Author Archives: Bob

Skateboarding, jockism, sports parents, and chuds

So the latest hubbub in skateboarding is this…

A female skater of very little ability has complained publicly (on Instagram and Twitter, of course, because that’s how we do things these days) that she got 2nd Place in a contest that was won by a trans woman.

Because I clearly enjoy hurting my own psyche, I delved into this happening.

Here’s a few things.

  • She’s not very good. I mean, seriously, she’s just not a good skater at all. It is no crime AT ALL to be not a very good skater and still skate. In fact, it is just fine. However, this young woman really has no business winning any contest at all, regardless who she is competing against.
  • This is not a topic I particularly care about. I find the “save girls sports” people are usually jock parents. They never say “Save libraries and our kids freedom to read what they want”, because they aren’t really “readers.”
  • Having now said I don’t really care about this topic (I think it is overblown and really not a problem), why you may ask do I write about it here? Because I want these people out of skateboarding.  Out. O-U-T.
  • For example…this knobhead. “legitimate competitive future”?  See, this is what happens when sport-parents get involved in skateboarding, rather than simply getting their kid a board and turning them loose.  Yes, I deleted his name, because I’m not a dick, even though this chud probably needs to be shamed.

The culture of skateboarding doesn’t look kindly on whiners. In skateboarding, you try things, you fall, you get hurt, you get back up and try it again, without crying about it. Girls, boys, men, and women, and people of whatever persuasion you rock, that is how it’s done.

End of poorly organized rant.

 

 

Hawk

As any skateboarder with an internet connection now knows, Tony Hawk broke his femur last week. Really nasty break. He was in Austin a few days later, on crutches, with hardware in his leg, for the first showing of the new documentary about his life in skating at South by Southwest.

This morning on his Hawk vs Wolf video/podcast he and Jason Ellis talk about it.

It is really something to see Hawk talk about this injury. Clearly it was horrible, and he has the look of a man who already understood the effects of aging on his skating, and now understands it even more. But what is really moving is hearing him essentially say that (besides just wanting to walk normally again) he just wants to skate. That desire just to skate, regardless the so-called level of his skating. Obviously if Tony is skating at about 10% his peak, that is about 1000% for everyone else, but the point is the same. All of us just want to skate. It is very humanizing to see this legendary skater really not knowing what the future of his skating looks like, but just wanting to skate.

 

First session of 2022

First session of the year, since the weather turned to crap in November 2021. The first session of the new year is always rough, as it take about 1 or maybe 2 sessions to get my feet back under me. Legs are always a little weaker after winter, and I’m just a bit rusty in general. Was good to be back on my board and I’m looking forward to a good year of skating.

Anyway, I was a little slow today, a little afraid of little rocks, and just generally getting the feel for my board again.

Cyberpunk

The other night I watched this documentary, No Maps for These Territories. It’s an interview with William Gibson, who pretty much invented the Cyberpunk sub-genre of science fiction. There were some other author involved, but after watching this documentary and reflecting on my own readings of Gibson’s Burning Chrome anthology and his Sprawl Trilogy, I realized that in my mind that stuff IS cyberpunk. Gibson’s vision is it.

Anything else I’ve read that had the “cyberpunk” label attached has been at least a little disappointing. I think Gibson’s vision is so rich and so deep that for anyone else to really do what he did, well, they’d just be seen as copying him.

One of the best histories of the genesis of cyberpunk appears in Victoria Blake’s introduction to Cyberpunk: Stories of Hardware, Software, Wetware, Evolution, and Revolution.

The only thing I’ve seen that really visually looks like Cyberpunk is Blade Runner. Gibson has said that he was writing Neuromancer when Blade Runner came out, and he was afraid people would think he simply copied Ridley Scott. Apparently the more recent Netflix series Altered Carbon takes its visual style from Blade Runner. You can’t overemphasize the impact of Blade Runner. Everything else I’ve seen, including the film adaptation of Gibson’s short story Johnny Mnemonic, look like over the top Duran Duran videos.

Not sure where I’m going with this. To sum up. I like the novels of William Gibson, I like Blade Runner, I will check out Altered Carbon.

Science Fiction Novels

As I may have written here before (I honestly can’t remember and don’t feel like looking) for the last several years I’ve been going back and reading science fiction novels from the 70s and 80s. Typically I’ve been reading standalone novels, not series.

Those novels tend to be a bit simpler in form. When I get off work I’m tired, and I don’t need a novel to be that much an intellectual effort to understand. Some of my favorite novels, like William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy, require that you really immerse yourself in the novel. That’s great, but when I’m tired sometimes I just want the author to tell me what happened.

That being said, read the Sprawl trilogy.

I discovered Robert Silverberg in the Infinite Stars anthology of space opera. His tale “the Iron Star” was brilliant, and I became an instant fan. I’ve read three or four of his other novels since then. They are great stuff. The Iron Star offered an ethical conundrum, and I was just blown away.

I feel like as you go back through the decades the SF gets a bit more basic, and not as well written, but Silverberg is really good. I read a few H. Beam Piper novels (not the Little Fuzzy books), including the Cosmic Computer and the unfortunately-titled “Space Viking“.  They were fun reads, though every time I read the term Space Viking I rolled my eyes. Great fodder for my Traveller science fiction game campaign. It was funny knowing that Piper was an early libertarian going into these novels (thank you Wikipedia), and then seeing his political leanings in the novels.  I do like to read a bit about the authors I’m reading, and sorta know where they are coming from, and where the novels fall in their careers.

I mentioned Traveller. One of the primary influences on the Traveller RPG were the Dumarest of Terra novels, by English author E.C. Tubb. These are what I’d call “pulp” style SF adventures. Space Opera for sure. Short novels, formulaic in many respects. There are about 32 in the series, and I’m currently reading #17. Now, my intro to science fiction was Doc Savage. As a young teen I read about 70 of those. I have to say, while the Dumarest novels are not the most sophisticated SF you will find, Tubb can write a proper sentence. They are pretty well written, and they are fun. Now, they are novels of their time.  The hero, Earl Dumarest, is a typical hero of the era, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a female character of any real consequence. They all tend to be Earl’s love interest, which means they will be dead soon. Overall, I would say the novels exhibit the chauvinism of their time, but I’ve not seen them go into straight-up misogyny. Which is nice, because I’d stop reading them. Would they be better if there some female characters to be reckoned with? Yes. No doubt.

Which brings me to my most recent reads, Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, by Dan Simmons. Not simple. Not short.

Now people love to go on and on about how great Dune is. I enjoy the Dune novels. They are deep and they are good. I enjoyed these two Hyperion novels more. If it means anything to you, these novels are Dune-level good.  They are deep and multilayered. There’s a lot going on. There’s stuff in them, and they were written in the late 80s/early 90s, that is way ahead of their time. They are long. Each is over 500 pages. I’m a slow reader, so that is a time investment for me. Totally worth it. Great stuff. After reading each one I listened to them on audio books to enhance the experience. So, so good.

I’ve got a good stack of books to read, and a good virtual stack on my Kindle. More later.