Relationship optimization | Simply Ranked

Plus: X Games, JIT, and an unacceptable amount of earnestness.

Relationship optimization | Simply Ranked
The definitive weekly ranking and analysis of all the skateboarding and other online things that I cannot stop consuming and how they make me feel, personally.

Relationship optimization

Rank: 1
Mood: 🤖❤️

Via @/davidmeltzer on Twitter
"It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them."

–Agatha Christie

I don’t think it’s fair to yuck anyone’s yum when it comes to how they maintain a relationship with a romantic partner. People are varied, unpredictable, and are going to be into some weird shit. And if that weird shit works and isn’t actively harmful, fair play to them.

Earlier this week, an old tweet from self-described “entrepreneur” David Meltzer surfaced in my timeline. In the tweet, a promotional cutdown from an episode of his podcast featuring Rob Dyrdek as a guest, Meltzer asks the former Alien Workshop pro and current host of MTV’s last remaining program, Ridiculousness, an expertly designed softball question.

“How have you been able, with all of the things that you do, to prioritize your wife and family over everything else — besides your health?” This is a bit of shallow self-examination that any self-described “entrepreneur” would relish asking about as much as answering, which Dyrdek does.

“You have to apply your way of thinking, problem-solving, and optimizing to your relationship.” Optimizing your relationship. Beautiful start.

“I get up at 4:30am. At 6:15am, I bring her a coffee. Before she wakes up at 7am, she has an email in her inbox that [details] everything I’m doing that day [along] with a love quote… and then every day I ask her [on a scale of] 0-10 how she feels about [our] relationship. It forces us every day to just like have a conversation, so we’re constantly sort of just checking in on how do you feel. It is by design, so it keeps us in this constant harmony and makes us feel like we’re one and a full unit because she has so much insight [into] everything that I’m doing.”

Amazing. Psychotic. If this is what gets them through their lives together, more power to them. Unfortunately, what Dyrdek has laid out is total horseshit. There are a few things that give it away. First, why would you bring your wife coffee 45 minutes before she wakes up? It’ll be cold by the time she’s awake and ready to sip, meaning she’ll have to leave the bed to heat it up in the microwave. Not terribly optimized of you, Rob.

What’s also not very optimized: just share your Google Calendar with her. Why waste all that time writing out a detailed itinerary each morning when you have a tool designed to do just that, and it’s already integrated into all your devices? And if you want to “problem solve” and not start problems, a simple way to do that is to avoid asking your partner to grade your relationship status each day.

On the off chance that you are actually doing these things, Rob, heed my advice above for true relationship optimization.

X Games Japan - official Simple Magic recap & analysis

Rank: 2
Mood: 🧦

The X Games, granddaddy of all competitive action sports events, returned to the ZOZO Marine Stadium in Chiba, Japan, this past weekend. The perils of an open-air stadium were apparent as incessant rains led to the cancellation of all competition on Saturday and the scrapping of the finals for women’s street and park, men’s park, and skateboarding vert. The standings from the previous day’s elimination rounds for women’s street and the park events were declared final, meaning Rayssa Leal, Hiraki Cocona, and Keegan Palmer were declared their event’s respective winners. France’s Edouard Damestoy would eventually take vert gold on Sunday (and apparently with a broken back?)

The men’s park final was essentially its preliminary event, leaving names like Kyle Walker and Ishod Wair scattered among the competitive skateboarding elite. X Games debutant, 13-year-old Ginwoo Onodera, would easily claim the top spot with his first of two runs. Onodera has been around for a couple of years now, so we’ve got a pretty look at his bag of tricks, some of which — say like double varial flips and double flip front boards — aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but the kid only just become a teenager. Kickflip-front-blunt-frontside-flip-out is one of his go-to transition tricks. He kickflip-front-blunt-bigspinned-out the biggest rail on the course in his run.

To top it off, Onodera is also incredibly consistent. It’s absurd. If this is the level of skateboarding this literal child has already reached, the next few years are going to be interesting. Or, as commentator Gary Rogers said on the broadcast in response to Onodera’s outfit, but could perhaps be the internal monologue of all of Onodera’s competition for the foreseeable future, “Them socks killing me.”

Look up, turn away

Rank: ~
Mood: 😶‍🌫️

Sometimes a person needs a little reminder. A nudge that gets them to look up and away from the portal in their hands. Becoming all-knowing is as much a burden as a gift, and we haven’t figured out how to deal with either. As a person who spends an inordinate amount of time on the internet, I’ve come to find that all of the news, politics, memes, daily word puzzles, and stories large and small of capitalism’s rush to rid the world of joy and life in exchange for profit melt down and mush together in a glowing, opaque ooze stretched thin over the window I look through in hopes of understanding the world.

And while, yes, things aren’t great out there and evoke any number of Hannah Arendt quotes, it’s important to take stock of and take in the good things. To remember that you can shuffle your stool over to the next window, the one not fully covered in humanity’s gunk, and take in those nice things, inspiring things — whatever they are for you — outside of it. That’s what I did on Monday when I saw Sunset Rubdown perform in concert. The band, reunited after a fourteen-or-so-year hiatus, played all the songs I’d first loved as a teenager. Sprawling, operatic, silly, beautiful — it was enough to make me forget about those many oozing things I’ve struggled to see past, at least for a few hours.

Have I stopped looking into the portal as much since Monday night? Debatable. Unlikely. No. But it was a good reminder of the necessity to, if you can, turn away every once and a while.

An unacceptable amount of earnestness

Rank: 1!
Mood: 😌 🥹 🥲

WKND Skateboard’s new AM video, JIT (Juveniles In Training), was another good reminder of the need to take in those nice and inspiring things — despite watching it requiring me to stare at a screen for nearly forty minutes. It is fun, funny, and the love and reverence for skateboarding that run throughout make for a uniquely satisfying watch; this combination is one that WKND continually excels at. Also, the skateboarding in it is fantastic.

The new crop of WKND AMs are all dynamic, creative forces, and the brand does a great job at building them up, along with some version of their personalities, through their skits. I often write about the decline of brands’ ability, or willingness, to establish their riders as more than moving 2D images. Fandom (which one hopes leads to product sales) tends to be easier to cultivate when you attach it to a fully (or even partially) fleshed-out human.

Then there are all of the little things in JIT. The Guy Mariano/Azulay mix-up? Perfect. “You ever been to Virginia?” Love it. William Spencer listed as a stunt double in the credits? That’s beautiful stuff right there.

But enough with the earnestness. It’s time to get back to what the new readers of this newsletter, who Substack tells me kindly subscribed after reading “Street League Skateboarding airs to the right” last week (thank you and welcome; I hope you enjoy your stay), probably assumed they’d be getting more of — hard-hitting investigative journalism:

Game of L.I.E.S

Rank: Mmm, 3?
Mood: 🔥👹🔥

There’s nothing wrong with making money where you can, especially as a professional athlete. Their window to secure any size of monetary compensation for their talents is small and dependent on the sport. A middling NBA player will still make generational wealth if they stick around for enough seasons. The professional skateboarder will almost certainly not. So if you’re Jagger Eaton and Mariah Duran, and you’re approached by Totino’s Pizza Rolls and Hot Ones to take part in a skateboarding-themed commercial for their new collaborative product launch, you should probably do it and then put that money directly into your savings account.

So what exactly are Eaton and Duran doing in this commercial? The First We Feast website explains:

Totino’s Pizza Rolls is partnering up with Hot Ones to test if our favorite pro skaters can truly handle the heat with a Game of Spice. Olympic skateboarders Jagger Eaton and Mariah Duran are going one on one, trick for trick over the course of three rounds, with one spicy twist. Before each round, each skater must dip a Totino’s Pizza Roll in Hot Ones’ fiery-flavored frontier, The Last Dab.

Watch both Duran and Eaton land awe-inspiring tricks while they attempt to handle the heat in this incredible match-up of young skateboard legends.

Cool. It is what it is. If Tony Hawk can do Bagel Bites commercials and come out on the other side unscathed, so can Eaton and Duran. My only issue is that Totino’s Pizza Rolls and Hot Ones frame this “Game of Spice” in the style of a “Game of SKATE.” It is not. There is no “setting” of tricks. No one wins or loses. It’s just the two skateboarders dipping their snack foods and flying around Paul Rodrieguez’s personal skatepark (which adjusted its custom lighting for the production to a deep, spicy red). This is a misnomer and misdirection on the part of big pizza roll and hot sauce. Shame. Do better.

H/T to friend of the newsletter José Vadi for the heads-up on this tasty development.

Something to consider: Pre-ordering Indigo Willing and Anthony Pappalardo’s new book (with art from Adam Abada) Skateboarding, Power and Change now!

Good thing: The folks at Village Psychic premiered Ben Narloch’s excellent part in “Great Northern.”

Another good thing: Farran Golding is back in GQ, this time interviewing Alexis Sablone about her new shoe (among many other things).

A bad thing and a good thing: Muni looks to be on the way out.

Via @/PotCZach

The Brooklyn Banks are on their way back in.

One last good thing, I promise: Amidst Twitter’s increasingly toxic morass, people still love to share old The B-52’s performances. This one popped up the other day. Get ‘em, Cindy.

Until next week… somewhere near you right now is a dog tied up outside of a storefront. If it doesn’t have water, fetch it some. Let it smell your hand. If it gives you the okay, scratch it behind the ears as it laps up the drink. But, remember, it’s hot outside — make sure you have water, too. Depending on who you’re with and where you are, ask someone to scratch behind your ears as you sip, gulp.

I wrote a book about the history and cultural impact of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater that you can pre-order now from my publisher ECW Press. I think you might like it. Here’s what Kyle Beachy, author of The Most Fun Thing, had to say about the thing.

Cole Nowicki has written what might be the world’s most enjoyable walking tour, straight into the big mystery of what matters. By turns panoramic and personal, Right, Down + Circle is a sharp, lucid, and vital reminder that the value of any game is how it teaches us and gives us permission to play.