Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Welding is hard. You know why? Because Snafu says so. See? It's right here. And I'll admit, those charts don't make a lick of sense to me, either. Then again, the internets are full of charts I don't understand—mainly because once you get past the Periodic Table of the Elements I'm totally lost. I was never much for science. Or math, for that matter. Somehow I tested into calculus as a college freshman despite having never taken pre-calc, and I only passed due to the, um, unwitting help of others. The only science courses I took in college were a couple of archaeology courses and a rocks for jocks earth science class that I used to catch up on sleep (and passed easily because I took a near-identical course in high school).

One thing I do know, though, is magazines. I was an editor at one for something like 10 years—and editor-in-chief for four. (I even wrote snarky responses to letters for a while, so me and McGoo are like brothers from another mother and stuff.) I still contribute to several, and know a lot of people in the industry. Well, some of them are still in the industry. There's a reason I haven't had full-time work in years, and it's not just because of my beard or the compromising photos on my Facebook page (I totally thought that llama was 18, I swear) or my overreliance on parentheticals. No, the ol' magazine industry just isn't doing so well these days. Ad pages are down, freelance rates are dropping (presuming you can even get work to begin with), even the big names are battening down the hatches and cutting pages to try and stay in the black. TIME is short, so to speak.

So while I'm sure I'm totally overreacting like usual, the line about "when Chris's story breaks, we'll scan it and feature it right here" in that Snafu entry pissed me off no end. Because McGoo of all people should know better. Look, I hope the article IS great. I hope it is indispensable. And I hope, if you want to read it, you go out and buy the magazine. Because if you don't, it won't be long before there's no magazine to buy. That, I understand.



K.H. said...

Wow, I just realized this nigga drunk! (that "nigga" being me) I guess kool-aid, vodka and sparks+ don't mix? I love this sheite! Forget about 'em all, ride a 5lb frame, rhyno lite rims, decent rims, redneck XLT's and original slams with some Demolition pedals and be happy when you ride because you're not running two different plastic pedals. My wife has plastic Odyssey Twisted pedals on her 2001 Specialized Rockhopper....and that's because they were given to her for FREE.


ali said...

I don’t mean to knock you but archaeology isn’t real science, it’s a social science/ humanity, like history, you can’t test theories.

And whist advertising revenue is down across the board for all mediums at the moment, the sales side of special interest magazines seems to be as strong as ever. So yeah the word count rate is down a little but it’ll come back… hopefully…

Right there with you on the ‘if you wanna read it then by it’ concept.

andrew@uberdistro.com said...

There was a lil while there, where freelance was really well paying. Contributing to magazines payed for more than a couple of nights on the town.

I remember a time when any half-decent editorial would be taken, on the solid knowledge that you needed it to pad out the advertising sold. thems were the days.

paul said...

hmmm, don't magazines make their money from the advertisements. so buy the magazine or not, as long as the ads see the mag in good circulation, its all good. this was not your best rant, by far.

try again tomorrow.

Bailey said...

Yes, they makes money from advertising, but no one is going to advertise in a magazine that nobody buys. And advertising is probably a sort of "break even" thing, while the actual sales are where the profit comes from.

John said...

Black backgrounds give me seizures. Happy nnnooooowoowoowowolonnonwwooww?

But seriously, manufacturing in our country is nearly dead. I'm pretty stoked to read the article, and hope that "American" BMX companies start hitting-up S&M to build their frames. That would create quite a few jobs, and teach other young Americans (most of whom are entitled, i-pod sick, video game abusing, cheeto munching, etc.).

America made a huge mistake outsourcing its manufacturing jobs, and our current economic crisis is a result of that as much as it's a result of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd having a cranial radii far larger than their butt hole (they just couldn't seem to get their heads out of their asses when the caused the housing mess).

John Dale
RedEndo BMX
Curbrider LLC
Tucson, Arizona

Craig said...

Perhaps copyright isn't an issue in the world McGoo inhabits?

George said...

You're talking about an industry who's stance on copyright can be summed up with the sentence, "don't pirate my video full of stolen music."

ben said...

If the Boston Globe is losing $1 Million a day then print is fucked for sure.

Russ said...

ali: My point being I'll never be confused with Stephen Hawking.

George: Haha. True.

ben: Newspapers are really, really, REALLY fucked.

Lettusdude said...

I still read news papers and buy BMX magazines. For the most part I dislike reading things on the net. Ah well. I guess I missed out on the "good old days". Although I can still recall writing letters to Santa by hand instead of email

Verification....squatium? :\

Lettusdude said...

Ok, you KNOW I had to make a post just for this verification word that popped up.


Russ said...

I've been writing at Borders lately, and it's amazing how many people treat this place like a reading library: Bring stack of magazines to table, flip through them, leave them there. Which hurts sales in two ways—that person doesn't buy the magazine, and no one else is gonna buy it either since it's already pre-read.

That said, one of these days I'm gonna plow through the new Stephen King short story collection—that brotha's got nothin' to worry about.

Bill said...

Newspaper and print in general is dying. big time. I am an Art Director at a small, but well known ad agency in L.A. and believe it or not, the two partners of this agency are multi millionaires because of all of the ads we have done for newspaper. Yeah, newspaper. Before I started here I never even knew people advertised in the newspapers, but apparently its still a big deal for the entertainment industry. Now, having said that, our work load over the last 2 years has slowly been on the decline because the big studios are dumping their ad dollars into TV and radio, and web. In fact we just had a huge client pull out of a large campaign so they could invest their print budget in TV commercials. The result? People got laid-off. Budgets for print are lower than ever and it's almost as if clients are taking the work that goes into it for granted and refusing to pay what it's worth. A monthly retainer that used to be 20k is now 6k. Same amount of work, but more than half the pay. But bottom line... it's work for the company.

And dont even get me started on freelance rates. Just in the last 6 months a designers rate has been cut in half! I was thinking about leaving my full time position 6 months ago to go freelance full time, and if I had, I'd be broke and starving for work and probably not even making ends meet.

And on the topic of publishing, I was in that industry as a designer for few years before I went to the ad agency side of things, and what I saw was just a constant struggle to keep the daily, weekly and monthly magazines afloat. It was a revolving door at all times and there was always a hush buzz in the air of if the BIG magazine was going under. That BIG mag is still alive, but thinner than ever. About half the amount of ads now than a few years ago. Its scary for sure and every designer I had ever worked with at that publishing company has since been laid-off and that companies 6 magazine portfolio is now down to 3.

John said...

George - couldn't say it better myself. I've been having email conversations with Adam from TheComeUp...well...more like I send him emails and he's too busy to reply (writing the next great fixie hate story?). Not saying he's killing it with revenues (haven't seen a bank statement), but if he is it is on the back of a ton of stolen music. Next time you're watching a web edit and thinking to yourself, "This is good." Turn the volume down and see if you still feel the same way. Music tickles the psyche, it's difficult and time consuming to make, and extremely easy to rip off since the mid-90's.

Anonymous said...

DC current, .060 ThO2 tungsten and a #4 or #5 cup is what I can guarantee is the setup for the welding of 99 percent of BMX frames.

Anyone with any experience with a TIG machine could figure that out.

The hardest part about making a frame nowadays is learning Mandarin Chinese.

Fuck off, Snafu.

Anonymous said...

print is dead.

kids don't read.

sucks i know
( i have a periodical addiction, $100's a month )

grindstate had a good idea but was too graphic.
there's other online mags. why don't you ( russ, and other industry types ) try to come up with a decent online publication ?

i mean before Adam does of course.

and as i've seen alot i understand advertising is down, but just about every magazine i've been reading recently has been slacking in editorials, reviews any sort of riding etc ) it's long past that shitty holiday issue

dig is still good
ride uk is slipping but still the best in my opinion
and there are a couple american ones i occasionally buy.

Anonymous said...

bah, four years of J School + a year and half of experience and here I sit, unemployed reading your blog.


Mexican John said...

Dig Magazine is the only BMX mag worth buying in my opinion, has been for years.

wade said...

I am way committed to print BMX magazines (what with the 1000 issues in my collection and the Ph.D. on them), and I've been fond of Ride (UK) for many years, but the latest bike check issue, to me, represents a turn for the worse. The bike check is fine for companies to post, of course, but it is a very poor form of editorial content. First, it rarely says anything interesting. Running your sponsors' parts is not surprising. Second, it is basically a company-serving column. The readers / riders may like them, but I think of the bike check as a strategy to serve the advertisers rather than serve the audience.
The new product section, of course, can also be read as complicit with the desires of the advertisers (over the interests of the readers).
And as to the loyalty of consumers to print: print has to earn it. We are being sold as an audience to the advertisers, so the least that we can get in return for this is quality editorial content.

the wask said...

Maybe I'm hardcore, or lazy, but I always just go to the local bookstore and buy up all the latest issues of the magazines I read rather than getting subscriptions. Something about the routine of doing so adds some stability to my life.

Newspapers can die for all I care, but theres something comforting about having the actual magazine. I like watching my stacks of back issues grow.

Smitty said...

Those of us who remember them seem to long for the good old days of BMXA Torture Tests. But the concept seems naive now. We know the reviewers were never truly "independent". Nor are the bikes all that different anymore - making the concept of "testing" seem antiquated. Bike checks generally serve the purpose of giving clueless riders a clue, and giving interested observers a moment's worth of entertainment. So I don't mind them.

Anyone else notice that it is kind of boring around here with out the anonymous hating going on? I didn't think I'd miss it, but maybe I do.

Bill said...

"Anyone else notice that it is kind of boring around here with out the anonymous hating going on? I didn't think I'd miss it, but maybe I do."

I agree. It's like a vacant mall.

Anonymous said...

hey RUSS !


daily preferably.

i'm an auto worker, meaning i'm not at work much.

cmon motherfucker

ps anon comments are always the best


Anonymous said...

lazy asshole

Lluis said...

didnt know ya were that busy at odsy that you couldnt do an update

Smitty said...

If that is sarcastic humor from someone else who is missing the keen criticism of SPRFLS, then I say +1 LLuis.

Anonymous said...

i think his mom grounded him from the computer...............