Bring our wildest imaginations to life | Simply Ranked

Plus: Chloe Covell, SK8MAFIA's Delivery, Rob Dyrdek does good, gravy mail, and more.

Bring our wildest imaginations to life | Simply Ranked

The definitive weekly ranking and analysis of all the skateboarding and other things online that I cannot stop consuming and how it makes me feel, personally.


Rank: 1
Mood: 🤝

‘Ridiculousness’ Writers Achieve First Contract After Unionizing Under WGAW
The writers of Ridiculousness have achieved their first contract since voting to unionize under the WGA last year

On Wednesday, the Writer's Guild of America West released a statement announcing that the writers of Roby Dyrdek's network-devouring internet clip show Ridiculousness had finally reached a deal with MTV and Viacom. According to the WGA via Deadline, that deal includes:

-Minimum compensation per the WGA Minimum Basic Agreement
-Residuals in basic cable and other reuse markets
-WGA pension and health benefits, including paid parental leave
-Full season employment guarantees
-Regulation of the use of AI-generated written material in accordance with the MBA
-A grievance and arbitration procedure
-Holiday pay

Additionally, all staffers will receive retroactive back pay, pension and health contributions, and residuals from October 23 to the present.

It's a victory that writer, comedian, and WGAW negotiating committee member Adam Conover would call "life-changing" on Twitter. He'd also credit Dyrdek for supporting his employees in their unionization effort.

While it may have taken over a decade of enduring near-deplorable conditions and making 300+ episodes per year on a crunch with no residuals for a show that is almost the only thing MTV airs, things are changing for the better, which is legitimately good news for the writers and the labour movement in general. Ridiculousness writer Ryan Conner would note in the WGA statement that “We’re all thrilled with what we’ve won by sticking together and to finally be recognized for the value of our contribution to the show... We are excited to join the WGAW and look forward to continuing to do the work we love, alongside host Rob Dyrdek, whose support was instrumental in getting us this deal.”

That's two positive Dyrdek shoutouts! And you know what? Here's a third: way to go, Rob. Seriously! Now, he better get back to it; all this solidarity is taking valuable time away from sourcing his daily love quote.

More gift than burden

Rank: 1
Mood: 🎁

The life of a professional athlete can be difficult to wrap the mind around for those of us on the sidelines. Reaching the highest level of any sport takes a truly uncommon level of dedication. While technically not yet "PRO" in the skateboarding sense, Chloe Covell has already achieved so much at just 14 years old. Competitively, she's won two Street League Skateboarding events and landed on the podium at nearly every one she's entered. She's snagged an X Games gold medal and placed 2nd in three World Skate Olympic qualifying events. She's a sure shot to qualify for Australia's Olympic skateboarding team — if all of that is not the results of a professional athlete, I'm not sure what is.

But she's also out here in these streets, as witnessed in her Day One video part for Nike SB, which came out this week. In it, Covell skates with the power and assuredness of someone who methodically trains to be just so, that is, an Olympic-calibre athlete. We see the evolution of her game that we get snippets of in competition, but on natural obstacles, like crooked-grind-flip-outs and massive frontside-kickflips.

Similar to her teammate on Nike (and one assumes April Skateboards) Rayssa Leal, Covell maintains a level of productivity that seems almost impossible for the literal children that they are. School, train, film, compete — can their lives be more than that as the Paris 2024 games approach? At 14 years old, I was a middling public school student who was undoubtedly committed to skateboarding but, like the majority of us, also committed to fucking around as kids do and never close to sniffing a skill level high enough that an arm of my federal government would choose me to represent it on a global stage. A responsibility on top of Covell already travelling the world to compete under the brightest lights, never mind also sneaking out in the gaps between what one imagines is an intense training schedule to get clips in the streets for her corporate mega-behemoth shoe sponsor.

To do all of this before you're old enough to get your learner's permit is astounding and, from the outside, also seems like quite a weight to carry. Hopefully, for Covell and her cohort who find themselves in a similar position, they are having fun, and this opportunity feels more like a gift than a burden. Hopefully, they have someone making sure that it all isn't too much and that in those rare gaps between school, training, travelling, and filming, they still have time to be what they are: kids.

Brands become formless

Rank: 1
Mood: 👉👈

I'm not exactly sure what the Argentine brand Delivxry (also occasionally known as Delivery) is — and that's fine. It's hard to be consistently and accurately plugged into the global scope of skateboarding. What I do know is that they make clothing, the occasional skateboard deck, tote bags, a drinking cup, and some incredibly good skateboarding videos. A scroll back through their Instagram page to 2015 would lead one to believe that it is a brand spawned from a group of friends just making videos for fun. Eventually, they decided to make gear, and now, nearly a decade later, they do collaborations with brands like SK8MAFIA.

It's genuinely surprising to see such a sensationally good shared part from Wes Kramer and Tyler Surrey in support of this brand-synergized effort. The Argentine-centric footage is clearly a bit dated, as Kramer is wearing DC Shoes gear, his now former sponsor, but it all holds up well, giving off some nostalgic Sun Diego shop video vibes from the pair of long-time friends and PROs.

So, is Delivxry a clothing brand? Lifestyle brand? Board brand? Online skate shop? It's hard to tell, which means it's probably a bit of everything. That nebulous nature has become the norm for many companies in the skateboarding space. Perhaps it provides more creative freedom and financial opportunity to be fluid in this way. And as far as Delivxry's assumed origins go, that has also become an increasingly common path. For a brand to become a Brand, especially in our current era, there are a few steps to manifestation and growth:

  1. Make a video(s).
  2. Have a loose arrangement of regulars in those videos who could be construed as "team riders."
  3. Make some branded gear.
  4. If enough people buy your stuff or you have enough social media followers, propose a collaboration with an equally or more established brand.
  5. Repeat, especially the collab part, until you become a known entity.

This is what Brands like Dime have done to great success. It is much easier to establish your bonafides as something skateboarders should support if you have proof of your cultural integrity (like a good video) and legitimacy (collabs more established brands). Those are the building blocks used to piece together that rarified assemblage of "cool." And to their credit, Delivxry has pieced them together well.

Monster Energy Ultra will bring our wildest imaginations to life

Rank: 160 mg
Mood: 🧌

At least that was according to a Monster-sponsored Hypebeast-regurgitated press release promoting the launch party for a new Monster Energy Drink flavour.

Artist Mark “Pinky” Taylor brought his whimsical touch to Monster Energy Ultra’s newest flavor, Ultra Fantasy Ruby Red, using the cans as his personal “can-vas” in a first-of-its-kind collaboration. Pinky is known for his vibrant work which often incorporates graffiti. Now, the energy drink brand plans to host an immersive event, bringing Pinky and Monster Ultra’s vision of a fantasy to life.

On April 11th, Monster Energy Ultra is bringing our wildest imaginations to life in NYC through an interactive event, including collaborative elements and a chance for guests to try the newest zero-sugar Ultra flavor.

Pinky’s art will be displayed throughout the event space, and guests will have the chance to meet the artist, get a custom tooth gem, sport airbrushed tattoos inspired by the artist, and immerse themselves in Ultra’s Fantasy Ruby Red’s world. An eye-catching LED art wall will play into the fantasy of the new flavor while providing a creative backdrop for photo-op moments.

Fantastic. A number of Monster-sponsored athletes and ambassadors were in attendance, including Lizzie Armanto and Mami Tezuka, who, I imagine, were contractually obligated to post about the event.

I'm glad Monster had a good time.

While this type of promotion isn't new or even particularly galling by what's required by sponsored athletes, ambassadors, or influencers of the day, it is still just... weird, man. Does there need to be a launch party for a new taurine and caffeine-laced candy beverage? Why are people getting tooth gems there? Is this actually getting people interested in purchasing the product, or is this simply a sign of life, an attempt at reminding the public that the brand exists, not at the forefront of culture, but at least on the periphery, screaming and begging us all to look.

To be clear, this is no slight to Armanto or Tezuka for attending and receiving their own dazzling tooth gems; this is what one has to do to make money as a professional skateboarder. A career where you are not representing a team or organization that then pays you for athletic services rendered, but whatever selection of logos has decided you are a worthy promotional vehicle.

I realize I stomp my feet about this most weeks and probably sound like someone who just read No Logo, but it is so bleak that brands like this are the financial backbones of most professional and amateur skateboarders and the reason they're able to chase their dreams. An "interactive" "fantasy" event for a canned beverage called "Ultra Fantasy Ruby Red"? Get the fuck outta here.

Speaking of troublesome liquids...

Rank: 1!
Mood: 🫗

Technically, according to reports, this was the second time somebody sent gravy to the Ontario legislature in the past week. And if we're going to nitpick the details, the most recent delivery contained "powdered gravy," which keen observers will note is not a liquid. A "suspicious package" filled with a mystery powder is probably why the Toronto Police Services were called, though.

According to police, employees were evacuated from a small area of the building.

It was later determined by an officer with the explosives unit that the package contained powdered gravy. Police believe the item was intended as a joke, they said.

A gravy-inspired evacuation! We've all been there, amiright. Anyways, what was the joke that caused this disruption supposed to be about?

Last week, Premier Ford was gifted a can of gravy by Liberal Parliamentary Leader John Fraser. The gesture served as a reminder of the Ford family slogan, ‘Stop the gravy train,’ Fraser said.

That's in reference to the Doug Ford Government overspending and bumping up salaries for those around him, i.e. turning on the gravy train while social services get slashed. This is something akin to hypocrisy, and boy, has this notoriously corrupt government been gotcha'd.

It's almost quaint to think that you can use a politician's political or personal failings or lies to embarrass them into change or even score a potshot anymore. Politics have long moved beyond shame; the only thing that made this instance stand out is that people are mailing gravy to one another. That rules, but probably not for the reason the dopey members of the Liberal party or anonymous so-and-so's think, which explains why they took the coward's path and sent the gravy in canned and powdered form. None of these duds get it.

Mailing gravy is objectively funny. Just imagine receiving a sopping wet envelope full of viscous brown liquid through the mail slot of your front door. The sound it would make, what it would feel like in your hands as you attempted to open it, the smell as it dripped onto the floor — that might actually make a politician have second thoughts.

Something to consider:

The New York Times Ignores Reality In Pursuit Of Objectivity | Defector
There are many options to choose from, but a New York Times article from April 1, with the headline “Israeli troops pull out of a major Gaza hospital after a two-week battle,” serves as a useful example of how the newspaper has covered Gaza within its own intentional framework. The report cites death toll and […]

Good thing: I first watched Sofia Negri's beautiful short The Skatebook at Vladimir Film Fest last fall it is now online.

Another good thing:

WomxnSk8History: Northwest Edition — AB // Adjacency Bias
In this article Natalie Porter from WomxnSk8History shares with us a peak into the history of skateboarding in the Northwest.

A forced future (and more Defector) thing: "It does not have to be good enough to replace human labor to replace human labor; the people making those decisions just have to go on deciding that it doesn't matter."

Does It Matter That AI Doesn’t Work? | Defector
“We are going to make sure, based on our numbers, hit ratio, false hit, we’re going to do our data,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said earlier this month when introducing the AI-aided scanners his administration plans to test in some of the city’s subway stations. “What I’m hearing from my corporations, from my […]

Love in a hopeless place thing:

Tricked you! One more good thing: Ted Barrow is reading José Vadi's excellent new book Chipped over on his Patreon. Two of my favourite guys together like this? C'mon.

Chipped, by José Vadi. Let’s read it. | Ted Barrow
Get more from Ted Barrow on Patreon

Also, while I was in the Bay Area for José's book launch this week, I got to hear him on the local KQED program Forum, and it was a great conversation — that also featured a surprise appearance from Stefan Janoski's mom!?!?!?

José Vadi’s “Chipped” Looks at Life from a Skateboarder’s Lens | KQED
A chipped skateboard -- one where a piece has come off the nose or tail -- is the symbol of a boarder who is dedicated to their deck, held together by nothing but grip tape. It’s also a metaphor for lessons learned, observes José Vadi in his new memoir, “Chipped.” “No matter the age, being a skateboarder lends itself to caustic stares from passersby,” he writes. Vadi delves into skate culture, from its music to its videos, and what it means to identify as a skateboarder. We talk t

Until next week… on the off chance that you have a curiously persistent seagull tap, tap, tapping on your apartment's skylight window, the one that you cannot reach and whose sill is too far for the vacuum to suck up the spiderwebs that persist, making that section of the apartment the spiders' and everything else yours, do not throw anything. First of all, it may get stuck and you don't need to have anything else cluttering things up there. Second, this could be a valuable opportunity to have a conversation with the bird, as much as we can. The next time it tap, tap, taps, walk into its view and flap your arms a little. Caw. Do the things that seagulls do. If it turns its dull eye your way and lifts its wings as if in a shrug, consider that communing.

Laser Quit Smoking Massage

NEWEST PRESS, available April 1, 2024


My new collection of essays is available now. I think you might like it. The Edmonton Journal thinks it's a "local book set to make a mark in 2024." The CBC called it "quirky yet insightful." lol.

Book cover by Hiller Goodspeed.

Order the thing

Right, Down + Circle



I wrote a book about the history and cultural impact of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater that you can find at your local bookshop or order online now. I think you might like this one, too.

Here’s what Michael Christie, Giller Prize-nominated author of the novels Greenwood and If I Fall, If I Die, had to say about the thing.

“With incisive and heartfelt writing, Cole Nowicki unlocks the source code of the massively influential cultural phenomenon that is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and finds wonderful Easter-eggs of meaning within. Even non-skaters will be wowed by this examination of youth, community, risk, and authenticity and gain a new appreciation of skateboarding’s massive influence upon our larger culture. This is my new favorite book about skateboarding, which isn’t really about skateboarding — it’s about everything.”

Photo via The Palomino.

Order the thing