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Some new synth tracks April 23, 2012

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Finally got my Kaoss Pad KP3 and had a chance to play with it. These tracks were made by playing the Kaossilator Pro into the KP3 for making loops, then using the KP3 to apply effects, etc. Plus a few random sounds playing during the recording directly from the Kaossilator Pro.

Fun to experiment. Working on one now that will have a bit more structure.

These sound horrible on computer speakers. Headphones or a good speaker are required.

#1 — Crunchy Noise 

 #2 — Philter Phun

Freestyle Podcast April 12, 2012

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Here is the first podcast I’ve produced, called (very creative name) “the Freestyle Podcast”, with fellow freestyle skateboarders Matt Gokey and Tony Gale.

Pretty happy with the sound quality. Need to tweak it a bit, but overall pretty good sound.

Books April 10, 2012

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I enjoy reading, and I enjoy books. However, I became a librarian not because I “love books”. It was 1993, and I was interested in the emerging Internet.

That being said, like a stubborn mule digging into the trail and refusing to be moved, the eBook revolution has failed to move me, and I find myself perhaps, yes perhaps, loving books.
Remember about 15 years ago, when you would go to someone’s home and see their music on the shelf? Has it been more than 15 years? Whatever. Maybe you didn’t know the person that well, but man, that record and tape collection told you a lot about them. You knew when you saw that Huey Lewis and the News album in your date’s collection of cassette tapes, right next to the Footloose soundtrack,  that it was time to get the fuck outta there. The music collection was a crystal clear window into that person’s soul, empty as it might be, and those horrible albums were the equivalent of today going into your date’s place and seeing a prominently and proudly displayed and lovingly framed poster of Tim Tebow or a Certificate of Godliness from the Baptist Student Union. 
But no longer. In most homes, including mine, you will be hard-pressed to find a single recorded musical artifact on display. It’s all on the computer, on the iPod, or “in the Cloud”. Oh sure, we have a bunch of CDs. They’re all in boxes in the garage, their contents transferred to our computers. I can’t tell you the last time I purchased a CD. No, sadly, I simply conveniently download music from iTunes, where my musical tastes are analyzed by the latest algorithm and I’m told that because I purchased a Bad Brains album from the 1980s that I might also want to buy Men Without Hats.

Books are the same way. They tell you what  people’s interests are, what kind of stuff they think about, perhaps what their political or religious opinions might be. Do they read for entertainment (science fiction, romance, mystery, etc), or to be informed and enlightened (A Brief History of Time, Cosmos)? Or perhaps they  read to be misinformed/uninformed (Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and other idiots).

So if you come to my home, and you find our “library”, you will see our interests, passions, and concerns. You may see a book on Mexican culture, or a stack of them, on the kitchen table as my wife works on a paper. You may find a book of punk literature by Henry Rollins by my chair, a book of skateboarding photography, or maybe a history of Aikido. The books  help make the house “ours”. They are serve their intended purpose, but also serve an aesthetic purpose. They are physical reminders that we are more than just America’s Funniest Home Videos viewers.

Now, take all those books, and put them in the computer for display on an eReader, and you have killed all that. You have gained some portability, of course. Oh sure, you can take hundreds of books with you on a trip if you need to do so, but really, how often is that? What is this obsession with having all our shit with us all the time? I can understand it with music, but books?

I have a lot of other issues with eBooks, but I won’t go into them.

So, as a librarian I must be competent with the new technology. That’s fine. I see its good points. They are a good option for reading. Trees don’t die (at least not directly) from their manufacture. They don’t take up much room. They are good for reference material. And if you are on a business trip in Outer Mongolia, and need some new reading material, the people in that yurt in the neighboring valley might have satellite internet so you can download the complete works of Dostoevsky.

Soon I will begrudgingly join the eBook club, but I will not join the cult, because I’ve never been unable to read because my book wasn’t charged up. 

Some skating… April 8, 2012

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Yesterday I had my 4th freestyle practice. As noted earlier, it has been a long time since I’ve done this stuff. Thinking about it, really, it has been at least 4 years. Of course I’ve been skating a lot on longboard, so it isn’t like I’ve not been skating. Still feeling a little clumsy on the small freestyle board, but overall I think it is going well.

Video is a great learning tool. For example, this video brought a couple of things to my attention:

  1. On my 360 shove-its, when I hang my rear foot over the edge less during take-off, I get a much better landing — better style – with my foot really on the board nicely, rather than on the heel with my toes hanging off.
  2. I remembered that on fingerflips, if I keep my knees together and pointed slightly forward, it not only looks better, but improves the trick by getting both less functioning in better unison.
So I think if I can keep up these practices for a couple of months I’ll be doing pretty well. All the skills should be back. 
Oh, the crazy electronic music is mine too. Downloadable here.

How it really happened… April 8, 2012

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“The tomb is empty! Jesus is Risen!”

“Oh wait, there he is over there. Nevermind”.

Now Fight Like Apes! April 6, 2012

Posted by bibliosk8 in movies, religion, science.
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Alternative title for this post: My Good Friday Sermon

My wife is a big fan of the Dana Gould Podcast. Occasionally I listen to it with her, and it is indeed a very entertaining podcast. If you don’t know who Dana is, well, click here.

On this week’s podcast (Ep.4 Apocalicious), Dana and his cohorts discuss various aspects of apocalyptic films, in particular the Omega Man and Planet of the Apes, both starring Charlton Heston. I share this admiration for these films, in particular Planet of the Apes. Great movie. Some great social commentary on the film.

My introduction to the Planet of the Apes films occurred in 1973, when I was in the 3rd grade, when the final film of the series was released — the great Battle for the Planet of the Apes. OK, sure, it didn’t have all the great metaphorical stuff that the original film had, but it did have an army of apes fighting an army of human mutants. For a 3rd grader, that was pretty awesome.

In the coming years I would see all of the Apes films on TV during “Ape Week” on channel 8’s afternoon movie, and become somewhat of an expert on the details of the series, including the confusing paradox related to time travel. I was the proud owner of the General Ursus model kit, built and painted with the patience of an Orangutan scholar.

But back to my Battle for the Planet of the Apes story…

My mom dropped me and a friend off at the theater to see the film, and it was glorious.

In the days following my viewing of the film I have a vivid memory of telling a friend of mine from down the street all about it. I mean, I was stoked, and wanted to share this experience. C’mon! We’re talking APES with guns and underground mutants! And we’re talking TALKING apes!

This kid came from a very religious family. I won’t mention the denomination, but I will say it was one of those sects in which they go to church every time the doors are open, which seems to be nearly all the time. Now, I didn’t grow up in a family of heathens, but damn, my parents worked!  We went to church for an hour on Sunday morning, and that was it! Combining that hour with the time needed to get dressed in all our finery as well as travel time, and you’re looking at nearly three hours of precious weekend. So an hour was all the Lord got from us. Sorry, Jesus, but we have stuff to do. Plus, the game is coming on — gotta get home fast.

But I digress…

I was telling this kid — we’ll call him Richard — about the movie. He informed me that his parents wouldn’t let him see those movies because the films said that “people came from apes”.

Thinking back now, I realize that even at that age my own world view had begun taking shape. I had a set of World Book and Child Craft books. I was totally into science. My mom was a highschool math teacher and my dad was a junior high science teacher and coach. I was already aware in a very rudimentary way of evolutionary theory.

I remember realizing, right then and there, that I was smarter than Richard’s parents.

For the first time, I had run into the wall of ignorance and stupidity that religious fanaticism can create. Yes, just to be clear, I’m saying that if you think the creation story of the Bible (or any of the other creation myths from the world’s religions) is the literal truth, you are stupid. Sorry, the truth hurts. Smart religious people don’t put so much stock in myths like this. They find ways to still believe their religion while not ignoring science. Most, I think, compartmentalize the two competing world views, which I find a bit psychotic at best and intellectually weak and dishonest at worst.  The ones who are both smart and honest discard their religion, or become deists or something similarly vague.

I’m not saying that Richards’s parents(or you) are a bad people. No, they were very good people. But not the smartest.

This realization, however, extended beyond a simple disagreement over human origins. You see, I was suddenly enlightened that a great many adults were probably wrong about a great many things, and I would have to use my own mind to figure out who the idiots were.

I told my mom about the incident, and I remember her essentially just saying “They’re stupid, don’t listen to them”. Hahahahahaha. Of course she didn’t use those exact words, but her meaning was clear. But she really didn’t have to tell me. I had already come to the same conclusion.

Religious fanaticism depicted in the original Planet of the Apes — sadly by the head scientists. Must be Republicans. 

Practice Session #2 April 5, 2012

Posted by bibliosk8 in freestyle skateboarding.
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Due to still annoying poison ivy rash, I opted to skip aikido – AGAIN. 

I decided to ride up to Allen Tx, about 15 minutes up the road, to get in some freestyle practice. On the way home today, I noticed some kids skating outside the public library, where there’s a public area. Curious about the surface, I stopped there on the way to the freeway, and was happy to discover the surface is, while not that big, very nice for practice. So I spent about 45 minutes practicing. 

2nd practice session in the last 3 years or so. Finger flips — check. 360 shove it – check. Bigspin – check. Casper 180 – check. wheelies – check. kickflip – check. 

STOKED!

More Skate History April 4, 2012

Posted by bibliosk8 in freestyle skateboarding.
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While researching old board shapes for my Small School prototype, I came upon this old tracker ad featuring Torger Johnson. I was struck by the grace and style of this nose wheelie. (pic is from CalStreets.com)

While there is some footage of Torger when he was a little guy, back in the very very early days of skateboarding before the urethane wheel, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any footage from this part of his skate career in the 1970s. Bummer. Torger died in the 1980s in a car accident. I read a quote by Tony Alva regarding Torger’s induction into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame. Tony was very complimentary of Johnson’s style and ability, and noted him as a heavy influence.

There’s just so much great skateboarding from those early days that most of us will never get to see.

Here’s a page about him on the Logan Earth Ski website — including that letter by Tony Alva. Check out some of these pics — seriously – downhill nose wheelies at high speed. Rad!

Some 360 Shove-Its April 4, 2012

Posted by bibliosk8 in freestyle skateboarding.
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Was planning to do some freestyle practice tonight, but we had serious tornados all afternoon in North Texas and lots of rain. So I’m just posting this short video of some 360 Shove-Its that I made a few years ago. One of my favorite tricks to do.

New Freestyle Wheels April 3, 2012

Posted by bibliosk8 in freestyle skateboarding.
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Got my new freestyle wheels in the mail today – Decomposed’s Terry Synnott freestyle wheel. 54mm, 98a, nice rounded edges, and nice offset to cover the axle nut (not that I do a lot of rail tricks, but it is nice to have anyway). Also, a cool swirl color. Hell yeah!

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