June 2010

06.30.2010

One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl

Holy fuck, how did I miss this. Not a question. More of a demand to the universe that it never happens again.

In case you missed it as well…

A couple weeks ago, DVS put out this pretty insane tribute/promotional video for Daewon Song’s new DVS x Almost collaboration sneaker. Pink shoes aside, if I had to pick one pair of legs in the wide world of skateboarding to cybernetically fuse to the bottom of my torso, I’d have to go with Daewon Song’s. Now, I don’t know precisely the condition his thighs are in, and whether or not he suffers from “cottage cheese butt”. I understand this is a condition a significant portion of the population spends some time agonizing over. However, it’s a risk I’m willing to take for the gift of being able to do whatever the fuck I ever wanted to on a skateboard, frankly.

The video starts with Daewon attempting to recreate his legendary part in World Industries’ 1992 video, Love Child — famous for containing the first hardflip ever documented… and in those pants! Daewon screws up at the end of the second mega-line, but it’s alright, because he spends the rest of the video making up for his shortcomings by splitting the very fabric of skateboarding in two.

The amount of truly obscene tricks that occur in this video is just mind boggling. But the appropriate response would not be to cover your eyes or those of your children — indeed, don’t dare blink, for each second of this clip contains staggering levels of skateboarding proficiency that will require multiple, complete viewings to fully understand. In fact, my retinas were so severely seared by the acrobatics herein, that smoke is still pouring out of my eye sockets. For real, smoke is actually coming out of my eyes right now. Leave it to Daewon Song to attempt to recreate an epic video part, “fail” in doing so, and end up with something entirely new AND STILL epic.

06.30.2010

Into the wild

free camping sign river Into the wild

And so begins a very long, and very gratuitous series of photography posts chronicling my recent camping trip to Nevers Dam in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. It’s going to be very hot, it’s going to be very uncomfortable for everybody.

These are going to be some heavy-assed posts because I shot approximately a billion photos on this trip and I’m really self-indulgent. Depending on what you come to this site for, that might work in your favor. And if not, I’m confident that one day, after much time and awkward prodding has passed, you will come to love me. It works like that in arranged marriages, anyway.

beer bottle sweat rings on table Into the wild

close up rocks riverbed Into the wild

Shortly after we showed up, the sky starting looking kind of creepy.

storm forming on horizon Into the wild

glowing clouds over river1 Into the wild

As it turns out, a pile of really mean thunderstorms moved in, with very tornado-friendly conditions in tow. Now, setting up a tent in gale-force winds is not exactly an argument-free undertaking at this point. Luckily, we’re told that tornadoes “tend” to veer away from rivers and other bodies of water. Now, waterspouts on the other hand…

More to come. You know where this is going. That’s right, PICTURES OF CLOUDS AND SUNSETS bitches!

06.29.2010

Trifecta

It’s hard to pin one aspect of skateboarding down as the best part of the whole activity — I mean, obviously the whole flannel shirt, year-round beanie, weed-smoking derelict lifestyle is really something I can get behind. But there’s other stuff about skateboarding that might be even better. If I had to declare a single class of tricks as better than the rest — better than the ollie… the kickflip… yes, even better than the trendy switch tre flip — I’d go with powerslides, wallrides and bertslides.

wallride Trifecta

I’m aware of how dangerous declaring certain tricks “better” than others can be in this culture. Frankly, I don’t know how people would react to a statement like the one I just made. Old dudes might be into it, but there are probably just as many young kids out there who aren’t even sure what a bert is. Well… consider yourself learned.

bert Trifecta

Really, when I say “better”, I actually mean “funner”, which is still a pretty controversial statement. But ever since I blew out my knees and through my ensuing slow recovery, I’ve learned to appreciate powerslides, wallrides, and berts in a whole new way. Wallrides are rightfully held in higher esteem than the other two maneuvers, but don’t underestimate the humble powerslide or the forgotten laybacks of old. They are more than a means to an end (stopping). They are a trick in themselves, and they are fun as fuck, and they are low impact. Maybe that makes me a geezer in the skate world, but you can’t tell me this shit isn’t cool as hell.

Granted, that had the potential to turn into a fairly high-impact situation, but considering the fact that I’m mostly just talking out of my ass here, I think we should all just agree that skateboarding totally rules and leave it at that.

06.29.2010

I am no killer, but I still hide my face

Here’s a little turd I managed to squeeze out after last week’s workload constipation.

killing spree I am no killer, but I still hide my face

This was pretty quick exercise, mostly just trying to get warmed up again after a couple weeks of barely drawing at all. You’d think it would be a nice break, but really, it feels like I’ve lost a good friend. A good friend who pisses me off more than anything else. Actually, to be honest, I hate Drawing’s guts.

For as simple as this little doody is, coloring it took a disproportionate amount of time. Here are a few of the color combinations I came up with before finally settling on the one you see above, to say nothing of the whole host of others that were far crappier and thus, far less worthy of immortalizing on these here Internets.

killing spree color comps I am no killer, but I still hide my face

Maybe you’ll like one of those more than the final version, or maybe you just think the drawing is total shit no matter what the colors are, who knows. We all see color just a little bit differently — that’s one of the side effects of being a unique snowflake.

P.S. I have a poop theme running throughout this post, don’t know if you noticed that or not. Okay bye.

06.28.2010

Scare Tactics

Feel like losing all hope in the future? Well boy, do I have something for you!

If you’re in a camp and a bear attacks, you don’t have to be faster than the bear. You only have to be faster than the slowest camper. — Michael Ruppert

This trailer for Collapse, doomsayer-at-large Michael Ruppert’s documentary on the impending oil crisis and ensuing economic meltdown is the kind of shit designed to keep you up at night. Go figure… and here I thought ruminating on the end of civilization as we know it was kind of relaxing. Seriously though, what are we gonna do when we’re too busy barricading our doors to check Facebook? WHAT THEN?

He contends that he doesn’t research conspiracy theories, rather, his area of expertise is conspiracy facts. And when he says shit like that while blowing cigarette smoke out of his flaring nostrils, I fucking believe him. But enough fear-mongering already, let’s go get some guns.

Although honestly, I don’t know what’s scarier: Michael Ruppert’s nightmarish visions of the future, or the YouTube comments for this trailer.

collapse youtube comments Scare Tactics

That Quaker Oats comment is about the only thing keeping me from holing up in a bunker and peeing in jars right now.

06.28.2010

Get your ass behind the yellow line

Boring photos of clouds post #531.

Now that the worst week of my life has come to an end, I can start sifting through the pile of photos I snapped during my camping trip two weeks ago. These are just a few taken on the bus ride to Wisconsin, which, while lengthy, was a relatively painless journey as budget bus rides go. Nobody barfed. Nobody got stabbed. Nobody installed a bomb that would detonate if the bus’s speed dropped below 50 miles per hour. All in all, pretty successful. The drive back… now that’s a horror story for another day.

All credit for these two really should go to the tint on the bus windows. What an artiste.

glowing clouds Get your ass behind the yellow line

rays of light behind clouds Get your ass behind the yellow line

Some natural phenomena just never stop impressing me, no matter how routine they may be. Lightning, rainbows, rays of sun shooting out from behind clouds… the simple beautiful things that were there long before the concept of beauty was even created. Mamma Nature just knows how to keep a man interested, what can I say?

fog over a field Get your ass behind the yellow line

sunset reflection bus window Get your ass behind the yellow line

One of my earliest motivations to get into photography was seeing awesome, evil storm clouds on the horizon and wishing I could capture that image forever… that I could create a memory that would never fade (unless some jerk blows up a beer next to your camera). So I guess it’s no surprise that I’m still taking pictures of the sky, 7,000 shots of the sunset later. Sure, I’ve been accused of living with my head in the clouds before, but as far as I’m concerned, that isn’t such a bad place to be.

06.26.2010

I blame myself

The sign says no smoking, Egon.

ghost busters I blame myself

Operating a proton pack under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely irresponsible, Dr. Spengler. My god, you’re supposed to be a scientist, man!

06.25.2010

Yellow fever

Uh, whoa. My general level of happiness has increased tenfold ever since this entered my life. Frankly, I don’t know how this took so long to find me.

french gymnast springs a leak Yellow fever

“France’s Golden Girl” — major lols, gang. Shit like this, this is why I wanted to be a journalism major… before I realized most journalism isn’t like Big Brother.

Oh, and for the skeptics, the great mind that is Wikipedia’s got a few words for you:

A photo of Le Pennec taken on vault at the 2005 World Championships and published by Getty Images was the subject of controversy late in the year. The photo appears to depict Le Pennec having an episode of incontinence in the middle of her vault. However, the image captured in the picture is inconclusive, the incident has never been substantiated by any reliable source, other photographs, video footage or eyewitness accounts, and neither Le Pennec nor the French Federation have commented on the matter. Nonetheless, the photo has appeared on various Internet sites and in a British tabloid magazine.

So… so yeah, it could be fake. But it still looks like she’s peeing in the photo, and that’s really all my immaturity can ask for.

06.25.2010

Rap Game

Recently, I found myself lost in a particularly shameful corner of the shameful mash-up world — the lost kingdom of hip hop remixes of video game soundtracks. And they weren’t tributes to just any old video games, they were tributes to some of the nerdiest video games ever made, Ocarina of Time and Final Fantasy VII. The shit that kids who never, ever go outside play. The shit that kids who actually, seriously want to be elves play. Indeed, the shit that capital “g” Gamers play. Are you wincing yet?

team teamworks albums Rap Game

Unsurprisingly, Team Teamwork’s mash-ups of big hip-hop hits with the soundtracks for both games can only be the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. You see, The Ocarina of Rhyme and Vinyl Fantasy VII definitely belong in that kind of embarrassing “I don’t like hop hop but…” camp. And they both serve as further proof that nerdcore only exists because the aforementioned Gamers are so socially-retarded they can’t relate to anything that hasn’t been reworked to fit within their nacho cheese-coated, basement-dwelling worldview. That was mean. But you know what they say — the truth is mean.

The execution on many of the tracks is questionable at best, but there’s something infectious and intriguing about the projects all the same. A big reason why is that the beats sound like nothing you’ve heard paired with hip hop before. In the cringe-worthy cases, it’s because the beat was just never going to work as a hip hop track to begin with. But in some of the luckier pairings, they’re strange but just novel enough to work.

Clipse - Virginia (Lost Woods)
M.O.P - Ante Up (Battle!)

The first time I listened to these, I was mostly compelled by sheer interest and fascination with how goddamned fucking weird this shit was. I wasn’t sure if it was worth listening to ever again, but something hooked me. As time has gone by, that same weirdness has kept me coming back to these albums — each time discovering new things, like a Level 13 Nethermage scouring a zombie-infested dungeon for rupees. My final consensus is that the albums are worth checking out simply to hear something completely different from anything vaguely rap-related you’ve ever listened to. However, their staying power is limited because, let’s face it, sometimes experiments don’t quite succeed, like having intercourse with an N64, for example.

Sure, video games are great to play when you’re high, but as I grow older, that’s increasingly the realm in which they stay. And to be honest, that’s probably where these mixes should remain as well.

06.24.2010

Scandalmakers

This short film starring the bizarre footwork of Kilian Martin is a bit of a foil to William Spencer’s circus act I posted a couple days ago. For one thing, the part, directed by Brett Novak, is really half fartsy short film (fartistry is often employed as an excuse when the videographer cuts off the skater’s board) and half tribute to Rodney Mullen’s particular brand of transcendent weirdness that we all thought was the pinnacle of skateboarding mastery when we were 13 (or at least, I did).

Additionally, Martin’s technical oddities feel a little bit more legit than the mystifying and often hilarious tricks William Spencer pulls out, but honestly, I’m thinking that might all come down to the presentation. The truth is that for as beautifully shot as the film is, Kilian Martin is pretty sketchy. Which any Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater fans of yesteryear will know is an automatic -100 points. Granted, it’s hard not to be sketchy when you’re ollieing into fandangles and flipping into one-footed manuals.

However, that’s exactly the reason why Mullen will always reign supreme when it comes to super technical freestyle-inspired skating — when you’re doing tricks this far off the beaten path you’ve really got to have robotic precision to make them look good.

Nonetheless, there’s a whole ton of impressive shit in this video and honestly, I feel like a bit of a d-bag for even criticizing the dude, considering the primo-slide stair gaps in my dreams always end in trips to the hospital.

06.24.2010

Don't get it twisted

Aside from the fact that it waited until the exact moment I had to leave my apartment to start pouring, last night’s epic thunder showdown was well worth it if only for the view afterwards. Although, a tornado touching down a couple neighborhoods over isn’t anything to sneeze at, either — in fact, the proper protocol in such a situation is to go chase after the, um, twister in trucks and try to shoot ping pong balls into it in order to develop a more accurate early warning system before your slippery rival does it first.

Since I moved to the Midwest, I’ve learned that the creepy, blank green horizon spewing lightning every half minute that usually portends a typical tornado apocalypse always gives way to a really fucking incredible sunset. I guess all the death and fear that get stirred up into the air make for optimal atmospheric conditions for a jaw-dropping evening sky.

golden stormclouds behind window frame Dont get it twisted

colorful stormclouds at sunset Dont get it twisted

colorful stormclouds at sunset behind window frame Dont get it twisted

For the record I barely touched these in Photoshop. That color is accurate. Can you believe how weird the world would have been like for our grandparents before color was invented? It must have been so moody.

And I know I take too many photos of the sunset as it is, but really, how could you say no to this? You’d have a better chance of convincing me you don’t like to eat pizza. And if you sincerely don’t like to eat pizza… I’d like you to back away very slowly… no sudden movements! …Robot.