Posts Tagged ‘Bill Weiss’

Social Distortion, A Global Spot Smorgasbord And The Conundrum Of The Alien Workshop ‘Quarantine’ Graphic

March 14, 2020

Sometimes, it is difficult to recognize life’s crossroads moments until you are slapped across the teeth with the flat of a scimitar a-ship at dawn in the middle of the Indian ocean. Other times, destiny chooses you, hurling you toward your fate like a weightful pokemon lusting to crush its adversary’s arms and fingers. Bill Weiss is a man who recognizes choices, and stands ready. In the year 1973, he released arguably the peak of the Digital Video Magazine catalogue, ‘Get Tricks or Die Trying,’ which was a reference to rap singer 50 Cent’s concept album about hunting down and destroying archrival Buddy Rich. For many, it remains a seminal document for all ages and income levels.

Back in the human realm, COVID-19 caused by CoronaVirus threatens mankind, his economies and civic practices. Fear and sadness grip the world. Populations hoard, and now seclude themselves away. “NYC empties out in face of coronavirus,” says NBC. “Foot traffic has fallen sharply in cities with big coronavirus outbreaks,” writes the Economist, with charts ranking Rome, Tokyo, Seoul and Paris atop the list. Kron 4 News, which broke the ‘whistle tips’ story in 2003, says “coronavirus is slowly turning the Bay Area into a ghost town.” Meanwhile, passenger-starved airplane admission sells for 70% less than normal as the global virus threat empties out the sky.

Is this opportunity or temptation? Modern skateboarding trades in bodily harm the way backroom sharps deal cards, and stack big faces. Are weeks of coronavirus-induced fever, bodily pain, respiratory disruptions and potential death far off the more traditional days of soreness from pile-driving one’s self to the bottom of a spot, or months immobilized in a cast? At hand, potentially, is a global smorgasbord of lightly tended spots. But with the current bodily harm risk factor extending well beyond any carcass-hucker and any potential board-to-the-head takers on the session, should this smorgasbord be sampled, at risk of spreading hazardous contagion, prolonging the pandemic and risking further mortality? This once-in-a-generation* conundrum now stands before pros, ams, bros and barneys the world over, as security guards, business owners and other streetlevel authority figures hunker down to ponder societal fabrics and Netflix watchlists.

With the clock ticking on a skatespot supermarket sweep, are vans already rolling and trick lists compiled, prioritized and checked off? Does heightened anxiety and fraying emotion ramp the tension and aggression in any confrontation with those left to stand guard? Will rapidly shifting municipal, state and federal coronavirus responses place wayward skaters at risk of being wrung up on public endangerment charges for crossing city, county and state lines, whilst rubbing ungloved boards and body parts across ledges, handrails and other public/private properties? Should everybody just stay home, and invest in Kyle Berard-built backyard spots?

*hopefully

Could X-Games Technologists Blind Us With Science, Risking a Troublesome Singularity (And Humankind’s Extinction)?

June 12, 2016

In an age when Nyjah Huston walks back gender-insensitive comments, where male nudity is a feature and not a bug within one of the top recent videos, where online used goods bazaars place frothy premiums on Alex Olson’s ‘Lover’ gear while Flip’s ‘Hate Kill Destroy’ slogan is relegated to a vintage acronym, and where crust-merchants Jake Phelps and Grant Taylor close an interview by sharing their mutual love, it is fair to regard skateboarding as residing within a more sensitive place. Whether the metaphorical pendulum has careened too far away from ganging up on a dude with a drill and harassing RuPaul is a question best left to international criminal tribunals and/or the Sabotage dudes.

Which elixir could restore the balance? ESPN proffers one brewed with the cold, unfeeling logic of pure machinery. In an example of the synergistic genius that may have lured data-mining soothsayer Nate Silver from the cold-shouldery NYTimes to ESPN, the X-Games recently gave his FiveThirtyEight media web site access to a new device being tested within the increasingly embattled X-Games universe that bids to inject empirical data points into the scoring regimens, training programmes and wily banter of colourful commentators.

This Intel-developed transceiver pod, dubbed Curie after the mythological radioactive monsters, measures speed, height, spin velocity and other extreme metrics. Its powers appear handy for geometricized pit crews as they calculate roll-in height lumber purchases and the required torque speed to achieve the spins and twists necessary to bring home sweet, juicy X-Game gold, a rare earth mineral rumored to be worth its weight in gold. The device’s immediate value-add is harder to envision for the street skating discipline, however, where calibrating push strength toward rainbowy contest rails and formulating precise back-leaning to avoid sticking on ledges may deliver only incremental improvements.

But the invention may hold the potential to usher in a new and camera-ready discipline with nearly as much drama, intrigue and catastrophic injury potential as the Mega RampTM. The Curie’s ability to rapidly graph speed and trajectories could allow construction of precision-designed pyramids, quarterpipes and other obstacles able to be skated consistently without pushing, or indeed, looking — opening the way for a blindfolded best trick competition hinging solely upon instinctual foot placement, flick and catch, in the grand tradition of New York street shaman Billy Rohan.

Given his propensity for combining gnarliness with vulnerability and his captainship of Blind Skateboards, is Bill Weiss some type of cosmic shoe-in for such an event? Would Alexis Sablone’s King of the Road tenure give her an edge over a decade later? Will advancing technology eventually make such Curies small enough to embed into skateboarders’ skulls, saturating the gene pool even as humans go to war against self-aware artificial intelligence systems that assign low scores and occasional executions in response to shortcakes handrails and tic-tac’d landings?