Yes, I’m Always Single, Get Over It.

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Social norms are easing up on marriage expectations and sexual orientations. But one thing remains the same. People that are perpetually single stand out. You don’t have to be married or straight, but you better have a significant other. This blog entry is for all the people that are mostly solo, and that includes me.

Friends and family perceive someone always single as being unhappy. Perhaps many single people are frustrated, but some purposely avoid relationships. I get this a lot as teasing from friends and conversations with family. Since I’m never seen with a woman, it’s odd. I know everyone has the best attentions but I’m annoyed and I don’t need advice.

I work full time, have writing ambitions, and want to do things that take time. The idea of a relationship where I’m on someone else’s schedule was not appealing to me for a long time. I’m self absorbed, and I didn’t want conversations over dinner every freaking night. My thoughts could not circle around myself that way, and I’d have to actually listen to someone.

Now that I’ve made some positive changes in my life, I may be more ready, but I’m not rushing myself. I’d rather do all sorts of things on my evenings instead of trolling on dating websites. With stopping drinking, I can’t be a regular in a bar. What I can do is continue to work on improving myself, in hopes to be a better match in the near future.

Here are two things I can do to make myself more confident and marketable.

  1. Get in shape and be attractive.
  2. Get in control of my finances.

I live in New York City and people do respond to beauty. I know trying to look better can be a false incentive. Getting in shape would have other tangible benefits like I’d skateboard better, and be more athletic. One reason I’m perpetually single is my standards are high, and one way to deal with that is to look better myself. My goal is to get in good shape over winter. Then if I have a flat stomach I’ll consider getting new clothes, and make an effort.

This year I moved. I had to get blinds, a sofa, and art for my walls, which was expensive. I’m committed to being sober, and therefore will make better choices on how I spend my money. I’m lucky to get retro pay soon from work. So my goal is to pay off my student loans and my credit card debt before getting my tax-refund. That way I can start my savings soon.

Therefore, I’m not even trying for a relationship until spring. I want to achieve fitness and get out of debt before anything else. If I do those two things I will have confidence, stability, and no burdens or debt. All of those are attributes one wants in a partner. Basically I need to get where I want to be before I think of a relationship.

If I don’t meet someone, I don’t care that much. To me in the modern world one should not seek to meet the expectations of others, and one can stay single into old age. There are enough humans in the world, and not everyone has to breed or do the family thing.

Open Letter to Facebook on the Offensive ‘Skater Trainer’ Advertisements

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Dear Facebook,

Stop bullying me! I am foaming at the mouth in anger and self doubt as I write this. I find the fact that the ‘skater trainer’ advertisement is continually in my facebook feed offensive. Are you saying I can’t skate? Are you implying that my pop is weak and I haven’t skated since 1990?

Yes, facebook, I skateboard, you are correct with your fancy user analytics. I am not sponsored, and my skateboarding may not be impressive. But I am not a beginner skater. Let me put this way facebook. Do you put advertisements for the latest tricycle technology to bicycle enthusiasts? Do you put advertisements on how to walk a mile to marathon runners? If not, you are assuming all adults interested in skateboarding are beginners. Shame on you!

‘Skater Trainer’s’ normally sell for $30 but now are at the special price of $19.99. For this you get four pieces of rubber with holes that fit over the skate wheels. The idea is with these rubber globs on the wheels one can try tricks stationary without rolling. As I kid I did something similar by simply trying tricks standing stationary on grass. ‘Skater Trainer’ is a gimmick and true beginners can simply do the same thing on a patch of grass. Also rolling is a significant part of learning to skate. In five to ten years from now none of the Street League champions or pros will thank ‘Skater Trainers’ for getting their game on. I’m willing to bet on it.

So facebook you not only harassed me about my skating ability you also are putting a lame product in my feed. If you’re going to market adult skateboarders give me something cool. Suggest I read NY Skateboarding, Thrasher, Transworld, Jenkem or Crailtap. Or run advertisements stating twenty-something female models prefer older skateboarding men for companions. Lying is not the issue. Basically put stuff in my feed that makes me happy and not bummed out.

I still can’t live without you facebook, but just make it a better relationship for all adult skateboarders and myself.

Yours Truly Forever,

Matt Allison

(Founder of mallisonwhat.com)

 

IMHO Banned Books and School Book Challenges are a Separate Issue

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Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read what one chooses and a reminder that censorship is bad. Overall I’m glad there is a week the literary world and the library world can shine in the news. This week gets far more press than library appreciation week in spring. But I feel the scope of what Banned Books week includes is too broad, specifically I feel book challenges in schools should be a separate issue.

First off, in grad school at Kent State I took a course on Intellectual Freedom and I became a fan of the history of federally banned books in the United States. In the 1930’s James Joyce’s Ulysses was the first to get the federal ban lifted, and it had to prove that it had literary merit. In 1959 Lady’s Chatterley’s lover by D.H. Lawrence had its 30-year ban lifted. In 1961 Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller had it’s 27 year ban lifted.

Those historic court cases paved the way for literary freedoms that we know today. By the mid 1960’s to present day there has been very little censorship on the government level for printed material. This new liberating mindset expanded into music and movie production. Along with the Civil Rights laws the freedom of press changes are one of the best things to come out of the 1960’s or perhaps all of the twentieth century. Society and culture would not be the same if the censorship laws never changed or were delayed a few decades. To me the fact that no books are outlawed now is enough to celebrate Banned Books Week.

For some reason though, there is more focus on school challenges during Banned Books Week. Let me put it this way. Not having certain books in public elementary, middle, or high schools is not denying books to that person. If a child’s parent allows, he or she still has access to the controversial book. Parental control laws are serious, and not changing. Parents can decide what to allow their kids to read or watch. In my mind the fact that once kids turn 18 they can read anything belittles the importance of school challenges.

Now I’ll back peddle to finish that public library challenges are important. Public libraries service all ages. I think anything traditionally published, and in library distribution centers can be in public library collections. In that intellectual freedom class I learned that if there is any interest in the community for a book or material, the public library should consider putting it in the collection. Since public libraries serve all ages I think the challenges are more important than the school challenges.

I’m trying to be a little contradictory to the library norm, but in general having a Banned Books Week is better than not having a Banned Book Week. The different focuses are all in the same spirit.

Chocolate Slappy Sunday NYC Session Was Fantastic

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Alex Corporan is a NYC skate legend, and he now organizes skate events. If you’ve seen his facebook or instagram feed lately he’s posted epic stuff everyday for the past week. Chocolate is in town celebrating their 20th anniversary, the Dew Tour was in Brooklyn, and basically it’s on. Living in Rockaway now I can’t make daily and nightly events. But when I saw Chocolate was coming to our Slappy Sunday Astor session the only way I’d miss it was if it rained.

Sometimes with events they get crowded, so to actually get some skating in I met Simon Heath, Jim Moore, Sean Gallagher, and Jacob Koehler at the Tribeca skate park. I got there at 11:30 and skated a good hour and a half before we decided to trek across town to Astor.

We got to Astor at 1:30 when Chocolate advertised 2:00. Simon and I went to Papaya Dog for healthy food, and academic discussion. We got back to Astor and started to skate, our friend Mike White was there. When Chico Brenes showed up I pointed my retro Chocolate collar shirt from the late 1990’s to him, and he seemed like a nice guy. Shortly after I started to skate. Kenny Anderson, and other sponsored skaters ripped. Some of the Chocolate team did not skate, and probably saved it for the official demo at the LES skate park later that day.

I was energized and skated with the rest. I don’t think there are many sports that regular people can session with pros, and I felt comfortable skating. At one point I looked up and there were skaters seating all along the opposite curb. I didn’t realize how many were there until I looked, but I’d say fifty people or more watched. Not everyone skated, so people that wanted to were able. I’ve tried an impossible to disaster before, but I really tried it on this session. I landed into disaster several times, but bounced off with bails and some slams. Someone more agile on the board would have stuck it, but I’m amped that I came close to getting it. Our good friend Gizzy Collado ripped the sesson. One skater I did not recognize but I’m positive was sponsored did a fast frontside 180 up the curb the hard way, and then did a switch frontside 180 wally the hard way off the street light post. I had to jump out his way but it was such a cool trick to witness.

I don’t think anyone can complain about the length of the session being over an hour, but of course the cops gave us the boot. With a crowd like that everyone knew and we got the epic photo first. I was so energized by this session, but tired too. I went back home to rockaway shortly after because I worried if I’d stay I’d drink beer. I decided that blogging a sobriety pledge post and then drinking the next day would be self defeating. I should have stayed a little longer to see the Chocolate team rip the LES skate park.

This NYC skate crew has such a positive vibe, and it’s a joy seeing everyone regularly. I’m lucky not only to skate at my age, but also to be a part of this NYC awesomeness.

Getting Back on The Wagon, Hopefully for a While This Time

In the never ending quest for more blog views I’m going to get personal on this one. I hope that going public will give me incentive to make a positive life change, after many failed attempts. I smoked cigarettes off and on from age 18 to 32 before I quitted permanently. I’m not blasting coke or out of control, but I know I should basically not drink at all.

Since I was 17 I’ve taken medication for a serious condition. Throughout my adult life this has been a consideration for me. But going on a few decades my troubles seem like a memory even though I’ll take this medication my whole life. I’m not supposed to drink at all, but I’ve gone back and forth throughout my adult life. I’ve never gotten to the alcoholic stage or drinking everyday. I’m more of the binging on the weekend type.

For about two years starting in 2009 I did not drink at all. Most of what I remember was being bored, and having no social life. That is something I’ll need to work on, I need to replace nights out with a positive endeavor. I’m hoping to skateboard, start running, and be more active.

Even though no doctor would tell me to go ahead and drink on my condition, I’m not worried about a relapse. In the past four years I’ve taken Benadryl to help me sleep. A lot of times I over sleep on my days off. Today I slept until four pm. I did not go to two skate sessions today because I slept so much. Luckily my friend was at my local park so I got to skate with people in the evening.

My doctor feels that my medication and Benadryl are a good combination that I should not stop. I think that in the past three years adding alcohol to that cocktail has made me exhausted on weekends. I make it to work everyday, but if I’m able to I sleep too much. Also in the past few years I’ve done some risky behavior. I would not have done that behavior without being drunk or stoned.

My doctor has told me this repeatedly, that I can’t compare myself to others on this issue. For me I function better sober, and I need to realize that. If I want to skate well, write well, exercise and do stuff in addition to my career, I need to be focused.

On the opposite note, I have fun partying. I can’t imagine never being inebriated again. But I know with every night out, I’m more likely to make it habitual. There is a little bit of a chill in the air, so my goal is to hibernate for winter already, be more active, lay off the booze, and reevaluate in spring.

Dismissing Literary Works Belittles All Writers

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Tuesday’s post generated 237 views that day, which is the most ever for mallisonwhat.com. Partly this is because I shared that post on the ALA Think Tank (ALATT) group on facebook. This group has over 9,000 librarians with varying degrees of alcohol problems who post like maniacs. Everyday ALATT gets hundreds of posts. But I’m taking some credit with the high view count in that I wrote a good post. So I’m going to follow up that post and mention one important thing I forgot about this demented article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexis-kleinman/stop-lying-about-your-fav_b_5772168.html

No revising may be a problem with blogging. For a few days thinking up my rebuttal to that article I wanted to include writers in addition to readers, but when I wrote it I forgot. Now after the post being popular, I can’t simply go back and change that one.

To summarize Tuesday’s blog post, http://mallisonwhat.com/2014/09/17/the-difference-between-intelligence-and-pretentiousness/ , I felt that the Huffington Post article belittled the love for literature. To say that people only post literary works on facebook as there top ten books for bragging rights is short sighted. The writer is confusing pretentiousness and intelligence. Promoting literature is a great thing, and much larger than the few annoying elitists out there.

Now I will go into my new point. The Huffington Post article toward the end states there is nothing wrong with reading fun or light books. That is absolutely true. I’m in the camp of thinking reading anything is better than reading nothing, especially for young reluctant readers. I got interested in reading from the Robert B. Parker paperbacks sprawled around my house growing up, and then found literature in college. There is nothing wrong with personal reading choices.

I recently read On Writing by Stephen King. Stephen King is one of the more rich authors out there, but no one classifies his work as literary. Towards the end of the book he tells his current routine, and he reads eighty or more books a year. In the paperback edition of On Writing he gives a reading list of his favorites from the past five to ten years. The books have variety including literary works.

My point, that I’m willing to gamble on, is that the majority of published authors are well read. Authors like J.K. Rowling studied writing, and being a writer includes reading a ton. Even though this tongue and cheek Huffington Post article tries to promote reading for fun it belittles all writers past and present. Published work is the collective body of literature, and part of the civilized world. We need the literary work and we need the fluff. But all writers have studied the craft.

Not everyone can write a bestseller and not everyone can write a literary work. But all books should be celebrated for how they improve every individual reader. And all writers should be respected.

Lastly, here’s a simple update. I’m stoked that I got so many views. I can’t post every freaking one on ALA Think Tank because not all of my posts are about librarianship. What I can do is try to write good posts two or three times a week to keep up the momentum. I decided I’m not revising my novel until January so until then I can definitely beef up my blog efforts and shamelessly promote it.

The Difference Between Intelligence and Pretentiousness

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“I hate intelligent people.” I said in a bar in Kent Ohio circa 2003.

“No. You don’t hate intelligent people. You hate pretentious people.” The response I got.

Every few years or so there is a viral facebook share revolving literature. A few weeks ago one went around to post ten books that affected one’s life, and then tag people to see various responses. It’s fun and you get to see what your friends like. Tejas Desai tagged me, and also included this Huffington Post article, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexis-kleinman/stop-lying-about-your-fav_b_5772168.html . I gladly posted my ten life changing books, and then read the horrendous article. Like a hundred or so others readers I could post a comment on the article to voice my opinion. But making my own blog post puts more emphasis on myself.

The quote I opened this up with did open my eyes shortly after arriving to Grad school. During my undergrad I was a commuter student. I read a lot being an English major, but I was not confident enough to pursue an advanced English degree. Some of the Masters students I met read a lot more than I did, and in a few cases seemed arrogant. But I went to Kent State a few years later for my library degree and ended up reading more than before. I learned the lesson that personal knowledge is not the problem, but personality traits matter more. Someone that pretentiously talks down to people about literature in another setting would bully someone on the basketball court.

I feel so much in life is availability to opportunity and that makes pretentious people annoying. A person who read Grapes of Wrath is not a better person than someone who has not. Some of the most intelligent people I’ve met are not avid readers. The majority of adults are not avid readers. This Huffington Post article implies an interest in literature is calculated, exaggerated, and fake. Sure there are showboats out there, but that is natural with any human endeavor.

On my ten books, most are classics, and serious literature. I did not read much until high school. In college I first read a sample from Tracks by Louise Erdrich in my freshman comp class, and then I bought the book. The reading was so different, and unique it’s the first book that grabbed me in that special way. Reading a great book can be life changing, and does leave an impression on the reader. However ten people can have ten different reactions to a book. Unlike movies the sound, visuals, and feeling are all interpreted by the readers mind. That’s why when I saw the Harry Potter movies I was surprised by the pronunciation of the evil teachers name, Snape, because I ignored the ‘e’ at the end.

Reading a book that you connect with is priceless, and a lifetime pursuit. Sometimes you read over ten books you could care less about, and then you pick a winner. There are millions of librarians, teachers, and professors that promote literature in a positive and inclusive way. I realize that this Huffington Post article was tongue and cheek, but I just want to make clear that it’s okay to be proud of reading literature. In grad school and later when I moved to NYC, I got into the habit of asking people their favorite book. A lot of the times when I did that I got a very good book to read.

Lastly, let everyone know your favorite book. Wear a shirt with the book title on it, tattoo it on a visible part of your body, and finally recommend it to as many people as you can. Be proud that you read literature. For my last poke at this article, I’m pretentiously listing most of the books I rated 5 stars on goodreads!

Jude the Obscure, Tender is The Night,The Easy Way to Stop Smoking, Native Son, Indignation, Notes From the Underground, And Then There Were None, Little Women, Under the Glacier, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, The Autobiography of Malcolm X To Kill a Mockingbird, Malcolm X, The Golden Notebook, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Underworld, The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness, The Double Bind, The Trial, The Grapes of Wrath, Blindness,Tess of the d’Urbervills, 1984, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay , Remains of the Day, Invisible Man, East of Eden Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test The House of the Spirits, Crime and Punishment,   Just Kids, The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, Suite Francaise, The Naked and the Dead, I, Claudius, Tropic of Cancer, Chronicler of  the Winds, American pastoral, On Chesil Beach, Remember Me Like This, Light in August, Lolita, 1Q84,The Jungle, Freedom, Infidel, Midnight’s Children, Dead Souls, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Life (Keith Richards),The Book Thief, The Confederacy of Dunces, The Tin Drum, Tracks, Portnoy’s Complaint