Archive for May, 2021

Skaters On IG Staring Into The Distance And Thinking About Stuff

May 29, 2021

‘Appreciate Your Muskas’

May 22, 2021

“There’ll never be another Muska,” the old man said again, louder this time.

His tone made it sound like some prewritten remembrance posted too early by an errant algorithm, it wasn’t, and the man understood this. He cleared his throat. “Not like he’s gone, I mean. You know?”

The kids looked away. Neither really had looked at him in the first place, only half acknowledging his advance on the park’s chain-link perimeter, then hooking in his fingers, scanning back and forth and bobbing his head if some trick looked close. One stepped onto his board and began heelflipping.

He said a few times he used to skate, there was no reason not to believe him. Squinting you could imagine a chin under the salt-and-pepper beard, the gray wisps black under the lightly sweat-ringed hat, embroidered with a throwback baseball team logo. Probably there was a tattoo somewhere.

“He’s not gone, obviously.” The sun was low and the old man didn’t look at the two kids as he blinked. “He’s still out there obviously, and shit, he’s still got it. You saw this right?” He fumbled with a phone, pushing his fingers across it this way and that, murmuring about crooked grinds and parking lots and inspirational quotes, the ones that left him quietly embarrassed when he thought of them and they felt weighty and meaningful.

One of the kids glanced at the screen the man held out, nodded and looked away again. The other heelflipped.

“I’m talking more about appreciating. You know. When he was doing all that stuff, in his prime, ‘The Muska’ and Shorty’s, we all thought he was corny.” The phone jammed back between denim folds and the fingers hooked once more into the fence. “He was, for sure, in a way. You know, the rap album, his boombox all the time, and then he wore these scarves… you know, he would’ve been great with no gimmicks, is what I’m saying. I mean, look at the TSA video. T-shirt and jeans, pretty much. You know?”

There was a lengthy pause and the man decided to endure it some, swigging from his iced tea, a tall can.

“We were all up on a high horse about it kind of, and basically missed out on appreciating him in his prime, his prime, is what I mean. You know?” He didn’t look at the kids. “Should’ve really embraced it like, this dude is going crazy right now. Kind of hard to explain. People took stuff super serious then, sort of.”

The one kid nodded again, still looking away from the man.

“It’s like, appreciate what’s in front of you. This dude, then, he was a legend in the making. With somebody like Reynolds, or Rowley, you know, that was easy, it was clear, there wasn’t all the rock star stuff, but man, you know? Muska was gnarly. We knew it, you know, we watched the videos and everything, I just mean, we didn’t really appreciate what he was doing, at the time. And in a way you kind of miss out. Or we did.”

Two long blares of a minivan horn, and his fingers released the chain link. It shook and the man straightened.

“So you know, think about it. Who are your Muskas? KB? Nyjah? Anyway.” He reached for his phone but took his hand back out of his pocket and half turned away. “Make sure you see them, appreciate them. You know? That’s all I mean.”

The horn blared again and the man was gone. The kids took out their phones, running their thumbs from bottom to top, over and over.

Sustainability Of The Fittest

May 9, 2021

In their 2001 feature movie debut ‘Choices The Movie,’ the Oscar-winning Hypnotize Minds camp unspool the tale of Pancho, a young parolee back on the streets after a prison bid, struggling to hold to the straight and narrow as fast money and old friends dangle temptations around every Memphis street corner. Lauded for Project Pat’s turn as a dark-hearted crime lord who seems to have a second, perhaps surgically implanted heart of gold, as well as its exquisitely detailed underwater sequences, ‘Choices’ was a commercial and critical smash that laid Triple Six’s winding and occasionally profane path to American Film Academy immortality. It also imparted a lesson as old as time, but as hard to learn as the names of the forgotten inverts: ignore your true nature at your own peril.

Just in time for optitudinal Earth Day hashtag circulation, Dwindle Distrobution last month blessed hardgood purchasors with decks made from a sustainably produced adhesive, designed to ease board production’s environmental footprint into something approaching a Vans Era, versus its more traditional Chet IV silhouette. Dwindle’s proprietary ‘Super Sap resin’ is derived from lumberyard byproducts of some description, with 21 boards’ worth enough to offset 10 cross-country highway miles driven in Steve Rocco’s jeep.

It is at once a political masterstroke, placing Dwindle in prime position for any rollersport-eligible subsidies to flow from government greenhouse gas-reduction efforts. It also is a marketing chess maneuver, stealing a march on rival Habitat, which has redirected its R&D dollars away from bamboo plies and toward licensing deals with television production houses and federal agencies.

Time will render its judgment on the commercial wisdom of pitching eco-friendly innovations to a consumer base that has heartily rejected any technological tiptoes away from the seven-ply maple stick, or the fiscal soundness of Dwindle’s guarantee against the sustainable sap’s ‘breakage.’ Of course, Dwindle and all others involved may be courting a deeper doom. Whereas the board biz has made environmental strides — its fragmentation and subsequent profitability collapse has meant swapping road-trip jet fuel for unleaded, and trading in continent-hopping filming expeditions for one-spot vids like Challers’ enjoyable Van Nuys City Hall meditation — the inconvenient truth may be that skateboarding and the natural world fundamentally stand at odds.

None other than Rocco, who issued a Kinkos-quality call to arms in favor of slaying all marine mammals, saw the ugly truth of the thing, urging the skateboard industry to embrace its core identity as the planet’s foe and dominator, while promoting in videos the wanton focusing of decks that served to line the World coffers. This soot-darkened vision portrays skateboarding’s true nature as a Onceler-style devourer of forests, resting atop processed petroleum, turning upon Isengard-ready furnaces and forges that melt the planet’s iron veins into shapes of our own choosing.

Are the 85 servings of water saved with each syrupy gallon of Dwindle’s Super Sap resin offset by the additional acres of farmland and metric tons of irrigation water needed to raise the cotton required to meet consumer demand for Polar’s denim-hungry ‘Big Boy Pants,’ possibly the ‘Thneed’ of the 2020s? Will more nameplate pros follow Stevie Williams’ lead and ditch print photos and mags in favor of the tree-friendly NFT? As carbon sequestration pledges transform hardwood forests into emissions sinks, will the industry at last migrate toward Lib Tech’s fiberglass-ply decks?