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do ALL the things!

8 Nov

All of them you say, my good man?

It’s fair to say that everyone has a bucket list. Whether you actually take the time to write it down or if you have a short list of things just stored in your head, you know that there are at least a few things that you need to do before you kick the bucket.

My list now had 283 things on it.

Some of which include:

– Learn to play the guitar
– Drive cattle on horseback through the Australian outback
– Learn to SCUBA dive
– Drive a very expensive car through the streets of Tokyo at night
– Win big in Vegas

Truth be told, I have a lot of stuff that I have to accomplish. When I tell people this they immediately go into this whole over-sensitive attitude. They say things like: “Don’t push yourself too hard…” or “You’re putting too much pressure on yourself!”

Better yet some people even say: “You can’t learn how to do all these things! You need to pick a couple so you can focus and excel in them.”

Since when did everyone become such pansies? Seriously! Don’t be too hard on yourself? We should all be demanding MORE from ourselves. You think anybody got anything done with that attitude?

Heheheh… Joke’s on them though, because you want to know a secret?

I CAN LEARN ANYTHING I WANT AND PERFECT IT TO MASTERY!

Listen, I’m not asking to cure cancer here… I’m not looking to go to the moon (although that would be amazingly cool). I’m looking to have some experiences in my life. I want to go back to school and become a comic book artist. I want to read 15 books a year. I want to run a marathon. I want to learn a language. I want to learn how to play guitar.

And that’s just in the next five years!

I’ve been trying to figure out why on Earth anyone would possibly say to someone “You can’t/shouldn’t do this”. And now, don’t get me wrong, people aren’t telling me no… but they are trying to limit me in some way, enough for me to begin questioning if it’s possible to do all the things I want to do. What I do know is that whether you think that you can or you can’t, you’re right.

If one wants to get a lot of things accomplished than one must get into the habit of being dedicated and making sure time is had for everything. Because my work schedule to so erratic, I’m going to assign tasks to specific days of the week. On its assigned day, I’ll be sure to spend an hour or two on that specific task, and by the end of the week, I’ll feel more accomplished.

Sunday – Reading
Monday – Drawing
Tuesday – Writing
Wednesday – Guitar
Thursday – Reading&Drawing
Friday – Writing
Saturday – Guitar

There, now that doesn’t seem like too much, does it? Now the trick is sticking to it.

Oh, and for those of you who don’t think it’s possible to dedicate yourself to so many things; to you I say…

 

 

Update in the Life and Times

29 Aug

The irregularity in which I post this blog truly is pathetic. Not to say that I haven’t been writing at all. Quite the contrary, I believe if anything I’ve been writing too much. However, every time I post here, I always end up confessing that I’ll make more of an effort to post more often. Before I know it, nearly two months has passed and this wayward project of mine gets placed on the back burner once more.

How sad…

Regardless of the fact that I’m unemployed and have been how for about five months, time feels like it’s moving at a mile a minute. Indeed it’s been seven months to the day since my Mother’s funeral, and it hardly feels like I’ve blinked. However, It does feel like I’ve wasted an abundance of time. People who know me will argue and tell me that it’s just not the case… sometimes I can’t help but wonder if this is what the rest of life is going to feel like – a listless, floating existence without cause or direction. I feel so powerful and yet there’s nothing to really direct it toward. I feel capable of everything, and yet I don’t really want to do anything.

In my concern for my mental health, I turned to a therapist. He asked me some pretty poignant questions that I hadn’t really considered, which was refreshing, because I was under the impression that I had asked myself every question there was. I left feeling a little more broken than when I went in, but I had expected that. You can’t fix something without breaking it first, and I had spent a great deal of time trying to hold my shit together.

It’s my hope that in the coming months, things will start to become a little more clear, but right now my emotions are a pretty murky place.

Besides that, I took a bartending course a couple weeks ago, and it turned out to be way more fun than I was expecting. I thought I knew quite a bit about alcohol, but I was put to shame several times. That being said, whenever our instructor would ask, “Has anywhere here ever try a [insert cocktail name here]?” I raised my hand almost each and every single time. All with the exception of the Caipirinha, which I have not tried due to the fact that it’s popularity is centred mostly around Brazil. So… I want to say that it was embarrassing, but it became a point of pride as the week went on. I met some awesome people there too. One of which I hope will teach me Chinese, and the other who I hope I can schedule wine-tastings with. But, I digress.

The last couple months have been exciting. I got to meet a few people that I otherwise might not have been able to meet. I did some things that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do. I saw U2 in concert, I learned a craft I’d always wanted to learn, and I started my journey of fully appreciating time. Now that I’ve not been working for as long as I have, I’m beginning to wonder how anyone can enjoy even a fraction of life by spending their time at work. So much so that I’ve made myself a solemn vow:

I will never, ever work another desk job as long as I live.

 

The City

29 Apr

In my heart there is a city

some glowing, spanning metropolis

that beams through the darkness

to shatter the clouds above the earth

and move beyond them, as a sieve

harvesting the emitted rays.

And in the streets the cars streak by

horns blaring with impatience

yellow cabs that are more mighty

steed then heavy, maniacal machinery

and they carry their flesh and blood

cargo to the edges of suburbia.

And as the world spins it passes in

a blur of shattered voices in electric light

I fear as I watch it all pass that I may

never have enough time to capture the

beauty locked within it; that no one,

save for myself, can actually see.

In my heart there is a city

that rages with my unyielding complexity

and is closed away, alive and solitary

it runs the business of my soul

and the commerce of my spirit

it is the raving core of my aspects

it is the city, and it is me.

Day 4 – Las Vegas and the Mojave Desert

26 Apr

Las Vegas is important to me. Not because I had a blast there once upon a time with my friends, or because I got blotto after a Cirque de Soliel show. Las Vegas is important to me because it was the only place my mother and I ever went to by ourselves… regardless of the fact that she spent at least a few hours a day on her blackberry, communicating with the office.

I took this picture on my birthday, in front of the Mirage. I walked around with my mother in relative silence as we strolled down the strip. It was Friday, so technically she was still working, regardless as to where she was. I took a tonne of other pictures on the strip that day back in 2007. If you want to see them, CLICK HERE.

While the Friday wasn’t all that great, the rest of the weekend was jam-packed. My mother and I were both HUGE Beatles fans, and so we went to see “LOVE” by the Cirque. We went to expensive restaurants and shopped at Caesar’s palace. For the rest of the weekend by mother was acting like the big kid that everyone knew her to be, and it was all for me. It was my 21st birthday, and not many people can say they got tipsy with their mother while stumbling home from a musical. In all honesty, I didn’t think she would actually enjoy herself as much as she did.

While we were there we stayed at Treasure Island, and driving cross country, I knew that during my stop over in Vegas that was exactly where I was going to stay.

Having spent the day driving through Colorado and Utah, I was tired by the time I got to Vegas, even though it was only six o’clock in the evening. Las Vegas is a busy city, and because 6P.M. is shift change at a lot of casinos, the streets were busy. Once I had finally left my car with Valet, and stood in line at check in, it was nearly 7P.M. before I had made it up to my room – a single with king sized bed and a view of the Wynn Hotel across the street. There was definitely a sense of luxury, but there was also a huge sense of loneliness.

Unless you’re a local, you NEVER come to the casinos alone, and as I wandered around the casino floor, I felt a little out of place. I spent 30$ on slot machines and got room service before crashing out at 10:30 in the world’s most comfortable bed.

I woke up at 6:45 the next morning and snapped this picture.

I had some time in the morning, so I had some Starbucks for breakfast, walked around the “Fashion Show” mall (your one stop shop for all your overpriced clothing needs), and went to Sephora to pick up a few things.

[SIDENOTE! There was a FABulous old man working at Sephora who gave me a handful of samples and spoke with the best lisp I’d ever heard. After a few perfect suggestions from him, I told him he was my soulmate and he hugged me. If you’re ever in Vegas go to Sephora and see if he’s there. He made my trip]

So at about 1P.M I took off from Vegas and started off through the Mojave, and I’d have pictures for you guys, if it weren’t for the 60 mile an hour gusts and sand storms that were roaring through the desert on that particular day. In fact, the ride was so rocky that the four hour trip exhausted me twice as much as any of the twelve hour drives had. However, I did manage to get this video of my drive down the strip, which is a surreal experience.

Upon getting to Irvine, I was very happy to know that it would be a good solid month before I’d have to make the long trek home. But now that I’ve had some time to digest the trip, I’m glad I took it, and I’m almost excited to take it again. My trip back in going to look a little similar, but different none-the-less. I’ll be taking an extra day or two to come back so that I can do more day trips/wait out stormy weather. For a taste, I’ll divulge that I’ll be staying in Sedona, Arizona to see some of the Grand Canyon, I’m have to make it to Woody Creek Colorado, the town outside of Aspen where Hunter Thompson called home, I’m going to try to make it to Yellowstone National Park, as well as Mount Rushmore.

I’ll be blogging a couple more times about California, because… well, I love it here.

This won’t be the last you’ve heard of me!

Day 3 – Colorado and Utah

18 Apr

Finally, something to look at!

While driving through Nebraska, I wished for anything besides cows and these strange mangrove type trees that twisted themselves into dark, ominous looking forests by the south side of I-80. And while memories of Nebraska haunted me in the morning, I woke up, bleary eyed, excited to start my Colorado adventure.

Instead I awoke to this…

That, my good friends, is Denver, Colorado. In the background you’re supposed to see a gleaming stretch of beautiful, never ending snow topped mountains, glittering in the sunlight. Not only was it cloudy, but I was caught in morning rush hour traffic.

It was about this time that I had another “WTF” moment. Who ever guessed that I’d be sitting in rush hour traffic, waiting to drive through the mountains on a cloudy day?

The woman at the Best Western told me to be careful driving through the mountains. In addition to the clouds there was also the news report that there had been some fallen rock on the highway…

Rocks? Rocks that fall on the highway? Wonderful…

So, I started off on my journey, nervous. Not entirely sure of what lay ahead on the road in front of me. After a few moments of stressing out about it, I came to discover that this peril was kind of the point to the whole trip.

Sometimes adventures aren’t actually adventures when you’re in the midst of them. In fact most times, adventures are only adventures after the fact.

So I drove on, excited for what would befall on this trip into higher altitudes.

At first, I felt as though I was driving into some fantasy world. That may exhausted little hatchback with somehow magically transform into a horse, as I would emerge from the clouds, into the light above. I weaved through mountain roads, steeply graded hills curved around the sides of grassy hills. There were houses tucked away from the world up here, gargantuan in stature. I imagined that the super-rich hid themselves away up here in their own little fantasy world.

Traffic flowed smoothly in a loosely packed crowd, but with every exit the pack of cars thinned, and thinned, until it was just me, blazing through my own private wilderness.

The clouds broke, the wind calmed, and the sunlight emerged at seven-thousand feet above sea-level.

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Everything was so unlike anything I had ever seen before. The endless blue sky, the snow covered mountains, all things that I’d only gawked at in photographs, and never with my own eyes. Somehow, for some reason I didn’t think the differences were going to be that monumental… but they were.

Photographs are great – they assist story tellers in telling their stories. But I can’t even begin to tell you how different it is to experience the stories for yourself. Actually laying eyes on this place is by far an away a thousand times more breathtaking than any photograph. This slide show really does it very little justice.

Five hours later, I was sad to be leaving Colorado, but excited to see what Utah had to offer. But, unfortunately, I had been so encapsulated by Colorado’s beautiful that I didn’t notice that I had only a quarter tank remaining as I left the state. I also failed to notice the “60 miles to next gas” sign at the last service station.

And while the first hundred or so kilometers of Utah was boring (and DESOLATE) the next several hundred kilometers took me on a trip that I would have never expected in a million years

Massive hurdles of red rock sprung up from the ground, the highway curving around them like a skier carving a trail through moguls. Canyons that left me speechless seemed to be around every corner and there was a couple moments where I had a hard time staying on the road from the amount of pictures I was taking. Imagine my devastation when my camera decided it was going to run low on batteries.

I did however manage to capture I shot of something I had heard about earlier this year.

Below and on the right you’ll see a picture of something called the Ghost Rock.

The Ghost rock is the highest point in the formation called the “San Rafael Swell” at 7,405 feet. Unlike the rest of the rock in this area, it’s stark white, having been mysteriously calcified overly the last few million years. The area is rich in diverse geology, and if you’re interested in learning more about the area, check out the wikipedia page HERE.

I took several more pictures of the area, so if you’re interested in seeing more, please CLICK HERE to take a look at an online photo gallery I’ve put together for you guys.

I was almost relieved to see Vegas as I passed through a small portion of Arizona, but checking in at Treasure Island was kind of a pain in the ass. These two Japanese business men tried talking to me in very broken English for a few moments. All I know was that they were very excited, as I could tell by their multiple declarations of the word “Sugoi!” (Which is akin to an English speaker saying “Awesome!”)

I was just happy to have a king sized bed and a large, flat panel television with my name on it as I headed into the final stretch of my journey.

Day 2: Roaming the Heartland – Iowa, Nebraska, and the Foothills of Colorado

12 Apr

Upon waking up first thing in the morning, I had a WTF (“what the fuck” if the old people are reading this blog) moment. I was in Iowa, a place I thought I’d never be. The town of Coralville, Iowa sits on the Iowa river, nestled in the valley of two shallow grade hills.

As a checked out I spoke with the desk clerk about my journey, and heard from her what I heard from several people.

“Across the whole country? I’m so jealous!”

It hadn’t really dawned on me that I was doing what so many others had wanted to do. Driving cross country in a car wasn’t exactly what I would call a relaxing vacation. About 10 hours into my drive, I was getting so anxious to reach my destination that I wondered if maybe I should have just stopped for the night and tacked the last couple hours onto the next day.

I knew that I couldn’t… and that a trek this being does work that way. So, I put the pedal to the medal and powered through. Waking up in Coralville was well worth the trek. As I stood at the pump filling up my gas tank, I noticed that beyond a rather large railway bridge, there was the sparkling wide, Iowa River. The air was clean, the hills were rolling and my Egg McMuffin was hot and fresh (though not as good as the ones back home). Making my way back on in the interstate, I immediately realized why they called this the “Heartland”. Wheat, farms, cattle… as far as the eye could possibly see.

I stated out driving through Des Moines, Iowa… a relatively small city. It was followed only a few hours later by Lincoln, Nebraska. Although they were no where near as big and as glamourous as Toronto, there was something homey about them. Both cities had sprawling suburban populations, and the people in both towns seemed nice… though a little anti-social.

It didn’t take me very long to figure out why.

Lincoln is located nestled up against the boarder of Iowa and Nebraska, and is clumped together with nearby city, Omaha. The rest of the state… is completely and totally empty. In fact, I drove for nearly TEN HOURS before I say another city, and it was Denver, Colorado.

Day two was by far the most boring day, but for dedication to putting in my miles, I was greeted by the stunning sight of Denver. The “Mile-High-City” as it’s called a blessing, in that I had something to put my eyes on other than the flat oblivion that had been ahead of me for the past twelve hours.

I knew the day after, I would be driving down some of the most dangerous and visually stunning roads in America, but they would have to wait… I had eight hours of terrible sleep ahead of me first.

The Adventure Begins!

4 Apr

Well, that was interesting! Twelve hours and over a thousand kilometers later and I’m in Iowa City, Iowa. Seeing as we never really hear a lot about the “heartland” states, let me tell you a little bit about my journey already.

I launched out of my home in Brampton at about twenty to eight this morning and took off down the 401 toward London. Getting to Sarnia didn’t take as long as I expected. by 10:30 I was there. But then, as with any trip to the United States there was the pleasure of being questioned by Boarder Security. When I got in line, I noticed immediately that my line was moving slower than the others. You know what that means?

We were going to have problems.

I will never forget Agent Vasquez, mostly because I thought it was pretty Ironic that a guy with a thick Mexican accent was grilling me about entering the country. I will say this though, I’m VERY thankful I got that letter from Steve, stating that he knew when I would be returning to Canada. It SAVED my ASS! He didn’t seem really happy that I didn’t have any hotel reservations. After unzipping (and not re-zipping… asshole) my luggage, I was allowed to proceed, and there I was, in Michigan.

Now, seeing as I’m someone who greatly appreciates a nice drive through the country, I will admit that today wasn’t exactly the best day to drive. The majority of the time it was overcast, and at some points, even raining. That being said, Michigan and Illinois are not exactly the most scenic states. Michigan is very industrial (I drove through Flint Michigan, and let me tell you, if you think Buffalo is “America’s Asshole”, think again), and Illinois is very, very, VERY flat.

Now, you’d think Iowa would be too, and it is. But rest your eyes on this nifty shot.

Now, Maybe it was the mood lighting, maybe it was the fact that for the first time all day that I had seen sunshine, but I remember my mother telling me once that when she saw the sunshine filter through the clouds like this at the end of a long day, she felt like it was her father Guy trying to tell her something. She also listed the Supertramp song, “Oh Lord, is it mine” as the soundtrack to moments like this.

It was so beautiful, it rekindled a lovely memory, and it reminded me that coming to peace with things was what this trip was all about. I love Iowa. It’s peaceful and lovely here… and so far, I don’t feel nervous about having my car parked outside.

 

Day two is tomorrow, and I’ll be leaving here at 8A.M bound for Denver Colorado! Here’s today’s video blog.