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Draplin Design Co., North America

1. California: The Editorial Rant

I’m trying hard to find positive California things to comment on in these fine pages. The job is the saver. Once inside, all the freeways and sunrays are at bay. I like it in here. Computers, tunes, slapstick slander and lots of snowboarding action. In all honesty, I sit here and really have to think about what inspires me in these Cali-fornicated surroundings. Nothing comes to mind. Strip malls? Car dealerships? Mexican restaurants? Los Angeles? Hell no.

Think positive. Oh, I know — the current temperatures. After a bone-dry summer we are being treated to 60 degree days — and get this, every now and again: rain! Yeah, that’s right. Wet pavement? In Southern California? As if! Man, you’d think these fuckers were on Midwestern black ice — slammin’ on brakes, wet asphalt and oil slicks — insanity.

With “winter’ approaching the climate has mellowed out a bit. The sun is pleasant now. I hate heat. I hate being hot. I hate hot cars. I hate people in air conditioned SUV’s. I welcome the cool temperatures. So to Ma Nature: thanks.

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2. Girl Talk

Melissa has been on the hunt for apartments in San Diego. I’m so thankful she has the time to explore our options. On the 1st we put our 30 day notice in to our fabulous, gated community, but cautiously though. After a couple visits to San Diego and a quick glance through a rental listing, Melissa’s eye lit up with the idea of moving operations south. Cool. I’m up for it. City life! Record stores, diners, thrift stores, dirt, and humanity. The Orange County experience has been too creepy for us. The place still feels like one big fuckin’ resort. The only hindrance is the commute. San Diego is a good hour from the office. With a little traffic, things can turn into a nightmare quickly. We put the pedal to the medal later on this month. And man, those days are approaching.

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3. Product review.

The Fellows ergonomic mouse pad.

Oh man, what a difference! Simple in design, muted in color, streamlined in form, the Fellows mouse pad has made my days in front of the monitor so much better. Normal hand-to-mouse action requires the hand to raise slightly to reach the height of the mouse. That tension, even though you might not feel it, slowly takes a toll on the ol’ gears in the forearm. I was getting to the point where after a day of doing time on the mouse, the inner mechanics wold be really feeling the strain. Melissa recommended an ergonomic focus in my work environment. A victim of shameful office chairs and hand/keyboard relationships, her limb pains escalated to the point of doctor visits a couple years back. Whoa. So with this little mouse pad raised 3/4 of an inch below my wrist, the mouse gently resting under my hand, the change has been subtle but amazing. In a new world where the mouse is the conduit between the muscles and the screen, I propose personal ergonomic overhauls for all concerned digital worker bees.

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4. Feature story

Winter Travel No.1: Wolf Creek Weekend.

Early thursday morning Sullivan got a wild hair and challenged the crew with an offer: “Who wants to go to Colorado this weekend? Wolf creek is opening on Saturday morning.” Snowboarding? Snow? Mountains? Considering the chronic beach atmosphere over the last 5 months, these conditions almost seem imaginary, or, locked within a beautiful, unattainable setting gracing our pages. All this sunshine and all these palm trees can have an effect on a mountain-livin’ snowboarder type. I know they have on me.

Word got around the office quickly. 10 snow hungry scragglers were up for the adventure. A couple phone calls later we had lift tickets lined up, condition reports and reservations for two Minivans. That night everyone greased and tuned their prospective weapons in heated anticipation.

Friday morning. After a couple office duties the clans emerged with bags of gear at their feet. The vans loaded and were on the open road by 1pm. After a little bit of traffic drama we escaped the clutches of the Southern California beach regions with an eastern trajectory heading towards Arizona on I-40. Smooth sailing ensued. Driving duties were neatly separated amongst the crew. 3 hour shifts were dealt in a efficiency-minded fashion. Turns out my shift had some little icy secrets waiting for me. Somewhere up near Flagstaff (spittin’ range of the Grand Canyon) the rain came down, then the snow, and then turned to ice. Deep breaths were taken. Seatbelts were checked. Those asleep were woken up to rally the driver. I carried us through the rigorous conditions safely. Relief was felt by all. Our caravan of 2 rigs was separated in these moments, prob’ly due to my granny-like navigatin’. Better safe than sorry.

We shot up through the northern regions of Arizona, nipping the northwest corner of New Mexico, with a straight run north on route 666. (No devilish spirits were encountered.) We entered Colorado sometime past 3am, pulling into Wolf Creek by 5 o’clock in the a.m. You might be asking yerself, “Why does he go into such detail documenting the roadtrip?” Here’s why: Because I feel its necessary to document one’s “will to ride”. All those miles, long hours, trashy meals aside…one little dream to do some snowboarding.

Hotel rooms were gathered. Bodies were decked out with alpine gear. Groggily, we made our way up Wolf Creek pass, the temperature dropping a full point with each mile, drizzle turning to flurries, turning to accumulation seemingly instantly.

Powder! Excitement was in the air. The locals waited in line, anxiously planning out lines down the trails. The crew loaded the lifts and we made our way up the hill. Dismount came quickly. Bindings were buckled and everyone dropped in. Turns were made. Tumbles occured. Googles fogged. Noses submarined. Legs burned. Some 6 hours later the day came to a rest and the clan headed down the pass to the warm confines of the Wolf Creek Best Western.

I think I took a total of 7 runs or something, and man, I was burnt. All those hours plopped on the ass designing the mag didn’t prepare me for the physical reality of the situation. Mentally, I was ready to ride. Muscles ached for each adventurer. Baths were taken. Some even went to the local sulphur springs… each person relaxing and winding down in their own way. After a nap we ventured out and had a bite to eat at a local I-talian joint. Hearty plates of lasagna and golden breadsticks were consumed. Conversations veered towards sore flesh and Sunday snow excitement. We made our way back and hit the sack with heavy thuds.

Sunday morning offered a little benefit: Daylight savings. That extra hour came in handy as we made our way up the mountain that morning. The sun was out, the crew was well rested. Action took place. Everyone was feeling the conditions, enjoying the powder and uncharted territory. Performance was doubled.

After riding we headed back down to Wolf Creek, rosy-cheeked snow badasses ready to chow down. The local malt Shop offered plates of food. We ate. Once finished, just prior to digestion juices punching in, the two vehicles loaded and headed west by southwest.

We left at 6 in the pm, arriving at 8 am the next morning. Long hours for some 20 runs down the hill. And I gotta say, it was worth all the fidgety moments in the rigs.

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5. Job Update

The photo annual is completed! Issue 6 is on its way to the printers! Production on the Photo Annual was pretty painless. Clean lines, clean bleeds. Excellent. That leaves one issue to go: The Snowboarder magazine Top 25 Riders Issue. This is the annual round-up of the sport’s top rippers. These “prestigious” honors are bestowed upon the riders by the magazine staff based on ability, media coverage, and video parts. It’s a good concept because it stirs up some much-needed controversy here and there. Every kid has their personal list of favorite riders. Snowboarder has gotten to the point where people are excited to see our list. The reaction from the populace will be interesting. 6 issues down, 1 to go!

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6. Music reviews

Long live J Mascis.

Mascis is back at it again with his October 2000 offering of “J Mascis+ the Fog-More Light” on Ultimatum records. It’s been three damn years since the release of “Hand It Over”, his final Sire/Reprise release. The time has been painful. I’m a sucker for whatever he puts out — have been since around 1989. Blow by blow, the album offers another slice of the Mascis forte’: wailing, fuzzed guitars, crooning organs, frantic drumming, melancholy lyrics, warm breaks and long-winded solos — .and goddamn, I love it all. Mascis played the whole album, recording in his basement. The studio, better know as “Bob’s place”, is named after Mascis’ bulldog.

In fact, Melissa and I are venturing up to the Troubadour in LA on the 18th. Mascis will be in town with Watt on the thunderbroom and Berz on the skins. I can’t wait. That’ll be my 5th time seeing Mascis incarnations. Expect a full report.

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7. Coming events

Cabo San Lucas, bro! Snowboarder Magazine heads across the border to the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula. Maybe we’ll hang with Sammy Hagar.

Promotional squanders.