Long time away…

October 18, 2010

So it’s been awhile. For some reason or another I haven’t been prone do do any real writing over the past couple of months. I tell myself it’s because I’ve been super busy with school and work and ice skating, but that’s not true at all. I tell myself that it’s because I’m busy pursuing my career as a folk musician, when in reality, I’ve written a cumulative total of 2 songs that I think are just good enough to get by over the past 5 months. I tell myself that I’ll just do it tomorrow, but then tomorrow comes and I tell myself the same thing, which eventually leads to months without doing anything productive. In reality, the reason for my lack of writing is because I kind of feel like the old couple below in terms of writing energy.

That generally won’t cut it. I want to feel alive when I write. Like the words are just flowing through me like fire out of a dragons mouth, and lately, that’s just not the way it has been.

But today I take a stand to stop that nonsense. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes in order to heat back up, you kind of just have to go for it. You hear about it all the time with super star basketball players. When they get in a funk, and are missing every shot, the great one’s keep shooting anyways until they heat back up, because eventually their shots will start to fall, and they will be remembered for that, not for the shots they missed while they were trying to heat back up. That’s my goal with beginning to write again, not that I consider myself the equivalent in terms of my writing ability to a great basketball player, but I still think it serves as a pretty good analogy.

So here it goes. Time for real writing and not semi-inspirational, semi-melancholy jargon. Last night I was feeling like something needed to be done in my life to make it worth while. So I started rummaging around my head for something life changing to do. My first idea was to pack all my room mates into a car and drive to the nearest Indian Casino wearing our finest garb to go strike it rich (or lose 40 dollars) at the black jack table. I scurried around the room, pleading my case that it would be a blast and we would all get rapper rich, and then buy our own island with a moat around it. They initially we’re all like “yeah, sounds great”. But as anyone who has ever come up with any good idea knows, even though people say they agree with you and want to participate in the making of a memory, they really don’t, that they would rather sit on a couch and watch sports. As you may have guessed from my frunstrational foreshadowing, my room mates proceeded to sit on the couch and watch a football game, and then during the commercials, change it to a baseball game, meanwhile I was still frantically scurrying around the room trying to rally the troops, and even though I was William Wallace like during the Braveheart speech, they were like old shoes on a rainy day.

I went to my room. I would have none of their nonsense, so I went to my room, put on my explorer goggles and went out to explore the world…via Google Earth. It was great. I traced to Nile all the way from the Mediterranean to it’s origins, then find the straights of Magellan, then went to the Galapagos Islands. I felt like an old sea explorer that opened up Pandora’s box and was given unlimited wandering powers.

Eventually one of my room mates and his friend came to his senses and wanted to go live life. There’s a local castle here in the Glendora that some guy built back in the 50′s, but it’s a legit castle. Check it out here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubel_Castle. Our goal, to infiltrate the castle walls and check it out, and maybe even ring the bell in the bell tower. By this time it was about 9:30 so we headed over there and tried hopping over the 8 foot tall cinderblock wall that surrounds the property of which the castle is inside, which wasn’t too hard, but there was all sorts of cars going by cramping our style, so we decided it would be best to head back home and come back later in the evening.

Around midnight we decided to go back and try our luck again. We climbed over the first wall and down a tree only to be encountered by a large tin building. Luckly there was no one in the building except for mute ghosts. We then creeped along the first wall until we found the actual castle that we we’re really trying to get into. The walls we’re about 30 feet high and my room mate began to scale up the cobblestones. I began to climb a tree that was along the wall and met him at the top. Anyways, we made our way along the top (which was covered in broken glass as to get us to make a bunch of noise by accidentally kicking it off and letting fall to the bottom) to a roof top, then to a tower only to find nothing but locked doors blocking all the exits. We wandered around for about another 15 minutes before we realized that there was no real hope of doing anything more without having to destroy property(door locks), which we weren’t all about. So we made our way back to the tree, then down and out of the property and back to our home. Mission Success.

In the end it would seem that it was a good thing that I didn’t get my way in the beginning, because if I had, the best case scenario is that I walk out of the casino a few hundred dollars richer, but as it stands, I made one hell of a memory which when I’m on my death bed, will probably be worth quite a bit more.

Rides too long…

June 13, 2010

The other day me and a few of my really good friends decided it would be a good idea to go on a two day bike ride up Carmel Valley, down to Arryo Seco, and then back again on River Road the next day. For those of you that aren’t local to the Monterey/Salinas area, it’s about a 100 mile loop and since we we’re making it a two day trip, it seemed totally reasonable.

I woke up Wednesday morning and was really sleepy, in fact, I almost called my friends and told them that I wasn’t going to go. But after much duress, I drug myself out of bed, ate breakfast, packed my things and hit the road. I got to the rendezvous point at 11:01 expecting my friends to be patiently awaiting my arrival because of the fact that I was fashionably late (The plan was to meet at 11:00), but they we’re nowhere to be seen, so I waited. After about 10 minutes passed I began thinking about all the extra sleep I could have gotten if I had planned on being late like my friends. (I was outsmarted) They got there around 11:15 and we were on our way.

We started off the ride with the biggest hill on the planet.

Imagine Mt. Everest times 10, then make it bigger, put dragons on it, and that’s what we had to ride our bike up. It was miserable. Burning thighs, unruly tummy from a spicy breakfast, and, of course, the fire breathing dragons to avoid.

After passing over the summit we got to ride down the other side, which made it all worth it. I’m not positive on this, but I’m pretty sure that we all broke the speed of sound.

We got to the bottom, and then got riding on a very slight uphill. Little did we know that this slight up hill would continue to get steeper and steeper and would continue to go on for the next 20 miles. It wasn’t all that bad though. Sore legs were expected as a result of this trip, plus, our calves looked amazing. When we got to the top of this next hill we gazed down into an enormous valley below, full of wildlife and natural resources, then got ready for the descent. Down, down, down we rode, watching the mile markers fly by like they were caught in a hurricane. This down hill continued for like 15 miles, it was great.

Then we got to camp. It was a sight to be had. In my factual mind it was just a river with some sand and rocks around it, but in my mind’s eye, it was like a tropical oasis that gave us free back massages while eating fillet mignon wrapped in bacon.

So we hung out there for the night, looked off into the stars, talked about how great it would be to be a baby duck, and then dozed off.

Then we started to ride again. We we’re expecting it to be a long, slightly downhill ride. It was just that, but instead of it being a nice downhill ride, there was a howling wind in our faces that was bent on keeping us on our slow and arduous journey. We rode against this wind for hours, and eventually, I just couldn’t go on anymore.

I told my friends to go on without me. They continued to ride, and I proceeded to pass out on the side of the road. About a half hour later I got enough energy to move again, so I tried hopping on my bike to finish the ride.

I made it about 100 yards. Then I ran out of gas again. I stopped, called my friend and asked if he wanted to go get lunch, with the stipulation that he come and pick me up 25 miles from home. He said it sounded good to him, but he might be awhile.

As I lay there feeling like I wasn’t going to live long enough to see my friends face, I began to think about why I couldn’t finish the ride. Was my will power just not strong enough to overcome my frail legs? Was I literally just too tired to go on despite any amount of will power I may have stored inside of me? Was there a small family of elves living in my brain telling me that I couldn’t go anymore? Whatever it was, these thoughts led to me realizing so much more. I realized then that my lack of ability to not make the ride because of the wind, lack of will, or just tired legs was a perfect example of what it is to be human. My ability to ride my bicycle is completely contingent on my circumstances. I am not some being of limitless talent and muscular endurance. I cannot not control the wind. I cannot control the small family of elves living inside of my head. I can only react to the world around me because it is so much bigger than I can ever hope to be. As a human, I am ultimately powerless to truly control anything. So, I rode my bike as far as I could, but then just couldn’t anymore, and had to accept it.

Anyways… All that being said, I’m really glad I went on the trip, and despite all the complaining I seem to have done, it really was a great time because of the experience that my friends and I made it.

Too much stuff

April 24, 2010

There’s a lot of crap out there. It is undoubtedly possible to spend countless hours reading books, browsing the web, listening to music, looking at art, channel surfing, or just going out and exploring the world. The fact of the matter is that stuff is being produced faster than any one individual can hope to take it in. So where should our attentions lie, and not just our attentions, but our creative capacities. The reason that there is so much out there is because of the fact that so many people see it fit that they exercise their creative capacities in one way or another. To an extent, that’s what I’m doing with this blog. Much of it to me is writing to know what I think, because putting my thoughts down on something makes them more concrete and encourages progression of my own thought process, but I could do that in a journal if I so chose. If I’m going to be totally honest, another reason I choose to blog rather than just keeping it in a journal (except for the fact that journals have the ability to catch fire whereas the internet will live forever) is because I like to express my thoughts to the extent that I hope others will read them.

But in reality, I am quite aware that not many people read what I write down. I think so far my blog has a few hundred views or something, out of all the billions of people out there, and most of the hundred are probably from my mom or sister or something.

But anyways, since there is way to much out there to possibly take it all in, how we decide what we do take in. Do we watch youtube videos all day? Or listen to music with our free time? Perhaps we should spend our time reading blogs, or literature, or philosophy. But where would adventure in the outdoors fit into all of that madness?

In my opinion, we should all pursue whatever the hell we want. Some people get on people’s cases who spend the majority of their time watching TV, but how is that any different than me writing and running around in the wild. Me and the TV efficiando are doing the same thing, and that is pursuing what we love.

Jumping off a cliff…

April 13, 2010

I imagine myself standing on top of a cliff with nothing but darkness below. Not darkness in the depressing sense of darkness, but darkness the the unknown type of darkness. There are two ways down. The first is to take a trail that leads back to all I have ever known and all I can see ahead of me. That being my friends and family, school in the past and a job working for the man in the future. A wife, couple of kids (maybe a motorcycle or a boat when I turn 45 and have a midlife crisis). Social Security, and impending old age and death. It’s a safe road. It’s well lit, there are no rattlesnakes on the trail, and only a few rocks that I might tweak my ankle on.

The other way down is to just jump into the darkness…

Who knows where this darkness leads too. There’s a good chance that it just leads to rocks, and that I will die when the ground confronts me traveling at terminal velocity. But what if something else lies down there, I mean, all I can see is darkness, and again, not in the evil, scary sense of darkness, but in the mysterical sense of the word darkness. What if there’s a pirate adventure down there, or maybe my body will get converted into soundwaves and just I’ll be a series noises. The possibilities are endless.

So what’s really the better way down, the road where I know what has happened and what will happen. Or is the better way down the jump that may kill me, but could lead to something so much more fantastic than anything imaginable.

1000 Bad decisions…1 Great one.

March 25, 2010

So the other day I was sitting around my tiny apartment, had just eaten a bowl of rice and chicken, and I was kind of bored, so I decided to head off into the hills for a bit of adventure. I had one destination in mind, but when I got there, it looked boring so I just kept driving. An hour and a half later, I found myself in a little mountain with almost no gas (keep in mind I still needed to get back and there was no gas station between there and home), but my heart was filled with scenic wonder.

I pulled my car to the side of the road, and walked across a fallen tree to the other side of a river and was confronted with a giant mountain. Once I reached the other side, I encountered a ram, big fat horns and all, so I decided to try to pet him. As I approached, the ram got scared (I didn’t have my shirt on at that point so he was probably scared of my biceps) and he ran off up a seemingly sheer cliff. I decided to pursue after the ram without much thought. Before I knew it I was about 50 feet up this cliff with no way down. (I was somewhat regretting my decision at that point), but I decided to keep going up in hopes that the mountain might flatten out a bit.

As I climbed and climbed in hopes that I would not slip and die (I was looking at quite the fall below me) I eventually encountered an area that was covered in beautiful grass. Then I found remenants of a rock slide that looked as though it had happened earlier that year. At this point I could have gone down, but adventure was on my mind.

As I proceeded up the mountain further and further, I eventually was climbing sections of 15 to 20 foot dirt rock (another terrible idea), but somehow managed to get past that and make it too the tippy top of the mountain. It was quite the feeling. As I looked down into the valley a couple thousand feet below, my breath was taken away. I had lost the ram long ago (I named him Henry) but I’m glad he had lured me up the mountain.

Now the problem that was before me was how to get back down the mountain. I made my way to the next ridge, I found remnants of another rock slide, and decided to make my way down it. I felt like Bear Grylls doing sweet skiing like moves in my boots as the rocks crumbled below me. After a few tumbles and a lot of sliding and running, I made it to the base. Now the problem was that the mountain ran into a nice private neighborhood. I proceeded to creep through their back yards until I made it to the main road.

Then I made my way back to the car and drove home (On an empty tank). When I reached the gas station,  put 16 1/2 gallons into my 16 gallon tank.

The adventure as a whole was a series of terrible that almost left me either dead or stranded on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, or stuck in the mountains with no reception or gas in my car, but overall, the adventure was one of the better days I’ve had in a long long time, so in this circumstance, 1000 bad decisions added up to 1 good one.

Boredom…

March 17, 2010

I’m bored. Not in the I’ve been sitting on my couch, somebody please text me kind of way, but in the I seem to have been doing the same mundane crap all my life kind of way. I’m 22 years old, and since I was 4, I’ve been going to school 9 months out of every year, and when not in school, I’ve had jobs here and there where I try to make a few bucks so I can continue to have a roof over my head and a bit of food on my plate. And it’s not even good food. I eat almost nothing but white rice and live in a tiny apartment in the biggest of all human nests, LA. Every day I wake up, and either go to school so someday I can have a nicer roof over my head, and better food on my plate, or go to work again to help feed the endless cycle. And why, so I can live the American dream where I have a two story house in a gated neighborhood with a wife and 3.5 kids. Culture tells me that this is what I should strive for, that and a really nice toaster. And to be honest, I’m really bored of it all.

I really like Indiana Jones a lot, in fact, I want to be him. You know, be super smart, a real lady killer, have the ability to pull off a fedora, and use a whip on almost a daily basis. Because of my desire to be like Indiana, I watch his movies pretty often, but now I sit here and wonder if my watching of his movies are just feeding more into the stupid cyclical system mentioned above. Why don’t I just go out and make an adventure like him? Why don’t I go out and buy a big knife, a fedora, and a whip and hop on a train going east and seeing where I end up?

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to finish up school (at this point no matter how over it I am), I’m going to finish, cause I only have a year left till I have a bachelors, and I’ve just invested too much to leave now. But then I’m going to take off. I think I’ll head east, find a boat to work on, and then see where I end up from there. I might try to circumnavigate the globe with nothing but walking and hitch hike powers, or I may just end up in the Swiss alps and stay there. At this point, who knows…

Larry Birds of Prey

March 4, 2010

So the other night, my roommate and I were getting ready to go to sleep, and as we were lying in bed (different beds of course) we started talking about Larry Bird. After it was determined that Larry Bird is without a doubt the greatest man of the last 500 million years because of the fact that he lives inside of a tornado and rode down to earth on the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, we started talking about if we could train animals what kind of animals we would choose. It quickly got bent out of reality and fantasy took over our conversation.

Anyways, here is a list of the greatest possible pets of all time:

  1. The winged Aslan that breaths melting light out of its mouth, but only when he wants too. He is a lion that stands 8 feet tall when on all fours, and has giant eagle wings coming out of his back. He doesn’t mind at all if I ride him around, and when he speaks world peace is achieved until he stops. And he has a sweet tattoo.
  2. The next animal is Bearodactyl. She’s a 15 foot tall bear who is also half pterodactyl. While she may seem scary, she is actually quite a loving mother. She has a whole bunch of Bearodactyl cubs, that ended up being all different types of bear, whether it be grizzly, panda, or Bayer joint relaxing cream, and loves them all without regard for human life. One can ride Bearodactyl around, but only if she likes you, otherwise she’ll just eat you. She’s a tactical military genius and breath’s fire
  3. The next animal is U2, not the band, but the upright standing, philosophy professing, crocodile. He wears distinguished glasses, speaks in a British accent, and is almost constantly smoking a pipe, but his lung capacity is still without equal on earth because he can hold his breath for 100 years. He’s usually naked, because well…he’s a crocodile, but wears a towel when he comes out of the shower just to be polite.
  4. Last, and probably least, is Roger the Syrup Monster. All he is is a giant mass of syrup with human lips, and the ability to shoot lasers out of his eyes, which no one really knows where his eyes are, but he can shoot lasers out of them anyways. Roger has the ability to poop buttered waffles, and when you add some of the syrup that naturally comes off of him, becomes a delightfully tasty treat. Roger however, is not at all intelligent, and constantly makes fun of baby Koala Bearodactyl just ‘cause a Koala bear is not even like a real bear. He also loves to wrestle and spends the majority of his time hiding places so that he can jump out and surprise wrestle Bearodactyl, which Bearodactyl doesn’t like because it gets her covered in sticky syrup. These actions get Roger sent outside all the time, but we still let him come inside for family movie night.

So there it is, if you were ever wondering what the best animals are, you now have the perfect list.

Oh, and Larry Bird lives with us too, but we make him leave his tornado outside.

Sunset Blvd.

March 2, 2010

So the other day I was supposed to go to an Ultimate Frisbee tournament out at CSU Northridge. As I was driving out there, it began to pour rain from the heavens, and not like a sissy southern California rain, but like a Noah’s ark Alaskan rain. Anyways, I got a phone call letting me know that due to this rain, the tournament was canceled. With this added time to my day, I decided that instead of taking the direct freeway route home, I should do a bit of exploring. So I dangerously and unwisely veered off the road just in time to make the 405 south exit and proceeded to go home in a roundabout way

As I was heading down the 405, I saw a sign that said Sunset Blvd. 3.5 miles, and thought to myself “Hey, that might be cool to go check out,” and I was right, it was pretty cool. I first passed by UCLA, and then saw a whole bunch of really big houses, then went by Bel Air (No Fresh Prince though). After Bel Air I drove through Beverly Hills and hit some of down town Hollywood. The wealth in the area astounded me, and I couldn’t help but think that the houses were pretty cool and stuff. I started thinking that if I lived here I would do so much cool stuff, like put a life size pterodactyl statue in the front yard with giant pillars of fire everywhere. Or maybe I would build a castle instead of a house and have all the guests dress up in medieval garb. 

About the time that my mind wandered back into reality, I noticed that the scenery changed from super fancy to the scenery of CVS’s and run down liquor stores. Along with the change in scenery came a change in the people that I saw walking around. In the earlier area, there weren’t too many people out because of the rain, but I did see a few. One guy was dressed up in full north face garb, going on a run, which I respect, cause I love running in the rain too. But as I got further down, and more importantly to the end of my stay on Sunset, I saw some of the most broken homelessness of my life. People that were hiding under the eves of the run down liquor store just to stay out of the rain, with the closest thing he had to a warm coat was being wrapped in an old blanket and a beanie.

This sight really wrenched something inside of my belly. How can some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world being a mere 20 minutes from one of the poorer places that I’ve ever seen. I’m all for free market capitalism, and getting what you’ve earned, and being able to use your assets, but that being said, there was still something wrong with Sunset Blvd.

Father Time ain’t got nothing on me

February 23, 2010

Oh hello there faithful readers, it has been too long, and it is all my fault. Simply enough, I’ve been lazy. (Or have been completely without thought for the past two weeks).Either way,  I am sorry.

But anyways, that being said, let’s get back to business and forget about the shortcomings that have come to pass. Today…it is my 22nd birthday, so that’s kind of cool, but also a little odd. The way I started looking at birthdays once I turned 18  (which was about when I realized that I will one day turn 22), is that after 21, you don’t really have anymore birthday’s too look foreward too. Post 21, I always thought that you are simply getting old. But last night, at midnight, on the minute I turned 22, my room mate and I were bumping Euro-Techno Dance music while wearing wife beaters and short shorts, dancing, eating chocolate, putting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the blender, banging on our wall, and getting it banged on back by the neighbors that share it with us. We then went over to the neighbors to bring them some butter, we had a bunch of extra a figured that they may be out. We then talked for a little while, accused passerby’s that they were checking out our legs, and did some hamstring stretches (Don’t want to get a dance related injury). When we got back to our apartment, we doorbell ditched our other neighbors, and then sent an e-mail to our RA that somebody was being really loud and obnoxious while we were trying to sleep.

Anyways, my perception of 22 has always been as an as the gateway to old manhood, but now that I’m here, it doesn’t really feel any different than I did at 21 (or 7 if you look at my actions of last night). But my point is much like the Death Cab for Cutie lyric “So this is the new year, and I don’t feel any different.” I’m old, and I don’t feel any different.

Disney Peppers

February 6, 2010

Yesterday I went to Disneyland. I went there once as a kid and absolutely loved it. I don’t remember much about the trip outside of learning the language of the natives on the Indiana Jones ride, and my little sisters obsession with Mary Poppins (I thought it was the stupidest thing ever and I let her know it, she was like 4, I was a bad older brother). (I also just had to use spell check to spell stupidest, I feel stupid) Now that I’m older and live LA, I go there all the time, and I still love it just as much (albeit in a different sense) just as much as I did when I was little. This love for Disneyland that I’ve had since I was little got me thinking about how there are things that I loved as a kid that I still love today, and there are other things I couldn’t care less about. For me, there are three categories in this department. The first is things that  loved as a kid, and I still love them, like Disneyland, Spiderman, and Zelda. The second category is things that I loved as a kid, that I appreciate the fact that I loved them and hold some sentimental value, but I don’t have a current desire to enjoy them, such as Peter Pan and Power Rangers. The final is composed of things that I loved as a kid, and I could really care less about now that I’m an adult (or something like an adult) such as The Lion King Soundtrack and the Salinas Peppers (which were a summer league baseball team for local college athletes).

This got me thinking about what makes something have lasting power through the process of aging. And what makes one have a sentimental value for something, and what doesn’t hold value. Is it the weirdness of the human brain or is it the way the subject itself was constructed. I think it’s a bit of both. Disney does great because they make things that are appealing to both children and adults, therefore, adults can still find them appealing even though they are designed for kids. Things like the Power Rangers and the Ninja Turtles have the ability to hold sentimental value because they appeal so well to kids, and such a passion is built up, that they will always hold a place in hearts of those who loved them when they were young. Finally, the things that lose value, and don’t gain it sentimentally, do so because they just do ok on both ends. Kids never have a deep passion for them  (I used to play Power Rangers at Peppers games for instance), so you never truly love them, and adults have so many cool things to enjoy, that ok just doesn’t cut it. I have no idea if this theory holds any real scientific water, but it is a thought.


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