Archive for the ‘Nerd Stuff’ Category

Happy Star Wars Day everyone!  Now although I’ve already covered how action sports has crossed into the fandom, I can’t help but add this little tidbit on.  It seems that X Games Austin has decided to celebrate May 4 with photos of a Stormtrooper doing some BMX flatland tricks.
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By Sandy Carson (X Games)

Who’s the rider underneath the helmet?  Why it’s Brian Tunney!  Click here to see more fun photos of him in costume.

Moving onto another corner of geekdom, I happened to catch “Assemble”, a mini movie by Samsung and Marvel and guess who’s assumed Thor’s mantle?  John John Florence!  I can’t think of a better candidate with aerials so high he may as well look like he’s flying, a chill attitude, and yes, “godly hair”.  It’s also quite fitting that the man who plays the Asgardian is an avid surfer himself.

While John John is the only action sports pro in the team, the movie also features mechanical engineer Sasha Blanc working on and riding a motorcycle and the adorable Bobby Martinez getting to the rendezvous point on a skateboard.  I think it’s safe to say that action sports and Avengers go pretty well together… though if we were to assemble a super hero team made up of action sports pro, who would be in it?

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The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is currently hosting a special exhibit called 2theXtreme: MathAlive!  It combines math, science, and engineering with action sports, design, and pop culture.  In other words, quoting the MathAlive! site, it “answer[s] the age-old question: ‘Will I ever use all this math they’re teaching us?'”  Last month, I got to check it as part of the museum’s adult-only Social Science event, which also featured a BMX demo.

Even though MathAlive! is designed for a younger audience, it still contains some fun hands-on activities and educational tidbits for adults.  Unfortunately we’re too big to enjoy the rock climbing wall and comfortably sit on the stationary bike (I have short legs and it was still awkward for me).  Several of the games seemed easy, but they still required some thinking.  This is a math exhibit after all!

My favorite part of the exhibit was the skateboard design challenge.  You selected board length, truck placement, and wheel size in order to create the ideal board for an ollie.  While it could have used a better explanation as to why a design failed, it was a cool way to look at a math problem.  My second favorite module was the 360-degree camera if only because I got this little souvenir:

Scattered throughout the exhibit were videos of people who use math, which range from engineers to video game designers to skateboarders.

I appreciated the diversity, particularly with the female scientists and engineers shown.  Women in math and science rarely get any face time, which negatively impacts girls thinking of getting into STEM fields. so I’m glad the exhibit is doing its part to promote equality.

The boardercross game should have been fun and easy, but the board was really rickety.  I didn’t utilize the rails because I wanted to emulate the real snowboarding experience.  Unfortunately I crashed too much in trying to get my balance.  Although it’s been over a decade since I stepped foot on a board, I can’t imagine my balance being that bad (I dance and still occasionally skateboard).  That was probably the most disappointing aspect of the exhibit for me.  Nevertheless the exhibit contained more ups than downs; just remember that it’s for kids and during regular hours, you’ll probably have to fight them to give each section a try.

Because I had to buy separate tickets for MathAlive!, I spent a lot of time there and didn’t get to see other aspects of Social Science.  I did catch the second freestyle BMX demo by BMX Pros Trick Team.  The riders have my admiration because not only did some of them come from doing demos all day at the State Fair, but they had to deal with low light and a moderately energetic (and somewhat inebriated) crowd.  Nevertheless, they still pulled out some of the big tricks.

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I tried to take photos, but it was too dark.

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No idea who made this poster  but it’s rad

I never imagined Star Wars and snowboarding would be mentioned in the same sentence, especially since I had sci-fi loving friends diss boarders and action sports loving friends shun all things geeky.  There’s always exceptions though, and earlier this year, ESPN made a Star Wars reference in one of their snowboarding photos.  Apparently these two things are not so much like the light and dark sides of the Force.

This post was inspired a video by Freakin’ Rad. It was actually of freestyle motocross riders in Storm Trooper costumes, which I just loved. Further investigation led to an earlier movie with snowboarders and freeskiers battling it out.

Later I watched Episode 27 of AWSM on Alli, which had pro boarder Todd Richards spilling the beans on the geeks in the action sports world and browsing around Comic-Con. It was cool to see things from his point of view even if the commentary on cosplayers got to be distasteful in my opinion (those Leia cosplayers were more than just 1s, Mr. Richards).

One of the featured videos in the episode was an old Star Wars-themed snowboard piece that I had never seen before (but is apparently well-known): Gnar Wars.

I was impressed and decided to see if there were other collisions of snowboarding and Star Wars. Guess what? Burton Snowboards and Lucasfilm teamed up last winter, and not only created equipment inspired by Star Wars (for kids only, unfortunately) but a themed park with wood carvings of different characters and Jedi-style instruction.  If you’ve got a kid who would like to be a powder padawan, check out the Burton Star Wars Experience at Sierra at Tahoe.

One sure-fire way to get me to tune into a movie is to open with some sick BMX action, like this:

The clip is from the 2006 teen dramedy Stick It. Although I was curious about the film, being a former aspiring gymnast, my interest wasn’t piqued until I saw the intro (Plano, Texas does not look like that by the way). Even if that was all the action sports action, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and its rebellious BMX-riding gymnast lead.

The main character, Haley, had to stunt doubles: Mike “Rooftop” Escamilla and Scotty Cranmer, who also rode for the character named Poot. Ben Snowden did stunts for the third BMXer, Frank.

Rooftop is no stranger to the silver screen. He and Rick Throne played thieves named Blitzen and Cupid in Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009). Both riders also starred, along with Mat Hoffman and other action sports athletes, in xXx (2002) although they didn’t do any riding there.

Probably the biggest movie with a bit of BMX is E.T. (1982). Bob Haro, the “godfather of BMX”, was one of the stunt riders. He jumped out of the second floor and wore a black ski mask in the chase scene.
E.T., From the official facebook page of Bob Haro
Photo from Bob Haro’s facebook page.

BMX appeared to be a trend in the 80s with movies like BMX Bandits and Rad! The latter actually contains another link to gymnastics as Olympian Bart Conner had a cameo in the BMX film.

For more info on BMX in movies and television, check out this page from 23MAG.

It’s back to school for a lot of you, and since we can’t always take our boards and bikes with us, we have to find other ways to express ourselves. When I was in school, I had difficulties finding skate/bike/moto-themed supplies. However, times have changed. Sci-fi Hun recently showed me a link for a Birdhouse SkateDrive, a USB flash drive in the shape of a skateboard deck.
skatedrive
You can get them at Walmart, Office Max, or Amazon, and if you prefer snow or surf, Action Sports Drives has some for you too. They’re the perfect accessory if you’re an action sports nerd like me.

My other Facebook Finding comes from Lady Gaga herself. Who knew the pop diva could hang ten? She posted the picture with the caption, “yeah thats me. no heels baby.”
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I used to get so irritated when a stereotype of a skater or any other extreme sports athlete appears on TV and in movies and starts spouting an unnecessary amount of slang. It’s horribly misleading, and I had an embarrassing n00b phase because my introduction to the subculture came from the caricatures on TV and that’s how I thought action sports enthusiasts speak. However, now I just laugh (and to be fair, I’ve seen the stereotype work in some depictions, like Crush in Finding Nemo… though he’s a turtle). Do people really think our slang is like a foreign language?

This whole post was inspired by my revisiting the old vampire TV series (old meaning from a time before vamps were cool and cliché… like extreme sports, I was into vampires before the mainstream embraced them) called Blood Ties. In “Blood Price, Part 2”, a skateboarder is being questioned by the cops. The over-the-top usage slang here is clearly for comedic effects as the cops ask him to repeat what he said in layman’s terms. I find it funny because he’s raving about “sweet backside airs” (maybe they were) and using “thrashed” twice for no good reason. The amount of slang they cram in 10 seconds is hilarious. You can check out the clip here: starting at 3:28.

I was curious about whether the skater was an actor or a pro. He’s an actor named Levi James, and he’s starred in another extreme sports-related role. In the soap opera Falcon Beach, he played a pro wakeboarder named Travis Rudnicki. I’ve never seen the series, but it looks like there was quite of a bit of wakeboarding, as one of the main characters did it competitively.

BMX action on Glee

Posted: February 9, 2011 in Media, Nerd Stuff
Tags: , , , ,

The post-Super Bowl episode of Glee had an eye-catching opener, and I’m not talking about the cheerleaders shaking their booties in blue wigs, bikini tops, and pyrotechnic bras. I’m talking X-ups, tailwhips, backflips, and a slew of flatland tricks up front from Terry Adams. Check out the clip for yourself.

The use of BMXers in a Cheerios routine surprised me. I always figured that if action sports were going to be featured on Glee, it would be alongside the unpopular “Gleeks” instead of the mean girl cheerleading squad. Then again, one of the Cheerios, Brittany Pierce, mentioned having motocross practice in a previous episode (I hope the show this in the future).

For those of you who don’t follow flatland BMX, Terry Adams is the name to know. He won gold in the 2005 Asian X Games and has appeared on Ellen and Master of Champions. The Louisiana native also invented a crazy move called the Katrina, pictured below. It involves him jumping over the frame of the bike while balancing on the front wheel.
katrina
(Photo by Kevin McAvoy, RedBull photofiles)

Terry had some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits on the filming of the Glee scene. He also reveals that he started watching the show after getting his role and that his favorite character is Brittany. There are two versions of the interview: redbullusa.com and redbull.com. Terry’s answers are the same, but the questions are different, which I find very odd.

Another odd thing related to this Glee episode is that there was a casting call for female BMXers, and yet I didn’t see any girls riding. Do you?

Listening to: “Push the Limits” by Enigma