Aug 172011

Together again!

I’ve been off the radar for a while now (working in the great north, moving), and I’ve been off skates even longer. But I’m back now and the dust is finally starting to settle! Literally!

Alaska was cold and miserable. Maybe that’s how you envision AK anyway, but the summer is usually pretty sweet. Not this year. I couldn’t do any of the feeble off skates exercises I planned on to keep me at least a little in shape while living on-board, because I was too busy holding on. To anything. You could say it was a rock and roll summer, but really it was just big waves, shitty weather and not enough fish to make it cool. The sun exposed itself literally 2 times. In the land of the midnight sun! What a drag!

I spent most of RollerCon with my former Cog Blockers, co-cappy Mae Q. Sweat and new cappy Fraid Knot. Champs.

From AK I was magically whisked off to Las Vegas for RollerCon via four flight legs and 30 hours of travel. Wooo! The drastic change in temperature really threw me for a loop but I did not get sick! After spending close to 5 weeks on a rippin’ and rollin’ sea, I found myself not only lacking land legs but skate legs (duh – I totally expected this). Several things triggered boat like sensations that made me want to grab something and hang on. Like the elevator at the Riviera (no, I’m not the one who puked in it). Also, skating. I figured Atomatrix’s no contact speed and stride class would be a great way for me to break my feet back in, but getting low in the corners and crossing over made me feel all weird. So I stuck to volunteering for most of the time and took all of Mercy’s super awesome off-skates classes.
Last year Mr. Fever accompanied me to RollerCon (because it was our honeymoon) but this year he felt he should stick with the husbandly duty of driving around the bay area looking for a new place to live while sleeping in our van. Isn’t he the best? Meanwhile I was trying to hunt down and make friends with some B.A.D. girls (my new league) without acting like a chump. Honestly, I’m pretty sure it was an epic fail. I didn’t get much skating in, I didn’t make any new friends and I’m such a half assed volunteer that I’m pretty sure I won’t do it again.

So here I am, in my new little nest in Crockett (don’t know where that is? No one does). The piles of boxes getting smaller and smaller everyday, the aquarium was successfully moved with zero fatalities (!!!), houseplants healthy and situated, and me on the couch with the second worst shin splints I have ever had in my life from going back to skating on a slick floor with 95a wheels.

Monday night I went to my first B.A.D.  all-league practice. It was truly nerve racking. I realize it’s the off-season, and that they just hosted a major event, but in the wake of it all getting new skater information has been like pulling teeth. Fortunately I had the intersection for the practice space, but not an address. So I parked on the street and waited in my car until I saw skater looking girls go into a building. Then I followed them like a creep. I didn’t want to start by making excuses, so I suppressed my urge to let the coach know I had been off skates for two months and would probably suck. I just went ahead and sucked, slipping all over the damn place in my Lowboys. People sometimes tell me that I am outgoing, or cool. I don’t know what the hell they are talking about. I hate new-ness, and I am perpetually uncool (ironically, I also hate same-ness and nothing sends me fleeing to a non-English speaking country faster than a “comfort zone”). I talked to a few ladies, I demanded a coaches phone number, and then I went home listening to Wolf Parade and singing “nobody loves you and nobody gives a damn anyway”. But I got it over with. My first day.

So the next day I went direcetly to Cruz, my new local skate shop, for some grippier wheels. The idea of putting 88′s on felt scary. I mean isn’t that so sticky? So I got to rent a pair to test out. Rent wheels! Fucking brilliant. Later that night I went to practice #2. This time the coach actually asked me a little about myself, which was nice because I just do not know how to act around new people. I am super awkward, I always have been and I always will be. Practice was great (exhausting). My grippier wheels helped a lot with the turns but my shins were still damaged from Monday. So I still suck. Actually I expect to suck for a few weeks.

All I know about roller derby I learned from the Bellingham Roller Betties. The good, the bad and the bullshit. I find myself longing for those days of comforting bullshit.  Knowing which girls were giving it to me straight and which ones only answered my questions so I’d go away. B.A.D. is more than twice the size of Bellingham (in terms of their skater base). With the Betties I got to play on the travel team, captain my home team and be a primary jammer. This is a much bigger pond and I have reverted to pond scum. The upside is that I will have to push myself a lot harder. And once those shin splints subside, I am totally ready for that. I may be an achy-footed-pond-scum-introvert, but one day I will fly like a peacock.

So far I haven’t accomplished anything other than getting started. But isn’t that all I need to do anyway? Begin?






Jun 192011

Wish for fish, because I am going fishing!

Someone's gotta do it.

The gross majority of my annual income is derived from killing salmon in Alaska. I’m not a sadist or anything, it just happens to be a good job and I love being on the water. In fact, I feel sad for the fish. Especially at the start of the season. I watch them flop around on deck trying to figure out how to get back to where they came from. I stick a couple fingers (or a knife) into the gill plate and I tear their gills out by hand. This way they die quicker and they bleed out (making the meat more firm). Sometimes the blood squirts. Sometimes it squirts me in the eye. Salmon are remarkable creatures and I respect them. That said, I love to eat them.

See? That's me, kissing a shark.

Growing up I had a strong passion for the ocean and everything in it. My dad took me to the beach with regularity but made special  occasion of the lowest tide of the year, when I could uncover tidepool treasures and other things seldom seen during median tide. I love the ocean with everything that I am. I wanted to buy  a”Best Friends” split heart necklace (you know you had one) and throw one half into the sea. Commercial fishing was always this dark force out there trying to kill the ocean, shooting sea lions and decapitating dolphins. I hated commercial fishermen. And now look at me. I could go on and tell you about how well managed the fisheries are and how we are all good stewards of the ocean because we harvest our living from it….. but I’m not going to do that because it’s boring and because there still are some real shit heads out there. I’ve worked with and for some of them.

Well, I’m casting off! Flying up here (to Naknek via King Salmon) I started to see what was to come. Long nights with no sleep, backlashes (a backlash is a shitty thing your net does to you – think about the word “backlash” – it sucks), unpleasant weather and work work work. Several years ago herring fishing I said to myself in the middle of a super crappy storm “I shouldn’t be here. I should be home wearing slippers reading a magazine and drinking wine”. Later, after weathering the weather and getting home to my apartment that miraculously still had electricity I said again to myself “What I am I doing here?”. So I love fishing. Here I am, again, getting all stoked to be away form the world and out with the ocean. I slept in the Anchorage airport (like usual) on my way out here. After rudely and consistently being awakened in the night by CNN blaring stories about the Weener Guy, I thought jeez, I cannot wait to get out of the world! Now here I am, in Naknek! Woooo!

Looks funny on land, but thar she sits!

You know me as Cat Scrap Fever, my derby name. Well, my name is Cat. “Scrap” is a name I got up here my first season fishing when I punched a guy out cold on the side of a road. It was my first year drift netting and it was bad bad bad, and I don’t mean the fishing. I worked a couple guys out of their jobs and we ended up marooning them about 100 mies from port (this is a long story – paraphrasing required – buy me a double sometime and I’ll tell you all about it). When we came ashore I was championed as the girl who worked two douche bags into the ground, and beleive me, neither of my hands were ever without a drink. Leaving the bar (with my senior citizen age drinking buddy) I was verbally acosted and berated by a little twerp. I’d had enough bullshit from dumb young men for quite some time so I just clocked the guy (after saying the usual “does your mom know you talk to women this way?!) . He lay on the side of the road while his friends came back for him and I thought “Shit, I’ve gottta fight all these guys!” but they just picked him up and said “We told you not to talk to her like that”. Well, word went around the VHF like wildfire and then I was known as “Lil Scrap”. The following night at the bar (Mr. Fever was hundreds of miles away) I was even more popular! It doesn’t hurt to be one of 3 women in a crowded bar,  but I have never received so much attention in my life!  But my fishing name? It’s Sea Kitten. P.E.T.A. wanted people to feel more compassionate for things like King Crab and Halibut so they decided to start calling them “sea kittens”. Adorable right? It’s so adorable that it’s my husbands pet name for me. Sea Kitten. It’s even engraved on my bowling ball.

You won’t be hearing from me for a while. Not till I get to RollerCon anyway! I’m flying there straight from Alaska (minus all the requisite layovers). I guarantee you I’m the only girl in Naknek with a pair of roller skates and some schmancy cocktail wear stashed in her net locker! So if I post again before then, it’s because something went wrong with the boat. If I never post again, it’s because something went way way wrong and I’m not  a person anymore (all I hope is for Todd and I to finish the season safe and well – the money is second best). Rest assured that I’m the type of fisherman who looks out for the future of the oceans and the well being of my crew mates.

Minnesota Park

Minnesota Park

Anyway, this is Cat Scrap Fever telling you that friends don’t let friends buy farmed fish.

I love getting mail at sea (Yes! There is a boat that comes out and brings me mail!! – and food and water and fuel…) so if you are interested in sending a worn out little Sea Kitten some bright happy mail, or derby gossip or citrus fruits, you can do that by sending to the following:

Cat Scrap Fever

F/V Marissa

c/o Leader Creek Fisheries

PO Box 449

Naknek, Alaska 99633