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Draplin Design Co., North America
December 18, 2000
Draplindustries Gazette #24.3 -- Weekly, you bet
Posted at 01:48 PM

1. Housing drama.

Upon arrival here in Southern California I made the issue of “finding ample shelter” priority number one. In fact, the first place I checked out got me excited and I applied. They accepted our terms and we spent the last 6 months in Laguna Niguel, 8 miles south of Irvine. Safe and serene, with one hell of an air conditioner, its chronic, prefabricated beauty has sort of creeped us out. We decided to push on, maybe south to San Diego or towards the beach a couple miles. So on the first we put our 30 day notice in and hit the papers and pavement. Man, those days went by quick…the pressure to find a new pad increasing with each heartbreaking lead. San Diego sounded good until I made the commute a couple times. Hour each way….fuck that. San Clemente, the local’s choice, offered inflated prices on beach shanties. Nope.

We decided to stay right where we are at. The bight side: Quiet, spacious, and gated entrances to keep the undesirables out. Still feels like a hotel condo deal though. Oh well. So rest well, we have shelter lined up for a whole year!

2. Girl talk.

Melissa finally got the axe. Yep, her employers pulled the plug on the joint and called it quits. She got a little severance package and a handshake and was out of there lickety-split. Good for her. The lack of daily challenge drove her nuts. One can only sit playin’ solitaire for so long, y’know. As much as I’d love for her to make the couch her new job, she has already started the search for new employment. Office assistant leads sound good. The Factory Floor counts on her important contributions, so good luck.

3. Product Review: Alfalfa Chow.

About 3 weeks back, startling news came to our attention. A friend of Melissa’s was fixin’ to move out of her apartment and had a little problem. Or should we say, “A little miracle?” She had this Guinea pig and low and behold, they were parting ways. Options included: donating him to a grade school, stir fry explorations and letting him move in with us.

We opted for the latter. Almen (the friend) had named him Moe in his early years but after a little head scratching, I came up with a new moniker. Now this is America goddamnit, and to keep the spirit alive, I thought he should have a good, hearty American name. And that is what I gave him: “Earl.” Yep, Earl the Guinea pig has settled in just fine. His daily activities include kicking the bedding out of his cage(like a little donkey!), squeaking and exercise, which is organized nightly by Melissa in the living room.

So I’m here to say that Pet-Smart stores carry a fine array of guinea pig grub in all shapes and sizes. Little pellets packed full of energy, granola bar deals and bags of Alfalfa. Alfalfa seemed like a good start, as proper nourishment is very important for his coat, innards and general well being. And man, he is eating the stuff like crazy. He loves it. Go Earl.

4. Cabo-Wabo.

Every year the EMAP Action Sport Division’s titles hit the road to exotic locations for their “editorial conferences.” In lay terms, it means a big vacation with the whole crew. Objectives include discussing editorial directions, assigning projects and critiquing previous season’s covers and content. The whole crew assembles, advertising and editorial, along with Senior Photographers and Writers. This way all facets of the hierarchy are represented.

Earlier in the season, when the location was still undecided, Sullivan graciously accepted our personal requests. Of course, these fuckers wanted to go south to warmer climates for surf and turf. Myself, my vote was for Branson, Missouri or New Orleans. I thought we should go somewhere none of us had ever been, a new environment for the team to conquer. No one backed me. I mean, shit, we live by a beach, it’s only natural to desire going to yet another beach? Bullshit. My spirits were low. I tried to squirm out of it. Paradise? For a northerner like myself it just sounded like another week dodging sunrays and being hot.

The verdict was in: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Warm water, cheap eats and lots of waves, man. The crew was excited to relax in the sun. I pledged to make the best of it.

So everyone convened at the office one morning. We loaded a shuttle and sped up to LAX. The flight south was smooth. We unloaded and were met by warm air. It felt good. We arranged a fleet of rental rigs and hit the road for our sleeping quarters.

Once leaving the airport the reality of Mexico hits you. This is the third world down here. Dirty, dusty, hand-painted advertisements and open-air grub ports line the streets. The rough roads led us to our home for the week, two beautiful villas.

The next four days were spent discussing the magazine’s direction, strategy, opportunities and winter plans. Daily meetings took place with the whole crew coming together to discuss different topics. Tempers flared a couple times but for the most part, things went smooth. Agreements followed, issues were clarified as hoped for. The rest of the time was spent on surf trips, sleeping, chowing, snorkeling and rallying.

Rallying? Well, take a group of dudes, load ‘em in a small rig and kick some ass. E-brake “tests”, brodying trajectories, brake slams, peel-outs…everything. When I think my life is in danger, for some reason I laugh out loud. Many moments were spent in hysterics. Sullivan and Bridges piloted those rigs with grace and style, fearlessly, through the property’s access roads. Bridges is a pro. A smoke dangling from his lip, seat pulled forward with about an inch between the wheel and his chest, his manhandling of the wheel lifted eyebrows and busted guts. He’s a hero on the Factory Floor. Sullivan lost his cool a couple times in these processes, but nevertheless holds a high title in the ranks of “jackasses who thrash rental cars.” Tires were popped, dust inhaled, curbs pummeled and engines red-lined to unhealthy levels. Ah, success! These late-night adventures are ingrained in my mind. Next time you come across a speed bump, hit the fucker with full force…then gun it and crank the wheel while yanking the e-brake. And always make sure you get full insurance on the rental rig. Y’know, just in case you hit a pot-hole or something. God forbid.

Downtown Cabo was a interesting scene. Lavish watering holes for frat-jocks and bubbly sorority broads, crowded restaurants, t-shirt shops… We made our way into town a couple times for some nightlife. The crew got intoxicated resulting in boisterous laughs and even a little bit of girlfriend drama. Yikes. The most amazing part of Cabo is the division between the the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Get yourself a block off the strip and the lights die down and you feel like you are in one big alley; street cats scurrying, dim-lit brothels/bars, tired store owners closin’ up shop. One second you are in the lights and action and shots of tequila and the next you are lookin’ over yer back. We didn’t make it inside Sammy Hagar’s famous “Cabo-Wabo” nightclub. Thank god.

After 6 days we flew back home. I was glad to get back. The best moments for me were spent sittin’ by myself strummin’ the guitar out on the veranda, enjoying a cool night breeze with the moon lighting the ocean below.

5. Mag update:

We are in the early stages of issue 13.7, the last mag of the winter. Excites stirs as the troops organize for mountain expeditions. Daily snow reports linger in the office.

Well I’ll be a sonofabitch if I didn’t take note a recent appearance in the offices. Rod Snell was down here for a couple days with work duties and stopped in for a little bit of conversation. It was great to see the guy. Made my day to see a friend in these parts. I wish he could have spent the night or something.

6. J Mascis + The Fog.

My little sister is an audiologist. She’s an ear doctor. Once her schoolin’ duties are completed she’ll move on to administering hearing tests, improving children’s hearing impediments and other noble auditory explorations. Melissa and I ventured north to the big city of Los Angeles the other night for some music and damn, I just might have to utilize her services considering the sonic pounding I took.

J Mascis was rolling through town for a couple of nights and damned if I was gonna miss him. Lesson number one: Never leave Orange county on a Friday afternoon expecting to make it north in an efficient manner. The traffic was amazing. “Amazing” in a fucked-up way. I just can’t see why people accept this place. My heart was broken sitting there, chuggin’ along in 1st and 2nd gear all evening trying to get to LA proper.

Molasses runnin’ uphill in the dead of winter has made better time than our trip north. We finally rolled through those Hollywood streets and parked.

The Troubadour is a legendary location in Los Angeles, a past I can’t really comment on due to lack of experience. I do know it housed some hot metal acts back in the day though. A female four-banger called “Heidi” opened the ordeal. Aw man…garbage. Best of luck to ‘em. I looked over at Melissa amidst their set and sadly stated,” Y’know, the worst part is they will probl’y make it.” Sad.

Beachwood Sparks came on stage next. Flying Burritos Brothers and Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds comparisons instantly came to mind. I think of their tunes and see a grainy 1973 clip of film with a happy couple strolling in a wheat field with dense forest as a backdrop. They ramble up the hill holding hands, and fall together embracing. The sun is about at 5 o’clock. Golden rays. Melissa dug ‘em.

Mascis came on and reinstilled my faith in the feedback. He’s my favorite. Stage presence? Naw…doesn’t need it. His peculiarity and mystery makes each movement and note that much better. I think this is the best I’ve seen him. Watt wrestled the bass with a little unease. He’s the sidemouse on this tour and he knows it. See, Watt is used to runnin’ the show. He did well though, his contorted, punctuated gestures adding to his sweaty flannel veneer. I was glad to see him up there kickin’ ass. Guitar is something that will fascinate me all my life, seeing Mascis again, makes me want to plug in, turn it up and wail.

For Mascis, check out: www.freakscene.net

For Watt, check out: www.hootpage.com

7. Coming events:

  • Graduation on December 8th in downtown Minneapolis.
  • My parent meeting Melissa’s parents. Yikes.
  • The end of the Snowboarder editorial season. Yay.