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Thoughts and Feelings


Geek Cred

Hey Team,

Ah HA!

Don’t worry. Everything is under control now. All it took was a little bit of…well, a LOT of finagling and WAY more effort than the average consumer would ever want to put into a clearly broken piece of equipment.

After SEVEN years of faithful service, including an intensive year and a half long period of travel crammed into a tiny backpack, my little old Sony Digital8 camcorder finally gave up the ship and shuffled off into that Japanese consumer electronics scrap heap in the sky…kinda.

I powered up the ol’ champ to get some footage of Arizona (the puppy, not the state) playing in her pool (hmm…I wonder how much I could get for footage of the state of Arizona playing in a pool) and it wouldn’t do anything but turn on and off and play the tape already in there. It wouldn’t record and most importantly it wouldn’t eject the tape.

I really wanted that tape.

An intensive Google session and three dollars later I was staring at a .pdf of the service manual for the DCR TRV340. Here’s the thing I didn’t know about sweat shops: those little kids must have some ridiculously nimble little fingers and they CLEARLY aren’t More >

2009 Travel Blogger Awards

Hey Team,

It looks like that ubiquitous guide book company, Lonely Planet, has nominated little ol’ Amtrekker for Best Video Blog! Pretty exciting stuff! To vote head over to this place and do your thing.

Thanks everyone!

In other news: My video for “The Best Job in the World” went up a couple days ago so you can check that out here. And MOST importantly, I’m almost done with the newest episode of Amtrekker featuring Brian Brushwood, CJ Johnson and myself exploring the wonder of Wolfe Manor so be sure to check back later this week!

Thanks again!

I’m done.


The First Four

Hey Team,

Ready for some whys? I’ll start explaining why some of the items made the list and just cut it off when I hit about a page so I can continue tomorrow. This will probably be a fairly long process. As I mentioned before, I don’t have a lot of good answers for why I do the things I do.

1. Tube down a river: I had a roommate in college who grew up in Northern California and used to rave about floating down a river for hours with an ice chest and friends every summer. It was one of those things (like so many others on the list) that I’d always said I would do. Every couple months the offer would be extended and I would always find some excuse for why I wouldn’t be able to go. In other words “life” would get in the way.

It’s funny how often we let life get in the way of living.

My own tubing escapade wasn’t quite what he often described so I’m totally willing to give it another chance but for the most part it was just an exercise in forced relaxation. (Relaxing isn’t exactly my favorite thing to do with More >

Stories Behind Stories

Hey Team,

I’ve been working on a narrative that ties together this whole wacky adventure for a couple weeks now. (Some might call it a book…I don’t want to get that excited.) As a result I’ve had to put a lot more thought into the whys and hows of Amtrekker than I’ve ever had to before and strangely, it’s been pretty enlightening.

It’s amazing how much I didn’t know about why I did this and what I learned along the way. I assume it’s pretty typical but over the last year I guess I just got so lost in sound bites that I didn’t really consider just how complicated a process it has actually been. With all of the radio and television interviews people didn’t want a complicated story. They just want a quick, concise, witty answer to their question so they could move on to the next one.

I can do quick and witty til the cows come home so that part was easy…but the “truth” is a lot more complicated. As I’ve been going through some old interviews to get a feel for the questions people want the answers to I’ve noticed that (maybe because I get bored) I’ve given different More >

#2 Ride a Horse Through a Covered Bridge [podcast]

Hey Team,

Lots of stuff going on. Plenty of adventures around the corner. A new literary agent. A book proposal to write. But MOST importantly…everyone’s favorite videos are BACK! Today it’s the horse through through the covered bridge, the video of the party will be out in a few days and then it will be back to the old Wednesday at 6pm Pacific schedule! Ah, the good old days.

There are literally a TON (okay, not literally…it’s all digital so it really doesn’t take up much space) of videos still to come! Things will take on a slightly different format now that I’m back but there are still a lot of “Tales From the Wayback Machine” I’ve yet to show you guys! I’m pretty excited to be able to sit somewhere for an extended period of time without being kicked out so I can ramp up the production quality as much as I can.

Okay, less talk more action. Here it is:

“Amtrekker travels to Atlanta, GA where with the help of Grayson from CNN’s News To Me team, Betty Ann, Ginger, Chase and a horse named Danket he finally gets to live out a cartoon!

Flaming pumpkins ensue.”

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube More >

The End. (kinda) [pictures later]

Hey Team,

I’m done.

That’s the first time I’ve ever had the chance to START a post with that line. Yesterday was completely surreal. Driving up to my house my stomach was filled with butterflies and I was even shaking with anticipation. As we pulled up to the gate of the two acre parcel my folks live on in Middle-Of-Nowhere, CA Ron Fairbanks walked up and blocked my entry.

Apparently, in my absence a vote was taken and I wasn’t even going to be allowed on the property where the homecoming party was being held until I found the final geocache. Eventually a horde of people gathered around and suddenly I was practically onstage wandering around in circles following a GPS I had never used before…poorly. I thought, “Geez, all these people are here just to watch me find a geocache…this is pretty intimidating. I guess I should at least make a show of it.”

Near ground zero according to the GPS was a small DSL box with the wiring running down a post. I figured I might as well look in a few places it was OBVIOUSLY never going to be hidden just to keep things interesting. I opened the DSL box and…Ka-KOW! More >

Bad News is Good?

Hey Team,

When I first moved to Los Angeles after college, before I had even landed my first job at an ad agency, I was watching a LOT of news. (The burden of being broke, unemployed and in a strange city without friends.) Naturally it didn’t take long before I started getting REALLY depressed. You all know as well as I do that local news is notorious for its overwhelmingly negative bent. Who among you has never asked the question, “Why don’t they ever have GOOD news?”

Yesterday I had my mind blown.

All of the credit for my exploding brain goes to Jaron Lowenstein. Although you could never change my mind on the subject of how debilitatingly depressing local news can be he did offer an enlightened viewpoint that I had never considered. I’ll just paraphrase:

It sucks that all you ever see on TV are shootings and wife beatings but there’s something reassuring in knowing that those actions are still out of the ordinary. We’re shown these things because they’re still shocking. It’s comforting when you think that people aren’t interested in seeing a story about how some guy takes little Johnny to school everyday and loves his wife because that’s what More >

The Daily Buzz

Hey Team,

I was on a morning show called The Daily Buzz this morning! They gave me a call a couple days ago from a San Diego number but I didn’t have my phone on me. When they called again yesterday I couldn’t answer because I was in an attraction at EPCOT. Eventually I called back, apologizing for remaining in “O’Canada!,” when they called…

“What?! You’re in town!”

“No, I’m in Orlando. Wait…what do you mean?”

Turns out The Daily Buzz tapes right her in “The Sunshine State!”

I even got to help host the weather!

Here’s the link: http://www.amtrekker.com/wp-content/uploads/amtrekker.mov

In other news: I won’t be riding the horse through the covered bridge in Atlanta until Tuesday so it’s going to be a mad dash across the country to get to Amtrekkapalooza in time!

AND, there are a few people that were a big part of this adventure that would love to make it to the big finish on October 25th but have limited funds so if anyone has any connections with airlines that can maybe get a few of these folks some cheap standby tickets let me know!

Thanks, Team!

I’m done.


Just for the record. Bookingbuddy really is a pretty rad website if you’re looking to plan a trip. More >

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