Friday, December 31, 2010

As You See...

“What are you doing???”

I wonder myself what it is we are doing. First off, we are traveling by bicycle from California to South America. On top of that we are making a documentary film of our adventure. As if the physical challenge of making the 5,000 or so mile trek without the help of the automobile wasn’t hard enough, we are carrying bulky camera gear on top of that. However, I am not ashamed to say, “I do except all forms of generosity, including car rides, especially during storms;)”

We have come across a lot of people on our journey and the most common question people ask us as they scratch their head, “what are you doing?”

We do a lot of things, biking only being a fraction of that.

“Well, what’s your film about?”

Dealing with this question is repetitive and complicated to say the least.

Revolutions Southward is an artumentary* that tells the story of four unique individual’s struggle to find purpose in today’s changing world.

Art·u·men’tary - A film that documents actual events by means of an unusual and creative means.

"So, what are you doing?"

With a grant gesture of my hand,

“As you see…”

To illustrate…

When the guy driving the huge Winnebago pulled into the state beach and parked in our rainy view of the ocean while Julie, Davin, and I eat lunch under the urine stench shelter of a condemned bathroom and asked, “What are you doing?”

With a grand gesture of my hand,

“As you see…”

When my friend Melany insisted I wore a pink cape on my maiden voyage and people stared in wonder, “What are you doing?”

With the twirl of my hand.

“As you see.”

Just as my Dad’s friend Kurt cavorted while dressed in scraps of linens from his sweatshop like Laurence of Arabia when the Joshua Tree park ranger asked, “What are you doing?” Kurt replied,

“As you see...”

When we edited the Sir Norte segment in a over priced Big Sur restaurant and the waiter asked, "what are you doing?"

"As you See..."

It’s hard to define a story that is in motion. With most films the script comes first then production. In our case we are more or less crossing our fingerers that we catch the gems of our story as they unfold. There are no rules...

“What are you doing?”

As my arm rises and falls.

“As you see.”

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Can It Get Any Better?

I have been telling people about this trip for about a year before I even owned a touring bike or a camera. For a while I doubted if I would even be able to pull it off. I feared I would become one of those guys that talk everything up, a boaster that never delivered. I have also wondered how we are going to create a film that is not only watchable but, something I can take pride in. With such a limited crew and budget it can be quite the mental challenge. So far we have been doing just fine.

About a year ago I was in Santa Cruz talking to this guy that knew Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros and he told me that if I didn't make the film I was saying I could do, I would be something along the line of a failure. I thought to myself, "Gee thats kinda harsh." Anyway, I think I may have figured a way to do it, with the help of Julie and Davin and whoever else that's willing of course. It's a work in progress;)

This Girl...

The Postcard - they get around in ways you never could.

Julie's creativity keeps blowing my mind. We just stayed three nights in the Castro District of San Francisco at Jonathan and Nicole Richman's house (for those of you that don't know of him, he is the reoccurring musician in the film Something about Mary). We even got back stage access at one of Jonathan's shows at the Great American Music Hall, we all felt like rockstars. Anyway, Jonathan and Nicole are technophobes, meaning they don't use cell phones, computers, or the internet. They appreciate the finer things of life: live music, art, animals, literature, family, etc. Although we all are tainted with the techo world, little things like postcards preserve a dying art form that Julie is committed to keeping alive.

The Cross-Word-Puzzle - intended just to save words and phrases for fun.

At Jonathan and Nicole's I finished writing Medicine For the Low Life on their piano. I plan to record a video version with Chris Peaslee as soon as we get to Huntington Beach. Say tuned...

Thrift Shopping - A better way of buying stuff you didn't need anyway.

To wrap things up Julie washed and dried my vantage iPod nano. You can imagine how I felt. Davin's mom Cyndra said I should put it in the freezer, so I did. Its a real Christmas miracle, my ipod has been revived!!! Does it get any better?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Postmodern Generation: A story about today’s shifting paradigm

The road to life is narrow, but the road to destruction is wide.

In today’s world there is so much to pick from: religions, TV channels, cigarettes, etc. If it’s music you like, then there is a genre in every shape and color that can suit your fancy. If you like food, you need not cross the sea to enjoy exotic plates. It’s all here and now. By the hard work of our predecessors, somehow everything has been teleported from every corner of the planet for the convenience of those who can afford it. In the west (California USA), within its postindustrial society a new generation sees the consequents of its development, and has their own ideas for how a happier and healthier future can be enjoyed.

Because of capitalism’s unrealistic vision of a perpetual consumeristic economy, individuals who cannot identify with such foolishness have taken it upon them selves to be the change they want to see. These folks don’t worry about what is outside their control but instead focus on what counts, the necessities, and how they can achieve them in a sustainable way.

Those committed to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle reflect a generation that recognizes they have hit a wall. A stopping point at which the realization of the consequences out weighs ones desires to blindly move ahead. All that is left now is to sort through our priorities and embrace the ways of people that live as though the industrial revolution was not the answer but a necessary stepping-stone to a healthier future.

Localvores also known as conscious eaters are members of this emerging generation that value the personal and social benefits of a holistic lifestyle within their community. By living a low impact lifestyle through gardening, cooking, eating together, and developing family-style social relationships, this ever-present way of life has not only always been around but is growing amongst today’s generation more than ever because of the need to stop our planet’s declining ecosystems.

Although the ones on the path to a brighter future are few, they exist and will continue too, not because they feel they are changing the world but rather for the joy in reconnecting to what makes them human.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

So, He is going to ride his bike to South America?

My 24th Birthday was last week, September 30th to be exact. A few weeks earlier my sister’s best friend Fumie called me and asked if she could visit when she passes through on her bike trip from Portland to San Francisco.

Well it worked out that on my birthday Fumie and her friend Miles along with three more soloers: Steve from Alaska, Joe from Seattle, and Michael from Olympia showed up in full bicycle regalia at 2:30pm just in time to save the day. I had been preparing for a few days pulling weeds and sweeping up but I was feeling a little stressed about getting everything ready in time for the party.

With five extra hands we really got things rolling. We went shopping for a few odds and ends: beer, cheese, cake ingredients, ice cream and picked up a load of firewood, a mal and hatchet from Aunt Linda’s. Joe picked flowers for an arrangement, Steve fired up the potbelly stove, Michael baked the cake and Fumie, Miles and I cooked beans and rice.

Although the party started at 4pm a healthy number of friends and family didn’t show up until 6pm. Good for us, time to rest. Every bit of the party was a blast.

Having Fumie and her party posse stay at our hose for 3 days and 2 nights was an awesome and inspiring experience. They encouraged me to follow through with my plans of biking Central America, and said I would have a really fun time.

I couldn’t help but feel like a poser around all these seasoned cyclists who were actually doing what I have only been talking about. I realize my plans are ambitious and that I will probably run out of money before I can buy a plane ticket home but, all I can hope to do is take things one day at a time and go with the flow.

Now that I made roughly 3 thousand on the Laura I want to buy the equipment and gear I need to make the trip comfortably. I have already given California Mentor (my employer) notice of my resignation and I am currently looking for someone I can sublet my room to for the 8 months I plan to be gone.

So far things seem to be working out.

On November 5th God willing I plan to Bike solo to Nevada City where I will meet up with Davin Hart. We will continue on from there together on a journey I can only imagine will be unforgettable. We plan to document our tip in high definition with the Cannon T2i Which I have yet to acquire.

Also, God willing I plan on returning to Humboldt State Fall 2011 and finishing my minor in Music and the postproduction work flow for our Documentary film through the Department of Theater Film and Dance.

Wish us luck.

A Seamless Connection

It all started while I was on the phone with my friend Aaron Noble talking about how each other lives where going. He told to me that he was getting another call, and that he didn’t recognize the number but, felt compelled to take it.

When he called me back an hour later he told me for about 30 seconds that the call had been his college friend Jeremy from Oregon, and that Jeremy was considering moving in with him. Best possible outcome:) Next thing I know I hear a call waiting beep in my ear and tell Aaron I am getting a call from a number I don’t recognize and that since he had such good luck I want to try mine and take the call.

The call was from Scott the Captain of the M.V. Laura, a 80 foot motor yacht I first mated for during the summers of 06 and 07. Scott asked if I could cover a two-week shift onboard the Laura with only four-day notice. (Now, let me just say, the boat was in Newport Beach some 750 miles south of Arcata, and on top of that I was currently working 30 hours a week, which without coverage none of this would be possible.) I told Scott I would check and see if finding coverage for my shifts at Mentor was possible and that I would call him back as soon as possible.

Long story shot I found coverage and called Scott back to tell him we had a deal. My next challenge was transportation. Scott recommended I drive because same day airline tickets out of Arcata airport can be costly. The only problem I had with driving was that my Volkswagen Van takes 16 hours to make the trip from Arcata to Huntington Beach. So, I called my Aunt Linda.

At first Linda was reluctant when I asked if I could borrow her Bio diesel Volkswagen Golf (Nicknamed the Ka Beep). She sounded a little choked up at my request and asked if she could think about it and call me back. About 15 minutes later Linda called and went straight into the logistics of how I could drive her Toyota 4 runner to Mikey Moo’s property in Glenn Ellen and trade her for the Golf.

“Wait a minute, are you saying I can take your car to Huntington?” She had thought about it and figured that since she was going to be flying to Santa Monica for a West Ray’s surf club party the same week I would be on the boat, that she wouldn’t mind if I personally delivered her car to her.

Two days later I was off, heading for sunny southern California and leaving the fog behind. I packed light and arrived at 7:00pm (dinnertime:) to Mikey Moo’s cabin on top a beautiful mountainside in the thicket of wine country. My timing couldn’t have been better. I entered the tiny minimalist cabin equipped with wood burning stove, and microwave, a resent addition at the request of Micky Moo’s younger girlfriend. I sat at the table with Tony (my Aunt’s boyfriend) and a bottle of wine organic wine he made a few years earlier. Linda was serving the steaming food while Tony pored me a glass and asked if I would like some of his cannabis cigarette, I say “yes.”

I was feeling good as I ate dinner with Linda and Tony. We had sponge cake and raspberry sauce Linda had made for dessert. I told them of my plans, swapped cars and made my way down the unfamiliar mountain road at nigh and got thoroughly turned around. Thankfully made it to a rest stop outside of San Luis Obispo at 1:30am and slept in the back of the Ka Beep.

After I spent the first four nights on the Laura moored just out side of Ismis Harbor Catalina at Cherry Cove I learned that the Captain I was working with, Chip, majored in fisheries at Humboldt State. I also Learned that Teresa the cook needed a ride to her mothers in Santa Maria and that I would be the one to give her a lift.

Another thing I learned about Teresa was that my aunt Susan and uncle George saved her life by responding to her Craigslist add in Baja California. She was looking for a lift to the airport before a full-blown Baja Hurricane closed it down.

Teresa lives in San Juanico right above Scorpion Bay, a world-class right-hand surf spot. She has a café there and is well know in their small surf community for her hospitality and baked goods.

We made the crossing back to Newport Marina and had I few days to burn at the dock. On the first day at the dock I finished up my duties around 3pm and called my Dad. By chance he scored a job that same day in front of the Wedge (legendry freak surf spot in Newport Beach) just minutes from Ledo Village where the Laura was at. He would continue working there the rest of the time we were tied up.

Dad picked me up in Lydia my sisters 1989 Toyota Camery wearing a sombrero and toting Ally on her leash (Julie’s fully blown mutt, affectionately identified as an Australian Sheephearder’s Dog). I noted that I was also wearing a straw hat as I seated myself in the car. My dad turned the key and nothing happened. Dad said, “this is the second time this has happened in the last six months since Julie handed over Ally and Lydia me.” The first time was at his job in front of the Wedge. He had the guy he was working for push from the back while he bump started it.

He turned the key again. Nothing. I got out with my Sperry’s and straw hat on and pushed while a pretentious woman walked from her Mercedes Benz staring at what I was doing. It didn’t help that Ally was barking fully volume with her wet nose up against the back windshield staring dead into my eyes. Dad popped the clutch and we were off reminiscing the whole way home.

Dad say’s to me, “Julie, her boyfriend Bligh and their South African friend Alistair are waiting for us to arrive. “What? Really?” It turns out that by chance Julie had planned to pick up Ally and Lydia on the same week I spontaneously went to work onboard the Laura. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least.

After we all got acquainted, my dad put us all to work on dog hair removal. He said, “Stephanie doesn’t want to see any dog hair.” We took everything out of the house: chairs, tables, rugs, everything, and moped the entire place.

After we were through Stephanie my step mom loaded the cleaning crew into her Yukon and drove the lot of us to Trader Joe’s. We stocked up of the necessities: tri tip, beer, vegetables, cheese, etc and returned for a short-notice-family-reunion ready to enjoy ourselves.

There were a couple couches Simon, Stephanie’s brother dropped off in front of our house so we fung shuied the shit out of them, complete with surfboard table top, chips and salsa.

Asa and I jumped on the Rhodes and drums and jammed out. It was a good nigh. We all sat at the kitchen table and ate together.

The next afternoon after I rode with my dad in his dump truck back home to Huntington from the boat, I made plans to met up with my friend Beth who recently moved just around the corner from my parent’s house. I hoped on Maddie’s ski powered scooter and rode over to Beth’s house and kicked it in her layer (A garage converted into a bedroom). Beth, her friend Dillon (the man I hope to play the 60’s rock n roll villain in my musical Dishwater) were smoking and talking up a storm. At some point I told Dillon that he should ride back up with me to Arcata and start production. I had terrible cottonmouth and decided to hook Dillon up with a gift from the prosperous north. He was thankful and has remained in touch with me about coming to visit.

Beth was getting over strip throat and regretted to inform me that she didn’t know if it was a good idea to lioness me. However, one thing led to another, and surprisingly, even without the physical connection of making out we had an enjoyable time together. I told her I would miss her face and rode the human powered ski contraption home at 7:00am in order to catch my dad and his dump truck back to Newport Beach.

Julie and her friends wanted to slack line in Corona Del Mar but ended up going surfing. Afterwards they wanted the grand tour of the yacht. Julie called me and asked if it would be ok if she could bring Bligh and Alistair plus Tiffany and her boyfriend Ian. I said I could ask the Captain and Cook and see it they are ok with it. The captain proudly said, “The more the merrier.” The cook added that she would love to cook up a feast since she wasn’t doing much anyway.

The whole group of them lead by my sister came on board the Laura and got the full tour. I took them out on the Boston Wailer and putted around the marina. We drank all the wine we wanted and had hot artichoke dip on the top deck. I had the table set and helped Teresa serve the rack of lamb and other dishes. We ate, drank and laughed for the rest of the evening.

I spent another week in Catalina snorkeling, fishing, napping and reading. On my final day on the boat Chip took us out for stake dinner. When we returned too the boat we loaded Darrin’s touring motorcycle with Washington plates onboard. It was no small task. I dropped a lit up Mag light into the water and watched the beam dim as it sunk to the bottom. RIP. Chip paid me 2860 dollars that nigh, plus an extra hundred for Teresa and I to spend on whatever.

Teresa and I left at 5:00am the next morning and ended up buying my Aunt Susan, cousin Georgie, and grandma (Nanny) breakfast at a Danish pancake house in Solvang Ca. Susan and Georgie got the whole run down from Teresa about SJ (San Jaunico) and exchanged Baja stories while we drank cup after cup of coffee and ate. It’s a small world.

In Santa Maria Teresa’s mom gave me the grand tour of her Spanish style home and said that I will always have a place with her. I thought to myself, “gee this lady has only known me for 30 minutes and has already fully opened her home to me.”

Just down the street from Teresa’s Mom’s I met up with my cousin Joanna and her husband David at their work office where they lead environmental restoration projects. (Mainly invasive species removal and restoration if I am not mistaken.)

I drove through San Francisco really having to go pee. If you have spent anytime in the city you know if that if you need to pee you are basically going to be uncomfortable for a while. I made it just past Sausalito before I couldn’t hold it anymore. There was heavy traffic and my knees were swinging to distract and to remind me of the urgency of the situation. I grabbed a large Ziploc bag full of fruit from the back seat of the Ka Beep and dumped out its contents. Next thing I know I am peeing into the bag while sitting in the front seat and thinking, “I should have done this 30 minutes ago.” I mean how often have you noted the laps of the people driving around you?

Me and my bag full of piss made it all the way to Willits where I stealthily tossed it, filled up the Ka Beep, and walked across a dirt lot to a taqueria. As I was leaving Willits I passed a hitchhiker that looked pretty mellow and kept driving. I turned around after a mile and figured I could use the company. I picked him up. He had dreadlocks and a large backpack. He told me how he has traveled all over the country doing hurricane relief after Katrina, oil spill clean up in the gulf and told me about his travels south of the boarder. What struck me was his most resent experience panning for gold in Colorado. He told be that there was a curtain way of panning and a time of year to do it. The guy said he panned 3 ounces in 4 months. Not Bad. He told me he was hitching north to find a job cleaning Marijuana. He wanted to check off trimming pot in California during harvest season from his long list of to-dos.

The trip as a whole was a full-blown success. I can’t help but wonder how everything lined up so perfectly. I felt as though I was exactly where I was supposed to be, riding a seamless connection forward to some cosmic destination. For now it’s Arcata Ca.

Thanks for reading:)


The birth of (independent Rock n Roll group) Pointy Cheeks first came about one evening while cooking dinner. My housemate David Garza said to me, “Ace, I got a new name for our band… Pointy Cheeks.” I thought to myself and said out loud, “I don’t really like it.” I couldn’t help but imagine the demonic image of a smiling clown after he spoke the words, “Pointy Cheeks.”

David insisted that the name was a keeper and added, “Just imagine some English radio host saying, “Today, all the way from across the pond, with us in studio, members David and Acey from the American rock n roll group the Cheeks. So… how does it feel to be a cheek?” I think the irony in the name, its vulnerability to be altered as, “The Butt Cheeks” is all apart of David’s unique sense of humor. I was sold on the idea after asking, “how does it look in print?” David scratched the name down in the red Moleskine I keep in my back pocket. We both agreed it looked great. Done deal.

It had to look at least as good as our previous name, Auto-Homo which was a word David and I used to define a self sustaining or an automatic human. What really put the cheery on top was David’s explanation of how he came up with the name Pointy Cheeks. As I recall he had a dream and the name just popped into his head. Actually he asked, “Do you know when you are kissing a girl and look down your nose and see two mountainous humps? Those are Pointy Cheeks.”

Although we have never performed anywhere or have recorded a single track together, I consider David and I as a band named Pointy Cheeks.

On a different evening while having a few friends over for dinner, Katie mentioned that Timothy O’Malley will be recording artists this semester free of charge, and that I should ask him about it. I talked to Tim the next day and scheduled a recording session later the same week. Even though I was under prepared, rushed, and band mate David Garza couldn’t get work off I still went through as planned with the recording session.

With the help of a handful of very supportive friends, and a couple days notice, I was able to get my friend Jonathon DeSoto to come and gather some video for about 30 minutes while Tim and I set up. Next thing I know Rachel Mermaid Pattin showed up and sung her first original tune “Ohio.” Aaron Noble also arrived with his crystal bowels and other instruments of sound healing and laid down some good vibes on the track Nuclear Banana. Katie, Kim and John Manning were also in the control room and in the sound studio singing and enjoying themselves. Overall it was a great experience and a good time. There weren’t many expectations other than hoping for a masterpiece. Just kidding, there weren’t many.

The reality of the experience proved to me that I have a lot of room to grow. It was a worthy first effort but don’t expect to hear my ultra rough first album followed by the words, “that’s pure gold.” When I share it with friends I cringe like when you hear your own voice played back on someone’s answering machine. David and I both agree we need to rerecord the whole thing over again, this time together and create a real work of art.

On the upside, as a result of the whole endeavor I now have a low-fi album, and a pre-preview trailer for the Documentary film I am working on. However, the audience that finds them selves exposed to my work can say with confidence that they are truly supporting ultra-independent-low-fi-art. On the other hand, the artistic value of Pointy Cheeks & Mermaid is at the mercy of subjective opinions, so keep in mind it’s all just for fun.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fully Fung Shuied

My home at 1303 Sunset Avenue in Arcata Ca has come a long way from the day I first unpacked. Truthfully, I almost didn’t move in at all because of the typical college-house lack of maintenance and upkeep. In fact it was a close toss up between the Sunset House and another place on South G Street inhabited by two female tea drinking, vinyl collecting, vintage wearing, non-profit directing, masters degree studying aficionados. The place was incredibly cool and had Dia de los Muertos memorabilia and other vintage collectables tastefully on display throughout the common areas. The deal breaker was the unusually small, closet free, room with tiny north-facing window. The Sunset ghetto palace by comparison was leaps ahead in square footage and potential.

After graduating college and road tripping back up from Mexico with my Dad through the desert night at 90mph, windows fully down, and blasting a 25 year old blues mix tape with the treble turned down, I sensed a bit of accomplishment and style ahead of us in the brights of the bug filled highway. I thought to myself that if my Dad, who never finished high school can do this, live like a surfed out Hunter S. Thompson, what am I capable of, if on top of my own merit I catch all my dad's connections by proxy?

I returned to 1303 Sunset with my best friend Chris Peaslee, know by my free balling Daddio as Chrisben (short for where’s Chris been?). He was in need of a change of pace so I figured a six-week dose of Arcata would do him good. I felt bad for Chris because when we first arrived the place was completely destroyed. There was a sink full of dirty dishes, boxes and furniture scattered about from Katie’s move out, trash everywhere, mold on the walls, the whole nine yards. It was bad. In exchange for room and shared board Chris agreed to help me clean up the place and rearrange everything to maximum functionality. This is what I call “Fung Shuiing the place.”

I am aware that this isn’t the proper use of the word (I think it has something to do with the balance between earth and water) but, for my own usage I have redefined the term "fung shui" as, working with what you got to create something you want to use. Prior to our hard work, I was afraid to walk through the house in my socks and had questionable feelings about lying down on the couch. Now, I feel right at home. I even feel proud to invite my friends and family over to hang out.

Once we got the house and back patio dialed in, Chris and I moved onto the lower end of the property where the garden and green house are located. We pulled out the previous seasons crop, which had all gone to seed, weeded and turned the earth then planted. Working in the garden has been an experience I have thoroughly taken pride in. It blows my mind that every available south-facing plot of suburban yard hasn’t yet been converted into vegetable gardens. I mean, if people living in southern California only knew the value of water (and food for that manner) all they would need to do is simply utilize the land they are already irrigating and the gardeners they are already paying. Nevertheless, Chris, David and I planted more than enough to provide our house of four with a cornucopia of bounty throughout Arcata’s year-round growing season.

My roommate David and I like to say that we are “Kings living among gods.” With all these new found luxuries: kitchen table, counter space, garden, etc. Our quality of life has significantly improved. Although, almost everything Chris and I thoughtfully arranged to be used to its full potential was already inhabiting our house, now that its all put together like an up scale hodgepodge lodge its as if we are living like royalty in comparison to our previously growdy and unutilized ways.

What really took our place to a whole new level is when I was gardening one day and noticed a hot tub on our neighbors back deck. This house has been vacant for the past few months and has recently been shown off by real state agents. As I was pulling weeds in our garden a light bulb lit up over my head and next thing I know I am recruiting Chris to go on a top-secret mission to check if there is water in it. I should add that I was fully committed at this point to fill it up myself and make it happen. I first knocked on the front door by my self to make sure the ghost was clear then told Chris that if he didn’t come along for the reconnaissance mission he was chicken. It was dusk and the stars were visible. We crossed through our garden then climbed the neighbor’s staircase leading to their veranda. I lifted the tub’s cover to immediately be hit with a cloud of steam. We completely flipped our lids and jumped in. The water was a whopping 104 degrees and tranquil.

On a different night when David joined Chris and I for a soak, David and I both agreed that this confirms that we are living like Kings. Sure we are sleeping in a decrepit house with the most passive homeowners in existence and trespass to watch shooting stars from our very own private spa, but living with less and utilizing what we have has caused us to sincerely appreciate our newfound postmodern palace.