Bikes, Bikes, and Boards

Posted by on Aug 6, 2012 in Life in SoCal


One of my oldest memories begins on a bike. My parents and I sat atop the school hill after a victorious day at the Elementary playground, long before I had even begun Kindergarden. As the lucky boy who lived at the bottom of the school hill I was finally given the chance to ride my bike home. Without a blink I took to the slope, unflinching until the drop. This was one of those rare hills that got steeper as you descended (or so it felt at the time). Needless to say, my first experience with high speed gravity was not a good one. Following that, we may or may not have put my training wheels back on… more as emotional support than anything else.

A few years later, my Dad took a pretty bad spill at a corner near the Post Office. Days following that he won the 50/50 at a Dolgeville Blue Devils football game, so the announcer hilariously remarked via loudspeaker that Paul would use the winnings to get himself a new set of training wheels.

Regardless, my wipeout on the hill was with a black Landshark. The variety of my second-hand bikes that followed came from neighbors and older kids in town. Ya know, the occasional swap and haggle. But never a new one, not until 7th grade with the red & silver Mongoose ZR-100. I was mad that we hadn’t spent the extra ten bucks and gotten an already built in-store model, but I was told that repeatedly building my own bikes would be a great knowledge for future use. It probably would have, should another bike had ever come. But that little guy survived the chaos of Middle School, High School, two incredibly busy years of College, then even Grad School. Granted, by that point any of the serious tune-ups it needed would have cost more than the bike itself (best $120 we ever spent at Toys-R-Us), so now it has been honorably retired to the garage back in Dolgeville. But life goes on and another bike has been found. Bought it from a guy in Cypress, CA for $90. Raleigh m20, red and black (as seen). He had quite the operation going too, 300+ used-bikes lined up or laying around in his average-sized back yard. Trucks would pull up out back and his trusty team of Mexicans would spring forth to unload and get straight to work fixing them. I think I know how I’m going to get my next movie made.

Flash forward 20 years from that memorable wipeout on the school hill, I get my first job in Southern California at the Santa Monica Bike Center. That’s right, no response from adidas (not much of a shocker). The second job to basically fallen into my lap here was another classic case of right place, right time. Better job, more hours, somehow even closer to the beach. Not industry related, but in terms of sheer convenience, it’s almost better. So this week I’m biking to work from a place in Culver City, about 8.5 miles out. The last 2 are always the easiest though, straight up the trail on Venice Beach. In the morning crowds aren’t too bad, but when the critters come out of the woodwork later on in the day, this is where they go. It’ll be a good summer job, one that can hopefully get me the beach fix done and over with early on in my life here… that, or it could backfire and I just won’t ever leave.

Speaking of beach, yesterday a friend and I headed down to Huntington in Orange County for the US Open of Surfing. Thousands in attendance, 30 of the top surfers in the world, perfect weather. We weren’t there for the duration of the day’s event, nor do I know enough of the sport or vocabulary to genuinely comment on it, so I’ll go with the default “it was pretty sweet”. But one thing became abundantly clear, besides the Learn-to-Surf no-brainer: I need a camera. That, or RAZRs need lens kits.

I tweeted something last week, quite possibly the funniest story I have experienced in a long time, that got little to no recognition online afterward. I will now re-tell the story in more than 140 characters:

I was splitting a hotel room with the Assistant Cameraman for our recent production of Courage, New Hampshire. He brought along his cute, tiny dog Cinnabun. The three of us (pooch included) went for a hike up in the hills during one of the days off. Along our way home, he found a tick digging into Cinnabun’s back. He casually explained it was no big deal, that a simple pluck or burn can get them out with ease. Sounded like he had it under control. So when I returned from the pool to our room around midnight, I didn’t think much of the set-up on his bed with the dog. I sit down to the computer and moments later a flaming animal runs through my legs. A SMALL DOG WAS ON FIRE. IN MY HOTEL ROOM. AWESOME. After about 15 seconds we caught her, doused her, and threw her in the bathtub. She somehow survived without any serious burns, just a new haircut on her underbelly. Definitely one of those “had to be there” moments, but I’m sure you can use your imagination a bit on this one. My favorite California story to date.

I also updated my Acting Reel since last week. I won’t embed in this entry, as the post is already long enough, but it can be seen again HERE. Mandatory viewing, no excuses. Once you’re finished with that, take a look at the early teaser for Courage, New Hampshire Episode 4:

Lastly, check out The Essentials Facebook page. Click on over and Like it. The independent film journey, like many bigger studio films, is just one big popularity contest. Share this with your friends and family to help spread the word so we can land a distribution deal and make another one next year!

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