11.27.09 Whiskeymilitia New Gear for Cheap

Today is the day after Turkey Day and that means it’s the biggest shopping day of the year. About a year or two ago I was in a board shop and I overheard these two girls asking the sales guy for their best deal on snowboarding gear. They had a price limit, but I forgot what it was and it seemed unlikely that they would be able to get new gear during the midseason at a board shop such as this one, that would meet their budget. It seemed that they were newbies to the sport and didn’t really know what they were looking for. If the sales person wasn’t around, I would’ve told them where to go for getting good deals, and that a retail store at this time of the year (January) was not their best choice. Possibly obtain their digits too.

Regardless where I am, and who the manufacterer is, I have never paid full price for any board that I have ever owned. They can be costly, up to several hundred dollars apiece. Of course there are ways of getting around paying full price. For example, I bought my first setup in an after season sale at a sports shop in May. Like buying last year’s car model, buying winter sports gear in the spring can save loads of cash because the main season has already passed. My second board I got from a special unadvertised mid season 40% off sale at my local shop. (Right place right time).  The next one I bought from an employee discount program. It was a brand new Burton board too. My current board I bought used from my neighborhood sports store. And I recently got new bindings from the annual ski/snowboard show at 60% off. They were last year’s model but that was perfectly cool with me. Buying used, last year’s model, or from special limited time deals, the customer can save loads of cash.

Online services like ebay and Craigslist are also excellent alternatives. What I like about Craigslist is that you get to meet the seller, and sometimes the seller could provide you with some helpful insight into the item, based from their personal experience. Plus CL is local, whereas ebay is not. Typically, sellers sell board gear because they’re upgrading, moving, or just needing cash. CL is what I would’ve suggested to those girls I overheard in the board shop.

There are other, specialized, online sources for getting good deals on gear. Unlike the previous aforementioned online sources, these sites cater entirely to the action sports market and focus specifically on selling products for boardsports enthusiasts at discounted prices. These are Websites that were brought to my attention from the sales person that sold me my current board and include whiskeymilitia, dogfunk, and brociety. I have no idea what whiskeymilitia or dogfunk means, and these names sound like they would have nothing to do with snowboarding gear, but as you know, snowboarders are always thinking up random shit. These online retailers mostly feature skateboard and snowboarding gear, and on rare occassions, you might find surfing and wakeboarding stuff. Unlike other online action sports retailer, these sites sell new gear at great discounts, typically between 40%-60% off regular store prices. I think they function as a sort of “clearing house” for items that were leftover from last year’s stock, suplus items, or items that didn’t sell too well, because I notice sometimes that the items were tagged as “discontinued” or “2008 model”. I guess it would be kind of like a “Nordstrom Rack”.

A unique feature of this system is that only one item is displayed on the page at any one time, with different items rotated about every 25 minutes or so. You never know what’s coming up. One minute you might see Skullcandy headphones, the next minute DC skate shoes, and the next a high-end Burton deck. You never know. A downside to this is that they may not always have your prefered size/color/model available, however. But the advantage of this randomness and unpredictability is the great discounts off the regular retail price. I have the whiskeymilitia site bookmarked in my browser.

On the right side of the page is where you enter your choice of size/color/style/model and the options for your shopping cart. Below that there is a column that displays which colors/sizes are available and how much of each are remaining in stock. The stock quantities are displayed in real time, a real nice feature. In the left side are the
pictures of the item, a description, and comments from users, if any. There’s usually a helpful sizing/conversion chart and multiple pictures of the item can be viewed in a popup.

But what I really like about these sites, and which I find very amusing, is the product description. The descriptions are almost never boring, stuffy or stale, because they usually consist of some witty remark or comment, which refers to how this product is going to make you “cool” and accetable and how it will help you reach your life’s goals, which in the boardsports world is the attainment of women and booze. These witty remarks reflect the boarder’s need to be rebelliously independent and to party. They are mostly aimed at males, aged 17-24, who live in suburban or semi-urban households, and who participate in skateboarding/snowboarding/surfing or any combination of these. They are most likely to be active social networkers and the types to go into a Walmart and commandeer the PA system. Here are a few examples:

Chocolate mousse just doesn’t look as good without a sprig of mint on the side, and your getup doesn’t look as good without the DC Men’s Garnish Hoody. This full-zip reversible sweatshirt lets you choose between dots and stripes. That cute girl in your Urban Planning class will never guess that you’re been wearing the same hoody every day for the past two weeks.

The DC Men’s Watchin Hat gets 72 channels. Of those 72 channels, 67 show strictly skateboarding, three feature naked pie-fights, and the last one is so dirty, we can’t describe it here. You’ll have to get this fitted New Era cap and find out for yourself.

It takes balls to face the cold. Wear the DC Men’s Brave II Full-Zip Hooded Sweatshirt to give yourself the manly motivation needed to bundle up, sprint to the corner mart, and return with a case of cold ones when the warm weather is on vacation.

Stash the DC Men’s Duffy Polo Shirt in your bag so you can change identities when you finally leave the park for the day. Your girlfriend will appreciate the soft cotton threads and your mom will thank you for finally showing up to a nice dinner without blood all over your shirt.

Who ever writes these descriptions must certainly be very creative and know whats up in the boardsports community. I always enjoy reading them even if I don’t intend to buy anything. If you’re a boarder and looking to buy new stuff, and don’t mind the surprise and random show and tell, knowing that you’re not always gauranteed your size or color preference, these sites might be an excellent choice for scoring new gear for cheap.

11.27.09 Rendezvous at a Pop Singer Concert

I was at a big arena about to see a major female pop singer concert. Almost everyone in the audience were classmates. As we entered we each had to pass through numerous security checkpoints before getting to the main floor. Some of the passageways were very narrow. I was glad to have successfully made it through all the security and was waiting on the main floor with a bunch of other excited fans. I felt very good that I was about to meet someone that I knew, like a friend or classmate. This person was in the audience and we were to met after the show. I also had a good feeling that I finally completed a major task or project.

11.27.09

I was going to school at a very large campus. Diane was one of my classmates and we were working on somekind of photographic project together. There was a spacious cafeteria in the center of a large building. There were picnic-like tables everywhere and it was crowded. I was looking for a spot to sit. It seemed like it was about noon. When I finally found a spot I overheard students who were sitting nearby talking about something dirty and graphic like sex.

I was walking in a smaller quad or courtyard in some back area of the campus that didn”t have much foot traffic. At a park bench I met up with Christina B who was working part time as a club or band promoter. She showed me some local music scene magazines and cut out some articles or coupons for me. The sky was cloudy and it looked like it was about to rain. Seems like I was about to participate in some event that she was working on. I had to leave to go to my next class. There was a lightning strike closeby and I felt electrical energy all over myself and buzzing all over the place. Immediately it started to rain. I was concerned that all my books and stuff are going to get wet. I said goodbye to Christina and started off to my next class. I took a shortcut through the phys ed building. There weren’t many people there. I passed through several rooms which I found surprising because i didn’t think that the PE dept was that big.

11.21.09 Boarding Buddies

Diane has been very interested in learning snowboarding and we talked a little about it last night. I’ve been suggesting that we go up together and I can show show her how to ride. Maybe at Mt High or Bear. She was surprised to hear that you can board here in socal. She doesn’t have any gear and I recommended that she rent the gear first, then buy later, but she says she is sure she’ll like it so wants to buy the stuff instead of renting. She also wants to learn to skateboard. We talked about finding some open parking lot near where she lives so we can skate. She’s going to get a skate deck from a family member over Thanksgiving. Last night on Youtube I saw a video that a guy took as he bombed a hill on his long board, holding the cam low to the ground. In the description, he says he is using one of those Flip Cam Ultra HD cams. I think I might try the same thing on my long board.

11.21.09 Friday Night Clubbing in Long Beach

Diane and I went to a club called Seville in Long Beach to take photos for her employer, Myclubscene.com. Had an awesome time! She was assigned to cover an event there put on by 944.com, a lifestyle mag. We got lost going there, so it’s a good thing we left extra early. We ended up parking in the parking structure of a Walmart, where we bought batteries for the flash unit. Even with time lost from driving around and looking for parking, we arrived with still enough time to set up and look around before the crowds arrived. We entered through the VIP entrance and after we were cleared by the bouncers, we were given blue wristbands. I overheard that the cover was $10, but as we were representing a website we got in with no charge. The floor was super-packed! Even in this uncertain economy, people still want to party and dance. One of the cocktail waitresses was passing around free drinks. I think it was some kind of margarita mix. There were of course scantily-dressed girls dancing on platforms next to the DJ station, as the DJ did his spins. The music was super loud. When Diane wanted to communicate with me, she’d text something into her blackberry and then show me the screen. I’d then enter my response by typing something on the screen and handing it back to her. A new use for texting! Inside loud clubs!

One thing I thought was interesting was that in the men’s room, there was actually a dude standing there that was personally handing out paper towels. He was basically watching you as you did your thing, which gave me a weird feeling. There was a line outside the ladies room, which was even more crowded. As we were leaving we went across the DJ stage. At the bar at the front of the club, Diane took some more pictures, while I found myself standing in front of this trio of hot girls who where taking photos of themselves. We made eye contact and I could tell they gave me the look-over. Among them, the one standing nearest to me was actually “my type.” Surprisingly, she motioned to me to take their picture for them. She handed me the camera, the flash went off, and after I handed it back, I asked her if they were from around here. She said yea. Hmm was this conversation going somewhere? By then Diane got me and said we should go because she was starting to get a little light-headed from all the flashing lights. The girl trio probably thought Diane was my date or something. I gave them one last look as we headed to the stairwell, where Diane took a picture of me with one of the bouncers, and soon indoor flashing lights turned into outdoor city lights.

There were one or two police cruisers parked outside, and cops standing around. I asked one of them about their presence. He said they were there because fights sometimes break at these clubs. Diane and I were there until about 1:30am. I might add that this is the first club I went to that was non-smoking, which is great because I don’t leave the place smelling like smoke. While Diane went around shooting pics, I did meet and talked with a couple of hot chicks, but I doubt that I would ever hook up with any of them. That’s a story for another time! Nonetheless, the one with the camera made my day!

11.14.09 Flatland Snowboarding

XCsnowbr

I had never heard of this, but I knew it was inevitable. Sooner or later someone had to invent it. And now I guess someone already has.  I’m talking about cross country snowboarding. Yes, just like XC skiing, it’s snowboarding on level ground. These 2 extreme sports pioneers are wanting to popularize it and have made a video, which you can see in the link above. Is this lame or cool? In the video, they look like 2 bunny rabbits hopping across the trail. It looks hilarious at first. But the foundation of snowboarding is being “different” and alternative, and it’s all about exploring new ways of doing things. I guess we’ll let the viewers decide.

I’ve made my plans and reservations for this year’s trip to Lake Tahoe this past week. I’m very excited and looking forward to it. It includes three days of riding, split between Mt Rose and Squaw Valley, and one day off-hill. This year for the first time I will not be going to Northstar. It’s very expensive there, where a day ticket now costs $79, not to mention they’re the only resort that do not offer student discounts.  Mt Rose and Squaw do, however, which I’m able take advantage of. Plus I’m not all that thrilled about the Northstar mountain for some reason. Its terrain seems plain and generic and lacks diversity. It can get very crowded there with mostly Bay Area people that clog the trails. In fact it can get so crowded there that I made a video called “Afternoon Rush Hour” and posted it on my Youtube. The last time I was there I rented my gear. All they had in the rental shop were leftover boards that no one wanted. But my biggest complaint is the way the mountain is set up. To get from the base lodge area to the mountain, you need to take a tram, which is the only way to get up to the mountain. This creates a huge bottleneck problem especially in the morning when a zillion skiers and boarders arrive at the mountain. As a result it can take up to an hour in the lift line as you wait to board the tram. No other ski resort I’ve been to has this problem. Long-time employees have told me that the place has become too corporate as well. For these reasons, I have omitted Northstar from my agenda.

Just 35 minutes from downtown Reno, Nev., Mt Rose is the closet ski area to town. This year I’ll visit there two days, one day each during their “Student Discount Day” and their “Ladies Day”.  Mt Rose is unique. Although it’s comparatively smaller than other area resorts, Mt Rose for me is synonymous with hot boarder chicks. I’ve met more boarder chicks there than at any of the other Tahoe resorts, so I’m excited to see what “Ladies Day” is all about.

The other ski area where I met lots of boarder chicks is at Timberline, which, interestingly, is about the same size and has the same number of lifts as Mt Rose. The smaller skiable acreage must have something to do with it. Smaller resorts really do seem to be more personable.

11.13.09 Friday the 13th and Walmart

Friday the 13th, perhaps one of the most feared day of the year! Today, 11.13.09,  is the third Friday the 13th this year did you know that? Two weeks after Halloween no less. As a horror movie fan myself I have no particular superstitions about this day and I see it as just another normal day. But I keep wondering, who or what gave it its superstitious connotation? Was it from the Biblical reference to the Last Supper which was attended by 13 people or the crucifixion that occurred on a Friday? Was it from the failed Apollo 13 mission? Or Jason Voorhees himself?

According to this AP article, a North Carolina behavioral scientist and author came up with a term for those who fear Friday the 13th — paraskavedekatriaphobia – while the phobia of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia.

For my Friday the 13th, what could be more appropriate than to watch Friday the 13th the TV Series, on Youtube, not to be confused with the Hollywood movie series. The TV version was originally aired in the late 80’s and is a precursor to Warehouse 13, a series currently on the Sci-fi channel. In both shows, 2 characters, a man and a women, search for and retrieve ancient relics that posses magical powers and return them to a secured vault. They are both guided by an older man, who serves as their mentor, or boss. The Friday the 13th the TV Series I watched was called “Mesmer’s Bauble”, which is about a lonely geeky guy who finds a crystal that he uses to transform himself into a pretty boy to get the attention of his singer idol named Angelica. Eventually, the twisted kid takes over her body, and then dies when one of our main characters snags the crystal from his neck.

I have a theory that value shoppers are especially susceptible to triskaidekaphobia. We knew that buildings don’t have a 13th floor, but if you go to your local Walmart store, you’ll see that there is no checkstand #13.

walmart-int

BTW, I read that a Walmart employee was killed in a Black Friday rampage at an East Coast store last year. In this NY Times article, I see that the store will put in place new crowd control measures such as opening the store on Thanksgiving morning and keeping it continuously open until Friday night, and having workers supervise and hand out flat screen TV’s instead of leaving them in piles and making it a every-man-for-himself free-for-all.