Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tai Chi Camp 2009 Pt.3

6 PM Wednesday. Seattle. We're in like Flynn. Rolling up right into rush hour. Rush hour is nuts compared to Milwaukee - more like Chicago's rush hour where you're stuck dead - moving feet/minute instead of MPH. We're staying in Seattle with Casey's friend Chris. We have Chris' address, but no map and neither Casey nor I have high tech iPhones. After 30 minutes in traffic, we're about 4 ramps past Mercer Island. We decide to exit and chill out until we get word from Chris afterwork. Hunger is getting the best of Casey. He hasn't eaten much today and we're both on our 34th hour in the car, 30 hours driving, 4 hours combined for sleep.

Casey pulls into the parking lot of a Pho restaurant. Casey goes in to grab something to eat as I stay in the car. I didn't bring very much money, so I'm trying to conserve. As Casey is inside eating, I decide to eat vegetable soup out of the can. Frugal! After I'm done I made this video:

Its ends a bit abruptly. Cut short due to a 'NOOOOOOO!' moment as my mostly-empty can of tomato.based.vegetable soup dumps on the passenger seat of the Fiesta. Quickly I scramble to dump some water on it. Then, realizing I don't have anything to wipe up the pool of tomato-vegetable-water collecting in the back of the passenger seat, I have another 'NOOOOOOOOO' moment.
Briefly I debate in my mind:
'What do I use?'
I look around:
Pillow case? No. That's stupid.
Blanket? No. That's stupid.
The shirt I'm wearing? No. That's REALLY stupid!

Another panicky moment goes by before I settle on grabbing a clean sock out of my suitcase. I get the sock wet and wipe up the soup-water puddle slowly permeating the seat. The Fiesta's seats must by Scotchguarded to hell as the soup and extra water comes right up.

Chris moved from Milwaukee with his wife, Judith. Judith is out of town, so I don't get to meet her. Chris is cool. He's a physical therapist. Like a good Daoist, he's using his Tai Chi in his daily life, sometimes using it on patients. Chris has a dog, Pepe. Pepe is a small, white puff ball who is suppose to be non-allergenic. I am suspect and remain cautious around the animal. Pepe is a super chill and spends most of the time lounging around. He wanders out to Chris' side yard to lay down in the sun if opportunity arises. He seems to respect me. I respect him. I will call him a 'friend'... for now.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tai Chi Camp 2009 Pt.2

Hey Everyone,

Shane from The New Loud here. In July 2009, I went with my Tai Chi teacher to a Tai Chi camp on Vancouver Island for 7 days. Throughout the trip I kept a blog going that I'll post here. Check it out if you're interested. We have some cool exciting band news coming up soon, but we won't be able to make any official announcements for at least a few weeks. Until then, enjoy these Tai Chi trip blogs.

So we drove through the night. The Fiesta is picking up everything that's being laid down, including nearly 30 hours of straight driving. I don't have any experience driving a manual transmission. All I have to worry about is how to spend my time - which is proving to be harder than one may think despite a new laptop and a few books. Its really the spotty sleep from the go day that is setting the glacial pace of the trip. I find myself trapped between being too tired to concentrate on reading or doing video edits and not being tired enough to sleep while in motion.

Master Payne is doing well despite minimal rest. We stopped 2wice to sleep in the dead of night when darkness really bears down. The first stop was about an hour and the second time worked out to about 2-3 hours.

Even if I could drive, I think Casey wouldn't have it. He's on a personal mission. He wants to drive this solo. Straight. I understand. I try my best not to get in the way. Other creatures aren't so accommodating, like the skunk that, in the dead of night was running with the flow of traffic or the 2 deer that were just dead still, brimming with potential energy in the passing lane at 3 AM. With a quick turn of the wheel the skunk was avoided. The deer were a bit more of a nailbiter as we could only watch and hope they didn't bolt in front of our beloved Fiesta traveling forward at around 80 MPH. Luckily incident was avoided both times. The animals simply gave us a heart rate boost - cheering us on in their own way - which is a bit better than becoming casualties of our trip or humankind as it were on a more universal level.

As the sun rises, we descend a seemingly endless path which is the back half of the Rocky's coming out of Montana into Idaho. It truly does seem endless - especially after 24+ hours of straight driving.There are depressing scenes of clear cut mountain tops. The brown, barren caps are lifeless now.

I-90/I-94 goes through the northern tip of Idaho. The state seems to be over before I can formulate any thoughts about it other than - Why did they make the state line creep north into a point like that?

Soon we're stopped at Priest Rapids in Washington State. The Priest Rapids area is expansive. It is a calm, scenic pit stop on the tail end of this epic drive. Casey works on a video blog while I investigate the area. I find this cool little desert lizard which unfortunately scurries into a nearby bush, thwarting my attempt to capture the creature on with either photo or video.