Chocolate Slappy Sunday NYC Session Was Fantastic


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 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:

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, , 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, . 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


‘Ten Talk New York’, a Short Film Worth Viewing

Simon J. Heath is a rad person and I’m fortunate that we’ve become friends in the last few years. Simon is also a talented film director with serious and legit credits. In January he premiered his short film ‘Ten Men Talk New York,’ and it featured some of our skate crew among other New York City locals. During questions at the premier a woman in the audience asked ‘why not include women?’

Simon interviewed women for this edit and used the previous interviews as well. ‘Ten Talk New York’ premiered last Saturday. Unfortunately I could not make the premier but I bought the forty-minute short film for less than two bucks on Simon’s website. I enjoyed the first one because I was excited to see my bros, and it was entertaining. Simon edited it in a way that it has a personal connection like each person is simply talking in a bar. On this edit I think having around ten men and ten women gives the whole project more depth.

Simon basically asked these one-word prompts: Sex, Love, Race, Death, Old NYC, New NYC, Best, and Worst. From my understanding after giving those prompts he let the interviewees talk. With more interviewees I think the race question was more interesting, and with Death, September 11th came up more than the previous edit. Also there was a little more variety with the old versus new New York City, which I felt refreshing.

As far as the women interviewed I knew Anastasia. Amy, the owner of the KCDC skate shop was interviewed. The owner of Max Fish was interviewed. The rest of the women I did not recognize, but that’s okay. I felt they all added to an already good project.

The people interviewed in this film are part of the skate, art, or bar scene in the Lower East Side. They are natives or lived there a long time. The ages ranged from late twenties to sixties. So you get viewpoints from the 1970’s to the 2000’s. I am a New York City transplant, and so is Simon. I think it’s important for people that move here to learn the history. If we skate Astor Square every Sunday it’s important to know that people skated there since the 1980’s. If you drink in the Lower East Side, that’s were punk rock started among other cultural trends.

My viewing of this edit is a little different since I saw the first edit, so I knew what most of the men already stated. This edit does Sam, Erick, Gizmo, Alex, Ernesto, Big Jim, AJ, JR, and the rest of the men justice. They add to it like the women do, it’s a whole piece. I think people interested in New York City history will enjoy this, and it would be exciting to see all of it for the first time.

Simon told me he will shop this out to film festivals, so you can see it before other people do. Lastly, I think Simon’s wife Edina was the producer on this film. And after the credits their adorable son Van Drax takes up the whole screen!

Here is the link to the website to purchase and view the film.

I recommend ‘Remember Me Like This’ by Bret Anthony Johnston


In the fall of 2011 I took a class at Gotham Writer’s in New York City. The instructor Jacob M. Appel recommended I read the author Bret Anthony Johnston since I was interested in writing about skateboarding. In December of 2012 I saw Bret Anthony Johnston answer questions after the New York City screening of the ‘Waiting For Lightning’ documentary on Danny Way. In the summer of 2014 I emailed my former instructor for advice on querying agents, and he reiterated I should read Bret Anthony Johnston.

I requested Bret Anthony Johnston’s new debut novel Remember Me Like This, from my library system and got it in a few weeks. I am glad I read this book, and I recommend it to everyone. The plot line is intense. It starts with a family in Texas and their eleven-year-old son was kidnapped while skateboarding four years before. Shortly into the novel he is found. The novel is written in third person and goes into the thought process of all the family members except for the victimized son. I’ve heard the advice with writing to not hold back on information. This novel proves that is not always true because the tidbits of information are delivered throughout the novel slowly.

The family characters are the victimized son, the younger son, the father, the mother, and the grandfather. Psychologically the characters are well developed and I felt their ordeal gripping. There is also a lot of description, it’s summer and hot on the Texas coast. I just went to a conference and learned not to overdo description, but I feel this gave the reader a good idea of what a Texas town on the Gulf Coast in like.

With the skateboarding themes my work is safe because this is different. The skateboarding scenes in Remember Me Like This are authentic. As a skateboarder my stomach turned when it finally came out how the kid was kidnapped. I won’t give out a spoiler alert but I realized that could happen to a skateboard kid. The skateboarding is the two sons hobby, and is mentioned enough to interest skaters. Johnston does not get into describing tricks or terminology too much. If I ever get to meet him again I’ll ask his opinion on that because in my writing attempt I used skate terminology heavily. In the acknowledgments for Remember Me Like This he lists Rodney Mullen. How cool is that? 

Like I should have done in fall of 2011 I’m going to read Bret Anthony Johnston’s short story collection like my good instructor told me to. Lastly, Remember Me Like This really is good. Don’t take my word for it, below are the links to the positive NPR radio review, and the positive New York Times review.

El Senor’s fall 2014 Collection of Skateboard Jewelry

Below is the press release for the El Senor fall 2014 collection, which is skateboard themed jewelry. Spencer Fujimoto is a skateboarding legend, a nice talented guy, and he makes unique jewelry. I see him sometimes in NYC on Sundays and he’s awesome to everyone. I’ve never worn jewelry myself, but I’m tempted to change that. In the past Spencer has done necklaces of the SF EMB spot, the Animal Chin ramp, and more iconic skate images.

The website is if you want to check it out. On the press release he has Stevie Williams as a business partner and they sponsor some of the best pros in skateboarding. I believe Spencer does customized jewelry too, and I’m thinking about a collaboration mallisonwhat necklace that will be a limited edition of one. If that doesn’t pan out I’m eyeing the silver curb necklace, that has to be good luck.

Below the press release are a few youtube clips of Spencer Fujimoto!