Tuesday, December 14, 2010

If I had a million dollars

OK so more than one person has asked me " Kurt. What would you do if a million dollars fell in your lap tomorrow?" I replied to one person that I should hope that it wasnt a million dollars in coins because it would surely kill me, depending on how high it fell from. They didnt laugh. So I will answer the rest of those questions this way:

If I got a million dollars tomorrow I would still commit to finishing out my van experience (only six more months!). However it would probably be the most lavish six months of my homeless life and my van would be straight up P.I.M.P.E.D. OUT! I'd jack up the van and put it on big-mud-off-road-like tires. I'd replace the engine with a Hemi. Redo the suspension. Paint it black with airbrushed wolves on it and a crecent moon bubble window on the side. Id put a computer monitor in the ceiling above my head where I sleep so I could get my web search on while laying down. I recently invented and mapped out a system where I can essentially have a bathroom (for peeing only) in the van and Id make that and install it. Id make the sliding door open like a Dalorian's door instead so I could kind of have a front porch covered patio area. Cost: $20,000
     
Then I would buy land. Up in the mountains somewhere, maybe behind 'Y' mountain. Cost: $100,000

I would build a turn of the century Swiss town up there. Approximately 20 small dwellings, three or four commercial buildings, a library, a town center and a town hall. All considerably small and made rather cheap and plainly. Id put in cobblestone streets and walkways. Id provide utilities. Then I would invite fifty or so people who wanted the same lifestyle as I to come and live there whenever they wanted. For free. And it wouldnt be anything like a compound or a cult I promise. Cost: $200,000
          By Fr Antunes
I would give $100,000 dollars to tithes for my church. Cost: $Priceless

I would then pay off the debt of my loved ones, college for my nephews and nieces, and a huge truck for my brother Brian so long as he comes to live with me in my Swiss mountain town(e). The rest would go into the bank. Or to starting a low risk business to make more money. Or investments. Id finish my schooling and then I would become a High School history teacher and a soccer coach and be the richest teacher EVER!

Any other good ideas? And yes my mountain town would do TONS for the homeless and needy. Because thats what kind of town it would be.

Friday, December 10, 2010

For Jenny:

In answer to your question, the hardest part of living in a van is honestly not being able to pee immediately when I wake up in the morning! At the beginning it was so difficult having to wake up and then rush out somewhere to the nearest open market or store and get my pee on. I was tempted quite a few times to lower my standard of living by keeping some sort of "pee jar" in the van with me, but alas, I could not bring myself to do it. Thats not to say that I havent had to use a few unconventional methods at times, here and there. However, time has taught me and my body much. I now can easily, without thought, hold off on using the bathroom for an hour or even two after I wake up. That usually gives me time to get to school or work or wherever I need to go. Of course I cant drink a liter of water before bed like I used to do so I have to make sure I get all my water drinking done in the morning and afternoon. And I try my best to find a place to go to the bathroom at night before I go to sleep. Other than that everything else is cake now! Sometimes I have to sleep with a big hat on when it gets below the twenties at night and that makes my hair look like a freak's when I get up in the morning. Also I miss cooking so much! My girlfriend lets me cook at her house sometimes and its a JOY!
       So I hope that answers it. Im a pretty optimistic person so a lot of things that I guess I should be sad or upset or complaining about I dont think are anything but fun. As a matter of fact, I seem to just keep getting happier and happier as time goes on.

Okay, personal plug! Im sorry. But Ive been listening to this song maybe 15-20 times a day lately and I think it might actually be the perfect song to define my mood lately and I want you all to hear it. I cant stop! Help me!

PENGUIN CAFE ORCHESTRA - PERPETUUM MOBILE



This is where I got it:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For Juston...

Juston, In response to your question about the reaction my parents had to my decision: My mother flew out for my birthday and I was very nervous about how she would react. If I remember correctly she said something to the effect of "You know Kurt, I wish I would have done more adventurous things like this when I was your age". She understands me and I her. This is not really the first crazy thing Ive done in my life. In my family I have always seemed the odd one out, the one that gets the laughs but also keeps my parents up at night. I consciously tried to give my parents little heart attacks along the path of my life. All my life since I can remember Ive wanted to do the exact opposite of what everyone else was doing. I dont know why. I think that if I had to find a reason for it, I would say that when I was little I began to recognize that no one I knew was completely happy, or only happy on the surface. The whole of the world and society seemed to be getting less happy and intelligent the more progress we made, the more stuff we had. With that I kind of decided like a child that "everyone is stupid"/ And with that foundation I gained severe distrust for the 'norm' and for what people told me to do. In high school that was good and bad. I never drank alcohol or cursed or had sex like everyone else was doing, but I also cared little for grades and class and social activities. I was as against the grain as you could go without seeming weird or disturbed. After high school college didnt interest me at all. Even so I dont think I would have been able to get in anywhere. I wanted to get in my van and drive cross country playing music. However this was a problem too because I didnt know how to play music. So I worked and I played and I did what no one was doing so that I could be by myself in something and not worry about being swallowed up by the masses. I became very inactive in my church and explored other churches and philosophy and relationships. Nothing made me happy and I increasingly became more and more miserable with my life and it was because I realized one day that I was slowly slipping into normality. I was a southern redneck with no smarts and a low paying job, a girlfriend who didnt love me, and nothing in my future. It was then I decided that change was a must for happiness. Differentiate your life and you will find that you can live a thousand of them. I regressed back to the things that made me happy and eventually found my church again, this time on my own. I went on a mission to Mexico to teach the gospel and this event wa one of two seminal events in my young life. I read. I read a lot, something I had never done before. I hadnt completed one book since middle school and here I was reading. And whats more is I was reading in Spanish and English. I read only religious books, however it was all I needed. I began thirsting for knowledge, something most people do as children and something that didnt interest me until then when I was twenty. When I came home from Mexico I was addicted to learning and had a want for college. I wanted to teach because I loved learning so much and it seemed logical. So I went to college. After two semesters I was completely disenchanted and quit. The experience there reminded me of high school and I felt as though I was learning faster on my own than in an institution. In 2007 the revolution of change came calling for me again and in a big way. I fled from my home town and took a summer road trip across and through and around the country. For months I drove. Sometimes with friends and sometimes alone. Paul, my best friend, came with me at the start and in the short ten days that we shared my little Hyundai Accent our lives were changed. He experienced things that would set the gears in motion that would eventually convert him to Mormonism, help him find his soul mate and to move from Georgia where he was born and raised to start a new life in Salt Lake City. I met who I thought would be my soul mate out there on the road and would actually bring her back to Georgia in that little Accent at the close of my road trip. The Lord would have other plans for my love life but the experiences I had would, like Paul, lead me out to Utah.
        Ive bee here ever since trying to reconcile the desire I have to progress in life, to be successful and to be 'the norm' with the deep rooted desire to push against the pricks, to spit into the wind, and to go against the grain. I know that simply living in a van is not some statement of rebellion so strong that it could be considered revolutionary. But for me it is change, it is variable, and because of that I feel I can thrive in it.
       My mother, and father for the most part, know all of this about me. They experienced it first hand. And so when they saw the news bit on my story back in July, I can imagine that they just laughed and shook their head and said "typical Kurt". My father didnt accept my actions until recently however. He has always had such high hopes for me and Ive always wanted to make good on those hopes. I think he saw this as a backstep. But recently, while talking to him on the phone, and realizing how much money I was saving and the progress I was making in the other aspects of my life, he sort of gave me his blessing or at least let me know that he wasnt disappointed in me, which would be devastating.
      So there is the long answer. I am blessed to have parents who can accept my odd, if unique methods, and to be able to have their support in the things that I do, no matter how irrelevant they may seem to my life's progression .Any more questions folks!?
This i my cute little van after some snow. It feels very good to sleep in a snow storm. Kind of like letting God build an igloo around you while you dream! It was 8 degrees that night and I felt like nothing less than the feeling of sliding into a Hot Pocket after it gets out of the microwave. That electric blanket and the bed I made are the best ideas I have ever had for this van. 
 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The secret's in solitude

Ive been thinking. One of the reasons I have chosen to do this thing is to get away from the things that I thought were important and really get down to what is meaningful to me in my life. In my studies I have come across a few interesting things that I think help me to understand a little more the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.

In not a few cultures throughout history there is a ritual, or rather a practice, adhered to that we in contemporary society have all but abandoned.

In Native American cultures throughout the North and South American continent the true test of manhood is a test of solitude. A boy will grow into a young man and soon enough will be on the threshold of manhood. The boy will take a minimal amount of necessities with him as he ventures into the wilderness. There, alone, will he spend his days, working out his own salvation with fear and trembling. When he is ready and has accomplished that thing which he has set out to do, he returns as a man.

We dont do this anymore! There is no interim between boyhood and manhood! There is no proving ground, no escape to solitude to escape the world and scrape away at the things that you think you are. When you shed everything, the clothes, the cars, the house, the entertainment; your health, your hapiness, your everything. When you rip it all away and that little speck of something is left there standing... well there you are. Most of us will never even approach this however, and I feel that we may miss out on something invaluable to the fabric of our make up that could otherwise fulfill us in a way that no other stimuli or luxury could.

There are other examples of this sort of solitude escape but perhaps I can, hopefully without stepping into blasphemy, give one more ultimate example. One of the necessary experiences the Lord Jesus Christ had to pass through was one of solitude. For forty days and nights the Lord left for the loneliness of the desert to face the temptations of Satan, facing Lucifer in an arena bitter and dry, without proper nourishment and without the relationships that one might commonly rely on. He fasted from food and by going into the wilderness he fasted from the world. Then, and ONLY then, did he depart from the wilderness having proved himself faithful to his Father in Heaven, and returned to the world to begin his ministry. It was after this test of solitude that he was able to begin his mission on earth.

I hope that I havent overstepped my bounds and dont want anyone to think that I am relating myself to the Lord. However, I want you to know the serious spiritual nature of the desires that I have in living the way that I live. I have grown closer to the Lord and to the people that I love by throwing off those things that I used to deem necessary and now find absolutely irrelevant. I hope that by this small, if incomplete decent into a life of semi-solitude that I will be able to re align my life on the path that was originally intended for us all. First we grow up learning from our parents. Then we develop ourselves and begin to search for a place in this world. I hope that now I can go into the wilderness, lose myself or at least what I thought I was, and return a man with a mission and a purpose, having no reason to remain stationary or aimless in my life.

I have much more that I could say about this topic and if you'd like to hear it let me know. I think about and study this out constantly. I hope that this was something you could relate to and shows a little better the reasoning behind my actions. Later dudes!

Friday, November 26, 2010

WHAT I'M THANKFUL FOR

Im in such a different place than Ive been for any other Thanksgiving that it has really given me an opportunity to think about what is really precious to me. Foremost I am so thankful for friends and family and for God. I could not carry on through the winter the way that I want to without my friends who I rely on dearly. They literally give me the warmth I need to sleep at night. I have realized that this American life as we know it, no matter how minimalist you choose to live, is only possible with the help of others. YOU NEED OTHER PEOPLE! With my family being thousands of miles away I had to rely on my friends, namely Dave and his wonderful family, my perfect girlfriend Heidi, and Mia the foreigner to have a normal Thanksgiving.



We had an awesome time and we were so so grateful to be invited to the Root family festivities. We'll never forget it. 

Sleeping in the van in the winter is so much easier than the guys I know and see who are still out on park benches and in doorways. Provo does so much for the homeless yet there are still those who refuse the help of others, arent well enough to accept it, or just need more. Ive come to know a lot of the programs here they are fantastic. Before I stopped accepting money from the blog I was able to use it to give a little here and there to a bunch of the charities around town. However a peculiar thing has started to happen...

I thought I would grow close and connect to the homeless around here. I mean, yes, I function and I do this by choice with help. I get to use electricity most nights and when I dont I still have the van to be able to shelter me so believe me when I say that I know Im not homeless or "like them" as cruel as that sounds. But like I said, I thought I would grow close are relate to them. Not the case. What Im finding is the opposite. Im growing farther away from them. I understand them less. I care about their wellbeing more because I know a little better what they are going through, however I dont fit in. I should have guessed that I wouldnt but I thought differently when this whole thing started. I am however growing much closer to the people I love and rely on. Solitude is great! It gives you the time and the quiet that you need to focus on the things that matter. I have thought about my family much more, Ive been a better boyfriend (if you can believe that) than Ive ever been in my whole life. And I am much better at humbling myself and asking of my friends those things that I need. I have grown a little closer to my Heavenly Father without all the distractions and the things we call necessities these days. It so weird.... but I think that I have gotten MORE on track with my life by getting in the van than by sitting around in an apartment watching TV. 
So all in all Im learning a lot. And although it doesnt show so much on this blog of mine how much Im changing and learning, I really really am. Thanks for reading, for caring, and for being concerned. I wont let you down guys. Im gonna make it a whole year! Come rain or shine. A commitment is a commitment. 

P.S. I know I suck at blogging. If you guys want to know anything or hear about something Ive done, or just have a question about the logistics of this kind of living arrangement, please comment or email me at Kurtrussellanderson@gmail.com and Ill do a post for it I promise. Ya'll are great! Thank you!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bunk Bed: So much more space for activities!

So I got up this morning a motivated man! I built a bed. I should have done this to begin with but you live and learn. And then you get Loves. Anyways.


My friends Dave, Daniel and I had a manly man day going back and forth between Autozone and Home Depot all morning getting wood and supplies. We constructed this baby in a speedy ten minutes or so and I only smashed my thumb once! 

If you can see inside there you'll notice the place is a pig sty. I have been thinking on the moral classiness of my living situation for quite sometime. I am a classy person and this van situation should not define me. But when looking in my van, all you notice is the disorganization of life and chaos. I took action today and figure I could put everything I own under my bed and actually have a room back there.

Daniel, proud partner in the bed building project

The finished product! I vacuumed, organized everything under the bed, made my bed and hung my church clothes up. This is how van life should be!
THE FINISHED PRODUCT! EFF YEAH!


Im so proud of the work we did today. Tonight there is a blizzard moving in at 8pm. BYU closed campus early and that says a lot, because they NEVER shut down anything in Utah for weather reasons. Everyone here is freaking out and all I can think is how awesome I am because Ill be sleeping in a full on blizzard tonight. Wish me luck. Ill let you know how it goes! Happy Thanksgiving doods.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Blueprint for Van life, Shingle Mill Peak, Alien Slabs, and Little Swiss Towns called Washington.



Ok so here is my idea for my van. Thought it up while I was bored in church one day. YOu know what. Ive just decided Im gonna label all this junk to make it easier so check it:



There. Thats better. Im going to go to Home Depot today and get the plywood and shelving and stuff for it and me and a few friends are going to get started! Ill give you detailed step by step of how its looking!

In other news: Im very very sad to hear about my fellow UVU Students who died recently in a flight instruction plane crash. Its the first UVU Flight School crash in the history of the program and its devastating. Just terrible. 
         I have come down with what seems to be a headcold or the Flu or something. Im getting through it and am on the up and up. The swelling in my knee is going down. However I still cant straighten it and sort of walk with a limp. 
        Ive moved my van to a different location to be closer to a bathroom and to friends and the area where I most frequently am near BYU campus. Its turned out to be awesome and I only have my friends Dave, the twins, and my dear Heidi to thank for it. 
       Ive started watching the show The Walking Dead and cant stop! I love Zombies! They are my all time most wanted fantasy life. That sentence didnt make sense. I wish that I would step outside my van one day and BOOM! Zombie Attack! I would take to the nearest Costco, fortify it and dig a tunnel to the mall. I'd be set for life. You're welcome to join. As long as you ain't bit. 
     
Things I plan on Doing: 

1. Hiking up alone to Shingle Mill Peak, or as I call it, the Alien Slabs. And camping there. I will document all of it and hopefully will not be eaten by mountain lions. This peak shows up in my dreams more than any other thing. I dream about it constantly. Ive hiked it once and it was wonderful. Just below the peak there is a somewhat flat area that looks akin to the swiss alps topography and I dream constantly of putting a town up there someday with little moss covered cabins, steam billowing from the chimneys. A town where everyone knows one another and they gather nightly at the town center for hot chocolate and story telling, then retreat down the cobblestone streets to their little homes to read scriptures to their heavy eyed children until they drift peacefully away. A little town called Washington. A place where the bread is fresh and warm always. Where the favorite book of the towns children is Moby Dick, or Steinbeck's Cannery Row. Where there is no need for cars and bicycles are a must. Food is delivered up from Provo on a zip line and in return down are sent little thank you notes with smiley faces on them. Washington: A place for us.

THE HIKE UP TO SHINGLE MILL WITH UTAH LAKE IN THE BACK ROUND.

THE FIRST TO SIGN THE SUMMIT ROLE IN 2010!

A GOOD LOOK AT THE SLABS AND THE VALLEY BELOW. THE VALLEY OF MY DREAM


2. Finishing My Van

3. Make a difference every day in the lives of the people around me.

Ill think of better things soon. I just cant stop thinking about my little town of Washington for the time being. It clouds my thoughts.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Winter.... or the beginning there of, is a difficult thing to weather. The nights are in the twenties and thats just the beginning. There are things happening to me that I never planned for. None of these things are bad and Im excited to experience them. For instance,

- Did you know liquid freezes past thirty two below? Also, did you know that your contacts are in liquid when they arent in your eye. My contacts and my back up contacts have recently frozen. Ive learned to keep things you want warm either in your pockets or under you as you sleep.

- I sleep with my computer now to keep it warm.

- I sleep with my contacts and solution

- Ive decided to construct a better looking situation for the van. Something more homey. If I can get a picture of the blueprints on here Ill show it.

- Hardship is the great motivator of the spirit. It moves me to action, upwards. I move faster and work harder to keep warmth and this is good. Every trial becomes a stepping stone upward.

- I tore the Meniscus in my right knee playing a soccer game and cannot move it. I cant do anything about it except limp on it until after the first of the year thanks to Kaiser Obama's Obama-care. This has taught me that Im an American and that my body is super special to me.

- I have an ear infection that has locked up the right side of my jaw. Though the symptoms are receding, the pain wont allow me to eat all that well and my teeth are moving.

- I have a girlfriend! Can you even imagine how wonderful she must be to not care that Im a cripple living out of my van!? She is perfect. And she takes up all my time at my own request. She gives me a reason to serve others though the only reason one needs should be because it makes God happy.

I went to Georgia for a wedding after being in Baltimore and it was great but a very quick trip. I saw my family for a few hours, slept for a few hours, talked and caught up with everyone for a bunch of hours, and saw my best friend Steve get hitched to a wonderful woman for the rest of forever.
        Ill update more later.

All in all, everything is working out well for the winter. I have a home, an electric blanket, a jacket, thermals, an awesome hat that covers my ears, a job, and goals. What more could an immature 25 year old ask for!?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baltimore and The Wire

Ok so I have gotten into a show called The Wire lately. Its my favorite. Its about Baltimore and the cops and drugs and thugs and politicians there. Its incredible! Anyways. I never though in a million years I would ever find myself in Baltimore in the ghetto but today I was in that very place, in BALTIMORE! More to come on that. Life is incredibly busy. Ugh. However, the above picture is of me and my home and the back yard that has adopted me. White trash heaven! See you soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kurt and the Amazing Techni-lectric Dream Blanket!

So I decided to scrap the idea for a heating system. I got an electric blanket instead. $25 bucks at Wal-Mart! I love sleeping in the cold and this blanket will keep me just warm enough. I work nightwatch shifts at a treatment center and so I decided to try it out to see how warm I could get under that thing. When you sit in a room all night drinking water and juice and eating snack food and not moving, just sitting and reading or watching movies and not sleeping at all, your body temperature drops immensely. In the summer you still have to bundle up because you just get plain cold. So I plugged in the blanket and put on a movie, Army of Darkness, starring the beloved Bruce Campbell, the most amazing B actor of all time. Check this out:



So I fall asleep because it gets warm under that thing fast. I wake up five minutes later because the building is on fire! Its burning from the roof down and I cant get up for some reason and then I realize that Im covered in little tiny versions of me and they've strapped me down with rope and they are poking me with pens and pins and laughing while the ceiling starts ashing down on me and burning my face! And I look over to the left and holy crap this brigade of evil skeletons on fire are marching to me to destroy me and turn me into one of them and Im trying hard to get out of the ropes and away from the fire but there is nothing I can do and now I start choking on the fumes. The thick black smoke is thick and black and I cant see anything. Its all pitch black and then......... whoops I was asleep it was a dream. That Army of Darkness movie is effed up and found its way into my five minute dream. As for the fire...... THAT BLANKET IS SO HOT! I was sweating bullets! BULLETS PEOPLE! Anyways. So experiment successful. The blanket is gonna do just fine. I love my life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Future!

Ok so Im making a special post because I love my friends. I was a part of a photobooth company a few years back and it was great. My friends Steve and Dave eventually found their way into the business too and they really took to it. And I mean they REALLY took to it. Now they have a very successful business out in D.C. doing exclusive rentals to some very cool parties and places. If you dont know anything about photoboothing you can be dazzled HERE!

        They have invented a booth that will blow your face off. It is their brainchild. I am amazed and proud of them and I must blog about them. This is the new booth.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween time!

Halloween is just around the corner.

I have my costume! Its in the mail but its a surprise! Anyone want to take any guesses at what it is? Ill give you a hint: I can wear it and still look homeless just fine.

Also Ive carved a pumpkin and made a pumpkin pie and watched The Village which by the way is a very very underrated movie!


ALSO: What do you think about this idea. I think I may, instead of a heating system, just get an electric blanket! Its cheap and the past couple of nights have gotten into the high thirties and I have been fine without heating and just wrapping up in tons of blankets. Good idea? Help!


(A photo of me and my would-be electric blanket)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I made a Boo Boo

So maybe now Im thinking it wasnt such a good idea to put a glass framed picture of George Washington kneeling to pray right next to my bed where I sleep.

    I woke up this morning, wiped my eyes, and worked to get them open. When they finally could see there was BLOOD EVERYWHERE! Ok, not everywhere. But there was blood on my pillow and on the blanket below me. Was I shot? Did mice eat the bottom of my feet like in that one movie?

 Did something...... more disgusting..... happen? I checked myself and could not find where the blood had come from and had no pains. Then I remembered.

      Last night I had wild dreams! I mean just crazy dreams! I woke up several times. And I remember one of these dreams I was climbing up a waterfall, slippery, mossy, and I was using vines to climb up. Everything was fine until the vines ripped away from the rock and the moss and I was swinging out over....... wait for it..... yeah you guessed it, the downtown LA freeway. I held on for as long as I could and then slipped off and free fell straight into traffic.

This is when I woke up flailing. In my flailing and knashing I accidentally threw my elbow straight into George Washingtons horse, cracking the glass and cutting my elbow. Since you cant really feel anything back there, and since I was super tired, I thought not much of it and went back to bed. Hours later I wake up.... panic ensues. So thats the story of the guy who lives in his van and elbows works of art. Thank you.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Its Still Hot Out There Folks!

Im not complaining. Let m start first by saying that Im not complaining! But it is hot out there! Did somebody move the sun closer? I love it because we had a late start to our summer out here in Utah and I hate it because I start to roast in my sleep around the time the sun comes up. The nights, luckily get very cold still. I love sleeping in the cold! Thats why, for many reasons I feel like the winter will be better for me than the summer. Im taking the in between time in the fall to prepare and store up on the things Im going to need for the winter months. Here is the list I have so far:

- SPACE HEATER- Dont worry. I will not burn myself alive or die of carbon monoxide poisoning, I promise! A lot of people have been telling me how concerned they have been for my fire safety and Ive solved the problem. I have this friend who has a friend who lives in a tent and has figured out what to do. I will be building a box for the space heater that will be outside the van. Then Ill be tracking some air conditioning vents from it to my window which will also be insulated. That way I have free flowing hot air in a safe setting. It will look pretty much EXACTLY like this (except not really at all):


-FOOD STORAGE- Ive been stocking up on canned foods all summer. I have a good load of veggies, fruits, and meat. I have rice. I have water. I know that Im in the city and that I could potentially just head to the store for supplies but with alternative living...... you just never know.

-CAMPING STOVE- My dear sweet Aunt bought me a two burner Coleman camping stove for my birthday. It runs on propane and Ill be using it a whole lot this winter. Soup, I think, will be my best friend soon.

-A BELOW '0' SLEEPING BAG- since I love sleeping in the cold anyways, this along with all of my other blankets and warmers should suffice adequately for the snow.

- LONG JOHNS!- My favorite addition to my apparel, the long johns are a comfortable, classy, practical solution to all your winter wear needs!


So all in all Im excited for the weather to come, and Im excited that it hasnt come yet. Although around this time I start to get the fall itch for all things pumpkin and orange and yellow colors and boots with the fur (like the song). In fact, just today went to Sammys with the most beautiful woman Ive ever known to pick up a couple of Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Shakes.

They put actually slices of pie in the blender to make the shake! Crust and all! Incredible. Homeless life is unquestionably worth it if I can have one of those shakes every once in a while. Later gang!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Homeless Encounters.

Got on the bus today and was looking well. Headphones on. Backpack full of books on Inquisitional Spain guarding the seat next to me. Ready for the future but still biting my lip. A woman gets on. Old faded Levis cut to shorts that covered just over her butt and frayed like mad. Skinny like an abused puppy. Wild eyes that showed through her dirty, blonde tangled mass of hair that let down in strings all over her face. Black tank top with a Playboy emblem of the pink naked sprawling woman right in the middle. No bra. Tattoo of two hearts with names in each linked together by a chain on her right arm below the shoulder. Typically bad teeth. Track marks.
       So I took my head phones off. I stopped reading my book. I sat and observed her for a bit, kind of like when you are a kid and watch the double dutch jump ropes swinging and crossing in front of you as you try and time the perfect moment to jump in. It was now.
       "Hi." I said plainly.  "Hey what it is brother?" she answered, nodding her head and pulling out her headphones.
       " Where you headed?"
       " Well all different places. I gotta go to f**kin Wal-Mart and then my f**kin boyfriend is being an idiot so I gotta go see him." she said. She looked about thirty five. Maybe? Who knows. She had scratches all over her legs but she was clean shaven. This was very interesting to me.
       " Ah. Boyfriends. Where do you live?"
       " Well mostly with my boyfriend but I dont really live anywhere really. Out. Around. You know." she explained to me quickly without any reserve.
       " Hey Im homeless too. Well I have this van. I live all over."
       " No F**KING WAY DOOD!" she yelled. People on the bus began to scoot and shift uncomfortably.
       " Yeah! For real. I live all over. Slept up on a billboard. Under an overpass. Hang out at the library and schools and stuff. I dont mind it at all." I explained to her that I had a job and went to school and church and that I was homeless just for a bunch of reasons and she got a real kick out of it all. She told me she was Mormon once and "......was like 'F**k that sh*t'...." She had been doing drugs for quite sometime you could tell, anyone could, but she, for better or worse, seemed high functioning. She texted someone. I asked her if she had a job and she said no. I asked if her boyfriend payed for that phone. She said no, and that "Uncle Sam pays for this sh*t". She said she's been on welfare and needs it to get off that stuff. I agree by nodding. Its a nice phone. I ask her if she is hungry, if she needs any food or anything? She makes a joke about me asking her out and says she is fine. Her phone rings. She answers.
      " Im sittin here listening to f**kin' Let The Bodies Hit The Floor and you call and Im like 'You are so f**kin' Disturbed! I love Disturbed man!"
        She yells over the sound of the bus and the traffic and the whispering conversations in the front seats and some heads turn, some toward her and some away. I put my headphones back on because I may as well have disappeared to her. She continues speaking to the person. Then minutes into it she pulls the cord that dings the bell that lets the driver know that a stop has been requested. The bus slows and stops. She hits me on the arm and I take my phones off and smile.
      "Later brother! Good luck out there!" she yells
      " Hey you too. Oh by the way, its Drowning Pool." I say.
      "Whats that?" she asks as she steps off the bus.
      "Its Drowning Pool not Disturbed!" I yell back as the doors close. She has no idea what Im talking about. I look around. Everyone has opted to put their heads down except for the guy across from me with the shirt that has the big black lettered word "Fukinnehh!" in front of the Canadian flag on it. He smiles and I pick my book up again and continue reading.

"Let the bodies hit the floor. Let the bodies hit the floor. Let the bodies hit the floor."
    
  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let the free seed of love gush forth!

Spence: Hey brother
Kurt: Hey brother (said like Buster or Arrested Developement)
S: Hows it goin?
K: Good. Just too hot in my van this morning, so I thought I'd drop by.
S: Sweet.
K: Also I have some money for you and......... can I take a shower?
S: Ok yeah sure.
K: Thanks.   ...........uhm........
S: Whats up?
K: I think I may have pooped my pant last night. Also. By the way.
S: What!? How? Wait how do you only think?
K: Im just saying! I havent checked but it definately feels as though I may have had a tiny little poop in my sleep last night! I dont know!
S: Ok! Wow. HOw do you........ Ugh.

Kurt then goes to the bathroom with his shower gear and Spence gets ready to leave for school. Before Spence walks out the door he says...

S: Ok bro Im leaving have a good one!
K: Ok! ........... Oh hey Spence?
S: Yeah?
K: I did. I did poop my pants last night.

Spence walks out and closes the front door behind him.

K: Thank you Spence!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A conversation I had at 3 a.m. last night....

“I had my heart set on opening up that boiler room though” he said disappointed. He pointed over to the double doors and shirked a little.
“Well this is just as good.” argued Kurt. “I mean, yeah, I want to do it too but you gotta admit that making crystal meth here is so much harder than making pralines.”
The boiler room gurgled and protested deeply from behind its grey metal doors. Then Ryan, after thinking deeply for a moment said “ Yeah, I guess I had my heart set on the meth. But we could do pralines.”
“How do you make candied nuts?”
“No idea.”
“The boiler room is locked. Im going to go get a Dr. Pepper.”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A STORY I WROTE

DANIEL

Daniel lived out on the end of the neighborhood by the old entrance sign that read in cursive Covered Bridge, carved into thick chipping slabs of grey stubborn ply wood that were posted on either side of the road deep into the ground, below the soft top soil and into the Georgia red clay. Daniel made you ache, deeply in your stomach below your diaphragm, when you ever saw him. No one ever saw another member of Daniel’s family. Just Daniel, out in the garage working on his salvaged junker that he one day hauled up the bleached driveway and into the garage with a silver pickup that no one had ever seen before, or he would be working on his ’85 Honda Rebel propped on it‘s center kickstand. Walk along the sidewalk by the driveway and without any doubt you would see him under his precious metal, laying there with his legs bent up, knees swaying in the air, tweeking and wrenching at the bolts and the hardware. The intensity with which he worked put beads of sweat up above his brow that would periodically need to be wiped away as they irritated his lashes that would flap and flutter and the little droplets would roll off the sides of his forehead and get soaked up in his sideburns or pool up around his ear as he lay. He was always working so hard. He kept a look on his face from it. It was a look like looking far off at something. If you didn’t know any better you would think he were angry all the time. He had eyes like black diamonds. You only ever saw them far off because you never came close to Daniel but you could see them stuck back in their holes and they would flash in the light of the streetlamp if you caught them at the right time, staring back at you from under the thinned out shadows casting out from the spot where he lay under the car.
Most of the boys on the block were coming up through school all in the same grade but Daniel was different. He was a year above them and only a handful of kids in the neighborhood could say that they were in the same grade as him. When all the kids were getting on Mr. Peaveys bus in eighth grade Daniel sat out on the curb by his mailbox and waited for the high school bus which followed sometime after and was driven by somebody but no one knew who. You would look out the open sliding windows from the back seat and follow him, as he was looking down, with your eyes as the bus rattled and bounced and pulled away around the corner, never losing sight of him until he was swallowed up by the weeping willow that grew right up close to the street on the Garcia’s front lawn. It was the mystery, the consistent silence he kept that kept you thinking about him all the way to the school. Your thoughts could run away with any number of ideas about Daniel that would keep you working on it for a good while. Through all the years and all the kids that lived on Iroquois while Daniel was there you couldn’t find a soul who could say anything more about him than that he worked hard at the things he loved from what you could tell by walking by his garage.
A long time off, years and years later Daniel moved to California and took his rebuilt Camaro and his Honda Rebel with him too. He found a job working security at nights for one of the docks and he found a woman who he loved. After work one day he went home and hit her on the right side of her face, landing just over the temple, with a brick from their unfinished patio out back. He put pieces of her into different black heavy duty garbage bags and took them to the wooded path by the 605 Southbound freeway at El Dorado park in Long Beach and buried them there real shallow, maybe two or three feet under and maybe twenty yards off the bike path. The bags didn’t get dug out by the dogs until the following Friday and no one saw the pieces laying on the path until Saturday morning. That was the last thing anyone from the neighborhood ever knew of hard working Daniel.

I Love My Van!

I have my routine finally all figured out. I am a professional.

I want to be a producer, not a consumer. Im sick of consuming, literally Im worn out at just the thought of consuming one more thing. I hate being less than independent. Buy this, eat that, I can do this for you. You scratch my back I scratch yours. Eff it.

I dont want to owe anybody anything. Its the most difficult thing I can thing of to owe nothing. I owe my God, and my church and my parents. I owe my spouse even though Im not married. I owe my children. Other than that, Im out. Whats going on has nothing to do with me. There is something to be said of a man who, like Simon and Garfunkle, declare themselves rocks and islands! Is it right to want to be an island? What if my island builds bridges to the mainland every once in a while? That'll work.

"I want to make enough money so that I can get out of this place. I cant keep doing this on my own with these people." 

 Just another brilliant quote from the film There Will Be Blood, only the GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Summer is Over

I showered at the gym today. Worked out pretty hard. Fixed my bike because the back tire was wobbly and getting flat. I downloaded Cee Lo's "Eff You" song as my ringtone. I hung out with a girl I like last night. You know, I dont think you realize how nerve wrecking it is going into a non homeless situation when youre homeless. Its terrifying. If I could put a theme feeling to this whole experience, all three or four months so far, it would be PARANOIA! Im always looking over my shoulder, waking up in the middle of the night to noises in the park, in the bushes, on the street. I constantly am over aware of my appearance and am checking myself constantly in public places. I look at people to see if they are looking at me when they see me with everything I own practically on my bike, headed somewhere. "What are they saying!? Are they talking about me? Making fun of me?" I hate it when people dont like me. It bothers me. I like EVERYBODY. Well mostly. Paranoiattack! Is she judging me? Is he talking about me behind my back? Are they just using me? Am I disgusting? Do I smell? Doesns it matter? Should I just go away? I fight off these questions constantly and its exhausting. Granted, they are a small fraction of the thoughts in my head. I think about way cooler stuff all day. Like about how when Im a Grandpa Im going to have the coolest effing stories to tell. About how one day, when I slide into a crisp cold set of \Egyptian cotton white sheets on a bed that is my own that swallows me in and keeps me perfectly all night Ill appreciate it so much more than I would have. I think about how there are people making hundreds of thousands of dollars every year and spend even hundreds of more thousands of dollars than they make and how, even with the nicest bed on the market, they must toss and writhe all night at the thought of it all. I feel sad for them. I sleep like a child. I wake up with a smile.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Once again the mall has become my Waterloo!

      So I found my old journal and have be relishing in its pages and remembering the things that made me write in it. I think Ill share one of those entries here. I like it. I dont even remember writing it but I like it.

August 6th 2009,

     I just walked about five miles from the Long Beach airport to Atlantic Ave. and the 405. Now Im in the ghetto, a real ghetto, like my ghettos south of Atlanta, waiting for Hayley to pick me up. I walked barefoot and have blisters now. I walked up through Signal Hill and past all the massive rusty oil machines churning and pumping up that black gold from the earth. I saw industrial ships and tankers in the harbor, docking and shipping out into the Pacific against the sun as it turned yellow to orange to red.
     Where I sit there is the hot thick smell of baked flour tortillas and beans. Girls are passing on their way home from somewhere, shopping bags draped from their fists clenched, nails done, heels on.
     The endless sound of traffic, a constant flow trudging by just by me and off in the distance forever. As I sit, back resting up against an abandoned car rental shop, a pathetic industrial driven breeze creeps around me, flares my nostrils and chills the skin that sticks to my shirt.
     My bags are heavy. Ill sit and wait until Hayley comes for me.

"Yeah but youre going to do what you want to do. No matter what I ask of you. And you say youve got the high hand, I have my doubts. I come from Chino where the asphalt sprouts." - TMG

                                                                               - Kurt Russell Anderson

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Single Man


There was a time in my life when I wanted nothing more than to be a man and to be a good man. I indoctrinated myself with the qualities that a real man would have and started collecting the experiences and attributes that would, as a whole, qualify me for the position of manhood. Some of those qualities, which I found on a list recently that I made when I was 17 are as follows:

- Smart. Book smart and street wise. A lover of knowledge and keeper of wisdom.

- A survivalist. A mans not worth his spit if he cant get himself into a situation and then get himself out.

- A minimalist. Use it up, wear it out, do with it, or do without.

- Generous. A million dollars for one person doesnt make a whole lot of sense. Give give give

- Funny. Men are funny.

- Interesting. Like that Dos X's commercial: The most interesting man in the world.

- A fighter. I dont like fighting but I think if you cant defend yourself and the ones you love your useless to them

Those are just a few.

        I became a man. I remember the day well. Whats interesting is not what I did to become a man (and no it wasnt sex) but the thoughts that came to me immediately after. I said to myself " You spend your whole life and every part of your day trying to become a man and then you finally do... just to realize...... youre just a man." Wow. What do I do now? Where do I go from here? Ive been trying to answer those questions ever since. And I think Im coming close to an answer. I thought it was to love, to be a lover. Not true. After all, the greatest lovers were murderers first. I though it was success. Not true. For Ive seen quite a few of successful children, though they may be well into old age. What is it!?
       I cant say for sure, but I had an idea today. The greatest men, in my opinion, who I know - Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, George Washington, My father and my brothers, Brother Greenburg and Brother Johnston- all have a few things in common.

- You cannot say anything bad about their character. Try as you might, and many have, the dirt you dig up on any of these, though it be dirt, is fertile and good. You cant say a bad word about George Washington can you? Try. Seriously try.

- They dedicated their entire lives, everything, literally EVERYTHING, to someone and something other than themselves.


- They never did anything, after a certain age, anything at all for themselves. Everything was done in the service of someone else. They had a mission, all of these men and in no part of their mission was there room for a single selfish desire.


And so I think this is the key.


A man, or the man I wish I could be, is someone who lives for something other than himself. Thats what I want. Life just doesnt seem worth living if youre doing it for you. 

This shoul dbe intewretsing



So I thought it might be funny dt cd do what Im doing right now! Ha I just woke up after an entire weekend of not sleeeping. I havetn slept for mor ethan an hour or two at a time since thursday night and i just got about five horus of sleep. I once tried to blog when I woke up from a super slumber like this once and it turned out exactly like this one. I think its funny. what Ive done is not removed any of the typo's that i didnt notice unti lafter i have completed the subesequent next word. Alsooo..... i kinda want to talk about stuf like:

- why cant my computer have bullets instead of these lawzy stinking dashes all the tinme?
- how come human babies are the most ugly babies to humans, and like sloth babies are adorable?
- when i die im gonna cash in my meet one person ticket that they give you as soon as you die and im gonna try and find out what George WQahsington sisi up to!
- If i could have one wish it would be to be a trillionaire. because then i could buy happiness, and gold, and a new bike, and a Corolla
-I ran out of lists.

OK so I spent the entire weekend of work watching a show called The Wire and it detroyed my universe. I talk like a dirty cop now, or a gay BAD A gangster from the dirty streets of Baltimore who is on the trail of vengence because a rival gang killed his lover slash hold-up partner.
      If i invented a clear lid for candy boxes, and it caught on like wild fire, do you think that phrase life is like a box of chocolates would ever be the same again?
      I have to go learn about ancient Pre Incan civilizations now. Or the civil War? or the battle at Flanders? History is too much stuff.....

Loveyameanit!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Loophole Adventure....

Hawkward

OK so this is a conversation I had after I had another really good conversation. Also this conversation took place in my head.

" Im gonna eat my feelings. J Dawgs? No. Smells like Banana peppers. Call Amanda. Ugh I cant believe I dropped her phone down the Grand Canyon! "

" Creamery. Effing candied pralines! Order 6086, got it. Should I feel guilty for getting my ice cream before everyone else? Is that the girl I was in love with at the gym!? It IS her. She's married....whoops. Good thing I never hit on her. She is so beautiful! That guy is scooper duper lucky. I wonder if her voice is high or deep. Old married people dont laugh really. They just mumble. Those kids shouldnt be talking about a rated R movie. Gosh darn why are the skirts so short at BYU this year whats wrong with this place! Better buy more food storage."

"My eyes burn. It sucks that my van smells so much like gas all the time. It would suck worse if I didnt love the smell of gas so much. Why do people keep passing me, Im going the speed limit. Hey eveyone, Im proud of how slow I drive. I love you."

" Thirty minute parking? Its late, they wont tow they always tow why should I have to live in fear of towing in America. Ugh. Thats a long line. How am I going to get this girl to think Im awesome? Am I awesome? Ugh."

"Waiting. Always waiting. Sort of. There must be like 100 people in this line! 'I count the freckles on her face one two three hundred times a day!' oh there they are, what movie are we going to watch, nightwatch is going to be easy tonight. The Wire!"

" Watching people play the Wii is waaaaaayyyy funner than playing it. And cheaper too. 'And Im like EFFFF YOOUU OOOO OOOUU!' "

" Loopholes..... loopholes...... loopholes....... the shorts dont prevent me from doing what I need to DO!"

And that is a look into my head. I kinda like writing that maybe Ill do it more often.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Whats So Great About Depression Huh?!

         Below is a short story I wrote. I was thinking. Which isn't ever good. But I used to be obsessed with sad things and dark comedies and depression and being heavy laiden and burdened with some emotional trouble. Now that just is a part of life that I use and control and take care of. I like being happy. And besides the fact that reincarnation is for reals true, you only get one life. And so I say...... LIFE IS A GARDEN, DIG IT! Ha I made that up no I didnt its from Joe Dirt. Speaking of which......

       I have planted about thirty of my 120 bulbs of various flowers. I got them at this wondeful little place called Brambles on S State Street. The lady there is phenomenal at gardening as is proven by her immaculate garden out front of her shop which, by the way, she did by hand without chemicals all by herself! 
      My van is currently in the shop getting fixed what what! It gives me a measure of security to know that Ill have a running car come winter time. However I fear getting lazy. I have put off getting it fixed for this long because I love working my body to the dregs every day and working out my own salvation, if you will, in a physical and spiritual sense. I feel that if I have a car Ill start using it more and more and more. Ugh. I guess its not so bad. I just really dont want to get lazy come winter. Because then the lovely, wonderful, enticing depression will come walking down the street, skipping every house and then come knocking on my door. So lets keep those spirits up folks and those pedals turning, gears shifting! 


"Fight off Your Demons" - Jesse Lacey.  


                                                             - Later Gators

Army Crawl, A Short Story.

                                                          Army Crawl

He said he army crawled out of the womb. He said that when he came out he did it hands and head first; his elbows out, arms in alternating flapping sequence like a chicken or someone climbing a ladder. He demonstrates for me. It looks like he is stretching. When the nurse put him on the table all crying and reaching desperately for warmth and covered in scraps and afterbirth he said he flipped right over and started army crawling his way to the edge. That nurse just looked away for one single second he said and he was belly faced down and on the move. He almost crawled right up to and over it onto the floor, and he would have too if she hadn’t turned around and caught him just in the nick of time. I asked him where he was headed. He said he didn’t know. He didn’t know then and he didn’t know where he was going now either.
Casper Wyoming is the perfect place for an army crawler really. There is enough room to go anywhere and enough nothing around to make it pretty interesting to get to. Most people’s lives in Casper take after the landscape. Their days are like the road that runs up into town from Rawlings, 111 miles of barren flatlands, fenced off on either shoulder for seemingly no reason at all, with no rest stops or conveniences and two lanes scattered with wandering passers by on their way to someplace from somewhere. Coming into town you first hit the Walmart. That’s how you know you’re in town really, no matter what town your headed into. Just look for the Walmart. Everything else was just as typical. A Ford dealership. A Quiznos. Further down was a public school with its baseball field and adjacent student parking lot. After we picked him up we headed back the way we came and I guess its not surprising that looking out the window at the scenery we didn’t see anything new that we might have missed on the way in.
He was a liar. Everyone knows you cant crawl and you especially cant flip over when you’re a baby until you’ve been working at it for some months. There were other things too. He said he knew and loved one of the songs I was playing from my Ipod, Paul Simon’s Graceland, but when I looked in the rear view I could tell he was just mumbling and mouthing trying to predict and match what Paul was saying as he was saying it. He could usually only catch on to the last syllable of a word as he copy catted the melody. He ruined one of the best road trip songs ever for me. He would pause from his predictive sing alongs to ask random questions like “Do you know where the jail is at in Rawlings?” How was I supposed to know that?

If you’d be my bodyguard I can be your long lost pal. I can call you Betty. And Betty when you call me you can call me Al.

We pull off in Green River. The snow is less white here but more quickly falling. The roads are covered and its getting late. You never know when your going to see another Subway sign so I decide to stop for a five dollar foot long. He doesn’t want Subway. He wants McDonalds so we go. We go through the drive thru but as we circle around the building I glance inside and notice the inside is really nice and must have been newly redecorated. I have noticed all day that all the McDonalds in Wyoming have been remodeled. They are beautiful really. Why is that? After a few minutes of the typical sighs, the ahs and oohs that come with indecisively staring at a fast food drive thru menu he knows what he wants. I let him order because its less confusing that way but also because I, for some reason, think it will make him feel responsible and grown up to have the ability to order his own meal. He knows exactly what he wants.
“Yeah. Can I get a cheeseburger. With cheese. And a coffee.”


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Homelessness

        



          In my apartment I had a couch. My roommate and I went in on it together. It was brown and darker brown fabric and it wrapped around the room in an almost 'C' shape. It was comfortable and cheap. We bought it to replace these sticky, slippery, absurd leather couches that were there before. He had one side. I had the other. It was entirely comfortable.
         We had a TV. The TV had DVR. The TV was hooked up to the DVD/VHS player and we had A/V cables that ran to our PC's. We could watch the wireless internet and DVDs and television all over the place.
          Sitting on that couch you could look behind you and find the kitchen, complete with dishwasher. To your right the washer and dryer and a closet for my clothes. The left, a hanging picutre of Christ calming the seas. The bedroom had two beds and a bookshelf filled on his side with text books, financial advice novels and LDS church history reads. My side was neatly separated into topics. Religion. Philosophy. History. Americana. Pop Culture Commentary. Comedy. "Classics". And others. I had laundry hampers under the bed.
       The bathroom was small but we had a shower curtain displaying a map of the world and all its countries capitals that kept us busy memorizing and exploring. Yeah back then I had it all.

      Here I sit, tailgating in my van, wondering if any of the students walking by are alarmed at my presence. Wondering if someday someone will complain to someone else that I dont belong and Ill be removed from all that I have. I, day by day, feel myself slipping, perhaps being pushed, into the shadows. I am no longer welcome some places. I dont feel comfortable where I used to feel free. I notice that thoughI havent changed, people have moved me into a different category of society. I am recategorized for convenience and to preserve the beauty of the town. I am less than, not equal to. I may not be treated as such but it is the way I make myself feel. I dont belong where I used to thrive. I retreat around to avoid embarrassment, hiding the actions that I once never gave a thought to. I wander. I have a purpose but I cannot take the most direct path to it, I am limited to the side streets and back alley ways. So I weave through town in the most polite way I can, offending none, keeping to myself, and moving quickly.
       I have this van. I have a framed picture of Washington kneeling by his beloved horse, Nelson. I have tupperware filled with gadgets, wires, movies and books. The books are in one category now: Misc. I have a basket of clothes. I have blankets to sleep on. It was so difficult to coax myself to sleep the first night. My body drops to the bed like a dying man every night now and I stir almost never.
      I have my bicycle. I would cry if something happened to that thing. It facilitates my every move, my actions through a day. Without it I'd have been worked to tears by now. It turns my output into more than I can do on my own and for that, I cherish it.
      I have a garden. I have 110 tulips, daffodils, and chrysanthemums planting, stored up for the winter and anticipating spring already. I have three rows of corn coming in. I have land to do with what I might.
     I have friends. I have friends in my life that cannot be found or matched by another. I have loyal companions who I am loyal to. I have confidants, confederates. I have a gang. I am part of others lives. I live vicariously through them and they through me.
        Sometimes I think back on my house growing up, my apartment, the cars Ive owned. I think "my how it would be good to be back home" and then from in me comes a little chuckle. Silly me. Why would I want to give up all that I have now for that! I have so much more than ever and it all is exponentially better in quality!
        And sometimes I think to the future. And in it there is no van. There is no shadow and no ducking, hiding, crawling. For a family and a wife, and a house Ive built with my own hands with a wrap around porch; for the security of eternity Id light this van all ablaze and run it off the highest cliff. Id do anything.

                                                                                           - Kurt Russell Anderson

Listening to: The Mountain Goats, a song called Genesis 3:23
Reading: All Quiet On The Western Front

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rememeber This?

Ok Ok so remember all this stuff?

TAMAGOTCHI!

Remember how they pooped Hershey kisses and made you fail 8th grade to take care of them!

SKIP IT!



Theres a..... counter on this ball!!! Skip it, skip it!


CROCODILE MILE!


You run, you slide, you hit the bump and take a dive! Ok that may have been the theme to another slide.

POGS!



Oh snap! I had a stainless steel slammer once, with a grooved indent for your thumb


HANGIN' WITH MR. COOPER!



Thats SOOOOOO Raven.


HANG TIME!



This show got me a good talking to every Saturday around noon because I'd watch it instead of doing my chores. Can you blame me?

FRUITOPIA



Yeah what ever happened to that? Huh.

All Quiet on The Western Front!


This book moves me, it is moving mountains in me. I was saying earlier today that I definately believe in reincarnation now because the book is but a flashback to me, a glimpse at a life I used to own and a man I used to be. I was for sure an American (maybe British, but absolutely not French) officer out on the front lines at the battle of the Somme.
(The front lines at The Battle of The Somme)

        Here's the thing. I hate war. It doesnt make logical sense to me. I do not understand it. I have a hard time saying that "No I wouldnt run to Canada if I got drafted that would be cowardly!" because I dont all the way believe that it would, depending on the war. 
         This book is more than that though, more than war. Tears came out of my face once while reading it and Im only halfway through. The above picture is a fourth of what I would consider a piece of artwork. These men are French and they are hopping over their own wire into no man's land toward the Germans, bayonets fixed. They are charging on flat ground with civil war guns toward an army of machine guns, grenades, and artillery mortars! It insane! This picture is one of four surviving stills taken from a propaganda film to promote the war. I could not find the next three but here is what happens. The next still, half of those men are left and a little farther advanced into enemy territory. The next, there are about three of them left. The last, one man, falling. All this happens in a matter of seconds. All those men you see up there died in two or three seconds. Incredible. In the first hour of the first battle of WWI 60,000 British troops were killed. To contrast that just know that in the whole Vietnam war America lost 63,000 men. Astounding. Ok Im done ranting.
         



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rough Draft of Part One of Iroquois Trail:

                                                                          Mr. Peavey

Mr. Peavey was the nicest man that anyone on the street had ever met up to that time. He drove the school bus for all of the Duluth middle school routes that fell south of the city limits and Iroquois Trail was as south as you could go before you had to transfer over to the middle school in Norcross. So Mr. Peavey ran that route too. The kids on the block were proud that their bus driver lived on their street, no one else at school could say that. One of the years his oldest boy got to sixth grade and Mr. Peavey took great pleasure in pulling up to the stop right out in front of his own house and letting on his little boy. His smile was real and it felt good to see it form and whenever he whined and squealed the brakes to a stop in front of his own driveway he smiled especially big. His little boy was nervous and understandably embarrassed at first but when he knew that the rest of the neighborhood kids approved of the unique circumstance of which he was a part, he eased into it pretty good. Mr. Peavey would leave early, before the sun got up, before anyone got up, and would drive to the gravel lot where they kept the buses behind a rusted barbed wire fence that the kudzu and ivy would slowly crawl up and weave itself through and he’d trade out his car and then get set up in the bus. It was a flat nose. Not too many of the drivers had flat nose buses anymore, but Mr. Peavey did and he rather liked it because he didn’t have to stick the nose out into intersections or anything like that to see both ways. He warmed the engine up a bit and got everything situated  and put in its right place, his coffee and thermos, his morning paper and his little black bible with the red tipped pages, Then he headed right back to Iroquois to start his route.
            When Mr. Peavey wasn’t driving the bus he was a pastor at the First Mt. Carmel Baptist church over where Gravitt road met up with Old Norcross. No one knew this about him for the longest time after the Peaveys moved into the neighborhood. One by one, everyone slowly found out and though it may have been surprising to learn, it wasn’t in the least bit something you couldn’t see him doing and doing well. What is surprising is that no one on the street ever went to see him preach, and no one on the street ever was a member of his congregation. That part of his life always stayed a separate piece of him from the neighborhood. As a whole, Iroquois could have been considered an honest collection of God fearing peoples, but when did fear ever keep anyone from staying home from church on Sunday mornings? He left for the church on Sundays in the same thing he wore when he was driving, or working in the lawn, or reading out on the front deck. Blue jeans and a flannel shirt tucked in always, a pair of dirty worn white tennis shoes with streaks of blurred green from the damp grass after he would cut it, and his little black and red bible. 
The church was not exactly on the corner but tucked away behind some lawn and a few pines. It was built almost in a day on account of its materials, no different than a warehouse, steel framework -that red rusty steel- and a thin fiber glass shell for walls and an even thinner burgundy tin roof that lay horizontal, sloping down the width of the walls, adding the only bit of flare that the place could claim. He had a strong, faithful following that came over with him from his former appointment as the head of Sunday School at the First Baptist church downtown, the one across from the land that the Castleberry’s owned and later moved on to. They all gathered early one Saturday when the dew was still enough on the ground to soak your tennis shoes lightly and they raised that church like an Amish barn. Mr. Peavey took from his own savings to buy the refreshments for the dedicatory celebration that afternoon. There were center cut steaks, more than anyone could have eaten. There were scalloped potatoes covered in sauce and white cheese. Canned green beans, almost a whole pallet, opened and served up in cheap crinkled aluminum casserole pans. The corn on the cob though was brought over by Eligh’s family because their crop had yielded well up in Gainesville earlier that year and they brought it down that week and gave freely. Some of the members would say that the corn was donated because Eligh’s father was too stubborn and prideful to submit himself to the law of tithing, a principle that Mr. Peavey put a great deal of emphasis on during his preaching. Miss Dixie Butts spent the whole week baking and cooling and preparing several pies, pies bigger than any you could find at Kroger or Publix or anywhere, and she forced a boy in her neighborhood to working in her kitchen as her aid and then again putting him to work the morning of the festivities carefully carrying the stacks of delicate pastries to and from her big blue Buick to the picnic tables that the clergy broke out of storage. The plastic tables were long rectangles, able to seat seven on either side. They were covered in white sacramental cloths, used ones, faded and stained a shade of dull yellow in places but still beautifully laced around the edges. There were the pies and the steaks and the potatoes, the woven baskets of fresh fruits, some bought and some picked that morning from the orchard by the elementary school, the just ripe peaches that were plucked out of the church’s own peach tree and washed at the water coolers that sat on the table ledges, and there were the tables and the plastic silverware, Dixie napkins and red and blue plastic Solo cups with the white rims, and the pitchers of lemonade and water. Everyone ate passionately that afternoon and gave thanks for the progress of the gospel in Duluth. 
The insides of the church were insulated and dry wall was tacked over the insulation for acoustics and comfort and ease, and carpeted with the cheap stuff that you could  find up in Dalton in the dead season when the sales were getting real attractive, the kind of carpet that had a sort of confetti speckling to it. The only way anyone actually ever saw the inside though was when they went to vote, the church being the polling place designated to the area surrounding. When you walked in there you could just see Mr. Peavey up there on the stage in front of or behind the cheap little podium discoursing plainly about Daniel or Elijah. You could see how much he cared for his new church as he cared for his new flock -watching over it, fixing the leaks, repairing the damages caused by the weather of the years, keeping it clean and presentable. The truth was there never was a pastor quite as dedicated to his flock as Mr. Peavey tried to be.