V&R 10th Anniversary Stories: How V&R Became V&R

Mythology has a place in the world as a form of fantasy. But, what if there is some reality based on the myth?

When my first chapbook of poetry appeared, many people outside of the Los Angeles area tried to pronounce the word "Reseda." Most people recognized the word from a certain Tom Petty song from the 1990s.

But, what is Reseda?

It is a place with a post office, about 55,000-60,000 residents, and just happens to be one of many neighborhoods within the city limits of Los Angeles.

The mythology of Reseda is not just rooted in the fact that I grew up there and spent most of my life in this San Fernando Valley suburb. It is grounded in reality in more than a few ways. Reseda used to house several auto dealers: Dodge, Chrysler-Plymouth, Honda, Volkswagen, American Motors, Jeep, Renault, Ford, Chevrolet and Buick. Further up Reseda Boulevard was a Cadillac one. It was through these dealers that I learned about the industry I have been covering professionally over the past ten years.

Reseda was where I began to drive, took public transport and understood the value of getting somewhere in a place where one mode had been fighting with the other. It is a place where I was able to discover the entire region from, knowing I can get home late at night safely on the express bus route from downtown Los Angeles that run a couple blocks from home…or, on an empty Ventura Freeway exiting at Reseda Boulevard.

To find a happy medium between my automotive and alternative transportation coverage, I look back to home again. It was a place where I drove through millions of times since 1980. It was also a place where two bus lines linked me to a vast basin of opportunities. It is where memories helped forged a path from a back seat of a 1955 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Starfire convertible to the driver’s seat of today's fine machinery.

Forty-one years and 4,336 miles later, I am an automotive journalist and content creator based in the Twin Cities. The irony of being in this part of the country has been the similarities between this region and my hometown. I could go on for countless points to explain these similarities, but if you remove the mountain ranges and the air quality issues, there’s plenty of Reseda, the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. It certainly helped when I began exploring the region by both transit and by automobile.

That is, of course, if you supplant the mountain ranges and air quality issues with snow, ice, humidity, mosquitoes and one massive dirty river running through the area…

So, it was time to rebrand my automotive writing. Until 2011, the title of the automotive sub-blog, "MotorGeek," served me well, but I figured that it was time for a change. I was looking at potential domain names and found that the name and web domain were already taken by two websites – both automotive aggregates. Not one to involve myself with legal proceedings, I figured I needed something that would satisfy someone else’' lawyers.

So, in 2011, I looked to home for inspiration. I remember the closest major intersection to home. I sounded it out. It clicked.

Victory & Reseda

The brand for my automotive writing has resonance. It is a lively intersection where Metro's buses rumble through it with a swath of automobiles of all stripes through the flatlands of the San Fernando Valley. One minute, it’s a well-preserved Datsun or Toyota from the 1970s. The next is a newly leased Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Maybe an SUV or minivan – or Prius – would follow until the light turns red. It is the variety of automobiles I was exposed to early in life that continues to shape my writing over the past decade.

That is how this website became Victory & Reseda. It stuck. Ten years later, I fulfilled my wildest dreams doing this work with this title out front.

Photo by Randy Stern

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