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8 Mar

Lately, I’ve been wondering about the desire to share my injuries.  Why, when I do something stupid and hurt myself in the park, do I feel the need to share the image of my broken face with the world?  Why do the biographies of skaters often include a list of the injuries they suffered in the park?  Why do derby skaters post pictures of their injuries and eagerly search the images of other, similar injuries?  Are we all so morbidly obsessed?

But perhaps it is not a morbid obsession.  Perhaps this too is holy.  Like Paul of Tarsus giving his body to God, we give ours to the park.  Our sacrifice.  Scars and bumps and bruises become physical reminders of all we give for our love.  They become badges of honor, not to the injury itself, but to the commitment and sacrifice the injuries represent.

Tony Hawk relates a story about how he knocked himself unconscious in a skatepark, and his first thought upon regaining consciousness was a realization that he would never stop skating, regardless of what it did to his body.  Often, I roll over in the middle of the night, and my bruised hips or shoulders cause me to wake up gasping in pain.  But this pain almost always makes me smile.  I do not like the pain, any more than Paul of Tarsus liked being whipped or stoned or shipwrecked, however, I love what it represents.  It represents my love of skating, a love that exceeds the love of self, a love so overwhelming that even the destruction of my physical body could not diminish it.

If I die in a skatepark, rejoice for me.

So here, then, are some words on sacrifice from the Bible.  I have rearranged and changed them slightly, to fit my purposes.

Are they skaters?

I am more;

In labors more abundant,

in stripes above measure,

in jail more frequent,

in deaths oft.

Twice was my consciousness taken,

oft was I stoned,

many strandings I’ve suffered,

many nights slept I, as a dog upon the floor;

In journeyings often,

in perils of waters,

in perils of robbers,

in perils by mine own countrymen,

in perils by the heathen,

in perils in the city,

in perils in the wilderness,

in perils in the sea,

in perils among false brethren;

In weariness and painfulness,

in watchings often,

in hunger and thirst,

in fastings often,

in cold and nakedness.

If I must needs glory,

I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

Flatground Energy Transfer, Edges, and Resistance

4 Mar

Edge control is not just the ability to do some fancy stops.  It is the beginning, middle, and end of all skating on flat ground.

The designers of the wheels and bearings and other rolling components on your rollerskates went to great effort to reduce the rolling resistance of those components.  Lubrications have been developed to reduce friction in the bearings.  Materials have been designed to reduce hysteresis in the wheel itself.  Ounces have been shaved, and forms have been tested, and as a result your wheels roll very well along one axis, and one axis only.  They roll forward and backward.

This is the least interesting thing about them.  Set someone rolling forward, and they will continue to roll forward until those tiny friction forces that the rollerskate designers could not entirely eradicate slowly bleed away that initial energy input.  Then they stop.

For anything interesting to happen on rollerskates, the skater must push through the edges of the wheel.  Change requires resistance.  Examples below.

E1. A skater rolling in a straight line on a level floor pushes out and back in order to maintain speed.  If you look at the positioning of the skate and the resulting motion of these pushes, you will see that the input forces operate through the edge of the skate wheel.  The skater turns their feet slightly outward, and then pushes off slightly inward with every stride.  The skater never pushes along the axis of roll, because no force can be supported along that axis.

E2. A skater rolling in a straight line on a level floor leans heavily to the left, causing the trucks to compress on the left side of both skates.  This turns the wheels slightly left of the direction of roll, which means the right edge of the wheels is being pushed against the friction forces of floor.  If the leftward reaction force of the floor on the skater does not exceed the static friction limit of the wheel/floor interface, the skater will turn left.  This is called carving.

E3. Combining the concepts from E1 and E2 produces the cornering technique known as “crossovers.”  Every stride in a crossover is also a carve.

E4.  A skater rolling in a straight line on a level floor turns both their skates 90 degrees left or right of the direction of roll, and rapidly stops.  This is called a hockey stop.  In a hockey stop the inside edges of one skate and the outside edges of the other skate both work together to reduce the skater’s momentum to zero.

E5.  Point the toes towards each other while rolling forward and dig with the outside edges of both skates for a plow stop.

E6.  If one of the skates is allowed to roll instead of turned sideways, it is a half plow.

E7.  Point the toes away from eachother while rolling backward, thus engaging the outside edges of the wheels, and it is a reverse plow.

E7.  Drag the inside edges of the wheels of one skate behind you, and you are doing a T-stop.

Many other slides and stops are possible once edge control is understood.   Start by noticing and appreciating how the edges of your wheels control all momentum transfer that does not rely on toe-stops.  Feel the wheel edges bite the floor in each of your crossovers, in your carving, in your stride.  Feel the way that edge resistance connects you to the floor and the Earth below, transferring energy and information along a friction interface.  Then, when you feel you understand the connection, move on to learning stops and slides by rapidly and aggressively engaging those edges.

Flatground energy transfer requires resistance, and resistance requires using the edges of your wheels.  Nothing changes without resistance, and with it, everything eventually becomes heat.  Every push and slide and crossover you do brings the heat death of the universe infinitesimally closer.  As does your every step, breath, and thought.  Use them all wisely.

The Complete Book of Apokalypsis

21 Jan

In the End:

There are no revelations beyond those you reveal to yourself, no purpose other than your own purpose, and no meaning in the Universe other than that which you bring to it.

Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law, and the law is the The Law of Fives*.

Even for God.




* The Law of Fives, as stated by St. Celine is this: “All phenomena are directly or indirectly related to the number five, and this relationship can always be demonstrated, given enough ingenuity on the part of the demonstrator.”