Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Conversations With Skateboarders [From 2005]

Conversations With Skateboarders
[2005: Reprinted from MaxM a subsidiary of Sleestak.net]



Image is everything, at least thats what you see on tv, read in magazines, and hear on the radio.
A cool image is something that has always been important, and always will be, but it bothers me when only one stereotypical image is portrayed as 'cool.' One image that bugs the shit out of me is the dressed in black, rock & roll Glam belt, drunk, dirty, ignorant idiot that is oftentimes used to characterize skateboarders. What is really sad is that our magazines support this type of image, offer no alternatives to impressionable kids, and encourage these stereotypes. Transworld does promote the image of skaters as wholesome jocks--which is just as bad, but I'm focusing on the aforementioned image in this writing.

Here is an example of Thrasher's idea of a good way to gain skate time:


Thrasher's Study Less page [This page no longer exists--it was a collection of papers meant to be plagiarized.}


Here we find short research papers and reports organized by subject and ready to copy and paste. Now--that is fucked up! I'm not your average clean cut Joe either, but this offends me to no end.
This kind of Stereotype influences the non-skating public, who have a say in locations, funding, and hours at skateparks.

So oftentimes, we end up with West Linn style policing with strict hours of operation and frequent visits by the police to the park. We also end up with kooky enemies like The Friends of Westmoreland park.

Its a good thing we have friends like Skaters for Portland Skateparks. This site does a good job at portraying skaters as everyday people.

I decided to write this series of articles/interviews as an alternative view as to who really is out there skating. What they do when they aren't skating, and how this in turn enhances their skating. I hope this is fun, and enlightening for everyone, including the non-skating visitors to Sleestak.


This questionnaire was sent out to a number of unstereotypical skaters:

You have been selected to be part of my interview series: Conversations. I'm writing this because a lot of people think skaters are ignorant people who refuse to grow up, and the skateboarding industry fully supports this idea. I guess we really shouldn't be surprised because this is an industry that markets to children almost exclusively. Anyway, my idea is to interview you and show that we are not all losers, and drunks, that we do indeed value education, and that being ignorant and poor really sucks! I would really appreciate it if you could return your answers by next week—so I can get this shit posted up. Would you please be so kind as to answer the following questions? Answer anyway you would like. I will not censor in anyway your opinions. Perhaps, your view will not support my above proposition, but please give your opinion. Here are the questions:
1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
2) What do you do for a living?
3) What kind of education did you need to get your job?
4) Are you happy doing what you do?
5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
7) Why do you still skate at your age?
8) What is your favorite book?
9) Do you think the appreciate the image Thrasher and other industry voices promote--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate More plagiarism pages?
I really appreciate your time, and want to thank you in advance—thanks!
Max Macias


Here are their Responses:

Groeog


"Boom!"





1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
I am 32 and have been skating since 1983, 19 years.

2) What do you do for a living?

I work at Los Alamos National Laboratory as a synthetic organic chemist. More specifically, we specialize in synthesizing organic molecules labeled with stable isotopes.
3) What kind of education did you need to get your job? 
I have a B.S. degree in chemistry.
4) Are you happy doing what you do? Yes, very. My work is interesting and I don? have to break my back to do it.

5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
Skating has helped my critical thinking skills. It is a lot like science, you try something you think will work and sometimes it does and sometimes it does not. If you are easily frustrated skating and science both will be pretty infuriating. I learned that failure is the first step in success. This carries over into chemistry. If a reaction does not work you have to try and figure out how to make it work. Kind of like bailing a new trick, you try and figure out what went wrong and try to correct it.

6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
I make a pretty good wage in comparison to what I made before. I worked as a line cook for 10 years and made very little money. My new job provides me with enough money to where I can travel a bit. I am not some high roller or anything, but I do fairly well for myself. My first job brought me to New Mexico, which is not a place I would have envisioned myself being. I don't think I want to stay here but it is nice to have dry weather all the time. Plus there is a lot of terrain here that is not real common in Washington, like lots of ditches.

7) Why do you still skate at your age? Because it is one of the things I have found in my life I can always turn to. It is a great stress reliever as well. I did not find too many hobbies growing up so I guess I will just keep skating.

8) What is your favorite book? 1984, George Orwell

9) Do you think the image that Thrasher and other industry voices promotes--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate more plagiarism pages:
I think that it is pretty irresponsible to be putting this crap up where kids can see it. I think it was meant to be a joke but it is sending a strange message to kids. Lets face it, very few skaters will get sponsored, let alone turn pro and actually make any money. Kids need to plan for the future and I think education is a pretty good route. I grew up in a house where my mother worked two full time jobs and raised three boys on her own. We were poor, but we made due with what we had. I got a paper route when I was 12 and bought my first skateboard. I have been pretty broke over the years but I put my time in and went to college. I graduated and got a job. I make a lot more money than my mother ever did. Not because I worked harder than her, but because I got a degree. That does not make me any better than anyone, but I consider myself pretty lucky. Kids today are being told to not do the right thing from so many sources it is sad that a skateboarding mag is telling them the same thing.

Gizzard:

"Teacher!"



1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
I am 36 and have been skating for 27 years.

2) What do you do for a living?
Stay at home dad. I was a preschool teacher before my daughter was born and I'll be teaching again very soon.

3) What kind of education did you need to get your job?
Lots of experience and a two year Early Childhood Education Degree...I eventually want a masters in early childhood education.

4) Are you happy doing what you do?
YES!

5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
Overall, skating has enriched my entire life with great friends, opportunities, and has gone well with my free thinking reality.

6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
My daddy job allows me to skate my ramp whenever I wish, I have travelled to skate..in the 80's it was for contests, now it's for pleasure....I bring the skate on vacations.

7) Why do you still skate at your age?
Why do I do any of the things I do at 36? I love to do them! It's foolish to cut anything you enjoy out of your life, unless you can't physically participate due to severe injury or something along those lines.

8) What is your favorite book?
Behind the UFO's-one of the very first UFO books to come out..by Frank Scully.

9) Do you think the image that Thrasher and other industry voices promotes--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate more plagiarism pages:

It's all so cliche now. Party party party..we did all that, and looked better doing it than the hesh, hiphop, muska beating kids in Thrasher. Nobody seems real anymore. I always want to know what ELSE these kids do besides party and skate. Most of these dudes are far from well rounded people and Thrasher really brings it out..too bad. As far as Study Less goes, the internet is the same damn resource for kids being able to copy and cheat. I think these mags should be giving away scholorships and encouraging kids to finish school. Although I don't always agree on how the school system does things, it's there for a reason...... Thanks Max.


Gizzard

Ray Krebs:

"Artsy!"





1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
RK: I'm 40 years old and I got my first skateboard for my 5th birthday- so that makes 35 years for all you ignorant skaters out there.


2) What do you do for a living?
RK: I'm a trained graphic designer and commercial artist and I do general contracting work as well.


3) What kind of education did you need to get your job?
RK: I have an Associate Artists degree in commercial art and Bachelor of Science in graphic design.


4) Are you happy doing what you do?
RK: I enjoy the creative process immensely but employment has been unstable.


5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
RK: Skating is like life itself to me. In the workplace, you need to learn how to get along with all different kinds of people and to appreciate what everyone has to offer. Tolerance, patience, cooperation and diplomacy are skills that will help you in the boardroom or on the jobsite as well as in a skatepark. On a personal level, skating helps me realize my potential to overcome mental and physical challenges. Through determination and persistence all things are possible


6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
RK: My work is what I do so that I can afford to skate in my off time. Newberg, Aumsville and West Linn are local parks for me so I don't travel much to go skating.


7) Why do you still skate at your age?
RK: Because I still have so much fun doing it. I have met the best friends of my life through skating. It's what keeps me feeling alive and fit. I would never work out as hard at jogging or lifting weights as I do skateboarding. My mind becomes so focused that it's like a form of aerobic meditation for me. I forget all about how hard my heart is pounding or how quickly I'm breathing. All I can think about is my last run, and my next.


8) What is your favorite book?
RK: Hard to pick just one. For recent nonfiction I liked Michael Moore's book 'Stupid White Men' but I would have to say that 'Ecotopia' is my all-time favorite fictional work. Faulkner's Sound and the Fury was great too. All of them have to do with money and social class struggles.


9) Do you think the image that Thrasher and other industry voices promotes--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate more plagiarism pages:
The entire industry is mistakenly aimed at 13 year old prepubescent little boys. Funny, now that I'm an "adult" I read the articles in Playboy and only look at the pictures in Thrasher. I use it to line my cat's box and it's barely good enough for that. I hate the fact that they equate being sarcastic and disrespectful with being cool. Contrary to popular belief, you can be an agro skater without being a complete jackass. Thrasher's plagiarism pages
It's been so long since I read one of these rags that I have no idea what you are talking about.

Robert Nystrom:

"Rockhounder!"




1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
40, 27 years


2) What do you do for a living?
Environmental Consultant-Geologist


3) What kind of education did you need to get your job?
A degree in the field of science (geology for example) or know someone who can get you in.


4) Are you happy doing what you do?
Very.


5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
I've noticed that many fellow environmentalists love outdoor activities, myself included. Skating, specifically vert skating, sets one apart from the crowd and allows one to be a part the crowd. Skating has given me confidence to try other sports and the details of skating, such as balance, concentration and state of mind, applies to all sports. Confidence acquired in skating or any other endeavor, or the ability to swallow fear temporarily, helps me to accept challenges in my professional life. Understanding too that a willingness to fall helps me to progress.


6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
Very fortunately my job provides an inordinate amount of skating opportunities at skateparks in WA, OR and ID. Lots of traveling (required for my job) has meant a chance to skate different parks, which in turn has provided challenges that have greatly expanded my skating skills. Skating different parks definitely helps ones skating progression.


7) Why do you still skate at your age?
Skating has been an obsession since 7th grade, it clicked like no other sport. At some point I know I won't be able to rebound from a slam and I'll have to give it a rest. That's all right, there's always luge.


8) What is your favorite book?
Anything by Noam Chomsky.


9) Do you think the image that Thrasher and other industry voices promotes--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate more plagiarism pages:
I'll comment on your second question. I read the Big Bang Theory paper at the aforementioned website, it was fun. If a student were to read it and copy much of it without verifying other observations on the same theory, they'd be doing what adults are doing every day. I'd be doing it if I were a kid today. I wouldn't learn much from reading about the Big Bang Theory and I'd probably forget it in a week. It's unfortunate that, presumably, adults are providing, presumably, kids an easy way to avoid critical thinking. Unless the kids see through it. I've heard that every generation will have a certain percentage of youth that are just damn determined to piss off their elders. Booze, drugs, women, men, rock 'n roll, bad haircuts...they're just like we were. Yeah, it would be great if Thrasher didn't provide easy access to plagiarized papers. Maybe kids are smarter than that, or will become smarter than that. I did. Max, you're on the right track.


Kent Dahlgren:



1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
I'm 36 years old, and I have been skateboarding since 1975.


2) What do you do for a living?
I play several roles. I design networked multifunction color copiers for Xerox's Office Group, located in Wilsonville, I do business management and public relations for Dreamland Skateparks, and I am an active advisor and part owner of a Portland-based engineering firm called Cascadia Information Technologies Inc.


3) What kind of education did you need to get your job?
I was a computer science major, but most of my business experience was actually gained when I worked for my father. He owned a spice wholesale business (Oregon Spice Company) and I ran the distribution side of the business. I was also the Training NCO for a Combat Communications Squadron while in the US Air Force.


4) Are you happy doing what you do?
Freaking duh, dude. I love my life.


5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
I am relatively fearless, simply because in the white collar world the worst that can happen is failure. I do not give up as easily as most. Almost stubborn, some may say. I'm also quite opportunistic and can see potential where others see nothing.


6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
When I was in the military I had several opportunities to skate in South America. I used to work for a company based in India, but there is very little to skate in India.


7) Why do you still skate at your age?
Because I like the challenge, almost as much as I enjoy the rush. My cardiovascular rate after a 30 second run in a bowl exceeds the rate after running 20 blocks. There's something to be said about that.


8) What is your favorite book?
What a hard question. In respects to fiction I currently love Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," but on the professional side I enjoyed these two books: "The Creative Priority," by Jerry Hershberger, and "To Error is Human," by Henry Petroski. I enjoyed both because they confront topics that we all experience yet are rarely addressed: contention and failure.
For some reason most within our culture assume we are all supposed to get along and that life is nothing but a string of successes. This is untrue. If death is the natural complement to life, and night is the natural complement to day, then contention is the natural complement to harmony, and failure the complement to success.
In short, you cannot succeed unless there is failure, and you cannot get along with anyone without contention. If they are part of the equation, better to confront them directly rather than hide from them and assume they will go away. Both are facts of life well covered in these two books, both focused on engineering and product development; areas which I am quite interested and involved in.


9) Do you think the image that Thrasher and other industry voices promotes--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate more plagiarism pages:
Honestly I don't read Thrasher or any other skateboarding magazine, and haven't for well over 10 years. They look little different to me than my wife's Cosmopolitan or People magazines. I don't need to be told how to dress, act, or skateboard. Most importantly, they do little to serve the skateboarding community. They are fashion rags, and little else.
There are approximately 3 skateboard parks built each week in the US, and an overwhelming majority of them are terrible. Most of these parks are built by the same irresponsible firms who care far more about profits than skateboarding (most often traditional Playground Manufacturers). The mainstream skateboarding media has chosen to ignore this fleecing of the skatepark business, which will negatively affect us for the long term. But not all publications have cast a blind eye.
Interestingly, publications such as "Skatepark Magazine" and "Parks and Recreation Business," who cater to and serve city officials, are passionately seeking to report the truth about skateparks, because it is in their best interest to do so. The respective editors of these magazines and more have actively and humbly sought the advice of those who know skateparks with the expressed interest of creating better skateparks. They ask us to write articles educating the cities so bad parks are built less often.
I ask you: who do you then have more respect for? Skateboard Cosmo or a publication that sincerely seeks to benefit skateboarding in the short term and certainly in the long term?
Thrasher's plagiarism pages
I don't know what this is.

Bryan Hamilton AKA HAMBONE



1) I'm 32 and I skated from age 8 til about 18. Which is when I "grew up" and joined the Marine Corps. I dropped back in about 3 yrs ago.


2) I'm an Electrical Assembler Installer for Boeing (knuckle dragging Union ape).


3) Here's where I get a little preachy. Military background in aircraft troubleshooting and repair was a definate plus. Getting through A-school in the Corps was not easy. They stuff enough Basic Electronics Engineering down your throat in 6 months to get you 2-4 college credits on the outside. If you didn't have at least a basic understanding of Algebra you were fucked. I work with a few drop-outs and GEDs, but my type of work is getting pretty scarce in good old 'Merica. Thanks to Corporate greed, NAFTA, GAT, and a plethora of other "Big buisiness deals". High paying blue collar jobs are leaveing this country by the hundreds of thousands.


4) Not really, I'd like to be a doctor. What I do now pays the bills and gives me plenty of play$$$$.


5) Skateing keeps me fit. What I do for a living beats you down then breaks you. On the other hand, skateing is a constant daydream to ocupy my mind while my body goes through the motions at work.


6) Yah, right.


7) It's fun!!! It's challengeing. It's THERAPY.


8) I'm hopelessly addicted to Robert Jordan's " Wheel of Time" series. Or Tolkien. Or any other SciFi/Fantsy liturature. Along with the usual, like Kipling, Tolstoy, and the Catcher in the Rye type school assignment stuff.


9) As I sit here sucking down my third brew since I started writeing. I feel kindof hypocritical saying that Thrasher Mag's " It's cool to be a F-up" consumer push is just that. Fucked Up. A line from a song by Cake pretty much sums it up for me- " Self destruction ain't rebelion, You're just buyin' what they're sellin" As for the Plagarism cheat, any Teacher who isn't flooded with an over bearing Student/Teacher ratio or drugs/gang/criminal activity in the classroom is going to see right through that shit. Just do the work ya dumbasses. The only reason I can assemble letters into words, form words into sentences and have them come out as coherent written thought, is because I had to do it in school. 'Nuff Said -HAMBONE

Clark D. Ledbetter:




1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
[Ledbetter, Clark D] 31 years old, skating for 18


2) What do you do for a living?
[Ledbetter, Clark D] I'm a process engineer at Intel.


3) What kind of education did you need to get your job?
[Ledbetter, Clark D] B.S. in Structural Engineering, M.S. in Materials Science & Engineering


4) Are you happy doing what you do?
[Ledbetter, Clark D] I love it, aside from the fact we are on call 7 days a week. Understanding and applying fundamental science and engineering principles is what I live for (besides skating, snowboarding and mtn biking).


5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
[Ledbetter, Clark D] Skating provides the relief from everyday stresses. I think you need to balance mental and physical well being and skating helps me do that. Some people decide to go the gym, but I like to go to the park and lay down some grinds. It really helps my overall work-live effectiveness. I don't believe my professional life helps my skating at all....work too many hours. Maybe if I was a professional snowboarder then my skating would benefit. Any sponsors out there?


6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
[Ledbetter, Clark D] No, unfortunately my job is site specific and time intensive so I can only skate locally. I do try to do the weekend warrior thing to skate new places.


7) Why do you still skate at your age?
[Ledbetter, Clark D] Why does anyone still run, bike, lift, play soccer or baseball at any age? I think that's a silly question....because that's what I enjoy and that's what keeps me active. Skating is not age dependent as with most sports. You do it because you love it, regardless of age.


8) What is your favorite book?
[Ledbetter, Clark D] Physics: For Scientists and Engineers by Raymond Serway


9) Do you think the image that Thrasher and other industry voices promotes--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate more plagiarism pages:
[Ledbetter, Clark D] I don't read the skate mags that often anymore just because I don't have time and I don't really care who's doing what nowadays. The kids are more up to date on those things, so the mags do really market to that audience. The image that some of the ads portray are pretty stupid and unrealistic, but its up to each kid's parents to really guide them into a successful and meaningful life. As far as the " Study Less, Skate more" ads go, those ads just turn me off that company's product. GNU snowboards markets the same way and I don't want anything to do with them. That type of advertising really does target the younger audience, i.e. the audience that has yet to established their own identity and confidence. Bottom line is that there are more prominent forces out there pushing a kids life direction than a skate mag, so I'm not too worried. Thrasher's plagiarism pages

Matthew L. Swan:


Xerox!


1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
I am 34. I started skating in 1979. That is 24 years.


2) What do you do for a living?
I am a Credit and Collections Manager at Xerox.


3) What kind of education did you need to get your job?
Bachelor's degree


4) Are you happy doing what you do?
I am happy with what I am doing. I am constantly looking to for more challenging projects and responsibilities.


5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
Skating has helped me stay fit. When I exercise I am calmer at work and have more energy. I enjoy skating so I get exercise without having to force myself to do it.


6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
I am salaried and have a flexible schedule that allows me to skate. I do travel because of my job and have opportunities to skate in other countries.


7) Why do you still skate at your age?
I enjoy doing it with my friends. As I mentioned before, getting exercise is a bonus.


8) What is your favorite book?
Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

9) Do you think the image that Thrasher and other industry voices promotes--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate more plagiarism pages:
I believe that the image of a skater that is promoted is wrong. Sure drinking and partying are fun, but if that is all you do you will end up poor and going nowhere. There motto should be Study More Skate More. You can only afford new boards, wheels, etc... if you have a good job. Getting a good job also allows you the freedom to travel and skate exotic skateparks, and meet exotic skate Betties.

Chris Hildebrand:



1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
I'm 30 and I've been skating since I was 11 or so.


2) What do you do for a living?
I'm the General Manager at Grindline, a company that builds and designs concrete skateparks.


3) What kind of education did you need to get your job?
Probably a lot of my education was gotten by traveling around Europe aimlessly for three years, but I also went to college and graduated with a degree in English. The education I got in college was mostly of the mind-expanding variety, where you just learn about all this obscure stuff and ways of thinking that you would have a very hard time coming across otherwise. So college just helped open my mind a bit, which helped a lot when I was traveling around. I understood a lot more of what was going on around me, so I absorbed more and was more enriched by the experience than I otherwise might have been. That gave me the confidence and drive that I needed to launch myself out of working construction in the field (which had supported my lifestyle up until then), and to start getting into construction management. When I made that leap, all the writing, organizational, math, and basic communication skills that I had learned in college really paid off and made the work do-able. Next thing I know, I'm managing the entire construction company, and then one day I get the opportunity to manage one of the best skatepark construction companies in the world. It's a dream come true, and I doubt I could have pulled it without the tools I got in school. Having said that, I think traveling, especially with a skateboard, is an equally enriching experience that is every bit as valuable from an educational perspective.


4) Are you happy doing what you do?
I'm literally blissed-out every single day, all day long. This might be hard for some to believe, because work isn't supposed to be like that, but that's what its like for me, and I'm very grateful for it.


5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
Well, I always kind of sucked at skating, so if nothing else skating has helped keep me humble, at least a little I hope. Also, when you pull something off skating that you've been dreaming about for years it's a pretty sick feeling, and I think it's that type of thing that teaches you how to persevere and achieve the impossible. You can get that sort of stuff from other sports too, but what I honestly think is most rewarding educationally about skating is the people you meet. Real skaters are down for each other and anyways are some of the funnest partiers and goof-offs ever, which is good because after all you need to try to enjoy this one life that you get. Ethically speaking, I think skaters help each other develop because of certain intrinsic values and characteristics of the culture, such as respecting the past, respecting your peers, learning to live with the fear of self-annihilation, learning the true definition of hard work and shooting for long term goals, individuality and independence from the bullshit commercialized mainstream "matrix" that is western society at this point in history. Also appreciating art, valuing free thought, and getting down with a racially mixed crowd without tripping. All these values that skaters pass along to each other, this is what has helped me in my life, and by extension, with my professional life.


6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
Yes, and that's the best thing about it. I've got two sick bowls behind my office. I bomb a hill to get to work, and almost die before 9:00am everyday because of this hairpin turn along my "commute". Also, I get to travel and check out other scenes and skate with all kinds of crazy characters. In a three week time period this winter I skated the Wanchese Bowl in NC, which is one of the sickest wooden bowls of all time, Skatopia in Ohio which should be a considered a must-do for any real skater, and then the Washington Street Project in San Diego, which is like the Burnside of California.


7) Why do you still skate at your age?
Skating teaches you that there is no such thing as age. Have you ever seen Brewce Martin, Mike Sanders, Morris Wainwright, Steve Alba, or Ricky Stiles skate? There is no such thing as age. I can go to the skatepark and kick it with 13 year olds or hang out with grandpa simpson, whatever.


8) What is your favorite book?
Many favorite books. I'm a classics guy. So, War and Peace, Moby Dick, Scarlet Letter, anything by Dickens, Twain, Borges, Hamsun, the list is long. For teenage skaters who can handle reading about lewdness and drunken antics, I would suggest Bukowski.


9) Do you think the image that Thrasher and other industry voices promotes--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate more plagiarism pages:
I support Thrasher and everyone else's right to market themselves however they want. That's all just fashion stuff, in my opinion, and it doesn't really have anything to do with who you are as a person. Lots of skaters enjoy rocking an outlaw-inspired look. It's fun to go against the grain. Sometimes taking the school stuff seriously makes you feel weird, 'cause to a certain extent it feels like you're just playing the game society wants you to play. Which is not what I'm about, so I liked looking like a dirty, ignorant, cheating drunk. Its just that much more satisfying to succeed when people assume you don't have it in you. A good example of what I'm talking about is Jason Jesse. Have you ever seen that guy? He totally looks punk and dilapidated as fuck, but the ads he creates are clear demonstrations of his ingenuity, and he's a successful businessman (he owns Consolidated Skateboards). A less obvious example is Rodney Mullen and Steve Rocco, who both made (make) a ton of dough off the degenerate loser image, but are both in fact extremely intelligent and hard-working. Their ads may seem to promote criminal, stupid behavior, but at the same time they are positive role modes in that they are successful, clever entrepreneurs. So who knows what kind of influence they have on kids. Personally, Rocco inspired me to do my own thing and not worry about what the established mainstream encourages you to do. I was in high school when his "Bitch" skateboard company came out, and I saw it as a humorous, clever industry in-joke--not the condoning of violence against women. I laugh when I read the Baker Bootleg ads on the back pages of Thrasher. Its one of the most expensive advertising spots in the whole skate industry, and the ads always hype up the fact that their skaters are dirt poor.
Skaters need brains like everyone else so they can filter and decipher the marketing images they are bombarded with.
I'd like to think that Thrasher's website doesn't really enable skaters to cheat on their homework very much. The internet has much better resources for kids that want to cheat anyways. I think its more of a marketing tool by Thrasher than anything else. I mean, I looked through all the papers posted on that site and didn't find a single one that would have been relevant for me to use at any time in high school. Even if there are one or two papers a kid might be able to use at one point, what are the chances that they will stumble across the Thrasher website right at the moment they have been given those assignments? Like I said, I think that kids that want to cheat will easily find other ways to cheat anyways. One could make an ethical judgment against Thrasher for encouraging and facilitating laziness and plagiarism, but at the same time Thrasher actually holds a high standard of writing in their own articles and would obviously never resort to plagiarism themselves, and the kids can see that clearly. So while Thrasher might woo kids with the fantasy that being drugged out and ignorant is cool, they also regularly come out every month with a magazine full of high quality photographs of top-drawer skateboarding and articulate, crisp writing, and in that way they encourage and promote excellence. So a smart kid should be able to appreciate that looking burnt might be cool, but doing quality work whether it be skating, art, music, photography or writing takes talent and hard work. A kid who can't see the difference is probably fodder for the wolves anyways, and I wouldn't attribute that to anything but poor parenting and teaching. This is just my take, and I'm big on freedom of speech, as you can probably tell!
Thanks for this opportunity, Max, it was fun! -Chris

Steve Gump:

Photo of Tom Miller by Steve Gump: Irrigon, OR



1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
I am 40 and have been skating 29 years.

2) What do you do for a living?
I design and draw cell phone antenna towers and equipment. I also do take photos of the proposed sites and do photo simulations.

3) What kind of education did you need to get your job?
I started drawing house plans for a Florida drafting firm when I was in high school. Times were a little different in the late 70’s with hand drafting. I learned computer drafting on the job.


4) Are you happy doing what you do?
Over all--yes. Like anything else in life, it can grind on you. I like being able to get outside and take pictures.

5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
Discipline, dedication, the ability to adapt, are all common things that you must have. Shear talent is one thing I don’t have in skating or my professional life. So I had to make up for it with hard work.

6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
Yes and No. Sometimes I work 60 hour weeks and other times I get off at 3. I get to travel locally with my job.


7) Why do you still skate at your age?
Because it’s still fun. It keeps me focused. It has kept me out of trouble. It keeps me young.


8) What is your favorite book?

Kurt Vonnegut-Welcome to the Monkey House
9) Do you think the image that Thrasher and other industry voices promotes--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate more plagiarism pages:
Thrasher has become what they always said they hate: big, greedy, powerful, corporate media mega giants. Their elitist attitudes have worn mighty thin with me. Don’t get me wrong-I’m all about capitalism-it is their hypocritical positions they take on everything and then do it themselves with the old “that doesn’t apply to us, we’re Thrasher”.

“Study less, skate more” = more of their fake “yea, we got street credibility”. Trying to make being stupid cool. I don’t like the direction of their influence or their one sided skate views “Street Only!”-but this is another different rant I save for another time.

Sk8brdnick:





I'd be happy to fill this survey out. I'm kind of curious what you will be doing with these. Is this part of a master plan to convince government to build more parks? :)


1) What is your age, and how long have you been skating?
I am 26 years old and have been skating a little over 15 years.

2) What do you do for a living?
I am in graduate school at the University of Washington working on my my PhD in chemistry. I work as a researcher and I receive credits for my research. After I finish school I am hoping to find work as a consultant or perhaps as a college professor.

3) What kind of education did you need to get your job?
A batchelor's degree in chemistry is required to enter graduate school.


4) Are you happy doing what you do?
School is a means to an end. I enjoy learning and spending time with my coworkers, but the work can be tedious and frustrating. Research of this nature involves doing work no one has done before or taking the work of another and pushing it farther than it has ever been pushed. Most experiments fail and most of those that work don't evolve into something useful. The disappoints can be very demorallizing, but the successes are very rewarding. When I finish school I hope to find job with less stress and more reward.

5) How has skating helped you in your professional life, and vice versa?
Skating has definitely helped my personal life but probably hindered my professional life. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment which skating gives me. I like very much that in contrast to my work at school, skating is pretty much guaranteed to yield progression if I put enough work in. Skateboarding is also a very social activity, and I greatly value the friends I have made through it. My desire to skateboard and spend time with those friends keep's me away from work before. While it has probably detracted from my work at times, it has helped keep my a more happy, balanced individual.

6) Does your job provide you with ample opportunity and resources to skate? Do you get to travel because of your job, and therefore skate in places you normally would not.
I choose my own hours at work so I am provided with ample time to skate. I can work as much or as little as I want. I do get to occasionally travel and skate new place for work, but I haven't been taking full advantage of that ability. In the future I hope to travel more.

7) Why do you still skate at your age?
Why not? My body still works and I enjoy it. That is like asking someone why they still have sex with their significant other. I do it because it's fun and it's healthy.

8) What is your favorite book?
I very much enjoyed Angela's Ashes. I just finished reading The Stranger which was also excellent. I liked some of Asimov's stuff such as the Foundation Trilogy and I Robot. It's hard to pick a favorite.

9) Do you think the image that Thrasher and other industry voices promotes--what I mean by this is their promotion of dirty, ignorant, cheating drunks as cool skateboarders. What do you think of their Study Less Skate more plagiarism pages:
Salesmanship is very amusing when you recognize it as such. The image of rebellion is big money and the skateboard industry cashes in on it. I still wonder how people feel rebelious feeding money into multi-million dollars industries. Getting back to the point, it's easier to sell the party image than to market real people. As for the Thrasher plagiarism pages, I have mixed feelings. People have to be interested in learning, you can't force it upon them and expect to have meaningful results. Depending on your life decisions you may have little or no need for school knowledge. For those people simply having a diploma is more important than the learning involved in acquiring one. If someone wants to learn, they will probably not partake of cheating oportunities such as this. For those who don't want to learn, perhaps it will speed them through the system making room for more people who care about learning.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Guest Interview for a Multicultural Library Science Class

Yes, that is a Grumpy T-shirt.  


Here is a link to an short interview I did for a multicultural librarian graduate course:



https://goo.gl/r93L4g


These are the questions I covered:


  Questions for 825 Interviews 

 1. Will you please introduce yourself to the class and briefly describe your current library and position as well as the path that led you to librarianship? 

 2. In this course, we are exploring how libraries can best meet “the recreational, cultural, informational, and educational needs of African American, Asian American, Latina/o, Native American, and bi/multiracial children, young adults, and adults.” In what ways does your racial/ethnic identity enable you to meet these needs in your library? 

 3. As a patron in libraries throughout your life, you have probably had both positive and negative experiences related to access and collections. How have these experiences shaped your work as a professional, particularly in regard to serving racially/ethnically diverse? 

 4. What, if any, institutional barriers have you seen in your library with regard to better serving racially/ethnically diverse users? 

 5. EITHER a. If you are a member of one or more of the ethnic caucuses, please speak to how your membership has expanded your ability to better serve users. b. Would you please speak briefly to how your race/ethnicity informs you as a professional, particularly with regard to the social justice aspects of librarianship?




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