Content Warning!

This blog on occasion addresses depression, death, suicide and other sensitive themes. Continue at your own discretion in reading the content.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The Skater and the Broken Child

 I was hoping that the neighborhood skater would appear today and he did. It was easy to approach him and he clearly recognized me.  I talked to him a bit and warned him that a resident made a complaint and told him if he stayed clear of our parking lot he should be okay.  He appreciated the heads up.  

I feel good helping him out but I understand how beneficial skateboarding can be and due to my own experiences with skateboarding from a non-skater view. Skating has been beneficial to me even though I don't skate. It has reminded me often of my own strength and resilience. Bob Burnquist, Bucky Lasek, Tony Hawk, Kelvin Hoefler, Luan Oliveira, Jonny Giger and so many others have unknowingly saved my ass. For that, I am ever grateful and don't expect anyone to understand that.

There is something about these skaters, these men and their own stories that speaks to a part of me that I have spent years trying to heal and support - the Broken Child. They say helping others is a way to mend the broken child and to listen to the child inside. Given recent events in my life coupled with the guilt that has been inflicted on me my whole life that if I do good, I am made to feel bad.  That is Catholic guilt and my parents wondered why I ran away from the Church when I was a kid.

The Broken Child and the Inner Saboteur have a lot in common. One feels alone and afraid, nothing is ever good enough no matter the intentions and the other reinforces it with negative thoughts of being a loser. 

It's too late for me to learn skateboarding, not really, but the inner child in me I think seeks the kind of freedom and release that comes with it.  It could be that the broken child in me relates to the idea of how skaters are seen as the misfits, the outsiders, the ones who don't belong.  I found a community that isn't really my community but a part of me lives adjacent to it and that's okay.

Warning the neighborhood skater today in some ways appeased the Broken Child. The child is happy and although, broken, has received a hug by doing a good deed. A deed that the Saboteur cannot destroy this time.

Today's musical treat is Lupe Fiasco's 'Kick, Push' which seem appropriate given today's events.

Rock on!


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Leave the Skaters Alone

This will be a bit of rant post given that the monthly HOA meeting for my building has ended. One of the residents complained about the noise of the two skateboarders who skate in a lot across from our building. Then the person said the kids skated our sidewalk which honestly, I've never seen them do.

So now, my HOA is thinking of getting a "no skating" sign just for two kids and told the resident they could call the cops if they wanted to.  The president of the board said skating wasn't allowed at our building which is a lie because there is nothing in our rules and regs or bi-laws that prohibit skateboarding. I checked.

Instead of buying a stupid sign which will surely be ignored and spending money to put one in, why not ask the skaters, all two of them, to simply not skate on our side of the parking lot?  It's a reasonable thing to do.

As for the noise, it's daytime and guess what? The sound of skating bothers this woman but not the constant beeping of cars backing up, car alarms, the visit of the trash trucks at 5am, the loud music by residents sitting in their cars, the crying kids or barking dogs? Sure...lady...that's all fine with you but not the sound of skateboarding?

This woman lives on the second floor, and I live on the fourth so I imagine it might sound louder but complaining about the skaters just irks me. It's two of them and it's not like there are there all day. They come for an hour at most, and they aren't screaming or anything.

The one kid pushes pretty well but has been trying to figure out how to ollie up a curb. He's getting better but has a bit more work to do. A little more speed and more snap of his board and he'll have it. I am not a skateboarder, but I've watched enough to know how close this kid is to success.  Neither of the kids are doing grinds, slappies or jumping up on hand-rails. They aren't doing any damage to the concrete or paint. They aren't out there skating like Jonny Giger although I bet, they might want to if they could.

Instead of being bitchy people, simply talking to them would be ideal. I haven't spoken to either kid much, except to ask if they wanted my old issue of "Thrasher" or some grip tape.  I did that yesterday. I gave them a zip loc bag of stickers, a sheet of grip tape and a Thrasher.  They were so damn happy. Smiles on their faces. 

This is Vermont, there are two skateparks where I live but neither is easy to get to and these kids live in the low-income house development across the street. I would venture to guess that they don't get to go to either of those parks often. You have to pay to skate at one of them.

The next time the kids come out to skate and I'm around, I'll ask them to not skate on our side of the parking lot and warn them of the lady in my building.  She bitches about everything, so I not surprised too much by her complaint.  This is a woman who complained for 6 months that the staircase by her unit wasn't clean enough.

Let kids be kids and most of all - let them skate! Okay, the rant is over. To all the skateboarders out there, go do your thing. Skate to your hearts content and DO A KICKFLIP or in the case of the two kids in the parking lot, an ollie up a curb. 

For today's musical treat we're travelling all the way back to 1981 for Kim Wilde's "Kids in America".

Rock on!


Saturday, April 22, 2023

The Invisible Intruder

 Before I moved into my current home several years ago, I had been at my old house packing up to move a block to where I am now. One particular weekend, the temperature in Vermont was extremely hot and the old home did not have air conditioning.  I had already had the keys to my new home and spent a few days there in cooler temperatures.

When I returned to home with a friend, I couldn't get into the house at first because someone had locked the screen door.  This was odd as you can't lock it unless you were in the house.  I was able to make it into the house and discovered that someone had broken in.  They rummaged through the bucket of loose change on the kitchen counter, broken a light bulb in the basement and use the grill.  They had left food in my fridge which indicated they were planning on returning.  It was an intrusion, a violation of my of my home. A home that I had lived in for 42 years and moving to a new place was hard enough.

That was five years ago.  Recently, in my new place, which is a condo and has a storage cage in the parking garage, was broken into. I don't have anything of value in my storage cage but I had put tarps all the way around so you couldn't see it, all my stuff was in tubs, and I had a heavy-duty chain and lock on my cage.  Still, the broken in and rummaged through everything. They went through a tub of items that belonged to my deceased parents. One item was my dad's old boy scout uniform which had been neatly packed only for me to find it thrown about and on the ground crumpled up.  

There was a box of items belonging to my parents that was from the funeral home and hospice where my mom had been until she passed.  The funeral home here had put my dad's wedding ring and his K-mart Casio watch in a blue velvet bag.  The thieves took the bag.  It was like I lost my dad all over again and it hurt that they took it, not knowing that the ring had been on my father's dead had five years earlier. 

Eventually, I knew that I would say good-bye to that ring when I passed but the only way to deal with it was to tell myself that I let go it sooner than I wanted.  I have no siblings and no relatives nearby so when I pass, it all has to go.  Out there some thief has my dad's wedding ring, probably sold it to someone to get drugs. 

They have no idea of the man who wore that ring and the life he led.  They have no idea that he served his country in the United States Air Force, station up in Alaska working on the DEW line to ensure our safety.  They have no idea that he was a small-business owner or that he built an 18-foot satellite dish out of newspaper tin print sheets, screen and steel pipes in the early 80's. They don't know how much he enjoyed riding his John Deere tractor around the yard. 

The thief took my dad from me again. They took him without asking and that's what hurts so much. He was my dad, not theirs. They didn't hit the Cumberland Farms for coffee and slushies every week. They didn't go dumpster diving or build a pond in the backyard with him.  The weren't there the day I had saved up enough money to buy him a brand-new John Deere and had it delivered as a surprise. They weren't there the day I bought him his used mini-van with had all the bells and whistles.  He loved that thing. He always drove a Dodge because they had good heaters and a good pick-up in the engine.  It might have been a mini-van but it was a sportscar to him.

It seems only appropriate to have Jerry Reed's East Bound and Down as today's musical treat. 

Rock on!


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Little By Little

I have been slow in providing updates to what is going on but suffice to say I am slowly editing the novel I wrote in November 2022.  I have chipping away, chapter by chapter and sitting with things for a bit. I'm thinking of changing the structure to something else, including a new book title. 

Although, I have been chipping away at the novel, I have let me artistic side bubble up and have been exploring adding more paintings and photos to my living room wall or perhaps my office space. I have a large giclee art print done by Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen hanging in my office. It's 1 of 50 that were printed called "Animal" which is my favorite Def Leppard song.  I have another giclee of his in my bedroom that is 8 of 25. I forget the name of it but if you have ever seen the Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven poster of the hermit holding the lantern at a cliff, Rick's artwork reminds me of it in a good way.  It's abstract but yet if you look at it long enough you can see the hermit. At least, I do anyway.  These two  art prints are the first ones that I ever bought where I coughed up a lot of money.

I have been exploring other artists, mostly professional skateboarders turned artists such as Kris Markovich and Paul Kobriger. I keep looking but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. I think it's because my office space is a disaster zone at the moment.  I have these grand plans, but I haven't found the motivation to get it going. Bob Burnquist is another skateboarder who is doing artwork, even some murals in Brazil. Bob draws these really cool looking birds that I like but it seems Bob is not selling them as artwork to buy. I have searched and come up empty handed. I wish he would sell some artwork. I really, really do his bird friends are so vibrant and would love to have something on my wall. 

I did order some artwork from an Irish artist in upstate New York who does oil paintings. I can't afford an original but can afford a print and have two coming that would fit nicely in my living room.  I have such a strange taste in artwork as I like abstract stuff, cubism, portraits and anything that speaks to me on some level. The Rick Allen pieces are abstract, but I see a lot in them. 

Although I don't skate, there are some decks that have amazing graphics on them that I wouldn't mind hanging. Like I said, my taste in things is everywhere.  Kind of like my taste in music - it's everywhere. Lately, I have been exploring again and discovering songs I haven't heard in ages. I honestly can't remember how I managed to find Juice Newton again. I haven't heard her songs in ages. She was a big deal with I was eleven. I found her 1982 song "Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me."  Which of course led to her other songs like "Queen of Hearts", "Angel of the Morning", "Break It To Me Gently" and others.  What a trip!

In a nod to Juice Newton and taking the musical trip down memory lane, enjoy "Love's Been A Little Hard On Me" as your treat.

Rock On!

Sunday, February 26, 2023

The Dark Place Pt. 2

 Living in the dark place can be tough and other times not so bad. I know this place very well. For all the pain the dark place holds, it is familiar and comforting. It is the only place where I am not confused by how I feel.  I know what it feels like to be in the dark place. I recognize that one can't reside in this place all the time but sometimes we have no choice in the matter.

It seems like we have no choice as we have to try and break the cycle.  This is not so easy to do. It took several years for me to get to a place where I could talk about the darkness.  Courage to talk about this place that exists in my head but physically feel. One thing is for certain, you need to know you are in a cycle to begin with.  Recognizing where you are and what is going on is probably the hardest thing to do because the moment you acknowledge it, you can no longer ignore it. 

The dark thoughts in your mind are now given life and words. You cannot put them back in the bottle. This is why the journey to break the cycle is so difficult.  You have to be in a place to tackle it. I learned over the years that the saying 'when the time is right' is actually true. It's not a hard fast rule to follow but you know when it's time to tell someone something.

Over the course of our lives, we come arrive at various destinations that cause to decide the direction we will go.  At that moment in time, we may not be ready to leave the dark place that is holding us hostage, but another time will arrive where we do decide to take the path to break the cycle or simply alter the journey.

Time and time again we will come upon a place, a post in our life where we will make a choice. Do we go this way or that way?  No matter what choice we make, there is no wrong path for we will always be on the right path at that moment in time.  We will always return to the place we need to make a choice and will always know where we need to be. We know it in our guts, our intuition.  We simply know, we simply keep holding on. 

Enjoy your musical treat of Simply Reds' 'Holding Back the Years'

Rock On!