Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A friend gone but never forgotten

To say we became fast friends is fitting considering I only spent a few hours with him in total. I met Eamonn one hot afternoon in Zamora, a small town in Spain along the Via de la Plata. I had strolled into town with a few hundred kilometers under my pilgrim belt. I had several hundred to walk before reaching Santiago. He and I met at the local hotel, which had a western movie saloon feel to it. Naturally we gravitated towards each other and our shared language, he being Irish and me, of course, being Canadian. We walked through town trading stories about the Camino de Santiago as we made our way towards the local parador, found throughout Spain, paradores are castles that have been converted into luxury hotels.

Eamonn spoke with an Irish accent, tall for his age, white hair, and a giant smile. Meeting such a kind man as Eamonn was in direct contrast to the bastard I met the day before. I was approached by a horny homosexual pig farmer way out in the countryside the afternoon prior. The pervert had a strange look in his face as he started following me along the dirt road. Before i knew it he was asking me something in Spanish and tapping me three times on my crotch with his hand. I looked him right in the eye, shouted "NO" and proceeded to bolt down the road. Looking back, only briefly to see what he was yelling about, I noticed he didn't make an effort to follow me, only standing tall with his finger held over his mouth as if to say "shhhhhhh, no one needs to know about the crazy pervert that lives along the Via de la Plata."

As we made our way down the narrow streets of Zamora I told this traumatic tale. Eamonn's laughter at many parts of my story was exactly what I needed. He began laughing with little concern for social graces. I mean, I had just met this Irishman and he was finding humor in something I thought was going to ruin my entire pilgrimage. But that was all it took for me to realize how humorous it really was after the fact. However, I stated I was going to walk the rest of the way to Santiago with my Swiss army knife open to the largest blade. Laughing again, he was able to muster up some control before telling me in complete seriousness, that that would only raise the level of confrontation and it would be best if i put the knife away. Now we were both laughing.

Finding a table in the Castle's courtyard we moved on to more important subjects, sharing much about our lives, our approach to the Camino, and thoughts on life in general. I remember trading impressions of JFK with him, we both seemed to enjoy Kennedy more than the average person and each seemed interested in exchanging that knowledge.

We said our goodbyes that night back at the hotel lobby. He was staying in the area, spending his holiday at a local ranch nearby and I was continuing on to Santiago. We would trade emails over the next several years. I had grand plans to visit him in Cape Town. But then the emails stopped. I would email him and get no reply. Months would go by and I would email him again. Still nothing. It has been a few years now. I have to assume at his age, there is the very real possibility he passed away.

Even so, I still write emails addressed to him. Knowing he will not reply does not matter anymore. I write him anyway, because I believe writing to a friend, expressing how much they have impacted your life, never falls on deaf ears.

So that's what I write when I write my friend, Eamonn.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What does Roller derby, kayaking and a falling skier have in common. Nothing, other than making for some awesome video.

I know. I know. I'm leaning on youtube far too often these days for content on my blog. But bear with me, any video i post on this blog is (in my opinion) worth watching. The youtube links are rarely discovered by me, rather they tend to come from fun friends who enlighten me with a wide range of taste, a lot of them have some relation to my new gig, that being videos related to awesome outdoor adventures but then there are those who are just down right funny from left field.

This one makes me laugh only because it looks as though the skier survived a rather long "fall". Since working as the content developer for Mountain Gear I've been handed all sorts of very cool camera equipment, including a GoPro helmet cam, which as the title suggests, straps to your helmet. Such as this joker did, only it is supposed to capture you being a hero not a jackass.

The next video was passed my way by an energetic co-worker who, in a previous life, was a river guide. I couldn't help but get a flash of my misfortune on Latah Creek while watching this very talented kayaker. I think i could learn a thing or two from this dude.

Then. Representing left field. This video happened upon me from California. Roller derby is something I've never really understood, but I mean, dont get me wrong, I'd never think of saying that directly to one of these ladies. i guess it's like the saying goes, to each his/her own.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Some ends and odds...

I have my very own rock climbing harness. It was thanks in large part to having very little experience climbing that I pulled the trigger on my own climbing gear the other day. I hope this will become a new hobby of mine. Go out and try it if you haven't. It's the body's way of solving a sudoku. Positioning your hands and feet in such a way as to move up. Not for a minute am i going to pretend i have a clue as to what I am talking about, yet, but in the mean time, check out this video. There is having guts and then there is this kid:

And then there is the ending in American Beauty. The ending of certain movies stay with me. forever. Kevin Spacey along with the music from Thomas Newman is a combination that has inspired me for years. It's that feeling I'm addicted to, how words and film and music come together to instill some powerful piece of wisdom. Maybe its just me, and i'm fine with that, i know i'm a little off but check out it for yourself:

and finally, the other night after work I met up with my friend Matt. At the checkerboard. Entering this seedy/wicked cool East Sprague establishment for the first time. None of it that notable, just a kid in a small town drinking cheap beer sharing thoughts about work, stories about the week, of a friend who just had a baby named Charley, and about a dear friend who is sick in the hospital without knowing what is wrong with him. All the while a deep rumble under the ocean blue was stirring a massive shake off the coast of Japan. The bartender slipped on a record, an actual record on the player, The Specials, the first track began to play and life, beautifully unmoved by any problems big or small, continued second by second to the sound of this great song:

Sunday, March 6, 2011


One of those sunny afternoons spent on top of a snowy mountain. Two friends with snowshoes. A dog named Finney. And the quiet surroundings of a warm winter's day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

some odds and ends.

this blog is suppose to be concerned with my notes. and as much as I try and resist putting up material other than my own I feel a pull to share the things that make my skin jump. the people that get my heart pounding. the things that come across my mind's eye which reminds me to attack life not just live it. some points of recent interest are as follows.

William Burroughs has to be one of the most interesting people to walk the earth. He also happened to be an insanely talented writer. There is a new documentary called A Man Within which chronicles his life. Certainly his life was one few could ever pull off or want to pull off for that matter but I find such people fascinating in their ability to embody a supreme sense of self regardless of consequences or concern for the status quo. Maybe because it is so far from how I live that I find this take on life endlessly fascinating. I have yet to watch the documentary but the trailer is below, and it looks to be a pretty crazy cross-section of people who knew him personally. But without even watching it I know it will be missing a great interview from George Whitman, the owner of Shakespeare and Co. (as in the bookstore where Burroughs wrote and researched his most famous work Naked Lunch)

Not to say Joe Purdy is a new discovery by any means. He's been playing great music for several years, it's just I only happened upon him the other day. Something about his voice, something in the way he plays the guitar makes me feel a little more connected to life, which is never a bad thing. His song worn out shoes (below) has played very loud on Ruth's CD player more times than I'd like to admit.

And then there's Greg Hill. This guy is passionate about backcountry skiing. So much so he climbed two million vertical feet in one year. The only way to really understand that feat is to put on some skis yourself, and walk up a mountain for a day. I think his level of intensity and determination allowed him to achieve this goal. I am impressed and astonished at his mental and physical strength. I was hoping to interview him while up at the backcountry festival in Nelson this past weekend but he didn't make the event. Below is a short video of his quest to give you an idea of what he did.

2 Million With Greg Hill from FD Productions on Vimeo.

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