Saturday, September 29, 2012

Widmer Okto Festival Ale

Recently we got a 12 pack of the Widmer sample pack in bottles, including the solidly decent Rotator IPA, the medioce Drifter Pale Ale, and the classic chick beer in Widmer's lineup, their Hefeweizen. It also came with their seasonal ale, the "Okto Festival Ale."

I'm not a qualified beer expert, but I recently did a little review of Widmer's new Okto Festival Ale. You can read it here.

Kill list #145931-A

Because when you're hoping to sell yourself as a legit Yoga instructor, co-opting someone else's hard work as part of your brand image and blocking off 10 different lines for skateboarders in the process is the obvious way to do it. Yoga people are already on the kil list, but this is a great way to bump up a couple hundred positions on the list. I imagine this was an early morning photoshoot, so as to avoid as many skateboarders as possible, but there's still an outside chance some drunk skateboard bum woke up in a pool of his own drool and vomit in time to institute street justice on Yogaman. Bumguy probably caught Yogaman by surprise as Yogaman was bent over in the flowering erect serpent position and then Bumguy, in a hungover haze of anger and confusion, probably beat his brains in with a set of skateboard trucks. I'm not sure that's how it went down, but based on the stories all the drunk homeless guys at Burnside tell you when you ride there, it sounds like they're pretty hardcore and they would totally kill you if you stepped out of line. That's what it sounds like, anyway.

This Iphone picture brought to you by none other than Kill list #29948-B, Bob Stenson.

Our team

Aaron at the trails, circa 3 years ago or something. Your team still sucks.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Great picture, but...

I bet you that's the most awkward corner ever. Look at how hard Blenki's going to T the exit up; he's three feet from the end of the turn and he's still pointed 90 degrees the wrong way. Aggy's doing everything he can to set up wide, sure, but all the support is in the first half of the turn, where there is almost no turning to be done. Right where Blenki is, where the turn actually happens, it's flatter than Mary Kate Olson and it's got as much support as Lindsay Lohan got from her dad as a kid.

I bet you they had to hike and reshoot this 12 times to get "the shot" and in 12 times it was never a fun corner to ride.

Any press is good press

It's been a great week for Brian Lopes in the news.

We discovered that BL55 was Jared Graves idol as a kid...

And this happened on twitter. I can't believe this is real, but it is, and I cannot in good conscience not repost this:

No, seriously, this really happened. Sometimes the clouds part, and the gods smile upon us, and they gift us. Today is one of those days.

I don't know if you know who Mario Cipollini is, but he's sort of the best sprinter to ever live, his trophy case has more gold in it than Fort Knox, and his party reputation makes Cedric look like Ned Flanders. He fits pretty securely in the "nothing left to prove to anyone" category. BLopes is a great athlete, but that's a pretty tall tree for #55 to go barking up.

No, literally, he's like six inches taller than lopes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

That's not funny!

Oriental themed "geisha" lingerie from Victoria's Secret? Apparently, that's not funny to one Nina Jacinto, a bay area blogger who claims the line highlights "the kind of overt racism masked behind claims of inspired fashion and exploring sexual fantasy that makes my skin crawl." Jacinto did not choose to comment on whether or not run-on sentences also make her skin crawl.

Jacinto expands on her butthurtedness, "There's a long-standing trend to represent Asian women as hypersexualized objects of fantasy," She also took umbrage with the lingerie description as "your ticket to an exotic adventure" and the fact that none of the models for the collection were of Asian descent. "The lack of Asian women here simply exposes the deep-rooted nature of the Orientalist narrative, one that trades real humanness for access to culture."

Tracking Nina's last sentence in graphical form:

By the way, the majority of the text here was copied and pasted from this Yahoo! News article:

I'd just like to take a moment to address the recent trend of mainstream butthurtedness.

Most people take for granted the material wealth, disposable income, and leisure time necessary to be able to afford being butthurt; maintaining high butthurt levels requires a huge commitment of time and work. As such, for most of recorded history, only the upper echelons of society, the uber-rich or the 1% if you will, could afford to be butthurt. Before that, most people had real problems on their mind, like working the fields, securing their next meal, honing their craft or trade, or piling up dead and dying, plague-infested bodies on the local corpse-collector's body cart. Before the 20th century, most people didn't have the ability to spend time and money being butthurt about other people's problems, and so they had to either get over it or mind their own freaking business. Coping techniques for those unable to be butthurt about trivial issues included working, sleeping, talking about things that actually matter, whistling, recreation, or one of the most permanent solutions: just not worrying about it.

As you can see in the above graph, right around the mid-sixties average per capita income began to skyrocket, allowing more and more people access to the otherwise unaffordable world of butthurtedness. This led to ever-expanding butthurtedness the world over, but this rise was precipitous in America, where a new grassroots wave of butthurtedness was sweeping the country by storm. This modern renaissance of butthurtedness in the 60's gave us such ground-breaking revolutions in butthurtedness and complaining as:

The Beatnik/anti-capitalist/counter-cultural movement

 The sexual revolution

The environmental movement 

The Vietnam anti-war movement 

And Arec Barrwin

Ultimately, it was only after the status quo had successfully provided exponentially greater levels of relative peace and prosperity to the ignorant and unthankful youth of America, a level of wealth and comfort that would have been unimaginable to prior generations, that the youth could finally harness their newfound position of power and responsibility to spend their lives complaining about the systems that gave them everything they had. It was at this turning point in history, known by scholars working in the Butthurt field as the CIEP (Critical Irony Equilibrium Point), that the destruction of Western civilization began:

So Nina, what I'm trying to say is, I'm sorry you were butthurt by the mean people at Victoria's Secret who make underwear.

Update on the Holly Feniak article

The update is in all caps at the top of the post.

It hurts when I laugh

So there I was, scrolling through my timeline on Facebook (Yes, I'm lonely, narcissistic, and have time on my hands, I'm sure this is a huge epiphany for you), when I found this gem of a picture. It's really funny, of course, but not like funny ha ha:

Now I have the pleasure of explaining to even more people that I did not, in fact, succeed in graduating yet. One move would be to just delete it and hope no one saw it. If someone did, then I invariably get to enjoy that great conversation with someone that says, "I thought you graduated already? What happened man?" Because nothing sets the tone for an unplanned run-in with an old B-grade acquaintance quite like having to explain your greatest failings in life thus far. As if putting a good face on the situation for relatives that I see at weddings and funerals wasn't fun enough, now I get to step it up and confront my failure to people that really aren't emotionally invested in my success at all: my "friends" on Facebook.

But why stop here, Facebook? I think you should require people to forecast a time by which they expect to complete or accomplish other huge life goals, like getting married, having kids, writing that novel, or finally climbing Everest.

You could change the format, too. Sure, you could keep it the same and, on the expected date, just brazenly publish a triumphant announcement that so and so got married today, whether or not they did. But how fun would it be, instead, to force the person to answer whether or not they have accomplished the goal and then publish their response:

"Lisa still has not found someone who wants to have kids with her."

"Joey never found time to sail the French Riviera."

"Dan is still not making six figures."

"Bob did not get married today."

"Jen still lives with her parents."

You could publish the failure on the expected date of success, or maybe you could even have rolling status updates, or a life checklist sidebar on my profile page: "Charlie likes Right Guard, Coca Cola, Diamondback Bikes, the Beegees, and has not found a female who will put up with him for more than a few months at a time."

Facebook makes your private life public, and it does a great job giving you opportunities to celebrate the little things you have accomplished. But why not give us all a chance to really marinate in the bigger things we failed to do? It's an untapped market; here's my million dollar idea.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stuff that doesn't suck

Brian Yeagle's part in Anthem II is all time, and it came out of nowhere. No one knew who Brian Yeagle was. If you pretend like you had any idea who Brian Yeagle was before Anthem II came out, you're full of shit.

What's dumber?

What's dumber, this commercial:

Or this comment:

"Not crazy about this commercial, in fact I think it's really dumb. In case no one has noticed, the 'Bald' Eagle in fact has a gorgeous snow white head and mantle of feathers and is one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. It might have been amusing if it had been done with a cartoon eagle (like the Afleck duck) but as is, it's pretty lame."

The title of this post was a rhetorical question, by the way. The comment featured above represents nothing less than superb comedic advice coming from someone who is, clearly, a comedic genius.

I think the person that wrote that comment did a fantastic job of both missing the point and sucking the fun out of the joke, but I believe they still have room to refine their craft. To really dial in their lack of humor, they should go grab coffee and compare notes with the physicists that determined that Batman's "memory cloth" cape was implausible for flying between buildings, or the radio hosts that tried to poke holes in Louis CK's obviously ridiculous jokes, or perhaps Lieutenant Steve from Good Morning Vietnam. 

But if you want to tap into the greatest wellspring of unfunniness available, I recommend seeking out the greatest fun suckers of all time, the people that take TEAM ROBOT seriously and think this shitty blog that no one reads is so mean and horrible that it poses an imminent threat to life, liberty, virtue, and perhaps all of Western civilization.

The point is, there's always room to be unfunnier. After all, the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.

When you say "That's not funny!" this is what you sound like:,10921/ 

And why is it that the people who say "that's not funny!" are always the least funny people in the room? Are they aware that they are claiming funny authority when they step in and claim to know what is and isn't funny? Like, apparently they're some sort of funny expert, and their years of funny expertise leads them to conclude that not only was your material a little blue, but it just didn't make the cut.

So xext time you're trying to tell a joke and some fun-deflator chides you with "That's not funny!"do me a favor and seek out their wisdom. Really try to get in their heads and walk around for a while. Ask if you can call them "Dr. Funny." Being such experts in the field, they probably have funny to spare, so try to tap into their funny reserves and see if they'll share a little bit of their material with you. If they're as funny as they claim to be, then their funny bread crumbs should be enough to feed you for a week. For that matter, here's a great time to run the rest of your material by Dr. Funny, so offer to buy him dinner so you two can sit down and see if you material gets the nod of approval. Maybe you can even spend a day job shadowing the master as he works his craft. This chance encounter with Dr. Funny could be your big chance to really break out into the world of comedy, so don't let it go to waste.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Remember your A,B,C's


After Interbike, 2012 Junior World Downhill Champion Holly Feniak took some photos for an upcoming Pinkbike article. Based on the above teaser photo, the theme of the photo essay will not be to highlight her bike's tire and shock setup.

If you've observed the online creepiness that follows every post involving Lauren Daney, than this upcoming Holly Feniak story should be one for the ages. The boys over at Pinkbike are going to have to hire temporary staffers just to moderate the comments at the end of the Holly article. When the article comes out I'm going to open up the link, scroll down straight past the article and the pictures and just go straight to the comments section to see what sort of messed up shit gets said when 40 year olds and 13 year olds get together online to creep on 17 year old Ms. Feniak. Oh, how the tacit promise of quasi-anonymity makes timid souls brave.

If pinkbike was a high school, and Holly was a student, than there would be about 40 windowless vans parked across from the basketball courts with 45 year olds sitting, cleaning their binoculars so they could get a good look. Welcome to the internet.

It reminds me of a lesson I learned recently from pro MTB photographer/amateur lifecoach Justin Olsen:

"Charlie, as you grow older, you have to remember your A, B, C's. Always Be Creepin'."

Truer words were never spoken, Justin. Truer words...

A MESSAGE FROM TEAM ROBOT HQ: Team Robot does not endorse creepin'. However, Team Robot also recognizes the universal "Don't hate the player hate the game" principle.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where the trail ends

I got back from Norway on Sunday, and I've been doing school work ever since. So if you're waiting for the Norway update, get ready to wait a little more. Team Robot race updates typically occur on geologic time, so you might be waiting a little longer. Plus, if you saw the results you already know I had a crappy run and didn't qualify, so I'm obviously not in a big hurry to walk you through the ins ad outs of how I spent $2500 to travel halfway around the world and fail everyone that ever believed in me.

Anyway, Interbike is this week, and the "where the trail ends" premiere is going on as we speak. That's right, it's getting live broadcast, but before that we get to watch a live webcam of fat industry people who don't ride bikes as they wait in line to get $10 beers at the bar in the hotel lobby. Oh, but in between those banger clips, Sal Masekela is doing interviews with Richie Schley. I can't make this stuff up:

Obviously this movie is going to rehash a lot of tired themes. Things to expect:

They're going to travel to alpine meadows in the Gobi desert, to some haunted mine in the Andes, and to a buddhist temple in Nepal, and then they're going to build exactly the same jumps and drops they would build in Kamloops. Expect copious beauty shots, and expect the film crew be to sticking cameras in the faces of wide-eyed locals who've never seen a white man before and may or may not believe that the camera is stealing their soul.

There will be very little bike riding. Expect a lot of travel montages and interviews and video of people in the hospital and video of people at their houses and building jumps and looking at jumps and talking about building and looking at jumps and hi fiving after hitting said jumps and generally anything possible to avoid putting bike riding on the screen.

When there is bike riding, all shots will fit into one of these tree categories:

1. Gnarly death shit. Flips, 360s, and enormous bucks, maybe all three at the same time. Probably a good amount of riding gnarly steep death shit. This is the scariest, riskiest stuff to film, so there will be less of this. Expect shots of gnarly death shit to be broken up by 3-5 minutes of BS in between.

2. Skidding. This is easy to film, and always looks good at 1000 FPS. Carrying exit speed out of a shitty corner might require superhuman skill, but it can be tough to capture and convey. Kicking up a pile of loose dust, or, better yet, finding a scree field to Brett Tippie the shit out of is way easier and sells well to an audience that can't tell the difference between a two-wheel drift and a fixie skid. When you're dealing with hollywood level budgets, directors don't have time to let their audience revel in the nuance, beauty, and power of a well-executed turn; they just blast their audience straight in the eye sockets with a sloppy burrito shart of dust, sand, and loam. Anytime riders aren't in the air, expect cameras to be rolling slow and rear brake levers to be pinned to the bar.

3. I can't see what's going on. This category is my personal favorite, and it seems like the higher the production quality, the less you can tell what the hell is going on. Directors love to crop wheels, suspension, and the ground out of the shot whenever possible so they can fill the frame with the rider. We don't need to show the suspension and tires in every shot, because we'll have shots dedicated to that tires and suspension. Tire and suspension shots will have the rider cropped out, so that no one shot ever allows you to see wtf is going on. Because if you could tell what was going on, and you had the whole rider and bike in the shot, every shot would look the same, and we can't have that. This often gets labeled as "bike porn," but I think that's a misnomer; I think that industry puts a value on giving the audience some idea of what the hell is on the screen. With both of the aforementioned film genres, if the video guy gets carried away with close ups trying to fill the screen, people can't tell what they're looking at anymore.

More thoughts:

On the other hand, I bet there won't be a post office scene. My gaydar also tells me there won't be a slow jam, bro down scene where everyone just enjoys the chill part of riding bikes and talks about the soul of riding. I actually think this movie will be mostly bangers, so instead of hangin' with the bros in B.C. and trying to capture the the totally chill soul of riding, it will be ten person camera crews full of people who don't ride going into the middle of no-where on unfamiliar continents to watch two guys take turns jumping the scariest thing that's ever been done on a bicycle so that they can continue to make a living from the energy drink sponsor that paints their helmets. Yeah, I think this movie will be a little different- I think it will be following in the footsteps of mega big budget snowboard movies of late. Actually, I don't think, I know. Freeride Entertainment MTB movies have always been two years behind snowboard movie making; no reason to expect them to change now.

The thing with snowboarding movies is that the athletes are out there in crazy snow conditions day in and day out, and it's sort of just a ticking time bomb until people start dying in avalanches. That, combined with the huge dollars on the line, means that snowboard films are anything but "chill" and they literally have a life or death feel when they are being filmed. Super high pressure and super dangerous. My bet is that "Where the Trail Ends" manages to capture that same feel and apply it to a sport that, previously, was actually pretty fun for its athletes. Expect lots of super tense, high pressure moments and life or death shit on the screen.

So, watching a bunch of bros risk life and limb hurling their mortal bodies off huge cliffs hundreds of miles away from medical attention is kind of a bummer, but big $$$ and publicity for the bike industry isn't all bad.

Who knows, maybe it's even a good movie.

I kid, I kid.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Luke Strobel FA/gooning

Congratulations to Luke Strobel, your World Champ FA. Luke was in the running to be FAAG World Champion, but after Aaron Gwin crashed out, Luke took the actual top FA spot. Congratulations, big guy.

"I hate you, Charlie."

In other news, if you want to see me look like a complete goon, this recent video from Gravity definitely does the trick:

I Ride Gravity #3: Crankworx on Pinkbike

I've been spending every dollar I have on racing for a long time, and racing has taken me to some pretty incredible places and led to some incredible experiences. On the other hand I hadn't gone on a bike trip just for fun since high school. Fortunately for Crankworx this year I had the chance to spend 10 days in Whistler and Seattle with the guys at Diamondback and Gravity, and it was pretty incredible. I actually just rode my bike for fun and hung out, and guess what? Turns out it was super fun.

Racing is still #1, but riding just for the sake of riding is pretty rad, too. It's all about soul and shit.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

World Championships

We practice reading dirt conditions, wet roots, and blown up turns, but how do you read the corner speed on a wooden wallride? And in case you thought the answer was "you can go as fast as you want on a wooden wallride," please consult these photos of Andrew Neethling's otherwise stellar World Champs run:


Andrew Neethling loves having ladder bridge wallrides in downhill race courses. Especially at races where it always rains. 

He was on chicken wire when he slid out. How do you read chicken wire?

Fun fact #1: still clipped in like a boss. Fun fact #2: he's not wearing a Leatt brace in this picture.

After blowing up his brakes and missing out on a World Championship title that, arguably, was his to lose, it only took Aaron Gwin two minutes to compose himself, get things in perspective, and have fun gooning off the finish line jump. The rest of us would have thrown our bikes and helmets into the woods and cursed at the heavens, but after a whole season of showing us how to win like a champ, Mr. Sportsmanship here decided to put on a clinic of how to lose like a true champion. Hats off to you, Mr. Gwin.

And hats off to Greg, as well. He's a had a World Championship drought almost as long as Peaty's was. Minnaar's been the bridesmaid at World Champs in Les Gets, Rotorua, and in Pietermaritzburg when he lost to Peat by 0.05, and he's gotten third just as many times. He probably has more 2nd place medals than any other rider on the planet. He's a consistently great rider, a true professional, and just look at him; he's every bit as happy as Gee and Steve are pissed.

[Editor's note: Greg was the first loser at Les Gets '04, Rotorua '06, and Canberra in '09. I accidentally wrote Pietermaritzburg instead of Canberra. My bad. My mistake was so significant that I probably tilted the earth off axis. Sorry.]

Also, did you notice that Greg Minnaar was one of the only guys in the top ten at World Champs that didn't have an energy drink sponsor? That means that, prior to Greg, World Champs hasn't been won by someone without an obnoxious looking helmet since Fabien Barel in '05.

Just kidding, the neon yellow atrocity that Minnaar wears on his head is still pretty obnoxious.

Maybe it's a good thing when the non-rockstar athlete wins; energy drinks are straight poison, after all. Besides, when are we going to start seeing our top guys getting sponsored by real companies like mountain dew again?

Energy drinks=poison

Mountain Dew = awesome

Real men drink Dew. I would start running a mountain dew helmet today if they contacted me. I would do it for free. I've considered paying money to get my helmet painted with the mountain dew logo.

Palmer killing it for Mountain Dew and Slayer.

One last thought: if you're one of those people that thinks "The World Cup overall is way more important. I don't even know why we have a one-day World Championship," then you're an idiot and you should go kill yourself. Obviously it takes way more consistency and general skill to win a World Cup overall.

That's the entire reason why we have the World Champs. That's the entire appeal of the event- consistency doesn't matter. You go out there and just pour it on as fast as you can go. It's a one day, checkers or wreckers race. It's the official Fuck It World Champs. It's all the drama and tension and prestige of the whole season, all your training and preparation wrapped up in 4 minutes. On top of that it's the one event in our sport where you represent the nation where you were born instead of the company that offered to pay you the most. If you don't think that's incredible and an event worth keeping around, go die now.

How to make your product look great

Pretty much like that. And it's so lifelike, too. You nailed it, guys.