Life Update/Site Update

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It has been over a month since I’ve written anything and that could stretch on even further so I wanted to give a quick update.

First things first, our malamute Neko tore her ACL at the start of the month. She was chasing another dog at the dog park and that slow degeneration on her 9 year old knee let go. Thanks to a lot of kindness and support we got her into surgery a week after it happened and we are now almost two full weeks into her rehab. This has meant a lot of sleepless nights/nights on the couch, the cone of shame, gory scars, and lots and lots of emotions. Although there is a lot I’d theoretically like to write about right now, that kind of stuff has been more back of mind than usual and will most likely stay there. The good news: her stitches are soon to come out, her cone is soon to go away, she is off her meds and progressing really well.

There are still some updates though beyond Neko. I’ve been on two really great panels over the last month – the first a panel on Haudenosaunee Hunting and Treaty Rights at Brock University and the second a panel on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) suits at the Social and Environmental Justice Symposium at the University of Guelph. I wish I had the time for a full recap on both – but these are both topics that I’ve written about quite a bit here so check the tags veganism in the occupied territories and the anti SLAPP tag if you want to learn more about at least what I was speaking to. I also tweeted my notes from the Treaty Rights panel with the hashtag #BrockITR. I don’t have any other announced speaking events coming up, and I’d like to slow down on the public speaking front, however I am always up for a good pitch and an interesting event. You can always reach me at dylanjamespowell@gmail.com.

Although I haven’t been writing here, I have been writing for other sites/projects. Those who know me personally know that my partner Crista plays competitive women’s flat track roller derby and that this takes up a lot of her free time. As a result, I take in a lot of derby. I’ve followed the sport since her sister Lee started playing years ago back in Barrie and have also followed how the sport is talked and written about. It is the fastest growing sport in North America, but most writing on women’s roller derby is stuck in the past. Since Crista joined the Queen City Roller Girls and now plays for the Devil Dollies and the Lake Effect Furies, I’ve been trying to think of more ways to be supportive and as a result I pitched the idea of an online column on QCRG to the local alternative weekly in Buffalo – Artvoice. They said yes! All of the stat rat, researching and amateur analytics I was already doing as a fan will now be put to words in this column with the hopes of delivering in depth, continuous and respectful coverage of QCRG and women’s flat track roller derby as a sport. The league, and the sport as a whole, creates extremely dedicated and passionate skaters as well as volunteers – however, also struggles to move people from casual to engaged fans who understand the rules, strategy, and athletics that go into each bout. I am hoping that writing about that can help grow that group of engaged fans. My first bout preview is already up and everything posted will be under the QCRG category on their site. For people reading this with no background at all in women’s flat track roller derby I’d highly suggest getting out to a game and supporting your local league. There is a built in, inherent equity to women’s flat track roller derby that prioritizes and provides empowering space for women, cis, queer and trans, that turns a lot of male/macho dominated competitive sport on its head. Almost all leagues also feature constant fundraising for community initiatives that support female empowerment – from women’s shelters, girl/youth groups, to planned parenthood, etc. Even if you don’t understand the sport, these leagues are already providing a space and service in your community that is a net positive. Get out and support it!

Last on the update list, I spent a bit of time cleaning up the site in the last couple of weeks trying to make it more readable and easier to navigate. I realize that this is continuous work and that I also need to spend hours going through old posts and editing them. For those who don’t know my writing process, I typically think about a topic that I write about anywhere from a 1 week to 1 year. Once I sit down to write I’ve mapped it all out already in my head and I typically write fast and hit publish in the moment. I am horrible at editing my own work because I typically only see that argument that was in my head, not the actual words in front of me. I appreciate people who reach out with edits, but this is a slow process for me of hitting the rewind button so please be patient.

That’s it for me in the – Neko woke me up at 5am because she needed help to get out and go to the washroom and I couldn’t get back to sleep – update department. Attached is a photo of her in warmer times, something we can all look forward to. xo – Dylan

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