Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Product Preview February 2011


(*But Houston, we have a problem here...*)

If you're a total doofus, and you've been living in a cave for the last couple of months, then you probably haven't heard the Big-Big News yet: Jeff Grosso (an office favorite here at The Solitary Life) has secured a spot on the Antihero team after spending no less than a few decades under John Lucero's wing (Schmitt Stix, Santa Cruz, Lucero Ltd., Black Label, Emergency). And let me tell ya, Jeff's new deck looks like a killer f'n plank. For those cave-dwellers out there, here's the proof (swooped from the Spring 2011 Antihero catalog, via


She's a beauty, ain't she?! 9+ by 32+ inches huge, it's classic Jeff with a new twist on Jeff's classic graphics. Don't be a moron: Buy one yesterday.

Here's where the problem poses itself though, and it clearly illustrates a pressing point that I've been making now for at least a few years. Yesterday, I got the new issue of Concrete Wave Magazine. A fine mag that I thoroughly enjoy reading, and that I've always supported (and, will forever continue to support). This issue that I recieved, I believe, is the newest of the "All Longboarding, All The Time" issues (aka, the Winter 2011 issue).

Besides being a CW supporter, I also frequent (read: support) several web-based media outlets. Among them being Skull and Bones, Skate Daily, Boardistan, and a few others that I forget. All of these medias- print, and online- are aimed squarely at my big, fat ass. Defined as: The aging, lifer skateboarder.

But while CW seems to have completely missed the significance of the Jeff Grosso Defection, the everyday dudes at SnB have been on the case for months. Beginning with Jeff's leaving The Label, right through to the "bidding war" between Creature and Antihero, through photo documentation of the shape prototypes that Jeff test-skated, and finally cumulating with the release of the two Antihero shapes, as well as full coverage of the 30-unit, limited-release Jokers Skateshop Edition that's sure to be a smash with Grosso fans and collectors everywhere (like me!).

So, what does all of this say about Jeff's new deck? Nothing at all, actually. It's Jeff's new deck, so you knew all about it anyway. And what's more, you've probably already devised nefarious plans to procure one [or two] for yourself (just like I have!).

What this says about The Print Media, though, is a whole 'nother matter. What it says is that The Print Media is continuing to lose the Bounce Battle to The Internet. Every time a significant story breaks, The Internet bounces right on that shit, and covers it exhaustively from A to Z... while The Print Media either lags, or ignores the story altogether. Lets be real: The Winter 2011 issue should have featured a full-feature Jeff Grosso retrospective. Just based on the internet buzz alone that this story generated.

In lieu of that, the future is going to belong to the brands that build their own media arms. You know what I'd like to see right about now? A full-on Jeff Grosso Spotlight at the website, where The Grossman is interviewed by Jim T. That would be the tittiest thing ever, wouldn't it...?! Yeah, man. You heard that right. The tittiest.

Seeing the forest through the trees is a rough job, but somebody's gotta do it. Big congrats to Grosso for being Grosso, Deluxe for tossing out such a choice plank, and everyone at Skull and Bones for keeping my stupid ass informed. Everybody rules. G'day, mates. I'm off to boil some cocoa.


The Retirement Life


So some time back, I decided that a good, solid twenty years or so of working in the skateboard industry was a pretty good run. In that time, I got to work at a skateshop/snowboard shop, run a skateboard shop, start my own company, tour extensively (both in the U.S. and abroad), manage a team, build custom decks, draw and screenprint board graphics (and tees, and stickers, and other stuff), sponsor up-and-coming skaters, document skateparks, write for a magazine, and do industry consulting and advising. In short: Somewhere in my long and fun-filled career, I literally got the lucky chance to do it all. And I even managed to pull off being a somewhat competent skater along the way, too. Although that last one might be hella debateable...

Realizing these things, I decided that I was well overdue for a good, long, relaxing break. In the form of a rather abrupt, semi-permanent retirement from all things "skateboarding". Except, of course, the actual act of skateboarding itself, which I'll probably take straight to my grave. I mean, seriously? What kind of wank quits skating, anyway? Whatever the case may be, I am not that sort of wank. So "the biz" can definitely go on its merry way, but the skate always remains. Got it?! Good.

At Michael Brooke's behest, I did promise to post the occasional blurb on The Solitary Life. Why Michael would behest such a thing is far beyond me. If you really feel like you have to know such things, I guess all I can tell ya is, ask Brooke.

Around the same time, I had a series of unrelated life-changes as well. It's funny: Rarely do I take the time to look back and reflect on my misdeeds and misadventures. But retirement is largely defined by having a lot of time on your hands, and not a whole lot of stuff to do with it. So "reflection" becomes one of the few handy ways to pass the time, and generally drive yourself bonkers. Which I tend to excel at, anyway. Still, the practice has been fruitful. I'm now half as sane as I was only weeks ago. That's me, Mr. Overachiever over here...

One of the funnier life-changes that I endured, was the life-changing experience of getting your house robbed while you're out grocery shopping. That one was pretty funny. Indianapolis robbers aren't like the ones we had back East, nosiree. Back East, our robbers actually took useful shit. Like maybe your car, or your credit cards, or your cash... or if you're as unlucky as I am, maybe even your life. My robber, however, only managed to swoop a shitty laptop (that never really worked all that great in the first place), some junk jewelry (total loss there: $17.93), and a corn muffin. Our robber also heated up a stack of flapjacks in the radar range... but he must've forgotten to steal 'em, because they were still piping hot in the 'wave when I got home.

Even weirder, my robber did manage to leave a couple somethings behind, too: A shit-ton of fingerprints (on the 'wave, which the cops had a good 'ol time dusting up), and a fancy new snow shovel (which is what he used to break out my window with). The shovel works the tits on all sorts of snow and ice, which is totally awesome considering the shit-ton of snow and ice we just got this week. So oddly enough, I might have actually gotten the better end of this whole "robbery" shenanigan.

A few weeks before the robbery, another total blow-it went down in the form of my 500th breakup from The Pandster. Never have I endured a relationship that was defined by a never-ending series of break-ups... but, alas, that just was the way The Pandster rolled: Break Up Now, and Think About It Later. Fellow Skull and Bones member AUOK tried to warn me about her... apparently, the Order of the Skull swaps more than just decks... but did I listen? Uhhhh, no. And was that a fail of epic proportions? Uhhhh, yeah. But thankfully, sometime in early December, The Pandster decided that she'd had just about enough of my ass, and gave me the final, no-jokes-this-time heave-ho. After which I secretly threw a breakup party that would put the average ASR blow-and-ho session to a crying shame. That was sort of a first for me, celebrating a breakup. But then again, if you're doing everything right, life is full of firsts. It's just a matter of rolling with the punches, and laughing about it later.


Object Of My Affection Number One: Kenda, my new squeeze. Isn't she gorgeous?! She certainly is to me...! I'm no dummy: You know damn good and well that you'd retire for this, too...

Sometimes, a little bit of re-evaluation and re-examination can be super good things. After The Pandster Debacle, I decided that it was high time to get down to getting real, and figure out exactly what I wanted out of a relationship, and what kind of woman... not "girl", guys... "woman"... I needed to make it work. I ultimately decided that high-maintenence drama and over-the-top craziness were passe, while some gut-busting laughter, shared interests, easy communication and understanding, and thoughtful patience just might be the way to go. Being a snowboarder, of course, would easily earn Double Bonus Points... but no man can ever expect perfection, right? Enter Kenda (above). Kenda's basically everything that I've always wanted (but never could find), plus a few super-boss bonus points that kinda make Kenda the ultimate in girlfriendology. That pretty much makes Kenda "perfection", personified. And that makes me, once again, an incredibly lucky guy. Stay tuned for "The Kenda Chronicals", because this chick racks up funny stories faster than I rack up Jeff Grosso decks. And that's really sayin' something big right there, buddy.


The other "object of my affection" these days: Snowboarding! The Burton Deuce, and the fat man holding it, represent the objects of Kenda's affections. Especially the Deuce. She really likes that one...

In other Channel Budro current news... this has been a whoppingly stellar snowboarding season, and all the down weather means that shit just keeps on looking up! The average Hoosier may hate the snow (probably because they suck ass at driving in it), but The Good Vibe Tribe says "Bring It, Bitch!" If you're totally clueless, The Good Vibe Tribe is a group of the most hardcore and dedicated of the Perfect North locals, of which I am-once again- lucky enough to be a member. Their specialties include raising hell all over the mountain, fast lines, gnarly tree runs, triple blacks, and some hefty tailgating action in between exploratory endeavors to "real" mountains out west and/or back east. Just last week, Heidi and Dan took an epic joust out to Mt. Baker, while I had a pretty good wrestling match with Bohemia this year. I'm gonna even up that score on the next round, so don't even doubt my ass on that one. The gym has been good to me lately, and there's an arsenal of well-waxed Strokes just waiting for the takedown.

So yeah: Snowboarding? Check...


Some of the best things about being a blogger, are the weird opportunities that just sorta creep up out of nowheresville. Take the Hertel account, as an example. We went from testing the waxes (as a product review), to bringing them on as an advertiser, to doing the ads (because they didn't have any at the time... the picture above is one of my personal favorites of the campaign), and finally to me getting offered a marketing position at the company.

To All Kids: Taking the initiative does pay off. "Ain't nuthin'to it but to do it!" Never forget it, alright...?!

Lastly: Last month, I was offered a marketing position by Terry Hertel at Hertel Wax. If you don't know your ass from your elbow, Hertel makes no-holds-barred, no-bullshit, no-joke, and no-play wax for serious, serious skiers and snowboarders. The Solitary Life got some of this stuff last fall for our Head-To-Head Wax Competition... but the problem was that there just isn't any "competition" for this shit. This stuff is simply a block full of sheer lunacy... The Tribe will totally back me upon this one. Dan's jaw fell to the ground for five whole runs "testing" this wax, while Heidi's been giggling it up and playing speed demon all over the damn mountain ever since she got her hands on this "amazing, amazing" stuff (her words, not mine). It's so damn good... "game-changing", really... that when Terry asked me to bring my skate-marketing experience to Hertel... I didn't even think twice about saying "yes". Plus, the snowboard industry is a very different world from skateboarding, anyway. The skateboarding industry is basically a high-maintenence drama-fest, while the snowboard industry is just straight-ahead good times and easygoing play. Maybe the skateboard industry should think about seriously studying their snow-bound counterparts, because they would probably learn a lot. Like how to effectively market to women, keep gross margins respectable, and how to keep the overall vibe positive, and focused on the task at hand. Skateboarding, after all, has always been all about all sorts of senseless bullshit (drugs, hookers, helmets, alcohol, more drugs, constant controversy, hipsters, hype, this-vs.-that arguments, you name it), while snowboarding really remains perpetually focused on having fun, riding around on a mountain (or a hill, or an incline, or in a jib park, or whatever...) on a snowboard. Go figure that one out, 'cuz it's so simple, it's stupid.

In short: Everything's pretty much good to grand over here. No hurries, no worries. I've got cuddle-time, road-tripping, time with friends, and snowboarding planned for this weekend. That's pretty much all I'll ever need, right there. So I've basically got it made.

Thanks to everyone that took the time to read The Solitary Life. Strangely, the readership numbers remain pretty high, even though there hasn't been a new post in forever. Weirdness. At the end of the day, I'm just glad that somebody's getting something out of it. It was a fun trip. So thanks to you, The Reader. Because without The Readers, The Solitary Life would've just been a whole buncha senseless babbling.

Here's my final bit of advice: Follow my lead, and start your own blog today. You'll be glad you did.