Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dodging One-time

I was skating in Bushwick yesterday with Ralph and we were at this park skating a manual pad with a curse on it. We skated it for a little bit then went off to skate some other spots and returned to skate it some more. When we got there, this mongo-pusher was already there shredding:

The curse came shortly after. A police van drove through and there was some tension in the air, but he just kept going, no big deal. But then two cops walked up on foot and were asking to see IDs, telling us that we are not allowed to skate there. They asked us if we have gotten tickets before, implying that they were going to give us some. However, when I pulled my ID out, I made sure to make my card that my cousin (a cop in the NYPD) gave me. They enquired about it and then let us off with a warning...telling us to wait 5 minutes until they are gone to skate. Wow, I was impressed. These were the cops:

That was not the end of it, though. Five minutes later, we were sitting down talking about what just happened. Ralph was saying how lucky he was that they did not look up his info because he thought he had a warrant for a missed court date for a ticket or something. I told him that he should have just run and not worry about me, I can catch up later. Ralph lit a cigarette and then almost immediately a cop car pulled in (after lurking on us from the street). They told Ralph to give them his ID and he did (instead of running like I just told him to do). They told him that he cannot smoke in that park and then wrote him a summons. Apparently they did not look up his info either because they just gave him the summons and let us go. This is that car (with 3 cops in it):

We decided not to spend anymore time in that park and took off to scope out some other spots. I saw some park on the way and went in to check it out. Ralph came in then all of a sudden turned around and started walking in the opposite direction pretty fast...turns out that there was a police precinct on the other side of the park and Ralph was not trying to push his luck. Hahaha.

On a different note, I am going to Portland in 2 1/2 weeks to hang and shred with Leonard. I have a score to settle with a couple spots over there.

Also, the Wetboys have more fun than you do!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Noticeably Unskilled Interview of Eby Whose Blog This is Anyway with Pictures Mostly Stolen from Other Places

Leonard: So, Eby, how is New York nowadays?

Eby: Well, we can start with the weather. The weather is perfect today [note for people not in NYC: it is snowing there]. Other than that, it is the same ol’ wasted resource. I actually ran into other people skating yesterday. So that is good. I mean people that live in NYC, and skating places other than KCDC or the bowl.

Leonard: What is something actually good about the skate scene in NYC?

Eby: There are a million unused spots all over to be shredded, and you don't have to worry about most of them being crowded because everyone will be preoccupied at the TF and the TF2. Like you would be.

Leonard: Fake street spots are way better. So, anyway, top 3 musicians. Or, um, top 3 CDs.

Eby: That is a hard one. Do you want 2 CDs?

Leonard: Or let me guess.

Eby: 2 CDs nutz! But Thanks for ruining the joke. Besides, I buy vinyl, because i am pretentious.

Leonard: What else do you do besides skateboard and make fun of people on OfficialNewYork?

Eby: I am responsible for the less annoying ads and ad sponsorships on some websites. I make Camille mad a lot. I get sliced up by her cat a lot. I watch the White Rapper Show, Top Model, The Office, and Beauty and the Geek, and I film.

Leonard: How are the MBA applications going? Heard back from anyone yet?

Eby: Not yet. I am just crossing my fingers right now. Oh, and I am working on stuff for the Sho Ma benefit we are having at KCDC. The details are still being worked out, but we are editing a video of Sho and we will project some of his art. It is to raise money for his funeral expenses and such. We will have food and stuff. Also, we are trying to print out decks with his designs.

Leonard: Sounds good. Any favorite books?

Eby: I really like Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell, and The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.

Leonard: Know any good jokes?

Eby: Maybe, but chances are that you would kill it.

Leonard: Aw, man. Anyway, I have a joke. Horse trots into a bar. Bartender looks at him and says, "Hey, why the long face?"

Eby: I am not really the joke guy. I like to play off of things, and I like puns. My co-workers say I always add things to the conversation that kick in later--if that makes any sense.

Leonard: Like CD nutz. Shit. I mean "CDs nutz." Maybe you are right about me messing up jokes.

Eby: AHAHA. Seriously.

Leonard: Ok. Here. AWESOME interview question: top 3 favorite Official participants.

Eby: Slurker! IT DONT MATTER. And there are a few pushing for third. So I’ll stick to two. You aren't the boss of me anyway.

Leonard: Dude, this is my interview though. Respect my game. Look. Just tell me a question to ask you.

Eby: Ask me something about art. Like trivia, or about science.

Leonard: Tell me who said this:“The cinema is a place of intrinsic indiscernibility between art and non-art.”

Eby: Dude. I don't know any of that yuppie nonsense.

Leonard: Ok. Um, wait a sec.

Eby: How can i respect your game if you let me run it like that? I don't even know anything about art or science. I know Seigler gets bummed when I disregard the graffiti founders. I know that about art. If you can even call it that.

Leonard: The quote is by Alain Badiou. Who are the graffiti founders?

Eby: Me. For all that I care.

Leonard: Blasphemy! [tearing my shirt and pouring sand on my head].

Eby: But he is talking about BLADE and TOP CAT and all those dudes.

Leonard: Here's one. Architectural question: what is the purpose of a buttress?

Eby: It has to be a support.

Leonard: Exactly. European engineering was apparently kind of shit back then. So say something amazing for the end part.

Eby: “Skateboarding is skateboarding, and everything else is everything else and its opposite.” -Sho Ma

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pearl Pictures

Here are some recent photos I took with my phone camera in the past week.

I really love how New Yorkers have this obligation to alter subway advertisements...that is not sarcasm.

This was the a canvas at Sho's funeral/wake that people could write their goodbyes on.

These flowers in a vase were laying outside in the snow right outside the door of the funeral home. Talk about symbolism.

Afterward, we went to a Chinese restaurant to eat lunch with Sho's parents and family friends. One of the plates had a chicken head on it (literally!).

So (of course) Budi ate it...

For some reason this didn't come out so well in the picture, but there are two crossing signs near my apartment that are very confusing. They have both the "stop" and "walk" symbols lit up at the same time.

I know the picture is super blurry, but (FYI) Iodine is POISON!

I decided to skate Roosevelt Island alone on Saturday (because nobody else wanted to skate outdoors, or course). I walked there from my place and took these photos on the way.

This was the spot. I had to dodge some patches of snow, but it was fun.

And finally, this tiger was trying to lurk on me hard. He (or she?) scared me so bad.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


February 18th. In this day in history, nothing really interesting happened. Besides that Eby Ghafarian was born. Happy Birthday, friend. I just started a job cataloging for Portland Public Schools. I work with a nice group of folks. Right now we are at Boise-Eliot. It's auspicously located right next to the dept. of skateboarding.

Boise-Eliot is K-8; so most of the book are "children's" books. Some childrens' books are amazing--like really well-designed magazines, only with one (way better) topic and better pictures. Like this. I think I got this from a book on Cherokees. This girl would be pretty much the coolest girl in the LES right now.

Here is another option for the future of skateboarding fashion. I can't remember where i got this from. Ali Boulala? If you are out there, please take some notes on how to actually be awesome for real.
I think they are trying to take the piss.
um?Now I know these guys are taking the piss! There's a fucking burger in the astronaut's reflection! What does that mean? And why is he wearing slippers?

Other skate-related information: Zimbabwe is all hesh now.
This is from a book called Children of the Yukon. I like these paintings. I am not sure if the Yukon is really this amazing. But who cares? Just look at these for a sec and try to forget about skateboarding.This deer-hunting picture is my favorite.
I like how the illustrator makes the Yukon look so fun. Just simple shapes, mesmerizing colors, and simple scenes. I like the kids running around. Simple physical language. The viewer is spared of any spastic facial expressions.This would be on the other end of the spectrum. Skateboard Renegade, by Matt Christopher.RENEGADE! Never been afraid to say/ what's on my mind at any given time of day/Cause I'm a RENEGADE! Never been afraid to talk/ about anything. (ANYTHING?) anything. (ANYTHING?) RENEGADE!
ren·e·gade [ren-i-geyd] –noun 1. a person who deserts a party or cause for another. 2. an apostate from a religious faith. –adjective 3. of or like a renegade; traitorous. [Origin: 1575–85; < Sp renegado < ML renegātus (n. use of ptp. of renegāre to desert, renege)]

This is the face of skateboarding today.
"We learn from history that we do not learn from history."--GWF Hegel

Thursday, February 15, 2007

No Love Lost

Many of you know by now, but I recently lost a friend. As Leonard mentioned, Sho Ma has passed. This has been pretty hard for me because I was very close to Sho. Today was his funeral and this was my Eulogy:

Some of you know me, but for those who don’t, my
name is Eby. I would like to tell a story of an exceptionally talented person, a
guy far beyond his time, my good friend: Sho Sho Ma.

Sho moved to New York City from Beijing (China) in 1990, but he might as well
have been born on Bedford Avenue (in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn). Sho
represented what New York City was: creative, aesthetic, diverse, and
all-encompassing. This was very fitting because I considered him the ambassador
of the city. I moved here 3 ½ years ago from Florida and Sho was the first
person I met (through Liam). I still remember that night, how I was in awe at
his ability on a skateboard. Since then I have met probably 80% of the people I
know in the city through him (including Camille and many of you here). I am sure
many of you can say the same. Sho was a connector. Outside of that, he
introduced me to the city in general and became a very good friend to me. Some
weeks we would hang out everyday, because Sho was always reliable as my friend.
He would talk to me for hours about his aspirations, philosophy, art, music,
skateboarding, or whatever else was on his mind (which was a lot). Sho crammed
as much knowledge into his brain in his 24 years than most people can learn in a
lifetime. I am proud to be his friend.
Sho has given
me a lot in the time that I have known him and I am eternally grateful. He was a
very giving person that would jump at a chance to help a friend before advancing
himself. I know some of you here can attest to that. Sho has motivated me to
never settle for good enough. We are all capable of excellence, he is proof of
Sho held his family and friends close to his
heart. He would always boast to me how amazing artists both of his parents were.
He used to tell me how much he appreciated them for supporting him so much. Sho
was (and is) loved by many and I know that he knows
This was just my story of Sho Ma and I know each
of you have your own stories. Sho’s spirit will live through each one of us, as
well as through his works. That thought alone comforts
Thanks for everything, Sho. I love you.

Stay with us, friend.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Friday, February 09, 2007


my reference from a former teacher was finally written and sent last night and i was able to send off my GTTR application for teaching programs in London.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

shark cpr

this is what skateboarding is supposed to be.

i want to learn that ender trick.

q: how many speech act theorists does it take to change a light bulb?

last summer, i skated almost every day at the southbank in london, where "skaters" actually skate.

even animated dots do their part.

so they can talk about whoever they like.

(a: do you really want to know or are you simply asking me to change it?)

Monday, February 05, 2007


Is skateboarding a sport? Who cares? It’s fun whatever it is. But I have been thinking…if skateboarding is a sport, are we (skateboarders) then implicitly jocks? If so, who is it that decides what jock/sport “things” are to become parts of the “sport?” Who decided to bring in contests, trophies, endorsement deals, energy drink sponsors, video games, celebrity fans, starlets dating pros, one-up-manship, and ESPN? Who decided that skateparks would be our courts and fields?

Well, whoever it was forgot a lot of the other baggage that comes with sports and I propose that we, the skateboard community, pay a visit to lost and found and claim what is rightfully ours. Here are the ten things that other sports have, thus we should be entitled to as a “sport.”

1. Cheerleaders – While not every sport has cheerleaders, what would be better motivation to land a trick than scantly clad girls cheering you on?!

2. Mascots – Blind has the Reaper, World Industries has Flameboy, Wet Willy, and Devilman, but what good a mascot if they aren’t running around contests and demos acting like Fred Gall after shotgunning his first twelve pack?

3. Coaches & Scholarships – Coach Frank and the Chief hold it down, but we need more people crushing the egos of our athletes, giving them warm up routines and trick lists. Likewise, if athletes get scholarships for throwing/hitting/kicking a ball around with few variations, it is only fair that skateboarders get scholarships for their mastery of the infinite trick and obstacle variations. With college educations, imagine what will happen to the quality of interviews. Little Johnny Grind-a-rail may have more insightful answers than “yeah, fool!” or “it was pretty tight.”

4. Locker Rooms/Group Showers – Sports are notoriously known for being very macho/manly, right? Then getting naked in front of your bros must totally be the (wet) equivalent of a bro-hug, no? Where are the communal showers in skateboarding? Just tell those sloppy Anti-Hero dudes not to knock over Sheckler’s Pro-Active at the next X-Games.

5. Encouragement – Speaking about machismo, where are the pats on the butt, implying “good job/try/luck?” If baseball players and rollerbladers can do it, why can’t we? We need this encouragement (or shall I say “stimulation?”).

6. Physical Contact - Also, where is the physical contact that distinguishes many of the more traditional sports? Outside of the Beagle-Duffel tumble at the Maloof Money Cup, we really don’t have any. I propose defensive skateboarding! It should be encouraged to kick out the board from someone’s tre, or push someone’s board on their stinkbug airs, transforming it into a ‘hanna. At least let us tackle that kook at the park trying to show everyone up!

7. Agro Fans – Since we are going big time, we are going to need aggressive fans too. Why should soccer be the only sport priviledged with fan riots? Let’s just take all those Kerry Getz’s of skateboarding and let them focus other fans so out “sport” can make the news too.

8. Statistics – Choosing Skater of the Year is hard…really hard. If we start following the stats of skateboarders, the choice will be easy. It will be all in the numbers. We will have to track coverage, contest scores, part placement in videos, part lengths, and batting…err, I mean skating averages for public games of S.K.A.T.E.

9. Victory Dances – Are Kyle Berard and Kenny Anderson the only dancing souls in skateboarding? I doubt it, but most of the others are likely just shy. Let’s encourage fancy feet and dirty dancing upon landing tricks. WWSD? (What Would Swayze Do?)

10. Uniforms – The individuality of skateboarders’ attire is getting out of hand. You have guys wearing blouses, jewelry, and dresses (tall tees). We need to standardize the fashions with something more gender appropriate…tights. Each team will have matching uniforms (a la Veriflex) and every skater’s individuality will be expressed as a number. Obviously David Gravette is #420, Lizard King is #666, Patrick Melcher is #69, and Ryan Sheckler is #1.

Now skateboarding can finally be legitimized. Imagine how much awesomer our “sport” will be with all of these improvements! We can finally stop envying all these superior sports. Heck, we might even get into the Olympics.

I ride a skateboard

Before you read this. Leonard made a new post or two down there VVVVV.

A good ice-breaking subject is weather, so let me speak on that subject: IT IS COLD! By the time I finished skateboarding yesterday, I thought my toes fell off at some point. I checked and they didn't, however (thanks for asking). The windchill was 20 below last night and like 5 below when I was coming to work today. Ouch. I wandered around in the cold yesterday looking for spots. I took this photo with my phone:

Wouldn't you love to get a napkin like this? 999-999-SEXY?

I was skating in Brooklyn on Saturday and met Fos from Heroin Skateboards. If you haven't seen the Live From Antarctica video, you should check it out. It shows a whole other U.K. aesthetic than the Blueprint crew. This is Fos:

I want to introduce you all to the "funnest" thing to happen to hip-hop since Edan: Nametags. I hear they have an album is some magical post-production stage...at least that is the word on the street. While you are checking them out, listen to some whimsical beats from the producer, Dilligent. Dude is on point.

62-Mile High Club. An analysis of sex in space.

Are you in the market for a new car? No credit, no insurance, no money, no job, no morals, NO PROBLEM! Here is how.
A radical Muslim cleric walks into a bar. The bartender says, "What'll it be?"

The cleric responds, "A gruesome puddle of your filthy infidel blood!"

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Milking a Dead Shark

When I hear the word "culture," I reach for my gun ("Wenn ich Kultur höre, entsichere ich meinen Browning.")--Hans Johst

Saturday I went to the dept. of skateboarding . Despite it's austere exterior, the inside contains the TF of which dreams are made.

I almost walked right past Kyle Reynolds! Kyle is the brains behind the Dept. and Cal's Pharmacy. Besides being one of the sharpest persons I have known, Kyle is also one of the most giving. All he does is think of other people. While we were talking, he noticed a woman outside holding two children and ran to get the door for her.

I ended up speaking with Kyle about Per Welinder's plea to not buy blank boards. Kyle said some amazing things about the state of the skateboarding business. Among other things, Kyle explained how these companies really are having problems. The ways they used to run their companies is not working any more.

The problem, however, with per welinder crying to skateboarders is that he and those like him have done as much as possible to squeeze both the shops and pros. So welinder's 'world without pros' is just crocodile tears. Kyle also pointed out that if anyone were to buy decks to support their favorite pros, how many are actually going to buy a board from one of per welinder's sorry companies (e.g. Birdhouse)? So they can buy, what? a Matt Ball board? Even worse, if we were honestly going to make the skateboarding industry support the best skateboarders, more than half of the skateboarding companies around would not even exist. Who, for example, is even on World Industries? or Consolodated? Or Popwar now? Can you name one person? The days of 'supporting' pros through deck sales is over if it ever existed in the first place.

Shark's not Dead.

Probably the most famous scene from the movie Annie Hall is when Alvy Singer (Woody Allen)and Annie Hall (Mia Farrow) break up. Alvy Singer's break-up speech summarizes the state of skateboarding.

A relationship, I think, is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.

The ugly business tactics are just a symptom. There is something much more important, much deeper that has happened to skateboarding. The deal is this. As a creative activity, skateboarding has run its course. It is a dead shark.

Skateboarding has ossified into general pop-culture mythology--like punk, or 'old school' rap music. Take for example, a video like Shackle Me Not. At teh time, Shackle me Not was exciting at the time because it blew everything else out of the water. It made previous videos look like child's play. Now it's something that kids need to watch to 'pay their dues'. Take also skateboarding tricks--which is where the rubber really hits the road: they used to be invented. Now, tricks have a 'referential' value. At best, you get some new combos. The map has been laid. Skateboarding used to be an abandoned yard where kids could play and make their own fun. Now it is a high-tech gymnastic training facility complete with workout regimen.

That said, it's not anyone's fault. Any movement risks dying. Perhaps every movement dies in the end. Jazz used to be a living movement; now it's dead as a doornail, and the value of goofball jazz musicians like Wynton Marsalis is not as artists, but as archivists.

In the visual arts, one sign of stagnation is in becoming a type of 'folk art'. In religion, it is dogmatism. In love, it is marriage (um, haha, joke). Another sure sign of the death of a movement is when people have to defend it. As the David Berman sings in the brilliant song Tennessee (click on the link to hear it.):

Punk rock died when the first kid said:
Punk's not dead. Punk's not dead.

One other sure sign that a movement or belief has died is when it is called a "culture". As in: "I do not really believe in it; it is just part of my culture." In his essay, "Passion In The Era of Decaffeinated Belief," Slavoj Zizek suggests that 'culture' is "perhaps... the name for all those things we practice without really believing in them, without 'taking them seriously.'" This is what skateboarding has become in a funny way.

We used use certain slang to mark ourselves as skaters--"rad" "sick" "gnarly". Now we can hardly say these words without a spasmic dose of irony. Skateboarding has become this image, really (more than practice), to be practiced without "believing in it". To be clear: by "believing in it," I mean believing that skateboarding is somehow different than anything else. That was a lie, of course. Skateboarding is not different than anything else. There was a time, however, when that was not obvious. The whole thing was a fantasy. But it was a nice fantasy. Now the dream is dead, or dying.

To refer back to my conversation with Kyle, the question of 'a world without pros' is stupid. Maybe there will be pros, maybe there won't. But with a dead, dying or critically ill dream, those pros will not be John Coltranes. They will be Wynton Marsaleses.

(Not that any of this is going to stop me from skateboarding.)

The dept. in all its dreaminess.

Skateboarding's not dead. Skateboarding's not dead.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Here I am.

So, cyberspace. Dude, it's me, Leonard. [pause] Um, how's it going, bro?


You good?


Yeah. [pause] Um, so.


Um, [little nod] me too.

I am now official participant E_B's final countdown. Play the clip if you haven't already. Feel it.

In the future, I will try to talk about events in the real world. But before I do, I want to share something: sometimes, in bad moments, I feel extremely pessimistic about the internet. I am not just talking about the fiery abyss from whence come pop-ups, banner ads, spam, identity theft, and fake addresses. Nor also do I mean the massive layer of hard-core porn, which apparently constitutes about 1/4 of internet content, which--although less than some think--is still a lot. I just mean the videos, still images, and text posted by the non-computer-person, the common man. Judging by the internet, it turns out the common man is boring, obscene, homophobic, ugly, lecherous, stupid, pretentious, and racist.

To illustrate the lameness, I considered making each of those words into youtube links ("lecherous" would link to something lecherous, etc.). I also considered google image-searches: looking at the words "sober," "nice," "chaste," and "good" and finding images of weapons, wreckage, and trashy poses of women in bikinis, among other unedifying wastes of time. But my sucess in rooting around for disappointments was too, well, too sucessful (and, hence, too disappointing [=serious bummer]).

Beyond our categories for experience, Schopenhauer posited an insatiable will causing all the suffering in the world. Schopenhauer here was veering off from Kant, who held that the world beyond our categories was unknowable. In an illustrated intro philosophy book I read called Looking at Philosophy, the author illustrated the difference between Schopenhauer and Kant's views by two pictures of a man opening a curtain. In the Kantian picture, the man opens the curtains to see total darkness; in the Schopenhaurian picture, the man opens the curtains to find a huge monster peering over him. Having spent enough time on the net now, I know that there is something much worse out there: the "googlist" picture of the world, where the man would open the curtain to find a picture of a middle-aged woman in a bikini, fishing, storing a 16oz beer in the front of her briefs.

To find it, google image-search the word "nice". I refuse to link it.

The worst are comment and message boards.

This is Norman Mailer. He wrote:

"What none of the editorial writers ever mentioned was that that noble common man was obscene as an old goat."--The Armies of the Night

Mailer then goes on to say that obscenity is what saves the common American man, and that obscenity is deeply American in a good way. This nonsense just makes me think of 1) torture in Abu Ghraib, and 2) commenters on youtube calling each other "gay" and "nigger". Mailer is right that the "common man" is obscene. But what is redeeming about this? That is, when finally given a chance to say his bit, the common man, says something like:

"motherfucking nigger-sucking shit-cunt-balls faggot hole."

Well, whatever. I have been playing some chess. This is the easiest version I could find. Everything else whipped me. Alan Siegler, besides being the best mini-ramp skater I have seen in person, told me once how he was on the chess team in college. I think chess is good for you. I hope it is. I think if you play chess, it will make you feel good about humanity. Or least yourself. It's a gentleman's sport, like mini ramp skating.

Skateboarding--aside from persons, companies, and internets--is also almost always wonderful. My name is Leonard and I believe in skateboarding. I believe in it for me. Basically, I am like the reformed jews at JTS I used talk to: I don't need (or even want) the whole world to follow in my footsteps; I mostly want to be left alone. (But I still believe that my way is the best way!)

In any case, watch this critical mass of righteousness. The kid's name is John Motta. He kills it and he looks like he is having fun. The filmer and editor did a great job on this, too. Best clip I have seen in donkey's years.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The word of the day is "Trouble."

Have you heard about this?

These kids got in a lot of trouble because the city thought that they were all bombs and pretty much shut the whole city down. That is probably the best thing that could have happened to the Cartoon Network, PR-wise. No publicity is bad publicity.

Check this out.

"Discover America's discreet sanctuary for lonely wives and cheating husbands at Affairmatch.com , the net's leading site for married personals! With over a million registered and active users, no other online dating service has made it easier for those who are just looking for something extra on the side."

How awesome is that? A site for sharing!

That is all I have for you all today, I am going home...