Saturday, January 29, 2011

Blood, Semen, and 35% Meat

Well, it looks like the weather's turned to shit again. It was tits for while here in the city, which was surprising, being only the end of January. Even went on a mini picnic with the better half a couple days ago.

Picnic time with the Minutemen is a happy time.
But as rad as the Minutemen were, they were nothing compared to the feline hardcore powerhouse of Cat Flag:
Haven't been riding a whole lot lately--just to work and back, all of 7 blocks each way. My back is roached lately. It's been crapper ass ever since I drove a cab, and I've officially blown it out twice--once pulling up for a wallride, and once practicing gates at the track. This time, though, it just dipped into the ouch bag all of it's own accord--from the steady lower back ache to, "Oh shit, if I move barely the wrong way...Shit! There it goes again."

Sucks, because I missed V-dogg's birthday celebration at Lake Cunningham. Even if I wasn't riding, it would've been a good time to snap some photos, as can be seen by this picture I poached from Josh Klavir of a certain Ryan Nyquist, x-ed up about 8 or 10 feet out.
I suppose it's a good thing I didn't show--I hate making the youngsters feel inadequate--I usually get 12 feet out of that bowl.

Speaking of showing up the youngsters, Vince Dogg is fuckin' 46 and is still tearing it up. Here's a shot of a newly learned barspin flyout:
Here's a shot of Vince gettin' all Hoffman-ed out in 1985:
Happy Birthday, V-dogg. Many happy returns.

Speaking of back in the day, here's a shot of my old pal Joel throwin' down a Bert in a Fremont ditch when we were in high school. Joel still kills it as well. Despite the fact that he used to ride Tracker Ultralights, he's always been radder than me.
Photo by Adam Mackintosh
After years of extensive study, doctors at Johns Hopkins have discovered that radness may indeed begin in the womb:
And what better way to nurture that radness than a set of knitted Star Wars characters:Lucy Ravenscar not only has an awesome name, but she's hell on knittin' one and pearlin' two. Chewie has to be my favorite:
Though Sammi Resendes has done some amazing work herself, including this super hot--in a crochet kind of way--slave girl Leia. Jabba the hut really knows his dirty outfits, huh?In terms of cool shit on the interwebs, however, you'll have to check out my friend Hyper D's blog, Datajunkie. Lately he's been into saucy sado-machismo-chistic Mexican fotonovellas like Namur:
If you want to see the whole sensacional aventura completa, plus all kinds of digitized pulp from risque alternate yesteryears, you can spend days wigging out on Datajunkie.

Speaking of the internets, Ron Wilkerson, freestyle innovator and all around good guy, has shaken things up at the dusty 2-Hip site, treating it to a redesign plus a new blog, The Hit. In addition to having a penchant for Crocodile Dundee style hats, Ron has come up with a whole line of 2-Hip parts: pedals, sprockets, and a new version of the much-slagged Groovetech system
which looks pretty good.

Best news from 2-Hip by far, at least from my angle, is hooking Tim Knoll up on the flow team. Tim released two of the most mind-melting BMX videos ev-ah last year, including this one with an 8-bit version of War Pigs:

Tim is from Wisconsin and it's a complete understatement to say he has a style all his own. On the one hand, his upside down stuff reminds me of old school CW style cats Ceppie Mays and Dizz Hicks. (You'll recall that Dizz is "the master of upside down insanity. Tricks like the heavy metal maniac's Dizz Flip redefine the term 'radness.'")

On the other hand, his riding is so out there--a combination of flat, street, and gymnastics--that he makes you think he taught himself how to ride on a mountaintop in Tibet. Truly freestyle. I can appreciate your average over-talented kid who rides all day and dropped a web edit on thecomeup, but there's only so many nose manuals and rail variations to 180 I can watch on any given day. I can watch the two above clips every day and still get stoked to ride. Radness, once again redefined, without the added benefit of a BMX Plus! narrator.

Subrosa's Kyle Hart does some redefinin' his own damn self: rum-chugging, bum-jumpin', Misfits pumpin', rear peg grabbin', vert footplantin' stylee:

Finally, everyone over the age of, say, 30, should check out Plus Size BMX/Old Guys Who Ride. Hot action from the geriatric set, including a lot of 24 and 26" wheeled nasty business. It'll either pump you up to ride, or make you feel even more feeble: "Wait, that guy's got 5 years on me and he's doing that?" (See the above pic of Vince).

Or, just take a look at this nice flattie photo of Coloradan Mark Brown I poached from OGWR:
Shralp hard, fellow members of the Geritol generation, shralp hard.

And speaking of shredding and hardness, not to mention Viagra milkshakes and Speedo tumescence, this guy right here is all about "the rippin' and the tearin'," even at his advanced age:

Rick is probably making a lot of fat old rich ladies (i.e. "wild women") very happy.

Remember donuts? The little neoprene grip jobbers that supposedly protected your hands from getting all worn out on the thumb and forefinger from the abrasive action of your rubber grip flange? They were about a sixteenth of an inch thick, and people would stack them up one at a time until they had the optimum amount of silly to go with their Dyno brake guard, checkered padset, and "knee bumper" handlebar pads.

Then Flite one-upped everyone and dropped Jumbo Donuts. I was thinking about the ad for them the other night--they basically took a well-known witticism about fucking fat chicks: "More cushion for heavy pushin!"--and used it to sell needless bike accessories to the parents of 12-year-olds nationwide.
Kudos to you, Flite, for making a generation of chubby chasers while simultaneously protecting them from the "rippin' and the tearin'" of thumb blisters. Their next ad featured the copy: "What do fat chicks, mopeds, and Flite Jumbo Donuts have in common?"

Not that rippin' and tearin' is always a bad thing, of course. You've seen the video, you've seen the dance--clearly it works for the Rickmeister. Rumored hermaphrodite Lady Gaga, of the Ace Frehley exploding nipple bra, has requested her new fragrance smell of blood and semen.
We can only hope she goes with Eau de Rippin' and Tearin' for the name. Once again, not a fan of her music, but a big fan of her weirdness.

Further news from the "stranger than fiction front" will be of special interest for those among us against the corporate harvesting of cows. This doesn't include me, of course--I can't really get to know my meat on a first name, micro-farmed basis, not being as rich as Alice Waters, you know. I'm from the Anthony Bourdain, "tastes like it died screaming" school of cheap hamburgers. The rest of y'all can breathe a little easier knowing that Pepsico is only using 35% beef in their "seasoned beef." The secret seasoning? Soybeans, wheat and oats, and things Alabama lawyer Dee Miles can't pronounce. If God didn't want us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them so tasty. The good news is, they only have to be 35% tasty for Taco Bell to serve 'em up. Maybe they can keep them alive and just cut off the unimportant bits for gorditas. "Try our seasoned beef--now made exclusively with tails and balls." And maybe stomachs, too--who really needs four fuckin' stomachs?

My fellow traveller through the unsavory side of the blogosphere, Stevil Kinevil, posted this photo of a B-47 using RATO, or Rocket Assisted Take-Off, in an entry about a week ago:
Being a bit of a plane geek, I dug around for videos of RATO take-offs, I found this expose on Operation Credible Sport:

Sometimes, things do not go as planned. Especially with rockets, it turns out. But don't worry, kids. As Andre Dubus said, "The times are never so bad." So why the long face?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

43 Resolutions

We can go ahead and admit it:
Something is terribly wrong here.
But it's no reason to get hasty about ending it all, kids.

When the culture devolves to the point of needing to be italicized or put in scare quotes--the culture, the "culture"...

When you can't hear the words through the shouting...

When the reportage of the moment becomes the moment...when we live to text about it, blog about it, IM about it, Facebook about it, Twitter about the point where we've forgotten what it was to begin with...

When I use more ellispses than Céline...

When the media eats its tail--it's tale--swallowing itself in a gastro-sexual mouthfuck ad infinitum...

Well, shit's just gotten a bit weird, that's all. Our obsessions are moving faster than we can keep up. Cultural relativism is passé, Chuck. It's been relative for awhile. Now it's all equally irrelevant.
[drawing by Adam Zyglis, from Politically Illustrated]
Seems our friend Jared Lee Loughner--symptom or disease?--had an eventful night before his murder spree, which included taking sexy photos of himself with his piece. Yep--picture tomorrow's rock star, Jared Lee instead of Jerry Lee, insecure gear tucked into a Republican red banana hammock, Glock 19 rubbing himself full of confidence to do the deed. Is that a high cap magazine in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? We really are a nation gun-fuckers, aren't we? As Frightwig so poignantly queried: "How come a missile looks like a cock?"

It's no wonder I've been looking into alternative realities in which to live. (Well--it's been existential malaise coupled with the fact that Laura and I are planning to get a place together and I realize my credit is absolute dumperschitz.)

Lately I've been fascinated by Kowloon Walled City. Originally set-up as a military outpost during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Walled City became, by the late 1800s, a squat of 700 people. From there it turned into the most densely populated place on earth, an urban "megablock" with 30-50,000 people living in a 6.5 acre area--smaller than your average city block, basically, with a population hundreds of times more dense than Hong Kong itself. It was torn down by the HK government in 1993-4.
Relatively few photos have been taken in the interior of the Walled City, among them is a book by Ian Lambot called City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon City, which sounds amazing but runs around $90, so I don't, as yet, own it.

In terms of video of the interior, that also seems sparsely available, there's some shaky but interesting hidden camera footage, Jean Claude Van Damme's film meisterwork, Bloodsport, and a German documentary from 1989 which is by far the most interesting look:

When I first started looking into the Walled City, it struck me that I'd visualized it already, in dystopian futures like Blade Runner and William Gibson stories. It's the logical conclusion, the ultimate urban future. I hate to sound like a nouveau Malthus, but have you ever heard of the world's population declining? When they pave over the last tree, this is what we'll have: a monument to our own importance eclipsing the sun. A hovel, a rat's nest Taj Mahal in which to cower in fear of ourselves. Twisted, like our logic.

Not that Kowloon itself was necessarily all that dystopian. Sure, it had its criminal element, but a world without cops can't be all that bad (at least it's worth experimenting in...) Gibson references Kowloon in a piece he wrote for Wired about Singapore called "Disneyland with the Death Penalty."

I'm also intrigued by Denmark's anarchist micro-country in the middle of Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania. A cop-free zone, the residents of Christiania handle their own shit. In an attempt to rid their town of heroin abuse in the 70s, some of the residents cooperated with police to drive the smack dealers out. The cops jerked them around and busted their hash connections instead, so the residents of "The Town" told the cops to fuck off, and, in 1979, launched the "Junk Blockade" and kicked the dealers out themselves.

DIY glass house in Christiania:
Don't worry--everyone is way too high to throw stones. Hash stand on "Pusher Street":
With hash bricks the size of Pop Tarts, I'm assuming this is a typical day in Freetown:
Freetown, like Slab City, was built on an closed military base. I hate to sound too much like a hippie twat, but wouldn't it be great if we could close all our military bases and make hash-head anarchist colonies on them?

Barring this, we can go the way of self help. We can, you know, bootstrap our way to the top of the heap, Horatio Alger style. Walk to school uphill, both ways, barefoot in the snow. Make New Year's Resolutions. I resolved to outdo myself this year and made 43. And, because I know you're fascinated by my soon-to-be remedied shortcomings, I shall present this list, with brief explanations when appropriate.

Enter, if you will, another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. Step into Door 43:
1. No overdrafts.

I've paid banks more than I've ever saved in my life, that's for sure.

2. Lose 20+ pounds.

When I graduated high school, I weighed 194 pounds. This went up to around 215 until, in 2004 or 5, I trained for a marathon and went down to 180 pounds. Now I am a lard ass. Chinese people poke my tummy and giggle.

3. Take a Photoshop class.

4. Read more.

5. Ride my bike from Portland to SF.

Hear that, Gabe?

6. Move in with Laura.

7. Straighten out finances.

Money openly laughs at me.

8. Start meditating again.

9. Be more aware of my computer and phone usage.

To wit: right now my girlfriend is lying in bed next to me groaning.

10. Cut back on alcohol intake.

Five nights a week working in a bar and drinking "only" 6 or 7 shots of Jameson a shift is starting to sound perfectly reasonable.

11. Save money.

See No. 7.

12. Start freelancing again.

Since the Guardian got it's cake, I'm wondering if I can eat it too. Well, maybe not so much.

13. Start writing fiction again.

Jesus, it's been awhile.

14. Travel.

Setting this one off next month in the desert.

15. Scatter my father's ashes.

I'm thinking of doing this in the mountains around Downieville: carrying them in a backpack on the trail and leaving them in the woods.

16. Catch a ten pound bass.

17. Photo show.

I've got a spot in mind I'm going to approach about hanging my photos.

18. Buckshot swag.

Shanti and I are working on marketing and promotions.

19. Start running again.


20. Bike shop on target.

I'm planning on opening a bike shop. Anyone want to invest?

21. Work less nights and spend more quality time with Dolly and Laura.

Which would entail getting some kind of day job. Would love to work in a bike shop, or, you know, writing something worth writing. Anyone?

22. Ride Downieville and Northstar at least five times each.

23. Shrimp and white wine.

24. Go camping a lot.

25. Go snowboarding.

26. Surfing lessons.

27. Skydiving.

28. More amusement parks with Dolly.

29. Meet Laura's mom.

30. Go to more Giants games.

We are the World Series champs, you know?

31. Ride skateparks more often.

When I was a kid we'd skate ditches all day. Now that there's million dollar parks in every podunk town, I hardly ride them.

32. Ride a backyard/hotel pool.

33. Ride Bootleg Canyon.

34. Let go of obsessive thought patterns.

You know, like making 43 fucking New Year's Resolutions.

35. XXX hits a day for Freak Magnet.

Not telling you the actual goal, for fear of not appearing, like, you know...popular.

36. Build/sell more custom bikes.

Do you need a bicycle? How come I'm not building it for you?

37. Spend more time with family and friends.

38. Get in shape.

I think I was pretty stoned when I came up with these. Laura and I were smoking weed and thinking of them, and clearly my shape was on my mind. (Round is a shape.)

39. People stop foolin'.

Don't pay that no nevermind.

40. Get more massages.


41. Go to more museums.

42. Read more philosophy.

43. Get Cannon on DVD.

The whole fuckin' thing. A Quinn Martin production, bitches!

Well, that was a mouthful. Things ain't all bad, I guess. Do you remember when Wellgo MG-1 magnesium pedals first came out? Them shits was like $100 a pair. Now they're $19.87 on the eBay. The future is now. Thanks Kowloon City! Or Taiwan at least.
And you can buy the titanium spindles separately.

What really counts in this new year is that you motherfuckers play it safe. No, really. Safety ain't no goddamned laughing matter:

I'll tell you who didn't play it safe--if only for reasons of a tenuous, forced transition between random videos. The motherfuckin' Z-Boys, that's who! And Larry Bertleman, who fuckin' shredded skateboards as well as surfboards. The Bert slide has to be my favorite skate move, and nobody does it like the man himself.

Sometimes I check the stats on this blog (see number 34) and see shit that makes me laugh. For instance, the search keywords that lead people to my site for completely random reasons, thus giving me the false confidence boost that can only come from, you know, "hella hits."
If you click on the above image, you'll find:

1. give not all the to don't stop

Almost the title of one of my blogs. Almost makes sense in English.

2. matt caughthran bald

Matt Caughtran is the singer of the Bronx, who I've posted photos of. Far as I know, he's always been bald, so this search seems to make no sense.

3. pictures of men in with jumbo or super-sized testicles.

Your guess is as good as mine.

4. scheiße

Also the name of a blog post, but somehow I don't think it's what the searcher was looking for.

And finally, before everyone is completely asleep, the random shots. These were all taken by me:
Any fuckin' time:
You never know when you'll need some:
Availability is the cause for much celebration:
Shoe manga sculpture at store on Haight. I forgot where...True maybe? They had a fuckin' DJ playing on a Sunday afternoon:Oh, is that a little girl peaking out the window?
Nope, it's the freakiest sculpture ever around the corner from my house:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fresh Rhymes for End Times

Birds are falling from the sky.
Shorelines the world over--from Arkansas to Maryland to Chicago all the way to Brazil--are foul with dead fish.
Of course, the internest is a buzzing with kooked out conspiracy theories ranging from HAARP to scalar radiation to chemtrails to UFOs to variations in the earth's magnetic field to early onset Apocalypse. Then again, the official reasons these things are happening are fairly, if not totally, lame. Why, the fish in the Chesapeake just got too doggone cold. Snapper in New Zealand ostensibly starved to death. The blackbirds in Arkansas were spooked by New Year's Eve fireworks and flew into things, dieing of blunt force trauma. Though, when hundreds of the same species of bird were found dead 300 miles away in Louisiana, that was, well, you know, we're not sure. Turtle doves in Italy died by the thousands because, heck--they were fuckin' hungry. Too hungry. Deadly hungry. Now there's even a Nor Cal die off in Sonoma County, apparently because they weren't nimble enough to avoid an 18 wheeler.

Even being an essentially level-headed skeptical type, these explanations bring about a certain my black ass reflex. I call shenanigans.

As if we don't already have enough signs of some kind of UFO-hoodoo-wrath-of-God-wrath-of-Khan-chemtrail-apocalypse-Mayan-2012-final-freakout, Ashton Kutcher is about to drop a new movie. And by "drop" I mean gingerly lay upon the unsuspecting world like a glistening new baby turd. And by "movie" I mean glistening new baby turd.

Wait'll you hear this: it's about a guy who has sex with his best friend, who's a hot girl and a doctor no less, and even though they mean to keep it "friends with benefits," it turns out they like--maybe even love?--each other.

The mind boggles. Seriously. Who could've come up with such an out there plot line for a romantic comedy? I can't even believe I absorbed all those intricacies in a mere 30 second TV spot. It's so revolutionary, I doubt anything remotely similar has ever even been thought of before, much less created by the magical dream factory called Hollywood.

And speaking of dreams, Jared Lee Loughner is a big fan of lucid dreaming:

And mind control through manipulation of grammar. And a "new currency." And really boring trip hop.

Oh, yeah, and shooting people at shopping centers, including members of Congress, federal judges, and 9-year-olds.

Yes, it's truly fortunate that we can always look to Arizona to be our land-locked island of sanity when shit gets weird. Because when a likely paranoid schizophrenic who'd been physically removed by the police from his community college no less than five times for shouting random shit like "How can you deny math?" aerates a few lefties--and future lefties--what can be a more logical response than heading down to the local Stop and Shoot and picking up that high quality Austrian piece he did all that fine work with? I guess American jobs count up to a point, but them Euros make better guns.

Who would've thought that a hero would rise amidst the habenero-dusted desert nuts of the "From My Dead Hands" state? Well, perhaps not a hero, per se, but someone with a little perspective, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik:

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

Of course, this kind of straight shooting from what appears to be a high cap mouth backed by a high power brain has got the pundits of our storied Democrazy gunning for him. Perhaps they'll consider a "target list" with crosshairs when he comes up for reelection?

At least Glenn Beck is all about keeping it sane, as evidenced by this screenshot my friend John Mav grabbed off of his site. (Really.)
We've got to stand together against violence. Unless Glenn shoots you first, in which case you should sit the fuck down.

My mom was born in Toronto. She's been a naturalized citizen for decades, but it's times like these that make me think of a reverse migration. How great would it be to live in a country that can care for its citizens' health needs while not instilling virulent, violent jingoistic claptrap in them via every available radiowave and TV station? When was the last time you heard a tubercular Canadian cough "Canada--Love It or Leave It!" into a megaphone? And who wouldn't love it? If they were the type of people given to shouting sound bites a more fitting slogan might be "Canada--Love It, It's Reasonable!" but a Canadian would likely rather tell you this with a handshake over a plate of gravy fries at White Spot.

Barring heading to the Great White North, what can the average American--scared witless but not shitless by the madness, underpants indicating a threat level brown--do to feel safe? Who can we turn to in our time of sadness, desperation, and confusion?

Why, who else but Phoenix Jones, Guardian of Seattle?

And, lest we forget, his cohorts in the Rain City Superhero movement, Red Dragon and Buster Doe:

"But I don't live in Seattle," I can already hear you lamenting as you're cornered by five drooling ass-rapers in a dark alley. Fear not, Citizen, as the RLSH (Real Life Super Hero--duh) movement, perhaps inspired by the film Kick Ass, is setting to set it off, a utopian era of idyllic good times, with the possible exception of it being really hard to score drugs or whores. There's even a website and registry, so head down to Sears a.s.a.p. and get some bitchin' bright-colored thermals. What could possibly go wrong?

Of course, these masked vigilantes claim to be interested in helping the local Polizei, but the jury seems to be out on that. I live in San Francisco, however, and the cops here obviously don't need any help. Why, just look at these dedicated law enforcers shoot a guy in a wheelchair.

Right in the groin, bitch!

I say "guy in a wheelchair," as opposed to "wheelchair-bound guy," because he apparently has no physical reason to be in a wheelchair, just a preference for rolling over walking, I guess. I must say, he holds onto this preference rather tenaciously, though, in that he doesn't get out of the chair until he's been pepper-sprayed, hit with a beanbag round from a shotgun, shot in the groin with a .40 cal bullet, and pulled out of the chair, at which point, he does in fact stand up. And, knowing a few SFPD officers myself, I don't want to steer you wrong by showing merely the video and not pointing you toward the original article it accompanied. Seems that Wheelchair Man (he's testing RLSH monikers) stabbed an officer in the shoulder and was, you know, throwing stuff. Like knives. Not sure how much of a knock-kneed, two left feet, bungling Mr. Bean Goes to the Academy cop you have to be to get stabbed by a guy in a wheelchair, but who knows--that part isn't on tape. Maybe he was standing and stabbing at that point. Seems you could just dodge the feebly thrown knife and tackle the guy--if he had a gun he probably wouldn't be throwing knives, right?--as opposed to firing at his junk (if the guy was actually paraplegic he wouldn't have felt it anyway), but SFPD are nothing if not thorough.

Being fully ambulatory myself, I feel extra safe in my city and the Bay Area in general, as cops around here don't usually waste bullets on people who aren't in wheelchairs or face down at the BART station.

Finally, before I head off to lucid dreams of my own, how about some insanity of a more festive variety? Around the corner from my spot is a house with a yard full of crap. Instead of planting rhododendrons or a lawn or a cactus garden, the owner of the house planted junk, and it has blossomed. I finally got around to taking pictures of his plastic menagerie.

The lady and I are embarking on a very dangerous mission called Operation: Bait and Switch. First, we're going to add elements of wonder (read: junk) to his display. Then, we're going to carefully replace certain objects with objects of similar or greater weirdness. All of this will be done in the dead of night and photographed, semi-surreptitiously, in the light of day. The photos that follow are therefore to be considered "before" shots, with the "after" shots to come, one installment at a time.

Phone graveyard:
Scared of that:
Because nothing says "property value" like a sink in the yard:
No one here but us plants:
And tiki baboons in construction helmets:
Et al:
Om nom nom:
Don't Fear the Reaper:
His sickle is for sore eyes only:
No parking. Doesn't say anything about "no dumping" though:
Saving Private Hobbyhorse:
Just ducky:
Well, that's pretty much it. Sorry things were so depressing and/or bizarre this go round. At least we can look forward to a bright future:

Times like these call for an increased dose of Everything is Terrible, that's for sure. But not to worry: although birds are dropping from the sky, fish are washing up dead on the beach, and lunatics are circumventing democracy with "Second Ammendment Solutions," the Republic must stand. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Seriously though, in the words of what could possibly be the best graffiti I've ever seen: