Thursday, March 27, 2008

Day 25, 26, 27

Day 27
Thursday March 27th
I write.

Gerald Olin: "You do drink don't you?"
Mike Enslin: "Of course. I just said I was a writer."

Day 26
Wednesday March 26th
I have been spending a lot of time in the park lately. It is nice and quiet. On a beautiful spring afternoon there is nothing quite like curling up in the park or on the beach with a good book, mug of chai and maybe the box scores from last night. Speaking of which, the Sox are off to a start kicking off the season with an extra innings opening day victory in Japan. Explain this one to me though; the Sawx play two games in Japan to start the season. There is all this hype and everyone gets psyched up for the start of the season. Then they fly here to LA to play three spring training games-- ie. three games that mean absolutely nothing to anyone because the season has technically started already. In fact one of these games is going to be held in the LA Colesium with a third base line approximately 200 feet long. Little League fields have larger left fields. It is going to be a crazy contest with Manny, Big Papi, Youk, Tek, and the rest of the crew teaing off on second NL pitchers. With only 200 feet between home plate on the left field wall, I bet even Coco will go long three or four times! Consequently 115,000+ plus fans are expected to show up. It'll be crazy as only LA can do crazy! So then they rest up a bit and the season starts again sometime next week in earnest? What am I missing here?

Anyhow back on topic, I spent a rather lazy afternoon up on the hill with Ms. Bowler and her cat. We hung out and relaxed in the afternoon sun telling stories and laughing over all the dumb things we have done in the last four years. To say we simply laughed is an understatement. After a mellow stroll we watched this funky documentary called "Does Anyone Have a Plan?" It was made by a Bulgarian crew of three. It explores the controversy of Kosovar independence from all the affected viewpoints. It is a pretty intense illustration of the various emotions tied up to that small piece of rock. Even though I fell asleep half-way through. It is certainly a monumental film. I plan on watching it again and again and again hoping to pick up on all the intricacies of the region and their various politics.

Sox in first, Yanks in the cellah'!

Day 25
Tuesday March 25th
A week or two ago Sholly got a late call in the office to be in a radio station focus group. They were going to pay $60 for an hour of your time. She handed over the info to me to see if I was interested. It sounded like fun so I gave them a ring. It is kind of ironic actually since other then the catching a Red Sox game in the summer or NPR during the morning commute, I can not remember the last time I listened to the radio. The funny part is that in order to meet their demographic you had to list out your favorite Ventuckey or LA radio stations. Like I said other then NPR I can not think of a single station out here. So in jeopardy of losing out on the easy money, I put the marketer on hold and googled Ventura radio stations. Sure enough a whole list popped up of local radio stations. I got back on the phone and read off the list. About half way down I finally hit it, KBBY and I was in.

So the day of I grabbed a quick bite to it and drove on down to the harbour to collect my cash. The place was packed, mostly with 20-somethings and their various body piercings. There were about 60 or so folks in the focus group from all walks of life. This is a guess though honestly because they all looked like they were unemployed. The other guys there looked and sounded like they spent their days playing X-box and skateboarding. The skirts there looked like they spent their days at the mall or napping on the beach. Everyone had tattoos and ridiculously large sun glasses. Uggs abounded as did bejeweled cell phones and valley girl accents. I felt very out of place. Looking around at my fellow focus groupies, it was easy to see why many call our generation the forgotten generation. Other then a million different ways to color our hair, it doesn't look like we have really left behind anything to be remembered by.

The survey itself wasn't so bad. I can say that now that it is over. During the survey I could have gouged my eyes out with a spoon had one been readily available. We had to listen to 10 seconds of 502 different songs and then rate them. We were given the choices of "F" for favorite, "L" for like, "N" for neither like nor dislike (but would not turn the radio station to another if we heard the sond), "D" for dislike, "T" for tired (songs we used to like but for one reason or another felt we overplayed), and finally "U" for unfamiliar. I would like to think I have a pretty broad musical taste with genres and influences all over the spectrum. I found though that I only marked a dozen or so of these 502 tunes as an F.

The majority were most definitely D's or T's. There was a lot of Madonna, Don Henley (Don Henley solo? seriously?), and a lot of screaming angst-ridden chicks and screaming angst ridden dudes. They all sounded the same to me. After the first 250 songs I was over it. It was mind numbing honestly. The scan-tron bubble sheet in front of me was starting to swirl. It was getting harder and harder to keep my eyes open. I was so tempted to take a picture but security had been very very clear on the whole NO PHOTOGRAPHY! point. I am not sure if it was just because I was tired of it all, but I noticed the last 100+ songs or so, the majority I had marked "T". Hmmmm...

When all was said and done, we turned in our scan-trons and #2 pencils and picked up a plain white envelope. Inside the envelope was cold hard cash, incidentally my favorite kind. That is not too bad for about 90 minutes of "work." I wonder if they have any other focus groups coming around? I am sure there are oldies stations or country stations out there looking for my insight... Do you think Sam Adams or Sierra Nevada has focus groups? I would most certainly volunteer for that! I will have to do a little digging...

The one (and only) frame before security trounced me.

Cold hard cash, I ain't too proud...

Day 24

Day 24
Monday March 24th
Today I wrote. And wrote and wrote and wrote. Then I took a break for Jeopardy!. Then wrote some more. When I couldn't write anymore cause my brain hurt and my fingers were sore, I edited. And then I wrote some more. All told I finished two brand new chapters and tightened up the first 6. As of today I now have 8 pretty tight chapters. And we are off and running. All that is on my mind right now is banging this out. Getting to this point has been difficult in the least. I really struggled the last few chapters. I had come to an impasse, the first major conflict in the book and I wasn't sure how to proceed best. The writing before was simply character & story development. I was laying a foundation. It was laborious and tenuous.

As I approached this early crux, I was timid and afraid. I had to tread carefully. It was more of a chore then a creative process. It was no longer fun. The writing that I knew I must tackle but was not motivated to do so. But then I started, and plodded, and stumbled and after two days of seclusions have a decent early rising action. Now I am stoked. The rest is down hill from here! The momentum is building and creatively I am riding the surge. Now if I can only find a place where I can consistently spend time in front of a computer and hack away page after page.

Oh yah and one last note, during a commercial break on Jeopardy! I uploaded 5 more pics for week 1. The long lost CF card has been found and edited. So no new pics for tonight, but definitely double check Week 1 for the long lost CF card pics. Okay back to the novel...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Day 23

Day 23
Sunday March 23rd
Today was one of those miscellaneous days. You accomplish a bunch but don't really feel like it was a worthwhile day. I spent hours this morning searching job lists, sending follow-up emails, combing through various leads and hoping to find something at least remotely interesting. I didn't. Then on to the blog and sifting through hundreds of photos from the last few days. Editing, color correcting & finally posting them only to have to come up with something to say. Then off to the storage unit to pick up a month's worth of mail. I sat in the sun on the porch and paid bills, returned letters and dealt with other miscellaneous crap via snail mail. Then back to the computer to answer emails (I apologize if I have been lazy as of late) and Facebook schwag. Then a quick shower and off to run errands around town.

I made it back to the SurfShack about a half hour before golden hour. So I packed up the camera and the cell phone (I am so not used to this thing following me around everywhere. It is SO unnatural!). I sat on the beach and watched the sun set and the surf roll in and returned all my phone calls from the week. It was kinda heard to adjust to listening to a tiny ass speaker in the cell phone, especially with shoulder highs crashing right next to me and the wind whipping around my head. But I figured it out. I can even text message now with both thumbs! Who would have guessed just a month ago I would be text messaging! Look out world here I come! Actually you know being able to chat up Moms back home in four feet of snow from the beach here in Bakersfield by the Sea, I could get into this portable cellular phone thing. I mean I would if it wasn't just gonna be a passing fad...

Yah Moms we have a lotta snow here too....

The pier, the sunset, the waves.

Days 20, 21 & 22

Day 20
Thursday March 20th
Finally!!! The weekend is upon us! For some reason that has never really been explained, our parent company mandates Good Friday as a corporate holiday. With a paid day off, I am never one to complain, especially when it is a Friday. I had HUGE plans for the weekend and could not wait to get it started. I had this really cool three day weekend planned. I was to head up to Big Sur early Friday morning and spend the next three days hiking in the coastal redwoods and climbing along the immaculate coast. I was stoked! I had contemplated leaving tonight and staying at a cute little hostel in the seaside hamlet of Cambria.

Before I could hit the highway though, I really wanted to get some research done in this new documentary project I have been toying with these last few days. Also I had kinda screwed up my neck goofing around at work. It was sore but no big deal. Instead of tempting fate, I figured one less night sleeping on the ground might do my creaky neck good. Besides I had piles of research to get through, literally hundreds of pages of reading to pour over. So one more night being responsible and then off to the coast.

Getting a jump on the research ground work, "Accountability Deficits of Int'l & Local Administration" (in Kosovar nation building), courtesy of Tony. A heading read, but definitely an invaluable resource!

Day 21
Friday March 21st
I woke up at about 3am with this incredible pain shooting down my back. I tried my best to ignore and get some shut eye before starting the long day ahead. I had no luck. As the sun rose, I tried to get out of bed. No luck. I could not move my right arm or feel my toes. My neck was so tweaked any minute movement caused white hot pain to shoot down my back. Hmmmm this can't be good. After about an hour of trying to get up by myself I gave up. I had to have PonyBoy pull my butt out of bed and help me stand up. The pain was so bloody intense I felt dizzy and nauseous. After about an hour praying to the porcelain gods, I gingerly plopped my self down in a desk chair with a bottle of aspirin and a bag of ice.

I could barely move without plunging my head and neck into excruciating pain. I was miserable. If I sneezed I thought my neck muscles were going to burst and explode into a big bloody projectile mess. It was not good. I tried to sleep but any slight movement would wake me up with alarm. Sleep just was not an option either. I could not move my arms sufficiently enough without incredible pain that reading was out. I have no patience for cable TV and surfing through 500+ channels to find the last ten minutes of a cool show. So I tried to watch a few movies with a little better luck. I caught The Bank Job, Vantage Point, Never Back Down, and Fool's Gold.

Fool's Gold was more of a petty selfish indulgence. A horrible movie but it has tons of shots of crystal blue waters & Kate Hudson in a bikini. In a way it kinda reminded me of my old barn storming days tramping around the Caribbean w/ Club Med. Ahhh sometimes I miss those carefree days on the beach diving and surfing, sailing and loving. They were good days and this movie, cheese and all, brought it back full force. Besides little miss A-cup Hudson in a teeny tiny string bikini and the glassy turquoise Caribbean waters, you can not go wrong with that! It served it purpose, mindless entertainment to take my mind off my present predicament. The Bank Job was bloody good, although a little cerebral. Given the fact that I was in no mood to think, I lost a little bit here and there. Otherwise though, definitely a movie worth a second viewing. Vantage Point & Never Back Down are pure trash. VP started off interestingly enough and was filmed beautifully. The camera work in VP is amazing. It is frantic and unsteady making you feel like you are right beside the characters. The writing and acting are horrible. there is no way to get around that, no matter how badly I wanted to like the film.

The same is true for NBD. A sophomoric flick if I have ever seen one. NBD follows the standard Hollywood formula for success: troubled kid trying to do good, rich kid with all the toys won't let troubled kid be, beautiful blond breaks up w/ rich kid jackass to date bad boy troubled kid, toss in some b-roll of co-eds in bikinis & tightly choreographed fight scenes and be sure that the troubled kid bests rich kid in final fight and wins girl and voila, you have an instant financial success without any real effort. Mindless entertainment with no real plot or character development-- totally pedantic and predictable. Despite giving up four hours of my life that I will never have back for these two flicks, in a way it gave me hope. I mean seriously, if some director/producer was able to get millions of dollars for loosely written piles of crap pictures like these then there is hope for me. I did lose a little faith though in the movie viewing public these days, but that is wholly another rant.

So after sitting in this desk chair without moving and watching some less then stellar movies, I was frustrated to high heaven by this neck pain. Finally I tossed in the towel and said screw it. Off to the ER I went. Unbelievably the wait and experience there with all the poking and prodding and sterile cold environment was so much better then the experience of watching either VP or NBD. Finally the verdict was in, though by this time I was so out of it I really was not paying attention. It had something to do with a severely pinched nerve and I needed a shot and they needed my credit card, etc., etc., etc. Within an hour of popping some pills and a quick shot to the spine I was feeling grand. Well grand enough I mean compared to the misery that blew out my morning.

Unfortunately it was well after sun set before I crawled home. It looks like Big Sur is off. I was cautioned not to drive for the next few days. Also I was cautioned to not participate in any strenuous activities but to walk short distances periodically to help with the circulation. Yup Big Sur was definitely not happening. Feeling a little better I went for a walk along the beach and caught the very last rays of the setting sun silhouetting the Channel Islands. When I returned to the SurfShack PonyBoy was back from his nap. We stocked up a fire in the trusty chiminea and played cribbage until it was too cold to stay outside. And that was that, pretty much a wasted first day of my supposedly epic three day weekend.

In four hands I double skunked PonyBoy in Cribbage. I guess I was taking out all my pent up aggression on the darn cards...

Day 22
Saturday March 22nd
The doctor suggested I do nothing too vigorous for the next 4- 7 days. He also suggested that I try to walk as much as possible to keep the fluids moving where they should. When I woke up I didn't feel nearly as bad as the morning before, but I still had a pretty painful morning. My neck was killing me! Again! So I decided that a good long walk would be just what I needed. I figured the length of the walk should correspond to the amount of pain right? I figured Gridley Peak in Ojai would be just about right (14.6 miles to peak w/ 3300 ft. elevation gained, rated double-black diamond T4.5 trail for you mountain bikers out there). A nice lazy walk in the high desert sun put a smile on my face. So Gridely it was. With a couple bottles of water, a few Clifbars, and a full bottle of Advil we were off.

Making our way up above the Ojai Valley

According to locals, these are "Perdy fl'ars!"

Dang rocks, everywhere! I hate hiking!

Flat Tire: "Dude like I was pounding down through the scree and felt like this softness and jammin' kinda, you know? So I stopped and was like, oh fuck dude! I blew out my damn tire man! But its cool now so, you know. Its a quick fix."

And off we go once again, hukin' & jivin' down some pristine single track.

"Don't step on me fl'ars!"

A little tilted, I haven't had my V8 yet...

Avocados anyone? They're just hanging here...

Trailhead Bill: "Well then you gotta go all the way down there to Cozy Dell. And then you gotta haul yourself ALLLL the way back here and then up to Rose Valley. Figure it takes the faster ones 'bout 22- 26 hours to finish." Bill was setting up an aid station for Ojai's Coyote Two Moon Ultra Marathon
(100 miles in 2+ days-- you thought I was nuts!), his 2nd station of the day.

After the hike we went on over to the Plantation and visited with PonyBoy's folks for a bit. Co' made up some HUGE sandwiches that definitely hit the spot. I was famished! We relaxed a bit on the porch, played a little bocce ball in the back yard (they have their own bocce court), and then headed back to town. I spent the rest of the afternoon banging away at this keyboard working on the book. I was feeling pretty good, definitely proud of myself. I wrote for hours. It has been a few months since I attacked this stupid book project. It felt good to get back into it. I spent the first hours just editing and parsing down some of the older stuff to get my head back in the story. Unfortunately once my head was back in it I only got about ten decent pages of real writing in. But hey it is a start. Every little bit moves me closer down the literary road. 42 pages and counting...

Later that night we walked on over to Billy O's to catch a quick pint and some live tunes. Dave Gleason and Old California were playing. These guys can totally rock out. At first it was a little country but then they turned it up to 11 and the place was R-O-C-K-ING! Those boys can definitely noodle. It turned out to be a great bluesy evening. After last weekend being stuck in the vaccuumm and all, and the last day gingerly clinging to the desk chair, today was super busy to make up for it all. By the time we made it back to the SurfShack, I was exhausted. But it was one of those good exhausted you know. I slept with a smile.

Dave Gleason jammin' w/ Old California.

Old California pouring on some soul.

Dave getting funky with it & bringing the house down with a colossal jam.

For more see:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Days 16, 17, 18, 19

Day 19
Wednesday March 19th
Tonight I inadvertently fell asleep at the computer. I was in a weird funk, totally drained. Work was a super stressful today for no particular reason. By the time 6ish rolled around my brain was fried. I started to do laundry but the flippin coin-op kicked me out at half-past 6. So I was like screw it and headed over to the SurfShack just across the block to hang for a bit. My plan was to spend the rest of the night at the VTA Vixens hut after visiting PonyBoy. And then I knocked off at the computer blogging away, only to be awakened around 11ish and left wondering where the daylight went. I only finished one blog entry and it is a little kooky truth be told, oh well. Tomorrow is another day, another story...

Day 18

Tuesday March 18th
I headed out to the east end for the first time in years for the afternoon. I had been invited to hang out with a bud from work and her fam. It was a pretty cool change-up in the coach surfing routine. I got to hang with the boys Max 3 and Jeffers 1 (almost). Max of course preceded to beat me quite handedly at Candyland, then Go Fish, then Dominoes, then Thomas the Train addition games, and pretty much anything else he challenged me too. I was tempted to challenge him to chess, but loosing to a 3 year old at chess would have been too much to handle. I was emasculated enough by the time I lost the 2nd Candyland game. Thankfully Sholly, a super hero of a mom, grilled up some wicked good grub for dinner. Piles of food kept coming out of the kitchen, it was intense! I ate till I popped All in all, a pretty chill evening.

High stakes Candyland...

Day 17
Monday March 17th
St. Patties day I hooked up with Isabella for a night on the town. Actually we met up after work for a quick burger and a pint. We spent the afternoon laughing at the poor fools standing in lines around the block to get in to Dargan's. Practically every bar on the strip was offering green beer, not sure what was so super special about Dargan's. Anyhow before we knew it, it was pushing up on midnight.

"Excuse me dude? Are you in a boy band?"

Day 16
Sunday March 16th
Sunday afternoon was a beautiful day, a tad cold but beautiful nonetheless. After doing nothing on Saturday, I was itching something fierce to get out and about. I headed down to the beach and spent the afternoon lounging in the sand. It was much needed therapy. After crashing under the stars, lulled to sleep by the rolling surf I awoke with my soul refreshed. It was a pleasant break from the day to day crap here in Ventuckey.

Despite temps on the beach hitting 38 degrees at 3am, it was cozy by the fire.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Day 15

Day 15
Saturday March 15th
Today was spent almost in its entirety in the existential vaccuumm, no exaggeration. Days and weeks of searching for meaning, for life's greater purpose, for reason in the swirling toilet bowl of the cosmos can be pretty dang exhausting. It is easy to get so caught up in the cycle of every day life that we easily fall into an existential necrosis of sorts. Being aware of this is essential to personal growth of course. Awareness of the issue unfortunately however can be a bloody land mine in and of itself. Being aware of and actively working against falling into this psychological purgatory can be a stress even greater then the original complacency with normalcy. An unchecked active awareness can lead to rampant hyperintention ("trying too hard") which in turn prevents you from achievement or hyperreflection ("thinking too hard") which creates mental blockages that prevent success.

Dealing with all the questions (and admittedly answers) is down right fricken exhausting at times. Enter the vaccuumm. If meaning (ie. experience) is the measuring stick by which we define our existence, then the lack of meaning (ie. experience) is the antithesis to being. Stop me if I am talking crazy. Seriously though, stay with me. If there is a lack of meaning in our lives, we feel empty and unfulfilled. We feel as if a huge void has taken up residence in our mind's eye. Put bluntly, it blows. Like all voids, read: vaccuumm, it NEEDS to be filled. That need manifests as boredom. Sometimes boredom is just that, boredom. Sometimes it is hair-pulling anxiety-inducing neurosis. Lets face it, either way boredom blows chunks.

As we fight daily to stay out of the existential vaccuumm, we exhaust ourselves. Sometimes this is a huge benefit to our day to day lives. Other times it is simply a frustration. Sometimes you let the vaccuumm do its thing without putting up any sort of a fight. Today I was more then happy to melt into existential nothingness. I am not sure exactly how I spent 12 waking hours, but most assuredly there was no productivity involved. I made a sloth look a whirlwind of activity. And so Saturday came and went without making a whole heck of a lot of noise.

I did shave the head again, that counts for something right?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Day 14

Day 14
Friday March 14th
The work week is finally over. I did my daily errands feeling like an overplayed high school mix tape-- all catchy ballad with no real soul. I was so tired I just went through the motions of running errands and didn't really seem to accomplish much. As the sun began to set I retired to the beach and plopped my tired butt down in the warm sand. It took a couple hours watching the tide roll out to finally clear my head. As night crept ashore, a very cold wet wind began to pick up. I quickly retreated inland back to the Surf Shack. With everyone in bed I took advantage of the cloudless night for a little more me time. I lit a small fire which kept me toasty. In the fire light, I did a little journaling. With all of this I have really forgotten to write much, so it was definitely overdue.

The days of March are quickly ticking by. The month is almost half over. I am not quit sure how I feel about all that. As things came closer to the first of the month and it looked like living out of my car was going to actually become a reality, I did not mind all that much. I figured that with all the résumées, phone calls, emails, and job hunting in general that I would have had something the first or second week of March. It did not bother me at all to sleep out of the car for two weeks. To be honest, I never expected this whole homeless thing to last more then a few weeks without at least one of these job leads to pop into fruition.

Hmmmm, and now here we are. I haven't had more then a call back or interview in weeks. The only offers I have gotten pay way to little to be feasible. I never expected to hit a grand slam this time around, but this is crazy. The second half of the month is upon us and I intend to ratchet this little experience up a notch. We will see how it turns out...

Midnight fire-light journaling, totally out of focus-- the pic & the writing

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Day 13

Day 13
Thursday March 13th
I spent the afternoon watching the sun set and chatting up the local color high above Ventuckey at Grant's Park. I bumped into a group of local sloppers who provided quite a laugh. Sloppers are folks who fly radio controlled gliders. Some of these guys can get pretty serious about it all. Some even show up dressed in full battle gear, camo and all! Unfortunately there was a rather inconsistent wind so the flying turned into grab ass and beer drinking. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

The glidder, grounded.

Captain Kirk takes a break and waits for the wind.

Vera and her kite.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Day 12-- The Dark Side Beckons

Day 12
Wednesday March 12th
Has it really come to this? I mean seriously, is this it? Rock bottom? The end of the road? The last straw? The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back? (Okay I can do this all day...) Aristotle, Cicero, Socrates, Plato, Confucius, Virgil, Homer, and Sun Tzu all changed their world and ours with a thought. a single well formulated thought. Locke's Letters of Toleration, Luther's 95 Theses, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Rousseau's Social Contract, The Federalist Papers, and Paine's Rights of Man changed how we think of each other with the stroke of a pen. Sprinkle in liberal use of the new-found printing press and Viola! the Age of Reason explodes! Thoreau's Waldon, Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Faulkner, Samuel Longhorn Clements, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Kesey, Garcia & the Dead, Timothy Leary ("Turn on, Tune in, Drop Out!") changed how we perceived, interacted with, expanded, and enjoyed with the world around us.

The New World was discovered by a handful of burly Italians with a sextant. The American West was conquered by pioneers with nothing more then flint lock rifles and hand-stitched buckskins. The ancient Mayans discerned astrological cycles with only sheer cunning and granite pyramids. Men with only a dream and a couple thousand pounds of high-octane rocket fuel played golf on the moon. Incredible achievements have been made, civilizations built and crumbled, reasons discovered and lost. All of this has been had without the use of a bloody cell phone. How on earth did our fore bearers survive? How did the 2nd Continental Congress adopt the Declaration of Independence without text messaging? Or the Magna Carta penned without an iPhone to Google the various peculiarities of the Crown? Magellan accomplished much without a cell phone, Lewis & Clark forged their way through half of North America without a cell phone or GPS, crap even Marco Polo traveled to and documented the Orient without a camera phone.

And now after almost 31 years, I have succumbed to the beast. I wonder how I lasted this long? So here we are I suppose, and me with a frickin cellie. A brave new world indeed...

Take me to your leader...!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Day 11

Day 11
Tuesday March 11th
After much procrastination, complaining and millions of excuses I finally hooked up the old Mac and got to work. It is amazing how much crap can pile up after a few days of being disconnected. Between emails, blogging, returning Facebook messages & writings on the wall, text messages and all sorts of other electronic detriments I was bogged down for a whole night. Definitely staying in touch with friends and colleagues not here on the left coast is a huge priority.

The biggest priority though is finding gainful employment. I spent hours sending out CVs for a variety of positions. Tonight I applied for jobs in Germany, Bahrain, Abbu Dabi, Thailand, India, Washington D.C., Alaska (2 actually), L.A., the Big Apple, Prague, San Diego, and Iraq to name a few. Hopefully something will come of it. What though, will be determined much later.

Day 10

Day 10
Monday March 10th
After spending a few nights under the stars I was feeling pretty good. Unfortunately with temps in the low 80s throughout the weekend, I was also smelling pretty rank. I needed a real shower. I also needed to get back online and continue the job search. Of course the latter could wait. After a crazy day back in the office, I once again retired to the Surf Shack for a lazy afternoon of BBQ and watching Dexter episodes. Dexter is an interesting attempt at late night television. For the most part the acting is stoic and over played at times. The writing can be quirky though at times pedestrian. Despite that, it is a novel idea that catches on quick.

Quick recipe if anyone is in the mood:
-get a couple thin-ish steaks
-trim fat from steaks and rub w/ paprika (Hungarian if possible),
crushed green & red peppercorns, sea salt, crushed red pepper, and whatever else you have for spices in your trunk
-grill or pan sear a medley of red peppers, green peppers,
yellow peppers, onion, green bean, and serrano peppers
-take fresh basil, your choice of cheese (we went w/ pepperjack), and pepper medley and roll it into pinwheels with your steak
-stab with tooth picks, skewers, or tie up with a shoe lace
-slap it on the grill and cook until done to your liking

whole process takes about 2 1/2 beers (domestic micro brew of course)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Days 7, 8, 9

Days 7- 9
Friday March 7th- Sunday March 9th
I decided to head on up into the hills for the weekend. It has been a while since I have been able to escape from the hustle and bustle of Ventuckey. A weekend wandering the hills and canyons of the upper desert around Ojai's Matilija was a welcome respite. With moving, graduation, finding gainful employment, working ungodly hours, and living out of the back seat of my Focus a respite was just what I needed. I decided on the Matilija because it is super close and more importantly because it is incredibly beautiful.
With the incredible amount of snow the Santa Ynez range has gotten the river would be rushing and the foliage popping. I was excited for days!

By the time I made it out of work and fought traffic up into Ojai the sun was well below the horizon. I quickly packed up and headed out into the hills. After about a mile of hiking through the pitch black night I stumbled upon two wayward kids. They were not "lost" per say, just a little turned around. It seems that the second river crossing had proved to be a little too much for them in the dark. They retreated back down what they thought was a trail and had gotten thoroughly confused. Funny thing is, they were on the trail. They were just about to give up and bed down for the night when I bumped into them. We chatted for a bit and then they agreed to follow me across the surging second river. They figured if I could make it then they would too.

Needless the say the fording of the river was bone chilling yet refreshing. We made it into camp about an hour or so later. I couldn't understand why it was taking so long and why the pair had to keep stopping until we lit up a fire for the night. Neither had hiking packs. One had all his geared in an old Vietnam-era stuff sack bigger then he. The other had all his gear tucked under his arms with sleeping bags and extra clothes sticking out from under his arms pits. I fought hard to stifle a laugh. We built a roaring fire and dried off. Because this weekend was a new moon, I had lugged out the old 1v film camera to shoot star trails and super long exposures. As I set to doing the math for a 4 hour exposure, the kiddies crashed out.

The next morning Lucas (16 yrs old & by far one of the most brilliant teenagers I have ever met) and his companion Matt (19 yrs old and totally disillusioned with it already) treated me to an old Army favorite-- Scoobies. It seems both young men were "survivalists of a sort. They had walked out into the woods with no map, no idea where they were going, no real "gear", and for food only 2lbs or partially hydrogenated bleached flour. Oh but they did bring knives, lots and lots of knives. Just in case right?

They insisted that Scoobies would set me right for the day. They were gidding with excitement for this breakfast treat. Scoobies you see are quite simple and admittedly quite tasty. Mix up a little bit of flour, fresh water from the creek, salt and pepper, and whatever else on hand,
toss it straight in the fire and voila a Scooby.

In this case "whatever else on hand" meant a baby rattle snake and
some extra sharp cheddar I had no better use for.

The next two days were rather lazy indeed. Saturday I found a nice little rock next to a soothing waterfall and read all day. As it warmed I would strip down and jump in the pools to lounge. Then air dry and back to the book. When the sun finally began to get low in the sky I hiked up the canyon a couple of hours and jumped in the big water fall. Then back to camp and another night of long exposures.
Sunday was more of the same. You can't really ask for more.

Monday morning bright and early I made it back to town without much trouble and back to the daily grind. I was amazed at how fast everything went, absolutely bloody amazed...

The First Week

Day 6
Thursday March 6th
I spent most of the day running errands and tying up loose ends so to speak. It is really amazing how much energy goes into living out of your car! In a way it is incredibly liberating because you can go anywhere, do anything and just crash out whenever you feel like it. On the other hand it is pretty difficult to accomplish anything close to productive when you don’t have a base from which to operate. After getting gas for the stove, buying a new alarm clock, finding a lace to charge batteries, checking the mail, stopping by the storage unit to re-supply and a hundred other small things the daylight had burnt out.

Instead of wasting more time to find a place to crash I once again headed to my little retreat at the Surf Shack. I grilled up some amazing fajitas from scratch of course. We lit a roaring fire in the chimenea and hung out by the fire light. It was a relaxing evening for a change.


The SurfShack (I can't quite find focus...).

Day 5
Wednesday March 5th
I finally got my lens today! It is about time, now I can really kick this whole documentation thingy up a notch or two! I headed back to the old neighborhood on the Avenue for the evening. Peaches was back in town and we aimed at devouring a few bottles of California’s finest reds and brain storm on a few doc projects. It was a really cool evening to say the least. I got to touch base with some old old friends from my first years at Brooks. It is always fun to catch up on old times and swap stories about what everyone has been up to. I swear almost every sentence started with "Hey do you remember So-and-so...?" or "Dude, remember the time you...!?!" It was cool. Peaches and I have this horrible habit of always talking about hanging out and never really doing it. Needless to say it was definitely due.

Towards the end of our jam session we got onto the topic of doing a doc on eco-terrorism and the environmental movement. Peaches is getting the framework together to do a super rad piece on Derrick Jensen. If you haven’t read his stuff, you are severely doing a disservice to yourself and your community. It can be pretty revolutionary, but well worth it. It was super cool to brainstorm all the way through the environmental movement. We ragged on everyone from Emerson and Thoreau to John Muir, Edward Abbey and even Eustace Conway.

The perfect time to start taking notes on environmental activism?
After you finish your bottle of wine of course!

Day 4
Tuesday March 4th
Work today was a real bear. I get so tired of “learned” people. It seems like once you earn the right to tag assorted initials (PhD, MFT, LPC, LCSW, MD, etc) that you also received a glorified stick to be inserted superficially into your nether regions. I was so worn out that I really had no interest or energy to devote to looking for a place to crash. Instead I headed over to the surf shack and visited with my old friend PonyBoy. We hung out and watched a documentary on the ’88 Dodgers. I am not much of a Dodgers fan and all, but boy I tell you, that was one heck of a baseball team!
Truly one of the last absolutely momentous World Series!

Day 3
Monday March 3rd
After work I wandered down to the beach and watched the latter parts of a rocket blast off from Vandenberg. The rocket contrails left a really funky trail in the sky, almost directly above the setting sun. I hung out until it was too dark to write and then headed down the beach in search of a pay phone.

Ventuckey, Bakersfield by the Sea

Rockets from Vendenberg at sun set...

The line up.

After about a two mile walk I found these two pristine phones side by side just mere yards from the surf break. It was grand! Unfortunately neither worked. So back down the tussled sand I went looking and looking. Finally I found an old clunky PacBell pay phone on the pier and spent the night catching up with friends. You can imagine the looks I got from the passersby. What the crap, who still uses pay phones? Yah right!

Day 2
Sunday March 2nd

Today was a pretty gnarly day. I spent the morning finishing up with all the cleaning. I scrubbed down the stove, have you ever cleaned a stove? Man what a pain in the butt! Seriously stove cleaning is the most anti-ergonomic thing I can think of. To get into all the nooks and crannies of a stove it is a cross between full-impact yoga and drunken Twister. After about two hours I smelt like vinegar, BO, orange degreaser and burnt cheese—vegan cheese to make matters worse.
As I was taking out the last bag of garbage and empty cleaning supply bottles, I let the door close behind me. Of course I had already turned in my keys so there was no way to get back in. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the sun was shining, the birds were singing so I took it as a sign that this was it. It was time to move. I left all the unfinished cleaning for the professionals scheduled to tear the place apart the next morning.

Proud with what I accomplished I headed over to Dargan’s Irish Bar for a quick steak. I figured I was owed a little me time. There I bumped into Isabella and his lovely lady friend we refer kindly to as the wife. After a few drinks they convinced me to crash on there floor. I was much obliged indeed! We spent the entire evening watching this mind-blowing documentary series about folks that should be dead. Now there is something I can relate to!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Well it looks like spring is almost here in wonderful Ventuckey! With the days getting longer and the sun making more regularly scheduled appearances, pretty much everyone here is getting into summer mode. Spring cleaning this year is taking on an odd feel (not that Spring cleaning ever really meant anything to us in the first place!). This is our last week at the avenue apartment which is kinda strange. Georgie is moving up to San Fran to look for work and I am still stuck in the hamster wheel of corporate America going round and round and round and round and round and, well you get the point. I gave my "two week" notice back in October with the goal of being in Portland, OR or Denver or San Fran myself sometime in January or February. Unfortunately it has not quite worked out the way I had anticipated. So March first is coming on up and change is in the air as well as burnt fish tacos left over from lunch but that is another story.

It being an election year, the stuffed shirts are all jammering about how they are the instruments of change yadda yadda yadda. No matter how red or blue you run, changed doesn't come from a talking head. Okay enough preaching, suffice to say it is coming quickly to SoCal. Of course with the excitement comes some strangeness as well. No biggie really, endings and change in and of itself is always a little odd, no matter how welcomed. I am getting ready and going through the process to move into my car. I am actually kind of excited for it to be honest. At least it is change, and I am all about change right now, no matter what that change brings (granted I like change so much more if I find it unexpectedly in my coat pocket and it will get me an extra latte before work). Anyhow the plan is to spend the next few weeks or months living in the car and documenting it for a short picture story/documentary/short film. Who knows where it will go.

The goal is to not spend more then two nights in a row at the same location and not to spend more then three nights a week in the same place. I really want it to force me to be out and about and not to settle on a certain spot or situation just because my life craves regularity all of a sudden. I am slowly ever so slowly starting to get really attracted to the liberation involved in not being confined to a box called home. Seriously I can go anywhere and hopefully will be able to take full advantage of it.

There are some things I am a little concerned about, like hygiene, storing food & a proper diet w/o refrigeration, or getting harassed by the cops (Fuckers!!!), homeless, drunk co-eds, cranky land owners, park rangers, deranged surfers, family and friends (who are collectively ALL totally against this). But for the time being, I have accepted the fact that this is an eventuality and have chosen not to worry about any of that. If it happens it happens and there is not much I can do the change that now.

The goal is to take a self-portrait each day of my sleeping situation and quick pics here and there along the way. Also I would like to film a few minutes each night of what I am going through and do quick video interviews with myself each night a la Survivor, Big Bother and any other reality show on the boob. Ideally I would like to post quick updates w/ pics and audio each day to my blog. That may prove to be a little difficult because I do not have a laptop and running the desktop computer off the car battery may not prove to be the best idea. So we will see. There are lots and lots of question marks to be determined. But I imagine I will cross the bridge when I get there.

The first of March is quickly upon us, and with it the start of this homeless car bound misadventure (my fingers are crossed). I spent the last few days doing as much indoor activities as I could-- reading, sleeping in, drinking beer for breakfast, watching movies, cooking, painting and blogging of course. Soon enough I will not be able to do any of that any more. I mean seriously, as much as I would like to, I just will not be able to follow Gray's Anatomy every Thursday. Dang it ! Not that that is a bad thing, change though at times awkward, is always welcome. And this is going to be a huge change.

The very last evening in the apartment, the humble abode that has served us so well for the last 2+ years. It is a mellowing thought leaving here. There are a lot of memories tangled up between these four walls. From painting parties to sangria nights, to crazy unannounced Bama visits, water fights, margarita popsicles, amazing sunsets, discussions of abstract pointlessness, hours pretending to be Bukowski, great tunes, and lots of experimental cooking we had it all. But new adventures await, and with them many new stories and hopefully a picture or two. We shall see, that is the only constant here.

The entire apartment is packed away except for the paintings. Okay now big breathe, this really is IT!

Everything I need to live these next few weeks is right here. This will make up my meager car living existence. The yellow Osprey bag for play clothes, black North Face for work clothes, red Bean bag for emergency change of clothes and cooking schwag, blue Timbuk2 bag for writing/reading/photo gear, Domke bag for cameras schtuff, and of course my trusty sleeping bag. Everything else I own in this corporal world is tucked away safe and sound in a storage locker. And so with one last night on the Avenue, we are soon off into the great blue yonder.