Wednesday, December 31, 2014

december thirty-first

Five for December 31st:

NYE. For the first time in four years, I am not playing a show tonight. Given the frigid temperatures and lack of babysitter, watching Key & Peele and drinking some cheap champagne when the ball drops at midnight is the likely scenario.

Required reading. [White] Woman Goes on Shooting Spree, yet somehow isn't automatically Killed By Police, NYT Editorial Board Blasts NYPD Officers' 'Disgraceful Acts' of 'Self-Pity' / Police Respect Squandered in Attacks on de Blasio, How California's New Rules Are Scrambling The Egg Industry, 4 things that should happen now that we know the truth about witness #40, a lying white supremacist.

This blog. February of 2010 is when I started doing the whole “five things a day” format, and honestly- the fact that I’ve kept it going consistently (literally every day with the exception of weekends/vacations) for going on half a decade is absolutely nuts when I think about it. At this point, it’s such a part of my daily routine I can’t imagine not doing it.

Cool stuff. Half-day at work, new issue of Thrasher (with free 2014 Hell of a Year DVD), vinyl copy of Tilts’ Cuatro Hombres, iPhone tripod and fisheye app, new Seoul Taco location, fun evening with Janey, homemade chili, cheap Sims Screamer II.

2014 highlights. Finding out we were having a boy in May, my daughter growing into the coolest and sweetest little girl on the planet before my eyes, turning 37, having an amazing mild summer, spending a week at the beach with Lisa and Jane, getting some major home projects finished, my band’s last show, tons of drumming, bike-commuting, picture-taking and skateboarding, and meeting lots of cool people. Seeya next year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

december thirtieth

Five for December 30th:

20 week Ultrasound. If there was any lingering doubt before- we’re definitely having a boy. Everything is looking super good and he’s got quite the handsome profile to boot. Hard to believe we’re halfway there.

Required reading. From no civilization would tolerate what America has done: “America has become a society addicted to violence and indifferent to the suffering of people without power. Whenever there is a combination of a culture of violence and an ethic of heartlessness, fatal abuse of authority will escalate, and the legal system will fail to address it.”

Thug Life. Best video ever.

Cool stuff. New (cheap) 16gb thumb drive, 9 St. Louis Bands That Called it Quits in 2014, Boardwalk Empire on Amazon Prime, holiday photo dump, bootleg Powell ’89 World Tour shirt, newly-discovered playalong drum tracks.

Tuesday soundtrack. The Besnard Lakes, Egg Hunt, Samiam, Metallica, Hellacopters, ALL, Justice, Jay Reatard, Black Flag.

Monday, December 29, 2014

december twenty-ninth

Five for December 29th:

Jane. She had a fun (and somewhat overwhelming) long weekend seeing every conceivable family member there is and spending more time opening presents than not. Somewhere in there I introduced her to Pee-Wee’s Playhouse which she is now in love with. Certainly my greatest act as a parent to date.

Weird week. 2.5 days at work, half-day NYE, off NYD, back at work Friday, with Lisa and Jane road-tripping to see friends in Arkansas in the latter half of the week- plus, leaving early today for an ultrasound at MoBap. Which way is up?

Aldibrau. What’s with the weird little Kingshighway Aldi having a better beer selection than the spiffy, new, twice-the-size Maplewood location? Blue Moon knockoff for the win.

Cool stuff. 2015 Moleskine planner, pair of Ray-Bans, Hell Night at Fubar, new Fossil watch, Haro: the Rise and Fall of BMX Freestyle, $70 worth of Starbucks gift cards, getting five extra days of vacation at work, bottle of champagne.

Skating. Rad indoor session yesterday at Ramp Riders with the old man crew and a trip to Yap or Elm in the works for new year’s day. Plus: fresh setup.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

december twenty-fourth

Five for December 24th:

Berkeley. What I don't understand is how these police monitoring systems seem to work in these arbitrary ways, as if no one has yet figured out how to make surveillance systems function at all times. Dash cameras that only come on when the car's flashing lights are on? Body cams that the officer decides when to activate (or wear at all)? Why is it that a little gas station in North County can have cameras running all the time, yet the police seemingly can't figure it out?

Click bait. Then & Now: The Rolling Stones’ French Villa of Debauchery, Sean Hannity Overwhelmingly Voted ‘Worst News Host’ By Colleagues, Guy Turns Grand Theft Auto Into Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, 9 of the Most Fascinating Abandoned Mansions from Around the World.

Cheap gaming. Picked up Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Fable 3, and Batman: Arkham City yesterday, all for about fifteen bucks used. Should be sufficient to tide me over through the winter until spring rolls back around.

Cool stuff. 4.5-day weekend, Black Label Hassan and 56mm Spitfire Formula Fours in the next Josh order, Chris Lipomi on Dear Skating, barbecue at work, Amazon Prime on Wii.

Holiday weekend action. Gift-giving/receiving, familial insanity, skating/riding, Ultraman and Hell Night at Fubar, drink-having, not working, not posting here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

december twenty-third

Five for December 23rd:

Paul Stanley Folgers commercial. “The confusing commercial ends with Stanley doing some magician-like gestures and disappearing off the screen. The vanishing act proved to be permanent as the ad was never broadcast. ‘This commercial never aired because focus groups asked 'who is the old, creepy guy?' and the agency pulled it”.

Good reads. New York Times calls for Cheney, Bush officials to be investigated and prosecuted for torture, 5 reasons to suspect that Jesus never existed, The Congo's Forgotten Colonial Getaway, Listen to the Real Stephen Colbert Explain How He Maintained His Flawless Character for 9 Years.

Skateboarding. Tuesday night session at Ramp Riders went off last night, with Kenny throwing down one of the most insane tricks I’ve ever seen.

Cool stuff. Anna’s xmas cookies, record grooves under a microscope, Ranchito with Tom, Lisa’s gift didn’t actually get lost in the mail, Glorious Leader!

Tuesday soundtrack. Joe Cocker (RIP), the Mescaleros, Youth of Today, Van Halen, Gorilla Biscuits, Rites of Spring, Tommy Guerrero, Led Zeppelin.

Monday, December 22, 2014

december twenty-second

Five for December 22nd:

Here’s hoping. A Startling Admission By The Ferguson Prosecutor Could Restart The Case Against Darren Wilson.

Winter solstice. The official arrival of winter also means the shortest, darkest day of the year is officially behind us, which is music to my ears. All downhill from here.

Favorite things about iPhone 5. Ability to turn off photostream (plus option for rapid deletion of groups of photos), talk-based texting and commenting, high-level app functionality, talking GPS, using Siri for song identification instead of having to open Shazam, infinitely better photo and video.

Cool stuff. New mechanical pencils, $1.98 gas, weekend solo slider bar skating, hummus and veggie sandwiches, Mexican casserole, Jane and Rudolph, religion’s smart-people problem, cleaning out closets, drum-free practice tracks on Youtube.

Science Center. The Discovery Room might be our saving grace this winter for getting Jane out of the house and giving us some time to sit down. She went there twice over the weekend- the second time being my first trip there- and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Friday, December 19, 2014

december nineteenth

Five for December 19th:

Tilts. Killed it last night. For a band that only plays a few times a year, the fact that they’re as tight and on-point as they are is pretty unreal. Also my first time seeing Traindodge despite them playing here a million times over the years.

Illinois. Every other Illinois license plate you see (at least in the greater St. Louis area) is personalized with some sort of outdated 90s movie reference. Fact.

Chili potluck. Going down as I type this, ringing out the last working Friday of 2014 in style and full-on grazing mode.

Cool stuff. Stephen Colbert send-off, Friday mornings, Andy White: Lord of the Lunch t-shirt, new issue of Transworld Skateboarding, 37 Years Ago: Elvis Costello Is Banned From Saturday Night Live, CNN hosts support protesters, DIY Skate Crate with Jason Adams, Fugazi Instrument full documentary on Youtube.

Weekend action. Or lack thereof? All sorts of stuff happened over this past week, leaving this weekend pretty barren. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

december eighteenth

Five for December 18th:

Sony hack. It’s inconceivable to think that a bunch of hackers actually got Sony to shelve a 44 million dollar potential holiday blockbuster with an email hack and some ludicrous threats. If nothing else, it sets a very dangerous precedent for how this sort of thing is dealt with (or not dealt with).

Impromptuism. Last-minute evening skate session at Ramp Riders came together via text yesterday, with Andy, Chris P, Chris C, James, and myself all showing up to throw down. Good times.

Not going to happen. I've literally lost count of all the names this place has had over the years, but all the corporate re-branding in the world will never stop people from calling it Riverport.

Cool stuff. No cavities, Tilts at Firebird, turn off the photo stream feature on iPhone 5, Pushing Forward, Jane inching closer to potty training, lunch with Tom, goofballery.

Jaws True Blue. This is the most insane skate part I think I’ve ever seen. I blew out my knees five times just watching it. How can it get any gnarlier than this?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

december seventeenth

Five for December 17th:

Racanelli’s. With their old location at the former Marketplace in the Loop horrifically transformed into a terrible bro-centric sports bar with overpriced food, Racanelli’s has finally reopened a new spot down the street- mercifully ending a pizza-by-the-slice dry spell that has consumed U-City for close to a decade.

Elizabeth Warren. I have been singing her praises for a couple of years now. Should she decide to run for President (which so far she has said she will not be doing), she's got my vote.

Cavity creeps. Dentist appointment tonight. Here’s hoping for another tooth decay-free six months.

Cool stuff. Guy Mariano Life on Video series, free Martin Strings leatherbound notebook, the Alcatraz escapees could have survived, Barbee reissue railed up, K-cup restock, Youth of Today on Spotify, the Pat Duffy interview, morning drums.

Instagram. Updated app with some cool new filters hit today, which is a welcome development, as the same old ten or so were getting pretty stale- to the point that I was hardly using them at all anymore.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

december sixteenth

Five for December 16th:

Xmas jams revisited. For a Jewish-born atheist, I sure have played on a lot of Christmas songs. Here's the last and best of 'em.

DIY. What do you do when all the old school skate graphic stickers you want to sell in your store aren’t being made? Easy. Just print ‘em up yourself and sell them for fifty cents apiece. I’m all for it.

At the movies. Finally made use of a couple of free movie passes we’ve had sitting in a drawer for probably three years and went to see Mockingjay last night. Definitely the first time in a theater since before Jane was born.

Cool stuff. New set of Pig Rails, Wayne’s World 2 on Netflix in January, hitting Racanelli’s, Christian Hosoi perfect contest run, Mike and Ikes.

Tuesday soundtrack. The Clash, UFO, Iron Maiden, Devo, Hell Night, the Germs, Adolescents, Dio, Sebadoh, New Pornographers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

december fifteenth

Five for December 15th:

Springlike temperatures. The awesomeness of being outside at the park and playing around in the backyard in short sleeves yesterday- just a couple of weeks short of January- was not lost on me.

Skateboarding. Couple of hours at JB on Saturday plus a mega fun, short and sweet session at an invite-only garage mini ramp on Sunday. Also found a great slappy spot with low painted curbs I’ll definitely be going back to soon.

Holiday happenings. Got some lights up, bribed Jane with a lollipop into sitting still for five seconds to get a card-worthy photo, Seth and Lindsay’s xmas party went off, truck-bed ride through Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park.

Cool stuff. The St. Pete Ramp, pancakes at Chris’, The 2400 on Netflix, Reggie Watts: Beats That Defy Boxes, The Onion Book of Known Knowledge, 30-pin to lightning iPhone adapters, weekly photo offload, 30K people really did buy poop on Black Friday.

Last full workweek of the year. Cool, because we're coming up on two weeks with lots of time off. Depressing, because after that it's a wasteland of cold weather and no time off for as far as the eye can see. Not that I’m complaining.

Friday, December 12, 2014

december twelfth

Five for December 12th:

Getting old. Got added last night to a newly created Facebook group for the class of 1995, currently planning our twenty-year reunion for next year. The ten-year reunion seems like it was yesterday. I know I say this a lot, but time f*cking flies.

Required reading. Missouri Black Caucus chairman files constitutional amendment to abolish grand juries, Sunset Hills Mayor indicted for attacking cyclist, U.S. congressional staffers stage walkout in latest police protests.

My War. I always dug the Elephant/Black Flag My War decks but wasn’t a huge fan of the shape. I guess that might have been the case for a lot of people as it has been updated to something a little less massive. Definitely on my xmas short-list.

Cool stuff. Popcorn Friday, Hell of a Year 2014 DVD in the next issue of Thrasher, retro Iron Maiden concert shirts, hazelnut coffee, Racanelli’s in the Loop finally open (again), Jane’s personalized STL Zoo notepad, Family Guy season 12 on Netflix.

Weekend action. Hell Night at Demo and/or Kennedys reunion at the Ready Room, Seth & Lindsay’s annual holiday party, toy show with Greg, skating at JB, checking out the Tilles Park lights, and whatever else- all to the tune of mild, mid-50’s weather. Bam.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

december eleventh

Five for December 11th:

School days. The transition to the new class was rough for a month or so, but we’ve finally turned the corner with Jane back to her usual gleeful self in the mornings. Definitely a huge relief.

Required reading. Buffalo Bills Cheerleaders Routine: No Wages, No Respect, Yes, it was torture, and yes, conservatives need to put it behind them, The 5 Most Damning Revelations From The CIA's Report.

GTA BMX. Stumbled upon a vert ramp in GTAV last night, complete with a BMX bike parked right next to it (that is always there) to ride. Landed a few 360 fly-outs and basic air-to-fakies, and actually almost pulled a flair before crushing someone at the bottom of the ramp and having the cops called on me.

Cool stuff. Mi Ranchito with Tom and Craig, trying to learn sweepers, Betty Bowers: America’s Best Christian, lunch cruising, The Rotting Underwater Ballroom of a Victorian Bernie Madoff.

A year ago today. Led Zeppelin’s catalog became available to stream on Spotify, and all was right with the world.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

december tenth

Five for December 10th:

Better late than never. Thanks to Seth for returning my copy of UHF, which I lent him sometime toward the end of the Bush presidency. Now if he can just get around to returning Kevin’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack, everything will be square.

Required reading. Sunset Hills City Council set to impeach Mayor Mark Furrer, The UN calls for US officials involved in brutal CIA interrogations to be prosecuted, Key eyewitnesses in Eric Garner's death state that the grand jury was biased and uninterested, Walgreens Removes Hanukkah Wrapping Paper Covered In Swastikas, The Cop Mind.

Skate night. Sometimes it’s fun to do a whole sesh on an old school setup, as was the case yesterday evening at Ramp Riders where I brought nothing but the Powell Ray Barbee. Good times ensued, and I’m suffering from some severe grip-tape thumb today.

Cool stuff. Morning rock jams, $1 Axe Cop comic book at Star Clipper, plate of cookies at work, Steve Saiz Studio, the Parking Block Diaries, couch time with Jane.

Repurposing. My old iPhone 4 now lives in my attic and- since it’s still wi-fi enabled- is being used exclusively to stream music (via Youtube, Spotify etc) for me to play drums to, essentially rendering my old iPod more or less useless.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

december ninth

Five for December 9th:

Band recognition. I fully expect this to be one of the last times I'll be seeing my old band getting any sort of press, but it's very cool to see one of our song titles used in this 2014 year end wrap-up article in Eleven Magazine alongside some other mentions. It was a fun ride.

Family Circus with Deadwood quotes. It’s as awesome as it sounds.

The ultimate irony. That people are all up in arms about a single atheist billboard springing up in St. Charles is the most hypocritical thing I’ve ever witnessed. Drive down any highway in or out of STL and you will encounter miles upon miles of billboards guilt-tripping women considering abortion, Bible quote-festooned billboards for mega-churches, billboards that just say "JESUS". I think you can all handle one for atheism.

Cool stuff. Ramp Riders session tonight, impromptu lunch date with Lisa, peppermint tea restock, South Park season finale, neo-nazi mauled by a lion.

Tuesday soundtrack. Pentagram, the Mushuganas, Jawbreaker, the Faction, Mercyful Fate, Minutemen, Sunny Day Real Estate, Avail, Early Man, Dillinger Four.

Monday, December 8, 2014

december eighth

Five for December 8th:

iPhone 5. It’s funny that technology already considered obsolete by some is such a quantum leap forward for me. The 5 makes my old 4 seem like a flip phone, if just for the talk-based functionality and upgraded photo/video capability.

Live protests. Almost got tangled up in a march that clogged up Skinker last week (luckily I was able to turn around and backtrack a different direction), and saw another procession heading down south grand during dinner at King & I on Saturday. Keep the flame alive.

The terrible twos. It’s not just a funny little euphemism. Which is not to say Jane isn’t as awesome and amazing as ever... just a little bit harder to wrangle.

Cool stuff. STL on SNL, Jane’s first haircut, Rams second straight shutout, new game of GTA5, Revolution and Black Mirror on Netflix, power cable adaptors on order, It’s Time to Fix Grand Juries, three trips through Candy Cane Lane.

Weekend skating. Sunday at Ramp Riders was probably one of the most fun sessions in recent memory. Pretty much every skate rat friend was there, tons of good vibes, and massive amounts of ripping by all in attendance.

Friday, December 5, 2014

december fifth

Five for December 5th:

Simple fact. If you claim to "hate big government" when it comes to taxation but see no problem with militarized police forces murdering people in the streets, you are a hypocrite and an asshole.

Required reading. Missouri Attorney GeneralConfirms Michael Brown Grand Jury Misled by St. Louis DA, Ferguson: An American Moment, Flavor Flav joins local protests, John Stewart Tears Apart Rand Paul and Fox News.

Northside/Southside Metrolink expansion.MetroLink expansion is not a gamble. Light rail works in communities across the country. It stabilizes and increases adjacent property values, it gets people to work and school, and it shortens commutes and lowers transportation costs. Light rail focuses development in existing communities where other infrastructure, both physical and social, already exists.”

Cool stuff. Starbucks breakfast blend K-cups, Powell Ray Barbee setup, yoga class with Lisa and Jane, xmas cookies at work, MST3K in STL, most amazing wedding name combos ever, Almost Famous on Netflix.

Weekend action. Drinks at Bottleworks with Scott, getting the new iPhone up and running, skate sessioning somewhere depending on the weather, playing with Jane.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

december fourth

Five for December 4th:

Reality check. These past four months have exposed the raw, simple fact that we as a country have barely progressed a day since the era of segregated bathrooms and organized lynchings. Whatever thin, flimsy protective shell was blanketing the actual state of race relations in America has been completely ripped off and exposed what has been bubbling under the surface for far too long.

Required reading. Jon Stewart mutes the comedy after Garner verdict, Black St. Louis cops issue bad-ass statement supporting Rams players, New York City Protests Eric Garner Decision.

Early work meetings. Pretty much always a bummer, but made slightly more tolerable by the presence of giant boxes of bagels and/or carafes of coffee from Bread Company. Case in point: this morning.

Cool stuff. Jane’s limitless imagination, Aldi naan, iPhone 5S on order, Thrasher King of the Road 2014 episodes, Animal Chin ramp location today (x marks the spot).

The Skateboard Mag. Their new direction of “art/photography/lifestyle/urban culture rag posturing as a skateboard magazine” is depressing and terrible. Nothing but giant, boring, full-page pictures nestled in between Nike and Mountain Dew ads with hardly any written content. Definitely won’t be renewing that subscription. What a waste.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

december third

Five for December 3rd:

Holiday jams. All the old “Bert Dax Christmas” albums are being put up on Bandcamp through the end of the year, and today brings us the epic Volume 2 featuring El Gordo’s Revenge covering “Run Run Rudolph” (which I didn’t actually play on) and the epic 11th Street Kidzzz covering Hanoi Rocks’ “Dead by Christmas” (featuring me on guitar).

King Richard III. His body was apparently found under a parking lot. How's that for a lasting legacy? In unrelated (but coincidentally interesting) news, the skeleton of mitochondrial Joe Edwards was recently excavated from underneath the Chipotle parking lot in the Loop by a team of researchers attempting to figure out how parking meters used to work before the digital age.

Skating. Completely fun session last night at Ramp Riders despite Chris C getting broke off early on. Luckily no lasting damage was incurred, and much raging went down.

Cool stuff. Two dollar burgers at SoHa, morning drumming, work cake, Star Wars: Episode VII Trailer (George Lucas' Special Edition).

iPhoneage. Even though I hate to do it- given my 4 is technically still in good shape- I’m pulling the trigger on a 5S. The 4 just isn’t cutting it anymore. Apps are all slow and weird now, and the camera is almost completely worthless in anything other than perfect natural light. Besides, the 5S is basically free, and now I can talk to Siri about my feelings.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

december second

Five for December 2nd:

Photo dump. I probably use my iPhone as a camera more than anything else, so it’s no surprise to see the amount of pictures and video go from a nice clean 75 or so to 900 in the span of about a month. Clearing them off onto a flash drive slowly but surely.

Shreddin’. Ramp Riders session going down tonight with the usual gang, and managed to squeak out a quick and frosty roll around the Loop this morning before heading in.

Smooth move. Forgot to close the window in the attic the other day (you know, two days ago when it was 70 degrees outside) and went up last night to play drums to find a glorified walk-in freezer.

Cool stuff. Red beans and rice, the hands-up Rams did nothing wrong, Black Label/Skeleton Key collaboration, white America’s ignorant bliss, Rick Moliterno warehouse session.

Tuesday soundtrack. Gun Club, Nick Cave, Black Flag, the Cramps, Exodus, Teengenerate, Sub Society, Donnas, Buffalo Killers.

Monday, December 1, 2014

december first

Five for December 1st:

St. Louis weather. From a balmy, short-sleeved, spring-like day in the backyard yesterday to a morning chipping my car out of an ice cocoon today, the last four days have been one of the most intense weather roller-coaster rides in memory.

Reading material. Ferguson grand jury documents reveal the DA did not even charge Wilson, how power works, the five leaders who failed Ferguson, a eulogy for Radio Shack.

Long weekend action. Jane’s first time decorating the tree, planting bulbs (and collecting pinecones) in Clifton Park for spring, warm weather skate sesh at JB, main street xmas parade, garden glow at Botanical Garden, Ted Drewes, sleeping.

Cool stuff. Antihero Destination Unknown video, Claus Grabke exploding clock, new flash drive, free stack of mid-2000’s Skateboarder magazines, Walking Dead.

St. Louis Rams. This in addition to totally obliterating the Raiders.