Archive for July, 2018

Who Will Subsidize The 22nd Century’s Switch Hardflips?

July 29, 2018

Early in this new KOTR season, one of the key storylines already has emerged: Mike ‘Big Pink’ Sinclair, Tum Yeto darkman and pizza puff coinesseur, declares that after futilely exerting his commandership and wise strategems to their fullest in Toy Machine’s previous and unsuccessful outing, this time around he’s decided to “let the dudes run it,” determining which challenges to attempt when. It’s clear this runs against every fiber of his barrelchested being, and that his large, pink resolve will be tested with each twist of those great American byways pointing the way to the depths of the human soul that are some of, yet not the only, crannies probed by this, mankind’s greatest and most depraved scavenger hunt game show.

King of the Road’s glossified antithesis, the Olympic Game, lies just two years away, its own mark on various souls and bank accounts yet to be revealed. Unlike the basketball and blackjack dynasties and sweetened beverage manufacturers that bankrolled prior big-money contests, the tens of thousands being ponied up by sovereign states to retain and train four-wheeled talent are invested with precious metals in mind; the presidents, prime ministers and moneyed despots involved expect a return. If not this go-round, then subsequent clashes at the foot of the mount of the gods will certainly raise the question of whether ‘the dudes’ so beloved by Mike Sinclair can be entrusted to not only perform, but also plan out their runs and decide upon their own trick offerings.

Like so many of life’s conundrums, one inevitably is left pondering the fate of the switch hardflip. With a golden doubloon and certain immortality on the line, will the pride of nations be content to risk all on a late teen rolling up to the pyramid backward, popping off his or her less-inclined foot, and landing in the counterintuitive direction? Before very long, wealthy nations’ underpaid bot slaves will be scouring years’ worth of Exteme Games, Streets League, Tampa Pros and Ams, determining ratios and percentages to answer the question of how often switchstance tricks yield a plump purse and champagne shower, versus a groaning crowd, credit card, ER trip or some other negative outcome.

Solace isn’t to be found within the snowboarding realm, which continues to treasure ambidexterity — as a discipline it’s a mere few decades in. In the statistics-saturated multiverse of baseball, nearly two centuries old, the art of switch hitting is on the decline, representing just 13% of plate appearances this year, down from 20% in 1992. Further erosion is expected as a steadily elevating level of play and intensifying training regimes from Little League on up require the maximization of every innate advantage, rather than trying to cultivate new ones with a built-in disadvantage. In a pasttime where extra points are not awarded for difficulty, switch’s biggest onstacle in baseball simply is that it’s “too hard,” in the telling of Nationals hitting coach Kevin ‘Not Spanky’ Long.

Were a badly coveted KOTR win within the grasp of Mike Sinclair’s steering wheel-fatigued fingers, would he stick with his inclination to let the dudes run it, or might he forbid the Foundation boys from charging switch at a ‘Phelper’s Delight’-flavored gap or handrail in favor of any added certainty offered by a regs alternative? If contest overlords of the future continue to rate switch tricks at a premium, will more questionably footed Sammy Baptistas and Ali Boulalas become drawn into Olympic training regimens? Do BMXers or rollerbladers deal with similar conundrums? Will news headline-writing algorithms of the future destroy the switchstance discipline forevermore by lambasting Olympic losers for entrusting their countries’ hopes and dreams to the ‘wrong foot’?

Boxcar Sled Dogs In The Mood

July 22, 2018

With Oedipal vibes, Quasi’s inaugural full-length at long last arrived last week, spiced with temptation. As ever, messageboard banditos probed and hunted for stray links ahead of the official online release. Shortly after it finally hit, an electronic threat from former Throbbing Gristle frontperson Genesis P’Orridge of all people torpedoed the original Youtube link. This forced resourceful computer-rippers to seek out alternate hosting capacity via sites specializing in sophisticated adult entertainment of a different stripe, and left the rest of the world pondering what air cover their web caches and private-browser settings might provide in their pursuit of ‘Mother.’

For those ponderous unfortunates cursed to read between life’s lines and leave no Magic Eye poster unstared upon, it has been tougher still. DNA analysis obligates any video historian to place Quasi’s first full-length within the same creative lineage as ‘Photosynthesis’ and ‘Mosaic,’ citing teamrider and darkman resumes, Ohio geospatial data and the winking juiciness of the Pappalardo hamburger.* It is easy, upon the seventh or eighth watch of this excellently put-together video, to speculate idly as to any nods or winks involved with soundtracking an intro to ‘Band on the Run,’ hailing the heady freedom and risk of escape and liberation — this from the company that announced its emergence from the Alien Workshop/Pacific Vector meltdown with the declarative “no more corporate blues,” and wind up this vid with some oldster stating that he’s “looking just to get away.” The rorshach-test qualities of many Quasi graphics invite similar ponderings: Do all the race cars, motorcycles and fast-running dogs similarly speak to themes of speed and escape? What about the Dale Earnhardt tributes and those drippy sculptures? How much of this is designed mainly to befuddle deck consumers who may feel on sturdier ground with pizza-themed art or endless iterations of a stylized letter B?

Whatever cipher is to be found in Quasi’s graphics, on maple or judiciously sprinkled amongst the footage in ‘Mother,’ probably serves best as a vehicle or backdrop to the team and its skills – all of which ‘go,’ in the parlance of our times. What really merits those mysterious VHS tapes’ positioning alongside the earlier yellow, gray, orange and white cassette ancestors is the video’s careful crafting and exquisite tricks. Forestalling much of the talented flow squad gets ‘Mother’ under the critical 30-minute bar, even with timeless-feeling intro and credits sections. There’s a parallel universe somewhere with full Jake Johnson and Al Davis sections, sure, but their material here is presented in the most resourceful fashion possible, and the efforts of the other bros and ams — especially the ams – more than get the video over besides.

Justin Henry, latest of the Ohio torchbearers, delivers on years’ worth of early promise, gliding and jamming his way over spots on both coasts, fusing otherwise disparate moves into weirdly smooth alloys like the bigspin backside lipslide to firecracker out, or the wallie leap to noseblunt slide. The Grant’s Tomb backside noseblunt is there. Beltholder for greatest hair in the industry, Josh Wilson, blasts multisyllabic flip tricks over various bars and dangerously dings some other ones, along with an intense ollie out of a tall wallride. There is Tyler Bledsoe’s most recent addition to the backside tailslide canon, an almost painfully good Jake Johnson flowerpot backside kickflip, Al Davis thundering switchstance down a cascade of mountain peaks.

Gilbert Crockett, who seems yet to let up from a string of heavy parts following 2015’s ‘Propeller,’ constructs a throbbingly manual-heavy closer that includes an unhinged fakie flip switch manual to switch frontside shove-it out and the rather intense kickflip nosemanual over the guardrail and down the embankment, plus other crazy shit like a scary fence jump and a switch backside nosegrind at the JFK bank to ledge. But it is Dick Rizzo with the most pumping, vital section, cracking over bars and banging down on fire-engine red cellar doors with a weirdly fluid grace, or jumping catlike over the boulevard after half-spinning switch into some griping grayhairs’ beloved banister. There are lovely dips on the backside smith grind and switch backside 5-0, the sounds of the under-bridge wall blast deeply satisfy, and the backside nosegrind revert to GT rollercoaster makes good on the pain and leaf-diving required to reel it in.

Does Quasi have the bench-depth and belly fire to come back in six months’ time with another vid showcasing Drake Johnson, Justin Drysen, Dane Barker and all those Justin Henry tricks that didn’t make it into this one? Is Bobbito back to reclaim his spot after being displaced by Shadoe Haze? Will this year reunite the Dayton diaspora in video releases if Fat Bill completes the new Supreme/FuckingAwesome one and the now three-years revived AWS brings the Joe Castrucci-helmed release described by now deservedly-pro Frankie Spears?

*Note: Boil a Ocean Weblog briefly considered registering @PappalardoBurger on Instagram, and using this to make several humorous posts relating to various video parts in the voice of the burger itself, but ultimately chose instead to leave it to parties who could do more justice to such a concept, rather than linking back to a meandering and partially thought out internet screed

Scott Johnston, The ‘Aja’ Pill and The Reality of Our Surroundings

July 6, 2018

Have you felt it? Only recently it was Madonna’s ex-boyfriend Dennis Rodman, the former WCW wrestler, providing a septum-pierced window into the mind of Kim Jong Un, heir to the legendary North Korean golf dynasty, ahead of talks toward a nuclear disarmament. Beyonce and her formerly drug-dealing spouse Jay-Z rented out the Louvre for a recent music video featuring Jay’s golden Indiana Jones medallion, while DJ Khaled plugs Weight Watchers. Onetime baseball tycoon Jose Canseco later begged former casino magnate and current U.S. President Donald Trump if he could please join the emerging U.S. space battle force, an interplanetary armed squadron geared toward asserting American values to space’s infinity — and beyond, if duty, honour and extraplanetary riches require. Ours truly is a bold age of discipline and strength, forged in courage and rare-earth minerals, impossible to dilute.

Could it all be a simulation? Scientists have begun to seriously contemplate the question, which if nothing else seems a natural for a non-retrograde Alien Workshop board graphic. The rigidity of mathematical and physics principals hints toward rules for some ‘Big Game’, but really it’s the seams that sometimes show. One worldwide famed instance involved the mass memory glitch that occurred when the ‘Berenstein Bears’ series was erroneously replaced with the misspelled ‘Berenstain Bears’ version in our current when, igniting fury and hair-tearing confusion among readers.

There’s plenty more. In ‘Deathwish Part Two,’ published to the Thrasher.dotcom video engine weeks ago, one of Beagle’s HD VX-replacers briefly captures a splash of skatepark graffiti that includes a spray-painted ‘Nike SB’, some mistaken cut-and-paste job from a reality in which the Greek goddess of victory’s namesake company is some scrappy bro brand hawking t-shirts off BigCartel. Elsewhere, Erik Ellington sells loafers with golden tassels. Andy Roy, freed from jail, a famous TV game show host.

Scott Johnston, in a recent Chrome Ball interview, alludes to an alternate timeline in which his indelible Mad Circle part was soundtracked not to the perky, radio-friendly unit shifter ‘Peg’ but to an entirely different Steely Dan song, widely assumed to be ‘Any Major Dude Will Tell You.’

Justin already had a Steely Dan song picked out but it was a different one. I ended up going through the CD and finding another one that I liked better, which was the one we used. I guess I just kinda took it and did it. (laughs)

Scott Johnston’s ‘Horns’ part, with its tightly controlled switch 360 flips, is known across this land’s towns and botanical gardens as a classic of the form to be copied to the best of anyone’s abilities, mammal and invertebrate alike. If one accepts/assumes this existence to be a simulation, one also must accept and, ultimately, celebrate the certitude of multiple versions of this same simulation playing out simultaneously, with slight variations, infinitely. It’s easy to envision dozens of editions of our current reality, multitudes of laptop and plasmoid TV and smartphone screens playing Scott Johnston’s ‘Horns’ section, each one soundtracked to a different Steely Dan track plucked with wild abandon as Scott Johnston sifts through a bottomless sack of Steely Dan CDs in Justin Girard’s apartment lo those many years ago, his hand casting and reaching further and deeper into a black night staring back with an eyeless, blank reflection on our artificial existence.

As the trumpets and infrastructure spending of another Olympic Season fade, can we find solace and hope in technology growing closer to reviving the body of the too-soon-gone Walter Becker, if not his Jose Cuervo-bathed soul? In a post-all era, is tagging the names, let alone logos, of multibillion-dollar sportswear conglomerates the height of subversivity? Does Khaled really swallow those Weight Watchers foods? If all this is just one of an infinite number of simulations playing out, are your odds of being in a good one versus a wack one roughly even, or would an advanced civilization prefer to study only ones where shit goes wrong, Love Park gets demolished, Prince ODs, Danny Way’s ‘Tru, B’ part never comes out, Max Geronzi switches over to skating exclusively novelty old-school setups, and Kyle Nicholson never gets a full shoe deal?