Some words on Fickle Skateboards and the “Maker” skateboard community

A couple of years ago Lew Ross and his company Fickle Skateboards came across my radar. I think it was David Thornton’s old LuchaSkate podcast interview with Lew that got my attention. About that time there was a new group of skateboarding bloggers coming to prominence. Kyle Duvall of the Parking Block Diaries, David, and a few others were really making their mark. David would later transfer LuchaSkate to the control of Brian Czarski, who would change it to NeverWas Skateboarding. But David’s energy from both the LuchaSkate blog/podcast and the associated Facebook page helped bring some good people to my attention.

In mid-2017 I got wind that Lew was going to be in Austin, visiting and skating with Indiana refugee Jason Renn, Bryce Miller, and some other local Austin skaters. I contacted Jason and made arrangements to go down and skate and meet these guys. When I got to Renn’s place, Lew had a number of boards available for purchase. I bought his “Classic” shape, the review of which can be found here.

Since that time I had another chance to skate with Lew, Jason, and the crew at StupidFest 1, in October 2018. At the time I was riding his Knucklehead shape. As one of the admins of Neverwas Skateboarding, Lew brought me an 8.25″ version of his Bullnose shape, which I just set up and have not had a chance to skate yet as it has been winter.

But I want to show a few pictures of these setups, and say a few more words about Lew’s workmanship.

The Knucklehead (the board on the right)I have is now well-ridden. I find it to be a bit wider than the specs on the Fickle website. The board seems to be about 9″ over the trucks. I think Lew makes adjustments to this boards as time goes by?

At any rate, it’s a bit wider than I expected. I set mine up with Indy 169s, which fit it perfectly. I’ve been using 54mm Spitfires on it, and 1/4″ risers. It’s a big setup. When I rode it in some ditches in Austin I put some 56mm 87a OJ Keyframes on it and it performed really well. I normally like a slightly smaller street board that I can use 149s on, but this board is really nice feels great. It has the same great and comfortable concave as the Classic, the same nice easy curves in the nose and tail kick angles. In other words – great mold. I love it. I think Lew makes the most comfortable concaves I’ve felt in a long time.

You can see I’ve worn the tail down on one side from doing 360s and scraping the tail. So it goes. Story of my life. That’s why I’ve got a tail skid on the Mode Pool board I’ve been skating ditches on the last couple of months.

The other board is the Fickle Bullnose. It’s a pops shape with very full nose and tail. You can see the specs here. I’ve got it set up with Ace 44s and those same OJ Keyframes I mentioned earlier. Wheels may change, depending on how I decide to use it. As you can see from some of the other pics, it has the same very nice concave and mold angles as all Lew’s boards. Look at the curves of the tail – nice and ….errrr…curvy…rather than an abrupt angle. I’m looking forward to trying the Bullnose out.

Lew has his own philosophy about finishing. Actually, Lew has his own philosophy about everything, but that’s another story (a positive one). He doesn’t over-sand his boards. From what I gather, he thinks it weakens them. They aren’t rough, just not “slick”. Likewise, he doesn’t put a lot of paint or sealer on them. The graphics are distinctive, and the boards seem to have a light coat of spray sealer. I wouldn’t call them “rustic”. The finish is fine. It’s just different from what most of us are used to.

I’ll be honest. When I got the Knucklehead I thought it was too big for me. I’m a fairly large person, but it is just a lot more beefy than I normally ride. But it looked really cool, and really, it feels great. The dimensions work really well with the concave and a proper setup. It feels good, and really performed very well in Austin’s ditches, as well as in my normal skate spots. A lot of the clips in my part in NeverWas II were shot while I was riding the Knucklehead in a ditch and on flat. The others were on my Mode 8.25″ pops or my Mode freestyle board.

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it, my review of Fickle.

 

Aquaman

I saw Aquaman on Christmas night. I like Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and I like that they are trying to do with the character. But man, that was a hard movie to get through. I have a high tolerance for long movies, but that seemed like it was four hours long. And this is supposed to be the “good” DC movie? Gott dang.

Aside from the plot, which seems to have been written by a 10-year old who just kept thinking things like “and THEN they’ll go to the Sahara Dessert, and then…”, there is one massive plot hole that I simply can’t ignore.

That hole is Superman.

Let’s see. The forces of Atlantis are about to destroy the surface world, in the same universe where Superman exists and is full-on Superman-God-Like,  and it’s up to Aquaman to straighten things out? Did the writers even see Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, or Justice League, or Wonder Woman? Sorry, but that that kind of firepower in your imaginary world, you need to explain where the those characters are.

Mid-Terms

Well, today is election day for the mid-terms. Beto O’Rourke has been running a punk rock style campaign – grass roots stuff. Ted Cruz has been, well, Ted Cruz, which is to say an arrogant asshole, but is that a surprise? Not really. Apparently a lot of people are cool with that.

Firmly into middle-age, I can’t say I have any real insight into the psyche of the electorate. Are we simply seeing the result of the culture wars that in my mind started in the 1980s (but probably started a lot earlier)? Is the internet to blame for giving voice to all the dark and angry bile just barely under the surface?

I don’t know. I just want everyone to have a roof over their heads, food to eat, healthcare when they need it, and the ability to live openly as who they are and participate equally and without fear in this society. That doesn’t seem like a lot to ask. Those all seem like the basic shit to me.

 

Strength

I’m not saying I have any special knowledge or whatever. This is just an observation. I’m as guilty as anyone.

Most people really have no idea what strength is. It’s easy to rename stubbornness, pettyness, and smallness as “strength” and continue on the path of weakness, lazyness, and self-deception. You see it all the time. People who pick the easy route and claim they are being strong. It’s easier to close your doors to people, but it’s the coward’s way forward.

Goodbye Podcast

I deleted the Concrete Lunch Podcast account on LibSyn. I am still doing the Freestyle Podcast, but I haven’t done a Concrete Lunch podcast in a long time, and I feel like I don’t have a lot of time for it. I have some new podcasting ideas that I might try out, but decided to let this one die off. It was fun. But it’s more fun to do a podcast along with a friend or two. Whatever I do will have something to do with skateboarding. Or hell, maybe tabletop roleplaying games. I don’t know.

A few thoughts since last Friday

  • Dementia sucks
  • Friends are awesome
  • Skateboarding is great
  • Having great professionals to help you face life’s challenges is the best
  • The human organism is amazingly resilient, but ultimately it will fail
  • Friends are awesome again, because you can’t say that enough
  • The world is beautiful and sad and amazing and happy and brutal and kind

Google+ is on its way out

Well, after really digging G+ for a while, Google revealed today that it is discontinuing the service. It seems they had a data breach with G+, and based on the fact that it didn’t really catch on like they wanted they’re going to kill it off.

I like G+ because I didn’t see very cockeyed bullshit idea that everyone posted like on Facebook. I could join, for instance, a Traveller RPG community and only see that stuff. It was nice to, for the most part, interact with people without finding out they are nuts.

Anyway, a lot of the RPG gaming communities from G+ are moving to https://mewe.com/.  MeWe is a social network that seems to value privacy a bit more than others. Their business model is different. It’s so different that I wonder if it is really viable. I hope it is. I think I may spend some money with them just to help them out. One cool thing — you can’t see much about a person there without actually being one of their connections. I like that. Anyway, I signed up a while back, and now I’m going to give it a real shot and see how it goes.

Back Again

I’m sitting in the same hospital room we had in November 2016. My mom fractured her hip in a fall yesterday. Looks like surgery this afternoon. She had a good night. It sure is hard to see her like this, but that’s the road we’re on. It’s going to be a rough week for her, and a rough few weeks after that, but we have all the resources we need to get the hip repaired and rehabbed as well as possible. Life sure is weird, but it’s still good. It’s good just to be in the room with her. We need to get this hip fixed, and get her back on her feet before she loses too much muscle.

At the Airport

I’m at Boston Logan airport, about to fly home from the pleasant summer temperatures up here to the scalding horrible 105 F at 7pm temps of home, in Dallas. I’m not really looking forward to it. I want to see my mom, and our cats, but the notion of dealing with the next month or more of bullshit high temperatures does’t thrill me.  I realize that winters up here are miserable too. I get that. But it’s not winter. When it’s 105 in the shade at 7pm I don’t want to go out and skate. I don’t want to go to aikido (the dojo will be hot as hell). So I guess I’ll just lay around reading this week.

There’s a lot of summer left at the library. I have a lot to do, and I feel somewhat refreshed after a week of vacation. Spent the week on Cape Cod. Went to the beach once. That’s as much as I like. Not a big fan of the beach. I love being by the ocean. I just never feel very comfortable at the beach. I burn easily, so I’m also covered with sun screen. My lower back doesn’t enjoy sitting in a low beach chair that is half sunk in the sand. So an afternoon at the beach is OK. I don’t mind taking one for the team.

We took a ferry ride over to Martha’s Vineyard. There were lots of white people there. Lots of little shops to go in. Places to drink. Not really my thing. It was hot that day. Not Texas hot, but if it’s 80 degrees, humid, and the sun is out, it feels really hot. So honestly, we weren’t that stoked about Martha’s Vineyard. The next day when the family went to Nantucket (to the beach again), we stayed on Cape Cod and took a drive around. Went to an old Meeting Hall in Barnstable. It was actually kind of cool. I like stuff like that. It was nice to drive around with my wife, talk, laugh, and chill.  Then we went home to the big house the family was renting, grilled some food, ate by the pool (in the wonderful cool shade — it was beautifu) and relaxed. The house we were renting was great. Hanging there by the pool in the late afternoon was really nice. I got some reading done.

Friday we went for a bike ride, on a great bike path on Cape Cod that was built under the Rails to Trail initiative. Great trail. Really a fun thing to do.

Well, the airport is fairly chill right now. I got a shitty C boarding pass, so I’m sure I’ll be stuck in a middle seat for the 4 hour flight. Oh well. First world problems. I’ll be home soon enough.

 

G+

Just another social media editorial.

I feel like Google + is a much better platform for sharing and enjoying stuff online that Facebook or Google. Maybe it’s just not as popular with the fascists, morons, assholes, and goons? I don’t know. Maybe its the whole “circles” of friends you can create there? I’m sure if I looked I could find some real jerkoffs there, but it seems easier to ignore them. Sure, Google is a big intrusive company, but at least they seem to have their act together. I’ve tried https://mewe.com , and I like it, but it seems like it has too much to overcome in Facebook. I fear its days are numbered.

Now, sure, it’s important to know that people like that exist, but are we really in danger of not knowing that if we don’t read every disturbing thing they scrawl on Twitter? I don’t think we are. It’s not so much a matter of isolating myself, but more like being selective about that I allow to affect my blood pressure.