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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

I Went Skating! Yay!

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

I Went Skating! Yay!

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It's been almost six months since I last put on my skates. While part of me thinks that is completely awful, the reality is that for most of my years as a freestyle skater, when I was skating only with the White Marsh program, then I went that long between our final show and the start of lessons in September.

Still, it felt like a really long time.

I had gotten a call from Cindy--yes, the Evil Cindy from Deep Creek Lake--on Friday while I was at work. She tricked me by calling from her work number so that I did not know that it was her, and I answered. Yet it is good that I did because she was having a birthday party at Skateland and wanted Bobby and me to come. Bobby found it a bit odd that a grown woman would want to have a Skateland party; I was too enamored of the idea of skating again to pay much mind to this notion.

(And really, skating is the best way to interact with Evil Cindy. Why? Because I skate much faster than her. Yes, this might be mean that I went to the woman's birthday party and didn't even skate with her, but hey, we paid our own way in.)

So I went to Evil Cindy's birthday party--which wasn't really a party so much as a group of people agreeing to meet at a certain time to go skating--because I wanted to skate so badly. That, I told Bobby, is proof in itself of how much I love skating.

Because it was the Saturday afternoon session, the place was packed, mostly with small children there for birthdays. It felt good to be on skates again but, damn...I had forgotten how exhausting public sessions are! Honestly, two hours and I was more wearied than a practice or rehearsal of the same length. The problem is not people who can't skate: It's people who can't skate who think that they can skate and go tearing about at speeds and attempting maneuvers that are really beyond them. It's the "child slalom," I told Bobby. Then there are the instances where, suddenly, stronger-than-usual gravity grabs the person in front of me, and they go down without warning. That's fun too.

It was too busy to do much beyond skate forward in a circle, but it was skating. And they did have one song of "adult skate" where there were maybe a dozen people on the floor, so I got to brush the rust off of some footwork and really basic spins. That was nice. No jumps or spirals because my hip has been feeling better, and I'd like to keep it that way.

The adult skate is nice too because they actually play decent music. Skateland's music is notoriously awful, obscure, hardcore hip-hop that I expect isn't to the tastes of any of the patrons but rather the employees. (I mean, the sorts of people who go to Skateland? Young children, their parents, older people looking to get exercise, and middle schoolers. Of that group, who listens to that sort of music? Maybe the middle schoolers...but probably not even them. Though maybe I'm behind the times already, at the age of twenty-five, and really everyone listens to hardcore hip-hop that makes one's brain feel like it is turning to oatmeal when played at full-volume. Everyone listens to it but me, that is.)

Of course, they played the hokey-pokey, which Cindy tried to get me to do, but as I informed her, I am a conscientious objector to the hokey-pokey.

But it is always the way that as soon as we decide to leave and I have my skates off, they play a good song. Actually, when we came in, they were playing Red Hot Chili Peppers. When we left, they played Michael Jackson, which is good old-school skating music. Damnitall. The only good song we got, then was "Life Is A Highway" during the adult skate.

In the evening, we went out to dinner with my in-laws because it was Terrell's 21st birthday. Terrell is my sister-in-law's boyfriend. Our plan was to go to Red Robin since the in-laws have never been there, but we arrived at 5:30--usually time enough to beat the dinner rush--and they were already on a forty-five minute wait. Ummm...no. I don't generally wait forty-five minutes to sit for a meal at all, much less at Red Robin, which doesn't have the most comfortable of waiting areas. It's small and packed with kids. Yes, I had spent the afternoon trying to avoid splattering kids while skating, so I was sicker-than-usual of the little bastards by the time we got to Red Robin.

Luckily, Rocky Run is right across the street, so we went there, waited about fifteen minutes, and got seated in the Jimmy Buffett room with an excellent server and ended up having a better time--and better food--than if we'd gone to Red Robin anyhow. But then, I hold a bias towards our locally owned restaurants to big national chains anyhow. And I could eat at Rocky Run every day.

My father-in-law plotted to have the staff come out to sing to Terrell also, which was amusing simply because they were standing behind him and already singing before he realized that they were singing to him. But he got a free cheesecake shooter for the humiliation.
  • Part of the reason that music at skating rinks is never good is that they have such horrible, craptacular sound systems. Anything you put on a skating rink sound system ends up sounding like bad hip-hop.

    The big question, of course, is. . . did the staff at Rocky Run get free cheesecake shooters for their humiliation? (The even bigger question is, what crime could anyone commit that would be so bad that they'd be sentenced to . . . yecch . . . a cheesecake shooter?)
    • Truly, the sound system at Skateland is no better than to be expected. But certain kind of music sounds better than others, imho, and hard hip-hop is not one of them.

      A "cheesecake shooter" is but a small cheesecake served in a shot glass. It is not a drink...so the name is misleading. Rocky Run has several miniature desserts, recognizing that there is money to be made in pandering to people who enjoy dessert after dinner but don't have enough appetite for some of the monstrosities served at other places.

      So unless one has an aversion to plain ol' New York cheesecake, a cheesecake shooter isn't likely to draw complaints.

      As for the staff...I don't know what sort of meal discounts they get there, but having sung the birthday song many times myself at The Piece, I don't that any discount is ever enough. (Though Rocky Run's birthday song is not nearly as bad as The Piece's birthday song....)
      • So unless one has an aversion to plain ol' New York cheesecake,

        Well, yes. That'd be me.

        So, why do restauants do the birthday song? It's humiliation all around for the staff, the partygoers, and the birthday person.
        • I think that most patrons regard the birthday song as fun, else they would not request it. I've personally never minded people singing to me on my birthday, strangers or otherwise. My sister, on the other hand, was mortified by the same and probably harbors many traumatic childhood memories of my parents refusing to understand this and having people from The Piece sing to her, year after year.

          Some staff like it too. I worked with more than one manager who would really make a big deal of the birthday person, making the person stand on a chair or leading the whole restaurant in a round of "Happy Birthday." Most of the hourly staff--at The Piece anyway--hate it, I've found. It was always very difficult to round up enough people to make a decent showing for the birthday song, particularly when there were not a lot of servers on the floor. (Bobby outrightly refused to participate, as did most production staff. I always used to go out.)

          Mostly, I think it's convention and tradition that keeps it alive. People expect it at casual dining restaurants, and since big parties mean big bucks, it's not something most places are going to refuse. Also, among servers, it becomes an issue of reciprocation. People ask for the song, so a server gets the other servers, who know that someone will soon ask them for the song, and the first server will be required to pay back the favor. Keeping one's guests happy--even at the expense of a little humiliation--is key for servers, and I've seen more than one server walk away with a really big tip for making a big deal out of a patron's birthday.

          Last night, our server got $38 from us. Yeah, I'd sing for $38 too! :)
  • That reminds me of riding. My friend had a trail ride party for her birthday - I was all over that! My friend Lisa and I (since we both actually knew how to ride; in fact, I think I'd probably been riding longer than the trail guide O.o) would hang at the back of the group and let them pull ahead of us so that we could trot/canter to catch up. 0:)

    A cheesecake shooter isn't a drink? Too bad. Bet my cousin could make up something that tastes just like cheesecake though, since he was a bartender. I just found this out. I thought, "Wait, where have you been? That could've been useful!" along with, "That's...normal! Does that mean there's someone almost - dare I say - cool in the family?"
    Although I guess he had his messed-up-stage, but really, I can't blame him considering that his father/my uncle is completely insane. O.o Shh.
    • I know all about insane families, so your secret is safe with me. And at least we're not Finwians! ;)

      I've been wanting to experiment with cheesecake ice cream too. I know that it's possible to buy it, but I've yet to find a recipe to make my own. Though I did find a recipe for a pie that is basically a huge frozen cannoli. *slavers*

      That's funny about the trail party...sounds very familiar! Likewise, I'm a better skater than most of the skate guards, so I'm always waiting for the day when one will tell me that I am not allowed to freestyle, though they are allowed to do their little hip-hop dances...yeah, dude, I've been skating since before you could walk. Now bugger off; I think some kid's splattered on the floor over there. :^P
      • Well, yes that's true, if only because no one's pulled swords on each other. Yet. Probably more for lack of a sword than anything.

        That reminds me, what with the snow and all, my mom said she should send me to PA to stay with my grandma. I was like, "Bad weather and Grandma?! You'd best not, lest I do something drastic." Mom: "Like kill yourself or her?" Me: "Yes. At the very least, I'd get dead drunk. Maybe kill myself by drinking. Go for a BAC of 0.9...If I achieve that, don't mourn. Throw a party instead. In fact, turn my ashes into a diamond and make it into one of those wine glass stem trinkets!!"

        A huge frozen cannoli!? Yummy!! I loooove cannolis. And cheesecake. And chocolate pie. And kudos to guys who make their own flavored chocolate hearts! Anyways...

        The one thing that ticked me off on that trailride though, was when the question "Who has ridden before?" was posed, my friend said she had. I said, "Friend, riding ponies at the fair does not count." She was rather offended. But it's true. I don't in general like hot-shots, but I really don't like when people play up their experience in situations where misinformation like that could cause a very dangerous situation. Anyways, that's a rant for a later date...
  • Last time I went skating (two years ago) little kids kept hanging on me so they would not fall. I was wearing rented skates, my knee was acting up, was never that good at my best, and had not skated in two or three years--I was afraid they would pull me over and I would crush one! So I was laughing at your skating and restaurant kid encounters. (Every time I see kids in restaurants now I also think of your Carnistir.)
    • You probably will not be surprised to learn that I spent six years working in a family restaurant that catered to families with kids. Maybe that explains my Carnistir a bit? (And my fervent desire to remain child-free??)

      As for skating...mental rentals, oh noes! And being on pain while on mental rentals is even worse. (I know all about skating while in pain.... :^/) Luckily, kids don't hang onto me; I skate too fast for them. :^P Though I have had little girls ogle my spins and then ask me to teach them, which is always interesting, as I must find a diplomatic way to tell them that it's probably best that they learn to skate first!
  • Sounds like you had a good time! :-)
    • Yes, I did! :) Now if only the freestyle club will start up again...I haven't hurt myself in a while.... ;)
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