Hermosa wallride

The first time I stumbled across this Hermosa Beach wall ride (circa 2000ish), I was staying at the Hermosa Hotel on PCH for a Soul Bowl comp. I recognized it immediately from old magazines, including this BMX Action cover with R.L. Osborn from 1988. Today, it’s a cable company, someone recently quick-creted the approach, and I do Bikram Yoga across the street from it.

Torrance wallride

I remember drooling over this photo of S&M Bikes owner Chris Moeller when I was first getting into BMX. It later ended up in the Freestylin’ book that was released in 2008. After I moved to the South Bay a few years ago, I started noticing all of these vaguely familiar street spots that I had never ridden before. The reason was I remembered them from the pages of Freestylin’ and BMX Action magazines, which was based in Torrance. I’ve been kinda bored so I figured I’d go back to those spots and connect the past with the present, and occasionally document the fact that I’m surrounded by spots that shaped my childhood and teenage years.

An argument for BMX sweatpants

Subrosa Bike Company, the brainchild of Ryan Sher and Ron Bonner, the one-time producer of limited edition purple jeans under The Shadow Conspiracy name, have recently released a new limited edition item: sweatpants, complete with the Subrosa logo screened down the one leg of the sweatpants. While my quick reaction could have been, “Be honest Brian, you hate these as much as the limited edition purple jeans from a few years back,” I chose to look deeper into myself and remember all of the ways in which I’ve benefited from sweatpants, and why, at the end of the day, sweatpants aren’t such a bad thing for a bike company to produce. Continue reading

An open letter to pretzels:

(I had been noticing a lot of “Open letters to:” lately and realized that I’ve never really paid my respects to pretzels. That changed today.)

You come to me, twisted and baked from wheat flour and malt syrup. Your salt glistens, and those of you unfortunately located at the bottom of the bag break apart from their formed shape. They are renegades, unassuming and innocent, but I cannot turn away from them. Continue reading

Self Defense Family ‘Try Me’

The brand of irreverence I’ve come to identify with the upstate New York band now known as Self Defense Family is not something typically found in the genre of music in which they exist. In many ways, they could be up their own asses about self righteousness, instilling rules on their listeners, and all of the other bullshit that comes with listening to emotionally tinged modern day hardcore music.

Instead, they laugh at themselves, they position themselves as politically incorrect and they generally don’t give two fucks about anything that anybody says about them. They could’ve sorely been used in 1995, when backdoor rules and conjecture on the pages of zines with circulation rates of 50 mattered, but it’s more a wonder that they exude their brand of no fucks given in a time when everyone has the voice to give a fuck. Continue reading

SMP clip

April 26, 2012 was a rough day. The day before, I had to make the difficult decision to relieve my cat Goose of his misery. I’ve been through this story and I don’t wish to revisit it right now. The following day, I boarded a plane for Shanghai, China and tried in vain to put the previous month’s hardships behind me. That meant riding the streets of Shanghai with some friends, eventually ending up at the SMP Skatepark on the outskirts of town. Continue reading

Death of a landlord

I am going to tell you a story about last Monday: I just moved into a new house a few days prior, and my new landlord had a building inspector come in to the place while I was at work. She locked the doors on her way out but forgot to leave me the new keys when I arrived home last Monday night. I knocked on her door, she answered but seemed very ill, too weak to stand but still trying to help me find the right keys. None of the keys worked, so I climbed into new house via a window into the living room, plunging headfirst to the floor. When I got up, I unlocked the front door, walked back to my landlord and helped her get to bed. I asked if she was okay and if she needed a doctor, she said no. I let her know that she could call me if she needed anything, and got on with the night. Continue reading