Stoke Challenge 2020: Session #72 A Session Amidst Many

Pavement was dry, even though it rained all night.  My little patch of concrete heaven is getting sessioned hard.  It’s frozen cement slabs are not frozen in place in straight angles, they conform to the mound of earth underneath.  If you look closer across its plane you will see the little divots and flat spots that offer a break from the stationary wave’s angular appearance.

Todays meditation in motion focused a lot on control in each one of these changes in pitch.  A pivot for a divot, skated like a berm.  A little pump to cross step, exactly like the time before, allowing you just enough time to step into where your feet are supposed to go.  The next choice is either a full 180 to a stop, which is becoming less and less popular as I know have started tucking up into the carve.  This propels me with just enough speed even throwing a little check in to the mix to move up a whole concrete section.  At the top of the sweep I work an almost 360° pivot to pump back down the wedge.  With a little kick added in I feel it’s enough speed to pop a little tiger claw.  That is as is much as regular as it gets.  By this time I am all the way back to the other end where it all began.

I feel comfortable enough now in any stance that I am begun improv steps in and out of tiger claws, depending on where I end up standing on the board.  This is something that Kendama has taught me.  As this is how I’ve started playing.  If I miss a spike a have figured out how to sling the tama around to any of the cups.  The first few times I landed off on my board I was pretty stoked to find myself no sketched out.  I am still a little surprised so we will see how that sits in my brain tonight.  I’m sure tomorrows line will develop more.

Pretty stoked to have a new stoke slinging tool coming into being.  Took us a bit longer to get it then was hoped, but hopefully we can bust out some solid shop videos.  All the time having too much fun learning how to adapt.  Let’s see how we can make this idea work for lifting up the world, and getting folks set up the best way we can.

Thanks for reading.

Stoke Challenge 2020: Session #72 The Opportunity For a Session Arose.

I wonder if one of the perks of all this is the rediscovering of our neighborhoods and natural social rhythms?

I remember sometime soon after I moved to Kansas City an ice storm that pretty much shut down everything.  No one had power.  No one had TV.  No one could cook.  So people went to restaurants that had power.  I ate dinner with friends.  Because when shit went down we hung out together.  Drank, until we fell asleep.  Woke up when ever, and went to work.  I was a department manager at Wal-Mart and there was a lot do in a store that was pitch black.  A generator was dying killing refrigerators.  Open topped refrigerator had to be insulated the best we could to keep the temperatures cold enough to keep it frozen.  It was wild.  No one freaked out if you showed up late, because at that time not everyone had cell phones.  Honestly there was nothing else to do so going to work and getting paid overtime was awesome.  We went about the day pretty naturally, and it was awesome.

Today was the first day of this that seemed to flow a lot like that.  The difference is that instead of being able to come in close, and have a group of friends, its small interactions.  Way more personal, way more real.  Maybe part of my issue has been I’ve been trying to make things run the same way they where before.  Instead of going with the flow, it was “keep it normal”.  Now that it has been a few days of this, the perks are starting to add up.  Maybe I have been going about things the wrong way.

Check this.  Wake up, and not have to worry about “when” exactly.  You know you have things to do around a certain time, but that’s about it.  Because the door is locked…and it’s socially ok to do so.  No one is bothered that the door is locked.  No one even expects me to be open.  As long as I am either hanging with Markie, or working on shop stuff it’s a pretty chill vibe.  Today was super loose.  Yet still got some stuff done.

I was outside playing Kendama when Zack from across the street came over and sessions with me.  Everyone plays this a little different so its rad to see what people have picked up and are experimenting with.  We both just sessioned Sumos, and had a great time.  This led to him grabbing his street deck, and pulling out the rail. I grabbed my Tesseract and worked on the usual line.  Just jammed it.

I’ve begun work on kick flipping the board.  When some smart aleck shouts out, “Do a kick-flip!”) I want to be able to gonk one out and make it look good!  I have no idea how far I am from that, but I put in some good work on it today.  More than I have ever felt comfortable doing before today.  Either just my level of comfort on the board has come up a notch, or I’ve finally learned some things these past few forced sessions that have advanced my ability.  The only way to learn for certain is to continue learning more.  Yay skateboards!  It was a pretty full hour too.  The sun was out and it was great to soak up some of it.

Then I came back in and got to it.  Vroooom!!

Thanks for reading.

Stoke Challenge 2020: Session#71 Hard to Keep Moving Sometimes

Sun came out.  Weather was nice.  Lots of people walking around.  I can’t blame them.  It is nice out.

Poxy came over for a session earlier.  He sensed I needed it.  I did.  Still do.  Poxy rolled his ankle pretty good.   He even thought it was broke, although I don’t think it was.  It sure did look like a tendon was swelling.  That is probably the worst part about this gig.  Watching your buddies getting injured, and not being able to do anything for them.  Especially now.

No lies.

All this has got me all jacked up.  I can’t step outside without feeling like people are staring at me, most likely wondering the exact same thought.

“Have you got it”, then “Have I already got it.”

The hard facts are this though.  I do not want to get injured or go to the hospital or anywhere close to the hospital.  The shop is 3 blocks down from KU Med, a little too close.  I want to be with people, but I don’t want to be near them.  I don’t want them breathing the same air.

Hard facts though, is that if I have not already had it, or have it, I will most likely get it.  So I am just wondering when that shit is going down.  Now I know, I know, I know I know that if I stay active, positive, and calm my body has a super chance at staying healthy.  When I do get sick, my body and mind will be at its prime.  Honestly I wonder if I should just pack all this up and go skate right now.  Gently, gently of course.  I’ve got my skate shoes on.  My helmet is still moist.  No one can come in the shop.

I’ve seen people roll by on boards.  I know dudes are skating.  I think what would bum me about that then is that I don’t want to talk, I just want to be with someone and skate.  Like, let’s not say a word.  I don’t want to talk.  I do not want to talk.

All this does give one a moment to think, but that is exactly what I do not need.  I need to do, but I am stuck.  I am stuck hard.  I am stuck so hard, that the last 20 minutes all I could do was muster the strength to sit on the bench.  Just watched people.  It’s way busier out than I thought it would be that is for certain.  The thought the everything keeps coming back to is that even with the removal of dealing with people.  I still don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do.  Then all I do is sit, and lament about all of the stuff I volunteered for.  Just mad at the limitations of a 24 hour day.

So what can I do about it?  That’s what this blog post has been.  A chance to put something forward moving out there.  Take a step. A little breath.  Make a little mark.  There is no other reason, to make the mark other than just making the mark.  Be careful not to get too caught up in which mark, because the reason manifests as it is maid.  What if it’s not the mark you wanted?  Lear how to make it differently.  We have 24 marks to make in a day.  Each one of them marked with its contents.  Try not to think about that too much.  You’ll find that your ego has a foothold there in as many forms of interpretation as you could care to have.  So much as to be filled with inaccuracy.

Here and now.  Maybe for the most part the few moments leading up to the next are only limited by where you are and what you are doing in this moment.  Are you making a connection?  Feeling the weight of it?

Breathe deep.

Good enough.  Keep going.  If all you can do is sit, and take it all in, then please just keep going.  The next breath is never as guaranteed as one thinks, but it is what we have for sure.

Thanks for reading.


Stoke Challenge 2020: Sessions #69 & #70 Waiting for the Postal Dude

“We still have the website.” is the relieved thought going through my mind the past few days.  I’m not saying that we are not feeling the crunch, but at least I have some outlet of control.  As long as the Post Office keeps running anyways.  That’s probably the one thing about all this that has been pretty quite.  With all this talk of essential services, will there be a time the post office is not included on that?

I feel like we are small enough, and able to quarantine ourselves off enough to avoid complete shut down.  We live above the shop.  So even though we are still here more or less we are still blocked off from the rest of the world.  If they virus isn’t in here right now, the odds of it getting in from a person are super slim.  We aren’t allowing anyone to come in the shop, so that is one factor that I hope keeps us rolling a bit longer.

Today’s session and yesterday’s session were an example of getting it in as part of the flow of the day.  Although yesterday I did not feel like writing a post, my head was all in the Quickbooks catching up transactions from before the shut down.  All the transactions from this point forward will most likely be through the website.  Today especially I was hoping to catch the regular Postal Dude on the day to day, but he didn’t come all the way down to the corner.  So that means my order to New York is going to have to be delivered to the post office through us.  I hope the post office hours aren’t going to change a whole lot.

So many little changes.    For a dude who’s routine basically revolves around staying in with bouts of leaving I didn’t think I would get thrown off my rythm quite as much.  Onward and upward.

Stay Stoked, Stay healthy,

Thanks for reading.

Stoke Challenge 2020: Session #68. Now That We Are Done Waiting

Kansas City announced yesterday that they were shutting down all non-essential services for 30 days after tomorrow.  We knew it something like this would most likely happen, so it was a bit of a relief for them to just come out with it.  We luckily still have our online store and the ability to do a curbside pick up, and we live above the shop so we don’t even have to leave to go anywhere.  As long as they don’t cut us off from shipping we still have a way to generate some funds.

After a couple day reset and that news I am back at the sessions.  Got to stay active to help stay healthy.  Originally this was a 110 mile day planned, but the weather had different ideas.  Friday nights session with a small group was sketchy as hell.  It felt like the only people that were out other than us were out for no social benefit that is for certain.  The whole city had a whacked out kind vibe going.  Saturday Markie had some gnarly sinus stuff going on, and I just needed a mental day, to kind of sit and process everything.  We’ve talked about it before, but just the simple little act of making a decision about something you have control over helps keep you from feeling out of control.

So today’s exercise some good ol’fashioned board burpees, with a balance board/kendam session after. We splurged just a bit, and picked up some fresh Kendama.  We figured that would give us something to throw in while we are supposed to be staying inside.  I haven’t gotten to play as much with the cushion coating on the Sweets Labs tamas and I have to say they are really nice playing.  The detail in the graphic and how that helps tracking is pretty sweet.

I also got some video to post on my instagram story.  Maybe folks will get inspired and work a board burpee routine into their day to keep the spirits up, and mind focused on what you can do in the moment.

Stay Stoked.  Thanks for reading.

Stoke Challenge 2020: Session #67. Fun In the Sun

When the day started I could hear the rain pitter patting on the window and roof.  Rainy days are a little more challenging to keep the positivity up, but as of yesterday I don’t know if that will matter for a bit.  After yesterday’s session, the little improvements, and the great feeling after a good sweat the fighting spirit has returned.  I understand that Social Distancing is the current practice, however one can still be socially distant and get a session in.

I feel that languishing inside, waiting for the inevitable Covid-19 contraction, makes the whole thing that much worse.  If you are already sick or immune system compromised your ass needs to stay inside.  If you are in regular contact with someone fitting those conditions stay inside.

I can’t stop doing what I am doing.  I have to keep moving.  I have to keep pushing, until I can’t do it, or until I get sick or the government tells me to stay in.  Exercise, what ever style or form that takes has to be a regular thing during all this.  Have a set time each day to get some in.  Get sweaty.  If the sun is out, go for a stroll.   I think you will find, that this act.  This moment of saying, this is what I am going to do, no matter how small switches something in ones brain.

Todays goals where fairly strait forward enough.  I see sun, I go outside and skate for an hour and sweat.  Sweat my booty off.  If I didn’t sweat than it didn’t count.  So I made my hour of exercise count.  Went out again on the Tesseract and worked more free ride and freestyle stuff.  I’m nailing stuff pretty consistent.  Jumping big on the tiger claws.  Very precise foot work on the cross steps to heel side slide.  By the end I was even working shuv its, and kick flips.  Felt really solid for sure.  Not too shabby at all.

There is so much out of control about all this, that finding control in even the smallest moment can do a lot to boost your mood, and keep you on the front end of your sickness.  I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to keep going.  I hope that others will be stoked and keep doing what they can to move forward in a safe manor.

Stay stoked.


Stoke Challenge 2020: Session #66 One Hour, Many Moments

I think I understand a little bit more about maybe where my head has been.  As with just about everyone in the United States currently the thoughts revolve around Covid-19.  All the isolation kind of things going on.  Entire industries are sending people home, people aren’t getting paid, future are seemingly upending.  So this whole time I have been waiting for when we have to stop.  Waiting for the time when the government says, “Ok no businesses are to be open.”  Condition number two for us would be when they also tell us how much they are going to pay me to stop working.

So I have just been in this holding pattern waiting for the other shoe to drop, when the fact is I have been lucky enough, and small enough to avoid having to completely shut down operations, or building a website or any of that sort of issue.  Of course as soon as anyone in the house gets sick, we are going to shut her down for a bit, but so far we have avoided it.  Today every time I stepped out to get a little skatey skate in, it would be about 15 minutes and another person would roll into the shop, or it would be time to eat.  Or something else would pop up.

Took the Tesseract out today and nailed some great stuff.  I not only worked some dance lines, but also some free ride type of stuff too.  That is such a versatile board, it matched my session needs perfectly.  From one time going out to the next moment I had the opportunity it didn’t take long for me to get in a groove.

It feels like the whole world is holding its breath.  The vibrational shift is tangible that is for certain.

Thanks for reading, stay safe.

Stoke Challenge 2020: Session #65 Get Out and Move

It’s heavy out there.  Last night before succumbing to sleep, my wife and I sat silent on our couch.  This statement shouldn’t seem unusual, except we live right on 39th Street, midtown Kansas City.  It was St. Patricks day eve, and it was eerily quite.  Occasionally a car would go by, but it seemed only to leave in deeper silence.  It’s even so dead on the street right now the city crews are taking advantage and are filling in the potholes.  As all the bars close, and events we had planned start being cancelled or “postponed indefinitely” it feels that toilet paper and food may be the least of our worries in the days to come.

People aren’t moving, and I know that’s the point, but it doesn’t even feel like my brain is moving.  We are plugged in and waiting for the latest word.  Some are delightfully logged out, waiting out the next 14 days with loved ones.  We are here.  Keeping myself busy, it is harder than it should be.  Lot’s of internal distraction, a few customers.  Every interaction feels heavy.  On one hand practicing my craft takes on a new focus, and on the other my ego dances across sides playing the underlying unease against itself as arguments in my mind.  Luckily I have some amazing friends with viewpoint outside my own, that aren’t afraid to offer a better solution and opportunity for improvement, and also allows me to vent a bit.

It is at least dry out, even if it is cloudy, and a little chilly.  My Chubby Unicorn has been calling to me at night.  Cross steps are getting more and more dialed.  Little foot placement movements on the deck are being executed more precisely.  I am working on keeping my whole focus to as much of the skateboarding as I can.  Even with my earbuds in, the difference in vehicle traffic on the roads is audible.  My volume was more to fill up the quiet, than to drown out the noise.  That is the key though.  Keep moving.  Move through the uncertainty, the discomfort, the silence.  Keep in mind what I can control.  One breath at a time, one step at a time.

Thanks for reading.


Stoke Challenge 2020: Session #64

It is about to get very interesting.  I missed a few days, to say the least.  My brain was way too preoccupied with the goings and and the stress of making the shops tax deadline to muster the mental strength of even pulling out the balance board.  As much as that was a rough patch I am glad I am done with it in time to give myself a little bit of respite before dealing with the Covid-19 Virus madness that is getting ready to befall us.

Being open may soon not be an option.

That was the over shadowing theme today during my balance board and Kendama session.  I feel like staying active and getting some exercise in will go a long way in keeping us healthy.  Word on the street though, is that it is inevitable to catch it.  The nasty lasts for two weeks.  I feel like I would rather just get it over with.  Although if I could wait a few more days until the wife gets paid so we can nab a fair chunk of groceries that would be super stellar.  We don’t even know at that point what will be available.

The hour of being over board might be the one moment in the day we aren’t focused on all that is getting ready to transpire.  Even then we have no idea what this will even mean, until we are in it.  Next two weeks are going to be nuts.

Until then I will keep working on the website, in preparation for when people might order.  At least it keeps the brain busy.  Stay healthy folks.

Thanks for reading.

Stoke Challenge 2020: Session #63 In the Front Yard With A Friend

Woobaby, this age and time is getting really nuts.  Regardless of whether you believe it is serious, or if it’s just a bunch of government folks trying to keep people from gathering in large enough groups to start a riot, there is a lot of tension.  Folks is worried.  People are being crappy to one another like there isn’t going to be a tomorrow, and stuff in general is nuts.  Kansas City’s mayor claimed a state of emergency, and canceled any gatherings of more than 1,000 people.  I heard someone else state that they heard it was groups of more the 200 people.  So one one hand, I don’t have to worry because we don’t draw that many people anyways, on the other hand business may not be super rocking at the moment.  Clever posts about staying healthy with skateboarding however may be taken a bit more seriously.  Who knows?  I sure don’t, I just know it’s making an already tough job a lot harder.

The day started with rain, and about mid day cleared up with sunshine.  The weather dudes are still forecasting snow and crap, so it did not take a lot of convincing to go outside and skate a bit in the front yard.  I worked on the standard dance line until Poxy showed up with a guitar and skateboard.  He played a bit, then I brought out my street deck to session with him.  It is the best sessions when you get to skate with someone.

Now I need to get these danged taxes figured out.

Thanks for reading.