Faith.

Kyle Mitchell -'believing' in his landing at 'Eddies' pool.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Faith is an odd thing. Not to oversimplify, but you either have ‘faith’, or you don’t. In order to have faith, you have to believe that there is a higher order to things. You have to believe …in ‘something’ other than yourself. For years, I wandered through life rejecting the God of my upbringing. I continued ranting that he’d turned his back on me & the rest of the world. I saw misery & reasons to justify my anger & selfish behaviors. “I am getting mine! Nobody cares anyway!”  It was easier to point my middle- finger at the sky, drown myself in a river of booze & anything else I could find. It was easier to blame anything…but me. I have quite a list of amends to make. I have found that it takes great strength to be gentle & kind. It takes fortitude to do the right thing. I heard that Bob Marley stated, “…the people trying to destroy the world, aren’t taking a day off.”  I have been thinking quite a bit on the topic lately. I am still unsure that there is an all-knowing hand pulling our strings; a great pre-planned destiny out there waiting . However, I am thinking. Maybe, God didn’t turn his back on us at all. Maybe it was we who stopped looking & believing. Maybe, in our hubris & smug knowledge, we have lost sight of what makes it all happen. Maybe. Faith? What do you believe? Thanks to Ray Zimmerman for the image- Skate & think-Ozzie

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Curren Caples.

Curren Caples

This weekend, I was to do an interview with Steve Olson but the logistics became tangled & things were kicked sideways. Lance had a few people over & Curren Caples was there with some of his friends.  Salba, Eric Nash, Tony Farmer (sporting a new cast compliments of a Fresno pool), Rick Charnoski & Buddy Nichols were there, as well as some other pool pals.  I saw Curren at ‘Ridiculous’ last February when Peter King brought him out to film for ‘Hurley’ at the pool. He ripped really hard! Curren is amazing. He has great style, super board control & seems oblivious to the hype that surrounds him. Lances pool is pretty gnarly, yet he cruised it padless & fearless with smooth airs & grinds everywhere. When I was leaving Saturday, I looked back toward the pool & every face was smiling & laughing. I said to myself,  “This is how all Saturdays should be”. Thanks to Peter King for the image- Skate-Ozzie

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Fruit Bowl.

David Hackett -'Fruit Bowl' side stairs.

Dana Moltin- Fruit Bowl. Garden Grove Ca. March 1977

One day, Tony Alva & I were driving in Orange County. We were going someplace I no longer remember, but it was probably skateboard related. We were sitting at a redlight on Brookhurst & he calmly points to his right and states, “That’s where the ‘Fruit Bowl’ was.”

I was quickly rendered inept as I followed his gaze. No longer watching the lights & traffic, I peered around as he pointed to some condos in the nearby distance. TA continued, ” My dad once lived over in those condos. They were built on the site of the ‘Fruit Bowl’…”. A car horn brought me back from his reverie & I stabbed the gas pedal to get through the green light that had changed. Traffic was moving.

I asked TA how the pool received its name, ‘Fruit Bowl’. “It was at a rundown mental hospital”, he grinned. Recently, I spoke with David Hackett about his first time visiting the pool and he told me that he caught a ride there,  as he was too young to drive. He was really stoned that visit, but remembered that there were at least 50 people there.

” It was a heavy scene. Waldo Autry was king there. He ruled the place. He did ‘forever figure -8’ carves & frontside & backside carves over the stairs that were on both sides of the pool.” David Hackett said that TA & Jay came to the ‘Fruit Bowl’. Both rode really well, pulling edgers & Jay tried hand plants on the wooden tombstone extension.

“If you didn’t have pool skills & couldn’t rip, you sat in the shallow end & watched. It was a gnarly scene there.” David told me to talk with Steve Olson as he had ridden there early on. I phoned Steve Olson & he added a bit of history as well. “I was one of the first people to drain the ‘Fruit Bowl’. Guys that I knew, rode their bikes in it. One guy named ‘Willy’ & some others. It was insane! The pool was not a bust & lasted like 6 months until it became a party spot & the police finally shut it down.”

Steve Olson remembered it being amazing. He added that the concrete parks started opening up around that time, like the ‘Concrete Wave’ in Anaheim. The ‘Fruit Bowl’ was definitely an early proving ground for Orange County skateboarders. I saw images from the pool in the magazines & remember that there was always a crowd around the shallow end. Watching. Waiting. Wishing. Thanks to Jim Goodrich & David Hackett for the images. Skate-Ozzie

Addendum- Salba told me this afternoon that the ‘Fruit Bowl’ was were he first became sponsored. He had ridden it a few times after coming from riding the famed ‘L-pool’ in the Badlands. He stated that the sessions were very heavy there. “I have to say that the ‘Fruit Bowl’ was definitely an early proving ground for pool riders.”

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Slay, rend & chew.

gouged....

tiny teeth, nip & bite.

'beauty is only skin deep'

The ‘Combi 2’ at Vans in Orange California is receiving a ‘skinning’. The sharp tools of the concrete crew tear into her hide. She lay there wounded, her plaster bleeding out of her. She will receive a new skin, tiles & coping. I have a vivid imagination so, seeing her all chewed up, I am reminded of a visit to San Francisco in 2003. We wandered far that first day. The air was cool. It was always cold in San Francisco.

We came across the hillsides & found ourselves on a rocky ledge along the water.  We could glimpse Alcatraz Island squatting malignantly on the boulders, dead center in the bay. It brooded there like a bad dream. A small sailboat & several larger barges would pass across our field of vision, yet Alcatraz held our attention.

The island sat there in the cold morning sun and although it appeared harmless to the casual observer, I could feel its latent power & portent of doom. It was pregnant with antiquity & the burden of broken men, along with all of the life it had sucked out of mankind. The water around the island was flat & dark blue, yet underneath this placid disguise was a furious and unforgiving death trap.

Dark sinister shapes cruised hungrily; always and evermore. The sharks here –in the chilly water –came & stayed. There was  no ‘turnover’. Seals were plentiful & Great Whites were found in abundance.Twenty foot eating machines with rows & rows of white  chiseled teeth that cut & tore gobbets of meat…shrieking & slippery. The largest sharks on earth have been found here.

Sinister & gloomy, they twist their muscular bodies, hurtling up out of the inky blackness. Absolute mind-bending horror. Remorseless, with ancient eyeballs, black with the promise of pain & a rich bath of your own hot blood. A smashing blow, driving the air out of you. An obscene strange thought flashes through your mind as you are driven at great speed through the frothy water, with the unending pressure on your pelvis & chest. Where!? What?! Your mouth fills with water & blood. Salty. Salty. “Oh Gods! Oh sweet Jesus!”

You begin to be sawed in half. Shrieking, you glimpse a row of teeth that never seem to end. The pain burns across your mind and pieces of you fall, spinning softly & slowly down into the dark places. The crabs scuttle out of their sleepy, shadow-filled niches, nibbling at your toes & shredded calf muscles. You should see what you look like!

The water above is calm. Softly, one can hear the ringing of the cable car bells, as tourists climb back up the arching spine of Powell street & into Chinatown. Alcatraz crouches over the water, a brooding picture of menace. It remains a scourge to mankind, with its iron bars rusting, locks sealed tight & the soft lapping, as the bay licks the ancient stones that line the foundations of the prison walls. Thanks to MRZ for the images. Go skate-Ozzie

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The darkness.

Eddie Reategui- Arizona -1984- ‘A blur out of the darkness’

People were driving & clamoring by me today, in a frenzy of speed, texting & the unending quest for more….right now! People want it now! Dinner, news, booze, sex, information,….now! The lines have become blurred between what is good for us & what is detrimental. People live their lives in a haze of frantic movement. They rarely notice birds, trees & flowers. Sometimes, they don’t even see the people they are speaking with.

Its a tragedy. I feel that they are living in the dark and they don’t even know it. Society– in Orange County– seems like a miasma of the unhappy, desperately treading water in the ‘beach cities’ pool of elitist complacency, and they call this ‘living’?! It seems like everyone has to keep up with all the others around them. To my eyes, its a race of stupidity.  Some days, I am speechless. Scott & I worked for this woman that we started landscaping service for. We began several months ago. She was fussy…we could tell.

On meeting her, we were quickly informed of her supremacy over us & our ‘place’ in her grand scheme of things. Standing in the driveway beside her $75,000 Mercedes Benz,  we were told that, “I’m the ‘number one’ real estate agent in Orange County, two years in a row.”  Scott & I just blinked and stared at her. When that bit of bravado didn’t elicit the proper awe,  she pushed her hair from her eyes.

She looked at me like I was an insect.   Next, she pointed her perfect fingers at us, fidgeted in her silk  Dolce & Gabana blouse & stated majestically, ” I have a Masters in Business Administration.” First of all, we were there to garden! Come on lady! We certainly didn’t care if she flew for NASA…although I am sure Scott & I would’ve found that fact, a bit cooler than her being an idiot home salesman with an ego-maniacal bag of issues.

This lady was a freak. Her husband seemed mellow enough, but I could tell that he had been brow-beaten & finally surrendered his manhood. His spine had– long ago– been dissolved by financial subservience  & her acid tongue. He looked like a whipped dog. He was -mostly-dour & downtrodden. Poor wretch. Scott & I completed our work every week . We really tried to placate this woman. We hustled & always tried to do extra things for her & keep her happy. After all, she had been through three other landscapers in the recent past.

She was more brilliant & insightful than God…in her own eyes. This one was self-deluded. Today, we arrived & she came scurrying out. I groaned inwardly at the look on her face. She was holding a ream of paper in her hands & looked as stern as a taskmaster. I started cutting the grass. Scott walked around with her for about twenty minutes as I tended to the lawn. I caught glimpses of them & her mouth never stopped its incessant chatter &  diatribe. The scowl on Scotts face became darker.

I walked out & emptied the mower bag & shortly after, heard Scott call for me. He said “Get in! We are done!” We drove away, leaving her standing there holding her stupid lists. He told me that she had insulted him over and over until he finally had enough. “We have tons of people that love our work & treat us wonderfully. I won’t work for people like that.” We ‘high-fived’ and drove into the afternoon sun, leaving her standing there…in her own darkness. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the image. Skate…and be nice to your gardeners & everyone else! -Ozzie

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skateboard madness?

Tony Jetton- 'Beef Bowl' demo. Los Angeles.

In the late 1970s, many things were odd & appeared peculiar. Disco, clothing, hair styles & the movie,’Skateboard Madness’. Another thing going on, was a group of skaters that traveled around in flamboyant costumes & performed regularly. If I recall, it was strange. It was like the ‘Ice Capades’ on wheels. Anyway, the only ‘madness’ I can think of that corresponds with ‘skateboarding’, is the madness associated with those that QUIT. If I recall correctly, Tony Jetton played a part in the traveling show while wearing a costume and performing. He also did this Chinese restaurant opening demo in downtown Los Angeles. Jim Goodrich told me that he thought it was called the ‘Beef Bowl.’ That sounds funny to me for some reason. Anyway, if someone quits skating, it would definitely seem like ‘madness’ to me. I understand the weight of responsibility, the unrelenting burden instilled by the nagging tongues of women, and feeling the need to ‘grow up’. I know. I have been through it. But, to quit something that is so special makes no sense. If you’ve quit, dust off your board & get back out there. There are skate parks everywhere. Roll around & rediscover why you started in the first place. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the image.  Skate-Ozzie

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Alone with everybody.

Escondido reservoir-1977

Withdrawn. Isolative. When I was young, I remained torn between wanting to ‘fit in’ & damning the ‘accepted’ to the seven hills in Hell. Insecurity was a constant shadow & everything & everyone was scary. Few things were certain. However, one thing that always remained constant, in my chaotic teenage nightmare, was my skateboard.

I am not sure if anyone felt the way I did, but growing up was a terrible experience. The things that interested me, were absolutely horrific & unnatural to my peers & the locals around me. Pennsylvania was a place filled with old people & even older ways.  I loved reading books, punk music & skateboarding. In the world around me, you either hunted & killed animals, worshiped in churches regularly or bashed someones brains in, while playing football. I need not explain the serious discrepancies that I saw evident in all that!

You behaved & listened to authority. I was at odds with everything around me. My blood burned & throbbed in my temples. Football , church & hunting!? I wanted to scream my anguish at the gods & make them recognize me again. Church was for giving your soul ‘peace’. I recall liking church. I loved the quiet stillness, but hated the punishment. The only time I felt content & at peace with the world, was when I was rolling on my skateboard.

I rode alone…mostly. I pretended Tony Alva, Jimmy Plummer, Ray Bones Rodriquez & others were there. I played ‘most one-wheelers’ with Jerry Valdez, riding my half-pipe with its cinder block coping. In my mind, I was at ‘Buddha pool’ in the San Fernando valley. I would leave my house in the morning, and push down the  cracked & buckled, asphalt roads. I would push & push between green, eerily -whispering cornfields, stretching out to either side of me.

About four miles away, was a local 7-11 type market. It had an asphalt bank beside its parking lot with a flat top. I would skate over there & do ‘rollouts’ like Rick Blackhart. I would pull ‘berts’ & slides. I was in heaven because – in my mind- I was no longer in Pennsylvania. There was a ditch-like reservoir down the street that Jim Howell & I called the, ‘Beer bottle basin’. We would sweep & ride it until dusk, then I began the long muscle-straining push homeward.

I would get home after dark; exhausted & happy. I had spent the day skating past couples, kids & families. I came into contact with groups of people at the market & elsewhere. Yet, no matter what I did, I felt alone with everybody. That feeling occurs to this day. Some nights, loneliness can cover me like a stifling blanket. On those nights, I put ‘Seven Summer Stories’, ‘Skateboard Madness’, or “Search for Animal Chin’ on the DVD & bring myself back around. Skateboarding can always ‘talk me down’ from my ledge. I only hope that it always will. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the image. Skate-Ozzie

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