2011 is a done deal. It’s been a hard one for many people. Job loss, foreclosure, cuts in social programs & benefits… it made for a long, fearful & difficult year. I would periodically watch the news or pick up a newspaper. It was the same old things. Scandal, disease, over-crowding, politicians boinking the help, dead Marines, peace ‘negotiations’ (wink/nudge) and a million other things that can & have gone wrong. I turn away in disgust. It isn’t a wonder that I fly under the radar. I don’t mind being gone. I am a black hole in this life. Trying to see a way out of our world’s problems is mind numbing. I don’t think it can be done. It is folly. Some of the great problems that always contribute to the downfall of any society are sex, ignorance & hatred. Unwanted children equal problems, problems, problems… frustration builds, money disappears & anger overflows. It is all because people can’t control their behavior. I know. I’ve been there. I look at the world and try to be hopeful. I try to be optimistic… but I cannot. I see misery of our own making. There is very little love. I think Jesus Christ was right… we need to love each other and live honorable & correct lives. I think we should begin right now. Let’s make 2012 a new start. We should help others, love people, stop hating and being fearful. Be an individual. Be thoughtful and sensitive. Never let go of those things that make you different. Who cares what others think of you?! Stand for something… that would be a good move in the right direction as well. Here are a few images of Neil Blender. He is such an amazing skateboarder, artist & inspiration. I am going to use his inspiration as a catalyst to help me help others this year. Have a Happy New Year. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the images. Skate- Ozzie
It had stood there for many years. Night after night, the cold face of the moon grinned its pale white light down over him. The moon stood watch over his life & he stood watch over theirs. The concrete, brick & wood box below him had housed more than a few humans. Big, tall, black, white… many languages, many tears. He liked the tiny humans the best. Children. They were untainted & untrammelled. They laughed & hid behind him. He wished his face were lower to the ground so he could shade them better. The concrete pool sat nearby. In certain afternoon light, he saw his face reflected in the cool water. His own mirror. He thought he looked majestic. The children splashed & screamed in delight. Happiness & laughter. He smiled deep inside himself. Sometimes at night, he heard them cry. The raised voices & the striking hands of the big ones. He stood over their life… a gaunt stoic presence. One day, the big trucks came. Activity. Bustling. Yelling. Boxes & trash… then silence. All life left & he remained.
Birds cawed & fluttered among his green fronds. They sang in the early morning sun. Heat came. The long thirsty wait. He pulled water deeply into himself. He held it there, much in the same way the puny humans kept a grip on their pride. His way was healthier. It was of the earth. The sleepy seasons were long behind him. Noon burned bright. No breeze stirred. Then, the dark, smoke & pain came. Fire washed across the nearby grass fields. He saw it coming. Hot flames licked his trunk. Soot blocked out the life-giving sun. Pain & sleep followed. It was a long silent wait. Months. Finally, the sun –once more– was a
presence. It shone on a world gone wrong. He was torn & blackened. Fires had consumed the structure below. From his height, he saw it all. Devastation. Many other distant trees looked back at him. They shouldered the sky & shrugged. They had withstood the ages. The comings & goings of humanity meant little. They were & always would be. For many long hot months, time crawled slowly by. Then, they came. The new ones. They cleaned up the area. They were happy. The new ones drained the pool of its muck & debris. They rolled around in it. Happiness & laughter filled the air again. It rose up to him like the sweet smoke they took into their lungs. He smiled again. All life moved forward & he with it. Skate- Ozzie
My friends are funny… as they should be. Life is far too short to walk around being serious. Let the rest of the world numb themselves & live in a bubble… I’d rather laugh and have fun. On Christmas eve, Shawn & his family were playing a Christmas gift-giving game. When he saw one of the presents, he knew that he must obtain it. It was a small white fingerless glove stitched up exactly like a pair of tighty-whities mens underwear. He managed to obtain one of the highly coveted ‘Handypants’. Even though it was early the next morning when everyone arrived at Ridiculous for our drive up to Fresno… we couldn’t contain our laughter. Being perpetually 12 years old, I immediately slipped the ‘Handypants’ onto my left hand and started singing Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat it” with appropriate hand gestures! Needless to say, we were amused. We quickly were on the road knifing our way towards Fresno. The air was cold and the ‘Handypants’ came in … well, downright handy. We were going skating. Pools! A few of our companions were to go along but in the end had to bow out at the last minute. It ended up being: Ripperside Shawn, Brandon Wong and myself. We were meeting up with Josh Peacock in Fresno.
We saw the sun rising up behind us on the Pear Blossom highway. We pulled off on a dusty road. Joshua Trees were stark and black against the morning sun. We pissed out our coffee and scurried back into the warm truck, continuing our journey. It took us several hours as the day grew brighter. We stopped and stretched our legs. It was nice.
Arriving in Fresno, we all were making observations about how the area really resembled San Bernardino and Riverside. Fields, agriculture, rundown farms, homes, dust and despair were everywhere. The foreclosures and boarded up homes seemed to be on every street up here.
I saw a man huddled on a filthy sidewalk. Cars burned past on the street. All life moved & pulsed by in a frenzy of motion just a few feet away. He was just another dismal smudge on the city landscape. He must have played the wrong card. It seemed as though the closer we got to the state capitol of Sacramento, the worse the economy became. Maybe Schwarzenegger should’ve been paying more attention to the state of the economy in California and less time diddling around in his house maids panties… things might be a bit better. Oh well, a scumbag is a scumbag, no matter what sort of title and expensive suit you wrap him up in. Just look at Bill Clinton… Regardless, things looked pretty familiar. Josh Peacock introduced us to his pals- Adrina and Ryan. We quickly grabbed caffeine and were headed to our first pool within thirty minutes of entering the city of Fresno.
Josh Peacock is a really funny guy. He makes skateboarding videos. They are amazing. Bowls, brothers, beers and scantily-clad women are everywhere throughout them. Mixed within is an unending array of some of the greatest pool riders completely destroying. Josh Peacock has a large number of backyard pools at his disposal and we were happy to be there.
We hit a quick ten minute pool that was super fast & smooth, then worked our way out to this broken down old ranch home across town. Piles of trash and furniture were scattered throughout the front as we pulled past and into the back yard. A huge old green right-hand kidney greeted our eyes. The surface was like sandpaper but the pool was steep and fast. We all had fun with her. RJ quickly proved what a ripper he really is! 50-50s and big ollies were what he served up. Shawn, Brandon and I pulled grinds and Peacock and Adrina flowed through the pool content to be cruising in the sun with some friends.
Brandon had imbibed in libations the night before so he was feeling less than motivated. Once we got going though, he soon turned on the juice & put some trucks on the coping. We hit a small whipper-snapper capsule. Blue Line. It was janky on the facewall. You had to go wide. I carved around and then found a dead bird. It’s eyes were black and dull… I wondered what it would be like to see all that it had seen. “If you could only see what I’ve seen…” Soaring. Above all life. I put the dead bird back under a bush and turned to watch as RJ ollied the stairs and everyone else put in some grind time. We were out of there in 20 minutes.
Josh decided to take us by Ray’s pool and then we were going to Hogan’s. Both are permissions and both are mainstays in the Fresno scene. We soon found out why. Ray’s is a Blue Haven right hand kidney that has been ridden by virtually everyone. It was fast and fun. Once there, Ripperside Shawn turned on the power. He pulled super rad BS stalls on the hip over the side ladder stairs while Josh blasted the shallow end stairs with speed and style. I struggled with the deathbox & RJ simply did whatever he wanted. Adrina carved around and Brandon threw up a few grinds to end the session. It was really fun.
We left for Hogan’s with about an hour of sunlight left. Hogan’s is a huge Blue Haven amoeba pool. It has an epic surface, bullnose coping, a perfect mid pocket and a big loveseat on the right deep end wall. This pool is really fast & you can develop so much speed in it. RJ and Josh quickly showed us the runaway train line and I was amazed at how well they rode that pool. I started trying the loveseat but was undone. I couldn’t quite get the speed line to go all the way over. It was okay though, because my pool pal Shawn stepped up & flew over it after just a few tries. The stoke on his face was unmistakable. It was rad! Brandon grinded, RJ pulled beautiful mid pocket grinds and the sun quickly began to wane. We were out of time.
Tired and super stoked on the day, we said our goodbyes and headed to get some dinner before the long drive home. Fresno was good to us. We have great pool pals. No matter where we go, we can always find a good pool to ride. I have extended that invitation in the past and have found it to be reciprocated. I have met the greatest people in my life through skateboarding. We all share the same secret. Let’s keep it that way.– Thank you to Brandon Wong for the images. Thanks to Josh Peacock, Ryan Johnson, Adrina Parker, Brandon & Ripperside Shawn and the makers of ‘Handypants’. It was an awesome mission. Skate- Ozzie
My pool pals- Ripperside Shawn & Brandon Wong-drove up to Fresno with me today. We left before dawn & ended up riding six great pools with Josh Peacock, Ryan and Adrina. We just returned and are all pretty beat up. This morning when Shawn showed up at the house, he gave me a present that his family made for me on Christmas day. It is sooo rad! The angel fish were hand drawn & painted in with nail polish… The coping & tiles are from an old pool that Shawn rode a few years ago. Thanks to Shawn, Susan, Gaura, Gopa and Sis for giving me the best present ever. I love you all. The Fresno story & images are coming up soon. Skate & be grateful for good friends. – Ozzie
Alone. The holiday time is not very enjoyable when you are by yourself. The hours crawl, the house creaks and old ghosts stir about the place… I don’t like people to be around me at this time of year. Warmth, laughter, family, love… these things remind me of all that I lack. The lone wolf prowls the world… he stays hidden –by choice–and removed from all things. He is the first to flee at any sign of danger or noise. Alone, he cannot be harmed. He waits out the long bleak winter. Cold … is the wait for nothing. – Ozzie
We had an awesome day at Lance’s with some of the best women skateboarders on the planet. The article link is below in case you haven’t seen it. Brandon Wong worked for a long time to get the video completed. I think it is great. Thank you to all involved & special thanks to Brandon Wong for the video edit & filming. Have a Merry Christmas. Skate- Ozzie
‘The Outsiders’ story link- outsiders
I was on the tail end of a twelve hour shift at the hospital. It was my fourth day in a row. I was mentally and emotionally drained. My scrubs were splashed with blood and the bio-hazard warnings were buzzing faintly in my mind. I paid them little heed. At this point, I was much too exhausted and very close to punching the clock. I was going home. I didn’t want to change clothes. I was to be off for three days. I would rest and skate with Rhino, Preston and Andy.
I had been admitting a 59 year old, obese man with heart problems and renal issues… his heart and kidneys were failing. Not so good. He was pretty demanding and needy. I understood. He was scared. However, I still had a bit of work to accomplish, so I tried to keep him comfortable and deal with the mess of paperwork and doctors orders that routinely go along with an admission to the unit. He was a bank executive, and a pilot in the Air Force, he quickly told me. He let me know my place in his scheme of things. He questioned my every action. He was a curmudgeon.
I looked at this overweight ill man and wondered how he became this way. After all, I knew how I turned out the way I did. I knew that I was a mess inside. I would go home from work, taking all the pain and suffering with me. I would put Keith Jarretts- ‘Invocations’ on the CD player– open a bottle of Stoli–and drown in a river of my own making. Who could I talk to of my household gods? Rage, alcohol, loneliness and despair. I shook my head sadly. I had a messed up childhood- in some ways -and a huge inferiority complex from it. I guess that I had finally stopped blaming my parents and just tortured myself with my fears. It wasn’t their fault anyway. They did the best they could. Damn! A person could go nuts with such thoughts.
I was out in the hallway, striding toward the supply room when I heard a call, ” I need some help in here!” The voice had that urgency and panic familiar to me. I knew that something was wrong. I rushed back into the patients room and saw my admission patient turning the wrong color. He was dusky and slipping fast. We all went into our mode. One person checked vitals, one called for more help and the machinery of life-saving quickly fell in order. I performed CPR on the man after he coded. The ‘Code Blue’ team responded with the crash cart and we -collectively- brought the man back from the darkness.
It probably wouldn’t be for long though. He was a physical wreck from years of indulgent living, sumptuous meals and neglecting his health. I pictured his home on a Friday night. The smell of good cigars, rich food, business banter and wine-inspired laughter. The families gold-laced, framed photographs in the hallways, spoke of assured destiny and old money. We brought him back to life again…
After a few weeks, he was stabilized and ready to be discharged. He would need careful monitoring and home health visits. He sent for me and I stopped in his room to see him. He was with his family at this point. He looked different…not so haughty or entitled. He spoke humbly, thanking me for my efforts and for performing CPR on him. His family said much the same to me. My fingers fluttered and I fidgeted nervously. I didn’t like this part of the job. For me, it was easier to coldy zip them into a bag.
I wished him and his family well. I hope that he makes it. I hope he sees his grandchildren grow older. I hope that he’s not such a prick any longer. I drove home in the early morning light. My shift ended at 7:00 am. I was wrung out. On entering my room, I looked longingly at a bottle of Crown Royal on the nightstand. It glittered wetly. My demise. I turned away, showered and went to bed. Pulling the sheets up over my head to block out the morning light, I had one final thought before sleep took me. If I helped to give that man more life, how can I consider my own life a waste? Thank you MRZ for the image. Skate-Ozzie
Cresting a small hill, we saw it simultaneously. A boarded up 1940′s era motel. The stones rattled against the side of the car as Ray Zimmerman pulled over. We craned our necks to look… ”Did you see the fence around the place?!” – I asked excitedly. Ray nodded his head, trying to peer through bushes that obscured our view. He looped around and pulled up an access road nearby. Ray switched off the engine & we climbed out. We clearly saw what had caught our eye. The motel squatted there like a malignant thing… it was a blight on the landscape. The roof sagged in places, paint was peeling and the palm trees that stirred in the wind were in dire need of trimming. “Looks like its been closed up for years.” – he mumbled. I ran my eyes over the place. The plywood covering some of the windows was warped & stained. Broken glass glittered. Weeds grew through the paving stones and trash and palm debris was thick under our feet. A rusting chain link fence wrapped itself around a long concrete slab that was raised up about six feet above our point of view. From our vantage point, we could only see the cinder block foundation & the fence enclosure. It was the pool area.
I remember muttering- ”Big old kidney. Big old kidney.” – like a strange mantra, as we made our way up the short hill and level with the pool. On closer inspection, we couldn’t even see the shape of the pool as it was covered –row-on-row– with what appeared to be giant steel girders. They were laying across the entire surface of the pool covering it. I was over the fence in less time than it takes to tell it. I pulled up on one of the beams. I couldn’t even budge it. They must have weighed a thousand pounds each. There was a small area where I could see a round corner and some bullnose coping but that was all. “Damn. Someone wanted to definitely keep people out of the pool!” – Ray exclaimed. I told him that I had never seen anything so drastic… it was bizarre. We utilized his pole cam and Ray took some excellent images and then we continued on the long road to our destination. We were meeting up with Alex Perelson, Josh Stafford and Sam Beckett at a new pool that Riverside Shawn & I had drained the week before.
My pool pal -Lowden- had heard of it from his friend Cody. It was a sweet little amoeba. The transitions were crazy good, the coping was ladyfinger and the neighborhood was pretty relaxed. Riverside Shawn & I had drained it and put a real good pounding onto her… we were going back this week to see what else might be done. Ray and I decided to take the long way. On the journey, we had found a few pools and now we had spotted the old motel. It is skate missions like these that make me happy. Discovery. Taking the bad & making a good thing out of it. Creation. We meandered through a stark desert valley and cruised our way into a small town. Rusting cars lay abandoned on dried lawns. Old wrinkled men sat idly on porches watching as we drove by. “It’s like time forgot this place …” Ray smiled in response as he drove us toward our destination. Stopping for water, we then went to the pool. Alex and the crew were a few minutes away. Ray took photographs and I cleaned out the leaves and litter.
Once they arrived, we all quickly became very busy. They were really stoked on the look of the pool. One could easily see the possibilities from a casual glance. The trannies were mellow and the bowl was wide. The only slight imperfection was that the grout in between the slabs of ladyfinger coping had all come out. There were small quarter inch gaps between each coping block… it made for an interesting day.
Brandon Perelson quickly threw himself into high gear and flowed through the pool like he’d been there before. He hadn’t but it didn’t matter. His lines were fast & smooth and we all found ourselves wishing we were him. Brandon would end this pool session with a BS boneless on the hip, FS airs over the diving board and complete deathbox destruction. No joke! Alex Perelson decided that he wanted to do a BS ollie over the diving board. He’s Alex… so he did it. It was amazing and we were all happy like school kids on vacation.
Josh Stafford rips everywhere he goes. He pulled FS tailslides and FS airs… among other things. Sam Beckett was feeling way more comfortable in this pool session than on his last outing with us. It showed. Sam pulled the deathbox before any of us and his crailslides over the box were amazing. We were all thirsty and we’d been there for quite awhile. It was time to go and we all bid goodbye to the awesome amoeba.
We rolled out and then hit a local favorite for a few more grinds and airs. Josh hurled himself out of the pool with Judo airs, Brandon pulled FS inverts and Alex threw down a seatbelt grab ‘Remy Stratton’ air just to keep it all legit. The sun dropped, it grew cold and everyone was tired but elated with the session. The crew had traveled far and found more than we ever hoped to find. We went the long way… Thanks to the crew. Thanks to Lowden & Cody for the pool and MRZ for the images. Skate- Ozzie