Paul Rodriguez, one of my favorite skateboarders and all-around good guy, quit City Stars to ride for no one, then made the decision to ride for Girl early this week. Good move for Girl! Mikey Taylor is still the man on City Stars--he just turned pro. Congrats, Mike! And by the way, Kareem Campbell is one of my favorite people. We have absolutely nothing in common except a love of skateboarding and some peripheral history, but the guy is gold. Brilliant gold.
I still haven't written about Woodward, and I'm afraid that the more I put it off the harder it will be to write. But there's so much... I went with my good friend Mark Holder, and even though I think our experiences were very different, we both found at Woodward what I think a lot of people don't find--only a certain person can handle it there. Good people and good times are abundant there for me, and always have been. Warmth begets warmth, or something like that. And this year was no exception. Actually, even though there were less of the crew there when we were there than usual, the people we spent time with and met were amazing. Jonah Owings, Buzzy, Ryan Wilburn, Barker Barrett, Mike Frazier, Alan Russell, Shannon, Erica, Jen Wolf, Nate Wessel, Ruben A., Alexis, Dave from Florida, Erich Browne, Furlong, Mark Podgurski--the list always goes on. And meeting Rachael and Elena was very nice-- blooming friendships that I'm stoked on. And, I even saw Margie and Nina and met their wonderful families. What is it about that place that is so amazing? OK, I'm getting choked up, I'll stop. Oh, yeah, one more thing. Mike Frazier and his chess tournaments are so amazing--he gets a group of campers who know how to play chess and organizes round-robin matches to determine a camp champ. Pretty damn cool.
ASR came and went. Cool things were seeing video footage of Elissa kickflipping 12 stairs, the Emerica video teaser, and something else... what was it? I guess that's about it. Outside activities that rocked were the Coup D'Etat across the street put on by Alien Workshop, TumYeto, and a host of supporters, and the Etnies party with TSOL and the Adolescents. On the bad news list were the Osiris Wet T-shirt contest (I heard from people there), girls who tease, companies with racist names, and disrespectful people. Oh, well!
The Clash played at ASR, and the Sex Pistols are playing this weekend. What's going on?
Woodward and ASR Check Out
Gosh, it's been a while since I've written in this thing again. Maybe that's good. It means I'm out living more an outdoor life and spending less time in here sitting down for long periods of time with bad posture and not stretching my back, which means when I want to skate I'm in pain and can't. But September always brings this last-few-weeks-of-the-summer near panic and I try to make the most out of outdoor activities while I can. Actually, this year has been really good for this, as I've tried and succeeded at living as much as I could, rather than just passively killing time. Very little TV, lots of music, a fair amount of skateboarding, a lot of traveling, meeting a lot of people, and a lot of days to feel good about accomplishments. But everyday that goes by when I don't write in this journal, even for a few minutes, I also think about missed opportunities to share good things with friends known and unknown.
What is it about the fear of facing a tough task that seems easier or better than the eventual realization that you've made someone's pain a lot worse than it could've been? I got stood up pretty harshly recently by someone who I thought was beyond that. I hope that... I hope for good things, and I work to make them happen. And I can live with that.
Randumb Whatevers Check Out
Just heard from my friend Shannon today, at Woodward. Seems that a couple days after Mark Holder and I left camp, a group of staffers and a couple campers were out at Hairy John State Park after the Lodge had closed, and the campers--who were adults--crashed their car into a house on Route 45. Of the three people in the car, one died, the other two are still in the hospital but will make it. Pretty bad situation for all of our friends out at Woodward, and I'm thinking good thoughts for all of them.
Woodward Car Crash Check Out
Ed T and the Mice will be making their debut in October at a special gathering in Orange County... should be lots of fun. Watch for a track in the upcoming Firm video if they can get their act together... Update: Ed will not be able to play the show, since he will be in Paris skating and watching over his most prolific art show to date, at the Palais de Tokyo, aprestigious art museum/ gallery. This place is also, not coincidentally, the skate spot known as the dome, and Ed will be incorporating some skateboarding into the show. Erik Ellington, Spanky, and Rick McCrank will be part fo the deal as well. Good for everyone but the Mice, who will nevertheless play, adopting Worked Worlder Hagop for the date.
These photos are by Luciana Ellington, who was in Paris for the Ed T art show and Emerica demo, in the Palais De Tokyo...
Ed T and the Mice Check Out
The XGames were in Philadelphia for the second and last time this last few weeks. There are those that hate what ESPN has done to skateboarding, and those that put up with the XGames as a necessary evil. I think that anyone who complains about the XGames and then allows their world of skateboarding to be affected by ESPN is pretty weak--there doesn't have to be a connection. I don't think the XGames are necessary, but neither do I think they are evil. They're another contest, and yes, it's blown out, and yes, a lot of kooks know a little more about the art of skateboarding than they did, but it doesn't have to affect the hardcore dudes. They can always skate that pool, or have their midnight session on a curb, or build their backyard ramp/pool/quarterpipe/ whatever. To blame the recent blowout of skate spots on ESPN is so naive and wrong it's ridiculous, and I've actually heard that connection made as well... What they do is give a little more money than anyone else in skateboarding to those who want it. No one is making John Cardiel or Julian Stranger or Geoff Rowley go--they're not there. But it doesn't hurt those guys, or anyone in skateboarding, no matter how hardcore they are, to hold a contest.
My dear old friend Kristy Brauch got married recently. Congratulations to Brian and Kristy, and best of luck to both of you. Brian--you got a good one, take good care of her!
Woodward is Woodward and I need to write about it some. But right now I've got to go to work, and call Beth, and my parents, and clean the studio, and put stuff up on eBay--watch for a special Lance Mountain milk carton helmet, signed and with accompanying polaroid photograph--and pay bills. And everything else... so I'll try to write a little each day for the next few weeks, and catch up. Once again, thatnks to those of you who have written in support of this little Randumb Notes thing--it makes it easier to keep going!
Randumbs, August 26 Check Out
I love my iPod, these things are really cool. Some favorite songs right now:
Swing Kids: Warsaw
Refused: New Noise
At The Drive-In: One-Armed Scissor
Wire: Ex-Lion Tamer
The Clash: 1977
The Jesus Lizard: Mouth Breather
The Jesus Lizard: Glamorous
Shellac: Rambler Song
The Jam: The Modern World
Monorchid: This Jazz Ain't Free
(International) Noise Conspiracy: Smash It Up
Throwing Muses: Hate My Way
Verbal Assault: They're Talking
Favorite Songs Right Now Check Out
Just got back from a skatepark tour, but this wasn't just any skatepark tour. For the last ten days I've been in the company of a 12 year-old, two 13 year-olds, two 14 year-olds, and a 16 year-old. It was their first real road trip for skateboarding, and it was everything a road trip should be. Amazing, hard, fun, intense, with lots of skateboarding. Going back to the early days of road trips for me, the ones I remember most were the ones when there weren't spacious motorhomes, luxury hotels, and good food waiting at every stop. So this should provide memories for a lifetime for these kids.
We headed south for a stop at TumYeto, which was amazing thanks to Mike and Damon and Tod. We made a quick visit with good ol' Hugh for inspiration and advice, then we started out to Arizona, bought fireworks and skated in New Mexico, went north for 4 days in Colorado, turned west towards home with 3 days in Utah, stopped in Vegas, then through the dsesert with a fireworks stop at Zzyzx Rd. Highlights included hanging with Aaron Hooper at the Aspen park, which was my favorite park, and which Aaron destroys. The Punchbowl, a cliff-jumping spot just up from town, made Aspen my favorite stop. Taos, NM, and Aurora, Fort Collins, Boulder, Silverthorne and Frisco in Colorado were all lots of fun. There were some other parks where we'd stop and leave after barely skating them, and some, like Logan, Utah, where we stayed all day, meeting cool people and hanging out. We haven't done an official count, but it was at least 25 parks, plus downtown Albuquerque and Denver. Not enough time to write about it all right now--Woodward (fortunately) and the XGames (unfortunately) are on the immediate horizon--but at some point the photos of the parks will be up on one of the good skatepark websites and photos of the kids will be up here and everywhere I can put them.
Roadie with Taylor and His Friends Check Out
The iPod is up to 1456 songs right now. It's probably pretty boring to read about me and my silly little juke box, so I'll stop after recommending these things to anyone interested in carrying a lot of music with them for whatever reason. It's a mobile DJ studio in the palm of your hand! Just add speakers...
By the way, I'm reminded by a conversation I had with my nephew, who is a music pirate, to point out that I have every single one of those songs in my iPod because I converted them from my CDs. CDs I bought. If I like a band enough to enjoy their music, I like them enough to pay them for it, so I don't steal it. Such a harsh attitude, I know, but after owning a record company for 10 years I guess the idea of artist's right has sunk in.
There's been a little rumor going around some circles in skatebaording that Jessica Alba is Micke Alba's daughter from when he was like 16 or something. I always doubted it, but wasn't sure that it wasn't true, but now I am. I read just enough of an article about her to know that her father was in the military. Sorry to rain on the parade for those who thought it was true...
After not really even talking to him for about four years--since I quit working for TumYeto--Jim Greco showed up at the house and hung out the other day. We played music, and the same gusto and charisma that he adds to the world of skateboarding, he carries into his guitar playing and singing. Even in a little room in the garage, it comes through--the kid's got something that is special. And we had Elissa Steamer in there rockin', too... the whole deal was great. After running through a number of Heartbreakers, Ramones, and Stooges songs, we ran through "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" by Johnny Thunders. Pretty amazing song--one of Lance's (the drummer) favorites--in this case, sung by a pretty amazing guy. Keep your health, everyone, it's the most important thing we've got...
August Randumbs Check Out
I really miss Tim Brauch right now. It's been in the back of my head for a while, because I took my first trip to Europe, in 1992, with Tim and his sister Kristy. I just got back from there and saw many of the same things the three of us did together for the first time. I also have been emailing Tim's mom a lot, too, and also, Kristy is getting married this month. Just lots of reminders of good times, a good friend, and a good person. It's odd, too, because more and more I find myself in situations with skateboarders who don't know very well who Tim is, and even though I know it's not their fault, I find myself frustrated at that. But all I can do is tell good stories and try to pass on his spirit.
Missing Tim Brauch Check Out
My recent trip to Germany was a blast on many levels, but one of them was the privilege, still, after all these years, of spending time with the Faction. I'm pretty lucky to have gone from 16 year old fan in 1983 to 18 year-old photographer and acquaintance in 1985 to longtime friend in 2002. During that time I moved away from San Jose and yet still grew the friendships with Gavin, Ray, and Steve, I put out their first CD collection, a near-discography you can read about and get elsewhere on this site, and now, I've had Scottish food in Germany with them. Great music and great people, and I'm proud to know them and to have "worked" with them over the years. If you like rock or punk rock music and skateboarding and are reading this, you probably know about the Faction. If you don't, what are you waiting for? Oh, by the way, for fans, they've got at least five new songs that are all as good as the original stuff or better. The chemistry between the four guys now is friendly and fun and it's showing in their writing. The Whistler, Aisle Seat, and Cut It Out are three new ones worth listening for...