Holidays — Cross post from

–I feel that this post is worthy of a cross post from since it is a very important topic for me.

This time of year always reminds me of a time in my life that was a pivotal, life changing period for me.  In 1988, I was transitioning out of BMX and BMX Freestyle and was looking for something individual, something I could do that didn’t require a team or a group but was something I could do myself, as an individual.
I had a few friends that felt the same way, we really just wanted some way to express ourselves that was a little nonconformist, more individual and where social, economic or any other categorization made no difference.
BMX tried to meet this bill, but it was a bit of an outcast elitist club.  It required a large investment, which I made with the help of my parents and a paper route, but it still felt too ……connected and beau monde, especially in our small town and area of Illinois.
In small town midwest america, this is pretty common.  If you’re not in, you’re out, or at best you’re on the periphery.  I didn’t want that.  I already felt a tad alienated having been an only child for 12 years and suddenly having 2 brothers I had to share my oversubscribed, working parents with.
The late fall of my 8th grade year 2 new kids moved to town. Both were from out of state and both were obviously a bit different than the standard mid Illinois small town kids.  They skated.  They were both cool and very open about skating.  They were happy to kick around on a board with whoever wanted to.
I had investigated skateboarding around 1984 and found it difficult and frustrating.  The problem was that I didn’t have a good grasp of how the equipment worked or anyone that could show me the proper way to do anything.  Also, I had a Valterra, which was a low quality excuse for a decent setup.
That had now changed. I had not one, but two independent examples of skateboarding.  One from the east coast, one from the west.
I was sold.  I had to learn this. This was my entry into a life defining part of my existence.  For Christmas my mom drove me the 30 minutes to the decatur bike shoppe.  This was the only place I knew that had skateboards as I’d seen them when I was there getting BMX parts.  I toiled over what to buy, this and a few shirts were to be my christmas present.  The clothing was a required part of the gift, I was able to sweet talk her into letting me get some skate shirts.
I had absolutely no idea what was necessary. I had enough money to get a deck, grip tape and that’s basically it.  I had to use the trucks and wheels from my 1984 Valterra (which didn’t fit right) on this new acquisition.
I chose (based on the graphic) the Vision Psycho Stick.

This deck was ….awful.  In retrospect it had a terrible shape and was awkward to ride.  
I had no idea, but I was ecstatic.  I was allowed to pick out a few shirts as well, which to this day were some of my most coveted and prized possessions.  These were also selected based on graphics since I’d seen to skate videos and had only really read a handful of Transworld and (my preferred) Thrasher Magazine.  It should be noted that I kept a thrasher subscription, nearly nonstop until 2004.  
For my shirts, I chose
A Kevin Staab pirate shirt:
A Mark Gonzalez mermaid shirt:
And a powell peralta bones ripper shirt:
The gonz mermaid was one of my most prized possessions until its demise in the mid 2000s….nearly 15  years after I got it.  
I wore those shirts and skated in my parents garage in bitter cold for the entire season.  I coud not spend enough time on that board.  It be a defining element in my life, something that shapes me, and that I miss terribly to this day, at almost 40 years old.    
This time of year always makes me lament the time I wasted away back then.  I could have skated more.  I should have.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s one of my fondest memories.  
I skated nearly every day from 1988 until 1996 and at least few times a week until 2004.  I would still skate if I had any cartilage left in my knees.  

Weirdest “Action Figures” ever.

The other night the boys and I were out and about in Urbana, IL.  While we were roving around, we stopped by the Art Coop.  I like to get my art supplies from a local source if possible.  While we were there, I happened upon a shelf of very odd “action figures”.  I wanted to buy them all but settled for pictures of the most strange.

I really enjoyed the “Lunch Lady” one for some reason.  Not shown “Crazy cat lady” (with included cats).

RIP, Barley.

He was on;y supposed to live a year.  13 years later, we lost him and discovered how strong of a presence he actually was.  The only cat to steal a cheese stick right from my hand and eat it.  You will be missed, good sir.  Very much.    

Another New Glarus Oktoberfest in the books!

We didn’t get to go last year due to my son Zach being born….this year we were determined to makeit up for the staghorn cask tapping.  Well, we were successful.  It seemed a bit more low key this year, but the food was amazing and the beers were…..better than can be described.  The staghorn cask was wow-factor good.

Here is a little video of the cask tapping I stitched together.

A Glossary of Beer Brewing Terminology (Google Affiliate Ad)

Google Street view in C-U

I spied this Subaru (woohoo!) Impreza driving down Neil St. here in Champaign the other day on the way home from work. Google street view making it to the corn field!
The tech on the inside looked pretty neat. Had they been parked I would have requested a look at it from the seemingly teenage driver (he looked to be about 18 or 19 and appeared to be extremely bored).

Photo archiving

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of photography.  I’ve been into it since I was young, doing skateboard photography and eventually ending up with an undergraduate degree in fine art photography.  I was a film hold-out and didn’t move to a digital format (at least for anything other than point and shoot) until 2006.
I am also a pretty serious mac user.  I can work on about any platform, but everything I own, save for a linux server in my basement and a D-Link NAS, is apple.
This can be a blessing and a curse.  I’m a hoarder.  I never delete anything.  I have huge amounts of disk in my NAS that house primarily backups of things I never want to lose, most of which are home movies and photos.

Being the hoarder than I am, I am not just satisfied with on-site backups, so, I want to document how I back up my photos.

Let me follow this up by saying that I am *not* a professional photographer or videographer.  Yes, I’ve sold work in the past.    Yes, I’ve been paid on multiple occasions to rework video and to film and edit together special occasions.  No, I don;t spend gobs and gobs of money on professional class gear for this. I do have some nice lenses for my DSLR.  I do take a lot of pride in the stuff I do. But, I was always taught that expensive, high end equipment doesn’t make you a good artist, and I still, whole-heartedly, believe that today.

If you don’t believe me, read Ken Rockwell’s stuff  (thanks Jim).

I made photo art with stuff I got at pawn shops.  Hell, I sold art that I made with a polaroid.  You can win awards with cell phone images and take bad images with thousands of dollars worth of equipment.  It’s about content, composition, juxtaposition, framing, lighting, opportunity and, at it’s core, having a good eye……

…but I digress…this is about saving data.

I use iPhoto.  I really like iPhoto.  I like the smart albums.  I like the interface and the plugins.  What I don’t like, is that

Archiving stories, memories and randomness…or, Cold Locals

One of the things about the internet is that it is a good place to put things that you never want to forget. Stories, pictures, music, video, anything. Once it’s on the ‘net, it’s likely there for good as there is no way to know if it can ever be completely deleted. As I thought about that, and as I near my 37th birthday,  I relaized that there are a lot of things that are word-of-mouth stories about “adventures” that myself and my friends had as youngsters growing up a bit different in a rural Central Illinois town.  Make no mistake, we did a lot of really fun, cool stuff back then.  We were fearless, rule breaking, limit pushing little jerks.

The fact that most of us weren’t really jocks, nerds or brianiacs made us just a bit different.  We liked things like BMX, skateboarding and punk rock.  We weren’t the status quo for a small midwestern town.

old school skate 7

Of course, some of us where a bit of all of those things, but, speaking for myself, I didn’t really identify with just one of those cliques and always felt at home, but a bit out of place, too.
We’ve told these stories, and talked about our prized possessions from those days over and over.  We’ve thumbed through the pictures hundreds of times.  Some of these stories are fantastic and even somewhat unbelievable, but I assure you, they’re all true (some are also probably lame and boring =).
I decided to take it a step further and write them down, post the photos and invite comments to a new blog called Cold Locals, named for the skate ‘zine that I tried to make around 1988-1989.
It’s possible that I may cross post to here, but I have not totally decided on that aspect yet.

Check it out if you ever want to know why I am the way I am or you just have a load of time to waste.