Read the review on wweek.com
Apparently most people don’t randomly go on trips to Africa from Oregon. Something about the 23 hours of travel (each way), money, danger, etc etc. But fuck it, I do what I want and when my Internet friend (now real friend!) invited me to visit him in South Africa, I said, see ya Thursday. Now you may have caught some photos on Yobeat, but that was only one day of my trip! For the rest of my adventures, read on.
We took one of those obnoxious red tourist busses around Johannessburg, and wouldn’t ya know? I actually learned a bunch of stuff. It also probably prevented us from being robbed, as we stuck out just a little and poverty is rampant in the city. Those pink drips are part of an Urban Art project to beautify some of the bricked-up buldings that are all over downtown Joburg.
Every time I saw a “To Let” sign, I thought it said Toilet. But in reality, public bathrooms are not plentiful, or really something you probably wanna use.
There were a bunch of nice buildings in the middle of the comdemned ones.
I’ve never felt so white in my life. And I am pretty fucking white.
African kids are the cutest.
Why yes, I did feel like an overprivledged asshole taking this photo.
The Carlton Hotel (now closed) and the tallest building in Johannesburg, which we didn’t go in.
The locals were hyped on getting their pictures taken.
Well, this building had all its windows, so that was something.
More friendly locals.
This is like the South African version of the Corn Palace, I think.
My hosts, John and Shaun who kept me entertained and from getting car jacked/raped/murdered while I was there.
I assume this used to have a roof.
Day two we went to check out the cradle of humankind, where they believe all human life on earth originatied. So yes, we are all African, technically. We were pretty stoked to get these stylish helmets for our journey into the Sterkfontein caves. As it turns out, they would actually come in handy.
Taking photos in a cave is pretty much impossible, so you’ll have to take my word that it was cool.
Obvious next mission in Africa: a safari. While our guide told us his name (twice) I imediately forgot it and referred to him as Ndugu for the rest of the day. Close enough. Anyway, he has pretty much the coolest job in the world.
Shaun was oppoosed to selfies, but really I just wanted to take a nochalant photo of our tour compatriots. They were awesome and would randomly break into song whenever we went for awhile without seeing animals.
I basically missed my calling and was pointing out animals all day. Here we see two Kudu, an african Antelope.
This is a bird.
Impala. These things are like the razor scooters of Kruger National park. They are everywhere.
Wet back antelope.
There are only 200 cheetahs in all of Kruger, and we saw two of them!
You guys get that?
Monkeys are awesome.
Despite my best efforts to catch one and bring it home, I failed.
Baboons may look like monkeys, but there were signifcantly less appealing to try and catch.
This dude is starting a fight.
Of all the enourmous creatures, the rhino was by far the least photogenic. Pretty much just looks like a rock.
This bird is apparently really ugly up close, but it looked cool from the road.
Speaking of ugly, even being a baby didn’t make warthogs cute.
You are not allowed to get out of your car within the park, cause you know, man-eating animals, but we did get to walk around on a giant rock at this overlook.
Though we stayed at a hotel called hippo hollow, we saw none of the fabled hippos there. Luckily, Kruger came through.
An elephant was actually the first animal we saw, and holy shit, it didn’t even seem real.
But then by like elephant number 5 it was just kinda like, meh, another elephant.
These two giraffes were pretty tight.
They are tall.
Bufallo, animal number 3 of the big five (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino). Though we missed out on Lions and Leopards, I’d say we did alright.
And another monkey for good measure.
Some Lion King shit right here.
Despite cries from the plebeians that my “whole life is a vacation,” sometimes I feel the need to actually get away from the Internet. But since the ‘net is global, this can be a challenge. This year, I figured out the perfect destination. Newfoundland. It’s closer than Europe, but they still have funny accents, and most importantly, international data ain’t cheap, so my phone was more like a wifi-enabled camera. But when anyone found out we’d come all the way from Portland, they asked the same question – why here? And I guess it was a bit of an odd choice, seeing as we didn’t know anyone, or really anything about the place. But after six days I came up with a few reasons.
1. Pot holes.
Since we had plenty of time to kill, we opted to drive the entire Irish Loop. In a mere six hours, you get to see a good chunk of Newfoundland and more coves than I could count. The real highlight of the loop though, were the enormous and unavoidable potholes on the Northern part that jarred our lime green Chevy Spark and had me legitimately scared that we were going to blow a tire and be stuck in Trepassy forever. Now I understand why they were so emphatic we get the tire insurance.
When you go to the island, it’s essential that you get “screeched in.” As a “come from away” everyone tells you this so emphatically that you wouldn’t dare argue. However, after paying $20 for a chunk of spam, a kiss on the lips from a cod and a shot of screech, I’m pretty sure this is the best scam anyone’s ever come up with. Bravo Newfies, bravo.
3. Jiggs Dinner.
A few locals told me I had to try Jiggs Dinner, a traditional Newfie Sunday meal. It’s basically a bunch of Newfie delicacies, such as turnips and salt meat, boiled for awhile and then served with a side of gravy. We were lucky to meet Sherrie (yes, on Tinder), who not only guided us to the goods of the island, but whipped up an authentic Jiggs dinner for us on the final night of our trip. Salt meat is actually pretty gross, which was not a huge surprise considering most of the other food there was too. But still, culture, man.
Skeets are Newfoundland’s version of townies and they are a rare breed. While my main encounters with them were via Tinder, they boast epic accents, ridiculous piercings, oddly colored hair and a very narrow world view. The girls are named Brenda and Trina and the dudes all wear Fox jackets, have bad facial hair, and apparently make large amounts of money working as engineers.
Photo: Jared Souney
Actually, Newfoundland is a terrible place to go skateboarding. It rains all the time and the two parks I visited were nothing special. The first in Mt Pearl, a St John’s suburb, was built by Newline (one of my favorite park builders) but unfortunately was covered in pebbles and overrun with razor scooters. Mundy Pond was bigger, and arguably better, but mostly made me wish I knew how to ollie. Instead I slashed a corner and Jared made it look sort of cool.
Actually, we had no idea that if we had arrived a few weeks earlier, there would have been Icebergs everywhere! It’s even where the above photo of my boy Parks Bonifay was taken. But alas, we saw no icebergs, only heard the legend, as we were told repeatedly – should have been here in July.
There are lots of them and they’re scenic as fuck.
Like sweet things? Go to Newfoundland! Everything from the burgers to the pizza to the salsa were insanely sugary, which is apparently how they like it. Also, if you like seafood, they have lots of of that too, but I’m mostly just mentioning to have a reason to post this photo of crab. That shit was good.
9. Newfie Music.
Live music is not high on my list of vacation priorities, but we did jam out to some Newfie music on the radio and at bars. It’s sort of an Irish bluegrass, and the locals are really proud of it. Maybe next time we’ll go to one of the shows that are basically happening all day, every day on George St.
10. Pirate day!
Pirate day is when pirates come ashore, steal booty, take photos with children and then sail away in a boat that definitely did not look seaworthy. As you can imagine, it was AWESOME.
Now enjoy the art a created with my camera.
Last weekend I took an impromptu trip North to catch the pre-opening day at Stevens Pass, which perhaps even more exciting meant going to Stevens Pass for the first time. Though I’ve driven past the sign for route 2 at least 100 times, I never made it east on that particular highway. We arrived in Skykomish well after dark, but it was pretty clear this town was awesome, in that, never wanna live here in a million years kinda way.
We stayed at the only hotel in town, a classic joint with shared bathrooms and a cafe smelling of deep fryer attached. However, we were told the “best fried chicken in Washington” was actually available down the street at the OTHER restaurant in town. There we did find some delicious chicken, as well as most of the townspeople, a combination of snowboard-looking types and old people. Really old people. Needless to say, it was a wild night in Skykomish!
Stevens Pass opening was great, but you can read all about that here, so instead I’ll skip ahead to our jaunt to Leavenworth. The idea of Octoberfest in Washington’s only Bavarian Village SOUNDED amazing. The reality was much different, and if anything, all the ugly Americans really detracted from the beauty of this quaint little town. So we drank a beer, ate some schnitzel and got back on the road to Oregon. I think I’ll go back when it’s raining.
Since leaving the house is hard and rarely very rewarding, I’ve taken up the hobby of pet photography. It also helps that we have a pretty solid heard or creatures. So far the cats and the dog have their own instagrams, and it’s only a matter of time before the chickens do as well (though I should leave that one up to Jared.) Anyway, if you love adorable things follow @willisandtyra and @thelemmygram for more photos like this, plus occasionally witty captions.
Because I really enjoy seeing if clueless PR people will come through on their promises, here’s some completely irrelevant info for the people who came here 1) looking to get their Instagram unblocked or 2) that think I’m funny/interesting (there are way more of #1.) I believe this EXCITING info I received today was aimed at Yobeat, but whatever.
I work for a company called The Collectionary. We are building the best place to go on the internet to find and buy items for avid collectors.
One of the Collectionary’s we have is for NASCAR!
We would love to feature your blog on our NASCAR Facebook page with over 127,000 fans . In return we would like to have a link to our NASCAR Collectionary on your blog.
We think that your blog offers great content and something our NASCAR fans would love reading about. We also think that the readers of your blog would enjoy seeing some of the great NASCAR items in The Collectionary.
I would love to hear your feedback about this idea. I’ve attached our logo, if you can add this to your page with the link to – http://thecollectionary.com/club/nascar – it would be greatly appreciated and we will post about your blog.
Can’t wait for the Brookegeery.com feature on their Facebook!
While I’m admitting to being old and falling asleep at shows, I should also note I once feel asleep in the front row on an emo show. It was my friends’ band, formerly Hijack the Disco, now known as HIJK, because Panic! at the Disco issued them a cease a desist. Anyway, I had gone to a wedding reception prior, been drinking all day, and as soon as I sat down (even in the FRONT ROW) I just nodded off. It was a small show, so obviously the band was aware of my absurd behavior, and proceeded to throw my name into songs to try and wake me up. It didn’t work.
That said, I have NEVER slept through a Saves the Day show. It’s hard to sleep when you’re bouncing up and down and punching the air, ya know. I love Saves the Day and when I heard they were playing Musicfest Northwest, it was the only reason I secured a wrist band.
However, Saves the Day did not take the stage at the Hawthorne Theater until 10:30, which had I sat at home waiting for, I would have been dead on the coach before it started. Instead I figured we might as well take advantage of our VIP access and go check out the big show in Pioneer Square — Animal Collective. Figuring I’d heard of them, and any “alternative” band that managed to penetrate my brainspace must have at least one hit I would like, we headed across the bridge to check it out. Apparently, Animal Collective is like some hipster Phish that just plays long stints of noise with banging and stuff. I made it through three “songs” before deciding a drink at a bar sounded a little more pleasurable.
We got to the Hawthorne Theater a little before 10 and the opening band, Into It. Over it, was still on stage. Jared had informed me I would probably like them, because they’re “emo” and had I been in college, I probably would have. But realistically, the reason I like Saves the Day isn’t because that sound still gets me going, it’s because it reminds me of being 19 driving around in So Cal, or being in college in Bellingham. And I know all the words.
It seems I am not the only on either. Granted, it wasn’t a huge crowd, but you could describe the pit as “frothing” any time they played a classic from Through Being Cool. And much like myself, any time they played new songs, the crowd mellowed a bit. But the show was long and I stayed awake, a true testament to the fact that I just need epic entertainment.
And as if that wasn’t enough, here’s me after the show, just hanging out with Chris Conley (read: nerdily asking if I could get a picture with him.)
Long before deciding that attending Musicfest Northwest sounded like a good idea, I once fell asleep at a Dinosaur Jr. concert. Everyone seemed amazed that I was able to sleep through the incredibly loud music, but with a little bit of vodka, it just sounded like white noise to me. And I can honestly sleep anywhere. So it should come as no surprise that I also nodded off at the Bob Mould show last night. This time though, I’m saying it was far less pathetic.
First of all, we went to another show first. Fred Armisen at the Crystal Ballroom. If I was really choosing my shows by venue, I would have skipped this one. This place is too big, set up weird, and there are not NEARLY enough seats. But Jared wanted to go, and while I had very little idea of what to expect, it seemed like it had entertainment potential.
The set started with Armisen’s faux British persona Ian Rubbish, which was kinda funny, though I was concerned about how I would sit through an hour and a half of fake accents and British jokes. Luckily, it was short lived before he brought out Bob Mould! That’s right, the very Bob Mould that Jared wanted to see next. Part of me got a little excited that I wouldn’t have to stay up through another show, but when he only played one song (which happened to be a Husker Du song I knew the words to) I realized we’d probably still be going to Doug Fir next.
After Bob Mould, ol’ Fred did some music-inspired stand up as a lead in to the chick from Six Pence None the Richer coming out and doing a song. At first I was excited thinking it was the Dawson’s Creek theme song, but as it turns out that’s a different song. Anyway, totally knew the words to “Kiss Me,” so that was cool. The set then turned into showing some rejected Portlandlandia skits and we decided it was time to move on.
Maybe I should have brought a better camera than an iPhone.
We showed up at Doug Fir in time to catch the end of John Vanderslice’s set. I think he’d made my initial list partially because of convenience and also because I got a promo CD once so I felt like I’d heard of him. However, I knew none of his songs, and found myself starting to fade.
The good news is, the crowd at Bob Mould was a bunch of old people (as to be expected for someone who’s heyday was the early 90s) so they likely don’t give a fuck anymore. I made it a couple songs before the log bench I’d found to sit on became a nice place to lean back and relax. You can probably see where I’m going here, so needless to say, don’t have much to say about the show. Jared was nice enough to wake me up to leave before I awkwardly fell onto the floor or anything, bring me home and drop me off. Then he headed back out to Dante’s to see some other band I’ve never heard of, so good for him! Glad one of us is making the most of these wristbands.
So I scored myself a VIP wristband to Musicfest Northwest this week in Portland. (Obligatory thanks to Aaron at Red Bull here- follow him on twitter @RedbullPDX.) I guess this would be our version of South by Southwest, ya know, kind of a big deal if you’re into that whole music thing. I mean, I have zero interest in music and I wanted to go. Of course, it probably helped that Jared told me my all time favorite band of all time Saves the Day was playing too.
I’m going to blog about it, but like I said – I normally don’t go to shows. It’s not that I don’t like music, it’s just that I like quiet music better. And if I do go to a show, I have very strict rules for going. 1, I must be on the list, 2) there must be a bar and 3) a place to sit. Ideally the show will be over by 11pm. (You can blame it on my age, but I’ve actually had these rules since 23 or so.)
But like I said. I have this wristband and it looks like I will have to relax a few of the rules and go to some shows. It would be a gigantic waste not to, because apparently this baby lets me skip the line at any show (except for Nike shows – hook me up doods!) I’m gonna feel so cool sauntering into that Saves the Day show past all the 15 year olds waiting, ya know.
Now here’s the bad news, I checked the schedule and I’ve heard of 1% of the bands playing (also a lot of the shows go late.) That said, I’ve planned out my schedule based on bands that were the most popular when I was in college (i.e. around) and one or two “new bands” that I might like to see. It’s looking like this:
Tonight, September, 4: Deerhunter (who I’ve mistakenly called Deerhoof and almost just typed Death Cab for Cutie so as you can tell I’m REALLY into them.)
Tomorrow night, Sept 5: Fred Armisten at Crystal AND THEN John Vanderslice and Bob Mould at Doug Fir.
Friday night: SAVES THE DAY. I’ll be the 32 year old camping next to the Hawthorne theater all day!
Saturday: I have no idea.
Sunday: Maybe I will go see Neko Case (who I’ve heard of!) but outdoor concerts? Well, we’ll see.
I will then report on my experience for all three of the people who have probably made it this far into this blog. And hey, you guys still reading, do you know any good bands I should go see this week?
In one of our more-brilliant recent efforts at doing relevant snowboard content is our latest video (series?) The Snowboard Dating Game. Stan is your host, while Timbro has to select a snowboard based only on information (most of which got cut out to make it short enough for the Internet’s attention span.) The rest is made even more awkward with sensual music. Enjoy.