Thursday, October 24, 2019

3 Classes of People

This comes from George Orwell's book 1984.

There are 3 classes of people in the world (bottom, middle, and top).

The people at the bottom struggle every day just to survive, eat, and pay bills.

The people at the top hold most of the wealth and power and strive to hold on to it.

The people in the middle want to switch places with the people on top.

This is human nature. And this is why I'm cynical of anyone advocating for _________.

I know it never stops there. Any group of people who do gain ___________ will not stop there.

They will keep pushing forward for more and more. It is human nature.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Locked out of heaven

I tried to get down to pray but I could not remember his name.

I found a bible and opened it but all the pages were blank.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

RSM: Andy Macdonald 78 point run X Games 2018

The thing I like about Andy Macdonald is that he is just about a universal constant at the X Games. Every single year, he is in the events. From 1995 to 2018, I don't think he has missed a single year.

The first time he won gold at skateboard vert was 1996 with his 89 point run. Back then, skaters had 3 45 second runs and the highest two scores would be averaged together.

His most recent run was in Minnesota in 2018. The format changed several years ago. For the last several years, the skateboard vert competition was 3 30 second runs and only the highest scoring run matters.

Andy puts down a really solid run and his run is undoubtedly far better than his 1996 run, however his run only got a score of 78. Over the course of 23 years, vert skating progressed so much and the talent pool increased so much. That being said, it is great to see one of the original riders keep coming back year after year.

The vert ramp appears to be 13 feet tall and has two 18 feet roll in ramps to start skaters off with lots of momentum.

Andy starts off with a large Backside 540 Melon about 4 feet out but he travels what looks like 8 to 10 feet across the vert ramp. He then does a Backside Kickflip Indy about 5 feet out and does another Backside Kickflip to Indy about 4 feet out on the third wall.

On the fourth wall, he does a McTwist about 4 feet out and he does a Mute to Fakie on wall 5.

Andy did the Mute to Fakie to setup for the 720 that he does on wall 6. He gets about 3 feet out.

On Wall 7, he does a Backside Madonna more than 2 feet out. What is cool about this trick is that it is usually done frontside. I hardly ever see this trick done backside. Going frontside, the front leg gets kicked off the board and is leaning in towards the ramp. Doing this trick backside, you have to kick the front leg off towards the air which is much more difficult to do.

On wall 8, Andy does a Frontside Rodeo. He grabs the board backside and spins a frontside 540. This is a difficult way to spin so it looks like Andy gets completely inverted during the spin. He gets about one or two feet over the coping during the spin.

On wall 9, Andy does a Frontside Eggplant. At first, I thought this was a Frontside Invert but Andy is grabbing the board with his front hand and holding the coping with his back hand.

On wall 10, he does a Backside Indy about 2 to 3 feet out.

On wall 11, he does a Backside Body Varial 540 about 3 feet out. This is a trick he has done for several years seeing this trick being done as far back as his winning run in 1996.

While rolling towards wall 12, time seems to run out so it is not certain if Andy's last trick gets counted. On Wall 12, Andy does what appears to be a Frontside Body Varial Lipslide. It is hard to accurately name this trick but Andy rolls up to the coping going backside and his body spins frontside so that when Andy lands back on the board, he is sliding a backside lipslide.

During this run Andy does:

12 total tricks
10 tricks in the air
2 tricks on coping
4 tricks with a 540 rotation
1 trick with a 720 rotation
2 flip tricks
1 handplant
1 trick to fakie

Throughout Andy's run, he does the first 5 tricks in the 4 to 5 foot range. After the 720, the rest of tricks are in the 2 to 4 foot range. He does 3 540 variations including the 540 Body Varial which is always fun to look at. He does his 720 which isn't seen that much in competition. He repeats the Backside Kickflip Indy really early during the run. And he finishes his run with a unique trick (Body Varial Lipslide) which might or might not have counted towards his score.

This run was far more impressive than his 1996 Gold Medal run however he only got a score of 78. There are a couple of noteworthy differences though.

His run in 1996 lasted 45 seconds compared to the 30 second run in 2018. In 1996, Andy did 19 total tricks compared to 12 in 2018.

The ramp used in 1996 was very different as it only had a small extension and no massive roll ins. The massive roll ins lets skaters start a run with extraordinary momentum and carry that speed and height for the first several tricks of the run. Because of the different ramp setups, Andy's run in 1996 had several setup airs. Out of 19 tricks done in 1996, Andy did about 7 setup airs and did 2 stalls on the coping to set up for other tricks.

Also, the format was different. Back in 1996, the average of the highest 2 runs were taken to determine a final score. In later years, only the highest run counted. This meant that skaters had to be far more consistent in the late 90s to secure a spot on the podium. As a result, skaters back then had to be more conservative until 2 runs were finished and then gamble with the third run.

In 2018, each skater got 3 runs and only 30 seconds per run. For this reason, every trick has to count. In 2018, Andy did maybe one or two setup airs (Mute of Fakie and Backside Indy).

In 2018, the Gold Medal was won by Jimmy Wilkins with a score of 89. We will take a look at that run soon.

Monday, April 15, 2019

RSM: Andy MacDonald Winning Vert Run X Games 2

While looking for old footage of X Games Vert Runs, I kept running into the limitations of internet records. While I used to think you could find anything posted online, there is a lot of footage that I just can't find online.

X Games 2 took place in Rhode Island. Back then the format was 3 45 second runs. The lowest run was dropped and the highest 2 runs were averaged together. Back then, there was a bigger emphasis on consistency.

Andy MacDonald won this competition with his highest run scoring an 89. I never watched this contest when it first aired in 1996 however I was lucky enough that it was aired on Eurosport and posted up to youtube.

Andy's 89 scoring run was his third run and he had to knock off Tony Hawk from first. After watching this run, you really see how much vert has progressed over the last 20 plus years. Andy's run had several setup airs, repeat tricks, and stalls used for setup. Despite that, it is still fun to watch these old runs.

This vert ramp appears to be 12 feet high.

Andy starts off his run with a Frontside 5-0 on the first wall and leads into a 3 to 4 foot Frontside Air on the second wall.

He hits wall 3 with about a four foot Backside Melon on the extension and gets a 5 foot Backside Method on wall 4.

On wall 4, he does a 5 foot Frontside Indy Stiffy and leads into a Frontside Stalefish about 3 foot out on wall 6.

On walls 7 and 8, Andy does a four foot Frontside Mute and a three to four foot Backside Melon.

On wall 9, he does a McTwist about 4 to 5 feet high. He follows that up with a 4 to 5 foot Backside Melon on wall 10.

On wall 11, he does a four to five foot Backside Kickflip to Indy and follows it up with a Frontside Madonna about 2 to 3 feet out on wall 12.

On wall 13, he does a Backside Axel to set up for a Frontside Wrap Around about 2 feet out on wall 14.

He does another Backside Axel on wall 15 to setup the next trick. On wall 16, he busts out one of the most difficult tricks in his run. He does a Backside 540 Body Varial 3 to 4 feet out on the wall.

For further clarification, Andy's body spins a 540 going backside while his skateboard spins 360 going backside.

On wall 17, he does a Backside Varial four to five feet out and does a Backside 360 Varial on wall 18 about 3 feet out.

On wall 19, he finishes out his run with a Nollie Heelflip Indy to Fakie about one foot out.

During Andy's Run, he does the following:

19 total tricks
16 tricks in the air
3 tricks on the coping
2 tricks spinning a 540 rotation
1 trick landing in fakie
1 grind
2 stalls
7 tricks going Frontside
10 tricks going Backside
2 flip tricks

During this run, Andy repeats a Frontside Air, Backside Axle, and a Backside Melon.
He kept most of his air tricks up around the 4 foot range.
No switch tricks were done and there were a lot of setup airs.

The highlights of the run include the Backside 540 Body Varial as well as the Nollie Heelflip Indy to Fakie. He also did a Backside 360 Varial and a Frontside Wrap Around which were not seen that often during this competition. He also does a McTwist in his run but it was a common trick back then.

I do wonder what a run like this would score today. In the last several vert competitions, you wouldn't see basic stall tricks for setups or several basic airs.

Luckily, Andy has competed consistently in just about every X Games since inception so we can actually compare the scores from his 2018 Vert run to this one.

Monday, April 8, 2019

RSM: Greatest X Games Skateboard Vert Run

Without fail, I'll make sure to catch the X Games Skateboard Vert finals every year. With it being three months out, I take some time just to catch past contests and runs.

One contest run always sticks out in mind, and that is Bob Burnquist's final run from 2001 X Games VII.

Oddly enough, this wasn't the highest scoring run in X Games Skateboard Vert. As it turns out, Bucky Lasek's run from X Games VI was higher at a score of 98.50. There is just one problem though.... I don't remember this run. One more further problem... I can't find it anywhere on youtube.

And if the run is not readily as available as Bob's run from 2001, I'm led to believe it wasn't as impressive if it wasn't remembered as well.

Maybe one day, I'll be lucky to find a VHS copy of Bucky's run on Ebay.

Bob's run from 2001 was memorable for how much the judges and crowds collectively lose their sanity.

While Tony Hawk and Sal Masekela comment on the run, just trying to name out the tricks as Bob does them, the crowd starts cheering and chanting Bob's name after the switch backside ollie.

Before even talking about the run, the stakes were as as as possible. Bob had the last run and needed a 95.50 to take gold from Bucky.

Back in 2000, the time limit for each run was 60 seconds on the 12 or 13 foot vert ramp.

During that 60 seconds, Bob Burnquist put down 22 tricks.

He started off on the first wall with a frontside air about 5 feet out and hits the next wall with a backside kickflip indy about 4 feet out.

He follows that up with a McTwist 4 to 5 feet on the next wall and heads to the fourth wall with a kickflip indy to fakie about 2 to 3 feet above the extension.

This was unexpected by the judges as they screamed out that he was going in switch. Bob hits the 5th wall doing a switch frontside air over 4 feet out.

On the sixth wall, he lost some momentum as he did a backside switch flip indy about 3 feet out. Yes, he landed still in switch and heads to the seventh wall.

On the seventh wall, this is where everyone looses it. Bob goes for a switch flip indy to forward but he doesn't get the full switch flip. Bob only managed to flip the board around half way and grabs the board while it is upside down.

This is the point that I remembered as a teenager and everyone else remembered. I thought it was over and he was going to either bail or slam.

But somehow, Bob flips the board the rest of the way around with his hand and Bob just falls on top of the board and lands on it. He lands on it for dear life and you can tell as he is rolling towards the eighth wall that he is trying just not to fall off.

Bob landed in the nollie position and had to shift his feet back to normal while rolling on the flat bottom.

The following words were yelled by the judges.

"Oh my God. No No No. He did not just do that."

This is the moment that just about won the run for Bob.

On the eight wall, he does a backside boardslide to fakie because he lost a ton of speed from a sloppy landing and needed to build momentum to continue the run. And this is where the crowd starts going crazy.

On the ninth wall, Bob spins a really fast fakie to fakie indy 540 only getting about a foot out of the halfpipe.

On wall ten, he does a backside slob gay twist only getting about a foot out of the halfpipe.

On wall 11, he picks up more speed and does an indy to fakie about 4 or 5 feet out and does a switch frontside ollie on wall 12 and switch backside ollie on wall 13 both one or two feet out.

Starting with wall 14, he starts doing really technical tricks on the coping. On wall 14, he does a switch rock and roll on the extension and does a switch nosegrind revert on wall 15.

These are tricks that were rarely ever seen during that year's X Games.

The revert on wall 15 set Bob up for the next wall going forward. On wall 16, Bob did a blunt to fakie to send him back in fakie for wall 17.

On wall 17, he does a half cab frontside blunt.

On Wall 18, he does another backside boardslide to fakie and on wall 19, he did a frontside slob gay twist about 2 to 3 feet out.

Wall 20 is where he gambled big. He already did two blunt stall tricks and we see him going for another. But as he is popping out, he kickflips out to fakie. He did a blunt kickflip to fakie on a 12 or 13 foot half pipe.

That trick blew everyone's mind. This is a trick that people would only do on 4 or 5 foot mini ramps. To do this on a big vert ramp was unbelievable at the time.

The judges lost it after the kickflip blunt fakie and it took them some time to process it. They started screaming as Bob was rolling towards wall 21.

But before anyone could regain composure, Bob wasn't done yet. On wall 21, he did a switch rock and roll on the extension.

On his wall, he finishes his run with a switch backside lipslide revert out. A ridiculously difficult trick overshadowed by the switch flip indy to forward and blunt kickflip to fakie earlier.

During his run, Bob did:

22 tricks
13 air tricks

  • Frontside Air
  • Backside Kickflip Indy
  • McTwist
  • Kickflip Indy to Fakie (on extension)
  • Switch Frontside Air
  • Switch Kickflip Indy
  • Switch Kickflip Indy to Forward
  • Fakie to Fakie Frontside Indy 540
  • Backside Slob Gay Twist
  • Indy to Fakie
  • Switch Frontside Ollie
  • Switch Backside Ollie
  • Frontside Slob Gay Twist

9 tricks on the coping

  • Backside Boardslide to Fakie
  • Switch Backside Rock and Roll (on extension)
  • Switch Backside Nosegrind Revert
  • Blunt to Fakie
  • Backside Half Cab to Frontside Blunt
  • Backside Boardslide to Fakie
  • Blunt Kickflip to Fakie
  • Switch Backside Rock and Roll
  • Switch Backside Lipslide Revert
9 Switch tricks
13 Tricks Landed either Fakie or Switch
2 360 spins in the air
2 540 spins in the air
9 tricks in the air with good height
4 flip tricks in the air
1 flip trick off the coping

So, what made this run so amazing?

This run showed off technical skateboard vert skating at its finest. Bob didn't choose to go super high as I think his highest trick was the first frontside air in the run and he didn't go for multiple spins as he only did 4 tricks with a 360 rotation or greater. 

Bob pulled out tricks that were difficult and rarely seen at the time including the switch back lip revert, half cab blunt, and blunt kickflip fakie. 

More importantly, Bob saved this run from the edge of disaster. Being able to recover that switch flip indy to forward was like seeing a sports car almost getting hit by a speeding locomotive only to miss it by inches. It was a jaw dropping moment. I even think that seeing that recovery was more impressive than if he had executed the switch flip indy to forward flawlessly. 

And then the second climax happened when he pulled out the blunt kickflip to fakie. He landed the trick and then a fraction of a second passes for the judges to process what happened and then freak out. 

While this isn't the highest run in X Games history, it is the run that everyone remembers. It could be a long time before we see a better run.

Monday, January 21, 2019


Whatever research you do, please make sure to get physical copies.

Whether it is books, personal notes, or hard copies of video/audio, make sure to get a physical copy.

In this age, digital information is always at risk of being deleted or censored.

At the very least, buy a physical copy of George Orwell's 1984.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Mark of the beast

As a young boy, I remembered hearing a story in the book of Revelations. When the devil came back to Earth, he would command people to follow him. He would command a lot of people. In order to buy/sell/engage in commerce, people would have to have a mark on the forehead.

As a young boy, I thought this was just a legend. At best, maybe it was a metaphor. Having a mark to display your submission is odd. Who would agree to this? And why would you need a mark just to buy a loaf of bread?

Some people would dismiss this story as a silly myth. Others believe it to be a prophesy of things to come. If you needed a mark just to engage in commerce, this would mean that you are completely controlled by something. And if you had this mark taken away, you would probably die or have to comply to get it back.

The closest system I've heard of this today would be some sort of social credit score. Today, when a man's personal information is all over the internet, an organization could monitor what a man did/would do/or even thinks. In other countries, I've heard that acting or behaving in a way the government doesn't like would have you restricted from travel or even using a checking account. In the future, a man could be thrown in prison just because he doesn't like the selection of stamps issued by the post office. This is what people fear when hearing mention of the mark of the beast.

But I wonder what the mark of the beast is really referring to. After all, there are several systems today that control a man. The IRS comes to mind. You can be tracked with your social security number and you need to provide that number whenever you want to open up a bank account, get a drivers license, get a credit card, get a passport, etc, etc. And if you act out of line or commit acts of fraud, you can be arrested and thrown into jail.

So I wonder if we are already living in the world that Revelations foretold.