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Living Front Side

May 17th, 2013

I wrote a rather long blog a few days ago and was finishing up with the menu placement, book settings and all the behind the scenes stuff. Most of it is done through drop down menus which works really well but since the site tends to have rather large menus, it can be really big lists. At any rate, I was clicking on the menu settings and some how when I clicked, the cursor had wondered off of the drop list and found itself hovering over the Google Chrome Bookmark Bar. So instead to selecting the menu link, I ended up clicking on the Gmail bookmark. Which would have been great if I wanted to go to Gmail but as I grunted loudly, I watched as Gmail loaded and the blog I had spent an hour or so, disappear.


Now this was a long and insightful blog about life, attitude and all the good stuff that usually make up one of my long and often rambling blogs. There was vast knowledge based on my many years on this spaceship Earth. Who knows it could have impacted my reader's life in some vast and glorious way. I'm sure you are feeling the loss along with me of this great knowledge that I took my time to write but to reconstruct it would be pointless. So it is lost.


Part of what I covered was that I tend to be more interested in the creative process and then lose interest. It's why when I was in bands, I loved the writing but always hated performing the same songs over and over. Some would say that it is a discipline problem but I tend to be the same way with most creative things I do. In part because I usually have a number of projects that I'm either involved with or would like to get to and it comes down to time limits. 


At the heart of this lost blog was a conversation that I had with my son. I was watching him skateboard and was enjoying his love of the purity of just rolling around the parking lot. However being a dad and which by demand makes me part couch, I began to ask him to do this trick or that. He was showing me his kick turn ability and he stated that he liked Front Side better than back side. I responded by asking him why he was doing back side kick turns then? He stopped and gave me that look he reserves for when he thinks that I'm pulling his leg or flat out don't know what I'm talking about. It's a trade marked look he has been using since he was three, chin tilted to his chest, eye rolled up and brow wrinkled as if to say, "Really, Father? Really?"


I explained that facing outside of the radius of the turn was front side and back side was when your back is facing the center of the turn. He's response was that that didn't make sense because you are facing the direction you are going. I told him it dated back to bank riding and that you would be facing the lip of the back on front side not going into the surf reference to how you would be facing the wave.


After my explanation, he shrugged his shoulders, pushed off and continued around the paved surface. I called out to him that I thought front side was more fun which I admit is because I always felt it was more stylish and thrilling. He shouted over his shoulder, that he didn't like front side because he couldn't see where he was going. My response was that it was more fun because it was more dangerous. To this he said, "Father, I don't like danger like you do."


Now, he is not the first to point this out, in fact he's one in a long line of those I've known and loved that have stated something to the same degree. However, I have to say that I never really even felt that I was addicted to danger. I always felt that to a large degree a majority of the risks I've taken have been in a controlled situation. I know for a lot of people it's hard to consider the idea of Safe Danger. It's one of those play on words I loved like "Ugly Beauty" or "Beating with Kindness".


the thing is there is invented danger and real danger. Real danger usually involves an extremely dumb idea or some form of reckless behavior. For example playing Russian Roulette or wrestling a Polar Bear. It's a situation where regardless of what you may tell yourself to rationalize the action, there is really very little that you can do to avoid harm coming to yourself.


Invented Danger is more about your fear and anxiety building an imagine bad outcome. This fear takes many shapes from fear of rejection to fear of piercing and tattooing to fear of walking across a busy street. Most of fear are instinctive or learned responses. It is the minds way of protecting itself and the body it relies on. A majority of it is rooted in our fear of the unknown. The fear that our actions will result in an unpleasant outcome. 


Over the years have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of my heroes and been extremely luck to count some of them as my friends and even in some cases peers. In every case the biggest difference between them and me is that they had found some way to rationalize away their own fears. With innovators there is almost always a level of natural talent and a bit of good timing but it is their vision that seems them from others. A large part of that vision involved pushing their fears out of the way of achieving their passion. How most of them set themselves apart from the pack is when they were addressed with that voice inside of them, saying this will never work or this is a bad idea or this is going to end badly, they were able to logically and with positive thinking, over take their own fears and self doubt. 


Some would say that people are born to this way of thinking but I think it's more developing a different way to view and address an obstacle or solution to a problem that is born out of a passion and struggle. There is always a lot of falling down involved in success and the truth is there really aren't that many "Naturals". The thing with falling is that each time you fall or fail it kills off a little of that fear and teaches you how to reduce the risks on your next attempt.


I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I deal with people's fears every day with piercing and over the years I've developed a method of trying to reduce people's fear and reassure them that they are in fact a part of a control and safe activity. Often it's a combination of patience, knowledge, humor and reassuring them that they are not alone in their fear. Part of this is my joke, "I've been piercing for 19 years and I haven't killed anyone, yet." The laugh is in the timing but the fact that I'm addressing is, "Yes, you are scared. Yes, I'm about to cut through your skin with a sharp object and then insert a piece of metal in the wound but I have done this a number of times and the risk of a bad outcome are limited." In other words, this is dangerous but precautions have been taken to reduce the risks and the outcome will be great. I think if we really took this idea to our loves, passions, and desires of our daily life, the outcome would be limitless.


Our culture and maybe human nature feeds off fear and if you begin to explore the effect of these fears on society, you will often find that a number of humanity's short comings. All of the evils of society are based on fears that are often invented and if you start to research the evolution of civil rights, liberty and freedom, there is always a group of people at the heart of it that said, "Wait a minute, why do I free this? Is there any truth to it?" Change always starts with a question and ends with an action, all it takes is getting your head around the fears. So, question those fears and do something dangerous.


OK, enough with the self improvement course. It's been a while since I did one of these that wasn't a how to or a review of my latest toy, so I thought it was due. Usually I try to throw in a few recent events in my life to keep things interesting but I really can't think of a thing. That's not really a bad thing because stable and straight forward periods of one's life are usually the best parts. Though they also can be rather boring. So, here's a few items that I feel have my life a little more interesting and I think it will have the same effect on you.


Bobcat Goldthwait - You Don't Look the Same Either



Most people remember Bobcat for only his short period of fame in the 1980s. He was the other screaming comic. You know the one that didn't die, hate women or was racist. He has always had this ability to take you right to the point of being offended and then some how twist it around to make you feel good about laughing. Not too many comics can do this, and even fewer can do it at the level of Mr. Goldthwait. Some prime examples are the touching and warm story of an alcoholic clown in Shakes the Clown, his take on honesty in relationship - Sleeping Dogs Lie, the difficult and often uncomfortable relationship between father's and their children in World's Greatest Dad or the I'm fighting mad and I'm not going to take it killing spree of God Bless America.


You Don't Look the Same Either is the first stand up special he has done in a number of years and features some of his best work. You can find it on Spotify and Netflix.


Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story




Those that know me know that I'm a bit of punk history nut and that is especially true when it come to Southern California punk and the early Hollywood scene. So, as you can imagine I have a number of books on the subject. There is really three types of books when it comes to punk history, the oral history, the list of names and events and what has began to become my favorite the personal story. This book falls in the last. Sure it has the name drops and funny wild stories of the craziness of the punk scene but it is more about the life of Alicia Armendariz becoming Alice Bag and then finding her place in this world. I have always found the motivation on where one takes their life. I've read enough interviews and books that seemed to total avoid maybe the most interesting question, "Why did you get into punk in the first place?"


However, saying that is a book about punk rock, really sells it short. This if anything is a detailed account of the experience of growing up as a female Chicana in East L.A. in a abusive household and how it shaped her life. It's about growing up Chicana in a white dominated culture. It's about over coming being a Spanish first child in a school system that refused to speak Spanish. It's about being an outsider that found community through music. However, more than anything it's a book about empowerment and finding a way to make not only your own situation better but finding fulfillment in making the world around you a better place


Vicious Circle Limit Edition LP and DVD


VCYet another piece of Punk Rock history. This one is really something I never thought I was hear. Vicious Circle was one of those bands that weren't some much about the music as the legends that they created. I think my first encounter would have been in the pages of the book Hardcore California. There was a short mention in reference to the violence of the HB Kids and the shows at the Fleetwood. It told of how ambulance would be line up outside of Vicious Circle's shows to carry off the wounded. In fact, the band broke up to aviod the increasingly dangerous fans that followed them. 


Formed in 1979 by Jack Grisham(TSOL), Todd Barnes(TSOL) Steve Houston(the Klan), and Laddy Terrell, the band played out a number of times but never recorded. The band would break up when Jack ran away to the Great Northwest until things "cooled down". What this release is a cassette recording of one of the band's practices at Barnes house. The recording isn't the best to saw the least which since it is the only one, is really too bad but with this it is not some much the sound of the record as much as the pure surprise that it exists at all.  The LP comes with a 45 minute DVD of an interview with Jack talking about the band and the time of it's existence. You can get it at TKO records or you can hear the tracks on Spotify here.



Wolves at the Door: The Trials of Fatty Arbuckle


FattyI have always been interested in early Hollywood and the scandals of the period especially during the days of silent film. Not sure when I first heard of the Arbuckle scandal but I remember two things standing out Champaign Bottle and Murder. Over the years, I've gleamed a little here and there about the trial and just what happened on that Labor Day weekend in 1921. I read Jerry Stahl's 'I, Fatty' recently and I couldn't help but be fustrated with his account. The book seems more about Stahl fascination with drug addiction than the real Fatty. So I felt the need for a book that was much more set in the real world.


This book's focus more on the events of the Labor Day Weekend and the trial. At times it is easy to lose track of the countless real life characters but the feel of the book, is really a story of how a district attorney and out of control press, left unchecked can destroy the life of person. This trial was less about the death of a woman and more about the struggle that was happening in America between the moral extremists and the general population. I've often found it strange that in American history we focus on the McCarthy area but completely skip the number of artists that were black listed based on moral issues in 1920s and 1930s. If you look at the facts as did the jury of the third trial did, you will find that Mr. Arbuckle did nothing wrong short of providing alcohol to his guests. You can find the paperback and kindle version on Amazon.


Pandora's Box


Pandora's BoxI've been on bit of a Silent movie kick lately. There is something about the period right before the "Talkies" came in that makes one feel that sound was a set back artistically. I can't remember who said it but they called silent movies the international language. Regardless of ones first language or culture, a film could tell a story through the movement of the actors and skill of the those behind the camera.  It was all done with the eyes and you had to watch the film to understand what was happening. That maybe be why the images seem more intense because with the absences of sound your eyesight in hyper effective. A little know fact is that theaters didn't offer snacks like popcorn until after sound because it was too distracting. 


Pandora's Box or Buchse Pandora is one of the most visually driven films of it's time. It also features the mysterious, beautiful and wild Louise Brooks in one of her best performances. Ms. Brooks is not only striking on film but a character that is much like the one she portrays in the film. It is doubtful that any other actress from the area lived the life of the freedom loving flapper as much as she did. Her legend has been tied to many highs and lows from sex crazed starlet to victim of childhood sexual abuse to call girl to flat out party girl she was the rolling 20s. That aside the real star of the film is Pabst direction. The uses of the angel and lighting is incredible and clearly shows the influence he had on the Nazi propaganda films that would come a decade later. You can watch it on Hulu.


Well that's it for now. Sorry if the reviews seemed a bit rushed and forced but there is just something about re-writing them that always comes out that way. 


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