Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Endtime Blues


With considerable difficulty, and no small risk to the Fakiegrind agents involved, we have managed to recover the Metallica, ...And Justice for All tape from the Adjuster's mountaintop survival bunker...Ok, more accurately, the cassette was mailed to us, already opened, with the following note attached:

Dear Fakiegrind;

Thank you for lending me this musical gem. I hope you don't mind that I took the liberty to break the seal, thus unleashing the unmitigated force of Justice upon the world, but the ensuing chaos has increased my Endtime Insurance business greatly.

With war, flood and famine mounting, more people than ever are convinced that the apocalypse is upon us, and are willing to buy into my policies in the hopes of securing a seat on one of my Escape Pods. Sure, you still have your fundamentalists, who are convinced that Jesus will carry them away to a better world after reducing this one to ash. But there are others, less certain about their eschatological standing, who would just as soon not risk it, and are hoping to leave planet Earth by other means--means that I claim to supply in the form of my pan-galactic Space Ark.

But I have said too much already. I hope you enjoy listening to the tape. Metallica's classical training really shines through on this one. I was particularly moved by the plight of the invalid war veteran in the song One.

Yours 'till the end,

The Adjuster

It seems that the Adjuster has outflanked us once again. But we would like to clarify the official Fakiegrind position on all matters otherworldly, in the hopes of staving off the madness that only fuels parasites like the Endtime Adjuster. Do not be fooled by apocalyptic scenarios that offer hopes of another world as an escape from the difficulties of this life!

We have it on good authority that the next world appears much the same as this one, and that what is wrought here is manifest there as well. In the Gospel of Thomas (a collection of sayings that some scholars believe to be akin to the original record of Jesus' words utilized in the construction of the canonical Gospels) Jesus himself says,

The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth, but men do not see it.

We at Fakiegrind believe that God really does love the world, and doesn't intend to see it destroyed, despite the environmental and political difficulties that seem to be mounting all around. Things may get a little rough, but hang tight. The Kingdom of Love shall be established here, on the sacred soil of Earth, where the Radiance of Eternity will reveal all beings to be holy, according to the particular genius of each.

Message in a Bauble


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Where Are They Now?

I so liked Devo and Ninjas in my youth; what has become of them? The members of Devo make soundtracks for television shows, and the ninja are hyped by every manic children's TV cartoon, but understood by none. My childhood friends and I studied the ninja assiduously, though materials were scarce. Devo were mutant weirdo heros, to be admired without emulation. Maybe Devo were ninjas, and those strange, conical plastic hats they wore were actually a sophisticated and deadly projectile. Or maybe the secret ninja clans are replenishing their numbers as we speak, performing their ancient training rituals in mountaintop bunkers to a Best of Devo soundtrack...

The Devolutionary Oath Revisited


#4. "The Strong Shall Survive Yet The Unfit May Also Live"

#2. "Lay A Million Eggs Or Give Birth To One."

#5. "We Must Repeat."

Retirement of the Ninja

It's not so easy being an aging ninja. Sure, I can still walk over water, but last week while crossing Lake Guchiyami to assassinate the Counsellor of Nug, I tripped on a goldfish and sprained my ankle. I had to limp my way through the rest of the mission, but suffice it to say that the Counsellor won't be skimming profits from the Luin highway construction project any longer. I can still slip into a crowded banquet hall, dispatch my victim, and melt back into the night again before anyone even realizes what has happened. And I'll snatch a few sushi rolls for a snack on my way out.

I must say, the ninja diet doesn't do much for me. I've never really enjoyed the rice and vegetable regime, with a little raw steak or fish thrown in from time to time. And now my belly is starting to show; it hangs out ever so slightly when I turn invisible, like a phantom gut just suspended there, and all the other ninja have taken to calling me "Pots". Yes, the younger ninja laugh at me. I know they do. But let me see them do a double back flip off the pontoon bridge and land on a passing rice skiff while being pursued by a gang of deadly samurai. These days it's all poisonings and evasions, and nobody wants to get their gi dirty, or impersonate a demon possession to intimidate the townsfolk.

They say I've grown old and soft, but I don't see them hanging upside down from the Tree of Woe for three days straight just to prove that physical pain and deprivation mean nothing to a ninja. And that was on my vacation time, too, while everyone else was off in the capitol playing video games or whatever they do in this age of lawlessness and hedonism. No, it's not easy being an assassin for hire today. It used to be we bumped off corrupt officials and rival clansmen and other scum of the earth who tried to erode traditional values. Now it's all corporate jobs and character defamation--covering up for big money so as to avoid some costly lawsuit or other. Oh well, you take work where you can find it, I guess. I don't know what I'll do when the lawyers finally replace our kind. Will the ninja clan cease to exist, or will they keep one or two of us around as curiosities to entertain foreign investors with smoke and swordplay? PFFAT! I'd rather cut my own jugular than stoop to such antics.

I guess there's always the movies. But even there ninja seldom appear in anything more than peripheral roles; as hapless targets for the machine gun of some big American star with a phony accent. It's not like the eighties, when the ninja was respected in cinema. The royalties from Enter the Ninja alone kept my master clothed and fed to the end of his days. After that, he only took the occasional job, for the interest factor. Nowadays, having a ninja on the set is old hat; we're treated like common stuntmen. The indignity of it! I'd just as soon ingest my own nerve toxin than prostitute myself in such a manner.

Give me the political intrigue of the old clan wars, when loyalties could shift with the simple unfolding of a fan; when a falling cherry petal, improperly celebrated in a clumsy haiku, was enough to topple great, noble lineages. Bah! Those days are gone. To be replaced with what? Pokemon, palm pilots and affordable automobiles for the masses. Moving swift and silent as the wind means nothing to these people. I will mount an assault on all that is modern and easy! I will reinstate the ninja as a force to be reckoned with in this jaded epoch. Once again, the faceless warrior will be feared and respected, our names whispered quietly in shadow to avoid summoning our kind by a word carelessly spoken, and paid for in blood. Or maybe, on second thought, I'll just boil another one of these Ramen noodle packets. They're pretty tasty if you chop up some radishes and tofu, and add a bit of soya sauce.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Keepin' On

The only board Jamie will ride these days is a big, fat Gonz. He does feebles to fakie on the quarter-pipe they call "The Widow Maker". The sucker goes zero-to-vert in under five feet, and serves as canvas for the weekly graffiti report. Terry's ankle has repaired enough to make an appearance, and he works the lip like a pro. Then he moves the crowd by doing a frontisde nosepicker on the quarter-pipe barefoot, ushering in a new age of gorilla grip gnarl-itude. Oldschool shows up, and the crowds clear a path in anticipation of his massive attack upon the Beasley park infrastructure. The tricks he does should be compulsory learning for anyone aspiring to skaterliness, but most kids these days couldn't do a frontside air to save their souls. They cruise around with MP3 players stuffed in their ears, seemingly oblivious to annals of skateboard history that have conspired to make fronside noseslides, shove-it out possible. But all is as it should be. Everything old is still old, but glowing with all the radical dignity afforded by the tides of time that have washed these precious skateboard survivors up on the shores of present-day tomflippery. And you can see it all here in Steeltown, if you keep your eyes peeled like a couple of old potatoes from the bottom drawer of the fridge; the ones with the little green rootlets growing out of the side.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Beers, Cheers and Braziers

Working for the temp agency is like being a secret agent. The dispatcher tells you as little as possible about the nature of the job she is sending you on. Yesterday, I was told to wear black pants, black shoes and a white, yellow or red t-shirt, and to show up at The Stadium at four o'clock.

There is a certain amount of stress involved in not knowing what you will be asked to do, and it makes it difficult to plan ahead: should I bring a lunch? Will there be a place for me to stash a backpack? What time is the shift over? Even the rate of pay was a mystery for this one. When I arrived at the specified gate, I looked around for my contact, Isaac. He was nowhere to be found, so I sat down and waited. A large group of workers from my agency was gathering, and I talked to a few of them. It seemed that we were to be working as "beer runners".

Steeltown's football team, the Tigerhearts, has been on a seven game losing streak. I don't really follow football, hardly even know the rules, but it seemed like it would be an interesting gig. Eventually, Isaac arrived. Like many of the other people one saw busily walking around, he had one of those headsets with a microphone attached to it. He was very polite to everyone, apologizing for keeping us waiting. It was a strange thing to apologize for, since we were getting paid to wait, but it was nice.

My group of about thirty workers started following Isaac through the concession stands situated around the base of the stadium. At each beer or liquor kiosk, he would ask for one or two volunteers to remain and help. It felt like one of those scenes from the movies where the bigwig of some firm is being followed by a scrum of underlings. Isaac would veer left or right to say something to someone, and the whole mob of temp workers would follow, like a swarm of insects jostling for position.

I was wearing black dress shoes: not entirely comfortable for climbing around in the stands, so I worked my way to the head of the group. I wanted to work at one of the kiosks, rather than hoofing it in the bleachers. We passed booth after booth, and he kept picking other people. Finally, after covering the circumference of the stadium, we reached the last booth. "Anyone? Anyone? " Isaac asked. I jumped from out the mob, and was given the station. "Good luck," he said as he signed the yellow slip that I needed to hand back in at the agency for my pay. That was the last I saw of the fellow.

My kiosk sold beer: Budwiser or Bud Lite in two different sizes. We were flanked by two snack vendors, with two more beer booths within shouting distance. I was working with three other people, one of whom had just started there that day. For some reason, they had myself and the new girl up front working the cash, while the two veterans stood behind, pouring the beer into plastic cups. "It's the law: we have to decant," explained Michelle, who had just completed an online bartender course. I think the stadium was worried that if they served the beer in cans, disgruntled fans might start using them as projectiles.

I don't like working cash. I'm always second guessing myself and worrying that I've given out the wrong change. However, as we had only one product, after the first hour or so I got used to the calculations involved in making change from tens and twenties. Something of a rivalry existed between our kiosk and our neighbour. It seemed that the other booth always made more in tips and sales than our station. George, a fellow from P.E.I. who had worked there for a while, hypothesized that it was due to our being located between two concession stands, though I couldn't see the logic in this. Inspired by the loud-mouthed hot dog hawker who passed by every so often, I started calling out to customers: "Ice cold beer! Get your ice cold beer!" in an attempt to attract thirsty patrons.

At one point, a customer claimed that I shortchanged him ten dollars. He showed me a fold of bills, claiming that he had given me a twenty, when I had only given him change for a ten. I almost caved and gave him the money. However, I was told that if our booth was short at the end of the night, the difference would come out of the tips. I didn't want my other three coworkers to suffer for my mistake, so I held my ground. I might very well have given the wrong change, but decided to give myself the benefit of the doubt. Normally, I'm the guy to get suckered in such situations, so I felt good about my decision even if I was actually in the wrong.

As it turns out, the Tigerhearts won their first game of the season last night, though the score was close. It was also the 75th anniversary of the stadium, as I learned when a large birthday cake was carried past our booth on the way to some sort of ceremony. I had a pretty good time serving beer, making change and talking to the customers. At the end of the night, once the cash had been counted and some arcane calculations performed, we were about forty dollars short; so there was no way to tell whether I had really shortchanged the customer or not. I might have actually given too much change to some of the other patrons. I like to give away money to strangers, especially when it isn't my own. But it turns out we didn't have to pay for the deficit from the tip jar, and each of us walked away with twenty bucks extra or so.

I talked to one of the other temp workers who had been stationed in the stands as a beer hawker. She told me I had missed out, that she had made over a hundred dollars in tips. Apparently, the hawkers had to buy the special T-shirts they wore, and so twenty dollars was deducted from their pay. She also said that two of the temp workers couldn't take the stresses of the job, and had walked off half way through the game. This didn't surprise me, and I think that if I had had to climb through the stands carrying 48 beer around my neck, and dealing with drunken patrons for five hours, I would have likely walked away as well. As it is, I only had to deal with the customers who were sober enough to get out of their seats and make it down the stairs to the kiosks. The real yahoos were probably bombed out of their skulls, immobilized in the stands.

What did I gain from the evening for my troubles, besides a little pocket money and a complimentary hot dog? I faced and got over my fear of working cash and dealing with the public. So what if I came up a little short, or short-changed a customer or two? Our booth moved a lot of tall boys, and somebody even complimented us on our upbeat attitude and friendly manner. Walking home through the gritty east end, the road jammed full of honking cars with excited fans screaming out of the windows, I had the satisfied feeling of bringing yet another Fakiegrind covert investigation to satisfactory conclusion.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

3000 Hits!


"Hey Betty, I was wondering if you wanted
to go to the sock-hop with me on Friday."

"Sorry Johnny. I'd love to go, but I'm staying home
and posting non-spam comments on Fakiegrind."

Butter Fingers

Today I worked eight hours, moving trays of homestyle pecan tarts from one conveyor belt onto another. In the morning I dropped several trays; first from ineptitude, then because of a couple of faulty cardboard inserts that couldn't hold the weight of the trays. Of course, the foreman was passing by just as I dropped them, and he told me that if they took the cost of the tarts out of my pay, I would have to work longer than eight hours just to cover it. Happily, I'm working for temp agency that pays me the same measly sum regardless of how many tarts I drop.

In the afternoon we ran out of cardboard inserts, thus changing the schematics of the job, and I only dropped six pastries. I estimate that I moved between twenty and thirty thousand tarts today, but it wasn't until just as before leaving that I asked one of the ladies the purpose of putting the tarts on a second conveyor belt. The extra process passes the tarts through a metal detector, to guard against foreign bodies in the mix, and lawsuits in the news. I hope I don't now have a radioactive butt from standing in front of the thing all day. So, bon appetite! You can thank me for making the baked goods aisle of your grocer that much more reassuring to frequent.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Stolen Moments

Skating shirtless at the Bease
Airing my gut in the breeze
Carve the graffiti
Grind the curb
Slightly stiff in the knees

Little kids tell me I'm good
Locals with 'tude from the hood
Should be out looking
For some kind of work
Instead I'm pushing the wood

Summers, once gone, don't return
Got some skate karma to burn
Bust a spinoza
Dance in the air
One with the earth as I turn

Monday, August 22, 2005

More Mold

Whilst attempting to air out some moldy boxes from the mildew-vault of the basement, I came across another cache of cartoons. Many of them feature a strange, skateboarding character named "Ventman" who wares a frightening mask and has an oddly mutated physiogomy.



What I failed to mention in the previous post was that last night at the Bease, I naviagated a perfect spinoza on the little embankment skirting the pool. I did the G-turn-to-body varial part, then caught the board perfectly with the nose still suspended in the air, and just kind of hung there, balanced on my back wheels. It was a moment of suspension that seemed like an eternity, and it felt like the trick could go either way: I could pivot back into the slope and ride it out, or throw it in the wrong direction and bail. But after that endless, precarious moment, the board tipped back in--it was the moment steering it, not me--and I rode away with a big smile on my face.

The younger fellow with the fakie moves saw the trick and cheered, and it was this that inspired him to go for the gold with his fakiegrind-bigspin shenanigans.


All summer I've been working on a little move called the fakiegrind, 180 fakie shove-it out. I can land them on little curbs and such. Tonight at the Bease, however, a fellow busted out a 180-ollie-to-fakiegrind, bigspin out, and this was on the oversize box! I can hardly even do a boring old 50-50 on the oversize box. Ah, to be young again. But no, you can't go back, only fakie.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I rotated the wheels on my skate today, to counteract the coning that occurs from doing kick-turns and such. The problem is--and all you closet freestylers out there will surely relate--the problem is, the axels of my trucks are ground down from doing rail stands (what the heck is a "rail stand"? --It's called a "Primo" these days!). Ok, my truck axels are ground down from doing Primos; not the super-gnar Primo slides, but rather the R2-D2, walk-on-the-board-on-it's-side-to-keep-my-balance-while-setting-up-a-railflip kind of thing.

So, when I went to put the bolt back onto one of my trucks, I stripped the sucker, and now it's at a precarious angle vis-a-vis my bearing casing. It's still holding tight, but I'm saddened that my axel will likely never be the same. Once it's gnarled beyond all threadability, one has no recourse but to replace the whole darn truck. And that's expensive. So I hope the bolt/axel hold on for at least a few more wheel rotations.

These trucks I'm riding--neon Tensors--are the best mounting devices I have ever experienced on a skateboard. I've always been an Indy man, until I won the Tensors in a magazine contest last year. And boy have I been enjoying them! Yessireebob, dem's some fine trucks. Yes indeed. Nice trucks. Yep.

So the other day I was on my way back from somewhere or other, and I stopped by the Bease to do a little sesh. I was all alone there, and the rain was just starting to come down, but I kept to my relatively dry, smooth patch to do a little flatland routine, when suddenly my neck started to tense up. I could feel someone's eyes drilling into me. I looked up and, sure enough, there was a fellow in shiny green track pants, the ones with the racing stripes down the side. He had no shirt on, and his belly kind of rolled a little bit over the waist of his pants. He was watching me from a ways off, under the cover of some trees, so I kept on skating for a bit, but I felt a little awkward about it.

Soon, the rain started pissing down. I would have just left, but my side-pouch-thingy was up under the trees, right behind where this fellow was loitering. So I went up there and retrieved my accoutrement. Being a considerate human being, I didn't just ignore the fellow, but echanged a few words. Common, predictable words as two strangers might be exptected to exchange. Our pleasantries soon came around to the weather, which was rapidly taking a turn for the worse. The rain had, in fact, suddenly started crashing down with a fury that was uncommon. I would even say it was spectacular. It fell just short of Kant's concept of the sublime. Were a tornado to have suddenly touched down upon the hydro transformer across the way, sending a cascade of sparks and flame into the surrounding foiliage, that would have been sublime. But I also wouldn't likely be here to write this account. So let us pause to thank the Great Artificer for staying His fury, or at least allocating it to a local more removed from where I happened to be stationed at that moment.

At any rate, I was stuck under a tree with this fellow, whom I could now see was drinking beer from a can. "Things are always better with a little beer to swish around a can," he said. I made a mental note to test out this theory, having rarely had the experience of drinking beer from a can, being more of a bottle man when it comes to such refreshments.

"I noticed you skating," he said. "You're like one of those seventies guys or something. You don't see that much 'round here."

I was curious to hear the effect my display had had on this stranger, who was obviously not unschooled in skaterly history.

"You looked like Stacey Peralta or something," he said.

I was taken aback. Stacey Peralta? The legendary 70's skatechamp-turned-industry magnate? It was flattering, really, to be party to such a comparison. "I guess I've got some of those oldschool moves," I said, the rain still pounding down.

"I used to skate here," the fellow said, "until life got all messed up." I was suddenly curious as to the manner of disaster that had befallen the chap. "There used to be some crazy shit that went down at this place."

And the man proceeded to describe a list of the crazy shit that the skaters of yor would perform at the very location that was currently experiencing a hose-down from mother nature. I was impressed by this window into the past, into a generation of Beasely skaters that I had never known. "But there's always the crazy stuff," the guy went on. "This is a bad neighbourhood. You hang around here long enough and you'll see what I mean."

I actaully frequent the park quite a bit, but my activities there are generally confined to skating until I'm tired, then going home. The fellow seemed a little demoralized to me, like he could use a good cheering up. But I was at a loss as to just what I might say to this effect. So I listened a little more to his stories; about the guy who could ollie over the iron fence, or another guy who would park his convertable and launch right over it, out of the bowl. And then I bid the fellow good day, and headed from the cover of the trees, out into the rain.

"You're leaving?" he asked, a little dejectedly.

"I gotta get to the grocery store," I explained. "Nice meeting you, though." I shook his hand and that was that. On my way to the store I got drenched, but I didn't really mind. It was a little like swimming, but with cloths on. In the grocery store I almost froze to death--they keep the air conditoner so low--but I picked up the commodities I required and headed back out into the rain, towards home.


Blog light, blog bright
First blog I see tonight
I think I may, I think I might
Leave a comment out of spite

The Jerk

I'm still thinking about my confrontation with my neighbour. The fact that it's bothering me so much indicates that there must have been something to what she said to me. Sometimes, even unpleasant people can speak the truth, especially when they're drunk.

So maybe I am a jerk in some ways. I'm kind of a parasite in that I don't work. I pretty much hate the environment in which I live in that I no longer have a place for my stuff, or a quiet spot to reflect or listen to music. I stubbornly refuse to join the rest of the human race in the day-to-day struggle for existence. It's not really that I'm lazy. Maybe I just feel that I'm too good for working, that I have much better things to do with my time. But then, I don't have any money or space to do any of those much better things.

My neighbour may leave her dog's turds out to rot, but at least she pays the rent on the yard in which she leaves them. She works nights, and sometimes our renovations on the other half of the house keep her from sleeping during the day. She seems to have felt that it was her right to throw an all-nighter and keep us up for a change. I'm not sure if the rest of the neighbourhood would share her idea of entitlement, but I understand her feelings on the matter.

And the fact is, my cat hasn't been fixed, so he might very well be spraying her porch, hence evoking her harsh words against the beast. I don't have any money to take him to the vet, so it's my own slackerly attitude that makes my cat a nuisance. What it comes down to is that I need to make some money. I might be willing to put up with being broke, but I owe it to my cat to get him the professional attention he needs to curtail his spraying habit. But don't worry, avid Fakiefans; I won't let employment get in the way of blogging. Radio free Fakiegrind will continue to broadcast come what may, even if the jerk goes to work.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mistaken Identity

Welcome to the new, somewhat improved Fakiegrind temporary title banner! If it looks a little crooked, it's because I'm running on almost zero sleep today. The tenants who rent out the front half of the house decided to have an all-night party last night. They were being pretty loud on the front porch, so at about one A.M. I went out and asked them to keep it down. This is a neighbourhood with lots of families, and I'm sure I was not the only one who was suffering.

The young woman who rents the place is strange. She has a pet dog--a large, energetic puppy--whom she rarely takes out for walks. Sometimes you can hear him barking for hours through the wall. She likes to leave his droppings on the front lawn, perhaps as some form of fertilizer or Daliesque decoration. We must constantly navigate past them to get to the gate leading to our section of the house. Ah, the smell of dog turds in the morning!

Last night on the porch, when I pointed out how loud the party was, this person insulted my cat, Tiger, and then called me an asshole! I don't like confrontations with people, so I've been thinking about it all day, wondering if I should have handled it differently. I'm a polite and non-aggressive sort of guy, and I don't think I said or did anything wrong in going over there. I shouldn't even be wasting time thinking about it.

The happy aspect of this story is that even though the north end has a reputation for being rough and dangerous, our neighbours are actually the best people you would want to meet. Incidents like last night are actually the exception to the rule around here. And if there's some sort of problem, people tend to band together and support one another.

Life must be so hard for some people, when everywhere they turn they run into assholes!

TV Star

Last night, while watching the television coverage of the 13th annual Beasley Skate Jam, I heard a funny joke:

Q: How many skateboarders does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Only one, but you need to give him about fifteen trys.


But seriously, the announcer for this TV special was way out in the stoke zone (or maybe the "toke" zone). It would be great if we could somehow stream the transmission for the enlightenment of the other four Fakiegrinders out there.

(I even make a cameo as a board chaser).

Friday, August 19, 2005

Night Skating

Full moon over factories
Streets empty and smooth
like the siver light

Who and What is punk?

What is “punk”?
Or maybe I should ask, what is “Punk Music”?

Webster Dictionary defines Punk Rock as a form of hard-driving rock 'n' roll originating in the 1970s, characterized by harsh lyrics attacking conventional society and popular culture, and often expressing alienation and anger.

The word punk in its self is not so easily defined, as it has several meanings such as, dry decayed wood, used as tinder; any of various substances that smolder when ignited, used to light fireworks; Chinese incense; of poor quality; worthless and/ or weak in spirits or health.

I ask this question because of a debate I heard on the radio. The debate was over whether or not the Dead Milkmen (DMM) are a punk band. Here at Fakiegrind, the Dead Milkmen are held in the highest regard and we don’t take attacks upon DMM kindly. As we speak Fakie Agents are infiltrating the radio station with plans to highjack the air waves in order to free the people’s minds from the oppression of stereotypes, social and consumer images and bad music.

Most of the bands you hear on the radio air waves have one tenth of the talent of the DMM!
Crappy so-called punk bands are signing multimillion dollar record deals, just because they fit the image and look the part. Hmm. Punks with a silver spoon.

Anyhow, a lot of people would not classify the DMM as a punk band. I will agree that punk is hard to define; however, the stereotype of today’s punk should not define what punk is. By today’s standard, unless you wear a leather jacket with safety pins and dye your hair a cool-aid color you’re not punk.

What happen to punk being anything that went against the grain of the social statuesque?
Sure, the safety pins, dirty clothes and crazy mowhawks are visual outward expressions of defiance to society’s social standards, acceptance and expectations. But punk is so much more than the wardrobe. It is bigger than tattoos, the hair dye and the piercing.

It’s a choice, it’s a way of life, its possibly a virtue.

The Day After


Due to the lack of carnage, you might have already guessed that I fell asleep before the witching hour of midnight and failed to unleash the awesome power of Metallica's Justice. I had a strange dream, in which a skateboarding angel came to me and said that Justice, untempered by Mercy, was too potent a force for human consciousness to assimilate. She said I must take the unopened cassette to one of the three remaining Sam the Record Man locations and drop it in the Bottomless Bargain Bin of Remainder Tapes, where it will safely remain until the time of the Great Undulations is upon us.

I awoke much astounded by my vision, but was even more perplexed to find that the Metallica tape was missing. Thinking one of the cats must have knocked it off my desk, I searched high and low, but found only a single red paperclip...the calling card of my arch nemesis The Adjuster!

If the cassette has fallen into malevolent hands, I can only shudder to think what horrible days may be upon us as this genetic terrorist holds humanity hostage, twisting us according to his chaotic will. Be vigilant Fakiegrinders! We must regain this lost artifact before the unmentionable happens.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Countdown to Justice

Well, the time that nobody has been waiting for is quickly drawing nigh. In about two hours it will be twelve midnight, eastern daylight time, and Friday will be upon us. I received several bids for the Metallica ...And Justice for All unopened cassette tape, but none of them even came close to the minimum $50 000 (Can) reserve price. The Smithstonian was just on the horn, trying to hammer out a last minute firesale deal, but Fakiegrind declined. Due to the apocalyptic implications attending upon this item, we don't want it falling into the wrong hands. In just under two hours, if I can stay awake that long, I will be breaking the celo-wrap seal, thus unleashing unforetold devestation as the forces of unmitigated Justice sweep across the globe. The scene at the end of the Raiders of the Lost Ark with the melting Nazis will be small potatoes compared to the carnage that will unfold once I hit the "play" button and unleash the Hammett Power Chords of Doom.

We Love Feedback

Immortalize your non-spam comments on Fakiegrind.

The Truth is Out There

The documentary The Corporation is a critical examination of the role corporate entities play in shaping our world. One portion of this thought provoking film might be of particular interest to Fakiegrind readers.


Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) is a synthetic substance that has been secretly injected to dairy cows to increase milk production. The hormone, apart from causing metabolic damage to cows injected with it, is a suspected carcinogen in humans. It was approved for use in the U.S. in 1993. In 1996 two award-winning journalists, Steve Wilson and Jane Akre, put together a story on the hormone for the Fox television network. Due to pressure from Monsanto, the company that produces the BGH product, Fox tried to suppress the information and refused to air the segment.

Wilson and Akre, who refused several offers from Fox to buy them out, were fired by the network in 1997 for their refusal to let the story go. In the various editorial reviews the reporter's work was put through, there were never found to be any factual errors in their reporting, and both sides of the story were well represented.

The journalists subsequently took Fox to court on a whistle-blower's charge, saying that they were fired by their employer because they refused to do something illegal, i.e. distort the facts of their investigation in revisions of the story they were required to make by their management. In August, 2000, Wilson and Akre won their case with a ruling stating that Fox "acted intentionally and deliberately to falsify or distort the plaintiffs' news reporting on BGH".

In 2003, Fox, and a group of other major television broadcasters, appealed the case and the ruling was reversed. Fox news claimed that the reversal was a vindication for the station. However, the decision was reached not because flaws were found in the journalists' story, but because the court ruled that it was not an illegal act to broadcast misinformation and distortions of truth on the news.

You can learn more about this story at Wilson and Akre's website.

While Europe and Canada have outlawed the use of BGH, U.S milk continues to contain the substance.

We expect this kind of thing to happen in big, bad U.S.A., but it would never fly in modest, self-satisfied Canada...right?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Endangered Movie Site

A fellow in France has started a petition to save the site of the creature cantina scene in the original Star Wars movie. He has managed to convince the government of Tunisia not to tear the building down, but still needs to sequester funds for the site's maintainance and the installation of a plaque.

If you would like to do your part to help save this piece of sci-fi movie history, click on the above link and add your handle to the list. (If you don't understand French, just click the link and let the Force guide you).

My Neighbourhood


I live in a modest brownstone in one of the larger north American urban centres. My buddy, Walrus Man, has webbed toes.


The kitchen ceiling is a little low, but Mr. Fantastic likes it just fine!


We rent out the upstairs room.


The short, green fellow at the corner store doesn't give refunds.


An unobtrusive ninja warrior gaurds the door.


Mostly, I just like to sit on the stoop with my friends.


When a Man Lies He Murders
Some Part of the World
These Are the Pale Deaths Which
Men Miscall Their Lives
All this I Cannot Bear
to Witness Any Longer
Cannot the Kingdom of Salvation
Take Me Home?

Metallica, To Live is to Die

Just a freindly reminder that you only have two more days to place a bid for an UNOPENED CASSETTE of Metallica's ...And Justice for All. This is the last album the legendary band made before they were kidnapped by their record label and replaced with androids. Bidding starts at $50 000 (CAN), but you can own the item outright for a mere $96 000 (CAN). Simply make the cheque payable to Fakiegrind, care of the Internet, and place it under your keyboard. We'll send one of our Agents through the wires to pick it up.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Down Time

While skateboarding this summer, I repeatedly hyper-extended one of my big toes. This, in turn, pulled or tore a tendon on the instep of my foot that has been sore for months now. This is what the little sports doctor in my head says. The voodoo witch doctor in my head says I have an evil spirit trapped in my foot, and I should do a special dance every night before going to bed. He also says I need to find my animal spirit guide to lead me to the Healing Crystal Lake wherein the Submarine of Renewal will take me to the lost city of Atlantis and their famous Video Arcades of Endlessness.

I also have a sizable bump on my shin bone from where I bruised it at the Bease Skate Jam. At least that's what the little Flatlander in my head says. The Peyote Scarfing Wolfchild in my head says that the bump is caused by the evil spirit in my foot knocking his head against the inside of my leg. He suggests that I go on a vision quest to find a Computer that Floats on the Water, whereat I will begin the Blog to End all Blogging, bringing on the Great Tribulation where all Spam Commentators will be banished forever to the Outer Void and renegade internet journalists will unite to destroy the Red Beast of Br'aggglzzd definitively, forever.

Yesterday I tried to skateboard again on the sidewalk outside my house. I did two 360s, then spun right off the curb, at which point the board jumped up and cut a gash into my upper leg. It is now a long, raw patch flanked by bruised flesh, and I am reminded of the makeshift womb that Zeus cut into his thigh to house the prematurely born Dionysus. I am also reminded of the Tuan-taun that Han Solo sliced open to save Luke from freezing in the frigid wastes of Hoth; but, on second thought, I bear no resemblance to a Taun-taun. So I guess I am mostly reminded of Zeus. But then the little witch doctor in my head tells me to stop being rediculous--there is no way I am gestating any sort of divine being in my upper leg. Well, I supose he would know, but it's nice to fantasize.

Just a flesh womb.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Fakiegrind's Metallica Fundraiser Challenge


My friend found a box of tapes by the curbside--a veritable treasure trove of tunes--in amongst which was this factory-sealed Metallica cassette, ...And Justice for All. Released in 1988, this was Metallica's biggest selling record up to that time, with classic songs like Blackened and Harvester of Sorrow. I am more partial to the Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and Garage Days Re-revisited albums, and looked upon Justice as the point at which the masters of metal started repeating themselves. And yet, for some reason, the universe brought this pristine, unopened, unplayed copy of the album into my possession, so I've had it up on the shelf as an article of wonder for several weeks now.

The cover graphic is pretty gnarley, with a boob exposure on the part of the statue of Justice that pre-dates MAMERY ALERT Janet Jackson's slippage by about fifteen years.


Maybe I never gave ...And Justice for All a fair chance. I've certainly never owned a copy. Therefore, I'm going to wait until Friday before unwrapping this vintage casette and poping it in the Fakiegrind sound system. Unless, of course, some die-hard Metallica fan and/or Fakiegrind benefactor would like to pay $96 000 (Canadian) to own this rare piece of music history.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Four Brothers

Tonight the cat is curled in shadow on the kitchen floor, and the crickets are chirping over the catcalls of the noisy drunks across the street. I'm a little drunk myself, but more quiet about it, having polished off a bottle of my neighbour's hommade Portuegese wine while he and I chatted over the back fence. Without his shirt, I could see the long scar, with a cross at the top, bisecting my neighbour's chest, from the open heart surgery that saved his life when he was twelve. I played guitar a little for him, and he told me stories of crooked Catholic priests.

Then my housemate and I went for a walk through the placid north end of Steeltown, and I was appreciating anew the giant trees that have survived, here and there, in the neighbourhood. A few days ago, I heard an Irish botanist on the radio talk about the medicinal aerosol emissions of various indiginous trees, and made a mental note to plant Black Walnut someday, in my future yard, to ease asthma. Then my housemate pointed out that her autistic two-and-a-half year old son was a true North Ender, having been born here. She said that even if we moved out tomorrow, the neighbourhood would be imprinted on his young brain as the best thing in the world--his metaphorical template for heaven--from all of the walks I have taken him on through these tree studded streets.

This thought made me happy. Even though when I arrived here, in the middle of winter a few years ago, the area looked like a hostile alien planet to me, the simple charm of the place has grown on me since. Look for my neighbourhood in the recently released blockbuster movie Four Brothers. The house and street on which they shot much of this film is just blocks away. I never got to see Markie Mark, but I met a cute security guard who gave me all the info about the habits of the stars.

Members Only

Due to the recent onslaught of spam comments, I had to rig Fakiegrind to accept comments only from official Fakie Agents. This makes me sad, since I really enjoy the comments that trickled in from disparate regions of the web. We'll have to get our Fakiegrind programming specialists working on some anti-spam firewall strategies. Until then, practice writing Fakie comments on scraps of paper, bathroom walls, your partner's bum--anywhere that you think other people might read them, and we'll all just keep our eyes open as the Fakiegrind comments page hits the streets!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sneaky Critters

Don't mistake this for an actual Fakiegrind posting. We're just trying to lure out some more spam commentary, to study and better understand the nature of the beast. We may or may not return to regularly scheduled blogumentary once this little matter is cleared up.

Post Spam Comments Here

Speed Bump

This past year-and-a-half has been a real skateboard adventure. It started with me being stranded on the west coast, skatin' a discount deck with drifting trucks, hanging out with the likes of Kill-Joy and playing his grandmother's version of gin rummy over a single cup of tea (one bag for two cups) which was all that we could afford at the local java joint. Then I took a three day, non-stop bus ride across two-thirds of this enormous country, and landed here in Steeltown in time for the twelfth annual Beasley Skate Jam; an event for which I had no skateboard, so I rolled around on a crub-side special until an old high school friend appeared and lent me his wheels for a run or two. Then I made it through the long Canadian winter and almost gave up all hope of skating again until a little voice through the internet encouraged me to clear off the local basketball court with a snow shovel and carve some lines to help thrash away the blues. Somewhere in-between now and then, I won a free Rodney Mullen skateboard and some shoes (which didn't fit), broke up with my girlfriend, got back together with my girlfriend (?), re-learned all my old tricks and then some, taught skateboard camp for a week, and made a fool of myself at the thirteenth annual Beasley Skateboard Jam.

Through all these adventures I had a heck of a lot of fun rolling around like a maniac (a cautious, calculating maniac, mind you), but now I'm a little tired from all that frenetic, kinetic activity. Every skateboarder gets old, sooner or later. Their ollies get a little less poppy, their kickflips have less kick, and their bonelesses become slightly more boney (in the arthritic sense). They start appreciating the more placid, rolling aspects of the sport over the technical, trick-busting side of skating, and perhaps they even start to feel a hankering for a touring-style longboard. For myself, riding the transitions and bowls of the various parks we visited during the week of skate camp gave me a taste of a kind of skating that was never very accessible to me in the heyday of the 80s, before skateparks started popping up every which way one turns. Carving the bowls is very pleasant, and perhaps slightly more gentle on the ol' fakieknees, providing you wear pads and don't wipe-out too often.

Yes, it's been fun freewheelin' around town, fakiegrinding through the days like a four-wheeled fiend of fury, but I think it's time for a little fakie vacation. Maybe eventually, when my knees feel better and the goose-eggs on my shins have healed, I'll graduate to a wider board, bigger wheels, and a smoother ride. Maybe I'll even do the Fakiegrind Canadian skatepark tour, as planned. If it ever comes about, I'll let you know. Till then, I might take a little blog hiatus. It's been fun bloggin' wit y'all, and our specially trained team of Fakie contributors have really made the site something special. Blogging is something like the old days of radio, when any fool with access to the proper technology could grab a wavelength and start broadcasting. And just like with radio, there is sure to be some sort of clamp-down eventually. Already, spam commentators have started infiltrating the free marketplace of ideas with their spamazoid spermospores. Soon you'll probably need some sort of license to freely express yourself online. 'Till then, I hope there are still some renegade bloggers out there to carry on the torch of dissension, expression and proper verb declension.

The Flatlander isn't one to pander to the Panda bear, mess around with anti-matter, or scatter women's underwear. He's just rocking it on to the break of dawn, keeping the beat strong and the orbits oblong. Tracking rebel satellites. Waiting 'till the morning light comes creeping over Steeltown streets. Looking out for new recruits and using tofu substitutes in place of certain meats. Like Rakim, his favourite dish is fish. In search of treats del-ish, why not wish for a knish?

Church bells tolling, I feel like bowling, my achy-breaky parts don't gather no mold. In thrift shops strolling, for beats I'm trolling, so keep it rolling, keep it fakie, and keep it old.

Two Turntables & a Microphone


Monday, August 08, 2005

Rocksteady Rocks

today is going to be a beautiful day uh huh
no more waiting for the usual thing uh huh
don't dare waste your time boy
don't dare waste your time
no more waiting for the usual thing uh huh
what can i do to make this plane go through uh huh
i'll put your thing in a different way uh huh
someday i'll get it right
i swear i'll get it right
today is going to be a beautiful day uh huh

Mellowdrone - Beautiful Day

It's rare when you’re able to come across a band that just blows you away. It's even rarer when you come across that band when they are still unknown. It's near impossible to come across that band while at show.

Well, friends, I struck gold one night in February of 2004. While at a show to see a band from Canada called Metric, I was blown away by the opening performance, which was Mellowdrone.

They opened with the above-cited song. The bass shook my insides and made my feet want to move with the rhythm. The best I can do to try to describe this band and their music is if you can imagine taking the bass and drums from R & B songs and mix it with dark, mysterious melancholy lyrics.

I find that Mellowdrone is best served on cold dark days.
Enjoy, Fakie readers.

Mr. Sore

Despite sunstroke, and the fact that I can barely move now, the 13th annual Beasely Skate Jam was a whole lot of fun. The oldschool division was moved ahead to today, so I actually got to enter. My run was crappy. I should have busted out some old, fun bonelesses and airs. Instead I attempted some freestyle moves and ended up looking like a dork. But the rest of the day was fantastic. There was a whole lot of amazing skating going on--and the only thing better than busting it out with a critical mass of other skateboard enthusiasts is doing the same, but to music. Oldschool hooked his I-pod up to an amp system and broadcast his specially tailored playlist while the events got run through: longboard, olschool, 18 and over, best trick out of the bowl, best trick on the box and quarter pipe, and the heated $400 game of SKATE. The whole thing was filmed and will be airing as a two hour special next friday on the local cable station.

There were so many cool tricks that got laid down. My favourites were a couple of 360 ollies. One guy did a nice one out of the bowl; it's amazing that you can spin around 360 degrees on a skateboard in mid air without grabbing it. Another fellow did this trick in the game of SKATE--on flatground--which was even more amazing to see. He did it a couple of times, just spinning through the air like a frisbee, and I thought he would take the prize on the strength of that trick alone. But the winner ended up being another fellow who seemingly had his board attached to his feet with little srings. He was brave enought to wear cords in the killer heat, and he walked away as winner of the 18 and over division too. It was a rockin' time: a real skateboard jamboree instead of the lame contest framework the industry tries to squeeze skateboarding into. Seeing as the whole thing is run by skaters, for skaters, using real, live skaters it makes it a very special and rare kind of event. Expected recovery time: one to two weeks.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Skate Jam!

This is it: day two of the 13th annual Beasely Park Skate Jam! I missed yesterday's proceedings, which included the oldschool, girls, 12 and under and longboard events; but today is when the big guns come out, and all the punks try to land the flip tricks that everybody else is also trying to land. I stopped by the park this morning on my bike. The local television station was already there with their van, and there were about three kids flopping around on the flat. In just a couple of hours, the small park will be stuffed full of skaterly dudes and dudettes from all over Ontario. The rap music will be blaring, the sun beating down, and the skaters will be getting radical! And I'll be there too, despite my broken foot and tired knees. Provided my wrists remain intact, I'll give you the full skinny later today.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Brought to You by the Letter F and the Number 0

I wish I had had a tape recorded last night when I woke up at about 3 AM to the sound of the neighbours across the street in all their drunken splendor. The place has about five appartments in it, and it doesn't seem to matter who moves in or out, they always end up being the loudest house on the street.

Last night they were partying hard. My brain was all cloudy when I woke up, and I thought I must have been dreaming as I tried to make sense of the drunken screeching that was broadcasting loud and clear through the open crack of my window.

Sometimes I wish that I could get drunk like that and wallow majestically in my own ignorance for the enjoyment of the entire neighbourhood. Not that it was really an enjoyable spectacle to witness, but there was a kind of sublime fascination about the whole scene. And of course, the liberally employed showcase adjective of the evening--the only really intelligible component of the entire discourse--started with the letter "f".

Friday, August 05, 2005

Long Shadows

Where has the summer gone? Cicadas are chirping in the trees and the tall grass is getting all nostalgic in the sunset. It seems like summer just began, and it's almost over. All the heat waves we've been having have kept us pent up inside, clutching our air conditioner units. I hope there is still time for some kind of Fakiegrind road trip before the summer of 05 is out. I had big plans for a Canadian skatepark tour video to be released some time next year, but I'm not sure the project will come together now.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Skated Out

I went to the Bease yesterday and skated around without any socks on. The reduction in weight made board manipulation easier, and I did a nice no-comply out of the bowl. It was mighty hot out, let me tell you. By the time I got home, my t-shirt had a higher salt content than the Dead Sea.

Repeated ankle sprains have pulled a muscle in my foot and it's not healing. I think I need to take some time off, despite the big Skate Jam this week-end. Being an unsponsored pro has it's plus sides: nobody calling me up for photo shoots at all hours, no demos to do with screaming kids, no pressure to learn handrails--I don't even have to skate if I don't want to.

I've been reading a book from the seventies about primal scream therapy. The main idea is that we carry around in our bodies all of the pain and trauma we experienced in childhood but were unable to deal with at that time. Until we face the experiences that caused the hurt in the first place we act it all out symbolically in the form of neurosis and physical ailment.

This idea puts a new light on the thousand and one aches and pains that plague me. I wonder if skateboarding itself is just a habit I latched on to to manage psychological trauma--in the same way that other people turn to drinking, drugs, overwork, or what have you. According to scream therapy, the path to liberation begins when one turns from the coping mechanims we have adopted and own up to the original hurts in our lives. In other words: feel the pain, baby.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Clone Zone

Logan 6, Steve Austin, Jamie Sommers, Obi Wan and Doctor Who all agree: The Island is one kick-ass sci-fi film.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Public Domain Revisited

Getting out of bed--I sleep on the floor, so it's more like picking myself up--was difficult this morning. In yesterday's heat I gave my legs a real work-out. Today it's strained muscles every which way I turn.

I've been watching the old Powell video "Public Domain" and realize that almost all of my tricks harken back to 1989. Mike Vallely does most of them in his sloppy but stylin' New York segment in this video: step-offs (now called "no comply"), fakie flips, 360 shoves and airwalks.

Ray Barbee's smooth footwork at the beginning of this film are one of my all-time favourite video parts. The opening segment of the four Powell amateurs cruising down the sidewalk doing crazy tricks signaled the birth of street skating as we know it today, and the legendary Craig Stecyk captured the moment brilliantly.

Then there are the mind-blowing, slow motion sequences of Mullen doing insane airwalk combos in front a fountain, on his tiny freestyle board.

Watching Mullen and the then-young Danny Way in this video made me realize that some people are just genetically gifted with superior reflexes and agility. In my time, I don't think I have practiced any less than the top pros, but I can never land such complex tricks with the seemingly effortless consistency that they muster.

Mike V's sloppy slouching towards radicality is more my style. In the short interviews with Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen, arguably two of the best skaters in the world to this day, one is struck by another odd fact: they both come across as slightly nerdy.

Chimes of Freedom

I'm trying to make a mixed CD for a girl I met who works at a record store. I don't want to get involved in a relationship with her, but we've spent some time together, and she's an interesting person.

We went to a punk show together that brought back a lot of memories from adolescence for me. I was so dark and negative back then, and the music I listened to reflected these psychological tendencies.

I've spent the evening searching for songs that have the punk sound without the nihilistic despair that often accompanies this kind of music. A certain sense of humor partially redeems many of these songs, but some of them were still difficult to listen to. Songs like "Fade to Black" by Metallica reminded me of just how depressed I was growing up.

But I have stumbled upon a cover version of Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom" that might make it into the mix. I used to know all the lyrics to this song. The images of the "city's blasted furnace" and the sheets of lightning are fitting for the current summer weather, and I like the closing lines that end with the chimes of freedom sounding for "every hung-up person in the whole wide universe".

I guess that could include just about everybody.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Wimperless Bang

Return of the sweltering heat. Elder skatesman sets fire to the street. Kid on bike counts the times I fall: four. Gnar levels rising, watching skate vids of yor. Study foot placement. Practice beats in the basement. In summer time riding the lines like Tarzan in the vines. Steeped in illusion, deep confusion unwinds. Scatter the zombie mob with words to lob like granades of thought. Inspiration--a neglected station between one and zero. Worship of heros: a human predilection. Point your nose in a random direction. The compass moves and I go through shoes, looking for ankle protection. Heel of Achilies. Some people eat chiles for fun and profit. Hand me a hat and I'll doff it at the first person who happens by because God is everywhere, like an echoing cry.

Countdown to Gnar

After a couple days of R&R my muscles are somewhat recovered from five straight days of skateboarding last week. Riding bowls and ramps utilizes different muscles from the flatlanding to which I am accustomed, but I think I could get used to it if there were a facility available. The Steeltown skatepark likely won't get built for another year, if they can even settle upon a location for the place.

Today I think I'll go out skating. The Bease skatejam/contest is next week, and I want to keep in shape for this event. Last year I attended but I didn't have a board, so I ended up riding an old discount beast that I found in the garbage. The thing hardly rolled, and there were a very limited number of tricks you could do on it. But diehard skaters know that even a popsicle stick on wheels is better than having nothing to ride at all, so we make do.

This year, however, I'm in good shape. By next week, barring any anomalous board destruction, my deck should be in the perfect state of broken-inedness for the skatejam. I guess I'll enter the oldschool division, and maybe the 18 and over. I might have a shot at the highest flatground ollie as well, if there is such an event.

Yadda Yadda

Blah Blah Blah Skateboarding Story Blah Blah Spiritual Grandstanding Blah Blah Blah Half-Baked Philosophical Speculation Blah Blah Rap Song Blah Blah Blah Guest Contributor Blah Blah Unintelligible Cartoon Blah Blah Blah Sporadic Commentary Blah Blah Irony Blah Blah Blah Remorseful Personal Confession Blah Blah Blah Lighthearted Observations Blah Blah Blah Insomnia Due To Perpetual Voiceover Blah Blah Blah Complaining About Steeltown Or The Weather Blah Blah Jokes About The Aging Process Blah Blah Blah Subliminal Christian Propoganda Blah Blah Blah Renegade Koans Blah Blah Blah Message-less Bottle Blah Blah Blah Voted Best Blog Of 2005 By NASA (North American Skateblog Association) Blah Blah Blah Running Out Of Desire To Expose Self To Multitudes Online Blah Blah Blah Blah Don't Leave A Comment Saying "Blah" Blah.