Summer Skate 2017: Post Travel Report

Well, I’m back from London/Germany. Good trip. I got 3rd in the “legends” division, which means old people. Pretty happy with that, even if my run was not as good as I’d have liked. The trip back felt rough. Jet lag seems like it was a lot worse coming home. I think the weariness of the trip and stress of travel was rough.

I’ve cancelled my August trip to Stockholm. The travel just kept getting worse, as the airline has changed my connection times to the point they were impossible. Frankly, I’m glad. I don’t even want to go anymore. I’m tired, and I want to be home with my wife and my cats and just skate.

Summer Skate 2017: Pre-Travel Post #2

As my trip approaches, and the Paderborn freestyle contest draws nearer, I must remind myself that I am skating for me. Not for a contest. Not to win. Not for a prize. But for me. To show what I can do, enjoy the company of my friends from all over the world, and contribute to the greatness that is freestyle skateboarding.

This is my weekend to work, so I was off a half day today, and I’m off all day tomorrow. I got a lot of my trip prep done today, and will finish tomorrow.

I got in a good session today at 7pm. Skated pretty well. Had a good time. I’m feeling good. Body feels limber, agile, and strong, if a little bit heavy.

Worked on my rolling finger flip today. Not that many of the old guys do these. I haven’t done them in about a year, frankly because I’m lazy and they require a lot of effort. However, since they are a trick that gives a lot of old dudes trouble, and since I can do them, I’ve decided to practice the hell out of mine so it is on lock for these contests.  Today I spent 30 minutes on terrible attempts and bad landings, but then got the foot placement and timing worked out and made some good ones. I need to go a bit faster, but that will come. A good, solid finger flip is the main thing. Smooth. Even if a bit slow. Good landings. That is what I go for.


Summer Skate 2017: Pre-Travel Post #1

I’ll be traveling to London on July 4, then going to Paderborn, Germany with a bunch of my English friends, to the Paderborn freestyle contest. This will be the 20th year of the contest and my glorious return to that hallowed ground after my 2015 manifestation there (having had to cancel at the last minute in 2016 due to a family health emergency).

THEN, in August, I’ll again be boarding a big ol’ jet aero-liner and flying through the ether like a triumphant Thor to the viking village of Stockholm, Sweden, where I’ll be in the World Championships of Freestyle Skateboarding. I did nothing to earn the right to be in the World Championships, and yet there I shall be,  in the “Masters” division, fumbling around in an attempt not to disappoint myself. But I know it will be fun, and I’m looking forward to meeting some skaters I’ve known “on the Interwebs” for many years.

I’ll be chronicling my adventures, both in preparation for these trips and during them, here on this blog.  You’ll see my practice sessions, read my innermost thoughts on freestyle skateboarding and the universe and stuff. The real nitty gritty.

First of my many tasks is to lose at least seven pounds between now, June 24, and leaving on July 4. I don’t want to be the big fat American slob rolling around out there. The gut has to go. I’ve already dropped from 211 down to 206. If I can get down below 200, well, that’s pretty lean for me. I am after all a man of middle age. As long as my sweaty t-shirt doesn’t stick to my protruding stomach, I’m good to go. I think I can do this. True, I just ate half a pizza and had a 20 oz Coke for lunch, but I burned a lot of calories at Aikido this morning. I had to refuel so I can skate tonight. Will need to hydrate well tonight as well.

I have three or four tricks I’d like to have in the bag before I leave, and I’ve not given up on them, but honestly, two weeks before a skate trip to Europe is not the time to be committing to new tricks. It’d be just my luck to really smash myself good, then I’d really be up the creek and uncool.

Well, it is Saturday and 5:45pm, and I’ll probably head out to my skate spot at 6:30. I have to get there before these goth-slasher-film weirdos who have been showing up to film a movie. They ruined my session last Sunday, but yesterday I beat them by 30 minutes. When they got there I was already practicing, blasting the musics from my loud iPod speaker. For the record, I support Goth Weirdness in full. I just can’t have it messing with me.

Later: For the first hour of my skate session there were lots of people playing Pokemon Go, that phone-based game where people walk around “hunting” Pokemon, staring at their phones as they move, walking in front of cars, trains, skateboarders, and generally barely avoiding disaster with Magoo-like ability. They sat on my ledge (yes, it is MY ledge!!!!) and I skated in front of them as they sat there staring at their phones, coming close to their thick ankles. Non-skaters don’t really know that being around a skateboarder and not paying attention is not  good idea, but it’s not my job to make sure they survive. So I turned on my very loud iPod speaker at maximum volume. I pretended they didn’t exist. I had a good session. Eventually they shambled off into parts unknown, leaving me in the peace I so crave. A good session. I win.

The New Thing

Trying something new today.

I am not a morning person. Never have been. But today (Tuesday) is my day to work noon – 9pm at the library. So if I don’t get up early and so something, my whole day is wasted on work. So I set alarm for 6:30am, was up and getting my coffee at 6:55, and I’ll go skate from 9am – 10:45am.

We’ll see how this goes. Never been a fan of skating in the morning, but hell, I want to skate. I think that if I just go to my practice spot to skate, without a lot of expectations of learning new stuff or “really ripping”, I might enjoy it. If not, at least I was awake.

A little D&D

Played a little 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons yesterday. It was the second time I’ve played. Some of the people I ref a GURPS game for have been playing for a while. I missed a game, but was back yesterday. It was fun. 5th Edition is a bit more “power gamer” of a system. Characters are a lot more powerful, but adversaries are too. It all evens out. There are some things I really like about it. For one thing, there are not limitations on the classes or levels that various characters races can achieve, and no difference between male and female characters. It is a much more inclusive game. There are more character class options too. At this point I prefer to GM in the GURPS system, but playing D&D is great fun. Always has been.

I’ve been skating a lot. Haven’t written much on this blog simply because I’ve not had that much to say. Watching politics in the country right now is mind-boggling, and it seems to be fueling a lot more social conflict. It’s a bummer. I’d rather skate and play games.


I finished rereading William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy today. Read it back in the 90s, or at least the first two. Never read the third one, Mona Lisa Overdrive. I enjoyed the trilogy a lot. You can’t rush through ’em. You gotta read them with a good, relaxed rhythm, and really imagine the scenes. You can’t worry too much about not totally understanding what’s going on. It will become clearer the more you read.

Just started reading Virtual Light, first book of his next series, the Bridge trilogy. Digging it thus far.

People whose skating makes me want to go skate at inappropriate hours

A few people who make me want to skate.

Something else I like

The skating of Mike Vallely. It does two things for me…

  1. It makes me want to go skate.
  2. Reminds me that trying to skating like someone else if folly. Even if I was younger, skating like Mike Vallely, even at a lower level, would not work for me. It’s not the way I skate. I can love it and be inspired by it, but ultimately we all skate like ourselves, and should be happy with that.

Anyway, a cool edit by his filmer/editor with some Joy Division.

William Gibson

In the early 1990s, I read the Sprawl Trilogy by William Gibson and a bunch of stuff about hackers. When my wife applied to grad school for Library Science, I read through the materials she got, and saw stuff about the internet. Having no career, and finding this quite interesting, I applied to grad school too. So when people ask me how I got interested in my career, I can honestly tell them it was cyberpunk science fiction that pulled me in. At the time I read that stuff I had barely even touched a computer.

The Internet was different back then. The World Wide Web, as the highly graphical representation of the internet we know today, was just taking off. This was about 1994. Mosaic was the web browser of choice, then came NetScape. There wasn’t that much on the web, and I actually preferred using Gopher, which was a non-graphical predecessor to the Web. There was no such thing as home broadband. You used a fairly slow modem. Downloading an image took some time.

I feel like there was, back then, a more geographic notion of the internet. A lot of activity was still based around universities. When you went to a Gopher site, or a Web site, you had more an idea that you were “going somewhere” — the idea that you were actually traversing cyberspace was more immediate. My first job as a reference librarian was at NASA Johnson Space Center. When doing research for the engineers, scientists, and astronauts there, I’d often imagine myself physically exploring the data — immersing myself in it.

Not everyone was “on the internet” back then, so if you were, you felt like you knew something. It was cool. To this day I like to Telnet to a server to do some work — makes me feel like a wizard.

Anyway, I watched this documentary about William Gibson tonight. I really enjoyed it. I am grateful to William Gibson for igniting my imagination and leading me to a very rewarding career.

Blade Runner

I watched Blade Runner last night. It was the “Final Cut”  version, released in 2007. Such a great movie. Blade Runner was originally released in 1982. Like a lot of great films from decades ago, it did not predict the ubiquity of wireless communications (Deckard has to use a futuristic phone booth), but otherwise it holds up really well. Visually it’s as stunning as ever, and it’s great to be able to stream it in HD to a fairly large screen in your own home.

The look and feel of Blade Runner is often cited as being the quintessential atmosphere of cyberpunk. I don’t really know about that.  For one thing, the film has nothing to do with computer networks — there is no cyberspace. And while portions of Los Angeles look crowded, the streets often look deserted, presumably due to migration of people to the Offworld Colonies. I usually think of cyberpunk as being crowded everywhere. Still, I guess the noir feeling the movies carries off so well is somewhat compatible with William Gibson‘s Sprawl Trilogy.

I’ve never read the Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the story by Philip K. Dick, upon which this film is based. I should add it to my reading list.

Whenever I watch Blade Runner, I find myself wanting to know more about the world and its characters. There has been some additional fiction written about the setting, but that all just seems kind of ridiculous. Fan Fiction at best? Other than seeing Blade Runner 2049 when it comes out, perhaps it’s best to just let the film stand on its own.

No other movie looks quite as good as this.