Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Never Should Be Dones: The Tricks No Skateboarder Should Ever Do

EDIT: Well, this post certainly seems to be stirring up a good amount of controversy. If you actually think I am telling people what they should, and should not be doing, then I suggest you reread the first full paragraph, esp. that comment about the color blue. This post is simply about tricks I think are ugly, with some over-the-top rhetoric thrown in for humor. It might as well be post about what is better, Nickelback or One Direction (WRONG! They both suck!). Again, if you actually think I am telling people what they should/shouldn't be doing with a skateboard, then you simply shouldn't be reading this blog (or maybe anything for that matter).

          The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: NSBD (Never Should Be Dones)

We will soon return to updates in The Making of a Skate Punk series, but first, a rant.

Well, not really a rant, more of a no-holds barred skewering of skateboard aesthetics, and tricks that just never should be done (NSBDs) because they are hideous, mortifying, soul-crushing nightmares. Before we dive in, I must first provide a disclaimer. Skateboarding is an individual pursuit of self-expression. There is no “right” way to skate, because there is no “wrong” way to skate. There are only different ways to skate. What follows is only my perspective on given tricks and combinations. Essentially, I am arguing over what color of blue is the best. It is entirely a subjective experience, and not one that can ever be substantively “argued.” If you happen to agree with my assessment of NSBDs, cool. If not, cast these words to flames, as it should have no influence over you at all. If this post gets your panties in a bunch, well, then, good luck getting through the rest of life.

There are a few key elements to explore; flow, absurdity, and natural end points. They are all intertwined, and it can be hard to parse them out from each other. There are some tricks that just naturally flow. Smith grinds. A hand plant on transition. A backside kickflip. A McTwist. There are others, however, that are much more forced, contrived, harsh, and let’s face it, ugly, ratchet, and just fucking stupid. It is hard to definitively say what makes a given trick fall into one category vs. another. It’s more of a know-it-when-you-see-it of situation. Since it seems nearly impossible to create a theorem of what specifically constitutes a NSBD trick, we can just cite examples, and use them as semaphores to the larger skateboard landscape. Get ready. We ‘about to get ugly.

NSBD Examples

F/S Smith Grind, Kickflip Out. What a great way to simulationously ruin a Smith grind, and a kickflip. This trick is just horrible to watch. It burns the eyes. Damsels become distressed. Dragons take flight. Crops fail. Locusts. Compared to many others, this is not an absurdly technical combination, but it just lacks any real sense of flow. There is something too jarring about it. Likewise with kickflip to b/s railslide. Kickflip to f/s rail works, but to b/s? No fuckin’ way.

Melancollie to Pivot to Fakie (mini). No. Just no. Not ever. Chad Vogt did one of these, along with hundreds of other horrifying mini ramp 1-footed ollie variations, in Not the New H-Street Video. A tragedy to make Homer jealous.

Picnic Table Ollie to Nose Wheelie: Matt Hensley did one of these. People were in awe. I wanted to throw up in my own hair. Why would anyone want to do this, ever? It’s just goofy, but not like in that stupid-goofy fun way, but more like in a Sarah Palin type way. There is noting that flows about ollieing a picnic table and landing in a nose-wheelie. Nothing. The only dumber thing I can think of is ollieing a picnic table and landing in a nose wheelie. Awkward. Ugly. Obtuse. A test case in acute deformity.

Almost Any Manual that Deawon Song Has Ever Done. With that bold statement, I am sure some of you just fell off your chair. Manuals are their own special kind of stupid. The problem with manuals is the same problem that existed in the early 90s with small wheels and big pants. Loose pants are very comfortable and easy to move in. They are great for skating. Small wheels are light, and good for technical street skating. However, these were taken to absurd extremes. 70” pants and 7mm wheels. Manuals suffer the same debilitating, crippling plague. Just because we have the technical ability to build a 30 megaton hydrogen bomb, does that mean it’s a good idea, and we should do it? Nope! Just because something can be done, does not justify bringing it into existence. A simpler version of the same absurdity is continuing to ride a manual after you have dropped off of a ledge. It’s like continuing a jaw chewing motion after you have finished eating your entire plate of shrimp. It’s like double and triple kickflips. It’s like an OCD person washing their hands for the 100th time. Just stop. A natural end point was reached. Going further brings the wings of sorrow upon us all. Think of the children. Do you want them to endure such torment, terror, and death? Do you really want to be known as a “baby killer?” It’s just not a pretty word.   

Absurd Tech Variations On Ledges
. These are very similar to Godot-like manuals. Example: Nollie heel hard flip, to k-grind, to 360 nollie flip out (turning with it). Yes, without question, this type of stuff is insane, and are tricks I could only do in my dreams, but those dreams would be the blackest of nightmares. There is just no flow to many of these variations and combinations. They are just awkward, jolting, and soulless (much like Ann Coulter’s public speaking skills). A counter-example would be a b/s kickflip to fakie 5-0, to half cab kickflip out. THAT flows. Everything is turning the same direction. The dismount is almost a mirror of the mount. A super rad trick that does not hurt to watch.   

Double Flips (with the exception of that one Gonz did in the Blind Video), of any kind. These are just stupid, and excessive, like a jumbo size popcorn/soda at the movies. You don’t need that much of anything. What I really wonder, when I see these type of tricks done, is where were the parents when these people we growing up? I mean, didn’t they have any Home Training? Manners? Basic etiquette? Who let these children out of the house!?! 

Pressure Flips. Any type or variation. These tawdry little “tricks” are a calamity to Natural History. A cancer. The claw side of a hammer should instantly be taken to the face of anyone who does these things. 

Varial Flips. I am not sure why these are so nauseating, but they are. Moreover, it seems as if these are hated by almost every known species on Earth, even The Tea Party, and that is saying something. Don’t Varial Flip on Me!

Almost Anything with a Body Varial, where the board does not also spin. Example: Big spin = OK.  Ollie body varial = NSBD.

Underflips. These are worse than pressure flips. When these come out roaches and sewer rats scatter in disgust.

540 Kickflips on flat (and prolly on transition, too). They just ugly, and chaotic, like a little bit of North Korea under your feet.

Hardflips: Why aren't these just called Icky-Spasmo-Flips? They aren't even fun to do. Gross.

Almost Any Tre/360 Flip Variation to Slide/Grind or Manual
. Tre flip to 50/50, manual to tre flip out, backside smith to tre flip out…SHOOT. ME. NOW. This is the kind of shit that would turn Medusa to stone. There is just no flow to these. Tre flips should almost always be left to their own devices. When mixed with other tricks, things just get nasty. Ammonia and bleach. Marie Antoinette and peasants. Republicans and science. Nyjah and style.  

Frontside Bigspins. They are just too awkward, and weird. Just not something any good, white, Christian, woman would ever find herself doing. (Note: I was notorious for doing this trick in the early '90s. My folly.)

As a general rule, anything where your feet stay on the board won’t cross the line into NSBD land, but this is not always the case. NSBD Example: Full cab to backside nose blunt, to 360 revert (Danny Way). Jason Carney does some curb skating in one of the H-Street videos. He does something like a rail slide, to feeble, to rail slide, to feeble, to rail slide, to smith, to rail side, to feeble, to shove-it. No, Jason. Stop, just stop. I mean, what the hell are you trying to do? Are you some aspiring circus freak? I am not sure if you are (1) having a convulsive hissy-fit because there is not enough wax on the curb, or (2) you are trying to “push the envelope” of curb skating into a swirling morass of despair and anguish. In either case, I have grave concern for your judgment and well-being. Go watch Tom Knox skate a curb for a bit, and come back tomorrow. Even basic 50/50s, rail sides, nose slides, etc. can fall into the abyss of NSBD. At some point all these can become so long that it’s just stupid. A 100-yard 50/50? Yeah, cool wax, bro. Great story. Sometimes you just need to know when it’s time to pull out.

I can’t go on much longer with these examples. All this talk, of all these wretched NSBDs, is bringing on one of my “spells” of desperation and distress. It’s just too much for one person to endure for too long. I could go on, but I think I’ve illuminated a sufficient amount of NBSDs so that we can all garner the general essence of these tragic blights on skateboarding.

I leave you with a few other dark thoughts: Airwalk to handrail boardslide. Bluntslide to backside lipslide. 1-footed tail grab nose “bonks.” Rail slide to manual to shove-it. Catastrophe. Fukashima. Hindenburg. Pompeii.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Gratitude For What You Have...

I went grocery shopping with/for my dad this afternoon. Sometimes I get frustrated that I can't skateboard as well as I could when I was 25.

Then I remember I can walk.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Andre Had a Posse

     Ever seen an Andre the Giant Has a Posse sticker? Or the whole “OBEY” line of clothing? The creator, Sheppard Fairy, also made the famous “HOPE” poster for Obama in 2008. Fairy is now a rock star. Back in the day, he was just a skateboarder who went to RISDY in RI. We skated together a few times at ZT Maximus, in Cambridge, MA. He made some funny Andre the Giant stickers. People liked them. Evolution and marketing did its thing. Anyway, below is a very, very old “explanation” Sheppard wrote about the whole Andre thing. I wonder what he would say about this in 2016. The “not for profit” thing clearly changed.

            A Social and Psychological Explanation of Andre the Giant Has a Posse

The Andre the Giant sticker campaign can be explained as an experiment in Phenomenology.  Heidegger describes Phenomenology as “the process of letting things manifest themselves.” Phenomenology attempts to enable people to see clearly something that is right before there eyes but obscured; things that are so taken for granted that they are muted by abstract observation. The first aim of Phenomenology is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one’s environment. The Andre the Giant sticker attempts to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the sticker and their relationship with their surroundings. Because people are not used to seeing advertisements or propaganda for which the product or motive is not obvious, frequent and novel encounters with the sticker provoke thought and possible frustration, nevertheless revitalizing the viewer’s perception and attention to detail. The sticker has no meaning but exists only to cause people to react, to contemplate and search for meaning in the sticker. Because Andre the Giant has a Posse has no actual meaning, the various reactions and interpretations of those who view it reflect their personality and nature of their sensibilities. Many people who are familiar with the sticker find the image itself amusing, recognizing it as nonsensical, and are able to derive straightforward visual pleasure without burdening themselves with an explanation. The paranoid or conservative viewer however may be confused by the sticker’s persistent presence and condemn it as an underground cult with subversive intentions. Many stickers have been peeled down by people who were annoyed with the sticker which they consider an eye sore and an act of petty vandalism, which is ironic considering the number of commercial graphic images everyone in American society is assaulted with daily. Another phenomenon the sticker has brought to light is the trendy and conspicuously consumptive nature of many members of society. For those who have been surrounded by the sticker, its familiarity and cultural resonance is comforting and owning a sticker provides a souvenir of keepsake, a memento. People have often demanded the sticker merely because they have seen it everywhere and possessing a sticker provides a sense of belonging. The Andre sticker seems mostly to be embraced by those who are, or at least what to seem rebellious. Even though these people may not know the meaning of the sticker, they enjoy its slightly disruptive underground quality and wish to contribute to the furthering of its humorous and absurd presence which seems to somehow be anti-establishment / social convention.
    Andre the Giant stickers are both embraced and rejected, the reasoning behind which, upon examination reflects the psyche of the viewer. Whether the reaction be positive or negative, the sticker’s existence is worthy as long as it causes people to consider the details and meanings of their surroundings, In the name of fun and observation, the experiment continues…

Thank you for your interest,
(no matter what the reason.)
-Shepard Fairey

Over 350 thousand Andre stickers have been distributed over the last few years. Though the campaign is an experiment and not a profit seeking venture, I must cover my costs in order to maintain production….”