My summer vacation: skateboarding documentaries, Adam Curry, and White Stripes

Tomorrow is Day 1 in the new job at Yahoo! but I was able to squeeze in quite a bit of leisure over my short vacation. One mildly strange occurrence during my vacation proves that you really can’t escape podcasting.

As part of my super-relaxation escape-from-the-Internet plan before the new job, I went to the Claremont Spa in Berkeley for a Saturday evening massage. As I was changing into my robe in the locker room, there was literally no one else there, and in walks Adam Curry and we made some small talk about some problems with robe availability that I won’t bore you with here. For a second I thought, should I say, “Hey, are you Adam Curry?” which of course I did, and he was gracious in acknowledging that he was indeed Adam Curry. Seeing as how he was there to relax, I just said, “Congratulations on your funding. Enjoy yourself.” I didn’t realize until listening to Saturday’s Daily Source Code that it was the first anniversary of his seminal podcast — perhaps I should have said, “Happy anniversary” instead. Not only that, my somewhat clumsy brush with podcasting fame in the Claremont Spa locker room is now immortalized in the first anniversary edition of the DSC in the 25th minute (starting at 25:45 to be exact). (Adam, if you happen to be reading this, when I checked in on Thursday night, I had the same problem with the Bay View room overlooking the air-conditioning unit on the roof and went through the same hassle you did getting it fixed.) Anyway, it was fun listening to Adam talk about his experience in the flotation tank (starting at 22:25) and the amazing showers (27:35), which he aptly described as a “car wash.” You need a lot of water to wash that. . . I’ll just say that Adam is, well, uh, tall. Listen to the DSC and you’ll see that I’m just playing along with Adam’s joke — I let the man disrobe alone and in peace. (Incidentally, going to spas is not something I do every day — this was my first trip, actually, which makes this all the more strange.)

When I wasn’t loitering in spa locker rooms with podcasting pioneers and former MTV VJ’s, I watched a few movies with a heavy emphasis on documentaries. A quick note on each:

  • Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator: Tragic and compelling . . . if you were ever into skateboarding at all, worth watching. Think of it as “Boogie Nights” for skateboarding (though it’s real).
  • Dogtown and Z-Boys: I LOVED this — for someone who grew up California dreaming in North Carolina, the precise explanations of the connections between California surfing and modern skateboarding were fascinating. In the end, though, this is really just a great story about DIY youth culture and Punk Rock.
  • Ray: Definitely watchable, Jamie Foxx was indeed incredible, and the live music sequences were beautifully conceived and shot — but I thought the movie focused too much on sermonizing about the horrors of heroin addiction at times. It’s a rougher ride, but I recommend Junky for that subject. Still, I think this qualifies as a Great Film.
  • End of the Century: The Ramones: Didn’t finish this one yet, but what I saw looked great. Kept falling asleep for some reason . . . was it suburban boredom?
  • The Carter Family: Will the Circle Be Unbroken (American Experience): A must-see for anyone who cares about American music. If you want to understand what it means to be downright lonesome (not just lonely), watch this. I also learned about “border radio,” which made me think of podcasting (a link that Peter Lewis of Fortune already suggested — behind a pay wall, unfortunately).

I also saw the White Stripes at the Greek Theater in Berkeley on Friday night. The White Stripes were barely on my radar beyond Jack White’s collaboration with Loretta Lynn (my mom’s #1 all-time favorite and someone I grew up with), but this was a Great Rock Show (hey Tim, the sound was really good). I go to too many indie rock shows where step-down-to-the-front-and-solo-with-great-virtuosity guitar-playing is generally frowned upon, but Jack White did just that and I liked it. I’m buying the record.

3 thoughts on “My summer vacation: skateboarding documentaries, Adam Curry, and White Stripes

  1. What a great story — your brush with fame…I’m just mortified that in the podcast, Adam says he “couldn’t remember your name!!!”

    Didn’t he realize who he was dealing with in the spa? The one-and-only Chad Dickerson!

    Dang Englishmen…no manners at all. If I ever run into him at the spa, I’ll pull out an old copy of InfoWorld and say, “Adam…THIS GUY ROCKS and you only used to!” 😉

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