Hello. Here at StrangeLove we receive a lot of questions, oftentimes as many up to two-to-three a month, and as much as we'd like to personally respond to each and every one it's simply out of the question. Why, you ask? Well, there you go. That's another question I have to attend to now while simultaneously trying to keep the production pipeline filled with new and exciting graphic content to tickle your fancy. So you see, I can do one, or I can do the other, but I can't do both or nothing at all will get done. Yeah, I know that doesn't make much sense—energy, matter, entropy, all that Einstein-caliber jazz—but to be fair a lot of the questions we're asked don't always make a lot of sense either. I did, however, come up with this ingenious idea to compile an assortment of the most frequently uttered questions in a one-stop shop for all your general inquisitive needs, leaving me to continue on my merry working way . —Sean Cliver
Q: FUQS? Seriously, what are you, like 12 or something?
A: Yes and no. I mean, I'm not 12, haven't been for a long time, my knees like to remind me of that physical fact every time I go skate, but mentally I may as well be thanks to an advanced case of arrested development. I will remind you, though, that the word "fuck" remains to be one of the most versatile words in the English language and can be used in virtually any manner for any desired context. It is, quite simply, the most utilitarian word. Doubt me? Watch this:
So yes, FUQS. Frequently uttered questions. FARTS could've been funny, too, I suppose, but "frequently asked random trivial shit" comes off as somewhat forced and too clever for Cliver's sake. Whatever the case, fuck off.
Q: Not to be a dick, but what made you think you could do your own skateboard company? I mean it's not like you were a pro or anything. Is this something you always wanted to do?
A: Here's a funny story for you: Back in 1992—because everything happened in 1992—I had a little run in with Danny Way. Soon afterward, Mike Ternasky stopped me in the back of the World Industries warehouse to ask what happened. In the course of our conversation he said, "You'd like to have your own company, wouldn't you?" I immediately laughed and responded, "Fuck no!" Mainly because I'd had a front row seat to all sorts of team rider shenanigans and watched major companies whipsaw on the whims of teenagers. What a nightmare! But secretly, yes, I did want my own company, as much as anyone else who loved skateboarding would. What a dream! The first time I seriously entertained the idea was in 2005, though, not long after my first Disposable book came out. Since I was doing graphics for Birdhouse and Hook-Ups then, I approached Per Welinder at Blitz Distribution with the proposal to do a more art-driven side company with screen-printed graphics, era-correct shapes, and corresponding artists. But apparently, or as I was told then, this was an incredibly problematic concept and not financially feasible. Throughout the course of our further spitballing, Per countered with a more marketing-oriented approach where the boards be sold as souped-up collectible pieces, maybe come in a special box or blister pack, retailing for around 200 bucks, but the idea of that didn't set well with me at all. I only wanted to make skateboards to be sold as skateboards and couldn't wrap my little head around the reason why a company could no longer make boards the way every company did back in the '80s and '90s. So the dream died on the vine then and there. It wasn't until nine years later that I was talking with my friend Nick Halkias about the idea and it turned out we both had shared visions of what a skateboard company could be—and here we are today!
Q: What is a StrangeLove?
A: In short—or long, I should say, because brevity has never been the soul of my half-ass wit—it's a foster home we created for our artistic friends, where we could have fun pushing and challenging the boundaries of what could and maybe sometimes should not be done on the bottom of a skateboard, drawing from our formative influences as children immersed in a pop- and counter-culture world through comics, toys, books, television, movies, and skateboarding.
Q: Oh, so this is just some vanity art project lark then?
A: No, not in the least, but I do appreciate the manner in which you jump to cynical conclusions. Sure, we talk up the graphics aspect a whole hell of a lot, but if that’s all we cared about then we could easily be ordering blue-plate specials off a Chinese OEM board manufacturing menu. But seeing as we're all lifelong skateboarders here, we know it's our sworn duty to produce quality decks—hence our working and shaping with Paul Schmitt and PS Stix and supporting a small squad of team riders, because what's the point of making skateboards if you can't support those who love it just as much as we have our entire lives?
Q: Can I send you a Sponsor Me tape?
A: If it was 1995, I'd say sure, but it's 2021 and "tape" has been retired from our lexicon. Unless, of course, it's of the sticky Scotch variety. Anyway, if you have a YouTube link you'd like to share, feel free, but a company our size can only promo so much from our low-flow pipeline. More importantly, though, we place a high value on the family and camaraderie shared amongst our team, so maintaining that chemistry is key when all is said and done in the sponsored sense.
Q: I'm an influencer with a million-billion follwers on Tik-Tok. Can you hook me up with some free swag?
A: Aw, that's so kind—and cute!—of you to offer, but I'll have to respectfully decline because I'd just as soon go fingerpaint a life-size replica of Picasso's Guernica using the sun-stewed contents from the sewage tank of a public restroom in Joshua Tree National Park.
Q: Do you have a storefront?
A: Ha! You're kidding, right? No? Oh. Sorry, that just struck me as funny, because we barely have a company. Seriously, like we're a total of four people, each working out of their own home while simultaneously juggling other jobs, all scattered about three corners of the USA while the product ships out from a fulfillment center. So StrangeLove is either a) the next great American business model; or b) proof that miracles do exist. Anyway, to answer your question, no, we do not have a storefront. This website is as good as it gets (some would complain that's not very good, but Shopify is as Shopify does and Shopify is all we're capable of fucking with right now). And of course there is the growing list of semi-sorta-worldwide skate shops that we're now available in as well.
Q: I own a skate shop and would like to carry your line of products. Can I get a dealer application?
A: Absolutely. Please email email@example.com. All we ask is that you please be patient, as we're a small company with an odd predilection for growing pains.
Q: If I order a deck can I request to have it signed or personalized?
A: Not to sound like a prick, but no you may not. Every so often we will offer something up that is signed—like a print, book, or the occasional deck, depending on the nature of the project or special circumstance—but as mentioned previously all of the product ships out from a fulfillment center located approximately 2,166 miles from where I live so it's just not a feasible request at this time.
Q: What happened to Amelia Earhart?
A: That, my friend, is a great question, but I honestly don't know and why the fuck did you even think I would? I mean if the internet can't tell you, I sure as shit can't. But as a kid, I too was fascinated by the idea of the Bermuda Triangle. Still am, in fact, because who doesn't love unexplained phenomena of the natural world? Kinda like visiting the world famous Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, CA, where anyone's sense of childlike wonder can be jumpstarted in just a few stops along the mind-bending trail of gravitational tomfoolery. Unfortunately, the last time I went there also I wobbled away with a vicious headache and queasy stomach, because the older I've gotten the less I can handle any of that vertigo-oriented crap. Seriously, I can't even go on the carousel at Disneyland or spin around on an office chair. But enough about me, because now I'm genuinely curious: Do kids today even know about the peculiar lore of the Bermuda Triangle? Would they even care? If someone could please answer these questions for me that would be great, because this is all starting to feel awfully one-sided.
Q: I'm a bot-using reseller who either illegally accessed products from the backend of your site or has a suspect purchase history and possible fraudulent payment methods. Why did you cancel my order?
A: Hmm. I'm not sure, I'll have to look into that, but for what it's worth we do reserve the right to cancel any order we deem to be of a suspect nature. Not to mention there are customers out there who would genuinely like to skate our products and if we deduce you're not one of them and have ulterior flipping motives then best prepare to have your premature eBay listing run afoul. 'Nuff said.
Q: What is a slick bottom?
A: Ah, that's an easy one, because a lengthy blahg post about this very topic already exists and you can digest it here the next time you have a difficult bowel movement.
Q: Wait a second, I've seen you use that word before... blahg. What does that even mean?
A: We all have our annoying quirks and many of mine are related to the detestable world of new media words. For example, the first time I ever heard someone use "blog" in a serious manner, I had to fight back the uncontrollable urge to vomit out of my mouth hole on them. Look, I'd rather not get into it here, too much mental baggage to unpack, but if the OED officially acknowledges the new lingo of the digital age then so must I... however begrudgingly that may be.
Q: You make a rather big deal about some of your boards being screen-printed. Can you explain that process to me?
A: Wow, it really is your lucky day, because there's a whole other landfill of words dedicated to that subject and it can be found here.
Q: What's your issue with heat transfers?
A: Nothing, just another windmill of many in my life, might as well be throwing rocks at clouds or yelling at imaginary kids on my equally imaginary lawn, but even I can accept that heat transfers serve their price-point purpose and that's why you'll find them peppered throughout our line alongside the screened boards and slick bottoms. That said, I gotta wonder about any company using them to create supposedly special "limited edition" boards, because all they're doing is slapping a chintzy cellophane sheet on them for pennies on the dollar and upcharging the collector crowd... or maybe that's just the smart thing to do and we're the big dummies? Well, as I'm fond of saying, if we're not doing anything wrong then we're not doing anything right.
Q: So what's up with this whole "we do limited edition paper, not limited edition wood" motto, because I don't believe you.
A: Say what you want—and you will, Instagram has certainly taught me that much—but I stand by my words. The only products we specifically create in a limited capacity are the screened paper prints that are signed and numbered according to a designated edition size. The boards, on the other hand, are always ordered and produced based on our best guesses, aka sales projections, because we're currently not in the position to offer pre-sales. Oftentimes these wood orders are placed at PS Stix several months in advance—almost a year in some COVID delayed instances—and we've learned the hard way that a lot can change in the span of even a few months. I'm talking about demand, of course, and unfortunately we have been caught with our pants around our ankles on a few recent releases. Trust me, I get where some of the frustrations come from of late, but for fuck's sake, not to beat a dead horse but we're a small company and all it would take to sink our dinghy is a few orders of wood made while hopped up on goofballs of irrational exuberance. So, depending on the sales and/or the nature of a graphic—let's face it, we love our current events and holiday themes, not all of which warrant a second less-than-timely or off-seasonal run—we very well may make additional units, because I am a firm believer in producing skateboards to skate. If you want to collect and hang them on your wall or what have you, that's great, I do appreciate your appreciation, but if something proves popular and more people want them in their hands, then by god we're gonna make more to satisfy the demand. Should you be of the queer mindset that this somehow constitutes a "cash grab" on our part, all I can do is kindly ask you to fuck off and go patronize some other company preying on the collector mentality with overinflated "limited edition" fodder.
Q: What's that thing you say about board collecting? I know I've seen it somewhere before.
A: I believe you're referring to a statement I made in my second book, The Disposable Skateboard Bible, that goes: Buy what you appreciate, not what you think will appreciate. If you're concerned about the latter then I fear you've altogether lost the meaning of skateboarding.
Q: Hey, so my bot purchased something off your site that I don't want and would like to cancel/return the order. Can you please process this ASAP?
A: Why sure, we'd be happy to do that for you. We're also happy to charge you a nominal restocking fee, which we're sure you won't mind since it's not our fault your "technologically assisted ordering method" is now requiring us to spend time and energy cleaning up the mess. Thank you for your understanding.
Q: Okay, so what if I didn't use a bot but there was something legitimately wrong with my order and I'd like to return it. Will I still get hit with the restocking fee?
A: No, you will not. Mistakes do unfortunately happen and if you received the wrong item or what have you then we'll gladly take care of it. We stand behind our products, so if something went amiss, please email us directly. In other words, don't leave some random snarky comment on our Instagram because that's just poor form and does little to help resolve the issue.
Q: I sent you an email a minute ago about an issue with my order. Why haven't you responded yet?!
A: Okay, bear with me, this is gonna sound weird, but you should probably give it a day or two at least before freaking out. This isn't a slight on our customer service—there are many out there who can attest we've gone well out of our way for them—just an honest admission that due to the nature of our business model, where Nick is receiving the email in one place, our wholesale sales rep Adam is in another place, and all of the product is warehoused and managed at an altogether different place, it may take a bit of communication amongst everyone on the backend to determine what exactly happened and how best to rectify the matter. So, excuse the dad joke, but it's like the doctor said to the nurse, "You gotta have patience."
Q: I sent you a DM on Instagram. Why haven't you responded?
A: Probably because we never saw it? There are only so many minutes in the day, distractions are the Devil's playthings, and the various social media platforms can be a bit like playing Russian Roulette—especially when there are two of us popping in and out of the account. So here's a pro tip: If your message has anything at all to do with an order you placed, it's best to send an email to ensure we actually get the proper eyes on it. Also, don't DM me, AKA Sean, because I'm the one furthest removed from product, sales, and shipping (and that's for a very good reason).
Q: Who is Dave Carnie? He sure writes an awful lot of words… like a lot of words.
A: That he does and we're all the better for it. What did Chris Nieratko once say about him… something to the effect that he's "god's gift to skateboarding"? Actually, I'm not sure he said that at all. I may have even made that up. Regardless, it's well deserved praise indeed, as Dave Carnie has written way more than his weight in words and most all for the benefit of the skateboard community. So bless you, Dave. Even if all those meanies on Instagram thought you were a whiny little bitch with that last Olympics article (honestly, I'm still baffled as to why they're even following the @bigbrotherskateboardmag account in the first place).
Q: You know, you kinda come off as a whiny little bitch yourself.
A: First off, that's not a question. Rather rude, too, don't you think? But I think it was Heath Ledger's version of the Joker who had a penchant for saying, "Why so serious?" because for all my opinionated posturing it really just comes down to typing for shits and giggles, the two dominant forces in my life—elemental, if you will. Call it base masturbation with words, whatever gets you off. Or me off, I guess? Anyway, as always, let the wise words of Sgt. Hulka be your guide through this Cirque du Soleil shit show called life: "Lighten up, Francis."
Q: What the fuck, man, you pussies blocked me on Instagram!
A: Again, not a question, but I can see why we may have done that. If it helps, however silly it may sound, think of it this way: that's our house. You willingly entered it as a guest, where you were welcome to hang out, see what we have going on, check out what's on our walls, converse with other guests, etc., but when you start throwing a temper-tantrum and acting like a big Baby Huey, well, in my eyes that's tantamount to pulling down your pants and taking a fucking dump in the middle of our living room. So yes, we're not going to politely ask you to calm down, pull your pants back up, and apologize to all the other guests. We're simply gonna teleport you out to the cornfield. I mean chances are you're a grown ass adult. What's wrong with you? And if you're a kid, well, go to your room and think about what you've done! Or don't. You're no longer our problem, so best of luck in love, life, and any pursuits thereof. The long and the short of it is that for however you imagine us to be in your head, we're actually very sensitive human beings and take a lot of what's said to heart because we care about this company and the products we make. You may disagree with some of our viewpoints, and that's okay, it really is, and we welcome you to share and express any dissenting opinions—that's what a civilized democratic society is meant to do—provided you do so in a rational and intelligent manner while refraining from letting loose any explosive sprays of diarrhea and Q-tips. Because once that shit starts to fly, there's the door and buh-bye.
Q: Did y'all get vaccinated against the COVIDs?
A: Why yes, yes we did, which may come as a surprise to some, I suppose, since we have graphically dabbled in the conspiracy well from time to time . I do have a funny story for you, though, because back in February 2020, immediately after the great Valentine's Day shoe debacle, someone tried to leave a comment on the blahg post accusing of us "running the website like a couple antivax kids." I guess that was supposed to be an insult then—pre-pandemic!—but to some nowadays that could possibly be taken as a compliment? What a truly fucked up nation we are currently living and dividing within…
Q: Is it true that if I send in two bucks and a SASE to StrangeLove Skateboards, PO Box 3660, Idyllwild, CA 92549 I'll receive some stickers in return?
A: Yes! Well, first pardon my pop of grammatical enthusiasm there, as I'm still rather self-conscious about my ebullient usage of exclamation marks after Dave Carnie recently shared his thoughts on them with me:
—exclamation points are stupid. i NEVER use them.
—i never use them because they make whatever precedes them seem dumb. and consequently the author as well.
—so then i realized: well if you’re trying to sound dumb, or make a character seem dumb, use exclamation points.
But yes, ahem, it is true. However, if there's one thing I've learned throughout this great postal exercise it's that not everyone knows what that rather important acronym means anymore. I'm talking about the SASE, which is a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope, where you include a pre-stamped, pre-addressed return envelope inside the envelope being sent. The only other thing I can say is to please write your return address as legibly as possible, as I have had a few returned for probably that very reason. You can also send in as many as you'd like, it's not a one-time offer, there's just no guarantee you'll get different stickers or that the accompanying letter won't come off sounding like a moronic "form letter" (which it is, albeit a handwritten one).
Q: Can you recommend any good books?
A: I could be a real literary chump and go, "Oh, of course, you absolutely have to read Celine's Journey to the End of Night (1932)," which you probably should, but that's also like directing someone to the Devil's Trail when they just asked if there was a fun little afternoon hike to do in New York State. So here's a random list of books that more or less fit the easy reading bill for today's distracted times: Terry Southern's The Magic Christian (1969), Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions (1973), Richard Brautigan's Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel (1976), Edward Lewis Wallant's The Tenants of Moonbloom (1963), John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces (1980), Millard Kaufman's Bowl of Cherries (2007), Salvador Plascencia's People of Paper (2005), George Saunders' CivilWarLand in Bad Decline (1996), and John Fante's Ask the Dust (1939). Ha! Look at me making serious book recommendations. What a pretentious goof. Next thing you know we'll be making T-shirts that declare "I READ BOOKS" .
Q: Yo, can I get a pair of those StrangeLove SBs in size 10?
A: Sorry, we had a very limited amount of those shoes back in February 2020 and most all were preemptively sold to our original StrangeLove customer base once we realized the release was going to be heavily botted and the site was ridiculously ill prepared for the traffic—as evidenced by the oopsie moment the night before when Nick went to put them on the site using a third party "coming soon" app that cracked and burst under the pressure of a few thousand bot orders. So on the day of the actual site release we may have only had like 25 pairs left to sell in that manner, all of which obviously went in seconds.
Q: Whatever, dude, we all know what really happened. Fuckin' backdoored and shit.
A: Again, sorry, I think you may be having a bit of a reading comprehension problem today, but that is the unfortunate state of the world as we now know it—or selectively choose to know, I guess, since objectivity has all but gone out the civilized window. Anyway, I no longer have the patience to humor those who prefer fantasy lies over factual truths, so off to the cornfield you go: Buh-bye.
1. In the event you've had a question in mind but do not see it here, please feel free to leave it in the comments below. When time allows, I'll tack it onto the bottom of these official FUQS, because chances are someone else is wondering the exact same thing as you. Call it cosmic lettuce. Or lattice? Plate o' shrimp it is. Anyway, all confusion-sowing aside, "Just The FUQS" is a living document meant to grow over time—an idea that it and of itself is so remarkably stupid because this is destined to become just another calcified strata of dinosaur scat buried beneath all the other shit posted to the interweb. Nonetheless, I'll happily if not confoundingly continue to do so, because my own amusement is all that really matters at the end of the day.
2. Credit where credit is due : Dave Carnie once told Chri$ Nieratko, "Why don't you just wear a shirt that says 'I READ BOOKS,'" when he showed up to work one day wearing a "Fear and Loathing" shirt... or shit, it may have been a Charles Bukowski shirt for all my flagging memory can recollect. Regardless, you get the literati idea.
3. Would you believe there's a post for everything here? Well, almost everything. But if you really want to see my stance on conspiracy theories, I'm goofy-footed.
4. I received this note from Carnie regarding the source of "I READ BOOKS":
i don’t doubt that i said that to chris, but that line originated with jeff [tremaine] for nearly identical reasons. while i was well aware that my pseudo-intellectual leanings were obnoxious and needed to be kept in check, i’ve never really had a very strong command over my faculties or convictions (lookin at you, alcoholism), and thus my erudite ambitions would occasionally seep into my skateboard journalism—where, of course, they don’t belong, even if there were such a thing as “skateboard journalism.” i don’t remember the exact instance that caused jeff to say it—perhaps it was one too many nietzsche quotes? ugh—but whatever it was, jeff pointed at it and, in his loudest, finest, most mocking tone, declared, “I READ BOOKS!” whatever it was, he was right. the author, me, was doing nothing but bragging about reading books. which is on the same level as someone bragging about getting up early: “yeahhhh, got up before dawn today…” yeah, no one cares. i felt shame. but i also recognized the effectiveness of the taunt and immediately adopted it myself and have enjoyed using it ever since. mostly on myself, oddly enough. anytime i notice myself getting a little too big for the waistline of my ill-fitting smarty pants i ask myself, “now david, look at what you’ve done very carefully and ask yourself: DO I READ BOOKS?” so for the record: that phrase originated with jeff.