First freestyle session of 2020

The early sunsets and temperatures of winter always suck. This is the first time I’ve been able to have a good freestyle session since October 2019. I did OK. It just takes me a couple of sessions to wake my feet up for the year. I always start the year just working on footwork, trying to get my feet moving smoothly. Afterward, as usual, I came up with stuff to work on tomorrow.

First Session of 2020 from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

Board Retired

This is my board from the 2019 Paderborn Germany freestyle contest. After each of these trips I get all my friends who were in the contest to sign the board, plus any of them who are there but not skating in the contest (judging, taking photos, etc). This past year was especially meaningful because it was the first time my wife was over there with me, meeting my friends from the UK and Europe, and experiencing what a special event it is. Magical, really.

2019 was a hard year. This contest was in July. For the past 5 years I’ve known that any time I leave the country I may have to return at any time if my mother got sick. Amazingly, we made it through two weeks in Germany with no emergency calls from home. By mid-November, my mom would be gone. It seems likely that I will have to skip Paderborn this year, but I’m looking forward to doing a run there for my mom in the future.

Anyway, I officially retired this deck tonight and set up a new one. I’m pretty easy on boards. Rough on wheels, but my boards usually last about a year, depending on what I’m doing trick-wise.

My board from 2019, used at the 2019 Paderborn Germany freestyle contest. I got 3rd in the “Legends” (old bastards) division.

A walk

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.

Libraries and free movies

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.

More Peralta

Looks like Stacy Peralta will be posting more of this footage from the old Marina Del Rey skatepark. Good.

Opinion time

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.

A hard two weeks

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.

 

Toxicity

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.

 

Sins of our Fathers

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.

 

Healthcare

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.