Friday, December 31, 2010

True Love Is the Devil's Crowbar

Remember folks, as 2011 slides into view, you better come correct in the New Year. Keep ya fade tight and ya gear fresh:
Danny MacAskill is pretty much world renowned for keeping it fresh. So much so, that if you're at all into bikes, your grandma, or mailman, or pot connection has told you at one time in 2010 to check out a DM video. You've probably even seen this one:
What's with the dead stop front flips off of ledges, Danny? Ice cold.

It's been fairly fucking ice cold here in SF lately. Which is to say, the mercury has been into the high 30s on occasion. I've had a few rides face into some Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day type of gusts.
For those of you who may be reading this in, say, Minnesota or Gnome, Alaska, or the Gulag in Siberia, hey, I know it's colder where you're at. That's just one of the reasons it sucks to be you.

For us delicate, culturally advanced San Franciscans, however, it's fucking cold, yo. Thankfully, the legendary X played two shows at Slim's on the 28th and 29th to warm the cockles of our clam-chowder-in-a-bread-bowl hearts.

Actually, I started warming my cockles a bit early at Triple Crown on Market and Laguna. I'd throw up a link, but they're closing. That spot has horrible feng shui: it's been like three places in five years...and counting. But my boy Tophers was spinning the last Red Wine Social for a bit, so I stopped in.

Immediately after a shot of Jameson and a few pulls on my beer, I dropped my camera on the lens. Smash! Broke the filter. Here's a picture of Toph Rock and friend, taken through shattered glass:
I was hoping it was going to give me the awesome Black Flag Damaged feel, but the shattered glass was too clost to focus on. Just looks like it might be snowing in the bar. After ceremonially--which is to say accidentally--stabbing my finger with a glass shard from the smashed filter, I was off to see X.
You can keep your yellow-bellied sapsuckers and your red-breasted warblers. For my money, the sweetest sound in nature is John Doe and Exene Cervenka singing together:
I had the first three songs to shoot--no flash allowed. My lens is somewhat half-assed, in that the widest it opens is f3.5. New, faster lens soon. Also, while most people were friendly enough and let my by to get my three songs worth, there were a few cocknockers who were suuuuper pinched about yielding their spot at the punk rock show to let me sidle up to the stage. As a result, I got some dark shots with a high ISO, all basically from the same angle, standing in front of John in his mega suave western suit. Some are okay though:
The very next night I cut another finger, this time while pretending to stab someone with a busted pint glass. Kids, don't play with glass.
All right...I've got to head to work at the Buckshot. I want to let everyone who's been to the place know that there'll be some good stuff coming in the new year, including some awesome and unusual swag, a revamped, frequently updated website, and a blog full of drunken freakouts which I will be running. So come down and get yer drink on.

No idea where this came from, but I will say this: "Europeans look out!"Returning to the ice cold theme, does anyone remember Cappio? Far as I know, this early '90s treat was the first bottled iced coffee available in the states. I was stoked, because at the time I was a Creative Writing undergrad and had a huge iced coffee jones. I'd make a lemonade-style pitcher of coffee, throw half and half and sugar in there, and nail the whole thing while I was writing.

When Cappio came out, they were available in two sizes: the regular size, which was 12 ounces or so, and the whopping 32 ounce quart bottle. I had a Monday night five unit Shakespeare class that lasted three or four hours. At the beginning of class I'd start in on a quart of Cappio, and by the midway break, I was guaranteed to be shitting my guts out. The thrill, in addition to the chill, was it's unheralded, yet unmatched, laxative qualities.

Anyhow, Happy New Year and all that tripe. Here's to hoping you don't spend the first day of it hugging the toilet. Not sure what the Swedes say, so I'll just say "Prosit!"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You Lot! Don't Stop, Give It All You Got

I started in on this one on Christmas night. This is what, in the clear light of a sober evening, I had to return to:

"The night is unfolding with the infallible logic of a bottle of cabernet and a THC binge.

Half a Captain Brownie 'Dankie'--strawberry angel cake with chocolate filling--concoction, some holiday white (wine), chased with a "my girlfriend and child and babymama are 3,000 miles away" maudlin Christmas depression trip, 4 or 5 densely packed bowls of fine locally grown indoor cannibus sativa, a bottle of Castle Rock Cab (sorry to be a bitch but red wine reminds me of being 12 and touching vagina for the first time), and, can guess where my lack focus led me: the Internets. The Internest. The cob web of all time and memory."

Then there was some babbling about cyberpunk, specifically the novel Synners by Pat Cadigan, which I remember being fairly brilliant in the pre-Internet reality, though Ms. Cadigan has unfortunately had to resort to novelizations of Friday the 13th movies, so I guess she's yet to get her due. Unless of course, she was an awful person in a previous life, in which case this might be a just punishment. (Though, I suppose it's more lucrative than my current gig.)

Anyhow, now that you know how I wasted--pun intended--the night of Baby Gee's birthday, let's follow my fuzzy brain a little further down the rabbit hole. The sturm und drang of the holidays has led me to wishing I could get the fuck away from it all. As in, for real. In this spirit, Laura and I are planning a desert getaway to Death Valley, Joshua Tree, and the Salton Sea/Slab City.

While YouTubing around for videos on those spots, I came across the some footage of Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa, about a ragged community of squatters in the northwestern corner of New Mexico:

I immediately grabbed a torrent of the hour long doc, but I've just discovered you can watch it online for free. In any case, it's definitely worth checking out. The people of the Mesa and Slab City and, basically, anywhere in the desert Southwest, can be stereotyped--and rather accurately, I must admit--as nutjobs, rednecks, speed freaks, and people who've had their brains fried in the sun for too many years. At the same time, however, if you scratch past the surface lunacy, you'll find what may be the last vestige of the pioneer spirit, of self-sufficiency, and not just the desire to do-it-yourself, but the necessity of doing it yourself, of staying independent, self-reliant, and free.

After watching the film I headed to work at the Buck and Joel played "The Magnificent Seven" by the Clash:

Though I've got them mostly memorized (though inaccurately), I nonetheless immediately looked up the lyrics on my infernal iPhone tumor contraption:

"The Magnificent Seven"
Ring! Ring! It's 7:00 A.M.!
Move y'self to go again
Cold water in the face
Brings you back to this awful place
Knuckle merchants and you bankers, too
Must get up an' learn those rules
Weather man and the crazy chief
One says sun and one says sleet
A.M., the F.M. the P.M. too
Churning out that boogaloo
Gets you up and gets you out
But how long can you keep it up?
Gimme Honda, Gimme Sony
So cheap and real phony
Hong Kong dollars and Indian cents
English pounds and Eskimo pence

You lot! What?
Don't stop! Give it all you got!
You lot! What?
Don't stop! Yeah!

Working for a rise, better my station
Take my baby to sophistication
She's seen the ads, she thinks it's nice
Better work hard - I seen the price
Never mind that it's time for the bus
We got to work - an' you're one of us
Clocks go slow in a place of work
Minutes drag and the hours jerk

"When can I tell 'em wot I do?
In a second, maaan...oright Chuck!"

Wave bub-bub-bub-bye to the boss
It's our profit, it's his loss
But anyway the lunch bells ring
Take one hour and do your thanng!

What do we have for entertainment?
Cops kickin' Gypsies on the pavement
Now the news - snap to attention!
The lunar landing of the dentist convention
Italian mobster shoots a lobster
Seafood restaurant gets out of hand
A car in the fridge
Or a fridge in the car?
Like cowboys do - in T.V. land

You lot! What? Don't stop. Huh?

So get back to work an' sweat some more
The sun will sink an' we'll get out the door
It's no good for man to work in cages
Hits the town, he drinks his wages
You're frettin', you're sweatin'
But did you notice you ain't gettin'?
Don't you ever stop long enough to start?
To take your car outta that gear
Don't you ever stop long enough to start?
To get your car outta that gear
Karlo Marx and Fredrich Engels
Came to the checkout at the 7-11
Marx was skint - but he had sense
Engels lent him the necessary pence

What have we got? Yeh-o, magnificence!!

Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi
Went to the park to check on the game
But they was murdered by the other team
Who went on to win 50-nil
You can be true, you can be false
You be given the same reward
Socrates and Milhous Nixon
Both went the same way - through the kitchen
Plato the Greek or Rin Tin Tin
Who's more famous to the billion millions?
News Flash: Vacuum Cleaner Sucks Up Budgie

Magnificent seven

It strikes me that, though they were rock stars, the Clash knew something of the grind, the rat race, the eternal climb to the top of Bandini Mountain. They knew about what drives people to the Mesas and Slab Cities of the world through that eternal and instinctive mechanism known as the Everlasting Fuck It:

As Denis Johnson says in Jesus' Son:

"There was no more pretending for him. He was completely and openly a mess. Meanwhile the rest of us go on trying to fool each other."

Another thing you can do to escape the racket in your brain is to simply scramble it. I wrote a post last February called "Plastic Wingie Balls and Hardcore Freaks," wherein, via Flip video, I was immensely peeved that the reversed engineered alien exercise domes which I encountered in Golden Gate park and called wingie balls but are actually known as Zorbs, weren't being utilized to their full potential.

Thanks to the Interpest, I have discovered that this oversight in Zorb usage has been fully rectified:

As I may have mentioned a few hundred times, I like to build bikes. For me, for other people, whateveskis. Usually I like them so much I don't want to sell them. Case in point, this aluminum Specialized Langster. My friend John posted in his Facebook status that he was giving away the frame to whoever wanted to pick it up. I jumped on it, and via the timeless strategem of "something old, something new, something borrowed, and a bit of blue," I put together this beast. My buddy Eric expressed some interest in buying the build, but by the time I was done, I couldn't bear to see her go.

The prevailing aesthetic with this build was "over the top," as will quickly become apparent:I could've at least garnered an honorable mention in The First (and Last) Annual BSNYC/RTMS Cockpit of the Year Award for my adaptation of bark busters and cleverly aggressive jingoisms:
Solid Death Grips, complete with Grim Reaper:
Darth is a little more Asian than usual in this rendering, but that's okay:

Club Homeboy sticker is a repop. Someone's making $ on the logo, that's for sure. I don't think it's Lew, Andy, or Spike:
Onza cantilevers found at Re-Cyclery. Super-steroidal braking:
It's actually a Gangster, not a Langster:
I was always into the kooky shit Gonz would write on his grip tape in paint pen. After building this bike I had no choice but to write I Name You Destroyer on the top tube, after the Jucifer album. If I were more creative I suppose I'd have come up with something on my own:
T.H.E. fenders front and rear. Seat is a Sella San Marco I picked up new at a garage sale for $10:
The "One Less Car" thing is only saved by the fact it's a Dirt Rag sticker. And the "bitch," of course. The thing is, it's only true as a technicality--by the letter of the law and not the spirit. I have ten bikes...if I had a car for every bike, that'd be out of hand:
Best chain tensioners ever:
I don't give a fuck!:
This sticker John put on is like a Leatherface version of the Spitfire logo:
There's an Old Man Army sticker under there:
Funn stem and downhill bars. Had to use hose clamps to attach the bark busters, since the bar is 31.8mm.
Gravity cranks, Snap chainwheel, Liquor Bikes sticker:
Cut a Stranger sticker around the Specialized "L" to make "Strangler":
Had to change out the Langster fork for a fork with canti mounts, as I wanted to run the fender, which mounts to a star nut on the bottom of the steer tube--i.e. it wouldn't work with a through-bolt brake. This fork is an exercise in sheer terror. It's the skeeviest thin-walled aluminum and the axle is raked out further than on the stock fork. Combine this with an overly powerful brake, a brake lever with a crazy amount of leverage, and a 225 pound fat ass, and you've got a fork that shimmies wildly from front to back when the brakes are used aggressively. I'm talking the axle position oscillating front to back about 3/4" until you let the brake off. This thing is just begging for a catastrophic failure. I'm not, however--going to replace it with a Kona Project 2 a.s.a.p. Steel is real.
The bike and the rider aren't nearly as important as the stickers:
Think of them as cow catchers for pedestrians:
Damned straight:
Am I evil? Yes I am.
Well, for those of you who've stuck around til the end (once again: Hi Mom!), I commend your intestinal fortitude. Endeavor to persevere. I'll close it out with some random photos.

Hunter, also known as Forest Ranger, lounging hard:
Ghostface Killah:
Gay Frat Boys. What are the chances? All that tight brotherhood and ass paddling...
This is rumored to be an actual Twist tag, right there in the humble bathroom of my work:
Rocking horse winner:
That is one sassy pickle:
This is completely true, if you're Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
When the lights go down in the City-ayyyy:

Burns is always going to be a favorite. Pure destruction. Extra boner moments include the nothing to footplant and the half cab onto the roof while the cops are watching:

But Tony couldn't fly; Tony died.

Well, fuck. It's late. Real late, to the tune of being early. It's time to: