Last month when we visited my brother and nephew in Hawaii, they showed us some pictures from when they traveled to Japan. In some of the photos, they were skateboarding around the city and it looked so cool and fun! So, when we returned home to Texas, I decided that I wanted to get a new board and skate more. And… it would be cool to skate with my sons too! I bought each of them a new skateboard, and I upgraded my old setup with a new deck and wheels.

The setup that I was using was actually a strange combination of 7.75 inch wide deck, some Gullwing trucks and Vision wheels, circa 1995. The deck was given to us as a wedding gift from Mariko’s friend. So, that was a real frankenboard. I decided to first upgrade the wheels with softer and wider OJs (so smooth!), and then followed up with a 9 inch wide deck which I found at Fast Forward. I was surprised that that store had a deck in the size and shape I wanted (the tail is flat)! However, I had to get rid of the graphic on the bottom, so I took the orbital sander to it and smoothed it out to the wood. That layer of wood was actually stained a bright pink! Not my first choice of color, but I think it actually looks kind of cool especially with the translucent blue OJs. I am covering up the pink slowly with stickers though!

Bay Learning how to Ollie
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 20mm, f/6.7, 1/500 sec, ISO100
Bay Learning how to Ollie

The top of the deck was stained red, and I knew I wanted to customize the top and put clear tape on it. I think that it is such a great opportunity to customize your board, rather than just slapping black tape over the whole thing. I must be in the minoirty though, since only longboarders seem to care about the tops of their boards. Anyways, I went with a large seal design from a chop (hanko or stamp) I got in Hong Kong many years ago. And for fun, I put a small sticker up top that I found in Osaka. It’s very otaku.

I was so happy when Bay and Koa said they also wanted to customize their boards! Bay painted two white stripes on top, and “No. 1” since it is his first skateboard. Koa went with a hexagon pattern for his griptape. They both turned out great!

We are fortunate to live near a city-owned skatepark, and i’s really nice one! There is a street section, a small pool, and a large pool. Since the kids are pretty much total newbies, we started out practicing a lot at their school parking lots and basketball courts. But now we also like going to the skatepark and practicing going down the small ramps. We also go into the bowls and practice fakeys and pumping to keep up the speed. It’s so much fun! As for myself, I’ve been able to get over halfway up the side of the deep end of the pool. I still can’t drop in, but I am improving every time we skate, and so are the kids!

I’m really glad that the kids are enjoying it. I hope they continue for a long time! And inspired by Kevin and Taylor, we want to bring our skateboards when we travel!

Terminal Time

Terminal Time – You’re at the airport, your flight is delayed for six more hours, and none of your electronic devices is working. How do you pass the time?

Ugh, all my batteries are dead! So… I reach into my backpack and pull out my sketchbook/notepad and either sketch what catches my interest, or work on a blog post, a story, or ideas for a story. Speaking of sketches, if you don’t follow Hamahouse yet, his Instagram feed is wonderful! It’s full of cool (and quick) sketches he does, and a photo of the sketch with subject in the background. I wish I had his talent!

I went to art school from High School through college, but I am not a good illustrator. I have always envied people who can draw. It’s something that many people misunderstand about creative types – a graphic designer, painter, sculptor, etc. is not necessarily good at drawing. I remember once in a drawing classes in college, there was a particular student who could accurately sketch just about anything that was in front of him. His sketches were technically accurate in proportion and lighting. His work was amazing! Our instructor (whom I greatly respected) said he had a real talent for drawing, and said she wished she had that talent. That kind of stuck with me… that a talented painter might not be great at drawing. By that time in school, I knew that I didn’t have that same level of talent in drawing, however, my instructor’s comment gave me inspiration to keep up with what I was specializing in, which was painting. I must say though, that it is a little deflating when I have to admit to someone that I cannot draw so well, even though I have a degree in art.

At any rate, here’s a sketch I did while at one of my son’s piano lessons. Not nearly as cool a Hamahouse’s, but I am trying!

A Sketch at Bay's Piano Lesson
A Sketch at Bay’s Piano Lesson

This post was prompted by The Daily Post from WordPress.