Northbound

Mot nord (Northbound) is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful skate videos I’ve ever seen. It has a focus on conquering the elements in a man vs. nature kind of way and feels very introspective at the same time. The tricks are impressive, but it’s more about the environment of frozen beaches and found objects than the skaters themselves, who are so covered up for the cold that they almost look like shadows dancing.

Ice, driftwood, foamy waves and … skateboards? Four skaters head north to the cold Norwegian coast, applying their urban skills to a wild canvas of beach flotsam, frozen sand and pastel skies. The result is a beautiful mashup — biting winds and short days, ollies and a frozen miniramp.

I’m tempted to buy or rent the full video documentary on the making of Northbound, On Thin Ice, which can be found here.

NORTHBOUND | Skateboarding on Frozen Sand 4K from Turbin Film on Vimeo.

via Kottke

Let’s Begin Again

Wild Nothing at Kings Barcade
Wild Nothing at King’s Barcade

Our First 100 Days is a benefit compilation that aims to help causes that will likely be hurt by the Trump presidency. When you think of protest songs, Wild Nothing is not the first band your mind is likely to conjure up. Even when the band ventures into this territory, as they do for their track “Begin Again,” it’s easy to miss the message amidst the smooth grooves and hushed atmospherics. You would be forgiven for not picking up on lines like, “It sounds so safe, the new protected state. At least you’re free, from all those things you hate.” Despite the unusual (for them) subject matter, this song is pure Wild Nothing, and that’s always a good thing.

I feel like it’s unfortunate that I can’t in good conscience buy this compilation, due to some of the causes that the money goes to support. In addition to “Begin Again,” there are a lot of top notch tracks by great artists on Our First 100 Days. These songs are not throwaways for sake of putting together a benefit comp. Take a listen to Wild Nothing below and then checkout the contributions of the other bands.

My Life is Wrong

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart cover East River Pipe.  I admire the unabashed love of indie pop that the Pains have.  They wear their influences well.  

The Smiths Reunion

Much as some of us would like to believe it’s going to happen, and even in spite of Coachella offering a completely meat free experience to entice Morrissey, the Smiths are not going to reunite, says their publicist. Coachella was making the offer for just Morrissey and Marr, but it is apparently not enough.

I will say, though, if they ever do reunite, they better include Andy Rourke. That guy rarely gets enough credit for his contribution to he band. One or even two does not a reunion make! applause

Shipping Can Be Hard

Aaron Mahnke writes about entitlement:

Here’s a great rule of thumb: until you create something yourself and then actually ship it, try to first find the positive in the products around you. Those products are the result of someone’s passion, hard work and innate genius. When we compare them to our own twisted, entitlement-driven expectations, we do nothing but insult their creators.

Shipping something is difficult. Shipping something is like setting a platter of precious glassware on the edge of a razor-thin knife. Shipping is an action that flirts with risk and failure. But it is an action that should be applauded rather than attacked.

His post reminds me of something I’ve wanted to touch on recently: the backlash over the delay in shipping the Elevation Dock by ElevationLab. ElevationLab’s Kickstarter for the dock was funded on February 11, 2012, to the tune of almost $1.5 million. The Elevation Docks were expected to start shipping to backers of the project in May. However, the project was beset by delays and ElevarionLab is still at this time fulfilling orders from backers of the project. People have been registering their dissatisfaction with ElevationLab loudly and widely (the breadth of the internet is vast, after all). Unfortunately, there was a unique confluence of events that happened with the latest iPhone having a redesigned charger and being released while some people were still waiting for their docks to ship.1 In effect, people began to expect their docks around the time they would become obsolete for their newly purchased iPhones.2

I’m not saying it’s unreasonable to complain under the circumstances. My own Elevation Dock arrived much later than I had anticipated. It’s a great product, when you finally get it. However, if you get it late, and you can’t use it, that’s 10x as frustrating.

All of that being said, I’m here with a sympathetic plea for ElevationLab. I’ve been on the other side and I can’t help but wonder if the majority of the people complaining about the situation have ever had to rely on a third party in order to ship a product. You can have the best project plan in the world, but if it relies on a deliverable from a third party, you can possibly end up throwing it out of the window. I’ve seen it happen, more than once.

ElevationLab had to get a number of components from other companies. Sometimes, those components weren’t done on time. Sometimes, whole batches were defective or didn’t meet quality standards. I know this because ElevationLab sent regular emails on the progress of the project. I’m not sure much more could have been asked of them.

In response to the complaints, Kickstarter has institued policies to make it abundantly clear that Kickstarter is about funding projects in various stages, and not a store where goods are simply purchased. I’m hoping the changes and the emphasis on the process over the product helps to eliminate some of the complaining. I like to see people who are working hard to deliver a solution given the credit they deserve, and not blasted for things that might not be entirely in their control.


  1. ElevationLab has said that they intend on shipping out a swappable adapter that will allow people to use their iPhones with the Elevation Dock.  ↩

  2. Apple is not even making a dock for the new iPhones or iPods. They are out of the game entirely.  ↩