Wherever you go, there you are (quack quack) | Simply Ranked

Plus: Branding your heartbreak, Mob Grip is terrible, Elden Ring is not and more.

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.

Wherever you go, there you are (quack quack)

Rank: 1
Mood: 🪞

If you do something for long enough, swim in the culture of a thing until it becomes a part of your person, you’ll begin to see signs of it everywhere, like staring at a negative image until its imprint follows your gaze wherever it turns. These are usually nuanced observations like picking a wrestler from the crowd by their cauliflower ear, knowing the tags of graffiti artists on trains miles away from home or recognizing the rhythm a house-bound duck is playing on a hand drum as the intro song to the late 411VM.

That’s when you know you’re in deep. The thing’s influence is nearly complete. Your lens either smudged with its vaseline or focused in a definition higher than those around you would ever understand. It’s a blessing, this extra vision: another subtle, sometimes stupid, layer on life.

Personal turmoil branding

Rank: -1
Mood: 🤦‍♂️

Maybe that’s the lens professional skateboarding places in front of the professional skateboarder: all actions are the actions of a brand. If you do a trick captured on film, well, that’s done for the brand who pays you. Appearing on a multi-hour podcast to dryly sift through the history of your career; that’s done with the personal brand in mind (though your sponsors may have encouraged you to enter the chat). Social media, which exists in a realm between both, can extend and create careers for a competent and consistent poster.

So in the midst of creating all of these marketing assets, a lifetime of multi-media bread crumbs laid out with hopes they’ll lead consumers to commerce, it would make some sort of sense that the professional skateboarder (or any athlete or influencer, really) might view everything they do as an extension of a brand. Even the unenviable, soul-cleaving pain of heartbreak and the subsequent flood of regrettable thoughts, stirred by the wailings of emotional anguish, anger and confusion that you should probably talk to someone about instead of airing them to the internet, have room in the bottom right corner for a logo.

Holes in the fabric of being

Rank: not good!
Mood: 🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️🕳️

As I struggled to keep the Mob Grip from peeling up around the edges of my own skateboard last weekend, I wondered why. Why is the thing that’s supposed to help keep my board with me not keeping with my board?

A familiar feeling

Rank: 2
Mood: 🤤

In late 2007, my best friend and I sat at his family’s home computer and watched the progress bar move imperceptibly closer to completion on a torrent of Lakai’s Fully Flared. This was a moment I’d been waiting for for months, years. We talked about each trick we’d seen in magazines and which parts we were most excited to see, like they were touring rockstars coming to play in the living room.

The excitement made me shake, my brain short-circuiting from an overflowing reserve of anticipation about to find release. It’s a feeling that doesn’t come around too often anymore. These moments take great amounts of time and sustained interest to form, which is difficult to do in the age of our social media-addled minds. But this goddamn video game, this high-fantasy, open-world adventure that by all accounts is unprecedented in its scope and story, has me feeling that feeling again. And it’ll also feature horses, perhaps a band of them.

My Name is Earl guy

Rank: 3

There’s a lot of history lost here, and not just the 360 flips and backside flips and manuals that end on flat ground and offers of Benihanas and Hüsker Dü and Milk and the various lives and deaths of Stereo but also Mallrats and Chasing Amy and Coach Frank and Alvin and The Chipmunks so it must be strange to have one piece of one of your careers define you in the public conscious in the way this one does and how when another Jason Lee stands steadfast in his reporting that the Queen of England has died the images that surface for punchlines to jokes about a person who is not your are of you playing a person who is also not, in fact, you.

Something to consider: Supporting independent journalism in Ukraine.

Good things: Una and other Krooked co. in Chicago.

Until next week… take care of yourself.