Archive for the ‘TRAVEL / Gatherings’ Category

Time to pack up! Whenever going on an extended trip, the fridge has to be emptied of perishables.
2019-03-29 Fridge Cleanout

This trip is happening in the middle of Tax filing time so the days leading up to departure were filled with office tasks and last minute paper work.

I was able to get everything packed in time to play a few hours of poker on my way out.

Leaving the wildflower bloom of Texas and heading to the Southwestern desert super bloom!

 

March 30, Saturday

I was traveling with Vanessa on this trip so we had a few extra fun stops planned. The Cubs were in town playing the Rangers but we were heading out late and didn’t have time to stop for some batting practice.

We wanted to reach Tucumcari, NM by 9pm Mountain time to check in to our cute little artsy hotel on route 66.

 

March 30, Sunday

 

Sunday morning we walked the art covered route 66 over to a nice cafe for breakfast.

Diner

It was then time to research Montezuma Castle National Monument, Havasupai waterfalls and other cavern crevasses for the days exploration on the way to Mesa/Phoenix for the evening.

Havasupai was too far out of the way but we headed for some other great areas. We went through Tonto Forest over to Roosevelt Lake and the Tonto Monument for some preserved cave dwellings.

We drove through a nice brief snow on the high bluffs and then entered the lovely areas where flowers were blooming.

 

 

Tonto

It was getting dark as we entered a mountain pass that followed the Salt River into the city. It was about 20 miles to the other side but as we moved forward the pavement stopped and the road got narrow as the guard rails vanished high above the river cliff so we had to turn around. Better to be safe when there is an easier known path. It would require us to back track 40 miles but at least we would be traveling 70 mph instead of 20. Either way, we were going to arrive at our hosts place around 830pm.

Phoenix pool

April 1, Monday

Time to head for the ocean!

Patton MuseumDesert

cute mnt home

mountains

April 2, Tuesday

Started the first half the day recovering from the road trip with an extra long yoga session and workout. Did some beach prep and then worked on the blog, trip planning and taxes.

day3

The weather was too cool for the beach so I just walked around the neighborhood.

day 3 neighbor

day 3 suculants1

April 3, Wednesday

Too cool and cloudy again so I just spent the day looking for poker and darts information and studied the transit options. Got my day planned out for Thursday. I went out in the evening to check out the general neighborhood. I passed a girl in her 20’s crying and asked if I could help her. Meculah explained that her friend couldn’t make it to pick her up and she was stranded 40 miles from her house. Meculah’s phone battery was dead and she didn’t have a backup battery or power cord so she was having a panic attack. She couldn’t look up travel options and didn’t know what to do. She walked back with me to get my power cord and we talked and did some meditation exercises to calm her down while her phone charged. I refilled her water bottle while she decided to pay for a taxi home. I gave Meculah some pointers on taking the transit options and then continued on my walk as her ride drove off.

When Vanessa got home I drove us around Mulholland Drive for a mini sunset adventure. We found a trail head but it would take me about 15 minutes on a scooter to get up the canyon so I’m not sure if I will go do it or not.

 

 

April 4, Thursday

Did a quick workout and then wrote down my transit details for the day. I decided to go explore UCLA and then hang out in Santa Monica and hopefully find a poker game. The weather was crappy so I didn’t get to work on my tan but I did get on a bicycle and got a good workout in. I biked all the way down to Marina DelRay while getting reacquainted  with the Venice life.

 

As I strolled Venice I was sad to see the House of Weird never recovered. It was a great attraction that has been featured on many films. Some of the people (attractions) have found new shelter and remain in the area panhandling on the streets.

 

One of my favorite things to do when I am in Venice is to work out. There is Gold’s Gym (Muscle Beach) and the Cirque Du Soleil training area with some great options to workout.

day 5 acro

 

April 5, Friday

I did my taxes most of the day and then went exploring on the bus to the Japanese garden and the Sepulveda water basin. I jogged around that area and then got on a bus north to the dart tournament at a Lounge called Tender Glow. The Basin park is a massive area where tons of people have parties. They bring bouncy houses and setup all kinds of cool decorations! It is such a large area that there are a lot of transients camping in the woods and even the parking lots are full of RV’s. Law enforcement just asks them to move their vehicles around each day. The views are amazing.

 

It was about 3 miles north and 3 miles east of home base so not too far. It still took 1.5 hours on two buses to get there though. I passed this really nice rock garden along the way.

day 6 rock garden

At the tournament I shot great but the competition was difficult. My partner was not as accurate as my opponents so I had to make sure I hit the winning shots on my first try. Eventually I missed a couple and was eliminated in 5th place.

April 6, Saturday

We went to Topanga Canyon for breakfast. The health food options are amazing and there are so many cool little cafes. I love relaxing in the canyons.

 

I got to visit one of my favorite areas. In the past I had been active on the Topanga Chamber and Earth Day Committee which led to me spending a lot of time there with my buddy Will Pallagi. We didn’t find the road to the party ranch we used to spend the night at but we did find the park where I was in charge of the recycling for the Earth Day festival in 2010.

 

We also stopped at few market shops and took some fun pictures.

 

 

From Topanga we went back to the Sepulveda Lake park to get some spiritual celebration time. There was a Hare Krishna color festival waiting for us. It is a time to dance, chant and sing while rubbing ceremonial paint colors on those around you as a blessing. It is messy but really exciting.

 

We closed the day out by going to the Pet Cemetery Movie. It was very scary and I had a hard time watching it. I had some ear pressure that was also causing me eye pain so I had to wear sun glasses and shut the bad eye quite often but I made it through it. The film had a new ending from the previous movie and it caught everyone of guard. Let me know what you thought of it?!  🙂

Sunday, April 7

Started the day by taking the colored clothes to the laundry mat while Vanessa made us breakfast. We then headed out to her favorite Studio City farmers market. The market is always an enjoyable way to spend the morning.

day 8 farmers

From there we went downtown to the Renegade Craft fair.

day 8 market all

 

The location of the Renegade Craft Fair is in a park on the edge of China Town. It was a nice return to my past. This same park is where I enjoyed one of the funnest festivals ever. This is the site of where the Post-Burning Man L.A. decompression event is. You can read about that in my previous blog https://wordpress.com/post/freehelpinghands.wordpress.com/1227

Right next to the park was the warehouse district where there are amazing underground parties. I had another blast from the past vision in my head as we walked by the site of a High Times 420 party Will and I went to.

After the craft fair, we headed back through Topanga to watch the sunset on the beach in Malibu.

 

 

Monday, April 8

I left early with Vanessa and had her drop me off at the train station near her work so I could get down to South Bay as quickly as possible. I was going to go have lunch with one of my best buddies and former LA roomie, Sung. We have a ritual where we always hang at the Hermosa Pier and usually have drinks and lunch at this table over looking the beach.

The Long Beach train line is under construction so there is a major time delay due to a required bus detour. This construction really makes a metro visit from north L.A. to south L.A. unenjoyable. I left Woodland Hills at 9:30 and arrived at the Manhattan Beach station shortly after noon. It was so exciting being back in my old neighborhood. I walked around the soccer field on the way to Poliwog park where Sung was going to pick me up. Poliwog has a wonderful botanical garden to chill out in. I love reading and writing in this garden.

 

 

day 9 duck tanAfter lunch we went past Sung’s new house to get a tour and then he took me back to the train. I made it back to north Hollywood right on time and Vanessa picked me up to go to her birthday party at a Pizza cafe in Studio City.

Tuesday, April 9

I spent the morning doing some writing and house chores and then headed off to Runyon Canyon shortly after lunch.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 10

I went inland yesterday so today I am going coastal. I walked around the neighborhood on the way to the bus stop. There are beautiful gardens everywhere you look.

I got off the bus at UCLA to hike through the campus first.

As I waited at the bus stop I was approached by another wonderful adventurer.
(IG @StephanieByNature) Stephanie was trying to figure out the fastest bus or train route to the airport to catch a flight. We reviewed the transit maps together and exchanged contacts before boarding different buses. Once I was back on the bus I read about her adventures. She focuses a lot of energy on raising food and delivering it to people sleeping outdoors.

My next stop was the ocean to get some tanning in.

Day 11 beach

After my ocean fun, I headed back to Hollywood to meet Vanessa for a fun night at the Hollywood Improv for a ladies night special set. When we got out of the car I noticed we were in front of a store owned by one of my followers who actively comments on my adventures. (IG @Jannikolander)

Comedy Clubs are one of my favorite places to spend an evening.

Thursday, April 11

Today I followed the same path as yesterday but with a different ending. I moved past UCLA quicker so I could have more time at the mediation gardens.

I left the beach at 3pm so I could spend at least an hour at the meditation gardens before they closed at 4:30. This is one of my favorite garden parks in the world. https://lakeshrine.org/

Day 12 garden

After the gardens closed I headed over to Temescal Canyon for a sunset hike. This Canyon is one of my favorite hikes in LA because it has the least amount of people yet you get some nice ocean views and a stream trail as well. Head over to my youtube channel to view some of it.

day 13 temescal history

After sunset, I headed back by bus. It takes over 2 hours to complete the route going east to Sepulveda then north to Ventura and back west to Topanga north of the Mountain ridge.

 

Friday, April 12

I enjoy the Sunset/Beverly Hills/Temescal area so much that I wanted to spend one last day there with more time to go hiking. I had Vanessa drop me off at Sepulveda on the way to work and then I took the bus straight to Temsecal Canyon.

This time I hiked the east ridge to the boarder of Will Roger’s State Park until Vanessa was able to come join me.

We hiked the river trail for awhile and then it was time to head to my evening poker tournament. I won again and finished with a $250 profit. It was my last night to make some money and I finished below my goal for the week but I was ending the trip with more than I arrived with.

Saturday, April 13

South Bay is one of my favorite areas of LA and I have only been able to make it over there 1 time so far on this visit so today we are spending most of the day there.

It takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to go from Topanga down the PCH to Hermosa so you can not really do much else unless it is along the way.

We went to a Greatful Dead cover concert with the band called Cubensis. I try to catch one of their shows every visit.

Day 14 Cubensis

After the show we went for a little stroll and sunset on the beach.

Day 14 sunset

We closed the night out with a spiritual Kirtan and the Bhakti Yoga Shala. http://bhaktiyogashala.com/ 

Day 14 kirtan

 

Sunday, April 14

Sunday is a great day to be in LA. Some of my favorite things to do in LA happen on Sundays. I like to start the morning at the LA market on the way to the Agape Spiritual Center.

There is a center for day to day gatherings but on Sunday the celebrations are at the Saban Theatre. The theatre is amazing and the energy is so eclectic. Check out this video clip on my youtube channel. There is always several successful/famous people sitting around you or performing on the stage at Agape.

For lunch, I love going over to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Culver City.  This Hindu temple provides the most amazing vegetarian dishes for a very low price. ($6.95 entree’s and $2.95 sides!)

After lunch, we meditated in the temple as they prepared for Owner of the Ford Motor Company Foundation to arrive for a speech. Alfred Ford is an amazing inspiration and philanthropist. He has given a lot of his families fortune to spiritual causes.

Day 15 ISKON lineup

Then we went into the structure next to the temple which houses the Museum full of animated Vedic Diorama’s. It is only $10 for an amazing 45 minute tour through Hindu & Krishna history. Please check it out when you are in the area and make sure you give them some reviews on their yelp to help encourage more people to visit!

We finished our visit by participating in a fire prayer ceremony. This is a series of purification chants mixed with the burning of sacrifices like rice, sage, cedar, flowers, oils and other items. Check out the video on my youTube channel.

Day 15 ISKON fire

After we left ISKCON we went on our own little spiritual quest to harvest and bundle some sage. We know this amazing hike that is covered with white sage.

After such a full day, the time had finally arrived for me to depart back to Texas. I had to wait an extra hour and 30 minutes to leave because the flight crew was delayed. I barely made my connecting flight in DFW with just minutes to spare.

 

 

 

 

While opening the Helping Hands Network community learning center in East Texas, I was only 400 miles from New Orleans and the center of American Carnival celebrations. It is too much fun to pass up every few years.

 

I found a few scheduled poker and dart tournaments along the way and packed up Lil Blue, our 2006 Honda Element. I loaded up all our recycling to drop off a sorting center along the way.

2019-03-29 recycle

 

Once I arrived I went straight to the Friday night dart tournament location in the uptown district. It was a fun group of people and I made some money after losing 3 to 4 in the final.

2019-03-29 bracket

 

In between matches I was able to go outside and watch some of the parade as it passed by.

In the morning got breakfast and cleaned up along the way to midtown central park. The last time I was in the park was 2009. I lived in the park for a few months while helping with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The area I lived in was still the same for the most part. Some newer restoration has been completed on one of the Historical buildings.

2019-03-29 camp2019-03-29 park building.jpg

2019-03-29 park

After my workout at the park, I cruised the midtown parade route.

 

The midtown parade had some great costumes and a big music stage that played all day.

 

After the midtown parade, it was time to head down to the quarter for the parade down there and some French Quarter fun.  The night hike through the park on the way back to the car was very enjoyable.

2019-03-29 park all

The parade litter is so filthy it is worth sharing images to help everyone consider the consequences.

2019-03-29 float

 

I usually end my evening with a pass through Burbon Street that ends at the Harrah’s casino. The cards went well for me again and I made enough to pay for the entire trip.

In the morning I did a workout on top of the parking garage and then headed back to the Hawkins Learning Center project.

I was also able to time it just right to play a poker tournament at this amazing Baton Rouge Casino.

19_SXSW_Website-SEO

My very first SxSW was in 2010.

For most of 2008 and 2009 I was in the upper Midwest involved with renewable energy projects and a few charity programs. This led to some press for the Helping Hands Network which eventually led up to our SxSW invite.

The adventure began when I was invited to speak at a Tech Conference in New Orleans as part of the VoDoo Festival and then that same group invited me to SxSW.

I was given an upper level pass for tech, film and music access over 14 days. Only talent, staff and VIP’s had more access. It allowed me to get the full experience from inside any regular event I wanted to go to.  I quickly learned that the music was mostly newer groups looking to get record deals while the big name groups stay away until the Austin City Limits festival. This swayed my focus towards the Tech presentations during week #1.

Right away I learned that anyone can use Tweet Deck to monitor hash tag updates on most any tech related presentations. Between Tweet Deck and live streaming there is a limited need to even attend the presentations. This allowed me to attend one topic forum while following a second online at the same time.

As Tech week winded down, I started to review all the amazing film options. It is quite the challenge to organize all these events you want to see and an even bigger feat to make it to them on time when they can be several blocks apart.

The point of my story is that the films are educational and they are the main reason I like to return to the festival. Unfortunately in 2019, films cost $16 each without a $825 FILM PASS!

 

Now, on to the 2019 experience!

I stayed home and worked during Tech week. Anytime I was able to be at my desk, I turned on Tweet Deck and followed the action. SxSW also streamed a live feed on their YouTube channel that I monitored. I enjoyed some interviews with the Beastie Boys the most. As Film weekend arrived I loaded up the car and headed for Austin. I loaded the live stream and listened to it during the 5 hour drive.

My first stop after arriving in Austin is Texas Bar and Grill for a dart tournament.

2019-03-26 Darts

As I looked around at the competition it became apparent that I had the highest average in the room. I just needed to avoid two of their top players getting partnered up. It was a good event with a trips pot exceeding $2200. Everywhere I compete there are always some variations in rules or tournament structure and Austin has something I have never experienced before. Normally if there is an odd amount of entries, the tournament director asks for any volunteers to sit out or the director will sit out to keep the teams even. This Austin event is unique because they instead draw for a random player to get to play on two teams. This ultimately could lead to a player getting both first and second place prize money if all goes well.

On this night, I got a newer player for a partner and one of the top Austin players got to be the lucky odd player with two partners. In addition, both of that players partners had more than double the average of my partner. I kept the games close but I eventually ended up in the top 8 and missed out on being drawn for any of the bonus prizes.

On a positive note, I was done by 11pm and had time to cruise around the party scene downtown if I wanted. I chose to head for my camping spot and call it an early night.

I camp in front of a yoga retreat that has a small park just south of the river. As I arrived I was shocked to discover that the park had been sold and it is now fenced in for a beer garden. In past years I was able to do a workout on the padded roof of a food camper in the park but that had all changed. I was now forced to site outside this wall and meditate while facing the sunrise behind a locked gate.

 

The first scheduled event of the day was the documentary “Community First” which started at 11am. Community First is a community that started as a vision by Alan Graham to feed the homeless through a mobile food delivery service he calls Mobile Loaves & Fishes.

I packed my travel bag and hit the road on the scooter. First stop was breakfast and a cleanup then I headed over to the river trails to do another short workout until it was time for the film. There was a relaxing blues band playing on the bridge so I stayed there and did another workout.

2019-03-26 scooter

As 11am drew near, I headed over to the theater. It was $16 for a mid day film but at least part of the money was going to a great cause. I can’t believe people shell out $825 for a pass and still only go to just a handful of events. They probably average paying closer to $80 per film! SxSW administrators definitely need to restructure their financials.

I knew a little about the Community First village from my Co-Housing community based newsletters so I was excited to see a more in depth follow up. ( http://MLF.org & http://CommunityFirstTheMovie.com )

I had no idea that it started out as a mobile food delivery service (Mobile Loaves & Fishes / MLF). I also did not realize that it has grown at a very rapid pace and expanded to offer several income generating trade skills for over 500 people while removing them from homelessness. It is an amazing story that started around 1998. I have been slowly forming a similar movement and the MLF model is the perfect example for our Helping hands Network. They are 10 years ahead of us and if HHN just follows similar goals, we hope to be promoting similar results. If you are ever in Austin, please let me know and I will go tour Community First village with you.

2019-03-26 Community

After the film we had a Q&A with the Director, Layton Blaylock. Layton made a comment about being inspired to promote the amazing example of MLF in order to encourage other Community projects to form. As a CoHo consultant on many projects, I felt obligated to speak out so I stood up and introduced myself and assured him that his work was being noticed and consultants like me are following these examples.

After the Q&A, Layton’s wife approached me to have a chat and the lady sitting beside me also introduced herself. They were both interested in my projects and the lady beside me was the Chief Officer of the MLF. Amber Fogarty, MLF CEO invited me to follow up and visit during their consultant weeks. This will be a great project to be more involved with so I told her that I would go tour the village as soon as I can and get back to her. I had other plans to have some nature time on Sunday on my way home so I was not sure if I could make an appointed time.

After the film, I got on the scooter and cruised 6th street for lunch. West 6th street is your Irish St. Patty’s day headquarters and home to the average 30-50 something crowds. It is where I most enjoy the atmosphere. As you travel east down 6th street it becomes more gangster and grunge until you reach the river bend and dip south into Hipsterville. In past years there has been a wonderful Latino festival along the river on the final Saturday but the date must have changed this time around.

Every where you look there are bikes and scooters. It is cool to see people exercising and minimizing the use of gas vehicles. I recommend everyone watch season 22 episode 5 of South Park to get a good insight parody of the situation!

I went in to the convention center to check out the gaming convention and see who was performing on the free music stage. It was an entertaining MidEastern rap group. On my way out I met this wonderful group going around to educate people on the Honey Bee becoming endangered.

From there I completed the trail and bridge around downtown and back over to the park around the Palmer Events Center. This is where there is the biggest stage with some of the better known bands. There is also a workout station that I enjoy to balance out the lazy part of the day.

 

2019-03-26 save bees2019-03-26 concert

 

To end the day I headed back to play darts. I forgot to ask where the Saturday night event was so I ended up in the wrong place and arrived to the proper tournament too late. I hung out for awhile and then went to play cards instead. The cards went my way and I made enough money to pay for the whole trip.

2019-03-26 poker The next morning I planned a visit to the Hamilton Pool caves to hike and do my morning yoga workout.

 

I discovered that the park has limited parking so it has to schedule $11 reservations and charge a  $15 day fee. The reservations are booked full for most weekend days and there are very few week days even open so any visitors traveling through the area will hardly ever get to experience the area unless you get dropped off outside the entrance or ride a bike and talk your way in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next stop was to try to drive around Willie Nelson’s Luck Ranch. I was just hoping the gate would be open because I always wanted to visit but I have never been able to get an introduction into the proper circle. I was going to be limited to just flying a drone over head for the time being. Upon my arrival, the gate was in deed closed. I sat in the driveway a few minutes planning my next stop in hopes someone would come greet me or enter through the gate but to avail. I proceeded to drive up to the highest point surrounding the ranch so I could get a nice aerial view and take this picture of the Luck Ranch sign which mimic’s the Hollywood sign. (top left corner)

2019-03-26 Willie

My next stop was to find food and brush my teeth. Around the next corner was a nice taco shack and my quest was successful. I met a wonderful traveler with a very similar life to mine named Demetri Triant while waiting for our food. I also coordinated a visit with one of my cousins who lived a few blocks down the road. We had last met when we both lived in LA in 2013 so our reunion was long over due.

2019-03-27 Jen

It was getting late by the time we were done talking so I had to skip trying to sneak into Hamilton pool and the route to Community First village was 3 hours out of the way so going back through to the East edge of Austin was not going to be possible. It was time to head back to our projects at the Hawkins Learning Center.

 

 

———————- BELOW ARE SOME PreTRIP NOTES ——————————–

 

**NOTE TO SELF – bring the scooter AND the cable lock….  😉

WATCH LIVE! 

https://www.sxsw.com/live/

 

WILLIE’S PRIVATE PARTY

http://luckreunion.com/

2019-03-15 (1)

 

COMEDY SCHEDULE!

https://tinyurl.com/y2lvmhkw

 

FILM SCHEDULE!

Community First, A Home for the Homeless
Director: Layton Blaylock
Community First, A Home for the Homeless, is a feature documentary about a totally unique concept for mitigating homelessness. Conceived and created in Austin, Texas, Community First! Village is truly transforming the lives of homeless people. (World Premiere)

 

I Am Richard Pryor
Director/Screenwriter: Jesse James Miller
I Am Richard Pryor tells the life story of the legendary performer and iconic social satirist, who transcended race and social barriers by delivering his honest irreverent and biting humor to America’s stages and living rooms until his death at 65. (World Premiere)

It Started As a Joke
Directors: Julie Smith Clem, Ken Druckerman
It Started As a Joke documents the decade-long run of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival. The film celebrates Eugene’s unique brand of humor and reminds us of the healing properties of comedy – even in the most challenging of life’s circumstances. (World Premiere)

 

Jezebel
Director/Screenwriter: Numa Perrier
A true story. In the last days of her mother’s life, 19-year-old Tiffany crashes with five family members in a Las Vegas studio apartment. In order to make ends meet, her sister, a phone sex operator, introduces her to the world of fetish cam girls. Cast: Tiffany Tenille, Numa Perrier, Stephen Barrington, Bobby Field, Brett Gelman, Rockwelle Dortch, Zoe Tyson, Dennis Jaffee, Jessa Zarubica (World Premiere)

Amazônia Groove
Director/Screenwriter: Bruno Murtinho
Leaving Belem and crossing much of the Para State Amazon region, its towns and riverside villages, Amazônia Groove reveals artists and their traditions, faith and mysticism, music and life that pound in the northern region of Brazil. (North American Premiere)

Bluebird
Director: Brian Loschiavo
Discover the origin stories of megastars like Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift while following emerging singer-songwriters as they chase their dreams inside The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville’s accidental landmark that has altered the course of music history. (World Premiere

The Mountain
Director: Rick Alverson, Screenwriters: Rick Alverson, Dustin Guy Defa, Colm O’Leary
A well known physician, in the decline of his career, takes a young man on a desperate tour of rural mid-century hospitals, advocating for a new controversial procedure. Cast: Tye Sheridan, Jeff Goldblum, Hannah Gross, Denis Lavant, Udo Kier

 

Cobra Kai Season 2
We are proud to present a special screening of the second season ofCobra Kai, the hit YouTube Premium Original Series, starring Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. Exclusively premiering at SXSW, YouTube and Sony Pictures Television will screen the first two episodes of the second season followed by a Q&A panel with series stars Ralph Macchio (Daniel LaRusso), William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence) andMartin Kove (Kreese) along with the Cobra Kai series creators and executive producers Josh HealdJon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.

 

How Rednecks Saved Hollywood with Joe Bob Briggs
Director/Screenwriter: Joe Bob Briggs
America’s drive-in movie critic uses 200 video clips and photos to tell the 500-year history of the American redneck in a multimedia comedy performance

The Trial (United Kingdom, U.S.) 
Director: Johanna Hamilton
Meet the lawyers tasked with defending 9/11 suspects against the U.S. government.

 

 

 

The Beach Bum
Director/Screenwriter: Harmony Korine
The Beach Bum follows the hilarious misadventures of Moondog (Matthew McConaughey), a rebellious rogue who always lives life by his own rules. Co-starringSnoop DoggZac Efron, and Isla FisherThe Beach Bum is a refreshingly original and subversive. Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Stefania Lavie Owen, Jimmy Buffett, Zac Efron, Martin Lawrence (World Premiere)

 

The Highwaymen
Director: John Lee Hancock, Screenwriter: John Fusco
The outlaws made headlines. The lawmen made history. From director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), The Highwaymen stars Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson in the untold true story of the legendary detectives who brought down Bonnie and Clyde. Cast: Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Kathy Bates, Kim Dickins (World Premiere)

 

Pet Sematary
Directors: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, Screenwriter: Jeff Buhler
Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King. The new Pet Sematary trailer premieres online tomorrow! Click here to be one of the first to see it. Cast List: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie and John Lithgow

 

Autonomy
Director: Alex Horwitz
A feature documentary about the emerging technology of self-driving vehicles and the big questions they raise: what is control and who do we become as we relinquish it to machines? (World Premiere)

 

 

 

Friday 3/15/19

FILM

Richard Pryor Documentary Premier

 

OTHER

Irish Music @ BD Rileys & the Convention Center

 

Saturday  3/16/19

FILM

 

OTHER

https://tinyurl.com/y6f25nn7

 

2019-03-15

Sunday

Register online Saturday night!
Camping near Hamilton Pool ($11 online advance registration required ; $15 per car at gate) Construction delays. Registration in 9-1p and 2-6pm slots only!  THIS SUCKS but the beauty is worth it. We will see if I get kicked out for trying to spend the whole day on Sunday.  https://parks.traviscountytx.gov/parks/hamilton-pool-preserve

23 miles west of Austin on Hwy 71

**CHECK out Willie’s Ranch as I drive by….

 

 

 

 

 

1/23/19 – On my way to volunteer at PCB / Mexico Beach Florida with sponsor Dehning Enterprises (Ryan Dehning). If you have any remodeling needs in the Lincoln Nebraska area please look up Dehning.  😉

pcb funding flyer

 

1/24 – I spent the day researching what is really going on behind the media cover up in the disaster areas.

Here are the links of the day.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/1894395817265015?view=permalink&id=2027406497297279

https://www.technologyprofitfilter.com/blog/new-year-new-perspective

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/24/687729891/struggling-here-with-just-living-in-the-aftermath-of-hurricane-michael?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20190124

https://www.wjhg.com/content/news/About-11000-volunteers-from-southeastern-states-assist-in-Hurricane-Michael-recovery-process-through-Helping-Hands-program-499599081.html

ChipleyPaper.com

https://m.facebook.com/groups/694808767556389?view=permalink&id=757950227908909

 

In summary,  i’m discovering that USDA issued checks for repairs but they can not be cashed until the government shut down opens the USDA offices.

 

FEMA issued $425 checks (1x only) for emergency food and utility bills. They also provided labor forces to install tarps over as many damaged roofs as possible but they only last until a strong wind takes them down again. It is the best short term immediate repair at least. There were hundreds of thousands affected by this storm so the few FEMA trailers that were available were dispersed quietly to prevent large scale chaos.

Locals are forced to stay in hotels because they have limited utility service and holes in their roofs. This has driven up the room prices while limiting space for construction workers. At the same time, campgrounds are closed due to damage or the government work shut down so there is limited camping for workers in RVs.

 

Insurance companies are denying a lot of claims citing a flood insurance loop hole and they are setting $15,000!!!! deductables which leave owners without enough money for the actual repairs.

Without places to stay within budget,  there are not enough workers so people have to wait so long that they are just giving up and moving away. I’ve been told people are scheduled 8 months out from a work date!!!

1/25

Today we traveled over the central and eastern disaster areas.

I have explored a lot of natural disaster areas over the years of volunteering but this is the largest storm in US history on a scale of hectares affected. Everywhere in aprox. a 100 mile wide by 300 some mile area north rectangled zone had major infrastructure damage. It is just mind blowing. If you ever watch war films you can visualize the imagery.

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There are a lot of people from the Wewahitchka area sending me information and stories about damage that can not be repaired. There are so many different reasons.

We spent about an hour talking to people at the library where FEMA had a command center set up.

 

We visited two county building commission offices and got liscense applications and packets in order to contract full roof replacements.

By mid day I had not received any leads on qualifying volunteer projects and Ryan was not able to get a liscense until completing an exam which would take at least a week so we decided to head back west tomorrow.

1/26

We spent the day in Biloxi MS and set up a plan to get Ryan’s paper work done so I would be able to update all the people who told us they were interested in our help.

1/27

Heading back to my TX office to regroup at the Hawkins Learning Center!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m living near Honolulu for awhile so I’m writing about some of my highlights.

I arrived late in the night and went straight to bed. The birds and cool ocean breeze wake me up at 5:30 every morning so I get up and start stretching. I eventually work my way outside to a lava stone pad over looking the ocean waves as the sun rises. After a round of yoga, meditation and weights we go for a walk or jog. Playground equipment down the street provides hand stand and pull up bars and hopefully some soccer practice.

I’m wishing I would have brought the drone along to get some aerial shots but here is what I got to share….  enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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So far the wind is keeping the volcano ash, glass and gas toxins from circulating around Honolulu is large quantities. It was raining was I arrived and I am very cautious of the toxin content in the rain however. It is only a matter of time before I get enough exposure to confirm or deny any danger. Stay tuned…..

 

 

 

After morning workouts were complete we went to the Kaimuki district for lunch and shopping. I found a near perfect salad at the Big City Diner with a view of these wonderful murals. The neighborhood Goodwill had just what I was looking for. I picked up a $8 Pilate ball, $12 work boots, a $3 bamboo yoga beach mat and $3 ankle weights.

For the afternoon we went to the KKC (Community College) Succulent Gardens and Farmers market. And then completed the evening at a blow hole cove where you can do some dangerous undertow cliff diving.

 

 

 

 

Day 2 (WED 6/6/18)
Time to go get a bicycle. Found a few options on craigslist to go inspect.

First chance I get, I am going to go jog up this step incline crater called KoKo Head.

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Completed the days workout and then studied maps of the area until it was time to go for a ride. We drove to Waikiki for a walk and got an Acai fruit bowl and pineapple-banana smoothie for lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Waikiki, we had to go on a scout near the KCC park again. I explored a Community Center and found some weight machines to use while Vanessa and the Producer did their thing. I used the free time to do more research on places to play darts and poker. I got some good replies and began planning everything. There are weekly dart tourney’s on Fridays at Y’s Sports Bar and poker at a few home games. I also got a reply confirming a 730p appointment to buy a decent $80 bike for $20.

After answering a few questions, I was given the location for a poker game that was ready to start and I headed over to play. The game was in a private condo of a high rise so I had Vanessa hang around until I gave her a safety call. Upon entering the condo I was greeted by a very friendly and beautiful Hawaiian gal. She explained the rules as she showed me around. The first room had a buffet bar setup, the second room had the NBA finals on a big screen with a full table of card players. A third room was setup for another table game and then there was a nice clean bathroom and a balcony (Lanai) connected to it.

First time players get a free $50 and you get another $100 if you bring a new player with you. You also can make another $1-200 on bonus hands. The cards were very favorable to me this day. I had a run of high pocket pairs with medium size pots. I played very conservative the first hour as I studied my opponents. One newer player with deep pockets decided to call my pre-flop $35 raise and then call another $130 raise to chase a flush while I was pushing with a top pair over the board. This $350 hand would be the only large hand I would lose. Shortly after, I hit quad 7s for $120 pot but when my opponent folded I assumed the $100 bonus would be dead and I mucked the cards. I then discovered that I would get the $100 regardless if I showed my cards. After 2 hours, Vanessa was ready to go to a Jazz Club for the evening and I cashed out with $103 profit.

 

 

 

We went to a fancy Jazz Club for the nights entertainment. The Blue Room was $23 to enter with a $10 min. purchase for a 60 minute set. The theme for the evening was Amy Whinehouse, which I have never really listened to. I enjoyed the experience but unfortunately my stomach as not right when we arrived and the music was not settling. The club had too many speakers and they were way too loud to enjoy the music. I prefer a calm soothing acoustic jazz experience in a small scratchy joint like the Zoo Bar in Lincoln Nebraska. My current situation was only made more irritable by the herd of cattle stampeding shoulder to shoulder in this Waikiki district. The human over population found in such a metropolis just makes physically ill regardless.

 

At the end of the night we went to pickup the bicycle. I assumed there would be a few repairs needed since the bike was only $20. The owner was a bit shady about needing a new tube unfortunately. This will be a difficult challenge for me tomorrow as I need to take the wheels off the bike with no tools and then I have to walk the wheels to a bike shop to get new tubes installed.

 

 

 

 

Day 3 (Thursday, 6/7)

I had to cut my workout short on this morning because we needed to leave by 9:15. We went to midtown for Vanessa’s first appointment. I meditated from the top of a tall building over looking the mountain valley. As I came down from my meditation I noticed a massive tree claiming nearly half the block next to me.

 

 

 

I hiked over and discovered this ancient Kapok tree covered in human waste. This tree has survived longer than most any other on the island and here it is being disrespected by people too self centered to keep the space manicured. It made me cry a little as I looked around for something to hold all the rubbage as I picked it up. After 30 minutes I filled a plastic tote with the help of 2 lizzards. I was tempted to dump it in the middle of the street to make a point but choose to set it on the corner for people to notice as they waited at the light. Hopefully a few of the 1000+ driving by were inspired to make a change. There is little to no reason for us to support packaged products in this day and age where everything is in such abundance that lightly used items are available in second hand markets. And what packaged items we do need to buy so badly, need to be responsibly biodegradable or mass recycled.

Islands especially, have no where to bury this trash so they burn it and recover a very small percentage for energy production. A much larger upcycle is present with the recycling process instead.

 

 

Our next few stops were at film & job site sets. It is always interesting to experience construction and film mixed together while in progress.

 

 

 

We then drove this long bridge road through a safe section of the volcano to go enjoy a few hours on Kailua Beach and pickup some things at the areas shops.

 

 

Day 4, Friday 6/8

My goal is to start working out shortly after day break each morning and have breakfast completed by 8am. I want to jog to the beach or other parks and start writing before the mid day heat. In the middle of each day I want to drive or bike around exploring and then play poker until I make $200. Te sooner I hit my $200 goal, the sooner I can get back to enjoying the outdoors.

Here is a image of my workout area in the back yard over looking the ocean.

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After my workout I took a skateboard over to the beach and completed the first 2 pages of the 2017 Helping Hands Comic. (Long over due I know!)

Skater Tim

 

This would be my first day to go explore on my own so I needed to get the bicycle tuned up. I was worried that the tire tubes would need replaced because the hand pump was not working. After I was done writing I took the bike over to a service station to use their compressor. Everything worked out great. Both tires ended up being good so I was able to start riding around. I lubed everything, picked up a new lock and some lights and started biking to the beach.

 

I enjoyed the Pan Pacific Festival and sunset at Waikiki before ending that at a blind draw dart tournament.

 

 

 

 

 

The tournament was very challenging because it was very crammed together plus it was handicapped against me and the throw lines were too far back. I struggled between the appearance of cheating as I stood in front of the line but at the actual correct throwing distance. My opponents knew why I was doing it but yet they honored the incorrect distance and just the psychology of the situation really lowered my accuracy. I compensated just well enough to win the tournament with a friendly lady who enjoyed her drinks while staying calm when the games were a bit hairy.

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Day 5 Saturday,  6/9

Today was a King’s birthday so there was a parade from the Palace to Waikiki. We enjoyed the parade and a larger farmers market and then walked around a nice art district.

 

 

We also found a Banyon tree that the locals use as a playground. Several people were taking turns swinging from the vines so we joined in.

 

 

 

When I was exploring yesterday, I found a great secluded park where people openly accepted pets and the clothing optional custom so I took Vanessa to hangout there until it was time to go to the evening dart tournament.

 

 

Day 6 Sunday 6/10

Spiritual Sunday is a good reminder to doing something extra spiritual. We used the day to explore some temples. On the way to our first destination fate steered us towards a nice hiking trail at the peak of the valley we entered. It was surrounded by a  Pacific Pine forest. I hiked until the elevation surpassed the Pines climate and it opened up to more of a brush vegetation. The path was constantly muddy because I was so high that I was in the rain clouds. I reached the summit and got a wonderful view of all of Honolulu on one side and the mountains valleys on the other.

 

 

We then spent a few hours eating our picnic lunch, reading and drawing at the Japanese Garden on the UH campus.

 

 

We closed the night with sunset at Bellows AF Base Beach and then watched the Han Solo Star Wars movie at the theater by our house.

 

At the end of week one, I have made $103 at poker and $35 at darts. I’ve spent $20 on food, $40 on supplies (Bicycle) and $11 on a movie.

 

WEEK 2 –

Day 7 Monday, 6/11

I was falling behind on my writing goals so I did a quick workout and then spent the first half of the day writing. Around 2p I headed to the beach and then over to poker for most of the day.

 

On the way home I took a road that follows the coast around Diamond Head crater. It was a very enjoyable path with amazing mega mansions. It is hard to believe that nearly 40% of them are vacant. You can even explore several lots where the original structures have been demolished. The expensive landscaping features are just left behind to give you the feeling that you are wondering around a park of some kind.

There is only one elevated climb for about a half mile and the rest of the way you can relax. Near the highest point you will see this lighthouse and a few grand entry’s like I have shown above.

Day 8, Tuesday, June 12 

Leg day workout! I shifted in to high gear soon after waking up. I skipped my morning yoga routine and went straight to the bike. By 7:30 I was biking 2.5 miles towards one of the highest peaks on Oahu called Koko crater. It was used as a military missile defense bunker at the top and it has a rail system that was established to haul supplies and soldiers up and down. It has been opened to the public to use as a training trail. Over 1,048 rail tie steps assist you on a climb to the peak. (images below from Google Images)

 

Once I reached the top I did a 15 minute meditation and 15 minutes of yoga while being surrounded by a group of college girls from Brasil. A few other yogi’s were also practicing near me and (IG) @YogiNja81 took this amazing picture of me below. The silhouette of a Brasilian gals hair blowing in the wind towards me while meditating makes a great picture.

For the evening, Vanessa and I went on a lovely wind down hike. We were joined by a lovely rainbow near us at the top of the Wa’Ahila Ridge.

 

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Day 9, Wednesday June 13

What a great way to spend my 21st anniversary of what I call “my second life”. On June 13th, 1997 I should have been killed when hit by a car while riding my motorcycle but higher powers spared me to continue inspiring others towards positive change.

After focusing on an upper body workout to start the morning, I committed 4 hours to complete some more writing goals before hitting the beach.

We finished the day with a light tower hike. It is about a mile long trail with a gradual incline that provides lovely cliff views.

 

Day 10, Thursday June 14

After stretching I began searching for a plane ticket back to Texas. I used the morning to get some more writing done and then went to the beach for awhile. The next 2 days we made reservations at a camp site on the northern shore so a few hours today were spent packing for our weekend adventure.

The drive around the north shore is much more enjoyable because there are far fewer buildings and people. The roadside however, has a large amount of abandoned vehicles.

 

The north shore is also home to several shopping centers where groups of ran down food trucks provide the locals a way to generate income. There are several within minutes of our campground. We loaded up on food just before checking in to our cabin.

The Lanei campground contained about 20 cabins and another 20 tent spots with several outdoor fresh water showers spread in between. There were two private bath houses with plumbing which help validate the $65 nightly fee.

Our #10 cabin probably had the best location out of all of them. Check out these pictures!

As the sunlight faded we enjoyed a walk on the beach and then settled in for the night. The cabin beside us had 3 ladies in their 30s and a mid aged man who enjoyed their alcohol under the stars. It was a bit breezy for me but we sat outside and watched the stars for a bit before going in to play a Hawaiian language card game. The sound of the waves and the cool breeze was so comforting that we were sleepy within minutes of starting a movie.

Day 11, Friday June 15

At times the wind and waves would wake us up. The view was so amazing that we could not help stepping out on the porch for a few deep breathes and late hour meditation.

As the sun rose, here was the morning view out the door.

The day was spent relaxing and doing yoga on the beach, swimming and laying around reading and writing. We went over to a food truck court and had some wonderful Thai food for dinner. The evening was a perfect repeat of Thursday night.

Day 12, Saturday June 16

More walks on the beach followed by short workouts and a little reading before packing up. On the way back to Honolulu we drove the rest of the way up the North Shore to the H2 expressway exit. We stopped at a farm fresh cafe and got an amazing veggie pizza and smoothie. I pulled over at a few beach areas along the way. One spot had some cliff jumpers surrounded by coral pool snorkelers. We also walked around Haleiwa waiting for time to catch up to us. I was going to a big $3500 dart tournament for the evening and Vanessa had fun night planned with the ladies.

 

I arrived at the tournament site 2 hours early to allow me time to play 10 games on a Dartslive rating card. It was a requirement to have this in order to play the event. The boards were unable to pair my card rating with the handicap software though so I still ended up borrowing the top rated card available from the event organizer.

I was fortunate to get paired up with a solid player. Paohoeo was a 5 foot, 120 lb. local from the Wahiawa area. He has lived here over 50 years and has watched the sport of darts evolve around him. The top pro rating on the Dartslive rating scale is 18. Pao (Peter) was a 5 and that basically means he hits what he is aiming at 1 out of the three darts.

I’m a 16-17 so we took both our ratings combined as a team and in comparison, all of the other teams had total’s below ours with the exception of one team. This would require us to give all the other teams a head start most of the tournament. The head start makes it very difficult for pro’s to win. Dartslive software also has created a shadow around the fair start procedure. Top competitions use a cork/diddle to choose the player who starts first in a tie-breaker game but this tournament allowed the computer to choose.

We won our first 3 matches with the help of a lucky finish. We escaped a very close game 3 where we played cricket with only points. A standard cricket game hits 3 marks on the 20 through 15 zone and the bullseye and the winner is the first to do that. The winner may be ahead in points if needed. In this game both teams closed the 20 & 19 zones. I closed the 18 and our opponent closed the 17. Our opponents remained slightly ahead of us on points and went most of the game without closing the 18. It was so close that I told Pao to never throw at the 17 because the Dartslive software stops the game at round 25 and it was likely going to come down to points. Our opponents gained a 100 point lead and threw at the 18 four darts in the final 3 rounds giving us the advantage. My very last throw of the game in round 25 required me to score over 100 to win. Two tripple 18’s equals 108 points and I was very fortunate to do just that to allow us to win the match.

We had a great run to the final 8 on the winners side before meeting Hawaii’s top ranked pro, Philman Reyes. The winner of this match would have a smooth path to the $1900 final. We split the first 2 games. Pao hit a perfect finish to win the first game of 701. Philman out shot me in the cricket game 2. We were awarded the start in game 3 and began with the advantage. I held my average and the lead down to the final rounds before having a twist of bad luck. I made a poor decision and slightly over corrected my final throw which allowed Reyes to take the win. My $550 for first started slipping away into the night.

We won our next match on the down side of the bracket and I began studying the other remaining 6 teams. The losers bracket format was only 501 games. All the other teams had low averages and I knew we would be giving up a large head start and I would need to throw near perfect to make it up. The next match had a player evenly matched with my skill level but he had a 43 point head start and won the start. We both rarely missed and took turns winning the first 2 games. He got the start in game 3 and his partner out scored mine just enough that I never got a shot to win. We both missed 1 dart in round 3 and he finished the game on 116.

It was a fun night with many new friends but I’m left with the bitter finish and lack of a Philman rematch to make up for my quarter final failure.

 

Day 13, Sunday June 17

We were so worn out that we took the day to relax and watch movies. We did take a nice sunset walk. It was a perfect cloud formation and the beams of light were amazing.

Day 14, Monday June 18

I twisted a muscle wrong during my workout so I spent most of the day writing and taking it easy. At the end of the day we went and hiked Kuliouou Ridge. You drive up the neighborhood and park on the street at the top of the valley and enter the trail there.

I could have taken better pictures but I was focused on doing a trail video for the YouTube channel vBlog.  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF934F9293E21137B

 

Day 15, Tuesday June 19
Spent the morning updating my WILL and organized videos on the youtube channel. Finally added the 360 videos from last week and promoted them on the Facebook group. Spent the afternoon writing some more.

Day 16, Wednesday June 20

Still recovering from some back pain. Went for a walk to the park and spent the morning writing. After a challenging poker day last week I convinced myself to avoid Monday’s game and go into today with a better attitude and larger bankrole. I was still feeling the disappointment from letting 1st place at Darts on Saturday slip away from me but I convinced myself to stay positive. I’m glad I went because I had a good run of cards and took down an extra $350 in pots. Every once in awhile you get that Ace-Jack TX Hold’em hand where the board runs mixed 8,9,10 and you get 2 callers chasing into a massive pot. The Queen turns to keep the flush alive while making our straight with the Ace as a river bonus. I put it all in to force out the flush draw and one caller with 10-Jack stayed in expecting a chop at worst. My night would be made if a non flush King showed up for the river and that was exactly what we were delt!!!  🙂

I left shortly after knowing a win like that would rarely come back in the same night. After getting home I was able to get a few more hours of writing done thanks to the rush from that success.

Day 17, Thursday June 21

Today I finally finished the 2017 edition of the Helping Hands Comic. Issue #13 is now available on Amazon. A sneak peek is also available here on the blog for our supporters.

I spent the day with Vanessa as she did her tasks. The bike tire was flat this morning so we stopped at a shop and invested another $17 for a new tube install. We ate a great salad and smoothie at a Vegan Peace Cafe and then went to a lovely hidden beach cove near the Ko Olina resorts. I about injured myself on the slippery reef rocks trying to lay down with a Tortoise. TAKE YOUR TIME & STAY LOW ON REEF ROCKS. The lava rocks especially have jagged Knife edges every few inches that will end your life quickly.

For dinner we went to a Sushi cafe where the items go around you on a conveyor belt. We spent the evening with another one of Vanessa’s amazing friends. They all have such interesting successful lives. Today’s friend was a Laker Girl alumni.

Day 18, Friday June 22

I try to start most days with a new exploration during a bike or jog after a brief lifting or yoga session. Today I went to a new beach called Kawaikui. It was one of the best yet. You start at a nice park with plumbing and showers and stone picnic tables and then you can walk about a mile along the beach behind nice mansions.

I did a bench workout and then jogged the beach. Along the way I found the best nomad shelter yet. This person found a great clump of tree’s to hide a large tent and several coolers. Most people would not have noticed the entrance. I found several nice teal rocks, coral and petrified walnuts. I also found 2 perfectly weathered limbs to use as walking sticks. One section lies behind a church that had organ music and a wedding service in progress. The best discovery was a black sand section. A black sand beach with very few reef rocks or large chunks of coral is very rare on Oahu.

Once I returned to the house I checked the latest youtube blogs that I like to follow.
Hall of Fame Poker Player, Daniel Negreanu has a great blog going during the WSOP. Today he posted a heart felt message about wanting to help more charitable causes after a big multi-million dollar win so we wrote him the following message. We have been on a mission to get more supporters of his caliber so it would be great to be on his friends list.

*CHARITY POST – So sorry to hear about that horrible beat today Daniel. That was the definition of sick…. to be near top stack with the best hand & suck a big stack all in just to be crushed on a 2 outter. I’m about to play a PLO cash game in Honolulu today and hope to avoid such a hit. I even feel bad when I’m on the winning end of a huge suck out.
I PLAY FOR CHARITY also. I have set up a national network where our supporters share stories about causes in need and then I direct the resources as they become available. You can read about our Charity at: wordpress.com/FreeHelpingHands and message me for more info. We have currently raised about $6k of $50k needed to purchase a community center property east of Dallas and that is our main cause this month.
I follow your path more than most because we share a lot of interests like soccer and Vegas life and healthy veggie eating/living etc. My life is basically the low budget grinder yogi version of yours. Hope to talk more with you about your Charity/Philanthropy goals soon.  Blessings.

I spent the afternoon starting comic issue #14. I’m way behind my writing goals at this point with only 3 days remaining on the island. I really hoped to have the next edition of “Life’s Little Secrets” ready by Sunday.

After the morning routine, I went to a beach further east of the house. This beach had the best stretch of soft black sand that I have experienced on Oahu.

After Vanessa was done working I took her back to walk the black sand beach at sunset before going to a dart tourney.

For the evening tourney my partner was a quite shy Japanese woman named Nao. She was calm and confident in her ability and only asked me what to aim at when our Cricket games were close. We only lost one game on our way to a first place finish.

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Day 19, Saturday June 23

We went to a flea market and did some urban hiking along the city marina.

I don’t write about food very often but I can’t close out this blog without talking about how many great health food options there are on Oahu. There are very few sources for junky fast food which allows for an abundance of these health cafes. On the days we were out for meals, we  would get veggie sandwiches, gourmet pizzas or fruit filled Acai bowls and smoothies.

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We closed out the night with a romantic gourmet pizza under the stars on the marina and then went to the new Jurassic Park movie.

 

Day 20, Sunday June 24

On Sundays we try to focus on doing something spiritual. My final full day on the island would be spent driving the east coast up to the north shore to go to the Buddhist temple with the highest praise. The Byodu-In temple is a shrine to the god of balance and equality. We had an amazing day of meditation. Check out these images.

There are more videos on my Instagram and Facebook. Including some 360 images. Enjoy.

We ended the night with a walk along Waimanalo beach.

 

Day 21, Monday June 25

Time to pack and go enjoy one last beach day. Heading to the airport at 7. I hope you enjoyed this photo journal adventure. Our last night was spent on a ocean cliff the locals call China Wall. It is a perfect spot to tan and jump into some deep waves.

 

I arrived home to some plants in need…

 

 

In a Social media world full of visual presence, the art of literary expression seems to be fading.

The majority of my self expression these days is done through visual Instagram posts but as i write this I am inspired to tell the SxSW story by the dimly lit austin river walk.

As I enter downtown Austin 7 patrols have the road blocked as they are arresting some trouble makers. Proceeding through checkpoint Charlie, I go 6 blocks up Lamar and find a quaint dark side street to set up camp.

Soon as I shut off the engine, the car is still vibrating as a train roars 10 feet behind me. Ok, let’s try this again. I go further up the street and discover something special. An air stream camper surrounded by what appears in the dark to be some lovely garden landscaping. There is a short path over to a shipping container food both with a ladder to the roof. “This will work”, I say to myself. “What sun rise view will delight me in the morning”, I wonder.

I begin my trek towards the music in the air. First stop, Alamo theatre district. Very similar to my college town Haymarket. A few block further to the river and I find a nice hill with benches to rest and write these thoughts down. On one side of me, two high school girls are making out. On the other, a woman with a few health issues in her 60s with a German Shepherd is smoking a joint.

Music from the main stage is below in front of me. Over my left shoulder another band is playing on a paddle boat as it approaches.

The music at this stage comes to a stop and the departure of the crowd tells me it is time to search for the next stage. Time to cross the river and see what we will find next.

I have spent most of the past year building up the Helping Hands Network in East Texas and now it is time for a road trip to visit some of the areas established in the past.

 

Over the weeks leading up to my trip I restored my ’85 Mercedes 300DT enough that it would make another 1500 mile round trip to visit my family in Nebraska. It was still lacking air conditioning, cruise control, a rear shock and had a damaged front sway bar but I had confidence in it.  I prepared to be on the road for a few weeks, made all the necessary arrangements around my home and with work commitments and packed my bags.

 

The morning I was going to load up and leave, my main work partner, Greg, sent me a text asking to help him with some last minute small jobs before I left. He picked me up and took us to one of our clients who just happen to have a 2006 Honda Element for sale. On the way there Greg explained that he appreciated that I do not raise my labor rates and that he purchased the Honda Element for me to drive so I would have a safe vehicle. He would take care of the insurance and registration if I did all the mechanical and cosmetic maintenance.  It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.

Honda Element

 

The Honda needed fluids, new tires/bumper/windshield, a tow bar and a serious bath. It had been stored in the deep woods for years without a cleaning and had a thick layer of mildew all over it. We spent the day getting all the paper work together and cleaning it.

 

I left Hawkins, TX  on Friday afternoon and made it to the Northeast Texas boat races by sunset. Lake Crook north of Paris was the site of this years party. The campground was completely full of fancy trailers, campers and boats with massive engines. I heard loud music and followed it to the far corner. When I arrived, there were people dancing and drinking around their ATV’s as a band played. There boats and campers all around and the band was being powered by a portable power station trailer. The gates were closing at 11 so I walked around looking at the boats and then left at 10:45 to continue down the road to Tulsa.

Boat Races

 

I stopped at a rest area just south of Tulsa around 2am. This morning, July 29, was the Tulsa and OKC Choctaw Pow-wow’s so I went and explored the grounds before continuing on my journey. I get so upset when visiting these large commercialized pow-wow’s that are nothing like the authentic private ceremonies you find deep in Indian country. Hopefully there will be a traditional gathering along my path through Sioux land in the days ahead.

 

I arrived in Omaha around 4pm and did a quick tour of visits at all my local hangouts. It was nice to catch up with so many of my friends. One particular couple, the Valgora’s, have spent the past 25 years opening their doors to those in need and I always make it a point to visit and remind them how much their efforts are appreciated. Unfortunately on this visit they were at a movie and could not be reached in time.

Many of my friends met up with me at the evening dart tournament so I signed up to compete. I was partnered up with one of my best friends lady friend and we were able to win our way to first place and some nice cash.

 

After the tournament I continued on my way to a rest stop in Lincoln to get some sleep. The next morning I picked up some food and went to one of the best workout areas in town, Holmes Lake. On this morning the Cornhusker State Game Bike Races were happening so I was surrounded by yoga lovers as I did my routine.

Holmes Lake

I then went to my favorite meditation gardens in the middle of town. Lincoln has one of the largest networks of Gardens in the world event though they only grow 8 months out of the year.

 

Sunken Gardens

Sunken Gardens 2

 

 

I toured some of my favorite hang out spots like the Haymarket, University Campus, Antelope Park and then headed for the State Games Dart Tournament where several more of my friends would be. There are even BMX and Remote Control Vehicle complex’s! (pictured below)

 

 

My final destination in Lincoln would be Pioneers Park and the Buddhist Temple for a Sunset meditation. Just two more examples of how many amazing places there are to enjoy in this fabulous city.

 

 

I finally concluded this leg of the journey by arriving at my mother’s house in Grand Island for a good nights rest. My brother, his wife and their 1 year old were staying at the house as well while they were waiting for their new house to be ready. It was a nice surprise to be able to spend the entire time with all of them as I repacked for the next leg of the journey through my ancestor’s Indian land en-route to the Black Hills.

 

(p.2 Black Hills)

 

 

*This is such a detailed description of life at Spiritual eco communities like Standing Rock, that I just had to re-post it.

In only a few months, a small encampment of a few Lakota people dedicated to protecting the Missouri River from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) became the center of international attention, swelled to house up to 14,000 people at its peak in early December 2016, and was supported entirely by volunteers and countless donations of both money and goods.

Many people from around the US and beyond traveled to North Dakota to support this fight for indigenous sovereignty, treaty rights, and environmental justice. Residents of the resistance camps existed within a capitalism-free zone, where nothing was for sale and everything from delicious meals to winter camping gear to expert medical care was available for free.

I first visited Standing Rock in early November 2016, and returned to spend five weeks in late December and January volunteering as a white ally to the indigenous “Water Protectors.” I spent my days splitting firewood, cooking meals, installing woodstoves, doing small carpentry projects, shoveling snow, sharpening chainsaws, doing dishes, and—on one rare occasion—livestreaming footage of police violence from the frontlines. During both visits I lived at Oceti Sakowin Camp, the largest of the three Water Protector camps and the location closest to the front lines of the fight against the pipeline. Oceti Sakowin is made up of many smaller camps organized by tribal group and other themes, and I quickly found a home at Two Spirit Nation, a community of two-spirit, queer, and transgender Water Protectors from many different indigenous nations, as well as their non-indigenous allies.

Most of my observations here will center on the deep winter weeks at Oceti Sakowin Camp, when nighttime temperatures regularly hit -25 degrees Fahrenheit, daytime temperatures sometimes failed to creep above zero, and cold winds whipped the open plain. The gift economies of direct action camps and festivals are easier to fathom in warm months, but during this period we all depended on the gift economy for our daily survival in a very real way. It’s notable that as of my departure in late January, not one person had died at the camps—compare this to large urban centers in cold states that see regular deaths from hypothermia among the houseless population under similar conditions.

Lin Migiziikwe Gokee-Rindal, an Anishinaabe Water Protector, was impressed with the collaborative culture at the camps. She reflects that she was “touched and inspired by the ways in which the people showed up for each other and how people in close proximity quickly became family. In harsh conditions and under extreme circumstances, a culture of mutual aid and a framework of traditional Lakota values…led to a thriving and close-knit community.”

What did this gift economy provide for us?

Housing. The winterized camp consisted of many army tents, wall tents, tipis, yurts, and a few tiny houses and RVs. Nearly all were heated with woodstoves, sometimes supplemented with small propane heaters. Most people slept on cots padded with several sleeping pads. You had to know someone at camp to get housing easily, but in an emergency you could spend one night in the warming tent maintained 24 hours a day near the Medic station. Arctic sleeping bags and endless piles of blankets were readily available for free if you hadn’t been able to bring your own. Residents in each structure took turns stoking the woodstove throughout the night.

Food. Some camps had their own kitchens that would cook two or three meals a day, but there were also several public kitchens in the camp that would feed anyone who walked in their doors looking for food. All the kitchens were staffed entirely by volunteers and stocked with donated ingredients. Meat is a staple of the Lakota diet, and I ate many meals of deer, buffalo, and elk meat donated by local hunters and ranchers. Sometimes we’d get a chance to eat Indian Frybread Tacos and other local specialties. At Two Spirit Nation, we had two sizable tents full of canned goods, granola bars, butter and cheese, pasta and crackers, tea and hot cocoa, meat and fish, and endless boxes of winter squash and root vegetables. Much of it was from organic farmers from Maine to Oregon, who had donated their extra crops to support the cause. Even in late January we still had enough food to feed our 15-person camp for another few months…or at least until the first real thaw, when all the frozen meat and produce would go bad.

Water. When it never gets above freezing, liquid water becomes a commodity. A heated water truck would make the rounds of camp most days, and small groups with access to a car would fill up five-gallon jugs offsite. The trick was keeping them unfrozen, so we usually kept them in the living spaces, which we heated around the clock with woodstoves. Melted snow was used only for dishwater, since persistent rumors circulated about harmful chemicals being sprayed in the atmosphere over our camps (as of this writing, there is no reliable scientific evidence to support this).

Sanitation. Oceti Sakowin Camp boasted two composting toilet tents. Each large army tent contained 15 stalls, with two attendants supervising them 24 hours a day. The attendants kept the tent heated with a woodstove, and changed the compost bags when the bucket in a stall got close to being full of sawdust, toilet paper, and human waste. One side of each tent was reserved for “Moon Stalls” where tampons, pads, and baby wipes were always available in each stall. The toilet system was one of the most organized parts of the camp, although exactly where our compost was going to go after it left camp in those nice biodegradable bags remained somewhat mysterious.

Security and Fire Response. An indigenous security team equipped with two-way radios monitored the two gates of camp 24 hours a day, and did patrols around camp. A second Women’s Security team was formed in response to several assaults at the camp, and maintained a safe housing space for women and two-spirit people. Three or four times during my stay, we woke in the middle of the night to people yelling “FIRE!” and rushed to the scene of a blazing tipi or shack, probably set afire by poor woodstove management. While these fires were too far along for our small fire extinguishers to make a difference, there was usually a person in full firefighter gear present who could probably have rescued anyone stuck inside. While the victims of these fires generally lost everything, they could easily get a new set of winter clothes and a new arctic sleeping bag from the donations available in camp.

Medical Care. The Medic Wellness Area boasted winterized yurts and tipis for doctors and street medics, herbalists, bodyworkers and acupuncturists, midwives, and mental health workers. All these services were available at no charge. A licensed doctor was usually on duty in the medical yurt, and there were free-for-the-taking stations for herbal tea, fire cider, basic medical supplies, hygiene items, and condoms. At the time when I departed, three healthy babies had been delivered at camp, and the medics had handled countless front-line injuries from rubber bullets, chemical weapons, concussion grenades, and water cannons.

Fuel and Firewood. Firewood was consistently the most sought-after commodity in camp. Somehow regular deliveries of whole logs consistently showed up, and each camp would send a few people with a chainsaw and truck or sled to get wood for the day. The general rule was to cut enough wood for your camp, and then cut some more and leave it for people who didn’t have a chainsaw. We all split the wood back at camp, and took turns stocking all the heated structures for the day. Every Saturday a propane truck arrived and filled our empty canisters with fuel for cooking and heating. I suspect these deliveries were paid for out of larger donation funds administered by Oceti Sakowin Camp or the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Winter Gear. Endless bags of donated clothing and bedding arrived at Standing Rock during October, November, and December. Much of it was unsuitable for arctic conditions, but there was enough high-quality gear to outfit the winter crew of Water Protectors (about 600 people) several times over. Anyone could visit the donation tents at any time and take anything they wanted.

Tools. Each smaller camp had an assortment of tools, and there was also a large construction building that would loan out any power tool you could think of as long as you left your ID with them as collateral. They provided everything from electric drills to ladders to chainsaws to a sewing machine. They also had 2x4s, particle board, and screws that you could ask for, and they’d give you what you needed if you could show them a sensible construction plan and materials list.

Spiritual Leadership and Ceremony. There were a few heated gathering spaces of different sizes that hosted everything from daily prayer circles to a huge Christmas Eve dinner with traditional singing and drumming. There were also several sweat lodges that any indigenous spiritual leader could use for the traditional Lakota Inipi ceremony of prayer, healing, and purification.

Use Your Imagination… The abundance of physical donations led to a lot of things being creatively repurposed. My buddy and I cut up donated sweatshirts to make crocheted rugs for the living spaces, and unraveled donated sweaters to produce yarn to knit extra-warm wool underwear. I pulled from the scrap pile outside the construction building to build shelves in our living space, and countless donated blankets were used to seal out the draught in winterized tipis. Whatever you needed, there was probably a way to make it with the tools and materials available at camp.

The gift economy at Standing Rock manifested itself according to the principles of indigenous culture. The Lakota people name generosity and compassion as two of their core values, and I saw those values in action every day. Much of the system depended on each group taking just enough for their own short-term needs, and leaving the rest for others. At home my instinct is to stockpile what I need for my own survival (two years’ supply of dry firewood, etc.), but that sort of strategy has its roots in the questionable idea that individual survival is possible without collective survival. In the capitalist economy of mainstream culture, it’s common for one household to thrive while an adjacent one is struggling to meet its basic needs. Houseless people freeze to death huddled next to spacious and luxuriously heated buildings inhabited by more “successful” folks.

In contrast, at Standing Rock we defined success as our collective survival. Therefore we took just the firewood that we needed, checked on the elders every day, brought food and coffee from our kitchen to the compost toilet attendants, and helped anyone who asked us for assistance. This culture of abundance seemed logical and easy in a situation where our needs for survival were simple and a steady flow of money and donated goods was pouring in all the time. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would take to create a steady-state gift economy, which could exist without these flows from the outside capitalist world.

When I finally left Standing Rock my friend and I stopped at a co-op food store in Minneapolis to obtain some much-dreamed-of fresh vegetables to munch on. It was such a shock to be asked to pay for food again. It made me wonder what it would take for our larger society to turn its ship around and set a course for a more generous and compassionate form of economy. It seems that these values arise in us spontaneously when a natural disaster hits and we are suddenly in a survival situation, such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or Hurricane Sandy in New York City. The rest of the time, our whole economy depends on a me-first, get-ahead value system based on competition and survival of the fittest (or, in a rigged system like ours, the most privileged). When luxuries and conveniences become symbols of status, we tend to become self-serving.

When people become passionate enough about collective survival, luxuries and conveniences lose their appeal. How can we help each other prioritize our collective well-being? How can we encourage ourselves to expand our definition of “the collective” to include the Lakota concept of “all my relations”: the four-leggeds, the winged ones, the stone people, the star people? When we listen to the prayers of indigenous people and orient our values in this ancient way, the path to a truly sustainable gift economy can unfold before us.

For further reading on pre-colonization economic history and gift economy theory, see The Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein.

Murphy Robinson is a wilderness guide, hunting instructor, and founder of Mountainsong Expeditions in Vermont. She lives in a Tiny House on a community organic farm in the mountains. You can contact her through her website, www.mountainsongexpeditions.com.

This week I have been given an opportunity to live the life of a media production worker. The details I can share are vague until after the production has aired but I can write a general summary of my time on the set.

 

I am blessed to be dating a special lady whom directs and designs sets and visiting her at work is very exciting. Some productions are in a location only a week which means 15 hour work days with little to no personal time. On short sets you are limited to your travel days, purchase runs and late night hours to do anything to relax but this production required her to be at the corporate studios for 5 weeks and on location for 12 weeks.

 

When she is on a long production like this, I get to travel to spend time with her. On a large set, I am able to join her as an assistant. The schedule for this production would have her doing orders, directing finish workers and staging the interior sets. The 6th day in rotation is a reveal day and usually results in a reasonable 8 hour work day for the design staff and a full personal day on the 7th.

Most staff set their tasks around the film schedule. Whenever production takes the day off, the set is referred to as dark and most departments get a personal day as well. It is scheduled every 7 days as much as possible to allow everyone to reset their energy.

I arrived on the night before a dark set. This allowed us time together to get me settled and acquainted with everyone at a time when they were not hurried by a deadline.

(more details on this story are published in my book, American Yogi)