Posts Tagged ‘salvaging’

Glide Skateboards

Thursday, May 10, 2012

HONY featured this guy today, which led me to the Facebook page and website of Glide Skateboards, which explain that they make “hand crafted boards made from reclaimed sustainable materials inspired by the graceful lines of surfing.”  Check out the links for galleries of gym floors upcycled into elegant rides.

Photo by

Tangentially related personal story:

These well-crafted boards are a far cry from my first and only skateboard, purchased from a dingy toy store in Harlem overcrowded with cheap plastic toys imported from sweatshops around the world. I wanted a cap gun, the kind the boys in my building used to run around shooting, but my parents forbade it. With regret, I gave up on that campaign and focused my lust on a thick wooden skateboard decorated on the underside with a Bruce Lee-inspired painting of a shirtless Asian man in jeans. I believe it asaid “Kung Fu” above his head, in Kung Fu font.

In retrospect, that skateboard was the first significant purchase I made with my own money. I saved my allowance for weeks and did extra chores for extra coin to reach my goal more quickly. Then, through much whining, I convinced my dad to walk me to the store on his day off and plunked down my money for the prize. I can still picture the shopkeeper taking my Kung Fu board off the display shelf behind the counter and handing it over.

Many happy trips to the park followed, where more often than riding the board upright, I would take it to the top of a hill, sit on it and grip the plastic hand grips on either side as I rolled to the bottom. It functioned mainly as a sled on wheels. It had a large red plastic bumper, which I could activate like a brake by lifting my legs up in the air, leaning back and using my butt to tip the end of the board toward the pavement. Good times.

A couple years later, a friend’s older brother declared my Kung Fu board a piece of shit and proceeded to prove its poor construction by slamming it repeatedly into the stoop until deep scratches stretched across the mildly offensive design and, finally, the flimsy wood splintered and split in two.

I guess the lessons here are that big brothers can be cruel and cheap things never last.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Today’s secret word is obtainium. Scream when you hear it.

I read about obtanium—a poetic term for salvaged objects—in this ambling New York Times profile of artist and architect Randy Polumbo. The piece  covers building houses in the desert out of shipping containers and empty tequila bottles and making sculpture out of dildos. Also, it’s about libertarians.

Dave Lauridsen for The New York Times

Dave Lauridsen for The New York Times

There’s some good stuff in there about the silly terms people use to fancy up good old fashioned recycling, dumpster diving and conserving. Like “green architecture”. To be honest, though, I found the article itself hard to get into, it’s a little all over the place. Or I am. It’s been a long week and the Internet is destroying my attention span.

Luckily,  if you’re scattered like me, there’s an audio slide show. And for the truly word averse, Polumbo’s Web site has several video clips showing his home and art.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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