Category Archives: personal


SPACE1026 QTVRs from 1998

Way back in 1998, I shot a series of QTVR movies of SPACE1026 as it was. There wasn’t any fancy staging or cleaning up–just some quick shots from a tri-pod. This was the future, spinning 3-D inside a space, a virtual walk through. Fifteen years later QTVR isn’t really on anyone’s radar and it was pretty tricky to transfer these files to a format people can actually see (I’m including some instructions at the very bottom of this post).

The SPACE1026 kitchen

15 Years later I see –– The kitchen was sketchy and dirty. Also note there is an ad-hoc changing room behind the last studio there (Adam Wallacavge‘s studio). There’s some nice Jim Houser artwork around. We kitchen was not stocked too well. We ate a lot of meals at the second kitchen, the Wawa just on the corner of 11th and Arch.

The SPACE1026 computer zone

15 Years later I see –– There is a boom box on the table. Early on at SPACE1026, I was kind of infatuated with the fact that we had a commercial space and businesses would treat us as “real” businesses. So I talked some random company into delivering a soda machine to the space. The dumb thing was that no one really drank soda so much. The all mac computer set up is sweet to this day. I see my old PowerMac 6100, and what looks like a PowerMac 7100 but it could also be a Quadra (not sure).

The SPACE1026 ramp

15 Years later I see –– The ramp was boring before Jim Houser’s show later in 1998. There are two crazy extensions already in place. One is just a launch ramp, upside down. My studio/bedroom was behind the ramp. You can see the lights inside my little zone.

The SPACE1026 gallery

15 Years later I see –– This was shot before we re-finished the gallery floors. The Fort Thunder show was awesome, even in this late stage. At some point 1026 Arch was a bank – so there are a few vaults and there was this super heavy safe that moved around for a while. The output of Fort Thunder was and is still inspiring.

The view from the SPACE1026 roof

15 Years later I see –– The roof access was awesome. We spent hot nights up there when inside the space was crazy hot. I remember long talks with the gang, dreaming big and just enjoying the company of good friends struggling to do something great.

Nerd stuff below, stop reading if you don’t care how I transferred these…

How to transfer QTVR to a movie file. You will need something old that reads QTVR. I used QuickTime 7 Pro (you’ll need the serial number as well which unlocks all the cool stuff), which I keep around because it’s a really handy video swiss army knife kind of tool. The new version of QuickTime Player has a little known feature called ‘Screen Recording’. Under the file menu you create a “New Screen Recording” and it will record what is on your screen. So you just start a new screen recording, click and drag to select the area of the screen you want to record, in this case the QT7 Pro window, and then you move the QTVR around and it will make a movie of your screen. There are some older tools out there, but this was the cleanest and fastest way to do the job.

Face Plant

Three weeks ago from yesterday I had a mishap. I went to the skatepark for our usual Tuesday lunch session. I took a run in the bowl and then started pushing around the street course. I headed for a section with a bank to box. I gave it two hard pushes.

jfx1026-morganhill jgrantbrittain-swank-push

These weren’t ‘running from the cops’ pushes, just regular ‘get some speed’ pushes. On the second push I felt crazy pain in my right calf. It felt like someone through a rock at my leg. I turned away from the box and stopped to examine my leg and sort out what happened.

calf-pain mike-woodson-confusion

So, the pain is growing and I sit down and take off my helmet and elbow pads, still trying to sort out the problem. Then, for some unknown reason, I stood up. The next section of the story was told to me. I don’t have any memory of this bit. I fell to my knees and then flat to my face.

knee-surf john-face-plant

I wake up seeing blood and my friends and the park monitor around me. I got the usual waking up from being unconscious questions. I answered these correctly because I have this neat trick where I pass out under extreme pain. I’ve met a few people who have this same reaction to pain. I couldn’t walk, or put weight on my leg. My calf was still killing me.

I went back to work. They told me to go home, which I did eventually. A few days later I went to a doctor. His diagnosis: a partially torn calf muscle. The treatment: 6-8 weeks of rehab. The rehab is simple, just stretching to stop scar tissue from forming during the healing process.

The moral of the story. Don’t get old, it makes dumb stuff happen to your body when you least expect it. I didn’t hurt myself trying to learn, or re-learn, some trick. I tore a muscle pushing.

A Tale of Two Skateparks

On Friday I had the good fortune of visiting two skateparks that I’ve never been to.

The first stop was Derby Park, which is in a residential beach area and was first built in the 70s. It’s been modified and improved over the years but it’s maintained it’s quirky nature and is not easy to skate. The park consists of a snake run with a small open section at the top and a wider open bowl at the bottom. The snake run does not have smooth transitions and it changes from one section and side to the next. The bowl is pretty mellow, but the lip is rounded and very waxed and slippery. You can get your truck on and grind, but it’s not easy to lock in because of it being so round. When I arrived there were about 8 people skating the park. Four adults and four little kids. The youngsters were mostly riding on their knees and butts, just cruising the snake run and being kids–having fun. The older guys were perfect locals. They knew every nook and tranny, gathering speed and hitting all the right spots to launch, grind and flip off the varied hips. You could tell immediately that these guys had put in the work necessary to learn this park. They paid their dues and were reaping the rewards. It wasn’t like they were just good at this spot. All of them had some very technical skills and were throwing down both big spinning, flipping tricks as well as ultra-technical lips tricks while traveling at top speed. It was a joy to watch while I took my baby steps navigating the new terrain. The locals weren’t overly protective or possessive of their domain. Everyone was friendly and positive–while also making clear what the rules of the house were. When someone got in the way, or was standing stationary in the wrong place, they were corrected clearly. This is how the kids learn, they have to be told without malice and with honesty. I stayed for about 45 minutes, trying my best to find the lines, watching the locals and learning from their experience. It was an awesome session and I can’t wait to get back there.

The second stop on the skatepark tour was Scotts Valley Skatepark a new, all concrete, modern day park in the suburbs. It was pretty amazing looking. A large, eight foot deep bowl with round and square sections, a wide open street area with an outlet to another eight foot bowl wall, a smaller three foot mini bowl and a slew of metal edged ledges and steps. It was really well built, clearly thought out (if a little tightly packed in) and it was packed with kids–at least 30. About a third of these kids were on scooters of course. It’s sad to see them taking their scooting so serious. You can call me an old man, but I can’t back the scooter lifestyle. I’ll stop ranting. The age level was much lower here, mostly pre-teen kiddies and a few older men. The kids weren’t really using the bowls for the most part. They seemed to be focused on the ledges and stairs. I kind of understand this, but it’s a little odd. Don’t they have stairs and ledges in this town elsewhere? Did they ban skateboarding in town after the park was built? I like a good ledge as much as anyone, but there’s all these awesome things built just for you to skate… Some of the kids seemed to have some technical talent and were trying some difficult ledge and manual moves but the difference between Debry and here was striking. The locals weren’t learning the park, they were just taking their interest area and applying it to the section that fit their needs. There were no flowing lines, no movement from area to area and very little I could pick up from the locals on where the lines might be. Once I was skating myself, it was pretty easy to find the lines–the park is very well designed. I stayed for about an hour and skated every section of the park. It’s a big park and there is a lot to learn and figure out. Just like Derby–I can’t wait to get back there, hopefully on a school day when the scooter posse is learning.

I’m not trying to make some judgement call about how a skatepark should be or what is better. This is simply an observation of two parks on one awesome Friday and what I saw. I had a really good time at both places and I’ll be back to both.

The questions I have are more like this…

  • Is there something about a more difficult spot that heightens the abilities of those who dare to learn its secrets?
  • Are the suburbs, even with the best facilities, not the most nurturing to skateboarding talent?
  • Why do kids like scooters?
  • How did that one guy at Derby get more speed uphill than going downhill?
  • Am I really too old to learn new tricks?

My 2010

2010 had a rough start. You may or my not remember that in the end of 2009 I lost my job. This situation created great difficulty in our household. We managed to get by with much cutting back, help from family and a willingness to wear many, many layers. Amy made lots of amazing food to ease the pain (see photos). In February I landed a temp job at the Bank of America and the timing couldn’t have been better. Bills needed to get paid. The next few months were pretty straight forward–get back on track. In June, I noticed an interesting job online and before I knew it I was offered an amazing job in California for Black Box Distribution. This was good news but life is not simple–lots of logistics are involved in moving across the country. We put our house up for sale (in the worst housing market). Amy is doing her best to maintain and I’m doing my best to do good work and balance that with home. I keep hoping that things will change for the better and some sanity will return to our lives.

Mixtape 07.2010.Guitar

Guitar is the newest of the mixes and features both electric and acoustic styles. Simple rhythmic guitar hooks and nice sounds. All my favorite guitar wielding bands: The Dead Milkmen, Sex Pistols, R.E.M., ALL and more. Isn’t guitar a strange looking word. I keep thinking it’s spelled wrong.

Listen here or the player below.