Spent some time fiddling around with Ableton Live and a MIDI controller tonight. Just noodling.
Spent some time fiddling around with Ableton Live and a MIDI controller tonight. Just noodling.
While I am not apathetic in all ways, increasingly I find my preferred response with regard to almost everything in the news is “I just don’t care.” I’ve got a lot on my plate. I just can’t really care the weight of the world anymore. Sorry. I can’t. Well, not really sorry.
Went out to the little ditch I skate tonight and practiced my ollies a bit. I don’t do a lot of ollies. Honestly, sometimes they just seem like a lot of effort. But when I do practice, I have a pretty good ollie.
This one wasn’t as cool as this vid-cap makes it look, but apparently I did get in the air a reasonable height. Will keep working on it. I find it a bit harder to do a good ollie on a bank, like this, than on flat. I shot this video on my iPhone, and damn, the full size version of the captured image is really pretty good!
Life has been stressful of late. It was nice to get out this fine summer evening and forget the problems for a while.
It has been a hard few months. Family health issues are very frustrating. On the other hand, my new librarian job is going really well, and I’m stoked, and it’s just great. But the stuff outside work is difficult. I have to admit, I have not been at my best outside of work. People tell me it is justifiable, and I certainly don’t claim to be anything more than a human being, but still it is hard to be positive all the time. Sometimes the frustration comes out as excessive sarcasm and cynicism. I suppose that awareness is the first step in maintaining composure. I’ll work on it.
Dale and I hit the Buddha Bank tonight.
Tonight I went skating with my friend Chris. I met Chris my senior year in college. He was a freshman, and was skating around campus, and he met me and my friend Mike as we were out riding. That was 30 years ago.
Tonight we went to a Methodist church near his house, where he’d discovered some nice, low, round, painted curbs. We spent an hour making them more Holy. Afterward we sat on the curb and talked, as we’ve done many times before.
Skateboarding is still the beautiful curse.
There’s a lot to detest about Donald Trump. Upon reflection, even beyond the boorish, brutish, low-brow, bullying, bloviating exterior, what bothers me is his “vision” of the American dream.
He wants us to “win” and to be “rich again”. That’s his idea of the American dream. Not to actually be better, kinder, smarter, better educated, or creative. It’s the shallow pathetic vision of a person of no depth of intellect, feeling, or character.
Well, sort of. I am still a librarian, but after 20 years in special libraries (NASA, the Texas legislature, semiconductor industry, and government info), I have been given the opportunity (much needed) to reinvent myself.
I am now a public librarian specializing in services and programs for teens.
This is a great change for me. Over the last few years I’ve done a lot of teen programming for our system, so I’m looking forward to doing even more. It is also nice to be working alongside like-minded, smart, progressive colleagues. Today begins my second week in the new position.
One big change is working one night per week, and one weekend per month. This is my night, so right now I’m home writing this — don’t have to be at work until noon. This is also going to be my weekend, so I have Thursday afternoon off, and all day Friday. It will be nice to have some weekday time off every month.
So I got up this morning, had coffee, and went to the gym with my wife. Came home, relaxed, had some breakfast, and started writing this. Will have about an hour when I finish to do some reading, before I need to leave for work.
It seems like both Marvel and DC comics are doing relaunches/reboots/whatever of their universes again. I say “seems like” because it’s all so confusing I can’t tell anymore. Wake me when it’s 1972 again.
Well, my trip to the Paderborn freestyle contest got cancelled due to some family health issues. Its a bit complicated, and private, so I won’t go into the details, but everyone is OK. Or what passes for OK these days, which I really can’t bitch about too much because it could be a lot worse, and of course having your skateboarding vacation ruined is a total first-world white person problem and I’m fully aware of that. There are people in the world who are hungry every day. But I’m still disappointed, and even though I “did the right thing”, it was in fact the only thing I could do, and my spirit still kind of feels like it has taken quite a beating. The only good thing to come of this was the early return of my wife from a research trip, so she could help me, which was much appreciated. She is truly the caregiver of the caregiver, and keeps me upright when I could easily fall. I simply cannot thank her enough, or show my appreciation enough. Getting to spend that last week with her was the only thing that kept me from going nuts.
So no awesome trip with my friends in England, to the mother of all freestyle contests in Germany, to camp, skate, and forget about the world for a few days. This is kind of a big thing for me, because even though I’m a person with an easy life, a good job, a great wife, a loving mom, and good friends, I really needed some relief. Instead I got more stress, more bullshit.
Yeah, I’ve venting a little.
I finally got out to do some skating last night, a week after the whole thing started. I was tired. My “soul felt heavy”, or something like that. But I was back at my practice spot, now with another year before the next Paderborn contest, so I skated. In the summer I don’t go out to skate until about 7:30pm. It’s just too hot before that. I don’t even mind the heat, its the blazing brightness of the sun. You can almost feel every beam of sunlight blasting against you. But in the evening you just get a nice, good sweat going. I plugged my computer speakers into the outlet, plugged in my iPod, and skated. I did my best to empty my mind of everything but the music, the board, and the spot. You gotta find your shelter where you can.
OK, enough bitching. This is the last anyone will hear of this.
Last week my friend Dale found this little bank, hidden off a main street back behind some warehouses. You can see it if you look, but it doesn’t jump out at you — unless you’re a skateboarder.
We went back, scooted a parking block into a nice arrangement, and skated. We just shot a few moves on my iPhone, and here they are. Lots of fun. We’ll be going back.
I normally steer clear of business podcasts and books. Too often they are very much kind of a “flavor of the month” thing. But as this one featured Henry, I gave it a listen, and found it pretty engaging and good. It was cool to hear Henry talk about things you haven’t heard him discuss before, rather than his more typical sound bites.
My friend and podcasting partner Tony Gale got 5th place pro division last weekend at the World Freestyle Roundup in Vancouver. He should have been ranked higher, but judging is hard to do, and mistakes happen.
This is his 1st run from the Semi Finals. It is perfect, and extremely difficult. Three 540 Shove-It variations, difficult kickflip and double kickflips, etc, etc. Perfect run. Ripping. So proud of him.
As I’ve been working on a new zine for the last few months (Man! It takes a long time to do a good one!), and as that zine is about skateboarding on natural, found terrain (mostly) and flatland freestyle, and in particular a very non-ollie-oriented version of street skating, I’ve been thinking a lot about street skating lately.
When I started skating, most of what I did might be called “street” skating. There was no skatepark. There was our neighborhood, which consisted of sidewalks, curbs, alleys, banked driveways, and school parking lots. We didn’t even have ramps. We did have Skateboarder Magazine, and a couple of other magazines to show us what was possible, but the terrain depicted in those pages was out of our reach. We learned tricks — any tricks — on the terrain available. I was naturally drawn to flatland freestyle, as there was a big school parking lot three blocks from our house, but tended to adapt freestyle tricks to other terrains.
When a skatepark opened not too far away the summer before 7th grade, I began going there once per week. Now, that’s not enough to get good at riding skateparks very quickly. It didn’t help that for half the time between 7th and 10th grade I was on some pretty terrible equipment. Now, it was not terrible by those days’ standard, but boards didn’t really start showing advancement into forms that helped, rather than hindered, until I was at least a year into my skating life.
All that aside, once a week at the skatepark, but skating every day, makes you a street skater by default. I did freestyle, but the street was always there.
As skateparks began to die, the skateboard industry, via Skateboarder Magazine, began to push “street skating”, as well as DIY halfpipe skating. Then Skateboarder mutated into Action Now, and then disappeared entirely, to soon be replaced by Thrasher, which did a good job of covering the once again underground activity of skateboarding, which included a lot of street skating.
But street skating, really, has always been the “real” skateboarding. I say that because for most of the history of skateboarding, most skaters had only sporadic or infrequent access to skateparks. Most did their thing on the terrain available to them every day — the streets and secret spots. While the skateboard industry and media, during the boom of the 1970s, tried to transform skating into a respectable thing to do, confined to skateparks, with organizations and authority figures, that was never the reality for 95% of skaters.
As the 1980s progressed, the flatground ollie allowed skaters to go skate the streets with greater efficiency. We’d always been able to go up curbs, but now a more graceful method of getting up and down higher obstacles existed. A new generation of skaters came up, worshiping the Gods of Vert, but doing most of their skating in the streets. As the decades passed, and street skating became the most popular form of skating, vert and freestyle tricks were adapted to the street (as they’d always been). Heading in the 1990s, the impossible became the commonplace. To be a “good” street skater came to require more and more risk, balls, and injury.
But what is a good street skater?
Regardless the tricks done, I would contend that a good street skater is simply a person who can gracefully skate in the street – be it a suburban cul-de-sac, or a New York City thoroughfare — flowing through the environment, using it’s elements, and enjoying himself/herself. It has nothing to do with hand rails, flips, or whatever. It’s about flow through the environment, and THAT is what the real beauty of modern street skating is. That is the real gift of the street ollie. It matters not if one can slide a handrail, grind a ledge, or 360 flip a 6-set. A good street skater becomes one with the environment at hand. The rest is just fluff.
End of rant.