I’m drowsy, a little bit stoned on cough syrup, and my cough-ravaged throat is in no condition to be heard on the news. But! YOU ALL ARE IN LUCK. Just because I’m sick doesn’t mean I haven’t got anything to say about Gwen Jacob.
See: the Gwen Jacob case kind of made me a feminist. I don’t mean that this case changed my life or made me a radically different person (a more radical person? heh) than I would otherwise have become. If it hadn’t been this it would have been something else. I just mean that, for me, it was this. In 1991, at age nineteen, I had already experienced rape, sexual coercion (something that I didn’t yet understand then, but do now, is ALSO RAPE), being dumped from a car on a sideroad in the middle of the country for not “putting out”, various other non-sexual assaults including a friend’s boyfriend trying to crush me with a chesterfield (I’m not even kidding), and a massive amount of slut-shaming. This one incident, this woman I didn’t know who was my age and grew up near where I did being arrested and charged with indecency for taking her shirt off, seemed to highlight all of the double standards in the whole world, for me. It was something concrete to be angry about at a time when I didn’t possess the words to protest against things like slut-shaming.
(Incidentally, I tried going topless outside for a while once, the summer after Jacob’s arrest, when I was all alone on the farm, not likely to be seen by anyone but the occasional gravel truck driver out on the road. How it felt: silly, contrived, exhilarating, terrifying. And oddly itchy. And when my areolae starting feeling the effects of too much sun, I gave it up.)
After the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned Jacob’s conviction in 1996, when going topless effectively became legal in Ontario for all sexes, a few (very few) women started trying it just because they could. Once or twice Peter and I saw one in downtown London, always walking with a male companion, never alone, reveling in their new freedom but cautiously, self consciously, defiantly; drawing stares. Hardly free of any kind of double standard, and certainly not free of their bodies being immediately sexualized. Peter overheard one of these topless women in conversation with her (male) friend, and guess what the two of them were talking about? People’s reactions to her toplessness. In the days after the court ruling our options had expanded from living with the double standard of only men’s toplessness being socially acceptable to either that or being an activist, a test case, and having our bare breasts be a constant centre of attention. Our options hadn’t really expanded to include our toplessness being NOT A BIG DEAL.
The thing is, double standards don’t just disappear overnight because the Court of Appeal says they’re unfair. Body policing and slut-shaming and rape culture don’t just disappear overnight, and the evidence is all around us, every day, that they haven’t even budged one bit. 20 years after Jacob’s arrest, 15 years after her conviction was overturned, what does her case mean for women in Ontario, exactly? If I went outside right this minute, took off my shirt and walked down the street with my breasts visible, here is what it does NOT mean:
-that I will not be perceived as behaving with indecency;
-that my body will not be sexualized or consumed in a sexual manner;
-that I will not be catcalled or otherwise verbally harassed;
-that I will not be groped;
-that I will not be propositioned;
-that I will not be raped;
-that I will be treated with respect, or even with indifference.
-that if I am perceived as behaving with indecency, that will not be perceived as my fault;
-that if my body is sexualized or consumed in a sexual manner, that will not be perceived as my fault;
-that if I am catcalled or otherwise verbally harassed that will not be perceived as my fault;
-that if I am groped that will not be perceived as my fault;
-that if I am propositioned that will not be perceived as my fault;
-that if I am raped that will not be perceived as my fault.
What it means: that at least I won’t be arrested.
Posted by jodi on July 20, 2011 at 1.57pm
July 19, 2011
There is a smell being drawn in from outside by the bedroom window fan, a fresh and not-fresh, green brown slimy smell, like algae. Nerve endings buzz, high on cough syrup, and restless legs twist in the bed but don’t want to stand up and walk around, either. This is (hope) the last of several risings, sitting upright in the dark to suck on cough lozenges. The stomach rebels at the sickly sweetness of those, but the throat demands them. In the late afternoon the heat wave gave way to torrents of rain then curled in close again, holding that moisture, keeping it warm so that the only relief comes from stretching out bare feverish feet in front of a fan that sucks great algae stinking breaths from the hot wet outside. I feel like I’m living in the South again, where damp settles into houses and never goes away and things slowly rot and you don’t even notice the scent of mould in sheets, in clothes, in hair, in everything until you go away somewhere and open up your suitcase and the stench hits you and you wonder, is that what my life smells like?
It almost wouldn’t be a surprise at all to wake up and find the house overgrown with kudzu, like in a story. Or a dream.
Posted by jodi on July 19, 2011 at 3.29am
July 18, 2011
Monday to Wednesday I didn’t work out; I was overdue for my vitamin B12 injection (for pernicious anemia), feeling lightheaded and dizzy, and the universe seemed to be conspiring against my making it to the doctor’s office to get the shot. Which I managed, finally, a few hours before Wednesday skating practice. By the weekend, last week’s mysterious sore throat became full blown illness, making for a short workout week.
Wednesday July 13
3 hours of skating practice. Which was alternately frustrating and exhilarating, as usual. I know I’m getting better but I’m not getting better ENOUGH, or fast enough. By the end of the night I was getting the hang of skating backwards, though, which of course is not something I really need so much right now. Being able to stop, now that would be a skill worth having.
Thursday July 14
20 minutes on the bike, random hill programme, level 13. I tried to go up a level but didn’t last three minutes. Turns out I was coming down with a cold. . .
Friday July 15
Warm up: a 12 minute run on the treadmill
Once around the circuit of weight machines:
-leg extension, 80lb, 12 reps
-leg press, 80lb, 12 reps
-lateral pull down, 135lb, 12 reps
-chest fly, 80lb, 12 reps
-chest press, 80lb, 12 reps
-shoulder press, 40lb, 12 reps
Cool-down: 10 minutes walk on the treadmill.
Posted by jodi on July 18, 2011 at 8.44am
July 17, 2011
This one is even grosser. By which I mean more awesome.
Posted by jodi on July 17, 2011 at 2.33pm