Homophobia and Aggressive Inline

You know I hadn't really given this thought until now, but a bunch of the insults thrown at my Aggressive Rollerblading brethren (or whatever you want to call it) are also homophobic. And also inline skating itself in any form seems to be associated with homosexuality. When did this happen? And now that I think about it double-fuck the Human Giant joke about it for being both ignorant and homophobic. This is how stupid homophobia really is, that ignorant and dumb people use it to mock things that aren't remotely related to it. The biggest throwing of stupid insults to rollerblading has been from the skateboarding industry. A so-called "outsider" culture (you are no longer a subculture when your pros can afford "cribs" style houses and people use your image to sell car insurance) that should fucking know better. 

I think what has happened here is really pretty simple and a story so old its become a cliche. Skateboarders are now the jocks of the extreme sports genre, and rollerbladers are the nerds. And what do jocks do to nerds? By extension, what does any part of mainstream culture do to something deemed uncool? We shit on it, push it into the edges of society. And homophobic language is still, despite all the supposed work towards "acceptance," used to demean anything that is deemed as lesser. So rollerbladers become fruitbooters, rappers still use the word "fag," and fucking idiot jock douchebags coming out of a Knicks game beat the shit out of two gay men in broad daylight outside Madison Square Garden. And those same type of homophobic dickwads try to mess with me when I'm on skates for the same reason. I am in no way trying to equate the two, just pointing out that intolerance doesn't always just effect the minority being persecuted, it can also effect people who are only vaguely associated with it.

Cognitive Misfire

    I was going to make this most recent post about the inherit fallacy of dieting, but I'll hold off on that for awhile and instead address a little thing I call the cognitive misfire. We are familiar I think with this occurrence: you are looking for your keys and realize they are in your hand etc.  When you have a former or current brain injury these little misfires can come not only more often, but can be a little more troubling, especially when they pertain to emotions.
  Now to be fair, I'm not a nueroscientist, or have any degree in psychology or psychiatry, so all that I am about to tell you may be bullshit. But I am just doing a lot of research on all three of these topics for a book I am currently working on. I am going to share a little bit about those moments where your brain not work so good.
  One of the more troubling things that happens when you have a major head injury is that your emotions can be thrown all out of whack. You have rage that bubbles up for no reason, you get really sad and tear up sometimes without explanation, you laugh uncontrollably at inappropriate times. In the past, my friends and I used to make a joke about these occurrence and call them "male PMS." More recently I have begun to suspect this is one of the long term affects of an brain injury I sustained in 2003.
   Most of the time, I work pretty diligently to maintain and control these outbursts of emotion through meditation, herbal tea, yoga, exercise etc. Occasionally though, I don't keep up with these things as much as I should and occasionally, people have to deal with one of these seemingly out of character emotional outbursts. A lot of things can exacerbate the situation like alcohol, lack of sleep, stress at work or at home etc. Every once and awhile - and a lot more before I learned how to manage these issues - people around can be hurt by these outbursts. Especially when it comes to anger. One of lovely things your brain does when it gets conflicting information is it tries to make order out of chaos. Unfortunately when you have a damaged brain, you brain will try to "order" things that don't really belong together. For example: you are angry and don't know why, and at that moment you randomly think of your grandma. All of the sudden, your grandma becomes the object of your anger, even if you are really angry about something else, or as can be the case with brain injuries, you are angry with no actual concrete cause. Bingo! Cognitive misfire.
   Usually when I have these, I have the good sense to sit on the thought for at least a day. Nine times out of ten, I realize it's irrational and let it go. Even if it is reasonable, I still sit on it for while to make sure its actually worth dealing with. Again, nine times out of ten its nothing and I just let it go. But every once and while, one sneaks past my better judgement and wrecks havoc.
   This is one of the reasons I try really hard to AVOID THE INTERNET during times when this is happening. Amongst your friends, if you send a bizarre out of nowhere angry text to someone, you can explain the next day and hopefully eventually forget about the whole thing. On the internet however, that shit can become everyone's business, and suddenly you've involved fifteen or more people in you cognitive misfire. It also stays there, in the cloud, forever, like a giant dead rat no one can locate in your radiator.
   One of the other frustrating things about these occurrences is it is in my nature to try and explain them when they happen while not necessarily acknowledging it may be because of my brain issues. This is also usually a bad idea. I have the amazing ability to compound the problem when I do this. This is where the situation leaps its way from cognitive misfire to neurotic stupidity. Up until this point, I kind of still have an excuse for what is happening, although granted, had I been better at keeping up with the maintenance exercises, this might not have happened. Afterward however, I am past the point of an accident, and have now buried myself in a blackhole of stupid. This, as many of you know, is what happened to me a couple of weeks ago.
   One of the other more unfortunate things when these cognitive misfires happen is that you are not aware they are happening until sometimes days later. When this happens, the best thing you can do is a) immediately apologize for whatever it is you have done/said b) explain the about your issues, honesty is the best policy at this point, c) be more aware of the things that may trigger you (i.e. lack of sleep and alcohol in this case), and d) avoid the goddamn internet for a least one night

Committing Blasphmey for Nerds or Why I am Buying the Stars Wars OT Blu-Ray Set

    So I have decided to buy the original Star Wars trilogy on Blu-Ray despite the seemingly blasphemous (at least to Star Wars nerds) changing of the original films by George Lucas. I did not do this without paining about it for at least a week. Why did I eventually cave? Mainly because it costs $40, but also because when in came right down to it, the improved visuals and sound outweighed the scenes that Lucas changed. When you come right down to it, all the scenes that everybody made such a big fuss about are either not as bad as everyone makes them out to be, or so short it doesn't matter. I will address some of the individual scenes below, leaving the most egregious ones for last
  1) The CGI Jabba/Han Solo scene: Not as terrible as everyone makes it out to be. Yes there's a crappy CG Jabba the Hut and a really weird edit where Han has to CGI step over Jabba's tail. This is because in the original scene Harrison Ford walks behind another actor who is subbing for Jabba. But you all knew that already. Plus to this scene (or another minus if you want to be really pissy about it)? Five second shot of Boba Fett mugging at the camera.
 2) Weird added animals to Mos Eisley spaceport and the extra Stormtrooper scenes on Tatooine: Also, not as as as everyone makes it out to be, and all the scenes last like 5 seconds at post. This applies to a lot of the little extras added for the re-release for the Trilogy in the late 90s. So release your asshole and get over it
3) Replacement of the "YubYub" scene at the end of Jedi: I have been very open about never liking the original song all that much to begin with. So sue me.
4) Really aggressively stupid musical scene in Jabba's Palace scene: Yeah, I agree with all of you, it's as bad as you made it out to be. Still, not enough to overrule the $40 pricetag
5) Putting ghost Hayden Christensen at the end of Jedi: Yeah, fuck that, that's some sacrilegious shit. I mean if you're going to do that, why not replace Alec Guinness with Ewan McGregor while you're at it? God-fucking-dammnit!
6) Greedo shoots first: Do I really need to explain this? This is one of the few of these that actually fundamentally changes your introduction to a major character. Plus, the edit is so fucking awkward looking.

  But ultimately there's two factors that make this decision for me: 
1) Even the most horrible of these scenes is at most only a few moments long and for the price, I can actually live with them and still enjoy the rest of film. I've reached a point in my life when I just can't be on board with nerd detail bitching anymore. Mechanical web-shooters versus organic? I don't give a shit. Is the core of the characters and the film intact? Yes? Then everything else is just a minor detail. With the changes to Star Wars, the only change that qualifies as a major change is Greedo shooting first, and even that scene is what? Three seconds? I can skip over it and pretend it never happened.
2) I am really, really tired of all this "recapturing the feeling from my childhood" shit. What I've discovered is that when you actually come back to those things as they were originally conceived, nine times out of ten that thing wasn't as good as you remember it. The original Star Wars movies are great, enjoyable, popcorn films. I love them, we all do. I love me some Extended Universe shit too. I own five lightsabers and a giant Millennium Falcon toy. But are they masterpieces of modern cinema? No, they're actually kind of derivative of a lot of stuff that came before them, especially Kuroswa's films. Return of the Jedi is actually kind of a lame rehash of the first film (Also, remember the  Ewoks? I rest my case). Any of you who tries to argue otherwise needs to release your hopelessly tight nerd assholes.

Look, I know a lot of you fellow nerds are going to jump down my throat for all this. And that's fine, you have the right to disagree with me. I'll even grant that some of my points may be flat out wrong, I'm okay with that. But when you come right down to it, when it's only $40, I think you're getting exactly what you pay for.

I'm still never going to buy the prequels, because those just suck big fat elephant scrotum...

In defense of live comedy


Have I known you for more than a couple years? Do we spend enough time around each other that you understand where I'm coming from? Yes? Good, we can have a discussion about where we disagree. No? You don't know me well enough to comment or judge anything I say. Period. Hurray me, hurray you, let's all be adults about this. Kay? Thanks.

   I am getting really, really tired of defending live comedy just because people in general don't understand context. I am especially tired of people misunderstanding that defense of a form is not the same as approval of a point of view or specific joke. It annoys me that I end up in the position of defending someone like Daniel Tosh - who I don't think is particularly funny - by proxy by having this opinion. I also tend to find a LOT of stuff that other people find offensive funny. I find offensive stuff funny in general, regardless of what is being joked about. 
   Case in point: rape jokes. This is one of those topics that many people say you can't joke about. I fundamentally disagree with the idea that any topic can't be joked about. However, the big exception to this is context. There is a fairly large segment of the population that will never, ever, think these jokes are funny. And that's fine. It's an appropriate response. What the comic performer needs to understand is that you will never be able make these people accept your rape joke. Ever. Period. There is no argument you can make that can justify your material to them, even under the auspices of freedom of speech. You can also be wrong in understanding your own context as a performer. I.E. If you are a man you need to be very aware of the context in which you talk about a issue like rape comically.  Race issues present a similar conflict.
   Often my first response to something fucked up is to immediately laugh at it. This recently happened at a show I performed at where some extremely racially insensitive improv sketches were done. While not condoning the material, I laughed at both, but that is mostly because my context for the material (i.e. being a white male, liking offensive shit) is completely different from the people who were offended. I refuse to be apologetic about the initial reaction to the sketches. I do, on the other hand, understand the reasons why other people were deeply offended. I also understand I am speaking in a position of privilege here. I also think the improv troupe either did not understand, or was not fully aware of the context they were performing in. If they had, they might have understood that certain subjects were inappropriate for them to broach. I.E.: If you are in a venue or a show that prides itself on its spotlighting and/or promoting minority issues and artists, its probably a bad idea to be a white person making slavery jokes.
   However, by extension, any audience member needs to understand that a live comedy show (most especially a comedy club) is a context in which anything can be joked about at anytime. In addition, one of the comics may fuck up a joke that night, or have a inappropriate response to a heckler. It will be a singular event that happens that night and may never happen again, and it will offend you deeply. Fine. Be offended. Tell the performer you were offended if you must. Engage in a conversation in person ideally. But don't post a video of it on YouTube from your phone or write a Facebook bitchfest about it. I'm of the opinion that the experience of a single night of live comedy on a certain  level should remain a singular experience only between the people involved. I know that on some level this is idealistic and naive, but I don't care, it's how I feel. Having a honest discussion on a complicated issue with the people involved is not the same as flaming about it on the internet. Also, and I'm painfully aware of how stupid this may sound, its probably not a good idea bring your rape survivor friend to the comedy club.
  Making fun of or making jokes about these issues is how we come to realize how absurd or wrong these things are. But the context in which these jokes are made is always what seems to be ignored. I have repeated this so many times is has become a mantra: CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING WHEN IT COMES TO UNDERSTANDING COMEDY. You can not and should not try to control content, but you can make a greater effort to control and prepare for context.

Me being on wheels does not excuse you not paying attention

I've been meaning to comment on this for awhile, but here it is: A lot of times on my blades I find myself thinking about how much people in NYC don't pay any attention to what they are doing. These same people seem to ones who complain when I almost hit them on the street.
Now before I start, let me first point out that I know technically I am not supposed to be on the sidewalk. I know its technically against the law, but it is a law that has no basis in any sort objective reality. The bike lanes are just that: bike lanes. They didn't bother to fix any of the asphalt, and to whit, bikers are three times worse than pedestrians when it comes to being dickheads. Second, me being on the sidewalk does not automatically exempt you from paying attention.
Here's what you don't know: When I'm on my skates, I'm often navigating four or five things at once. I am trying to avoid the giant crack in the street while simultaneously watching out for the woman on her phone, and also watching out for the stroller she is pushing and the dog she is walking that she is paying no attention to and might lunge for me if i don't give it a wide berth why simultaneously trying to avoid being hit by a cab that is being hailed by the guy in the three-piece suit into the bike lane illegally as well as the van pulling out two cars ahead as well the old woman three people behind you who you don't see but I know can't move out of my way as fast as you could if you had actually been looking where you were going. And let's keep in mind none of the other people on the street are paying attention either.
So yeah, sometimes skating perilously close to you is unavoidable.
I have often been making direct eye contact with you hoping you see me in time when you walk directly into me and then bitch.
All this is to make a simple point. Doing this is mentally exhausting and I am tired of doing it. And part of me knows this is a hopeless request, but please, people, pay a-fucking-ttention, get off your phone, stop texting and look around you every once in a while. My knees will thank you.
And don't even get me started on the principles of responsible dog ownership, that's a whole other post.

I having one of those moments where I am unable to be surprised/offended/angry by any horrible news story that comes out. This is either a sad commentary on the state of the human race or just an acceptance that we have always been like this and that being angry at it serves no logical purpose. Possibly both. I am also reminded that people forced into situations where they are forced to accept things as normal that in their ordinary lives would be unacceptable (wars, extreme poverty, extreme loneliness, etc), they will eventually begin to do unacceptable things. I think people should keep this in mind when they judge the actions of anyone who they think is a despicable person. And I mean this directed to people of any political persuasion. Repression and denial are two of the begins probably in the human psyche and are the basis for the majority of horrible things that people have done in history.
Lest you think I am being defeatist and/or depressed an/or a cynic. I have also found that the answer to all the "why" questions seems to be contained in bits by Louis CK. Which is what makes all of this terribly, terrible funny

Skate videos

This is a Repost, but meh for now.
Pretty soon there will be music reviews and stuff here...
I think I've gotten to the point where my standards for skate videos has gone beyond the actual skating in the video. Case in point I recently bought the NIMH team video, Charging by Adam Johnson, and the new Ground Control video. Considering there was a lot of overlap with the actual skaters, I started paying more attention to the shooting and editing. Of the three, the Ground Control video was clearly the best.
My expectations for the NIMH team video were really high, considering their team, but they were let down. There is simply no excuse for not having multiple angles and shooting in HD these days. There was also a lot of bad angles in this video too. What happens when you don't have this is that edits end up being inconsistent video-quality wise. You also don't get the full impact of what is being the done, and it hurts the video overall. I think some of this might of have been intentional, too make it intentionally look dirtier, but it didn't work. It just looks like a video made like 10 years ago.
Charging was pretty good, AJ always seems to put together really good tour videos. But this video just didn't have the same quality that the GC video had. You could tell how hard everyone worked on that one. There is a lot of love that you can literally feel in the vid. And I think that's what stands out for me now. Its why I liked Fester so much, there's a joy in it even when the editing/shooting didn't add up.