Amidon Lampoons Vacation

The Year of Travel

     For the past few weeks, let’s face it, facebook has been owned by our big wedding. Hundreds of photos have been uploaded and more photos here and there have been uploaded almost daily. We still can’t believe how well everything went and it all still feels like it was a dream because it happened so fast. Since the day I proposed to Nicole, it seemed like the wedding day was never going to arrive and now that it has, I wish the vacation wasn’t over.

Which brings me to introduce our next adventure!

   “…Make record of your journey…”

     A few months after the proposal, I started brain storming a plan. I didn’t want our honeymoon to be a cliche one trip kinda thing. I always try and do things different so why not this. I thought of a three to four phase honeymoon involving three or four trips spread through out the year of 2016. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling but Nicole hasn’t been to too many places so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to get the travel bug going for her! So instead of getting on a plane right after our wedding and going somewhere exotic, we have decided to visit Hawaii, California and Japan.

Phase One: Pure Aloha

     Our first trip will be my other motherland. Nicole has yet to meet my family in Maui so we decided it is time for her to get some aloha! I know Maui fairly well my memory so I want to show her the island and all of it’s beauty. We want to spend maybe a week there and then head of to Oahu for three days or so. This trip will be in April.

Phase Two: California Dreaming

     I’m not too fond of California really but we thought it would be a cool idea to hit up Disneyland and all that jazz for Nicoles birthday. My sister Alex may tag along and I’m not sure if Caiti can but that would be cool. I’ve been to San Fransisco and it wasn’t too bad of a city but I’m willing to give elsewhere a shot. We figured four days would be adequate enough. This trip will be in May.

Phase Three: Tora! Tora! Tora!

    Last but not least, Japan. My good buddy Wayne approached me last year with this idea. He wanted the three of us to go to Japan and I was immediately on board. I have never been to Japan but it’s always been a place I’ve wanted to visit. It got Nicoles attention once she realized there was a Disney in Japan as well lol. The night Wayne drummed up the idea, I ordered a lonely planet book on Japan. When it came in, I read nearly the whole thing and researched things I found interesting. I tabbed things of interest in three different categories; “must do” , “would be rad”, and “if we are near with time to kill”. I started north and mapped my way down through out the islands. It seems like a solid route and hits everyone’s places of interests as well as some bonus spots I didn’t even know existed. This trip will be in September.

We are super excited and I especially because I get to shove all this in your faces and hopefully inspire some of you to travel as well, maybe even with us.

To be continued….

What’s My Age Again?

     I‘m currently sitting on a red eye flight back to the motherland. I finished up Travis Barkers book “Can I Say” and needless to say I have a little spark of inspiration to blog a bit on a subject I don’t talk about much anymore. Which is music.

A New Hope

Recording

     It’s been a good four years since I really played. Occasionally I pick up the acoustic and jam out a few songs and very rare do I plug in the electric and rock out. My story isn’t anything like Travis’ story. There isn’t any insane party stories involving mounds of cash and limos. No strip clubs, ‘A’ list celebrities living next door, or cop chases. Just a group of friends with same musical tastes and attitudes. We dressed the same and idolized the same musicians and even acted like them. I suppose a good place to start is the beginning. Buckle up….

What’s My Age Again?

“…Then later on, on the drive home
I called her mom, from a pay phone
I said I was the cops and your husband’s in jail
This state looks down on sodomy…”

     I was twelve or thirteen when I put my hands on a guitar. I was at a birthday party for my friend Travis Cook and he owned a black fender guitar with a small Marshall tube amp. I loved that tube amp and anyone who ever played on a Marshall amp knows what I’m talking about. It has a unique grungy like distortion that most rockers fall in love with. I remember being in his room while everyone was playing N64. I sat in the top bunk playing random noise. I had no idea what the fuck I was doing but I knew I wanted one. I remember begging him to borrow it but the amp was actually his older brothers. I even offered him lunch money for the rest of the year, but he wasn’t gonna budge. If I remember correctly, it was near Christmas so of course the only thing on my list was a guitar. I told my parents it’s what I wanted and all I wanted. I’m pretty sure I even told my dad I could play a few songs on one already.

“I can already play a few songs. Trust me I’m good!”

     Christmas came and all presents unwrapped, no guitar. After the mess, my dad sent me on a chore. It was probably feeding the dogs or some shit, hah. I came back from my chore and sure enough there it was under the tree. A black and white Fender squire and a small fender amp. I shit my self. I plugged it in and started playing random chords that weren’t even really chords-but seriously….I knew what I was doing…totally. I remember mom making a smart ass comment about “checking her stocking for Tylenol”. I took my guitar to my room and that’s where it all began. Around this time I was just getting into Blink 182. This band would have the biggest impact on my direction with music as well as a lot of other things.

The Party Song

“…Do you want to come to a party?
My friends picked me up in their truck at 11:30
This things at a frat house but the people are cool there
Reluctant I followed but I never dreamed there Would be someone there who would catch my attention
I wasn’t out searching for love or affection
So I paid my 3 and the girls got in free
Shine the beer for tequila and we headed into the party…”

     Punk rock and pop punk wasn’t exactly new to me. Months before I discovered Blink, my best friends older brother Zach had given me the Green Day-Dookie record which was the true turning point, like most kids with this similar story except mine is better. But Blink was the nail in the coffin for me. Three dudes, two of which were tatted up, running around

playing

Taken a few months after the Christmas I got my first guitar. I was already well on my way.

in their underwear and sometimes totally naked. They would make fun of themselves and crack dick jokes during their live sets. They were vulgar as all hell and were probably every parents worst nightmare. I loved it and I ate it all up. My buddy Travis Cook was also into them, thus starting the first “jam sessions”. We started off with just Blink and Green Day songs. He introduced me to tabs, which is basically music in number form, usually every musicians starting point if they can’t read musical notes. I picked up on tabs in about thirty seconds and I printed thousands of pages of songs. I already had a natural talent of listening to a song and playing it after I heard it so tabs became second hand pretty quick. To this day I still cant read music and when I listen to a new song, I can picture where it’s being played on the fret board. People ask me sometimes “can you play this?” I usually say “I haven’t played it yet but I can tell you exactly how it’s played” lol.

Picture it like guitar hero, if you’ve ever played it, the fretboard moves along in my head like a conveyor belt and each chord is displayed like a tab sheet in my head.

     Travis and I would jam probably three dozen times. Our little duo was called “Deranged”. We made custom stickers on Windows Paint program. We’d print them out on normal paper, lay packing tape over the logo, then use a razor to carefully cut it out-instant sticker! By the end of eighth grade, I knew how to play all the Blink 182 songs from their early records all the way through the “Enema of the State” record. I learned bits of Van Halen for my mom and of course Green Day.

Voyeur

“…I can’t be too cool in a tree with my pants down
The air is cold and I’ve got splinters in my feet
She caught me once, but I don’t think that she cares now
Unlike before, her view is blocked by a leaf…”

     High school started and I didn’t see Travis as much. I was officially a Chugiak High Mustang and my little world got a whole lot bigger. By then I wore Atticus clothing, a company owned by Tom Delonge and Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 at the time. I usually wore shorts that went passed my knees, all black for the most part. Most of my freshman year was pretty mellow. I loved music and didn’t care much about school. A few teachers were rad but other than that I didn’t do to well. It wasn’t until sophomore year when I met Kalvin. It was the start of a long friendship that would have so many potholes and bumps in the road but always good fun and craziness. I’m not sure if he was into guitar already or he picked it up that year. I remember hanging out in the old hallway by the pool at CHS for lunch. It was where we chilled every day. The old murals on the brick wall that was out dated with a graffiti of names from generations before us. The lockers painted a dozen times over the years. It was grunge for sure. Kalvin just came out of nowhere. I was sitting on the ledge of the window where they sold cheap tacos and hot dogs for when we had swim events or basketball games. There was this kid, baggy shorts, strawberry blonde hair and goofy as hell. He was sliding down a hand rail that followed a handicap ramp next to a few stairs. I told him he was going to rack his nuts if he kept doing it. So I did it too. I liked Blink, he liked Blink, we all liked Blink! Sophomore year was also pretty lame as I fucked around again and didn’t do too well again. My first two years of High school I had to do summer school. Believe it or not I actually liked it. I would walk or bike home five miles just listening to my CD player. Usually Blink 182 or Alkaline Trio.

The Alkaline Trio record From Here To Infirmary was my summer choice and to this day is one of my all time favorites. Its a solid record.

     Kalvin fell into where Travis was. We’d play guitar parts to Blink music mostly. By then we were into their record “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket”. The guitars were a bit more technical as compared to their last record but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. Now somewhere in the mix, my parents got us Amidon kids a drum set and keyboard. I picked up basic beats but was never amazing at it. I could play simple songs but it was

Fuck you

Kalvin and I – 2003

enough for Kalvin to be on guitar and myself alternating guitar and drums. Our equipment grew a bit more as well. We had bigger amps and sweet effects pedals. We even had mics for our terrible singing. If it wasn’t Christmas gifts, it was what we bought with our dividends. I had acquired a Tom Delonge seafoam green signature Fender Stratocaster with mother of pearl pick guard and inlays. Kalvin got the blue one. They ran about a thousand dollars at the time. I still have it to this day and it was one of the first ones made when they came out. By junior year my

Me and Delonge

Shortly after I got my Delonge strat.

musical taste expanded a bit. I would buy the Atticus compilation records that featured a shit load of bands that weren’t really known. I also bought warped tour compilations. I was really into this Indy screamo band called Finch. I also got into Fugazi, Pennywise, The Cure, NFG, Yellowcard, Coheed & Cambria and loads more. I was all over the place. We would illegally download recording programs via Limewire or Morpheus. We learned how to poorly mic drums and guitar amps. We began writing simple tunes and sounds, sort of recording them for possible later use. I realized quick that I was good at writing darker music. I could never write a love song and to this day I struggle. Kalvin was always good at criticizing things I’d write. Back then I was probably stubborn and a dick about it but we made it work.

This is the link for an old track we recorded called “untitled”. The other song “Here Goes” doesn’t seem to work. http://www.purevolume.com/heregoes

Solo

Soloing on my Mark Tremonti PRS.

     Junior year Kalvin had his license. He drove a GMC Jimmy and it was the raddest little vehicle. I’ll never forget the first day dad met Kalvin. Kalvin stopped by the house and didn’t know dad was next door. He peeled outta the drive way and dad was pissed. Dad lectured him for a second when he came back and after that Kalvin didn’t come by for three months, he said he needed healing lol. His GMC had leather seats and a cheap sub amp from Wal-Mart. We’d blast the usual tunes and skip classes every now and then. On weekends we would take part in usually teenage mischief. All of us would pile in Kalvins vehicle or Justin Kisses moms Suburban. That thing was a fucking hybrid tank petri dish. We would cruise around Eagle River, knocking over trash cans, toilet papering, forking people’s yards (imagine waking up to 2000 plastic forks in perfect rows in your lawn. You now have to bend over pulling each one out. Ha ha ha. Sucks.) We never did mail box bashing but I pissed on a railroad track once while blasting “Please Take Me Home” by Blink 182.

Asthenia

“…Believe me I failed this effort
I wrote a reminder this wasn’t a vision
This time where are you Houston
Is somebody out there will somebody listen…”

     When Blinks untitled record was being recorded,they had a 24 hour live feed in a house they rented out to record in. There was four webcams with different angles. You could see Travis Barkers drum set and a few of Toms guitars. The first week Kalvin and I hung out in MSN chat and watched the cams non stop with hopes to get a peek of any of the members. Even on school nights, we stayed clues to the screen.

“Shit someone’s getting cereal! Fuck never mind its their sound engineer”.

      I gave up by 3am the first night and sure enough at school Kalvin presented screenshots of Travis jamming out. Kalvin didn’t go to bed that night. When the release week of the record came, Blink posted photos of kids all around the lower 48 spray painting the Blink 182 smiley all over walls, sidewalks, and even cop cars. I thought it was so rad. I made up a flyer with the album cover and release date. I printed about 500 copies and pasted them all over CHS, stop signs, bulletin boards and street lights. By the end of the day at school the principle made an announcement that no fliers shall be posted unless it had a signature of approval from appointed faculty. Hah. A few fliers around town and on stop signs stayed there all winter and into spring.

I should also add that somewhere between sophomore year and junior year, mom took Kalvin and I down to Seattle to see Blink 182 at the White River Amphitheater. The opening band was Phantom Planet followed by a full show from No Doubt and then Blink 182. Once again, I shit my pants….WE shit our

Stoaked

Kalvin and I checking out our merch collection after the show.

pants. We were in the nose bleed seats but there they were and they were fucking real! Half the crowed came to see No Doubt so there was plenty of “kids with parents”. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces when Blink would be their usually vulgar selves. By then my mom was into the band so she knew how they were. The other parents where wide eyed and disgusted by comments such as “I’m gay!” and “I have a small…bent weiner“. Let’s not forget the infamous “I fucked your mom”comment either.

     I didn’t get my license until I was a senior. I didn’t feel the need because all my friends drove. I supplied the hang out house and they provided transportation. Most of us picked up hardcore gaming by then too but I don’t think it had much impact on music playing. Daily I would jam along with a series of records in a certain order. Is start with two blink records, the entire What It Is To Burn record by Finch, a little bit of Yellowcard followed by a few licks by Sir Eddie Van Halen and finish off with the mellow Something Corporate. I had purchased the Mark Tremonti PRS signature guitar, so I played lots of Creed as well.

Posing

Posing with my Tom Delonge strat. Next to me was my first guitar, loaded with stickers. Typical outfit of mine as well.

Jamming would last from 1:30pm until about 6:30pm. I never had to use headphones for our house was an open jam environment. I worked on screaming the scream parts from the band Finch and I got pretty good at that as well. I purposely got sick so I could have lots of snot build up to sort of protect my vocal cords. I built up enough ability to shred and by the time I was well, I could shred vocals at any time.

Stockholm Syndrome

“…You’re cold with disappointment
While I’m drowning in the next room
The last contagious victim of this plague between us
I’m sick with apprehension
I’m crippled from exhaustion
And I dread the moment when you finally come to kill me…”

     We met Noel Aspiras during a music club gathering. The club was called 2nd Wave and it was for kids with music talents to get together and form bands, share music taste, and so on. He was this little Filipino kid with an amazing voice and also played guitar. It was instant chemistry with Noel.

trio

Kalvin in the back. Myself left and Noel bottom right.

He shared the same musical tastes and got me into bands like MxPx, Fenix TX and Homegrown. We would jam with Noel occasionally and he always inspired me to play better. It was natural to jam with him as we didn’t need much practice before we knew which parts to play and we even created parts in songs for multiple guitars so we each had a part and would feel included. Most times Noel would just play Bass though.

After Midnight

“…I can’t get my feet up off the edge
I kind of like the little rush you get
When you’re standing close to death
Like when you’re driving me crazy…”

     Senior year was the best. I some how was caught up enough to where I had some serious no brainer electives. I even was a teach aide for the school psychiatrist who got me into the band The Pimps. I’m still friends with him to this day. For years we wanted to play in the talent show but we had low confidence and we had no real drummer. Most of the music scene at CHS was a bit harder and if not metal, it was grunge. We seemed to be made fun of for liking punk and pop punk. We played it off well and just said Fuck off most of the time but I knew it bugged us. It bugged me at least. Kalvin was better at trolling people and not caring what they thought and I fed off his ability to do so and most of the time we felt invincible.

     By spring time we had actually made it on the line up for the talent show. There was probably a total of nine bands and we would play for both lunch periods. It was rad because we only went to first period of class and then got excused from second through sixth. Second through third period was used to set up equipment and sound check while fourth and fifth was lunch time. Sixth period was break down and then we would go to our final class for seventh. Noel, Kalvin and I didn’t have a drummer so we recruited a cool dude named Derek Mangrobang. Derek has played in several bands already and had his own band at the time called The Noid. He was a talented multi-instrumentalist and he killed it on the drums. We picked a song called ‘Letters To You’ by the band Finch. Kalvin and I already knew the guitar parts from front to back which left teaching Noel the bass lines and Derek the drum parts. We ended up practicing a few times just one day before the talent show. Derek picked up the song after

Rocking out

Me screaming my part.

one listen through. We were one of two bands doing a cover song, the rest had their own material. The PA system was sort of junk but to this day I believe that we sounded the best. My mom recorded* both performances but the best one was the fifth period cut. Finch is an indy screamo rock band that we got really into that year. It’s way different from Blink but it’s the music I love to play live. It was Kalvins first time on stage and he had a new $3000 Gibson guitar. The thing was a beauty and heavy as hell. I used my Tom Delonge strat and the other bands provided Marshal amps. Derek decided to wear a scream mask because there was a rule that people could only play in one band. Dereks band The Noid was also on the line up so we pulled a quick one and he got to play in two bands.

There was a point in the show that a band was late for their set. Derek, Samoan Sam, myself and a few others were trying to entertain the crowd while this band got their shit together. We played a choppy fun version of “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” by Brand New. I had only played it a few times so I was trying to follow Samoan Sam. I got the basics down but it wasn’t perfect. It was fun though. I screamed the lyrics and totally butchered the original but I don’t even care lol.

* The footage to the show can be found here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbbrtJZEhzs

This Is Home

“…We work and slave the day away
Were raised in perfect families
We fuck and fight like vagabonds
We dance like fucking animals
Don’t stop, the band is coming on
Rude boys and punks will shout along
Police cars bring cuffs and loaded guns
Kids scream but laughing as they run…”

     That two hours of fame was the highlight of my High School life. Shortly after we would be graduating and entering the lovely meat grinder of real life. We all would be going to college, getting jobs, getting in and out of relationships. We held on to the music for several years after. I probably held onto it the longest. I figured id never be in a huge band but I always thought it would be rad to make a few songs, play some local shows, etc. Between 2005 and 2012 Kalvin and I would have our ups and downs. I look back on it now and realize we were always in a competitive state. I wasn’t always the best at taking criticism and he liked to give it.Set up 2 We gamed heavily and only played music every now and then but I kept on adding to my collection of guitars and music equipment and he seemed to slowly sell his off. I started to get into some better recording programs and really trying to write music as well. By now I owned maybe eight or nine guitars and I had really got into acoustics thanks to my dad.

Anthem Pt. II

“…Corporate leaders, politicians
Kids can’t vote, adults elect them
Laws that rule the school and workplace
Signs that caution, sixteen’s unsafe…”

     It think it was 2008 or 2009, Kalvin and I and two others road tripped from Chugiak to Seattle to see Blink 182 again. We drove down in 32 hours straight, only stopping for gas and snacks. My car was totally littered and smelled of body odor and farts. We drove through thick fog, heavy rain, a herd of muskox, dodged deer, and drove over insane frost heaves for miles.

We pushed our way to about the third row in the mosh pit before Blink came out. There were several opening bands including Taking Back Sunday, Weezer, & Chester French. It was a sweaty mess of kids from all over. Blink was HUGE by then and everyone was there to see them. The energy of the crowd was insane and when Blink came out, the insanity went up even more. I’ll always remember Kalvin getting yelled at by Tom Delonge. Kalvin had a black hat on and it was perfect timing in between songs, the lights came up just as Kalvin yawned. Tom stopped what he was saying and said,

“are..you fucking yawing?!?!”

Mark said “did somebody yawn?!”

Tom says “there! right there! YOU! in the little black hat. You fucking poopoo caca poopoo face!”

Kalvin was jumping up and down, totally fucking lit. It was one of the greatest shows we will ever get to see. The ride home sucked and I think we did it in 38 hours this time. I drove for fourteen hours straight and was in so much pain by the time we got home. We arrived early around six a.m. and went about our separate ways for the rest of summer.

Gangsters

From left: Mike W. – Kalvin B. – myself – Glenn D.

When I Was Young

“…When I was young the world it was smaller
The cities were vast the buildings were taller
I felt really strong my parents seemed stronger
But life has a way it showers with greatness
Then takes it away those pieces that made us
Then teaches you things you’d never imagine
We all get the same the memories the burdens
The pictures we made they still form a pattern
They cautiously say does it all matter…”

      A new page in life started for me. I was really down from a few curve balls that life threw me and that’s when I really got into writing music. It was like a light bulb went on and I was able to write some of the coolest shit I had ever written. I was NEVER good at writing lyrics and all of a sudden there I was, writing three to five songs a day and then spending weeks shaping them and molding them into something. I

Studios

Recording.

built a small recording studio and got a program called Pro Tools. I taught myself the basics for recording and editing and I even sang. I decided to say fuck how I sound and just sing so I can at least have something down and maybe some day someone better can sing for me. I ended up writing about nine solid and complete songs with about thirty mismatched and incomplete demos and ideas that I still keep in a folder for a rainy day. I experimented with keyboards and MIDI instruments along with digital effects and what not. I found it easier to not write about myself but put another character in my shoes and write about them. Or sometimes I would picture a situation like a movie and then make the music to go with that movie.

The concept of the “demo” was about an individual starting off in a dark place and then as the record went on, it became more positive. The first track was called “Sunrise (…I’m Alive)” followed by “Fire By The City”*. There was also My Light, The 4th Avenue Scene, Where Did This Come From?, Slowly Moving Backwards, Obligation, The War Zone (Instrumental) and Sounds of An Empty Vessel **.

* Fire By The City is one of my favorite songs I have ever written. It’s about moving on after a break up and to me is a cool song.

I sat by the city lights and watched them ignite the horizon
Made sure every fiber of you went up with it too
Taking with you all of your lies
Every truth you thought I’d never find
Now we’re left with this fire by the city

So we’ll let the ashes fall
And let the trees burn
You couldn’t kill em’ all
And now it’s my turn
I’ll watch the city burn straight to the ground
If the fire dies down, I’ll light it up again

Orange embers filled the skyline
as your letters fell into the flames
And every feeling that I had for you went up with it too
All the chaos that you left last fall
All the memories still hanging on my wall
I left them with this fire by the city
And I left you with this fire by the city

So we’ll let the ashes fall
And let the trees burn
You couldn’t kill em’ all
And now it’s my turn
I’ll watch the city burn straight to the ground
If the fire dies down, I’ll light it up again

*whispers*
If it dies down soon, I’ll light it up again
I’m gonna leave this town, for the sun

I sat by the city lights and watched them ignite the horizon
Made sure every fiber of you went up with it too
You took with you all of your lies
Every truth you thought I’d never find
Now we’re left with this fire by the city
Now you’re left with this fire by the city

I’m gonna leave this town
I’m gonna leave this town

If you want it just message me.

** Sounds of An Empty Vessel is actually a pretty cool instrumental I experimented with. I left the mic open and made the usual sounds around the apartment of someone living alone. I tweaked and edited the sounds and backed it with a dark piano piece that I made up as I recorded.

Boxing Day

“…Let’s get started, the faint and broken-hearted,
Hold it up, I’ve got something I cannot hide.
Worst painkiller, that all-in filler,
The apart and departed look in my eyes…”

      I also teamed back up with Noel. He had called me up one night and we talked about our time back in high school. He sent me a few ideas of a song he had been working on and I told him how rad it would be to jam again. He had most of the lyrics hashed out already so I invited him to my apartment and told him to bring his guitar. We warmed up by playing an old classic ‘Letters To You’ and then started working on his song. I added a few lyric tweaks and then we worked on a second part.

Here’s a short video and teaser taste of the song when it was in it’s infant stages: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFMqayXJczw

     Shortly after that, Noel introduced me to a young kid name John and go figure he was another Filipino. John was a young Travis Barker to me and he was the best drummer I had ever met. He had a bad ass drum kit and played just like Travis Barker. It totally blew me away. We started playing

John

John on drums in the messy garage.

Blink 182 covers in my parents garage and we meshed so well. Once you play in a band, it’s real tough for me to want to play by myself. Everything just sounds so much better with a full band and you really get a chance to test your abilities as well as chemistry with other musicians. Noel and I did a few covers but only really recorded one via Pro Tools. It was a cover of “Things in Twos”* by the band The Boys of Summer. Our trio didn’t last too long since John had other priorities. He is an amazing photographer and I can tell that photography is his true passion. I always imagine that some day maybe we will get together even if it’s for a night and fuck around on our instruments.

Live!

A typical set up in the living room when we all jammed upstairs sometimes.

*The sample cover Noel and I did called “Things in Twos” by The Boys of Summer can be found here: https://youtu.be/Vjijq0hf7Bo

     Eventually the three of us went our separate ways. John with his photography and Noel does some pretty kick as custom paint work on just about anything, you can find him on instagram under @paintbynole. Johns instagram is @johncasquejo. I did a few more covers, including one called “Buried”* by the band Alkaline Trio. I also did an instrumental cover of a piece of score music from the movie Angels & Airwaves presents: LOVE, produced by Tom Delonge. I did every instrument myself and it’s not half bad*. I also inspired and sang back up to a song called “A Taste of the Good Life” by Jon-Paul Bakaric/Strange Vacation*. I haven’t talked to Kalvin in almost three years now. We kind of just went our own separate ways and our interests weren’t the same. I was involved in a relationship with Nicole, whom is now my wife, and last I heard he was going to school. I do miss the good times we had fucking around on guitar and just being stupid. I guess this is growing up. You lose most of your friends in your mid twenties so I guess it was almost natural. I can admit now that during those last few months, we were total dicks to each other and egging each other on probably didn’t help. I would like to reconnect some day but I suppose it will be up to him.

     The year of 2016 I hope to pick my guitar back up and play along with all the albums I did as a teenage. I suppose it’s starting from my roots but I believe it will be for the best. Who knows what the future holds but I do hope it involves a little music. Thanks for the reading and I hope it helped you take your morning shit. Until next time…

* You can find my cover of “Buried” by Alkaline Trio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7Oml5R3w-c

* You can find my LOVE instrumental cover here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDTqCyUXRk

* You can find A Taste of the Good Life here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwjzdbriX_I

 

National Lampoons Amidon Wedding

yI’ve thought about how I was going to do this blog all week. It’s been by far the busiest week of the entire year and so much happened…I don’t even know where to begin. I suppose day one would be a good start.

Touch Down

      We landed in Ft. Lauderdale to a beautiful partly cloudy day with a high of 81. The wave of humidity hit us like a truck as it does every time we step off of the plane. My mother in law picked us up and the battle of the chaotic highway driving began. I’m always holding tight onto something when driving down here and I never look forward to it. We stopped for some food and I checked in with Grandma Betty, letting her know we made it. Plus I was doing a puppy check on Cody. We made it to the in laws house and needless to say, I crashed pretty quick.
To be honest I cant remember what we did on Monday morning. I think it was when we got our rental car which went pretty well. We ended up getting a full size Chrysler 200 which was full of spoiled features that do nothing but make humans lazy. Push to start/stop as well as a tiny ass knob that was the PRNDL. Took me five minutes to even find the damn thing and another hour to find the AUX plug in. Later that night,  Jeremy and Wayne wanted to check out Dave & Busters so I wanted to make it a mission that they got to visit. We met my family at the mall and walked around aimlessly to find my favorite place called Burger & Beer Joint. Their website said they had opened one in the mall we were in but come to find out it was delayed. We decided to eat at Dave & Busters and it turned out to be quite good. Wayne drank 102 ozs of beer to himself. It was also a birthday celebration for my sisters who turned twenty three.

Keyward Bound

      Tuesday came quick. We had a list of things to do such as buy alcohol, final dress fitting as well as packing the car to the limit and making it down in time to check in to the beach house. First stop was the alcohol store called Total Wine. They had just about everything you could think of and the lady that helped us was amazing. It took about a half hour to load everything up. Six bottles of this, four bottles of that, two cases of those and ten things of what ever that is. We either looked like we were buying enough booze to last us until the end of the world or we looked like we were alcoholics. We then met up with Jeremy and Wayne at their hotel. Nicole had her final dress fitting right next door so I was able to hang with the boys for a bit. They were slightly hung over from their extended stay at Dave & Busters. We loaded their car up with all the alcohol and then went straight to the in laws house to load up all the little things for the wedding. Our trunk was full as well as our back seat. A quick stop at Burger King for me and we were on our way. We plotted the beach house address and set sail for our wedding venue.

The Drug Lord House

      The house was as rad as it was a year ago when we first walked it down. The sun was beaming down on the beach and it was about 84 degrees. The water was blue and green and everything looked amazing. That’s when the excitement kicked in. About two minutes after we arrived, James and Pazong pulled in. Their reaction was exactly what I expected. I let them choose their room and gave them the tour of the house. The outdoor patio bar next to the giant pool was the hit of the beach house. We needed to find a store for groceries and booze and luckily for us there was a Publix about fifteen minutes down the highway. We loaded up on breakfast foods and snacks and drove back to the house and just a few minutes later Jeremy and Wayne finally showed up. Once again I gave the tour and showed them their room. Most of us were in the pool by the time Jahzeel and Samantha arrived. Most of the wedding party was complete with the exception of Stephen and Mallory (who arrived the day after). The following day Nicole and I made our way to the courthouse to get our license. It was an easy process that only took about fifteen to twenty minutes, so far everything was stress free. The only thing I was mildly concerned about was the lighting on the beach area where our dinner was going to be held on wedding night.
The house was made out of all stone and had a billion light switches which, to this day, I have no idea where most went to. We had an ocean front view with windows that were nine ft. tall with no blinds. It slept twelve people and had a bathroom in every room along with walk in closets and t.v.s (only in a few rooms had t.v.s). The kitchen was massive with granite counters and a 400 lb. sink. It had several hidden cabinets that took forever for us to figure out what was where. Even the dishwasher was hidden at chest height in a random cabinet door. The microwave looked like a pull out oven instead of a normal microwave which took me a bit to get use to. After a night of flipping switches and opening doors, I finally got comfortable with the basic controls of the house. I won’t even get started on the pool remote control….

Bachelor Snorkeling

      Thursday morning was my bachelor snorkeling trip with the boys. My best man Stephen Cheek (with some help from his wife Mallory) planned the event. The night before we stayed up until about four a.m. participating in a little alcoholic hydration. The goal was to just stay up until the snorkel trip and tough it out (we had to get up at 6:30 a.m. and out the door by 7 a.m.). The ride to Key West was quiet and half the fellas were passed out. I was fairly zoned out and slowly kick starting my second wind. I had only got about an hour and a half of on and off sleep so I was pretty exhausted and feeling…..”bubbly”… My insides were groaning with pure hatred as I tried as hard as I could to keep everything down… and in. It’s about an hour and a half drive to Key West which was the longest drive of my life. By the time we made it to the snorkeling place I needed a bathroom quick. Sorry I can’t remember the name of the company, I’d give a shout out if I could. I found a bathroom and damn near melted the seat. I’ll let the rest of your imagination take it away.
We boarded the boat and the sun was coming and going along with some serious choppy waves. It really looked like this was going to be GOOD fun lol. The ride to the reef was about twenty minutes and we had already gone through a cold ass five minute down pour and everyone was freezing after it. Good thing because we were told the ocean wasn’t very warm that day but as soon as we jumped in it felt pretty warm. The waves were about four to six feet and it was pretty difficult to get away from the boat but after a little effort, I found a good spot and saw some pretty cool fish. Wayne was the last one on the boat so I swam back t see if he needed some words of encouragement. I helped him with his snorkel gear and he finally got into the ocean. The waves were slightly overwhelming for him and I could tell he was not having fun so I took him to the side of the boat away from all the other swimmers. As he was adjusting his snorkel, I took a peak at the ocean floor and saw a five to six ft. nurse shark moving about. I picked my head up outta the water and right at that time the life guard told us we had to move away from the side of the boat and more towards the front…YUP! No Problem!
At some point in time, rumor had it that someone barfed into the ocean, so there was all kinds of colorful fish getting a snack. I found out later that the person who barfed was Jeremy….I wonder if I swam through any of the puke! :D yummm. At least more fish showed up! There was one other guy who puked after being in the ocean for about ten seconds, thanks dude.
The ride back was a lot more difficult than the ride in. I felt slightly sick from a few sips of salt water I accidentally consumed and it wasn’t sitting well on top of the chips and Crown Royal. It also didn’t help that the started serving beer and every time I took a whiff of it I got more sick. I had to stare straight at the ground or else I would get motion sickness and probably barf all over Wayne. I’m super glad we did go snorkeling because honestly I didn’t want to do anything major. I just wanted it to be a relaxing day and overall it was great. We made it back to the beach house and I tried to get a nap in. About twenty minutes later Nicoles Aunt & Uncle showed up with the flower arrangements so I needed to kick it in third gear and just work through it. James was there to help bring in the flowers and I used Jeremy and Waynes room to set it at 65 to help keep the flowers cool. They looked great and it hit me even more than the big day was getting closer.

Friday Freakout

      The day before the wedding is when things started to require a plan b and go figure they all happened within thirty minutes of each other. The first thing to go another route was cake transportation. Nicoles mom reserved a van to have enough space to carry everything down and sure enough, when she showed up to pick it up, they didn’t have the van anymore. Quite minor but they delay set back her brother who needed to pick up the tuxedos for Wayne, Jeremy and myself. One thing I’ll add about the tuxedos: on Wednesday Mens Warehouse called me around four pm and told me we had to be there by nine pm for a final fitting. Little did they know we were already in The Keys and just so happen to be in Key West. I told the lady we had planned to come in early Friday morning for our final fitting and pick up and she said there was no way it was going to happen. I told her we will try and come down and then I hung up with no intentions of actually making it….. we were just going to have to wing it.

Briana Keaton – Plan B

      Briana is a good friend of ours and I love her to death. She just so happened to be fifteen minutes away from the Mens Warehouse that had our suits. It was almost meant to be and she acted quickly and was able to pick them up and extend our return day to Monday. I cannot thank her enough but I did get the opportunity to share some Bourbon with her. She also was a soldier on the day of the wedding, getting people breakfast and drinks. I’m so glad she was able to make it.

Steve Rank and his Plan B…C…D & E

      The story of Steve is a complete chapter in itself. A few days after I proposed to Nicole, Steve informed me that he was an ordained minister and offered his service of performing the wedding for us. I kept it on the back burner for a few months and once we had a date for the wedding, I realized we picked my dads birthday. An idea clicked in my head and I contacted Steve. Steve knew my dad back when they were in high school. In fact, Steve knew most of the Amidon boys back in the day. I figured why not have a mini reunion on my wedding day as a birthday present for my dad. They haven’t seen each other for almost thirty-five years and I knew a surprise this grand would be epic for my dad. So for over ten months, Steve and I kept it a complete secret from all the Amidon uncles. There was several times we almost dropped the ball but we held it together until the very last minute.
Now Steve lives in North Carolina. On his way down he hit a deer, damaging the front right side of his vehicle and smashing the wind shield partially. As he stepped out of his car to inspect the damage, the dog he was transporting to a friend locked the car from the inside. Steve was locked out of his own car. He had to break the door handle just to get back in and in that process, he lost his wallet. With no drivers license, no credit cards, Steve continued his journey to Grassy Key, determined to see the master plan through as well as my wedding.
Of course by the time he was about four hours away, there had to be a massive accident on the turnpike that involved fire trucks, helicopters, the whole nine yards. Our original plan was for him to show up during rehearsal dinner and pretend to be a waiter. He was going to ask my dad if he would like a drink. My dad would’ve turned to say “no thank you” and then realize it was Steve all along. Because of the delay, Steve was not able to make the dinner. I’ll also add that my in laws were unable to make the dinner as well due to other delays.
The new plan was to have Steve show up at the beach house while dad was doing some finishing touches on the lighting for the wedding. I had everyone meet on the patio as dad was on the upstairs deck doing his thing. Steve arrived and sat on the patio couch with his ipad. I ran upstairs and told dad we had a problem downstairs and he needed to come quick. As he stepped into the patio, he didn’t even notice the extra person on the couch. I said “so you remember that birthday present I told you I was going to give you?” He said “yeah”. I pointed at the couch and said “well it finally arrived!”. His reaction was exactly how I pictured it would be and the two old friends finally reunited after thirty-five years.

Wedding Day Weather

      I woke up to gray clouds and about twenty-five mile an hour wind. I was freaking out. The forecast said it was going to stay windy all day but at least the clouds were going to break up. There was only a ten percent chance of rain with a high of 78. I was nervous because our wedding was on the beach as well as dinner. I walked out on the beach and realized the wind was at tree height and not gusting too bad down below the palm trees. Every ten minutes where was a huge gust the swept low but other than that it was okay for now. I watched the caterers set up their tables and battle the gusts. A few things blew off the tables but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Just me doing my worrying. During the ceremony, the wind seemed to die down just enough for our vows and then it kicked back up slightly for photography and dinner. I’ll also mention that in did rain for about seven minutes when the boys were getting ready. Yup, we got the ten percent chance. lol.

Elizabeth Garay Photography

      I just wanted to give a shout out to our photographer and her assistant, Lulu. They did an amazing job and Elizabeth was the only person that was actually on top of things with us since the day we picked her. We had a few skype sessions with Elizabeth and as soon as she showed up, she was already a friend and part of the family. I’m so glad we picked her and I can’t wait to see all the photos she took. If you would like to see her work, visit here: Elizabeth Garay Photography

Finally Married

      We finally had our official paperwork signed and dated. We were announced and had our first dance. The song we picked was “Grow Old With You” by Adam Sandler from The Wedding Singer. Shortly after we sat down for dinner and the food was amazing. We chose Brazilian Grill who had a fairly decent size menu of chicken wrapped with bacon, steak, & sausage. They brought them out on huge skewers and cut how ever many pieces you wanted. We also brought down some Alaskan salmon for our new Cuban family to try. Everything was a hit and it all went smooth.
After dinner is when the party started. Vision DJ was the vendor we chose and they did an awesome job. The upright lighting and music was on point. The DJ was very professional at announcing everything we wanted and how we wanted it. I kept my alcohol consumption mild, I wanted to be able to act quickly if anything went wrong. After all, we were renting a multi million dollar house with windows all over the place. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and the lighting turned out perfect. There seemed to be a sufficient amount of alcohol and mixers as well. Overall, the small issues were just that, small. Everything worked its way out just like everyone said it would. I suppose it’s only natural to worry because you spend so much time and money for this day and you want it flawless. It it’s own way it was flawless. It was a damn good time.

A Thank You

      I don’t even know how to get everyone who has helped this wedding turn out the way it did. Too many to think of by name. My family, my in laws, my friends as well as the friends I met from the internet who also showed up. I feel like everyone had some kind of contribution and every single bit helped. I’m so glad two awesome families came together and had a bitching time. I met people who I’ve played video games with for over eight years but have never met before until this night. Long time internet friends who I have met before also came down and came through with whatever I needed. My kick ass WIFE for doing most of the grunt work, planning, and choosing. My awesome groomsmen stuck through all the chaos and “I dunno wtf is going on”. There was plenty of that going on. But remember…..it’s not an Amidon shindig if there isn’t any “wtf is going on” moments. I love you all.

Travel Nostalgia

A quickie for you.

It’s been over a year since my last visit to an airport and actually going somewhere that doesn’t involve work. It’s the only time I enjoy the different airport smells, minus the occasional crop dust you come across. Thanks dude. Night time always seem the busiest for the Anchorage airport so patience meter is getting a run for its money.

We are on our way to Florida to get married and in already worried about the weather in wedding day. Let the games begin. I don’t like blogging from my phone so I’ll leave you with this. See you in sunny Florida you beautiful humans!

 

P.s. follow my Twitter for even quicker rants. @ianamidon

 

A quick link shout out for my friend Lyndsay and her jaw surgery blog!

Showing some blog love for my friend Lyndsay, who in four days will be going under the knife for a life changing surgery that I know she’s wanted done for years. Best of luck to you, lady!

http://obobjawsurg.blogspot.com/

My Name is Cody

roarDear reader,

I’ve commandeered my masters keyboard for the time being and I figured I’d do a quick dlog (see what I did there? Dlog! A “Dog blog”). I figured I would give some insight on who I am since I’m the favorite despite the efforts of this new pup that goes by the name of ‘Roman’. Shithead thinks he’s so cool with that name.

I was two years old when I was adopted by my human. He stumbled on my ad on Craigslist one fine morning before work. My old human had put me up for sale for $50 and her story was that she was losing her home (which she ran a daycare out of) and needed to get rid of all of us. My human called the other human (Sandy) and was interested in adopting me. They quickly set up a time to meet outside the Wasilla Home Depot. My sister and I arrived in Sandy’s red subaru. We were kenneled in the back along side mounds of clothes and boxes. She pulled up next to a tall, good looking young man in a green dodge intrepid. He was wearing a silly orange polo with a logo that matched the store. I was let out of my kennel and that was when I met Ian. I was scared and unsure of my surrounding and it was raining. I don’t like the rain. Ian began to pet me head and I licked his hands….yumm….Chinese food. He gave Sandy $60 and placed me in the back seat. *Sniff* Fabreeze! Hawaiian Ocean Breeze, Fred Meyer special. Nice. On the ride home, I moved from the back seat to the front seat. Ian asked me to shake and so I did…yes it’s nice to meet you again.

My new home was a small one bed room mother-in-law apartment that was clean and well kept. I smelled two creatures known as cats, who didn’t care for me much at first. The space was adequate and the carpet in the bedroom was decent to lay on. I made my way to the office room which had a smaller couch and a TV! That was when Ian snapped the very first photo of me in my new home:Skinny Cody
I was a sickly 35 lbs. You could see every rib of mine as well as my hips and spine. Dad (I will start referring to him as Dad now) decided he needed to do a Wal-Mart run for my food and some toys! He left me alone in my new home…. which scared me…You see I had this thing where when I’m left alone…I worry…I bark for someone to come. I eat things I’m not suppose to and sometimes I use the potty where I’m not suppose to. Dad was not aware of this. I found myself eating the feline food. All of it. I found their water bowl on top of the fridge. No problem getting it…floor to counter…counter to fridge. Score! I also sometimes move couch cushions and align them in specific formations on the floor. Was that a garbage can? Yes indeed. I tore open the bag and all of it’s contents. I didn’t know how to put it all back… Then Dad came home. I coward when he walked in and was ready for a beating. My old human use to beat me so it’s what I was use to. Sometimes I can’t help the way I behave and I know what I just did was a bad thing. Dad didn’t hit me though…He set his groceries down (oh my goodness he got me my own bed), looked at me, then proceeded to clean up my mess. I think by this time he knew I had a “condition”. We got back into the car for another Wal-Mart run. I pooped on the rug and Dad needed some carpet cleaner. I love car rides! car

We finally made it to Wal-Mart and Dad left me in the car. I was left alone….again… I don’t like being alone. I started to pant and the windows began to fog up. I barked for Dad but he never came. I was scarred and I didn’t know if anyone was going to come and get me. I started to poop on the seats. The back seat, the front seats, the floor…. I poop all over me. I put it on the dashboard, the doors, the windows, even the roof! I will never forget Dads face when he came back to the car :).
giphy

Dad went back into the store and bought six of those carpet cleaning cans with the brushes on the end. It took him over an hour to clean the car in the Wal-Mart parking lot! It was a fresh ride home though! :)
The next morning Dad needed to go to work. He got a kennel from Grandma since he figured I couldn’t be left alone without one. This way I wont get into garbage and cat water. I was placed in the kennel and once I heard the front door shut…I was alone… I don’t like being alone… I get scared. I began to bark and I didn’t stop for eight hours. I tried getting out.. I chewed and I scratched. I pushed with my nose until I started to bleed. I even pooped inside :(. I barked but no one came. When dad came home, he cleaned my mess. I didn’t get beat. Dad brain stormed for solutions. Over the next three months, he would come home every day and clean my kennel and fix my cuts. He tried all sorts of funny things to help my condition (I would later learn that it is called “anxiety”). He tried benadryl to make me sleepy, calming treats, calming oils, even a cool bark collar that would shoot a calming lemon spray every time I barked! Nifty little gadget that had enough juice in it to last 30 barks. After 31 barks…no more spray :( I smelled great though! Grandma got a cd that played classical music at certain frequencies that help us animals sleep. The cats sure loved it…but I’m more of a metal fan myself. After months of trying, Dad decided to take me to Great Grandmas every morning before work and then pick me up after! Sometimes I would spend my days in doggy daycare with other dogs but most of my days were at Great Grandmas house! Dad invested in what we like to jokingly call a “dog whisperer” for further training. She taught him proper pack leader skills and discipline. Funny…she didn’t whisper shit to me and she smelled like tacos. Over the years, the training seemed to slowly help…I can do certain things I didn’t like to do and I’m proud of myself! I’ve been part of a loving family for over six (or seven?) years now. I weight a solid sixty eight pounds and I’m spoiled rotten. I am able to be left alone in cars for long periods of time and recently I can be left alone at home (with my little brother Roman) and 5 outta 7 days a week, I do pretty well while Mom is at work. Sometimes I have my moments but I know I am better than I was. My name is Cody. I commandeered my Dads keyboard to write a Dlog! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I love you all. Cody, out.happy

“Ian get up….something happened…there’s been a crash”

world_trade_center_9_11_wallpaper_by_jaksonstoker-d7cs6a5

4:56 AM, Alaska time.

“Ian get up…something happened, theres been a crash”
I wasn’t sure what my mother meant by crash just yet… A plane crash?? Did another local bush plane crash? Happens every year. No that wasn’t it.

“Get up now…you need to see this”

September 11th, 2001, I was fourteen years old. My eyes cracked open to the silhouette of my mother standing in my doorway urging me to wake up. Something serious was happening and it was happening live on the news. I reached for my glasses and rushed upstairs. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I focused in on the live footage of the world trade center, the north tower was burning. The headlines indicated that a plane of some sort had crashed into the side of the building.

“Mother fuckers!”

My mom yelled.

I instantly knew this wasn’t a mistake…even before America slowly started to figure out the obvious. We were under attack. I watched the plume of smoke pour out of floors 93-99 of the north tower. By now if I remember correctly, the news made it quite obvious it was a commercial airliner.

5:03 AM, Alaska time.

As the cameras slowly zoomed out to get a wider shot of the north tower, a silver object came out of the corner of the screen and slammed into the south tower. I was speechless…I remember telling myself that this couldn’t be real. This stuff only happens in movies! I watched as the explosion shattered floors 75-85 of the south tower. All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind. Are we safe here? What does Alaska have that could be attacked?? The pipeline, Prudoe bay, Valdez… shit. I rushed to my room and got dressed as fast as I could and poured a bowl of cereal. As I ate my breakfast, I watched as people began to jump out of the world trade center. I was witnessing real people dying. I didn’t know what to think…. I was in shock.

My Dad wasn’t home, he was out hunting with a friend of his and had been for a few days. They had no way of knowing what was going on but I remember wanting him to be there. I was worried. By now the headline on the news was changed to “America Under Attack”. The entire nation knew that this was intentional, but who the hell was doing this?

5:37 AM, Alaska time.

Breaking news cut to possible explosion at the Pentagon. Rumors spread saying it was a missile of some sort at first. Holy shit. Holy shit! What the hell is going on?! The white house is going to get hit next I know it! I remember thinking this to myself. There was now live footage cutting back and forth from New York to Washington.

5:59 AM, Alaska time.

The south tower of the WTC collapses. I watched as the tower seemed to buckle and collapse down to the ground. How could this be? All those people inside. Did anyone get out? I remember the thick gray cloud of debris cover the city as it made its way through the jungle of buildings and streets. Various cameras from the air and ground rolled the footage of people running, covering their faces as the emerged from the blanket of dust and smoke. I remember my hands shaking and the lump in my throat got bigger. I just watched more people die.

6:28 AM, Alaska time.

The north tower collapses. I remember looking at my mom who had glazed eyes. I can’t remember if my sisters were watching but I’m almost positive they were. The news anchors were in silence as the second tower collapsed 102 minutes after being struck by Flight 11. I should add that at 6:07 AM (Alaska time), flight 93 crashed into Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew on board. There was almost too much for the news to report. The confusion in the media was chaotic. It was so much to take in. I do remember thinking that I wish I wasn’t 14. I wish I could sign up and go kill whomever was doing this. I felt helpless… I think we all did.

Time to go to school.

Mom dropped me off at the front end of the library. As I walked towards the double doors, I noticed a large circle of people gathered around the flag pole. They were holding hands in silence and with their eyes closed, they were praying. I believe this was the Alpha & Omega group who typically gathered there every morning and pray before class. The group was nearly four times bigger and took up all of the walk way. The lump in my throat was back. I walked into the building and saw kids scurrying around, trying to get as much information as possible. A few were crying…probably scared..I was scared too. Library computers had groups of people around them, reading live updates on the situation as it unfolded. There were no cliques, no “groups”… we were all friends.

My first class was history with Ms. Reed. She quickly became one of my favorite teachers through out high school. She held herself together and set all usual classwork aside. She did her best to explain what was possibly going on and who was rumored responsible for the attacks. I could tell she was choked and emotional… we all were. That was when I heard his name for the first time in my life…..a name we would all grow to be familiar with. That name was Osama Bin Laden. Through out the day I had mixed emotions much like everyone else. One that I will always remember was anger. I had seen first hand the pure evil and hatred humans could have towards another. I wanted to kill who ever was responsible. I wanted to join the military right then and there. I was upset at myself for being too young. I couldn’t do a damn thing but watch it on the t.v. But I also felt proud of my country. I witnessed first responders rush into those towers and got as many people out as they could. I watched strangers helping strangers of all types of race, religions, etc. For several months afterwards, the patriotism was incredible. For the first time in my life, I noticed America was whole. We weren’t divided and we didn’t argue with each other.

I will never forget that day. I will tell my children about it. The good and the bad that came from it. I will tell them to never be sheep and that they are born in a family of sheep dogs, raised to defend the sheep against the wolves or to die trying.

907Gamers – Alaskan Gamers Unite

DSC_0214

Good Apollo

It was a semi-hot Saturday in Wasilla, Alaska. The sun came out long enough to dry my lawn and grace me with enough time to mow it. I had pre-work blues already since I had to head back up north on Tuesday. I was anticipating the LAN of the Brave event that was starting at 1pm and ending at 1am. I have never been to a mass LAN (Local Area Network) event before and needless to say I was geeking out. In my early gaming years as a teen, I hosted a few small LAN parties in the confines of my home with some of my closest friends. Mass amounts of Red Bull and junk food was our fuel of choice along with loud music and the occasional guitar, drums, bass jam session for our “rest time”. I had a typical windows set up with windows xp and dual monitors (I thought I was cool with it)…they weren’t the flat screen kind either. Dialed in for hours, the smell of machinery, warm red bull, body odor (it actually wasn’t terrible), cables going every which way, and with a room temperature of 91, you’d think it was a scene from the 1995 motion picture ‘Hackers’. I believe the most I’ve had crammed in my room (a few in the upstairs area) was probably about eight….or nine. I truly miss those days of endless gaming, downloading, uploading, streaming, MSN updates and Bob Marley incense. We didn’t have Myspace and to send a text was ten cents a text. Our own wonder years.

DSC_0301Blood Pumping – Oh Nostalgia 

Nicole and I finally made it to the LAN around 5 pm. As I stepped out of the vehicle, I was mildly trembling with excitement. Yeah yeah cue the jokes. “It’s just a bunch of people playing video games you nerd!”. But to me it was much more than that. I’m sure Nicole was unsure of what she was expecting but I knew exactly what I was looking for. I heard music as I carefully carried JARVIS II (my PC). As I stepped inside, I could see the rows of tables lined with various brands of monitors and PC towers. Most of which made JARVIS II look out dated and obsolete but fear not, hes still a little ass kicker and please be kind, he has feelings. We scanned the room for a possible open spot and found one at the end of a row some what in the middle of the room. I set up my PC first then the gaming laptop for Nicole to use. Shes a fairly good Hearthstone player and fairly new to World Of Warcraft, game i.d. Kneecoal #1658. I typically play all #Blizzard games now days (game i.d. Younglondon#1694) and dabble a bit on #XboxOne (gamer tag Nebelwurfer182).
Instantly I could smell the familiar “massive amounts of electronics confined in one room” smell. The cluster of people “dialed” in to what ever game they wanted. Friendly competitive pvp (player versus player) and others helping each other out which tech questions and gaming advice. There were tables of various consoles set up and free for anyone to use. The internet seemed flawless (on my table at least) and the Red Bull was within my grasp at a moments notice. I loved the energy in the room. I don’t think it was #907Gamers biggest LAN party but it was the biggest (and first) LAN I have ever actually been to (that’s not counting my own LAN parties as a teen obviously). It brought back memories and I loved that fact that I was sharing it with Nicole. Not many know but gaming was and is a big part of my life. I offered to take photos with my #Nikon since I figured it was also a good way for my to practice taking photos of humans doing human things. Around 8pm, massive amounts of pizza was delivered and we stepped out into the burning light and ate real food. I took the following picture which consists about 1/3 (maybe half) of fellow gamers…DSC_0355    Overall I had a blast and Nicole had fun. I met some new people and everyone was friendly and cool about me creeping on them with my camera. It meant a lot to me to attend this LAN because I have missed out on over a year and half worth of previous events due to my work schedule. I hope in the near future I can attend another and meet more people with one common interest; gaming. If you haven’t yet, check out the FB page of over 6,200 members and growing with various sub groups for some of the popular games out there today. Join the teamspeak server and have a chat with some local (or locally raised) gamers. It’s a great community filled with techies, nerds, geeks, trolls and most importantly…Alaskans. Listed below are a few links of importance. Thanks for reading and keep calm, game on. Lulz.

907Gamers Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/907gamers/

907Gamers Webpage:
http://907gamers.com/

907Gamers Extra-Life:
http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=21443

My Extra-Life donor page:
https://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donate.participant&participantID=149264&fb_ref=Default

What is Extra-Life?

   This year I am participating in the Extra Life event. The 907Gamers group will be gaming for 24 hours, on November 7th, to help raise money for the kids here in Anchorage, If you want to read more about it, look at the link below. I’d appreciate any donations you can give. Last year over $11,000 was raised just by the 907Gamers group alone. So please, support me in this awesome way to help kids! ‪#‎907Gamers‬ ‪#‎Extralife‬ ‪#‎Alaska‬.

Why We Do It – In A World Unknown Through The Eyes of a Mad Man

472785_644665698892801_806784348_o

March 14th, 2011.

A New Hope

I stepped off the plane not knowing where the hell I was. This is it, the North Slope. I’m finally one of them! As a kid you hear of your friends parents being slope workers. Most of them had rotational schedules of two weeks on two weeks off. You become familiar with the stories of extreme subzero temperatures and no sun light for weeks on end. I was never one with pieces of paper in academics which proved I was useful to society other than being a laborer. I spent my early adult life in retail and I’ll never go back, so help me God. But I remember saying to myself “I’m a fuckin sloper now!”. Now most people don’t know what the hell we do up here and most of us wonder ‘what the hell are we doing here?’ There ain’t shit to look at and all we do is eat, sleep, work, repeat. It’s twelve hour shifts, seven days a week, two to three weeks at a time. Keep in mind, we do get 2 weeks off (depending on your rotation, some people are two on two off, some are three on three off). Essentially we only work six months out of the year and we get six months home yet we make a years salary in those six months. Money is good. Very good. Hell half the people I know getting out of college with four year degrees don’t even make what we can make. I wanted in for the long haul.

March 14th, 2012

Fear Through The Eyes of Madness

I am seasoned. I am part of the brotherhood. I made it through the hurdles of being the FNG (fuckin new guy). I made it through my first brutal slope winter. By this time in my slope career, I’ve traveled to Germany, Switzerland, France, & Austria and was in the slow process of finding a house. buriedI was still loving the job. Digging six to eight foot holes on a daily basis. Building scaffold for insulators and lifting pipe lines for corrosion inspection via x-ray. Shit was cool. I felt good about myself. I was going places and saving money as if an i.v. needle was hooked up to my savings account. Also around this point I was on a three week on three week off rotation. Figured it was a good idea for more traveling. I could go somewhere for three weeks then take a week off and just relax at home. Home becomes a little more sweet with a rotational schedule. You realize you take the simple things for granted. I love my couch. I love my lawn, my stuff, the dust under my furniture, the small problems that are bound to happen. All of it (despite how much I bitch about it too). We had a new batch of guys come in, little did I know a few of them would become best friends of mine. I now had opportunity to mentor. I never thought of myself as leader and I’m probably a really shitty one, but I enjoy doing it. I enjoy imagining myself heading into battle with a small elite squad of soldiers, taking out bad guys and getting out all in one piece. I am the first to set on the battlefield, and the last to step off. Sometimes lol.

Cuts Marked In The March of Men


horizon
It’s routine now. Well they insist nothing is routine here but holy shit it is. At this time I’ve seen many brothers come and go. Some quit, some fired, some onto better things on the North Slope. Good for them. We form a certain bond, doing what we do. I’ve watched brothers get married, divorced, and have kids. I’ve also watched those kids grow over the years. You don’t find much brotherhood sitting behind a desk. It isn’t quite exciting coming by to work by now. It’s become a part of us now. In our DNA and bones. Each day being a countdown with hours to minutes, minutes to seconds. Not many understand the feeling of coming up to work. Don’t get me wring, it’s not like its twelve months in Iraq, kudos to all those men and women though. But rotation work does have it’s toll. Each time we go up to work, there is two wars going on. Two fronts if you will. The war of being here and the war at home. It’ s always hard on our loved ones when we are gone. Shit always seems to break and there is nothing you can do to fix it from here. When shit happens at home, its amplified for us by a thousand. From battling shit-ass reception, crappy internet, and failed texts, it can get frustrating. The common tools we take for granted are never one hundred percent optimal. Obstacles. One more thing to develop leather skin.

Away We Go

Imagine going to a job with the thought of it possibly not being there for you the next day. Now imagine that each and every day. While most of you celebrate low gas prices, we cringe over them. This last February, I watched seventy or so slope workers get laid off. Seventeen of which were brothers from our own craft. They were gathered in a meeting room and let go within four minutes. They packed their bags and stepped onto a plane to Anchorage. It can happen just like that. The i.v. to the savings account violently ripped out without warning. I couldn’t even imagine the feeling. To be honest I don’t think I could find work that paid just as well in Anchorage. Life would be at a halt for me. homeThe sheer fact that in a blink of an eye ones job can be stripped from them pisses me off. We were always told that this could happen and has before. Up to this day, we could all be gone at the same blink of an eye. It never made sense to me to cut the actual workers who work while desk dudes sit comfortable in a six hundred dollar ergonomically correct office chair but hey what do I know. Careful, opinions equal a bad attitude. Most of them have found other jobs on the slope which I am very happy to say. But my point is, its more slope work. Its like a drug. That time off is pretty sick and it’s hard to give up. Some day I’ll have to take that road but as of now I am nowhere near ready to. At this point there is no way I could afford to live comfortably without this job and that’s just the reality of it.

The End Complete

I’m not even sure the point of this whole thing. We do this job for our families, our soon to be families, our hobbies, homes, loved ones, our own amusement (lulz), all the crap we like to buy, etc. Most of us don’t know any thing better and will be lifers. Some of us take other paths and learn other crafts. I myself joined the fire dept. here and plan on learning as much as I can before going for a full time position at any fire dept. back home. It’s no vacation here. We are all here for the money. Good money. It’s never easy and it’s never fun. I hope some day I can put the slope behind me and do something else. Shit, I get way to antsy sitting in one spot anyway! This job will continue to supply my dreams of traveling with my lady. It’s bed time now, for I work night shift. Enjoy your desk.

bros

907Gamers: LAN of the Brave

DSC_0199-2 DSC_0200-2 DSC_0201-2 DSC_0202-2 Read the rest of this entry

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 647 other followers