Last weekend written a week late

It’s Friday night and I’m going to write about last weekend. A more thorough and disciplined blogger would have made this entry five days ago. But I feel last weekend was epic and if I don’t write it out now it would be as if it didn’t happen at all.

On Friday night I came home and went right to the gym. Afterwards I wrote my last blog entry on my personal interest in sunsets. That entry felt good to write, and I got some feedback from family and on facebook. As I plan things out for the next few months I’m going to keep Friday nights simple with the gym and then writing a blog entry. Taking it easy of Fridays sets the tone or prepares me for fun filled Saturdays and Sundays. Also this past two weeks I’ve been toying with drinking in moderation after a long period of abstinence. In the past this decision has led to trouble, but I think with some firm guidelines I should have a little fun. A major guideline that I came up with is that only to have a night out on Saturday nights, and even then consciously limit what I drink. So into the foreseeable future I decided my nights out will be on Saturdays. Now that I have weekends off going out on both Fridays and Saturdays would only lead to going out more days of the week.

Saturday morning I slept incredible late, to past one in the afternoon. With the days getting shorter and shorter until the 21st of this month, I realized sleeping late limited my skating hours that day. After some coffee I went to the most conveniently located skate park for me, which is Forest Park. I had a good time, and I am now acquainted with a lot of the local skaters there. One guy I haven’t seen in awhile was there, and every time I see him we have fun. At forest park there is a bank that is so mellow that advanced skaters really would not think much of it as an obstacle. I think it’s perfect because you can try anything you want on it. This guy and I decided to try halfcab flips to fakie, which is kind of an awkward trick. We both got it. I have tried that before but this is my first landing. I did not rotate completely and kind of carved turned on my landing, but I’m happy to land it. I don’t know if I would have tried as hard, or taken that many attempts without some friendly motivation from another skater.  I always have a good time there, even though there are better parks. Several skaters said that they are planning to rebuild it in spring in the same spot or somewhere else in Forest Park. This park is about three years old, but I think the ones built in New York City this past year are better and more thought out. So I hope that they build a super park in Forest Park, there is definitely enough interest for it in this part of Queens. Saturday I skated at Forest Park for a good two hours.

I had plotted out my Saturday evening and night for a few weeks. The previous week I got a membership at the KCDC skate shop in Williamsburg so I can skate their mini ramp during the winter. I had skated this ramp once before and it was a challenge for me, it’s about five and half feet tall with real transition. Now that during this week the weather changed to winter I’m glad I will be able to skate an indoor ramp during the winter. My other plan for that Saturday night was the annual ‘Biblioball’ from The Deskset organization. This organization is a group of Brooklyn librarians that make these cool events to raise funds for library oriented initiatives.  In I believe August they had a New Orleans BBQ that raised money for an elementary school library in New Orleans. This event raised money for libraries that serve incarcerated teens. Usually I’m pessimistic of the hipster scene from my experience in the city, but I think this group does good things. I’m not participating or volunteering for them, but I can support their causes by going to their events. My plan for Saturday was to skate the ramp at KCDC and then walk to the Biblioball. I used the logic that North 11th street was near 7th street in Brooklyn. That is completely wrong but I’ll write more on that in a little bit.

I got to KCDC a little after 6, and no one else was on the ramp. I signed in and skated. For a few runs I didn’t even drop in but started from the flat, and my kick turns were fine. I bought my helmet with me and wore it because I’m not used to skating ramp. Since no one else was there I dropped in and simply did kick turns. My back truck would barely touch the coping or sometimes not at all. I did some rock to fakies and kind of cruised around on it. I think this is a much better approach for me to start out with than my previous ramp attempts. People that skate mini ramps well skate it fast and do tricks on the coping (the round metal edge on the top of the ramps) or do airs over the coping. Skating mini ramps well is a skill that I never developed, but hope to work on this winter. Doing kickturns and staying on my board longer makes more sense to me know than trying tricks on the coping. Eventually, probably soon I’ll do 50-50’s (grinds) but I think it’s important to stay on the ramp for longer periods of time. In the past I would drop in a ramp and then try a grind or other trick and need to bail my board on the first wall. I stayed at KCDC for about an hour and half that night. I bought the new Toy Machine DVD, and talked to a skater that walked in that I skated with before at Forest Park. After leaving the skate shop I tried to venture to 7th street for the librarian dance off.

The skate shop is on North 11th street and I thought that if you go down the streets once you past North 1st street it turns into regular streets. A logical person would not have been so confused, in reality after North 1st street it goes to South 1st street. Then I knew in Brooklyn the regular street number could be anywhere in the borough, but it was not in or near Williamsburg. So I walked into a bar. Someone played Elvis on the jukebox which set me at ease. I noticed that there were attractive women in there which is not always the case in the middle aged bars in the middle of Queens. The female bartender looked young, wore a tank top with tats showing, and was cute. So with little hesitation I ordered a Stella draft. Near me about three guys sat who all had the hated hipster look. I asked one of them where in Brooklyn 7th street was, and they heard of the Bell House. He told me to take the G for awhile to the 9th/Smith Street station. Later that proved to be close enough for to get me to the event. A lot of people judge and hate the hipsters, but like with everyone you can’t tell someone’s character until you talk to them or know them. That night I thought a lot about where I live which is safe, quite, and family friendly compared to the more popular parts of New York City. I am perpetually single so as a plan to go out more it makes since for me to evaluate where to hang out. This little bar that I don’t remember the name of was not bad. I did not talk to any women there but I enjoyed the music. It was not simply garage bands or obscure bands, Johnny Cash was played along with Elvis and none of the music seemed grating. I think that the scene down there revolves around music, and it always better to go somewhere that is playing good tunes. Also I really haven’t been in bars much at all lately, so I kind of let it soak in. I had two Stellas and thought I should be on my way. The guy said the G train was about a twenty minute or more walk, so I decided to skate it.

Regularly I do this online search, I go to google limiting it to news, and type in skateboarding. This gives the online newspaper coverage of all sorts of stuff going on in the world of skateboarding. From doing this for awhile it looks like most severe injuries with skateboarding involve skaters getting hit by cars. The cars win in all cases and people die from this. Somehow on Saturday night I wasn’t that concerned with accidents. I cruised down Bedford Avenue which in parts is a narrow two lane road with some hills. The hills or not that steep but it was so much fun. When I got to the park Bedford is completely flat but is wider and has smooth pavement there, so pushed and skated fast for that part. At various skate parks you see skaters who brown bag beers, and now I know why because beer definitely makes you looser and more invigorated. Even so, I am not going to form that habit, drinking while skating seems like an accident or injury waiting to happen.

I finally made it to the Biblioball, and was thankful they had a coat check for my coat, skateboard, and backpack. I met a few friends there and mostly hung out with them. The Bell House is a large space and might have been a warehouse at some point. When I walked in they had trapeze performers or some thing. To me I was amazed at the amount of people that came to it, the place was full, and the second thing I noticed is that a lot of the women looked good. I waited twenty minutes for a drink, but while I was in line two girls that looked college age asked me to take their picture. That was cool, but mostly I talked to my friends.. They were performers, announcers, special dance ensembles, and it appeared that a lot of them were volunteers for the event. Brooklyn Library and people from Brooklyn library were mentioned quite a bit, so that might be why all their events are down there. I danced some that night, and they were playing Motown songs of all genres. This year I was lucky enough to see two of my friends get married. At those ceremonies was the first time I danced in a long time. On Saturday dancing at a lower key event was fun too. So if I’m going to go out and about on Saturday nights I’m going to try to dance. I think dance clubs might be a lot of fun and a heck of a lot cheaper than strip clubs for a similar thrill. Maybe it was the two Stellas and the large can of Heineken but I felt great at the Biblioball. A friend of mine asked me to watch her purse, and two seconds later a random woman came up to me telling me she liked my purse. This attractive older brunette was shamelessly flirting with me. We clicked our glasses and she walked away. I also got some smiles from other women at the Biblioball. Then there was a raffle that although the prizes were cool, went on a little too long. After the raffle was over my two friends said they were leaving. I decided to join them to get back in the direction of Queens. Now I think that was a stupid choice, I should have stayed and talked to the women who like my friend’s purse. Somehow I have trouble with spontaneous action or quick decisions.

My friends got off the train sooner than me, but it was good to hang out with them. I rode the train through Brooklyn, Manhattan, and then Queens. When I got off the train I decided to try to go to Burger King but only the drive through was open. So I walked twenty minutes out of my way to go to White Castle.  The meal tasted great but the people in there were annoying, I guess people do crave White Castle at all hours like Horald and Kumar, even at three in the morning. I finally got home and I popped in the new Toy Machine skate DVD titled ‘Brain Wash’ that I purchased earlier in the day. It’s weird almost always when I first view a skate DVD I don’t like it, but then after a few views I must watch it all the time. After watching this intensely I went to sleep.

Okay now lets move on to Sunday which was also a full day.  I slept in a little bit until about noon. I think I did set my alarm so I would have daylight hours to skate. So after coffee and another viewing of the Toy Machine DVD and started the commute to Astoria. I probably got there around two and was amped when I first got to the park. This is one of most popular parks in the city because I believe it’s the best, and on this day it was nearly empty. Once I started skating I noticed the wind and the cold. I tried to do a manual or wheelie on curb pad thinking as I approached that I had more than adequate speed. Then a gust of wind came and I barely had any speed as I got to the obstacle. I saw a skater I recognized from Forest Park, and I noticed he progressed since I last saw him, which is always cool to see. Shortly after I got there I noticed a guy older than me skating this tiny quarter pipe that I think was an afterthought when they built it. It has quick transition but no coping. The guy was doing 5-0 to fakie and ollie to tail taps. So I skated it with him. It was fun, and not exhausting like other obstacles in the park. I did a little feeble to fakie which on a larger quarter or mini I would be scared to try. Feeble to fakies, 5-0 to fakies, and blunt to fakies are some of the coolest looking tricks on ramps, but also the hardest to learn because you can hang up so easily on it that results in falling hard. I skated the small obstacle with this guy for a good ten minutes, and I realized why I like Astoria so much. Astoria is a large park and there is a lot of different little stuff to practice on. You can session all day on something, and come back the following week and try something else. Also when it’s crowded you can usually find space to practice. Toward the end to the day I talked to some younger skaters and told them how cool it was to skate in the years 1990 to 1993 because it evolved so much. Maybe I was an old dude talking of the good old days, but it’s cool to be able to talk to anyone that skates. And I think the New York City skaters are cool.  When I recognize people at parks or they recognize me I give or get a greeting and encouragement. I’m definitely in the intermediate level of skating, but I think people like that I’m trying to get better. I also think that NYC skaters are happy people right now because of the parks and respect they are finally getting. I stayed at Astoria long enough to see the start of the sunset and I took a few pictures.

After Astoria I went to KCDC to skate their mini again. This day there was a full session of 6 or so people. I watched for a little bit and these guys were very good. I put my helmet on even though no one else wore one, and no one cared. I was easily the worst skater on the ramp, but I was able to take my turns. In ramp skating there is etiquette, and it is simply that there is an order of skaters that go. People can opt out of there turn. If someone butts in out of turn or cuts someone off, that is called ‘snaking.’ I did not see any of that there, and everyone seemed friendly. My skating turns were shorter than the day before but I still took a few kickturns before I tried a rock to fakie. So slowly I’m getting more used to the ramp, and I’m looking forward to spending time there this winter. Also watching good skating is fun too, these guys were my age and they probably didn’t take time off. I skated the ramp for an hour or maybe a little less. I bought some shoes that I eyed the day before and finished the weekend having dinner with my sister.

At work I now have every weekend off. For years I was used to working two or three Saturdays a month. A colleague joked that it’s like going on vacation every Friday evening. That sums it up nicely, and my weekends have been wonderful. However the weather turned cold this week. So my full days of skating on weekends might not be as possible during the winter, but I can still have fun, and write on Friday nights.

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