Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thirty-Eight

Since I finished my thesis I’ve found something new to waste all of my time on. I garden. Spring’s, brother’s, girlfriend Nikki just moved into a house nearby and it has a giant backyard; unlike my apartment which is roughly the same size as my shack in the Peace Corps but without the green mountains or ocean view. Luckily, Nikki lets me grow vegetables in her backyard.

I have a garden teacher named YouTube. I waste countless hours learning from him. It’s much better for my mental health than the thesis. I could spend the entire day in bed eating cheetos and ice cream, watching old episodes of Gossip Girls, and scratching myself, but then as long as I go to the garden to look at the vegetables growing I feel as if I have accomplished something for the day.

1 out of 14 doctors recommend gardening over Xanax. The pharmaceutical companies then put those doctors out of business and step on their vegetables.

 I took some pictures of my garden. Here is one of them:


One of the goals of organic gardening is to attract beneficial wildlife to the garden to kill pests and help pollinate the vegetables and whatnot. This monkey in my swiss chard is beneficial because he is cute and he throws poo, which is an excellent fertilizer.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thirty-Seven

Oh, hey! Wow I can’t believe I ran in to you here. Small world, eh? How are you? It’s been a while. Like since January. So how have you been? Oh yeah, I was wondering why you didn't have a left leg anymore. I remember you as having two legs. Tough break. Me? Well it’s a long story but basically I traveled to the depths of hell and met the Devil. It manifested itself in the form of 85 pages of ulcer-inducing, makes-you-question-your-life-choices master’s thesis. But I have emerged with only a few scratches and a mortgaged soul and I am ready to move on with my life. So, how are the kids?

I’m only slightly over exaggerating. The thesis was one of the most time-consuming and unpleasant things I have ever done in my life. It didn’t help that I had zero interest in the subject from the very start. Anyway these are the complaints of an over privileged, over-educated white kid. It hasn’t been all doom and hellfire since we last spoke. I haven’t written because I would have just complained in every blog about how much the thesis sucks. So I just figured I’d wait till the end and say it once. But I have done some fun stuff since January. I’ll catch you up real quick on the things I did when I wasn’t cursing in front of my computer.

January
In January I went to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. I know your first question and no, unfortunately, I did not meet Matt Damon. I went to Sundance because Spring’s brother, Destin Daniel Cretton, is a pretty excellent writer/director and his first feature length film was showing at the festival. It’s called I am not a Hipster. Check out the original score streaming at www.iamnotahipster.com. It’s good. Tracks 2-4 are my favorites. Destin was nice enough to allow me to tag along for a couple days and let me pretend to be Alvaro Orlando (one of his actors) so that I could use his credentials. Spring and I were only there for 48 hours so we slept very little. We just went to movies and concerts from sun-up to sun-up. My diet was mostly popcorn and coffee for two days. It was way cool.

February
In February I took a construction class with Habitat for Humanity. They offer a free month-long intensive construction class where they teach you all the different skills for building a house. It was awesome. In return I owe them a minimum of six volunteer days. If you need a new house just let me know. I can build it now. Although they didn’t teach us how to build a roof. But those are really just for show anyway. Skylights are cool too.

March
In March I flew down to Tampa to defend my thesis. They wouldn’t let me do it on Skype. I don’t know why they call it a defense. It makes it seem like they just go in to it assuming you are wrong and you have to prove that you aren’t a liar. Innocent until proven guilty! But they were pretty nice about it. I passed. I am a master.

April
In April I decided to learn how to wrestle tigers in small kiddy pools…….NOT! APRIL FOOLS!!!! Haha, Oh man! You should have seen your face! It had this look on it that was like, “You didn’t do that, Duncan. That was a dumb joke.” Well, hey, chill out. Anyway, April just started. I have to decide what to do with my life now. I suppose a full-time job would be a good idea….NOT! APRIL FOOLS!!!! Gotcha again! I am still working for Greywater Corps, installing Greywater systems. I really like it. But it isn’t full time. I was thinking about applying for a real grown-up engineering job but then I came across this thing that I wrote for my sister when she graduated college and now I’m not so sure that I want to have a real grown-up job. Anyway I’ll let you know what I decide. Here is the thing I wrote for my sister that inspires me to live the Peter Pan/Toys R’ Us dream:

For your graduation I got you this really long metaphor…..

Graduating from college is like reaching the end of a river on a floaty thingy and being thrown out into the ocean.

Up until now the current of the river has pretty much told your floaty thingy where to go.

There have been small streams that you could have taken along the way but you didn’t dare. Your D.A.R.E. teacher said they lead to nowhere.

Sure there were some rocks to dodge.And you probably wanted to stop your floaty thingy sometimes and you were like “Ugh! Where is this all going?”

But you floated on and examined things along the way. You studied the floaty thingy, and the water, and the fish. You learned lots, forgot most of the details.
But now the river has ended and you’re about to enter the OCEAN.

The OCEAN is big, and that scares people.

So when most people get spit out into the OCEAN they cling to the shoreline with everybody else and stare at the land, pretending there is another shoreline just behind them and saying “It’s just another river.” But they never dare to peek and find out. And they just find their spot on the shoreline and hang on.

It’s crowded on the shoreline. You don’t have much room to move there. Basically the tides control your movements. There are high tides and low tides.

Sure you could take a lot of other people’s floaty thingys. Then you’d have lots of space and never have to worry about sinking even if you lost one of your floaty thingys. But there are only so many floaty thingys so if you have a lot then chances are other people have none.

On the shoreline everybody is always jostling for space and getting angry at the guy floating next to them. Also you have to do lots of stuff all the time that you’re not really sure if it matters or not. Like having political opinions and flossing.

And so one day, against everybody’s advice, you will look behind you and see that there is not another shoreline. There is a big OCEAN. And you’ll be like “Oh damn, check that shit out.” People will turn to look, start feeling seasick, turn back around and quickly repress the memory.

But not you. You’ll look at it some more and start contemplating venturing out there.

My advice: Do it.

Caution: Don’t venture out to the OCEAN all by yourself. It could get lonely. Try to convince some friends to go with you. Or meet some on the way out.

People will try to stop you. Pamela Anderson will run after you with her big floaty thingys bouncing around in her red bathing suit screaming “You can’t go out there!” But don’t listen. She’s Canadian.

So then you guys will be out in the OCEAN and you’ll have tons of room to do whatever you want, as long as you catch enough fish to keep living a healthy life.
Don’t get me wrong. There will be storms out there. And sharks. And maybe even Somalian Pirates depending on where you end up. So don’t be too reckless.
And also you’re going to have to paddle more out there. But that will only make you stronger.

You’ll float up on a lot different shorelines; some crowded and bustling, some calm and laid back. You’ll meet lots of other people who left the shoreline and swap fascinating OCEAN stories.

Then eventually your arms might get tired so you’ll find a shoreline that suits you and set up shop with the other people who’ve been floating along with you.
And then I think there’s probably a happy ending somewhere.

Unless graduating from college is actually like being a raindrop falling into a lake…in which case that changes everything. Ah, fuck it. Just have fun.


More updates to come soon…

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Occupy Minivan - Pacific Time

Oops sorry. I got distracted by some bright Christmas lights. I haven’t told you the end of our road trip saga. So as I was saying:

Las Vegas…

Well there’s only one law in Las Vegas and it prohibits me from telling you what we did there. Punishable by death. Needless to say, trying to have an Occupy movement in Las Vegas is kind of like trying to eat a low sodium diet while living in the ocean. You will probably drown. So we took a break from our tireless campaigning and had ourselves some fun, finally.



We also added two new members to the Occupy Minivan Team. Gitana Gotay and Lindsey Yach joined us for the last leg of our trip. The Gotays were kind enough to have us over for pizza and beer and show us embarrassing photos of Gitana as a young girl.


Oh I forgot, we went to the Hoover Dam as well. It was real big. We were going to take the tour but it cost a lot of money and what little money we had left after Vegas couldn't be wasted on educational tours.




We arrived to the City of Angels on the weekend before Christmas. We met up with Spring and our other Peace Corps friend Sam (female) who was visiting for the weekend from Portland, Oregon. We stayed in Santa Monica with Lindsey and her roommate Sheuneen. Lindsey and Sheuneen are pretty much like 14 year old boys stuck inside 27 year-old lady bodies. Like they went to that genie that turned that little kid into Tom Hanks that one time but Tom Hanks’ body was occupied this time so they got put in late-twenties, female bodies. But their house is the same as Tom Hanks’ house in the movie Big. It has every toy and video game you ever wanted when you were an adolescent boy but weren’t allowed to have because your mom wanted you to read books and stuff so that you could grow up to be a better blogger.


From left: Duncan, Sam, Kenny, Gitana, Justin, Cameron, Andrew, Lindsey, Spring


On Saturday everybody went to the beach for sports day. My butt was still broken so I just hobbled around. Butt everybody else played soccer and basketball and longboarded and such things. The bruise on my butt had reached epic proportions. It was so spectacular that I was not able to walk into a room all weekend without instigating a “Show Your Butt!!” chant.

On Sunday Cameron’s grandparents, The Schlarbs, hosted us all for an end of Occupy Minivan party in Pasadena. I showed everybody my butt.


Party at the Schlarbs!


And there's cake!

And so the Occupy Minivan: Cross-Country Movement has reached its end. We hit the coast and occupied a parking spot. We can't go any further until we occupy a boat(2012). The movement has ended but its spirit lives on in each and every soccer mom and cleaning lady service. And in me.




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