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

Photo on 2014-07-21 at 20.15


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.


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 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.


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.


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.

Third Revision Complete. Woo hoo!!!!!


I completed the third revision of my novel. I worked on it from late may to early July. I printed out each chapter, and edited with emphasis on making tighter prose. For each chapter I did two careful revisions from print outs and a pen.

Regularly I revised one chapter a night, and at most three chapters in a day. With all 64 chapters revised I condensed my novel from 88,000 words to 59,000 words. I did this without cutting any scenes.

My organization of the draft revisions on the computer worked perfectly. I copied and pasted each chapter into a new file. All the files started with the same abbreviation and only varied by the number at the end. I put all chapter files in one folder in order. When I copied and pasted the files into a new complete draft the last file used was highlighted, making it easy to keep track of the order. 10439420_10152249708696915_5413390059448465240_n

I’m convinced five years ago I could not revise this effectively.  Also with blogging, and video editing my computer skills are enough to organize a manuscript. I’m proud I kept my writing ambition, and that I’ve kept learning things.  I’m glad I signed up for the Writer’s Digest Conference in early August. Having a wish to complete my manuscript by then pushed me into over drive. This weekend I’ll do my last edit of reading the whole work out loud in one day.

Originally when I read that advice I thought it meant mostly for typos. Researching online further I learned it can be a major edit. One can find repetitiveness, inconsistencies, and whole sections that need reworking.  Multiple articles suggest reading every word out loud clearly, and mark the corrections. I got post-it notes and pens ready. I’ll correct or mark mistakes quickly, and read on. I learned there is a benefit to reading it all in the short timeframe of a day. I’m hoping I can make these corrections within a week, and have my manuscript ready. But I need to see how many problems I catch in the process.

I planned to wait a week before reading the draft out loud. So I worked on my query letter the past few days. I emailed the first query draft to my friends, and family who agreed to read my novel draft when I’m ready to share.  Several people gave me solid pointers and I made a better second draft. I sent that draft to a few former instructors and got great feedback from one so far.

My plan is to memorize a pitch similar to my query letter. After the writer’s conference I’ll start tailoring each query letter to specific agents for submission. Lastly throughout this process I’ve learned a lot by researching online, and evaluating what I read. Some of the best suggestions I’ve gotten are from writer’s digest.  I hope their conference is terrific.

Two Announcements For the Public

July 7, 2014

Dear Reader,

Announcement one:

For whatever reason everyday for a month I’ve gotten email notifications of a comment to approve or not on my blog. I scroll the comment with anticipation before realizing it is spam. Either dropped the ball on their filtering system, or spammers outsmarted them.

I decided to hell with comments, I don’t get many anyway. makes it tricky to block comments.  Typing my concern into google helped.  On the settings feature I unchecked ‘allow comments on new posts,’ and I checked ‘after 14 days disable comments.’ Most of my spam was from older posts.  Saving those two setting features should work. And it won’t delete the real comments I received.

I’m sure experts recommend allowing all comments, but who wants to read spam?  I’m not allowing any future comments on this blog. People can still email me since my that’s listed on the about page.

Announcement two:

I read The Circle by Dave Eggers. I learned a few years ago that fiction should not be moralistic. Even though Dave Eggers is too blatant with his viewpoint the topic of emerging technology is timely. I recommend my library friends read it because the themes of intellectual freedom, and privacy with social media.  The book questions if all technology should be blindly accepted. A lot of social media has invasive potential on individual rights and privacy.

In addition to the conspiracy theme of the book, it highlights how social media changes everyone’s interaction to each other.  I decided that I’m going to use social media less. I will continue to blog on a weekly basis, but compulsive regular posts hurt my cause. I’m calling it the dork factor. No one can possible be interested in everything I do. I’ll blog once a week, and post on facebook when I got something to say, but I’ll consciously avoid posting daily.

Thanks for your time,

Matt Allison, founder of

Setting Priorities, and Self Evaluation

Dear Readers,

Last week I felt crappy because I received such little feedback for my epic book review post. No one cares if I write, and I need to realize that’s okay. I don’t get paid to blog, and never had a high view count. To attempt a popular blog I’d need to start over with separate blogs for skateboarding, librarianship, and literature. That’s too much effort. But I can schedule time to post an entry once a week.

As far as personal benefits, blogging has improved my writing. After five years and more than 250 posts I’ve documented my life too. Without blogging regularly I would not have completed my novel, and then revise it effectively. In this respect my blog is a success.

I’m an optimistic greedy person. My expectations are fantasies, so it is a downer I’m not famous yet. My future fortunes will come from selling my novel or winning the lottery, not from blogging. I am definitely reevaluating my future blog content.

Even though libraries are cool compared to other fields I need to keep my blog profanity free and non-controversial. As a blogger no one backs you up or validates you, and if your post offends someone you face the consequences alone.

I don’t want to attempt journalism. Researching and interviewing makes the process tedious. The bloggers that act like reporters do stand out. But I simply want to write once a week. If I wrote a real article I should submit it to a larger website or magazine.

Book reviews are good once in awhile. I’m obsessed with skateboarding and can always write opinion pieces on that.  For some time now I’ve avoided writing about myself. Early on blogging I’d write about my weekend, or a day like a diary entry. I now feel that’s fair game. If I lack ideas mid week, writing anything is better than nothing.

With summer, work, skating, and revising my novel I’m busy. I’m going to keep my entries short and to the point.  Now that I finally bought ink cartridges, I will edit every entry with paper and pen. Hopefully this process will produce cleaner edits.

Although difficult for me I will try to have fun with my blog. Maybe being so serious like the tone of this entry turns off readers. Lastly, obsessing over my novel is good, but I should relax with the blog. Mallisonwhat is still in the family car, but firmly in the back seat.

Word is bond,


A Review of ‘A Room With No Windows’ by Scott Hobbs Bourne: Degenerate Lit Rules

photo (1)

On a selfish google search of ‘skateboard novels’ I found Quartersnacks review of Scott Hobbs Bourne book. Here’s the link to that, . With the review of A Room With No Windows stating erotic content and skateboarding together I felt I needed to read it. My first intent was to make sure someone didn’t already do my novel. Luckily this book contains no skateboarding, and is different from my work.

There are a certain type of readers that fall in love with the prose of Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, and other writers some consider misogynistic. The themes of drinking, promiscuity but also modern day philosophy ring true to many.  Throughout reading A Room With No Windows I kept thinking it as the author’s tribute to Miller and Bukowski. Instead of Paris in the 1930’s, or Los Angeles in the 1960’s, the city is San Francisco in the 1990’s.

Between 1992 and 1999 San Francisco became the mecca for skateboarding. Thousands of skateboarders’ worldwide moved there, and tried to get sponsorship. Some got sponsored, and I’m sure a lot of them went through interesting times pursuing skating in that city.

The author Scott Hobbs Bourne had skate sponsors. Below is one of his skate parts. On the interview of him online below he states he purposely did not include skating in this novel. The novel works without it. But hopefully someone will take the starving skateboarder story and write about it.

In my opinion what makes Bourne’s novel work is the setting. I’ve never been to San Francisco but as the story progressed I almost visualized it. When he’s in a coffee house flirting with sales clerks to get free coffee the prose flows. The description of the rental house, and the reason he lives in a windowless room are great too. The bars he frequents, the junkies, the seediness of the city, and even the cat makes sense.

The main character is promiscuous, and saw various parts of San Francisco by waking up in different rooms. The sex scenes are well written, and the eventual love interest had depth. I don’t think it’s humor but the situations in the novel are comical. The character and his housemates don’t want to work, and they conned themselves into a profitable valet service at a nice restaurant.

If you’re interested in what San Francisco was like in the 1990’s read this book. Being a skateboarder or not does not matter. The time period of the 1990’s is the last relic of the pre cell phone days. And may be the last time frame for novels like these. If you like this book do yourself a favor by reading Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, and other classic degenerate authors.


ULU’s 5th Annual Read-In Was Awesome


On June 7th to June 8th Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) had their 5th annual 24-hour read in.  Four out of five years I’ve gone in the middle of the night. This year I got there at midnight and stayed past 2 am. I find it calming to be outside late at night embracing reading and libraries.

In 2009 ULU came up with the read in to protest huge proposed budget cuts to libraries. For the next four years libraries faced proposed budget cuts. ULU did unique advocacy during this time. This year there are no proposed budget cuts. The idea now is to bring adequate funding to libraries. If the city funded libraries by 65 million more, libraries could open for six day a week service everywhere.

The idea of expanding library service gives more optimism, and less angst concerning the budget.  My experience with the read in this year was a celebration of the 24 hour read in and libraries.  The city would benefit from six-day library service, but everyone is relieved there will be no layoffs.

At last year’s read in I read the first chapter of Tropic of Cancer.  This year I thought of reading Last Exit to Brooklyn, but thought it a little rough.  I put both in my backpack and read excerpts from both over two fifteen minute slots.  I’m a big fan of these books because of their banning history. Also I may not have known these works prior to going to library school. I few of my classmates, and later some of my colleagues discuss literature. To me literature and libraries are connected.  It’s interesting I can celebrate books that were illegal to own or read at one point.

Every year I go the read in. Libraries are far from being out of budget trouble so advocacy is needed now.  I’m hoping that the read-in will have a ten-year annual, twenty-year, and so on. Lastly I’d like to thank Christian Zabriskie and Lauren Comito, the founders of ULU, for all their hard work for library advocacy!



Askate, and Other Great Skateboarding Non-Profits



On June 1st at the house of vans in Brooklyn there was an Askate event. This non-profit introduces kids with autism to skateboarding.  The kid I paired up with grabbed the board immediately, and with my help rode. He needed a hand, and I trotted beside him.  My expectations were wrong. I’m proud that I adapted to his ability.  By the end I was able to let go of his hands for several seconds before stopping him. Also he rode down banks sitting on the board alone. I also ran beside down the bank ramps while he stood on the board. The father was appreciative, and the kid had fun. I learned a lot my first time teaching skating.  For the second hour I observed others and talked to friends.

Here is Askate’s website, and I recommend skaters get involved when they go to nearby cities.

I’m glad that there are non-profits in skateboarding, and here are some of my other favorites.


Skateistan is a skate school in Afganistan, and Cambodia. They teach kids, including street kids, how to skate. And they provide education in a country that doesn’t provide that for everyone. They have a documentary, a book out, and a large Internet presence. I think it’s a good platform that creative and ambitious non-profits can help troubled areas.

———Tony Hawk Foundation

Even though in the 1990’s some of us thought vert was dead, in 2014 Tony Hawk is the ambassador of skateboarding. The goal of his foundation is to get skate parks built in low-income areas.  Last year he gave a great donation to Detroit’s Ride it Sculpture initiative.

——–Sheckler Foundation

Ryan Sheckler is only in his twenties and already gives back.  They build skate parks and do other charity work. Recently his funding opened up a skate park on an Indian Reservation in Washington State.

——–Grind for Life

The non-profit, Grind for life, was started by cancer survivor, Mike Rogers. Their mission is to help fund medical bills for skateboarders who need urgent medical care. In this country medical bills are crazy for everyone, but serious skaters a lot of times do not have any medical coverage.

——-The Harold Hunter Foundation

Harold Hunter passed away in 2006, and many felt he represented New York City skating. This foundation helps urban skaters from low economic backgrounds in a variety of ways. One thing they do is each summer they pay for some promising young skaters from New York City to go to Woodward Skate Camp in Pennsylvania.

I’m happy to be a skater today. A lot of skaters do good things to promote and share the sport.