Over time my views may have changed or not, older ones are at the bottom, newest at the top. I'd apologize for spelling and grammatical errors but the ideas are flawed just like the writer. Read at your own peril!

Death of a 1000 Cuts

    Címon man, canít I have it for less? Can you give it to me for less? For less. Give it to me for less. Can you do better? Better, for me? Can we do better? A better price? Give me the best price. Give me the bro deal. Give me the good guy price. What is the best you can do? The best price. Is that the best price? Are you sure you canít do better? What is your last price? For less? No less? Give it to me for less, I want it for less, canít you do it for less? Less. Less? Címon man. Címon bro. Címon man. For me. For me man. For me bro. Make me a deal. Give me a package deal. Give me a group price. Make the best deal you can. Give me a deal. You call that a deal? A deal. A deal man. A better deal. A deal for me? Just me? Just me man. Just give me a deal. What if I buy two? Iíd buy two at this price. For this price, Iíd do it. This price. No more. This much. This much, man. How about this much? Only this much. The best deal. Iíll tell people about you. Iíll come back. Iíll buy other things. Iím trying to help you. Just for me man, help me out. I come in here all the time. I tell my friends about you. Iíll tell everyone about you. Help me out. I only have this much. Help me out man, I donít have a lot of money. I need money for food. It is for my kid. Do it for the kid. For the kid man, do it for the kid. I need it man. I need it. I really need some help. Canít you help me? Help me out man. Help me, can you? Iím going though hard times. Life is hard. Iím having some hard times. Hard luck. Hard luck man. Iím poor. I have no money. No money man. Iíve been here before. Itís only 5 bucks. 5 bucks less. Just 5 bucks. You wonít do it for 5 bucks less? 5 bucks. Only 5 bucks. 5 bucks. 5 bucksÖ

 

No.

            If 6 people come in a day and I give Ĺ of them 5 bucks off that is 15 a day, 105 a week, 420 a month, 5,040 a year. Does not seem like much in small increments, but it quickly adds up. It could add up to being out of business. It could be the difference between making rent and bills in the slow months and having enough to carry one over when the season is at its high point. One often forgets all the things youíre getting for free; a quick tightening of a seat or stem, a shot of air or a little spray lube. Some good cheer or advice and countless stories of cycling adventures; the shared oral tradition of our culture. Or sometimes just some familiar faces you can vent to as life invariably beats you down from time to time. These things keep you going and while have no monetary cost, they are near priceless. A small cut, many, many times over will equal a death. So no, man. No bro. No less man. No less bro. Sorry, man, Iím closing. Going out of business bro, no more man. At the time 5 bucks seems like nothing but it is everything, only one hole needed to sink a ship and everyone with their hand out each making a tiny hole, the aggregate of those holes mean sinking to the bottom. While one would never dream of haggling for gas or food, or going to some corporate megalith and negotiating prices at a Best Buy, at a small independent business the fangs come out. Would you haggle over a head of lettuce for an hour at Ralphs? No, you would not even dream of it. One knows that big business does not need you, does small business? At the time you may feel that youíre getting one over on someone but the next time you go back there to chisel that guy for a few bucks less youíll be surprised that they are no longer open for business. One small cut at a time, another cut, and another, and before you know it, youíre hemorrhaging to death. So the next time you have to pay for something from a small place know that grinding them means soon enough they will be ground down to a nub. Soon the good service you got and accessibility to people that were passionate about their craft will be gone, gone for the sum of 5 dollars. Only 5 bucks man, just 5 bucksÖ

 

Mediocre is the New Awesome

The battle to the top ensued, Tony and myself on single speed mountain bikes standing up in the saddle, pushing hard. For a time we were taking turns being in the front as when you have two people riding trails, it is always a race. As the steepness of the accent wore on, I managed to pull ahead and over the course of several miles putting Tony out of my rear view. It was one of many battles weíd fought. I sat down against a guardrail and saw the black spec in the distance slowly take form into Tonyís sweating countenance. ďYou beast!Ē he said and plopped down next to me. We rested, a battle hard fought. In the distance we saw another cyclist. He came up to us and as we saw him we just shut down. Wearing a bright yellow lycra jersey with his belly distended as if he was in his third trimester, wearing sandals, he began to talk about the view. A view he did not earn. Why? Because he was on an e-bike. A e-bike is a bicycle that has an electric motor on it, some are with a throttle like a motorcycle, some are pedal assist. We just looked at him with a small level of disgust. The tops of peaks and the great views that come with them were only accessible for those that took the time to earn it, now any choad on an e-bike could get what we had worked for so hard for with the simple twist of his wrist. This has been the ever-encroaching problem: the collective lowering of the bar. E-bikes are just a symptom of people trying to get the Cliff-Notes on life. They want the experience but are not willing to do the work to get it. This is not an elitist attitude I have; I just think things should be earned.  Some things like having the physical prowess to ride a bike to the top of a mountain takes hours of hard work and dedication so the reward is by its nature only for the few. Few people will do what it takes to get to these hard places; few will put in the work. If anyone can do something where is the sense of accomplishment? Earning things seems to be a lost art. As the old fable goes on about no one willing to bake the bread and everyone willing to eat it, we are now at a point where we are nothing but bread eaters and all quick to critique its taste. Over a span of a few decades the total pussyification of America has taken place. We have went from a manufacturing based economy to a service based economy. Where once we had a machine shop on every corner, we now have a Starbucks on every corner. When your Grandfather or Father used to rebuild an engine or make a rocking chair in their garage, we now wait in a drive-through for coffee. With convenience comes the eventual attitude that while this one thing is easy, all things should be easy too. If one can get a coffee and never leave their car then other things in life can also be done with relative ease and comfort. So much of our collective strength and willingness to do things has been eroded to a nub simply for the sake of being convenient. Once you get to that point, it is hard to go back to anything less.  I see people going from an air-conditioned house to an air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned office to work all day. Then to take a lunch break in an air-conditioned restaurant via your air-conditioned car, back to more climate controlled environments and then to plop yourself on the couch when you get home to sit and do nothing. I laugh when someone comes into work and tells me that is it hot. It is not hot, not that hot, you have just made yourself into a pussy. You have simply become unused to what us lowly plebs have to deal with everyday, this thing called ďweatherĒ.  All the great human qualities one can have are eschewed for the cause of comfort. Being comfortable turns into comfortable complacency where comfort is not a treat or a reward but the norm. An example: Your Grandmother was able to parallel park an old car from the 50ís or 60ís, some big boat of a car  WITHOUT power steering just with the strength of her spry little Grandma arms and her wits, no problem. All day. This was the norm. As power steering came into play in lower end models of automobiles, power steering became the norm. It made things easier but also made us collectively weaker as no one could be expected to wield such an archaic beast now with back up cameras and what not abound, in essence your Grandma is 10 times the badass you could ever hope to be. So is this convenience progress? Or are we lowering of the bar, standing back and patting ourselves on that back calling it an improvement?  While something becomes easier, you loose the strength and resolve to do a given thing. I do not posses climate control, I have a fan and a space heater for when I sleep but that is all. I have these things called coats for when it gets cold and t-shirts and cut-offs for when it is hot. Over time one gets used to it and my mind can go towards other things besides focusing on my discomfort because as a result of eschewing a life-style of ease and comfort I generally am not. To embrace the ethos totally I avoid a few items that would call ďitems of capitulationĒ.  In addition to air-conditioning there are things that are tokens of what Iíd like to call ďthe leisure-classĒ. Filp-flops are not shoes; you are not ready for adventure or action. If you see a stalled car you canít help push because your footwear says ďIím ready to sit downĒ more than ďIím ready for anythingĒ. While not a hard rule, I have noticed that people that default to flip flops are the first to look for ways to do less and when working the first to complain that they have to do something instead of what they would like to do, which is nothing. Flip flops are the foot wear of the slacker. The next thing is the couch. I do not own a couch. As detailed many moons ago in CHR #15, the couch is the natural habitat of the hippy just as wet damp places are home to cockroaches, a couch is home to someone that is unwilling to do what it takes to have their own place. So no couches. All a couch is a place to sit, usually in front of a television so you can join in the favorite pastime of most Americans; sitting and doing nothing. Watching TV is not an activity, it is passive entertainment. Passive entertainment is where one has to do nothing to be involved. While reading a book requires one to focus and think to absorb what one is reading, watching TV requires that you simply have a pulse. I could fill pages with the things you could do instead of watching television, the point is this quasi-activity is what people call something to do now. The bar is so very low. I was asked once why I donít have a TV and my response was to the effect when you are at the end of your life and you have things undone they will be things like you did not take enough risks or did not put forth enough love etc. but it will never be that you failed to watch every episode of LOST.  Instead of watching others live or play at living, you to could go outside your door and live too, all it takes is one step. The television is the godhead of the leisure class. While I donít believe in Thor or Baal or any other god for that matter, I refuse to believe in this new Techno-God and the mindless ramblings of itís worshipers telling me about what they ďsawĒ last night. To value comfort, one has to experience discomfort and how are you going to value a cool breeze if you have not worked up a sweat?  There is a fine line between a world of ease to an attitude of entitlement. While one may never break a sweat again, what youíve gained in ease and comfort youíve lost in the ability to deal with problems, adversity, and seeing the long game. I see little difference in a spoiled brat of 10 years of age and a 45 year old version of that same brat that always got things with minimal effort, never learning the value of really working for something. Instead of rising to challenges, we go the other way and lower the bar. We play video games where we can get a small cookie of achievement instead or really doing something real, it is easy to get caught in the trap. Are the ďlevelsĒ going to amount to anything? Time spent conquering digital worlds could be better spent conquering things in life. The path of least resistance is well-paved and it takes you nowhere. While looking for a corner to cut and to get the sense of finishing things you cheapen what ever it youíre doing. When you get to the top of the mountain on your e-bike, you still did not get to the top of the mountain, the e-bike did. Instead of playing the excuse card, play the solution card. By lying to oneself in this fashion you do yourself a great disservice, nothing you have is real nor really earned what little you can call an achievement is hallow at best. Before you know it youíre doing something absurd like taking pictures of your food and sharing it with people, I mean youíd never stoop that low right? It has gotten that low, technology is part to blame but no one makes you take pictures of your food or pictures of yourself, it is a choice, a choice to tell the world what a waste of space you really are. If you were not sure if someone you know is a loser, all you need to do is look at their Instagram feed and get irrefutable proof. Feeding into peopleís narcissism via easy access technology is ram-rodding the bar ever lower and lower. The main problem with this low-echelon self-aggrandizing action is it takes the place of real achievement. Instead of trying to better one self or do something that is truly constructive with oneís time you are ďpostingĒ a picture of something like a burrito or another ďselfieĒ and getting the false sense of accomplishment. Sure, you did something but something so meaningless an inconsequential in the world that youíd do better being cut up and your internal organs being given to others that arenít busy cataloging their dietary choices. I remember when I found out what a selfie was; it was cursed knowledge like seeing your Grandparents naked, never unknown and worse for the knowing. People fall into the trap of chasing the approval of strangers via ďlikesĒ instead of directing oneís energies towards useful goals, tricking themselves into thinking that this approval is a goal or worth having but it is not. Cultivating this idea is lowering the bar ever lower and lower, making mediocre the new awesome or making the prosaic a point of interest.

There is too much sharing. I donít want to know what you had for lunch; I donít want to know what youíre ďgoingĒ to do. There is too much talking about things and so very little of doing of things. I bring this up because instead of figuring things out and problem-solving we are just jerking each other off talking about it. The pit-fall of easy access to others is we look to others to help us before relying on oneís own strength and resourcefulness to right oneís ship. The ugly head of the problem becomes manifest via technology in the form called Crowd-Funding. All Crowd-Funding is in reality is yuppie begging. If you live in a big city you get numb to the vast throngs of homeless begging change, but because one has an I (for idiot) phone it is ok for you to make bad choices or half-baked ideas and hold your hand out. A cardboard sign is exchanged for an electronic one, I donít see any difference. If you have an idea for a product and you lack the disciple to save enough money to develop your idea you will not have what it takes to bring that idea to market and make it hold water. A lot of bad ideas are out there and selling because who ever made them understands that is takes more than an idea to make something successful. Few grasp all the steps. I make my own bike parts as an example; I make a stem, the thing that holds the handle bar. I had a guy that wanted to buy the pieces so he could weld it himself (he did not know how to weld). He wanted it for less (of course). No. I told him he would have to machine the shaft, machine the base, and machine the clamps. Then get the hardware for the shaft and clamps from two different places. Have the clamps anodized at one place and have the base nickel plated somewhere else. How much he asked, well more than Iím selling it for. I make 50 or 100 at a time and get a price but the price for one? Much more. Plus you need all the tools, fixtures and loads of running around to make it happen; of course you donít see that part of the equation, no one does. Did he make some himself? Well, of course not but like most people he had to learn the hard way. Running a business is lots of very small, very hard steps that will seem like they go nowhere, just because you can go on Kickstarter does not mean you grasp what those steps mean. You are saying fund my bread but I have no idea on how to make it, in fact I donít even have a kitchen nor the utensils to begin but give me money anyway. I speak from experience being a small business owner for many years. The other day I began work at 5:30 am and was not done till 11:30 pm. Not all days are like that but many are, and that is exactly what it takes to just keep it going. It does not get lighter in the load one carries you just get used to the burden. So you want to go on the internet and beg? To hell with you. I have this friend who was one of my all time favorite people in this world and then I got the e-mail. She had bought a piece of property and needed money to build a fence. So, you over-extended yourself and now look to others to reward you for your bad judgment? The sheer arrogance of the idea was shocking at best. Should I send here some markers and cardboard so she can go beg on a corner? Is it not the same thing? Yes, it is.  Because people can reach out and ask for money because they have painted themselves in a corner does not mean they deserve it. By giving into these conduits, you are rewarding bad behavior. What about all the people who worked hard, scrimped and save to attain their dreams are they in effect being punished for doing their due diligence? Total lack of accountability for oneís actions is what is going on. Take your electronic cardboard sign and go stick it. A little pride in achievement and a sense of self worth seems to be fleeting. People are confusing choices with ďmovementsĒ. The last real true movements in our society were the Civil Rights movement of the mid-late sixties and the small, violent movements of the early 1970ís i.e. The Weathermen, SLA, etc. Participation in ďNo Shave NovemberĒ is a choice, not a movement, a simple prosaic choice not to shave. You are doing nothing. A choice not to buy a thing or have an afro or to read a book instead of looking at your cell phone while taking a walk is not a movement; it is not action, not rad. How the American public has been so soundly duped into thinking a consumptive choice has value, in which it is poignant, that it matters when it does not, does not in any way affect anything at all what-so-ever. Are you altering the social fabric at all by not dragging a razor across your face for a month? Movements cause vast social upheaval and change, your maker movement or No Shave November change nothing. Stop fooling yourself into thinking that youíre doing anything that matters in that regard. A willingness to raise the bar, to strive and to earn things has leaked through the cracks of the weak foundation of the American work-ethic. I canít save anyone nor would I try but I will look towards myself before looking to others, I will seek solutions in myself before I ask for help, I will help myself first.

 

Laying down one's Sword.

One day you look around you and youíre all alone. Everyone you know is dead, well, they are different, not that same as they used to be. The person they thought they were is dead. Through life we have three versions of ourselves: The real you, the projected you, and the person you can become. The third is the hardest to be as it requires the destruction of the first two or a melding before the third can be a reality. The real you is unknown even to oneís self, the hidden you that will only come out when things are at their worst or their very best. How do you react to armed robbers? Only the real you knows the answer. Won the lottery, do you ditch your friends or be ďrealĒ? Well once again only the real you really knows the truth. The projected you is what youíd like others to see, most of which for most people is a face or a total lie. Being ďrealĒ is only for the brave but when everyone else is being phony youíre just going along with it right? Weak.  If one can be the person they want to be in thought and deed well then youíd really be somewhere right? This sort of person is a true individual; they can change but only for the better in most cases. This sort of person is rare. They donít give up on themselves, they grow if they can and learn from their mistakes if they can, this is a form of strength. We can lob up some platitudes about change here but what I really think is people give up on themselves and develop ambivalent attitudes about things in life. Do you become old because you give up on things or become old because you gave up on yourself? When you stop caring it shows. No longer care about your body? Being ambivalent about your heath will be obvious in bigger and bigger yoga pants, no one needs to see that. Ambivalent about money? That is why youíre broke, son. Yes, it matters. Some things in life one should respect enough to know if you donít care then they will incur easily avoidable problems down the road. Giving a shit about your fitness and wallet only benefits you and everyone you interact with. If you embrace this attitude when youíre young and keep at it, life will be just that much easier. When youíre young the world has not taken any swings at you, as you get older we all get beat up, that is part of life. I feel that people take a beating and become subdued and fail to live out their dreams or stop tying. If asked, could you even articulate what you believe? I had to think about it too, the answer did not come easy. I like to be an idealist and thus strive for ideals no matter what others may say. Everything you see in this world, every piece of technology, every idea or way of thinking was once and ideal, a thought in someoneís head. So I hang on to an idea no matter what. The way I look at it once you give in, itís over. How many holes does it take to sink a ship? Just one my friend. I had someone try and get me to give him a quote for a stolen bike to be valued at 300 dollars, I said I would not do it because it was not worth 300 dollars. He just did not understand. Just because the guy who took the bike is a criminal and the insurance industry is peopled with criminals does not mean I also have to practice dishonesty. At the end of the day I really need to not hate my own guts that much and this is a very hard thing for me to do, so no bogus assessment. Iím not perpetuating the throwing of oneís moral compass in the junk drawer, not giving in just because it is the easy thing to do. I deal with this sort of thing often, Iím not lording my choices over others, Iím not better than anyone, but I have to be ok with the choices I do make, snarls of disapproval not withstanding. People capitulate, they give in, and they take the easy path.  They ďsettle downĒ all that means is youíre laying down your sword, youíve quit trying thatís all. It makes me wonder if the people you know are who they espouse themselves to be or were just fooling themselves all along? Well, I was fooled.  People pine for simpler times, this is a myth. You were simply not aware or were living with your parents still. You canít go back; the past is an adulterated memory that has been deemed to be better in the minds eye from the jaundiced view of your fallible memory. So why not do better now? Even if you could go back it would not be the same, you have been altered by life experience. Hanging on to the past is a jip, you only moor yourself to unchangeable, immutable things or events that will never change no matter how hard you think about it. Knowing that the past can only ruin the now will help unfurl the sails of your lifeís ship. Time to move on, and youíre not going to grasp that At 18 or 23 years of age even if Iím telling it to you now. One needs to learn lifeís lessons on their own, the hard way, thus I have no wisdom to impart on anyone.  How many of us really know ourselves? I know people like to put themselves in a good light and think that they are a certain way but reality is we are generally much weaker then we think we are. Over time the veneer slips and there you are looking at a floral print in your debt box (house) while all the cool stuff you have is in cardboard boxes in the garage and your aborted project in on craigslist. Being an individual is hard; knowing oneís self is even harder. Most of us spend the first 30 years of our life trying to be an ideal and suddenly we throw in the towel. You wake up one day and say: ďI think I just want to be a douche now, I want to be boring.Ē The version of you 10 years prior would never thought it could happen, but then again you were much closer to the herd than you ever realized. Being an individual and being true to oneself is the most lonely road one can take. It is a hard road where you are constantly assailed by criticisms form everyone around you, it never ends. Everyone is trying to break you, family and friends will assail you again and again trying to erode the fortress of the individual. They will scorn you, try and shame you, hen peck you again, looking for weakness to exploit. Why? I think those that have given in resent that you have not, so they try and take you down a peg. Rugged individualism that once was pervasive in our society has given way to the culture of narcissistic appeasement.  Happiness and contentment lie in the comfort of the herd, to deviate means ruination and misery, this is what they like you to believe that is. Most people just look at you and shake their heads in confusion or disapproval. Everyone wants you to cave in and share their misery that comes with conforming.  I see normal people all the time and they donít seem to have a better grasp on life than anyone else, in fact they look scared, that some cruel joke has been played on them. If they figure it out, sorry, itís too late. So it comes down to fear, to stand alone is to not be afraid. Many are afraid of being hurt, so they hide their hearts. To love is to be strong. To love means you expose all your weaknesses, you are vulnerable to great harm. To fear your own weakness is to be afraid, to charge into the fray without fear is only for the strong. I have entered the fray without fear each time and each time I have been near mortally wounded, but one can recover. So to hide your heart is for the weak and to love means you have a heart to share and perhaps to break but unlike many at least you have a heart, this makes you one of the strong for to love is one of the greatest strengths one can possess. This can also make you alone as most are afraid.  Fear of aloneness, fear of not being accepted makes people give up the things in life they once held in high regard. Itís too bad you sold that classic car to appease your girl, nowís sheís gone and so is the car. Trading parts of your life away for comfort is a raw bargain. Once you start capitulating before you know it youíre looking  through IKEA catalogs looking forward to your ďshowsĒ, well itís a life but not the one you envisioned for yourself huh? I guess I should not be so mean; someone has to watch that shit right? No. Just go kill yourself now and stop taking up space. It is hard to tell how happy one is because happiness cannot be measured, nor is it a popularity contest where you get ďlikesĒ and that translates into happy points. Happiness is non-refundable, non-redeemable, if youíre rad, you can transfer it but few can accept the transfer, they lack the ďFunpalĒ account.  Few survive the battle, most become capitulators, Suzy Normal. Fewer still hold on, out of those most are destroyed as the fringe is a ragged edge and cuts everything in its path. Iíve seen some many give in and seen some get torn to bits in the carnage as they try to hang on to themselves. People like to talk about being strong but few go out on their shields, most falter. They like their mouths, the mouth is the font where can be heard the bugle sound of the fool. In other words, shut up.

 

You Loser!

You hear that a lot, so and so is a loser. Usually everyone else is a loser but the person saying it. But what is a loser really? You know the type, the talented person that could not get their life together. For brief moments they had stability and were productive, making art or just being charismatic. However invariably so they slide back into drugs/booze/violence or just not giving a shit. Everyone goes to their aid to help them get on their feet and itís some big lame soap opera. Oh what a waste, heís so talented! Iím sure you know a few people like this. It is common. One day I was with a friend we were driving and he got a call from his girlfriend. He told her he loved her at the end of the conversation and hung up the phone. She called back blowing up on him because she thought he did not say that trite platitude with enough feeling. Yes, it happens. People say all sorts of irrational nonsense all the time, they are mad over nothing. Iím sure youíve encountered it. The other day some guy came into my work and said ďOh donít give me that look!Ē I did not say anything. At this point he details how he thinks I think I donít like him very much and so on; again I did not say a word. Where did this come from? I told him that his perception was perhaps wrong but really who cares right? He had already constructed a problem in his mind and made it manifest into reality even though it was not really there. Iím sure you know the type; again this sort of thing is very common. Also you encounter people that battle everything one says or does or has a critique for everything you do, the flaw counter I call them. Prosaic almost, this sort of person, very common on the web. Another archetype is the one-upper or story embellisher. A person that has to out do your story with there own. If not, that then they have ridiculous stories of what they have or can do or where theyíve been.  There are other types of people who seek conflict where there is none, create friction where does not need to be etc. You most likely work with some of them and upon reflection; we are all guilty of being these sorts of people from time to time. To me at least these sorts of people are losers. Not because they are not rich, or in shape, or have nice things, a good job etc. I donít think any of that really matters. A loser is someone that has failed to realize that they need to create challenges for themselves in life. If you do not create good challenges for yourself the survival instinct has nowhere constructive to go so you make lame soap operas in your life to keep it interesting. Failing to keep oneís life fun and interesting makes you a loser. If one cannot come up with things to do, set goals for oneís self and work towards them, you are not growing. If you are not growing as a person, you are stagnant. If you are stagnant, you are a loser. Nothing anyone does has to be great or good per se, but the effort must be there and the progression must be constant. People that grasp this have lots of goals, see all the potential in things and strive. They donít have time or interest in gossip or petty drama in their lives because they have all this rad stuff they want to do with their time. After a ride both of my ride buddies were in my van and were trying to gossip with me about another guy we ride with. I just started making a motion to each of them like I was holding something in my hand and pressing an imaginary button.  When they asked what I was doing I told them I was trying to change the channel because this soap opera sucked! They looked shocked. You donít care? Well if so and so want to cry my shoulder is always available but get a fucking life you losers! Grown fucking men no less. I fail to understand why any of this is interesting, it could be an easy way to distract oneís self from their own problems, best to let it go.  Will everyone who figures this out become famous, rich etc? Most likely not but they will really be living and even if your goal is to make little houses out of toothpicks, you can challenge yourself and get some great life affirmation from it.  

I have found that most people in my life donít do things that make any sense. On one hand they say that they want to build prosperity and stability in their lives but subconsciously they sow chaos. People covet what they donít have and scorn what they do. The valuable things may already be in your possession but youíre too busy looking past them thinking that something else is better. Iím not talking about regret but understanding what things in life are really worth. I take great pleasure in simple things like doing some trail riding in the morning and having a cup of coffee afterwards, not pie in the sky stuff here, just a moment. And people are always chasing moments. If this were not rue then no one wait in line for two hours to go on a one minute roller coaster ride. I donít think most people are aware that they sabotage themselves often. I have experienced people desperately seeking out problems where there are none to be found. Also, most people are very quick to come up with an excuse as to why they canít do a given thing that to a solution as to how they can. I was running a D & D game and one of the gamers said it would be hard to make it on time, he has in the 20+ years Iíve known him to be chronically late to everything. If some hot lady wanted to meet him at that same day and time sure as shit heíd be on time and on station. The point is that people will do something if they really want to; otherwise they make some lame excuse. You are only fooling yourself on that one as well. Now if you donít try you have what you have now which is nothing. Breaking the chains of the loser is often done by simply say yes to things.

Nearly everyone I know creates more problems for themselves by lying to oneself. Life would be near frictionless if people just stopped believing their own bullshit.  I overhear two people talking about their diets and how they cheated by eating some pastries. Well itís not a test and your body is never ever fooled by any sort of obfuscation the mind attempts to play. Body: ďOoh cupcakes! Send out pleasure chemicals to the brain and take these straight to my thighs!Ē Your head thinks itís so clever. I think people get in trouble with this all the time because for some reason they think the physical properties of the universe donít apply to them. Well the universe is a wise old soul and is never tricked by us hairless monkeys.  You can be the 40 something guy with the 20 something wife and think it will somehow work out, because youíre different right? Of if you live way beyond your means and that youíll be ok, you have it figured out right? Do you? I know this seems like a no brainier, on paper it is. In reality people delude themselves into these self-made traps all the time. All Iím really saying is you for the sake of yourself just be real. Not awesome, just real.   

So you can spend a lot of energy trying to emulate some tv show or act like there is a camera on you at all times and itís some big drama. You can be in everyoneís business and be seeking to stir up trouble where none is, you can be a loser.

 

Or.

 

You could take Ĺ that energy on improving the things in life that need improving. You could take better care of your body or learn how to do new things. One could spend Ĺ the energy that is spent in the realms of loserdom looking at oneís self and see where improvement is needed and work on those areas. One could purse new interests or chase old dreams. However you do it if you do, you are winning.

 

 

Are we having fun yet?

Are we having fun yet? Oh Zippy the pinhead, how prophetic you were. Are we having fun? Are you? No. People have forgotten how to have fun, itís a shame really losing touch with how to do something that should be second nature to you like tying oneís shoes, and somewhere we lost our way. Let us begin. Firstly you have to be inner directed rather than other directed. What this means is you have to be motivated by your own chosen path and not make your decisions based solely upon the input of others. Inner directed means you make the choice or choices by yourself, you do not seek nor require the input of others to make a choice. This is hard for many people because it is my belief that we have been conditioned to only act when we have the input or approval of others, the masses are other directed and you in the cause of fun will be tearing yourself from the safety of the herd. This requires one to be a little creative and you have to have some drive to break the chains that bind you. Once you do it youíll wonder what the big deal was. Next step is to come up with things youíd like to do that you would think are fun. Whatever your interests are you should go with them and explore all aspects of a given topic, sub-culture, activity, one must become it to really know a thing. This takes time and may not be for everyone but unless you dive in head first youíll just be tourist with one toe in the pond never truly knowing the depths of the waters. It is good to explore all aspects and be thorough in your exploration, leaving no stone unturned. If you like hiking then do day hikes, over nighters, oneís in good and bad weather, solo and with others etc. before you decide if you like it or not. Youíre developing a relationship with an idea just like you develop a relationship with a person or at least the idea that someone is a certain way. This exploration takes a few years at least before you can really make a well informed decision. Pushing what is comfortable for you to the outer limits and beyond is the only way you can discover new things and the possibility of the fun they may bring. If youíre unwilling to break out of your cage, will you ever be free? So you need to go out there and look for things that interest you and give them a good honest try. Like anything the more you put into it, the more you get out of it, keep this in mind. Now letís talk about different types of fun. On the bottom, lowest, poop covered rung of the fun ladder we have passive entertainment. Entertainment is not really fun; it is the diet coke of fun. People do these things because they require no effort what so ever. Television and movies, surfing the web, video games, and social media require no real effort on the part of the user and thus the yield of fun you will get out of them is low as well. If you donít train hard or work hard or study hard then you get very little, see? This is the case with being a couch potato or ďlivingĒ on facebook etc. It has appeal because one can do the smallest amount and get a little something for the non-effort. So the reward is there, but such a small crumb at the bounty that is fun, itís a shame really that people take the path of least resistance time and time again, they are truly missing out on life. So avoid these low echelon forms of fun, they are beneath you, rise above my friend. Some TV watching or facebook post will never make it into your top 10 days of your life, think about it. The next tier is self-exploration or skill improvement. You could do things like read a book, work on a skill like a second language, draw, or work on a craft of some sort. Projects are a great source of fun and when you finish them (and you WILL FINISH THEM) you get gratification of completing something. Are you doing epic works? No. Go make a bird house or plant a garden, repaint a bicycle, finish a series of books. Explore, build, create, finish what you start and do other things, keep the project list rolling. Start with easy things and build that momentum and stay busy with things to do, it will be fun and you may get some new skills and meet new people in the process. You only need yourself and the vast expanse of oneís imagination to make it happen. Even if you are not creative, push your creativity and just like your muscles if you use them it will get stronger. With increased creativity come more ideas and concepts and the possibility of more fun. Make your own fun just like when you were a child, you would draw or play with toys for hours on end, find your way back to that point. The next step is to create things that you can share with others. You can make a zine (not recommended) play music, do other things like painting or sculpture or whatever, but make tangible things that you enjoy doing and can give to your friends, thus youíre spreading the fun around. If you do a hike with some friends why not make a map or little booklet with some pictures of your adventures in it to share? It may seem trivial but these little keepsakes mean a lot to people. In an age where near everything is robotized and push button, drive through etc. something with a personal touch will go miles with people. You can make stickers or buttons, patches, or give all your friends a small potted plant just for kicks. Make up stupid clubs or take pet sayings from your groups of friends and make stickers of them, everyone will want one. I once made an ďEvil Ed Appreciation FoundationĒ sticker and handed it out to all of his friends. Once he saw it on everyoneís car/minibike/toolbox he just laughed, ďOh, you got me goodĒ. The whole process took about a month and that whole time everyone involved had so much fun with it, giggles abound. The demand was so high that I had to make a second set. It doesnít seem like much but things like that will last and last in the minds of the people you touch and the fun will keep on giving every time you see it, yes, itís that easy, all you have to do is put forth the effort. Play pranks on your friends as often as you can. The idea development and the enacting of the prank are almost more rewarding than the prank itself. Case and point. We were playing Dungeons and Dragons (1st edition of course) and the B falls asleep. When heís never shutting up the only thing that will keep the B from buzzing is slumber, he falls asleep, and he has been doing this for decades now. So he falls asleep again for the umpteenth time and I say to him ďNext time you fall asleep I will be dressed like a giant cat and jump in your lap!Ē I wrote it down. ďSee?Ē ďI wrote it down, there! So you know itís happening!Ē I had a lot of fun with the cat costume when I got it, I terrorized my uptight neighbor at work with it, went on two bike rides with it on and ruffled the feathers of the locals, messed up a poetry reading, a news cast, and pissed of a bunch of Kings fans and then the next gaming session, the B, like clockwork fell asleep. By this time I had so much fun just thinking about the prank that laying on the B and making cat noises was almost anti-climactic but it was golden. We all laughed up a storm, the B to his credit just woke up and rolled with it, ďIím petting the kittyĒ he said in a sleep induced drawl. Even one of my uptight friends laughed. And the memory of it will keep doling out little fun biscuits for many moons to come. 60 bucks well spent and Iím not even close to using up that cat costume. So you should do things and make things for your friends and get them to make their own fun with you and youíll have all kinds of things to share with each other and loads of fun doing it. The final step is to create events for people. These can be small things like themed parties, games, or things like a scavenger hunt. You can get really into doing events and creating fun for others. When you go this route please keep a few things in mind. One, do not expect a reward, the reward is doing it. Two, do it for your own fun and realize you canít make people have fun, which is up to them. Three, if two people or two thousand people show up they deserve your all regardless. Keep in mind they took time out of their day to come to your thing so you should be doing your best. Be creative, limits are for the weak. The next thing and it is of the upmost of importance is to be the fun. Your attitude if everything you have to become the embodiment of fun. This takes Herculean effort on your part because most people are a bunch of joyless curmudgeons. I work with the public and the vast majority of people are not having any fun at all, they are waiting for the next fecal offering from Hollywood or another night out an Applebeeís to somehow equate as fun, poor lost souls they are. You have to become the Zen master of fun, make everything you do fun. Make brushing your teeth into a game or taking out the trash fun by making a trash song to only be sung when taking out the trash. Be the fun. Do not be Debbie downer, fuck that bitch. It is like anything you do, do it well and do it often. Try hard, go further than others and really bring it. Be your own master and master your fun and fun times you will have in everything you do. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose so why not begin today? Let us begin.
+1. This is the mentality that I apply to everything. It stems from role playing games, Dungeons and Dragons 1st ed (the true edition) more specifically. A +1 magic sword is way better than a normal by leaps and bounds, you can kill things like werewolves or vampires with it unlike a normal sword. What this mean in our real life meatspace is +1 means you go above and beyond in all that you do. When we are working on a project and the length and arduousness of the task begin to make us waiver, we say ď+1Ē. We go beyond, try harder and work harder to make things better. In a world where having a meal and sharing with your ďfriendsĒ on fakebook has become the new awesome, we say +1. Go beyond. It is not an easy thing to do but if you donít try your hardest for your fun how much fun do really expect to have? One day I was working on a map for the D & D game I am currently running. Normally a map would be a single piece of paper or a few pages in a note book detailing what it is the players will be seeing. And normally this is and has been enough for many decades of dice rolling enjoyment. But we say +1. So I took 21 sheets of 11 x 17 paper and detailed an entire ruined city. Every building, crumbled structure, river, hillside, etc was detailed. As the players entered they go one sliver of the whole pie, as they progressed, more was revealed. Of course someone had to say something negative. We do after all, live in the age of comments. ďSomeone has to get their OCD under control.Ē No I said. ďThis is about giving it your all, have you in 30+ years of gaming ever had a GM present something like this to you?Ē Well the answer was of course no. Even after all these decades of playing and countless hours delving into these realms, there we still new horizons to surmount. All this because I was willing to expend a little effort. I wanted to do the best I could and run the best game I could and give the players a reason to keep showing up and while other games have waned in attendance, mine has been strong. +1: just keep that in mind when you go out and do whatever it is what you do, simply do it well, you owe it to yourself.

 

A letter to a "debt" collector.

Dear invertebrate debt scumfuck overlords of putrescence,

 

How are you doing? I hope all is well. I see you are sending me letters to effect that someone has hired you to get money from me, how oddÖI only have one idea of who that would be, but no matter, it will not happen. Does it strike you as odd that someone can charge you for a service, get paid for said service and then decide under the auspice of chicanery and lies, that the agreed upon price was simply not enough. All after said invoice was mailed, it strikes like playing Monopoly with an older sibling, they simply make the rules up as they are going along, for their sole benefit of course. I cannot in good conscience honor such duplicitous bargains. As a token of my esteem for you, quasi debt postal harassment invertebrate pig fucker, I want to give you a gift. It is a simple gift but one you can hang on your wall of your cubicle and gaze upon from time to time knowing that no matter how awful life is, Iím thinking of you, even in a small way that I am. You will not be forgotten. If anyone at your place of business would like to send me more letters that would be fine, I am glad to mail you as many gifts as is necessary to get the point across. If youíd like one made out to someone in particular, then by all means let me know and Iíd be happy to oblige.

 

Good tidings to you friends, I wish you well in your endeavors.

I also included this in the envelope:

 

*

A Letter to AT &T.

Dear villains,

It is with much consternation that I write to you, I simply do not want to spend any more energy navigating your phone maze and the glib tongued duplicitous liars that reside somewhere on the other end of my phone. I spent much time getting a phone and internet service for a reasonable price. I went round and round with your representative, detailing each cost, rooting out all charges, surcharges, fees, etc. that did not sit well with me, we went over each penny. I was given copious verbal assurances of a final price and after much verbal wrestling; the installation fee was to be waived. I see here on my bill that it was not waived; it is in fact on my bill. Now, I could go back on the phone and go through this process over again and get the fee waived again and be given verbal assurances, again, however we both know that such assurances would be spurious at best. I understand the tactic to add things I did not ask for nor want on my bill, charge me for things the you said I would not in hopes I would not do my due diligence and discover these charges let alone try and do something about it. A Byzantine phone maze peopled with a staff holding chicanery on the forefront of their minds to dissuade any attempts at a fair and equitable business transaction and a multitude of hurdles to jump though thus keeping us lowly customers to simply accept what weíve been given. In short, you have no honor.  I find it hard to think that anyone that works in just a profession where duplicity, dishonesty, and falsehoods are used with the same vehemence that Van Gogh would work with his oils, that you can go home every day a feel that you are nothing except part of the problem.  I can see you going home at night and telling your children about your day, or cooing over your clutch of egg-sacs whatever you invertebrates  do when not duping the masses, there being no way you could have decent, meaningful lives whist you continue to broker in untruths as you do.  Now, if lying was an art then it is your true medium.   I have enclosed the sum for my bill minus the installation fee that I was not supposed to be charged. If this fee appears on my next bill then I will in the auspice of good conscience be forced to cancel my agreement with you that you have chosen not to honor, all of your time and equipment will be for naught. I hope you can summon the moral fortitude to do the right thing, to use the vernacular.

 

I hope this finds you well and gives you a chance for repose and possible proper direction.

 

Thanks for your time.  

 

On When To Hate, and Letting Go. The Maker Movement.

I really wanted to hit someone, anyone with a foam sword. I was desperate, somehow I found this lame website called meet up. Meet up is full of people that are lusting for money, other peopleís genitals, and want to ďnetworkĒ so they can all share what I donít know what. It is desperate and obvious for the most part, these people have nothing but lust and want to meet other hungry souls. Very few people hitting other people with foam swords. Sad. If this website is a barometer for people in my general area then I have problems. Actually, they have problems trying to use a computer to be social or gain anything, what people want (money, power, cocks, pussy) is too obvious. There were a few, very few attempts to get people to organize around an activity that did not involve money or fucking or have it surreptitiously wedged in there. Sometimes I really hate humanity. I was told that the last few issues have not had enough hate and not enough fat people. Well, fuck you. You know you canít rush hate; it has to be developed slowly over time and honed to a keen edge. Same with the fat chicks, if you had them all time then they youíd take them for granted. Morbidly obese people doing silly things is a gift you tards, donít be so fucking greedy. I know the person (Handsome Rob) saying these things more than others, fuck you Rob. When you got yourself in the back of a police car on one of our bike rides and then got a 400 + dollar ticket, who told you how to beat it? This guy. And who wrote them a 4 page, single spaced letter for your ďTrial by Written DeclarationĒ? That you never even knew about before? This guy. Who got all your money back form the piece of shit cops and the Prince John kangaroo court system? This guy. Because I despise authority so much I rallied to your cause, because I hate and know when to use it, you can go buy some other broken down Chevrolet product that youíll never get around to finishing, living out your white trash fantasies cinder blocks and all. Not enough hate huh? Go eat a bucket of dicks.  Also as I get back to my point if I have one I saw lots of stuff for people that are fucking pussies, you know they are not assertive or canít talk in public etc. Why? If everyone was assertive then weíd spend all of our time badgering each other, trying to be assertive pricks (same thing) and nothing would get done. When I go to an anarchist rally the first thing I ask is: ďWhoís in charge here?Ē Exactly. Not everyone should be in control or feel like they need to be in control. Sometimes I take the reigns (well a lot of the time) and sometimes Iím just along for the ride. You should strive to be both people. Am I telling you what to do? Well nowís your chance you wiggly spined worm-man, tell me to fuck off already! Iíve been thinking a lot about control lately and how people get involved in a social construct solely for the purpose of being in control. Now, is control such a good thing? Do I want to be in charge? I have through the years found myself being that guy, over and over again, the den mother, and the organizer. Sometimes I wish other people would come up with fun, silly things to do so I would not have to but itís too late now. But the cause of fun is another issue entirely. One could argue that a person that seeks to control has a weak ego; one could also argue that a person that seeks control simply knows what they want out of life and how to go about getting it. I see the frail ego side coming out in peopleís relationships, in pet ownership, in what little social media I canít avoid, so that is the crap side of the equation. One day I just got over myself, it was one of a very few epiphanal moments that Iíve had in life and it just made those sorts of concerns matter no longer as they mattered very little before. I was able not to get so worked up over things and just focus on my happiness, I gave up on control, I no longer needed it. What a free feeling that was, I felt so liberated and like a huge weight was lifted off my well-being. I really donít care what other people do or how they go about it because itís none of my fucking business. Based upon personal experience and the powers of observation it seems that people seem to need to validate their own way of doing things by converting others to their cause. I guess I donít do that too much as most of my friends do and say things that Iíd never do, some of which I really donít like. In the end itís their choice what ever it is they choose to do is up to them. I do however invite, include, and encourage people to do things all the time but if they donít want to or lose interest, this is fine. On the other side you have a lot less people that have some ideas and are willing to go through with them, good or bad. I donít really have a problem with bad ideas; the world is full of them. However they, bad ideas are ones that have been pushed to the finish line, many good ideas never make it past the start. I so desperately wanted to do silly things in my life, I wanted adventure. I wanted to weld up crazy bikes and hit people with foam swords. I tried so hard to get my friends to do stuff I thought was fun. I got nowhere for the most part. My friends were motivated by music and girls, and then when they all turned 21, drinking, clubs and girls. All the pushing and pulling and they were no longer interested. I tried really hard to be normal or whatever, to do the things they did and I found myself sleeping in the backseat of the car waiting for them to finish the night more often than not. No fun. Well at least they had someone to drive them home safely who was sober and well rested. I did get them to make bikes and for a time, we had fun but now I organize bike events in our clubs name and not a single one of them ever shows up. I was a little sad a first but them I understood that they have changed though out the years and I perhaps (Iím guessing) that Iíve changed very little. So I moved on, I do this a lot, I cycle through people. Itís nothing personal about them but in a reflective moment I tend to stick with things and most other people donít. This zine being a perfect example, after 13-14 years, countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars, we still keep going when a tic-tac of reason would have made us throw in the towel years ago. As far as these people that move in and out of oneís life, Iím still friends with all of them, well Iím not on facebook so some of them Iíve lost touch with. But thereís no bad blood or falling out or anything like that, we just moved apart. I remember having friends that I talked to all the time and saw often and one day they no longer returned my phone calls. Is that odd? I figured if youíve moved on, youíve moved on and thatís ok. After three attempts to contact someone and no reply, I donít get mad I just shrug and move on, our time for whatever reason is over and Iíd like to think it was on a ok note, not a bad one. I sort of look at my relationships with people like eating a sandwich. If youíre eating a sandwich, youíre not thinking of when the sandwich will end, nor are you thinking about the next sandwich as youíre getting full. At that time, youíre only focused on and enjoying that one sandwich. But it does end and do you morn or lament itís ending? No, when the time comes you go find another. Part of this may be that in my mind the idea of closure or some sort of capsulation or tidy ending to a chapter in oneís life is absurd. As much as people try and act like it does, our lives donít wind up like a book or movie where everything is cinched up at the end and thereís a catharsis coupled with understanding, this never happens. Oneís life could be best described as a series of run on sentences followed by ďthen he diedĒ. Our lives are full of missed and lost connections, abrupt endings, loose ends, unfinished business etc. so much left undone, unsaid, unfinished at the end of something. And yet people seek understanding, completion in human interaction, closure etc. This being usually a myth as the very idea flies in the face of breadth and depth of human experience and interaction through the eons. I remember after getting dumped Iíd try and get some sort of explanation in a hope to understand what went wrong. After a while I realized that there was nothing to gain from questions, I would not grow wiser with that particular knowledge. Nothing ever made sense and then it was obvious that it never was supposed to. So the wisdom I did glean was that there was no self-knowledge to be gained in the rejection of others, the sandwich was done, eaten, digested and found not to likened to both parties or just one, regardless it was time to move on. Itís all about not desperately hanging on to the wheel, trying to control things, shit happens right? I also know the futility of words when itís past the pale, how pointless talk is to alter whoever you are. How little sinks in, how entrenched we are in who we are. We cannot escape from ourselves can we? So what are a few tear filled sentences going to do? When things are broken they are broke. Oh, and not to worry, Iíve been there many times, if you could just say the one thing that would fix this mess, it never comes out quite like you want it to does it? It never will. Well, we never have time to rehearse the things we say when weíre angry or sad, for the vast power of what language can do it often abandons us at the most critical times. Perhaps not having a TV for twenty years has made it so I donít yearn for storybook endings in life, I just close that chapter as abruptly as it ended and look towards the next one, whatever it may hold for me. Iím not immune to the past but I try really hard not to let it corrupt my future, it is not a simple nor easy thing to do. Iím not saying Iím a master of it, perhaps a novice at best. I have memories of friends and the time we spent together for so long and they just vanish. I used to spend so much of my mental energy just wondering what the hell happened; now I realize that the not knowing does not diminish the quality of life at all nor does it or should it color the good times you did have in a bad light. Thereís a picture of myself and a one time very close friend at my work. I still remember the times we had even though now we can never be friends again, a line was crossed. I just let it go. I ran into him and all he got from me was a disapproving nod, all the anger and questions did not even come to mind, I was freed from the shackles of what went wrong and why, just accepting it. Of course that did not happen over night, Iím not that strong or resolute as Iíd like to think I am. I got a bike stolen, totally my fault as I left it out over night in the back of my truck. It was my oldest bike, the bike Iíve worn out 4 wheelsets on, countless brakes, tires, grips, bars, stems etc. It was beat, worn, and so ugly but I loved it so. The bike creaked and groaned under each pedal stroke, it begged to be put to rest. It was nothing special, some old Schwinn cruiser I welded some brake bosses on and used as a mountain bike. The thief cannot take the memories of the bike and all the adventures and good times I had on that bike. But it is gone like many things that once were. A day or two was spent mourning its loss but then I found another frame and welded some bosses on it and I moved on. And Iím better for it; I doubt Iíll be so careless again, so the loss was beneficial in some small way. Of course, Iíd love to have it back but it wonít happen. So why waste any energy on it? Once something is gone it is gone, trying to control things after the fact only leads to frustration, best to let it go and move on.

            More hate. This brings me to my next topic: The Maker Movement. Only a bunch of entitled white yuppies can take something like having a hobby and turn it into a ďthingĒ. The maker movement sows its mores in technology like finding new ways to use computers to say make your robot vacuum cleaner make an image on your carpet. Other aspects are people who make their own furniture, or have some other skill that involves obviously making something. Now I have no problem with people who make things, I make things. And there is nothing wrong with creativity, I mean is this zine not a creative endeavor? Ok, donít answer that. But it seems so pretentious though, Iím a ďmakerĒ I make things! Well good for you. This sort of thing was commonplace a scant 30 years ago; it was called having a fucking hobby. After the Second World War, we went from a manufacturing based economy to a service based economy. It was common for a guy to have a lathe or a few machine tools in their garage, or a set of wood working tools, people made stuff often out of necessity and as how I see it, a hold on tradition of the American pioneering spirit. After all the rationing during the war America went hog-wild with consumer culture and now people donít even make their own coffee anymore, theyíll gladly wait in line in a drive through for some (starbucks). As a child I had to do plumbing, gardening, lay bricks, do auto maintenance, fix dry wall, etc. My Dadís idea was to be self-reliant, not waste money and you broke it you fixed it way of looking at things. Since I was a one-man crime wave as a child, I had to learn to do everything as I broke everything. I grew up knowing that I had to use my mind and body to solve the little things that came up and not just call someone for service. Iím glad now that I was raised this way, I think it made me a better person, someone who can think for themselves and be somewhat self reliant. As an example of how far off the tracks weíve gone, I did a clinic to teach people how to adjust a derailleur on a bike. I remember one person holding up their hand to the others as it had some grease on it like it was a big triumph; people arenít accustomed to doing anything for themselves anymore. Now doing things is cool, itís a movement, and like all movements you can get the magazine and go to the website and buy all the stuff so you can become a ďmakerĒ too! Lame.

Random Two-Wheeled musings:

 

So close to the end.

 

Almost Got Me! Well, it was so close; I was nearly gotten, married that is. I have had some wild things happen to me in this life like having knife wielding Cholos try (see failed) to rob me, encounters with bears, struck by cars, had guns pulled on me, lots of very scary soapbox derby moments but nothing compared to nearly being captured by the shackles of matrimony. I guess I should have seen it coming but just like my normal ride home I had no idea what hit me. My girlfriend at the time, Dr. Baker (names not changed as there are no ďinnocentsĒ) had been going out for a while for me, meaning about 6 months. Thatís a long time for me not because Iím awful, in fact Iím a total softie and super romantic, however in the Gen-X sense Iím not willing to pay a personality tithe to be with someone. What this means is Iím not going to change who I am or what I do, I am who I am and I guess itís a little idealist of me to want some one to like me for who I am, bike grease and all. Shouldnít we all aim for what is ideal? I think so, and by having convictions you do surprise, confuse, shock, and eventually alienate people, mainly any lady that enters my bike laden realm with dreams of matching furniture not found on the curb and bikes hung from the ceiling. Anyway She had mentioned the M-word to me before and my response was ďFuck You!Ē at the top of my lungs. I know it was not nice, but when an animal gets cornered they tend to lash out, and thatís what I did. I am just an animal after all. In the early days of our relationship Dr. Baker was against procreation, matrimony even co-habituation. I had though Iíd finally hit a home run, well one out of three was not so bad I guess, and normally they want all three. I donít know why this happens to me but it does nearly every time, but the whole next step thing is lost on me, there is only step one. Weíre together, just like riding a trail you are just discovering. Every new twist and turn, every new curve is seen and felt, you get to experience it for the first time and does it make you want more? Sure! But when the ride is over do you look for more or are you happy to just ride again, and again right? Iíve ridden the same trails for years and years and each time I get a new little discovery out of it, a view I did not see before, and new way to clean a difficult section that I had not thought of the 999 other times I rode it. I view my relationships the same way, it may be a familiar path but I was willing and wanting to take the same journey over and over again as thereís always something new to discover. I can ride the same 8 mile out and back I use to keep my chops up and get something new out of it every time, it is always good, always fun, always interesting, and always worth doing again and again. I guess some people want more or canít see nor enjoy the subtle nuances that one finds on an often-traveled journey. Which leads me to the event. I was riding home on my 1950 Olmo carrying a piece of a 80ís diamond back viper that I was making from a 20Ē bmx to a 26Ē BMX cruiser in my hand. Then I came to in the Hospital. Apparently the frame had gotten in my front wheel and I bashed my head in, giving myself a concussion. I had a gash over my right eye and was covered in blood. Dr. Baker was at my house when I arrived carrying my bike (I was told it was my chief concern whilst dazed, even concussed I have my priorities straight!) as we were supposed to go out that night. So we went to the hospital instead! Fun! Now, if youíve ever had a concussion you are not to mobile for a while, things donít work that great or at least they did not for me. I felt weak and had little control over my body, I had trouble moving. However while I was awake for the near whole thing I donít remember about an hour of my time, after that things started to be remembered. I see my girlfriend shoo away people with machines as they are all trying to get in on the action and hook me up to a bunch of stuff I did not need to rack up a huge bill. Then she got the hospital Chaplin. In my dinged up mind I could see what was really going on, I was being caught. I had run free for so long and now it was coming to an end with me laying in a hospital bed covered in my own blood. Since things werenít working too well I could not do much except make a few groans of disapproval.  I knew what was going on though I could see it in her face like a dog who had the guilty look of just taking a crap behind the couch; the gears of Suzy-Home Maker were turning. All I could do was lay there, doomed. The Chaplin went over the details with her, she was saying it was for insurance purposes, I think the Chaplin had experience with these sorts of things in the past and as a result she managed to dissuade Dr. Baker from getting me in here clutches. Anyway, you should just enjoy the journey and enjoy what you have, in trail riding and in love both are the same. Sometimes for trying to get more, you wind up with less.

 

Waging the Unwinnable War.

 

I remember a scene from the movie Excalibur: Merlin is talking to Arthur while trying to catch a fish and he says ďRemember! Thereís always something cleverer than yourself!Ē That is a rad movie by the way, there are all these bad ass battles with swords, people fuckiní and killing each other, it reminds me of Reseda. OK, it is the same what Merlin said is applicable to riding bikes, you will always be beat. Not today perhaps, today youíre strong, every rider you pass soon becomes a speck in the distance. Youíre lean and mean and every ride is a race and every race youíre winning. For now. One day it happens you get passed by someone and they drop you. If you donít know what that means it means you canít stay behind them and draft off of them. In the draft you have to work less to go as fast as the guy in the front cutting the wind so If the guy in front who has the hardest job pulls away from you, you cannot hold their wheel (another bicycling term you shouldnít care about) and thus you are ďdroppedĒ and become the spec in the distance.  Sooner or later it happens to everyone. I spend a lot of time in the hills riding around and I pass lots of people, every rider is a target to chase and surpass, I am guilty. However over time I have learned to just know my limits and not become a snot-covered sweat monkey just to pass some guy that will most likely never see again. It is hard not to bristle up when you see someone ahead of you or hear someone coming up behind you, it is competitive and rife with manly posturing, tens of thousands of years of breast-beating has come to a duel on a fire road with some guy who has matching lycra on his Niner and me on a 1955 Monarch cruiser, I donít know which one is dumber.  I ďman upĒ which is gay but I canít help it, I have a wiener.  He sees me; I stand up, the Nitto road stem creaks in the mild steel frame. He stands up; he needs new pants I can see way too much. He shifts. I breathe hard, the whole bike sounds like an old pickup on a bumpy road as I press my attack. Iím winning! He looks down at my bike and is destroyed; some guy on a beach cruiser just left his 4500 worth of bike in the dust. Before I can revel in my victory I get smoked by some girl on a cyclo-cross bike. I am neutered. A bicycle riding eunuch. A clod. As much as I try and just take it easy and enjoy the ride, I cannot. The war is unwinnable and yet I wage it time and time again. I win a few battles and then I lose a few but I solider on. I know my actions are pointless, macho, childish even, perhaps stupid. My attitude is pervasive however, we are all waging this war against each other at will knowing full well that we will never win the war, only a few battles here and there. It is sort of like a bicycle Valhalla where we battle all day and be slain only to rise again to battle all over again, sort of like trying to argue with a Dave Mathews Band fan that their band of choice sucks. Pointless.   We take the war and itís war stories wherever we go to share with other fighters. Now, if you wage this war in its totality against strangers, you are completely ruthless when it comes to your ďfriendsĒ. The advantage of riding with your friends is not to have camaraderie and enjoy an activity together, it is to crush them on the tail/road and then rub salt in the wounds during and after. You clean a section of trail and your friend goes over the bars, you beast up a climb and they blow up trying to hold your wheel. What joy it is indeed to watch your friend try to enjoy after ride drinks covered in road rash or they are so tired that their speech is slurred. ďMan, you ate shit!Ē you say while they are picking pebbles out of their skin. ďThatís just like the time you tried to clean that jumpÖĒ oh you know I could go on but I think you get the point. It is all in good fun right? However such things to help each other aspire to better themselves but lets be real here we know that is a side effect. Now if that was not enough there is this website out now that allows you to compete against people on the same trails that arenít even there when you are. This website is called Strava. What is does it allows you to either set up a segment or section of road/trail or do one that someone else has already set up and using your dumbphone gps you can rank yourself against all the other idiots that are on there. The fastest person gets the title KOM or King of Morons. Oh the drama! Iíve actually had grown men come in looking for a Tom S. or whatever because they beat their Strava time on some trail and are convinced that they are cheating (perhaps) because no one I mean NO ONE could beat their time on blabityblahÖ Lame. Not only does it take the caveman chest thumping to a new level, people get hurt or even killed trying to get this KOM title. The internet kills. I thought cycling or running was healthy. Iíve seen them, the Stavites tm. Nary a nod of recognition as they blast past you on the trail, knocking small dogs and children aside (not necessarily a bad thing) to get those precious 1/10th of a seconds to beat some shmoe that they have never met. And what then? One day you look at your dumbphone and see that bastard Tom S. beat your time! It was only 3 days of glory and bragging, now gone. Furthermore, Iíve seen people blast a straight line through switchbacks to get a better time. Now, switchbacks are rad, period. Why would anyone willingly deny themselves the total radness that is riding switchbacks? That is like ordering a cheeseburger and not getting the cheese, why? Do you hate yourself? Iíve never seen a Goth on a trail so no, it must be something else. Regardless, if one spent ľ of the energy spent fighting these pointless battles on improving themselves they would more than likely have a better life and things to show for it. By that I mean they would have more bikes.

 

Going Solo

 

No one can make it, Iím in the parking lot alone with no one to hold me back, I canít help myself, I leave early, the trail awaits. I like riding with people. You get that whole shared experience thing going on, if something out of the norm happens you have the story from all these different perspectives, I think this give your ride experience some more depth. Not like riding bikes is or should ever be considered ďdeepĒ thatís just so pretentious. As meaty creatures at this point in the humanity time-line I think we are on constant alert and constant sensory over-load. Every day we live in a heightened state of stress manufactured by our modern world and we are in constant bombardment by television, phones, the web, and other people, so many people. So while I value the camaraderie of doing a group ride it has itís problems. Either you are waiting for someone or youíre desperately trying to catch up. Bikes brake and you have to stop and fix them, not just your bike but every one in the group. Now the larger the group the more waiting/panting/braking/fixing you have to deal with and the flow of your ride is disjointed. Sometimes that is not a bad thing, but that is another story or idea. After itís over you can swap some details to further enrich your experience, talking about who cleaned what section or what you saw who heckled you etc. Did you get chased by that dog? Or did the lady tell you to SLOW DOWN! too? All part of the fun that is the group dynamic. These things are all good and great, sometimes though you just need to take off on your own. I came to this realization years and years ago simply because I had no one to ride with and spent most of my time riding alone. As time went on I used my solo rides as a way to get away from everyone and everything and just have a chance to process my life. A few hours of some pedal assisted alone time did more for me than any psychological analyzing and self-absorbed navel-gazing at 300 dollars and hour could ever do. Perhaps Iím not like most people but some alone time is very important to me, I think most people spend so much time processing all the vast array of human and technological inputs that we have to deal with every day that they have no time to process themselves. In that train of thought, people are more and more becoming directed by the inputs of others and outside things then learning to look inwards for insight and direction. What this means is people in general spend a lot of time feeling overwhelmed, confused and have a patented inability to make decisions for themselves. Doubt me? How many times have you been in a line for food and the person in front of you has to call someone to decide what they should eat? Exactly. Those that know, the trail or road ridden alone can do wonders for cleaning out the closet of oneís mind. Iíve used it to fight depression, sort out a brake-up with a girlfriend, or just to work out a hard day at work. At the end things are better than they were at the beginning, even a little bit is better than no improvement at all. In fact, when Iíve really been troubled I go for a ride. On these sorts of adventures, I want to be alone; talking about anything is just pointless really. I just need to put some miles on my bike and just focus on the ride instead of talking about thins as talk often falls short. This is the part where even when things are going good as they often are, you still need to sort things out. While being a bike rider can invite socializing from other cyclists, you can choose to isolate yourself and just be myopic on your ride, not paying attention to others. I find the trail to be the best place to do this sort of two-wheeled catharsis. I used to just go out somewhere far off the well ridden trails and just lay there looking at the sky, the plants, the trail, my bike, my feet, sometimes Iíd bring a book. I used to get smothered with too much attention I guess, I still get way too much attention but I have no one to blame for that but myself for that mess. So back to the start and I just took off 10 minutes early and just rode at a good clip. We do this 18 mile loop and in a group itís around 3 hours to complete with all the stops, re-gathering of people, fixing this and that along the way. Just me and my 1955 monarch coaster brake bike, I just sort of zeníd out and rode at a good pace. I was trying to see if I could do the whole thing in 2 Ĺ hours and wound up completing it in 1:45. Not too shabby! The ride was so more memorable to me, every nuance of the trail was brighter and in more detail, I was more focused on the connection of myself with the bike and nature than distracted with the snarky comments of my friends (not that snarky comments are a bad thing). I could just shake the mental dust off my mind; it was so different than riding with others. I like both for different reasons, I realize that I need one to make the other good though, only doing groups or only riding solo youíd be missing a lot from your riding experience. You should try and do both.

 Chasing Aaron

 

ďDid you puke yet?Ē ÖÖĒNo.ĒÖ. Almost. I wanted to puke, to die, to fall over and not move, weíd been riding for hours and hours. I was bathed in sweat my heart was trying itís best to remove itself from my chest, Aaron hand not had a sip of water in hours..he was an animal. Funny how you meet a former Pro cyclists at all places, a car show. I was rolling around on a muscle bike and saw Aaron and one of his friends on customized Sting-Rays. We talked bikes, sure I ďrodeĒ, haha I had no idea what I was talking about. I had (still have) a 1964 Schwinn cruiser that I was using as a trail bike. I knew nothing about mountain bikes or trail riding except I was doing it or so I thought. Anyone that thinks they have what it takes to be a pro, good luck. Aaron had not raced professionally in over a decade but his thighs were nearly as big around as my legs put together, he climbed every climb in the big ring on his bike, a speck in the distance always and me dying just to keep him in sight. I would chase and chase though and nearly die/vomit/wish for death on every turn: ďdivoishĒ There, a new word to describe what I was feeling. There was no winning, I thought I was getting faster but he was just holding back. The faster I got the faster he went, there seemed to be no upper limit to how hard Aaron could push himself. After all this is a guy who would duke it out with Overend and Tomac in the seminal days of off road cycling, you had to be a beast to even run with those guys, so how did I really expect to match up? Yeah right. After a while I got a ďrealĒ mountain bike and that only seemed to make things worse for me, we went farther and farther, faster and faster, I think the shortest we ever rode was 3 or 4 hours the typical ride was a bout 5 hours at an all out pace. We went everywhere, Aaron had a child-like mischievous tone in his voice as weíd go to some secret spot or poach a trail. ďGo here!Ē Here say. Heís look around to see if anyone was watching and then weíd traverse a spot to where the sickest single track awaited us, Aaron new every trail in the LA area and we rode them all. I learned to use clip in pedals with him and since have discarded them, I watched in awe and he climbed a super steep hill on his Cook Bros cruiser with 44/18 gearing and did not even break a sweat, I had to walk. Down hill was no different, a mad scrabble to keep him in sight, a near death experience at every turn. I learned a lot. I got thinner, faster, learned how to crash and did so often. I climbed the closest trail to me house and watched as I went from using the granny gears to graduate to the middle ring (this means it is harder) and eventually after a long time climb this climb in the big ring on my bike (harder still). While we rode Aaron had stories, crazy stories about the pioneers of mountain biking and his career as a racer that I dare not repeat. He told me about the early days of mountain biking in LA, the nor-cal guys did not have the only group out there, it was happening all over they were just the first to market it as something new however. Aaron told me how someone was trying to sell him a new 30 pound Ritchey (a hand made bike) and he turned it down because he got a Schwinn Varsity down to 28 pounds (A Schwinn varsity was a very heavy bike). The stories were amazing. I donít  think Aaron knew that he was quite the bard, like many people in cycling he possessed a keen mind, and was always full of energy and intelligence. After heíd beat the crap out of me weíd get pizza or something and heíd spin a tale. It was the highlight of the experience, trying to hold down vomit was not. Aaron was a hard teacher, he taught me all Iíd need to know about riding trails, how to suffer and smile though it, how to put on the long miles. He also paid me the highest compliment Iíve ever gotten from someone who on two wheels was vastly my superior; ďYou can do this, youíre the toughest guy Iíve ever known.Ē It still makes me less ďdivosihĒ and all fuzzy inside when I think about it. In addition weíd go out at night on Sting-Rays and ride all through the city all the way to down town LA from the SFV. We did some cruising, not every ride was all out. Mainly we explored and really saw things that most people never see because they are driving. After a while he said that once I could catch him it was over. One day I did and it was.  

 

An open letter to the bike industry

 

Dear Bike Industry,

 

Iím beginning to feel that you donít have myself and my fellow riderís best interest at heart, all you seem to be interested in is creating new ďstandardsĒ and try to force people to buy them under the auspice that the new ďstandardĒ is better than before. I would like to think that most cyclists are a savvy bunch, but we do glom onto new tech with eagerness, a fault that you (the bicycle industry) seems more than happy to exploit.

                Every year thereís a new bottom bracket ďstandardĒ. Something becomes a standard once it is in wide, common, and accepted use like a square taper bb. I have never felt the need to put any of these new, false standards on my bike instead of using a tried and true standard. I think you need to think about how you label all of these pointless bottom bracket options out there. The advantages are nominal to the rider, and only serve to create more niche markets and confuse new riders that get overwhelmed by all the ďstandardsĒ that have been made. Something cannot be ďnewĒ and at the same time a ďstandardĒ, do you take us for fools?  Shame on you. The people that can really gain any benefit if at all from any of these alleged improvements are pro racers, and pro races get their bikes and parts for free, we, the majority of the bike buying public have to pay for our stuff. Did my square tape bb suddenly stop working after years of loyal service and 1000ís of miles? No, it did not. My mountain bike is old for sure and my friends that have newer bikes are still behind me just like they are before they had a new bike with all of the new ďimprovementsĒ in technology, I expected them to leave me in the dust being that I have only 21 speeds and they 30, but alas it did not happen. I also find it funny that I having 21 speeds never once thought I could make this traverse or climb that section of trail if I only had some more gears, and now you try and sell me less gears in the form of a 2 x10 drive train or 1 x11 for more money than my 21 gears, do you take me for a fool? Shame on you bike industry. I can go on, how lame and pointless 31.8 bars are and how ugly they look, or how a 200 dollar seat post that drops canít beat a 10 buck quick release seat post clamp and to take the 10 seconds to take in the view before you drop in is worth way more than another lever do-hickey on your bike, are you really that lazy?  And the 29 wheels, really? Every time I see some poor 5.5Ē guy on a 29er, I just feel like the bike industry is made up of carneys and we are itís willing dupes. Of course once the 29er kool-aide had been drunk to the last drop, out comes 650b wheels, toting the pervasive mantra for new being better, faster, Jim Jones eat your heat out! And these massive head tube bearings they look like the wheel bearings in my van, thereís no way you can convince me I ďneedĒ that junk. At some point I just feel like you think Iím an idiot they will buy anything that you put before me, I think you think so little of us as a group that one can keep changing things endlessly chasing oneís tail in the pointless quest of improving something that needs no improvement, even the bike magazines are getting weary of your cavalcade of falsehoods, they are usually your ever loyal heralds but that is even changing.

                I turned away from mountain biking magazines for few years and when I came back, mountain bikes no longer existed. There are xc, all mountain, free ride, downhill, etc. but there are no ďmountain bikesĒ anymore. I still own and use a mountain bike, I understand that by creating labels and slicing the pie in ever-smaller slices you can perhaps sucker someone into buying a bunch of bikes that only get used for one type of trail. I guess thatís clever marketing and sales go up, but I think in doing so you alienate the beginner that will certainly be confused and intimidated by all the jargon and techo-babble when they go to their local shop and want a ďmountain bikeĒ Shame on you bike industry, I think you need a time-out to think about what youíve done.

 

The transformed man

 

Change is a funny thing, things never change, change is the only constant in the universe, the more things change the more they stay the same, change comes from within, got any change? I think about change often. Iíve been told I have never changed, Iím still the same person I was 10, 20, 30 years ago, still a child at heart I guess thus my love of two-wheel conveyances. While eternally 12 to most I felt I have changed a lot over time, I have, I hope gotten a little wiser, a little faster, a little better than I was before. As a cyclist I have gone through many changes. First you have the re-discovery of bikes as transportation. Riding a bike is a simple pleasure that many forget when they turn the legal driving age. I can say I only did not ride a bike for a brief period where I chose to skate instead, my Diamond Back Viper was stolen a few weeks after purchase and that was that for a while. I did ride my Dadís Diamond Back Accent for a spell and got a 70ís era bmx for 20 bucks somewhere along the line but I can say Iíve been lucky enough to be on two wheels most of my life. However, I did not really have a true re-discovery of the bike until my mid 20ís when after a night of band practice the guitar player and myself made a chopper bike. All of my hessher friends were doing a Sunday bmx ride and I showed up on my glorious 7-colored machine. They laughed. It was white and blue with black, pink, brown, red, chrome wheeled with one white wall tire and one black wall tire. The banana seat was blue with clouds on it, very un-manly. As we went along, I got lots of comments and many of the comments were from ladies. Itís funny how female attention can shatter a guys image of whatís cool and what is not. We quickly formed a chopper gang, got a welder and went from there. At this point I began to really have passion for bikes and the doors they could unlock. I just loved getting around on a bike, need I relate those feelings? Iím sure if you pedal you know and if you donít then Iíd say give it a good try before you decide if itís right for you. I was one of very few. I remember doing LA critical mass on a tall bike and there were ten of us total. I have a vivid memory of us going into a parking lot and jamming everything up, our small numbers be ineffectual anywhere else in the cityscape. One rider decked out with a helmet and rear view mirror at the peak of our disruption squeaked out in a high nasally voice, ďWeíre a force to be reckoned with!Ē Looking back now I see how we were just being jerks but at the time I felt empowered and a massive chip began to develop on my shoulder, the angry commuter began to emerge.

I went to war with vehicular traffic. I screamed, I yelled, I smacked hoods and doors, flat-palmed windows. I dented hoods with my fist, slapped mirrors this way and that, my lock was always at the ready to come off my shoulder and be used as a weapon. When someone would yell or throw something at me (Yes it happens. it is LA after all, fool.)  I would give chase and in doing so the driver would have to on many occasions risk all to get away from me, I was after all at war, and for some reason super I was pissed off. Rarely if ever would I catch the attacker, perhaps once or twice. This still happens but not so much anymore. Are there more bikes and more bike awareness? A minuscule amount, I think my confrontations with motorists became less frequent because I just got over the whole thing and stopped looking for confrontations. I was part of the problem, a cycle-jerk. Once I began to see cars as just a force of nature and went with the flow I got along a lot better. Also, I realized that my antics were not engendering any good will towards cyclists from motorists, in fact the opposite was occurring. That snarled, angry ďI dare youĒ devil-may care attitude I had while on my bike was common amongst my bike riding brethren and myself, while toting the mantra popular at the time, we as a group were losing any brownie points with people in cars, some of which do ride or were at least thinking about it until they encountered me fangs bared and all. At the peak of my cycle rage I even fashioned concealed weapons in my bicycle handle bars and painted my 1950ís double bar cruiser to look just like a German Panzer tank. Grrr! I can laugh now; I had my head up my ass for sure on that one. Iím glad I grew up a little and realized that all my anger would avail me nothing. Raging at cars on the road was like raging at the sky for raining or raging at golf because it exists; the only one that is affected is you. In the end you lose or run out of steam.               

In time I just stopped thinking about it. I was no longer a ďcyclistĒ there was no ďUsĒ or ďThemĒ I was just simply riding to the store or riding to work because I wanted to, there was no longer an agenda. I still advocate cycling very much but I do it now with an event flyer and a smile than with a frothy mouth and u-lock held overhead like a Katana. Oneís best contribution to cycling is to simply cycle. To ride, to enjoy it, to do it because you want to. Agendas and attempts to sway others about how bikes fit into traffic for me at least now donít seem as important. I can say Iím more happy for it and so is everyone else that is in a car next to me.   

 

 

 

On cursing someone out.

 

ďNice helmetĒ Again. Every Thursday I get to hear this from the same guy. Why? Wellí Iím not wearing one. Yeah, yeah I know. I know. But you look nothing like my parents and neither did this guy. I was doing a not too long ride in the mornings with my girlfriend at the time, weíd hit the trail, neither she nor I liked to wear helmets so we exercised our right as Americans and chose not to. I had got her on the bike, she went from gasping on a few mile street ride to climbing up the tallest hills in the Santa Monica Mountains, it was fun for a time. By the way, this is not about bikes; it is about cursing someone out.

The guy may have meant well, but after being in earshot of him on several occasions I gathered he quite relished in being the answer guy, Mr. right, the I told you so guy, so I think I was just another in a long line of people that he had to comment on. We live in the age of comments. I canít remember the last time I ever heard someone say to me they donít know about a given subject or had no idea; I was just trying to get away from all these ďexpertsĒ by riding up in the hills.  I used to hear this a lot from people, the call: ďHelmet!Ē What? Do you have one for me? If you care so much then give me one. Sometimes I Ďd yell back ďdickhead!Ē or if I was in a real foul mood (often at this time) Iíd tell them to mind their own business! Expletive, expletive, and then roll past them. A few scattered curse words is not a proper cursing out mind you, there is much more involved.  This thing is I started wearing one later just to get people to stop trying to mother me, I hate that. And yes, Iíve had a couple good knocks to the head, one of which I think was instrumental in making me the person I am today (another story not about bikes). However I still ride without one often (Gasp! Quickly, go cancel your subscription because you canít control me.)

This guy I will call Sparky because I donít know his name, also Sparky is a term that I employ for someone who is always voicing their opinions, often, with no prompting. You may have been in college and had a Sparky in one of your classes. Usually an older person than the average student or rider who thinks that they by virtue of more years of life experience can impart said experience upon those that lack it, by this I mean everyone else. Sparky would say how he liked my helmet and I had a nice helmet over and over again. Iíd tell him I heard him. ďI heard you.Ē Iíd say as we made our way past him, we were not going fast but this guy was older and with older riders thus a little slower than we were at the time. Usually a normal person would see after a few times of trying to get a rise out of people and not getting said rise, they would stop trying to antagonize their target.  But for Sparky, the shower of sparks never stop. Iíd say for a month, time went by where he would comment on my not having a helmet every time heíd see me and I would say that I heard him or haha very funny and ride on. The next two months of him making the same comment I just rode by in silence. In this silence my anger slowly smoldered into a red rage. I was out in the hills to relax and unwind the tangled mass that was my mind, this was no longer happening. It was like being a child and having to be chased by the same dog on the way home every day, something pleasurable had become an ordeal. My rides became a course in anger management, every pedal stoke I would envision myself nudging closer and closer to Sparky and then heíd be bouncing down the cliff still talking not even understanding why he was going to be eating the next six months of meals through a straw. But I banished such acts from my mind and simply resolved that the next time Sparky said something to me he would get cursed out proper.               

I was on the fire road when it happened. It was an overcast day and there was Sparky with six of his riding buddies. I exploded. At the top my lungs the cursing out began, I wonít go into the gory details but the string of profanities that came out of my mouth would have made Hitler blush. Now, to properly curse someone out you have to meet three criterion: Criteria number One: You must completely and thoroughly character assassinate the target. Your attack must be unrelenting, and very loud; you are after all pissed off. So I want to say I spent near two miles riding uphill on a fire road adjacent to Sparky giving him the cursing out of his life. It is fine when doing this to repeat the same attacks, your beating the point to death, it is supposed to be complete and total, no stone unturned, no insult left unhurled, over kill, like having every alloy part on your bike be violet anodized, too much is just right.  So I do this until the big climb to the spot we call the Hub where the trails go all different ways. I pedal up to the Hub and wait for Sparky. His friends show up, he shows up. He could have had it stop right then and there but no, he had to make a comment. So I picked up right where I left off, my voice ringing through the canyons and hills. In completing Criteria number one, you move to Criteria number Two: You must loose your voice in the cursing out of the target. This shows that youíve given it your all. Violet spoke nipples? Sure why not! I was losing my voice I and at this point his friends tried to intervene and then they get some too. You see (Cosby inflection) once the cursing out begins it has to run its course. Anyone that gets in the way of my machine-gun of hate gets mowed down, there are no innocents, just those that ran and those that got sprayed. Well hell they want to stand there and take it so they do and then Sparky does what would complete the cursing out thus fulfilling out Criteria number Three: You must, with the power of your cursing out, drive them physically from the space where youíre at. Being that we were up in the hills where can you go?  He could of got on his bike and rode away but no, he hides in a porta potty. Once Sparky is gone but still in ear shot I empty the clip into his friends. Sparky does not come out. The smoke clears. My Girlfriend was there for the tail end. ďReady?Ē I say in a froggy rasp and we roll back the way we came. The next time I saw Sparky he wouldnít even look at me. Good.

Iíve only done this three times in my life. Iím not looking to blow up on people I put up with months of this guys mouth be he got a dose. And his friends? I see them all the time; theyíre all really nice!

 

The best place to ride.

 

Is your own back yard, your local trail, common bike patch etc. If one (not saying you should) looks at cycling magazines, they always are showing you some out of the way exotic place that you can never have the time or money to travel to. Is the trail better? Sometimes Iím not so sure. Iíve finally after many years of hard work gotten to a point where I can take a week off during the winter between Christmas and New Years (both stupid holidays) to go trail riding. Iíve gone to few places and while I had a blast and really enjoyed the exploration I rated my vast network of local trails against what I rode out there and the home team won hands down. Iím sure If I spent a few years exploring those trails Iíd learn to love them too, but that is why the best place to ride is your local trail etc. The thing that makes you forget is that youíve already ridden it many times. Over time one starts to look for more, Iíd say that this is not the way to look at things. Familiarity and nuance to me at least make for a deeper more thou rough experience. Once you have locked in your brain every curve, every bump  etc. you can go past the basics of the trail and begin to absorb the scenery and push your limits of what you can do on that ride. You can go from a geared bike to a single speed or eschew suspension for the bumpy ride of none. What is comes down to is two things as a way to look at something you enjoy: One, you learn to value what you have and not take it for granted. I know for most of us this is a major life hurdle, we get jaded so easily. Iíve been doing the same loop every Thursday night for years now and every time I have a blast. Because I know the trail well I can focus on perfecting my traversing it. There is a steep incline that we have to do. It is not very long perhaps a ľ mile in length but very steep. I have this bike that I use a lot, my oldest trail bike. It is a 1964 Schwinn cruiser that I made into a single speed mountain bike. The gearing is 36/18 meaning that it is a hard ride; most new single speeds are 32/20 or so by comparison. What this means to those that donít know (or possibly care) is when going up hill which you do a lot of in mountain biking my bike is much harder than most in that category and heavier to boot. So back to this hill I would push down on the cranks so hard and pull up on the bars with such force just to get those cranks to turn over one more time and I would go into anaerobic so fast. Iíd be gasping for breath, covered in sweat and snot trying to desperately get my bike up that hill without getting off and pushing.  So for years Iíd get off and push, defeated. One day is got to the top. I felt like I was going to die but I did it. I never thought I would be able to do that, but after years of riding the same place I was able to do just that. If I had just been a tourist on this trail I would have never learned its subtle nuances and gotten to the top. Sometimes still I dread that hill but just last night I rode it again and got to the top and did not go anaerobic, one can do the same thing over and over again and get something new out of it every time, if you choose to.

Two. I have this personal philosophy that I call ďThe totality of the ExperienceĒ. While explaining this in great detail would take up a lot of room, to make it short I believe that in order to fully understand and comprehend something you have to become it, totally immerse oneís self into the activity or idea. It is the difference between being a tourist or dabbler in life or being a master craftsmen. If I am to brand myself a cyclist than I need to explore all aspects of cycling including frame building, part manufacturing, touring, racing, crashing, healing, event organization etc. all of it. Now Iím writing about it, boring the pants off non-cyclists right? What this means is you have to be so thorough, complete, total. I donít think most people try and understand what is they are doing, they are catching a passing train with no clue as to where itís been or where itís going.  I want to master my craft and understand it in its totality, good or bad. When you take this viewpoint and apply it to where you ride you want to explore every option and learn every inch, become the trail, be the dirt under your tires. Even now, Iím still seeing new things and finding new trails in areas that Iíve ridden for years and years. Iíve worn out 4 sets of wheels on my single speed and yet there is still so much more ground to cover. The other day I got to rail a berm and hit this tabletop and get some crazy air. Iím not much of a jumper, I donít ďget radĒ too often as I have to work the next day and all. But I did and suddenly I saw a whole new aspect to something that I have yet to explore, Constantly exploring new vistas and new horizons and never going to far away from my home. Try it.  

 

On wasting Time.

    Where did all my time go? How many times have you asked this to yourself or had some one ask it to you? As far as we know, time moves at around the same rate within a few million milliseconds as is has as long as we were clutching sharpened wooden sticks in our hands instead of cell phones (I guess not much has changed). As weíve moved on, the basic need for survival has been well taken care of, in fact weíre so good a surviving that weíve near wrecked the earth (for us) with our too many swollen bodies. We are fat, numerous pig creatures, so fat and numerous that now looking like youíre starving is desirable, because weíre so far from it. But I stray from my point. Time. Where does it all go? The old punker in me wants to believe that the powers that be created ways to keep us busy so we would not see the heat being slowly turned up and up till weíve been cooked in our own juices. However I know that is not the case, no one or no entity needs to invest much energy keeping us plebs down in the gutter where we belong, we do a fine job of staying there of our own free will. Just sit back and relax, letís go outside because it is a nice day and lay out on the front lawn, look up at the sky and dream a little. What do you want to do? What would you like to do? Lets make a list, we all have things weíd like to do and places that weíd like to be, weíd like to travel not like this run on sentence, but go places, not to Hawaii, but be at some point in life where we can say we did things we wanted to with our precious time and got something out if it. We are still on our lawn, thinking about it and the thought is becoming a lot, the list is big, so big! We become overwhelmed by our own imagination, the battle is fought and lost in our own heads, we should just give up and go post a picture of what we had for lunch on Facebook. Good job, you fucking loser. Now, go punch yourself in the face. How we spend our time is our choice, we are lazy by nature. Going back to the caveman days when every calorie was precious, being a spaz or being industrious meant you may starve. Not wasting energy was important, we are inclined to do the least possible, it is ingrained into the fabric of our being. So wasting time comes natural to us. We want to be lazy. I guess being aware that we are inclined to laziness is the first hurdle, the second is not being lazy, the third is to shut the fuck up and go do things. Letís look at these things. I am lazy. We all are. I could do more, we all could. I am aware that for all that I do, I make ants look lazy Iíve been told but I know I could do more because I feel like Iím being lazy more often than I am not. I could break down what I do every day, I will. I have a fairly rigid schedule; some mornings I go trail riding, others I do weights. Then I do some drawing or some reading or both. I do some chores; I try and clean one thing a day. I have bicycle projects, automotive projects, literary projects, logistical projects, or work on an event. I run two businesses, one with a partner and one solo (by the time this sees print, ten years! Yeah!). I go to work, then I do a night ride or play music or work on one of the aforementioned projects, then I draw a three paneled comic strip everyday usually before I go to bed that Iíve been doing since 2005. In between all this I am usually trying to develop a new skill, now it is TIG welding. I still have time to hang out with friends, play Dungeons & Dragons (advanced) and have a love life too (sometimes, when they can put up with my shit). But Iím lazy because I know I could do more. Am I bragging? No, I simply do not like to sit on my lawn and dream about what to do, I go out and do things. I donít like not having things to do because it makes me depressed, and Iím totally weird in that I donít want any problems and like to be happy. However, when Iím looking at bikes on craigslist or ebay, I am wasting time. I catch myself now and again doing this and get filled with self-loathing. I hate wasting time. I figure I could be dead tomorrow so I donít want to waste any of my time doing things that donít have some sort of goal or reward for me. To not waste oneís time, you need to raise the bar for what is a goal and what is a reward. Every day I feel tired, I am sore, something hurts, I want to go home and relax, but I donít. Every morning, I donít feel like getting on my bike at 6:30 am and go sweat it out in the hills, my bed is warm I could just sleep some more or waste time on the internet looking at pictures of bicycles and hot rods or whatever. But typically I donít, I force myself to go out and I never regret it. I always feel good after I go for a ride, I feel awesome in fact, I have achieved ďtotal raddnessĒ (I also, made the sticker). I am not super human, I simply push past our inclination to be lazy and go do things, and itís that simple. The thought of the hurdle is far greater than the hurdle itself once you master this, the total radness will be infused in your every day. On paper it looks very simple, but you need to retrain your brain, your whole being to go from being a couch potato to a person that does things. Do you need to do great things? Not at all, but anything is better than sitting on your ass talking about what youíd like to do instead of doing it. This leads me to the most important thing: Shut the fuck up. Youíre gonna, shoulda, woulda, coulda, wish you did, been talking about it, yeah fucking right you are. The first thing is to only allow yourself to talk about the shit you did do or are doing not what youíre going to do. Make this hard fast rule with yourself and suddenly you have not much to say right? Itís not easy being that hard on yourself but you have to start somewhere. Once I hear the same set of plans from someone twice after not seeing them for a few months I know theyíre completely full of shit. All talk. It is not about being elite; the plain truth is 10% of the people do 90% of the work. So you make this rule for yourself, just talk about the things you did, not what youíre going to do. People tell me what they are going to do all the time, it does not matter, what youíre doing and what youíve done is whatís important. The would is full of unfinished business, incomplete projects, things left dashed against the rocks of time, sloth, and reality, so why ad to it? The next thing is getting rid of the things that waste time in your life. One also needs to remove time vampires (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st ed Monster Manual One pp. 99) from oneís life in order to get things done. Did you see in my routine any time allotted to Television or Facebook? Thereís a good reason for that. Television is the enemy. According to the American Time use survey, we Americans spend near 3 hours a day on average watching TV. That is roughly 20 hours a week. 20 hours a week is like a part time job. If you worked 20 hours a week for minimum wage, youíd make around 160 more dollars a week, that means before taxes a yearís worth would be 8300 bucks a year, but no, youíd rather watch ďrealityĒ TV instead. I understand that we are not ants and need to unwind and relax and we incur stresses during the day and need a release. But why not work on a project instead? Or go for a bike ride? Do a Zine (not recommended), learn a new skill and in the doing of this activity sort of Zen out and relax. As Iím learning to TIG weld I find it to be an extremely relaxing activity, I just focus because you have to and in doing so push out all the detritus of the day in the smoke and heat of molten metal.  TV is an easy drug, the flickering of the screen makes your body produce beta-endorphins and thus you feel good. A Ĺ hour becomes an hour becomes two hours, becomes time to go to bed. Your time, squandered. In a few hours time you could fill this zine with a list of things that you could have done in an evening, if you only had the time. Not only do you have the biological aspects working against you of being inclined to laziness and the pleasure centers of your brain telling you to stay on the couch, you have the societal pressures to conform controlling you as well. Most people watch TV and in doing so, some you can talk about TV watching to others, you now have something in common with everyone else. Being a group of people and not having anything to add to the conversation because you donít watch TV can be pressure enough for some people to participate in this popular pastime so you can feel like you belong. I told someone I donít have a television and they were shocked. ďWhat do you do?Ē they asked. Lots of things, but cataloging some TV show in my head is not one of them. I have not owned a TV in over twenty years and Iíve never regretted it. Not to say I have not seen things, movies and shows but I save that for when Iím too sick or injured to do anything else. So far in the last ten years Iíve missed 6 days of work, 2 to illness and 4 to injury then I felt being a slug was justifiable. People also spend an increasing amount of time on the various social media outlets, various stats are out there but around 10 hours a week seems about right. If you put that 10 hours a week toward fitness, youíd be in great shape. If you put 10 hours a week into restoring a classic car, it would be done before you knew it. The point being that this small amount of time used wisely could have huge benefits for you on so many levels, but no, youíd rather take another picture of your dinner. Iíve railed against the evils of social media in the past, simply put it is the devil. It all boils down to ego, oneís being so frail that they need constant approval and recognition from people; many of which are peripheral on oneís life. As most people talk and few do, social media makes all the talk all the more closer to the doing that it will never be, close enough to appease the ego so the actually doing of things will be ensured to never happen. One day, back in time youíre a child and laying on the grass, looking up at the sky dreaming. You and your friends talk about all the things youíd like to do, all the dreams big and small. As time passes you put behind you these childish dreams and get on with life. But now, we have Facebook to keep the dream alive right? What it really does is lower the bar so very low. Mediocre is the new awesome (I made the sticker). All social media is in reality is a new form of TV where you get to create the stories; it is just as fake, phony, and worthless as regular TV. I mean letís be real here, on your facebook page youíre the star of the show right? (insert laugh track here) Are you going to try and spice things up or are you going tell people the highlights only? Or are you going to try and make the mundane seem fantastic?  Well, the plot is weak and the story just drones on and on with no real goal, I think we need to cancel this shit, the ratings are terrible. The character is one dimensional, myopic, boring even, all they do is talk about what they ate for lunch and pictures of their dog, I mean how much can you take?  I have a vested interest in being interested in life, and your lunch choices donít even make it on the scale. The other aspect of the trap is you start to feel the need to get approval and input of these web people and they will begin to influence your choices, before you know it youíve lost the ability to think for yourself. I find this to be alarming and even dangerous. In addition, if you catalog every detail of your existence to others on these platforms, you have nothing to talk about if you do decide to spend time with one another in ďmeatspaceĒ. How lame is that? You go to hang out with your friends and before someone goes into a story every one says they saw the post. Silence. And again. Silence. Before you know it everyone is standing around staring at their cell phones instead of interacting with each other, we see it all the time. It is sad really, I used to look at these people and feel contempt but now I just feel like theyíve duped themselves and will never find any happiness, and that makes me sad. Did a bunch of rich old men guide you to this end? No, you did it all by yourself. Delete that shit; put your TV on the curb. In doing so, you will have suddenly freed up so much time that it will floor you. What was on TV will not be of interest and keeping up with people who have given up their free will to the cult of social media will have no value to you once youíre away from it. Letís head back to that field again; lie in the grass and dream, can you see it? The dream can be thought out and actually realized, because you can see that you have the time. On the flip side of the coin I can see how it is easy to be satisfied with just doing enough to skate by, itís easy and everyone is doing it. Sometimes I have days where I feel like I should just give up and be a fat slob, but I know I will not be happy. The vast majority of Americans are just doing the bare minimum and are they happy? Can you even measure it? Not really but my encounters with ďnormalsĒ tells me that most people are not happy with what they have going on. So, who is to blame? The blame starts with yourself and should generally stay there because none of us are so important that another individual or group of individuals will waste a second of their time trying to ďkeep you down, man.Ē The time is now.

Some Nickel Wisdom.

I hope Iíve learned some things as Iíve gone along in this life, I find that many people have a world view and try to force this square peg (their world view) into a round hole (reality) over and over again. I am not one of those people, I think. I guess after over a decade of venom, vitriol, hate, and a constant assailing of commonly accepted ideas and concepts here, I am in the mood for some reflection.

Iíve learned that if I want something to happen or be a certain way, then it is up to me to make it so. I cannot expect others to do things, or make change, I must be the agent of change or the change will most likely not happen. Sometimes you can get people to help you in your vision but if you were to rely upon it, then youíd be disappointed. Once I figured it out that if I wanted fun things to do that I had to do them, the rest was just sweat. The biggest hurdle one would have to face would be staring back at them in a mirror. This has made life rich and rewarding in many ways and Iíve also alienated people too as I have to carve my own path it can be one with few companions, for those that act are vastly outnumbered by those that wait. This price if you will is just fine by me. Not sitting around waiting for something to happen but making it happen is not normal and thus the ďnormalĒ people would be put off by such things. On a similar note, one cannot take their own personal value system and apply it to others expecting anything but a bad fit. Why? As much as we do conform in many ways in this life, we are all individuals. All being individuals means that we all have our own take on everything under the sun. How I do things works great for me and me alone. No one could walk my path for it is mine to walk by myself, nor could I walk anotherís path no matter how similar they may be. The B and I, being fierce friends for so long are very different people; it is this way with everyone. I seek no validation by converting others to my way of doing things; I understand that it is my way only. To look at someone else and be upset with them because they are not conforming to your world view is foolhardy, myopic, and will always lead to disappointment. So because of this I never seek to change others, I accept them for who they are and of they fit in my view of things, then we will spend time together. I can do things by example and if they want to do them too, that is great. However if they drop off after a while then it is no big deal and expected. People will generally follow familiar paths and people are consistent. You my be able to get someone to deviate from their normal way of doing things for a time but more often than not they will default back to familiar ways. If someone wants to make a change then that will have to come from within, not from external forces. I say often you have to drag people to a good time kicking and screaming all the way. Once they get there they had fun sure, but you will most likely not see them again. People tend to go with what is familiar to them and what for them, the path of least resistance. This is why things like diets are so hard for many. A diet involves a radical internal alteration of a known and comfortable path, leaving such paths are very difficult for most. Donít mistake say for example someone who was a heavy drug user to quit and become a Jesus freak to being change, they are merely walking a parallel path to the one well known to them. People are also fairly consistent; they tend to stay on the same course all the time. Do not confuse consistency with integrity however. Integrity is where your espoused views match up with your actions when no one is watching. Consistency is just consistency, if someone has in the past talked shit about one of your friends to you, you should know that when youíre not around it will be your turn next. If someone tells a ďwhite lieĒ to someone if front of you, you should not be surprised that they will do the same with you. Are you that special? No. I recently had a friend who had his girlfriend blow up on him in some crazy episode. Foolishly so, he asked me for advice. I told him that she would do it again; so donít be surprised if it happens again. It did. Chances are that this person has done this in the past and will most likely never grasp why they do these things when the consequences for stupid freak-outs are well known. For whatever reasons this kind of outlandish behavior is consistent with their personality. All they need to do if find someone that enjoys being yelled at for no good reason and a match made in heaven is found on earth. But will this person change, or learn from their mistakes? On a cognitive level perhaps but will they override to urge to blow up? Most likely not, being that this is the consistent and familiar path that they have been on for who knows how long. You can expect to see consistent patterns of behavior from most people and the best way to notice is to shut the fuck up and let them do the talking and to silently observe. Iíve learned more about the people around me by letting them just do what they do and me observing in silence than any questions could ever answer. People will volunteer what is most valuable, interesting, and on their mind with little prompting, all you have to do is listen. While I have an inquisitive mind I donít like to pry in peopleís affairs, it is after all their business. But I am a keen observer and am always looking for what sort of patterns that will emerge. Once you find the consistent behaviors then you can avoid conversations that involve changing or improving an aspect of their lives that you know will never change. I have friends that are terrible with money, they always will be. I on the other hand am very good with my money. With my broke-ass friends Iíve learned through observation to avoid discussing strategies towards saving money, the talks will yield no fruit, best to move on to other things. So Iíve learned to try and know people to see how they fit into my life, mainly through observation and looking for their personal pattern.

Iím sure you have met people that self-sabotage. These sorts of people seem to only feel normalcy in strife and once they are in a rare place in their life where they are not encountering strife, they wreck things. Why this happens I care not, people of this stripe will never not be looking for ways to ruin things for themselves, they will never be happy or contented and that is sad and all, but fuck them. All you need to know is that people like this are best avoided. If you want to be a striver and be proactive then you need to be around others that think the same. Iíve learned that complaining and excuses are for the weak and they service no one and no thing. I often say ďNo Complaints!Ē to people who ask me how things are. They often say no one would listen anyway and to this I say that I project no problems so I have very few to deal with. Yes, attitude is everything. If youíre trying to be a way then surrounding yourself with others that are on that path it is easier to stay on that path, even if new or unfamiliar. Iíve learned though tragic events that most things are not a big deal and not worth getting worked up over, things could always be worse. This teaches me to be even-keeled most of the time and not to let the little things in life cause me undue strife, itís a hard lesson to learn and one that I have to keep re-teaching myself for it is easy to forget and digress to a familiar path of discontent that Iím choosing not to walk anymore. Unlike many people, I want to and strive to be happy and trouble free, I know, weird huh? Iíve also learned to think about myself in the context of circumstances, ideas, and events whether or not they may happen. Iíve spent a lot of time in my head learning about my biggest adversary in life: myself. Iíve learned to know myself very well and be completely unabashed and honest with whom I am, good and bad. I know my paths well and know which ones I will stay on and the ones I wonít. Self-awareness is a vastly unexplored topic with most people, with me it is through and comprehensive, I know myself well and have passed the ďfox hole testĒ many times now with flying colors. Being brutally honest with yourself is the hardest and best thing one could ever do for themselves. I know where I have weak areas and know that I will most likely never change in these areas, Iím ok with it. There are three versions of a person. The person you think you are, the person that you are now, and the person that you have the potential to be. The battle between these internal enemies is constant. The gap between them for some is huge, I can honestly say that they are in my head companions more often now than enemies, that they are closer to being one than they have ever been and thatís a good thing for sure. Iíve learned to see these different versions of myself and bring them together rather than let one rule or subdue the others. I think most people spend way too much time focusing on the person that they think they are rather then who they really are or the potential of who they could be. If I were wrong, then websites like Facebook would not be so popular where false projection is the name of the game, not reality.

On a similar note, I think a lot of problems we encounter have to do with ego. We are self-important creatures; it is after all a survival mechanism. However in the vast sea of humanity (over 7 billion) I am just one person. Over time, Iíve learned to keep oneís ego on a short leash. I think this is where most of our problems with others stem from; we think we are much more than we really are. Iím not saying donít strive as I am very driven and always strive to change things for the better. I do believe in the power of one more than most but just one out of 7 billion and rising, so how important are we? I do a lot of things but Iím not bragging, it is just my path that Iím on, we are all driven differently after all. However it is no cause to get puffed up in oneís achievements, there should me little or no ego involved. I have found that the more someone does the less they need to tell everyone about it and the less someone does the more you get to hear of the minor achievements they make. Achievements are momentum after all and you can build one on top of another to where it just feels normal, that is a good place to be, a place that everyone can get to if they want. Regardless, we have a vision of oneís self and that vision usually is a self-centered one. If one were to die tomorrow, how would the world be affected? Not as nearly as you think. I knew someone who wanted their funeral to be huge, but in life they were just another untrustworthy worm out of many untrustworthy worms, so why would anyone care? Or when you hear about some actor who dies and you just keep going because they may have a known face but really did nothing for humanity; like a mc Donaldís employee; disposable, replaceable, and forgettable. If I were killed tomorrow some people would be sad and some glad and youíd have to go somewhere else to get your bikes fixed and there would be a few less silly things on bicycles to do but one would invariably get on with things, it doesnít matter that much, not nearly as much as you think. Iím sure you or you have known someone that quit or got fired from a place and thought the business would never survive without them. You drive by the place in a month or two and guess what? It is still there. Somehow they managed to keep things going without you. Geez. Once you wrap your head around this concept you find that things are just a whole lot easier for you, are you spineless? Not by a long shot, you just are looking at the whole picture now instead of just from your perspective. This will make you very even-keeled and fair most of the time, wouldnít that be nice?  Most of the time you can be assured that no one is watching you and even lees care what youíre doing at a given moment, and no, I donít need any ďupdatesĒ, thanks. Iíve also learned that I can get a lot more done with a smile and a positive attitude than I can by throwing my insignificant weight against the world. I tend to revel in conflict or even excel at it, it is a comfortable place for me, so it took some doing to keep that behavior in check. While all my hard-core punker friends have become squares, I have stayed the same and maintained my convictions. While I feel I have changed through experience, I am and always haven been my own person, someone who values their free-will and ability to choose more than most. While the trappings of conformity will provide a feeling of belonging though commonly tread paths, being on your own path will also yield rewards. I am not plagued with doubt and uncertainty in my travels, I have a good idea of where Iím going and where Iíd like to be and some idea of how to get there. I spend a lot of time thinking about these things, Iíve learned to think about stuff for a long time before acting. However you do it, one should at least in my opinion take the time to weigh all the options when faced with a problem. Like exercising a muscle, you should exercise your problem-solving muscles in your brain. The more you do so the easier it gets and the less problems you have. I like to think of things in the immediate, the near future, and the long term and to weigh all at once. I suspect many people donít look at the long term or aggregate costs of oneís actions. Iíve had circumstances where if I acted rashly, I would be rewarded and punished for my bravado. After all, Hollywood type solutions (violence) to oneís problems usually begets more problems.

Iíve also learned that it is better to trust people and get burned than to never trust anyone. I have been burned several times however these people will only get so much from me. A few hundred or thousand dollars loaned and never returned? To get rid of that untrustworthy agent from my life, a bargain. The trust and real friendships that I possess make me infinitely more wealthy than most. Sure a few have proven themselves unworthy of trust and true friendship but I can take solace in that they, being who they are will never have any relationship that is real or of worth because they are not of worth. You only get what you give in this regard. I spent a lot of time being angry at these dishonest louts, plotting revenge in my mind, what I would do if the chance encounter were to arrive. Then I just realized they we not worth my energies, that they would always be on the outs with people and my best revenge is to live well. Forgive? Never. It is one thing that I cannot do for I believe that it is so easy to do the right thing and people donít simply because they feel there will be no repercussions for their actions. I donít think you can be taught morals or to have a conscious, these have to come from within, you have to want it. Sure the ideas are out there, but how many truly prescribe to them? While we live in a litigious society with copious rules, one imposes many other unwritten rules upon themselves. These unwritten rules or the self-imposed code that one does or does not develop is where you construct your character. Now, we can espouse virtue but as Iíve said many times in the past on these pages, they are only valid when put to the test. When no one is watching and no one will know, what do you do? Itís something to ponder.

Mediocre is the New Awesome

When did everyone become such a bunch of experts? We have entered the Know-it-all generation. This year I have grown so intolerant of any sort of criticism of any sort, I am on edge, when someone lobs up some comment the verbal abuse they get from me is marked. I guess I have had enough of criticism from anyone for various reasons. Mainly, no matter what you do, if you are a person that does things, near anything you do will garner armchair criticism from those that do not. Iíd say the percentage of people that try and do any sort of thing like make something, do an event, start a business etc is less than 1% of the people out there. Out of the 99% left most of them are quick to add their comment like they know anything, most donít but Iím making generalizations here. The only ones that have valid criticism are contemporaries, or your true peers. If you are a welder, then comments from other professional welders have weight, from the myriad of back yard welders the comments are not valid. If you are a doer, then the world will be your adversary.

          We were on our way to a soapbox derby, my friend commented he wanted to be a ďdoerĒ. ďWell, that is a lonely road.Ē I said. The vast majority of people will in this life sit on their ass and do the bare minimum to get by, they will do as little as possible. However, these people will dream of doing things, talk of doing things, and waste a lot of peopleís time poorly articulating the things theyíd like to do like restore a vintage car, do a bike-packing trip, get a band together, paint a picture, write a novel etc. But lets face reality here; it will most likely never be done. Many have dreams of travel and exploration, they wanted to go places, see things not only in the land but also experience things in the realm of the heart and mind. You will hear stories of the one that got away, or they never had the courage to act upon a desire or were too afraid to grab love by the horns. To look at others doing and want also but to do nothing is the norm. Fast forward a few decades and the person is in the twilight of their years full of unfulfilled hopes and dreams, a life of unfinished business and things only dreamt of but never enacted upon. It is common. To do otherwise you would be setting yourself apart and get the ire of all those that lack the drive to make things happen in their own life. So you summon up the courage to break from the heard and start making things happen, it is a liberating feeling at first but youíve been conditioned to seek the approval of your peers, these people will be quick to shoot down your ideas. Many will return to the fold at this point, afraid of being rejected by ones friends and family for doing things that are deemed risky or unsafe. If you can get past this then you must be ready to embrace failure because it may happen, but what is worth doing in this life that does not come with some risk? Most people want to glide through life without any friction; in fact it is the supposition of all Americans that we should not have any problems. If this belief were not true then the practice of psychology would not exist where you can pay someone several hundred dollars an hour to whine about your problems. Really when you think about it when things are good most people are good and when things are bad you really see the true content of oneís character come out. There are some things in my life that have happened that I will carry as an emotional and philosophical burden forever that I cannot change but these things however bad they are, have given me a firm purchase on reality and this friction that I have had to deal with has made me a better person. Just think what a smug prick youíd be if everything you tried to do in this life when off without a hitch?  For me at least the act of doing is the important factor. I learned to play bass because I wanted to learn not because I had dreams of being a rock star, most likely why Iím not in a band now. Here is the main problem one will have if they set out to do something, the doing, the journey is more important than an expectation of a reward. In fact you should not expect a reward. This zine is a prime example; we do it for over a decade now because we want to, not because we want accolades. We donít even put contact information in here anymore because self-aggrandizement is not what it is about. There is no extrinsic reward. We dump these things off and people may pick them up of they throw them away (fuck you Second Spin!). And thatís it. So when you set out you get assailed by nay-sayers and arm-chair critics abound because everyone has such great ideas on how you should go about doing things. I started my bicycle shop in 2004 and before I did I mentioned my intentions to a few friends, no positive support was given. I took a risk and went ahead with it anyway. Nine years later Iím going strong, my business is doing well at this point. Was I afraid? Sure. That phantom of failure was always looming overhead, I had a lot to learn and still do. But as time went on my hard work and diligence beat back the beasts of fear and indecision. If I had listened to my friends Iíd still be miserable working for LAUSD as a substitute teacher or have some awful office job, I would not be living up to my potential for myself or for others that would be for sure. Well, Iíd be just like them I guess when you ask them what is going on they always say the ďsame old shitĒ. Well, shit in, shit out I say. If you are surrounded by a bunch of negative nay-saying people that you call friends and every time you have an idea perhaps you need to find new friends. If you hear things like ďThat will never workĒ or ďI wouldnít do thatĒ every time you try and do something you have to ask yourself if these people are your friends or your enemies? Not saying that a good friend should not be there to check you but you will find that many are quick to try and crush your dreams with some snide remark or quip. That the mass of humanity is made up of such people, they are just anchors. I learned to stop telling people my intentions a long time ago, as it is not going to do any good. One point is I donít need all the nay saying and negativity, there is so much of it already that I can take no more. The other is when you solicit an opinion, you are giving that person power over you and it may affect your choice. When I opened my business I waited two months to tell my parents because I knew from years of experience that they would have nothing good to say about it, in fact no one did. I can say it was the best thing Iíve every done for myself and Iíve never looked back. I can also say that taking chances as I did will make most people cower at the risk. The risk was great but the rewards for success are greater, but if I listened to my friends then I would I be where I am now? Doubtful. What if I did fail though? Would birds of prey descend from the sky and pluck my eyes out? Would I burst into flames? The fear of failure is greater than the actuality of failure. If it did not work I would be out some money and have to pick up the pieces and move on. But at least I would have tried.       

 This is the first hurdle you will encounter is how all of your friends and family will turn on you, this is a hard blow for most when we have been conditioned all of our lives to value the approval of ones peers and even strangers above all else. So if you can get past that then you are more free than youíve ever been. Even doing small things like organizing a bicycle ride, making a zine, or restoring a vintage car will give you this great sense of completeness, and accomplishment, you will feel emotionally and philosophically elevated. Not better than others mind you, but just in a different place. This feeling will start to affect other things and you will be looking for other things to explore and other goals to attain. Congratulations! Youíve become a doer. Now, these things are enough for most to have fun-filled happy lives and garner the awe or consternation of their friends. You have to discipline yourself not to become a snob, itís an easy road to go down but it nullifies all of your efforts. It is best lead by example and just keep doing things, adding to the total, one more iron in the fire after another and keep the fire red hot at all times. This way, there is no time or a pedantic or elitist stance; youíre just too busy. After all, it is not like you are going to cure cancer (perhaps) but the point is that becoming a person that does things is really not a big deal all you have to do is do it. Starting with little things and then moving upward as you go along, all the way others will try and stop you with their worthless mouths.

          One time at work I had two ďgentlemanĒ (Cholos) try and commit armed robbery against me. One had a knife and the other was in the car waiting. Without going into a mess of details, I managed to not get hurt, not get robbed, and chase them away. The only causality was my Arizona Grape Aide that I laid upside the knife-wielding guys face. Afterwards I got visits from people like my small little neighbor telling me what I should have done, and all my friends who were quick to comment on what they would have done in my shoes. These two clowns were allowed to escape mainly because the LAPD took over twenty minutes to get to me, in that time they went and plied their trade on someone else. This time they were successful. This person also paid me a visit armed with criticism. Fuck you all. While in oneís head everyone thinks they will when the time comes, to act in a valiant or heroic manner or at least stick up for themselves the truth can only be known when put to the test. Unless you to have had someone try and rob you then you have no way to really know what you would do and any opinion you formulate, no matter how you hypothesize or intellectualize things, youíre completely full of shit. Your criticism does not count. Another example is something I encounter at work all the time is I get customers that ask me question on repairing their bike and then try and argue with me. Well if youíre such an expert then what the hell do you need me for? With so many experts out there I am amazed that I can keep my business afloat being that everyone knows more about fixing bicycles than I do, forget that Iíve been doing it professionally for near a decade now. I also get a lot of flak from people when I organize an event, something that I think I do better than most. I organize bike events where we do a bunch of fun things like chariot races, demolition derbies, and other silliness, then we go on a ride and then I feed everyone for free. I provide all the bikes for the events, give out spoke cards and buttons, and food and yet people still have some sort of criticism to lob up. I dare anyone to do 1/10 of the stuff that I do. These events take near two months to get ready for and involve hundreds of actions, a huge to-do list and a large investment of time and resources to make happen. All of which I do on my time and dime. What do I want in return? Not much, but keeping oneís worthless opinions to oneself would be a great place to start.

I prefer to just say nothing if it not something I know much about. People love to talk politics or analyze society and it is all a bunch of bullshit anyway, youíre not going to do anything about it so why even bring it up? Just so you know, going on the web and posting political ideas on your loser facebook page does not make you politically active, it just makes you a regurgitation loser talking to other losers, it does not count. If you were really politically active you would go to protests, or get a petition going or make stickers and hand them out, really anything but post crap on the web. Voting is being politically active. You think it does not count then why do politicians spend money hand over fist trying to get your ďworthlessĒ vote? What is worthless is boring your friends to death with all of these ideas that arenít even your own and think that pressing a ďsendĒ butting on a web site is action.

Over time I have seen people talk and talk and they always have some thing to say, the more they say the less I want to because I know it is just a bunch of crap. Youíll have another beer and that idea will fade and youíll go to sleep ant night and then wake up a forget about what it was you were so excited about the night before, itís gone. Or you will just go back to taking the path of least resistance and while your hours away jumping from distraction to distraction and wonder where all the time has gone. It is easy to squander and easy to just be lazy. I had a pretty bad cycling injury on Easter Sunday and was laid up with by tailbone, back and kidneys all in a rage. So all I could do was lay down and rest. Of course I got lots of phone calls, the concern was nice but please stop telling me what to do about it. Are you me? No. Are you in my body? Can you feel what I feel? No. Ok then just leave me to it all of you armchair doctors, leave me be. Iím still healing but I can ride again, it is just going to take time, chicken-little just stay home. So while resting I watched more TV and movies in a week than I have in the last 20 years. Just now am I pulling myself out of the ďjust one more episodeĒ trap. Back to doing things. Doing. Not watching. I can see how it is easy to just sink into that comfortable rut and never get things done. This is another hurdle one must conquer, the natural desire to do as little as possible. Could it stem from cave man days to conserve precious calories? Perhaps but I donít know anything about that so it is just an uneducated guess.

I have found that having many goals and many projects have done wonders for me, I am generally a very driven and motivated person that looks forwards to each day with excitement and zeal. Staying busy doing things is good. Achieving goals is good. Setting new goals for oneself is good. I like to break my goals down into three categories: Easily obtainable, long-term goals, and lofty goals. Easily obtainable goals are ones like doing a bike event where I make a to-do list and get everything on the list done in time. The event is easily done once it is broken down in its small components and each component tackled. These sorts of things that take a month or two to compete are easy goals to delineate and complete. Why am I not putting mundane chores in this category? Simply, if doing the dishes is a goal then you need to raise the bar quite a bit for yourself. A long term goal would be for example restoring a vintage car. Right now I am working on a 1966 Dodge a100 window van. So far in the last few years I have done all the electrical work as only the head lights worked when I got the thing, now everything does. Re-did the breaks completely, rebuilt the motor with the help of a friend because I knew nothing about it and just had the transmission rebuilt. I also fixed the copious rust holes in the roof; it is almost ready for paint. This is a long-term goal that may take years as each step is a lengthy process and take a fair amount of time and money. However it can be done as long as you spend time on it. Lofty goals are things that may never happen but I will work towards them none-the-less. I started a bicycle frame and component company with a friend in 2010 and someday it would be great to make the paradigm shift from retail bicycle shop to a manufacture. It may never happen but I will work towards it regardless of the hurdles that are thrown in my path. Right now it is like a hobby that pays for itself which is much better than being a money pit. It is lofty goal to someday get to that point where I can manufacture bikes and parts and develop cool bike parts instead of fix flat tires all day. I hope one day to get there but even if I donít I will have enjoyed the journey.

Really what are you waiting for? Are you going to sit on the couch all your life or are you going to go out and make a go at it? I know so many people that have great potential and never realize it out of laziness, fear of failure, or are coerced into stagnation by their peers. I think everyone can do a lot with their time here and be proactive in oneís environment and thus get more out of life. It is easy to sit back and comment about what others do, youíd be surprised how easy it is to go out and do something. Make a checklist of all the things youíd like to do. Have each thing broken down into its smaller, easily doable components. Now, take this list and tape it over your TV or computer screen whichever you waste the most time on. As in all things you will encounter in life the biggest adversary will always be yourself. Go out there and make it happen or just dream about it and be full of regret. The choice is yours and yours alone to make.

The Joys of Retail.

    ďHello.Ē ďAre you there?Ē ďYesÖ. Iím hereĒ. I get that one near daily. If I picked up the phone and you hear my voice Iím at work (hence, a ďwork phoneĒ), why is this such a hard concept to grasp? If you ever want to have your opinion of humanity lowered to the very bottom, work retail. What do I do?  If youíve read this page any time in the last 9 years I own a bike shop. I love what I do, most days it is awesome but there are times that I feel like there are never ending surprises when it comes to idiotic questions and stances. I guess Iím just letting off some steam here, normally in my column I assail some commonly held notion or concept in barrage of elocution and verbosity that will never leave an impression on your mind just like your last girlfriend, what was her name? Yeah. There are layers of dumbness like layers of a cake, the stupid questions that most bike shops are not stupid questions to me because we all have to start from zero. I had a customer ask me if the brake was supposed to contact the rim or the tire, without flinching I told him it was the rim. No big deal, how would he know if no one told him? That is not what Iíd call a stupid question, for someone that knows nothing about bikes thereís a lot to learn if you want to just like any area of interest. Iím glad to help, in fact I really enjoy teaching others how to do things, I like to give my knowledge away because expertise only comes with constant practice but the know-how is the kernel that could grow if nurtured. I get people that bring their kids bikes in saying that the brakes are always on the rim. The problem is the child has spun the bars around several times and caused the brake cables to be tensioned at all times, a quick unwinding of the handle bar will solve this. Itís not stupid, they just do not understand the systems on a bicycle so it all looks confusing, itís ok, Iím here to help. Unlike most shops I try really hard not to be a snob. Most bike shops are full of bike dorks and bike dorks are bike snobs, itís a hard one to shake, being pedantic. That being said common sense in other areas seems to be lacking. Layer one is ignorance; I have no problem with that. Layer two is the phone. I hate the phone. Hate. The. Phone. Phone calls often avail the caller nothing as so very little can be done over the phone. ďHow much will it cost to fix my brakes?Ē I donít know, youíll need to bring it in. (there are many different kinds of brakes and they all have different costs. ďMy bike is making a clicking noise.Ē Youíll have to bring it in.  Hold the bike up to the phone, no I canít see whatís wrong youíll have to bring it in. You see, in order to diagnose a problem I need to touch the bike, squeeze the brakes, spin the wheels, engage the shifters, look for what is wrong. I cannot do this over the phone. Iíve had 10 minute long conversations with people who have say a flat tire and somehow canít grasp that in order for me to fix the flat they have to bring it to me. Extreme cases being what they are, the examples I give are of common occurrences, not a rare thing like when I get a transvestite transient with their face smeared in Cheetoís or some lady who tries to grope me and when skillfully rebuffed with a bicycle wheel pulls her dress over her head (my life is very weird.)  You would think that the phone/in the flesh concept disconnect was an easy concept to grasp, however the caller more times than not will press the issue to the point of my going into robot mode. Bring it in, thereís no other way, Bring it in, thereís no other way, Bring it in, thereís no other way, Bring it in, thereís no other way, Bring it in, thereís no other way, bede bede bede. It all comes down to math. You may be noticing in your own lives that no one listens anymore. I simply have to repeat myself the number of times it takes until someone gets it. Sometimes its once (rarely), or 3-7 times (the usual), or more. I thought I was an emancipated educator, free from classrooms and recalcitrant children only to have to deal with the grown up failures of the education system on a daily basis.  Some times they will keep rephrasing the question hoping that my answer will change, it wonít. In the corporate business world all demands no matter how ridiculous will be acquiesced to or at least thatís the idea people have in their heads. Would you try to get your doctor to diagnose you over the phone and give you drugs? Or would you want him to check you out? Would you buy a painting just by a verbal description or only after you see it? Would you buy a car sight unseen or want to look at it with your own eyes and take it for a test drive? My line of work is no different, everything is tactile and hands on, the bicycle is over 100 years old and predates all the techo-lamess prevailing our society. By itís very nature the bicycle repair business cannot be accelerated to the digital age. Doubt me? Guess how many bikes I had to fix after the customer looked up how to fix it on You Tube? Lots. Thanks! Of course this leads us to the nasty hidden gross sub-layer of the internets. Sending e-mail asking about how much things cost will avail you nothing, you still need to bring it in. Your crappy cell phone pics make things more vague than a verbal description, they are worthless. I hate when people whip out the phone, so much time is wasted while they look for the pictures, and the answer is the same. ďI cannot tell from the pictures, youíll have to bring it in.Ē The web is great for looking at cat videos, looking at porn, stalking your x , buying crap you donít need but not for bikes. I get a lot of customers that can find a better price for a part on the web; they bring me the part and are astonished to find that the thing they bought is the wrong thing. Now they have to take the time and money to send it back, so where are the savings? The internet will never be able to replace some industries. This is why when you take your bike to a shop you get some expert advice and yes the parts may cost a buck or two more than some guy who is selling things on the web with no overhead, but what you save in time and doing it right the first time is worth the difference. That next aspect of this barf layer is all the web reviews. Yelp is nothing short of a mob-style protection racket where in stead of some chubby guy with spaghetti stains on his shirt threading to burn down your shop, you have some jerk on the phone telling you that you can pay some money to make a bad review go away. Iím sure you did not know this, they have called me several times and tried to extort money out of me to no avail, I will not be bullied. I discount the value of such things for a couple of reasons. One, would you trust the opinion of a stranger over a friend? And more importantly, you can pay to have bad reviews removed and make up fake identities and give yourself good reviews so the whole process is bogus. And guess what? I have a lot of good reviews! And I did not write a single one of them. This is what people tell me, I have excellent reviews all over. Why? Because I donít BS people and do my best and thus in a sea of lackadaisical attitudes my drive and enthusiasm rise to the top. To put it simply, I earned it. The crŤme or in this case, grease will rise to the top. The other thing youíd need to grasp is any review from most everyone about anything is coming from a laymenís perspective. If Iím ignorant of how a thing is repaired how can I give a valuable critique of the service? I guess the web just allows people to portray themselves as experts which they are not and give the false notion they oneís opinion is valuable. The next layer is that I possess psychic powers. If I did I would be doing more with myself than wrenching on bikes. Near every day people ask me one of the following questions: Iím looking for a used bike ďxĒ do you know when you will get one? No, how could I? Finding a given thing second hand is like asking someone when they will find money in the street. Will you? Most likely, but when? How could one know such a thing?  ďAre you busy?Ē Yes. ďWill you be busy at 3:30?Ē I donít know. ďWill you be busy when I get there?Ē Since I donít know how busy I will be, nor do I know when you will arrive, no I donít know.  I donít know. I donít know. I cannot see into the future. I do not know how many times the phone will ring in a day and I do not know how long each phone call will keep me away from repairs. I also donít know how many people will come in and how long those interactions will take form my repair work, and lastly I donít know how long repairs take until I see the bike and can spend some uninterrupted time with it.  I donít know. And yet constantly I get these sorts of questions, over and over. I once spent over 15 minutes with some stupid ass lady who could not wrap her head around the simple concept that she may have to wait her turn and there may be others that dropped off their bikes before her and I wielded no control over the frequency or number of these people and bikes, it was beyond my control. If only I were so powerful to hold sway over the masses! Alas, it was not the case. All over the phone I might add. In person one could see rows of bikes and see how busy I am and grasp that thereís a small chance that a bicycle shop is ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING LIKE A MC DONALDS.  Fucktards. It is a constant battle. People not wanting to wait their turn is another argument to be dealt with further down. Iím really flattered that people think I can see into the future and hold sway of the minds of others, I wish I had super powers, the power to make people pull their heads out of their asses would be the best power to have, even above flying or turning invisible (which I did, but that is another story).  These sorts of questions are dumb. It is hard for me not to lash out at these people, but I keep my game face on unless hard pressed. I understand that they understand nothing and mentally they have not gotten past the stage of a seven year old where itís all about them. I once saw a shirt that said, ďSure let me drop everything Iím doing and work on YOUR PROBLEM!Ē Exactly. Another common misconception is that all the bicycle shops are connected. I donít know what another shop has, I have no way to know, it is like calling up Mc Donaldís and asking what is on the menu art Burger King. The next layer is that people expect me to time travel or stop time and alter space. I am closing; the key is in the door. Someone comes up to me and wants me to fix their bikes. Not today I say as I am closing, drop them off now and Iíll have them done by tomorrow. We leave at the same time. Same person is there when I get there the next day. Are the bikes done? No, I left when you left, you saw me leave so Iíve had no time to work on them as I just got here. No time in the repair aspect has transpired, the bikes are just as broken as they were last night but there is this expectation that they would be magically fixed by elves or some such nonsense. But weíre going to the beach they say. Well, Iím not stopping you, while you are there tie these bikes around your waist and go for a swim, go feed the fish. OK, maybe that is too harsh. No, some people are that dumb, it makes me dumb just thinking about it. When Iím just getting there are about 15-20 bikes I have to pull out each day and line up. It is obvious that you canít walk in, there is no room as bicycles are lined up all the way to the front door, my space is that full. People will without fail try and get in, I have to ask them to wait outside till I get everything out, it takes about five minutes. ďHow long will that take?Ē A few minutes. Often times people will leave because a few minutes is a few too many. They ask for something and I have to point out the obvious bikes in the way and what they want is behind those bikes. I remember having one guy comment ďWell, I guess Iíll have to wait then!Ē Yes, I know that 5 minutes is a long time, I see that you live in Van Nuys because youíre a real mover and shaker and donít have time of the every day antics of us lowly peasants. No you donít have to wait you can fuck off and die; that should take about 30 seconds. When I close it is the reverse, everything back in, bicycle Jenga. Once I get about half way one most things are blocked, anyone could see that. I guess people just want what they want and donít care about the details. Yes what you want is small but it is as you can see behind many bikes and thus I cannot get it to you today, they seldom come back. I am unwilling to keep pulling everything out after closing because I am just like you: when the work day is over I want to go home, I work 50-60 hours a week, and I take my work with me every where I go, some times it even follows me to dinner. Several times Iíve been in a place with friends eating and someone will come up to me and start asking me about some bike repairs. OK, Iím fine with that. People know me and can approach me; itís flattering actually in a sea of millions I get this sort of thing. However more often than not, they want me to stop eating and fix their bike right now. I remember telling one guy that my bean and cheese burrito was the only tool I had on me (a tool against hunger) and thus I could not look at his wheel. I was at a restaurant at the time. I find it super rude to do what has been done to me countless times to someone. I told the guy heíd have to bring it to the shop, I never saw him after that. Of course this makes me a jerk. Iím ok with that. And my all time favorite thing in the whole world is when someone is yelling questions at me in traffic from their car. Iím on a busy street, itís loud. WHAT? I CANíT HEAR YOU! Really? If youíre that lazy then I donít want to sell you a bike, it will just get cast aside like all your hopes and dreams dashed against the rocks of your sloth and lethargy.  Not once has the yelling from the car gotten them to pull over and come in, in nine years. Remaining hopeful in such circumstances is a foolhardy endeavor.

The next layer is the idea that their story will somehow be so compelling (it is not) or different (never is) that they will get me to brush everyone and everything aside and give my full attention to them as if the last nine years Iíve been open Iíve only been waiting for that one moment where I can save you from your train wreck of a life. Get fucking real. Wild pigs ate your tire and you need it right when you get there. No way. You have a race and need a full break down and rebuild of your bike, you will arrive at 5:30 a Ĺ hour before I close on a Saturday and have me drop everything to help you. You will lose. You come in with 6 flat tires in the middle of the day on the weekend in July and can barely walk in the door because I have 12 bikes with flats that need fixing before you got here and throw at tantrum when I ask you to leave the bikes to wait your turn. What the fuck did you expect anyway? You need to get across town right now and if you donít terrorists will detonate the first one in a series of bombs that will cause California to slide into the ocean. I donít care. You must wait your turn, and I can swim anyway.  If I am the guy everyone pinned the blame on for the end of the world so be it, at least youíd be forced to admit I was fair. Itís really all Iím after, a little fairness. If someone tried to cut in line in front of you youíd be pissed, I simply donít allow line cutting, waiting your turn is fair, fist-come-first-serve is fair. You are a total moron if you think your life, problems, lack of planning, or anything else is anyoneís problem but your own. Donít be a complete idiot and wait till the last possible moment to get your bike fixed for Burning Man you stupid fucking hippie, didnít you think there would be a gaggle of other stupid fucking hippies all fucking up just like you are?

 

On Saying No.

 

    No. Sometimes itís the hardest thing for someone to say or do is the word no, or the act of no. The rhetoric of no is a lightly trodden path generally peopled by outcasts, mavericks (outcasts with money) crazies, eccentrics (crazies with even more money), and assholes, which I am the latter. Iím an asshole because I donít bend to every request, cow tow to every demand or just go along with things to perpetuate the living lie that most people like to entrench themselves in. I say no, often. I say no to many things. If youíve read past issues most of my ideas revolve around the idea of saying no to many ideas or concepts that most people take as simply the way things are. Itís not been an easy road as most people are obsequious toadies and never want to make waves, never want to have a confrontation, or make someone angry or dislike them, you donít want to be unpopular or unliked or not likable, by embracing the ethos of no you can throw those ideas out the window for the most part. Iím not talking about being contrary, itís easy to go against the flow just for the sake of doing so, most of us do so in our teen years and then ďgrow upĒ (aka death). Saying no means you say yes too. You say yes to being an individual, say yes to fighting for what you believe in, saying yes to sticking up for yourself and others and protecting yourself against the hoard of yes men that are pervasive in our society. From the moment youíre born people will try to influence you, some if good will do it by leading an example or give good council not to become angry when one does things their own way. Many will try and use threats, oaths, fear, and other forms of leverage to make you bend to their will, you see it every day. From very young this idea is being forced upon you with that jolly bastard Santa Claus. This fat fuck has been used to put the fear in children for decades now in this country and his origins lay where he would come to your house and dole out an ass-whoopiní if you were bad, now transformed into the withholding of presents for those children that did not tow the mark. Itís fear-based control and it never stops, every institution you will ever deal with uses a fear based or dominator based control system to keep us lemmings in line. The sad thing is most people never figure it out; they are mentally still four years old in regards to being molded by fear, by a dominator control society. Iíve done a rant on fear in the past so I wonít go into too much detail here, just to touch on that these mechanisms are in place from an early age and stay with you till the end. Itís up to you to say no. Your family, being family has familial ties to you and can and will exert some control over you. Family members are the biggest abusers in a relationship for they do things that if some stranger tried to pull on you youíd either beat the crap out of them or theyíd be in jail for extortion, blackmail, harassment etc. family can be an awful thing, they are just people after all and very few people you meet in life will be good so the math will tell you that not everyone in your family will be awesome. I have many friends and these many friends are constantly lamenting about how they have their family trying to manipulate them to do things they donít want to. Pressure to buy a house (debt is gay.) get married (gayer.), to have children (gayest) etc. all the time, but I wonít destroy these concepts here and now, itís like picking on goth kids; too easy. My parents never try and make me do anything in that regard. But occasionally it does not hurt to remind them that attempts to manipulate me via a fear based or dominator control method will invariably fail. An anecdote: One time I was doing the Thanksgiving thing and my Aunt asked when I would settle down (die inside) etc. she was only half serious but my girlfriend at the time thought it would be a good time to espouse her opinion on how Iíd make a good dad. My response was to exclaim ďFuck that!Ē very loudly at the dinner table and then make angry cat hissing noises and then throw food. No fucking way. My parents just kept eating, they knew better because Iíve built a bulwark against such manipulations long ago, a rampart of no, and moat and gates of no all around my keep of not going to happen. Saying no to things takes practice and the more you do it, the better you become at it like riding a bike. The more you ride the stronger you become, the faster you can go, the easier it gets to keep a good momentum. The more you resist attempts at manipulation, the easier it gets and you can just radiate an aura that tells people right quick that you wonít be controlled that easily. You start young. Some kids start playing golf at an early age and become pro, I started young refusing to be pushed around or controlled. I have this memory of when I was 6 years old having every toy taken from me by my parents in an attempt to get me to do something I did not want to. They lost. I sat in an empty room, not budging. Yes, obstinate, pig headed even but they tell you to do what youíre good at right? The point is that if youíve spent most of your life being molded by others than you have a lot of work cut out for you. First it starts with self-control. If you cannot win battles with yourself then you have no hope of winning battles with others. As an exercise I will deny myself things I like for a year or so. I gave up meat and dairy for a year, coffee for a year (that we refer to as the ďdark timesĒ) etc. I went on a diet; I lost weight by having the will to do so. It worked, my secret? I stuck to the plan. I told myself that I would not eat after 4pm and stuck to it, I said no to hunger pangs, drank a glass of water or milk and went to bed. Iím 41 years old and can still wear clothes that I had in high school because I said no to temporary indulgences. Indulgences to pig out, to sit on my ass and not be active, I said no to sloth, apathy and inactivity. Saying no has been an excellent lifestyle choice. Before you enter the arena, you must first conquer the self. As I say often, your biggest adversary in life is looking at you in a mirror. Consider training in self-control as training for a running race. You have to do a lot of pushing yourself before youíre ready to compete against others. Everywhere you go there will be agents of control. By saying agents of control I mean, your friends, co-workers, bosses, peers, media, and strangers. All of these agents are either directly or indirectly trying to control you, telling you what to buy, how to think, what to wear, where to live etc. Some are doing it in a non-passive fashion like your boss, some in a passive fashion like media, and some in both such as your friends. Iím not saying you say ďfuck youĒ to everything and everyone, Iím saying that you should think about these controls, be aware of them and make informed choices about how you react to these controls. Not all ideas or ways of thought brought forth by others are bad, you should just be aware that you have the option to choose and not just go along with say growing a moustache just because a bunch of your friends are doing it. That being a harmless example, you should not decide to smoke crack just because your friends decided through some amazing leap of logic that smoking crack would be cool. Itís hard even in the microcosm of the punk scene or the cycling scene or any activity not to conform to modes of dress and style that broadcast that you now label yourself as a ďpunkerĒ or a ďcyclistĒ. Two things that I have had a lot to do with but youíd never know unless you knew me for a while or caught me on an off day when I was wearing an old punk shirt bought in the early 90ís or you were staring at my claves (because theyíre frickiní huge, son). While Iíve said yes to some of the core ideals of the punk movement and consider myself a cyclist by sheer volume of pedaling I do, Iíve said no to wearing these activities on my sleeve most of the time, rejecting the notion that one must wear a costume to participate in a given activity, that I resoundly say no to. Saying no to ideals or age limits is a huge battle. People have this time calendar in their head that you should finish school by a certain age, be married by a certain age, have children, career etc. all within some sort of mutually agreed upon time table that we must all keep. The notion that you can only have fun until youíre 30 is ridiculous. Iíve told several people that there is no age limit on a good time, nor should you think in terms of age to adult trappings and think youíll come out ahead. Are you happy? Do you look forward to what may come next? Then Iíd say that is a rejection of the 50í era family plan and saying no means saying yes to continued fun and good times. Other adult trappings Iím saying no to would be obesity, looming dept, and this sort of doomed camaraderie that people share because they choose to be trapped in a cycle or work/debt, marriage/procreation, divorce/suffering that people just saddle themselves with and by saying they are powerless to do anything about it all join in sing song unison in a massive bitch fest. Gay. If you say no to these things then they treat you like an escaped slave who has come back to the plantation to tell of the wonders of the free North. They try and get you into their misery club, so you can suffer right along with them. Saying no to being a miserable prick could be the hardest thing you ever do. Pressure will be all up on you to go down that path, to join the throngs of the dissatisfied, the unhappy, and the discontented. Not saying that the old ideal of the American Dream has not brought happiness to some, but these glossy eyed few are a glaring minority in the morass of the majority that have bought the lie and found the packaging to be alluring but the taste to be sorely lacking. Iíd say that the pursuit of this old dream simply does not mesh with how itís taking longer and longer for people to get themselves to a point where they feel stable enough to provide a platform for such things. My reasons for saying no are manifold, yes, but they came about in a process of thought, not a knee-jerk rejection to old ideas. I embrace many old world ideals like wearing pants, or keeping a promise, or being honest, or working hard. While Iím saying yes to some things, Iím saying no to being a fence walker, or being lazy, or not dealing with things etc. This of course makes me an asshole. An asshole is a person that will not give into unreasonable demands you put on them. An asshole will not loan you money (because youíll always be an broke ass), will not take your side in an argument just because youíre friends (because youíre wrong), An asshole is someone who has learned to say no and be all right with it. Of course youíd only be alienating people that are not your real friends anyway.  An example: One day I was hanging out with my girlfriend at the time, we were at one of here friends houses. One of her other friends, not that lived at the house came over, this person was a junkie.  So I being an asshole laid into her.  ďHide your shit, here comes the junkie!Ē Etc. No one was happy with me; they said it was ďOKĒ. I told them that no, it was not OK, and they were both piece of shit friends for not saying anything about it. Of course Iím the asshole according to them. Years pass and I run into the junkie girl. She wants to thank me. For what, I ask her. She goes on to tell me that I was the only one that said anything about her heroin use and it helped her get help and now sheís clean, in love, getting married etc. She thanks me again and sheís off. I did what I did because Iím an asshole. Second example: I had a friend that I trusted which was a mistake because I loaned him money to buy materials for a job and he never finished the job and only paid a portion of the money back. I drew a line in the sand and that was it, I was a fool I know but I like to trust people, it canít be helped. The problem arose because we had mutual friends or so I thought. Now, if someone owed one of my friendís money, they would need to take care of the debt before any hanging out or having fun, spending money that you owe took place. I believe in self-policing amongst friends and I believe in protecting my friends, even from each other. I think that the main reason you have friends is you have a common moral ground. Common activities are great but in the end itís how your ethics line up or donít in some cases that make or break a friendship. I just donít want anyone doing wrong to anyone else I care about and if that means doing or saying something about it then fine. So it boils to a head at some point and my friends are so pissed that I wonít hang out with them because they want to keep company with a Judas. The same guy did the same thing to them as well. Of course because I refuse to keep company with such scumbags, Iím an asshole. Iím totally ok with that, my life just gets easier and easier as a consequence. I had a friend tell me it takes about two or three years to really know someone, at that point youíll know if they will be around or not. Not a constant, but a good rule of thumb. I guess it had run its course because I chose to say no to the bullshit fence walking and accepting bad behavior. No, itís not ok; there are consequences for weakness. I know thatís harsh but that is really what it boils down to in the end. There are other examples where I do a lot of events and organizing fun but it never seems like it will be enough that I can do to make people happy. I host a bike ride for hundreds and feed everyone but to the guy who wants me to stop everything to fix a flat tire, Iím an asshole. Sometimes being an asshole is the best thing that you could be, saying no should be when needed, no problem either. At least I know where I stand in this world and my friends now are the real ones that will most likely be with me for a long, long time.

I Have an Opinion (so what)

Opinion. Everyone has one. So what? Iíve been mulling this over, the value of oneís ideas in the context of society, and whether or not oneís ideas are of any value. Firstly, it would be important to break down this process. One observes things, is influenced by outside forces (usually worthless like tv, the ignorant opinions of ones friends, parents, your bigoted uncle etc.) and comes to some conclusion about how the world works, usually wrong. Wrong in the idea that oneís opinions are fact and they are applicable to others. We should start out thinking that no one is right save right for themselves, any deviation from that leads to problems. I have lots of ideas and rules that I impose upon myself and I donít expect them to make any sense to anyone but me. Does that make me insane? Or a maverick? Or a dumbass? I guess that depends on your opinion of my opinion. Confused yet? The point is I am aware that my value system, my sense of right and wrong is only applicable to myself. There is no comparison, no right or wrong way to do things if you donít go around thinking that how you do things is right and everyone else should follow suit. I know that this thought process alone puts me on the fringe of contemporary thought, my beliefs are for me alone, you do what you want. It is much more common for one to think that they have ďfigured it outĒ and now must convert as many people as possible to their way to validate this allegedly superior way of thinking. You see this sort of nonsense with the various religious groups going door to door proselytizing their way of thinking, if this idea was not common place, they would not be interrupting your breakfast with pamphlets and a promise of a better life in mid chewÖ Oneís ideas and opinions are only applicable to oneís self, not others. If there were 1000ís of people that thought the way I did the world would not be a better place. Firstly, our economy would collapse because people would just dig stuff they needed out of the trash and wear ratty clothes, learn how to fix things instead of replacing etc. Our economy depends on people being mindless consumer drones and wastrels, which I am not. It is just one example of how oneís way of doing things is not applicable to others. It took some time to come to this realization. I spend a lot of time, money, and energy organizing events, mainly bicycle events but other things as well. I thought that through tenacity and massive over-achievement I would inspire others to develop their own events, to add to the overall collective sum of fun, thus improving their environment by being constructive and proactive. Wrong. Instead I have everyone coming to me wanting me to organize more. The more I did, the more people expected of me. The result is my opinion of most people as lazy, shiftless, selfish pricks has become stronger and stronger; Iíve had no evidence to the contrary. My attempts to influence others had not only failed, it backfired. I did not want to be some crazy taskmaster that people looked at like they looked at the remote for their television to be entertained, but itís too late now, Iím like a monkey strapped in a rocket to be launched into space, thereís no turning back. So I gave up. It was a soul crushing experience and Iíve spent some time wrestling with my most fearsome opponent (myself) about the philosophical and contextual consequences of my actions.  Are my opinions valid? Are they of worth? So I decided to continue on my chosen path in the hopes that I would one day be able to look at where I was and feel that I had attained ďsomethingĒ. What that thing is I donít really know. Perhaps Iím searching for a sense of accomplishment or peace of mind, but I scarcely believe in such concepts now, like chasing the horizon, I will never reach it. See how my opinions have woven such a convoluted web of self-entanglement? People look at me and just shake their head, they see the multitude of events and projects to be madness, I feel very even-keeled and sane however. I look at others not doing all they can and I see madness, so whoís right? Both of us? None of us? However I do believe that and idea or opinion can be validated. Only if one condition was met and one only makes any idea or opinion valid: action. You can have all the ideas and opinions you want, be informed, be ignorant, be zealous about these ideas but if you do not back them up with appropriate action then your ideas are just ideas and nothing more. Use your views of the world to carry you throughout this life; donít just talk about them, live them. This does not mean posting them on facebook, that shit is for stone cold losers. Taking action on the internet does not count, it is not action. I doubt anyone even knows what true action is now a days. Back to my bicycle events, I saw some ideas that could be fun and proactive for others so I implemented them, this was all pre-web. I made (and still do) flyers old school and pass them out, direct action. ďCome to my bike event, come to my bike event, have a flyer.Ē Repeat 1000ís of times, get a result. Take action. Form oneís thoughts into reality, then do it again. Guess what? It gets easier and easier, you should try it. Iím not talking about world sweeping stuff here but can you effect your local environment? Sure you can! Itís just my opinion, validated by action. Most opinion comes from the throne of knowledge: the armchair. Most people know next to nothing but have an opinion about everything. Iíd prefer to utter the three wisest words I can: ďI donít knowĒ than feign knowledge. Seeming right has no value and knowing right is priceless.

How does one go about filtering all the crap you see in life to actually develop some guidelines for yourself? I mean guidelines because we change, are subject to change, and not everything we encounter in life will fit into some tidy set of ideals. Of course it is just how I do things, just my opinion. Read a lot, fuck the news itís all lies, the internet seems to be for nothing more than to look at porn, cat videos, and secretly stalk your x-girlfreind on facebook. Try to dissect an idea and look at it from all angles, reassemble and then spend some time thinking about it. Iíve spent years on various social and philosophical puzzles before coming to any sort of conclusion. Sets of belief and way of life via cults and religion will not provide you with all or any of the answers you may seek. Some thing just donít have an acceptable answer like the band U2 being played on the radio ( I kid). The ideas of your friends are valuable but are often uninformed, knee-jerk responses and must be tempered with a large dose of reality. Many things in life you have to work out on your own. Several times during the day you are likely to be completely full of shit, best to keep your mouth shut or everyone will find out. The great idea of today is the bad idea of tomorrow; time and experience will help you develop real conclusions.  Your opinions are not law to be enforced upon others. There are no right answers, only right now answers.

Iíve never been to a Hindu temple or had a spiritual awakening or read a book and suddenly changed my life, in the scheme of things my personality has changed little over time but how malleable I am in relation to others is very, very low. I hope in time Iíve gotten wiser, but perhaps wisdom is just another word for scared or growing old, in that case to hell with wisdom, see itís not so easy.  I have no goal, no emotional or psychological peak that Iím trying to attain, I simply am. A mass of experiences, emotions, ideas all directed by action. I have purpose but these purposes are sub categories to the totality of my being which I doubt has a greater or higher purpose, does a cat contemplate itís own existence of just be content for some sunshine to lay in and lick itís ass once in a while? To be more like a cat then. I think if you go seeking answers you will find some and you may be forced to settle, like an imitation of a favorite cereal, it is just not quite there but youíll live with what you have. How you formulate opinions should be done in an intelligent manner, not just going with a popular consensus just to be with the herd and not rebelling from popular convention just for the sake of rebellion. For example, I hate the Beatles. Hate them. Worst band ever. Period. One time we were having dollar dogs and this guy who is a friend of a friend was sitting with us. The Beatles came up. I expressed my loathing for that banal pop jingle factory and this guy said I could not dislike the Beatles, and not to say those things about ďJohnĒ (I was commenting that I was glad he was dead). Firstly, Iím sure this guy hates some of the bands I like and to that I say fine, so what. The idea that this band or anything for that matter can only be held in high regard with no dissenters is absurd. There are people out there that donít like cheese, yes they should be killed but that is there choice, Iím not really going to be upset about it. On a side, youíre a douche if you think some actor or rock star needs you to defend them from the opinions of your friends, Iím sure they are really grateful. This guy was so bent out of shape, it was just my opinion, lighten up. I know a lot of people like the Beatles, and Hitler was time magazineís 1938 man of the year but hey itís just an opinion right? So much for popular consensus. My friends get bent out of shape because I donít like some of the food they like; they look at me like I subsist on a diet of dried lizard heads or some shit. Why is it a big deal? I donít like sushi, itís expensive and gay, nor do I like cream filled doughnuts, I have visions of hillbillies manually masturbating goats and fill perfectly edible doughnuts with goat gorp. Gross. I really donít care what you eat, you want to blow a whole days wages on raw fish and rice go right on ahead. Goat semen filled pastries and vomitous Cadbury eggs? Be my guest. Do what you will and Iíll do the same. We exist on divergent paths most of the time and sometimes we will travel on a convergent path that in my humble opinion, are the moments in our lives we value the most.

 

Marriage and Procreation

 

I was sitting in the passenger seat of my friendís car, we were tooling along one of the many wide and lightly traveled sections of suburban street in the SFV. He was bringing me up to date on his new baby and all the hardships heís having to deal with. As I watched the streetlights pass by, I commented, ďHaving kids is gay.Ē After a moments pause he said that it was true, marriage and kids are in fact, gay.

I may have touched lightly on this subject in past issues, but now I guess its time to hit the nail on the head: Marriage and procreation are pastimes of the damned. I guess this article would be on a more personal level for me, for I do know a few people, friends of mine who as far as outside appearances go are doing the marriage and kids things well. These people I can count on one hand however, the rate of failure is near 100%. Why would you try anything that had an almost total failure rate, ok Holloywood (haha, howís your ďactingĒ career going?) but Iíd like to think that people would weigh the odds before taking a huge gamble that via matrimony and procreation one can achieve happiness. I guess I could get some statistics that would show the huge rate of divorce in the country, but I tell you now I know the number one cause of divorce in this country: Marriage.

Marriage is gay. Marriage is an antiquated, outdated, outmoded concept that has gone well past its prime. Men and women are near equal now, more so than ever before in human history and looking back in the annals of history, marriage was used for heritage in high born or noble peoples and to denote ownership for everyone else. Still many places on the globe where theyíve never heard of facebook, or cell phones, women are still viewed as property. For us, these original concepts are no longer valid so is it no wonder that most marriages donít ďworkĒ, perhaps they were broken in the first place. Thereís also the issue of keeping a vow. I donít think our society places a high value on a vow, on keeping a vow or taking a vow as a very serious thing. If we did take a vow seriously then the rate of divorce would be closer to 1% than 40 to 50 % or more depending on which study you read. I guess if I really was deeply in love with someone I would not need to prove it to anyone else, nor the state by going through some barbaric rice-hucking ceremony in some self-absorbed vie for attention before I shuffle off to the doldrums of marital bliss. Thereís a whole industry built up around the wedding as the most important event in your life, Iíd hate to aim so low. Weddings are gay. Why do I have to dress up like a monkey and be dragged to the dance floor by drunk lonely women? Why do people get so drunk at weddings? Because they know the whole experience is tantamount to hell on earth, and hell on earth is being married.  No more doing what you want, when you want. Youíve entered into a legal contract that you canít walk away from and as I just mentioned, most people donít take seriously in the first place. I told one of my friends that got married in some retarded hippy wedding that if he ever got divorced then he owes me a day of his life. Why? Well I spent a day not doing what I wanted to do to go to your wedding, and for what? So you could get separated a couple years down the road? All you did was waste a lot of peopleís time by being insincere. I figure if youíre going to waste a day of my life then in all fairness I should get one of yours. Yeah I know, she wasnít ďthe oneĒ. People are still sold on this fairy tale concept and I can only surmise that they want it. Yes, those folding chairs and plastic tablecloths and the temporary dance floor on the grass are all part of your magical wedding. Iím sure the bill had a near magical quality as well. Money that could have been used on more constructive things; for matrimony is destructive, it destroys the individual. Thereís also another thing I donít get, why when one of your friends gets married do they pick some far away place to have the ceremony? Donít you want us to attend? After all, the whole thing just seems like a well-planned grab for attention, so why do you make it so hard to get there? Iím sure your friends had other plans for their vacation and sick days then to spend them traveling to Mexico so you can get married and then return to The Valley (mexico lite, only one calorie). Is your ego so frail that you want to test your friends to see who will go over hill and dale to attend your wedding? How selfish can you get? The cake: gross. The music: bad. The booze: in excess. The people: such a dog and pony show. I once told my mom that if I ever got married (yeah, right!) that Iíd do it at Chuck E. Cheese. She said that she would not attend. Well, that took care of that. Suffice to say if you owned a car that 50% of the time would not start youíd send it to the junkyard. So by the same logic, your marriage will work right? Sure it will, at least Ĺ of the time you will have success. Everything else in life youíd never hedge a bet on such crappy odds. If you went to school and got a degree that insured youíd only have a 50% chance of getting a career in your chosen field, would you even bother? I know, I know, youíre ďdifferentĒ. Ha motherfucking ha. Iíd say the reasons for failure are manifold and vast. Iíd say that being in love could cloud your judgment, for love is the antithesis of reason. Iím not against love, the concept or feeling but Iím painfully aware of its pitfalls: It makes you do stupid things your rational mind would normally not allow, like getting married. Youíd be amazed how many times Iíve had the following conversation:

ďAre you married?Ē

me: ďOh, hell no.Ē

ďThatís good man, youíre so lucky. Donít get married bro.Ē

Thanks for the concern! Donít worry trapped men of America, Iíll be fine. Iíve had the above conversation with all kinds of people; many that have been married for a long time. I simply canít wrap my mind around the idea that I enter into a social contract willingly and the quality of my life is diminished. One day my friend and were trail riding and we were chatting it up with another mountain biker. We commented on how fast we are (weíre not) and we told him that we ride several times a week. To this he said that his wife only lets him have Sundays to do what he wants. ďHow generous of her.Ē  My friend said with a smirk. Let you? One day? Wow. She must be a wonderful lady to ďlet youĒ go out and enjoy your life one day a week. These sorts of ideas are very commonplace however; Iíve heard it all the time. ďI canít bring another bike home or my wife will kill me.Ē ďPut the crappy parts on this frame so I can obscure the purchase from the woman I love.Ē (insert laugh track here) Really, how many pairs of shoes does she have? Perhaps my notions of love and companionship are too lofty or Iím obtuse and simply wonít take any crap. Regardless, Iíd never want someone to not be who they want to be or not do the things in life they want to do just to be with me, thatís just a frail ego trying to control something because you have no control in your life. I donít want an adversary in life, but a companion, is that so hard? So it would seem. And it seems marriage is mainly about control, love takes a back seat to dominion over the one you ďloveĒ.

Why do people even go through with it then? Firstly I think thereís a sort of social inertia that compels people to go down the path of matrimony. Weíve been sold on the magical qualities of weddings and love and marriage being the societal standard in which you express to the rest of the world that you have achieved these standards in your life. If youíre not married then by societal norms thereís something wrong with you. So many people grasp for this brass ring and come out to find itís a Funion instead. But by then itís too late. Even if you get divorced, youíll always be an XÖthere will always be a connection, and if you had kids together then forget it, youíre doomed to stay in contact with each other. Trapped for life (esseí). It could be worse however, you could be alone and have your time to yourself, how awful would that be? (insert laugh track here). Secondly, I think people are sold on finding love and representing that love via marriage is a vital conduit to happiness and one cannot attain happiness unless you go down this well-trodden path. This is putting the cart before the horse. If I wrote down the 10 events that made me the happiest in life, falling in love may not make it on that list. Not that I have not experienced that peculiar form of madness, but I was very happy before such events took place in my life and now it seems happiness is harder to attain. I donít feel an ounce of bitterness as hard as that may seem, it just really bummed me out, like total, major bummer, dude. Itís sort of like seeing a trailer for a film and the trailer looks awesome but when you actually go and see the movie you realize youíve already seen all the best parts, the rest is fodder, crap. Itís a big commitment and youíre not just out a few bucks and couple hours of your time, it can crush you. Marriage changes the dynamic of the relationship as well. Iíve seen a couple be together for years and years and then get married and the whole thing falls apart so quickly. I guess this ties into the above factor of the veneer of happiness. Thereís so much pressure to be happy and to have a happy marriage that the act of trying makes the whole thing fall apart. Once the wedding is over and all the gowns and suits are returned to the renter, the plastic chairs folded up and the last bit of wedding cake given to the dog, the magic is over and now youíre just living together. Iíve been told that marriage is hard, that marriage takes work, donít I work enough? I donít understand why it has to be difficult. I would tend to think that most people do not challenge themselves in other areas in life enough and have to create problems in their love life to ďfixĒ things from time to time. Well, fuck that noise.

Now, youíve gotten married and have made children and then get separated, doom and gloom to you my friend.        

How Children are made. You think the sperm hitting the egg and all the 7th grade biology class is whatís really going on? No. Take one part alcohol and/or drugs add nothing good of TV or nothing better to do with a good base of frail ego and a healthy sprinkling of fear of being alone on top; cook for 9 monthsÖ

I know, thatís cruel. Iím sure your child is wonderful, the most amazing child ever. Hell, even Jeffery Dahmerís parents loved their son to the bitter end. I say it often, one thing no one can ever call me is dad. I have no interest in procreation for it is the pastime of the damned. On a personal note, I have too much to do, too much I want to do, and value my freedom too much to give it all away for making a version of myself. Having kids is not for me, and itís not for many that have already gone down that road. I have fear. Iíve seen the pitfalls of being a parent. I knew this guy once; he even did some stuff for the zine once upon a time. This guy, Chris Watson aka ďC-dubĒ was a total worthless piece of shit (Iím sure he still is). A junkie, a loser, a thief and someoneís precious darling. I talked to the parents; they were at a loss as to where they went wrong. The other son, a good guy. Hard working, smart, driven, healthy, nice etc. Iím sure the parents did everything they could to keep Mr. Dub from the evils of the party life but they could not. And as parents Iím sure they felt shame and a sense of failure on their parts, do they lay awake at night sometimes and wonder where it all went wrong? Iím sure they do. You can do everything right and still yield a result of zero. Itís scary. I know my own folks are surprised that Iím not dead or in jail and even more surprised that Iíve managed to achieve some level of success in life (insert applause track here). Iím sure they wondered where they went wrong when I was not on the straight and narrow (a very long time ago). Iím sure the worry did its damage. The worry. Parental worry is so great. Everyday must be permeated with fear of your childís well-being. Thatís a lot of stress a parent has to incur on a daily basis. Will my child be healthy? Will they make it to adulthood ok? Will they be able to function in this society? Will they not succumb to drugs, gangs, teen-pregnancy etc. The parents mind is constantly assailed with such thoughts. I have 50 year old men who come into my work to get their bicycle repaired and still have their parents pick up the tab, I see it more than youíd think. I also being a former educator (Fuck you LAUSD) have seen many kids who were obviously not planned and suffer as a consequence.  Even before that what if your child is born with a birth defect? A child that cannot become self-reliant will always be a burden on the parents. And when the parents are too old or pass away and thus are unable to care for themselves, what happens to the child? So all kinds of things can go wrong. Even if things go right, why would you? I donít feel the need to procreate because I donít have to control someone else, or I have enough control in my life, or need a child to gain the impetuous to gain control of my life. Control is the big issue here. People always ask me why would I not want to share my life with someone, raise them like I want to be etc. I donít think I could be that cruel, I have no disillusions that Iíd be a terrible parent. I just donít think that who I am or what I do needs to be passed on, hell I cause enough problems for everyone else around me, more of me would be...criminal.  My ego is not that frail that I need to validate my existence by making miniature versions of myself. People always think they get to make a little version of themselves, we all know thatís a bunch of crap. My parents and I are nearly nothing alike, Iím sure yours are too, the backfire is the norm, you lose. I donít care what happens after I die, Iíll be fucking dead ok? I donít want anything I do to be carried on or even remembered for that matter. I donít need little minions to remember what I did or who I was, I donít want to leave a legacy or have children to continue my work..how absurd. I donít need my influence to reach from beyond the grave via children. Iím totally happy being dead when the appointed time comes and that being the end of it. I know Iím just one person in a sea of people and in the scheme of things I matter very little; I have no delusions about my minuscule worth and ability to affect the world. And knowing thus, having children to pass all this nothingness on is pointless. Furthermore, being that there are 8 billion people on this planet, do I really need to add to the mix? Will one more child tip the scales one way or another? Doubtful, however sitting in traffic on the 405 for two hours to cover 3 miles because thereís a hubcap on the side of the road gives me pause. I figure every parent thinks theyíre making a contribution to society by having a child and they are, they are contributing to over-crowding and gridlock. In essence, those that procreate are part of the problem.

I also think that your children will just shove you into a home when you become an inconvenience, so no you wonít die alone but surrounded by the best DeVry graduates money can buy. I know people in their 40ís and 50 starting families. Thatís gay. Do you think youíre going to live forever or some shit? No, when you child has reached adulthood they will have to take care of your geriatric ass instead of spending those critical 20-30 years getting their life on track. So in making the poor decision to create life when youíre too old you wind up destroying the lives of the very children you espouse love for. How selfish can you get? Really having kids is for people in their 20ís and they canít afford to in our modern world so people wait and biology donít give a fuck about your 401K or the Dow Jones, or your facebook page. If you want kids and youíre over 30 you are a fool. You will be a burden on your children and they may not have the benefit of exiting the womb normal as well. But people do it for all the wrong reasons. They want to tie their S.O. to them forever (gay.) they feel like they have not accomplished anything (gay.) They want to create life (life by itís nature is gay). They see all their friends (who are gay) having children and they want to compete (gay). They want to leave something behind (gay). Having kids is gay.

 One day your lovely son walks in the door with the numbers ď13Ē tattooed across his face. When did this happen? The problem is it does happen. One night the B and myself were in lovely Pacoima CA, we were leaving a Dungeons & Dragons session (thatís right advanced, bitches) when this lady wearing here favorite team colors (Raider Nation, fool.) ran up to us and wanted us to help her because he (the other raider fan) on the other side of the car was hitting her baby. The accelerator is on the right. You may think me cruel or even a coward, but no. By leaving I may have retroactively aborted all three of them as none of these fine folks (ahem) should have been born.  This comes to my final salient point: You should have a license to have kids, just like you have a license to drive. You need to pass a few simple tests to wield a several thousand pound vehicle on the streets, shouldnít you have to pass a few tests to unleash a potentially dangerous sociopath on the world at large? Iím not talking about trying to make some super man via the method of Mendelís Peas, I donít care about the offspring being genetically superior to the parents, Iím concerned that the parents are either not capable or unwilling to do their fucking job and raise their child. The state already takes children from unfit parents, I think we should do some simple pre-screening before you can have children, think of how much money the government will save alone by not having to stuff all these ďlittle wondersĒ into the correctional system alone. You get a marriage license witch seems to be about as valuable as getting your Roadrunner racing license at Malibu Grand Prix (itís long gone). Obviously any retard can and does get married so this state license is just a way for the government to collect revenue. How scummy can you get, profiteering from people that are in the throes of love or desperation of not wanting to be alone. Wedding planners, cover bands, photographers, DJís and priests all fall under this form of usury, shame on them! Of course the state, being keen on stopping graft for others wants to get in on the action too. As long as they get their cut of the wedding cake, itís all good. But Iím getting off point here. After you ďpassĒ your marriage license, you should have to pass some simple conditions to have the privilege to have children, we donít want you to burden the state and everyone else with your bad choices, we want to make sure youíre qualified for something more serious than any college degree or career that youíll ever do. A few simple criteria: You should be together for a few years, perhaps 5 or so. This way the chances that youíll be together for the raising of the child will be good. Children from single parent households tend to have problems in life. On a similar note if youíve been divorced more than once or are an adulterer, you should not have kids. Commitment and dedication are not your strong suits and making children is a life long commitment. Both parents should have a good employment record. Why? So you can provide for your child. Good employment records show consistency, and this is a good attribute for a parent to have. Also if youíre a violent felon or have drug/alcohol problems itís best for everyone that you remain childless. I donít think is elitist; Iím looking at society at large and thinking about the group, not the individual. Providing a healthy, stable & nurturing environment for your child should be a no-brainer. Itís a shame so few people do it.

Status.

Status. We all want status; we all want to be on top of the heap, the pecking order etc. But what exactly is status? It is my belief that it comes in many forms, most of which are worthless. The only real status you should want to cultivate is the status of a good friend, parent, significant other, co-worker etc. Only the people that you interact in the flesh and blood real world should really matter, the rest just simply donít. I would say that most peopleís idea of status begins in the wrong place; it begins with trying to impress strangers and spends no time continuing to impress the ones that are closest to you. There are many different types of status one can achieve letís break them down.

ďI have moneyĒ to use the popular vernacular ďIím a ballerĒ. Look at my expensive car, look at my 200 dollar jeans, or 2000 dollar watch. Do you know me? No you donít but you can see I have expensive material possessions and thus you are envious. The status I achieve is one of smoke and mirrors, the illusion of wealth. I want to put forth an outward image of disposable income, one of conspicuous consumption. For those who tote the mantra ďHe who dies with the most toys, winsĒ flaunting expensive worldly goods is at the core of their being. The truth is the car is late on payments; the credit card is maxed out, the ďcribĒ in a quiet part of lovely Pacoima CA. Or the house on the hills and they have some beat Toyota from 1992 in the driveway. The veneer, the false front. To the unknowing gaze of the stranger, this person would seem to have things going on, through obfuscation and trickery they have achieve status of wealth. The perpetrator knows the truth, but as long as the lie can elicit envious stares from unknowing onlookers, the ruse will be maintained. Of course having this sort of status is like chasing the horizon, keeping up with the latest trend is expensive and ultimately worthless. Broadcasting that you are rich, especially when you are not only makes you bankrupt in reality and in character. Status of this sort is of the lowest echelon for it has no intrinsic value. Having a fancy car or expensive clothes may get you laid, but once the veneer is penetrated, what else is there? Nothing. If the bank comes to repossess your car or it gets stolen, then where does your status go?

The web caster. Oh the internet. There is just so much to hate about the web. (one thing is MS word telling me I should CAPITALIZE the word internet like a proper noun) The main thing I hate about it is how it has great potential for education and communication but is squandered on things like porn and facebook. Worthless. The internet has allowed people an opportunity for self-aggrandizement like no other before it. You can have a blog, a facebook page, a twitter account all to keep the 12 people that are looking at you updated on what an awesome life youíre having! Nothing could be further from the truth. Letís face it; if you have a fun and interesting life, then youíd be out doing fun and interesting things, not documenting what you had for breakfast or another picture of your fucking dog. But the lie is firmly in place, you achieve status in these realms by posting in message boards, ďbloggingĒ your dull existence, keeping lots of ďfriendsĒ on your awful social networking pages, in doing so you have status. He or she has lots of ďfriendsĒ on facebook, they have achieved some quasi-popularity and the adoration of all of their contacts on these social network pages. Now, if you are not documenting your actions on the web do you cease to exist? Most certainly not. The most interesting and together people I know have nothing to do with these popular time-vampires. Do you doubt me that your status on these sites is completely phony and by participating with them you are not on the path to loserdom? The more ďfriendsĒ you have the more time you spend maintaining your phony persona on the web. The more time you spend on the web, the less time you allot for actual real-time activities that the rest of us call life. The best part is anyone who argues against this point will supply their own proof on the very web pages they document their dull existence on. Another photo of your truck, another picture of your lunch, letís hold the cell phone away from us and take 23 pictures of us standing together doing nothing. Nothing. Loser, and you provide reams of documentation that prove just that. What happens when the power goes out or you canít get a cell phone signal? All the time spent in your non-productive loser circle jerk is wasted, youíre gone. Web status is about as valuable as playground status, when schools out, who cares? 

The collector. What retched scum and villainy lies in the black heart of the collector. The collector will lie, cheat, swindle, use any form of trickery to acquire their coveted objects. The collectorís avarice is a black hole that will never be satiated. If you collect stamps, you must have them all, if you collect vintage BMX bikes then you must acquire all of the rarest models and parts. One or a few well-chosen pieces will not be enough. Collectors achieve status amongst other collectors by acquiring objects that they all covet and then flaunting the possession of said object to their peers. They go on web forums and swap meets displaying their object of desire to garner the envy of the other collector geeks that desire what they have. The whole process is very childish really. Itís like two four year olds who very much believe in Santa Claus. If collector A has item X and collector B believes that item X makes you superior to other collectors then having item X brings you status, itís a lie they both prop up as truth. And the sad part is most of these people wonít use the items as they donít want to ruin them or more aptly put, put ďwear marksĒ on them. Of course if you donít care about stamps or vintage BMX bikes then they have no status to you. If someone breaks into your home while youíre at work and steals your bikes does it make you less of a person? Iíd hope not, but I fear for most people it is not the case. This is a low form of status acquisition where the participants can all be snobs to each other based on stuff they have and look like total losers to everyone else. 

The next worthless batch of people are actors. Why? Because actors are simply famous and fame is a form of status that is acquired by doing nothing more than being seen by lots of people. Iíve had the misfortune of being on TV a couple of times and people were so happy to know me then (not a normal thing for me) because I had graced the boob tube. Star struck is fucking gay. People that have fame because of their meaningful contributions to society are worthy of note, they have real status, actors do not.

The idea of status is really a myth. In order for people to have status in our society, both the status possessor and the person that values that other personís status have to believe that the concept and idea of status is real and correct. If you donít see things in that light, then their alleged status is valueless. Throughout my event organizing various events involving bicycle, soapbox cars, and other silliness I have had the misfortune of being courted by various television studios for ďrealityĒ TV. They try to get you to be filmed by playing the ďYou will get to be on TVĒ card. They donít want to or expect to pay you for in their minds and most peopleís minds, being on television is a form of highly coveted status. To me it is equivalent to trying to trade me my time and resources for deep fried cat shit. Worthless. When first asked about if Iíll have any interest my first question is ďHow much are you going to pay me?Ē Not if or if you can, but how much. The stock reply is ďBut you get to be on television!Ē Since being on television has no value to me, it brings me no status in my mind and thus the offer is worthless. Talks usually break down quickly at that point. In a similar circumstance, I get called at work by some magazine and I tell them that Iím too busy to talk. But no, they are from a magazine and I should drop everything Iím doing, brushing my customers aside because they demand an audience with me via the phone right now for being in a magazine gives you status. Wrong. So I just hang up on them, canít talk right now, means CANíT TALK RIGHT NOW! And nothing more. I have a pile of magazines and newspapers that Iíve been in, they reside in a drawer I labeled the ďdrawer of self-aggrandizementĒ. I would gladly trade them all for peace of mind. They have almost no value except to brag to your friends, which you shouldnít do. You donít need to sell yourself to your real friends, just strangers and after a time, the value of quantity over quality changes. Iíd rather have the status of being a good friend to a few people then the passing acceptance of many.  

 

Fear!

Fear. Do you fear? Are you afraid? Most of us would be quick to answer yes. Fear is the bread and butter of our society, we function on high anxiety, stress and fear, and itís a constant bombardment. From very early on we are taught to fear, itís used as a control mechanism, Santa Claus is not just a jolly fat may with presents, he can keep little Johnny from getting what he wants if he doesnít behave. All through your childhood, fear of punishment helps keep you in line and fear of rejection of your peers will help keep you within the confines of social norms as you develop into a young adult, we call it ďpeer pressureĒ. The fear of rejection, of not fitting in will keep you sailing the calm seas of mediocrity for as long as you like. Even in your adult life if you choose, and most do, youíll feel this ďpressureĒ to be one of the heard. Itís not a bad thing per se, herds offer protection and itís easier and safer to go along with things than to set out on your own. Not everyone is cut out for the loner maverick type, not saying that we could all be a little more cowboy and a little less Little House on the Prairie though, we can and should. Societal pressure is one thing and that we have the media bombardment that occurs every day on your television screen that keeps broadcasting the next batch of things to be afraid of.. Thereís always something to be afraid of according to the news. Lets take the various ďepidemicsĒ that have graced the television screens as of late: Hantavirus, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Ecoli, and now radiation from Japan. Are there bodies in the street? Where are the people staggering in the street afflicted from all these horrible plagues to rival the black death? Well, it never happened did it? Not that people did not get worked up, become afraid, lose sleep and productivity, buy facemasks and iodine pills to stave off the latest doom projected from your television screen. You let fear control you. I went mountain biking as I often do on the day the earthquakes in Japan hit and people told me there was a Tsunami warning. Really? I think the peak I was on was over 2000 feet above sea level, thatís have to be some big ass wave to even come close to flooding the 818. Of course the beaches and the surrounding hills were devoid of most people. The day was a beautiful day, after so much rain it was clear and you could see all the way to Long Beach from my mountain perch, I still have the memory of it, a memory that would have been taken away from me if I chose to fear. I donít have a television, so my general fear level is very low. People I interact with are quick to tell me; ďDid you hear aboutÖ.?Ē Fear spreads, but I refuse to take part. By simply not watching television, I have removed the main fear conduit from my life, itís that easy, and I have way more free time to do constructive things with my life. A bonus. A simple look at the facts would have put anyone at ease: will a 2500 foot wave come to our shore? Doubtful. But no, people freaked out as usual and ran around like chickens whit their heads cut off. Mass hysteria has plagued us for decades, despite all our technological advances and the light speed in which information can travel now; we still act like a bunch of scared dumb shits. In fact Iíd wager to say that the ease and speed that information travels makes the possibility of mass fear and even mass hysteria a more regular occurrence. Itís like the spreading of gossip, which happens. But with cell phones and the Internet, any sort of information no matter how ridiculous or without merit it is will still travel. Enough of that already. I challenge you to do something that has been conditioned out of you since birth; I challenge you to think for yourself. Fuck the rules. Whoísí in control of your life anyway? You? Or the 10 Oí Clock News? Are you ready for 2012? Like the year 2000? What happened? Fucking nothing. The media just keeps piling the fear on higher and deeper and that helps keep people in check, keeps them off center, keeps them busy being afraid. Not only to you have these external forces working against you, but you have your own internal forces that keep you from making important decisions that can greatly affect your life. Are you afraid of rejection? Do you worry if what you do or say will be accepted by others? Fear, itís powerful. A means of control.  Fear of this nature will keep you from taking chances, from doing things that others may find difficult or unusual. People spend way too much time and energy being worried about what other people think. I had a friend of mine ask me if I looked at my internet comments about my shop, I said no, I did not. He said that I should. And why? Comments left on the web have as much validity as a comment shouted at you from a passing car, they are meaningless. Do I fear that these phantom people will somehow undo my hard work? No. My friend who lives on the internet thought it was of grave concern, I could give two shits. Iím not afraid; these web zombies cannot control me for I have no fear of their comments. But my friend was obviously controlled by the influence of others, and not even friends or acquaintances, but complete strangers.  If that is not enough, the fear of rejection will keep people buying clothes they canít afford and driving cars that are way out of their budget all in the quest to be accepted. Having the new car (that you donít own) the latest cell phone (that you canít afford nor need) all in a fruitless quest to impress others that donít even know you. How chicken-shit can you be? Are you so afraid of not being accepted that youíll live from paycheck to paycheck in a desperate gamble to impress your co-workers with your new bullshit car? If one spent half the time they spent checking their fear of rejection, theyíd actually be somewhere in their life.

This brings us to the next point: fear of failure. This is the big one for it what really keeps all people from realizing their true potential. Few people can overcome this huge hurdle. The point is that the anticipation of the hurdle is much greater than the hurdle itself. You know Dr. Seuss? Of course you do, he got his first book rejected over 20 times before finally being published. He was not afraid to fail. Most people donít even try because the fear of failure is so great. What happens if you do fail? Do you explode? Or do birds come from the sky and pluck your eyeballs from their sockets? No. You may lose some time and some money but if you see failure as a way to begin again smarter, then at most thatís all you lost. The first step towards this end is to diminish the value of the self or to turn your ego down a few notches. You must tell yourself that yes you will try and do things and many of those things will not be successful and some people will scorn you for trying and make sport of your efforts. Keeping in mind that your efforts have no great effect upon the world unless you succeed and peopleís opinions are secondary to the opinion of oneís self. You may not be great, most people arenít but youíd be doing yourself a great disservice if you were unwilling to try just because the road is hard or you donít get approval for your actions. The vast majority of us are not that important, this bothers some people and they canít stand to see someone try and be something. So they project their fear of failure on to the would be achiever to crush their hopes and dreams as they have done for themselves. Once you realize that you most likely donít figure in to the world any more than anyone else but youíre going to try to make a difference anyway, then you have curbed the Ego, you have control of yourself. The great movers and shakers in this world did not get to where they were today by worrying if they had approval or not, or if they had good scores on YELP, or lots of ďfriendsĒ on face book, they kept their eye on the prize. In my own personal experience I have done things and worked hard not to be deterred to keep them going, for example: My Choppercabras bicycle rides. The first Halloween ride was an impromptu affair with 8 riders, the next one I made 2500 fliers and 12 people showed up, the next one I had 70 people, the next 120, and so on now after 10 years Iíd say that in the LA area it has become an institution of sorts. Can anyone talk shit? Hell no.  Was I worried about being rejected? Every time I saw a flier tossed on the ground was a rejection but still I went on and as you may have seen in older issues of this zine, these bicycle rides are a success because I chose not to be afraid. Yes you will have shortcomings, yes, you will fail but if allow your fear to master you then you are a slave to yourself. Only the ones that conquer their fears will be able to rise above and make a difference in this world, itís up to you.

How do you master your fear? One day long ago a few friends and me were messing around with fire works. One of them flew off course and went down a gully and started a small brush fire. It was nighttime. One of my friends just jumped down there and stomped it out while I was setting back worrying about large rocks and landing on a metal pole or falling, he just handled it. From that point on I decided that I did not want to be afraid, that I would become the master of my fear. Since then, Iíve gone on to do a great many things that have tested my level of fear, that have raised it. I took that one kernel and made it grow into a great willingness to face any fear, to stare into the face of adversity, to try no matter what. Really, what is the worst thing that can happen? Training to resist fear is like training for a marathon. At first you suffer greatly, you feel like you want to die, you want to quit, but no, you keep going. After some time you become stronger and faster, better equipped for adversity. All of this takes a long time to prepare for; it wonít happen overnight, you just have to keep working at it like you would anything like restoring a classic car or landscaping your front yard. Itís all little pieces of the puzzle that you slowly pout together, as it comes together, the pieces fit into place quicker and with more certainty. Solve the puzzle of your life, conquer your fear and rise to the great potential that everyone has in them. Thereís nothing to be afraid of.

Sports.

Go Lakers! Go die. If thereís one thing that I canít wrap my head around itís sports fanaticism. I simply donít understand what the allure is, why people will get so excited over other people playing a game. So excited that they make tons of noise, run down the streets waving foreign flags, riot, and actually kill other people all in the name of sports. How un-sporting. I guess in order to really grasp this concept Iíd have to lower my IQ by about 50 points, I surmise that following sports is often times a pastime of morons. Not to say that Iíve seen smart people get into it, but it seems that the person of above average intelligence can enjoy these games in an abstract and not find it cause to say, discharge firearms in the city limits or torch a taxi cab because the team you were rooting for won a championship series.  To begin, I just donít see why itís so exciting. Is your life that hallow and pointless that watching other people play a game gives you feelings of joy? Of accomplishment? Do you get this railed up when watching a mean game of scrabble? I hope not. People were actually hugging each other when the Lakers won this last championship. They probably donít even hug their kids, these sports idiots. Just think if you put one tenth of that zeal towards bettering yourself how much better off youíd be in this world. Not like I really want that to happen, Iíd rather you stay on the couch and continue to be losers, that way you donít interfere with me and my goals. When the Lakers won this last series I kept hearing people say ďWe wonĒ. We? I did not know that nearly half the population of Los Angles was on the Lakers payroll. There is no ďweĒ. You did nothing, you sat on your ass and watched others do things, other accomplish. And you just ate more chips and drank more beer and got fatter and lamer. I see you all called each other beforehand so you can all wear matching Lakers jerseys. Thatís lame like wearing a Slayer t-shirt to a Slayer concert, we know youíre a fan you dill-hole, thatís why youíre there. I guess if my life had no direction or purpose, if I did not have goals and ambition then watching people that do (professional athletes) could be appealing. My point is that a vicarious achievement if a poor substitute for the real thing. I can understand being happy (and I am overly so) for friends and loved ones getting up in the world. I love to see people I know rise above. But these sports pros, I know none of them so I can reap no joy out of their successes. They are strangers. Do you cheer when some other schmuck wins the lottery? Hell no, you donít, so why would you cheer for these clowns? Why indeed.

Iím not singling out Basketball, I hate them all equally. I do however think that soccer is the one that has the most retarded fans. These ďpeopleĒ will organize clubs or ďfirmsĒ and go and beat the crap out of other firms just because they follow another team. There are books written on the subject of soccer hooliganism it is a social problem in England and other European states, here not as much. Not to say that running down the street waving a Mexican flag in the USA because the team of your homeland won a soccer match, the homeland that you ran from, seems confusing at the least and certainly very dumb. A quick web search will reveal the Soccer kills more of its fans than any other sport. Stadium seats collapse, they riot, people get crushed to death on the fences, and they fight each other. They die. Iím all right with them dying, its social Darwinism at itís finest, we can only hope they did not re-produce before they were killed by fellow fans of the same team. Not to mention these fans will kill players that fail to say stop a goal in a critical game. For real, the people that follow this sport are true fanatics; they have doubled their efforts and in doing so, lost sight of the goal. Itís the same kind of mentality that allowed people like the National Socialists rise to power in Germany in the wake of the 1st world war. Itís a dangerous mad-cow like mentality. Even in the realm of innocent children leagues we see parents getting out of hand at Jrís t-ball games and beating the crap out of each other. I think there is some deeper-rooted problem there, as American weíve been sold the idea that we can have everything and that life should be fair. I donít believe in these concepts but many do and when the ref at the local peewee soccer game makes a bad call the parentís misplaced anger comes out. It is sad and disgusting really. Parents should not get too wrapped up in whether their kid can feel like a rock star or not. Failure and disappointment are as valuable as success in developing character. You see most of this thuggish and mindless behavior in soccer fans. Even my fellow zinester The B has been bitten by this soccer fanaticism. He wonít ever shut up, and now he wonít ever shut up about soccer. I canít as a tried and true geek fall pray to sports interest, after all the jocks used to steal our homework and lunches, knock our Dungeons and Dragons books on the floor etc. Now weíre going to follow them? Hell no. I donít want to hear it, weíre trying to play D &D (advanced of course) and The B is going off about soccer, just shut the fuck up already and roll your to-hits (that would be a 20 sided die or a ďd-20Ē). I donít know what has possessed him, but I canít wait form him to go back to obsessing over role-playing games and illegal immigration again, he was much more fun to be around. Fuck you B, I hate you, the new soccer hooligan you, bring the old B back. On the other end of the spectrum we have real snore-fests like golf and baseball. Golf is tremendous waste of space and resources. The amount of land required to have a 18 hole course is huge not to mention all the water it takes to keep it up and all the grass trimming etc. just so some old rich fuckers can swat a ball around, drive in golf carts and then have a cardiac arrest on the 9th hole. More people die playing golf than any other sport. Golf kills, mainly old people, but they should be playing bridge or clipping coupons instead. Baseball is so orchestrated that they count errors. Opps! He made a mistake! Wow, that was exciting. You want errors? Go look in the mirror. And people try so hard to build it up to be this big thing that itís not, ďthe grand symmetry of the gameĒ. What the fuck does that mean? When you see a re-cap of a baseball game they show a play or two (wake up!) a home run, and the rest is devoted to the fights that occasionally break out. Why? Because baseball is fucking boring as hell but violence is always entertaining. Now, if we could get golfers to beat the shit out of each other with their clubs, that would be somethingÖ Hearing about sports is about as exciting as rectal cancer. Playing a game with your friends, I can see that because itís you doing the thing, having the fun, playing the game, not watching others play. You want to watch me ride my bike? Of course not, when riding one of your own is much more rewarding and fun. Yes, I ride bikes but I donít watch the Tour, I have no real interest in racers or professional cycling. I guess people need something to cling on to giving them purpose. Instead of spending time and energy on following a sport or team, take that time to improve yourself and youíll soon find the drive to go out and do what you want and conquer mental and physical hurdles like not breaking into a sweat when your eating because youíre so goddamn fat. While there are few doers in this world, there are many watchers and the sports watcher tends to be a fat disgusting pig of a human being. (See picture at the end of the column.) I guess thatís how your support is shown by taking up as much space on the couch as possible and keeping Budweiser in business. In this way, sports fanaticism is more detrimental to onesí health as it promotes couch potatoes, not active people. When I was a teenager, my sister dated this guy that was the jock of jocks. He not only would get up out of the chair when something ďinterestingĒ was happening in a football game, he would whoop and holler like crazy. The he would say all the Bud and Bud Light commercials out loud because he memorized them! My dad watched sports but he would often times read the paper at the same time and only look up if there was a doings transpiring. But this guy, was a prototypical jock, his actions were confusing at the least as I did my best not to associates with jocks at school (and everyone else for that matter) so Iíd never been this close to a creature of his ilk. Even then, I could not seem to figure out what was so damn exciting about what was on the TV. Iím sure this guy is a huge flesh slug by now, he just works up a sweat thinking about Hometown Buffet. You know they canít hear you, the people on the TV, so why are you yelling? In a way I envy him, jock-mo because gaining feelings of joy and accomplishment were as easy as pushing a button on a remote. Iíll never really be able to understand, but thatís just how I am and I guess we need all types, even mindless sports fanatics. I know Iíll never sway the masses; they need something to do to fill the time they have. I guess Iím outnumbered on this one, there are people willing to go shirtless in 20 degree weather covered in body paint that will prove me wrong. People willing in a victory celebration, to riot and destroy their fellow fans property. People willing to beat each other up before the soccer game starts just because they want to beat people up. People willing to kill others for the same reason or assassinate players that fail in that critical moment. Itís just a game. I may do stupid things but I cannot achieve that level of stupidity. 

I've left...

I have left the Valley. What is that you say? Left the 818, but how..couldÖyou?Ö Donít worry kiddies, I only left for a couple few days at a time and was quickly back to the 818 to recharge my hate batteries anew. Really, why ever leave the Valley? Everything I could want or need lies within the 818 area code. Some of the best mountain and road riding for an avid cyclist is found here, plenty of hills for soapbox derby, a thriving car culture, and seedy enough that people leave you alone for the most part. Also, there are things that Iím glad arenít here in abundance. Cool people, hipsters and the like and self-important Hollywood douchebags that work in ďthe industryĒ. Never once have I had someone ask me if I knew who they were, thatís good for them because they donít know who I am, lets keep it that way.

 First trip was to Maryland and then Pennsylvania to align with other soapbox racers for what they called the East Coast Challenge. We brought 4 people, The Future, Danny ďthe cloneĒ, Fast Donnie and myself. Fast Donnie and the Clone drove across the whole span of the US with our soapbox cars in tow and the Future and myself took a plane. I had not flown since before 9/11 so I did not know what to expect. Taking off the shoes was the only new twist that really stuck out, otherwise things went smooth and I slept on the flight where I was picked up by one of the Maryland soapbox chapterís clan. Weíve been doing outlaw soapbox derby for years now and itís grown to have several groups in the country and even the globe. So we head out and meet with soapbox people from Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, and us from Socal. In the wee hours of the morning we begin our series of races where the last few finishers are eliminated and then we move on to another hill.   The first place we started at was a coal-mining town that the mine caught fire in the 1960ís and itís still burning! There is no more town, just roads that occasionally have cracks open up and smoke from the fire billow forth from. Weird. If this happened in LA, there would be protests and rallies and stupid fucking actors would come to speak out and something would be done, dammit! But alas, Pennsylvania has no hippies, or actors so it continues to burn. There also is NO Prius cars, not a one, that was nice because Prius drivers are the worst fucking drivers ever. There were gobs of trees that were not planted, the whole place was a forest, the roads and towns were carved out of the dense tree growth. The old buildings were brick and some in big cities were very tall, they do not get earthquakes so these old structures still stand. We were in the Styx. We were going along our marry way when one of the soapbox cars on a trailer fell off and smashed the tow vehicleís back window. This was followed by the local cop paying us a visit. Apparently the last hill we went down had one house that we passed and in that one house was a fat nasty lady that did not like us having fun, so she called the cops. In true soapbox fashion, we scattered like cockroaches. While waiting it out I talked to a father and daughter. The dad had NO teeth, not a one and the daughter was perhaps 12 or so and one was already missing one front tooth and the remaining front tooth was jutting out at a 45 degree angle, on itís way to the hereafter. Fluoride anyone? The next guy I encountered was obviously the town elder, you could tell this by the fact that he had 3 or 4 teeth left and was on crutches. He spoke: ďWAAAaaa uuurrrrr yyyoooo gguuyyyy woooiinggg?Ē What are we doing? We are doing a soapbox derby on one of the local hills, we showed him the cars and he nodded in approval and limped off to parts unknown. In the end we did six races, I was eliminated in race 4 and Fast Donnie made to the two car show down and the win was taken by one of the guys in the New Jersey chapter.  We went to eat and while waiting I spied two big pieces of uneaten bacon on an adjacent table, the tip was on the table so it was going in the trash. I saved that bacon from the dumpster, I reached over and ate it. We donít waste bacon. Never.

                My next journey I went to Tillamook Oregon to go fishing on the ocean with my dad. He has been going up there and staying with his friend, Jim for nearly 20 years now. He goes Salmon fishing for a month and usually returns with a mess of smoked salmon. Heís been wanting me to join him for some time now and with his heath on the wane this might be his last trip so on the plane again I went. Tillamook was also filled with trees, it was very green. Also everyone was fat, I was the skinniest person there by far. This first day out fishing I was dealt a very hard blow, my dreams of becoming a pirate were dashed upon the rocks of reality: I Paul ďthe carcassĒ, bicycle warlord of the SFV, deadeye with a roman candle and foam sword gets seasick. I have not thrown up since I was 11, which was also the last time I crapped my pants. I was trying to keep the streak going but the churn of the ocean was too much and I barfed my oatmeal on the waters. The omnipresent seagulls tried to eat my barf, which was funny.  I was on the boat from 7 am till 4 pm feeling very un-pirate like, a hard blow to take. The next couple of days with the help of motion sickness drugs I was feeling just fine to experience the worst fishing that anyone has seen in memory. My dad caught 1 fish in three weeks, the last day out there were 50+ boats full of manly men with fancy poles and lures, and sonar guided fish finders and by the end of the day the game warden said she recorded only one fish caught. One fish. We did catch three whole crabs, that was interesting leaving the traps and whatnot but a lot of work for three crabs, Iíd say the area was over fished or the water was too cold. I did not really care I was there to hang out with my dad and have some father son time. We had to take a Ĺ day so I went to a vintage airplane museum witch was cool, there were some of the only flying examples of old WWII fighter planes left on the planet there and they were housed in the largest wood truss building in the world, the ceiling was 200 feet tall. Amazing. The best was I went to the Tillamook Cheese factory. Thatís right bitches, a cheese factory. I got to see the secret cheese works and eat lots of free samples until I got the evil eye from one of the employees. You get a toothpick to try a small cube of cheese, but I was stacking them 3 or 4 deep on the pick and going back for seconds, why not? The weirdest thing was on the factory floor working away was white people. In fact there were only white people in Tillamook, working at the gas station, the fast food drive though, and in this cheese factory. Living in So Cal has made me see things only one way but having some fat white lady look up at me and wave while she guided blocks of cheese down a conveyer belt really opened my eyes to a different world, a world of cheese.

Through Being Cool

Cool. Are you cool? How would you know? What is cool anyway? Cool is a foolís errand, chasing the horizon forever trying to grasp something that is not graspable. Cool is a lie. A falsehood that most everyone tries to take part in. Let us destroy this idea.

You know the cool kids, or you knew of them. Everyone thought they were cool; it may have been how they dressed or their hair, or some other thing that just made themÖcool. You want to be cool so you look/dress/act like them but youíre not cool, youíre a poseur. Why? Coolness is an enigma that fools many. How can coolness be achieved? I summit to you reader that coolness is a false notion. Cool people in reality are stooges and losers in the end and we (the geeks) rule the earth. The act of being cool requires two components: one being the person that believes that he/she is cool and the non-cool believer that the aforementioned person is in fact cool. This is the part that so many people do not know about, you have to consent to the idea that someone else is cool for them to achieve it. If no one believes that person X is cool, then they are not. If no one believes in Santa Claus, he no longer exists. We all stopped that nonsense when we were 7 or 8 years old and yet we still believe that other adults can have this higher status over us without doing really anything for it. Cool is status and it can be achieved many ways, all of which are in reality worthless. Doing things like being in a band, or having tattoos, or a ring through your eyebrow, or a vintage/expensive car etc are normal ďcoolĒ things that people attribute coolness to. Other ways that people achieve cool is by having a thing that others covet, like having a prize stamp if youíre a stamp collector. Collector status is the weakest form because it only pertains to others that seek the same objects. While you are a child, you are immersed in the battleground of cool. From elementary school all the way to high school itís a mad dash to see who can become the most popular, who is the coolest. Being that I could count my friends (the other geeks) on one hand I saw how the other kids worked so hard to achieve the status, it seemed very important. Now a funny thing happens when youíre handed your high school diploma; all the coolness you have acquired throughout the years magically vanishes. Poof! Youíre now an adult, it no longer matters how cool you were, now youíre just another schlep. I came to this realization when a year after high school the most popular kid in school called me up and wanted to hang out. Me, who got kicked out of the chess club for being too big of a spazz, I just laughed into the phone and hung up. Your former coolness was gone now, just a dull ember instead of the burning pyre of popularity it once was. I guess he found out that the other cool kids were a bunch of vapid, self-absorbed pricks so he went looking for some lonely geek to suck up to his dumb ass. Wrong! This geek walks alone; go eat a bucket of dicks cool guy. And yet people still try in earnest to achieve this cool status.  If enough people give you this status, they believe in your coolness. For a brief moment, you have become cool. If this happens enough then you begin to believe the lies and you become a cool junkie, always trying to get more cool points. Then you have grasped an ethereal onion ring. Gathering more coolness becomes a full time occupation. You have to keep ďmaking the sceneĒ to keep your status up or it will fade, drop out for a month and no one will call you, youíre forgotten; another minnow in a school of dumb little fish. All this involves a lot of time and money invested, a lot of long nights, perhaps some expensive white powder or other stuff going up your nose.  Now when one is a young person, these things are all good and nifty. You have all your hair, the tats are nice and bright, the vintage ride looks sharp under the lamp by the bar, but over time something happens. All this shit fades. The partying takes itís toll, and maintaining coolness is like building a sand castle in the shore break; entropy is chipping away your creation at every moment, without constant maintenance it falls apart. One magical day you turn 30 and all your coolness fades in an instant no matter how much you have. Cool is a young mans game. This is something that many cool people deny exists, they desperately try to hang on to what the enviable hands of time point to. You see these pathetic fellows at some table at your local pub. The punk belt is stretched by the gut falling over the faded rock t-shirt that they bought new in 1987, the tattoos are dull and becoming less clear. The weathered arm raises another pint to a lined, jowled countenance. Cool is a self-destructive force that destroys the user. Thereís nothing more sad than an aging hipster, nothing more funny actually. If youíre older you may have the smug satisfaction of seeing all the cool kids in your high school become total losers. Now if you canít wait that long, there are ways to speed it along to an untimely demise. 

Myself by being awesomely uncool have busted up a mass of cool people by saying and doing uncool things, how quickly the aura of coolness is dispelled. Or when cool people are in public and you lay into them for being the scumbags that they really are, they shrivel into a tiny tattooed ball of their former self. All bark and no bite, the cool is a bluff, a thin veneer that one can easily punch holes through. The first step is not to believe, to be a ďAcoolthiestĒ. You donít think anyone is cool, in fact most people you encounter are total window lickers: worthless. Also, know that you yourself can never achieve cool status; itís like being the best at finding undigested peanuts in other peopleís shit, a undesirable and worthless skill. The next step is to learn how to kick ass because you may have to bash some heads (DEVO) as some cool people will want to ďKick your assĒ as it were for being the bringer of truth, a beacon of light in the dark seas of bullshit that surround so many lives. Once your ninja skills are up to snuff you can move on to the next step which is destroying coolness in a 10Ē radius (or 10 yards if youíre outdoors MELDAR!) The main weapon in your arsenal is verbal abuse. Poking fun at peopleís hair, clothes, fatness, tattoos and piercings are a good place to start. If you know this person better then you can opt for out and out character assassination, which is a good thing if you can pull it off, especially in public. Once I saw some ďpunkerĒ girl with a Crass tattoo. ďWow, is that a Crass tattoo, that band sucks!Ē That was all it took, the girl flew into a rage and detailed to me how much I liked to suck dick all while making a big scene, her coolness was shattered by one sentence. Itís that easy. Just look at them and make dorky laughing sounds; it seems to have an effect on cool people like the cross does on vampires (AD & D Monster Manual 1, pg 99). Insults are good, ask them how broke they are or how their STDís are in remission or what lies theyíve told this week to make new friends etc. You see (Cosby inflection) most cool people are totally full of shit and have no character worthy of note, thus they do morally bankrupt things, an easy mark. ďI see you have a new tattoo and you said the other week you couldnít afford to pay your gas billĒ. Itís the little things that count. The other thing you can do is have embarrassing behavior or attire. I used to wear a giant polar bear stuffed animal out to public places and not tell the people I was going out with. Many a doorman did not want to let me in, if they only knew what trouble lied in the futureÖ People are so worried about what strangersí think that by simply having a balloon animal crown on your head will create a disaster. One time a bunch of my goth chick friends were making out at a party, this was no good. Do you really need that much attention? Please. This called for a dogpile. Dogpile! And the pseudo-lesbo action was crushed. They are all married with kids now, I knew then it was a ruse so I had to crush it just because it was phony. Itís that easy. And in the end what have cool people done for this world? Made a few top 40 singles? Made fashion laughable? Given us something to laugh at? Made new and interesting STDís? Where as geeks and mavericks are the real ones that shape this world, cool people are just window dressing and they are here today and gone tomorrow. So what will you spend your time on? Trying to be cool or trying to be the real and best person that you can be?

Oh, I was an angry person then....

Hate. Spite. These are the building blocks of my world, the brick and mortar of a cathedral of hate, a spire of spite, enter these halls and grow to understand how I hate beyond the scope of normal thinking. Let us begin.

Firstly, you must discard these notions that there is a level without hate. Hate is all encompassing and permeates the very essence of my being; there are only different levels of hate. Low level hate is for friends, for you only hate them every so often, say a few times a day or several times a week, you donít hate them that much, after all youíre ďfriendsĒ. Sooner or later some of these people will become your most hated persons. For to truly know someone in all their weaknesses is to truly hate them. But more on that later. The next level of hate is reserved for the public at large. People you donít know and will never know you hate them on a small but consistent level. Doubt me? Example you worm: Youíre stuck in traffic. All these other people are in your way starring at a hub cap on the side of the road, thus making you late. You canít help but hate them, just a little, but enough. The next levels of hate are for groups of people that youíve had more exposure to and despise on a general level, say anyone that works for the DMV, or those assholes that paint the numbers for your house on your curb and then ask for money. You donít really know them but youíve been exposed to enough to hate them through and through. Then you have hatred of things or ideas and concepts like Facebook, cell phones or art. You wouldnít have to think too hard to fill up Ĺ a page in a notebook of things you hate. The next level of hate if for your co-workers. You have to endure hour after hour of exposure to these useless meat sacks and over time you learn to hate them, itís a force of nature and cannot be helped. Every stupid joke, every bit of shit that theyíve talked, every trite platitude has been cataloged in your brain and the answer for the equation is hate. Try and fight it as you will but sooner or later you will succumb to the ways of hate. The next level is for family. Youíre forced to be around these people once a twice a year and itís too much. If some stranger or acquaintance talked to you or treated you like your family, youíd sock them in the eye. A special kind of hate is reserved for these people; they are like a mole or boil on your ass that you canít get rid of no matter how many times you lance it. Your family on average is a good representative of society at large: a few successful ones and a slew of fuck-ups that will latch on to you and under the bullshit auspice of family, drain every ounce of hope, kindness, love, caring, thoughtfulness, compassion, and pragmatism right out of you. All that is left is hate. The final tier is for former friends. People that you once trusted and held their ideas and lives in high regard. But alas, good friendships are not enough for some people and they canít seem to help themselves in being base, weak creatures when it seems so easy to not be. Friends that youíve loaned money to and never paid you back even though theyíre sporting new shoes and tattoos. Of your good pal that swore up and down that theyíd never fuck your x-girlfriend but did anyway. Oh yes, these special individuals are reserved the highest level, the most esteemed position in the halls of hate. See at one point they were on the lowest level of hate and then they do the most despicable act and now they are at the top. This is also a life membership, meaning there is no redemption, forgiveness, understanding, reconciling, coming to terms, or reasoning with these people. They are hated most of all and hated forever without revocation. The hate is eternal. The reason for this is two fold: One for you have truly understood this individual and they are worthy of nothing but hate and secondly a good dose of self hatred for letting it get that far in the first place. Because you let your guard down and tried to be free of hate for just a small moment in time, you actually thought that youíd be able to let the hate go. Fool. Hate is the only real thing youíll ever have in this world. Love, friendship, trust, understanding, comfort, complacency, peace of mind are but temporary states. At the foundation, at the base once all these false notions are stripped away is a stone slab of hate. Once everyone youíve trusted or loved has left you, once you see how everyone you work with, are related to or are friends with are base, self-serving creatures, youíll see the pillar of ideals erode and leave the foundation. Something you can count on, a foundation of hate. Itís something to build upon, let us begin.

Hate is a great motivator. Hate gets you moving, keeps you warm when itís cold out, makes to stronger, hate is good. Besides riding bikes, I lift weights. While doing a bench press, I began to struggle at 10 presses of the weight. Then I thought of someone that I hate and that hate carried me through for another 5 reps. Hate made me stronger. Some people let the fires of hate burn inside them and burn themselves out. This is wrong. You should find ways to channel your hate, to wield your hate to your advantage. I owe everything I have to hate. Channeling your hate is easy and long as you embrace the ethos of spite, then itís as easy as telling a Jehovahís Witness to go fuck them selves.  I use my hatred of others to rise above, just to spite them I will do better, my life will improve. If hate are bricks then spite is the mortar. Youíll need both in life to drive a wedge through all the ney-sayers and doubting Thomases you encounter in life.  I ride hard on my bike just so I can blast past guys on $5000 dollar bikes on my Schwinn beach cruiser; Iím pedaling hard with ďfuck youĒ written in the dust. I do as much as I can every day just for every asshole that told me they donít have the time. We fold 1000 zines every 3 months and will never stop just to grind the other zinesters under our feet and anyone else who talked shit, whereís yours? Thatís right, you made 2 issues in runs of 100 and then quit because it was ďtoo hardĒ. Eight years running strong bitches. Our hate keeps us going, we wonít be touched. I organize tons of events (Bicycle, Mini Bike, & Soapbox) all year round and put smiles upon 1000ís of faces a year where youíre saying making 50 spoke cards for your wak ass ride is hard. Ha. Fuck you. Thereís nothing so satisfying as being able to put your middle finger in someoneís face after they told you that you couldnít do something. ďYouíll never get a bike shop to work.Ē Six years running and making more money each year, so fuck you. How many people are just standing around so they can shoot down your dreams and ideas because they have no drive? So many fall into that category and I love nothing more that to rub it in their faces. See if you ever quit, you let those kinds of people win. Every time they see you theyíll know that they have their foot in their mouth and their head up their ass. I stand higher and higher upon my foundation for hate every day, I use my hate to ride above. I looked at how things are going with me or my surrounding and I hate it. I use that hate to motivate me to a better place, for better surroundings. I use hate to improve what I have and what I see, because it can always use improvement. I hate to see things stay the same when they can always be better. Every improvement, every comfort you have in life was born of hate, hatred of how things are.

As hate can be used to build so can spite. One day some idiot put a sign on a cardboard box in front of my shop telling me to clean up my mess. Guess where that sign wound up? You guessed it, taped on the inside of my window of my shop for all to see. My customers get a good chuckle out of it and to the perpetrator? A big FUCK YOU every time they walk by my shop. Itís a little kernel of joy that I can wrought from some morons attempt to control me. Nothing motivates me more than some idiot trying to stop me from doing something, or telling me that I ďcantĒ do a given thing. Well, you canít thatís for sure as youíve defeated yourself before youíve even started. I am undaunted by the task at hand. Just to show you that it can be done that it is possible, that you can rise above, that you can make things happen if you choose to. Every day I live is proof that the will to achieve will persevere over the tiny minds of self defeating half wits that try to rule their world with apathy and lethargy. Are you going to let them win? Fuck no.

How mountain biking made me a better person, or not?

A long time ago I went into Panda Express and was disappointed to see that not a single dish they offered had Panda Bear in it. Disappointment is the name of the game. Oh sure the little black and white critters are endangered of being extinct and all, but still some kind of Panda dish seemed appropriate. You see itís not that Panda Bears are being hunted by man that is driving them to the brink of nevermore, itís the fact that Panda Bears are bitches. Pandas will only eat from a very select stock of bamboo and will starve to death than switch brands if their usual fair dies off for some reason. How picky can you be? They are also gay. Why donít you like that girl Panda? Whatís wrong with her? She has a myspace page and likes some of the bands you like. Youíre Panda parents were worried when they saw the roller blades in your closet and then you got a fixed gear bike and the deal was sealed, the Panda was no more.  After five years of holding my tongue I finally lost it and smarted off to someone on the phone at work. The caller: ďDo you remember me?Ē Me: ďNo, hold the phone up to your face so I can see what you look like.Ē For years Iíve had people do this to me. Or they try and tell me what their bike is doing (I own a bicycle shop) over the phone like I can insert the tools through the phone and fix it. I donít want to even know how they manage to get through life; it can only be a train-wreck like existence. Of course this is just one of the many stresses that I deal with every day. I noticed myself getting more and more surly with people and had to do something about it.  So for the last couple of months Iíve been doing a fairly hard ride in the morning that takes me about an hour. I start at the bottom of a hill in the SFV called the Caballero or the ďCabĒ for short. Itís technical and a hard climb, once at the top of the Cab I got to the Hub Junction that is in the center of the Santa Monica Mountains. Lots of climbing on this run and I used to use the smallest (easiest) gear on my mountain bike in the front now I only use the middle ring. At this point Iíve plateaued, Iím not getting any stronger but Iím pretty strong. I used to feel like I was going to throw up and die or die and then throw up but I donít feel that way any more. After a week of this the calming effects were amazing. I was much more clam and easy going with people. Cycling is a great stress reliever. If I could get everyone on a bike that would be a great thing. I think a lot of people have forgotten of the joys and freedom that riding a bike can bring. And itís cheap too. An entry level mountain bike is around 350.00 dollars. Repairs are minimal and the dollars to fun ratio is big time in your favor. At first your body and mind will hate it, but if you keep up you will learn to adapt and yield all the benefits from it, even if you just putt around your neighborhood. Iím keeping it short this time because Iíve been riding so much more than I ever have and Iím digging it. Dust that bike off in your garage, air up the tires and go. Donít be a bitch like the Panda Bear; you donít want to become an endangered species.    

Die Fatty Die!

The year, I donít remember. I was 11 sitting in a canoe at Camp Three Falls. This was the last time I shit my pants. The urge to purge came on and I needed to get to shore asap. The fat kid in the canoe with me refused to paddle anymore, heís tired. So I had to paddle my scrawny 11 year old arms alone to shore. Now Iím running to the stalls and in mid stride I stop, itís too late: I had crapped myself. If that fat bastard wasnít so tired from eating pancakes all day I may have not shit my pants.

Tubby, fatty, lardass, fatboy, chunky, piggy, fat fuck, you tubby bitch. Fat people: Fuck you. People here are fat and Iím sick of it. Fat people in my way blocking up the isle in the grocery store, fat people moving slower than the seasons getting in their car so I canít get a spot to park, fat people complaining about how hard it is to get thin, how hard it is to be fat. Well fuck you already. At what point do you being a fat sack of shit become my problem? It shouldnít be my problem but it is, youíve managed to use your extra girth to blubber your way into to the lives of others and now we have to deal with it. I can hear your labored breathing as I stand next to you in line at the store, youíre sweating butter and itís only 80 degrees. You fat disgusting slab of wasted human. How do you get this way? Being that Iím a gamer (not the video, but OG variety son) I have a lot of fat friends and Iíve seen how they maintain the fat so to speak. During one gaming session, one of my planetoid pals will consume more food than I eat in a day, more calories than a small 3rd world countyís whole population will get for a week. In other words, it takes work to be fat. It takes effort to have more chins than a Chinese phonebook, and itís not like you just woke up one day and were suddenly ready to be a stunt double for Orca, no; you took a long time to become the waste of life and sweat pants that waddles before me. The path to obesity is a self imposed war of attrition. You battle to be a couch potato, you play video games and watch tv, exercise is not an option. These habits tend to form young and you get used to sitting around and doing nothing, but while youíre doing nothing your body is storing blubber on your ass like the fatapocalypse is about to happen. Years go by and you slowly but surely move from size large t-shirts to xl, 2x, 3x, 4x until Omar the tent maker is making you shirts. Real pants give way to the to favorite of fatty fashion: sweatpants. And you sweat, not because youíre doing much of anything but because your body is telling you that it canít keep you cool enough because you have more insulation on you than a polar bear in the dead of winter. Your condition bums you out so instead of doing something about it you compensate by pigging out. I have one guy I know spend 17 dollars at Taco Bell just for him. 17 dollars. I figure it takes about 2-5 bucks to fill up a normal person so this guy is eating like heís pregnant with triplets. Thatís work. Being fat takes a lot of work. Your stomach is an elastic organ and youíve stretched it to capacity over many years of ďtrainingĒ Now you can eat a whole large pizza or two combo meals at In ní Out in one sitting, youíve become ďprofessionalĒ. Once professional status is achieved then itís too late, youíve engrained these bad habits into your life for so long that there is no hope. You lack the basic will power to stop eating and youíre not eating because youíre hungry, you eat out of rote. Surgeries such as stomach stapling donít come with will power attached, so youíll eventually be back up to your ďfightingĒ weight in no time. The notion that you can undo 20, 30, or 40 years of poor choices overnight is foolish. In order to unmake the flabby one that took years to build it will take a total 180 on your out look on life or a miracle. Enter the diet industry. The diet industry is the great scam. Everyday weíre bombarded with radio, television, and magazine ads with the new miracle diet that will make you magically thin overnight and you wonít have to suffer. Jenny Craig: failed The Zone: failed, Fatkins: failed, the Lap Band: soon to fail. Simply put a diet means a regimen, which means discipline and self-control, which your average fat ass has none of. A life time of avoiding exercise will make said exercise seem (and feel) worse than death itís self. Tubby people are on a general level self-indulgent and a diet is the antithesis of self-indulgence, failure is bound to happen. Look at Orca Winfrey. Sheís fat, then thin, then fat again, fat again. Return to sender, the default setting is fat. Despite being a media mogul and all her millions, she lacks the basic will power to stop being a tub or lard. At least she knows how to sell the false hope of being thin to her fans. And this is what the whole diet industry does; sells false hope. Diets arenít magic pills that transform the user into a different person; the person is fat in the mind as well. A lifetime of sloth and self-indulgence has dulled the will power mechanisms completely; the diet industry canít help you with that. You can waste money that could have went to doughnuts and cheesecake on special foods and charts etc to get thin even though youíll never be able to stand the shock of going from a 5000 calorie diet a day to a normal one of 2000. You will fail.

            Have you noticed how picky fat fuckers are when it comes to food? ďOh, I donít want pickles.Ē  ďI donít like mayonnaise.Ē  Youíre not picky about how much of the things you do like go into your gaping maw. Where the hell do you get off? ďNo, hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, but Iíll take 37 cheese burgers and a diet coke. Look fatty, the diet coke? Do you think that a couple hundred less calories is going to make a shit bit of difference? A 2000 calorie meal or a 2150 calorie meal, the difference is marginal but you cling to the false hope that by drinking a diet drink youíre somehow making a change. Wrong. A salad covered in blue cheeses dressing is just a hamburger with out the meat and bread; see what youíve denied yourself? Somewhere there is a hamburger patty that is shivering in the cold because you thought you could make a difference, shame on you.

            And I get to hear it. The diets, the bogus testimonials, on the radio taking up space in magazines, the shits everywhere. You canít do things like hoping over a fence or riding a bike, things I take for granted. It becomes a scenario where I get to hear all the things you canít do. Well boo fucking hoo. Did I make you eat the foot long sub? Or the whole fucking box of cookies? No I did not. Just like your gut spills over your waist line, your self-loathing and depression spill over into my life. Well I donít need it. Everyone resides in a hell entirely of their own manufacture and you live in a hell of cookie dough and Doritos. Your problem has become everyoneís problem. Just like the fat clogging your arteries, your fat ass is in peopleís way. Taking up two seats at the movie theater, smelling like a mass grave because itís too hard to fit in the shower. Using the restroom and the local burger joint for so long taking one of your island size shits that no one else will want to come near it for hours. Eating all the snacks at the party, taking more than your fair share of the pizza. Fuck you, you fat fuck. Get a handle on your life and stop making your problem, our problem. You want to be fat, fine. Just keep it to yourself.

Three Things...

Three things: You donít know, Shut the fuck up, & I donít care. The longer Iíve been alive the less and less I want to talk, the less I want to tell anybody anything, the less I care. You donít know. The more I do know the more I realize that I know very little or next to nothing. Conversely, people that seem to know the least are the ones that are the most vocal. Want proof? Go post on some message board in the internet and see the self appointed experts chirp up. Perhaps they have no control in their lives and can only try to have a toe-hold upon the world by crying about everything but if you really look and do your homework, youíll see that they are ignorant. Iíd say that out of every 100 people that you meet youíll find one that really has some knowledge, and they are generally quiet about it. The road to mastery of a given subject or skill is long and seldom traveled so those that have completed the journey know what it took. The other day someone asked my if welding was hard and I told them that it was not that hard but nothing worth doing was going to be easy. No skill of any worth will be learned easily and those that are have little or no value. Iím not a great welder, I do OK. Iíve spent countless hours with the ol Millermatic xp130 and know KNOW that others can weld circles around me. Iím no expert. Yet people love to vomit out their opinions and make comments even though they couldnít do half as good. They donít know. If you didnít know, I own and operate a solo venture, a little bicycle shop in Van Nuys. Iím there 6 days a week and I do the whole deal: phones, sales, parts and repairs etc. Iíve fixed 1000ís of bikes. 1000ís and yet there are better bicycle mechanics out there, they are on the support crews for the Tour de France and other high profile professional races, I canít measure up to that skill. I know that there is a lot that I just donít know. Even in my chosen profession, I am aware that I have a measure of ignorance of my craft, I donít know. I go on group rides and play bicycle polo and shit breaks, I do my best not to interject when bikes break, unless someone asks for help. Perhaps they know more. The difference is that I am acutely aware of my ignorance and most people think a few ounces of knowledge actually weighs several pounds. This is why all around my little bike shop business come and go with the seasons. These people think they know how to run a business but they donít, they fail. Most do. When I started, I knew nothing and I figure I know a little bit more or just enough to keep things flowing, Iím doing pretty good so far as long as I continue to close the gap of my ignorance, I should do fine in the future. I have to deal in my line of work a lot of self-appointed ďexpertsĒ that read a few cycling magazines (not recommended) and now want to banter with me over wheel spacing, q-factor etc. but they canít even do a basic tune up on their bike or even fix a flat tire, if they could they would not be paying me to fix it for them. When itís done they want to know what was done and I tell them but the information is lost, as they canít even grasp the basics, they donít know but want to come of as they do. No big deal, its part of the business and from me, information is always free, I donít guard what Iíve learned. I donít need to protect what I know because it takes quite a lot more than one conversation to get to the level that Iím at when it comes to bicycle repair. They donít know. People think they can read a book or watch the discovery channel for a night and they are suddenly experts. Itís not knowledge, they are just regurgitating what ever they heard or read but know nothing themselves. Not only do people have misconception of what they know about a given subject, they are also totally ignorant of the self. Have you ever told a story to someone and they say ďWell, I would have done xĒ. Really? I doubt it. The thing is you donít know what youíll do in a given situation until it arises, thatís final. Anything else would be just flapping of the gums and not much else. You donít know. A few years ago, I had two idiots attempt to rob me at knife point. One of them sat in the car and the other came into my shop and tried to make me give him my money. The first thing he got was an Arizona Grape Aide in the face and then the hilarity began. Iíve had martial arts with weapons for years and at one point was attending 5 practices a week with 4 different fighting styles. Suffice to say, I can handle myself with melee weapons. In the end I chased this guy out of my store and nothing was taken or damaged, and I was not hurt. Being that I did not have medical insurance at the time I did not want to risk my hands to cuts that could close me down so I opted for a firm defensive posture that involved a claw hammer and me holding my ground. The robbery failed. I think I handled the situation very well, in fact is was a lot of fun and I learned that in a high crisis situation, I performed very calm and collected. Now, when recanting the tale people will comment that they would have done things differently, they would have done ďxĒ or ďyĒ but how do they really know? They donít, they donít know until they are themselves plunged into that situation. I had some lady that the same two jokers robbed after I chased them from my place come to me and say that she wished I had caught them. I told her that she got robbed because she let them rob her and furthermore you did exactly what most people do, give up the money. You simply do not know. Ignorance is the most common current and currency that binds people together, do your best to swim against the tide.

In the wake of the robbery I had every bar fly that frequents the bar next to my shop come over and tell me that they heard I got robbed. Itís amazing what 30 feet of distance and a lack of anything better to do will turn a fact (failed robbery attempt) into a wondrous work of fiction (being robbed). I had to repeat the tale countless times to these drunks in the ensuing weeks, then the other business owners in the area, and my friends etc. Just shut the fuck up already. I got so tired of talking about it that Iíve not mentioned it in many moons. I think people abuse language, they abuse the facility of speech and take it for granted and they donít think about what they say before they say it. I say shut the fuck up. I do a lot of trail riding and we (meaning cyclists) have to share the trail with people, otherwise known as meat pylons. The majority of these meat pylons are housewives out for a group walk to keep up with the latest trend in the diet industry (it wonít work by the way). Now I passed a group of these people and it sounded like a bunch of seagulls fighting over a bologna sandwich. I noticed that they were all talking at once. This means that no one was listening; this means that two out of three of them need to shut the fuck up. In most conversations, people donít listen; they are just waiting for their turn to talk. This is why people try and finish your sentences, not because they understand you but because they want to say what they want to say, they want their turn to talk. Iíve done my best to buck the trend; I do a lot of listening. Iíve found that itís better to listen, if I have something that fits the conversation just right, Iíll say something otherwise Iíll hold my tongue.  If I have nothing to add, say in a conversation about television (donít have one) Iíll be fine not saying anything. On the phone people ask if Iím still there because Iím listening. Iím listening well; Iím shutting the fuck up. On a daily basis, people talk to me and seldom do I hear anything funny, clever, poignant, or informative. Most of what I hear is the day to day stuff which I donít really care about that much. I donít care if someone asks me about my day, itís one of many and on a general level, most of my days are good. If something interesting of funny happened, then Iíll share the story, otherwise; silence. Now what people choose to talk about! For shame. All the gossip. Weíre talking grown men and women here. If someone asks me if I heard about so and so Iíll ask: ďIs this gossip?, if so then I donít want to hear it.Ē Frankly itís beneath me. You think that makes me a snob, fuck you then, Itís up to us to rise above in life. There is no guiding hand in this world, no one to look to for help or guidance in this life so itís up to you. By not participating in an activity that is petty and childish Iím taking that step in rising above, and to me thatís what itís all about. When I talk shit its right to their face. Iím just being honest and given people just a little more respect than they perhaps deserve, this of course makes me an asshole because I wonít sugar coat what I do or say. People get a fucking hobby already! Gossip. Please. Iím not 11 anymore Iím at least 12 so I have no time for such nonsense. The same goes for talking trash about strangers. Maybe they donít need your approval, did you ever think of that? People actually think that they can somehow enforce their opinion upon a total stranger by sheer force of will: amazing.  Then people complain. Sometimes Iím forced to go out in public, to a restaurant for example. I can hear the people around me and they bitch. They bitch about their work, the people at work, the love of their life, their family, their friends, everything. I can surmise that people arenít happy and they are more than happy to share. Matter of fact, I seldom if ever find people involved in positive conversation. Most of the time weíre the only ones at the place that are laughing. Iíve also noticed on a side note that this makes people mad. How dare we have fun. I understand that happiness can be cured; well, Iíll do my best to stay one of the afflicted. If you donít have something proactive to add to the mix, then please shut the fuck up.

I guess it comes to this: I just donít care. Iím not talking about apathy here, there are just things that I donít care about. Apathy is lack of concern for even oneís own self and total indecisiveness. Iím talking about the societal constraints that we place upon ourselves and how we build our own cage in doing so. I donít care. I donít need a new car, the one I have is fine. Itís got dings and a few dents and one fender is a darker shade of gray, it burns a little oil but you put the key in it and it never fails. My 1986 Honda Accord has 380,000 miles on the original trans and motor. It looks like an old beat up car; I donít care what you think. People (meaning people that donít know me) must think that Ií m some ghetto slob but the fact is that I donít need to keep up with the Joneses, fuck the Joneses. I know that the $50,000 Escalade youíre driving is owned by the bank and youíre behind on your payments, Shotgun Mike will be seeing you soon. In the end that car will cost you 75,000 and I have 75,000 in the bank and you have a now uncool 5 year old car. So whoís the fool?

I donít care about celebrities. Who they are fucking, who they are beating up, how much collagen or silicon they have in their bodies or how big their sunglasses are, it has no bearing on my life. They can OD, collect children from third world countries like they are Pokemon cards, , get fat, get thin, fuck children, go die etc as long as I donít have to hear about it. I donít care, these people are fiction, and they matter in my daily life about as much as Mickey Mouse. 

Iím not interested in impressing strangers, strangers can go to hell. I see so many people that go out of their way to impress (often times falsely) people that they donít even know, people that they will never meet, never talk to, never share their lives with. And yet this mode of thinking is pervasive among the mass of humanity. I simply donít care. Strangers donít matter. I donít care if my socks match or if my shoes are old and tattered or if my pants are dirty. I have not bought a pair of shoes in close to five years. Cheap shoes are 30 bucks. I figure Iíve saved 100ís of dollars by not giving a fuck. Not caring is freedom, not caring is money in the bank. I look at the awesome collection of vintage bicycles, minibikes, and forward control trucks I have (besides my beloved Honda) and can chalk that up to my attitude. One time I was out with my friend Jenny on a rainy day and I found a thermal long sleeve shirt in the parking lot. I stuck it behind her jeep and we drove around. Later I washed it and wear it to this day. Free bitches. Free because I have the stones not to care. Now some of you wouldnít dream of wearing used clothes but I figure itís safe to say that youíve eaten at a restaurant once or twice?  Do you think they throw the silverware away after youíve used it? The silverware that other people have put in their mouths. Ok then, you are a dumb ass then and Iím walking around with a pocket full of cash in my of my 3 dollar pants so you can go suck it.  I donít need to own a home or have a nice car or wear spiffy duds, I donít care. Nor do I want to be married or have kids just because all the other tards in the world buy into that crap. Want to see a miserable fuck? Go find some guy whoís married. ďWhy are you selling this classic car?Ē Baby is on the way and the toys have to go. Why are you quitting the band? My wife is getting jealous. Fine, more for me I say. I feel no pressure to be one of these people that are compelled simply by the silent group consensus that feel that marriage and reproduction are for everyone. It is for some people, but not for me. People may talk, oh no! Why donít you get married? Is there hope for me of a normal life? I hope not, in fact doom is all I ever really shoot for in this life. Doom of a happy Norman Rockwell family life, doom of happy families and picket fences. .  I live in Reseda, Fool. You need more than a picket fence to keep the Cholos out of your yard. If youíve followed any of theses zines through the years I spend a lot of time destroying the common notions that most people take as gospel. I spit on notions of fame, happiness, friendship, art, success, karma, greed, politics, truth, life, death, and everything in between. I donít care. Most peopleís ideas are a house of cards that they borrowed from someone else anyway. I measure my success in other ways, ways that are only fathomable to me, so I wonít waste time here trying to explain. Normal people have just gone with the flow; only the mavericks have ever changed society. Not saying I will, but Iím willing to try. Are your choices so dangerous that youíll be killed for them? I can only hope for such an end, but most likely no. So out of fear you go with the flow, walk the fence, try and make everyone happy. I donít give two shits about making everyone happy, you canít. And you go with the flow all cause youíre afraid that youíre going to die alone or not have anyone you can relate to.  How many marriages work out?  And youíll be lucky if youíre kids donít just shuffle you off to some home when you get too enfeebled to take care of yourself. Unless you both die at the same time, the survivor will die alone, so the lesson is to die first. I plan on dying alone; I donít care about these societal trappings. Iíd rather be free. Thanks.

The Never-Full Beast Called Hollywood.

 

You will fail. Youíre not going to make it. You donít stand a chance. Hello again from the SFV, the dumping ground for every failed actor, artists and musician that had their dreams dashed upon the rocks of reality. Being a native So Cal person Iíve seen the steady stream of ever hopefuls ground up and found on the cover of 2 for 5 dollar porno dvdís at the local video store. All hope is lost. Now lets break it down:

You are not special. You are a 10 in Nebraska and youíve entered LA and suddenly youíve become a 5. You suddenly find out that there are lots of good-looking people with nice skin and perfect teeth here, many many 1000ís upon 1000ís of good-looking folks. They are everywhere, you are just one of them and since there are so many, many more than you could have expected, the good looks you possess are no longer special when you move from a town population 758 to one of 9,948,081. Yes miss corncob, you have your work cut out for you if you want to become Hollywoodís next pretty face. Itís a simple issue of math; many people competing for very few jobs. Very few jobs. I had this discussion with a girl I knew and by the end of the conversation she was crestfallen. Itís the truth, what are you going to do that makes you stand out from the rest of the other ďactorsĒ (the word ďactorĒ and ďwaiterĒ are interchangeable for the purposes of this column) that are clamoring for the same jobs. ďSorry, you didnít get the part for Herpes sufferer #12, better luck next time.Ē  And the thing is, any one can be an actor, skill in acting is not important, hell I donít know what is, un like character classes in AD & D (pg 20-33 of the Players Handbook) there are no stat minimums to be an actor, perhaps you need to be short so you can manifest your Neapolitan Complex on the big screen. Actors have about as much skill as your average fast food worker and about as much value, thereís always another willing to take the place of the person that just got fired/quit. Disposable and replaceable. So from the get-go youíve got an uphill battle and you have to fight against all the other worthless scumbags that want that job too. That is a lot of work. So you become a Waiter as the Cheesecake Factory while you hone your ďcraftĒ. Go to auditions, go to acting courses, seminars, network with other losers that work at Starbucks or the door of some shitty bar and you can all figure out how to get up the acting pecking order together, unless there is a chance of a part, then itís fuck you buddy, Iím going to get mine! Go to some parties, meet people. Meet other wannabe suck ups with similar aspirations, do some drugs. Go to more auditions, change your ďlookĒ, more workshops, more parties, more drugs. Itís only been 6 months and not a single part, you almost had the part of lady on the side of the road, but some other bitch beat you out of it. Cheesecake shifts are hard, people clown you and tell you to play the roll ďwaiterĒ. They just donít understand! Some day youíll make it! You pick up some more shifts because living on the west side is expensive but itís not enough is it. Do some plays; some people at this point resign themselves to the theater as if they are making a noble sacrifice by ďJust doing the stageĒ. More networking with other people that have nothing too, itís like youíre part of a club that collects and trades cat turds. One day one person in the group gets a lucky break and they get to get ran over by a tank in some war movie, they even got to say a few lines! Lucky bastard! That person leaves the group, you are a leper colony as far as heís concerned, and heís on the fast track! Bastard. I didnít know he was gay. More parties, more drugs. Some more drugs. Call up mom. Need some rent money. Almost got the part. Was too awkward for the roller-derby role, but youíre making connections, any day now. Soon. Mom sends the rent; itís been 9 months. You land pay dirt! A role! You got the part! You get to play a waiter. Your line is: ďHow many?Ē. Finally. You do the deal, make some real connections, and do your bit well. You get paid. 3600 bucks plus residuals, means a few free postage stamps a month for the first few months and then a few pennies here and there. With all the time youíve put into your acting career, youíve made about 3 cents an hour. Congratulations! Now you can add your name to IMDB and you can tell your parents that youíre making progress. More socializing, you find out that there is a rigid hierarchy in Hollywood and most of the other actors wonít event talk to you that worked on that movie because you only had a bit part. More auditions, more drugs. Itís been a year now and you canít make rent, you donít want to move to The Valley so you try some other ďauditionsĒ in Canoga Park. 1500 bucks cash and your ass hurts for a few days. A couple more sessions like that and you can afford the implants that you wanted. Just a few and youíll get back on track. More drugs..2 movies for 5 bucks. Mom canít pay your rent anymore. The landlord let you rent month to month after the first year, they seemed to know you were going to askÖhave they seen this before? They seem nice. It just never really panned out did it. 18 months later you take the last bit of money you have for a one way ticket home.

This is the fate for say 99% of all waiters. If you really stick it in there you may get a spot on some sit-com like Norm from Cheers or some shit. But what then? How many actors get a few parts and then nothing? Most. Very few get work on a regular basis and while the money is good for a time, people get bored of the same old thing and youíre out looking for work again. Gary Coleman anyone?  The guy who works next store to me a few times a week was a child actor and when he was working a lot one year he made a grand total of 23,000 dollars. You can make more working minimum wage. This town is full of has-beens and never-wheres. Think of a big film like Star Wars, how many of the actors in those movies (we are talking the real ones, the first 3, not that other drek) had big acting careers? Jabba the Hut, right? Think of a movie you love and perhaps one or two of the actors are still working today. An expectation of your acting career lasting is foolish at best. You think Angelina Jollie would get more roles if she suddenly ballooned up to 300 pounds and had herpes all over here face? I think not. When sheís old and fat, sheís out just like many before her. Hollywood eats itís own and there will always be another to take her place. Save your parents money, stay home, we donít need you. And why do it anyway? If you want to be famous, be famous for doing something positive in this world, not portraying people that do in some stupid movie.

Iím in a band! Everyone I know is in a band. So what. You think youíre going to make it big in the music world? Think again. Being in a band that is ďseriousĒ is like having 4 crazy girlfriends at the same time, not fun. I once tried out for a band and they wanted me to cut my hair so I could have a mod look. No. Cutting your mop for a job is one thing, but a band, a punk band no less? How punk is that? I got beat out because the other guy had short hair but tattoos, which they didnít like, I was the better player (cause I rock, son!) But in the end, the short hair won out to musical ability. Where is this band now? Void, defunct, gone. The drummer was even a child actor on a very popular sitcom in the 1980ís! Howís that? I donít know what he is doing now; the singer/guitar player is a cop. Punk is not dead, itís just resting its eyes. The other guy? Donít know. Well, they did not ďmake itĒ. Que Lastmia. Iíve been in bands since I was 22 years old and Iím 37 now and never once did I think it was going to be something that it was not, I knew the road to financial success was on a different map. I play in two bands now; itís fun because we expect nothing. Now for arguments sake, lets say youíve gotten in a band that has some good tunes and is developing a following and none of you are full-blown junkies yet and you all get along for the moment. Then what? You spend countless hours rehearsing, playing shows, doing promotions, maintaining a web site, making and selling merchandise, getting the van ready for the next tour. Hours on the road in the van, sleeping on the side of the road, crashing on peoples floors, breaking down, getting your gear stolen, hooking up with fat girls on the tour. Itís an adventure, not one where youíll get levels but an adventure none-the-less. After a few years of this you get a record deal. Record companies sign 20 bands and write 19 of them off as a loss. You tour with some bigger bands but the billing sucks and the big bands draw wonít like you guys. You fail to sell enough records; the record company has you in their back pocket. You owe them 50,000 dollars. Back to the grind till the next tour, the debt piles up with interest and the ensuing pressure to produce makes the band flounder. You break up. The creditors are calling and you now owe the record company 54,000 dollars. You see, record companies are legal loan sharks. Youíve been fooled. Now you have 20,000 copies of your album that you canít sell because youíre not playing anymore. You changed your sound and thus alienated your old fans so they wonít buy the record. To Amoeba records where they give you 23 cents each and only buy 10, that leaves you 19,990 to go. You try and re-form and for a time itís like a honeymoon all over again, you make some new tunes, your old fans stop sending you cat shit in the mail. You have another go so the dealership canít repossess the van and you slowly build up a following again. The record label drops you in the middle of the tour. You try and make the most of it but the effects are truly crushing and when you get home, you know itís over for sure this time. In a depressed state you do something that you should never do: play an acoustic guitar and sing. Some of your friends convince you that while your dreams of biting the heads of bats and wearing adult diapers everywhere you go are dashed, these songs have some merit. You record. The web. Some shows, people take an interest to your depressed diatribes with string accompaniment and here comes the record label again. This time however, you get a hit on the radio and for a brief moment in time you are a radio darling. You make some serious dough on this one. Youíre a success! You tour and party and much of your fortune goes up your nose. Youíre in a happy place so when itís time for album two out of the 5 you have to make for the record label, youíre not in that place that made the first album seem so hungry and meaningful. Your second release is panned as trite; it sells a lot less than you expected. Touring smaller venues you manage to get through the year and keep your house in the hills. But chasing the success of the first record is like chasing the horizon; you never quite get there. After a couple years of disappointing sales on subsequent records, failing to produce a hit, the record label drops you. You now work at Guitar Center and play in a Scorpions cover band called Blackout. The End. If you want to make money, take all the money youíd spend on gear, gas, rehearsal space rental, touring, merchandise, web sites, promotion, and everything else that it takes to be in a band and buy lottery tickets with the money, youíd have a better chance of making it rich. Very few bands can claim they have a career in music and even fewer can make a fortune from their music. Weezer can make some money and all the bands that sound like them can go suck an egg. Are they multi-gazillionares? Doubtful. How many bands in your record collection, despite being good had no real monetary success? Most. The Pixies? Great, fucking awesome band. Rich? No. Here today and very gone and dead in the very near tomorrow. Play hard and play for real, but play for fun and the fun never stops, play the make it and all youíll make is bitter sauce. 

Let's (not) do some drugs.

ďDrugs make me cool.Ē Remember that? All the anti-drug commercials in the 80ís? Reganomics, Ketchup is a vegetable, the war on drugs, the bottle of Scotch in the barÖAs a young impressionable youth I would watch these aforementioned blurbs between Saturday morning cartoons and scarfing down cookies with terror. I did not listen to Public Enemy, I believed the hype: drugs are bad. As I went on in life I was exposed to drinking, tried it twice at 15 and never again. Really, booze tastes terrible and how could it replace my gaming rocket fuel Mountain Dew? Really! I remember going to a party with my friends and they took me aside and told me to act normal. It was too late, I am a geek, a mutant, I donít fit in, so what. I realized that drugs and alcohol werenít for me. My disinterest in drug sub-culture eventually turned into distain as I saw how my friends acted and how many nights I spent wrestling them in the parking lot for their car keys, or taking them to the hospital. Being cool has its price it seems just as not being cool levies itís cost upon you. I got to a point where I had seen enough to know that I was not interested; I really donít understand the allure. One friend of mine told me that I was not missing anything by being sober, no shit. Drug stories are boring as hell and there are only two basic stories. Drug Story #1 You were high on whatever, sat in the corner for a Ĺ hour but thought it was 6 hours. Drug Story #2 You were high on whatever, sat in the corner for 6 hours but thought it was a Ĺ hour. Insert one or more of the following choose your own ending: ÖĒwent to jail.Ē , Öthen I woke up in my own vomit.ĒÖ, ďdidnít know where I was.ĒÖ, woke up in hospital.Ē.. And thatís all folks. In a few sentences, Iíve told every drug story ever told. Itís that easy because itís a boring pastime for boring people. If you need to alter your perspective all the time perhaps you need to start fresh, a new perspective and then life wonít be so boring. If youíve picked up any issue of this Zine in the past, youíll see we donít have time for boredom, weíre too busy having fun to fuck things up with drugs (Except the B, he says he doesnít use drugs, they use him, they owe him money.). Now Iím not trying to be preachy or tell you what to do, the only thing Iíd like you to do is kill yourself, you know, for the environment. Many of my friends have followed the ďPunk-Rock, kill yourself!Ē credo and failed to die. Live fast and die young, now they failed the dying part so they lived fast and now hobble at a pained gait. Now they are having problems, doorways are a challenge (ask the B), stuff donít work to good no more. Thatís the life though. That is their choice, I will be there to pick them up or drive them to the hospital time and time again, that is my choice as a friend, I feel obligated to assist even if it facilitates the behavior. Ultimately we are the sum of our choices. What ever you do in life, good or bad, you have to carry it with you forever. Now back to the drugs. Letís start with the big killer: Booze. My parents drink, my sibling drinks, my friends drink, itís very common. Alcohol is a potion of heroism (AD&D Dudgeon Masters Guide pp 126 ) it lets the real you come out, it lowers your inhibitions, your self control, the internal checks you have become gummed up in the works. You do and say things that you want to do and say but wonít when youíre sober. It also acts as a potion of delusion (AD&D Dudgeon Masters Guide pp 125) making you think youíre more suave, funny, daring, tough than you really are. Booze gives one the illusion of enhanced control, enhanced thought; I can see why most people like it. No one gets really stoned or hopped up on coffee and gets in their car and then runs over a bunch of people. You think youíre in control but youíre not. As a sober person that has been dragged to many bars my eyes see clearly how you drunk fucks slur and slop, spill your drinks and try your wack-ass game like trying to play Monopoly with only Ĺ the pieces, at best youíll get Sorry! or Trouble!, most likely end the night in a game of solitaire. Youíre drunk enough to hit on the fat girl in the corner not because if your friends never found out you have no problem with it, but because the booze will act as a good excuse for your chubby-chasing. ďI donít remember, I was drunk.Ē Is the classic by-line for drunken escapades. If it were only trueÖbut we know you remember, and Iíll be there to refresh your memory incase you ďforgotĒ. Now, when you do something when youíre drunk, itís not a ďGet out of being an asshole freeĒ card. If you drive drunk and kill someone, youíre still a murderer. You are the sum of your actions; being drunk is no excuse for poor behavior.

Weed or potÖNow most people are lazy good for nothings, let take a drug that amplifies that by a 1000 times. Couch manufactures all over are singing the praises of marijuana. I know so many people that smoke weed, and that is all they do. Being a stoner becomes a life style, itís so boring. You see, you think youíre being a rebel but youíre not. Your parents sat in front of the TV your whole childhood and watched the news or sports or whatever and you thought youíd be different. Sitting in front of a Play Station or watching CNN is no different at its core. You have become a couch potato, just like your parents. If you think about it now, looking back, would you do it all again? Most likely, youíre too lazy to try it any other way. The whole legalization thing is perfect because it ensures that people will stay home and be ineffectual members of society; youíve been hoodwinked by the man, man. What a bummer, like dude, totally.  Bob Marley sheds a little dread-locked tearÖfuck that hippy, Iím glad heís dead.

Meth, Speed, Crank, WTF? This drug is semi-useful because itís users clean things and dismantle things so they can be recycled. At some point they began to steal your stuff so they can sell it for more drugs or clean it, whatever the case is, I canít see how anyone would think they would escape this drugs clutches once you delve into it. No one gets away from speed in one piece, no one. This is the Ford Pinto of drugs; thereís nothing glamorous or cool about it like how people attach those misnomers to Heroin and Cocaine. Get your pockmarked face out of here you fucking speed freak asshole. Ridiculous. The thing I find strange about this drug is its popularity in sparsely populated areas. There is nothing to do in these places, nothing. So you take a drug that keeps you up for days at a time so you can experience all that nothingness for days at a time! Will someone explain this to me please? Maybe you can get a job at Traders Joes. Never mind, youíre just trying to get to my stuff.

Cocaine is a party drug, a fun drug, yeah! Iím on coke bitches! The problem is there is never enough coke, never. I guess if youíre really bored you can do coke and then hide and re-hide the rest of your dope as the paranoia sets in. Then you can do more coke and then find better places to hide the rest over and over again. And all this and youíve never left your apartment, how did I miss the boat on this one? I like having both nostrils, no thanks.  

Ecstasy. X. I have no problem with this drug because itís lethal and in a way was responsible of the Techno Scene dying out by killing off its practitioners. Thank-You X.

HeroinÖIf youíre into yawning and robbing banksÖthis drugs for you. For some reason people romanticize this drug and itís ghouls that pay homage to it. Thereís something cool about being a junkie that makes people use the needle, what that is I donít know. I wonder how many people decided to try heroin after they saw the movie Train Spotting. This drug eats all your possessions, and then your friends, and family and finally, you. If you could only reverse the order of destruction they Iíd be ok with it. If you want to use junk and die, please go die. Itís the detritus of the habit that irks me. I have friends that will always be wounded because they lost someone they loved that was a junkie. I could care less if a junkie dies, itís simply paying the piper, but the collateral damage that these junkies leave in their wake makes me hate them. China shoots junkies, we should do the same.

AcidÖitís for hippies. Without acid, bands like the Grateful Dead would have never had a career; anyone sober would hear how bad their music is. If I want to see a bunch of colors Iíll buy a 64 pack of Crayolaís. I donít want to alter my perspective, itís fine. Everyone sucks and I hate each and every last one of you. That is perfection of perspective, why change it if it has worked so well for me all these years?

Now all these above drugs are street drugs, which Iíve been informed are so tame compared to the pharmaceuticals that one can get from a doctor. I donít even know the names of them all but medical technology makes drugs so potent that doing a line of coke is akin to eating a Flintstoneís Chewable by comparison. Is life so bad we have to drown it in a sea of chemical derisions? I guess for most people that is the case. Now, just because youíre sober doesnít put you on a higher moral plateau. The Straight Edge scene is a prime example of how being drug-free as an ideology can be totally lame. I knew a lot of SXEírs in my time, seen most of the rad bands from that era etc. These people are just as petty, lame, selfish, vindictive, myopic, and tiny minded as most of humanity. They can be worse because they think that being sober makes them superior to others that choose to party. I never ďXídĒ up at a show, my choice is for me and me only. Now I see these tards at the local pub knocking back beers with three XXXís tattooed on their arms, I love a failure. It was such a big deal to these fucks if someone lost their edge, if they drank after claiming straight edge. Who cares? I never made a big deal out of it and thus itís never been a problem. So do what you like (Digital Underground in the house), just do it right. Coffee doesnítí count. I need that shit man!

Me ripping off Ambrose Bierce.

 

Action:

The meat and potatoes of the small percentage of people in this world that shape it.

Actor:

A fraud, a professional phony, more likely than not, a waiter. Once an actor, always a waiter. An actor is a jerk from another town, a Podunk 10 that moved to LA to be a 5. An actor makes a whole lifestyle out of being rejected. They wear their manquť of success like a badge of honor. They also know the days specials.

Archeologist:

A professional grave robber that currently works at Dennyís.

Asshole:

Anyone that does not give in to your every demand. A person that stands up for themselves. Perhaps a person that values honesty.

Boring:

A one trick pony. Myopic, single agenda people that can only take interest in their little word. i.e.  junkies, ravers, the guy that has to comment on every girl that ďSheís hotĒ, religious zealots bent on converting the world, cult members, ďback in the dayĒ bards, hipsters etc.

Catholic Entitlement:

The belief that having hordes of children is an excuse to use them as a bludgeon to bully your way through life. Breeder superiority complex.

Cool:

An ethereal quality that people spend countless hours of their live cultivating, no matter how much one has they will always want more. The problem is the day you turn 30; every bit of it is gone. Not worth the time.

DJ:

A fool with a crate of records that enjoys inflicting their horrid musical taste upon strangers.

Drama:

A pastime for people that are uninteresting, dull witted, and lacking ambition or goals in life.

Dog:

Manifestation of oneís ego and desire to control things embodied in a simple-minded creature.

Hipster:

A Hipster is someone that is a study in inactivity. A hipster is window dressing, a wall flower, they do nothing. A hipster is all talk, no action. Not to be confused with a poseur, a poseur adopts the trappings and style of a given sub-culture and will either gain true status or fade away, a hipster will never even try to do that much. A hipster is a bloated, veneer oriented wind bag that is comprised entirely of apathy and mild self interest.  

Humanity:

The template for failure.

Internet:

A forum where everyone involved can manufacture any persona they wish, thus itís popularity.

Job:

A place where you go to compete with others who can do the least amount of work, get the least done, and steal the most stuff.

Junkie:

A thief with an excuse. A caricature of a loser. Often the path to Jesus.

Karma:

A fear based ideology that instills the belief that if you kick your neighborís dog, youíll get a flat tire on your car.

Lie:

A common currency among family, friends, lovers, and strangers.

Luck:

The path to misery and damnation for the believer.

Man:

A creature comprised of self-aggrandizement and false notions of sexual prowess. 

My Space:

A place for phonies.

Popularity:

The consensus of the masses, group acceptance. Notable people that were popular in their time:

Stalin.

Hitler.

Procreation:

A pastime undertaken by the damned.

Punk Rocker:

Prepackaged rebellion, a cow in a smaller herd. Proof that punk is dead, the existence of the punk ďuniformĒ.

Realtor:

A creature formed entirely of avarice, kept in check by oneís own sloth.

Talk:

The currency of never-has-beens and never-whereís.

Truth:

The black road to eternal punishment. The truth cuts both the wielder and the opponent. To wield truth in this world is to truly be alone.

Waiter:

The profession for failed actors across the landscape; please help us. ďBut Iím not even supposed to be doing this, Iím an actor, not a waiter!Ē Yeah right.

Woman:

A creature comprised of fickle motivations and in possession of a microscopic self-esteem.

Worthless:

Something that has no value, a thing, or concept that is meaningless, pointless, without merit. Anything or idea that has false value attached to it.

Some examples:

Being in a band

Poetry

Art

Myspace and itís adherents

What people say about you.

ďOwningĒ any of the following:

A clothing line

A record label

A Zine.

The following ďprofessionsĒ are also worthless:

A DJ (see DJ)

Actor  (see waiter)

Guitar tech

The following college degrees are a small number of worthless accolades:

Art

Womenís Studies

Pan-African Studies

Communications

Philosophy

Anthropology

Business

Zine:

A underground publication that causes the following side effects in the publishers:

Hair loss, weight gain, hardening of arteries, hearing loss, carpel tunnel, terminal acne, hemorrhoids, anxiety, depression, a general sense of self loathing.

To do a zine is the pinnacle of self-hatred. The peanut gallery is in full effect. One must endure wave after wave of armchair criticism. People hate zines. They take them from you with a smile and then throw them on the floor when they think youíre not looking. No one cares what your ideas and opinions are and you get proof when you drop off the latest issue and the last one is still there in a huge pile.

Definitions, what words mean. Now there are the definitions one finds in a dictionary, and there is the true meaning of a word, the part that people understand that they may not want to say out loud. Everyone has their own meaning for different words and concepts, here are some of mine.

 Art:

Fraud propagated by charlatans. Art is trickery; the artist manufactures value from things that are valueless. No artist can be complete without a gallery of fools who buy into their lies, besides they need to crash on your floor until they get their ďbreakĒ. An artists work is valued more when they are dead not because there will be no more, but because the artist cannot annoy you with their egotistical prattle.

Bicycle:

The embodiment of manís attempt to achieve perfection in their works. A success.

Cat:

A creature that is completely flippant and selfish. Cats are excellent for practice when dealing with most humans as cats and humans often behave alike.

Dating:

Emotional loophole to avoid accountability for oneís actions in romantic relationships. Often employed by people with weak morals to use, abuse, and trash fellow members of the human race. ďI donít know why she was so upset, we were just ďdatingĒ, exactly.

Emotions:

Bad wiring, the part of your brain that makes you fail. Every dumb, thoughtless, regrettable thing you do can be tied to your emotions. The bad part of being human, the dark side, the sweet side of your frosted mini wheatís in your mind, use with caution.

Friends:

A friend is someone that you have given special privilege to bother you with their train-wreck of a life when ever they feel like it. A friend can call you at 4 in the morning, crying, or drunk, or drunk and crying. A friend is someone you have to help move for the 10th time this year, to loan money to and never get it back, to borrow your tools and never return them. They will torture you with every bad decision they make. You said she was no good for him but he had to find out the hard way, now you get to hear it. A friend is a person that can do things to you that if a stranger did them, youíd kick the crap out of them. So why do it? Because at some point you get to return the favor, and thatís what friends are for.

Good:

Something that is truly good. Most people donít know what goodness is or wouldnít see the goodness in something unless they had some themselves. For example, watching two deaf people have an argument, thatís good. Or seeing some guy dressed in drag with Cheetoís smeared all over his face, good as well. To recognize goodness, is to embrace the inner tard in us all, to see what reviles others and comment with smug certainty, ďThatís good.Ē Itís one of those things, either you are in the know or you donít know and perhaps never will.

Happiness:

Falsehood, a lie. There is no such thing as happiness, there are brief moments where grief, misery, loneliness, despair, anxiety, fear, pain, discomfort, discontent, regret, and self-loathing are not overwhelming present. The diminishing or lack of these things is what people call happiness. One will spend a lifetime in futile attempts to attain this the most allusive and addictive of all drugs. Happiness is a cruel companion, taking you to great heights just to see how far youíll fall when youíre unceremoniously shoved off the precipice. If your life was a photo album, youíd have a handful of snapshots where you were truly happy, a quick turn of the page and itís gone.

I.

The beginning and end of all subjects, all topics that pertain to each human as they put them selves at the center of the universe. ďI donít have time to wait in line, so Iíll cut.Ē ďI canít help you because, Iíd rather sit on my fat ass and do nothing than help this world along.Ē I is the adult version of ďme, me, me,Ē an oath often uttered by small children, so nothing changes as one gets older.

Josh:

ďJosh is the wizard and the wizard is Josh.Ē Itís true. Are you holding a piece of cheese right now? Well, then youíll never know. We at chicken-head use the word Josh as an expletive, a cover-all saying that fills the gaps of language like melted cheese fills any hold or crevasse. Josh! You donít know!

Kindness:

An act that will follow all forms of abuse, perpetrated by the benefactor.

Life:

The cruel joke played upon us all. At the end of all the toil, suffering, disappointment, and misery you are finally rewarded with death.

Musician:

The embodiment of ego, this creature spends 90% of their time in acts of self-aggrandizement, 9% looking for a new host (girlfriend), and 1% attempting to make good music. Plug your ears.

Nah:

 Slang, vernacular for distain, apathy, disinterest, disapproval, lack of hope, caring or interest. A way of life for some, a rigid code for others.

Oops:

The thing you say to feign remorse, when in reality the horrible thing youíve done is horribly funny.

Please:

The word people think is a magical word that allows them to enforce their tiny-minded whim upon others. Thank you.

Quality:

A form of goodness (see good, above) usually pertaining to things instead of people.

Respect:

Never given, always expected, seldom deserved.

Suck:

To suck is the most bitter of invective. You suck the life out of me, you suck the joy out of my life, you suck my ability to trust, to love, to care away. You are a drain, an albatross; you suck. Something that sucks takes away, never gives. For something to suck it has to possess life-draining qualities. To fall under this description is to reside on the lowest rung of humanity.

Trust:

A desperate gamble with the most dire of consequences.

Unicycle:

A clever way of selecting people for a life in the circus.

Vegan:

A person in their most private of moments craves meat. A bold hypocrite, a self deluded fool with a mouth as big as a cows ass. Armed with fascist leanings and both hands firmly on the wheel of ignorance, the vegan projects their self loathing onto anyone that does not embrace their trendy ethos.

Waste:

The sum total of what you see in the mirror.

Xylophone:

A device used to instill madness in others, cruel contentment in the wielder.

You-Tube:

An interactive way to waste your entire life staring at a computer monitor.

Zez:

This means the veto, the volz, the thumbs down, no, not approved. When something gets the zez, it is discarded as trash. I.e. the ďnewĒ Star Wars movies get the zez.

Oh, how I hate you.

 

I hate you. I was asked today what I had to hate about and I pondered this question deeply. I said, ďWell, everything, after all, Iím good at it.Ē Donít people all ways tell you to do what youíre good at? Iím good at some things, I do them, and one of those things is hate. So anyway, what people say. How they say it, this bothers me. Allow me to explain. I have found the language that people use today is poor in elocution, lacking in thought and subdues our collective intelligence. One thing I donít like is vocalized pauses. A vocalized pause is when someone is trying to articulate their thoughts and they use a lot of ďummsĒ and ďahhsĒ as well as the words ďlikeĒ or ďyou knowĒ instead of actually saying anything of substance. For example: Girl walks into my store wanting a beach cruiser, while she points to the bikes on the curb this is what comes out of her mouth: ďLike, I wanted to get, you know a biiikeÖ.like umm I was wondering how much like those bikes out there on the, the you know (The curb? Me interjecting) yeahÖhow much were they? Weíre in big trouble people. The filter between oneís brain and mouth has been damaged in our short attention span mass me me me culture of I want it right damn now. When someone talks to me this way, I will instantly discount them as a tard, and not the good kind.

                People use this one too: It was a miracle! It was a miracle I made it here on time! It was a miracle I didnít pass out from exhaustion! No. These are not miracles people. Getting to work on time or not passing out after you ran 10 feet does not constitute a miracle. A miracle is some out of this world thing that no one would ever expect, for example: Me going out on a date, or me changing my underwear more often than once a month. I guess Iíd have to do the latter before Iíd be in the position to do the former, so as long as my drawers are extra crispity Iíll be in the clear. Another annoying context that people use this word in is ďThe miracle of birthĒ How is that a miracle? By now itís a well documented process: nothing good on TV that night you find someone that is only mildly disgusting, have drunken unprotected sex, thatís how you got here. Since the advent of TV our population has risen sharply. TV has gotten worse and worse, thus more people. More miracles happening everyday. Every time Iím stuck on the freeway (HAHA free?) I look at all the pissed off motorists and think ďLook at all these miracles!Ē Itís a fucking miracle that I donít go on a killing spree, like totally, you know? At seven billion and rising, we have to ask is no longer reasonable to call reproduction a miracle anymore. The solution is better programming.

I donít like being called ďcatĒ or ďdogĒ. While I am an animal and to exhibit some of the aforementioned animals trails: like a cat, I clean myself, and like a dog, I smell. Still, I find these colloquiums to be lacking, I donís shit in a box (cat) nor do I run around putting my nose in peopleís crotches (dog) (well, not all of them). Addressing me by dude or guy, or even ďheyĒ would be better than to be called cat or dog.

                Another word that I like to use that I feel is often used in poor context is the word awesome. Awesome means to inspire awe, your mouth agape in wonder, not agape as in youíre a total fucking moron. ďHow was the show?Ē ďAwesome!Ē wrong answer. If you have seen 1/10th of the bands Iíve seen, youíve seen 100ís of bands. Bands are by their very nature, not awesome. A band cannot inspire awe. This is because the concept of a band has been beaten to death. Bands suck; people in bands are more often than not a bunch of pretentious assholes. Being in a band is a fun way to waste your time that is all. Anybody who is in a band that thinks they are going to making a living playing music is living in a fantasy world more intricate and delusional than the most hardcore of Dungeons & Dragons playing geek (advanced of course). In our world of the overwhelming media blitz, very little will inspire awe anymore. Think about it, a child today by the time they reach the adult, gun carrying age of 21 will have seen 1000ís upon 1000ís of acts of violence, war, crime, drama, comedy, life, death, crashing, events of every shape and size, they will in essence become so over exposed to things that nothing will be a big deal anymore. Nothing will be awesome. A child born just 100 years ago would marvel, be awestruck by the first fight, mass produced autos, sky scrapers, world wars etc. That was a time when things were truly awesome. In the 80ís we saw a heavy usage of the word awesome and I think the use was so heavily and ill-applied that it burned itís self out. I can remember from the years between 1984 and 1987 my mouth was permanently agape, overwhelmed by how ďawesomeĒ everything was.

                And people use this word ďwaveĒ to denote different eras in things. Waves of attack in a battle, that makes some sense to me but different waves in music? Who says I want to stand around for the next wave to come crashing down on me, inflicting me with tier sonic barf? Ska is the greatest offender of this. We have traditional Ska, second wave or two tone (specials, madness etc) and the horrible third wave ala Reel Big Fish, The Hippos, etc. I think were on the seventh wave of Ska, which sounds exactly like Napalm Death. I donít wave, just the middle finger extended, so fuck you too.

                I was talking to a friend about various things and we both came to the summation that people in America have become a bunch of pussies. We were talking about marriage and how getting a divorce was no big deal. When things get rough, get out. What ever happened to working out oneís problems? We go through life with this unrealistic notion that happiness is guaranteed; itís not. This collective psychosis has infected our countryís fiber so much that we have spawned throngs of lawyers to sue each other when weíre not happy and an army of psychologists that we can pay to listen to us bitch and whine about everything under the sun, how things arenít fair, how weíre not happy. Boo fucking hoo. I guess there is no social pressure to stay together anymore so people donít. There is also no pressure to sort out oneís problems. We turn to drugs to bury the symptoms of depression instead of actually combating the source. The vow people make means nothing and no one thinks anything of it by breaking it. We were trying to figure out what makes someone successful in life, and keeping promises was one of those things that are a big separator where most people donít. Keeping your promises is very important, so is follow through. Many a great idea has died because it was not pushed to completion. Completion, follow through, another thing that very few have the capacity for, a thing that separates people that leave their mark on the world and those that just live in it. Not the best ideas make it to the table, just the finished ones. Cheese is also important in some sort of way, cheese matters as much as the other things do if not more (so sayeth the wizard). Perhaps marriage is an obsolete social construct, people canít do what it takes to be married, then they shouldnít. Iíve never wanted to get married; it gets in the way of not growing up. I told one buddy of mine, ďYou can either grow up or die aloneĒ. He chose to grow up, I plan to die alone, or in my soapbox car, and there is only room for one in that thing, so alone nonetheless. I guess if I did ever decide to get married, it would be at Chuck-e-Cheese. I told my mom this and she said she would not attend. But on a serious note, Iíd keep my vow. Iíve been accused of having some sort of Samurai like mentality, for good or bad. But I feel that keeping oneís word is important and keeping a vow or promise to someone you love is of paramount importance. No one seems to value these things anymore, people are pussies, they complain about everything. Every time I put together an event no matter how much fun people are having there is an incessant bitching and moaning about everything. No one can just take it at face value and enjoy the ride, they only can have fun if they can have it their way, well this ainít Burger King mother fucker, stop being such a fucking pussy and just enjoy yourself. If you have such good ideas, then by all means go start your own thing. Anyone born after the second world war is just a selfish, narcissistic, self-centered baby, in general all these generations have no class. No work ethic, no values, just gimmie, gimmie, gimmie. Well Iím not giving you nothing but a hard time so get used to it. Nothing has ever been gained by constant armchair criticism. You donít like the way things are going then by all means build a better mousetrap or shut the fuck up. Till next time, check the paper for a sale on diapers. Bitches. As a final note: To all of you people that love to point out grammatical errors in our zine. There are no errors; the zine is perfect. If you can only feel good about yourself by pointing out the flaws in other peopleís efforts, go kill yourself. Beans and disease to you too! OK, good bye.

Oh, how I hate you some more...

Welcome to the halls of hate. I hate you. You may be thinking, ďHow can he hate me, heís never even met me?Ē Itís really easy, youíre alive-therefore I hate. How I got to this point I wonít bore you with the details but two. The final straw was going to a garage sale and finding a brand new coffee machine in the box for 8 dollars. Now every morning for years now I would get up and hop on my bike, go get a 1.50-2.00 cup of coffee, draw a three-paneled comic strip (that for the last year and a half) and then go home. I realized I have been spending around 750.00 a year on coffee. My tolerance for interacting with people was rapidly decreasing. ďDid you draw that?Ē people would say as they walked by and looked at my poorly handled doodle. No fuckface, I did not draw that. I pay some guy to draw these in pencil and then I trace the lines in pen so you can come up to me and ask if I drew a motherfucking comic strip that any 8 year old could draw. Die already. With the coffee machine in hand, my last conduit for social interaction was gone. The second thing was my friend and I built a BMX oval in my backyard. Why leave home at this point? Each cup of coffee I now drank for pennies a cup just honed my hate. I havenít gone out socially in months for perhaps longer than a few minutes at a time as I canít stand it anymore. A bunch of people sitting around a TV: Gay. A bunch of people standing around a bar: Gay. A bunch of people sitting around a bong or a keg: Gay. Gay. For most of my life Iíve been the kind of person that prefers the company of myself, I like hanging out by my lonesome. For a span of a few years, I tried being more social, going out and all that. Being social was good for a while but I found the dividends to be lacking. So many beer-soaked conversations, bailing your drunken friends out of trouble, being the den mother (I donít drink, but fuck all you straight edgers). So, this is what cool people do for fun huh? I guess the concept is lost on me now, Iím a geek after all, the B and I met at a game convention thus I have no business associating with cool people anyway, what was I thinking? I guess I canít lie, or betray my trust, or be cruel, or selfish to myself. Hell, I like me fine enough, interacting with others has left a bad taste in my mouth. So this adventuring party is a party of one, I can pull it off because Iím multi-classed and high level to boot. That part of me that enjoyed social interaction is dead now, I hate you all; just leave me the fuck alone. I also stopped answering my phone or calling people. Sometimes the phone doesnít ring for days. That is what I call hard work paying off. I have never been more productive since my slide into hermitdom. Shit is getting done. Big projects are being pushed to completion; great fun will be had when I go out again for a few events I feel are worthy of leaving the Fortress Reseda for. I will show my head on certain occasions, like a groundhog but with more hair on the top of my head. I also donít change my underwear for weeks at a time, now thatís hate. I just donít give a fuck anymore. And why should I? I have a coffee machine and a BMX track. So get stuffed. If I went through life caring about what you assholes thought about me, Iíd be really cool with nothing to show for my time spent on this cosmic dirt ball we call earth. So now on with my rant, I was just warming up. Did I mention I hate you? OK, just making sure.

            I have tried in life to give most everyone a chance with the exception of hippies. Through life experience I have learned to despise certain types or groups of people, i.e. hippies, crusty punks, cholos, cops, etc. I now hate deaf people. I have valid reasons for this hatred. I work in a bike shop, in my wrenchings I have dealt with several deaf people. I try to work with them and help them out and itís a little hard to bridge the gap. Iím patient and do my best. I listen to them with their funny talk and making half sign language gestures with the spittle forming at the corners of their mouths all the while wearing a smile. Once the repair is done they have all dashed without paying. Why? Because they canít hear me? Everything was working fine up until the part where they had to pay then all of sudden they became dumb as well as deaf. This has happened to me on several occasions. Once I could take as happenstance but every time I deal with one of these tards, the result is the same. Now, I canít think that these people have gone through their entire lives not figuring out how goods and services are exchanged in this society, it has to be on purpose, they use being deaf as a way to get out of things like paying for stuff. I had one guy out in back of my shop for over twenty minutes fiddling with a bike trailer that he could not figure out. The whole time he had the radio on in his mini van. Perhaps he did not know. He could look at it to see if was on or not. He sure was intent on reading my lips when the functioning of his trailer was the issue, when the tab was due (about 5 bucks) He jumped in his van faster than Hellen Keller says ďRwawargĒ (her dogís name, youíd run away too if your name was Rwawarg) and drove off. I had a repeat offender that I had to grab by the arm and shake to get her to pay me. You think Iím in the wrong? Itís called STEALING, so fuck you. Do these people go to Mc Donaldís and expect a free meal? My summation is they use being deaf as leverage to predate upon peopleís sympathies so get free goods and services. A hippie in disguise! Well, I hate hippies and I hate deaf people. The thing that really broke it for me was that some of these deaf people can now get their ears fixed but they wonít because it will remove them form the deaf culture. At this point I decided to practice my sign language so they could know exactly how I feel.

People ask you these stupid rhetorical questions: ďWhat would you do if you won a million dollars?Ē Have you killed by a pack of crack-heads wielding dull screwdrivers and then drink red cool-aid out of your skull. (Thatís right, not cherry. Red! bitches) ďWhat would you do if you only had a month to live?Ē Well, lots of things. First Iíd stock up on supplies and then go down my lists. Lists of people, places, and things to destroy. People are easy, most of them would know they had it coming as they have crossed me personally and would surely already be dead if the law of the land permitted vendetta. They know who they are and I wonít waste time naming names, you never know I might get my chance and wouldnít want to ruin it. That would be a small handful compared to groups of people that I would most surely destroy with hate in my heart, namely: Parking enforcement, all hippies, anyone in a band that has the word ďcityĒ in it because of that fact, your band would suck. Everyone on Myspace, youíre not real or living anyway, so death would be a small step for you losers. I may need more than a month for that one though; you Myspace waste-of-life motherfuckers roll pretty deep. All you dumb-ass gangsters living at your momís house at 30 with your name tattooed on your neck thinking youíre hard. Pussies. One on one Iíd kill every last one of you with my bare hands. Scum. Youíre only big when there are a mess of you idiots together, otherwise you got the pussy in you big time. Any white guy in a funk band, itís just wrong, you need to be killed, Iím sorry. The band Chicago, the last two members of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones all would be killed, perhaps by glorious conflagration, then Iíd make marshmallows. Anyone that says they used to be a punk. What do you mean used to be? Well youíre dead already then, the funeral a mere detail. Sanctimonious woe peddlers: You can believe what you want, but donít come to me door and try and tell me what to believe. As far as Iím concerned, if you have to go around trying to convert people to your way of thinking to validate what you believe then your ideals are false, the shit should sell itself and it never does. So shut the fuck up, well just die already, youíre boring the piss out of me. No wait, let me kill you instead, that would be better, for me that is.

Places: So many places and so few Molotov cocktails. Orange county and everyone in it. All the backwards baseball caps, raised white pick-up trucks and tribal tattoos going up in flames, You can call it a one night stand or you can call it paradise (or a pair of dice, two 20 siders I prefer). I have a vivid memory of seeing a guy walking down the street with jackboots and a German style WWII helmet on. Westminster with the street signs in Germanesque script. It all has to go, thereís nothing good there. Heil Blvd, no less. Need I say more? Just burn it all to the ground. This would of course include Dysentery Land. Why would anyone in their right mind pay 50 dollars to stand in lines for hours on end full of screaming children? If I want that kind of thrill, then all I need to do is go to my local Jons market or 99 cents only stores, and there at least I get to take home some stuff. Silverlake, Echo Park, Hollywood, and adjoining hipster communities would all be burned. It would be childís play to waste all these stupid hipsters. Start a big fire at one end, between the tight pants and the hair in their eyes very few would make it to the other end where they would be too tired to withstand me running them over with my Econoline. Iíd hire day laborers to sit in the back of my truck and pick off stragglers with 22ís: they all like the cowboy thing so itís right up their alley. Momís everywhere would not have to send rent checks anymore as their children had finally ďmade itĒ to a mass grave that is. If this were done, the land would be less cool; we geeks could finally play Dungeons and Dragons in peace, sans judgment (and thatís Advanced Dungeons and Dragons to you bitches). All actors (waiters) and waiters (actors) would die, well I already blew up Hollywood, and so you might as well die too. I guess we will just have to eat at home from now on; itís not so bad, I can just serve myself; no I donít want to hear todayís specials. No. Just water, No. Go away, youíre not funny. No! ahhhh. No wonder why I stay home. You may not know of this place but this hippie restaurant called Follow Your Heart. I would be contented if it were to be razed to the ground. The creepy hippie vibe is so thick in this place and everyone that works there acts like theyíre auditioning for an acting role, not serving you food. And no meat! Aghast! At least they have cheese; still they all must perish. Hippies, go fuck yourself. Destroying this place would cripple the local vegan subculture and all itís retardants as they make ďveganĒ cheese for many such restaurants of phony baloney foodstuffs, to even type the two words ďvegan cheeseĒ together fills me with loathing. Errrrgh, I shudder in my hate. I hate you. Amoeba Records would burn for sure, but no matter as there would be no hipsters left alive to buy their picked over wares. What a house of pretentious know-nothings-never-will-be-anything. They have the market cornered on people with tattoos on their neck working retail for minimum wage until their band ďbreaksĒ. Most likely it will only break my eardrums. This den of snobbery would be reduced to a mass of smoldering colored vinyl. You work at a record store! A cool job if youíre 17, but youíre 37! Just die already and save me the trouble of killing your worthless ass.

Things: cars with ďdubsĒ hideous, smash them. Why do you need those giant rims? And the spinny thingys? I donít understand, and like most people, I hate, kill, and destroy what I donít understand. I donít want to understand, I donít want ďdubsĒ on my car, steelies or Ansen Sprint mags, or Astro Supremes for me, thanks. Photo enforced intersections: did you know that they make intersections more dangerous, increasing instances of rear-end collisions but the city keeps them in operation because they are so lucrative? Smash. Iíd cut down the traffic light by my house because it turns red when youíre coming even if thereís no opposing traffic. I hate that. Iíd destroy all the televisions because they are antithetical to life. Why watch others live life when you can go out and do it yourself? And roller blades; theyíre just gay, enough already, the madness needs to stop. Ok, enough for now. P. de Valera, gamers union local 2112, signing out.  

Jingle bells go to hell...

Itís that time of year fuckoís. Time to put your phony ass smile on for all your relatives that you fucking hate while you give each other ill-thought out last minute gifts for another episode of ďHoliday BullshitĒ. Blah. How much more lame can it get? If you buy into this Christmas cheer horseshit I hope you get your face torn off by a bunch of rabid dogs. I hate you. I could go on an on why I hate the holidays but I will spare you my thoughts on that subject except that this time of year my hate batteries are fully charged, all the time. I talk to people, well sometimes, not too much lately and they go and say things like Iím a Grinch or the Scrooge. The Grinch and the Scrooge are sell-outs. They gave up, gave into Christmas crap, they failed to maintain the hate. I will forever pump the bellows strong to keep the hatred of Christmas burning like a pyre of dead bodies soaked in Gasoline. Christmas and itís adherents deserve each other. Iím doing this column now instead of sleeping because Iím so full of hate I canít even sleep. Iíd rather be in bed dreaming of Soapbox racing, bicycles, comics, and snapping peopleís necks that deserve to die: These things allow me to sleep in the cold with no heater. My passion for many things keeps me warm, including my passion for hating people that just suck at life. Since you had to make a bunch of stupid lists this last month of stupid gifts, and cards, and thank-youís that you had to do but could have done without, Iím making a list of people that if I had my way would be shot in the face.

Sports fans: I may lose some man points for this, but really what is it with this crap? One night I rode to the Stand for dollar hot dogs and when I got there I did my ďNow is the time for a dramatic skid.Ē When is that you ask? All the time! So I do said skid and these two guys give me dirty looks, this older father and son. They donít like me, so what. They made the mistake of sitting next to my friends, especially the B. Not many people have the B keeping skill, most run away from his swarm of puns, duds, and horrendous one-liners. I sat next to him of course. The two mouth-breathers next to us continue to give us the stink eye. I also notice that the ďgameĒ is on, football to be exact, the gayest game on earth. I notice that spunky the wonder squid and Jr. Squid are annoyed as our antics make watching the ďgameĒ hard. I think these people are insane because they are talking to the TV. Guess what morons: THEY CANíT HEAR YOU. They are saying things like ďGo JerryĒ and ďCome onĒ etc. Do they know the players of this game? Doubtful. Do they know that the people that are on the little box are far away and have no way of hearing you voice your support? Likely. And yet they keep doing it, lots of them. With this stupid bovine mentality prevalent it is not a far stretch to see how people like Hitler can rise to power. Now if something happens like they score a touchdown, these people who are not playing the game, nor are they at the game, merely watching the game say things like ďWe did it!Ē We? What? You armchair jockeys have only managed to woof down a bunch of lips and assholes compressed into a tube for the last hour, at best straining your docker pants, but NOT helping ďyourĒ team win. Your team? You own it? If that was the case, why are you here giving me and my friends dirty looks instead of making sure ďyourĒ team gets all the Extreme snacks it needs? I notice they donít like us and I notice they are sports fans so I give them the H-Bomb. ďFootball is a big euphemism for HomosexualityĒ Say it loud and proud. I notice this comment gets their attention so I go in for the kill. Have you ever noticed that the camera is always centered on the players asses? They wear skintight pants; the camera is pointed at their asses. They have to move a brown turd-like ball (like a mans ass-hole?) and then a bunch of these guys wearing tighter pants than the hippest of Silver-Fake hipsters could ever dream of getting into chase each other around so they can lay on top of each other. When not doing this, they spend the off time between plays patting each other in the ass. GAY! Father and son leave. I win, the end.

I like to have fun; itís not an exaggeration for me to say I lead a very fun life. I like fun, not everyone does however. The fun police or ďhappiness can be curedĒ. I imagine that anyone who picks up this rag likes to have fun as well. I encounter the fun police all the time. I have been told that at a certain age I am no longer allowed to smile or laugh, or have a good time. Life is serious; there is no time for fun and games. I donít understand these people, I donít want to, I think it would be fun to douse them in gasoline and shoot Roman Candles at then until they burn. That would be serious fun. I wonder what happened to people that see others having a good time and try to figure out a way to stop it. Did they wake up one day and decide that they would just suck at life and try to suck the life out of everyone else around them? It never ceases to amaze me how many of these frown brokers are out there. People that take themselves too seriously, life too seriously: fuck you ego-maniacs go die already.

I love these mental turd merchants that think they have the solution to solve the worlds ills. All of these quasi-political fuck-tards armed with pamphlets, petitions, and the latest Chomski driveling think they have all the answers? Guess again ass-face. When are you going to realize that people suck, have always sucked and will continue to suck into the distant future. There is a high chance that the more you try to champion hopeless causes, the more you are depraved in your personal life. Lie, cheat, steal all in the name of the ďcauseĒ. And the cause changes quicker than a gay mans wardrobe. The West Memphis Three, Free Mumia, Impeach Clinton, Impeach Bush, No blood for oil, We pay too much for gas, Josh is the Wizard, on an on. At least stick to one thing and finish before you move on to the next. You take life so serious; take a serious look at how youíre wasting everyoneís time with your horseshit. Youíll be on to the next hip cause before you know it. Suck. And the thing that all these assholes may not have chimed in on: Did you stop to think that the world does not need to be saved? Youíre not going to save the world, it will get on just fine without you, you may now die.

 People that try to placate me with their false promises: I never want to hear what youíre going to do, never. I want to hear what youíve done. Donít tell me youíre going to be at a ride and then not show up or say youíre going to build a soapbox car and donít. Honestly, I have a great time with out you there. You not being there does not detract from my good time, Iím only trying to share my enthusiasm for life, you donít care, fine fuck you then. Take your excuses and choke on them you fucking tourist, donít even fucking talk to me. You want to spend your whole life leaning against some wall in some stupid bar as a human drink/cigarette holder, go right on ahead. I hate you fucking hipsters, you fucking cool people. When youíre 35 youíll have done nothing with your life, youíd be worth more to society as parts than as a whole person. The clock is ticking, have you done anything productive today? How about die? That would be nice.

The laws of the universe are not applicable to me: You have seen these people. There are tons of parking spots but they have to pull up, practically on the sidewalk or a handicapped space because walking twenty extra feet is too far. People that think that their needs supercede everyone elseís needs to the point where the latterís are curtailed. Iím so sick of people that are selfish. Iím fed up with people that arenít willing to account for their actions, people that find a wallet and keep the money, people that cut in line. It should be grounds for removal from the park of life. Nuff Said.

Let's have a war over "vegan cheese"

I donít understand, well, a lot of things. Iím not afraid to admit that some things donít make sense to me; if Iím ignorant of something itís ok. I can only know so much. Now then, if there was something that I thought I understood and then realized it didnít really make sense then Iím confused. When someone says the words ďvegan cheeseĒ I get really bent out of shape. Itís NOT cheese; itís some soything that may to someone that has not imbibed the cheesy goodness for such a long time have some vague recollections of what cheese tasted like. You insult the cheese by putting the word vegan next to it. How dare you adulterate cheese by putting that trendy dietary catch phrase NEXT to the word cheese. Really, Iím glad there are vegans in this world because that means more cheese for me. What I do understand is vegans always talk about food. Every vegan Iíve ever met is obsessed with food. Why? Because theyíre not allowed to have any. Vegan pastrami? PleaseÖ if you miss meat so much that you have to label something that tastes like cardboard covered with bb-q sauce ďpastramiĒ then just go ahead and eat the real deal. Not eating meat or cheese does not put you on a higher moral plateau than everyone else. You can lie, cheat and steal, be an awful person and be vegan. Hitler was a vegetarian after all. I donít understand all the weird nationalistic pride that people have for their home county that they no longer live in. If wherever the fuck was so great, then why did you move here? I donít get that. Iím sure it was wonderful, everything was wonderful, and beautiful, and wonderful, and nice. So wonderful and beautiful and nice that you left. I like talking to foreigners and asking them why they moved here and if they like it or not. I was born out here, so I know why Iím here, hell I like living in Reseda. Almost none of them like it here. Well, then go home already. Iím not anti-immigrant. Iím only second generation native born. But if you come here at least act like you want to be here. Why would you move to a new country and then only associate with others that came from where you came from? Itís like the Diet Coke of the USA, just one calorie. Wouldnít you want to get to know the people that are native, get into native customs, you know be an American if you moved here? You go to a movie, you get some popcorn, perhaps some nachos, one gets into the sprit of things. Iím not saying abandon your previous culture, but youíre in a new amusement park and the Mickey Mouse ears simply wonít do. Itís not like our government is kidnapping your ass to come here and clog up the freeway system and stock up on close-outs on outdated clothing trends. I mean really, Iíd never go to Europe, itís full of Europeans. Fuck that place. Itís old and smells and youíre near the French and Italian pizza canít hold a candle to the pizza here. Why leave? But then here I am and I deal with a lot of these red-blooded American types and they can really suck too. I broker in bicycles, most bikes come from China and Taiwan. People exclaim ďMade in China!Ē Made in Taiwan!Ē ďChina!Ē ďTaiwan!Ē As if it were a bad thing. A guy in China can weld too you know. If the bikes were made here it would cost three times as much and break twice as fast. Why? Because your average American is lazy. Perhaps weíve had things good for so long that we no longer remember what it was like to have to work for anything. Just like a vegan has vague recollections of what cheese tastes like, Native Americans have vague recollections of what it was like to toil.  I talk to lots of people, Iím curious as to what drives each of us, I ask questions. The response is general discontent. People are not happy; perhaps itís cultural. Discontent is the norm; happiness is but a snapshot in the photo album of life. No one has enough money, time, and friends, love, nice things etc. I think people are bored and disaffected, they look for weird ways to identify with each other, and they need hobbies. This is why people glom onto fictional cultural identities. If youíre born here and are second generation or older born here then youíre a mutt-end of story. Saying youíre German, Irish, whatever does not make you cool, it makes you a clod because thatís all you have to make yourself appear interesting. That tribal tattoo seemed like a good idea at the time, what tribe was that again? Encino? Right. I have given a lot of thought to what people need to cheer them up and I think we need a war. Whatís that? Weíre already at war? Donít be silly, that thing going on over in Iraq is a scuffle if you want to count numbers of dead in that conflict to say automobile deaths every year. In fact less life is lost per 100,000 people on our side over there than many major US cities. That means itís safer to be in Iraq than be in LA. I love LA I figure that everyone is moving to America we should just go ahead and do it, I mean in an economic sense weíre almost there. We should just conquer the whole world. We could take places like the Wailing Wall and put a Starbucks drive through window in it. Weíll put a Six Flags around the Pyramids, people can buy funny pyramid shaped hats at the park. We could turn Ireland into an underwater sea park. I mean theyíve been fighting to get it back for what, 800 years now? They must not really want it. Let the corporate juggernaught steamroll over the land and mash these dysfunctional cultures under the golden arches. Everyone is coming here, they all want to come to America, why not bring it to them? Weíve got rock n roll, hot rods, cheeseburgers, chili cheese fries, the first three Star Wars movies, the Three Stooges and what do ďtheyĒ have? Golf? Le Car? White rice? We spew out more useless crap than anyone else. Where would the world be without plastic dog doo and fake vomit? Lost I tell you. We are the most sane in an insane asylum, so lets get crazy. Iím sick of this shit, I hate you all, go die already. Thanks.

The Hitler/Beatles connection. (not really)

Why do you like that shit? What the fuck is wrong with you? Donít you think for yourself? If you hear this kind of thing a lot, you may be an asshole. Even if you donít, Iím guessing that youíre an asshole. Now, now, donít cry. Pussy. Anyway, as you may have noticed, I hate. Where as some filthy hippy living on your couch embraces the concept of unconditional love in addition to all your stuff, I embrace unconditional hate. I hate. I hate you! I hate your dog! I hate your car! I hate your bike! And I hate your mom! You all suck; go die already, youíre boring the piss out of me with that confused look on your face wondering why I hate your ass. I want to saw your head off with a dull hack-saw blade, and then beat your dog to death with the head, and then beat you mom to death with the dead dogÖDo you see where Iím going with this? And what would make me so mad and hateful? Many things, but this time itís Shakespeare, The Rolling Stones, & the mother fucking Beatles. Letís start with this high lord tardling Shakespeare. You read these shitty-ass plays in high school, and the teacher tells you how great he is. Then you move on to college and in addition to ďexperimentingĒ with drugs and same-sex relationships, you take some lower division literature classes where the teacher who has one or more of the following: A canvas book bag from Barnes & Noble, a beret, a scarf in any clime, Birkenstocks, or an unsightly mole, just goes on and on about how ďW.S. is so wonderful and his ďworksĒ are so great and blah blah, and youíre looking at the girlís ass in front of you and doodling instead of taking notes, all whilst coming off all the coke you snorted off some girls tits last night, and you buy into this horse pucky. Youíre not thinking; if you did that, you would not be in college in the first place. But this is where it begins, you slowly began to believe all the bullshit and since you only read the Cliff Notes and not the actual play, or better yet, you saw the movie so it seems cool, right? I mean Leonardo di Caprio is not really gay, is he? Well, he looked cool in that movie I guess, no you weíre not checking him out, well you did some ďexperimentingĒ back in college, you canít remember you were high most of the time. SO ANYWAY, by some strange fluke, you donít flunk out your first couple of years, and you get to become a junior at school and are really getting into espousing sophomoric prattle at freshmen to appear cool and intellectual in order to get up their skirts, and then you do it. You look at the books Suzy-Q has clutched to her chest and notice one of Shakespeareís plays. ďOh, Shakespeare is one of the great playwrights of western civilizationĒÖthen you get the movie and the Cliff Notes versions confused, but she doesnít know that because sheís gonna get the basic gist of the story from the geek in her class she knew from high school because the poor slob has a crush on her. You offer to help her out, you have really bad noncommittal sex in a few days, and then donít talk to each other againÖYouíve become an asshole, and so it goes. But you never really read the play or plays; if you did youíd see that they suck. Shakespeareís plays are very akin to your average sitcom, the plot can only be perpetuated because the characters involved are morons. Every episode of Threeís Company is predicated on the characters being totally blind to whatís going on, not communicating with each other, all the while thinking theyíre getting away with something. In the end we all have a laugh at how fucking dumb they all are. Look at Hamlet or Romeo & Juliet, and you see the same basic plot except in the end- the people die. Why? Because when these horrible made-for-masses plays were made, life was cheap and people died all the time- itís what was expected. They should be called tragedies not because people die in them, but because we had to have this drek forced on to us under the false auspice that is was good. When every time you hear someone mention that something is good, you seldom look for flaws. If something has universal acceptance, one would waste little time to determine if you felt the same way; youíd just go along with what everybody else thinks-itís normal. And with this fuckwit so high up on a pedestal, you may not be given the chance to look at any other works of literature that are better. As a quick one; which would you rather watch, the movie Hamlet or Star Wars? Nuff said! Now, we move on to music if you could call it that, namely the Rolling Stones and the Beatles and how awful these bands are. Iíd say these bands suck for different reasons, but they have one common factor that brings them to the halls of hate: Their fans. Have you ever been unfortunate enough to get stuck in a conversation about the Rolling Stones or the Beatles by some hardcore aficionado? It is truly disgusting how these people talk about these bands like their contribution to society was so great. Further they then geek out on all the guitar wanking nonsense, as if theyíre doing a dissertation on guitar playing in some lame ass Jr. college. As these ill-contrived monologs are making the other party goers drinks come back up their throats in disgust they love to refer to the tards that comprise these bands like they know them or some shit. Well, John. blah blah and Keithís playing Öwank, wank, etc. Do you know them? Do you hang out with these guys? No you donít! Youíre not involved! Your involvement consists of a huge stack of rare (shitty) singles and obscure (even more shitty) out takes on vinyl that youíve causelessly hoarded instead of going out and living life; thatís why youíve ďrelocatedĒ to your momís garage. Fuck you- go die already. Now for the actual music? The rolling Stones are biters, plain and simple. They copied the blues when that was in vogue, looked like the Beatles and bit rock when that was cool, and bit disco when their drug binges became an acceptable social practice. They suck! They are the off brand of rock and roll music, the plain wrap, the generic brand that you find at the 99 Cents only store. Donít get me started about the lyrical quality of these turds! Jumping Jack Flash? Itís a song about the singerís gardener! It makes no sense, they sayÖnothing. Please do us all a favor and burn your Rolling Stones Records, they smell and you smell for owning them. I hate the Beatles more then just about anything. How can these insipid pop jingles that these mop-topped, toothless, turd-burglars spewed forth have such wide acceptance? ďShe loves me yeah yeah yeah?Ē What the fuck is going on here? Why is this deemed good? The mindless acceptance of things so odious is a flaw in the human condition that allowed people like Hitler to rise to power. Did I just draw a correlation between Hitler and the Beatles? Yes I did. You have to be worried about mass hysteria like the one that the Beatles created. What was all the screaming and carrying on about anyway? Why was this band so well liked in the wake of awesome rockers like Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Screaming Jay Hawkins? There must have been something in the water that made people dumb and have no taste. In addition to all the irrational reverence that has been built up around this band, you have to see how they laid the groundwork for the pop jingles of the future that will drive you fucking nuts. Thanks a lot you assholes! The Beatles helped pave he way for bands like the Spice Girls, Britney Spears, Ní Sync, etc to be tolerated by the public instead of being burned in effigy (or for real). In addition, they were the soundtrack for that most despised group of counter-culture retards: The Hippies. For this I think we should have a Beatles reunion. We do this by having them all shot. Thanks, and goodbye you slobs!          

Excuses: Iím sick of them. As you go through life, and hopefully, look out for the things that make it worthwhile for you, one enco people: many people that have excuses. What it really comes down to is that most people will put up an excuse rather than make someone feel uncomfortable by telling the truth. We all do this to a certain degree, letís look at the most common offenders: ďIím sorry.Ē Are you? Then why do you keep doing the same stupid shit over and over again! If you accidentally knock something over and say youíre sorry itís believable. But if you do callous and inconsiderate things time and time again, then your ďsorrowĒ is merely a trite platitude that you blurt out so as not to feel uncomfortable. I hear this all the time; the claim has no veracity. What you should really say is, ďIím sorry that Iím alive.Ē Or, Iím sorry I am such a worthless sack of a human being: a drain upon those that would call me a friend, Iím sorry, I exist solely to be a drain upon others; to destroy their faith in humanity, to make them bitter and jaded, Iím sorry.Ē There, donít you feel better now?  Iím sorry, does not ever set the wrong things right, ever. Most apologies are never heartfelt, never truly sincere; they only serve to ease the conscious of the offending party. Youíre sorry huh? Do as the Samurai did if you are truly sorry; go kill yourself. ďIíve been really busy.Ē Busy? Doing what, your nails? Checking up on your trust fund? Hanging out at Starbucks talking about all your film projects that youíre never going to finish? We all have an equal number of hours in the day and itís ultimately up to us to decide what we do with them. Iíve never met anyone that is so busy that they canít set aside a few hours or a day to do something they really want to. What you really mean is my priorities are elsewhere. Itís ok not to be as enthusiastic about something as someone else is, just say so. Why have you not been around? The truth: Iíve been doing other things that are more important to me. Youíre not a jerk; youíre being honest. Itís ok to be honest, I know itís out of vogue nowadays, but give it a try sometime; you may be pleased with the results. Another version of this saying is ďI donít have time.Ē If itís important, time will be allocated. Letís not kid each other. It never ceases to be amusing that people always have time to do the things that really matter to them. ďIíd like to, but Iím broke right nowĒ Next week, the same person has on new shoes or some new album. Just say the truth: ďIíd rather spend my money on coke, weed, beer, and perhaps a hooker.Ē  It is odd for most (but not all) that when they really really want something, the money is there. Some people are honestly broke, but itís rare. I donít have the money is an excuse to get out of doing something that costs money that youíre not interested in. Last time I checked, just about everything costs money. While leaving your home for the nightís entertainment will cost you directly, staying home will cost you indirectly in additional overhead. So either way, you are spending. Perhaps do a little less drugs this weekend, and you can go have fun with your friends. Another one is when you fail to meet an obligation. ďIím sorry, I got caught upÖĒ I know television is very interesting at times, but please people! If youíre that easily distracted then devise ways to honor the promises you make. Itís called integrity. Unless youíve got to finish cutting up a body in your bathtub, and you get caught up in the guyís guts, itís not a really good excuse. The last time I checked, clocks are pretty ubiquitous, youíve got one on your phone, computer, car, wall, nightstand, and perhaps on your wrist. You can even call for the time with your phone. Thus, being late is something you have to work at. Some people do this to a point where it becomes a lifestyle. I know people that have spent their entire lives being late to things like it was as hip as living in Silver Lake and snorting coke. Plan ahead already, itís not too hard. Brushing your teeth should take around the same amount of time each day, so you can plan for that amount of time to be taken up each day. One could say this for most things we do. If you have to take three hours to get ready (which I donít understand), donít be an hour late. If youíre late to things, it just shows that youíre disinterested in the activity at hand and other things youíre doing are more worth your while. In other words, itís a lame excuse.  I came to this conclusion one day after hearing all kinds of excuses as to why people were late for this bike ride we attended. This girl got on the phone and was inquiring as to why her friend was not with us and to her dismay, we found out she was dead. After that, anything else was just not going to measure up. At this time, I surmised that most people say they canít when they really mean they wonít. Canít means you are unable to do something because outside forces prevent you from doing so. I canít make the bike ride because Iím fucking dead. See? I wonít make the bike ride because Iím depressed and donít want to be around people, or Iím not all that interested, or Iím lazy, or Iíve got a flat and waited till the last day and am embarrassed and perhaps somewhat lazy. Just say it, itís ok. I wonítÖbecause I donít want to. Thatís a reason. An excuse is a lie and a reason is the truth. One of my all time favorites is ďI was drunk,Ē or high, or on something that I have to now, apologize for my behavior. Being drunk never excuses the things you say or do, never. Itís still you doing those things that as far as Iím concerned, are lying just under the veneer of your personality. The booze or drugs just turns your own internal controls off and lets the real you come out. If you get in your car drunk and go run someone over, youíre still a murderer. Youíre not going to go to court and have the judge say ďWell, being that you were drunk, itís ok- you can go, just donít do it again.Ē Phooey. In addition, Iíve never seen anyone pin someone else down and force alcohol or drugs down their throat. The only person putting that stuff into your body is you. You and you only are responsible. Itís no excuse for being a jerk-off. The logic most people use to justify bad behavior while inebriated is more akin to Dungeons & Dragons playing geeks, such as my self. ďWhen I imbibe this magical potion, I am no longer accountable for my actions!Ē Amazing how many people actually think that. Amazing still how many of us accept it as a foregone conclusion. Another good one is ďTraffic.Ē There was trafficÖwas? How about there is traffic. If you live in anyplace where we send this little rag to, traffic is as pervasive as trash in a gutter. In L.A., there is perpetual traffic. Iíve been in traffic jams at 2 in the morning. Itís not an excuse, itís a permanent state of affairs, so please donít use it. One that Iíve heard way too much of in the recent past is ďMy intentions wereÖĒ Your what? Intentions? News flash morons who prescribe to this theory: YOUR INTENTIONS ARE FOR SHIT! They mean nothing. You intended to pay back that loan to your friend, but your beer tab took precedence. Fuck you, go die. Intentions are thought, yet not put into action. Action, your deeds is what will define the content (or lack there of) of oneís character. When someone says this to me, it usually means they know what the right thing to do is and make the choice to avoid the situation. It makes it the worse one because they are ever so aware of the right thing to do and choose not to. You intend to be a good person, intend to keep your promises, intend to follow up on your obligations, and yet you have not. Donít intend; do. Iíd say itís the one thing that separates people from good people and chaff.                                                                As a final note that is off topic: Iíve really enjoyed all the criticism that people are more than happy to heap upon us. Criticism by a fellow zinesters is all fine and good, but guess what? As far as I can tell, weíre just about the only ones doing what we do, and the few I do see donít last but an issue or two and may even suck really bad as well. That word was misspelled. Whereís your Zine? We forgot a comma? Is that the best you can do? For all of you who have such wonderful ideas as to what we should do with our Zine: Go fuck yourself. Thanks! And goodnight! 
I have an excuse for my behavior...
 
Excuses: Iím sick of them. As you go through life, and hopefully, look out for the things that make it worthwhile for you, one encounters many people: many people that have excuses. What it really comes down to is that most people will put up an excuse rather than make someone feel uncomfortable 
by telling the truth. We all do this to a certain degree, letís look at the most common offenders: ďIím sorry.Ē Are you? Then why do you keep doing the same stupid shit over and over again! If you accidentally knock something over and say youíre sorry itís believable. But if you do callous and
 inconsiderate things time and time again, then your ďsorrowĒ is merely a trite platitude that you blurt out so as not to feel uncomfortable. I hear this all the time; the claim has no veracity. What you should really say is, ďIím sorry that Iím alive.Ē Or, Iím sorry I am such a worthless sack of a human being: a 
drain upon those that would call me a friend, Iím sorry, I exist solely to be a drain upon others; to destroy their faith in humanity, to make them bitter and jaded, Iím sorry.Ē There, donít you feel better now?  Iím sorry, does not ever set the wrong things right, ever. Most apologies are never heartfelt, never 
truly sincere; they only serve to ease the conscious of the offending party. Youíre sorry huh? Do as the Samurai did if you are truly sorry; go kill yourself. ďIíve been really busy.Ē Busy? Doing what, your nails? Checking up on your trust fund? Hanging out at Starbucks talking about all your film
 projects that youíre never going to finish? We all have an equal number of hours in the day and itís ultimately up to us to decide what we do with them. Iíve never met anyone that is so busy that they canít set aside a few hours or a day to do something they really want to. What you really mean is my 
priorities are elsewhere. Itís ok not to be as enthusiastic about something as someone else is, just say so. Why have you not been around? The truth: Iíve been doing other things that are more important to me. Youíre not a jerk; youíre being honest. Itís ok to be honest, I know itís out of vogue nowadays,
 but give it a try sometime; you may be pleased with the results. Another version of this saying is ďI donít have time.Ē If itís important, time will be allocated. Letís not kid each other. It never ceases to be amusing that people always have time to do the things that really matter to them. ďIíd like to, but 
Iím broke right nowĒ Next week, the same person has on new shoes or some new album. Just say the truth: ďIíd rather spend my money on coke, weed, beer, and perhaps a hooker.Ē  It is odd for most (but not all) that when they really really want something, the money is there. Some people are 
honestly broke, but itís rare. I donít have the money is an excuse to get out of doing something that costs money that youíre not interested in. Last time I checked, just about everything costs money. While leaving your home for the nightís entertainment will cost you directly, staying home will cost 
you indirectly in additional overhead. So either way, you are spending. Perhaps do a little less drugs this weekend, and you can go have fun with your friends. Another one is when you fail to meet an obligation. ďIím sorry, I got caught upÖĒ I know television is very interesting at times, but please 
people! If youíre that easily distracted then devise ways to honor the promises you make. Itís called integrity. Unless youíve got to finish cutting up a body in your bathtub, and you get caught up in the guyís guts, itís not a really good excuse. The last time I checked, clocks are pretty ubiquitous, 
youíve got one on your phone, computer, car, wall, nightstand, and perhaps on your wrist. You can even call for the time with your phone. Thus, being late is something you have to work at. Some people do this to a point where it becomes a lifestyle. I know people that have spent their entire lives 
being late to things like it was as hip as living in Silver Lake and snorting coke. Plan ahead already, itís not too hard. Brushing your teeth should take around the same amount of time each day, so you can plan for that amount of time to be taken up each day. One could say this for most things we do. 
If you have to take three hours to get ready (which I donít understand), donít be an hour late. If youíre late to things, it just shows that youíre disinterested in the activity at hand and other things youíre doing are more worth your while. In other words, itís a lame excuse.  I came to this conclusion one 
day after hearing all kinds of excuses as to why people were late for this bike ride we attended. This girl got on the phone and was inquiring as to why her friend was not with us and to her dismay, we found out she was dead. After that, anything else was just not going to measure up. At this time, I 
surmised that most people say they canít when they really mean they wonít. Canít means you are unable to do something because outside forces prevent you from doing so. I canít make the bike ride because Iím fucking dead. See? I wonít make the bike ride because Iím depressed and donít want to 
be around people, or Iím not all that interested, or Iím lazy, or Iíve got a flat and waited till the last day and am embarrassed and perhaps somewhat lazy. Just say it, itís ok. I wonítÖbecause I donít want to. Thatís a reason. An excuse is a lie and a reason is the truth. One of my all time favorites is 
ďI was drunk,Ē or high, or on something that I have to now, apologize for my behavior. Being drunk never excuses the things you say or do, never. Itís still you doing those things that as far as Iím concerned, are lying just under the veneer of your personality. The booze or drugs just turns your own
 internal controls off and lets the real you come out. If you get in your car drunk and go run someone over, youíre still a murderer. Youíre not going to go to court and have the judge say ďWell, being that you were drunk, itís ok- you can go, just donít do it again.Ē Phooey. In addition, Iíve never 
seen anyone pin someone else down and force alcohol or drugs down their throat. The only person putting that stuff into your body is you. You and you only are responsible. Itís no excuse for being a jerk-off. The logic most people use to justify bad behavior while inebriated is more akin to
 Dungeons & Dragons playing geeks, such as my self. ďWhen I imbibe this magical potion, I am no longer accountable for my actions!Ē Amazing how many people actually think that. Amazing still how many of us accept it as a foregone conclusion. Another good one is ďTraffic.Ē
 There was trafficÖwas? How about there is traffic. If you live in anyplace where we send this little rag to, traffic is as pervasive as trash in a gutter. In L.A., there is perpetual traffic. Iíve been in traffic jams at 2 in the morning. Itís not an excuse, itís a permanent state of affairs, so please donít use it. 
One that Iíve heard way too much of in the recent past is ďMy intentions wereÖĒ Your what? Intentions? News flash morons who prescribe to this theory: YOUR INTENTIONS ARE FOR SHIT! They mean nothing. You intended to pay back that loan to your friend, but your beer tab took 
precedence. Fuck you, go die. Intentions are thought, yet not put into action. Action, your deeds is what will define the content (or lack there of) of oneís character. When someone says this to me, it usually means they know what the right thing to do is and make the choice to avoid the situation. 
It makes it the worse one because they are ever so aware of the right thing to do and choose not to. You intend to be a good person, intend to keep your promises, intend to follow up on your obligations, and yet you have not. Donít intend; do. Iíd say itís the one thing that separates people from 
good people and chaff.   As a final note that is off topic: Iíve really enjoyed all the criticism that people are more than happy to heap upon us. Criticism by a fellow zinesters is all fine and good, but guess what? As far as I can tell, weíre just about the only ones 
doing what we do, and the few I do see donít last but an issue or two and may even suck really bad as well. That word was misspelled. Whereís your Zine? We forgot a comma? Is that the best you can do? For all of you who have such wonderful ideas as to what we should do with our Zine: 
Go fuck yourself. Thanks! And goodnight! 
 
Can you hear me now? How about now? 

Hello? Hello! Can you hear me? Cell Phones-actually the telephone in general: Reach out and annoy someone. My general loathing for these infernal devices is well documented amongst those that know me. Regular phones are pretty bad, but Iíd have to say that the cell phone is right up there with the Edsel, Paper Clothes, Leisure Suits, & the CHOOSE LIFE t-shirt as worthless inventions that for some reason or another, became the object of ďnecessityĒ for so many people. Lets start with the positive aspects of owning a cell phone: You can be gotten a hold of just about everywhere. So no matter where you are or what youíre doing, people can get in touch with you. Now, lets look at the main negative aspect of having a cell phone:  You can be gotten a hold of just about everywhere. So no matter where you are or what youíre doing, people can get in touch with you. Did I just say that? Yes people, the electronic leash is in effect. Now you donít have to answer, but they might leave a message, and if they leave a message and you donít call back, youíre giving them the brush. All of a sudden, youíre an asshole! Just like that! What a wonderful world we live in. If you do pick up and itís an ďemergency,Ē now youíre suddenly responsible for this other personís well being. Why?, because they called you of course. This way, you get to have everyoneís problems to deal with in addition to your own. I think the appeal of these devices has nothing to do with the convenience of getting in contact with anyone at any time. No, I think people like them because they can receive attention at anytime. Iíd say most people live boring lives and are generally alone for the most part. If not, then they have marriage and kids to suck the life right out of them, so they might as well be dead, but I digress. Attention: Youíre a dumb schmuck walking through the mall just like all the other dumb schmucks and suddenly your phone rings. Someone wants to get a hold of you. Youíre important, so important in fact that they canít wait for you to go home, no! They need to get a hold of you right fucking now! And when a cell phone goes off in a public place, everybody checks his or her phone. ďIs that for me?Ē Lets not forget that you can have personalized ring tones for your phone, even specific rings for different friends, but people will still look at their phone the way an expectant mother looks at the calendar. The cell phone makes everyone into a rock star or bigwig. Suddenly, everyone is oh so busy and important. Without the cell phone, you couldnít stare at the girlís ass, while she works at the sunglass cart at the mall, for hours on end. Have you ever miss dialed a cell phone number, realized it and then hung up? Invariably, this wrong number will call you back wanting to know if you called. Why? Because, for that brief moment, theyíre someone that has the appearance of being someone in demand-someone of importance. Too bad nothing could be further from the truth. Letís face it: if youíre life was so interesting and full of excitement, you wouldnít be picking up this rag to read while youíre taking a shit. Iím not saying that you donít have good things going for you, well ok, actually you should most likely be killed, but that is neither here nor there. But really, what do you have to say that could possibly not wait a few hours to be said? Most conversations we have with each other are of a mundane nature. We talk about our work, school, what we did on the weekend, etc. Normal stuff, most of which is really boring unless youíre friends and have common interest. Can this not wait? Canít we save this information up and then call a friend at home, give the summation of whatís new in thaí hood and then move on? If you suddenly see something and want to share the moment with someone, you will If it was worth remembering you will, and can share it later. Iíd say that the overall level of good stories has gone down now because people now have the ability to spew forth their fragmented thought to others too readily now. This is one of the main problems of having a cell phone; theyíre not necessary. Whatever you had to say can wait. If you need to get a hold of people to do something, do what humanity has done for thousands of years: make plans. My perception of people is they canít conceive of life before the cell phone. What ever did we do before this invention? We used our communication skills to get together, make plans etc. Iíd say this sort of thought process has been rapidly eroded by the invention of the cell phone.

Reach out and pester someone, stop them in their tracks, make them pay attention to you. Bah. One time, I was going on a bike ride with my friend Jenny, and she had to change a flat on her bike. During this five-minute operation, her phone rang four times. Each time, she put down the tools, and picked up the phone. Work stopped; chatter began. Finally, I had had enough and tore the phone out of her hand telling her to finish the job so we can go ride. We made plans to ride, and yet if it were up to her, weíd still be there on the curbside, waiting for the conversations to end. You can also be in the midst of a conversation face to face, and then the phone rings. Wait: someone more interesting, rich, better looking, etc. may be on the phone, let me take the call. Let me cut you off in mid sentence and start talking to someone else who isnít even there. I go out to coffee houses a lot, to draw the crappy-ass comics you see here, and I see this all the time. Two people; one on the phone and one setting there like a duffus. Or even better: a bunch of people setting together not talking to each other, instead they are talking to someone else on their phone. What fun! ďHey, what do you want to do?Ē ďLets go out together and completely ignore each other-talking to someone who isnít there on my cell phone!Ē ďJoyous!Ē The cell phone has at least made the world just a little bit more rude.

Next: They donít work. How many times have you talked to someone on a cell phone and they canít hear you but you can hear them. Or, when they do talk, you can barely hear what theyíre saying. Or their voice BOOMS LIKE THUNDER! Some times, they sound like theyíre Merman from He-Man and the Maters of the Universe. Other times, they sound like an autistic kid with Touretts and a cleft pallet. A pigeon flies overhead: the conversation is suddenly over. There is a swarm of bees near by; I canít get service there. And the excuses people make up for this sub-standard service. ďWell itís much better now.Ē Better than what? These cell phone companies put out an inferior product, you buy it of course. Then after some time of putting up with the aforementioned problems, they come out with a improved version that everybody clamors for because it actually does what the first one was supposed to do: work. Would you buy a new car if 1 out of 10 times the car would not start? I donít think so. So why would you buy something that at least 10% of the time does not do what it is supposed to do? Letís face it people, cell phones do not function. If your regular phone did not work some of the time, youíd raise hell, but with a cell phone, itís accepted that they suck ass so itís ok. Bah. Now the cost. E-ghads! Cell phone bills in the hundreds of dollars are commonplace. Not only are the phones themselves expensive, the cost of usage is odious to say the least. A whole new class of indentured servant has been created in this country, owned by the cell phone companies. This is where the cell phone becomes antithetical.  You curtail your conversations; limit the times when you can talk so you donít have a high bill. Suddenly, the convenience of having a smelluar phone is outweighed by the cost. It is no longer convenient; it is a burden. The cost makes people unavailable, unwilling to get in touch. The very purpose of the cell is defeated by the expense of owning one. One of my friends broke up with some guy because her cell phone bill was 300 dollars. He is now referred to as, ď300 dollar Mark.Ē Humanity is suddenly cheapened.  We all know that cell phones have been linked to people in cars getting in accidents. Iíve also seen people on bikes eat shit. For some reason, we canít seem to do both well enough to make it safe. And whatís with all the people walking around talking to themselves? I thought the funny farm had closed down a wing in my hood but no; it was people taking on Janet Jackson headsets. No, my name ainít dude, itís Paul, Mr. de Valera if youíre nasty.     

Fuck you hippie

Fuck you hippie. I hate hippies. Out of all the things that Iíve ran off at the mouth about hating Iíd have to say that hippies are my most hated group. I hate hippies, did I say that already? Well, fuck you hippie. Why do I hate hippies? There are many reasons why I hate hippies, letís begin with the basics:

Firstly, the original hippies are just a bunch of losers. Not in the youíre 32 years old still working at the Barnes & Noble living at your parents house kind of loser, but in that in your effort to change society to a more peaceful, kinder place failed in a morass of drug induced mud wallowing. You lost. You got high instead, your ďcultureĒ was co modified into trite slogans that appear on buttons, patches, and t-shirts. Instead of taking the momentum of social change to really change something, you partied instead. Fuck you hippie, you suck, you fucking loser. Your movement became trendy, got infiltrated by hipsters and subsequently was neutered.

Now letís look at the by-products of your hippie bullshit: Tye-Dye T-shirts. Youíd have to be fucked up on some serious drugs to think that this vomit on a canvas is suitable attire. Take your drugs fine, but donít go prancing around wearing something that makes everyone else around you feel that theyíre on drugs. This is one reason why hippies are parasites; they only care for themselves, more on that later though. The long hair: I have long hair, and it never ceases to amaze me how many people think Iím a fucking Hippie at first glance. Has anybody read a history book besides me? A brief list of butchers that had long hair: Genghis Kahn, Attila the Hun, Hannibal, The Spartans, the Greeks, The Saxons, the Normans, Ivan the Terrible, The Vikings, Geronimo, General Custer, etc. See? Long hair doeth not a hippie make. Long hair is the hair do of people that have kicked ass, hippies donít kick ass they may ďkick itĒ especially of itís on someone elseís couch but thatís as far as it goes. Got get a hair cut hippie. The peace symbol: Wearing a peace symbol does not make you peaceful. As far as I can tell, it only means they donít want to fight at parties because it will ruin their chances to get more drugs. The next time youíre driving down the road and some guy cuts you off remember that youíre wearing a peace symbol as youíre howling for their blood. Or the next time they fuck up your frapplappacrappachappa at Starbucks try and remain peaceful. What it should really be is a ďpieceĒ symbol because thatís what theyíre really after: a piece of you pizza, a piece of a log around your campfire (oh my gawd, youíre burning trees!), a piece of your booze and drugs, and if theyíre really lucky; a piece of your floor. Have you ever noticed that hippies are very into the concept of sharing but never have anything to share? Why is that? Because hippies are lazy parasites and should be killed. More hippie detritus: The Music. Oh please kill me now before I hear another Grateful Dead or Phish song. What drek, sonic diarrhea has never been produced at such high quantities than this genre of music. What did the hippie say when he sobered up at the Grateful Dead concert? ďThis music sucks!Ē  Youíd have to be on serious drugs to be into that hippie shit. They say if you remembered the 60ís you werenít there, whoíd what to remember it? Fuck you hippie, you look like a reject clown from Jerryís kids, your tunes suck and youíre a fucking mooch, go die already.

Now we can move into the modern realm where hippie fuck-bags still roam the landscape looking for couches to crash on. That is the very reason I will never own a couch: they attract hippies. You come home from work one day (a concept foreign to hippies) and there is some hippie crashed out of your couch. How do know a hippie has been in your house? Theyíre still there! Yes itís true people; throw your couches out now before itís too late. Unfortunately, like that stupid ass six degrees of Kevin Bacon game, no matter how hard you try, you or one of your friends will know a hippie and that hippie will wind up on your couch. Weíve all been victims in this, hippies have stank up our couches, eaten our food, and ran up the utility bill watching TV all fucking day. Remove the couch and you remove the common habitat of your garden-variety hippie. Another thing that hippies do: nothing. Hippies do nothing. If one does nothing, then one is nothing. Hippies donít do anything, well anything of worth for that matter. They can take up space, take all your stuff, but not take a shower. Did I mention that hippies stink? Well hippies smell like dirt and then some enterprising person bottles this dirt smell to make hippies smell more like dirt; itís called patchouli. Youíre average hippie is really into laying around a getting stoned, getting drunk, getting high, but not getting anything done. Productivity is not in mind-set of a hippie; theyíve just got a mind to eat all your cheese and tortillas. Well fuck you hippie, thatís my food. You want to eat go get a job and go buy your own shit you fucking worthless sack. Hippies have weak political agendas that are built on a foundation of alarmist talk and hearsay evidence. When quizzed, the average hippie will succumb to witty banter like ďyouíre a square!í or ďYouíre working for the man!Ē The man? I am a man, thatís why I work hard for the things I have and love to live life and I donít leach off others. So, fuck you hippie. Hippies I have encountered have done joyous things like argue the health benefits of being vegetarian/vegan and then tell me about all the shrooms and acid they did over the weekend. Or tell me I shouldnít eat meat while smoking cigarettes and wearing leather shoes. Tell me theyíre against globalization and then in the next sentence want my e-mail and cell phone number. Tell me about how cars are polluting the environment and then tell me how they followed the Dead all last year. How did you follow them? Flapped your hippie arms up and down? Or did you follow them fueled by only hopes and dreams? No you fuck bag, you drove. Fuck you hippie.

The last thing I want to touch on is the crusty punk. A crusty punk is just a hippie that dresses in black. They may be filthier than some hippies, and the richer there parents are, the crustier the crusty is. Being homeless is not cool, having anal fissures and scabies is not cool. Stealing peopleís records is not cool. Youíre not a punk; youíre a fucking hippie. Fuck you hippie.  I donít know when down the line the punk scene became infused with hippie bullshit, all I know is it must be stamped out at every opportunity. So when a crusty punk tells you that they need a dollar to fight capitalist oppression, tell them to stop being a fucking hippie. Fuck you Hippie.

Karmakarmakarma corn candy..

Karma. Good Karma, Bad Karma, what a load of horseshit. Lately, Iíve had a lot of people tell me that whatever thing Iím doing will give me good Karma. They might as well say Iím getting in good with the So Cal Snowmanís union local 2112 or some crap. My knee-jerk reaction when someone brings up Karma is ďStalin died in his sleep.Ē  Yes, kill millions of people and you too can die of old age in your bed, with your staff too afraid to see if youíre dead so youíre laying in your room for a while before anyone knows about it. Not like it matters much, youíre dead after all. I donít agree with the Karmic principle, I think itís the same theory as Santa Claus but for adults. The Karmic principle is thus as far as I know: Good acts and bad acts have a sort of ďcosmic equatorĒ where your good deeds will come back to you as good things that happen to you and if you do bad, then bad things will happen to you. Iím sure I donít have the ďI got a degree in religious studies, so Iím working at Blockbuster VideoĒ definition of Karma, but for my purposes, it will suffice. The fatal flaw with this is your only motivation for doing good works is the belief that good things will happen to you in return. Thus the motivations for your good works are selfish and therefore, corrupt. If youíre only driven by the potential benefit of doing good things, then your intentions are not good. A good deed is a stand-alone act; it needs no balancing out with other things youíve done. Itís my belief that you should do good things because itís the right thing instead of looking for some sort of reward for your actions. In other words, a good deed is itís own reward. If you help some guy push his car, do you then win the lottery? No. If the person you helped is a good human then if they see you they will thank you for your good deed, that should be enough (True stuff). As far as doing bad things go, powerful and influential people can and do inflict all kinds of death and destruction and go to bed every night with no fear of reprisals. If I say for instance, disguise cans of dog food as tuna fish and then give them to some lame punk rock food bank (also true), do I then get food poisoning? I doubt it. If one were to make a note of every good thing they did and then note every bad thing that happened to them in a monthís time, I doubt the two would be near equal. The belief that some sort of ďcosmic balanceĒ is in effect in the universe is a moronic, childish notion and its devotees should be rounded up and slaughtered like the cattle they are. Are you offended? Well fuck you hippie.

Another thing: Remember when that hesher Dime Bag Darrel got shot in the face? Then all these metal kids came out of the woodwork crying and shit saying what a cool guy he was and how theyíre all sad and what not sitting in their rooms playing Pantera records with a black light on. Newsflash metal minions: You didnít know the guy, get fucked. Now correct me if Iím wrong, but didnít Pantera break up? And what was this guy doing? He was in some other band now that well, sucked. Do you still own the records? Well you sold all the shitty ones to Second Spin or some shit, but you kept a few of the good ones so you can go burn a candle for this dead metal guy that you never met you over sentimental butthole. If you miss him so much, go kill yourself and get the fuck out of my way. If you need something to be sad about why donít you look at your last paycheck stub like the rest of us?  Something else that Iíve noticed as Iíve been making an effort to go out more: Girls have a rough time in public situations. It really bothers me to see these dudes put their hands all over some girl that was just trying to be social. Just cause some girl talks to you guy does not mean that she wants to have sex with you. The other night, I saw this one girl get her ass slapped twice by two different guys. Was she happy about it? No. I even asked her about it and she said it bothered her. Really guys, do you think thatís going to win you some points? Maybe youíve seen too many movies and you think girls like that kind of shit (Once youíve been with a girl, ass slapping is a whole different thing). Really fellas, you give the whole ďmen are pigsĒ thing credence when you do this crap.  I see lots of guys that just stand around looking way too horny and desperate, itís no wonder that often times when I do go out the evening becomes a ďsausage festĒ as itís been so aptly put.

Lastly, this time a brief rant about credit cards. The basic premise of a credit card is that you pay interest on money that youíre spending now in addition to having to pay it all back later. The longer you take to pay it back, the more you owe. So if you think making 8 bucks an hour sucks, factor in your interest of say 20% and now instead youíre making 6.40 an hour. Can you see what the hell is going on here? This whole society is built up on false money. Those smug bastards that drive by you in their new car wonít be so smug if they miss a payment. Iíd rather own older stuff than have the appearance of being rich while the bank holds all the cards. Wise up suckas.