Skateboard + Blog = SKLOG?

2006 Archive of Skateboard Blogs

Below is the archive of random skateboard thoughts that crossed my mind in 2006.

2006 Skate the Planet Skateboard Blog Archive

December 2006

Skateboarding is Still a Crime I have to admit I enjoy Van Halen's 1984 a little more than George Orwell's. George presented a reality a little too frightening for daily consumption, unlike Eddie's average guitar solo - very enjoyable. But, what happens when the two collide in the digital world?

Suppose you are at work and you crave some "Eruption" to boost your day. You left that CD at home so you decide to download the song. Your quest for hammer-on bliss is cut short by a message stating your port request was denied - no streaming aloud. WTF!?! Yep, George's 1984 notion has just landed in your lap. Your company is spying on you and dictating what you can and cannot view.

This is censorship. Censorship in any form is evil.

Intrigued, none the less, you experiment. blocked! blocked! blocked! Strangely, is wide open. I guess online shopping is appropriate in the workplace. From Playboy, I just wanted to order a pair of boxers and I was hoping 2600 had some hats for sale from their last conference.

But it gets stranger. Casual searches will yield blocked results. I was searching for a new template for a quarter pipe (that's a skateboard ramp for the paranoids who saw the word "pipe" and wanted to block my access to hydroponic marijuana growing info). I clicked on a search result for "skateboard ramp template" and was presented with an ugly white screen (can't these guys spend 2 minutes to make a decent looking warning screen?) stating the site was blocked due to it containing, "Criminal Skills". I checked out the cached version that I could view and it was indeed a page on how to build a half pipe (another sk8 ramp, you paranoids).

I'll leave the deducing to you, but it seems clear to me that skateboarding is still a crime! lol.
Skating on Christmas Day Merry Christmas! I don't want to rock Xmas day traditions like ice skating on a frozen lake with your family donning matching scarves and thermoses full of hot chocolate... but it was cool as hell to see people ripping at my local outdoor park. At 53° I'd have joined them in a heartbeat, but like I said, I don't want to rock any family traditions - just yet. When Max is a little older...

Happy Holidays image
X-mas: The Gift of Sk8 One summer I bought my friend's son a toy skateboard for $10. He was only 2 years old and stoked to have a sk8 like his Dad had. Obviously, it wasn't designed to be ridden or really used in any serious manner. I just thought it might be fun for him while we were vacationing at the beach - which it was. But I also felt guilty.

Now that I have a son of my own; 1½ years old. I wanted to get him a skateboard for Christmas. He's been knee-boarding on several of my decks since late summer, so I thought he'd like a sk8 of his own. I'd already outfitted him with a helmet and knee & elbow pads. I also also bought him a talking Elmo doll, a frog-on-wheels pull-toy and the "Goodnight Gorilla" book, so you can see that I'm not a hard-core maniac trying to breed the next Tony Hawk.

But the guilty feeling about that cheap sk8 came back to haunt me. I had to buy a real skateboard for Max. He's used mine, but they're a little big. Fortunately, retro is in! I found him an Arbor complete featuring a small (narrow) 70's era slalom deck, Randal trucks and Arbor wheels (70mm/78a). Every kid should be so lucky, eh?

He loved it and it's the perfect height for knee-boarding and butt-boarding.
Summer Is Back A while back I wrote about the misery of Summer's end and the onset of cold weather. Apparently, the north eastern ski resort collective is still feeling the misery. Even your old rock-skis or rock-board won't do much good when there isn't ANY snow. We had one cold day and I start bitching about the weather. However, in late December, we're still enjoying 50° weather during the day - something I am not bitching about.
Miniramps Are The New Swingsets Obligation is a strange thing. So often it seems intertwined with guilt, yet devoid of logic.

If you have young children and a sizable backyard, forgo the stereotypic swingset and build a miniramp for your kids (and yourself). Plenty of other families will install the obligatory swingset that your kids can play on anytime. You'll be the envy of the neighborhood by giving your kids the gift of sk8.

Be original - Skate hard!
$oda Our greedy government drives up the price of gas in an attempt to make the general populace think that $2.95 is the going rate. Seems to have worked. What can you do - gotta get to work.

But remember when a 20oz soda (or "pop", as you mid-westerners insist on calling it) was $1.29? Then it jumped 10 cents and then again. Why the fuck is a 20oz soda $1.49 when two liters of the same crap is only a dollar? I believe this is what they call gouging. Sorry... it's the little things in life that piss me off.
Holiday Sk8 Shopping As a parent you may feel compelled to buy your child a football or a soccer ball for the holidays... and you should. Just don't forget to also get your child a skateboard! A well rounded child should be exposed to all sorts of things for fun, learning and development. And just as you'd go outside to play catch, you should go outside and take interest in your child's skateboarding. Hell, buy a sk8 for yourself too! Anyway - back to holiday shopping...

I'm sure Walmart, Kmart or whatever "Mart" at which you're accustomed to depleting your savings will have wonderful sales on footballs, soccer balls and skateboards. Go for the Balls! But when it comes to buying that skateboard you'll be happy to know that you won't have to battle crowds at the mall because you're going to buy that board from your local skate shop!

Every skateboard manufacturer out there should be pushing parents to buy sk8 product for their kids (isn't it odd that companies don't seem to do this?) at qualified skateboard shops. If you're not a sk8-savvy parent you may have to use the phone book - find "Skateboard" in the yellow pages. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone; shop owners are very friendly and as eager to make sales as anyone else.

Don't disappoint. Your child wants a skateboard - a real skateboard - for Christmas!
Summer is Over Living in New England can be a mixed blessing of sorts. I dig the changing seasons. There's no way I could stand 70° weather in the Winter. On the other hand, it's difficult to skate with a foot of snow on the ground. I guess that's why many of us swap the sk8 for a snowboard until the place thaws in the Spring.

We've been lucky so far. Last Friday it was 61° here and today we're at 25°... The Summer is over. Damn!

November 2006

Shop Vids Many people overlook shop videos - ones made by the shops themselves - thinking they will most likely suck. Sometimes that's true, but other times you'll find a gem. Take Rhode Island filmer, Nate Dean, who created "Never Heard Of It". It's a great flick and packs in a lot of local footage that fully kills.

The cool-factor for me was the guy who sold it to me at a local shop is also in the video. How cool is that? When you encounter a shop-vid at your local shop, ask them to play some of it for you. If they stand behind their flick, they'll give you a preview. Aren't you tired of seeing the same old spots in all the mainstream videos? Try something new and different.
Death of DVD? Now that you've had ample time to pass all that Thanksgiving turkey back to the environment (Happy Turkey-Day, btw), here's a topic that's pissing me off...

People are beginning to ask if the DVD format is dead. WTF?!? Isn't it the only living format today? Apparently some are considering internet video as the impending DVD-killer. I have news for those with this delusion... No fucking way! The popularity of You-Tube and its purchase by the alleged non-evil-doers of Google is making some people thing that DVD is on the way out.

Bullshit, I say! Don't get me started about Blue-Ray and other competing formats, lets just look at what DVD offers. Amazing clarity. Full screen viewing on whatever size TV you have. And a massive catalog of titles that fly off the shelves faster than music CDs. I'll admit its fun to see some sort of horrific mishap posted to You-Tube or some kid's latest sponsor me atrocity, but internet videos are small, blurry, grainy and have to be watched on a computer.

If I want to watch a sk8 vid, I'm gonna kick back in a comfy chair, beer in hand, and watch on my TV - it's only a 27-inch, but it beats the Hell outta watching a 3-inch video window on a computer monitor. And what about mainstream movies? Do you want to watch those in a tiny computer window? Add in home theater products. Your living room's TV offers a lot more than those grainy computer vids.

Internet video is free, they say. I pay for my internet connection, what's free about that. Even on broadband, it takes a few hours to DL a flick. Betamax was better than VHS, Laser Disc surpassed that and now we have DVD... which by the way is here to stay... until something BETTER comes along. Internet video ain't it and neither is video-on-demand. When I "demand" to see Animal Chin or some random porn flick, who do I demand that from? My local cable co? Don't think so.

DVD is alive... death to grainy internet vids and on-demand crap! Thanks for listening (or reading).
Traitor Joes I'm not one of those "crunchy" types that shops at Trader Joes for the sake of saving the planet. I like them because they have better prices and better food. Today I discovered they discontinued one of my favorite products - Pirate Cookies. They were some variant of honey-graham thing, shaped like a pirate head, a treasure chest, a gold coin and a parrot.

Sure, my ranting seems lame - cuz it is, but when the manager tried to offer me Cat cookies instead, I balked. You can't substitute cats for pirates! At the crux of this situation, is the fact that my son liked the cookies, even though he's too young to appreciate pirates, and I liked the theme. Damn you, Joe!
Big Business -vs- Skateboarding You may have heard of Consolidated Skateboard's "war on Big Business" at their website Don't Do It Army. As a skateboarder and a father I want my son to have the opportunity to enjoy skateboarding as much as I do... if not more. Big Business is eager to capitalize on the spending power of skaters. As they enter the board-sport arena, one of the prime issues is their inferior products.

Independent skate shops have put their blood, sweat and tears into creating the sk8 industry we enjoy today. Would those watching Evel Knievel jump the fountains at Caesar's Palace, in the late 60's, be able to fathom the Mega Ramp or Burnquist's Grand Canyon leap? Would sidewalk surfers of the 70's believe their fun could become the X-Games? The progression of skateboarding comes from those who are/were a part of it. It's unique culture is bred from the diversity of those whose lives were embodied by a need to ride. Big Business is passionless and greedy.

The skateboard for sale at Walmart, Toys R Us or Dick's Sporting Goods is not the same as the one at your independent skate shop. The indy shop carries quality products and can offer a wealth of information about them. They'll retain your business as a satisfied customer. Big Business plays the numbers game. By selling a cheaper (inferior) product, they hope to lure more shoppers to their stores. Everyone has the right to make money and fair trade is an excellent concept, but as consumers (and skaters) we need to support indy shops and not buy inferior products from box-stores.

A complete skateboard from big Business can cost less than a set of wheels from an indy shop. The issue is quality - the lack of. Think about all the kids who want a skateboard this holiday season and the large number of clueless parents and grand-parents who will unwittingly go to a toy store to buy that skateboard. The message needs to get out about quality products and the safety hazards of riding an inferior skateboard.

Visit the Don't Do It Army and download their flyers. Print out a bunch of them and keep them in your car, backpack or purse. Every time you encounter inferior boards at a toy store or box-store, leave a couple of flyers on the shelf. Get the word out! YOU own skateboarding and YOU can help to shape it's future!

Everyone wants to be rich... but at what cost?

Even if you're not a skateboarder (and if you're not, thanks for reading all this) Big Business can do to your industry what it is trying to do to skateboarding. Think about your industry and how it could be undermined by inferior products and aggressive bulk pricing.
Bearing Gaskets If you've ever had the misfortune of visiting the monkey house at the zoo, you may recall the stench. Monkeys have some sort of etiquette disorder that prompts them to fling poop at things they don't like - such as wide-eyed zoo visitors. Thankfully, most modern zoos have clear walls separating you from a face-full of monkey crap. Imagine if that wall were not there and a barrage of angry monkeys began flinging their feces at you. You'd duck and get the hell outta there. You wouldn't stand there with your mouth open.

With that scenario in mind, lets talk about your skateboard bearings. Do you like speed? Do you like a smooth solid ride? Your bearing play a big roll in both. I've read of several pro skaters encouraging people to remove the gaskets and shielding to make the ride louder. Louder!?! WTF??

Inviting dirt and grime into your bearings is tantamount to letting monkeys toss sh*t into your mouth. Get it? Don't remove the gaskets or shielding from your bearings. Maybe you should go put more baseball cards in the spokes of your bike... loser!
Blank Decks I've read a few posts here and there about blank decks and how they vanquish the soul of skateboarding. I agree that board graphics play a big role in my decision to buy a new deck, but let's not forget about what skateboarding's soul really is. It's you, me and everyone else who ventures onto a sk8 and how we gain from the experience and give back to it.

Skaters tend to have well developed artistic skills (I'm the deviation from this theory, but that doesn't stop me). I'd never buy a blank deck to save money on building a new set-up. Hell no! But from an artistic perspective, I think everyone should ply their artistic talents to a blank deck. A new "canvas", if you think about it. From traditional painting to sculpture and furniture design, blank decks can be an integral part that allows the creative freedom to flow. So, go snag a blank and render it amazing with your artistic virtues. Make a unique one-of-a-kind creation.

October 2006

Tower Records Visit With the demise of Tower Records (the whole chain is being liquidated... by some assholes who don't know shit about music) I felt compelled to take my son there for one last visit before they're all gone. He's only 18 months old, but down the road I want to be able to show him that Dad took him to some cool places (and some educational ones as well). I asked one of the employees to snap a pic of us in front of a Tower display.

I was a huge fan of the Village location in NYC. When Tower opened in Stamford, CT I was in heaven - I lived down the street. I spent countless dollars there over the years and am very sad - and angry - to see the whole chain dissolve. Are we supposed to go to Walmart for music now? I don't even like BestBuy! It's insane. Box-stores SUCK!
Try Newbury Comics for your music fix.
RevHQ: CD / DVD retailer I just received Mike Vallely's "Wilderness" DVD from RevHQ (a cool source for independent music and merch). If you didn't know, this 2-disc set includes Mike's first Drive DVD, "My Life in Skateboarding" (2003). Outside of ebay, it's hard to find a copy of the original and they're not cheap. So, snag his latest disc - which is awesome - and get the original Drive as a bonus. Not bad.
Odd Timing So, I was about to start writing an angry "letter to the Editor" regarding the deplorable stat of my local skatepark in Chatham, MA. I'm driving by the other day and what do I see? New ramps!

I knew better than to get too excited. They might be Sun Ramps or some cheap crap. I stopped by yesterday and discovered they are pre-fab ARC (American Ramp Co.) ramps. I'd prefer to have huge wooden ramps built as a community-building exercise, but these things aren't too bad. Much better than the rotting crap that has sat there for years.

From what I can tell they installed the Pro model stuff with the durable metal surface. Hopefully this will endure the New England winter and not be a rusted piece of crap by next year. I'm also counting on those metal surfaces to quickly heat up and melt away the snow. I'm not waiting for Spring to hit the new ramps!

An Unexpected Find I took my son Max outside this morning, strapped on his knee pads and watched as he knee-surfed the driveway on my skateboard. He had a huge smile on his face. Even at only 18 months, he knows he's doing something that his Dad loves to do. Soon he'll probably realize how much that makes me smile too. It's a powerful feeling to be able to share something with someone and see them so stoked about it.

Later we went to the mall to search out the first Pink Panther Cartoon Classics DVD - a selfish purchase for Dad, but it's something that reminds me of my childhood when things were simpler and joy was so easily attainable. I loved that blue aardvark.

Along the way I found a copy of Tony Hawk's Boom Boom Sabotage - a cartoon version of evil carnies who try to ruin Hawk's Boom Boom Huck Jam. We snapped up the Pink Panther and BB Sabotage before going to Trader Joe's for groceries and a balloon. Behind a small plate of graham crackers, Max & I watched the eerie darkness (think: Nightmare Before Christmas) of Boom Boom Sabotage. He loved it. What a great kid, I've got. Go get a copy for your kids!
The Dilapidated Park of Chatham, MA My local park, on Cape Cod, has fallen apart. A few years back it was semi-dangerous as the halfpipe swayed under a rider's force and the metal plates lifted on the fun-box, making potential slams all the more likely. But now... it's a wreck! The only skateable portion is the tight concrete bowl and it's outer wall.

The town of Chatham approved the money for revamping the park at the start of the Summer, yet nothing has been done. Pro skater Zered Bassett, who rides for Zoo York, grew up around here and skated this park as a kid! You'd think the town would want to keep the park functional for the tons of kids who skate the parking lot at the Community Center.


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