We meant to go to a place somewhere in Southern Oregon, but came across a giant road block. Not only had a tree fallen in the road, it was easy to see that the road ahead was snow covered. Since we were far too unprepared to do anything close to snow camping, switching gears was an easy call.
In the trunk we had an 80 pound heavy duty raft made for white water, a $5 hammock and a bottle of Jim Beam. The lake we launched from had no white water, but that didn’t stop us. The oars proved difficult to use on this lake and as the sun began to set the slow and steady lake tide was pushing us increasingly far away from our campground. With an extra push, the gang all put down their beers for the time being and dug in deep. When a fishing boat pulled up next to us and asked if we needed a tug, we laughed it off, knowing how goofy our struggle must have looked to the outside world.
Finally making it back to the site, we made sure to pull the last of the beers from the raft and considering they were sitting in nearly ice cold water, they passed our temp- inspection.
That night we set up camp, made some s’mores and passed the Jim beam around the fire for double the warmth.
Hammock time for lil’ J
Above the falls
A little road block
Big Will looking out at Diamond Peak
Big Blue preparing for launch
Want some more?
As expected, packing the 80 pound rafter was quite a pain in the ass. After taking it on the water it had become a 100 pound raft, so we did our best to fold it a few times and called it a day.
An Addicts Diary Pt 1
I suppose it all began last year around this time. Natalie invited me out on a quiet end of summer night. We strolled around and she casually invited me to an unassuming corner spot. When we walked in I didn’t think much of it, music playing and we ordered dessert, a few truffles some cookies and cereal milk soft serve. We sat down in a nook next door. When I tried the soft serve I looked up inquisitively. Wait. That can’t be real. So I had another taste. Natalie watched me and said, It’s good huh?
No it wasn’t good. This cereal flavored soft serve changed my life. And when people say it changed my life, they hardly ever mean it. Like that “hot dog” changed my life. Or that edamame was life changing. No not like that. This was different.
So I left New York and went a year without it, thinking about it only to pass the time. But upon my return I had to go back. I waited a few weeks until I could no longer take it. I made it back to the same street corner on thirteenth street and second avenue, my mouth watering and my hands nearly shaking, and just as I figured, the soft serve was better than I remembered. I sat there and enjoyed it, but I couldn’t help thinking how great it would be to have this machine in my house so I could enjoy it at all hours of the day. How would it be to wake up in the morning to a fresh batch and then a small dessert cone after lunch and then whoa… Is this normal?
I went back the next day, knowing I was undeniably under the high power laser beam trance of the soft serve.
My inability to describe the flavor is notable- but this won’t stop me from trying. This cereal milk soft serve was like eating a bowl of breakfast cereal in the morning, minus that sick gagging feeling you get after finishing all of the milk. None of those gross flakes at the bottom. Just pure goodness. The stuff is so finely filtered that it retains all the immaculate flavor but none of the sog. Something about the combination of sweet and salty. You know it when you taste it.
Today my addiction reached a breaking point. I texted my cousin asking him if I should go get the soft serve for the third day in a row, knowing good and well he would say “why not?” And he did. As I walked to the counter to order, my senses doing their best to prepare for the experience surely imminent, the girl at the counter told me that they had run out of corn flakes. She laughed, knowing not the slightest of what it meant. What? I said. I did a double take. You must be kidding. This is the topping that completes the dessert, which adds the salt necessary to truly enhance the sweet cereal milk soft serve. I tried her again, making sure she fully understood the ramifications of this shortage. As she told me that she loved the cornflakes as well, my palms became sweaty and I naturally accused her of eating them. She said regardless, do you want it or not? She started swirling the soft serve before I could answer. I looked up shaking my head to make sure I was awake and I said yeah of course, because I simply couldn’t say no.
As I walked outside to sit in my usual resting place I realized how far I’d come to get to this point. I looked back at how my life has changed since I started eating the stuff and all I could think was, they had better have those corn flakes tomorrow.
If You Can’t Take The Heat
Everything you’ve heard about New York City in the summertime is true.
It’s hot, sure. Blazing just about everyday, then it starts to rain without dropping a degree. Then the sun comes back and makes you regret taking out your umbrella.
There are giant alley-rats mulling through hot trash piles, next to homeless people sleeping. Black neighborhoods border Hassidic ones; Jewish Deli’s are neighbors to soul food restaurants. In Brooklyn fire hydrants run wild, spraying anything willing to cross its path. Scooters zoom past taxi’s and taxi’s run bikers off the road. Backpacks are sweat-sentences and if the subway car was any more jam packed it might stop running.
Mickey- D’s in Times Square
The road to Manhattan
Somewhere in Brooklyn
People waiting in line at the MET
Like No Other Place In The World!
Taking a dip
New York is such an interesting place and yet I struggle to describe it anytime I’m asked. Typically I say, “For one New York has so much culture,” when I really mean for the first time in my life I lived next to black and puerto rican (non white) people.
I saw so much in my time there that it’s nearly impossible to talk about it as a whole. But it’s the little things that set it apart. Like the time I oversaw a hassidic man deleting over 100 Moshe’s from his Iphone on the subway. Or the time I watched a performance artist finish a song and then receive an offer to record at a studio in Soho.
The food… well that’s another story.
A few of my favorite NY Websites:
Banksy in NY
Pies n Thighs
On my last day in New York I made my way out to Pies n Thighs, the highly preferred Fried Chicken spot (Shouts to Nick and Chelsea for introducing me). This time I had to wait an hour because they were catching up on the night’s chicken orders.
Let it be known that Pies n Thighs isn’t an ordinary fried chicken joint. The sandwich you want consists of two biscuits coated in butter. Inside is a chicken breast delivered from the heavens above, painted with the proper amount of a tangy buffalo sauce and a dash of honey on top of it all. What’s more, it’s messy, tricky to eat and entirely worth it. So if you do end up on this side of Bedford Ave, don’t be afraid to get a little dirty.
On a side note…
One very real way for me to tell a place is one I need to visit is when my favorite rappers talk about it. Rappers, though not known as food critics, pride themselves on eating.. well.. the best food. Hence why you have the pen names Big Pun, Big L, Biggie - It’s suffice to say these guys don’t stop at one plate.
Rick Ross for instance obsesses over Lobster Bisque. Mac Miller is a big fan of his grandma’s “famous” Kugel. But for Queens and Detroit rappers (respectively) Action Bronson and Danny Brown, Pies n Thighs hits the spot.
- “Pies and Thighs on my mind all the time, roll the lime" - Action Bronson
- http://hiphopzilla.com/view/post:1265769#.UksrP2Sgm3M - Danny Brown
*If you didn’t know, prior to his rap career, Action Bronson was a Chef in NY and has more than a few online cooking lessons. **If you don’t know who Action Bronson is check out his mixtape Blue Chips- he’s a huge white red bearded Jewish man (“I’ve been wild since the rabbi snipped it”) who sounds like a cousin of Ghostface Killa.
Now Pies n Thighs is just a taste of some of the culinary wonder in the city of NY. Also it’s one spot, I’m more willing to share because of it’s well known nature. For the more personal, hard to reach spots along the back alley’s of Canal St. and the Lower East Side, you might have to catch me in person.
If you find yourself at Pies n Thighs, do your body a favor and walk it off at the nearby park.
Exploration in Southwest Brazil
This past summer I traveled to Brazil to see my friend Arthur and to meet his family. They welcomed me with fresh fruit and a loving home. We spent our days exploring different parts of a vast country and nights playing chess or walking around town.
It was a wonderful experience even though I couldn’t pull out my camera a lot of the time, due to crime. I was able to use my camera in the more rural parts of the country and I took full advantage.
I swam with thousands of fish in the Rio de Prata, explored Bonita on a mountain bike and even fished for Piranha’s.
The locals spot
On a boat trip
Hanging with a shot of expresso
a true beauty
trekking through jungle
Brazilians seem to have a good handle on living life. They don’t stress the little things and they enjoy what they have. I saw this particularly out in the countryside where the people hung out in the sun all day, smoking cigarettes and talking. Like any trip, you bring back a few things of importance that help you become the person you’d like to be.
Hendricks Park with Natalie
A while back Natalie came up to Oregon for the weekend, so naturally we had to visit the forest. What I miss about Oregon is easy to see. Crispy air, friendly people and so much wild country.
First we went out in Portland and went out in Eugene. Ate good food, hung with friends and annoyed each other. Then we went on a little hike to nearby Hendricks park.
Tree of knowledge
In a squat pose
Walking through this park was an ordinary experience for an Oregon native, but to someone new it is out of this world. The ability to take a short walk and come across such vibrant and green things is part of what drove my imagination so wild in this place.
When Nat comes into town we don’t have to do a ton. It’s nice because we could just as easily explore the nearby forest as we could just post up on a couch and bum it all day.
Air Dropped in Brooklyn
I was air dropped into a place unlike any I have ever experienced. Instead of being surrounded by the great big oak trees of Oregon, I now had skyscrapers towering taller than the sky. I thought maybe I had done a deal with the devil, trading fresh air for dirty streets and clean river water for plastic bags and city slick.
But maybe it wasn’t such a black and white trade. The culture all around seemed so rich and deep it would take some time to appreciate. I could see it in each corner store bodega, the graffiti covered walls and the people all around. This kind of character can’t be made up and it can’t be painted over.
It took some time to get on my feet. I tried to nap in my building, but without any AC it was so hot I was quickly beading sweat drops. So I figured I would go out and see the city.
First time on the Williamsburg Bridge
Darker than midnight on Broadway and Myrtle
I asked to my roommate Josh to see if there were places I shouldn’t go. “Well for the most part you can go just about anywhere.” So I started walking, first around the block. I saw families hanging out on front porches, men playing dominoes and graffiti everywhere.
Just a few days later I picked up a bike, being a firm believer that you can’t really see a city without one. Lacking a great sense of direction and a back break, I made my way.
Living at the convergence of three neighborhoods in Brooklyn (Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, and Bushwick) there is a lot to do. And New Yorkers don’t sit around, they hustle. They eat fast, work faster and seem to never stop.
Bohemian Gold Mine
I was waiting in line at El Super Burrito when I heard two kids talking about their days adventures where they went to an old abandoned gold mine called Bohemia.
I felt like Vern overhearing talk of a dead kid in Stand By Me, so I made sure to jot down Bohemia so I could find it on my own. As I began to look into the whereabouts of the mine I found out that an outlaw named Bohemia had struck gold out their after fleeing the law for supposedly killing two Indians. Sounds cursed to me.
I told my mom about my plans to find the mine and her advice, “well, don’t fall down any deep holes,” gave me the encouragement I needed. I did a little shrug and told her not to worry.
A few days later, Jordan and I decided it was our time to find the gold mine. We found a rocky road that would take us to the mine, but there was a problem. It was 15 miles long and the road turned from rocky to full of boulders. As it became increasingly difficult to traverse, it also became more narrow. It got to the point where we had to turn around, but the road was so small I was unsure of how to do it without leaving a wheel of the cliff.
Don’t Tread On Me
So we turned back and found a hike near to the road. It was called Crawdad Creek and it happened to be an old logging road. We hopped 4,000 feet vertically until we hit snow. From there we still had no view so to speak.
We spent a little bit of time thinking on a small log in our path and decided that the view we wanted probably wasn’t coming after all. But that’s just how it goes sometimes, so we hopped on back down the trail.
For The Homies
You know that point in the night when you look down at the beer in your right hand, and you decide to pour a little out as you say, “this one is for the homies,”
Well, maybe it’s just me.. but that’s what this trip to Bodega Bay was all about, the homies. Packing the car full of “supplies,” Steve, Will and myself made our way out to SF to pick up Jenny, Andrew and Todd. We had planned to take two cars, but young Kurzweil called last second and bailed.
So we made due with what we had, which was my mom’s Highlander, and stuffed that car like it had never been stuffed. Andrew, being the prepared outdoors-men that he is, made sure to pack like extra tarps, matches, rope, and a knife, while the rest of us were more concerned about other necessities like beer, camp food, and things of that nature.
It must have taken an hour at least to find our campsite, not that it mattered where we camped. The place was pretty much deserted, it being early spring, and the clouds being ominously dark and brooding.
We paid them no mind, but made camp, and took a look at the place around us. The wind was coming on strong, with enough gusto to make us in the car feel a little uneasy.
The night was full of showers and wind, but the next day the wind had subsided and the sun came out in full effect. It was a brilliant day so we packed out a few beers and went to the coast. Talking mess and spitting seeds along the way, it felt damn good to be with Andrew and Jenny, whom I rarely get to see.
Jenny, Andrew and Todd
A pristine spot to spend the night
Days were spent exploring the coast and nights were spent lounging around the campfire, telling stories and passing around a bottle of whiskey.
By the end of the trip we all smelled like animals, Dirt-man being by far the worst. Unlike the rest of us, he made a conscious effort to remain as dirty as possible. We crammed back into the car, which seemed like it had even less room than before, Jenny seated firmly in the legroom space, as we said goodbye to Bodega.
Andrew made a point of giving me back my striped Vans shirt that he borrowed for the trip, but he had taken such a liking to it that it had become more his than mine. I don’t know if it was the distinct “Dirt-man” smell that led me to pass it on, but I told him to take it and wear it and he said “deal.”
Romping on the Ridgeline Trail
On the first Monday on the first week of school, I was getting antsy. I had no work to do and wanted to be in the outdoors. My main man and traveling companion Jordan was feeling similar so we left the house with a few sandwiches and water bottles looking to see something new.
Do not pass this gate
Pacific Northwest Warning
A proper outhouse
Running down the hillside
A makeshift Tipi.
After a short while on the path we decided the quickest way to get through would be to climb up. So we traversed through brush, fungi and the greenery.
At the top we came upon an interesting electrical facility. It looked a bit like an abandoned town, fenced off from the rest of the humans.