There is nothing more terrifying than being woken up in the middle of the night by a wild animal. Well, maybe if it is in your bedroom.
I jumped. Am I dreaming? No. Okay, I swear I just heard something hit the blinds of the window above my head. The raccoons I hear rustling outside my window every other night have figured out how to rip the screen. This is how I'm going to die.
Did something just touch my face? Why does it sound like there is a fan on in my room? The ceiling fan is off. I know that.
Cautiously I reach across my bed to my night stand to turn on my bedside life. For a second catching a glimpse at the time 3:44 AM. With a flash of light I can see something small and black circling my room. It's getting quite close to my face.
I yell out a cuss or two, but cautious enough to not wake my landlords. I grab the pillow from behind my head, and without thinking start swinging. My instincts to protect my home and myself have kicked in.
Heart racing, sleep in my eye, and whirring in my head I roll out of bed. Keeping low. Everything I've learned in an action movie has kicked into gear. I try not to scream like a girl when I feel in my hair.
As soon as I'm in the hall every possible light is on. Including my ceiling fan. I reach for a weapon. The broom and dustpan as they are the closest to me. I still haven't identified my foe, but I have I my suspicions. It's either one of those asshole swallows from my carport or it's a bat.
I don't plan on killing whatever it is, but I want it out NOW.
One good smack with the corn broom, and it is down. I quickly throw a towel over it, and rush it out the front door. It's a bat. I put it down in the carport within seconds it regains itself, and flies off into the night. It has only been a few minutes since the bat first woke me up, but it feels like I've been battling it for hours.
I sink into my computer chair with a beer, and wonder where the bat came from. Did it fly in when I came home at 10PM? Did it come in through a vent? Is there a hole in the house? Are there more? I should write.
I've always jokingly called my place “The Bat Cave,” but that was more because of it being a basement suite. Dark, cool, damp, and cave like. I mean, who doesn't want to be Batman? Not like this. Bats make terrifying alarm clocks.
Foreword: I don't really know what to call this. I wrote this when I was on vacation in San Francisco alone in my hostel room in two different parts. It was weird, but it just kind of fell out of me. It was about a job I hadn't thought about in years, and frankly try to forget from time to time. Honestly, I think it came from seeing all the porno video stores still in business on Broadway.
I used to work in a video store. Yes, an actual factual video store that rented out VHS tapes and DVDs. You see I had these aspirations and dreams of one day becoming some kind of movie director. I pretty much spent all of my high school career gearing up for this eventuality. One that I quickly abandoned when I entered the real world. A kid needs dreams, right? Anyways, I digress. What job could be better for a kid who was eventually going to become film's next indie darling?
The movie store I worked in wasn't one of those indie video stores that let you sit behind the counter in your ripped jeans and Misfits t-shirt watching whatever you wanted. No, it was a corporate video store. Red polo shirts and khakis were the uniforms of our Video Reich.
This was The Movie Gallery. A fresh slice of hell without a porno section. Our store was surrounded by large televisions that just ran commercials over and over and over and over. By the end of your shift you had the latest direct to video horror films trailer memorized. You'd seen or heard these commercials so many times in your eight hour shift that they would start to narrate your dreams.
"In a world where Vin Diesel doesn't exist. One man must rise to occasion to fight the bad guys of the roller rink."
It's bizarre to think of how I functioned in the corporate structure of Movie Gallery. Half my shift was spent calling people about their late fees. Remember those? Movie Gallery was one of those places that kept charging late fees even after all the other video stores had dropped them. While I was working there I got a letter from a Collections Agent for $4. Yes, $4 in late fees. Remember I was working there at the time. What the fuck?
Within weeks I had been moved up to the ranks to shift manager. This meant I got to close, know the codes to the safe, cash out, and do the end of the night numbers. Something an 18 year old who just wants to be the next Tarantino wants to do. Instead of writing my screenplay about how hard life is I was learning about what it is like to slowly lose your soul.
One night before locking up I grabbed a movie off the shelf. Kind of without thinking. My friends had always said it was funny, and that if I wanted to get into film I really should watch this “indie” movie.
I think I watched Clerks three times that night before going to sleep. There was something about it that I identified with. Maybe it was that I was young and had no idea what direction my life was going in (I still don't), and I could relate to these characters more than most of my friends at the time. That's a shit thing to say, but true at the time.
There was one line that stuck with me throughout my multiple watches that night, and it was “shit or get off the pot.” It's one of those lines you hear all your life, but it never really clicks with you. All of a sudden I knew what I had to do.
It really seems lame to say that I quit a job because of a movie, but it's the truth. I'm slowly coming to that realization again. That I need to “shit or get off the pot” with a lot of things in my life.
I just need to remember to flush when I'm done.
The Future of Tyson Elder's Web Presence.
I know it seems like an ominous title for a blog post, but it seems like the right thing to call it at this point. This feels like the first part of something bigger. We will see.
I've been thinking a lot about the future, the past, and the present lately. Maybe that's why I've found it so hard to produce anything for the blog. I can't say that for certain. All I know is that I haven't “written” anything in weeks maybe even a month. Time flies when you are being self reflective and panicking about the uncertainty of the future.
I come home most nights with good intentions. I'm going to sit down at the computer, bang off some words, edit some photos, or work on my portfolio. Strangely those things rarely ever happen. Generally when I plop down in front of the computer I spend pointless hours scanning my tumblr dash, writing toots, and watch television shows I don't really care all that much for.
Why do I do it? I assume it has to do with the fact I don't want to actually do anything for myself. I don't want to make my life better or have something to be proud of. Or is it just laziness? It's probably a mixture of both. I think the idea behind it is that if I don't try I can't fail. It's kind of been my life's motto up until recently.
I've tried to make commitments before. Things like “I'm going to write 750 words a day” or “I'm going to post something on my blog at least three times a week.” Oddly I think it's okay not to fulfill my own goals when it comes to my writing. Because it's me setting the goals, and I'm not being told to do them. The same goes for working on my new photography website that was supposed to be done in March. It's easy to let it slid and never quite finish it when it's only you that's going to be disappointed.
Too often I look back at what I haven't accomplished, but had intentions of completing. If you know me you know I'm always working on a “project” that will never be completed. I want to change this. I want to finish at least one thing before I can move on to the next “project.”
So, what are my projects? This blog is one. I want to give it an overhaul. A new look, and edit some of the archives. There is some revisionist history going to be taking place over the next few months. When I look at things they are a disorganized mess. Things need to be straightened up.
My photography website is probably the biggest priority. It's actually 2/3 done. My problems at this point have to do with being bored with my design already and not being quite able to do what I want with squarespace. That has to do with my limited knowledge of building websites though.
After that there really isn't anything too serious left in Tyson Elder Enterprises to get done. Well, a small website directing you to all the places I can be found on the internet. There may also be a smallish project Kat and I have been talking about doing for a long time.
This wasn't going to be a post about me quitting the internet. Although the idea has come across my mind a few times. Not quitting, but starting fresh. In the meantime you can still find me in the normal places putting off things.
Can you start bugging me weekly to finish things?
Money woes, and other fun excuses on why I can't do anything with my life.
As most of you know I broke my foot back in January. It's been a painful couple months of limited mobility, anti-inflammatory medication, and just a general hatred of doctors. If there is one thing that came from the whole experience it was the reaffirmation of my dislike of the medical system and doctors.
Here I am just over three months later and my foot is healing. The scare of having pins put in my foot is gone, and I'm finally on the mend. I still have to take it easy. I've been back at work for a couple weeks now. It's hard being on light duties. I'm surviving and putting the hours. It's not that I missed working while I was off it was more that I missed having something to do with my time.
The money from the insurance company came through sporadically and fluctuated in consistency. Don't get me wrong, I very happy that I can benefit from something like this. Keeping my head above water (barely) while I'm unable to work. I know there are lots of people who can't and don't have that option. It's beneficial having a benefits package at your place of employment (see what I did there).
So, when it came to coming back to work I was more than ecstatic to make some real money. Like REAL fucking money. Unfortunately I didn't make all that much between my last disability check and my first paycheck back.
I'm stuck. For the first time in my life I've had to borrow money from my parents to pay my rent. How embarrassing is that? I don't generally like asking for money, and this was hard for me.
I've spent money on things in the past I shouldn't have, and I did have a budget in place to make sure this wouldn't happen. Then I went and broke my foot. All that money and overtime hours I planned on making was gone. I've had to make some decisions without consulting people in the last few days to make sure I can at least do the one thing I wanted to do this summer.
Here's the big unveil. The thing I've been so vague about in this whole long post about nothing.
I'm not going to the Sasquatch Music Festival this year.
I've got to sell my ticket and premiere camping pass. I know I'm going to be disappointing some folks that really wanted to do this trip with me. Likewise I was excited to do this trip with some really awesome friends and music this year, but it's not going to happen. I should have known before buying the ticket anyways.
I'm going to MaxFunCon the following weekend, and I really don't want to be a burned out mess for that. That's what I'm really excited for. A chance to learn, laugh, and have some real fun with folks I really respect and admire.
Here's my craigslist add for my Sasquatch ticket.
You can also contact me through here if you want to buy it off me. I really wanted to go this year, but I had to man up and make the adult decision. I'm expecting a guilt trip from some of my friends, because I'm posting this before actually telling anyone. I welcome it, but they need to know I didn't make the decision lightly. I did it because I have to, and there is no other way around it. I can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars on camping, drinking, and not getting laid before flying off to do the same thing the next weekend.
I'm not twenty-two anymore.
What if you could face your fears?
Would you do it? Would you swim with sharks? Would you jump out of an airplane? Would explore a foreign land?
If you were given the opportunity to face those fears you've had your whole life would you?
Today was one of those days where I spent money and released my inner hipster.
-Breakfast at Shine with my buddy Ryan.
-Coffee at Habit.
-Haircut at Victory Barber.
-Ordered the new Shins single from Ditch Records.
-Filled my Growlers at Phillips Brewery.
I'm everything I hate.
Writing something tonight could be too easy.
Another batch of appointments with the doctor tomorrow. Doing well. Still in a fair amount of pain. Movement is limiting I can't exactly walk for that long without being in pain and needing to sit/curl up with an ice pack.
I spent some money I really didn't need to spend the other day. Isn't that always the way? When you aren't working all you want to do is spend and spend. I was looking at fucking motorcycles the other day. Thanks for the well placed Triumph ad Wired magazine.
God damn I want a motorcycle. I still need to learn how to properly ride. I've whipped around a dirt bike once or twice, but nothing serious.
Nothing new to report. Just that I'm living the dream.
Thank you for your letter expressing your concerns about Bill C-11, The Copyright Modernization Act, in particular the consequences of the bill’s inclusion of stringent, anti-circumvention provisions.
Although Bill C-11 may be an improvement on earlier iterations of this type of legislation, its digital lock tilts the balance too far in favor of industry. Current legislation allows for certain groups such as students and journalists to use works without copyright permission or payment. By enshrining digital locks, this bill would effectively eliminate these special exemptions when the information is digitally encrypted.
Some of the bill’s provisions are positive, as it recognizes several new user rights, including allowing for everyday activities such as recording television shows or moving music files from one platform to another. People can also copy any content they legally own for personal use. A welcome addition to this legislation is the provision allowing for the ripping and mixing media content for personal parodies and remixes, including YouTube clips.
All of these exceptions are trumped, however, if the original content is digitally encrypted. This digital lock provision is straight from the US’s draconian Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and should be immediately revised.
As a Member of Parliament, I am committed to supporting the principles of fair use, consumer information privacy, communications market competition and rationalization of the statutory damages provision.
Thank you again for your letter, and I hope you continue to stand up for the issues you believe in.
Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada
This was the actual reply I got from my local MP Elizabeth May.
Get off your duff, Canada! Send your local MP a letter expressing your thoughts on the Copyright Modernization Act! Let’s stop this! CLICK HERE!
Like all the great minds of my time I have all of my best ideas in the bathroom.
Wait! It's not what you think.
I don't get some serious thoughts while squeezing out a deuce. I can't even read when I'm in the bathroom, it's one of those get in and get out deals.
That's why you come to my blog. To read about me having bowel movements. I guess I've finally crossed that line I didn't want to eventually cross. There is no coming back. Up next the failed sexual exploits of Tyson Elder.
Back to our regularly scheduled blog post about thinking in the bathroom.
The bathroom is where all my big ideas happen and slip away with the grime, soap, and water of the shower. (I had a particularly blue line to go here.) That's right I get ideas in the shower.
Generally when an idea rolls around in my head all through the day. Most of the time I'll be at work when this idea pops in to say hello. I scribble some unformed idea in a notebook I keep in a coverall pocket and hope something happens with it. When I get home from my working day smelling like an aircraft's asshole I throw my notebook in my office, and have a shower.
In that five to seven minute window of fluctuating temperature water the idea comes back in full force, but without me being able to write it down. I think of that witty one liner that will never see the light of day, the opening paragraph to this blog post, or something vaguely business related.
By the time the soap is out of my eyes the idea is being back to half formed. Lacking those qualities that made it so “unique” in the shower. I rush to my computer, fire up 750, but normally it's gone. The light bulb is there but it is flickering with the last seconds of life. I bang something out, but I know it isn't right. That's why I normally don't have anything brilliant to put up here. A rule of thumb on my blog is that I don't like to put up things I'm not happy with.
So, here is my predicament. I have ideas in the shower that I can't capture and therefor can't ship. Wow, that sounded really social media douche-y.
Do you have any suggestions on how I save these ideas and thoughts in the shower without ruining my walls, shower, periodical table shower curtain, and bathtub?
I'm all ears. Trust me they are clean I just had a shower.
“Hi! How are you?”
It's not pretty and it's certainly not fun, but I'm okay. There are no pictures. I'm certainly not going to take one. I don't have an x-ray to wave about, and I don't have a cast.
What I do have is a crack through one of the bones in my foot. Making it extremely difficult for me to do any real moving along at a decent speed. There is a limp. I walk funny because I'm resting my wait on my big toe and my heel. Staying away from the “palm” of my foot. I've been bombing around on crutches from time to time. Icing in the meantime. As you can guess there are no painkillers. Also I'm not at work.
I do have to say my friends have been super solid offering to pick up groceries, drive me around, and you know generally awesome. Kat wins friend of the year though for picking me up at the hospital in a deathtrap when I couldn't get a cab.
All in all I'm doing well. Bored out of my fucking skull though. I think I've watched a series and a half of Doctor Who now. Yes, I'm watching that now. I'm into series 5 as I write this so shut up nerds. I watch all six episodes of Sherlock at 90 minutes a piece. I've also rewatched a few Sophia Coppola movies, a movie about Joy Division, a couple documentaries, and my regular weekly television digest. Too much British television maybe?
I did a little bit of cleaning today. It's hard to be on my feet for too long though. So I gave up and finished Chris Hardwick's book. I listened to music, podcasts, and a bit of 'Life'. Can you tell I'm bored? I need to find something to fill my time that isn't television, video games, or movies.
I've been writing a little. I keep getting distracted though. Looks like my allergies are acting up.
Time to ice the foot.
When I was looking out the window at 2AM this morning I had this thought in the back of my mind that crept through the next few hours of sleep. “Did I fuck up my karma somehow?”
Five and a half hours later I was clearing the half foot of snow off the truck in what felt like a blizzard (I'm getting soft in my old age). I put the truck into 4Low, and rolled up the driveway. Visibility was the shits but there was no one on the road. I took my time and made it to work. In a losing battle I shoveled snow for two hours only to watch steps behind me fill in.
I left. There was no point in us being there. The coffee shop was open, and I figured I would swing in to grab a coffee before going home. I got out of the truck, wiped the ice off the wipers, turned to start to the door, and just like that I was face down in the snow.
A path not cleared. I tripped over a curb. I sprung back up in shock, but more embarrassed. I come here everyday how did I not know the curb was there. Oh yeah, snow. I ordered a coffee and a sandwich to go, and sat down at a table. Only to realize that my right foot was now killing me. Every movement a sharp pain runs up my leg.
I shuffled down my driveway, stripped off my snow covered coveralls, boots, and jacket. I made my way to my bedroom to collapse in pain, embarrassment, and an oncoming wave of loneliness.
The snow, the country, and where I live are isolating. I lay here wondering to myself if I could get help if I actually needed it. It is the first time in a very long time I've felt vulnerable and alone where I live. Sometimes you just want someone to take care of you or drive you to the hospital. Sometimes you just want your parents to look after you.
Against my better judgment I'm not going to brave the roads to go to the hospital to get my foot looked after unless I really have to. When the snow stops falling and the roads are actually plowed. Until then I'm going to lay here alternating this cold pack on my foot, napping, and reading.
I'm an adult now?
During last nights Victoria House Concert B, Andy announced that he is starting a charity to give the gift of music to an adolescent or teenager in the community that wouldn't have the opportunity otherwise. Andy held a small auction for guitar lessons with Shaun Verreault with all proceeds going to the new charity. It really got me thinking.
A few years ago when I was working in the spice mines I had a bit of an accident. It involved a box cutter, my wrist, a lot of blood, and several hours in a waiting room to get stitched up. After the accident I started to realize I had lost the the feeling in two of the fingers in my hand. Still fully functioning fingers, but without the fun sensation of feeling.
It was around this time I was really discovering playing a guitar. A few months before my accident I decided to stop borrowing my sister's guitar and buy my own.
I fell in love with my guitar as soon as I saw it. Matte black, Canadian made, cherry wood, electric-acoustic. An Art & Luthrie cutaway. Just a beautiful piece of art. Something to be proud of and to show off. I loved the shit out of the guitar until my accident happened. Then it just sat there on it's guitar stand starring back at me wanting to pick it up.
Over the last few years I've made some serious attempts at trying to get back into it, but it never panned out. I'd get frustrated, and put it back in its case. A constant reminder of something I wanted to be good at, but could no longer achieve. It's hard when a lot of your friends are struggling musicians, and they bug you to pick up the guitar to play along with them. Not quite understanding why you can't play anymore.
Here I am with a beautiful guitar sitting in my living room collecting dust and looking like a tragic piece of art unloved. There have been much contemplation about selling my guitar, but it never felt right. I want my guitar to go to someone who is really going to appreciate it. Someone who is going to love it. Someone to treat it right.
That's when I made my decision. I'm going to donate it to this charity Andy from Victoria House Concert B is starting. For him to give to a kid who could really love it, and otherwise wouldn't be able to have a guitar. I know my guitar is going to make some kid really happy, and at the end of the day that's all I want. Not money, but the satisfaction of knowing someone out there is happy because of my guitar.
I dusted her off, cleaned the case up, packed in my tuner, some extra picks, and a guitar strap.
Everyone needs music in their lives.
I wish I had more to say lately, but I haven't.
I do have had something to write, but it's not something I'll be sharing on here for everyone to see.
This morning I got an email asking me why I decided not to do my top ten records this year, and why I decided not to do a daily prompt for December like I have most years.
I sort of decided I wouldn't do a top ten this year last year. I read this article by John Roderick, and it made me think about not doing it really. Also, I find it pretty hard to do a top ten list when I listen to so much new music every year. My short list this year was roughly twenty albums, and well it makes it a little tough to whittle it down to what I listened to more. I will probably end up posting a list of albums I dug this year at some point.
As for the prompts I can honestly say I haven't had the time or energy to put into them. Not with all this television I have to watch. I actually took a look at this years prompts, and decided to say fuck it. Prompts are fun, but when it's a bunch of mommy bloggers (not that I have problems with mommy bloggers) writing the daily prompts it isn't quite what I'd want to write about.
On that note I do need to get my writing for this blog back on track so if you have any ideas for something you'd like to see me write about let me know.
In other news people keep complimenting my beard.
I grew it myself.
As you may recall I posted "The Devil's In Your Details" the other day. If you haven't read it please do. I think it's one of the better things I've written in quite a while (but that isn't saying much). If you don't want to read it I'll let you know the basics. It's about not working for free, and giving your stuff away. Plain and simple. Sort of.
This morning I slept in. I didn't have enough time to do my morning ritual of sitting around in front of my computer checking my email, catching up on tumblr, reading comics, and drinking a cup of tea. I basically had enough time to brush my teeth, get dressed, and grab an orange to eat on the road to work. It's nothing out of the ordinary just another day in the life.
When I get to work I fire up the ole iphone, and see that I have several emails to read. Usually at this point in the morning it's Groupon with another deal I'm not going to buy, and some other things I subscribe to. Today was different.
I have two email addresses. One for personal, and one for some of my more professional pursuits. Well, what I consider professional like photography gigs, writing for websites, and other "jobs." I don't get email in this inbox as frequently as my other personal inbox, but some mail shows up there from time to time. Today was one of those rare days.
In the subject line it says "Ripley's Believe It or Not Book - Green River photos."
So, basically I've been asked to put my Goldstream River photos in Ripley's Believe It or Not. How cool is that? Pretty impressive, right? I used to read these books cover to cover when I was a kid. I loved them.
I replied to the email, and now I get to play the waiting game. Waiting for a response from anyone is always the hardest part. Especially when you are dealing with responding, and replying to emails an entire continent away. Same sort of thing happened when I had my photographs published in The Sun.
Email is a stressful thing for me. First off I'm terrible at spelling and grammar (if you couldn't tell). Secondly when it comes to something like this how do you respond? It's tough. I don't want to come off as too West Coast laid back, and I don't want to come off as a tight ass. There is no tone in email. It's just black words on a white screen.
This morning when I got the email the first person I told was my dad. Mainly because he was the closest person. Also everyone wants their dad to be proud of them. Afterward I kind of kept it tight lipped for a while (twenty minutes). Eventually I called my mom to tell her, because again who else am I going to tell. Well twitter, maybe.
So I guess I've counted my chickens before they hatch. I haven't heard back yet, and obviously I hope to hear back soon. Damn these time zones.
Lately, I've felt very stagnant in my life. This really perked me up. This like this have been happening to me more and more in the last year. It kind of validates of those decisions I've made over the last few years. It's what I want to do with my life, and maybe things are finally coming round.
It's time I actually put some work in.
The other day I was out for breakfast with a friend, and the topic of contests came up. Both sharing our own version of how we never win anything, and eventually talk got around to a contest at the Whirylbird Factory.
At my place of employment we are having a photo contest. For the best photo of one of our whirlybirds in action. The winner gets a swanky brand new iPad 2, and despite having some photographs I think might be winners I won't enter the contest. Why? The fine print.
“Consent – Photographer retains title to photos submitted – but any and all entries may be used by Whirlybird Factory for publication and/or promotion of Whirlybird business.”
I'm sorry I don't just give away things. Well not like that. Not when someone is going to be using my photographs to make money, and publish them without my consent. Yes, I have had my photos published before without being paid, but that was with my consent.
As someone who is trying to make somewhat of a living at doing what I love sometimes you have to choose between exposure and getting paid. It's not a hard decision for the most part. In the past I've chosen exposure over getting paid, and that has worked to my benefit. It has gotten me jobs that I've been paid for. Crazy, right?
A designer friend of mine once told me that you shouldn't work for free. It's always stuck in the back of my head whenever I work on anything these days.
I personally don't mind doing some stuff for free. You don't start off getting paid. A prime example of a mutually beneficial “free thing” was when I did some promotional photographs for my friend singer/songwriters Jason Walsh. He needed some promo shots, and I needed to expand my portfolio. Plus sometimes working with friends is fun. You can check out the my photos here and buy his EP here.
When it comes to giving away what I've worked hard on I get a little leery. Especially when I know what it's going to be used for. It isn't just going to go in the company newsletter some month down the road. It's going to be used in a marketing campaign that could bring in more money then I could count, but that's not the point.
The point is that too often companies think that this is an okay thing to do. To many people aren't aware of the inherent value in something they create, and are too willing to give up something for a nifty gadget or a crisp fifty dollar bill. This is the artists struggle in a sense I guess. Deciding if you want to sell out or holding onto your art and possibly not seeing any eventual rewards.
Maybe I'm cynical from having my own work stolen often, and used without credit on blogs, websites, and newspapers. Or maybe I'm looking at this the way I should have years ago.
Personally I don't blame companies for doing stuff like this, and honestly I think they don't even know that they are doing it. I think it is part of a corporate mentality that is all too common these days. That they have an inherent right to your art, time, and work.
We live in the age of living and breathing for your company, but what we should really be doing is living and breathing for ourselves.
Note: I haven't done any editing on this. It's just what I wrote in one sitting. You'll get to see the edited version on Journals Abroad hopefully by the end of the week.
I woke up on the morning of July 25th, 2011 with my head was pounding from one too many glasses of vodka with Darryl the night before. I muscled the energy to pick myself up off the couch, and performed the ritual for curing my hangover. It usually includes some extra-strength Tylenol, a glass of water, and a serious brushing of my teeth. After we cleaned ourselves up, and we prepped our gear for our trip up to Duncan, BC.
It was the getting towards the end of my first European backpacking trip, and I was broke. I didn't want the journey to end, but it was clear it was going to end sooner rather than later. With the knowledge of my impending financial crisis I did what every traveler does in a time of need. I went to visit my family in Coventry, England. That's one of the perks of having family abroad – that and home cooked meals.
When packing for my trip to Europe I grabbed two books to read while on the road. The first being a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and the second being Ted Simon's Jupiter's Travels. Towards the end of my trip I had finished both books, and at the end of the Jupiter's Travels it mentioned that his bike was now sitting in a motor museum in Coventry. Despite the book being over 30 years old according to my research it was still in the museum. I figured it would be a perfect way to end my trip. By seeing the bike Ted's old Triumph.
As I rounded the corner to the motorcycle area a wave of a tingling feeling washed over me. Not ten feet away from was Charley Boorman's BMW R1150GS that he had ridden around the world with Ewan McGregor. I'm not sure if it was the surprise or the the fact that I was in the presence of something that inspired me to get on the road. I reached out and touched the bike to see if it was really real. It was. Seeing Ted Simon's bike was just as moving for me. It really did signify the end of my trip to me in a lot of ways.
Several months before I went backpacking on a rainy February evening Darryl pointed out the book "The Long Way Round" while we were in a local bookstore. I picked it up, and couldn't put it down until I was done. I've often cited the book as one of my main inspirations to travel.
Here I was on a highway hurtling at 90km/h in the passenger seat of Darryl's car going up to a town I would normally would never be bothered with.
Charley Boorman and his crew were on the last stage of their latest adventure Extreme Frontiers. A cross Canada trip weaving them through the eastern most part of the maritimes to the prairies, territories, and the west coast of Vancouver Island. Today was the final leg. A motorcycle convoy starting at Kickstart Coffee in Duncan and ending in Tofino, BC. There was no way I was going to miss it.
Despite not having motorcycles Darryl and I blended in with the crowd, but I'm quite sure we weren't the only ones up there just to see Charley. We talked with riders, fans, and people excited for the once in a lifetime chance to be in a Convoy with Charley Boorman. We mostly talked about trips we all wanted to take. At one point Charley greeted us all and joked around from the rooftop of Kickstart Coffee. Eventually he made his way out on his bike with the rest of his crew and made a speech with the cameras rolling. He commented on how thankful he was that more than 3 people showed up for the convoy, and humbled by how beautiful a country Canada actually is.
The convoy kicked off shortly after Charley's speech. I left me with a feeling of closure. I might not have gotten to talk to Charley, but I was there part of something bigger than me. A presence of the travelers spirit was in all the people there. It has never been clearer in my eyes that everyone who rides a motorcycle even if only locally carries the adventures spirit. There is no one I can think of better to embody that spirit than Charley Boorman. Someone who is honest, humble, and truly respects the opportunity he has to travel the world like he does.
Tonight I'm working on a rough draft of a new article to go on Journals Abroad. I'm probably going to throw it on here later on after some editing. It's about travel, but it isn't. It's the first time I've tried writing a flashback. Weird, right? It's about the end of a trip, motorcycles, books, inspiration, and what I did yesterday morning. If you don't know what I did yesterday check out my flickr. If you liked the book/tv series "Long Way Round" you'll dig the photos I took yesterday.
I've never wanted a motorcycle more than yesterday.
These couple sentences are sort of a preface to the rest of the blog post. I'm not one for getting upset when a celebrity dies. I'm not one for any celebrity gossip in general, but today was a different story.
On my way to work this morning I got a text message from my little sister. At first I didn't believe the message she sent me. With a quick check of the news it was validated that Jackass star Ryan Dunn had died in a car crash early this morning.
I'm not going to lie to you and say that I'm above Jackass or CKY. I grew up in a generation that was raised with people getting kicked in the nuts, shopping carts, and being famous for being an idiot. So obviously they were a huge part of my teenage years. Not to mention my friends. We shot hours and hours of us doing stupid shit (well mainly Brian). Fuck there is a video on youtube I made that I forgot about. I credit those years filming my friends doing dumb shit to why I can take a decent photo. I'll never give credit to those shitty arts programs I took with teachers who had no clue.
Ryan Dunn's passing this morning has really made me look back on those years of fucking around and having fun with my friends with a certain pride. Glory days. I'm sure. Doing that stuff made me who I am now. I'm fairly sure of that.
Old friends who didn't really know me would probably have said that I was more of a Bam Margera fan than Ryan. I'm sure for a while I'd have said it was true. I liked HIM, wore old suit jackets, and rocked a shitty goatee.
Ryan Dunn was the one guy in all the Jackass gang that I identified with the most. It wasn't just because of the beard, but because he seemed the most realistic. An almost reluctant member of the gang, but a willing participant in the "stunts" that usually went haywire for him. Usually he'd end up hurt or with a car up his ass. I'm sure metaphorically speaking that is something we can all relate to. He was always the first to voice his opinion on why he thought it something was a bad idea, and it usually was.
At the end of the day you could say Ryan seemed the most grounded. It seemed like the money and fame hadn't really gone to his head like some of the other Jackass guys. He seemed like the same Ryan Dunn he was when they started making those CKY videos in the early 2000's. Just with a longer beard and a nicer car. Then again I only knew him from dvds, television shows, and movies.
It's hard to describe how you feel when someone you've never met, but had a large part in your life dies. I have a similar feeling sinking into my gut as when Hunter S. Thompson, and Kurt Vonnegut passed away. Both as crucial as the last in how I think, read, and write.
I just think without Ryan Dunn and Jackass I wouldn't be who I am today. If I took anything away from the show it's that you have to take risks.
Whether those risks are physical or mental you just need to get into that shopping cart.