Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Plans Mapped Out By Stars

My apartment is a mess of half-packed boxes and ephemera clutter.  My room is ground zero.  I need to take care of all of this tonight, but right now I am going to get my van looked at for free.  I was stopped at a red light in traffic and a man pulled up beside me and noted that it was "running a little rich".  I asked him what I should do about it and he said it sounded like the fuel line was clogged and I should get it flushed.  I thanked him as the light turned green.  At the next light we were stopped next to each other again and it turns out he used to manage an entire fleet of Econolines for a shipping company.  I grabbed his number and now have a mechanic that can teach me all I want/need to know about my van!  :)

I've decided to start a second blog that is purely vandwelling and travel oriented, for those out there that may stumble upon this mess when they are looking for only vandwelling information.  I will most likely re-post some of the same info over there about the history of the van and what I want to do, and I would like for it to be a resource for other vandwellers as well.  There are so many blogs that I follow and admire for the insight and information they give, and I would love to be among them for someone else starting on this incredible journey.

While we're on the side-topic of adventure, I have a friend from Minneapolis staying with me who is following the Yard Dogs Road Show around on their tour (by bus, hitching, and maybe even train hopping if needed), and will most likely be a part of some of my future van travels.

I am figuring out how I want to do a couple of tours here myself.  I will be going up to WI tomorrow to take some furniture/etc to store, then I will be off to Milwaukee for Summerfest on Saturday and Sunday (free admission!).  I'll probably come back to CHI to recoup for a few days before then heading out to Grand Rapids for the Smashing Pumpkins show, and depending on how that goes I may go to the Columbus OH show as well, but I know I'll miss the Cleveland show on the 6th before either of those, as I still need to keep my finances in mind.

The next big plan I currently have is to catch Phoenix a few times on the Midwest leg of their tour as well.  The first show will be their Lolla after-show in CHI, then St. Louis, then Des Moines.  I'd skip their Minne show and have a short layover in Des Moines then, as their next show after Minne is only 130 miles west of Des.  Then back to CHI!  I'm thinking I'll post something on Phoenix's message board and CL and see if there are any other fans interested in coming along to help w/ gas.  But it would have to be people that aren't only along for the band, as the shows are sold out (there's *always* scalpers, so I'm not worried).  People that have their own means back home if the van breaks down, and won't care if we get all the way to the venue and then can't get in.  I think it would be hella fun!  Road trip!  :)

Well, I'm off to grab some falafel from Sultan's (YUM) and see what's up with this ol' van o' mine while enjoying the beautiful weather (speaking of, I've had a total of about 6 hours of setting sun this summer, and I've got massive color :)  I love my DNA).  Ciao!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Open Letter To A Closed Heart

(I started writing this in my heart a long time ago, and found I began writing it in my drafts on 6-20-'10, 11:33am.)

I know I will never see or hear from you again.  I'm beginning to be fine with that.

I find no irony in that we've commiserated over always being the person in every relationship of any kind that tries the hardest - always the one to call, to email, to make contact, until finally exhausting the connection.  I refuse to do that anymore with you, because if you wanted to be in contact with me you would be, as the 'friend' that you fought so hard for, and wanted to be.  I'd rather feel foolish alone and let it seep into my broken heart than exacerbate the foolishness in front of you, displaying emotions that have no reciprocation and make me feel meek and humiliated.

Having contact with you wouldn't change a thing.  At this point there's so much pain from the silence and worry you've caused that even if you told me you still think of me I wouldn't believe you.  It doesn't stop the dozen daydreams a day I have of different scenarios in which I am finally able to look you in your eyes and tell you I fell in love with youAnd that I know I shouldn't have.  You should know I was your friend this entire time.  That if you had called me out of the blue I would've been there in less than a second.  That I wanted to be there for you, and that you didn't owe me anything for it.  My friendship isn't based on a payback system.  And it wouldn't have been because I fell for you, because I gave that up long ago (Solve et coagula), but because I was telling the truth.

I realized the other day that the most meaningful thing you ever said to me was, (after returning from your trip,) "I couldn't stop thinking about the last time we had sex."  Because somehow you were at least able to attach truth to that.  Unlike the time when you said you'd always be there for me, which is clearly a lie that you've proven every day since then.

“And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.”
— The Kite Runner

I have taken to punishing myself every time I think about you, which is still constantly.  I can't help it.  I care too much about the people in my life, and the state you were in when we last spoke was unsteady and negative, to say the least.  I wonder if you've found a job, if your living situation is working out.  How far along into moving to South America you are.  How your cats are adjusting.  If you're eating well.  If you're happy, or at least content.  Has a new bike found you yet?  What are your days like now that it's finally warm and sunny?

I'm not telling this to your face because it wouldn't change a thing.  Because I'm still trying to figure out what the fuck I'm supposed to be learning from all of this, as it all must have happened for a reason that I'm still not aware of.  Maybe the lesson is how to create my own closure when there is none?  (Isn't your silence towards me all the closure I should need?)  Perhaps you were to serve as a reminder that not everyone is trustworthy, and that others make mistakes, and that I can be considered someone else's mistake as well.

More often than not I try to make the best of a bad situation, only to eventually move on and find what I was looking for somewhere else.

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, I wish you nothing but the best.  Because you deserve it.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What Can I Say?

This post is gonna hurt, but here goes.

I'm sorry.  I've been wasting my time here.  It's already almost July, and what have I done or learned?

Well, I did buy a van to live in.  I'd say that's a pretty big step, a huge check on my To-Do List.  I know a lot more about vandwelling than before, but I haven't put much of my knowledge to use.  I still suck at the guitar,  I don't know how to knit, and I've hardly practiced poi since my introductory lesson.  I am still in possession of all of my belongings, trying to figure out the best method of selling and storing (only a couple of items) while simultaneously trying to find someone to take over my lease for the summer.  My landlord is being a prick and not making things easier either - I had someone lined up and they were willing to pay in cash, in full for the entire summer, but they were rejected because of bad credit.  REallly?!??!

I can't move my stuff until I know where it's going.  I can't move into my van until I move my stuff.  I'm having a hard time parting with my books, even though I know I could always go and swap them out.  I need to detach myself, but I think I'm resisting because I feel so detached already, but from the people I want in my life.

Feeling emotions as strongly as I do is a cursed blessing, or vice versa.  For the entire world, I wouldn't give up how I feel so passionately, and love so deeply.  But when things are bad, they are really bad.  Or perhaps I should say, overwhelming, all-encompassing (the same with my happiness). 

This recent heartbreak has thrown the biggest wrench into my machinery - I get so distracted, so languid, so depressed.  It's not that I don't want to go outside, see friends, pack my boxes, or even write ads to sell shit (I have so many posts that have just ended up lost & outdated in the 'Drafts' oblivion) - I do!  I just get stuck.  I just want the whirlpool that spins me around and around to finally suck me down and drown me already.  So I go comatose on life and do nothing.  Hours, no - days - of sitting.  Thinking.  Feeling.  Longing.  Watching the paint dry on my life.

Then, right about the time I'm running out of time, I snap out of it.  I think this is the time to snap the fuck out of it.

The oddity about me is that even during these times, there's a constant undercurrent of placidity.  Knowing that I'm meant for better things.  Excitement about life and all that will come once I get up and start walking again.  I'm feeling that flame come out of the shadows again.  I'm excited about getting out of my apartment, of going on the road.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish that I had someone with me, or at least someone to miss me.  I also know that it will take more time for my heart to catch up to my logic and stop wishing that person were around and interested in knowing about my adventures.

But they aren't, so fuck them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Seven Years Bad Luck

We get along because
I see myself in you
The trouble is
I find myself wishing
I were
The me I see inside you
I'm growing to resent
The parts of me I like
That I now associate with you
If you could
be so kind
As to give me back
That I've assigned to you
Without your knowledge
Or permission
Perhaps I'd have a chance
At growing

Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Naked Bike Ride 2010

Last night I rode through the city of Chicago surrounded by hundreds of naked people on bikes to protest BP and promote biking (see below for more info).

As my friend Derrick and I were pulling into the crowd at the Fullerton/Ashland/Clybourn BP intersection, my fucking bike seat fell off my bike to the ground and the seat post disappeared into my frame.  Seriously???

So I put my seat into my bike rack (that I had zip-tied on just hours earlier!) and walked around the intersection (until we started moving en masse on the streets again), as the protest involved circling around BP locations on the route to cut off traffic from entering.  You know what I don't get?  Why the fuck people are still buying gas from BP when it's the same goddamn price at other stations.  WAKE UP, people!!!

Anywho, so I made my new slogan "Since BP is sitting down on this oil spill crisis, I'll stand up!"

This was my first Naked Bike Ride, and I rode that fucker for miles with no seat.  Booya.

Look for me in neon at 55secs walk behind the guy who stopped in front of the camera  :)

WARNING:  Videos embedded or linked below contain nudity, strong language, civil protest, and activism that may be unsuitable for prudes, cowards, and the indolent masses.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Here's another, 10min long video of the event that gives you an idea of how large this ride was.  There were soooo many people (and most of them were naked)!!  Check it out, even the first minute will give you an idea:

"On June 12, 2010, bicyclists gathered for a clothing optional ride to advocate the power of the pedal in decreasing our dependency on oil, both foreign and domestic. They also railed against BP and its oil spill. Some of them did it without a stitch of clothing; all of them did it without a drop of gasoline."

More info from
World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an international clothing-optional bike (or other person powered) event where participants ride en masse for the dual purpose of bringing attention to people powered transport and promoting positive body image. For a great overview see WikiPedia. In the western hemisphere the event happens on the second Saturday in June, annually since 2004. In Chicago it is held in the late evening.

The event is bare-as-you-dare; anything from body paint to underwear to fanciful costumes are encouraged. Due to legal restrictions in Chicago, full frontal nudity is at your own risk, but large numbers of participants do go all out. Large-scale body painting is typically available pre-ride, and personal expression is encouraged. Cyclists familiar with Critical Mass (which is massive in Chicago) can see this as a clothing optional additional early June mass.

Chicago's past events included many hundreds of cyclist and numerous skaters and covered over a dozen miles of high visibility city areas. In 2008 the 5th annual event drew a staggering 1700 riders! Blessed by decent summer weather in a great cycling city, the event has grown into a fantastic rolling celebration, with similarities to other major alternative happenings world-wide. Participants often describe it as a transcendent group experience, personally transforming, and beyond superlative.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

"That Lipstick Is Gonna Land Him In Jail!"

Well, I've officially set a record for the longest time of no updates, huh?  I hope that never happens again - there's so much I've been wanting to post!  Now it's at the point where there's too much to even consider.  And seeing as how I'm of an OCD/Perfectionist nature, this does not sit well with me.  But you know that just equals the longest post ever trying to fit it all in, right?  :P

I just got back to CHI after visiting friends in Madtown over the weekend, some I haven't seen in months, some over a year.  Went to Leather & Lace, ate my absolute favorite sushi, got my spicy cheese bread from the Farmer's Market...  And you know what?  It was the exact same as always.  Oh, Madison...  But I love ya'lls, I really do.

But let's get back to this van business, shall we?  I realize I haven't even written about where I came across this van, as I wanted to keep it a secret for myself, but I found it HERE.  This is Lydia's blog, freedomvan.  As it states, she moved into a van to get out of debt, and now lives in Hawaii.  How f'ing romantic!  I love it.  May all vandwellers end up in a tropical paradise if they so choose.  I stumbled across her blog while doing research on vandwelling - mostly how to do so with pets, as I have a cat and a snake.  Lydia was living with her feline, Freyja, and so I ended up reading her entire blog.  I had her last post from June '09 up in a browser tab for a few weeks while I went about my life, intending on reading it at some point, when one day I refreshed the tab to find her new post from March '10 stating she would be selling the 'Chateau Faded Rainbow'!  I saw this a couple of weeks after she'd posted it and put a comment w/ my contact info.  In my mind, I'm not sure I was as serious about the whole thing as my heart apparently was.  I figured, might as well ask, and see if it's still available, I mean, no harm in inquiring, right?

Fast forward a month and a half and many emails later....

So I found a ride to PA for $40 with 2 awesome dudes and a well-behaved, sweet dog.  Great conversation when there was some in between the Ray Lamontagne and Bob Marley we listened to.  After dropping off the other passenger and his dog in Pittsburgh, the driver and I ended up winding our way through backroads of PA to Clearfield.  It was a great trip, with a lot of interesting scenery, bad puns (on my part), and small towns.

I arrived in Clearfield late on Monday, May 24th, around 9:30 or so, and saw the van at night for the first time, and got to stand in it lol.  Soooo exciting!  Lydia's parents own a gorgeous B&B where I stayed the first couple of nights figuring things out and resting up (I arrived on 36+hrs of no sleep) and were so gracious and hospitable the entire time.  I spent the week walking this quaint little PA town, test-driving the van, and thinking/writing in Aletheia (my journal).

The only unpleasant part of the trip was negotiation day (I hate money) when I went to Denny's Beer Barrel Pub (you may have heard about it, they have humongoid burgers that are challenges to eat... whatevs) and was denied a freakin' beer because my ID is jacked up.  This is why I carry TWO ID's.  Needless to say I was so burned out that I didn't even fight it like I normally would, I just started crying on this poor waitress and left to sit in the van and continue crying for another half hour or so before heading back to the parking lot where the van was being kept.  I was sitting there wondering if this was a sign that maybe it wasn't meant to be, if the universe had helped everything go along this far just to turn around and tell me that I shouldn't get the van.  Then I started questioning what the hell I was doing with my life, is this even the right decision overall, maybe I should just move to Spain or Argentina with my savings instead, yadda yadda...  Then I talked to my friend, my savior, my main metal man, Markus.  And the stars suddenly seemed a bit brighter in that lonely sky.  Thanks a billion, Markus, for always being there for me.  \m/

After all the 'business' part of the transaction was sussed out, I drove home on Friday in the van.  I also locked myself out the very first time I stopped for gas in Ohio (doh!  They fell out of my pocket - and of course the spare I'd made sure to get before leaving PA was inside as well).  If you ever need towing or lock-out service (or jump starts, roadside assistance, 24/7, NO out of state) in Ohio near Sandusky, call on D & K Towing (419-750-0983 or 419-750-1345, 581 US HWY 250, Norwalk OH;, he's the MAN and will treat you right.  Apparently he had just dropped off a stack of business cards at the gas station I was at earlier that night - wonderful!

So it's been a couple of weeks with the van and so far so good.  I officially have it registered, titled, licensed, and insured in my name!!  It's still amazing to me.  I really cannot believe it.  I will start another post with pics and so forth to continue on....  :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Running Away

*This was written Saturday, May 22nd, at 9:29PM.  It would've originally appeared between 'Lick' and 'O! What a Dream It Was' - aptly so.  But I was unsure of whether I wanted to post it or just vent.  I've decided to post it as I still feel the same way.*

I want to forget about you, love.  I want to erase our intimacy and be released from these memories that replay constantly in my head.  My muscle memory acclimated to your touch so quickly that it twitches when I try to erase it, fighting the removal of what it knew to feel so good.  And my heart.... well that bastard is set to kill me.

I wish more than ever that I could just pack up and move on, literally and figuratively.  Next week, if all goes well, I've have that van.  And I think I just might donate/sell all my shit over the course of next month and see if I can't sublet my room and save myself that much more in rent/bills.  And while I may still end up staying in this damn city for the summer, I'll at least have the option to run.  Run far from you.

But you can't run away from what's inside of you.  You carry it with you no matter where you wake up, who you're fucking, what the sunsets look like.

I can't wait for the day this gets better.  The day I realize you were nothing but a joke the universe was playing on me, another test I'm most likely failing.  I always come out of these situations looking the fool, playing the part of the romantic who loses.  Proof that love does not conquer all, because I don't know when to quit.  If the answers aren't clear, I keep pressing my luck.  If there's a chance, no matter how small, I'll keep my neck stuck out there for it.  The problem is that I don't know if you like me too much or not enough!  It would appear to be the latter, but I don't want to assume that on the off-chance that it might be wrong. 

I think you were right when you said we needed to hate each other to really move on.