On Saturday night the Connecticut Roller Girls met once again to face off in a flurry of fury. This bout put the Devil’s Rejects against the Ave Marias.
The Ave Marias were introduced first.
Parker Poison (assistant captain)
Guns N’ Bruises
MiZ CoN SepJeN
and visiting skater Zoomz Byda Boomz
Guns N’ Bruises was returning to the CT league after a short time off. Welcome back Guns!
The Devil’s Rejects were introduced next. Their red and black outfits were in stark contrast to the angelic blue and white of the Ave Marias.
C. Mya Rage
This was Babe Vigoda’s (#56) first bout, and Vixen’s return after a brief break in the action. Welcome Babe and welcome back Vixen!!
Elle and Pam, rolled up to the line to start this extremely unique bout. It didn’t take long for the Ave Marias to gain control of the scoreboard. After Elle’s 2 points at the onset, the Devil’s Rejects were scoreless for the next six jams. The defensive action within the Ave Maria pack was commendable. The girls capitalized on a few hugely strategic blocks in those first few minutes. Ether and Parker put the stop on Milla in the second jam, Pearl closed the door on Violet in the fourth, and Miz cleared the way for Pearl in the fifth. The Devil’s Rejects responded in kind. The crowd erupted in excitement when Elle ended Pearl’s jamming success in the fifth by dramatically pushing her teammate into Pearl’s path.
Halfway through the first period, Violet breathed some life into the struggling Devil’s Rejects. Her run of success began as she and Elle worked hard to successfully hold Doom to 4 points while the Devil’s jammer sat out on a penalty. Doom reached the front of the pack quickly off the starting line, but Violet, acting as pivot, held her back long enough for Elle to join in the defense. Just two jams later Violet robbed Pam of a profitable jam by breaking a brutal block by Elle and staying tight on Pam’s tail.
Riding off of violet’s defense, Flora, Milla, and Elle pulled 2, 5, and 3 points respectively. Unfortunately, the Devil’s 10 point drive wasn’t quite enough to close the gap between the two teams. Ether, Pam, and Pearl came back twice as hard with 5 consecutive claims on lead jammer and 20 points. Things were looking grim for the Devil’s Rejects until Doom was pulled out on a penalty with only a few minutes remaining in the first period. Elle and Flora took advantage of the opportunity and concluded the first half with a 9 and 4 point jam respectively. Halftime score? 38 for the Ave Marias, and 25 for the Devil’s Rejects.
Milla tries to push by Zoomz
photography by Dan Camera
One thing that made this bout particularly strange was the occasional thinning of the pack. The refs were frequently forced to make calls to pull the pack back together. Sometimes it seemed deliberate as a team tried to force the pack into a slower or faster pace. Pack speed can be a critical variable as the jammers scream around the track pulling points on a slow pack – or losing their endurance as they try to catch up to the fast pack. Other times, however, the pivots seemed to be trying to get their blockers to act as a single unit without success.
Elle pulls to the inside to try and sneak by Lemme Atter
photography by Dan Camera
The second half started off with the Ave Marias aggressively pulling points. However, Pam’s 9 and Pearl’s 8 (special bravo to Parker for a beautiful block of Rage) were the last big point jams for the women in white. Violet Riot came in strong yet again for the Devil’s Rejects with a 9 point jam. Shortly thereafter the Ave Marias seemed to change their jammer strategy. For the first half, the teams were rotating their jammers regularly – mixing it up between 4 or 5 women, but the second half saw the Ave Marias depending almost entirely on Pearl and Pam, only occasionally mixing it up with a serving of Doomcake. These jammers kept the lead for the Ave Marias, but the Devil’s Rejects were working hard for a comeback.
Holding back Doom.
photography by Dan Camera
Some especially commendable skating included Guns N’ Bruises decisive bump of Violet in the ninth jam (giving Pearl an edge for a 5 point jam) and Elle and Pearl’s furious race in the tenth which had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Talk about speed!
The night concluded with the Ave Marias with 84 and the Devil’s Rejects at 65.
Pearl Jammer 41 points, 7 leads in 12 jams
Pam Terror 35 points, 7 leads in 13 jams
Violet Riot 18 points, 2 leads in 7 jams
Eleanor Bruisevelt 16 points, 3 leads in 8 jams
Flora and Ether graced the bench most frequently with 5 and 4 visits respectively.
Ave Marias: Guns N’ Bruises
Devil’s Rejects: Violet Riot
Special thanks to Dan Camera for his photography. Check out all his photos here.
If you haven’t experienced Derby, then I implore you to check out the June 19th double header at the CT Sports Center. Connecticut’s own Stepford Sabotage will be taking on the Suburban Brawl, and The Gothem Girls will be taking on the Texicutioners. With Gothem ranked #1 in the nation, and the Texecutioners ranked #4, it’s bound to be an extremely exciting night.
Great job to all the players and participants on Saturday, it is such a joy to watch you skate.
On Easter weekend the girls of Connecticut donned their helmets and pads yet again in a contest of endurance, speed, and aggression. This month the mix-match of teams put the Iron Maidens against the Pop Tarts. The Iron Maidens came out for their introductions dressed in full metal regalia. Special props to Violet Riot for her fantastic hair. The Iron Maidens were made up of the following players:
Miz Con SepJen
Em Dash (Gotham)
Crown Joules (Boston)
and Rocky (Boston)
The Pop Tarts came out in their pink tutus and bright colors to the peppy rhythms of Cyndi Lauper. Their team included the following:
C. Mya Rage
Haley Contagious (Boston)
Killery Clinton (Boston)
and Zoomz Byda Boomz (Boston)
Just looking at rosters alone, the teams looked pretty evenly matched. The Iron Maidens had a strong selection of pack skaters and visiting skaters Em Dash and Rocky had body types that screamed jammer. Meanwhile the Pop Tarts had a wonderful selection of pack leaders as well as a strong jamming base with Pearl, Doom, and Rage.
Interestingly, as the bout got started the control of the jams shifted dramatically towards the Iron Maidens. Pearl gave the Pop Tarts a beautiful start against Violet with a quick 4 points. But the lead was short lived. Pam Terror, who seems to have brought her game to a new level, followed Pearl with a Grand Slam and the Iron Maidens didn’t turn back.
Early on, the hits came on strong. In the fourth jam, Revengela scored 5 points for her team after Milla was brutally knocked to the ground. In the mayhem, I didn’t notice whose shoulder inflicted that crushing blow, but rest assured it was effective.
Next up at the jamming line was Gotham girl: Em Dash. Em Dash has the height and form of a jammer and right when she took off, it was clear that she was here to do business. Her sprint was opposed by Pearl who kept Em Dash to an honest 4 points, but it was clear there was more than one strong jamming contender on the Iron Maidens team. The Iron Maidens continued their onslaught with 6 unanswered jams, distancing themselves from the struggling Pop Tarts. Halfway through the first period the score stood 41 to 11. The Pop Tarts had some serious ground to cover. But cover they did!
Especially noteworthy was a 7 point jam from Pearl. The jam put Pearl (with pivot Ether) against Violet Riot (supported by pivot Crown Joules). Pearl broke through the pack after a successful block by Ether. As Pearl looped around to enter the pack a second time, Milla screamed out from nowhere and opened a gap for Pearl. It’s these well orchestrated cooperative moments when it’s easy to understand the glory that is Roller Derby.
Killery Clinton followed for the Pop Tarts, and though it was a low scoring jam, Killery executed a glorious evasion of Miz ConSepJen’s ruthless shoulder. Shortly thereafter Doom took in 4 points, and Pearl 5 more. The first half ended with a prime opportunity for Rage. With two of the Iron Maidens out on penalty, Rage screamed around the track first once, and then again getting 9 points and pulling the Pop Tarts back within striking distance.
Score at the half? Iron Maidens 48, Pop Tarts 41.
It should be mentioned that these bouts always have a DJ. This particular bout had DJ Ebomb spinning, and he was doing a great job of sticking to the theme. Heavy metal tunes were played back to back with 80′s pop hits by the likes of Debbie Gibson. It was hilarious. The music always adds a lot to the Derby experience. Way to go DJ Ebomb!
The second half got underway with Em Dash starting against fellow Boston Derby Dame, Haley Contagious. Em Dash was in prime form yet again, and took 7 points for the Maidens. Three jams later Em Dash went at it again, this time pulling in 11 points for her team. Her success was due in part to the strong blocking of her teammates. At no time was that more apparent than when Miz so solidly hit Killery Clinton that Killery lay stunned momentarily on the sidelines… pausing to find her breath… before getting up and resuming her jam.
Sitting on the sidelines is somewhat risky. At one point Ether Bunny came crashing into the girl sitting next to me. Ether scrambled out of the fan’s lap, caught her eye, smiled and said “Hi!!” before skating off and returning to the pack. This small interaction does well to show that these women, despite their brutal hits and seemingly aggressive nature, really have a great time on the track and are typically in high spirits regardless of which of their friends is knocking them to their knees.
The Iron Maidens continued their attack. The strong jamming of Em Dash, Pam, and Rocky when coupled with Miz, Anita, and Parker’s ability to hold back the Pop Tart jammers, made the team a tough competitor. The Pop Tarts were by no means out of their league. In fact, both teams had almost the exact same number of lead jams. The Iron Maidens had just been slightly more effective at turning those opportunities into points.
The final score?
Iron Maidens 95, Pop Tarts 61
Iron Maidens: Em Dash
Pop Tarts: Ether Bunny
The MVP selections for this bout were extremely well deserved. Em Dash was decidedly the high scorer for the game and Ether Bunny (who acted as Pop Tart pivot for 14 of the 38 jams) was a strong and consistent defender.
Em Dash: 46 points in 12 jams, 7 lead.
Rocky: 24 points in 9 jams, 6 lead
Pam Terror: 20 points in 6 jams, 2 lead
Pearl Jammer: 36 points in 11 jams, 9 lead (whoa)
C. Mya Rage: 10 points in 7 jams, 1 lead
Once again, we had a pretty clean night. Rocky and Revengela were the closest to penalty Queens having visited the box three times each.
The girls will be hitting the track again locally on May 9th. If you’re a Derby fan, you should also make note of the June 6th bout in Holyoke against Pioneer Valley. It’s a double header featuring the Death Quads vs. Dirty Dozen and the Sabotage vs. Western Mass Destruction! That will likely be a very fun bout to watch.
Great job to all the skaters, refs, and participants. If you’d like to learn more about derby or learn more about the Connecticut league, check out the CT roller girl website here.
Dad D. sent me a beautiful story regarding his trials and tribulations surrounding his exploration of the anatomy of a Mortise Lock. It’s an awesome story and a brilliant mechanical device. Enjoy!
â€œThe Mortise Falconâ€
My jaw was clenched on that dark and stormy morning as I stumbled out of that small local church that I called my own. This was not the cathedral that inspires the soul to leap but a quiet, yet pleasant, rustic building where very few parishioners were left from a once mighty congregation. Oh yes, there had been hundreds, but that was centennials ago.
Why the clenched jaw? I had another assignment! There is a rule among those that â€œdoâ€ that 10% of the crowd does the work and 90% come along for the ride. Well, when typical attendance is 12, 10% is not a whole lot of people. And when the average age of an aging church is 92, if youâ€˜re under 60, youâ€™re it!
My assignment? â€œThe door knob had been ripped off a back door, could I fix it?â€ There had been a theater group that had used the church; and unfortunately, when they could not get the back door open, they applied significant leverage and the door knob exploded into their hands. An emergency exit for the church had been murdered, and as Sam would say to Bridgid, ”When a man’s partner is killed, he’s supposed to do something about it.”
The church is well over 100 years old. There had been a fire around 1930. We should assume that this door mechanism was at least that old. There is no question that I expected an adventure and the discovery of a mechanical marvel that would rival any â€œfigurine of gold and encrusted with jewels.” With trusty multi-blade screw driver in hand, I began to remove the Mortise lock.
The trick to removing the mortise lock is to remove all inside and outside handles, remove the screws that hold the mechanism into the door mortise (hole in the door jam), and most importantly, remove the cylinder that contains the key coding – this cylinder simply unscrews once the long set screw on the face plate of the mortise is removed.
I chose to do this myself since the church does not have a lot of money. As Sam would say, “to keep family troubles in the family.” Sure, it would have been easy to get a locksmith to come over and fix it, but the web clearly suggested that a replacement mortise lock would be as much as $500 for an antique replacement and locksmith labor is a premium cost since they are always busy getting car doors open when electronic or mechanical keys are left inside.
So once the Mortise lock is removed, this is what it looks like.
The Mortise Lock controls the deadbolt (#1), the override buttons (#2), the latch (#3), the thumb clip (#4) exterior handle, the inside door knob (#5), and the key access (top left corner).
There’s the lock cylinder which unscrews (the image above shows in screwed back in).
This is a lot for a 6â€ by 3â€ by 1â€ antique mechanism to do.
Immediately, being minimally versed in high tech communication systems, I began to look on the web for instructions, hints, or exploded views. And there was not much. So whatever I found had to be posted on the web to close this information hole! The name on the Mortise Lock was RUSSWIN and it was inscribed with â€œP1213â€. I found the RUSSWIN company (now Corbin-RUSSWIN) and wrote an email. The answer: â€œSorry, we donâ€™t carry information nor parts for something that old.”
So I took it apart! And this is what it looks like:
(1) Deadbolt and Deadbolt thumb Knob Socket
(2) Override Buttons
(4) Outside Thumb clip*
(5) Inside door knob socket
After I took out each precision mechanical part, the case looks like this.
Balloon 1 points to the Murder Victim – a broken cast pin.
And then I found the problem, the pin (identified in the above jpg) had broken off so all motion from the knob was no longer rotating the adjacent mechanism but simply sliding it to the left in the picture. The pin was a few thousandths more than Â¼ inch. A standard size! The inner diameter of the brass pieces that surrounded that pin were 10 thousandths wider â€“ perfect ! All I needed was a new Â¼ inch replacement pin.
Not thinking that I would even try to weld this, I found a threaded standoff, cut it to 3/8â€, drilled a hole where the old pin had been and screwed in the new pin with a new brass screw from the bottom. ($0.70). The new knob $8.00.
Success! Now all I have to do is hang this Mortise lock back into place with hope that my new pin would work and would last.
And as Sam Spade said to the guilty murderer:
”I hope they don’t hang you, precious, by that sweet neck… The chances are you’ll get off with life. That means if you’re a good girl, you’ll be out in 20 years. I’ll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I’ll always remember you.”
And now that I know what a Mortise Lock looks like, I will be ready to replace the pin again after 20 years to life.
*Thumb Clip isn’t the best description for the device. When you push that with your thumb, the button pushes a bar that hits this little clip . The clip transfers the motion to push the latch open bar which needs to rotate around that pin that broke.
Thanks Dad D! Awesome exploratory look into the depths of the Mortise Lock.
Jesse introduced me to a pretty fun game idea. The basics are this: Without looking anything up, can you arrive at a reasonable solution to a problem (within an order of magnitude)?
The questions will vary in difficulty, and you might have to make a few blind guesses for numbers. But you might know enough slightly related information to deduce a quality answer. You can use a calculator if you’d like, though paper and pen results deserve additional accolades.
Let’s look at two examples.
How does the total volume of human blood on Earth compare to the total volume of oceans on Earth?
What is the distance to the moon?
If you’d like, you can stop reading here and spend some time to try and figure out the two answers. Remember, you’re not allowed to look anything up. Otherwise, I’ll guide you through Jesse’s and my methods of calculating solutions to the first question and our attempts at the second.
Driving through Meriden, CT, you might see this sign just off broad street.
However if you’re in a rush, you might not notice the bottom sign there… a sign advertising a place called “Tacos mi Nacho.” And in fact, for the past three years I didn’t notice it. I knew there was a mexican restaurant, but I never would have been able to identify the name. During a recent visit to the House of Rock, Shamus did notice and promptly pointed out the restaurant to me. For those non-Spanish speakers the name of the restaurant translates to: “Tacos my Nacho.” Awesome.
What do they serve at Tacos mi Nacho?
According to the sign: Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Tortas, Tostadas, Pozole, Menudo.
Sarah and I hit up the restaurant this past Sunday and I must say, I was very very impressed. The atmosphere was nothing special, cheap looking booths and an average looking cooking area. But the quality was high and was immediately apparent when they started us off with chips and four varieties of salsa.
For the main course, both Sarah and I got burritos. Here’s a picture of Sarah with her meal.
Oh man! Talk about value for the dollar! This thing was 6$ and tasted super fresh and delicious.
Here I am having almost completed my chorizo burrito.
Overall, I rate Tacos mi Nacho with 5 out of 5 stars for value, 2 out of 5 stars for atmosphere, and 4 out of 5 stars for totally delicious. Also? 5 out of 5 stars for awesome restaurant name.
One hundred persons will be lined up single file, facing north. Each person will be assigned either a red hat or a blue hat (random assortment). No one can see the color of his or her own hat. However, each person is able to see the color of the hat worn by every person in front of him or her. That is, for example, the last person in line can see the color of the hat on 99 persons in front of him or her; and the first person, who is at the front of the line, cannot see the color of any hat.
Beginning with the last person in line, and then moving to the 99th person, the 98th, etc., each will be asked to name the color of his or her own hat. If the color is correctly named, the person lives; if incorrectly named, the person is shot dead on the spot. Everyone in line is able to hear every response as well as hear the gunshot; also, everyone in line is able to remember all that needs to be remembered and is able to compute all that needs to be computed.
Before being lined up, the 100 persons are allowed to discuss strategy (not wearing hats yet), with an eye toward developing a plan that will allow as many of them as possible to name the correct color of his or her own hat (and thus survive). They know all of the preceding information in this problem. Once lined up, each person is allowed only to say â€œRedâ€ or â€œBlueâ€ when his or her turn arrives, beginning with the last person in line. (They aren’t allowed to use code either, like using obvious different vocal pitches, or waiting to respond).
Your assignment: Develop a plan that allows as many people as possible to live. (Do not waste time attempting to evade the stated bounds of the problem â€” thereâ€™s no trick to the answer.)
If you think you know the answer e-mail it over to me at mikedidonato AT gmail D0T com.
I got an e-mail from Ryan Schenk the other day. Check it out:
If you draw a bounding box around Massachusetts and find the center,
turns out the middle of MA is in Rhode Island.
Where does he come up with this stuff?
When the daughters of the American derby revolution amass together, diverse crowds of adults and children gather and cheer as one. Such was the case on Saturday March 14th when the Connecticut Roller Girls mixed up their ranks into two unique teams. The St. Patrick’s cereal themed bout put the Lucky Charms versus the Cap’n Crunchers.
As our group gathered we looked at the rosters for each team and made our predictions.
The Lucky Charms
C. Mya Rage
Paula G. Imnaughty
Mona Mour (visiting from the Boston Derby Dames)
The Cap’n Crunch
Miz Con SepJen
Ivonna Shankabitch (visiting from the Boston Derby Dames)
Vicious Stylz (visiting from Providence Roller Derby)
I anticipated a win for Lucky Charms. Cap’n Crunch had an extremely strong Jamming team but the Charms seemed to have an equally powerful collection of pivots and blockers. Put Parker, Revengela, and Paula into the pack with Cherry or Ether as their pivot and no skater is safe. What I wasn’t anticipating was the powerful duo of Milla and Looch for the Crunchers.
With gold sequenced booty shorts and green shirts, the Lucky Charms came to the line. Doomcake would start as their jammer. Meanwhile the Cap’n Crunchers rolled up in blue tops with large gold buttons in the style of their cereal mascot. For the Charms, Pearl Jammer wore the star on her helmet.
As the bout started the cowbells rang and the crowd cheered. Pearl and Doom took off. Flora Goodthyme started the bout right with a nice clean hit on Doomcake. Doom dropped back just enough for Pearl to whip through and pull four points for her team. What followed was somewhat unexpected. Both teams started cycling through jammers.
For the Charms, Doom was followed by Pam, Black Cherry, Rage, Revengela and Mona. Meanwhile the Crunchers saw 8 different jammers before any girl put on the star for the second time. Pearl, Elle, Milla, Anita, Flora, Ivonna, and Miz all skated as jammer. The teams seemed to be conserving the strength of their jammers by rotating positions regularly early in the game. The result was a low scoring, highly defensive first half of the first period. The Lucky Charms were consistently getting lead jammer status (6 of the first 7 jams), but the Crunchers’ defense was keeping them honest. The score broke free when Pearl and Doom retook their positions as jammers. The whistles blew. Looch was acting as the pivot for the Crunchers, Parker as the pivot for the Charms. Doomcake got in front quickly, but with great skill Looch kept just in front of her. The short delay was enough for Pearl to break free and take lead jammer status. Pearl capitalized on her opportunity and pulled in an impressive 9 points before the jam concluded.
Cap’n Crunch continued their cycling of jammers and put Vicious in next against Black Cherry. The defense for the Crunchers held Cherry back, but Vicious took a nasty beating. First Pam and Paula G. Imnaughty came at her on a turn. One after another they slammed their shoulders into Vicious, knocking her down and off the track. She got back up only to feel the wrath of Black cherry and Pam. Again she was dropped to her knees. She got up once more and on the next pass Black Cherry plowed into her yet again. From the stands it seemed like Vicious’s skates left the floor on her way down. Let no one say these girls don’t put it all on the line.
Miz exacted revenge for her teammate in the next few jams. She knocked down Mona first, and then just seconds later landed a blow on Pam Terror. The Charms just couldn’t find their rhythm – testimony to the impressive work of the Crunchers’ pack.
The first half ended with a score of 10 for the Lucky Charms and 31 for the Cap’n Crunchers.
During intermission we were entertained by a small Irish band that kept the feeling light in this week of St. Patty’s day.
The last jam of the first half had ended with a trip to the penalty box for Elle. But Elle wasted no time. Entering the jam late she sprinted through the pack and grabbed lead jammer status. Interestingly, penalty box jammers seem to pull lead jamming status somewhat regularly. I’ll have to take a closer look at the data for the next few bouts, but it would seem that the opposing pack may not have a defensive mindset at the start of such jams. The result is a definitive chance for a late entering jammer to sweep through the pack unopposed. It’s certainly not worth the scoreless time in the penalty box, but it’s an interesting phenomenon nonetheless.
The start of the second half pushed the Crunchers further ahead. Elle, Pearl, and Milla collectively amassed 33 points in the first 7 jams after the intermission bringing the score to 64 – 16. But that was the end of the points for the girls in blue. The rally for the Lucky Charms began with two consecutive slams on Anita. Parker Poison took the first shot, and Black Cherry the second. Black Cherry’s hunger for blows was not subsided however, and she took it out on Ivonna in the next jam with another huge hit.
The Charms began their rally. Pam and Rage alternated jammer status deep into the second half. They were far behind and needed to cover a lot of ground, but it wasn’t an impossible task. With Ether and Cherry alternating as pivot, Rage and Pam got to work. Rage took advantage of Cherry’s hit on Ivonna and scored 8 for her team. Pam took three, Rage another 5, and Pam 5 more. But the seconds were ticking away. Despite their last push, the final score favored the Cap’n Crunchers 64 to 39.
Mike D’s top five hits of the night!
5. Late in the second half, Doomcake barreled through Violet Riot, giving Pam an opportunity for a grand slam.
4. Black Cherry drops her shoulder and, moments later, drops Anita
3. Pam and Paula’s double team of Vicious in the first half
2. Black Cherry sends Vicious into orbit
1. Luciana Pulverotti’s beautiful blocking of Doomcake in the first half, providing a 9 point opportunity for Pearl
The bout was awesome. I have developed a great respect for the defensive side of roller derby. It’s so exciting to see the strategies and the communication between skaters out in the pack. I would imagine that performing both defensively and offensively is no easy task, on wheels no less! Great job to all the players, it’s a joy to watch you skate.
Pearl Jammer: 30 points and a perfect record. 6 jams, 6 leads.
Elleanor Bruisevelt: 19 points. 5 jams, 4 lead
C. Mya Rage: 19 points. 6 jams, 5 lead
Pam Terror: 12 points. 8 jams, 5 lead
17 Lucky Charms
16 Cap’N Crunchers
Interestingly, lead jammer status was almost perfectly split between the teams. In fact, the Charms had one more than the Crunchers. This wasn’t a bout of getting up front, it was a bout that was about capitalization of opportunity.
No one skater visited the box an uncommon number of times in this bout.
Lucky Charms: Black Cherry
Cap’N Crunchers: Luciana Pulverotti
The next bout will be on April 11th. For more information check out the roller girl website here.