Mallisonwhat Sports: Street League Super Crown

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Simon Heath, Alex Corporan, and Shut skateboards gave Street League tickets to the Old Bastards crew. Thanks for hooking up Paul S and I. I met Paul earlier that day, but he drove me to the Prudential Center in Jersey for the competition. I was impressed by the arena, and how aesthetically pleasing the skate course looked. I’ve never been to the X-games, Dew Tour and other major events but I think this is a step up for the sport. For a long time skate comps would be outside on wooden hastily made ramps, or inside at skate parks with no air conditioning and little thought to the audience.

Our timing was perfect that we found our seats, got our beers, and the contest started. I think one challenge skate contests have is staying on a schedule. Skaters need to stay warmed up, and it was common for contests to run over the planned timeframe. For live television that doesn’t work, and everything must run like clockwork. The contest started at 9 and finished at 10:50, so that works for a two-hour timeslot.

I’ve criticized Street League before on this blog for not having enough skaters for a legitimate comp. They did open it up this year in the first event. As a result the non-famous skater, Matt Berger, made it to the finals, and it came down to his last trick. The other improvement from a few years ago is that they change the course each time. They are going away from putting emphasis on a large stair set with a large rail. The Maloof Money Cup contests lasted a few years and that started the trend of a huge staircase being the focus. I think the three sections at this Street League event were unique, and I’m interested to witnessing the contests evolve in the next few years.

The contest had three heats. The first part had two 45-second runs by each of the 8 skaters, with the best run counting. Luan Olivera was a joy to watch in this section. Ishod Wair used the tranny quarters like no one else. Torey Pudwell had an amazing first run, but fell a few times on his second run. Nyjah Huston had two solid runs. I found this part enjoyable, but maybe the organizers are right to do runs as the first part and then go to best trick. Traditional contests would only be runs. A mix of runs and best tricks make sense. After the runs Shane O’Neil got eliminated.

The second heat was a best trick out of 5 attempts. This was entertaining to watch, and most of the skaters did well. After that heat was done Luan Olivera got cut. Paul Rodriguez placed 6th and he is one of my favorites to watch, his switch is the smoothest I’ve seen, and I constantly have to remind myself he’s goofy footed. The last heat was with the six finalists and again the best trick. The difference was out of 5 tries the score was averaged by their 3 best tricks. So to compete each skater had to land 3 solid tricks.

Nyjay Huston off the euro gap did a fakie full cab to backside noseblunt slide, a nollie halfcab heelflip down the big drop, and to win a full cab kickflip down the euro gap. I agree that one of his scores was high. His nollie to backside bluntside on the gap to rail was a 9.1, when similar variations by other skaters scored lower.

But, Nyjah Huston skated awesome, consistently and better than the competition. Hands down he won it. Skateboarding competitions have never been a good judge of street skateboarding. I’m not saying Nyjah Huston is the best skateboarder right now, but he is the best at Street League and he won Tampa Pro this year. He won every contest he entered this year. During the commercial breaks and warm ups he was killing it, he took more practice tricks than the other skaters. The only time I was bummed at this event was when spectators booed Nyjah Huston at the podium. Those kids need to grow up. Nyjah Huston deserved the win. Maybe the booing puts Huston in good company, according to the Bones Brigade documentary Tony Hawk was booed and hated by a lot of skaters in the early 80’s. I’m hoping to watch Nyjah Huston for the next few decades, being that he’s only 19.

My friend Mike Burrill at Village Psychic got on the course by volunteering for www.stoked.org . Mike wrote up a nice entry with great pictures. Check it out, http://www.villagepsychic.net/blog/2014/8/25/sticky-rails-in-jersey-with-prod

Staycation Means Get Moving, Shred, and Reevaluation

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Dear readers,

With a combination of smiles and frowns I present this week’s blog post:

A few weeks ago I posted I was going to be more social with the end of this summer. I decided trying to find my future wife in bars is simply an excuse to drink more. Although I think nights out are part of being an adult they can become too frequent really quick. I think a change is necessary, but I’m nixing going out more. Instead I’ll attempt some positive health changes.

I’m on vacation until after Labor Day, and it’s a staycation. My main goal this week is to skate everyday unless it rains. Mostly I’ll go to the Rockaway Beach mini or the Far Rockaway park. I invited my crew down Saturday, so that will be my social event of the week. I’m also open to skating any areas assessable by NYC transit. Tonight I got off of work at eight, and it was already dark. The days of skating after work are limited because I get out at 7 most nights. I might as well skate until I have a heart attack this week.

I know running will be beneficial for me. Since 2001 I’ve never been consistent with running. From 1998 to 2001 I was trim from running, only weighing a buck fifty. This week I need to start running. I’ll wake up and simply jog for fifteen minutes. I’m hoping from Tuesday to Monday I can jog five times. Hopefully returning to work in a week I’ll be amped and make the commitment to regularly run in the mornings. It’s totally within the realm of reason to run. I just need to make a routine. If I want a model wife I need to look good myself or at least get rid of my beer gut. Remember vanity is a virtue.

After Labor Day at Rockaway Beach swimming becomes illegal with the absence of lifeguards. I’m not the strongest swimmer and always think safety first. This week of leisure I’ll run first, swim in the ocean, and then skate. The weather is predicted to be hot. Hotter weather means more bikinis. At a bar once a friend told me staring at woman does not work. Perhaps this week, I can try to talk to women wearing bikinis. Any suggestions welcome on this pursuit. Beer on the beach is illegal so at least talking to women in bikinis I will not flirt with alcoholism like in bars.

Lastly, so this post does not exceed 500 words, I plan to grocery shop. I realize a good portion of my money goes to take out and dining. Another goal for this week is to eat the majority of my meals at home, and see how much money I save.

I will also read this week, and I’m sorry to report there will be more blog posts.

Sincerely,

The man with too many Adidas skate shoes and creator of mallisonwhat, Mr. Matt Allison

The Alien Workshop Collectable Debate, and Surf Shops Over Charge Skate Stuff

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On Thursday after work I got to skate a whopping fifteen minutes before I broke my board. I did not break it doing anything gnarly but on a measly heelflip on flatland going two miles an hours. Doing tricks I stomp down as if I’m allergic to being airborne, so I break boards sometimes. But the problem was that I wanted to skate Saturday because some of my crew planned to come to Rockaway.

On Friday I went to a surf shop that I won’t name to get a deck. I know they are local surfers and do good things for the community so I won’t call them out by name. But do they really have to take every skate product and add ten or more dollars above retail? Online or at legit skate shops a normal brand deck costs 50 to 55 bucks, at this surf shop decks are 60 to 65 bucks. Bones Swiss bearings in legit shops are 45 bucks, and at this surf shop they cost 60 bucks. They are nice enough but I don’t like that they rip off skaters, and I believe they add ten bucks to every freaking skate product.

Anyway I needed a board the next day, so I brought a deck. They had only one 8.5 deck, the size I ride, and it was an Alien Workshop deck. Alien Workshop went out of business this year, I think in May or June. A lot of people feel these decks will be collector items. In fact I’m glad I have one of their collaboration sets with the Andy Warhol museum on my wall. The Marilyn Monroe Warhol painting is cool in my opinion and even cooler on two skate decks side by side.

The surf shop did not know that these might be collector items while most skate shops pulled them off the shelves months ago. For a long time I liked Alien Workshop. I felt they had good wood, and good shapes. So I bought the deck. I posted a picture of it on instagram and facebook.  Quickly a few of my skate friends told me to keep the deck and not skate it. I decided I wanted to skate it, and I set it up. Saturday my friends came through and we had an epic skate day. I was at the Rockaway mini park from 2:30 to almost 8:00. By far it was my longest skate day of the summer. I liked the board right away and had the best skate day this year.

Like a dork I overthink things. I decided collecting stuff is stupid. Sure get a few decks and art for your wall, but to put value and meaning to objects is counterproductive. I moved in March of this year, and it took months to clean out a small apartment. I found Burger King receipts from 2010, and worse. So I’m glad that I’m transitioning from a hoarder to a minimalist.  I hope to improve on learning the ways of minimalists. If you need a skate deck, buy one and skate it. My wall has enough so I don’t need to buy more for decoration.

On a last note, I read 70 pages of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey but stopped reading it since I already know debt is bad. One thing I took from that book is the examples were problems from material things, people buying too much house, too much car, expensive clothes, or whatever. I’m starting to believe that collectibles, or things considered valuable don’t matter. What matters most is the interactions and memories people form over a lifetime. On that note if I learn to eat and drink cheaper I’ll be all set financially. I also need to learn to buy skate decks from skate shops that don’t overprice their goods.

Newsflash: I’m Acknowledging It’s Summer

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Dear readers,

Ever since I started skateboarding at age eleven when I get injured, even slightly, I take way too much time off. I think it’s a deep-rooted laziness in my subconscious that I secretly want to be a coach potato. I’d like to believe I admire athletic prowess, but maybe I don’t. In late June I rolled my ankle. A normal skater would ice it and take off two days or less. I ended up taking off three weeks.

With work and averaging eleven hours sleep each night this actually helped me manage my time to get my manuscript ready for the Writer’s Digest Conference. Last week I submitted sample chapters to agents by email, and I’m waiting for feedback from my beta readers. Basically with writing I need to wait at this point.

In March I moved to Rockaway Beach, ten blocks from where I work. Life is wonderful in that I can walk or skate to work. Seeing bikinis regularly doesn’t hurt either. There are three more weeks to summer, and most of this summer I’ve been indoors writing.

I’m going to acknowledge that it’s summer. Each day after work I’m going to skate the mini until it’s dark. I’m going to patronize local bars and restaurants more frequently. I’m going to swim in the ocean, and be outside more. I may try to wake up early, by early I mean 9, and start running. And I’ll theatrically put in pushups and sit-ups for good measure. Right now my beer gut doesn’t impress anyone. But starting to run now I can get ripped by November. Then I can gain it all back over the winter.

Today I checked my gmail account I created specifically for agent submissions way too much. I need to chill on that. My focus until September is that it’s summer and I live on a beach. I need to rip on a skateboard, get in shape, and start getting digits…………………..

Thanks everyone for allowing my self-indulgence,

Matt Allison

Founder of the mallisonwhat.com empire.

The Writer’s Digest Conference 2014 in NYC was Awesome!

10559920_10152305914491915_7890815206413654966_nI had a great time at the 2014 Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City last weekend. Once I signed up to go in May I revised an insane amount to clip my novel by a third and make it readable. I advise any ambitious writer with a completed manuscript to go to a conference where you pitch to agents.

Lilith is in my writing group at the Peninsula library in Rockaway Beach, and she went to the conference with me. I was glad to have someone to hang out with and practice my pitch. And I also helped her with her pitch. Both of us got ‘cards’ at the Pitch Slam and the green light to submit to agents. I’m rooting for both of us to get published.

Chuck Sambuchino is an editor at Writer’s Digest and was the host of this conference. On Friday afternoon he gave advice for the pitch slam. The pitch slam lasted an hour with 50 agents seated by the walls in alphabetical order. Participants pitched individually to agents for a total of three minutes. So a pitch lasted ninety seconds or less, and the agents then responded. Needless to say, people had questions. Mr. Sambuchino answered in an entertaining yet informative way.

Mr. Sambuchino answered questions throughout the weekend. His expertise confirms to me that Writer’s Digest is a good publication. On the ferry back to Rockaway Friday night Lilith and I practiced our pitch. We practiced again on the subway ride Saturday morning. Lilith’s pitch slam was before mine, and she looked happy when she came out. I was nervous. The next time I’ll sign up for an earlier session.

Once my pitch slam started the line filed into the room. An agent on my list only had one person in line and I’m glad I didn’t wait long for the first pitch. I calculated four people in line equaled twelve minutes, which is a good portion of an hour. I felt eight agents fit my novel, and I ended up talking to six. Out of the six, I got five cards. The one rejection said her agency no longer took dystopian. I moved on. Two of the agents that passed me cards let me go through my whole pitch without interrupting, and afterwards appeared genuine in their interest. The other three asked clarifying questions. The experience was worth going through. I know the agents are legit because they were vetted by Writer’s Digest.

Harlan Coben gave an amazing keynote on Saturday. This is paraphrased and not exact, but he said something like. If you have a talent outside of writing, something you are really good at, consider not writing. And All writers can’t do anything else, they’re disorganized and idiots. After my ten dollar Stella draft to celebrate my pitch slam I was very entertained. Kimberla Lawson Roby gave an inspiring closing keynote on Sunday. In 1995 in her mid-thirties she wanted to publish and was rejected fourteen times. Her husband took a loan on his 401k, and self-published her book. She sold her books through churches and urban communities well enough that she got a publishing contract quickly after. I wanted to ask her if doing this may be more difficult in 2014 compared to 1995, but there were enough questions for her to answer.

Nina Amir lectured and sat on a few panels I saw. She is a blogging expert. I learned I’ve been using wordpress.com when all along I should use wordpress.org. Yes, having two wordpresses on the Internet is confusing, but I’m questioning my librarian skills using the wrong one for so long. Nina Amir in her lecture pointed out that optimism is needed to succeed in the writing game. I’ve heard so many disgruntled people say getting published is impossible, and I think pessimism hinders ambition. I’ve already had that thought, but Nina Amir clarified the concept for me.

On Monday night I submitted to all five agents. I’d like to thank Fran, a member of our writing group at Peninsula library. She edited my novel for typos and punctuation making it a better read. She also edited my synopsis I needed to submit on short notice. She has become a writing mentor to Lilith and I. She is awesome.

I thought I submitted everything right but I forgot to put the word ‘Query’ in the subject line. The vast majority of agents that allow email submissions prefer ‘Query’ in the subject line. Goes to show getting everything right is tough. Now I’m not sure if I should resubmit correctly right away or wait some time.

I felt accepted talking to other aspiring writers, agents, and people in the field this weekend. My friend Lilith commented on the variety of backgrounds people had at the conference. Writers are weird, and that’s a good thing. Thanks Writer’s Digest!

Live Vicariously Through Books–Learn About Drugs

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Early this year I purchased The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, and The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley for the library I work for. Sometimes taking a chance pays off and both circulated a few times before I got my turn at them.  The Wolfe book is about LSD, and the Huxley book is about Mescalin. Both drugs I would not consider doing in real life, but I find interesting. Usually I prefer fiction, but I enjoy non-fiction that tells how people push boundaries.

Doors of Perception I didn’t like and found too academic. If you ever considered pursuing an advanced art degree I recommend it because I counted a ten-page obsession about draperies in the work of various art masters. Everyone else can skip it. In this seventy-page thesis the most interesting thing is he states how destructive legal alcohol and tobacco are because of car crashes and cancer. This book came out in 1956, and people use the same arguments today.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test I recommend because it explains the thought behind the hippy movement. Recently I read both On the Road and Dharma Bums by Jack Karouac.  So I knew that Karouac wrote about a person named Neal Cassady. Guess what, this Cassady is part of group Wolfe documents. Another author, Ken Kesey, is the focus of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.  Some time after Kesey published One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest he decided to support an entourage of sorts who called themselves The Merry Pranksters.  They did a lot of drugs including acid, and Cassady was a central figure. Sadly sometime in the book in NYC they see Karouac and labeled him as part of the old generation. Karouac died in 1969, only a year after Wolfe’s book came out.

In this book the music is important, and the Grateful Dead played at their events. Jefferson Airplane is mentioned as well. Strangely Jimi Hendrix does not get mentioned, and that makes me assume his fame was short since he died in 1970.  There was a lot going on at the time, including Vietnam and this book reads better than a history book.

Kesey was pretty wild.  He faked is own death in order to skip jail time. Then he hid out in Mexico until he was caught.

Kesey and this group did heavy drug use, and tried to bring out their artistic talents this way. They did one thing that I think is horrible. At one of their events they laced the Kool-Aid punch with acid and did not tell the attendees. Even though I think drugs should be legal no one should alter beverages or give people drugs without their knowledge. Other than that, Kesey and his entourage made a choice on how to live their lives. They did the opposite of the respectable 9 to 5, and lived for the moment. Now that I’m learning that Kesey, Kerouac, Wolfe, and others were connected in the literary scene I may read more from this time period. Maybe the 1960’s in the United States was much cooler than expatriate Paris in the 1920’s. From this book I got one suggestion to read. Apparently Hunter S. Thompson wrote a book on the Hell’s Angels, and I want to read it.

Ironically, most of Kesey’s legal troubles in this book were from marijuana charges, not his other shenanigans.  For a long time people have wanted weed legalized, hopefully that can happen soon on the federal level, not this state-by-state crap.  Lastly, I’m glad that people can read books on all aspects of humanity without censorship. I’ll never do heroin, but I found Requiem for a Dream fascinating. Prior to 1959 everything was censored in the United States. People write books on everything so everyone doesn’t have to do everything. Ha.

Mall Grabs, Mongo pushers, and Long Boarders are the Only Posers in 2014

Photo on 2014-07-21 at 20.15

MALL GRABS

Pictured above I’m executing a double reverse mall grab with shades on. For those of you that don’t know a mall grab is carrying one’s skateboard by the truck. In the late 80’s and 90’s mall grabs did not qualify one as a poser. A few years ago when I learned of mall grabs I thought who f—-ing cares how people carry their board.  Hatred of mall grabs has increased at least 75 percent since 2011. Enough so that any skater walking around for significant periods of time holding his or her board that way is clueless about skateboarding in the year 2014.  If the board is fresh with no marks on it, be double wary.

PUSHING MONGO

Mongo is simply pushing with your front foot. It’s always been ugly and a sign of a newbie.  Some skaters rip and push this way, but most graduate to pushing regularly. In the year 2014 even pushing switch mongo is suspect. Fortunately, this is something that can be easily achieved by any skater. All one has to do is push with one’s back foot. This makes it easier on the eyes, and sets one up much better for tricks. Even if you don’t do tricks, pushing the regular way gives one instantaneous brownie points.

LONG BOARDERS

Long boards have gotten the fitting nickname of ‘wrong boards.’  Their legions have come up with a marketing ploy. They promote it to college kids and grownups that are new to skating. They tempt them with logic like with long boards you simply cruise, no worries about tricks. Recent studies show that long boarders get into more accidents than regular skateboarders. Here are a few reasons: oversized boards make it harder to maneuver, long boarders only cruise on streets as opposed to skating spots, and a bunch of newbies are bombing hills on them. Long boarders are not skateboarders. On the other hand cruiser boards are acceptable. If you’re not interested in tricks, get a cruiser.

SOAP BOX

Three weeks ago I rolled my ankle on a switch frontside varial. Like a poser I took way too much time off. Getting back this weekend I felt movement on my knee while riding a mini ramp. Basically I need to do some reevaluation of my skating goals.  The world will continue to spin if I stay away from switch frontside varials.  If I take a break from kickflips I’m still a skater. Part of skating is trying to progress in some way. That means doing things correctly, doing tricks, and also adapting to your circumstances.  My skating level does not compare to when I was 16 years old, I lost a lot of tricks. To me the most important thing about skateboarding is to keep doing it, even when you go through times of change, and injuries.

CONCLUSION

Even if you are a skateboard poser, you are ten times better in my book than the scooter kids. Scooter nation can go to hell.