Monday, December 20, 2010


I used to think Christmas and punkers didn't mix. Now I'm starting to think I was wrong.

Based on this interview with TKO Records head honcho Mark Rainey and after attending the TKO Records Xmas Party at Alex's Bar, I think Santa would look pretty good in a jean jacket and Dickies.

Don't believe me? Read this.


Marcia Ford and the Hollywood Canteen Swing Band is an 18-piece big band from Long Beach. They play the hits from the golden era of swing and look good doing it.

Click here to find out more about them.


I like punk rock. I also like karaoke. So naturally I would like a band called Punk Rock Karaoke, right?


Plus, I hadn't been on stage with a live band in a while and I figured doing so might be another hurdle in the race to beat anxiety. My singing might not have been perfect, but I think I won this battle.

Also, I've been listening to the Descendents' "Bikeage" with a whole new appreciation for that song now that I've sung it live.

Click here to read all about it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I am a daily Howard Stern Show listener. I know that factoid makes most people think all sorts of things about me and you know what? Let 'em. The fact is the show is awesome and I don't care that the public perception of Stern's strippers and porn stars is all most people know about the program (In full disclosure, those segments are usually my least favorite).

One day I was listening and discovered that producer Gary Dell'Abate was writing a memoir. My first thought was, "I gotta write about that." You see, Stern staffers don't just give out interviews and this was my only chance to talk to Baba Booey.

Rarely do I get excited for an interview with a celebrity, but when I picked up that phone and heard Dell'Abate ask for me, I was pretty fired up. I had a ton of questions to ask, but had to get to the stuff I knew I'd use for the story because I was given a mere fifteen minutes.

Dell'Abate had been doing interviews all day and I was the last one. Had I known that initially, I might have found a way to stretch fifteen into twenty-five. Instead, I burned through and didn't get much time to shoot the shit.

In case you were wondering, Dell'Abate came off as authentic and genuine on the phone as he does on air. There were even a few Baba Booey moments that made me chuckle (which I won't mention because I don't want to lose all credibility. Just know that they weren't anything major).

The bummer of the whole thing was that I didn't even go to the book signing. I told Dell'Abate I was going to because that was the plan, but that was one of those Saturdays that was booked solid from 10 a.m. to nearly 3 a.m. Maybe next time.

I'd link to the story, but it's already gone. But there is hope. Go to the Googles and type in "Ryan Ritchie" and "Gary Dell'Abate." Then find the first link and click "cache." I know that sounds like a lot of work, but I am totally not lying when I say it is the absolute best piece of journalism of my career. You'd be missing out by not searching for it.


I'll be honest. The older I get, the less I care about band reunions. In fact, I'm almost positive they shouldn't happen. Of course, there are exceptions and Orange County's Middle Class is one.

The group is credited with founding hardcore and was doing more of a post-punk thing by the time the rest of the punk scene caught up to them.

The fact that they weren't afraid to change was reason No. 1 I liked the idea of this story. Reason No. 2 was the fact that the band hadn't played in 27 years. This told me that something must have felt right for these guys or else they wouldn't have bothered? I mean, this wasn't Coachella offering a million dollars, nor was it a reunion of a band that gets back together every five years and plays the same set each tour. I figured, "Hey, 27 years. That must mean their hearts are actually into it." And I was right.

Middle Class guitarist Mike Atta owns a great vintage store in Fullerton called Out of Vogue, which is also the name of his band's first single. I must have bothered him because I called weekly for about two months before doing the interview. My logic was, we could have done the interview right away, but I wanted the band to practice as much as they could before we spoke. This seemed to work out well because Atta and his brother/singer Jeff Atta were in good spirits and had lots to say as we lounged on some awesome vintage chairs at Out of Vogue.

Unfortunately, I couldn't make the show. I got stranded at O'Hare Airport for three hours (that's a different story) and the thought entered my mind that I could have been at the show had I stayed in Los Angeles. The Attas say their reunion was a one-off, but if they play again, I just might check it out.

Click here to read all about dudes in the 50s playing songs they wrote as kids. But this time, don't feel depressed about it because it's actually a positive story!


I wrote this short story called "Making Lemonade" about a year ago. It was born from a rather inconvenient morning that found me rudely woken from a deep slumber by an alarm clock going off from somewhere that wasn't my bedroom. Luckily for me, the beeping went away after about five minutes.

But I got to thinking: What would happen if the alarm never went off? "Hmm..." my pea brain thought. "I could write something about that."

So I did. The draft came fairly easy (not easy easy, but as easy as any writing comes, which is to say it was a pain in the ass) and for a reason I can't recall, I forgot about the story for months.

One day I was looking for another file on my unorganized computer and there she was. I re-read it, made a few changes here and there, and without much thought (that's how I roll) sent it to the fine folks at Haggard & Halloo. I have had a few poems published with them, but never any fiction, so I assumed "Making Lemonade" would now sit for eternity on both our hard drives.

Imagine the splendor when I got that email saying they liked my story and wanted to use it. I imagine the feeling to be similar to what people feel on Christmas morning (I wouldn't know -- I don't like Christmas).

A few days later the story went viral (Am I using that word correctly?) and although as of this posting there are no comments on the H&H site, I can guarantee that everyone who has read it thinks it is, without a doubt, the best short story not just of all time, but also of future times.

Don't believe me? Check it out here.


I was at a fashion show one Thursday night. The event was put together to showcase the talents of a Long Beach designer named Char Pack. Her line is called Dirtysix and the show was really cool. It began with roller derby girls in skates modeling clothes and also featured models in shoes, bands, art and a bunch more.

After the fashion show, Pack's band The City played. They are an all-female trio that sounds something like a poppy Joan Jett. I thought they were good and walked away from the event more than satiated with all the arts I took in (or maybe that was the hangover I was nursing all day. But I won't get into that).

The next morning I woke up feeling great because the hangover was gone. I was awake for all of thirty minutes when I received a message through Gmail from the music editor at the OC Weekly, asking if I could turn around a music story by the end of the following Tuesday. I said I could try and began my search for a band playing between the dates she was looking for.

The first site I checked was Long Beach's Alex's Bar and lo and behold, The City had a gig lined up for that week. One phone call to Pack and the interview is on. I submitted my story that weekend and it ran the following Thursday. How's that for a quick turnaround?

Anyway, check it out here.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


My friend is a bartender at Avalon Bar in Costa Mesa. A few weeks ago, he told me there was a cool band calling TRMRS playing there. I searched the Intranets and discovered he was correct.

Fast forward a week or so and I interviewed the band for the OC Weekly. It was the first time one of my stories was used in print for them for longer than I can remember. Of course, I can't remember what I had for dinner last night, so that doesn't mean much.

Click here to read, what I think, is a pretty funny interview with TRMRS.


The LA Weekly recently published its Best of LA issue and I was lucky enough to write three items for it. Does that make me one of LA's best writers? Probably not, but I'm gonna go ahead and say yes.

Click here, here and here to read about three of LA's bestest.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

25 Highlights of a Drive from Brooklyn to Long Beach

25 Highlights of A Drive from Brooklyn to Long Beach
1. Walking through a truck stop parking lot in Arizona, miss getting run over by an old man by less than three feet, then having him look at us, make a mean face and flipping us off.
2. Driving from New York to New Jersey, pulling over at the stateline to get gas, asking the man if he had a public bathroom and getting asked, “Do you have to pee?,” answering yes and then being told, “You can just pee in the corner over there.”
3. Having a baby cry in the seat in front of me on the plane just as I was about to fall asleep.
4. Rockin’ “The Blueprint” on the Holland Tunnel.
5. Being driven from Brooklyn to Manhattan, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and knowing I might be asking too many uncomfortable questions to our driver who watched the second plane hit the Twin Towers after the first plane woke him up.
6. Being completely sure I was asking too many uncomfortable questions after said driver went silent when I inquired, “Did you see the towers fall?”
7. Telling everyone in Texas, “You have a blessed day” and having them not understand I was joking.
8. Spending 18 minutes on the radio in Memphis with Thaddeus Matthews, aka my new favorite radio host, talking about everything from getting our butts in church, how my white god and my white people have been treating me wrong because I’m not rich, being told how black men need to stay with black women and white men need to stay with white women, getting directions to where I can pick up hookers on Elvis Presley Boulevard and getting off a “Baba Booey” before hanging up.
9. Hearing my brother talk to Thaddeus and get blamed for 400 years of oppression before saying “God Bless Texas.”
10. Hearing my brother call Thaddeus back and getting hung up on for doing the worst black impression of all time.
11. Having Jim Rome’s call screen improperly use the word “trite” when describing my admittedly lame topic.
12. Signing “Lomita Loves You” on the wall outside Graceland.
13. Introducing my brother to Barstow’s Del Taco.
14. Walking to the rear of the gift shop at the Big Texan in Amarillo and discovering they have a live rattlesnake in the store.
15. Eating guacamole and chips at the Frontier in Albuquerque.
16. Spending the night in the van in Shamrock, Texas, and remembering how I spent the best/worst day/night of my life there (ask me about it sometime).
17. Buying a t-shirt at the Flying J in Amarillo that has a drawing of Popeye’s body but no head for six bucks.
18. Taking pictures on an unused lawn mower at a rest stop in Tennessee.
19. Being told by an attendant at Wal-Mart that if his employees steal anything while changing oil in the van that I could come talk to him to get back my stuff.
20. Not knowing how to answer said attendant when he asked, “California? You got lots of Mexicans there?”
21. De-virginizing my brother’s lack of knowledge of what a Waffle House is.
22. Chatting with our server Andrew at an Oklahoma Waffle House and having him ask, “Is skateboarding popular in California?” before he showed us this green blob he called a tattoo.
23. Still not stepping foot into a Cracker Barrel.
24. Climbing through my bedroom window after realizing I left my keys in my apartment.
25. Getting to spend time with my brother (aaaaaawwwwwwwwwwww).

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I visit Haggard & Halloo nearly every day because it's one of the few poetry sites that publishes things I like. I also submit poems to them regularly because of this and sometimes they use my work, which is always cool.

About two or three Saturday nights ago, I had one of those evenings in which the words just fell out of my fingers and onto the page. One of the poems I wrote that night is called "Decisions Decisions." The next morning I re-read it and liked it enough to submit it to Haggard & Halloo.

Fast forward to today.

It's 12:30 p.m. I'm in bed on my laptop watching Japan come back against Chinese Taipei in the Little League World Series (which is sooooooooooooo much better than Major League Baseball, by the way) when I decide to see what's happening at H&H. Much to my surprise, there is a picture of me on the homepage. And below that picture is my poem "Decisions Decisions."

It's always an honor to have a poem published anywhere. It's even more of an honor when it's a surprise.

Click here to read "Decisions Decisions."

Thursday, August 19, 2010


If you read this blog (and my guess is you don't), you'd know all about the Lightbulb Mouth Radio Hour. It's a cool weekly event that goes down every Wednesday at the Basement Lounge in Long Beach. If you haven't read my story, Google it.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, comedian David Cross was part of the show. Wanna know what happened? Click here and my good friends at the LA Weekly and I will tell you all about what you missed.


I've never seen "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," and until about three months ago, I never wanted to. Then I saw the monthly screening of "The Room" at the Laemmle Sunset 5 and everyone has who seen Tommy Wiseau's epic film and the cult classic has likened the two based on the movie-going experience, not the films themselves. If "Rocky Horror" is half as good as "The Room," I'm there.

My youngest brother has been telling me about "The Room" for what feels like two years. I don't want to be the old fuddy duddy and say that his opinion didn't matter much, but he likes "Family Guy," if you know what I mean. After what felt like forever, I borrowed his DVD and watched the film. Three minutes in, I texted him to say "The Room" was the best movie I'd ever seen. Keep in mind, I'm not a movie person (kinda don't like them, actually), so for me to get this fired up says something about how awesome "The Room" is. Two days later I went to the screening and my life has literally been changed. If you go, yours will be too.

I'd try to explain the madness that is "The Room," but you just gotta go. If underage drinking, smoking pot inside movie theaters, throwing footballs inside movie theaters and hurling plastic spoons at screens sounds like a good time, you'll love "The Room."

If you need more info, click here. It's a story I wrote for the LA Weekly regarding the film and the screenings.

PS The pic is of me and Wiseau before the screening. He walks around the line to shake hands and take pics. This is us doing his patented fist-bump. Notice the guy in the wheelchair totally not caring that a picture is being taken.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Yesterday I had my third poem published on the Austin, Texas -based literary journal Haggard & Halloo. It's a silly little ditty titled "Jealous Justice."

In case you were wondering, I was in a thrift store on Mission in San Francisco, digging through a bunch of crap, disappointed the shop didn't have better stuff for sale. Upstairs I came across the book section and noticed how the stuff on the shelves was all best-sellers, celebrity cookbooks and those paperbacks with Fabio on the cover. It felt good knowing that people might buy this stuff, but they don't hold onto the works in both the literal and physical sense. This poem was my way of acknowledging that while these writers enjoy financial success, they don't make a lasting impression on many of the people who buy these books.

The posting of this poem is the quickest turnaround from writing to publication in my short poetry career. I wrote this poem in a hotel room in San Francisco in June and submitted it to H&H a few days after I returned home from my vacation. A few days later, their editor gave me a publication date and I was very excited to say the least.

In the past, I've found that having my non-journalism work published can take a very long time. Sometimes it takes months for publications to reply and by the time my work comes out, I forgot I sent the work off in the first place. So you can see why this is so exciting for me. One day this poem didn't exist and six weeks later, it's available for the entire world to see.

On another note, H&H is pretty awesome and I say that not because they are planning to re-publish my short story "Brown Eyed Girl" next month, but because of all the literary journals I read online, I actually really enjoy this one. The people running the site have similar taste in writing as I do, which I don't come across very often. It's quite an honor to have a site I like accept my work, so thanks Haggard & Halloo!

Click here to read "Jealous Justice."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Every kid from the South Bay -- especially those who don't do well in high school -- knows about El Camino College. It's a JC that is fairly popular in its surrounding area. I was a prime candidate to attend ECC, but like the rebel that I was, I chose to continue (or some say begin) my education at Los Angeles Harbor College.

Not attending El Camino meant missing out on a South Bay tradition, but I can now lay claim to some sort of connection to the University of El Camino as the school's English department -- fine folks that they are -- have recently published a short story and a poem of mine in the 2010 edition of Myriad.

I am the only contributor with more than one piece, so for that I am honored. I can finally say my connection to El Camino runs deeper than my dad attending classes there lots of years ago.

Click here to read my short story "Brown Eyed Girl" or here to read the poem "For Dotty."

Monday, May 17, 2010


Along with previewing David Sedaris' reading at UCLA, the LA Weekly was cool enough to let me review his performance. If you don't feel like clicking here to read all about it, let me summarize: He was awesome and I am very jealous of his talent.


This week I have a story in the LA Weekly regarding the unveiling of John Fante Square at the corner of 5th and Grand in downtown Los Angeles. I attended the event on what would have been the writer's 101st birthday (which is April 8) and was really excited when the fine folks at the LAW said they'd want me to cover it.

As I've mentioned before, I get a major thrill writing for the Weekly and when I write about John Fante, I always get nervous. He is by far my favorite writer and trying to convey how important he is -- along with his immense talent -- is never an easy task.

Let's hope I did an alright job.

Click here to read the story.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


If Los Angeles band the Icarus Line ever has its own "Behind the Music," you bet your sweet ass I'm going to be one of those talking heads who tells you what the members were like "back in the day." You see, I've known the Icarus Line before they existed, when they were a ska-punk band, then a punk-punk band called the Kanker Sores. We hung out constantly and had lots of fun together.

The band has been through a bunch of lineups and such is life, the more people come and go in the group, the less I know them. But main man Joe Cardamone and Alvin "Asian Orange" DeGuzman are still holding it down, so when the five-piece played a few blocks away from my apartment, I had to go.

That's not to say I didn't want to because I really did. Regardless of the lineup and the set list, the Icarus Line have never failed to disappoint. They're a great band, one that I would like even if I didn't know them. Having them as friends is icing on the cake. Or maybe the fact that we are friends AND I like their music is the icing on the cake. Yeah, I think that sounds better.

Anyway, it's always a pleasure to get the band some ink, which is what I did (technically it was a blog post so there was no ink involved) a while back when I reviewed their show at Alex's Bar in Long Beach for the LA Weekly.

Snoop Clicky Click here to read all that noise.
Photo taken by me. Aren't I awesome?


My first -- and last -- cover story for Long Beach's District Weekly is about a weekly event called the Lightbulb Mouth Radio Hour. It goes down at the Basement Lounge every Wednesday and is hosted by poets Derrick Brown and Mindy Nettifee. I'd tell you more, but why not just click here and read what I already done wrote?


I'm sure I'm the last person in the blogosphere to mention this, but Long Beach lost a great publication when The District Weekly decided to close its doors. I was bummed as both a writer and reader and hope something will come along sooner than later to replace the weekly newspaper.

I was fortunate enough to be published in the District many times and I have to say, writing for TDW was always a ton of fun. Ellen the editor was great to work with and was cool enough to let me write some stuff that I'm pretty sure other editors wouldn't have let me get away with. She never chopped up my work like a few others have done and was cool enough to include me in the editing process whenever the situation arose. That is a very nice thing for an editor working on a deadline to do and I very much appreciate it.

Anyway, I had a few stories in the District before they went kaboom. Here's a little tale of me drinking Jim Beam and ginger ale in a cane at the East Village's Basement Lounge. Click here for all the pertinent info.

PS Photo by Roshelia Robles.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I swear I'm not making this up. I was standing in line at Ralphs buying acai juice for my morning smoothies when Tone, Andy and Josh from On Blast literally grabbed me and woke me up. I was almost asleep, rocking my pajamas and slippers and thinking about how awesome my bed was going to feel. Twenty minutes later we're at someone's apartment doing tequila shots to celebrate their song "Wanna Lose Control" being used on the HBO show "How to Make it in America."

Because I'm good at what I do, I turned this Sunday night impromptu party into a story for the LA Weekly about a band watching (or more like listening) to their tune on TV.

Click here to read it. And yes, I was a bit hungover the next morning. I usually am when I part with those guys.


I hate David Sedaris, but only because I'm insanely jealous of how talented he is. Dude can write like Hendrix played guitar and he makes guys like me look like schmucks. Now that I've brightened your day, click here to read a blurb I wrote about Senor Sedaris for the LA Weekly.

Monday, February 22, 2010


vis a tergo, the fine folks who brought you Maastricht Coffee Shop, has recently published a creative non-fiction story I wrote about maybe the craziest night of my life. I'd tell you all about it here, but then you wouldn't want to click here.


Long Beach's Burning Shore Review has published another one of my poems. I'm very excited because it's always exciting to publish a poem, but this time is even more so. First, the guy who runs BSR is a good guy who never laughs when I order shitty beer. Second, I forgot all about this poem and found it by chance. I was digging through my files, looking for something else, when I came across it. A few days later, it was on the Intranets!

Click here to read all about it.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I really like On Blast. I also really like the LA Weekly. So as you can imagine, it's pretty awesome to cover the band for the esteemed publication.

Clicky click here to read all about the band's show with Little Red Radio at Club Moscow.

PS The photo was taken by Jay Oligny.


In 2009, I was incredibly honored to have a Q&A featured in Vegetarian Times. The story was on Dan Piraro, the creator of the comic strip Bizarro. Like me, Piraro is a vegan, so needless to say, we were both excited to be part of Vegetarian Times.

In other VT news, I recently interviewed cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, who created Mutts. That should run mid-2010.

In the meantime, click here to read the interview.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


So 2009 wasn't such a great year. One of these days, I'll write a book about the experiences (which included a panic attack, anxiety attacks, claustrophobia and agoraphobia), but in the meantime you can check out this story I wrote for Long Beach Magazine. It details briefly a bit of what I went through and how I got to ride on a zeppelin.

Read all about it here.