Posts Tagged ‘loose slots’

Passing Virtual Hats Versus Capturing Digital Trophies, While Our Machine Masters Sit in Silent Judgment

January 22, 2018

Throughout the age of man, humans have invented machines to get money. Printing-press produced money predated the first printed Bible by a cool nine or five centuries; more recent innovations have included the one-armed bandit and the automated teller machine clique. But as demonstrated by the Internet-based currency scheme Bitcoin, its value jingling intensely higher, computers have come to surpass them all.

Skateboarders are a subset of humans who use their ingenuity to find deeper purpose and sometimes lucrative thrills in automobile parking structures, cement swimming holes and metallic stair-climbing assisters. Just as they remade the concrete Jersey barrier into a gateway to unholy pleasures, they have fashioned the Internet into a digital sieve through which financial donations freely flow, while haters and modern life’s other harsh realities are easily filtered out.

This yung year of 2018 already has seen motivational Exxon Mobil tank-blaster J Scott Hands Down seek to parlay a considerable Instagram following into a sort of X-nest egg, angling for a $100K down payment on a video part and cost of living increase associated with quitting his day job and moving his family to California to pursue a highly profitable and stable career in skateboarding. J Scott’s solicitation of funds to penetrate professional skateboarding’s ranks came as noted Canadian Dan Pageau, famed for a pioneering switchstance slam on El Toro, sought thousands in recognition of his careerlong contributions to the culture as he made his own industry exit — following similar and earlier efforts by Youtube person Vinnie Banh and various others.

Dan Pageau and J Scott Hands Down are innovative and interesting in their own ways. But their ultimate undoings may lie in failing to grasp that increasingly, the Internet is the end, not the means. Consider: Despite certain chest thumpings over Street League contest purses rising to the hundreds of thousands, machines again demonstrate their money-making superiority. Within the burgeoning realm of E-sports, wherein children and men competitively play video games, contest winnings are magnitudes larger, rising well into eight figures, with consolation prizes including an absence of battered bones and comparatively fewer court dates.

Instead of hoping to stoke sympathy of skaters and assorted well-wishers via internet money-requesting platforms, should J Scott Hands Down, Dan Pageau and Vinnie Banh instead focus on stroking keyboards and tickling touchpads, to better appease our mechanized rulers, grab for digital brass rings and capture all the riches that can be crammed into virtual wallets? Did you know that pro video game players also indulge in industry drama and get kicked off teams? Can pros like Shane O’Neill and Nyjah Huston help to bridge the cultural gap between skateboarders and the artificially intelligent paymasters of the Internet? Has this limp joke been attempted in this blogging space already before? Will we know whether and when the singularity arrives if it is not posted to Instagram?

Term Limited

September 24, 2016

old_muppets

Aging may be the great skate industry adventure of the ’10s, as grizzled pros test the tolerance of weathered ligaments and brittling bones in an ongoing quest to avoid that unholy wyrm, the Real World, and its most loathsome prison, the Day Job. There are a few who two decades ago may have seemed obvious candidates if one were to choose a moon-shotter capable of stretching a pro career into a third decade, like Eric Koston or Daewon Song or Marc Johnson. There are are others whose misadventures with substances and the US legal system made them less obvious picks, such as Jeff Grosso and Fred Gall and Guy Mariano. Yet here we are.

Jason Dill, a veteran who never really warmed to half-measures when it came to things like video part construction, socks height or New York City nightlife, appears to have embraced old age as lustily as any slot-playing, shuffleboard-pushing thee-time divorcee. Witness his silver fox persona, his grayed and thinned hair, his floral shirts, the Britannicesque recollections of days gone past and concepts ripe for resurrection. As he raises a brood of young street urchins with life partner Anthony Van Engelen, Jason Dill also has honed an ability to emotionally wound that appears as needle-eager as any sourpuss granny. From his recent Playboy interview:

I’m now past my third year of FA. I’m proud of what we’ve done. If you are a company making stuff, you need to have it in the back of your head that, hey, I might have to kill this thing one day for the greater good so it doesn’t look like a bunch of bullshit. Imagine if Mark Gonzales got to end his skate company, Blind. How would we look at it today? Imagine if Mark had made some deal with Steve Rocco, the owner of his distributor, early on, like, “I’ll totally do this, but when I think it’s time that this is done, I get to put out an ad that says, ‘It’s done. We killed it. It’s over. Thank you.

Jason Dill didn’t have to take it there. For skateboarders ‘of a certain age,’ Blind’s last 15 years or so as a stable for a Canada-heavy lineup resembling a Digital Video Magazine board team will always take a back seat to the ‘Video Days’ lineup and, later, the Ronnie Creager and Lavar McBride-led ’Trilogy’ generation. Nowadays, you’re hard-pressed to place your hand on a Blind board outside the Tech Deck assortments cradled within the boxy bosom of Walmart. In fact, they’re outlawed. But with his reminder that Blind’s heyday now lies a beagle’s lifetime in the past, Jason Dill’s prodding of old sores is an exercise in discomfort matched only by grouchy grandmothers’ bitter questions over the fate of hand-knitted blankets long ago vomited upon, washed and relegated to life’s basement closets.

Time’s grinding passage has yet to reveal whether Jason Dill or Pontus Alv — another long-in-the-tooth owner of an insurgent board company that lies under his control, and who has expressed similar sentiments — will avail themselves of a Hunter S. Thompson exit strategy, rather than some much-later forced transfer to a mall store-ready nursing home. Do they possess the financial and testicular fortitude? The skating mind seems wired for Quixotic pursuits that can batter the body, plague the mind and sometimes, sear the soul — literally throwing one’s self down a set of stairs over and over again, sometimes for days on end. Quitting while one is ahead, whether in the sense of a sound body or arrest-free permanent record, may not pay dividends in the form of shoe contracts and soda-pop endorsements. For every Heath Kirchart and Scott Johnston showing themselves the door rather than be escorted out by younger, abler-bodied teammates, there are multiples of beloved pros whose ratio of video footage minutes to pro deck graphics looks increasingly lopsided.

Can pros turned board company proprietors be relied upon to serve as judges and executioners weighing the street cred of their own enterprises? Should company owners freely discuss the concept of forced euthanasia, for will this only perplex the Dutch? Does Darren Harper’s trick-trying persistence make him more likely to seek revenge for a five years-old board to the head, or vice versa?