1.14.2014

I think it is safe to say this blog is dead.
Maybe I'll come back someday. Until then, be excellent to each other.

Best,
Jim

2.15.2013

Thanks to all of you who "voted" for me in that Boijmans thing. It was nice to see the outpouring of support. Alas, I was not selected. I'm a bit disappointed, but like I mentioned in my last post, I never expected to get in. As your support rolled in I fantasized about being filled with the joy of a surprise acceptance. Even when I expect it, acceptance makes me happy. I truly love being accepted

I don't know which artists moved to the next round. I am eager to see the chosen, though I'm sure that some of the decisions will be flabbergasting. My mind is repeatedly blown by some of the work I see in galleries. For a guy who likes art, I don't like a lot of art. Perhaps I'll write more about that later.

Oh, that reminds me, I was at the RE:Rotterdam art fair last weekend, and there was a woman doing a perfomance. I didn't actually see the proper performance, but she remained in character for quite a long time afterwards. She was in a full body suit made of rubber bands. It reminded me of this without the music:


MTV / Joy x 1000% / Mister Furry from Universal Everything on Vimeo

She was behaving like a weirdo dog with an itch to scratch. I was fascinated, but I did not take a picture. I was afraid I would miss something. What was her name? Sorry, I didn't get that, but it was in the room for Galerie Jaap Sleper or Galerie 10. I guess Galerie 10 is Jaap Sleper now. 

On a more joyous note, look at my kid. She's awesome. If it were up to her, I'd be in every exhibition.


If you need me, I'll be trying to get some awesome new work together. 
Thanks again for the support. All of you are wonderful people. 

Best,
Jim

2.02.2013

Today I went to Kwantum with Marleen Bos and young Ruby. In case you are unaware, Kwantum is a home goods store that I am not fond of. I was going to write this blog about how Kwantum kind of sucks, but I have changed my mind. Now the blog is going to be about how Kwantum almost entirely sucks. To be fair, they sell lots of useful things. We bought light bulbs there today. It's getting harder and harder to find incandescent bulbs, but Kwantum has them, and more importantly, they have the ones that we need. They also sell mops, cleaning supplies, and other shit like that. The rug in our living room was purchased at Kwantum. The rug does not suck. Once upon a time, I wrote about our rug shopping experience, in case you are interested.

Anyway, here are a few items that caught my eye in Kwantum today. Some suck. Some are awesome. You decide which is which. Check the bottom of the post for answers.

1- 5 meters of Green bendy wire Evidently this is for binding things, but I could probably find other uses for it. The outer insulation(?) is quite soft. It's affordable, too!



2 - Greco-Roman busts If this is something that you would like in your house you should go to Kwantum.



3 - Heart canvas  It is sort of difficult for me to mask how I feel about these things. I'm trying to be neutral, but how much can I say about this without revealing that it might suck.



4 - Tin that looks like a dishwasher What can't you do with this. It boggles my mind that it is the same price as the Heart canvas.



5 - The Just Fabulous line These were the only examples I saw, but there could be others. It reminds me of this. "He's very good." By the way, have you ever seen a painted cutting board before? That's just fabulous.




I encourage you to check out Kwantum if you need something for your shitty home. Perhaps you won't think it sucks as much as I do. If you have a baby, bring it with you. I brought mine, and it made the experience much better. Look at the baby sized shopping carts they have.


On a totally unrelated note, you should go here and vote for me
When I say vote, I mean click the link, and then comment on that page. Say something about what you see, or what you think it means. You can comment here, too, but that's not going to help me. I know I'm not going to win. One of the more motivated self-promoters with hundreds of FB friends will win. Hopefully, that person will also be super good. I just think it would be nice if the contest people noticed me. Also, take a look around on the contest site. There are a few that I am quite fond of. With Kwantum, suckiness is black and white. This contest has a wide range. It goes from "totally sucky" all the way to "freaking good." 
Oh yeah, tell your friends. Tell you enemies, too. 

If it wasn't too obvious, here are the answers: 1 is awesome. 2 sucks. 3 sucks. 4 is awesome. 5 pretty much sucks, especially the cutting board. I didn't show them, but incandescent light bulbs are awesome, too. 

Good bye, 
Jim Turbert

8.15.2012

I'd like to share some of my recent purchases with you. Some of them are more interesting than others, but all if them serve some sort of a purpose, and they bring me some form of joy. 

1 - Takumar 50mm f1.4 m42 lens  This is an old screw mount Pentax lens. It was made in an era when build quality was high, and things were more awesome. It doesn't have any auto focus bells or whistles, but its focus ring is smooth and buttery. Also, it was made at a time when Pentax was competing with Zeiss for 35mm superiority. I read somewhere that they sold these lenses at a loss so they could get their brand out there. I'm not sure that was the best business plan, but it made it easier for lots of people to get some kick ass lenses. I purchased it to use for shooting video on my Canon 5d MKII. I've done a few tests, and so far it is nice. Very nice. One funny thing about some old Takumar lenses is that they used a radioactive coating on some elements to reduce flaring. Over time that made the glass turn yellow. You can see the yellowing in the picture below. I read that you could remove this yellowing by setting the lens in direct sunlight or under a UV bulb. I bought a UV bulb, and after 5 days under the light you can see the improvement. Shit is crazy. 


2 - Pie server  I have been know to make pies on occasion. I also make quiche. When I make these delightful treats I often have trouble removing them from their dishes. For some reason I never acquired a pie server. That reminds me of one night when our friends Esme and Tomasz were over, and we were making some sort of ginger cookies. I needed to roll out the dough, and I used a wine bottle. I always use a wine bottle because I never bothered to buy a rolling pin. Esme has been know to make and bake on occasion, and she was appalled that I didn't have a rolling pin. I still don't have one, but I think about buying one whenever I see one in the store.
Anyway, my new pie server is awesome. It is both simple and high quality. You can see quiche residue stuck to it in the picture below. 


3 - L.L. Bean back pack  It is nice. It is strong. It is a good size, though I wish it were at tiny bit bigger. I can easily drop a camera, a change of clothing, and several other essentials for a weekend or otherwise short trip. Also, it's super comfortable and convenient for biking. I plan on using it extensively. 


4 - Rubber ice tray  Sometimes I get fired up about pretty simple things. A couple of weekends ago we went to Enschede to celebrate Marleen's grandma's 90th birthday. That was lovely, but imagine how pleased I was when I got some ice from the freezer, and found this!!! I easily popped a few cubes out without disturbing the others. Also, I believe that this ice tray makes better use of space than every ice tray I've ever seen. That might not seem like a big deal, but if your freezer is full of frozen baby meals and ice cream like mine is, you need all the spatial economy you can get. Also, I tend to break normal ice trays. I'm not saying I'm super strong, but I tend to break plastic ice trays. I do it all the time. On a slightly related note, I also break aluminum chainring bolts on my bike. I need to buy the steel ones, or I'll crack them right off. I've done it more than once. It is not pretty. 


5 - Raspberry Pi  I don't think I need to tell you how cool a credit card sized Linux computer is. If I do need to tell you, I can only suggest you Google it. It is super cool. I haven't done much playing with it yet, but I'd like to try making a media player with it, or a MAME arcade, or something else that is awesome. 


I know that stuff is only stuff and it can't really make me happy. Still, this stuff is pretty cool, right? 

Sincerely, 
Jim



7.26.2012

This is not my image. I used it without the permission of posters dot ws.

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about how the theme of lots of movies is to seize the day, or something like that. Often, seizing the day is depicted as neglecting your responsibilities. As appealing as that can be, I've got stuff to do. I also have a child to take care of. If I blow off work or my other responsibilities to go sky diving, or if I buy a new Tesla, who is going to pay for everything? In my case, Marleen would pay for everything, though she would have to return the Tesla. She would most likely lose interest in tolerating me if I were always frivolously spending or absent, so she would be removed from the picture rather quickly. Shortly after her departure, living for today would become unfeasible, or at least less exciting, because I would be evicted for non-payment. Then what would I do? The occupy Rotterdam guys have already shown us that camping in Rotterdam is not a viable long term solution. It would also not be great if food became unaffordable due to the seizure of too many days. I like food. I like not having struggle to find it. Seizing anything would become increasingly difficult without food. Living every day as if it were your last would definitely lose its appeal quickly without limitless cash flow, and I am poor (by some standards). Perhaps it is best if we all just settle and go through the motions.

Anyway, one of the ways I try to make my life richer is by attempting fun. In one of my recent attempts at fun I made all the children at Ruby's daycare cry (except for Ruby). I know you're all thinking that me making people/family/children/strangers/the pizza delivery man cry is not so much of a stretch. If you are thinking that, you are wrong. Stop laughing, I almost never make people cry.
I'm getting off track.

I do this thing with Ruby.
See:
video

I did that in the doorway as I was leaving the daycare facility. Ruby smiled, and ALL of the other children began crying. Before you say, "Of course you made the all the children cry. That is terrifying," let me tell you that Ruby loves it. Also, I may have mentioned before, most kids like me. How was I supposed to know that other children don't like Gollum sounds. I don't know what kids like. I only know what one kid likes. Well, now I know what a handful of Dutch kids don't like.


Best,
Jim
Hi. If you look at this blog through NetworkedBlogs, I'm afraid you won't be able to do that anymore. I  don't like the way NB posts things on Facebook, so I'm deleting my account with them. From not on, it will take me an extra 20 or 30 extra seconds to paste the URL of my blog in a Facebook update, but at least it won't say NetworkedBlogs all over it. 
Okay. I'm just letting you know.

Best, 
Jim 

7.05.2012



B and I were just looking at books we traded for copies of Rally. I am really excited about the trades I made with Andrew Warren and Bill Burke. You should get in on this action. Let's trade something.


Vacation went by too fast.
I accomplished most of my goals while I was back in the USA. Many of my goals were food based, and they were easily accomplished, but others required meticulous planning and the alignment of stars. For instance, on our first night I ate Blue Ribbon Barbecue, ate my first (and second, and third, and...) cake pop, and we spent time with Scott and Alicia. That was three goals in one night. The first night. That level of efficiency is not easily attained. I was not able to connect with everyone on my list, but I will try harder next time.


I saw my family in Winsted. That proved to be far more stressful than it should have been, but that's what happens when you come from a family of boneheads. I'd comment more on the matter, but someone might get offended. Oh wait, is calling someone a bonehead offensive if it is true?


While in Boston we saw Alex Katz prints at the MFA. I had incredibly low expectations, but I ended up liking quite a bit of the work. My favorite piece was a collaboration between Mr. Katz and a fellow named Ron Padgett. It looked quite like a story board for a boring movie. I am intrigued by the dramatization of generally uninteresting things, and I always thought I should read more poetry. Maybe I'll start that tomorrow. 


Anyway, I still managed to have a decent time despite the achterlijk family feud. I took pictures, went fishing with my nephew, and I ate some delicious beef. I swam even though I was embarrassed of my current physical condition (baby weight?), and the highlight was sitting in my parents' backyard in the morning. It was windy, and all I could hear was the sound of wind in trees. It make me want to live in the woods. Well, it makes me want to live closer to the woods. You know what else makes me want to live in the woods? Pan's Labyrinth. Is that weird? That really has nothing to do with anything else, but I threw it in there anyway because  I'm a shitty blogger.


Other highlights included the hospitality of friends, a trip to New Hampshire, and the purchase of several items that are either too expensive or hard to find in good old Nederland. I got two pairs of sneakers, a pie server, and an expensive glass thing that you touch to look at the internet. All of these things are super awesome. 


As a follow up to my last blog about the high price of using large format film in Nederland I offer you this. I dropped off some film in Needham, MA on Friday. It was at my house in Rotterdam on Tuesday, and it cost less. FOUR DAYS, NOT SEVEN! It cost less even though I had to FedEx it. Shit is crazy. 


My thoughts are starting to unravel. I will compose myself and post again in the future.

Bye,
Jim

5.25.2012

There used to be a pro photo lab 5 minutes away from my house. They relocated to an area that is only accessible by car. I don't have a car. Now I am forced to send my film out via mail. I sent four sheets of 4x5 and one roll of 120 c-41 out on Monday, and I haven't gotten it back yet. The lab I sent it to is in Amsterdam, and that is only an hour away. I should have had that shit on Wednesday, Thursday at the latest.

This drives me fucking nuts. 


What makes is worse is that it cost me €48.49 for that tiny order. That's like $60! Shit is wrong. I realize that only 3 or 4 people reading this might understand my outrage, but believe me; it is outrageous.

Other than that, things are cool.
Have a nice weekend.

Best,
Jim

4.23.2012

Look! 

I've been working on my back up plan.  I figure that if all else fails, I can always spend my time scaring children.  Clearly I'm not very good at it yet.  Someday, after I lose more hair, and ramp up my crotchetiness, I may be able to make little ones run in fear.  I'm already pretty crotchety, so it shouldn't be too much work.  Despite my semi-crotchety nature, the smallest of people seem to find me quite amusing.  It's not just Ruby.  Kids stare at me, and I think they want to be friends.  Maybe it's the beard.  I look kind of like Chewbacca, or Fozzy Bear.  My looks comfort them.

Adults do not look at me the same way.  They look at me and think Unabomber.  That's probably because we have the same basic haircut and beard.  My disheveled visage is not charming to adults.  It worked for awhile when I was younger and more attractive, but now instead of fuzzy or warm feelings, it makes people think I am  dirty and undesirable.  Whenever I walk into the day care place to pick up Ruby, I feel like I don't belong there.  Granted, I often stroll in after having gone for a run, so I look totally crazy when I arrive.  Sweaty, hairy, out of breath.  The fancy moms and dads are clearly unimpressed, but what is one to do?  I seriously can't be bothered getting haircuts more than a few times a year, and I strongly dislike shaving.  I, like the Unabomber, have a penchant for wearing hooded sweatshirts, and thus I never look like a proper man of my age.  Occasionally I wear real shirts, and it feels funny.  I'll be sitting at the computer, and I reach for my hood, but it's not there, and I have a miniature freak out in my head.
I think I might be stunted.

Anyway, as I write this, it occurs to me that adults and children may think of me the same way, but their bias is skewed by perspective.  Both parties think of me as a dog.  Children look at me and see an amazing and fun hairy guy who they want to play with.  Adults look at me and see a hairy subordinate who needs grooming, and can't be trusted with unattended food.
I do like food.

On an entirely unrelated note, I just made my first Blurb book.  It's called Rally, and it features pictures of Dave's van from our crazy road trip last year.  We spent so much time in and with the van during the trip that it became the main player.  Everything we did revolved around the van and its health.  I came to admire Rally quite a lot, and I'm glad I finally got my shit together enough to make the book.

You can preview the book in the Blurb store, but I think their preview is slow, and the quality is underwhelming.  I made a small promo page that you can see at http://turbert.com/rally.  I think you will find the quality is significantly higher at my promo page.



I think that's all I've got for you right now.  I think I'm going to get a haircut this week, and I may even pay someone else for their services instead of doing it myself.  That is a very unstunted decision, wouldn't you say?

Best,
Jim

3.08.2012

The problem with not writing a blog post for 6 months is that there is too much to say.  So many blog worthy things have happened, I don't know where to start.  It's not quite overwhelming, but it is certainly not easy to begin again.  I have decided that I will make no effort to bring you up to speed with me.  You wouldn't find it interesting, anyway.  I had a beverage and a snack in town with a chum of mine yesterday, and I realized that I didn't have anything to talk about besides child rearing and my job.  Unless you are talking to a co-worker or a fellow parent, no one wants to hear that shit.  They may tell you that they do, but they are lying.  I'm not saying that they won't smile and nod as you regale them with tales of all the wondrous and rainbow coated details of your precious baby, but not so deep down inside, they don't really care.  So, I guess I need to find something else to talk about, or something else to think about.  Maybe I'll write a post about Mitt Romney's hair this weekend.  Everyone loves Mitt Romney's hair, don't they?

I just read my last post, and I see that I never posted a baby picture.  Boy, do I feel stupid.  Now I have to post a baby picture after my spiel about how nobody cares.  I'm conflicted, but I do love showing pictures of my baby, so here's a recent one.  Ruby is the one on the left.


If I have any interesting thoughts, I will share them with you.  Right now I must go to bed.  You can't stop me.

Love,
Jim

9.06.2011

I'm going to start with the super great news. As many of you know, as of September 1, Marleen and I have a daughter.  Her name is Ruby Isobel.
She's a dear.
I will take this time to share with you some of the things that I have learned in the past few days.

1)  Almost everything Ruby does is adorable.  The only things that aren't adorable are crying and pooping.  The pooping wouldn't be so bad if she didn't often make a fresh one immediately after I change the diaper.  She's really good at that.  Besides that she moves her little arms and makes all kinds of great faces.  She looks cuter everyday.  I'm not sure if there is a cuteness apex that we are approaching, but if she just keeps getting cuter and cuter I might die.
2)  When you have a baby people give you piles of baby clothes that you wouldn't necessarily choose yourself.  I'm not complaining.   It's great to get free stuff, and no one really cares what a baby is wearing, but we now have piles of baby clothes and most of them are just ridiculous.
3)  Speaking of baby clothes, I've discovered that babies wear lots of them, all the time.  It's September, and my baby is always wearing a hat.  It looks totally dumb.  She also wears a little trap door butt thingy that is called a rompertje or onesie.  I kind of like the onesie.  In fact, I bought a few myself before she was born, but we always end up covering them up with dumb footy pants that fit awkwardly and other bigger shirts.  I guess babies aren't so good at regulating their body temperatures, so they have to dress like retarded Jedi.  She's super cute in whatever she wears, but I assure you, there is a direct correlation between level of cuteness and level of nudeness.*  Also, from a functional standpoint, stripping a baby out of three layers of clothing just to see if she peed her pants is super time and labor intensive.  If you are a clever designer, could you please make some size adjustable baby suits with dampness sensors?  That would be super.
4)  Babies are time consuming.  We haven't even left the house with her yet, but I can tell that when we do, we'll have to leave an hour before whenever we would usually leave.  It's just a fact.  Ruby is not on my schedule, and she appears to be calling the shots now.

I'm sure there is other stuff, but I can't think at the moment.  There are other things gnawing at me...

Sorry if the next section bums you all out, but I can't resist sharing this as well.  Ruby was born on Thursday, so I have not ridden my bike since then. I keep my bikes and my motorcycle in a locked inside space. The space is shared, but I still considered my stuff safe from any vandalism or theft.
I was wrong.
This morning I went to get my bike so I could go do some errands, and I noticed that my motorcycle had been moved. Then I noticed that it was not only moved, but leaning against the wall. I went to pick it up, and I noticed that the tail light was smashed, one of the signals was ripped off, as was my license plate. The plate wasn't only removed and taken, but ripped entirely off the bike. This was not even close to an accident. Someone spent time damaging my stuff. The left rear signal is attached to a chrome rack on the back of the bike.  This person ripped the whole thing off, so the entire rack will either need to be replaced or welded. Welding it on is going to be cheaper, but ugly as shit. I don't know how much a new rack costs, and I don't really care.  That is not the point.  The bike is old and mostly original. I'm the second owner, and I don't want to be responsible for destroying this thing after my uncle owned it since 1978. I'm really upset about this.  I'm more than upset.  I'm sad.  I feel violated.  I'm also incredibly angry.  I know it's only an object, but I am still very angry. Although I don't regularly ride it, the motorcycle means a lot to me, and I don't understand why people have to be so shitty. I must move out of this neighborhood. First, I have to move the bike to a new location.  I'm tired of living amongst the savages.  Someone flicked a cigarette at Marleen and me from an open apartment window a few nights ago.  Before that, a guy tried to spit on me after I went for a run late at night.  I must get away from these cowardly animals.  If you're going to spit on someone,  at least have the sack to spit in his face.  No character.  I don't think Ruby likes them either.

I'll post a baby picture or two soon.  Maybe tomorrow.

Best,
Jim

*Fully nude babies are so cute that the weak minded explode in their presence.  Fortunately, Marleen and I have a super cute cat, so we built up an immunity to cute overload.

8.30.2011

Today is the due date.  Regardless of whether or not it happens today, I will be someones dad soon.

If the audio clip didn't show up for you, let me know.

Thanks,
Jim
-the clip is the intro to Sweet Loaf by Butthole Surfers.  I did not get their permission to post it.

8.15.2011


Earlier this summer, while I was on my epic journey with Dave, we spent an evening in Portland, Oregon.  Since both Dave and I had chums in the area, we parted ways.  He spent the evening with his pal Chris, and I caught up with Jason and Shawn Kelley in Jason's glorious new home that he shares with his lady.  The three of us have known each other since high school.  Actually, Shawn and I have known each other since well before high school, but that doesn't matter.  My point is that we have been friends with varying degrees of closeness for at least 20 years.  Since both of them have been living in Portland for quite awhile, and I lived in Boston or Rotterdam, we haven't been hanging out much, and it was really cool to see them.  One of the "catching up" things we talked about was my feelings about living abroad.  Jason mentioned that he looked at my Flickr photo stream, and he asked me if I was lonely.  My Flickr stream consists almost entirely of silly pictures taken with my cell phone.  There are a few exceptions (notably the self portraits, some of the Japan pictures, and "fan" pictures), but the vast majority are pictures of the Netherlands made with an iPhone.  Most of the pictures have no people in them.  The subjects are objects rather than scenery or the good times that are often photographed by peoples' cell phones.  I had never really thought about how others would react to them, and I was surprised by his reaction.  I had to think about it for a second.  Am I lonely?

I'm going to go on a bit of tangent before I answer any questions about the levels of my loneliness or any other states of my mind, but I promise that I will get back to that before this post is over.  

Jason's comment made me think about one of the reasons that I became interested in photography.  I used to look at my grandmother's photo albums all the time.  They weren't artful or archival.  They were quite the opposite.  The pictures were bound in those crappy old albums with the cellophane over the gluey pages that you could probably buy in 5 packs at CVS or someplace like it.  Most of the images were totally average snapshots with very little thought put into the composition, but meticulously labeled so any viewer would know precisely what was happening in each picture (This reminds me of a possible subject for a future Scott Wiener inspired post about the importance of titles, but I digress.).  I liked seeing my parents and their friends as young people.  I liked that everyone looked happy, and they made me look forward to a future when I could have good times, and take pictures with my friends.  Soon, I will be a father.  I can only assume that working title Babycakes will someday go through my photographs wondering why his dad spent so much time photographing himself and dumb shit around Rotterdam.    Babycakes may approach me much the same way Jason did, asking, "Dad, Are you lonely?"  (Since Babycakes will be a Dutchling, the question may be, "Ben je eenzaam?"  I'm not sure I want to be called Papa, but that seems to be what Dutch kids call their fathers.  More digression.  Sorry.)

So, the answer to the question, "Am I lonely" is (drumroll...), I don't think so.  Perhaps I am.  I have plenty of other emotions we can discuss another time, but if I am lonely I'm not really thinking about it.  When I think about lonely times, I recall my first year in Boston.  I worked with people who were way older than me, and they thought I was a freak.  I couldn't go to school for various reasons, so I worked in restaurants and tourist venues, but I didn't meet close friends there.  I was so young, and I had a long list of mental trauma in the immediate past that I had no idea how to deal with.  I remember how desperate I was for friendship, and how hard it was to find.  I recall wondering if my move there was worth it, and why I didn't move back to Winsted where everyone seemed to be stuck in a perpetual good-times machine.  My current situation is totally different.  Yes, I occasionally want to move back to the US, but I live with Marleen.  She's my best friend.  She's also easy on the eyes, and we hang out out all the time, especially now that she is off work for the next 16 weeks.  We are social as a couple and individually, and to be quite frank, I truly enjoy solitude.  I get it where I can, and it is awesome.  The fact remains that I don't have a particularly fun photo album for future generations who are curious about their family history to look at.  Long ago, my immediate family stopped asking me to take pictures of them after too many fiery rants about not wanting to do such things in a more turbulent past.  Blame it on art school beating the family album out of me.  Blame it on my own pretentiousness.  Blame it on me being an ass.  Whatever the reason, I've been making an effort to take more pictures of friends and good times, so get ready for a serious explosion of fun.  In your face.
Yeah.

Sincerely,
Jim Turbert

7.26.2011

Thanks to everyone who responded to my last post.  Your encouragement is much appreciated.

As some of you may know, I recently joined Facebook.  I never wanted to join FB.  I thought it would be a huge waste of time.  Whenever someone asked me why I never joined, my standard response was something along the lines of, "I have a difficult enough time maintaining relationships with the people I see on a daily basis."  Now that I've joined, I kind of like it.  Yeah, it is weird to get friend requests from people I haven't seen since 8th grade, but generally FB does not intrude in my life as much as I though it would.  That said, last night I had a really weird dream involving Facebook.  People were posting criticisms of everything that I do or have ever done on my wall.  Not just one or two people, but a hundred.  I didn't care at first.  They were reasonable criticisms for the most part, but then they started avalanching.  They became more and more negative and personal,  and I got totally freaked out.
Fortunately, I woke up before I melted down.  Shit was crazy.  

That's all for now.

Love,
Jim

7.12.2011

When I started writing this blog and its distant ancestor, I did it because I could write anything I wanted to. It was nice to be able to express a full range of human emotions, or to be able to post any dumb shit that I wanted to.  I don't feel like I can do that anymore.  I censor myself to save the feelings of others, or to protect myself from the judgements of potential employers.  I've been told that many employers do not want to know that their employees (or potential employees) are real people who aren't happy all the time.  Every time I post something less than jubilant I have to hear about how depressing I am, or about how worried people are about me.
I don't understand.  Is everyone else happy ALL of the time?   It can't be so.
I haven't decided if I want to stop posting, or if I want to post more.  I realize that I don't have a ton of readers, but if you could drop me a line with your thoughts on the matter, that would be grand.  Perhaps your input will help me make a decision.

By the way, I'm doing pretty well.  Things are slow after my epic journey earlier this summer.  I had to quit my postal job before the trip, so I am searching for employment, and getting other stuff done.  It is super cool to be at home hanging out with Marleen.  We're preparing for the imminent arrival of Babycakes (the working title of our future child).  When I say imminent, I mean in less than 2 months.  The Baby is due on August 30.  I hope we have a name by then, because I'm pretty sure anyone with the name Babycakes will be teased by their peers even though many Dutch names sound far funnier than Babycakes does.
So yeah, I'm going to go.  Try not to let the bastards get you down.

Best,
Jim

6.08.2011

When presented with the choice of a decent portion of high quality
food or an unlimited quantity of low grade good, I recommend quality
over quantity.
In unrelated news the van is back in the road, though somewhat
shakily. It was repaired in Las Vegas, and we made it to Oklahoma
City before it started to go wonky again, but the Aamco guys found the
issue. They also broke the speedometer, but that won't slow us down -
he he. Now we're driving, but it not smooth. I'm not saying I have
doubts, but I think it will be a long night.

Best,
Jim

6.03.2011

We are still stranded in the city that never sleeps. The van was
supposed to be repaired by tomorrow, but due to bureaucratic
warranties and technicalities, it now looks like Monday will be the
day of our departure.
LV gets a bit depressing the more you see of it. Just one block from
the strip you can find scores of empty apartments. Signs on the sides
of the buildings read things like, "Live here. Eat for free," and,
"first month free. Some of the windows in the occupied dwellings are
covered with aluminum foil. I realize that the people who live in the
aluminum foil covered places may work all night, and sleep all day,
but it only ends up adding to the, "what the he'll goes on in this
place" vibe. Walking back and forth from the garage where the van is
further cements the notion that the strip is a shiny veneer on the
otherwise grey and run down desert city. It is not uplifting.
Anyway, we're getting away from that for awhile. We're in a rental car
moving swiftly towards the grand canyon where we'll shoot some more
video for Dave's project. Morale is a bit low at the moment. Driving
is not the same without the rally wagon. It is true that our rental is
both reliable and comfortable, but it lacks character. I, perhaps we,
feel as if we've left a man behind. Sorry Rally.
I leave you with this question. Has our being stranded in Las Vegas
been a blessing or a curse?

Best,
Jim

6.02.2011




Stranded in Las Vegas.  This place is exhausting, and I don't drink or gamble.  
The Rally Wagon's transmission has failed, so we are in Vegas until Saturday.  We were quite lucky to break down here. Earlier in the day we were in Death Valley where it was 100 degrees (about 38 Celsius) with no cell phone reception.  That would have complicated things.  Now we're switching hotels daily because we are able to get insanely cheap rates for one night stays, and we're seeing what there is to see.  
There is plenty to see.  
It looks like our return home will be more of a race across the country than a leisurely southern experience. That is too bad. I was looking forward to the slow southern journey. 
There will be more to read here later. 

Best,
Jim

5.28.2011

We are camped at Dave's mom's house. Sleeping in a bed is an often
overlooked pleasure. We don't have anything on the agenda today
except for cleaning and lubricating the bearings in the steadycam
device. It got kind of messed up in the sand storm. Maybe I'll make
some pancakes this morning. Oh, the joys.
My mind is sort of blank right now. I must go.

Best,
Jim

5.27.2011

When I packed for this trip I assumed that because it was scheduled
for the traditional beginning of summer weather that it would be hot.
With the exception of Chicago, it has not been hot. Overall, we have
been very lucky. We seem to miss major rain on all the days that we
shoot, and that has kept us more or less on schedule. Still, it is
colder than I expected. When we rolled into Pyramid Lake it was warm,
and from the road I could see a camper swimming. I thought for sure
that we would be swimming after our day of shooting. Instead, there
was a dust storm, temperature dropped 15 degrees (Fahrenheit), and the
wind became oppressive. That day we saw the weather go from a light
rain, to a blizzard, to mid seventies (Fahrenheit - Low 20's C), to
a cold and rainy dust storm in the desert. Crazy.
My point is that I didn't bring as much warm clothing as I should
have. I'm not in danger of freezing or anything, but most nights I
find myself layered to the max, and sometimes I'm still uncomfortable,
especially my feet. So, if you are going camping, do not
underestimate the power of elevation, and save some weight by not
including swimming shorts.

Yours truly,
Not Bear Grylls

5.25.2011

Yesterday we filled up at a gas station on an indian reservation.
They gave us $5 or $10 of free plays, so we went in. I put $1 into a
penny slot machine. It was easily the most boring thing I've ever
done. $1 is 100 plays, and all you do is push a button for each play.
The worst part about it is that every so often you win a round.
Typically when you win a round you get between 5 and 15 credits or
plays. I found that it was difficult to get under 50 credits or plays.
Every time I went under 50 I would win 15 more credits. I won the
privilege of pushing the button 15 more times. Im convinced that this
would have gone on forever if I didn't raise the bet. I just wanted
the inanity to end. On top of the repetitive button pushing, it is
loud, the music sucks, and there are scores of sad and desperate
looking people inside. I am dumbfounded that people find this
enjoyable.

Okay. Bye.

Best,
Jim

5.24.2011

Cold. So cold.
It's hard to sleep when it's freaking freezing outside. I expected to
be a little cold on this trip, but I underestimated the extent of the
late spring chill. I actually thought I'd be swimming in mountain
streams. Boy, was I wrong. There is still a ton of snow in the
mountains.
Anyway, we're going up to Crater Lake tomorrow. There will be a ton
of snow there. I will not swim.
By the way, I just joined Facebook. I feel weird about doing this,
but I think it's cool that Dave gets instant feedback after he posts
about our trip. It makes me think that FB is a good thing, and not
(only) a waste of time. I wont be able to post much or set shit up
yet, but add me as a chum, and I'll get into it eventually.

Best,
Jim

5.20.2011

There were several notable quotes today. The most recent was, "I
found my old dog robot." We're at Dave's cabin. The cabin is not
really in a town, but it's sort of nestled between two towns called
Index and Gold Bar in Washington. I have no desire to write at length
about the days sagas because I am typing this on my phone, and also
I'm a little worn out, but let's just say that the characters involved
are zombies who may or may not be meth addicts (I'm pretty sure they
are), park rangers, the sheriff, and delinquent
To counteract a morning that was both enraging and depressing we hiked
and filmed in terrain that was rich in both glory and splendor. I'll
post a few pictures that will not do it any justice later. Now I'm
sitting in front of a burning pile of garbage at Dave's cabin. Dave's
friend Eric is on the way, and I understand he is bringing butter for
our potatoes, and root beer for me to drink. Tomorrow the three of us
will hike mount Baker. It's gonna be awesome, and hopefully everyone
we deal with will have teeth and body fat.

Best,
Jim

5.17.2011

3 ingredients

Camp cooking tips from Dave.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NInqScRcyo&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Sometimes video taping can be exhausting. For instance, today was a
grueling half day of video taping. I'm not certain this has been
clear, but Dave's project involves the use of a specially designed 5
camera video rig. It is supposed to function similarly to a
professional steady-cam, and it does, big with none of the creature
comforts. While using it one must hold 5 video cameras in front
oneself while walking on rough terrain. It is challenging. Also, the
sun is beating down on you further depleting your energy. We started
taping at around 12 today, and we finished a little before 6. I was
totally wiped out.
If you think this sounds easy, I suggest you get a 15 pound (7 kilo)
weight, and hold it directly in front of you while you walk around.
Tell me how you feel after about 15 minutes. Now do it for a few
hours in dirt, mud, and on big ass hills. It will drain you.
So yeah, I'm feeling pretty mellow right now. Dave cooked some steak
up on our little propane stove, and we ate in the company of the
bison. The bison love us, or perhaps we camped near their favorite
grass. Either way, their presence is welcome. Today was the sixth
day of the trip. We may shoot some more in the morning if the weather
is nice, but if it isn't we'll have breakfast with the bison, and move
on to Seattle with an evening spent camping somewhere in Idaho.

I'll try to post more pictures and videos, but most of my pictures are
on either my fancy dSLR or my super 8 camera. I'll show you some more
when I get home and edit a decent selection.

Goodnight,
Jim

5.16.2011

Here is another video that I was unable to embed. I'm using my
iPhone. If anyone knows a good way to embed video to blogger via
iPhone, let me know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CaUxwiKBok&feature=youtube_gdata_player


Best,
Jim






Notice the bison in the background. The Badlands is (are?) rad, and so are the bison.  Today we did a lot of work.  Shooting Dave's film is way more fun than driving all freaking day long.  Unfortunately, the movie probably wont be ready for a year or so, but it is off to a good start. We spent the afternoon scouting locations to shoot tomorrow. We'll probably leave for Seattle on Thursday.  
I'm really tired, and I probably wont post anything for a few days due to lack of an internet connection.  So I bid you a good evening. 

Best,
Jim 

5.15.2011

So much has happened since my last post. Dave and I have driven from
Boston to South Dakota. We just woke up in The Badlands, and we'll be
here for a few days.
Here are a few things I've learned on this trip so far:

1) Just because something is uncomfortable and appears to be a piece
of shit does not mean that it should be dismissed outright. Rally,
aka Dave's shitty van, is not so shitty. Yes, it is primer gray. Yes,
it gets less than 12 miles to the gallon. No, its seats are not very
comfortable. Will it survive this trip? Fuck yes. That thing is
solid. And LOUD.

2) I kind of knew this already, but EVERYONE is nicer than people from
the northeastern US. I'm not talking shit here. I am from the
northeast, and I am included in this ridiculous generalization.

3) Free wifi is important. During the next presidential election cycle
we should make sure that whichever yahoo is on the winning end is
dedicated to serving that shit up everywhere. Communicating with
everyone has been a supreme challenge during this trip, mostly because
I would have to sell my first child to pay the cellular roaming
charges on my Dutch iPhone.

4) Things that go bump in the night are probably bison. We got to the
Badlands last night, and it took us forever to navigate to the free
camping area. We set up our tent, and then the growling, and
grunting, and cud chewing began. Not knowing how a freaking bison
sounds, we assumed it was an aggressive hunter looking for man flesh.
Dave left the tent to see what was making the sound, and the sound
seemed to disappear, only to return after the tent was zipped up again
. The return of the noise further cemented the idea that we were
being hunted. Slowly. Inefficiently.
Long story slightly shorter, there were a ton of bison chilling
outside our tent when we woke up this morning. They were making the
sounds we heard last night.

Okay. Bye.

Jim