Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thank You Brandon Negrete.

Negrete texted me on Saturday to not waste my time and advised me to stay in Long Beach instead of meeting up at the end of the blade session.  I figured I would get back to him on Wednesday to let him know that I was going to be off on Thursday and Friday to see if our schedules matched up so I can meet up with my friend, and assist in filming Victor and Schwab's next edit announcing the Avant 3's.  On Monday and Tuesday I went about my regular schedule on the Chef grind, and handling the social media found on Xsjado's webpage.

On Tuesday night, I drove to Carson to run an errand, and on my way I saw two cop cars on the other side of traffic.  One police man held his gun out directed at a man who already had his hands behind his head laying on the floor.  I couldn't believe what was going on.  I continued my drive and jumped onto the highway.  After exiting I had to pull to the side as a fire paramedic and an ambulance passed by with sirens blaring.  Something was weird in the air.

Returning to Long Beach I went looking for parking and saw another ambulance pulling out of a gas station with a man prompted up laying on a stretcher in the back.  I prayed to the universe that this person be okay and had an eerie feeling from the entire situation.  I walked into Taylors place, my lady, and told her that I had this weird feeling of having to tell my family that I loved them.  I tried not to look too much into it.

The next morning, Wednesday, I woke up not wanting to believe it, in pure disbelief, looking at my instagram feed with pictures of my friend and RIP captions.  I read the comments just hoping Brandon was going to comment on how stupid of a joke this was.  An asthma attack.  I knew he had it and Brandon never made it a big deal, and now realized how extreme it all was.  I went to work trying to keep my mind off of it, breaking down several times trying to catch myself in the walk-in where no one could see.

I have never experienced lost so greatly...

I thought of where it all began, when Ranier Piramide and I hopped in his black Jetta after school, leaving Carson, picked up Charlie Ashby in Garden Grove, and made a pit stop somewhere off the 15 in San Bernardino to visit Charlie's friend.  I sat on the parents couch of Brandon Negrete's, finding relief from bumper to bumper traffic that was delaying our Las Vegas voyage for a blade demo at the opening of a new wooden skatepark.  I sat, quietly, nervous, like any grommet would, watching blade footage and Lonnie Gallegos's first video, Noise, that included footage of Rob G and Chris Haffey's triumphant frontside on the 666 rail.

The moon rose earlier that day and lucky for us, Brandon had an endless amount of extension cords to juice up the generator, lighting up the rail-to-rail-to-rail Ranier did in the beginning of Noir.  

Noir from dudebro on Vimeo.

Some where in the near future Brandon and I spoke on AOL, and I remember jumping and smiling when he messaged me about hanging out and filming some blading.  I didn't know what he wanted to film for but, I was honored that I was on his radar.  I don't think we ever got a clip but, I was still too young to know what was ahead in our future.

The years came and passed as we both bladed in our own worlds and continued to cross paths, coming and going through mutual friends houses.  He was never too cool to blade with people that weren't name brands yet.  I saw footage from him filming with the Gardena legends, Craig Case and Tat Nasu, and some of the filipinos in Cerritos - Martin Malana, and he extended his network to people all over the world.  I remember him being the guy that would hang out at Roadhouse's place during the time he filmed Noir around the 2nd regime days.  Before Liz, we even hung out with some of the same girls, keeping true to guy code, doing what I could to make Brandon sound as awesome as possible.

I ran into him again at Long Beach's Monday Night Skate, and watched him spend two hours royaling a bump to ledge in the bright red Aragon Scott Bentleys.  He spilled a few times, and had a good laugh every time he washed out.  After passing through his Asthma attack, I now understand why it was only one trick and how he took his time conquering the trick he had in mind.  Although throughout the process he kept positive, and refused to leave the place without grinding the trick successfully.  I never saw Negrete grind again.

Sometime during this period, I had met Lonnie, and like Negrete, we were frequent guests at the Westminster blader hostel.  We spent a lot of time with various groups that came through the house, lounging on the couch, watching blade flicks and Adult Swim cartoons to pass the down time till blading hour.

I had not seen Brandon for a few months and I remember when I ran into him again, picking up where we had left off.  He handed me another one of his great movies, The Meantime.  Like taking my first hit, I was hooked, and watched Farmer's section every time I went out to blade for Too Faded (I still watch it every so often before I shred).

While out filming on our blade excursions, I was in a negative space that day and found every opportunity to complain.  Brandon broke me out of it and told me that "people are dying all over the world, its not that serious Obe."  It is unfortunate that that reality had to happen to us, but, it is what it is.  I remember completing a clip that day.  I would remind him time-and-time again that those words have been etched into my soul, thankful that he reminded me of how big the world truly was and that my problems are minor compared to those in other countries.  In retrospect, I think Brandon might have known he was going to pass early, teaching me another great lesson before he left.  It also reminded me that nothing was too far out of reach and that the greatest people out there, are human just like me and you.

I loved Brandon, and I am sure every person he filmed with felt the same way.  It was hard not to.  He was easy going, honest, with a quick wit that would have you laughing at yourself, making light of the serious situation that could cost you a broken arm or a leg.  If you did not like Brandon, you automatically sucked cause Brandon was a good dude.  I was introduced to so many people in the game that I never would have met if it was not for him.

Brandon had faith in everyone on the other side of his camera, even when you, yourself, was unable to see it.  He willingly would spend hours with you, going through trial and error, not dropping the ball, and pushing you when you needed a shove, making sure you weren't alone, going through the mental battle against the fear of success.  A battle all blader's have when learning a new trick or obstacle.  I remember going blading by myself so that I could find something new, just so I can run back to Negrete (or Lonnie) and show him.  Along with Lonnie, I knew that I could trust Negrete to film an idea, and make it look better than I had ever imagined.

Negrete was a filmer who made blade movies, and was fucking good at it.  He avoided a tremendous amount of the expensive equipment for cheaper cameras to get that timeless effect that we saw in his videos.  He did not have a lot and made the most with what he had, which I adopted into my blading.

We both understood that this is just what we did and we did it as honest and the best way we could.  Negrete was good at truly listening to people and gave back whenever he could through his videos.  He made sure all of the cool things and people involved were highlighted and never forgotten.  I have taken some of these lessons and placed them into Blading with Chef Knives, with pieces that were inspired by him.

Liz and Brandon introducing me to strawberry tamales.
Although saying goodbye to you forever has been one of the hardest things in my life, I love you so much, friend, and this death is not going to stop me from continuing remembering all of the life lessons you taught me.  I will continue to Thank You by never forgetting everything you had done for me and helping me make all of my dreams in blading come true.  I look forward to texting you so I can come over and show you that I continued everything we had complained/dreamt about and wish we saw in blading.  

Rest in Paradise friend.  You lived a good life.  You did well brother. 

Thank you Brandon Negrete.