31
Dec
10

A Dashboard Confessional

I haven’t posted since June? JUNE! That’s the entire summer and fall that have gone undocumented. No skate journals, no music picks, no comic reviews, and not even a single rant about a movie. It doesn’t mean nothing hasn’t happened, I just stopped using this blog as an outlet. But I want to get a little more personal since the end of the year is a time of reflection, and this is the best forum for that.

2010 was a fantastic year for me. I started skating again, and I was using Rebus Bubbles as a diary for that experience. While I stopped writing in June, I’m happy to say that I didn’t quit skating until my board broke early in the autumn. My favorite skate memory was cruising around Indianapolis when I was there for Gen Con. Indy was full of awesome spots and no fuzz. I hit some sweet stair sets, ollied a few gaps, and took a few rejuvenating spills. Street skating at its finest.

Gen Con itself was an amazing experience for me. I went as part of GameSalute.com, which was my first paid writing gig. While it was hard work and drove me nuts for a bit, that trip was like a dream come true. A week of living another life. I learned a lot, and I did things that I never thought I could do. I interviewed industry peeps, met some cool people, and I even had to speak publicly during a few panels. Best of all, it gave me a chance to leave my longitude for the first time ever!

I tried to participate in National Novel Writing Month in November, but I failed. I count the failure as a relative success though. While I only got through about a fourth of a novel, I learned a lot about writing and good writing habits. I gave up on the project with a week to go, but then put my efforts towards a short story that I finished with pride.

I’ve done a lot of work on Orphaned Kingdom, my pen and paper RPG, and I’m really happy with where it is going. It might not be the most amazing game when it’s done, but I think it will be something I’ll be proud of. I’m not one to make resolutions, but I really want to finish it in 2011.

My day job has been astonishing as well. I got to fly out to Tampa, and basically spent two days on a beach with a book and Little Big Planet PSP. I ate TONS of barbecue as well. The last day of the trip sucked though because the client finally decided to get down to business and I had no time to get it all done.

Aside from that trip, I also found a few niches at work as the forum administrator and restructuring our documentation. As much as I can be a slacker at times with my normal duties, I love having the opportunity to shine with these other tasks. They give me a lot of space to take the projects where I want, so it’s nice to have the responsibility. But then it makes me dread when the phone rings and I have to go back to my real job as tech support.

I’ve also lost 25 pounds this year, which makes me very proud of myself. You’d be amazed out how often people notice, and how nice it is to catch a compliment here and there. I hope I can lose more weight this year, but I’m mostly glad that I’ve change my habits to give myself a healthier and more active lifestyle.

So 2010 has been an intense and wild year for me, but I loved it. I give mad props to my wife Ashlee for coming along for the ride. This was our first full married year together, and I’m looking forward to 2011 being bigger, better, and more badass.

 

For some reason I was listening to Dashboard Confessional’s Swiss Army Romance while I wrote this. I just needed something chill, and I haven’t listened to the album in a while. I don’t care what anyone says, Dashboard is pretty awesome when the mood suits it.

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04
Jun
10

Sold

I finally bought a new skateboard!

Deck: Clayface (a local brand made from Maine wood, and heavy as bricks).

Trucks: Independents (My first pair of Indy’s. I always rode Destucto, but I decided to give the popular brand a go.)

Wheels: Spitfire (I really wanted Ricta, but a $20 price difference!)

Everything else is pretty miscellaneous. I had to keep costs down because I bought some new shoes. Black Lakai’s, and they are nice and basic aside from the puke red interior.

I gave the board a test run, and it took forever to break in the trucks and get them at a good tightness (without tearing the bushings). I skated in the Nashua park, and I definitely rode better. Not sure if it’s the board or my own skill, but I think it must be a combination.

I did have a gnarly bail though, but a couple dudes there though it was an epic attempt on the lip, so I got some props.

I’d like to thank the dude’s at Eastern Boarder for helping me out too. I don’t read mags religiously like I did in the day, so their advice was invaluable.

Today’s Song: Sold by TSOL

This track is on the compilation album “Punkzilla,” which always was and always will be one of my favorite CDs ever. Almost as important as “Dookie” was in getting me into punk.

31
May
10

Brain Stew

It’s been a month since my last skate diary, and that one was posted a week after I’d written it! It’s okay though, I’ve been busy with other projects. I stopped skating for a few weeks when I  thought my shoes and board were too haggard to skate. Then a buddy asked if I was still skating, and I realized those were dumb excuses. I went skating in my Nike (GASP) running shoes, and I finally learned how to rock and roll to fakie.

See, I’ve never been very good in a half pipe, and that’s always been because I couldn’t do anything backwards. I could revert, but that always hurt my speed. Now that I can rock and come back fakie, I have a wider array of tricks. That would mean nothing if I still skated slower than Jabba the Hutt on a Tech Deck, but I can pump now too.

Now that I can ride vert for more than two tricks, I’ve found the most exhilarating aspect of the style. You get really, really dizzy. It’s like spinning in a circle and not getting sick until you stop. After a run, and I need to take a second to catch my bearings. It’s a blast, and gives a completely different rush than street skating. The adrenaline in street skating comes from seeing how long you can skate until the blues show up.

I still haven’t bought a new board or shoes, so street skating hasn’t worked at all. I have no pop, so my ollies and flips fall flat. It’s better not to be doing to much of that anyways, since my $20 Airwalks are torn to shreds. Usually, the toe of my shoe tears first, but for some reason the bottom of my shoe is coming apart. I have a quarter size hole in the bottom, with only the shoes insert protecting me from the elements. I should stop putting off the equipment upgrade before I hurt myself.

I skated the Windham park today, which is always a risk. It’s the one free park I’ve skated where you can be kicked out for not having a permit. I showed up one day as a kid was being kicked out by some dumb soccer mom, and I waited for her to leave. SHE NEVER LEFT. I’ve been successful in subsequent trips, though, and today was great. I was skating the half pipe (a really mellow three footer), and made a friend. He was just some 12 year old kid whose name I never caught, but we had a good time trading trick tips. He was really excited that I could do 50-50s on the coping, which I don’t find impressive, but he did. It’s always an ego boost when I can impress someone. I had a similar experience in Pelham when some kids called my manuals “sick.”

Yeah, I am awesome now.

Music Recommendation: Brain Stew by Green Day

This is an old song, but a classic. I’ve been having trouble trying to sleep lately, so this song scratches a particular itch I’m having. Green Day Rock Band is coming out in a few weeks too, so I’ve got Green Day on the mind. I listened to American Idiot in one go the other day, and it was heavenly. I’m going to try to hit up NYC this summer to see the Broadway production, and maybe I can stop at that new park they just built there.

28
Apr
10

Skate Diary 4

This was written about a week ago. I am even more awesome now. 😛 -David

It’s been several weeks since the last time I posted a skate diary, but I haven’t given up on skating yet. I’ve been going to parks at least once a week, and I did have to deal with some very rainy days. I’ve even attempted some street skating, but I’m not quite ready for that. Overall my abilities are improving, but I still have a long way to go.

The Lowell and Pelham skate parks have proven to be the best parks to ride. Nashua is fun, but it’s very cliquish.  People skate or bike in crews there, and while they may be friendly, it is difficult to feel like I fit in there. Not mention that the park’s layout doesn’t mesh with my style.

My board is on its last legs, so I went browsing at Eastern Boarder to see what a new complete would cost me. I had a fun chat with the clerk, but it was depressing at the same time. He recommended a bigger board since I am “a bigger dude,” a deck with deeper concave (which would result in better control, but less flip), and bigger wheels for speed. I used to ride 7.25” wide Black Label decks with 51 mm wheels, and he’s recommending an 8” local brand with 55 mm wheels. That’s like going from a motorcycle to a monster truck.

I do agree with the bigger wheels though. Speed has been my big weakness since I started skating again. My wife noticed I am faster than I was a few weeks ago, so that’s nice. Big wheels will be a huge improvement, although it will make the deck heavier. Grinding ledges could be a problem there too, and that’s something I’ve gotten a lot better at.

It sucks that I can’t kickflip for beans now, but my ollies have been getting impressively high. While most of my skills are nowhere near where they used to be, I don’t think I’ve ever pulled my knees as close to my chest as I do now. Ollieing up is turning out pretty sweet, but going down is another problem entirely.

At the building across from my office, there is a sweet stair set off of a loading dock that I’ve always wanted to hit after work. I counted the steps, and four didn’t seem so bad. I’ve thrown myself off bigger in the past. The set was clearly once a favorite of skaters because you could see where a rail had been removed. The stairs were still in place though, so I left my car on, pointed the headlights at the steps (yet poised for a getaway), and got in position. As I rode towards the stairs I panicked and jumped off. I clearly wasn’t ready for this yet. It’s back to the curb for me. Literally. I need to ollie some curbs before I’m ready for stairs.

I’ve recently found some other stair sets in the area, and they seem a lot milder. They are also in areas that seem more unsafe for skating. Rent-a-cop danger, not physical danger. I’ll let you know how it goes next time.

I’ve been listening to a lot of NPR lately, so I don’t have any song picks. But try the Descendants. Keep that in mind — if I don’t recommend a song you should just listen to the Descendants.

08
Apr
10

Wednesday’s Two Comic Review

It is almost 2 a.m., and I am exhausted. I missed last weeks reviews, however, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint my few, but rabid, fans.

I was sick last Wednesday, so my super heroine of a wife brought home some random comics when she got out of work. They were Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #2, and the latest issue of Wonder Woman. Here are my thoughts, in brief.

I know very little about Green Hornet, barring an episode of the sixties Batman he was featured in, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was great book, and it handles the concept of legacy heroes very well. The basic premise is that the former Green Hornet, Britt Reid, has left his crime fighting days behind to focus on publishing his news paper. He has a strained relationship with his son, who seems to be destined to take up the mantle. Also, Kato is now a chick. I think this might be some of Kevin Smith’s best work since Daredevil, but he hasn’t been known to keep a good release schedule anymore. We’ll probably see issue three by the time the Seth Rogen movie is out.

Wonder Woman had a good prologue featuring the Green Lantern Corps, but was oddly not affiliated with Blackest Night. Once the story focused on Diana, it became a little unbelievable. She fights an alien invasion alone in her city, with no sight or sound from any other supers. This flaw in the story was actually brought up, so it might just be part of the plot.

As for this week, I picked up The Flash Secret Files: Origins 2010, and the first issue of Turf.

Flash was a good primer for the new ongoing. It summarizes Flash: Rebirth, while establishing the other speedsters and the rogues into Barry’s new life. Where I’d expect Barry’s return to push the other Flash’s aside, it looks like they will be more important than ever. While the older comic geeks out there have wanted Barry to return for years, my Flash is Wally, and I’m glad he’s not gone.

Turf is possibly the best comic I have ever read, yet has the most ridiculous premise. It takes place in 1929 NYC, during the prohibition, and the city is described in great detail. This is one of those books where the city is a character. Other characters include a nosy female reporter, a mobster (who may or may not have a heart of gold), Romanian vampires, and alien bootleggers from outer space. Did I mention it was written by the British Letterman, Jonathan Ross?

Turf was a giant book with lots of words. I’m talking Chris Claremont amounts of verbiage. It was a lengthy read, and well worth three clams. I know it sounds like a joke, but you need to check this book out. Especially if you’re a fan of flappers, the Godfather, or scary ass Draculas.

It’s only a five issue miniseries, and I have to wait a long six weeks for the next issue.

You only have to wait one for another comix review!

25
Mar
10

Wednesday Comic Review: Deadpool vs. X-Factor

Last week was DC heavy, but Marvel picked up the slack today. I could have picked up “The Rise of Arsenal,” but I have no interest in seeing Roy Harper regress 15 years. Instead I bought X-Factor # 203 and Deadpool # 21.

I was reading Peter David’s latest run of X-Factor a few years ago, and I really enjoyed it for its super-powered private eye theme. It leaned more and more towards being just another X-book book, though, which was disappointing. There were too many shadowy villains, and too much time travel. This month’s issue wasn’t too different.

It started out well at first. Monet was captured while trying to rescue her father, so Guido sets out to rescue the both of them. Guido is one of those characters that makes a book golden when it focuses on him, but I can take or leave Monet. Guido had some great scenes as he tried to earn an audience with the South American drug lord, Señora Piernas. They have the kind of conversation that makes X-Factor a great detective book, but then the story moves back to Monet as we find out that the big baddy is….buh buh buhhhhhm….Baron Mordo!

I can’t remember who that is, and honestly I didn’t really care to find out. In the end, this could have just been an alright Strong Guy miniseries, but I think I’d like to wait for another storyline or two to pass before I try this again. At least, I have the urge to pick up some of the older trades.

Deadpool was more rewarding, thanks to lower expectations. Not that I think Deadpool is bad, but all I really expect out of the Merc with a Mouth are laughs and bullets. This month’s issue provided plenty. A monkey doesn’t hurt either.

This was the concluding chapter of Deadpool’s team-up with Spider-Man. Deadpool wants to be a real hero now, and who could he learn from but the best? While learning the ropes from Spider-Man, DP’s also being pursued by the fearsome Hit-Monkey!

Spidey gets shot, DP drops the kids off at Peter’s pool, and there is a monkey explosion. Absolutely worth three dollars. Carlo Barberi does a great job with the art, but he draws ‘Pool and Spidey about the same. That’s a little weak when their costumes are so similar. Peter Parker doesn’t need a tree trunk for a neck.

I’m really hoping next week will provide something good from an indie publisher. I almost picked up Mark Millar’s Nemesis #1 (boldly proclaiming that it makes Kick-Ass look like shit), but flipping through it looked too much like Irredeemable.  Basically if Irredeemable is Superman gone bad, then Nemesis is Batman gone crooked. It wasn’t very special. Maybe next week I’ll pick up one of the million Obama comics like Barack the Barbarian, Obamouse, or Michelle Obama: Year One.

22
Mar
10

Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

Southern New Hampshire is a terrible place to live if you enjoy true street skating, but there is a surprising abundance of skate parks in the area. This weekend I skated the Pelham, Hudson, and Nashua parks, and I love how each one is a different experience.  While the spots here may not be ideal, at least there is variety.

I only stopped at the Pelham park for a a short while, but that was enough time to take a couple of hard spills. I tried to 50-50 a small ledge when my board decided it want to flip out of the grind. While I didn’t agree with what my board wanted, I wasn’t able to hop off before I landed primo and fell backwards onto my elbow. I rode for a few more minutes with my arm bleeding, and then went to meet my wife for our date. Chicks dig flesh wounds.

I stopped at Quizno’s to get sandwiches and wash up. The funny thing about hurting yourself while skating (and this applies to all sports really), is that it increases your already high adreneline. When your adreneline is peaking, and you decide to just get sandwich, it leaves that extra energy with no outlets. The girls at Quizno’s must have thought I was on crack.

“Can we help you?”

“YesI’llhaveasmallChickenCarbonaraandaPestoTurkeyBullet.”

“Mushrooms okay?”

“Whatummyeahmushroomsaregoodyesmushrooms. Pleasandthankyou.”

Saturday was an adventure just getting to the park. I was told there was a park in Hudson, so I got the address after looking it up online. I hopped in the car and set my GPS to 39 South St, but apparently, South St didn’t exist. I did what I always do when I’m lost, and just drove around until I found it. I got lucky, but I have to admit, that it seemed like false advertisement. The pics on that site make it look like there’s a ton of pools and concrete ramps, but when I got to the park I saw that it was small, full of metal ramps, and very, very purple. I realized later that the website was for Hudson, MASSACHUSETTS, and I am a giant jackass.

The park is actually made by a company called SkateWave. They create modular ramps for skate parks, and by modular I mean that the ramps can be moved however you wish. It was cool to see a bunch of kids start dragging ramps around to create gaps. It was a really fun park, but unfortunately I still wasn’t skating well. I had an awful time getting any air off any of the kickers, but I was able to ride a makeshift half-pipe successfully. Usually, I’m not able to maintain enough momentum to ride for more than a pass or too.

Momentum was my biggest problem on Sunday, but I wouldn’t have noticed it on my own. My wife came with me to the Nashua park and watched me be generally underwhelming. I thought I was rolling pretty well until my wife mentioned that everyone else was a lot faster than me. As if that wasn’t harsh enough, she surmised that it must be because they all so much thinner than me! I decided to blame it on bearings which are full of crud.  A look at my bearings showed they are actually covered in gunk, so I think it’s a plausible enough theory.

After some time, we decided to leave the park when she noticed I was out of breath. It sounds like she was being really mean, but it was all the truth. I need to get into shape, and that’s really what this is all about. It was great having her around to show me what I needed to work on. I’m going to keep at it, and soon enough I’ll be more fit. I’m never going to be a tiny little kid again, but I think new bearings will solve my speed problems. In fact, a whole new board will solve most of my issues. Nothing guarantees success in this country more then spending cash!

Track of the Day:

Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down by “The Toasters.”

Beautiful spring days are always improved with ska, and this song always works to motivate me when I feel like, ahem, the bastards are grinding me down.