Blader Digest: Living on the Edge

Stop reading this right now and set your DVR. Or do the old school thing and watch a TV as it airs.

Here’s what you’ll be doing: You’ll watch House on Fox tonight. As you’re watching it, pay attention to the filming.

If you haven’t heard already, blading legend Vinny Minton shot for the show after director Greg Yaitanes watched Vinny’s pre-Bittercold edit.  Basically, Vinny used his human Glide Cam skills on his skates to get those kind of shots only Vinny Minton can get on his skates.

After all those years of being pro, filming his friends, Vinny is among many who turn their blader-filming skills into a business outside of blading. Times are tough, and you gotta make rent.

But that had me thinking—what with all the constant bitching Colin Kelso has been doing about professionals and their paychecks—about other things people could do with their skills if this whole blading thing doesn’t pan out.

The most fun and a chance to break into show business like Vinny?

Being a stunt double, duh.

C’mon, might as well use your high tolerance for pain to make a few bucks, right?

Getting paid for your pain

First up at bat, Aggressive Mall trick tip master and Lake Cunningham Competition-winning Kyle Nolte.

So, Kyle’s Vegas-loving co-worker Shawn Storm was the first to notice the similarity between Kyle and Justin Bartha—better known as the guy on the rooftop from The Hangover.

Right, so Kyle’s got some work lined up. Good for him.

Next, the Brierly twins.

Should Canadian twins and musicians Tegan & Sarah ever do a video where they get the shit kicked out of them, the Brierlys could probably fill in, so long as no one cuts any hair. And they keep a really, really soft focus on the whole thing so no one notices that the Brierlys are dudes.

It’s not that the Brierlys look like gilrs, it’s like those girls look like dudes.

Now, should either of these two bladers become famous to the point they need to avoid the paparazzi, they could swap places interchangeably and no one would be the wiser:

Stefan Brandow of Pittsburgh and his brother (or so his Facebook page says):

Troy DeZeeuw of Iowa.

But who’s going to get the biggest paycheck for doing some stunt double work? Justin Hertel, owner of Aggressive Mall.

Who, oh who, can he sub in for? Who’s show regularly deals with a little bit of action and a shitload of scowling?

The worst part about it, is that Hertel seemed to see this coming. Notice the blood and shit in the Dexter ad. Makes sense for a serial killer who works as a blood-splatter analyst, right?

Now, look below and notice some similarities in the fonts?

Hertel ain’t afraid of no blood, but can he can be nice and then switch gears into psychopath in an instant? He does some weird shit at night. He’s always buying garbage bags in bulk. He’s probably really fucking beastly in a fight (not that I would have any kind of personal knowledge of this).

I’m saying this here and now, in a public forum, so that should I ever disappear for some unknown reason you’ll know why—

Justin hertel is dexter morgan!

You wanna know the real reason Hertel opened a skate shop? No, not for rollerblading. So he knows where the fuck you live! If you’ve ordered stuff from him, and have been a bad person, you might want to move.

Like now.

Don’t even pack up your shit.

Just go.

Or not. Keep ordering

But if the thought you getting a syringe in your neck and waking up wrapped in plastic before someone—oh gee, I don’t know who—plunges a knife into your chest before chopping your ass up and throwing into the ocean doesn’t leave you the least bit concerned, keep ordering from AMall. If not, get a hold of Matt Mickey at Intuition Skate Shop. It may save your life, or end it quicker, depending on how much you’ve pissed off Hertel.

Just a heads up.

Colin’s Craziness: Week 3

Again, without fail, Colin Kelso isn’t just happy with making his own decisions. Nope. Everyone else needs to come with him or shit’s fucked. At least that’s what he’s letting everyone know.

This week it was a long, long diatribe-filled thread on Be-Mag where he, I think, attempted to call Billy O’Neil out on some things.

There was a shit load of back and forth. It would be hilarious as shit if it weren’t depressing as fuck. Depressing, because this is our reality.

Go to the thread here to read it in full.

Basically, Colin made a lot of statements, intending, maybe, to hopefully call out the evils of our sport. However, those were intentions. As we all know, intentions are seldom the basis for good decisions.

What he basically did was talk a lot of shit on someone who used to be his friend.

To imagine what it’s like, take your best friend. Now think of all the things you’ve said to him or her whether in anger, frustration, or inebriation. Now watch your friend go bat-shit crazy and spread everything out into the open for all to see.

Here’s a scenario: say your friend stopped fucking hot chicks and decided to start fucking fat chicks because, well, that’s what he wanted to do. Then, when you don’t start fucking fat chicks too, he posts all sorts of shit on the internet, like that one time you said, “Fat chicks need lovin’ too.”

Bad analogy, but that’s basically what Colin did with his initial post and everything he’s done in the past month or so.

And Billy posted his response that began like this:

And Colin posted his response to Billy’s response that began like this:

Still, there are lots of lessons going around.

  1. No one is as smart as Colin Kelso
  2. He had a better upbringing than all of us
  3. Colin Kelso isn’t Jesus, but…
  4. Colin only talks shit on the internet because he has to.
  5. Colin Kelso, his view of skating, and how he’s going about things are the exact opposite of anything remotely resembling constructive criticism. His view of himself over-extends his “low self image” into nihilism. He’s a hypocrite (emphasizing his education while still not understanding basic English concepts and calling Fish out for using “fluffy language”).

The truth (no pun intended) is that bitching on the internet and talking shit on anyone that isn’t exactly “doing something.” But don’t expect Colin Kelso’s revolution to go anywhere because he’s apparently against manual labor. You know, work.

Revolutions aren’t built on words. It’s action, not rhetoric, that creates change.

If Colin wants to make a change, he should start his own skate company, pay his riders lots of money so they don’t have to work, get them insurance, and make sure they don’t have “Blade or Die” tattoos. I look forward to see who he’ll pick on his pro team. You know Sean Kelso will be there.

Colin has proved, yet again, that he’s a spoiled child—he wants something, so he’s complaining to mom and dad for it. When he doesn’t get it, does he try earning it? No. He runs away.

And what did he leave behind? His name and everything he’s said is now a punchline:

Don Bambrick getting in on the joke via Adam Johnson

What does it all mean?

Being a pro skater isn’t about doing tricks and getting a paycheck.

A good friend of mine, Dante Muse, was a professional (speed) skater forever. Like 13 (or 14 or 15)-time world speeding champion and two X-Games medals. And no, he wasn’t a multi-millionaire. He made some money, but not enough to be filthy rich. Traveled the globe, never having to pay for a plane ticket or a hotel room. He loved it.

The point is what he had to say about being a professional skater: “It’s like any job. If you don’t like it, quit the job, but just don’t go talking shit about them and say they’re evil.”

Colin isn’t rollerblading. Never was and never will be. There are so many better people we should be listening to, so I’m sorry for giving Colin even a bit more attention.

People have more powerful things to say that should be noted.

Every single little thing a pro skater does is scrutinized, from the choice of music in an edit, to their personal skating style, to the cut of their jeans, to the graphics on their wheels, to the color of their skates. If you don’t believe me, check out comments on Rollernews or the Be-Mag message board.

Pros—whether they own a company or not—are the ones, basically, in charge of the image of skating. They decide—to a certain extent—what skating looks like.

Unless other people want to use skating to project a certain image.

And really, that image is, well, changing…

Ad for Saks Fifth Avenue in this month's issue of Esquire. Thanks to Bruce Bales for catching it.

Yes, I know, nothing says “living on the edge” like shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue if you look like Joey from Friends. Are there a lot of shootings in those stores, or hidden skate spots in there? Oh, I don’t know, but as long as companies will control how we are perceived, expect more of this—using our image to create theirs.

To me, personally, being a professional rollerblader sounds like a lot more bullshit than it’s worth. Sure, there’s the doing what you love for a living, traveling the globe, being admired by the groms, and seeing your name on a product, just like all those people they’ve admired for years. But, there’s all the extra shit. They are celebrities in the true sense of the word because for every little thing they do, there are a hundred people waiting to attack them for it.

Then again, my skating has never, and will never, be anywhere close to pro. Even calling it that is beyond laughable. So maybe my thoughts aren’t worth shit. Maybe I’m just some jaded old bastard.

But I still love rollerblading, even if I have to pay to do it. To those that get paid to do it and love it, congrats. Live the dream.

Not being paid to skate, not making a dime off of something you love so much has it’s perks. Things can stay purely simple and true to what it was from the beginning.

There’s no thought of doing a trick to make sure rent is paid, or to sell more skates (although I highly doubt many a pro considers that while out skating and I have yet to meet one that thinks that way).

In essence, those of us not making a dime of of blading, but instead of putting our dimes into it, are the real winners. We get to blade. Most of us, well, all we ask for is a quality product that doesn’t go to shit after a few uses, and the people whose names are on those products aren’t complete douches. That, to me, is important.

Then again, if you’re worried about the image of skating, then I feel bad for you.

Make your own image. If people don’t like it, fuck ‘em.

The point of all of this is this:

Bitching about something doesn’t make it any better. It makes you look like a bitch. You want to create change? Live it. Create a world you want to live in, not by attempting to get everyone to do as you say, but by living as an example of how you believe the world should be.

The quickest way to get killed—literally and figuratively—is to try to convert everyone to your beliefs.

Just ask Jesus (and no, not Colin Kelso).

Blade or Die,

— Brian Krans

P.S. — This here, to me, is what rollerblading is all about—a lot of good people working their asses off to actually do something instead of just talking about it.

But what the fuck do I know?


  • Great words Krans. I am going to read this particular column a lot.

    Thanks for the shout out.

    But, Mike Koliner is the true Dexter double. Not saying Justin doesn’t look like him, but Koliner takes that race for sure.

    Either way, great piece. I couldn’t have said this stuff any better. See you in 32 days/

  • Two words: Batman & Robin. Who were those bladers anyway?

  • i love blade or die. keep up the good work krans and happy birthday

  • Great read as always.

  • and I thought last week was a peak, and you just deliver the goods again. Fantastic.

  • nice words Krans, humble and humbling. In regards to the KGC, special thanks to Kennan Scott and Scott Moore for getting there at 6am to build the boxes and Erick Garcia for MCing all day. thx to everyone else who helped out (too many to name!) and also to the skaters who busted ass all day in near 100 degree heat. Johnny and I had tons of fun and we’ll see everyone at 4LIFE!

  • Awesome read! Im still trying to wrap my head around what Colin Kelso is trying to do. I really dont get it. But keep up the good work!

  • […] P.P.S — In a previous column, I might have said that Aggressive Mall owner Justin Hertel was actually in fac… […]

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