The Road to Happiness

Pushing through the oatmeal

There's a dude named Nick Hornby.

He's from Britain, I don't know if I'd call it great. Nick's a good writer though, fairly prolific though he comes across eerily similar to his character Rob Gordon from 2000's High Fidelity, played by ever-80's-bro-dude John Cusack. You know the guy - a jerk to every girl he meets but somehow the guy who's rarely alone for long.


Even he can't figure it out.

But there he is. Night after night, gig after gig, searching for life, love, and yes.. happiness. He's so deep in his own space he even - after 90 minutes of screen time - threatens the relationship he's spent the whole movie piecing back together by flirting yet AGAIN with a music journalist he KNOWS is just a distraction.

He sabotages himself. I'm sure no one reading this would ever do that to themselves.

Follow the songs

So we still have a movie to finish. 30 Bikes. Or 40 Bikes. Heck I don't even know or care right now. I'm at the point that most in a project get to. Writer, Director, author, painter, whatever the project we all seem to hit the same spot - the point you just want it done. Yes it matters and yes you want it to be great and you know it will and blah-de-blah-blah-blaaaaahhhh but MAN just FINISH this DANG THING.

But before the movie is done two things need to happen: Songs and sound mix. With an interview-heavy doc the amount of songs needed is pretty minimal but it's still good to have a couple that will resonate in people's heads long after they walk out of the theatre or film fest.

So without further ado, have a listen to these I've just found during my search - regardless of if they end up in the film, you need to listen to these songs.

How sure am I that you need to?

I'd bet my apartment on it. And lord knows I love that apartment.

I don't know where this girl came from but I'm pretty sure where she's headed is somewhere good. She's in her groove and we're all better off because of it. Such a great song.

I might have to credit Spotify for these guys but so be it. These guys are good good good and although probably wrong for 30 Bikes they're getting regular airplay during my travels of late. And the video looks like something I'd make.

What about Nick?

That's right that's right. Nick. I started writing about Nick Hornby because in the middle of his well-known hits like High Fidelity, Fever Pitch, and About a Boy, he squeezed in this one about his favorite songs.

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It may not be for everyone but for the people it's for it's good. He doesn't just talk about his favorite songs, though obviously these are some of his favorite songs. He talks about where he was at the time, what he was going through, and how our lives become just one big soundtrack. No one who grew up in the eighties can relate.

I know I've written about the strange tendency of songs to come along at just the perfect time, and the quality of other songs to really define what I'm going through - in a sort of positive-thinking-front-part-of-the-brain-recognition-thing-way but it's getting truer these last few years. I always find songs when I'm about to scream or slam something into a wall, I find a breakthrough song that really helps to put life into perspective, and to freeze it in time. It's happened with Petty. It's happened with Paul Simon. And it's happening with these guys -

So what about the movie?

Well I thought we'd be done by now but... nah.

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Where are we? We're pushing the Titanic through oatmeal. Ok maybe not the Titanic but a darn big ship, which btw is a tougher than you might think photograph to find. How do I know it's oatmeal? Well for one thing I started this blog post almost a month ago, so if even a simple blog takes a month to crank out that means everything's moving slowly about now.

And I don't think I'm the only one.

Mercury - retrograde?

I don't know if that's a real thing, a fake thing, a sort of thing, or a placebo - Facebook- spreading thing but there it is. Mercury is in retrograde and everything technology and under-the-surface-wise freaks out.

I seem to have multiple friends right now, in various projects or life seasons, that are all stuck in the arctic oatmeal of mush.

Which is always a great time for music to come along and ROCK you out of the mush. Ty Tabor of perhaps the 90's most underrated band King's X wrote this song in 2006 and yet it feels like it just came out.

And yeah, it might just make it into the film - have a listen:

A strange summer

Strange summer? Maybe a strange year. Whatever the case I truly don't know anymore. When I wake up and don't know where I am, when I go to my "job" of route sales driver and just go through the motions, I just don't know.

"Hi good morning," I say to the receiving clerk as I hurry past around 5 or 6 am most days. It's like that line in Ocean's Eleven, when Brad Pitt's counseling Matt Damon on his role "they've got to like you, but forget about you 2 minutes after you're gone."

That's what I'm hoping. Don't think about me, don't wonder how I'm doing. I'm doing fine. In fact I'm almost doing great. Sure I'd still love to live somewhere, love to meet a great girl who wants to have kids and live life out loud, but here I am. I create designs that sell on postcards and I deliver baked goods during the week. The rest of the time I make films and every few years I finish one. I guess it's not the worst life in the world, it just really gives creedence to Lennon's famous "life is what happens while you're making other plans" line.

And yet

I can't escape the fates. I'm meant to create. I'm meant to connect with people. I'm meant to... not live anywhere permanent?? I hope that last one doesn't stick but over these past few months, which have been odd and slow to say the least, I'm being reminded of who I was when I started that bike company way back when, and who I was when I wasn't so hard on myself.

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Landing on a truth that is probably obvious to everyone but me.. that dude with the long hair and old cars may have been wild and risk-happy but he was sucking the marrow out of life, catching a ride with some guy who was heading back to South Carolina to work the tourist season at Hilton Head, as one of many examples.

"South Carolina?" I said, "You'll go through Kansas, right? My girlfriend's going to school in Manhattan what if you dropped me off?"

"Sure man, hold this TV" he said.

Fortunately the tv only weighed on my lap until Napa.

But I can't stop what I started. I started making this film and now people are waiting for it. Expecting it. And right when I'm feeling alone and wondering if it's worth it, if anyone really cares, I go jumping in Petaluma at an old spot called the Grove, just trying to get back in riding shape, not doing anything crazy, when these two guys my age ride up on retro - new school BMX cruisers.

"Hey what kind of bike is that," the one with the glasses and the SE cruiser says.

Oh boy, here we go I thought. You know the drill by now: "What kind of bike is that? You made how many? They stiffed you 20 bikes? Where are those? You're making a film? Where can I see it? That's cool man." 

And yada yada yada...

Spoiler Alert

Homestead Bicycle frames at Expanse Bicycle Shop - circa 1994

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Homestead Basilisk prototype frame - July 2019

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Yes it's true. The final scene of the movie is looking like it will include a brand new Homestead Bicycles Pro Basilisk Frame. The frame is being welded as we speak by an original Homestead rider who's now a serious welder in the high end mountain bike world, with new technology and cool features. Yes I'm getting a bit emotional.

Keeping track of my friends

Last week two things happened that have been happening for years. A friend was vacationing with his family in Sunriver Oregon when he walked out of the restroom at the waterpark with a Homestead shirt and a blonde woman said "oh you know Alden?" She was my friend when she was 17. She has a family now and lives in Spokane. "You ran into her where?" I said when he told me the story.

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Another friend from my suit and tie sales days was in Carlsbad yesterday with his son and sent me a video of them heading down to the beach. He was wearing a Homestead T.

"Cool shirt man" a kid said running up the steps "Yeah" my friend said - "do you know Alden" of course - answered the kid."

Of course he said. Some random kid in Carlsbad, where I've never lived. Of course.

So what's a guy to do?

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The only thing I know - create things and sell them. Struggle through oatmeal.

You wanna help me finish this film? Go to and get yourself one of these new shirts - they're awesome and yes every bit helps. Hats, decals, a new bike, we got it all.

Make something. Risk your comfort. Suck all the marrow out of life.

That's what I would have said to you when I was 19.





Maybe it's ok to still say it.