on location in Northern California…

One of my parents' friends bought me a region-free DVD player for graduation, but the box said —This DVD Player is designed and manufactured to play Region 1 DVD discs.

I wanted to make sure the DVD player was in fact region-free before lugging it back to Los Angeles.

Problem was, I didn't know where around Mountain View I could obtain foreign region-specific DVDs. Blockbuster wouldn't have them and my parents and their friends only watch imported VCDs. I knew I could buy them at Amoeba, but I didn't feel like driving all the way up to San Francisco or Berkeley.

My brother referred me to Videoscope, a local mom-and-pop video store with a wide selection, but all the DVDs in the foreign section were either region one or all-region. The manager looked at me funny when I asked if the store had any discs that wouldn't play in DVD players in America.

Exiting the Videoscope parking lot, I decided to stop by the Tower down the street. Tower stocks less mainstream fare, I thought. Maybe it has some foreign region-specific DVDs.

As I approached the counter in the video section of Tower, this teenage scenester greeted me from behind it.

—'Suuuuup dude?

I couldn't figure out how this kid managed to fit into the clothes he was wearing.

—Hi. Do you guys have any non-region one DVDs?
—Hold on.

He went over to an inventory computer and started typing. I found it odd that an inventory computer would list DVDs by region encoding.

A minute later, the kid looked up from the computer and asked —Are those skateboarding DVDs?


Tower sure knows how to hire employees.

This kid had what looked like one of those metal rings used to hold index cards together fixed off-center in his lower lip.

I wanted to yank it so badly.