Christmas 85′

Neil Blender @ Pete Finlans ramp in Oceanside 85'

Christmas 1985.  Tears for Fears, Til Tuesday, Billy Idol, Prince & Dire Straits were played incessantly on the radio. I kept cassette tapes recorded, full of old punk bands & metal, so I wouldn’t be throwing up on my shoes every ten minutes, when a song came on the radio. (funny thing, I like those bands now!) I was stationed at the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base. I was a medic with the infantry. When we weren’t running with full combat loads, cleaning M-16s, scrubbing the squad bay, or being shipped off & deployed to some fucking armpit of the world…I would take the bus from 53 area out to Oceanside.

I would try to ride Del Mar Skate Ranch, ‘The Shell Bowl’, or the strand, in search of some fun.  The Marine Corps frowns on troopers that ride skateboards (toys). It was that way back then, anyway. So, I would venture out on my own. One evening, I had finished skating the Del Mar park, and I was walking out. I saw a Porsche pull in. Stacy Peralta got out & sauntered into the park with some younger guy. The young guy was all padded up & started riding…really well. Stacy was telling him this & that, the whole time; just non-stop talking. I was watching from a fence so I couldn’t quite hear them.

The young guy started doing inverts & stalling them as long as possible. It was so sick! His arm would tremble….then he would just fall back into the pool. It turned out to be, Billy ‘Center of the Universe’ Ruff. He was a ripper, that one! I always wondered what Stacy had been telling him. In 2000, when I worked on the Z-boys documentary with Stacy, I asked him. He couldn’t even recall being at Del Mar with Billy Ruff. Strangeness. Time can get behind you quick, I suppose. Hell, sometimes I can’t remember what I did this morning!

Anyway, right after Thanksgiving of 85, I moved into an Oceanside apartment, with a young couple that I knew from the military. It was cheaper to share expenses & I was just back from a deployment to Korea. I needed some time, ‘off base’. We lived in a nice apartment complex off Sherbourne Ave. One day, I was out skating a red -painted curb in front of the building. I heard some yelling. I walked about a block down the street & through the trees, I saw vert,  PVC coping & skaters! I was dumbfounded. It turned out to be Pete Finlans halfpipe. Pete was cool & welcomed me.

I rode there with Britt Parrot, Brian Ridgeway, Tony Hawk & others, over the next few months. I remember spending Christmas day 1985, skating, drinking Budweiser & making out with a girl in a polkadot dress.  She kept wanting to listen to the new’ Madonna’ album, on her stereo…so I excused myself to use the bathroom. Then, I bailed on her & bought more Budweiser. It seemed the better option. After all, a man must have standards! Those were great times & skating Pete Finlans ramp, helped me squelch my hostility toward the world. These are some of my memories of 1985. The good memories, I might add. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the image. Go skate-Ozzie

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5 thoughts on “Christmas 85′

  1. you just have to bail when maddona is being played. skating does help squelch hostility and is cheaper than a shrink, Neil Blender is the man way to underrated and under appreciated

  2. lol, yeah, I gotta agree on bailing. That’s a serious mood killer. Re-writing her songs was utter joy. I was never wild about Madonna, something I was picked on for at Grace. Time…some things feel like just yesterday and other things feel like a distant movie…things that happened but no longer feeling like they happened with me. Odd, eh?
    I’m rambling…

    Thanks for sharing memories! Goodrich takes kickin awesome pics.

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