Friday, February 26, 2010

In Heaven Everything Is Fine

Before we get underway, how about a little mood music? Here's Bongwater covering Roky Erickson's masterpiece "You Don't Love Me Yet":

This track is from a Roky tribute compilation called Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye. I haven't listened to Bongwater in way too long. Maybe because listening to them makes me realize I'm still not married to Ann Magnuson, and that makes me ineffably sad. Someday, Ann, we'll be together. It's never too late. (Does Ann Magnuson have a stalker yet? Where do I apply?)

How 'bout an incredible live version from David Sanborn's "Night Music." Does anyone remember that show? Always had the best bands--Sonic Youth, the Pixies, and here, Bongwater with Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman AND Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Youch! How can you not fall utterly and completely in love with her in this clip?

Here's the original:

Onward to cell phone photos.

I was reticent to get a cell phone with a camera in it. Hell, I was reticent to get a cell phone at all: when Kristina was pregnant, I got a pager. In 2001. Just so I could get a beep if she went into labor. Turns out, by that point the fuckin' thing hadn't worked in months. I got a cell phone when I started to drive a cab, so I could give people my card and get fares. Had the same phone for 8 years or so, long after I stopped driving the cab. It was a busted-ass piece of shit, so I finally upgraded. No, not to an iPhone. I love Apple stuff, but paying an extra 40 or 50 bucks a month so I can dick off on the internet at every available moment is just too much. I can already do that at home. Also, the people I know who have them seem beholden to their iPhones. It's always about the next app, all the awesome shit my phone does--if I could figure out how to use it.

That's why I never wanted a phone with a camera. I grew up on film cameras. I learned to process film and print photos--both black and white and color. If I wanted to take a picture, I'd use a fuckin' camera. I wanted my phone to make phone calls, not mix me a margarita. ("There's an app for that!" Oh, Boner Time!) Up until recently, I was still using my film SLR as my main camera, though I recently purchased a Nikon D60 digital SLR. It's been sitting on my desk. Every time I want to go on a photo odyssey around town, it's pissing rain.

Anyhow, yeah--I'm a fuckin' Luddite. Sort of. I'm just afraid of being a slave to a wonderful thingie box in my pocket. (Watch Wall-E, people.) The sad miracle about having the world at your fingertips--via a device--is that you no longer have to touch the world. You know longer have to get your hands dirty. You no longer have to nut up and ask someone for directions, your GPS tells you. You no longer have to operate an actual camera, complete with the delayed satisfaction and unpredictable outcome of film exposure.

We're a Documentation Nation. As a blogger--yech--I'm as culpable as anyone, probably more. Now that all media are turning digital, the documentation threshold is a lot lower. We are a nation that takes photos of our breakfasts to tweet out to a waiting world. Thomas's English Muffin with homemade marmalade! Fuck it all, I want to live! Behold the hipster club kids: they're not at the party to have fun, get loose, and get laid so much as to be seen on the internet the next day, looking as though they were having fun, getting loose, and getting laid, perfectly droopy mustaches and immaculately grubby cardigans hanging just so.

So, with all this in mind, please enjoy these photos from my cell phone. Freak Magnet: lowering artistic standards since 2003.
Dolly took this at Alameda as I was finishing a run. Clearly, I have an immense shred boner. A second earlier I was doing a 540 double tailwhip to barspin over the hip.

Dolly's new kitty, Angel, with my bitchin' fur hat. No hipster jokes about the hat, please.

Cherry blossoms.

The most handsomest dog in the world: Bo dog.

Went on Dolly's field trip to the symphony. This was at the front of the school bus.

At work.

Blue Danube.

This is an abandoned house at 1720 Anza. I'm kind of fascinated by it and want to break in.

Hearing notice for the above house.

Dolly with finger puppets.

Been drinking canned beer lately. Trying to save a little, I guess.
Sapporo in a can is awesome. 12 pack for $14.

Garage on California.


One of my current fixations is sidewalk graffiti. Graffiti is a naturally ephemeral art: here today, gone tomorrow. When you're talking about concrete, though, it's going to last a little longer. You're not going to see a tag in marker or spray paint that says "Renee 1977" still up. Sidewalk graf makes me think of Life After People--even though it seems "permanent," it'll be gone soon enough. I'm intrigued by the inherent limits of the medium--there's not a lot of chance for intricate, flowing hand style in a rapidly drying square of concrete. Finally, the fact that as it sets, it becomes unusable for graffiti leaves a limited window within which to work. You can paint on a wall any time, so most painters avoid daylight hours. Concrete is laid during regular work hours, so it follows that most concrete graffiti involves the risk of being seen committing an act of vandalism. I'll be posting more sidewalk graffiti as I gather it.



AVA Jeremie [?] Bram Gorilla 'Sup Una Melanie N+K

Star of David [Across the street from the Jewish Community Center]

MIKE D [Also across the street from the JCC: "Is your name Michael Diamond?" "Nah, my name's Clarence]

JASON 69 LISA+[...]

Join People w/NO CLASS Support your local Anarchist Revolution Flipper Joe


Bird tracks [man made]

Footprint T.R. "82" IRL B+M ILWZ [attempt at handstyle] V.D. W.E. [?] HERE "88" Mikey hearts Jully


MT+J.B. 12-31-99 LISA [...]

MA SBK 4-9-99 [?]

rumah sake

Star of David JDM Go Dodgers! ND [All scratched out.
Writing "Go Dodgers!" in a sidewalk in San Francisco is asking for trouble.]




Dog tracks [dog made?]


UR Pretty

MOLLY WAS HERE [crossed out]

Speaking of the Melvins, this video is an even better claymation nightmare than Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer." (Speaking of which, my sister used to really hate the dancing headless chickens. She was grossed out by them: it was like they were an affront to common decency and the dignity inherent in poultry carcasses. And what the fuck happened to Peter Gabriel during his claymation period? The videos were iconic, but the music was no fuckin' "Shock the Monkey," now was it?) It might even be better than Eraserhead:

King Buzzo for Product Cologne.
ANAMARIE 8-16-90

happy face anarchy sign


CORWALL [Placed into the sidewalk by the city. Name of the street is actually Cornwall.]

CORNWALL [Correct spelling]



[skull and crossbones] 2-BIT


Leaving the sidewalks behind until the next installment, let's move on to Olympic Fever! (With Deney Terrio.) Now, I'm not really a hater--I just play one one TV. Which I was watching at Fizzee's the other day when Olympic curling was on. While sliding around on ice with a broom probably wasn't what the original naked Greek pederasts had in mind with the Olympics, it's obviously a difficult game:

The reason why I say "game" instead of "sport" is because, without the ice and the brooms, what you've basically got here is bar shuffleboard:

I know, it's called the "Olympic games," but something seems more "gamey" than "agony of defeat" in curling versus, say, ski jumping. The elements of risk and sheer athleticism are conspicuously absent in curling.Kristie Moore of the Canadian women's team competed while five months pregnant.
I'm not hating on Kristie--more power to her. But you don't see too many pregnant pole vaulters, you know? Curling seems more of a head game/strategy match than a true athletic feat. The formula here is, take a game that people can play while half in the bag on Bud Light, add ice, and bam!--that shit is Olympic. Really, though, what next? Olympic darts? Olympic beer pong? Olympic bowling? (All on ice, of course.)

The main reason I'm hating is not because I have a beef against curling, per se, but because I remember all the nonsense bullshit people talked on BMX racing becoming an Olympic sport in the 2010 Summer Games. A lot of people saw it as greasy kids' stuff, an attempt by the IOC to pull a younger demographic to the TV screen to sell limited edition cans of Coke by going "extreme."

(Please excuse the shit song this was edited to--I couldn't seem to find any without music.) You'll notice that the footage is from a foreign station, because NBC showed a total of about five fuckin' minutes of greasy kid stuff, making the males 18-34 demo argument pretty much moot. I guess nothing matches the sheer thrill of speed walking, which, as I recall, was played around 23 hours a day. The thing is, people have been talking about BMX in the Olympics since I started racing at age 11--way before 38 foot berm jumps. Just when I'd given up on it, there it is--and after over 40 years as a sport, still kids' stuff, apparently. Oh well, haters gotta hate. I love you curling! But you don't love me yet. Let's make babies.

Speaking of no respect my fellow regressive, childish degenerate BMXer friend Iain posted this article from Ride online on his Facebook under the heading "Can I get some respect for the kiddy bicycle riders, plllleeeeze!" This, to me, is the eternal question of BMX, analogous to Chris Rock's immortal query of the black man. (Yes, it's my daughters bike. And, since it's so small, it won't hurt when I cram it in your ass with my foot.)
Be sure to check the "honorable mentions," as some of them are at least as mind-blowing as the top 5--Levan's gaps, for sure, as well as Morgan's double el rollo in the pipe. I think Mirra's first double backflip should've definitely been included, at least as an honorable mention--it is the trick that made Stephen Murray a quadriplegic. Greasy kids' stuff, indeed. Stay strong, brother.

Here's a video being put together by one of the Franchise crew. Nor Cal represent! Be sure to go to their site and watch the vid of Zac Costa going from feeble grind to manual to (almost) extreme Muni bus death. Because, if you've got to go:
Don't die in a cubicle, okay? Speaking of new and exciting ways to buy it, when the Olympics shut down, the Whistler Sliding Centre (Canadians and their wacky spellings and ketchup flavored potato chips) will be selling bobsled rides: "According to Paul Shore from Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies, the recreational bobsleigh experience that is being planned at the Whistler Sliding Centre, likely to become available starting in the winter of 2010/2011, will be an opportunity to ride down the track in a four-man bobsleigh piloted by an expert driver. It is estimated that the speeds reached during these rides will be approximately between 120 and 130 kilometres per hour. It is also estimated that riders will experience approximately 5 G’s of force and that their journey down the track will last about 60 seconds."
Oh fuck yes. Now, more than ever, I need a sugar mama. Not sure how much it's going to be, but it's got to be cheaper than a jet into the stratosphere.

Speaking of seat-of-your-pants thrill rides, here's a vid I made of a guy at Potrero shutting down the bowl. That's it, everybody go home. Nothing to see here. Miller Flips? Who does that shit? Does Chris Miller even do those anymore? Bonus points for the frontside bonelesses on the vert wall. Shredding the gnar, indeed, friends.

Dude clearly does not give a fuck.

And really, neither did the Leaves. Their joint "Too Many People," like most of the songs on Nuggets, highlights the fact that Americans were making primal punk rock in the garage when Sid Vicious was still eating figgy pudding in short pants. The footage is great, even if, like most '60s way out variety show happenings, it's lipsynched to the point of not even bothering with a microphone. That's just another way of saying "Fuck the Man!," man.

Too many people
Too many people
Too many people
Too many people are trying to change me
Too many people are looking to rearrange me
But the last thing I will ever do
To prove that I am a man like you
Is to work from nine to five
Trying to keep myself alive
And have to listen everyday to everybody's jive
And concentrate my time
On simply trying to make a dime
And agitate my mind
On trying to make my values right

Too many things
Too many things
Too many things
Too many things that I got to do
Too many bags that I got to run through
And the last thing I will ever do
To prove that I am a man like you
Is turn away the girls
Even though I want a whirl
And worry just because
That's what everybody else does
And chase myself around
So that I'm not all day found
Wear a suit and tie
When I'd rather sit and die

Too many people
Too many people
Too many people

You know who else would rather die than wear a suit and tie? Fuckin' Team Skyway, man. Saddled with the weight and flex--and bitchin' looks--of Tuff Wheels long after they were proven a burden on a race bike, Team Skyway were long-haired hessians who had the best style, best kit, and best don't give a fuck attitude.
Andy "Bigfoot" Patterson's look is pure Spicoli.
He did one pedal starts for his entire career. And he won races with that shit.
Look at the size of those fuckin' kicks on those tiny Skyway Tuff Pedals.

Nor Cal legend Bob Medrano (negative is reversed in this image).

Denny Davidow looked like Kirk Hammett before Kirk Hammett looked like Kirk Hammett.
Check the classic Vans, Flight cranks, JT gloves, original Haro plate and Haro Handles.
Doin' it indoors on Comp S/T tires.

Check this watercolor by Mike Tisdale of Denny powering out of a turn in Vans slip-ons.
Clip shoes really sucked the soul out of BMX racing.

Speaking of bitchin' paintings of Skyway guys, here's a painting by Benjamin Hughes of OG SF styler Maurice "Drob" Meyer doing a track stand.

Fence rides and 360s over fences at Pipeline--Hugo ain't scared. Check the 'stache in the video link.

"What's your specialty?"

"Just getting radical."

If Hugo lived in SoCal near the magazines, he'd have been fuckin' huge--Fiola huge.

Found this Flexx Bronco flier posted up at Benders the other night--had to steal it.

Not a huge fan of the Bronco, but this flyer has me changing my mind. Not sure who the rider is--Medrano, maybe?

Can't forget Vander. He was more of a punk rocker than your classic Skyway hesher, but still a game-changer in the style game. Check the prototype Skyway freestyle frame.
Rest in Peace, Vander. Bark Hard.

As Tom and Keith will tell you, there's one thing you can't lose, and it's that feel.
Just ask this kid:

There's nothing to be afraid of:

Remember, in heaven, everything is fine.

Really--it's fine.

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