I’m writing this from my new 16″ Macbook Pro. It’s nice to have a new computer. It has been many years since I had a “new” computer. Not complaining. The ones I’ve had have worked well for me. But this is a pretty nice machine. I put Adobe Creative Cloud on it, plus all the usual stuff. Ready to…stay home, stay inside, and do my own thing.
Without going into details, May was not a great month, and I still have a day or so left in it, so there’s still time for it to get worse. Hoping it won’t, as we are both worn out.
I think this is a revisit. I’ve written about pandemic life before, right? The weeks are merging together. I’ve been working from home the last two months, and have at least two more ahead of me — probably more. I have no desire to interact with the public. When I go to do curbside grocery pickup, I see lots of people with masks on, but I know that a sizeable portion of the population simply isn’t being careful. In fact they are being reckless, and they will kill people with their ignorance and negligence. I won’t be one of their victims if there is anything I can do about it.
That all being said, I love being home during the day with my wife. I love it. I love having no commute. I feel like I’m able to make as great or greater contribution to my workplace from home. I wonder how many other people are waking up to this.
I’ve been getting in some skateboarding in the evenings, and some good walks too. Got back on the freestyle board yesterday, for the first time since my February freestyle trip to Florida, when all this stuff was just starting. It usually takes me a session or two to readapt to the FS board, but this session was pretty good. When I start back up, I just spend a session or more doing nothing but footwork, wheelies, and flowing tricks. Nothing more. I just get the feel for the board again. Sometimes if I’ve not been on the FS board for months, I feel a lot of hesitance to get back on. It’s like I wonder if I’ll still be able to do it. But I know I will be OK once I’m on the board.
I’ve got a lot of projects going, as usual. Right now I’m trying to get ready to submit a video for the online World Freestyle Roundup. It needs to be a 1.5 minute run, which is kind of short, but I’m entering the Masters Amateur division, for ages 40 and up, and I suppose they don’t think our cardio is good enough to go the full two minutes. I’m glad they are separating the guys like me from the pros. There is a Masters Pro division too, which is nice, because guys like me don’t have to compete with skaters who are pros. So that should be cool. I need to get a good run on video, and that means my wife will need to come out and shoot the footage. Tripod footage won’t be sufficient.
I’ve moved my tabletop roleplaying game, Traveller, to an online system called Roll20. We’ve played a couple of times, and it worked really well. So that’s been fun.
It’s also been fun doing an internet radio show a few times a week.
My wife has been watching some comedians play video games on Twitch.tv . It’s an interesting system and their mobile app allows you to easily stream video, so as an experiment I’ve set up a channel and I’m streaming some skate sessions. Just me rolling around.
It saves the videos, which can be downloaded or simply watched again site. Tonight I did an extremely boring one of me rolling around a parking lot. Here it is.
Here’s the link. Sign up for an account and follow me.
Went back to the parking lot today. The new 99a Bones STF on one board, the normal ones on another. The 99a were really good. Not better, but different. Still fast and a lot smoother. Just not quite as good a slide.
As noted before on this blog, maybe too many times, my favorite hard wheels are Bones Street Tech formula. A while back then started offering a slightly “softer” 99a wheel. I’ve never had a bad Powell wheel. They are all great. So I decided to give ’em a try. These are 54mm 99a, in the V1 shape (their standard profile wheel). Unlike the other STF, these wheels don’t have a lathed surface, which is weird. I haven’t ridden them yet. Will report back on these later tonight.
The bearings are from Daddies Board Shop — there own brand bearing with built-in spacer and speed washer. They seem good so far.
I’m working on doing this footwork trick I call the Walk Around while carving backside. My foot keeps getting caught up on the grip tape and concave. Fuck. Well, I’ll keep it it. Lots of potential flow. I’ll get it . I was just kind of tired tonight.
I got my hour of rolling around in tonight. Just rolling around.
This pandemic and the various associated stressors that have come with it have really made me just want to roll and do simple things. I have no interest in “technical stuff” now, and even though there’s the online World Roundup coming up, I really don’t care. I’ll film some stuff, I’ll send it in — and that’s it. Just – don’t – care to stress out about getting a “good run” together.
One of my favorite skaters is this guy Stefan Albert, from Europe. He skates like I would if I were younger and prettier. It’s alway funny to see his lines, because they are very much like the way I roll around when I’m just kind of letting the board roll and seeing where it goes when I start spinning.
Anyway, here’s the same line, twice. Backside slide to fakie to fakie 540 rolling it out a long way, into an endover or two while I think about what comes next. I like doing the fakie 540 like this, because there is enough energy to sling myself out of it with some momentum.
Took the Mode Pool board, which I’ve decided is a little better for my weird freestyle influenced version of street skating, to my oldest skate spot and just let the GoPro record a bunch of stuff. Not crazy about the fisheye effect and the way it makes distant stuff look even more distant, but it gets the job done. After about an hour the school district cop rolled up and told me the entire grounds of the school are closed, so I saluted and said very good sir, and was on my way. I’d gotten my skate in, and really, I’m not gonna win that argument. I mean, there I am in an otherwise empty parking lot, but how can she tell all the dumbasses on the playground to leave and not tell me the same thing? Well, she can’t. So off I went.
By the way – for hard wheel skating, there’s just no reason to buy anything but Bones STF.
Nothing mind boggling here – just sharing ’cause that’s how we pandemic.
Looks pretty good if you go to full screen on the vid.
Went back to my spot tonight and rolled around. My friend Paul and his son were having a session at the same time, so we traded videos and had a cybersession. Man, Paul is quality. Paul — I love you man.
Anyway, here’s me farting around again. Probably more than anyone needs to see of this, but what the heck.
As the pandemic isolation and working from home continues, the days and weeks are blending together. It seems like only yesterday we started this, yet simultaneously it feels like forever. Like one long day. Looks like I’ve likely got another month of telecommuting, which is fine with me. No desire to go be around the public right now. Maybe never much of desire again, actually, unless they really find a vaccine to this virus.
I see a lot of people online saying the death rate “isn’t really that high.” They seem oblivious to the fact that where this thing gets bad the hospital fill up, the medical staff gets sick, and right there you have real problem regardless how many Covid-19 patients die. And a lot will die. But do you really want to go to the ER with stroke, or heart attack, or need cancer treatment, or whatever, only to find the hospital totally full of people that there is no place for you? Or your loved one? Or your neighbor?
So yeah, this is the rant I refrain from posting on social media 20 times per day. Instead, I block the stupids and move on.
I haven’t gotten out to skate the last couple of nights. Will try again tonight. The weather is fantastic today, but of course I’ll be working until 6pm. Probably just as well. I’m an evening skater anyway.
I’ve been trying to get out and roll around about an hour a day. Usually from 7pm – 8pm. Earlier and the sun is in my eyes.
I’m not really doing anything hard. As long as I get some rolling in, and I’m used to the feel of my board, I’m good. Nothing serious. Just riding a street board with somewhat turny trucks. The looseness of the truck doesn’t make footwork easy, but I like being able to carve a nice arc when I’d skating like this.
One thing I don’t enjoy in my typical freestyle is that I think the necessary tightness of the trucks (and I don’t even ride them as tight as a lot of FSers do) destroys a lot of my fluidity and looseness. And those are two traits of my own skating that I think are OK. I’m not great at technical stuff, and I’m not a huge risk-taking badass. Of all the stuff I do in this little video, my favorite thing is the little arc I carve after that first line, as I’m passing by the camera. I really need to slowly loosen up my FS trucks a bit so I can get that same effect.
Just rolling around. Getting used to this board. Cockfight likes a more severe concave and nose/tail angles than I really prefer, but I do like the board. Just makes it hard for the freestyler to move his feet around. I don’t get this desire to have your feet all locked in. Anyway, hope everyone is well. Just posting this stuff to try to stay connected.
Like many obsessive skateboarders of my generation I spend a lot of time ruminating over my gear, even though it makes very little difference as to how I actually skate. Time on the board, rolling, skating, and yes…practicing, make the most difference. A lot of skaters don’t really practice. They just go skate, which of course creates “practice”, but they don’t really do it in a real intentional way. Freestylers do, however, practice. I think the really good vert skaters do too. Maybe a few street skaters do, but generally freestylers and vert skater are not the kind of people who dabble in things.
Anyway, regarding compulsive equipment worrying. I tend to think a lot about wheels. I complain that there aren’t enough wheels available in the lower 90s durometers. But then for most of my street skating I end up going back to hard wheels. I guess I’ve gotten used to them. I wouldn’t use them in most of the ditches down in Austin, but for the kind of skating I do around here they have become normal to me. I’ve been using some plain old Spitfire Bigheads for ditch skating and street for a while. They are not the best quality urethane, but they are cheap, and for some reason I like the particular “clunk” they make when they hit the ground. They are relatively smooth for a 99a wheel. Are they the best performance wheel? No, not even close. They are usually adequate for my needs.
However, I’m a big fan of Bones Street Tech formula. I was clued into these by a friend in North Carolina on a skate trip back in about 2007. I started using their 54mm standard profile, and I have to say they are the best newschool hard wheels I’ve had. They are hard as shit, but weirdly also resilient, and have a smooth ride. I’ve honestly never had a bad Powell wheel. They make their own wheels, and they’ve been doing it a long time, and every wheel they’ve ever made has been great in its intended niche. These STF just don’t wear down much at all!
Here’s my current set, that I’ve been riding for over two years. These look better after two years than a typical wheel does in a week. And I am hard on wheels. My boards last forever, but if a wheel isn’t durable I wear ’em out fast. I do lots of sliding.
Bones 54mm STF after at least two years of riding.
Bones 54mm STF after at least two years of riding.
Brand new set of Bones 54mm STF.
For comparison, here is a brand new set I got a year ago, but have had no reason to start using! Weird thing is, these wheels just look like plastic. When you get them they have that look of a toy story boards’s wheels, but they are just superior.
I have friends who swear by the Spitfire Formula 4 wheels, and I believe them. I’m sure they are fantastic, but man, I feel like I’m about done buying anything but Bones STF. The only drawback is they make fewer of their profiles about 54mm. But That’s fine. These work for me.
So I was out “street skating” tonight. New board tonight. I like it. Anyway, I notice this particular little thing I do. And when I say “noticed”, I mean I’ve been doing this forever, but never really thought about what is going on. It’s such a little move, but it has a nice feel to it. Lots of directional changes.
Anyway, I slowed it down in this video.
Anyway, rolling forward, I set up like I’m going to do a g-turn, and you can actually see that the front trucks does make a very quick little arc, rather than just being an endover. That’s why I like doing this, I realized, because it sets up some physics where you kind of “sling” yourself out of it. Not saying it’s awesome, but it is a fun thing to me.
Yesterday I started a 3-time per week internet radio show. Radio Lefty.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1:30 is the second show. They are an hour long. I’m taking a late lunch on MWF so y’all can eat, then I’m eating and “spinning records”. Just an effort to have some fun and connect with friends during this pandemic and the associated isolation.
You can listen here, or get on mixlr.com and have fun in the attached chat room.