I think it’s OK to give kids trophies for participation. In fact, I think it is good. It’s a good thing.
Some kids never win a trophy. Then some kids win all the fucking trophies. I always hated those kids. One of the good things about not being one of them was that it turned me into a skateboarder.
The kids that never win — well — that makes them feel like shit. It makes a lot of them not want to participate. Participation and trying should be encouraged. I hate it when people are so damn stingy they won’t give a kid the slight break of recognizing that they tried.
The guy in the previous story – who died suddenly. Two things. 1)He was only 47, and 2)It was the flu. Get your damned flu shots people. I don’t know if he had gotten his, but regardless, you should get it. Does no harm and it may prevent you from getting sick or more importantly from infecting someone else who is more at risk from a bad outcome. I’m sick of every armchair epidemiologist who says “I never get the shot, because it doesn’t work”. Same with anti-vaxers. They are playing with your health and mine.
I have started some books this year, but I’ve not as of today finished a single one.
My normal reading hour, which is my lunch time every day during the week, has been greatly disrupted for the past few months just by the need to often spend my lunch helping my mom our in some way. But that’s no excuse, really.
I’ve been busy with a lot of skateboarding, and frankly, toward the end of the day I simply don’t have the mental energy left to read much of anything. I sure, I’ll surf the web a bit, but no real reading.
At any rate, I started a very interesting and somewhat short book about modern vs. old sleep habits. I found this book after realizing that I slept better in Germany, while camping, than I ever do at home. I actually felt rested, though I was on a cheap military cot, in a sleeping bag, in a tent, and it was cold. This caught my attention. I guess that fact that I feel tired as shit all the time wasn’t enough, but I had nothing with which to compare my normal feeling of sleep deprivation.
As an experiment, when my wife is going for a week in August, I’m going to try my best to turn off all screens of any kind after 9pm at home. No interwebs. No TV. Just maybe some reading (not on a Kindle) and music (not on a computer or iPod). I’m going to then turn off all the lights in the house at 10, and block all unnatural light from bedroom. and go to sleep.
This is going to be hard to pull off, because the asshole neighbors behind us keep a porchlight on for their fucking dog. Other people insist on keeping “security lights” blazing all night, though we live in lowest-crime neighborhood in town. Blah blah blah. My point is — there is a lot of natural light to shut out, and that makes it impossible to also WAKE from natural light.
So this may just not work. But it is a worthy experiment, and at worst I will get more sleep. So no harm in trying.
Well, back to reading. Though I love getting all tired in the evenings from skateboarding, I also love to read. I’m going to a contest in Philly in October, but I must admit I’m looking forward to winter. I’ve come to love the winter. Dark early. Cold days. Lay on the couch and read and read and read. I love that.
So maybe I can crank through some good books in the next five months and save the year. It would be nice if Pancho were still around to lay next to me while I read, but maybe this guy will try to fill his shoes.
Skaters like style. We like to see good skate style, and hate horrible style, but style is hard to define.
When you try to copy someone else’s style, you usually don’t look natural, which is very unstylish. Sometimes the pinching of someone else’s style is really obvious.
After many years of analyzing my own videos I’m still not really happy with my style, but I suppose it is mine, and I’m old, and it’s not going to change a whole lot. There is one style factor, however, that once you are aware of it can really improve your skating and the style of your skating. I’m talking about your knees.
You really, really want to keep your knees pointing roughly the same direction. Very few things look worse on a skateboarding than a rider squatting this his knees spread apart. You don’t even have to get into a full stinkbug, chimp-taking-a-dump style squat, however, for the spread knees to start looking bad. Just a little of that shit can really ruin things.
But rather then dwell on “bad” knee style, I want to dwell on the good. So first I give you Eddie Katz, in this photo by the great Warren Bolster (also available here). Check the knees. They’re together. They are pointed the same way. They look relaxed. I won’t even get into the hand positioning. Skateboarding should be beautiful and powerful, like this. This is just so damned awesome! This pic was taken over 30 years ago. Lesson learned.
Here’s another good one, also well over 30 years old. Tony Alva. Again – check the knees. I don’t mean to be a hater, but you would be hard-pressed to stroll into any skatepark in the country and find a single skater that looks that good doing any maneuver at all. Style counts. It matters. It’s what you remember.
Moving on, but still back in the 1970s, I give you recently deceased founder of Sims Skateboards, Sims Snowboards, and master longboarder Tom Sims showing the good knee style on his longboard in a huge bowl. So rad.
And finally, I’ll leave you with 1980s -2000s master of power and style, Chris Miller. If you tell me that anyone has better style than Miller, you are either insane, stupid, or just screwing with me!
These are the two longboards I tend to ride the most, my Gravity Kalai and Gravity 42″ Spoon. Both are now discontinued models. What a shame. The longboarding world simply wasn’t smart enough to recognize how great these two decks were.
Both boards are laminates of bamboo and maple. Both kick ass. I have 2 other drop-through downhill boards, and the Kalai is simply a better board for carving. You can still get the Gravity Makai, which is the same deck except all maple (no bamboo). The Spoon, with its kicktail, is a fantastic all-around board. Long enough for great stability, it can take many different truck/wheel combinations. You can ride it anywhere. I think it’s a shame that more skaters don’t appreciate a longboard with a traditional skateboard shape and a functional kicktail.
The truth, I think, is that most skaters of longboards would be much better served by riding a board like the spoon – a traditional shape with a kicktail. Granted, you really can’t run some of the giant wheels available today on such a board without lots of riser pads, but you can easily run 65mm – 70mm wheels on them. For most skating that more than sufficient.