Washington D.C. – Roller Derby and the Zoo.

As you can probably deduce from the title, I went to Washington D.C. to visit a friend of mine, Moss. And we went to the Roller Derby. And the Zoo!

First, Roller Derby. I had never been to it, and I’ve always wanted to go. For those of you that don’t know, to simplify it down to its raw basic nature,¬† it’s a bunch of strong women rollerskating with other strong women pushing each other out of the way, often knocking each other down and getting points for their team in the process. While it’s similar to every other sport in the world, the thing I like about this particular activity is the sense of humor. For example, the participatin’ ladies all have really swell nicknames. And they pick numbers that are related with those nicknames. My favorites:

Ovary Action  Р28 Days
Chinese Cheker – 5354
Hoova Dayum – H2O
Marion Barrycuda – 311 (remember, this is Washington D.C. – ergo, funnier)
Dyke Diggler – 13 inches

There’s also HaBitchual OffendHer, Rachel MadHo, Lois Slain (she’s a reporter in real life, so that’s extra-cute), Ivana Tripabitch, Peaches N Cruelty and Wham Slam Bambi. The warm-up round was “Grinches vs. Santas”. The regular players had festive holiday nicknames like Blitzkreig Blitzen and Thumpa Coal, and they came out before the game and were introduced by the announcers. The grinches (dressed all in green) skated around the track in the shape of a Christmas tree, and the Santas (dressed all in red) formed the shape of a sleigh. Even the lead skater had a blinking red nose.

I tried to take pictures of the “jams”, as they’re called, but those girls move FAST. So here are my shots.

The next day Moss and I decided to see the pandas at the Zoo, but first we toddled off to experience the magic of chili. There’s a place in Arlington called The Hard Times Cafe. They have four kinds of chili. And they will put any combination of those chilis on a variety of substances. I chose half Texas chili, half Cincinnati chili on tater tots. Excellent decision, I must say.

Outside the Mecca of chili goodness was an oldey-timey truck…

…with a statue of a horse on the back, wearing mittens on its ears and fake antlers, and this sign propped up on its side.

Which is awesome.

Moss also showed me The Spite House. Here’s the story: A guy owned a house. He also owned the seven-foot alleyway between him and the house next door. People used to cut through the alleyway all the time, which really cheesed his crackers. So, Grumpy Guy built a house in the seven-foot alleyway, which is supposedly the thinnest house in America. It is called The Spite House and people do live there.

Now, on to the zoo. We did in fact see a panda, but he was far, far away, so I couldn’t take any pictures of him. I had never seen a panda before, and sure enough, they look like a soft, pillowy, black and white bear-shaped object. Which is nice to know. We also saw Indian elephants, a tiger, orangutans and a male lion roaring, which I had also never experienced, even though I have been to Africa a bunch of times, so that was so very cool. It is astonishingly loud and the sound really carries. It reverberates in your abdomen. I found a video of a lion roaring.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOaQmkAlhUA

Does anyone who reads this watch Dirty Jobs? There’s an episode when Mike Rowe goes worm-grunting. You shove a wooden stake into the ground, rub an iron thingie over it, and it makes a groany sound. This causes the worms to come to the surface. You collect them and sell them to fishermen. The lion’s roar made me feel like a worm being grunted.

http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/dirty-jobs-worm-grunting.html

Here are some of the beasties I got to take pictures of. The bestest one was the red panda. Normally, when I see red pandas, they are in trees and they are napping. This was the first time I saw red pandas sauntering around, doing red panda stuff. I got some great shots of what might possibly be the cutest animal in all of creation.

So cuddly.

I was in the small mammals building, and there was a window casting a sunbeam right into the meerkat’s habitat. And a meerkat was standing right in it. It was precious.

And other meerkats were just standing around because, you know, that’s what they do.

There were also degus, which are small rodents that live in South America. They do a great deal of napping. And look, there’s a degu napping on another degu! Awwww.

In one of the habitats there was an armadillo being all invisible and buried underground, but if you looked up OMG burrow owls! Teeny tiny owls that live in holes in the ground! So happy!

Elephant shrew. Prehensile snoot. Lotta rooting around in the ground debris.

Poisonous froggies.

And the lamest scientific name ever. So not creative at all.

It was a lovely trip. I may have to swing by Washington D.C. again soon.

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