Easton Mako M8 (2nd gen) skates – update

So I’ve had my Mako M8 for a couple of months. Sorry I have been trying and haven’t had time to write a coherent post. So at this point I decided it’s best to post a ramble than nothing at all. Here it goes.

Pro:
FAST
Agile
CXN holder
Flexible tendon guard
shallow toe cap (if it fits you)
Inexpensive for me – unfortunately, I can usually tell the difference in performance between the top of the line and the second in the line. In Mako 2, I couldn’t. So M8 is good enough, which is a big saving for me.

Con:
CXN holder (screw gets loose, very awkward to tighten)
9′ rocker – less control on how much I want to “dig in” – it always digs in.
Fixed (not moldable) heel cup that’s too wide for me and most of my friends
two-dimensional quarter panels.
textured liner (for barefoot skaters, this is gross)
Consistency of manufacturing – each pair seems to fit a bit differently.
Low-density foam – even in Mako II with the highest density of all. As the foams are extremely thin, the right choice would have been to make it dense.

A big con:
Education. Skate shop guys seem to believe the skate is completely absolutely utterly heat-moldable and would wrap around the bottom of the ankle / top of the foot. It doesn’t. The quarters are two-dimentionally constructed. That spot is a big problem for me and my friends in Makos but can be fixed with insoles NOT with heat molding.

Conclusion:
I love it. I am making Mako M8 my primary skates.

Recommend for friends?
IF it fits their feet, heel, and volume. Put them on, run around. On the padded floor of the skate shop, do the crossovers. Do the tight turns (using the wall), do the cross-unders. Lean on the wall and get into the stride. Make sure the heel doesn’t wiggle and the foot doesn’t lift.
IF they want to exert more power into their skating to improve agility and speed.

How did you fit the skates? 

Well, that took a lot of effort. First pair simply didn’t fit no matter what I did, including clamps and spot heating and rebaking and insoles. Second pair fit fine with one heating and superfeet. (Superfeet doesn’t fit me well, but I use it for lack of alternative).

The big issues for me in the Mako line of skates:

  • heel cup is too wide for all but one of my friends. The foam is thin and the heel cup does not heat mold. It can be fixed by using insoles to lift your heel into the narrower spot in the heel.
  • The quarter panel is two-dimensional (no matter what the skate shop guy says, there is a limitation). You can heat it, clamp it, wrap it, re-tighten it, and it simply doesn’t wrap around the foot/ankle bend area. This causes there to be too much space above the top of the foot just below the ankle. This too can be fixed by an insole, bringing the foot up to the boot.

So they fit my feet pretty perfectly now except for the arch pain caused when I tighten the laces too much.

Overall Performance

They are fast albeit subtly compared to my Grafs. I don’t know why. Probably because of the ankle extension.
They are agile. The skates respond without delay, and the power transfer is seamless, meaning there is no “split-second delay” or “mushiness” or “effort” about pulling off a tight turn or stop-and-go.
I feel less stable in M8 than my G9035 by a lot. I would have to be more technical (battling near a board etc.) in Mako M8. It might be the default 9′ rocker. It might be the low ankle (at back – the rest is the same as my Grafs). I haven’t experimented with different rockers because I’ll then lose a lot of metal.
Speaking of metal, the runners feel “grainy” compared to my Cobras after being sharpened by the same shop, same guy, same stone.
The skates are listed as “light-weight” in other reviews. They are heavier than my Grafs.

Why are they so exhausting? 

These skates demand a lot of power out of you. No matter what the skate shop guys want to tell you.

Pitch
“Aggressive pitch” (how “forward” the sole of the boot is) is NOT the cause because I’ve worn Grafs for 10 years, which has the near-identical pitch. https://shiftthatparadigm.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/img_20150915_094451.jpg https://shiftthatparadigm.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/img_20150915_094532.jpg

The boot shape shifting the skating style
The shape of the heel cup your heel to sit deeply into the heel cup, causing you to bend your knees more, driving more power out of the core, gluteus medius, and the lower legs. The flexible tendon guard and the very shallow foot at the tendon allows you to extend your ankles. Basically you’re using a new set of muscles, and using them hard.

9′ rocker and stiff CXN holder
This may be a culprit. The skates don’t give me a choice to “casually stop” – it always stops hard because you’re stopping on such small amount of steel. My old holder (Cobra) was just as stiff, but I skated on a 10′ rocker.

Mentality
I think this is the biggest contributor. It’s kind of like you buy a really nice sports car, and next thing you know, you’ve burnt through 3 times more gasoline for the same commute. The sports car burns more L/km. But not only that, you’re enjoying the car’s ability so much that you’ve been jack-rabbit starting at green lights and accelerating quickly in lower gear. I think the same thing is happening to me. I’m using the new set of the muscles and also using them harder than before.

Conclusion

I had an option of returning the skate for a store credit. I kept them. I still have G9035, so you can see how much I liked the M8s.

If you want to try the Mako skates,
Make sure the skates fit, not just in width and length but also in depth.
Buy the pair you tried on.
Be prepared to be exhausted in the first few games.
And brace to feel so awesome about youself!

Photos: https://shiftthatparadigm.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/easton-mako-m8-review/

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We all love believing lies.

I was unaware of how willing I was to believe a lie until that one day.

We all lie, and it’s often pretty innocent.
You must clean your apartment right now instead of doing your homework.

But how about these.
My wife deserves to be yelled at because she forgot to pick up my dry cleaning that I desperately need for the important presentation.
My boyfriend left me because he is a jerk, who deserved to be nagged.
I love my job and worked hard at it, and the boss said I was lazy to cover her ass.
I am confident and have healthy self-esteem.

Should anyone trying to tell us we are in denial, we fight, defend, deflect, and attack with such intensity and desperation. And we justify,This shows she wasn’t a true friend if she abandons me for just a little outburst. Will Smith said so. 

And we believe it.

Our willingness to believe those lies is the manifestation of our willingness to trade connection for a pain-free world.

It was quite pronounced in my life.
My childhood was dominated by constant physical and psychological pain and torment, and the objective of my day was always to secure a safe spot and hide – physically or emotionally. I couldn’t wait to grow up. I didn’t think about a career. I didn’t think about a white picket fence. I didn’t think about what adventures my life would hold. My life’s goal was freedom from hurt.

I grew up and moved out, and the first few years were great. I started crafting a safe world around myself, and I discovered that I had a true gift.
They didn’t put me on the soccer team roster even though I’m talented because they’re cliquey. 
It’s not that she is avoiding me. I don’t want to hang out with her because what she is a b!tch.
I almost failed biochem because I don’t need the grade. 
The person who got hired for the job over me must have known those people.
My boyfriend cheated on me three months ago, and he deserved to be yelled at. I’m still angry at him, and he brought it upon himself. 

Only after a few years, I hit the point where the discrepancies between the reality and the illusion were causing me to float over life. There was no way to connect to any of the life’s important moments. By crafting this safe world, I artificially create two worlds – reality and illusion. Because only in illusion a completely pain-free world exists. I was living in this pain-free world, and I was starting to really hurt.

My fiance left, shaking his head. My physical body was flooded with rage, sadness, or, ironically, hurt. Before, I hurt because I was being tormented. Now, I’m constantly hurting because I’m living in this pain-free world. I was unproductive at work, and counter-productive to developing friendships.

At this point, I had an opportunity to say “Oh oops. This didn’t work” and start living in reality. But that’s not what I did. Instead, I said “Well, he left because we is promiscuous. He cheated on me once, didn’t he!?” I just honed my lying skills, demonstrating that I not only had to hit the rock bottom but also had to smash my head against the rock bottom several times.

During those years, I met some other skilled liars. Sad, hurt, angry. Saying “i’m so happy!” and everyone else is thinking “You are so not, but I’m not going to tell you for fear of being berated by you for it.” Saying “I don’t care what others think!” only to demonstrate that they do because they say that too often. Nothing is their fault. Everything is someone else’s fault. Their today looks the same as their yesterday, and their tomorrow sure looks the same as today.

I am one of them.

Finally, eventually, that fear got big enough that I decided to make a change.
Well, I was still stuck there for a few more years. I am such a skilled liar that I lied to myself to conceal the fact I was still lying. This caused me to realize I had to do this black and white.

This is where I can be the biggest help to you. I can be a horrible example you’d be desperate not to repeat. I was 18 when I moved out. I made the first commitment when I was 30. I was 33 when I made the full commitment. I’m 42 today, and I’m still working on it. That’s 15 years of my life wasted and 24 years still trying to catch up to everyone else.

Anyway, back on topic. My commitments were:
– My friends are always right. They might give me criticism. They might avert their gaze. They might roll their eyes. They are always right.
– Accepting they’re right means I acknowledge what I’m doing, choose a different path, and then forgive myself.

Making it black and white was the only way I could make myself realize how often I lie to myself. How often I tried to lead myself away from personal growth and happiness.

I am proud to report that I kept with this commitment, and it changed my life.

I don’t need people. Instead, I appreciate people.
I am very comfortable being vulnerable.
I can connect with people and events and moments.
I have no secrets.
My identity is not wrapped around an adjective (“nice”) or a noun (“scientist”).
I am not thrown by anger, sadness, hurt, or shame.
I can handle fear.
I’m happy and joyful.

I still have a long way to become fully effective and constructive for my life, setting other goals in my life than just being safe. Try not to get sucked into the world of being fake when I’m around inauthentic people. Not justifying “staying home with my dog because it’s pain-free” as being “introverted.”

But I’m on the right path.

The toxicity and disconnection of the “Nice” – brain storming

Being “nice” is such a praised quality. We are raised to be nice to others. When you bring your girlfriend home, what you really want to hear is “she’s nice!”
It’s literally the life’s highest priority for many people I know. It’s true. They told me.

I propose we stop teaching kids to be nice.

From very early on, we are taught “nice” is nice. It makes people around us happy. It makes us happy. Nice kids are invited to parties. Nice girls have friends. Nice boys get dates. Santa visits nice people. Nice is so nice!

I believe we must stop teaching kids to be nice.
What!? Why shouldn’t we teach our kids to be nice!?
Not the way I’m seeing around me.

Here is what I see. “Nice” is being taught and audited and exercised as a superficial quality.
A nice, polite person says please and thank-you without being truly courteous.
A nice, pleasant person has a smile on their face without being truly kind.
A nice, generous person brings an expensive bottle of wine to the host who doesn’t drink wine.
A nice friend is always positive and says nothing that hurts a friend while the friend keeps repeating self-destructive behaviour or thought processes.
As long as you have a smile on your face and giggle and offend no one, you’re “nice.”

The danger is when kids learn that “nice” is such a trump card.
I know this consultant who keeps giving extremely poorly-written programs to his clients. His clients defend him and spend their own personal time to fix the program.
I know this rec hockey player who broke a couple of wrists and handed out several concussions. Once she speaks a word or two, everyone comes to her support, even those that were injured at her violent hand. “But she’s so nice!”
Yes, “nice” makes people blind. It’s a trump card. And it’s easy to wear. Pull your lips to the side and say nothing.

Wow, the ability to get away with everything. I thought it was exclusive to the cute kids, the pretty girls, the rich, connected kids, the jocks. I can now have it. I just have to be nice.”

On top of that power of control kids could learn from early age, “Nice” is a mask the society teaches a child to wear. It is counter to cultivating a child’s sense of self. It is opposite of allowing kids to realize and get to know who they are.

Sure, but what’s wrong with it? “Nice” kids should be rewarded for being nice.

The problem is this: “Nice” offers no value. It only offers avoidance. And that avoidance looks like this. Haven’t we all experienced this?
When we have a smile on our faces, we are treated warmly. When we are sad, frowning, or upset, we are treated with distance and avoidance. 

See, from very early on, we are taught “Nice” is expected. “Nice” is how we are allowed to play. “Nice” is a prerequisite for attending a birthday party.
We feel ok to exclude “not nice” kids from the birthday party. We feel ok to disregard friends who provide constructive criticism. We feel ok to demand our friends be always positive. We feel ok to tell people “Don’t be sad” “Don’t cry.” We secretly judge how long a friend’s been debilitated by her son’s passing. Maybe not so secretly, some might say “Well, it’s been years!”

We feel licensed to avoid anything that’s not “nice.”

Even though “Nice” – the way it’s exercised these days – is only a custom and not a genuine part of anyone’s authentic self. It’s not an expression of a personality. It’s a muscle movement, equivalent to shooting a puck.

“Nice” is only a custom and not a genuine part of anyone’s authentic self.

I have seen more people who suffer from the nice complex than people who suffer from narcotics addiction and body dysmorphia combined. Instead of desperately chasing being high or being thin, those people are desperate to be continuously perceived as “nice.” Everything else takes a back seat. Everything else gets sacrificed.

You know that bit I mentioned earlier? Just smiling and being “nice” and saying nothing while watching a friend spiral down into depression and into suicidality? That was a true story. (Hopefully unintentionally) A friend’s wellness is sacrificed for the sake of being “nice.”

Can you imagine, though. We all have an emotionally safe place, right. Can you imagine if that safe place was so easy to access as pulling lips to sides? And it provided safety all your life? Each time you meet someone new, you have a choice: Show them how nice you are, or show them who you are. Former having provided a safe harbour for 30 years, and the latter, a complete unknown, possibly causing to lose all of your friends. What would you pick?

It’s disconnecting. It’s addictive. It cultivates fear. It’s dangerous.

We need to stop teaching kids to be nice.

Compassion.
Empathy.
Kindness to invest their emotional energy and time into you.
Loyalty and trust to confront friends.
Confidence and trust to develop a thick skin.
Courage to be themselves.
Integrity to alienate when necessary.

See:
Dr. Brene Brown’s power of vulnerability
George Saunders on kindness.

Niqab: give the women the choice

Let me illustrate how we must let women choose to wear niqab if we are OK with kimono.

The samurai. The ninja. Shogun. Kimono. Canadians are fascinated by the romantic Japan.

The first thing you do when you put on a kimono – wrap yourself in towels and ribbons to make you into a cylinder. Some say it is so no one can see the woman’s beautiful figure. Some say it was so that the kimono makers (men) didn’t have to worry about who’d be wearing it, like the wearer is just a display.

And they developed the 12-layer formal kimono. 12 colours were used like a haiku – to show the season and individuality, they convinced the women. Some say it was so women couldn’t run away. Under the weight of 12 layers, women often passed out (and found much later because the layers would keep them propped up).

Growing up, TV showed men pulling on the obi and women screaming and spinning like a lettuce spinner. It was kind of a regular occurrence on TV. History drama. Comedy skits. I found it comical and laughed as a child. As an adult, I realised it was a horrifying scene of a man forcibly undressing a woman and incapacitating her at the same time.

I love wearing kimono. I believe I wore it to my UBC graduation banquet by my own free will. Because I have separated it from the symbolism and history and appreciate the artform.

Sidebar: I did read that niqab should be banned because it symbolises oppression. First, that’s not the topic of this post – this post deals with the government using niqab to turn Canadians anti-muslim. Secondly, “Oh Niqab takes away a woman’s autonomy over herself. Therefore, ban niqab” is the complete opposite of giving the women back the choice.

It does make me nervous where Canada is headed.
Harper’s Canada is elitist. A lot of comments on social media indicate they consider themselves belonging to Harper’s elite group. I wonder what takes them to realise they aren’t.

How would we know they won’t turn against us next.

The bystander effect of bullying

We may not have a solution to extinguishing the act of bullying. But we – every last one of us – can diminish the experience of being bullied.

Bullies bully. Some say it’s because they have certain wirings. Some say the bullies are in pain themselves. Whatever the reason, the cause of bullying is always with the bully, not with the bullied.

The bullied person may look like they make themselves an easy target. They may be “different” than others. They may look odd. They might dress and act younger than others. Those may be the reason that the individual got bullied, but that’s hardly the reason bullying occurs.

Some say that people who are bullied should learn to stand up for themselves. Other than the problem of “victim-blaming,” it’s also ineffective. That person standing up for themselves is a solution for that person but is not a solution to drive bullying to extinction. If they themselves or teachers or bosses or parents save one victim from being a target, the bullies will just find another victim. People would keep fighting for the bullied individual until it moves off to someone that’s not within your intimate social circle. Or until the bully changes the tactics and makes it psychological so the bullied individual can’t quite call them out on it.

I’m not going to go into “How to wipe out bullying entirely” because, first of all, I don’t know, and secondly it’s being discussed by psychology professionals and the like. And because I don’t think it’s possible – I do believe that many of us human beings are born with the urge to step on others. Yes, it’s primitive, just like pecking in chickens and mounting in monkeys. But we are only a few hundred years away from being primitive. That’s a blink in a history of a species. The only reason we don’t go around hurting others more often is that we have learned to let nurture win over nature.

So what is it that we can do if we can’t wipe out bullying?

We absolutely need to stop the bystander effect. We need to spread the word that, when bullying occurs, it’s less the fault of the bullied or the bully. The blame falls squarely on those that stand by and do nothing.

Ask anyone who’s being or has been bullied. “Let’s say the bully keeps bullying you, but 10 people/students either come stand beside you or publicly voice support each time anything happens to you. Would it make it a bit easier?”

I would answer “That’s the difference between a bully and someone who’s just mean. An act becomes an excruciating experience of being bullied because it isolates you. People do not want to be associated with you either for the desire to feel superior by silently joining the bully’s rank by ignoring the bullying or for the fear of making themselves a target. If bullying does not isolate me at all, I could have brushed off the bully as just a mean kid.”

We may not have a solution to extinguishing the act of bullying. But we – every last one of us – can diminish the experience of being bullied.

Groupings and discrimination: human beings’ need to shit on others

Take any point in the history of human beings. There was always a group of people that were discriminated against. Being treated as inferior.

Recently, it was black people, and Jews, and Asians, and gays, and Muslims, and who’s next?

At any point in the history, human beings had reasons and justifications for doing so. They were absolutely convinced through and through that the group deserved to be discriminated against.

With time, the groups changed. And justifications changed.

One fact remained. They knew very little of the group that they were discriminating.

Does that sound like it’s about the group, or does it sound like there is a group of people who have some innate need to shit on others and would jump on any chance to do so.

There must be a way out there for us to find a way not to be so primitive.

Rejection is negotiable: what we are teaching kids when we yell at refs

People just don’t take criticisms and rejections very well. We are raised in an era where we were threatened with consequences if we failed. Either we win the meet or we are losers and had to come home to a grumpy parent. We couldn’t predict what was good enough and how adults were going to respond to a second place. I’m 180 % improved from my last time but am still in the bottom 10 % of the class. Is that going to bring praise or punishment? Consequences are severe – there was a threat of flipping burgers all our life if we didn’t succeed. Not “if we didn’t try hard.” It was result-based.
Criteria for result were confusing. Is 98 % on this test going to bring praises for the 98 or criticism for the 2? There were a lot of fear and unknown.

No wonder people react so poorly and non-constructively to criticisms and rejections. The harm and pain of being wrong is so huge that it outweighs the benefit of criticism. 

Because it’s a big painful thing to protect and defend ourselves from.  Even though we don’t really know what that big painful thing is.

Because we were taught succeeding today is our goal. We were not taught that failing today might lead to a greater tomorrow. We were taught there is no silver lining in a fail.

And… Because people are raised seeing rejections are negotiable. You can manipulate a situation.
You can counter-reject so you weren’t rejected. “No, you aren’t going to dump me because I already dumped you!”
You can dispute their facts.
You can humiliate them in public so no one takes their words seriously.
You can claim they bullied you or are targeting you, so it’s their behavioural issue, not your failure.

The first place we learn this: a referee calls a blatant hook, and adults scream at the ref to get their glasses.

When we fail, be rejected, or receive criticism, that’s a gift – the only opportunity to grow as a person.
And we are the generation who is deprived of growth.