Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thank You S-One Helmets!

In preparation for the trip, we've been looking for the best gear to bring with us. Crucial to the trip is the board, and we're grateful for the help from Kahuna Creations and their awesome Black Wave board. Just as important as the board, in my opinion, is the helmet. Both are essential and one should not go without the other. If you have a board and no helmet, don't ride it! Get a helmet first. If you have a helmet and no board, well...I suppose you can wear the helmet around. If you really want to. But unless you're trying to start a safety oriented fashion statement you probably want a board too.

My current helmet is a little small for my head and gets uncomfortable on long rides. I started doing some research to find a new helmet, and I was astounded to find out that my current helmet wasn't certified for safety. I even called the company's customer service to ask them about it. Longboard For Love has been looking for the best helmets for the trip. Safe helmets first. Stylish helmets second. Great news everyone...we found them.

We've been able to work something out with S-One Helmet Company. They have been friendly and helpful with us. We emailed them, explaining the project and our need, and within 45 minutes they had emailed back with more than enough help for us. What prompted us to contact S-One Helmets is their concern for safety. They really emphasize their dual certified helmets the most, and tried to inform their customers about helmet safety instead of and I liked that.

I'll talk about helmet certification in a later post, but this video does an incredible job at explaining and demonstrating what it means.

You may ask me, "Mason why should I wear a helmet? It messes up my hair. Its uncomfortable. I've never crashed yet." "Well," I may reply, "allow me to ascend my soapbox and tell you why."


Every year, in the USA, there are about 900 deaths from injuries due to bicycle crashes. In 2011 there were 42 deaths related in skateboarding. Now these are deaths, not the concussions and brain damage that can easily be done to your skull and the three pounds of tapioca pudding inside your head. I wrote a post earlier about traumatic brain injury (TBI) and what happens. There are on average 473,947 emergency department visits for TBI each year for children 0-14 years old. The CDC says "Children aged 0 to 4 years, older adolescents aged 15 to 19 years, and adults aged 65 years and older are most likely to sustain a TBI." Below I've shown a chart with the statistics of TBI annually in the United States. The chart brings up a good question at the bottom. How many more people hit their head and suffer damage or bruising to their brain and never receive treatment for it.

So...what does a helmet do? Why don't I just sit inside and protect my head from the frightening world outside? Well...what a helmet does is, in short, slow down your head. When you crash your head is moving at a certain velocity. Upon impact your head comes to a sudden stop. The skull stops but the brain keeps moving and bounces around; bruising itself and tearing on the bone in the skull. If you are wearing a helmet it lengthens the time it takes for your head to stop when it hits something. This causes the impact to be less severe and optimizes your brains chances of survival in an impact. This is why we need to protect our heads. This is why S-One helmets is so wonderful. Because they care so much about certifying your helmets and protecting our heads. Wear a helmet!

The S-One Lifer
Now, if you are one of the valiant ones who has made it to the end of the post I have one more thing for you. My Behavioral Neurobiology professor made each of us students make an oath to him in class. We stood up, put our hands over our hearts, and promised to always wear helmets. He was kind enough to share the pledge we made with me and I've included it here. I expect all of you to make the same pledge. Post it in the comments with your name filled in, and wherever you are, stand up, put your hand over your heart, and pledge to wear a helmet. If anyone looks at your funny, invite them over, I'm sure they need it too.

I [your name] do solemnly swear that I will always wear a helmet when I engage in potentially dangerous activities such as riding a motorcycle, riding a scooter, skateboarding, riding a bike, skiing, horseback riding, playing hockey, lacrosse, football, and baseball, white-water rafting and kayaking, ice skating, roller skating, roller blading, sledding, unicycling, etc.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Engagements: Another Moment to Brag

Just got the engagement photos back. They look good. Here are two of my favorites!

The photographer kept telling us to act natural. "Yeah...natural." I thought, "because Jamie and I
are naturally found cuddling next to rusty old trains."

I figure I can justify this moment of bragging on my blog because...I convinced Jamie to bring longboards
to the photo shoot, so it applies right? Anyway, she was very supportive and looks so darn cute!

Thanks Leslie for the pictures. You can check out her photography here. She did a great job. You can see more of the pictures from Jamie and I here, just in case you need to obsessively look at them and smile every five minutes like I have.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Debra and the Orphans of Iasi

Well we've had someone else join the Longboard For Love project. I mentioned her in the last post. A little over a week ago I got an email from a girl named Debra. She had just returned from a study abroad in Iasi, Romania where she worked in the orphanages. She was wanting to help and found Bridge of Love. They directed her to me and we are so grateful for her help.

I met with her the other day and she is going to be good enuogh to be in charge of contacting schools and places along the route where we can stop and share the project. This is a HUGE help for us. She was also kind enough to write about her experience in Romania. I'm including it below. It really is amazing. is Debra!

Hello all. Debra here. Just a short blurb about me: I’m finishing up my third year at university studying human development, and I had the AMAZING opportunity to go to Romania for three months and volunteer in an orphanage, abandoned infant clinic, and children’s hospital. It’s been a few months since I've come home, and I’m excited to be involved in such a great cause again. There is so much to tell about the experiences I had in Romania that I couldn't possibly write it all here, so I narrowed it down to just a few things that I hope convey the importance of Bridge of Love and Longboard for Love.

The orphanage I volunteered in split the children among five different sections. I was assigned to help out in Isolation where the infants and children with the most severe health issues and disabilities were. Because there are a very small number of workers to such a large amount of children, the children have spent the vast majority of their lives in their cribs. Another volunteer (Moriah) and I tried our best to give each child quality one-on-one time every day, but with as many children as there were, it was a short 15-20 minutes a day that each child was taken out of their cribs for play time and just to be held.

Me and my roommates walking home
from the hospital.
Since my kids in Isolation require a lot more care than a lot of parents in Romania can provide, I didn’t get to see many of them go into foster homes. I did however, get to see kids in other sections of the orphanage enter into foster care. It was always such a bitter sweet experience, because the child would be missed terribly, but they were going into a loving home where they would have much better chances of thriving and growing up to become successful adults.

The abandoned infant clinic and hospital were very similar to the orphanage in that there was a poor ratio of children to workers. As a consequence, the children were rarely taken out of their cribs. Often, in the hospital, the nurses wouldn’t allow me to take the kids out of their cribs at all, especially the infants, because it frustrated the nurses when the kids would cry after we left.

 The hospital in Romania was so shockingly different from any hospital I had ever been in before. The rooms and halls were often dark and dirty, sometimes crawling with bugs, and privacy was essentially non-existent with multiple families staying in the same small hospital rooms. Parents were also expected to provide all of the essentials for their child’s stay in the hospital including food, diapers, and clothes. This meant that the hospital had to provide all of those things for the orphans, which often meant that these children went without because the hospital had such limited resources. 

While I did have a lot of heartbreaking experiences in Romania, I have a lot of good memories as well. I was so blessed to be able to see the children I worked with progress in leaps and bounds during my short time there. There is one little boy in particular that comes to mind. I’ll call him Sam for the sake of the story.

Sam was 1.5 years old when I met him on my first day volunteering at the abandoned infant clinic. He never cried (or made any noise for that matter), never smiled, never played with the toys the workers would set in his crib. He didn't even know how to be held; he would sit, stiff as a board, in our arms for the first days and weeks of our visits to the clinic.  It’s so strange to think of him as I first met him, because by our last day at the clinic, Sam had transformed into such a bright, happy little boy. He loved to babble at us and play with us and scoot around in one of the clinic’s baby walkers.

View of the city of Iasi
Moriah and I worked with another child in the orphanage. I’ll call her Ella. Ella was three years old and a very energetic, mobile little girl. Sadly she was still holding onto the walls and our hands in order to walk around everywhere. Part of the reason she wasn't walking on her own yet was because she was behind in her development, and the workers didn't have the time to teach her to walk independently. Another part of it was her attachment disorder. She really liked being able to hold out her hand to us and know that we would most likely drop whatever we were doing to walk her wherever her little heart desired. And I’ll admit that she usually got her way. Cute little stinker. However, Moriah and I knew that she would have so much more fun if she could run around all on her own instead of depending on other people to walk. We started working on walking with her, and she fought us most of the way.

We finally figured out that Ella loves bubbles. I would stand holding the bubbles five or six steps away from Ella and Moriah and say, “Hai la mine Ella!” (“Come to me Ella!”) She’d take the few steps to me on her own, I’d let her blow some bubbles, and then I’d pass the bubbles over to Moriah, and she’d walk back to Moriah to blow some more bubbles. By the time we left, Ella didn't need the bubbles to decide to walk on her own anymore. She was cruising through Isolation, helping us soothe crying babies, bringing toys to the other kids, and causing lots of mischief. One of Ella’s favorite games to play with Moriah and me involved Ella walking around the room, stopping at each crib, and then holding her arms above her head. We would then lift her up so she could plant a kiss on the child in the crib she had stopped at.

I guess the main reason I tell you all of this, is because I imagine how different these orphan’s lives would be if they could be placed in foster families, and that future is so much brighter than the one they have now. That’s why I love what Bridge of Love and the Longboarding for Love team is trying to accomplish for the abandoned children of Romania. They’re really changing the world for the better one child at a time.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Good Friends Doing Good

I was looking on Facebook the other day and I noticed something from one of my friends, Andre Heard. It was a link to his blog. I clicked on it and started reading. Andre is living in Namibia, in the Kavango Region, as part of the Peace Corps. It is amazing to read about the experiences he is having there, and I appreciate the good that he is doing.

I thought back to the last time I saw Andre. When I was 14 me and my family moved back from Chile to Kansas. Andre was one of my close school friends in Chile. We worked on the eight grade science fair together when we made a solar powered boat. I was happy he was in that science class because when we got bored we would talk about our "perfect world" we wanted to create. It was full of silly things like dinosaurs, snow that wasn't cold, and a time machine. Its amazing to look at what he is doing now, eight years later. What a wonderful thing it is to see friends who are helping the world and living right.

In the Book of Mormon it tells the story of a group of friends. These friends were a bit more riotous in their youth but changed and went out to do a lot of good. They split up for a number of years and when they get back together Alma, one of the friends is so happy to see what his buddies have been up to. "Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding" (Alma 17:2). He is so happy to see his friends are still good people, doing good things, with their heads on straight.

At Dane's wedding. He is on the left
and looks so happy. 
I feel much the same way. Its so good to see people helping in the world, and its great to see your friends doing amazing things as well. I've been feeling like this a lot lately. My friend from Chile, Richard Hunter, got married recently and I was so happy for him. Another friend, Emmy, calles me every now and again. We like to talk about old times and its great to hear what she is up to in her life, school, work, relationships. My closest friend, Jamie Wheeler, is graduating this April and prepping to enter the workforce of the world. She's also doing something I consider to be very good, and marrying me. I certainly approve. My friend, Jeff Suppes, is part of a project that gets textbooks put in auditory format so blind students can listen to their books.

My little brother Tanner is serving a mission in Ecuador for two years, and I love reading his emails each week. I got an email the other day from a girl named Debra, who went to the Romanian orphanages this past year, and wants to involve herself by helping out with Longboard For Love. My friend I met in Romania, Dane Layton, got married this summer which is a wonderful life choice. I got to go to some of the festivities and it was so good to see one of my friends, doing something that was so good which made him so happy. "Mason did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren and friends. That they were of sound understanding, and did do many good things of their own free will." That is my own edition of how Alma feels.

We all can do something, we all should do something. Thank you friends and everyone, for doing such good things, and being an inspiration.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Top 10 Blog Spam

A few months ago I changed the settings on the blog to allow people to comment. I mentioned how this change makes it easier to get normal comments on the blog as well as spam. I've been trying to keep up on the spam comments and delete them when they come. Usually its just some random person, with terrible English grammar, who is trying to get a link to their website. I get a few new ones each day and sometimes they really make me laugh. Especially how most end off speaking in German. It really changes the tone of their comments from flattering to frightening. I decided to pool together my Top 10 and share them with you all.

10. I quite like reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment! Here is my site steinzeit ernährung
          I felt bad deleting this spam. He thanked me that he could comment, and then I didn't allow it to last. Sorry bud.

9. This is a topic that is close to my heart... Cheers! Exactly where are your contact details though? My webpage wordpress programmierung
          It is close to my heart as well. I am glad we both share an interest in Romania. My contact details are in the above tab, which says "Contact Us".

8. Wow! At last I got a webpage from where I know how to actually obtain helpful data regarding my study and knowledge.
          I'm sorry for this kid who considers me an authoritative source on whatever subject he is looking at. Unless his area of "study and knowledge" is longboarding, or Romania, I really am not sure how I am helping him, and why he can't find other helpful websites.

7. I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This article posted at this web site is truly pleasant. My site: anleitung lenkmatten
            This one is just insulting how little he tried to hide the fact that he was only trying to link to his own website. I deleted it with relish (as in delight, and not the pickle thing)!

6. Hello there! This post couldn't be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing! my site - paläoernährung
          I am glad I could make this individual feel nostalgic about his past roommate, and that I could facilitate contact between them again. I'll have to meet this roommate who was always talking about the subject of Romanian orphans and longboarding, I think we would get along great!

5. What's up, this weekend is good for me, because this occasion i am reading this impressive educational piece of writing here at my house.
          I started reading this and wondered if, in my blog post, I had invited people to join me that weekend, and he was replying that he was available. Upon closer inspection I decided he was saying that this weekend is good for him because he is reading an impressive educational piece of writing (i.e. my blog of course). I made this guy's weekend awesome.

4. I always emailed this weblog post page to all my associates, as if like to read it after that my contacts will too
           This....just...makes no sense.

3. This design is spectacular! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost... HaHa!) Excellent job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool! my weblog :: lose weight diet
           Why thank you! I'm blushing, but...wait...if my blog's awesomeness almost persuaded you to start your own blog...then why do you post about your dieting blog at the end of your comment? I'm confused...

2. Thankfulness to my father who stated to me on the topic of this website, this web site is actually amazing. my web site; wordpress design erstellen
            Well I say "Thankfulness" to your father as well. I'm glad he "stated" such a quality reader as yourself on my blog.

1. I constantly spent my half an hour to read this website's articles every day along with a mug of coffee. My blog; steinzeitdiät
"Read fast....I only have my half an hour...."
           This one is my favorite. However I do feel bad for this person who must be stuck in some sort of slave labor and only has one half hour a day to call his own. I'm glad that, along with his cup of coffee, he finds my blog to be worthy of this small precious time he has. Bless you sir...bless you.

Well.... that was fun. In all seriousness I want to thank everybody for their comments, specifically the real comments I receive. Its nice to have someone sincerely read a post and then have something they want to say about it. Thanks all.