I figure anything I write here will be right on for some and mystifying for others. The best I can do is hit the broad strokes and hope it paints a fairly well-rounded picture. And since in many ways we’re made up by the sum total of our experiences, I figured I’d lay it out like that and forgo the typical method of filling a space such as this.
The dates of some of these events are little nebulous so I’ve stuck broadly to the years. If you know me you may disagree with some of the facts or details — and that’s cool — I’m open to the possibility this is revisionist history. But Munchausened or not, I think you’ll agree it’s been an interesting looking ride so far.
1964 — My birth. I have to admit the facts of this event are strangely fuzzy. This I do know: I’m my parent’s first child and only boy in a sibling set that would rapidly cap off at an even four, I’m fiercely loved, and along with being breast-fed until about the age of three, I’m weaned on peanut butter, carrot and raisin sandwiches. Not sure if you can see the potential in this last fact, but I think it demonstrates a certain gastronomic creativity that led to my open-mindedness in all things.
1967 — The Summer of Love. Not able to drive or hitchhike, I forgo the Haight-Ashbury experience and choose instead to spend my time chatting with the rental property’s Japanese gardener. I don’t speak Japanese.
1969 — The Pacific Ocean officially becomes fused with my DNA. Our family moves from Glendale, CA to Newport Beach, CA. We rent a pink house in Bay Shores that sits up against the PCH and smells like rotten eggs. Our days are spent at the beach hunting antlions and trapping octopi in mayonnaise jars. At night we fall asleep to the sound of the highway traffic and the squeak of oil derricks. Heaven.
1970 — I ditch school for the first time (but not the last). Yes, I’m six years old. For close to a month two friends and I leave school at first recess, cross the Pacific Coast Highway, hang out at the beach and finish the days off watching cartoons at one of our houses. Why we aren’t missed I’ll never know — maybe it’s the “live and let live” attitude of the times. My mom finds it no small matter and spends many a long hour with the elementary school psychiatrist looking for a reason why I won’t become the next anti-authoritarian beach rat..
1972 — I trade a push scooter for a Black Knight skate board with Cadillac Wheels and my future becomes a whole lot more interesting. Can you say empty swimming pools and malfeasance?
1975 — Two significant things happen this year: 1). I buy my first LP with my own money at JC Penny’s, “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” by Elton John. A big deal given that up to this point my sisters and I have been living off my uncle’s record collection of the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Sly and other 60s icons. Great stuff, all, but the repeated playings on our crappy record player has basically re-grooved the vinyl. And 2). My friends and I are busted by the Secret Service for trying to steal President Ford’s golf balls (part of an elaborate business scheme). We meet the former President, which in retrospect was all a ruse to get our names on some list of potential presidential assassins. I know what you’re thinking, that’s the second most significant thing that year? Well, sure, he wasn’t actually elected and I still know the lyrics to “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”.
1976 — I save up and buy my first surfboard; a Parks Sting a la what Larry Bertlemann was riding in Hawaii that year. It breaks at Big Corona almost a month later on the first big New Zealand south swell. I’m back to riding my best friend’s brother’s Robert August. Oh, and there was the Bicentennial thing too.
1978 — I fail my CCD Confirmation class (a Catholic thing), meet my buddy K and discover Punk Rock and “New Wave”. Two of which changed my life. Can you guess which two? Hint: neither are considered a sacrament by the Catholic Church.
1979 — My sister M gives me The Clash’s London Calling for Christmas. It stays in heavy rotation for 28 years.
1980 — “The year I break my neck: or how I began to save money on surfboard and ski wax. Direct, bleak and a little perplexing, yet nevertheless, true. As catastrophic as it may seem, it’s the single most beautiful thing that’s ever happened to me. To understand this you probably need to know me or my family and that’s part of its mystery. Among other things it placed two more important people in my life; J and S. And while I’d love to be surfing an empty line up in Indo somewhere or skiing pow in the Alps, it wouldn’t be at the expense of all I’ve experienced since that day. As for the wax, well, paralysis may have saved me money on sticky paraffin, but it gave birth to a quixotic impulse to buy coconut scented products.
1984 — I’m accepted to UC Berkeley and my grand exodus from Reagan country is set into motion. The plan is simple; study business as an undergraduate and film at the graduate level. The best laid plans.
1985 — A succession of firsts. I move to Berkeley. I trade my acoustic chair for my electric chair. I’m living independently. I fall in love. I actively engage in global change. I fail my only class (see: I fall in love). I find my tribe.
1986 — I’m accepted into Haas Business School. I fall in love again. I’m strangely on the cover of the Christian Science Monitor. I’m bored out of my mind in business school and decide to switch to Film Theory and Criticism instead. I struggle over this one, but in the end it was a no-brainer. Film = interesting and cool. Business = well, business.
1989 — I graduate from Cal and my pressure sores begin (not in that order). I read somewhere that three out of five quads suffer from chronic pressure sores. Not sure if it’s true, but they’ve had a significant impact on my life. From here on out my ass will be king. A typical catch-up conversation — be it by phone or in person — will invariably have the following four words, “how’s your ass doing?” Aside from maybe Jennifer Lopez’s, I don’t know if anybody’s ass is on more people’s minds than mine. For the record, I’d rather think about Jennifer’s.
1991 — J and I, along with E and C form the band, a small parish and move into a cool house in North Berkeley. It’s all very rock ‘n roll; writing songs, recording, playing the Bay Area club scene, being the crash pad for friends (i.e. A and M). We’re surrounded by great neighbors who actually open their windows when we rehearse. I guess if we were truly rock ‘n roll they’d be shutting them.
1996 — I head back to Southern California for graduate film school at Chapman University. At the time Chapman was the only film school with a digital editing facility. This seems strange now given the ubiquity of such software, but back in the day (you know, the grungy mid-90s) it was a rarity and expensive technology. As romantic as flatbed editing may seem, it’s not very quad friendly. There’s that, but there’s also the fact I’ll be just down the freeway from the Country Bear Jamboree.
1997 — All tongue and wagging red body, Shadow (my service dog) arrives.
1999 — “I was dreaming when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray”. Sure, but it also marks my second exodus out of Southern California and back to Berkeley. Film capital or not, I’m not setting up camp in Babylon — no matter how good of a breast job I can get.
2000 — I’m not making films, not writing screenplays and am not involved in the film industry in any way, shape or form. I am, however, writing code and doing the web development/graphic design thang. Boing boing. Man, that sure is a thick bubble.
2000 2.0 –T enters the picture. Humor and consciousness are the bacon and eggs of my mornings. Crispy, drippy, sunny side up and scrambled. You never know how a person will change your life, just as you never know when another best friend will enter it.
2002 — The year of the women. That’s right, check your Chinese astrology placemat again, because it’s definitely there. Four spectacular additions my to life; N, D, M and N. The good just keeps happening.
2003 — I’m thoroughly missing the performance art side of my soul. I meet PKW and L and join a dynamic nonprofit theater advocacy group. I’m learning, advocating, producing and directing plays. The immediacy of theatre is electric — my soul is bursting. King Ass, however, is demanding I learn the art of balance. I ignore it… the ass rebels.
2004 — Film reenters my life as I become more involved with the Superfest: International Disability Film Festival and join the board of CDT. It’s an amazing privilege to be so tapped into the international disability film scene. The voices are dynamic and eye-opening.
2005 — My Mecca. After all this time I finally make it to the North Shore of Oahu. I’m not in the lineup at Pipe, but I’m with people I love and am watching Kelly, Andy and the rest of the pack get shacked on second reef bombs. I discover the wonders of coconut syrup and that geckos chirp like birds. It’s a trip of profound significance.
2006 — Latin America begins to figure prominently in my life. L and T step in and I begin to roll my R’s like Ertha Kitt.
2007 — This one’s been all over the place: I spend time in the hospital (weird, but amazing), I meet a girl named S at Bright Eyes, celebrate a birthday at Foreign Cinema with a table full of friends who are nothing short of miraculous and — in a declaration of carpe diem — come up with this really out there idea to sail the ocean blue in a part of the world I’ve never been before (which — for those keeping score at home — is basically everywhere). Oh, and I might also add, I neither own a boat big enough for such a trip nor do I know anyone who does…