roller derby

We're all in this longboat together.

The road to Helheim is paved with good intentions.

Call me Sela. Call me Rusilla. Don't tell me I can't pick up a shield or a spear, don't tell me I prefer kitchen or hearth, don't tell me I want to play a "different" game, or that I'd be more willing to work in a company that caters to my inherent feminine need to have children.

I came to gaming because in role play, my character can pick up an axe and bash some heads in. Because she had martial prowess and was accomplished and fearless and desirable. She was someone I wanted to be, someday. Axe and all.

I came here because when I was a little girl I wanted a longbow and a horse and I wanted to smite some damned dragons, and the real world wasn't cooperative about providing that experience.

Allow me a sports analogy. Can I make one? Even though I'm a girl?

I play ice hockey with men. When I first started playing in this league, there weren't any other women. One guy asked me "wait, are women allowed to play here?" and they offered me my own locker room. Where I could change, all by myself, away from my team.

No, thank you.

On the ice, sometimes I deal with a weird chivalry, where guys will yield the puck or pull back on contact because I'm small, and a girl. They do that once. Then I take their puck away or hit them first and all bets are off and the field is leveled.

That is the experience I strive for.

I don't bring anything different to the ice by virtue of gender. I bring the same thing my teammates bring. Speed, aggression, desire to win. As a center I bring my exceptional faceoff winning, my playmaking and need to lay it all out there, every shift. This is about my temperament as a player, not who I am as a woman.

You need me in games the way you need all people in games. The way you need white guys and black guys and Asian guys and gay guys. Not because a black guy is somehow better and will lead you into a more civilized age. A black guy isn't the way to enlightenment. Neither is a woman. We're not special. We're not more advanced.

We're in the longboat with you, picking our enemies' corpses out of our teeth. We're on the ice, we're in the locker room, drinking beer with you.

The more we make of the differences, the more we fail to miss the point of integration. The more you emphasize my breasts on a video game poster, the more you reduce me to an icon and fail to render me a person.

I bring to a design team what I bring to my hockey team. My intelligence, my fire. My need to win, my ferocity. Yeah, sometimes I point out cleavage faux pas. But so do my male coworkers.

If you want me here, make my presence a foregone conclusion. Assume my belonging. Assume my access. Show me that this is an environment where I can be myself and contribute in all my best ways. Show me a driven, creative group of people that will value what I bring to the table, who will be receptive to my ideas.

Girls are allowed in hockey. They're allowed in video game design. Tell me, as many ways as you can that I am allowed and wanted. When I show up and I'm the only woman in the locker room, I don't want you to stop making rude jokes and making a sock puppet out of your jock.

All I want you to do is move your gear over, and make a space on the bench next to you

so I can sit down.
frangipani 3

Desert, I

Crossposted just about everywhere... I don't have any pics to speak of yet, all on my MIL's computer and she's in Sudan so who knows. But here's some impressions.

The Desert, I

The worst fears I have involve things like this. A bite or some other thing going septic, swelling, becoming a spreading lesion. Necrosis sets in - I lose a limb. They don't get me to civilization fast enough, foreign doctors misdiagnosing and I go home in a bag.

Other people worry about losing their luggage, I suppose.


The sun cuts like a knife.

I'm wrapped, more or less head to toe. Long pants, a T-shirt and the light cotton scarf covers everything else, wrapped around my head, shading whatever of my face isn't already shaded by sunglasses. Even through the scarf, I can feel the sun burning my skin. I apply more sunscreen. I drink more water.

We are halfway up to the High Place of Sacrifice. I feel like the heat and sun are leaching life from me. I feel battered, wilted. Everyone else is bare skin to the sun's rays, and the kids are going along happily.

By the end of the day we will have hiked ten miles, most of it in the direct sun, much of it up and down rough-hewn stairs.

The sun will sink, and as it drops, I will revive.

At night by a fire in the desert, the children will run out of ghost stories. My daughter asks for an Ananse story.

"A new one," she says, as though I haven't told her all the ones I know already. I do what any good parent does. I make one up.

About Ananse, and Leopard, who at that time didn't have any spots and how Ananse wanted Leopard to cook him some stew and Leopard said no. And Ananse begged and begged and was such a

- excuse the expression -

pest that finally Leopard agreed.

"All right, all right, fuck's sake, Ananse," I said, though probably I said something other than "fuck." "I'll make you some stew if only you'll just. Shut. Up."

Then Leopard, thinking to teach Ananse a lesson, shook a huge amount of pepper into the groundnut stew. Then more.

Then more.

When Ananse finally got the stew he was so hungry he went to take an enormous bite.

I pantomime this for the kids, who can see me in the half-light of the fire, under the stretch of Milky Way and the perfect, vibrant, endless stars.

Then he gets the spoon to his face and sneezes


and pepper flies all over Leopard.


There's a rock wall with petroglyphs in the middle of the desert. The jeep pulls up and we pile out and cameras come out.

"Can we climb up?" I ask our guide, although M is already scrambling up the rock face with his camera to get a closer look.

"Go ahead," says the guide and I consider the climb, where to go, and the guide shows me how he gets up, and I go up half on his route, half on my own. It's never quite rock climbing, more of a scramble, but the sandstone is slippery and when I get up to the petroglyphs I feel like I've accomplished something.

I look at the images up close, and there's hunters with spears and figures with water jugs. M balances on a ledge and takes his endless photographs, gives me a glance to make sure I'm all right then climbs easily down. He's an older man, lives in Britain but is Argentinian. He's jovial and kind and also has a hot temper. One night he berated one of our Bedouin drivers for texting while driving, and almost making my mother in law fall out of the truck.

I pick a more careful way down; up was easy - down is harder. The guide helps me by pointing out a route from the ground if I falter, but no one comes up to get me. They know better.

Eventually I reach the sand and the jeep and everyone climbs in - we have a well oiled routine where I get in first then hold M's camera for him while he clambers in after.

The guide leans on the side of the jeep.

"I have to tell you," he says to me. "I've guided people to this spot for ten years.

You're the first woman to climb that rock wall."


We got home and the infection from the back of my knee had spread around, crimson, all the way to the front of it.

I spent several days in the desert, and swam in the Red Sea, snorkeled with it like that. My doctor had no idea what it was really but gave me horse doses of penicillin.

The swelling's gone down.

Our luggage arrived, intact.


We couldn't sleep, there were so many stars.

So many stars overhead it was vertiginous. I watched the Milky Way track across the sky, left to right.

The next day we rode camels across the desert.

That night we stayed in a five star hotel in Aqaba. We tracked sand into their lobby, where we stunk up the joint like camels while they handed us dainty glasses of pomegranite juice to drink while we waited for our rooms.


And that was how Leopard got his spots.

let me try and explain.

I felt guilty for a while that apart from work (where I write all the time), and the occasional other random thing, I haven't been writing much.

I haven't had anything published in ages - because I haven't been writing short fiction and submitting.

I had guilt about that, anxiety. Of my "generation," in terms of progress I've lagged behind. Lots of people I was in the OWW with and am still friends with have full fledged, successful careers, now.

And I knit, and make video games, and dye yarn.

OK, but look.
I'm happy.

That slideshow is of my first historical process dye lot, or natural dye lot. It's madder, mordanted with alum. It was a huge success and now I'm reading up on lichen dyeing and plan to go collect some lichen this weekend and do an ammonia extract of the plants and see if I can't get some decent colors. See what dyes my local landscape offers up.

It's wonderful, and amazing, and I am so content with it.

I can walk in the woods, and collect some lichen - using environmentally responsible methods, cooperatively with my environment and not as a selfish parasite - and then dye beautiful yarn that people will enjoy and make things with.

That is such a pleasurable process.

Then there's the yarn club.

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frangipani 1

Underhill - preview

This is the new yarn. If I can get more I may; right now it's just 10 skeins. This is "Roane" and "Tam-Lin." Up in the shop soon, just wanted to show you guys the total smooshy gorgeousness.

I have a life outside yarn, I swear...

Yarn club - last call

I'm actually about to close the yarn club out - by tomorrow I'll have a full group plus a couple of extras - actually more than I thought would sign up, which is wonderful.

If any of you want in and just haven't signed up yet, let me know ASAP and I will hold a couple of spots for you.
frangipani 3

Right! On to the weekend!!

So first and most importantly, it is my lovely wife's birthday today. Happy hippy hoppy birthday, kimatyza!!!! I love you!!!


Second, the yarn club is filling up... over half the spots are spoken for already and I can't really do much over 10 people I don't think. Whoa! I'm really excited. I've seen a draft of Mary Anne's folktale, and it's absolutely fantastic. SQUEE!!

Thank you to everyone who's been signal boosting. It's been great and you all are wonderful!


I'm in the mood to write but am super busy. Plus I've been waiting to get the Futurity website fired up but don't have the time or bandwidth to set it up right now. Halp!! Now what??


We're going to Jordan at the end of May, with a bit of a pit stop in Istanbul beforehand. I spent a lovely evening night before last with my MIL finding Kürkçü Han, which is the "yarn courtyard" of the bazaar area. I would shout out directions to her from an out of date map, while she flew around in Google Earth telling me there was no street like that, that couldn't be right. It was almost as good as the real thing. I felt like a Secret Service agent making dry runs of the President's convoy or something.

B will be taking a cooking class there, at a swank Turkish hotel literally around the corner from where we'll be staying (eschewing the swank Turkish hotel for a cheaper but very nice apartment since honestly we won't be in the room much anyway). One of the things she may be learning to cook is one of my favorite dishes, which I've known as "Red Sonja," and it is one of my favorite dishes ever. It's basically just little red lentil patties but is SO GOOD. We eat them at Mundo, which if you are ever in the Astoria area, ZOMG. You must go try. The food is amazing, I am deeply in love with half the waitstaff and it's one of the few restaurants I have ever felt truly comfortable having my kids at while having a leisurely, European-style (as in 3 hours at the table and a lot of sangria) meal.

Anyway, Red Sonja FTW and next I talk to you about it I'll know the proper Turkish name.

Speaking of, reyl and other Arabic speakers... what are my essential Arabic phrases for when we're in Jordan? All I know is as-salaamu 'alaykum. Which gets me in the door but not much farther. :D

Oh!! ETA to add the Jordan itinerary. This is designed for kids and mine are beside themselves with excitement. G is very, very into the Crusades right now so this is really for him, and he is absolutely thrilled. We fully expect him to go native, lead a rebellion and never leave.


This weekend is a party for B, and if you are local (or even if you're not), you're invited. Saturday at 5pm, roll your own sushi and gaming.

Sunday I work on a test knit I signed up to do in a moment of total insanity. A shawl. Really. Test knit. But it's gorgeous!! LOL

What are your plans??
shaun DJ

(no subject)

From the comments:

"One of my favourite songs. Reminds me of a girl friend when I was young. My mum went to see the statue of the Lorelei on her rock in the Rhine.

She said It's a bit pornographic. Then again, I don't suppose you would crash your ship for a nice girl in sensible shoes."

colorway - SCIENTISTS

OK, here's what I've got so far.

Kepler - parchment tan and dark ink brown
Curie - radioactive green. WHAT?
Hawking - deep space midnight blue and chrome grey
Newton - apple red and dark ink brown
Sagan - deep space midnight blue and Cosmos logo orange
Goeppert-Mayer - computer paper green and dot matrix grey


OK, make up some more.

and we say?

Poll #1719661 jury's still out...

And the verdict is...

ROFL. Organ meat.
Organ meat, yet oddly pretty
Don't be silly, it's perfectly nice.
Pretty until you mention it looks like organ meat then I agree and laugh.
Other, below