- Try to get my mind back after a few rough years
- Avoid catastrophe when possible
Yesterday, New Years Day 2020, we went for a walk in a nearby nature preserve. While we do enjoy the preserve, it is pretty close to the highway (like everything around here) and you can easily hear the drone of traffic.
The only time you don’t hear that is after it slows and/or there is an ice storm and the roads are empty. You don’t realize how much noise there is in the suburbs until such a time, then you go out and it is actually quiet, and it is just glorious. No cars. No AC units.
If you have a public library card, there is a reasonable chance you have free access to Kanopy, which is a streaming video service that a lot of libraries make available, for free, to patrons. It’s kind of like Netflix for smart people. Lots of great films, documentaries, indy stuff, etc.
Last night I was in the mood to watch a science fiction film, so I checked out this little independent film called Prospect. It’s fairly low budget, but well done. Good practical effects. I would classify it as hard SF. Highly recommend it.
Looks like Stacy Peralta will be posting more of this footage from the old Marina Del Rey skatepark. Good.
OK, I haven’t really given a damn about much of anything the last 3 weeks. But today I saw this on Stacy Peralta’s Instagram account and found that I started caring again. This is the sort of flow you want to see in skateboarding – all skateboarding. This is the ideal. I want to see more of this, and more of Alva doing this kind of thing as well. So rad.
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I can’t even begin to count how many places I skated during my career; how many backyard pools, how many banked walls, how many ditches but what I can say is one of the most fun places I ever skated were the brown bowls at the Marina Skate Park. Those two little bowls were never taken too seriously by anyone but they ended up providing an endless amount of pure joy for myself, Christian Hosoi, Pat Ngoho and so many other skaters. Great memories.
It’s been a rough two weeks. Some of the roughest of my life. Rough, horrible, but with the kind of beauty that I’ll never forget, and always feel. I’ll not go into the details. I’m just emotionally and physically depleted. Tremendous exertion of both of those fronts. Extrovert behavior forced from my introvert self.Time now to retreat back into my restorative cave, along with my wife, make sense of things with the help of family, friends, and my excellent professional colleagues, continue trying to do the good work, and try to be the person my parents brought me up to be.
Happy birthday, Carl.
A few months ago we listened to this audiobook – The Man They Wanted Me To Be – by Jared Yates Sexton . It’s a memoir of Yates’ experience with his father and an examination of the role of toxic masculinity in his life and beyond. If you are a man reading this post and just thought “Toxic masculinity is a bullshit concept and everyone needs to just man-up and get on with things” then you probably need to read the book. The book is especially timely now, as the White House is currently occupied by one of the world’s greatest exemplars and advocates of toxic masculinity.
I’m not going to do a review of the book here,except to say it’s worth reading or hearing. Henry Rollins did this very solid article about it, so you can start reading it here.
What you should know going into the book, I think, is that it isn’t about scolding anyone for how they are. It’s about a man seeking to understand himself and the cultural norms that have been ingrained in him. It’s not a self-help book, but reading it might help you. Compared to a lot of men I feel like I got a light dose of this from my dad, and I’m lucky for that, but the truth is I still got it.
If you are a woman, reading it might help you understand the programming the men in your life have likely received.
Listening to a podcast about slavery in the United States and the cotton industry. Amazing. There has of course been slavery throughout human history. I don’t buy the idea, even back in antiquity, that people didn’t really have the capacity to understand that slavery is wrong. I don’t think that’s a very big intellectual leap to make — you know – that it’s wrong to own another human being, or that they didn’t understand these were “people”.
Interesting point in this podcast is the extent to which American capitalism was shaped and continues to be shaped by the institution of slavery. CEO’s making hundreds or thousands of times what their employees are making? Except for the beatings the attitude is mostly still there. People as a means to an end, rather than deserving of dignity and respect simply because they are human, and the weird acceptance that this is the “way things are.” Kids in cages? Check. Separated families? Check. Working people barely getting by? Check.
A good friend of mine – one of the best people I know – recently had a very expensive medical procedure due to cancer. Stem cells, bone marrow transplant, etc. The bill was astronomical. He’s lucky to have insurance, though his insurance company did give him some shit over an anti-rejection drug.But that’s another story. The total bill would have blown right through most people’s old “maximum lifetime payout” or whatever they called it. Thank you, President Obama, for getting rid of that lifetime cap so my friend still has meaningful coverage.
Besides the skate video filming and usual practicing, and the usual aikido practice (which I have scaled down a bit because I want to have a life outside the dojo), I’ve been working on my Traveller RPG stuff a lot. Trying to spend 30 minutes during my lunch hour at work just expanding the setting with details, adding nonplayer characters of interest, and getting ready for game sessions (like the one this Sunday). Then the first full weekend in September my friend Jeff and I are going to the Lone Star Game Expo, in Grapevine, where I’m running a Traveller session based loosely on the last 3 games I’ve run for my normal group. THEN — my friend Jeremy and I are working on a Traveller “module” based on all this — an adventure that will be available for a fairly low price on DriveThruRPG.com .
The gaming stuff is fun. It allows me get some creativity out there in a different way.
Honestly, I’m kind of looking forward to winter. It’s a good excuse to stay inside and read.
I’ve been trying to collect video clips for my part in the upcoming NeverWas 3 video. I feel like my sections in video 1 and video 2 nearly exhausted my selection of tricks. It’s been hard to come up with new tricks for this one. Still, I’ve managed to get some stuff. I still have a couple of weeks or maybe three to get more. We’ll see. It’s crazy hot outside these days. 100 degrees F now at 4:30pm, so it’s going to be hot tonight. That’s Texas skating. If we do a 4th video, I may have to start skating vert (which isn’t really happening). I enjoy working on these video parts. Between them, and getting ready for Paderborn every year, I think it keeps me focused on learning some new stuff, even if that stuff is stuff that is only interesting to a handful of people. Truth is my feet and ankles kind of hurt, and doing moves that involve a lot of jumping makes me afraid my achilles tendon might just snap (I think my lead foot has bit of tendonitis in that spot, so I don’t really think it will snap, but it gets sore).
Still, heat, aches, and pains aside, I just love to skate.
I started this blog in October, 2006. This post is my 740th post.
Other than skateboarding, this is probably the longest running activity in my life. That’s nuts.
To celebrate, here’s a picture of the worst Haribo candy I had in Germany. It was the only such candy that was bad, but it was indeed ghastly. It was so bad I had trouble finishing the entire bag.
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It seems that Youtube stripped out the music from my runs posted by Alex Foster at Late Tricks. So he sent me the footage, and I’m posting run 2 here.
It is not the best I can do, but when does one every skate the best they can during a contest? At least for me it is rare. BUT – I really enjoyed this run a lot. I think you can see me smiling. I went to this contest with the intention of doing a run that would be unlike any of the others, and I think I accomplished that, so I’m happy. Will go back next year with more flow and a couple of new tricks.