Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ska Got Me This Awesome Hoodie

howlive long and prosper

I totally got my name and number put on the back, too! Just as a public service announcement, this hoodie is available at Threadless.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tofu Scramble with Sweet Potato Hash

tofu scramble with sweet potato hashAnd for the hat trick...

For the hash:
1 potato, scrubbed
1 sweet potato, scrubbed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced

Microwave the potatoes for just three minutes, then dice them.

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the potatoes, onion, and any other vegetable to the pan. Toss to coat potatoes in oil, then cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and toss again, and cook for another 10-15 minutes until browned.

Set the hash aside and use the same pan for the tofu.

For the tofu:
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Heat oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute lightly for 1-2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce.

Break the tofu into eight pieces, squeezing each piece until it's about half its original thickness, then loosely crumble it into the frying pan. Stir to combine with the onion-soy mixture and cook until heated through, about five minutes.

Put the hash back in the pan like in the picture, and let it all heat back up for about five minutes before serving.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Special Report

So then, I think last Friday, my sister developed blood clots in her leg and in her lung. I mean, right? Gah, not the lung. So she was taken by ambulance to the intensive care unit for observation, and pretty much just observation. Because if she goes into cardiac arrest, it's not like you can give her compression. Not with her ribs. Well okay, also for oxygen and blood thinner. Regular blood thinner, also, doesn't work on chemo patients.

She was in the hospital over the weekend and now she's back home, hooked up to oxygen and giving herself blood thinner shots daily to dissolve the clots. "Or maybe," she makes a little explody gesture near her heart, closes her eyes, and grins and flaps her hands like an angel going up. So it's that kind of Thanksgiving. Like when my mom showed up at Thanksgiving all of a sudden on crutches and announced, "I can't walk. Ha ha!"

I always say that if I were the President of the United States, I would sign an executive order making the day after Thanksgiving a permanent national holiday. It should be against the law to work the day after Thanksgiving. Especially the day you wake up not wanting to get out of bed, like ever. My favorite life coach says that depressed sounds like "deep rest," because when you're depressed that's what you need. Which is entirely plausible. But also imaginable is that I won't ever lift a hand to do another damn thing, even against a sea of damn things, and laundry, and index cards. If I wanted to get out of bed just a little bit, I could stay in bed.

As it is, up and at 'em:

* drink water
* shower
* eat oatmeal
* change sheets
* sort laundry
* eat sandwich and pie
* read Belly Up
* report volunteer hours
* invite trainers to practices
* review & plan
* bills: pay credit card
* set up December LHH tasks
* talk morosely to sweetie man
* write root vegetable article
* write up sweet potato hash recipe

And now I've had dinner and I'm watching the last two Matrix movies, which are very deeply restful. I think my brain is flatlining right now. I'm only half paying attention because I'm writing this, so I have to ask the sweetie man who the Chinese guy is. "Serif," he says. "He's the Oracle's bodyguard."

"Seriously? So like if he dies, she's gonna be sans serif?"

Oh, Seraph. Still.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Potato Pancakes with Applesauce

potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream

Happy Thanksgiving y'all, from the Asian girl who sometimes says y'all! Whose nephew and niece have grown up thinking that a traditional Thanksgiving dinner isn't complete without potato pancakes, applesauce, and sour cream thanks to my Jewish ex-husband. Which I have veganized here with rice flour. Full circle, yeah!

For the applesauce:
6 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Peel, core, and cut up the apples into chunks. Put the apples and water into a saucepan and cook uncovered until the apples are soft. Mash the apples, add the sugar and lemon juice, and refrigerate until needed.

For the potato pancakes:
6 russet potatoes
1 onion
2 Tbsp rice flour
1 cup matzo meal
1 tsp salt or to taste

Peel and cut up the potatoes and onions into chunks. Grind them together in a food processor until fairly fine. Add rice flour, matzo meal, and salt to taste.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Drop heaping tablespoons of potatoes into the hot oil, fry for about four minutes per side, and drain on paper towels.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Owner's Guide to Setting Your Trucks

checking your trucks

Your skates come from the factory with the trucks tightened; so you will want to loosen them at least a bit, or else you won't be able to turn at all. If you feel like you're willing yourself to turn with all your might and still skating into walls or if doing swizzles and slaloms seems just impossible, it probably means that your trucks are too tight. As your skating improves, you may want to loosen them even more to your liking.

The truck, in case you don't know what I'm talking about, is the metal chunk that attaches your axels to your skate. To check their looseness, grab a wheel in each hand and wiggle them up and down like a seesaw. They should move at least a little bit, I personally like my trucks pretty loose and set them so the rings really wobble around the cushions there. More about cushions TK, though.

adjusting your trucks

To adjust the trucks, you loosen or tighten the truck nut with your skate tool. Righty tighty, lefty loosey. Same advice as for lowering your toe stops, you can gradually loosen your trucks or you can go the full loosey goosey and reel yourself back in if you go too far.

The way trucks work is, they give when you put weight on them. The front truck gives backwards and the back truck gives forwards, so that they sort of pinch together if you can picture that. You turn in the direction that the wheels are pinching. So that's how you turn: you put your weight in the direction that you want to turn, the trucks pinch, and you turn in that direction. The looser the trucks, the more responsive they are to what you do with your weight.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You Make Me Want To Be A Better Blocker

you make me want to be a better blocker

And ta da, here's the Better Blocker t-shirt and here's the link to order this awesome t-shirt at the alla Poppy Zazzle store.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tofu Scramble with Red Flannel Hash

tofu scramble with red flannel hash

Second verse, pretty much the same as the first.

For the hash:
1 potato, scrubbed
1 beet, scrubbed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced

If your beet comes with its greens, you can chop those up and throw them in the hash.

Microwave the potato and beet for just three minutes, then dice them.

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the potato, beet, onion, bell pepper, and any other vegetable to the pan. Toss to coat potato and beet in oil, then cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and toss again, and cook for another 10-15 minutes until browned.

Set the hash aside and use the same pan for the tofu.

For the tofu:
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Heat oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute lightly for 1-2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce.

Break the tofu into eight pieces, squeezing each piece until it's about half its original thickness, then loosely crumble it into the frying pan. Stir to combine with the onion-soy mixture and cook until heated through, about five minutes.

Put the hash back in the pan like in the picture, and let it all heat back up for about five minutes before serving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Peanut Better Apple

peanut better apple

Where "better" means that I turned an apple into a 500 calorie snack, woot! But seriously, this is to get my essential omega 3 fats in. Do you know, I used to buy Land O'Lakes Omega 3 eggs and they came up on the grocery store receipt as LOL OMG EGGS.

I have to tell you, I was photographing this and the bowl of peanut butter dip flipped over headed for the floor. And I caught it square in the middle... of the peanut butter... with my foot... and flipped it back over without spilling a drop of dip. Though I did get some on my sock. AND THEN I ATE IT. What, it was way less than three seconds.

2 Tbsp flaxseed
1 Tbsp flaxseed oil
2 Tbsp peanut butter
an apple

Grind the flaxseed in a coffee grinder. Mix ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and peanut butter in a small bowl. Cut up the apple and eat with the peanut butter.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Feel Like A Morning Star

I feel a little out of place surrounded by vegan foodies not because I'm only veganish, which is really to say not vegan, but just that I'm not a foodie by a stretch. I mean, I like food. I think I like food. But I might think I like food like I think I like fashion. Okay, I'm pretty much obsessed with food but I'm not obsessed with food qua food. I'm obsessed with food qua fuel, or food qua fitness. I guess I'm a fuelie, or maybe a fittie. Food, for me, either has to fuel a workout or recovery after a workout. And also I have to be able to fix it in fifteen minutes or less, because I have the patience of a bat.

I don't know. Do you know? Bats. Patient?

But as it happens if you're super concerned about delivering the cleanest fuel to your muscles for a workout or rebuilding your muscles with the most nutrient rich foods, you do end up making a lot of room for fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains and you can only eat so much food. So other foods tend to get crowded out, and you sort of get veganish by default. I pretty highly recommend Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life by Brendan Brazier and also Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness for vegan, vegetarian, and meat eating athletes, and for non-athletes for that matter. Though maybe that last part's not fair, I never could get good about diet and exercise until I had a reason to.

Anyway, I'm not saying that I'm the first person to put together the ideas of vegan and athlete. I mean obviously, there's this book.

Here's my thing: skating and playing derby is basically what my life is organized around, and I beat the hell out of my body for that. One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don't mean shit. Which is from City Slickers, by the way. My other favorite line from City Slickers is Scoop of vanilla, scoop of chocolate, don't waste my time, which is my Darmok for something that's insultingly easy. Someday I'm going to put together my personal Darmok page, just to see it all in one place. But anyway I don't need food to beat me up, that's not what food is for. You understand, this is more of a steering wheel than a clean bill of health.

But yeah food's supposed to fix you up, not stress you out. Is what I'm saying. That's why I don't stress myself out cooking so much and stay away from processed and harder to digest foods as much as possible, I'm keeping my stress load down so I can do more pushups. So that leaves out dairy, too. You don't think I'm serious, do you. I mean, I'm serious about dairy. Though I'll tell you something interesting about stress, I used to be lactose intolerant when I was married. And now I'm not! Though I still don't eat dairy. Also I'm way behind on the pushups, better get on that—

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Owner's Guide to Setting Your Toe Stops

tightening your toe stops

To take your toe stop off or put it back on, you have to loosen or tighten that toe stop nut; you grab the toe stop with one hand and work your toe stop wrench with the other hand. Always remember, righty tighty lefty loosey. Though it's worth mentioning, that's looking up, as it were, at your toe stop from the bottom of your skate. Not looking down from your head to your toes, like I am in the picture. I'm actually righty looseying there. If the way you're turning doesn't work, turn the other way. That's good advice for life and toe stops.

To set your toe stop to your desired height, you wind the nut down the toe stop screw, drop on the washer, and screw the toe stop into your skate however high you want. Then keep the toe stop in that position and tighten the nut with your wrench.

[ETA 4/16/11: Steve from Lombard highly urges me to tell folks that you should put a drop of, say, bearing oil, on the threads of a new toe stop before you screw it in. If you screw it in dry, you could strip the threads.]

checking your toe stop height

I thought it was crazy to set toe stops as low as the Countrymans from the Fleetwood speed team told us to. Your back wheels should be no more than two inches off the floor, when your toe stop touches down. But I am obedient, and it was instantly fabulous: the lower the toe stops, the lower the angle that your feet are off the ground for better balance. You can lower them gradually to get used to them so low, or you can maybe bite it a few times and get it all over with a bold swoop.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You Have Tiny Little Hits

you have tiny little hits


I was trash talking with upholdskis T.S. Helliot and Dame Over, and all I got was this AWESOME t-shirt. I was going to make a screen to print a few shirts for ourselves, but I was not having time to make a screen and look here's Zazzle who will make shirts for you. So you can totally order this t-shirt at the alla Poppy Zazzle store. Photo of the Better Blocker shirt TK!

The shirts are only available in black, the Better Blocker shirt is held up because I tried it on white and the design didn't show up well at all. But Zazzle lets you return shirts that don't turn out, which is cool of them.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tofu Scramble with Breakfast Potatoes

tofu scramble with breakfast potatoes

this awesome cast iron pan was my mom's. i wrote a goth little poem about it when i was in high school.

This used to be my ultimate skating breakfast, I guess when I had 10AM rioters practice. Since then, though, my weekend practices have all been at nine or eight or seven, in descending order of the likelihood that I'm awake enough to actually cook breakfast. But happy days are here again, Saturday plyos are at 10AM again followed by noon league practice. For which it's not a bad idea to seriously fuel up.

For the potatoes:
2 potatoes, scrubbed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced

You can also add a little bit of whatever something-something you have on hand, like half a bell pepper, finely diced, or a bunch of parsley, chopped.

Microwave the potatoes for just three minutes, then dice them.

Heat oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the potatoes, onion, celery, and any other vegetable to the pan. Toss to coat potatoes in oil, then cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and toss again, adding any herbs at this point, and cook for another 10-15 minutes until browned.

You can do this in a separate pan from the tofu, but I have this awesome cast iron pan that nothing sticks to; so now I set the potatoes aside and use the same pan for the tofu. I suppose you could scramble it all together, but I feel like the tofu would get the potatoes wet at this point.

For the tofu:
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Heat oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute lightly for 1-2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce.

Break the tofu into eight pieces, squeezing each piece until it's about half its original thickness, then loosely crumble it into the frying pan. Stir to combine with the onion-soy mixture and cook until heated through, about five minutes.

And now I put the potatoes back in the pan like in the picture, and let them heat back up for about five minutes before serving. Then I scramble the tofu and the potatoes together on my plate to eat them, but that's not as pretty and probably bad table manners—

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fruit Soda

fruit soda

This pretty much fixes me up for soda. I guess what I really like are the bubbles.

seltzer water
fruit juice

Almost fill a glass with seltzer water, then pour in a splash of any fruit juice. Mostly I just use orange juice, but sometimes sweetie man gets this fancy mango green tea and that's really good.

Really, just a splash, probably about a quarter cup of juice. So this doesn't count as a fruit serving, just hydration.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall Fitness Plan

Prepeak: Intensive Endurance and Pack Awareness

Hm well, I'm not sure how much extensive endurance I did last period. But anyway, we are now officially in the post-Uproar period as planned by yours truly. Being that I'm now in charge of the league practice schedule, don't you know. Though I just evenly divided practices between all the focuses, and scrimmages between all the teams.

For me, this means training for real to play in the upcoming home season. I'm only doing four practices per week, it's up to me to make them all key workouts. I sometimes think I do so many practices that it's not urgent to make them count. My new rule is that if I'm not too tired the next day to think about doing anything but stretches, I haven't worked out hard enough. Saturdays I'm leading plyos again, and doing them as a double with noon league practices. Every other Sunday I also lead referee practice, which is a recovery workout for me. But do you know I taught mohawks at a Derby Lite practice a month or so ago, and I've been so much better at mohawks since then. I sort of think teaching rewires all the stuff that you've jerryrigged in your brain, so it's more reliable and not such a fire hazard up there.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Buyer's Guide to Toe Stops

I'm very stoked to have gotten new toe stops from the Derby 4 All booth at Uproar, as well as few other things that I will talk about later. Now's as good a time as any to give you a quick rundown of toe stops, though.

snyder round toe stopssure-grip web toe stopspowerdyne round toe stopspowerdyne midi-gripper toe stops


  1. NEW to me, Snyder Round - I've wanted for a long time to try Snyder Rounds; the ball shape is supposed to give you some bounce, whereas a flat round stop supposedly makes you stick to the floor. Looking forward to giving them a try, but I've also heard that there are some issues with this stop's durability. Stay tuned.
  2. Sure-Grip Web - This has been my favorite stop almost since I started skating. I prefer big toe stops because there's more surface area to do everything— starting, stopping, or running— for more stability and more agility.
  3. PowerDyne Round - This is the stop that came with my Vandals. It's okay. It's better than the Midi Gripper, it doesn't unscrew itself at least.
  4. PowerDyne Midi Gripper - This is the stop that came with my R3s. I don't like this stop at all, it's too small. And unlike a round, the wedge actually has to be correctly positioned, and also because of the wedge shape, it's more prone to turn out of position. Mine were almost always out of position and pretty frequently unscrewed themselves.

Toe stops are mostly interchangeable (but ask), and you can use the toe stop hardware that came with your skates. Basic toe stop hardware for R3s, Vandals, and the like looks like this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Curried Vegetable Stew

curried potato and spinach stew

I've been having this more than Creamed Vegetable Soup, because it counts as two vegetables and soup only counts as one. Even though one of the vegetables is potatoes, OKAY.

And this is extra good over brown rice.

olive oil
1-2 onions, diced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2-3 potatoes, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can broth
, ETA 1/9/ 12 optional
16 oz frozen cauliflower, peas, or spinach

Heat oil in a saute pan over low heat as you prep the vegetables. Turn up the heat to medium and saute the diced onions until almost browned, about ten minutes. Stir in the curry powder until fragrant, about a minute. Then add the diced potatoes, stirring until potatoes are well coated with oil and spices. Stir in the tomatoes and broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and let simmer for about ten minutes. Stir in the frozen vegetables; partially cover the pan and let simmer until vegetables are well cooked, between ten and twenty minutes.

ETA 1/9/12: You know it's even better if you omit the broth, put in the frozen vegetables, turn the heat to low and cover the pan to let the vegetables steam for 20-25 minutes; you get steamed vegetables in a thick tomato curry sauce.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Life After Uproar

I think that letting go is going to be an important survival technique coming up. I'm not talking about my sister, geez. Not ready for that. Her doctor thinks that something viral and not cancerous paralyzed her throat. It's already getting better, she can eat again but has to tuck her chin to drink. She also came home from the hospital with some really excellent pain meds, which I failed to not be aware of. It would be so lovely to be high, but I only have two vicodin left and harder days ahead. What, vicodin is vegan. Actually, I don't know if vicodin is vegan. But if I'm high, I won't care. What am I talking about. I'm talking about letting go of structure and routine, you know, the glue that holds me together.

things to get done on index cards

Anyway since I've been on a reduced work schedule, I've been staying on track by starting every morning with a simple routine:

* drink water
* do stretches
* wash up
* wash dishes
* breakfast

...where "wash up" is short of a shower, and I don't stretch and sweetie man does the dishes on shower days. Then I sit down at my desk and look at what cards I have taped to the wall for the day, and I do one card at a time. Some days, I mean, I only do one card. But now some days I'm going to have to be at my sister's, right now just to keep her company or to take care of the kids. I'm going to have to be okay with doing what's needed, and letting go of Getting Things Done, things being, in order, well, working, writing Livestrong articles, writing for this blog, and if worse comes to worst, taking care of the league practice schedule, which I'm in charge of now.

But you're just worried that I'm a drug addict, aren't you.

Do you want to hear my vicodin story? It's from New Years Day 2007, I was just separated and living on my own for the first time in fourteen years.

I'd had the best New Years Eve, there was a party in a dance studio, then a cab ride where I was laid out across four girls' laps, and then karaoke at the Hidden Cove. All in all, I didn't get home until four-thirty in the morning. I couldn't get myself out of my dress, I was thinking for a minute that I'd have to sleep in the dress and get help in the morning; but I worked it out by myself. Seriously if you're single, how do you zip up? I laid down on my bed and slept for three hours, and then I had to go to my sister's house to play with the kids.

"I know what it is," the girl says, when she gets her wrapped present. "It's a Bratz doll."

My sister asks, "How do you know that?"

"Because the box is shaped like a coffin." This is the kind of thing that Imo can't help saying when she's very tired. My sister's cancer doesn't recur until June of this year, in case you were really horrified.

I felt human until lunch, though I was taking it very easy and the kids were perfect and happy to watch Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 with me. After lunch I painted ladybugs on the girl's thumbnails, and then I hit the wall and wished everybody a happy new year.

I dropped the car off at my ex-husband's, and honestly I was too exhausted to walk home. Luckily Filter was open and I had my laptop, I camped out on a couch. I had coffee and a scone, which perked me up enough to walk back to my place.

It's been so busy over the holidays, a lot of late nights. Plus I've been euphoric and pushing myself pretty hard, and it started to catch up with me over the weekend. I had a few swings into depression, and I needed to respond quicker to them. I got home beyond exhausted, and totally fell apart. I mean, this was the big crash. It's too late to help yourself when it happens. I was afraid of everything, including sleeping. It was only four in the afternoon, and I was terrified I would wake up all by myself at 3:00 AM with the screaming blue horrors. And then what. I thought if I could just calm down enough to watch television just until bedtime, I could get some sleep, get back on schedule, probably be fine in the morning, and promise myself to have a quiet week.

A key Darmok phrase for me is Mama's bank account. I think I've explained this, it's an emergency resource that you aren't meant to use. In the story, Mama's bank account doesn't actually exist. I'd started to think of this bottle of vicodin in those terms, all the more so because it's my mom's vicodin. The game is not to take the pills, of course. I decide to take half a vicodin. Which doesn't feel like anything after a half hour, and after all my mom died three years ago. Half of a three year old vicodin probably doesn't have any drugs left. So I take the other half, which also doesn't feel like anything after another half hour. I take a second pill, and that doesn't feel like anything. The label says to take one to two pills as needed, I'm not going to take any more—I'm depressed, but I can still read directions. I settle down to watch another episode of Space Above And Beyond, which sort of starts off slow & then gets going in fourth episode, which is way more than you can say for Deep Space Nine. Oh well, the pills don't work, but I have my pillows and blanket out on the couch and the lights out, and this episode is actually pretty good & I start thinking about what I'm going to do tomorrow, looking forward to what I have to do.

I think to myself contentedly, I love my pillows and blanket. Because right, it's the pillows and blanket and of course not the drugs.

In about a minute, I'm laying out paper on the kitchen floor for refinishing the kitchen cart tomorrow. It occurs to me now about the drugs. Hooray, the drugs work and I don't feel weird at all. I'm not even blissed out, like junkies in the movies. I just feel normal, like I can cope with my life. What's to cope with, it's all good.

In another minute, I start to feel weird. My heart is racing, I kind of feel like throwing up and I think that might not be such a bad idea, because who wants to be the person who has to get her stomach pumped in the emergency room for taking two vicodin. I ought to be able to throw up two vicodin by myself. Then I'm having dry heaves in the bathroom, until my jaw locks. I manage to register that I'm actually in a pretty good mood.

I give up trying to throw up and creep out of the bathroom, massaging my jaw. I'm not even sure that I'm not having a blood sugar episode, because I've hardly eaten anything all day. I am sure that now is not the time to eat anything. Declining my head seems to lessen the nausea, which goes away almost entirely when I am horizontal. I hinge at the waist and creep around the apartment like a T-square, turning off the lights and getting my laptop. Then I lie flat on my back in bed, feeling good and watching television until midnight.

Anyway that was all, I felt better enough at ten to make myself two pieces of toast. Most of this I wrote then, on drugs, if that explains anything.

Friday, November 5, 2010

November Diet Quality Card

november daily diet dance card

So, this is much better than last month. Mostly because I never reorganized myself about work lunches and reverted to sandwiches, which threw everything off. Now I have curried vegetable stew for lunches and also better peanut butter apples for afternoon snacks, recipes TK. I add flaxseed and flaxseed oil to the peanut butter, so I get my essential oils in. So I've filled in more of the good boxes, and am not eating dairy, eggs or meat on a regular basis. Just in time for:

vegan month of food

I also haven't been drinking Coke, because I don't work near a vending machine. Although honestly, the last time, I was at home and put on my shoes to get myself a Coke at the gas station. But now I have a recipe for fruit soda that I like just as much, and a water bottle that I like drinking from—

More about Vegan Month of Food >>

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Owner's Guide to Cleaning Your Bearings

Bearings should be cleaned when they start to roll slower, or don't roll for very long when you spin them. How often that is depends mostly on where you're skating: bearings will get dirty pretty quick outdoors and stay pretty clean in a clean indoor space. Which the practice space is not, so I try to clean my bearings about every month.

I've also heard that how clean you need your bearings to be depends on the top speed you need. So like, speed skaters are pretty religious about cleaning their bearings. Even jammers don't skate as fast as that overall, and blockers even less so. But I don't regard bearings as being fast as much as easy to push: a cleaner bearing is easier to push, who wouldn't want that?

Okay so these are instructions for cleaning one-sided bearings, which means they have a shield just on the one side. Bones bearings are one-sided; so in addition to being great bearings, they're easy to clean. Bones does make a bearing washer, but I think the BSB Speed Wash System is better designed.

poke out the shields

One-sided bearings are great because you can just poke out the shields from the back, using a bent paperclip. I did not figure this out myself. You just work the paperclip through the back until it goes through, and poke, the shield pops out. With two-sided bearings you have to use a pin to pick the shield out from the front, which I never got good at. If you have sealed bearings, you just throw them away and put into new bearings. Tut, though.

wash the bearings

Then you snap the unshielded bearings on the washer stem, I bought two so that I could do all my bearings at once. The longer it takes or the fussier it is to do any task, the less likely I will do it ever. With two bottles, it's snap snap snap snap snap snap snap snap shake shake shake and done. By which I mean, you drop the stems into the washer bottle, let them soak for five minutes, shake them each for the length of a favorite song, and they're clean. The bottle comes filled with BSB Citrus Cleaner, which is pretty good. The other cleaner I've used is acetone, which dries better but which I melted the paint on the windowsill with.

filter the dirty cleaner

The cleaner can be reused, I filter it in, um, the sweetie man's coffeemaker. What. It's clean, it's cleaner!

dry the bearings

I might switch back to acetone when I've used up this citrus cleaner, because drying bearings is a pain. After I take my bearings out of the citrus cleaner, I wipe them on a rag and blow out any remaining moisture with canned air. But drying an entire set of bearings takes almost an entire can of canned air, which seems wasteful to me. So lately I've been drying my bearings with a blowdryer set on cool. Acetone evaporates instantly, so you don't have to do any of this.

oil the bearings

After the bearings are dry, the most fun part is spinning them and hearing that spinny sound. But then you have to oil them, and they don't sound as spinny after that. Bearings need oil, though. Don't be tempted to do without. I use Bones Speed Cream. Just one drop on one ball, then spin the bearing to get the oil all around.

press in the shields

Then you press the shields back in place, and your bearings are ready to go back into your wheels.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Owner's Guide to Cleaning Your Wheels

wiping down my wheels

So actually I gave my wheels a good cleaning about a month ago, and it took two weeks to get my hockey stops back. I guess I like hard, dirty wheels. I need them not to be so grippy, but your mileage, of course, may vary. Dirty wheels won't grip as well, so clean them to get your grip back.

I just wipe mine down with a damp cloth every now and then, holding the cloth under the wheel and rolling the wheel over the cloth. You can do this without taking the wheels off your skates.

If I'm going to town any more than that, I take the bearings out. You don't want your bearings to get wet. The wheels themselves you can pretty much manhandle. If you really want to scrub a dub dub them, you can throw them into a sinkful of warm soapy water and wash them just like dishes. Make sure they're thoroughly dry before you put the bearings back in.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fall Hobby Wear

fall work wear convict

So my niece got to see my blog this weekend, and what's weird is that she can read. I mean, she's ten. Still. She used to not be able to read. But now I can hear my words read back to me, as if by a ten year old text-to-voice generator:

I did manage to have a Halloween weekend in spite of myself: Saturday night I went over to Zombea's, where delicious food was made for me and I slept through The Hills Have Eyes and woke up for The Evil Dead. Sunday night I unexpectedly got invited over by my friend Jason, whom I haven't seen in ever because of derby, and who lives in a building with a theater room, where we watched The Walking Dead. Now I keep asking sweetie man—
"Sweetie man?" She points at the person most often called Uncle, I mean, Mr. Matt. Kids are very rule-based. In the Sims, we are only allowed to be housemates. "Is that you?"

Mr. Matt says, sometimes. She falls off the couch laughing and then runs screeching through the house. Imo and Mr. Matt are not doing a good job keeping her away from the Halloween candy.

Anyway I was showing her how she could click on a label to see all the posts labelled that, and she clicked on fashion. Pause. "Imo," she said, carefully. "Is this what you call fashion?"

fall work wear camo

Ha, well. My clothes are actually well-considered. They have to be machine washable. They have to be uniform, I should be able to know what I'm doing from what I'm wearing. So now that I'm working from home, I can wear sweats. Fist pump! And just so you know if I have practice that night, I have on my skating clothes under my sweats. Also you'll notice, I have two whole outfits in this genre.

I was going to title this post Fall Work Wear, but the work that I'm doing at home is writing and according to my work/play taxonomy, writing is HOBBY. So I'm calling this Fall Hobby Wear. Presumably if I had to go to a meeting ever, that would be WORK and I would put on my just passable khakis and terrible shoes again.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints Day Special Report

fury pumpkin carving

I did manage to have a Halloween weekend in spite of myself: Saturday night I went over to shoalmate Zombea's, where delicious food was made for me and I slept through The Hills Have Eyes and woke up for The Evil Dead. Sunday night I unexpectedly got invited over by my friend Jason, whom I haven't seen in ever because of derby, and who lives in a building with a theater room, where we watched The Walking Dead. Now I keep asking sweetie man if the government would be prepared for a zombie attack, because unlike in zombie movies, we have zombie movies in the real world and hopefully would realize more quickly what was going on. Rejoinder: Hurricane Katrina. Also if it makes sense that zombies can sprint because it makes sense that they can shuffle because being pretty compromised their physical abilities are less than living abilities and I, a living and decently fit person, can only sprint for eight seconds. Rejoinder: zombies don't feel pain or get tired, they can probably sprint forever. Ghghghigghghggg.

So my sister is pretty sick. I haven't seen her yet, I was supposed to visit her in the hospital this afternoon. But then something else went down, and I'm at her house helping my niece with her homework. Hoo boy, Imo is no help with math. Imo wanted to know if she could google the answers to the girl's homework. She was "fine" all last week, where fine means that she was in a good amount of pain from her surgery and treatments. I talked to her Friday afternoon pissing steam and writing a strongly worded email to her doctor, and then Friday night she woke up not able to swallow and my brother-in-law took her to the emergency room.

If you don't know what to say to a person whose sister has serious cancer, I can't speak for everybody. But I don't really need to talk about it at length. If anything, I err on the side of not talking about it at all because I don't want to people to feel like they can't talk about anything else to me. But not talking about it at all is freaky, because then people ask you what's been going on for the past six months and you say, Oh, you know, derby derby derby, and then you feel like it's this secret. It's not secret, it's just socially awkward. I just want to tell people, and then I'm happy to go back to talking about normal life stuff like whether zombies can sprint.

It's no good if zombies sprint, says upholdski Dame Over. If you're up against a zombie who can somehow sprint, you will get tired and the zombie won't. So just one zombie is a threat. One zombie is not supposed to be a threat. Zombies are a threat because of their sheer numbers. Even if a whole bunch of zombies are shuffling your way, you think your chances are all right. But they aren't, that's the point. Because people don't react quickly or uniformly enough to stop a slow-moving and stupid threat even. What dooms humanity in the zombie genre aren't zombies, but human failure. In other words zombies don't kill people, people kill people. If zombies can run, then it's just zombies kill people. And that's not as interesting or tragic, because being totally helpless and not able to do anything basically just sucks.