Favorite Science Fiction Films

In no particular order.

I have high hopes for the upcoming Dune film. Hoping it isn’t dumb like the one from the 1980s. The SyFy channel’s Dune mini series have been pretty good.

  • Blade Runner
  • 2001 A Space Odyssey (This is really my favorite).
  • 2010 The Year We Make Contact
  • Alien
  • Aliens
  • Forbidden Planet
  • Arrival
  • Planet of the Apes
  • War of the Worlds (1953)
  • Contact
  • Silent Running
  • Logan’s Run
  • The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Fantastic Voyage
  • 12 Monkeys
  • The Andromeda Strain
  • Altered States
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
  • Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956)
  • Prometheus (Alien prequel)
  • Alien: Covenant
  • Europa Report
  • Prospect

What’s Up?

The weather has been cold, and on the weekends rainy, and I’ve not been skating since December. Hoping to work in a session this weekend if weather permits. I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction and working on some gaming stuff. Life is going through a rough patch right now, but we will overcome.

Current Most-Used Boards

When it’s cold and shitty outside I like to sit and look at my boards. A guy on a FB group (you know who you are!) had people post pics of their most ridden boards, if they have more than one. It was a fun post, and an excuse for me to stare at my boards.

So here is the current lineup of boards I actually ride, from left to right.

Mode Pool board, 9 x 32.5, 14.75 wb. Indy 159s and currently 58mm Speedlab Slappy Hour wheels. 1/4″ riser. This has been my main street and ditch board for a while. I normally use 54mm Bones STF, but wanted to try some larger diameter wheels and see how much smoother and faster they would be. I do like these wheels a lot, but the board does feel much clunkier.

Mode Postcard double kick symmetrical freestyle board, Indy 109s, Mode Sunburst freestyle wheels. no risers. Gray (hard) Venom eliminator bottom bushing on the side I use as the back of the board, pink Venom Eliminator (slightly softer) in the front. Except for dabbling with some Mode single kick decks a couple of years ago, this has been my main freestyle shape since about 2014. I’ve used quite a few. It is long for a FS board with a 13.75″ wheelbase. 29.5 x 7.4. Great board. Great setup.

Mode 8.25 Connor Burke model pops. The standard Mode pops, with Connor’s old graphic. Indy 149s, currently with the softer 99a Bones STF 54mm wide cut wheels. I like these wheels a lot. Fantastic for the surfaces I skate. I love the harder ones too. Just depends one what I’m doing. I use this board for ditch skating and street/freestyle. With 1/4″ of risers, it rides high. I do that to minimize tail drag when I’m spinning 360s. A little grip under the nose for doing caspers.

2020 Thankfulness Report

When times are shit, it is important to take stock of what isn’t shit.

Besides the pandemic, we are facing some serious issues, but in some respects were are lucky. We have the resources we need to face these challenges.

So, here are a few things I appreciate this year.

  1. I am thankful for my wife. I can’t express this sufficiently.
  2. As always, I am thankful there is something rather than nothing.
  3. I am thankful for all the friends who have reached out to us. I love y’all.
  4. I am thankful I had parents who were kind and gave me a secure home in which I was loved and not judged.
  5. I appreciate my extended family and my in-law family. I don’t agree with a lot of ’em on a lot of things, but they are all good people who would give a stranger the shirt of their back if needed. I love every one of them, and I’m lucky to have them.
  6. I appreciate skateboarding. The skateboard is what I always return to in order to calm my mind and express myself.
  7. I am thankful for Aikido and my fellow aikidokas, though I’ve not been able to practice in 8 months. Looking forward to a return to the dojo when it is possible. I’m thankful for my sensei, who has helped me develop the awareness to know when I’m losing myself and how to get my mind right again.
  8. I am grateful to have made it to age 56. Not everyone does.
  9. I am grateful for my gaming group, old friends I’ve known since we were young kids. There’s a comfort and familiarity with them that only comes from common history and background. All top notch dudes.
  10. I am thankful for our cats.
  11. I am thankful for my profession and my colleagues, whose support has been critical. I can’t believe I was lucky enough to land where I did.

A Taste of Armageddon

The other night we watched an episode of the original Star Trek — A Taste of Armageddon. This was episode 23 of season one.

These shows hold up well.  I don’t watch much prime time TV these days. Actually, I don’t watch any, so this next statement is just me talking trash, yet I stand by it with all the conviction of a Trumper saying no one would ever vote for Joe Biden. Here is the statement…

No prime time show now deals with the variety of topics that the original Star Trek did. From this episode, about a computer-simulated war with real casualties, to overpopulation, to racism and more, this show covered a lot of ground, and did it well.

The versions you see these days, sadly, have much better computer graphics substituted for the special effects shots. They look great, but I’d rather see the old ones. They aren’t critical for the story, and is it really necessary to go back and “fix” everything?

Toward the end of this episode, there’s a great scene where Spock, the ambassador, and three enterprise crewmen run into a room to rescue Kirk, only to find that he has single handedly captured 8 or 9 people. Do not mess with Kirk. There’s also a great Kirk soliloquy I always call ” I will not kill TODAY,” about humankind’s killer nature and our ability to overcome it.  I can’t do it from memory, but like most of these shows I can speak it all right along with the cast.

I enjoy reading the history of these shows and films, and learning a bit about the actors.  Gene Lyons, who played Ambassador Robert Fox in this episode, died at 53 in 1974. This episode was broadcast in 1967, so he only only lived 7 years after this was aired. I suppose he would have been 46 at the time he made this. He looked a lot older ot me. He died of alcoholism. Apparently Lieutenant DePaul was played by an actor names Sean Kenney, who played the disabled and burned version of Captain Pike in the episode The Menagerie. I always figured the same person played Pike in the wheelchair and in the flashbacks, but no.

The idea of the antihero is so played out. Wolverine, Batman, all that stuff. Tiresome. Star Trek didn’t have that. It always lifted the human spirit up.


The Mystic Weasel

This is a trick I’ve been working on. I guess it’s a trick. It’s more like series of little movements. The goal is to connect them with no hesitation between the little pivots. I’m getting closer. A few years ago I learned a similar series of moves I called the Magic Weasel, inspired by my friend Stefan Albert, in Germany who moves like a magic weasel. Smooth. So this is also inspired by him.

I like moves like this because they are useful in a freestyle contest run but are also fun on a street board. I practiced it today on my 9″ wide Mode pool board and my 8.25″ Mode pops. I’m going to try adding another 1/8th inch riser to the pops, and moving up to some 56mm wheels for better tail clearance during 360 spins.

As I’ve worked on this, I’ve come to understand a few things about it that make it good.

  • It isn’t just a series of pivots. What I’m trying to do is a series of pivots while I move in a greater circle. Sometimes if I cut part of it too short, the circle becomes more of a spiral, which is fine. Or it can be fine. It all depends on…
  • The transitions from one pivot to the next need to be smooth and instantaneous. I’m not quite there yet. Close, but not quite. In particular, after the first carving fakie 360, the transition to an endover pivot off the nose needs to be smoother, and to really keep it going it needs to project the motion a lot more behind the back.
  • That same transition into that endover — I do endovers that way all the time but I have never tried to draw them out and use them to project the motion in a curve. I’m getting better at that, and I think it will pay off on some other tricks I’ve been contemplating. This has been the most challenging part of this sequence by far. I’ve thought of bank/ditch tricks using this motion, but have never done them because I didn’t have it down. Now I will.

Anyway, I worked on this for an hour today. They started sort clunky and got better. Back at it tomorrow. This is how I do things. I just do that same thing over and over and over until I’ve got it.

Mystic Weasel Practice from Bob Loftin on Vimeo.

Media-free weekend

Yesterday (Friday, at about 6pm, I started a weekend long social media and news media blackout. I need a break from everything. Going to skate, write, read, and relax, and not worry about things I can’t do anything about. So pretty much what I should be doing anyway.

I’ll post some stuff on Instagram though. Not much there to upset me.

Skateboards are not weapons

I 100% hate the current administration, hate white supremacists, hate guns, hate abuse of power.

I also 100% hate seeing skateboards used as weapons.

The skateboard is a tool of self-expression. Seeing it used as a weapon in any context sickens me. Skaters – leave the boards at home when you go to a protest. Take something else if you need to defend yourself.