Saturday, January 31, 2009

Reviewed: Summer Sundays by Ryan Hoey

Another late review for a video that's already kind of out-of-production and probably available to watch online; but my intentions with these reviews are more historical than anything. What I mean is, Google "Summer Sundays by Ryan Hoey," and nothing related to the video comes up. Even if projects like this are underpromoted and fall below the radar, I think it's worthwhile to acknowledge them and document that they existed.

And I think that as the growth of the internet and proliferation of web videos renders old fashioned plastic less relevant, the ever-rarer bookshelf-archivable media will only be more valuable and cherished. These reviews are an expression of my appreciation for stuff that takes up space.

I don't really read reviews, unless I'm not planning on seeing the film or reading the book, since I can't stand having any aspect of it spoiled. All I want to get out of a review is, very minimally, whether or not the piece is worth going for. Once I've seen or read the piece, I often seek out reviews, sort of like extending the experience.

So.

No spoilers on this blog.

Here's what I got from Hoey in the mail:


The video, two Laffy Taffies, two Mike Jonas stickers, and a Ride poster of Bruce Crisman from his halcyon X-Games days--so great! My wife cares little about bike videos, but she was wholeheartedly psyched on the candy, still moist and chewy. I think the dvd graphic and sticker on the jewel case spine make for a nice little package.

(Btw, this poster is priceless. Check the camper sporting the Girls Are Evil shirt, crazy low bars, and 990 brake stiffener. And bracing up the picnic table appears to be none other than the late Colin Winkleman.)

Hoey referred to this as his "trails video" on bmxboard, so that's what I was expecting. It is mostly trails, and I think it's safe to say that the dirt jumping mindset is fundamentally different from that of all other kinds of riding. As "legend" put it in this thread, "Trail riders are just a different type of people... not as hungry." This video is not about tricks, and it's not organized into rider sections (a tired, pretentious editing format anyway, in my opinion). It's just a bunch of unknown Long Island guys boosting some massive dirt jumps in the woods, and having a lot of fun.

Mike Jonas gets his own four pegs brakeless street section, which really comes out of nowhere and is a great break from the dirt. I like the guy, and he deserves his own sticker. You'll like it, too. Still, I kinda wish the video had been 100% trails.

Hoey said he just made this video to give away to friends, but he'll probably flow one to anyone that asks. Go RSS his blog and shoot him an email. Mike Jonas blogs, too.
...

This Fourth-of-July web video is newer than the Summer Sundays dvd. Think of it as a trailer for Hoey's next project. Click through to watch in high-res.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

who is jesse dewlow?

I stumbled upon this little web flick last night on a blog called the front. So weird and casual, I wonder if I'm supposed to be enjoying it this deeply.

Despite my enthusiasm, you should probably lower your expectations.



Jesse Dewlow is a familiar name, and Google tells me he had footy in Ruff Draft, but I don't remember any of it. I like his style and tricks, but it's the editing choices in this video that really get me: the quiet, unconventional music, the audible bike riding sounds and white noise, the multiple long takes, the crashes, the spots, the ironic windows moviemaker effects and slow-mo... It's funny but honest, precisely the emotional nuance that I try to live my own life by, but which I've all but given up on in the bmx world.

The mention of a "Toronto edit" in this post, from June, seems like a reference to the above video, which was posted in August.

Made my evening. I'm gonna watch the video again and hope that this post doesn't make me sound like a stalker.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

nonstop critical acclaim for bmx is cute!

That's an exaggeration. But Mike from Greece (the European country) did write me this note today:

"hello tony! i just got the dvd, it's very nice! it has this friendly touch, kind of reminds me the sessions i have with my friends here in greece, the good times and the bad times! well that's bmx, and it's definetely cute! keep on shredding man you and your friends also, thanks, take care!"

Glad you enjoyed it, Mike. Thanks.

The video also got a strange but favorable review in this month's Ride:


Thank you, Ryan.

I haven't yet tracked down a hard copy for my archives, but the whole mag is available online through a nifty service called Zinio. Sorry about the small text. Click through to the Zinio page here, and you can zoom in for a larger view.


...

Related post: "The dvd gets its first review. (And I respond.)"

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

two old men playing in a fountain.

Got to ride with Ben yesterday for the first time in forever. Had a satisfying session, driving from spot to spot. Snapped a couple lazy photos.

Wallride, Ben Piff.

I'll send a free dvd to the first person that explains the historic significance of this spot. Email me if you know.

...

February 7 update: Aaron Gates, TJ Henderson, and Ben Ward all knew the answer: this spot was tricked by Lou Rajsich in the classic Portland video ./blueprint. Spot the armpit-high green subrail in the background of the pic above, and then watch Lou hit it up:



Since Aaron already has a copy of the video (as do TJ and Ben), I sent a disc to Aaron's friend Shawn instead.

Btw, the white frame Ben Piff is shown riding here (A Sunday Wave2, I think) came courtesy of Ben Ward's generosity. I remember years ago when B-Dubbs gave me a pair of Mosh pedals, because he was amused by some curb-to-wallride I did. That was a great day.

...

Took some video with my digital point-n-shoot at the very end of the session. Ben did a crankflip, and I enjoyed myself, even with a broken chain.



I overdid the color-correction trying to compensate for Vimeo's compression washing out the colors; kind of an old Shine video effect, as Ben put it. Makes the wintry day pop.

Friday, January 16, 2009

and the award for least controversial bumper sticker goes to...

Spotted one of these driving the other day.

No nazis?




No shit.

($4.95 + shipping)

Let it suffice to say that, in my opinion, bumper stickers are not a sufficient substitute for a personality.

January 23 edit! Thanks to Red and Jonny for alerting me to the cultural significance of the logo: "It was the logo for an arm band that came with the original 45' of the Dead Kennedy's song 'Nazi Punks Fuck Off'."

Aha. Wikipedia backs up the story and gives us this image. A quick, interesting read.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

nostalgic must-reads from the hamilton blog.

A tip of the hat to Defgrip for bringing this to everyone's attention. Stephen Hamilton, after making his personal Youtube debut last month, is now blogging like crazy.

bank to civic!

Well over a hundred frenetic posts in less than a month, many just one line or nonsense poetry. Which is fine.

But don't miss this gem: a copy/pasted email from Ed Docherty, detailing editing choices for the Hamilton's fantastic FederalBikes part, circa 2004. It reads

>Hey,
> There's a rough section on the server. There's still some work to be done
>to it but I thought I'd let you guys check it out to see how we're doing.
> Firstly, there should be the noise of a camera motor drive running over
>the
>photos at the start. I recorded some earlier but it turns out my camera
>didn't capture the audio?!?!? The mic's taped up cause Dean hit it one time
>when Edd borrowed it, so tomorrow I'll try and see if I can get it working
>again.
> Secondly, there's a 2 sec gap near the end. I could make the clips longer
>on each side of the gap to fill it in but it kinda fits well with the
>music.
>I'll figure something out...
> There's a tyre slide on a bench that Steven wants in there but it's
>probably on the tape with the new Corey stuff. We can figure out what to
>drop and replace with that. Maybe the manual to abubaca from Austin?
> Maybe we could chop the front wheel 180 at the end of the line at the
>pier
>in SF to make some room? What do you think?
> There's a kinda subliminal riddle thrown in there. Before the Prague
>pyramid stuff it flashes up - What's round at both ends and high in the
>middle? Then after the clip it flashes up - Ohio. I thought it'd be kinda
>cool cause you'd have to do frame advance on your dvd player to read the
>question. Just some thing different...
> Oh yeah, reasons for some stuff :-
>
>I put the footplant before the manual to nosewheelie up and down in Prague
>cause it kinda fits together - Steven footplants then next clip the kid
>kicks at the camera
>
>I put the rail hop to bank in Austin and the hill bomb together cause the
>music at that part is kinda going down scales. Plus, it's a fairly quiet
>part of the song so you hear the audio on the hill bomb good.
>
> I'm really psyched on the way it's looking.
>
>Here's the info to get to the server...
>
>Address: ftp.backyard-online.com
>User Name: backya
>Password: bobby1
>
>Steven, to upload stuff you might need this program called Fetch. I'll
>attach it to an email and send it to you next.
>
> Alright, let me know what you think.
> >Ed


For the record, I thought it was awesome, Ed.

Click through for the original post. Youtube below. Hamilton video part discography here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

bike check: one, two. one, two.

I know these photos were taken in 2006 or 2007, because that's our old Chicago apartment building. But I can't be surer than that, because 2006 is the last time I bought a bike part. This is exactly the bike I'm riding today, except the rusted spots have continued to bloom.




Frame: Metal Kizz. Apparently this was Jeremy Davis's personal rig for a short time. I paid eighty bucks for it in 2002 (I think), after my Kink Empire was stolen. Most of this bike is the same charity parts, actually. There are temper tantrum hammer dents in the down tube, presumably inflicted during a difficult bottom bracket installation. I may cut the mounts off.

The forks came off a Hoffman Dirty130 complete. Paid twelve bucks. I don't tend to bend forks.

Castillo Bars. I fell in love with low, narrow bars at age sixteen and haven't run two-piecers since the stock bars on my Mongoose Decade. More on the four-piece fascination here.



S&M Redneck. This was originally part of a Holmes custom complete, built in the bike shop where I worked in 1996. The kid never liked the way the bike handled, and he soon quit riding altogether. The stem design is so old that it's not even gyro compatible. Very pointy corners. Blue face plate is from the quill Redneck that I once ran on my 1" Standard Shorty. I'm planning to switch to an Odyssey Elementary at some point.

Profile SS Cranks (bent).

Pedals: Odyssey JC's. I like these a lot.

Chainring: TreeBikeCo 36t. Still straight, even after shearing off the bashguard.

Seat/post/clamp: Mangled GT plastic with the nose cut off. This was the original seat on my Shorty, I think. Unearthed it in a tool box a few years ago. Primo Rod post and Primo Viking two-bolt clamp, cut in half. These parts are the weakest link in my setup, and I hate them. I'm planning to switch to some kind of Pivotal.

gSport Vandal hubs. I never cared the name gSport or Vandal, but I've been passively obsessed with G's products for some time. These hubs have double-thick flanges to resist damage from grinds. A sensible design choice, but I hardly even grind any more. 48 spoke.

Peg: I threw away all my rusty metal pegs a few years ago, in anticipation of Plegs. But I got impatient with Odyssey R&D, and one day when I was in the mood for hang 5's, I dug this ThickBikes plastic peg out of a tool box and installed it. It's been there ever since. When I originally bought these, the shop only had one pair for sale. If they'd had two pairs, I would've taken both. But I never could stand the asymmetric look of two white pegs, so these didn't get used much beyond the first week. If you want to grind aluminum rails, they do work really well. I think I paid $45 for the pair. Crazy. (This photo taken today.)


Tires: Ruben up front (love it), Odyssey Path in back. The Path is comically bald at this point, but I just keep duct taping the inside whenever I find a new thin spot. The technique is so effective that I wish I'd never started.

Rear rim
: Sun Big City. I can't believe the durability of this rim, and it has completely eliminated pinch flats. It was originally black but is oxidizing towards a shade of copper. I kinda like it.

Front rim: Hoffman Highroller, from the first batch of Taiwanese Gack wheels, circa 1996. Still somewhat round. I'm not entirely comfortable with the ugliness of the flaking chrome. Whenever a new flake starts to go, it makes a whizzing sound in the wind.

...

On a related note, I recently acquired a good condition Standard Trailboss frame in exchange for a beat-up old Holmes--actually, the very same Holmes the Redneck came from, mentioned above--and I'm contemplating what to do with it. I don't know if I want to switch all these rusty old parts over or just build up a second bike with new modern stuff. I wouldn't mind sacrificing ten pounds of excess metal, and I don't have any kind of artistic or political commitment to old technology, really. But the Kizz just keeps on running, and the accumulated memories just keep growing. I guess that's called nostalgia.

...

Recent, related, excellent items you've probably already seen:

Taj recalls all his bikes
and
Russ recalls all his STA's.

Friday, January 09, 2009

virgin terrain.

Yesterday, as an alternative to dealing with scattered showers and slippery pedals, I went out with my camera and a cup of coffee to photograph some spots around my new hood that, to my knowledge, have never been approached by a bike. I post these images for two reasons:

1: The simple pleasure of spotting an obstacle and picking out lines.
2: The fantasy of seeing these spots taken care of by another, better, ballsier bike rider. Both these spots are in the Portland suburb of Oregon City. Hit me up if you need help finding them.

Gap, over the rail and across the chasm. Definitely do-able, just a matter of speed and commitment. Decent runway and landing, all things considered.






If, instead of hucking the gap, you were to descend the stairs...






...you'd find yourself in the Willamette river.



Never seen this setup before. Grinding into the water appears physically impossible at first glance, due to the right turn at the top of the stairs and the monstrous dimensions of the rail. But I think there's a chance. Examine the picture below. See that little flat platform halfway up the middle stage? There's actually more than a bike length for run-up, and the rail is just over axle high there. It's possible. A second cool line would be to drop from the pipe into the bank and hop both rails into the river.



Next location: ledges. Get your steel pegs.

Seventeen steps, thigh high
. I'll probably go back and hit this myself on a dry day. Gap to ledge ride to gap across the walkway into the shrubbery. This ledge on its own wouldn't warrant a blog post. But it's got a little brother around the corner...



...94 mossy steps. Start your feeble...



... Emerge from the trees, hop from grind position up onto the ledge, and gap to the final 17-stepper.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Reviewed: Yo Guy! by Brian "Crossbar" Histand



According to this bmxboard thread, the cover art for each Yo Guy! dvd takes "about three minutes." I haven't concluded whether that is fast or slow, but it's cool to think that this disc spent three minutes in Brian Histand's calloused hands.

You've seen the trailer, right?



The trailer and the cover art should give you a fair idea of what to expect: this is a straightforward rock-and-roll scene video, with emphasis on quality riding and not on elaborate production.

Ten bucks, shipped anywhere. Buy it.

It's hard to believe that in such a tight crew of non-professional riders there can be this much variety: the ratio of street, park, and dirt footage is pretty much perfect, as is the ratio of tech, smooth, and burly riding. The burly moments made my joints ache; Histand assured me he does have health insurance. That he would let his poor mother watch the video blows my mind.

My [constructive] criticism: top-notch riding needs top-notch terrain, and too much of the video felt like it was filmed in the suburbs (as I think the trailer shows). Don't settle for a 540 down stairs at some featureless elementary school--find a stair set in a location with some kind of character. Please!

That said, I'm psyched as hell on these guys producing a bangin' dvd while holding down jobs, school, and family. When time is scarce, it makes sense to quit exploring and just start riding. Can't fault somebody for that.

I won't be surprised if this video leads to some serious sponsorships. Histand could use a pair of cranks, I'm sure.

To order Yo Guy!, paypal ten dollars to mrgoose33@yahoo.com.

Here's the Yo Guy! MySpace.
...

Btw: interview with Histand and another review at NoBikes.

Monday, January 05, 2009

brake pr0n monday.

This is how you shoot bmx with a macro. Looks like TJ Henderson got a new lens for Christmas.


What a fantastic image. More at The217.

And on the same day, Ben Ward, of pdxbmx and Odyssey, posted this image of the new Flatware fork and brakes.


Actually, I confess, I'm not quite sure exactly what's what here. But the setup looks tight, and Od'sey HQ looks like a bmx paraphenalia fantasyland.

Familiar Manifestations of Other People's Cabin Fever.

Ha!

Following two similar posts in a row here, this appeared on the Deliverance blog last night.


Creativity's gotta go somewhere. At least his posts are somewhat bike relevant.

(Cute kid.)

Friday, January 02, 2009

bilding.

As predicted, here's another tower of blocks, assembled over the course of a very lazy New Year's Day.



I didn't quite use up all the blocks in the bin. Perhaps the next one will be taller. It's pretty satisfying when the tower gets high enough that you can just stand and build at eye level.