I’ve started posting Hobby Health Wednesdays! Check out the vids at: YouTube.com/ThatTeriGirl
Do let me know what you think!
I’ve started posting Hobby Health Wednesdays! Check out the vids at: YouTube.com/ThatTeriGirl
Do let me know what you think!
Around this time 2 years ago, I wrote a courtship letter to Robin Cruddace, under the auspices that he would bring some fantastic fluff to the Tau army (as he wrote great canon for the race within the Tyranid codex), and would likely break the book with interesting and over-powered game mechanics.
With the new Tau release coming up next month, it’s clear that Robin didn’t, in fact, accept my courtship proposal and write the book.
Jeremy Vetock did. Don’t know who he is? Read the rest of this entry »
My husband and I had another derby-related fight.
I’m president of the league. He’s our interleague contact. I asked him see if we could reschedule a game that he negotiated and signed a contract for earlier this year.
He refused outright. He’s principled and believes that commitments we make need to be upheld. I live in the world of possibilities with mutually positive outcomes. Where he feels like asking to change the terms of a signed contract is like asking for a divorce, I see it more like guy asking for a threesome from his wife. Nothing is lost if she says no, but if she’s interested, everybody’s happiness increases.
On a personal note, is the the historic month my car gets written off by some idiot driver who can’t drive in the snow. It’s also my derby league’s AGM.
Even though I promised I’d step away, and even though my husband even threatened divorce if I re-ran (he changed his mind), I decided to run, unopposed, for president of RDRDA. Again. (Past history: I took over the presidency halfway through a term, so I’ve only had the gig for 6 months.)
I’m not going to dish about the problems my league has. That stuff is old news and stuff every league deals with. There’s stuff that needs to change and I didn’t have the space or time to make the changes that needed to happen. But that’s not the story here.
The story is about how I have a problem balancing my life. I’m an ENFJ on the Myers-Briggs, which pretty much means I’m a people-pleaser, and I have issues with work-life balance. Particularly because I tend to overcommit in one aspect and neglect others (usually those that are most personal.) It’s why my husband has threatened to divorce me thinking about committing to something big. Like running another Warhammer tournament, or taking a job at another startup or even more recently taking a job that politely asks me to stay longer hours. It’s because I too readily say yes.
So I’m setting out some rules to help stem some problems I know I’m going to have. Because nothing indicates future behaviour like past behaviour .
Folks considering running for your own roller derby league’s board, feel free use this as a loose guide to help keep your own sanity.
Rule 1: I will not do any league work (or other work) while on vacation.
That photo at the top of this post is from Christmas last year. While my husband gleefully purchased cheap fireworks, sat in the sun and read books, I was working. I was working for a company who had just pursued me - this vacation was planned well in advance of my joining said company. But it was a startup and they weren’t exactly prepared to be short a person they just hired. So I worked 4-5 hours a day for them remotely from across the planet.
On my family’s Christmas vacation.
Just a note: when I was in high school, they made you take a course called Career and Life Management (CALM). I learned how to write a cheque, (sort of) manage a professional portfolio and also watched a bad 80s documentary about marketing cults.
They didn’t, however, teach me that it’s not a good idea to work on your vacation. Obviously whomever taught Marrissa Meyers didn’t teach her that either.
Vacation means things like derby-free weekends. Nothing is so important that I can’t delegate a contact for a weekend or a week. This gig is a year long – I’ll do a better job if I don’t burn out in the first few months.
Rule 2: I will accept I cannot make everyone happy.
If a few people are unhappy, I’ll accept that it’s fine. Even if they’re really, really loud. A vocal few is still a few.
I used to manage online communities. One particularly unique community, comprised of programmers and social media dilettantes was particularly good about pointing out bugs on the online platform and forums. There were a particularly vocal few who were especially vocal and despite regular patches and bug progress notes, there was always something wrong. They were highly invested members, but they numbered in less than a dozen. In a community of thousands.
The CEO chose to try to keep them happy, because their activity represented a large portion of of the activity on the site in terms of reporting activity statistics to investors.
But truth be told, we would have been far more productive had we focused on other aspects of the business rather than making a minority of people happy.
Rule 3: I will trust my board (myself included).
One of the reasons I tend to risk divorce with my husband and choose to work at startups is because there is so much talent and so much passion within those work environments that it is addicting and intoxicating. Even in a league full of burnt-out skaters, there’s still people who care deeply enough to step up. Working with people like that can give you a great high.
I’m fortunate enough to have a great board – a mix of people with great backgrounds and experiences and also with fresh ideas. It’s funny, because I still carry some weird baggage about not being qualified in any respet to be the president of a league. I feel like a phony in a league where we actually have an accountant for a treasurer.
But then I remember I’m the person who started an online business at 16 and used to float me through university; I’ve worked for startups and managed teams of programmers, designers and community managers; I’ve organized remarkably sized gaming events; and even found a way to get an EP credit in a podcast.
And apparently I also know how to use a semicolon. If I can be trusted with good grammar, surely I can be trusted with a board position.
We make mistakes. We learn and we move on. I give a lot of space for people to try things and make mistakes because people can’t work creatively or productively in a realm where absolute perfection is the expectation, particularly in a volunteer-world.
Nit-picking everything is a guaranteed way to kill the want for people to help.
And to that end, I’m going to click “publish” on this blog post. And I won’t go back to fix awkward syntax. Even though I always do. And I’ll accept that done is better than perfect in this respect too.
Since my last post, where I created a story about my derby journey I took some time off, went to the Philippines, attended a couple scrimmages and somehow landed on a spot with the Red Deer Roller Derby Belladonnas for an upcoming tournament (Flat Track Fever).
Which is huge, given that I had assumed I wasn’t A-team material, given that another team didn’t choose me for their tournament roster and I simply didn’t think I had the skills.
Anyways, a couple things have come out of this.
1: I’m starting a new blog. Paleopino - I’m going paleo for the next 6 weeks to see if it’ll improve my performance.
2: I need to set some clear and realistic goals for myself for my skills and the upcoming tournament. Part of this process is doing a basic assessment of what I my strengths and weaknesses are.
Derby isn’t the only thing in my life coming up into tournament season -the Warhammer/40K scene is starting to pick up as the snow melts. The type of goal setting and self-assessment is something mini-wargame players can do just as well as rollergirls. Here’s my step-by-step guide for ya’ll.
List the things you know you do well.
On the derby track, I’m strong at communicating and assessing the situation. I pay attention to how many penalties each jammer has at the start of a jam, and am always aware of what colour is going off the track when a penalty whistle blows.
And I can hold that line – being light and agile means I don’t drift off of the inside track line, even at a decent clip.
Be honest about what you can improve.
I know for a fact that I am the least skilled skater on the Belladonnas. I’m not fast and because of my size, contact that would normally not disrupt other skaters tends to destabilize me (I fall a lot). There’s TONS of room for improvement for me in that capacity..
Focus on a few things you can measure, and what you’ll do to improve them.
Watching my husband evolve from the guy who was at the bottom of Conflict Calgary to the guy who is always in the running for Best Overall at tournaments made it easy. He focused on what he could control at each event. “I’m painting this army to win best painted next event – I’m focusing on highlighting well, and having a bright and noticiable colour scheme.” or ”I want to focus on getting ranked higher in the sportsmanship category than I have done before. I’m not going to pull any dirty tricks and I’ll explain to each opponent all the special rules my army employs.”
When he set goals, he also had plan to reach them.
My goal: I want to be in the best shape I can be so that the few skills I have in my arsenal are deadly – basic body checks, track awareness and improve stability to execute skating skills. To get there, I’m going to skate at least 3 practices a week, and hit the gym at least twice a week. I also want to increase my strength so my time at the gym will be to focused on strength building for stability in the pack.
I want draw majors because my skating form is so solid that when people try to hit me, they hit me in illegal zones (like my head). There’s no reason they should be able to hit me that well. That means strength and muscular endurance in my quads and core. Just another thing to address in the gym.
I’ll know how much I’ve improved by the end of the 6 weeks. Look over what you’ve accomplished – did you hit the goals you set out?
I can’t say how important this part is. It’s why I’m a spreadsheet whore at gaming tournaments - I want to know where I was, where I can improve and where I sucked. You can’t figure out what worked and what didn’t unless you evaluate.
With the loaded tournament season try setting yourself some goals and see how it turns out.
Preface: this is a Warhammer-free post.
I’m writing this because a few of people tagged me on Facebook for Derby Syphillis or something. To quote the activity, “Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals that roller derby has added to your life.” I’m also writing this as a reminder to myself of how far I’ve come, and to freshmeat skaters of how far they can go.
I’m going to preface all of this by saying that unlike other gals I happened to benchmark with, I am not a natural skater. For the longest time I was afraid of falling, afraid of the speed, afraid of skating too close to other people and pretty much afraid of my own shadow on skates.
I’ve said it on this blog before (albeit in a different context): it is in adverse situations that you improve.
This is a post about success, and how the path to it is riddled with moments that feel like failure.
The more I involve myself in roller derby, the more I realize that 40K and derby aren’t all that different.
For one, each has an overall metagame. And regional metagames. Bouts in Alberta WILL look very different from those in Quebec, for example. Strategies and playstyles differ from league to league, and team to team. For example, RDRDA’s Nightshades, for example are a team of amazing blockers who can control the pace of the game, whereas Med Hat’s Gas City Rollers are a team of fast as hell jammers.
And in roller derby, just like 40K, people who want to win are constantly trying to break the game.
Take, for instance, the “no start”. It’s the derby equivalent of the slow play stall tactic douches use during tournaments, or leafblower lists.
Yes, that was 2 minutes of standing around. The jam went on without the jammers getting whistled on (which happens with the last gal in the pack crosses the pivot line – a whole 30 feet from where the jammers start.
How does this relate to anything GW? I mean other than the obvious bootie-short wearing, of course.
Read the rest of this entry »
My beloved league, Red Deer RollerDerby Association, hosted Operation Skate and Destroy over the last weekend. I had such an amazing time!
Here’s a breakdown of my weekend:
Saturday – Bootcamp: 5 different coaches providing skill and skill building insights. RDRDA’s own Team Canada skater TAZ started the morning off by kicking my ass with off-skate dynamic movements (and in the same manner destroyed my plan to “save” my legs for benchmarking the next day). I got some great pack skill and strategy techniques from Coach Lime, learned some interesting agility drills from Tye Die. Also had the privilege of learning the finer points of hitting and jamming from RDRDA’s Hollywood Homicide and Razor.
Saturday evening – Nightshades Bout: Worked the door for the first half of the bout, but got to see how FAST the pack was moving to keep RDRDA Alum Spaz in check. RDRDA features some of the BEST blockers and it was amazing to see how good the Nightshades were able to control the pace of the bout in the 2nd half and come back to victory!
Sunday morning – Benchmarks: I had the most serious nerves. For those who don’t know, benchmarking is a minimum skills assessment that basically ensures you’re capable of playing the physically demanding sport of derby. Well – I did it! This was a HUGE milestone for me, and there are so many people whose efforts have helped me along the way to get to this point. I won’t list them all, but pretty much anyone who as seen me on skates has had a hand in both improving my skills and enabling me to skate.
Which brings me to the point of the whole weekend for me – my Bout:
I barely remember it. Super thanks to Anthony Canada (who shot the photo above) for creating a record of the fact that I actually played and didn’t dream the whole thing up.
Monday – Bangover. Given I skated for HOURS and I was skating pretty hard throughout that time, it wasn’t particularly surprising that I had a REALLY hard time walking the next day. Tendons in my knee were inflamed. Stairs were the enemy.
The point of this whole story is that I’m REALLY looking forward to doing it all again. E-Ville Beaver Bash, here I come!
In the Jaded Gamercast Facebook Group, I recently expressed my disdain for cookie cutter, power-build armies.
Actually, it was this:
What ever happened to wanting to play a fun army that’s fun to play against? Or a fluff army whose victories are unassured but looks AMAZING.
Or how about an army that should, on paper, lose games like frigging crazy but because its both unorthodox and you’ve become skilled with it, you wreck face?
I get that guys like to win, but aren’t people getting sick of cookie cutter armies? I think that THAT is part of the reason why there is so much ennui with 40K right now.
To which one of the pundits of the group, Tim of Douchebag Anonymous, asked:
Those are some of the ways to play, Teri, but not all of them. You don’t really think anyone not doing it in one of the ways listed above is having fun wrong, do you?
To clarify, the people he’s alluding to are the ones I’m also alluding to: the players get to their powergaming phase – the place where taking better units and optimized builds helps compensate for their lack of adaptive skill as a general – and instead of progressing to appreciate the hobby in all its aspects instead of just the game, they stop there. (I’ve talked about this myself on this blog before- I’ve been there as both a 40K player and as roller derby freshmeat.)
My short answer to Tim is yes. Yes, they’re having fun wrong.
The long answer is this: If their fun comes strictly from winning, they’re kneecapping themselves for wins in the short term but heavy losses over the long term (and possibly even a loss of love for the game thereafter.)
Players become better generals in adverse situations – unbalanced game scenarios, unorthodox army builds, and outside the box strategies all throw wrenches into a player’s gaming experience which forces them to think creatively, use their army differently and understand off-the-wall gaming approaches. Simply put, generals learn from their defeats (or near defeats), not from their easy victories.
It’s called a learning curve. The problem with these power gaming types gravitating towards the cookie-cutter optimized lists is that the list compensates for their lack of skill. (I’ve written about this before, but in the context of buying 700 roller skates to make me a better derby skater.)
Here’s a video game analogy: by playing these highly-optimized, cookie-cutter lists, players are essentially turning down the game’s difficulty setting. It’s great when you’re starting out, gives you that hit of dopamine that gamblers get when they strike lucky, but in reality, by being loss averse, players aren’t actually improving as generals as well as they could be with a list built knowing their list has a clear and obvious weakness.
Ultimately, if the amount of fun a player has is related to how much he wins, then playing to master the game should be the means to that goal. That may mean more losses in the shorter term, but far more wins over time.
Players who choose to take the short term gains will suffer some pretty brutal losses when the experience scale goes up – a large tournament setting, for example. They may be the big fish in their small pond at their local gaming venue, thanks to the power of their list, but when the stakes are raised along with the experience in the room, those same guys may find themselves struggling.
There’s only so many tournaments in a year, so if the ONLY place you can learn (lose) to play the game is tournament, you’ll be behind the curve. If you play games every week outside the tournament setting, playing an underpowered list against lesser generals with BETTER lists will make you a better general, instead of feeding your ego.
If your “fun” is to win, you probably want to also win at big events. You probably want to win when swimming with the sharks. If you choose to play locally and make every game outside that big event setting make you a better general, play for mastery. Don’t play for the win when the wins don’t count.
And, well, if you’re the kind of guy who likes to show up and play games JUST to win and you are uninterested in becoming a better general and your idea of fun is crushing kids at the local GW, well, you’re also having fun the wrong way. I’m not going to elaborate as to why.
There’s this thing out there called winning well. There’s also this thing out there called winning poorly.
I was inspired to write this post after hearing harrowing tales of my husband slapping his Jaded Gamercast co-host in the face after beating him in a game of Warhammer Fantasy. (Just so you know, that’s winning poorly.)
I’m told Lange was being quite a sore loser (a topic I’ll likely write about in the future) but since I always choose my husband first, I thought I’d tackle how to earn sportsmanship points when you’ve won a game. Winning games and being a fun opponent aren’t mutually exclusive, but I thought I’d throw out a few tips to help you guys to who can’t stop beating face to salvage some of those points.
That’s me. I’m Teri.
Geeky things I love: Warhammer 40K (minature wargame), Bioware (Edmonton-based video game development studio), Neil Gaiman (author), Joss Whedon (master), Starcraft (I and II), Diablo (II mostly), Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) and Green Lantern (even though Mogo doesn’t attend meetings).
Less geeky things I love: Douglas Coupland (author), How I Met Your Mother (tv show), Margaret Cho (stand-up comic), Mother Mother (band) and my family (though they may qualify under the “geeky” category).
I’ve leveled up my “coolness” and “badassness” stats by joining the Red Deer Roller Derby Association.
I organize Warhammer 40K tournaments and play Tau. I don’t play Fantasy.