CONVERSION NOTICE: This is one of 250+ blogs that originally appeared on MySpace. I’ve done my best to represent it with as much historical accuracy as possible, but there are limitations. Read about it in the FAQ.
Current Mood: warm
First things first, the trip was a big success. We all had a lot of fun in Portland and Seattle, and the flight and logistics went off with almost no issues. I got to spend a lot of time with friends, and a little time poking around a new city. Portland is a nice town, and it was great to catch up with several friends I hadn’t seen in years. The hotel was cheap and very nice. The Wonder Ballroom was something like a big high school gymnasium. We got over 350 people out for that one, and there were plenty of fans singing and dancing along. We hit an all night Cajun restaurant afterwards. The next morning, we got lost in the industrial area of Portland near the bridges and inadvertently found Dunder-Mifflin, then had brunch with my old PeopleSoft friends, and then headed out to Seattle by car. Seattle is beautiful, and we were staying and playing right in the thick of it. Pike’s Market. Which I guess is sort of the Fisherman’s Wharf of Seattle. Lots of tourists. The hotel was expensive and tiny. But the show was fun… 650+ people in a venue not unlike a mini House Of Blues, all rocking out to covered Smiths/Moz, New Order, Depeche Mode, and Cure tunes. Wrestled and danced in the green room. Ended up at some ex-grunge hangout called The Hurricane. Ate greasy food. Woke up and headed to Bruce Lee’s cemetery on the way to the airport. Had we started with the NeverLost, then we probably would have never been lost. Once we found the place though, we had a very The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly moment of trying to search through the cemetery to find Bruce and Brandon’s graves. We did finally find them and pay our respects, and then it was off to the airport and home. Oh, and Paul’s new nickname is “The Balls.” I know I left a ton of the story out. Hopefully if/when the others read this, they can fill in the gaps.
But the big news for me personally is that this trip came and went without any major issues. It’s been a hard year, you know. But I wouldn’t change it. The obstacles that have challenged me have forced me to face and consider many things that I almost certainly would not have otherwise. If I had just lived the last year exactly as I have the previous ones, and not done all of this growing and exploring… well I’d feel sorry for that hypothetical me. I am so much better off now than I was a year ago. On a related subject, I highly recommend you take the 20 minutes to watch this lecture on perceived happiness. It has caused me to reconsider the way I approach many situations.
Out of nowhere, I got on this kick of thinking about old skateboard culture. For one hot minute back in the late 80’s, I was into skateboarding. I had a Schmitt Stixx Lucero X2 deck (similar to this one, only mine* was white and had custom hot pink grip tape). I remember being totally into decals at the time, and going to the skate shop on De Anza and picking up decals for brands of equipment and parts that I didn’t even understand. I just liked the designs, you know. I went looking on the web for this stuff and found some awesome sites dedicated to late 80’s skateboarding decals (Retro Skate Stickers) and decks (Wheel Bite, Skateboard Junkie). Going through those pages brought back so many memories. I see logos and designs and brand names I haven’t thought of in 20 years! Powell Peralta, Santa Cruz, Slimeballs, Independent Trucks, Nash, Jimmy’z, Rob Roskopp, T&C Surf (remember their yin-yang logo, cartoon t-shirts, and even Nintendo game?), Vision, Sims, etc. Too many to name. And then the clothing lines like Maui and Sons and Gotcha, shoes like Vans and Airwalks. All this stuff I remember being popular in my neighborhood during my short skating career. Ah well, memories. I feel at least Starla and Jonah would appreciate all that.
* An interesting story about my Lucero… so I never really got good at skating. I think I was always too afraid of injury. But I still had fun with it. Back in San Jose, I used to take it up to the local 7-Eleven with my friend Olin to play their arcade games — Double Dragon and the like. I guess I left my board out in front next to his bike while we were in there one evening, and when we came out, someone had run off with it. I think Dad and I drove around looking for it that night, but it was no use. A few weeks later, my friend Jonah and his big brother and their dad were coming out of a movie theater across town (the Town & Country which used to be where Santana Row sits now). They saw some teenage kid with a distinctive white Lucero and hot pink grip tape. Jonah recognized it as mine and alerted his dad… who then confronted the scared-shitless teen on the spot and got my board back! Do you believe that!? I love that story.
So that all brings me to my philosophical dilemma. Checking out that skateboard sticker site, I see a bunch of the decals I used to love. In fact, I just ordered a vintage Slimeballs decal (always one of my faves) for about $20. They don’t make them anymore. It’s a 20-year-old sticker that someone has managed to keep pristine for decades. Is it wrong to use it? My first inclination is that it’s an antique and shouldn’t be wasted on my pedalboard case. It should be preserved and cared for. But my new “shedding materialism” side says that we’ll all be dust soon anyway, and this sticker was created with the purpose of being stuck on something. It will bring me and my friends more joy to occasionally see it on my pedalboard case and think about our youth than it ever would bring anyone just sitting in a drawer somewhere. Preserving it for the future is meaningless and futile. It only becomes valuable when it is used and brings joy and it fulfills its destiny. And on that note, I picked up a Garbage Pail Kid sticker too. Tell me, is it wrong to use these stickers, knowing that by doing so, they will eventually be scuffed and worn away over time, lost forever? These stickers which are among the last of their kind. Do I have a responsibility to protect them from harm… and use?
The other day in the FiDi, I saw this slick-looking black guy in front of my building, brightly colored suit, pressed straight hair, a few gold teeth. He was stopping people on the street and opening his jacket to reveal the jewelry he was selling. I think I actually laughed out loud. Could you be more of a cliché? Do you not know that you are an extra in a 1980’s Eddie Murphy movie set in New York City? I mean, you might as well be a burglar running around in a striped shirt and a mask.
“The odds are a million-to-one against your being one in a million.”