Them’s birds a-roost’n

My muse, James Calabrese, once wrote “These 48 hours will require a separate and detailed blog post in order to fully mention the bisque. It will undoubtedly come in an untimely manner.” How about over 3 months later? Untimely enough for you? Well estimated former James.

Looking back on those 48 hours through the rose colored lenses of nostalgia make me feel that those 2 days were in fact…. still really fucking miserable. Nothing changes. I’d like to elaborate on one portion of those 48 hours. A one hour span that wasn’t so much miserable as it was way to reminiscent to the opening scenes of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

It’s about 10pm, I’m camping somewhere outside of ___ Texas (overlap #1 of many with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and I’m driving away from camp with two bikini clad blond ladies (high five! Who saw that coming after my last bro-blog post. A brog post? also, overlap #2). We are heading out to purchase some firewood to bring back to camp. After a spell, we happen upon what looks like it could be a back-country general store of some sort. Blond #1 and I walk in, and immediately regret that decision (#3).

It was not a creepy general store, but was in fact a creepy trailer park bar. Blondie and I are greeted by a who’s who of trailer park trash (#4). A transgender going through a low budget male to female gender transformation. Or perhaps just a really big ugly women (think Briene of Tarth from GoT). Two guys who I think were brothers, or father & son, or father & brother, sporting a trailer-classic look. An IT specialist down on his luck. And a few more rounding out a crowd of about 7. All were well lubricated and staring at the bikini clad blond, and the tank top clad “fresh meat”.

Blondie somehow breaks through the silence and starts chatting with the bartender about where we can drive to buy wood. I stand there feeling useless and rapeable.

“Need wood for cook’n or for heat’n?” is posed to me unexpectedly from one of the particularly well seasoned alcoholics at the bar (although through the magic of alcohol and chain smoking he may not be 73, but could be 31 for all I know).

Not knowing there was a difference in wood types, I shakily answer “heating.”

“Would cedar do the trick?” he asked. Who is this guy? Some sort of arbor savant?

“Yeah Cedar would do just fine.” I answer trying to act like I actually put rational thought into it.

“Alright hold on.” He says as he pulls out his phone and begins dialing. He quickly gets someone else on the other end of the line and begins coordinating what I assume to be my kidnap and murder. God I hope it is only kidnap and murder.

“Sir, that’s okay. We are just gona go to a store and buy the wood”

“Nonsense, my brother Skipper lives right around the corner. He’ll sort you out”

At this the bartender considers his advice superseded and stops instructing Blondie on how to get to a real, presumably torture-free, store. We awkwardly listen to the directions to Skipper’s trailer and then shuffle outside. Back in the car we all agree/question that we guess we are going to Skipper’s. It was like a Ouija board at a middle school sleep over – nobody knew who was moving it, but we all held on as something terrifying was spelled out before our eyes. (just try to imagine how far off I was from correctly spelling the word ‘ouija’)

The directions were surprisingly good, and we arrive at Skipper’s trailer in no time. Skipper greats us in the headlights of our car with the beat red face of a life long alcoholic, and a 2 pack a day voice to boot.

“You need wood for heat’n or cook’n”. Damn these guys knew their wood.


“Would cedar do?”

“Cedar’s perfect” I answer with the confidence of repetition.

Skipper leads us around to the back of his trailer where what can best be described as a drug deal went down. “How much you got?” “How much do you need?” “How much does it cost?” “Is it dry?” “I’m not paying that for some damp ass Cedar!” “I’ll throw in some kindling”, etc etc etc. It even concludes with Skipper pulling out the largest wad of cash I’ve ever seen. He either is a drug dealer, or mistrusts banks. I’d believe either.

By the time we’re done we’re actually all quite chummy and I’m enjoying Skipper’s company. Skipper worked in a coal mine for many years, and all the noise isn’t from cicadas as I thought but in fact “them’s birds a-roost’n”. Skipper offers to help us out with any other camping needs that may crop up tonight or in the years ahead. During this offer he goes on one of my favorite monologues of all time:
“Now if yous come on back here, and that there truck is gone. Now that’s my wife’s truck. That means she’s gone… probalby at the bar. If that there golf cart’s a-gone. That’s my cart. That means I’m gone… probably at the bar.”

What a guy. God I want to party with him.

We return to the camp site in high spirits having completed our primary task of wood acquisition and our secondary task of not getting Texas Chain Saw Massacred, Delivered, Sling Bled (especially the Dwight Yoakum parts… mmhh), Roadhoused, Earnest Scared Stupdided, Southern Comforted, Motel Helled, or Taken (not a scary southern themed movie at all, but still that would suck to get your ass kicked by Qui-Gon Jinn or taken and sold into sex slavery).

Sadly I didn’t stay to enjoy the fire because if you recall I hated those 48 hours. So I promptly went into my tent alone and listened to Game of Thrones on tape (suck it reading!). Oh Daenerys, fetch me a dream.


Bonus Q&A:

“James, you hit the obscure movie links extra hard this post, but somehow failed to add one Star Wars link. All we got was a lazy Liam Neeson Qui-Gon Jinn reference. What gives?”

“Great observation friend.  The lack of Star Wars was no accident.  I want you begging for Star Wars so I can shamelessly promote my upcoming performance at Speakeasy DC on Tuesday October 8th.  I’m telling a story all about Star Wars! I know, finally.  You’re welcome. Check out the details here if you want to come watch and be terrified by the role Star Wars has played in my life.”

Spooky Camping #1

Spooky Camping #1

Spooky Camping #2

Spooky Camping #2

Can a bro get a bro?

Long time no write ya nerds. I’m not sorry for the blogging hiatus because I’ve been too busy picking up dudes. Yes you read that correctly, and I implore you to continue reading so I can add some heterosexual context.

Your first question for me is likely “what?”. An unimaginative, but non the less fair inquiry so I’ll be your huckleberry and answer before dying of tuberculosis. While traveling I’ve found I have an ample allotment of “James Time”. Typically this is my most favorite of times used predominantly to freestyle rap and play make believe. Much like midnight all you can eat red beans and rice or 3am $1 tacos (6 bowls and 13 tacos respectively), too much of a delicious thing can actually become sorta boring and leave you rubbing your distended belly on the couch for the next 12 hours while coming to terms with coronary artery disease. As convoluted as that last sentence was the point is sometimes I don’t want to be alone. And when I get that feeling, it’s not Marvin Gaye’s timeless cure-all that I need, it’s a bro.

Someone with whom to slam beers, hike, swap tall tales, and silently stare into a sunset wrapped in the comfort of our communal brodem. For these needs, a women just won’t do.

How does one pick up a bro though? Sadly there is no manual out there. No The Game to equip me with a pre-packaged conversation starter or closing ‘neg’ strategy. A google search of “how to make dudes like you” leads to a plethora of advice centered around delayed fellatio. This advice was not exactly applicable to my predicatment. Having been abandoned by google, I had to ford the raging river of Brotown USA all alone. There wasn’t even an Indian guide I could trade some of my thrift store clothing to in order to help me and my $1600 of ammunition across. (if you didn’t go to school as personal computers were becoming popular then you will not get the Oregon Trail references, and your life is sadder for it).  It turns out that in this river, however, I’m a god damn 2008 Michael Felps (remember how awesome that was? And that?  Sucks to be Italian at the 4:40 mark).

That’s right, I’m currently batting 1000 in the ball park of bros. And I’m out in the wild bromosphere in totally uncharted bro-ographies. This isn’t Dispatch’s last concert or something. These are real wild bros. Back story: In 2004 I had my first ever bro pick up while traveling to Boston for Dispatch’s last concert. Some friends and I beat a pack of college bros in a pick up game of ultimate frisbee at Harvard square the day before the concert. We then had said bros buy us alcohol and save us seats in the second row. Stellar bro pick up across all the major categories of setting, event, and favors garnished.

So that’s when I first dipped my toes into the brocean with some buddies at 17. Now I’m on my own at 26 and while my flick might be a little rusty I can still sure as hell hook a bro. (Did you notice the guys name in the last link? What a superb bro)

I have 2 primary tactics:

1) The move that never fails – Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

For years I’ve been extolling the merits of fruit and yogurt parfaits to anyone who will listen. There is no better way to start your day, and no better way to pick up a bro (or a chick. This one is a unisex move because EVERYONE loves fruit and yogurt parfaits). I used this tactic in Nashville TN with clinical precision going through all of the standard steps of brocation, broproach, brodvance, and brocure. It went like this:

After an evening of revelry I went to bed late at the hostel in my 4 person shared room. I noticed one bed still unoccupied despite the late hour. I woke up early to find it inhabited by a man fully clothed in the fetal position with the hostel linens still folded up neatly at the foot of his bed where the staff placed them prior to arrival [brocated – bro located]. I saw him again around 11am sitting in the sun outside the hostel smoking a cig (might as well have been flying a bro-flag). My bropening line was a textbook “big night last night?” [broproach – bro approached. Also known as the ‘bropener’ in some circles]. After swapping tales I went for it (better to strike early when hunting serious bros). “Hey, I was just about to walk to Walgreen’s and grab some Greek yogurt to complete my fruit and yogurt parfait. Do you want one?” [brodvance – advance the bro situation]. Of course he did. Everyone does.

Wrapping up breakfast at 12:30 he asked “do you want to start drinking” (wow, the brogame equivalent of an UNO reverse draw two). At this point of if you are not saying “oh most definitely” then you had no place trying to pick up a bro to begin with. Over a cooler of beer and a Nalgene of gin and tonic we discuss literature, philosophy, travel, and throwing knives (true bros are well read and well rounded).

12 hours later David (because at this point he deserves a name) and I were 25% of the occupants at a bar on the outskirts of town. We found ourselves in an arm wrestling match with a hulking man called “D”. The more impressive the man the fewer letters he requires. That is why I include my middle name on Facebook. This arm wrestling move is a more advanced blue-collar brogame tactic that shouldn’t be used lightly, and doesn’t quite deserve a full break down like the parfait does. Anyways… D and I roll up our sleeves, I turn my hat around backwards, and get my ass kicked. Beyond the obvious Over The Top implication of the hat turn, I also make plenty of Ash Ketchum references in case there were any bro-nerds at the bar. The brokemon shout outs didn’t win me any bros (couldn’t hurt to try, and it entertained me at least) but the arm wresting did the trick for D and his girlfriend. We proceeded to drink drinks and laugh laughs together for the night.

David and I toured Nashville the next day, and he is planing to meet me with his boat when I get to South Dakota [brocured – bro secured]. Doesn’t this feel like the final freeze frame caption on David and my coming of age movie? A truly great brogame win.

Related Side Note: In Calgary I received the best John Bender fist pump of my life.  Hamza and I were walking down the street and a homeless guy asked if we could spare any change.  Without breaking stride I grabbed all the change from my pocket and dumped it in his hands.  Because Canadian money is silly, they have $1 and $2 coins.  So I could have given him anything from 75 cents to 14 dollars.  It must have been a lot because as we walked off he took stock of the coins then shouted “where are you from?” I shouted back “Washington DC” and after a brief pause he simply gave me a huge fist pump and held it strong in the air for a few seconds.  I pumped back, and walked on.

Double Side Note: What is it like for strippers in Canada?  Do they just get pelted with coins when they are on stage?  That’s not sexy.  Maybe there is some sort of ticket system like at an amusement park? Wow, now there is a business idea. A Gentlemen’s Carnival!

2)  Still bros run deep

A bro slamming beers is a dime a dozen. Don’t get me wrong, though shallow, this is still a solid bro.  Star Wars parodies are a dime a dozen as well and that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t fucking rule.  But this bro is more of a drinking buddy, not a bro to share your broul with (broul = bro soul).  That requires a bro of some depth… that is what I advertise, and it couldn’t be easier.  Here is how to do it in a few easy steps:

a) Timing: Show up to a bar at the start of happy hour.

You do this because you want the atmosphere to be lively, but not crowded.  You need to guarantee yourself a stool at the bar.

b) Dress: Like you don’t give a fuck.

This doesn’t mean you dress like a GDI, but that you dress your way.  It lets everyone know you are from out of town, and that you don’t care about them.  I personally go with a lot of thrift store garb which in any combination guarantees a certainly level of weirdness. Weird = Intriguing.  Some might call this peacocking, but that implies that this isn’t your normal attire.  Wear what you’d normally wear, but make it the outfit you’d wear to a lake house labor day weekend.

c) $$$: Show your wealth

Everyone is attracted to money.  Men just as much as women.  Even more so perhaps.  And bros above all.  Remember, $$$ = rounds.   So when you sit at the bar don’t act like a peasant sophomoric frat bro and order a miller light, and don’t try to be some sorta hipster and sip on a PBR.  Order an IPA, or better yet something with bourbon.  Better yet, order a bourbon neat.  Also order some food.  Raw seafood if you can swing it, but any food will do.

d) Mindset: Block out the world

Remove your conscious self from the bar.  My preferred method is by writing.  Get out a little notebook and start scribbling and your first bro encounter is less than 5 minutes away.  You can also read a book, but this necessitates a very specific bromosphere.  If it is too rowdy you are just a weirdo for reading.  I pulled off a literary pick up once on this trip, but conditions were perfect.  I was also reading “Old Man and the Sea” which is a high on Broprah’s Book Club list.  Hemingway is one of histories top bros.

It’s that simple.  Follow those steps and bros will come to you.

Timely Testimonial:  I’m currently writing about tactic #2 at a restaurant in Missoula Montana.  I’m supposed to meet up with a friend from elementary school here, but this ancient connection is proving to be unsurprisingly fruitless at the moment.  I can’t exactly blame Nickie for ignoring my recent facebook messages since my adult life as a dork was proceeded by an equally dorky and even more sweatpants heavy adolescence when we knew each other. So I’m here quietly getting drunk with no place to sleep tonight.  Until my waiter checks my ID on my 4th beer and sees that I’m from DC. Blah, blah, blah I’m crashing at his place tonight.

God I’m good.  God I wish I was good at other stuff… anything else…


One of my most bizarre thrift store arrangements.

One of my most bizarre thrift store arrangements. This goes a bit beyond what should be worn to a happy hour, but you can see what sort of weird articles I’m working with.

Athletic bro. Look at the tool limits I'm pushing in this shot. I'm actually holding the bike over my shoulder to show off how strong I am.  A bit much even for me... and it is me.

Athletic bro. Look at the tool limits I’m pushing in this shot. I’m actually holding the bike over my shoulder to show off how strong I am. A bit much even for me… and it is me.

Who doesn't like flowers? Is that related to my desire to pick up bros?

Who doesn’t like flowers? Is that related to my desire to pick up bros?

I'm a sucker for a good wild flower

I’m a sucker for a good wild flower

IMG_2318 IMG_2326
Oh My God, everything is flowers!  Bro, take a picture of me and the flowers!

Oh My God, everything is flowers! Bro, take a picture of me and the flowers!

Picked up this bro while camping. He built a fire and had incredible movie knowledge.  Solid pick up.

Picked up this bro while camping. He built a fire and had incredible movie knowledge. Solid pick up.

You only get one chance at a first impression

Someone once said “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.”  This person was both stupid and ugly.  If they were a book their cover would be something awful like this (not only is it one of the ugliest covers of all time, but if you read the summary the cover does a pretty great job of summing things up with it’s literal imagery and metaphoric bat-shit-craziness. Thus proving my point). Also if they were a book then I would support book burning even more ardently than I currently do.

Rambling Side Note: my support of book burning gets complicated when I think about Fahrenheit 451.  Judging that book by it’s cover leads me to believe that it espouses a philosophy I can really get behind. The idea of reading the book to learn more, however, is a conflict of interests.  Maybe I should just ironically burn it.  Is that ironic?  I don’t know, Alanis Morissette really messed me up on the meaning of that word.  2nd level side note, Alanis in the green at 0:43 is exactly what I look like on the road across America.  Also, what the hell is she smelling at 2:44.  Also, It must be costly for book burning advocates to get their message out there. Gota go with TV ads since distributing leaflets is off the table, and who listens to radio any more?  That’s probably why we don’t hear more people bring up the subject.

So I’d like to share a few of the more colorful covers of America I’ve witnessed on my journey thus far

Clemson, SC – I arrived around 5pm on a Wednesday physically, mentally, and spiritually ready to party it up with Dan Giordano.  I immediately saw that I was not as ready as I thought.  I pulled my car into the spot directly in front of Dan’s apartment only to find a horrifically drunk girl sitting on his steps.  She was drunk in the wonderful way only women can become drunk.  Crying hysterically, pleading to the heavens that she needed to get her car back, and judging by her wet shorts and the pool below her now beginning to trickle down the sidewalk, recently if not currently wetting herself. Being a well seasoned traveler I calmly got out of my car, quietly unstrapped my bike, deftly portaged across the golden stream and beyond the sack of hysterics no longer scientifically categorized among homo sapiens, and into Dan’s humble abode. Don’t worry though.  While I myself may be horrible, I do surround my self with good people and Dan is no exception.  The well know “sick guy” took care of her until help arrived.  Welcome to Clemson, where every fella is a gentleman, and every lady is a f**king train wreck.

Charleston, SC – After settling into my hostel I set out for a nice run in order to detox from my visit with Dan in Clemson ($2 bourbon drinks!).  5 minutes into the run I turned onto the main downtown street (because I only work out in order to ‘be seen’).  There I was greeted by a car door flying open in front of me, and a young man leaning out to vomit all over the side walk.  Again… it was 8pm on a Thursday.  The Palmetto State knows how to party!  They don’t follow the majority and hold off till night fall.  They do have a history of going against the grain (see: The Civil War). At least he was leaning out of the passenger door.

New Orleans – I parked directly in front of Bobby Dressel’s pad in the French Quarter. Stepped out of my car, and immediately had a cumulonimbus of weed blown in my face by the guy casually lighting up next to me.  Yet again it was 3pm on a Wednesday.  Did I miss something?  Is Wednesday the new Friday?  Is pissing your pants while black out and brazen drug use the new drinking responsibly? I blame books.

??? – To protect the innocent I’m going to yada yada over where I was and who I was with.  I arrived and knocked on the door only to be greeted by a poor man’s Dave Navarro. Dave Navarro is of course the poor dothraki’s Khal Drogo (If you need a link to know who Khal Drogo is then you can immediately unsubscribe from my blog, head down to the rickety chair store, swing through the rope depot, and then connect the dots).   Really though, this guy looked just like Dave Navaro if Dave Navarro was less into music and satanic fashion shoots, and more into acid.  The greeting was followed by a 48 hour introduction to rednecks, Abu Ghraib worthy music, and consistent James misery.  I hadn’t felt that out of place since Star Wars Card Friday Nights at the Burke comic book shop was taken over by the cancer known as Pokemon cards.  These 48 hours will require a separate and detailed blog post in order to fully mention the bisque.  It will undoubtedly come in an untimely manner.

Yada yada,


Unstoppable Force vs Immovable Object

By reading this blog entry right now you are participating in a grand experiment! Together we embark to answer a question as old as the title track from Beauty and Beast.  What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?  Long have our greatest minds pondered this question.  From Newton, to Einstein, to Yoda, to Gosling.  None have been able to crack the sexiest of human riddles.

In order to solve this I will abandon scientific theory and work backward from experimental measurements. Just like Max Planck working to make light bulbs more efficient for the German government (classic German, working to make things more efficient.  One of the few admirable “classic German” qualities).

I previously attempted to solve this question through empirical means while in college in my “Fratty vs Fatty” experiment.   I would observe the interaction of an unstoppable force (a drunk and horny frat guy) vs an immovable object (a drunk fat chick) at a party.  Unfortunately the University of Virginia was too close minded and refused my submission of this as a senior thesis.  Carrying on unsupported by the university my findings were inconclusive as documentation proved… hazy.

In my current experiment, of which you are all participants,  I’ll observe what happens to an unstoppable force (the J Breezy Baby blog) when it meets an immovable object (mundane conversation about Christian outreach).  That’s right, I’m risking the survival of the internet’s greatest creation according to ‘Things My Mommy Says” magazine (I know it is still second to for her).  The experiment is simple: create the internet’s greatest website (check!), create a horribly boring video on a subject nobody likes (check?), post that interview to the website (check… see below), and track if the site continues to thrive like Star Wars Episode 5 or if it is never seen or spoken of again like Star Wars Episode 2.  With that we will finally know the answer to our question.  So feast your eyes, ears, and souls on the video below and decide if you’ll ever visit this blog again.

Video Back Story  Finding myself alone in Rob Manoso’s Knoxville apartment, I began drinking (like any socially and emotionally adjusted person would).  I finished  my rye whisky and much of Rob’s bourbon then grabbed my video camera, hopped on my bike, and set off for Knoxville’s late night scene.  After drinking more beers alone at a bar and getting some late night cereal I pulled out the camera and started talking to strangers.  The video that follows is objectively not entertaining.  I went through the trouble of editing it largely to learn how to edit videos, and after spending so much time on it I felt compelled to share.  So here we are.  An unstoppable force vs an immovable object.

Again… this video is really uninteresting… I’m sorry.

When we concluded they asked what newspaper or TV station I was with, and I started laughing.


The Force

Now we play the waiting game

Finally… my travel beard has gotten past the awkward itchy quasi-pubescent period and is starting to flirt with the long dreamt of length best describe as pedophilic-light.  Just in time too because look what I stumbled upon in a sleepy West Texas town (see picture #1).  Looks like somebody is extending their visit to Marfa through Wednesday!

Speaking of pedophilia in Marfa TX, check out picture #2.  I started brainstorming the reasons why someone would weld steel plates in place of the windows on their white van.  Each feasible explanation is more disturbing than the last.  This proud member of the lone star state is either preparing for the zombie apocalypses, another Texas secession, a child-tickling rampage that Pee Wee Herman would condemn, or some horrific sexually violent potpourri of the three.

West Texas is a strange place.  Thank god I totally blend in riding around town on my single speed bike wearing thrift store sear sucker shorts, pink shoes, thrift store shirt one size too small, thrift store retro shades (fashion is cyclical bitches), and a free hipster haircut I just got in a bathroom in Austin (DISCLAIMER: the bathroom trim did not involve sexual payment of any form whatsoever. However, if anything did go down “bathroom trim” would be a great double entendre).

This blog post has been particularly uncomfortable, but not half as uncomfortable as the Google searches I did to support it.

Clearing my history immediately,


I apologize to everyone for this joke

I apologize to everyone for this joke

Would it be worse if the fan was filled with ammunition or candy?

Would it be worse if the fan was filled with ammunition or candy?

James 0 : Bojangles 1

Billed as one of the highlights of my trip, Asheville NC instead brought rain, searching, and upon finding what I was searching for, intense terror. It was just like that scene in Se7en where Brad Pitt is chasing Kevin Spacey through the rain only to finally catch him and get his ass kicked and nearly killed (spoiler!). In this story, I’m Brad Pitt (like I am in every James’ life to movie character analogy), the rain is the rain, what I’m looking for is sun/camping, and nearly getting killed… is kind of nearly getting killed. Let’s start from the beginning.

I arrive in Asheville only to be greeted by a bitch-slap from mother nature. The Cash sisters (actually people, not some weird nickname for my money) and I do what we can, but we quickly exhaust all of the tea shops and bowling alleys in town.

Side note: what bowling ally plays heavy metal and angsty alt-rock music videos during cosmic bowling? Hitting a strike right in the 1-3 pocket just isn’t the same to Puddle of Mud . Can a roller get some Shirelles or something? (to PoM’s credit, that guy looks like a good dad in the music video despite a short-hat-hair combination that would suggest he’s a better Madden 2K13 player.  If you make it to the 1:57 mark in the second video Shirley, Doris, Micki, and Beverly really amp up the dance moves!)

Anyways…hanging out in Amanda Cash’s apartment is not a sustainable solution because it is disgusting. So Rachel and I are desperate to get outdoors, and are considering driving upwards of 6 hours away to find some sun. Until… Monday morning the clouds part unexpectedly and let a little hope fill our hearts.

We set out for the Graveyard Fields in the mountains of Asheville rejoicing in a rare moment of hydrologic fortune as we travel a remote and winding mountain road. We reach the top of the scenic pass which should join us to the main road cutting across the ridge of the mountain. Our joy immediately erodes as we are pimp-slapped by the man. Lord knows why, but there is a gate down blocking our entrance to the main road. We are literally 10 yards away from the road we need to get on. Much brow furrowing ensues, and we backtrack.Fail

Blah, blah, blah we make it to Graveyard Fields, dominate the hike, scope some choice campsites, and decide to make a night of it since the weather continues to hold. We get our gear from the car, and set up about 1/2 mile away. The night gets cold and I fail to start a fire with the sopping wet wood #EagleScout. So we turn in early. Us in the tent, my pack right outside the tent 18 inches away from my head under the rainfly.

… I bolt awake at 1am to the sound of someone ripping my pack out from under the rainfly and running away. I shake Rachel awake and declare  “you are not going to believe me, but somebody just stole my pack… stay here!” I grab my headlamp and knife, throw on my shoes, bolt out of the tent, and dash up the trail to catch the thief. I’m scrambling up the trail in the dead of night save the narrow beam from my headlamp. At this point I actually begin to think thoughts which include “what happens if I catch this guy”, “does he have a gun”, “what if there are multiple guys”, “did he even run this way”, “shit, I just left Rachel alone!”. Upon that last thought I run back to the tent.

There Rachel and I shiver together in the cold and terrifying night. Every twig snap or leaf rustle sounds like some Bojangly ass mother-f***er moving around outside. Who is out there? What are they capable of? I don’t want to get delivered. Did they break into my car? They stole my damn pack!

The mix of anger and fear are hard to describe. If you’ve ever had something stolen from you then the anger is easily understood (a catalytic mix of innate carelessness and living at 5th and P in DC has made me well practiced in this form of anger).  The fear, however, was an uncommon one. We’ve all felt rushes of fear before, but this was a sustained fear. The kind that is only felt when you are totally alone and helpless in the wilderness. It is a vulnerable fear that sinks in deep.

Our tent became a cocoon of terror. The visual sensory deprivation heightening the fear registered by our ears. Eventually this was too much to bear for me, and I hated the thought of Rachel feeling similarly. So I got out of the tent to stand guard  At least then I could see what was out there, and put myself between Rachel and whatever pack-thieving, bucktoothed, bojangly ass, coloring book reading, single digit tooth having, back water son of a bitch was out there. I grab a big stick and take up my post.

I was right outside our tent on the edge of the path with my head bolting left, then right, then left, then right. Up and down the trail. About 20 yards away up the trail to the left was a small bridge which was a little lighter then the surrounding wilderness. Every look left and my first thought was that it was a person. I became a metronome of fear. Look right, then look AHHHH, then right, then EEEEEE, then right, then WHAT, then right, then WHOLY SHIT… on and on and on. I remained there for about 30 minutes before returning to the tent very cold and at least confident enough that we were out of harms way that I could fall asleep. This was not very confident…I’m just a great sleeper. Like Brad Pitt in Sleepers (I have not actually seen it, but assume it heavily features napping).

Blah, blah, blah… In the morning I find my pack in the woods about 75 yards away from our tent. It had been shredded by a bear!

First of all, is it more or less scary that it was a bear?  I don’t know.  It is just different scary.  I certainly feel more stupid because it was a bear.  Second of all, I’m really glad I didn’t catch it when I ran out of the tent.  That would have gotten awkward real fast. Third of all, this was clearly not his first pic-a-nic basket. To have known to snatch the strap of my pack from under the rainfly, run off, and slice through the pack like a surgeon (well… a bear surgeon.  Reference the pictures) is pretty darn impressive. This was the Yogi Bear of Asheville. Definitely smarter than the average bear, and arguably smarter than the average James. The biggest loss besides the pack itself was a beautiful sandwich I’d held off eating the night before in anticipation of an awesome breakfast. My secret ingredient is baked sweet potato. Also my pride… that was lost too.

Day 4 of 120. We are off to a promising start.


A pretty literal hiking trail

A pretty literal hiking trail

Some light bear wear and tear

For Sale: Male hiking pack with light bear related wear and tear

Shaving a few ounces off my hiking brush. Thanks bear!

Shaving a few ounces off my hiking brush. Thanks bear!

It is really a nice place when you aren't quivering in fear

It is really a nice place when you aren’t quivering in fear

Chapter Two : Not Again…

Well well well nerds… here we are again.  I’m out on another adventure, and you are either bored as hell or looking to craft your editing skills.  On that note, let’s set a few ground rules for this second go around.

1) Be Nice

I get it.  I’m not the greatest technical writer.  A lifetime of parent-teacher conferences, standardized test scores, and frat email chain ridicule has made this abundantly clear to me.  More specifically, I can’t spell.  On a tangent here, why is it that it is somewhat fashionable to suck at math, but not being able to spell is unforgivable in society? How many times have I seen some bimbo publicly announce they are unable to calculate a 10% tip only to find moronic solidarity around the table.  When I announce that I can’t read, however, everyone mentally photo-shops a dunce cap on me. Also, when anyone wants someone to understand an obvious point they say “do the math”.  WTF society?  Make up your damn minds!  Is math easy for you or hard?  It can’t be both.  Do the F-ing math on that.  Sorry… I’m just angry that I had to spell check 17 words in this paragraph.

The only real point I want to make is that just like winter is coming for the Stark family, spelling and grammar errors are coming for the readers of this blog.  Like the Sharks right after their brawl with the Jets I just want you to be cool. When I posted blog entries from Australia 80% of the comments I received back were snarky grammar corrections.  I’m here poring my black heart out, and all I get in response is “wow did you skip 5th grade English?  You use they’re not their when trying to say they are”.  I want to get it right, so feel free to send along corrections.  Just be cool about it.

2) I’m not “looking for” anything

If one more person tells me “I hope you find what you are looking for” in regards to my trip then I’m going to punch you in the back of the head.  I find that statement so condescending it makes me sick.   I’m not looking to “find myself”.  If I needed to do that then I’d simply go to O Dream Board like I do in any moment of existential crisis.


Okay, those are my only rules.  Does this entry seem angrier than normal?  It’s probably because I’m 1 week into my 4 month trip and thus far it has been defined by rain and one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.  I’ll write about that on my next entry.


My new Kit Fisto key chain is my trips talisman

My new Kit Fisto key chain gives me strength in the dark moments of my trip.

Saying goodbye to Lucy was the hardest of all

Saying goodbye to Lucy was the hardest of all

Many miles to go before I sleep

Many miles to go before I sleep

The Ooze is the general of my black/green with a splash of white magic deck which I brought on the road

APT taught me to play Magic The Gathering in my last weeks at work. The Ooze is the general of my black/green deck with a splash of white. I’ve brought it on the road and look forward to some Friday night Magic around the country.


I’m sure you are all slightly misty eyed to be reading my last travel blog post, but I know what will cheer you up…


Metaphorically of course (I’m like Lue Ferigno or Adam Ayash next to everyone in these countries). That being the case I have received a metaphorical mugging from my life style here. First of all, I’m not exactly fueling my body with vitamins and minnerals as I’m pretty confident I have set a world record for Pad Thai consumption. I am litterally the reason the “street food” sector of Thailand’s economy has gotten out of the world recession. As Thialand has been setting my body up with a nutritional jab Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam have followed up with haymakers to the face, leg, and body respectively.

The face:

Laos is popular for it’s “tubing” which is popular for being one of the most deadly parties in the world that takes place every day (lots of people drown). Therefore Phil and I went twice. It seemed that the quintessential drinking deck was stacked against me as I have lost most all my drinking tolerance after living in Australia, “tubing” goes all day, you get all the free snake whisky shots you want, and there are 30 foot rope swings everywhere. Yada yada yada, I woke up the next day with a black eye, and without the ability to turn my neck. Naturally we went a second day. Other stuff happened… but I assure you it was nothing morally or ethically questionable… just questionable.

The leg:

At some point in Cambodia I acquired a massive infection on my leg that made it incredibly painful to do most anything involving said leg. The worst part was removing Kris Kross “Jump” from my “DJames j4mz: Azo 2K-Zen” playlist (I still wore my cloths backwards in tribute to them anyways). Can’t tell you how I got it because, like Magic Johnson was to AIDS, I was to biological infection… just way to many opportunities. Luckily pharmacies here let you self prescribe anything, so I’m better now (just addicted to methadone). Also here is a riddle: what do anti-malaria pills, anti-biotics, and Cambodian food all have as a common side effect?

The body:

Similar story to the face, but this time I was doing back flips off of a 30 foot tall boat, and now my entire chest and abdomen hurt like hell. Instead of repeating the face fiasco and going out again the next night, I slept for about 14 hours. I’m all better now.

Other news:

I did in fact go to Bangkok where the first thing a cab driver asked me was “do you want to riot?”

I went to watch Muay Thai fighting at the stadium in Bangkok. It is not really as much a sport as it is a gambling venue. I lost every bet I made.

An opium den is much less plush than anticipated.

Dog is not man’s best friend, but rather man’s most delicious friend.

“After 15 years as a monk, today is my last day” is the greatest pick up line ever. If that guy wasn’t actually a monk he is still clearly in gods favor.

“James, lets shave ridiculous mustaches for all of Laos.” Turned out to be the same as Phil saying “James, lets not have friends.”

While in Delat, Vietnam Phil convinced me to purchase a cake with him in the middle of the night. As we walked down the street with our treat, two well weathered street vendors emphatically asked if “you wa chicken?” and to this Phil said “you wa cake?” Everyone answered yes. I was holding a bunch of trash and asked one of the women if there was a rubbish bin around. I must have forgotten I was in Vietnam, but the women quickly reminded me by taking my trash and hurling it into the center of the street. So we all sat down together to a lovely dinner of chicken, cake, and laughter. A 10 year old boy in a Winnie the Poo jumpsuit soon joined us as translator. Here is a riddle for you: What do late night Vietnamese street chicken, anti-malaria pills, and anti-biotics all have as a common side effect?

Laos sleeper buses should be renamed to Laos “why don’t you two go get glued with sweat to that pleather mat in the back with those two smelly ass Laos people and try not to hit your head on the ceiling as the bus bucks you fully airborne every 20 seconds” buses.

Well this needs to be the end of my (last?) blog. Why? Simply answer my riddles.


PS: I get home June 22nd. If any of you are ever going to 5-guys, chipotle, Buffalo Wing University, any Mexican place, any fast food place, or any grocery store: please call me first because I want to go.

The Massacre

Let us pick up where we left off…


Yes this is one of my prouder accomplishments as the gay community is a picky one, and exceptionally aware or what makes a “smart cocktail.” I was asked to become, “the bartender for all future private events held by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Sydney’s Northern Beaches” while bartending one of their private functions held at my bar (Henry Africa’s).

A gay and lesbian dream team was assembled to make them more Mai Tai’s then they knew how to handle. Bartending was myself, and “sugar James” aka “Gay James.” When a gay and straight James team is assembled, there is no cocktail that can’t be made (with sas!), and no interior that can’t be redecorated. When their president asked for my number so that I would be their private bartender, I was nearly moved to tears… one of the happiest moments of my life. Not even “gay James” was offered this job, and the first word of his nickname sounds like it would be a prerequisite for the job.

BECOMING A MASTER THAI CHEF (with a certificate to prove it)

This happened.


Also took place


So it turns out Aboriginal people are no fun. No fun at all. While traveling through the Australian outback, Rachel and I happened upon the town of Alice Springs. This was to be a place that I now consider to be the worst place on earth. Employment as well as belt-wearing seems to be completely optional, and most residents have opted for the “no thank you” approach to both. So there are a lot of people and a lot of asses simply hanging out. Another fun fact about Alice Springs is that there is a banner proudly waving above the entrance to the hospital reading “Smoke free since July 2009!!!” This was a banner I assumed most hospitals had hung proudly a few decades ago. I guess I should have known not to expect a bustling cosmopolitan metropolis in a place whose main attraction is a big rock (granted this rock was very very cool).

Anywho… upon leaving this waist-beltless wonderland Rachel and I are cruising down the highway excited for another 3000 kilometers of mindless driving. It is just past sunset when we spot some commotion ahead on the highway. Rachel slowed down our whip as we approached and we were delighted to find that the highway was filled by an old fashioned Aboriginal street fight. Several cars were pulled over, and people were throwing fists all over the highway. Naturally I tucked my head down between my knees and emerged only after Rachel assured me we had successfully dodged them. About 200 meters later, we find several more cars pulled over, and a group of Aboriginal people outside of them hailing us down to get them to stop. Again I entered my “safe place” and began dreaming about all of the cocktails I could make the gay community of Sydney… what new and fantastic garnishes might they enjoy? But I didn’t dream for long, because again Rachel successfully slammed on the gas, and blew past whatever doom was waiting for us there.


Monkeys suck… just want to get that out in the open first. None of that hippie pro-monkey sentiment here.

Phil and I kayaked to “monkey beach” were we expected a warm friendly monkey welcome. I planned to leave the beach with a nice servant monkey, who would subsequently train more monkeys to take care of me on the rest of my travels. I ended up leaving hungry and scarred (I was only emotionally scarred, Phil was physically scarred).

Within 2 seconds of landing our kayak on the beach this little punk monkey ran right past me, past Phil, onto the kayak, and then ran off with our Oreo cookies. He dropped a few cookies behind him, and I swallowed my pride and gathered the scraps he left behind in his thievish wake. I was soon confronted by more angry monkeys, and I quickly surrendered my remaining treats. The monkeys picked my cookies up off the sand, looked them over, brushed off the sand (something I hadn’t even thought of. I was just going to eat the whole thing sand and all), and then concluded it was too sandy. So the monkey separated the cookie into two, and licked off the sand free cream filling.

Phil and I later sat down near the monkeys, but it turned out they wanted my bottle of water as well, so a little one jumped onto the bench we were on, and scratched Phil. We both ran off and I screamed “we are being attacked by small wild monkeys.” I never gave them the water (James 1 Monkeys 1), and I’m pleased to see that when I’m in a crises, I respond by very vocally, and accurately describing my predicament.


It has always been my dream for people to pay money to look at me (extra fees for direct eye contact), and I’m proud to say that I have taken a small and insignificant step closer to that goal. While Rachel and I were traveling through New Zealand we were growing a little tired, and agreed to stop off at a beach and just look good for a while. After an afternoon of looking good we strolled along the beach back towards our station wagon/house, and somebody took notice.

A strange man with a large tripod and film camera came up to us and asked to film us. Naturally I assumed he was in the pornography businesses, but when I realized he wasn’t… I grew suspicious. Don’t worry Mom, I remembered what you told me, and kept safely behind Rachel while talking to strange men.

It turns out he is actually making a 30 minute promotional video for southern New Zealand, and wanted to film Rachel and I walking along the beach. He took our information and said he would mail Rachel a copy of the DVD. If this ever happens I’ll rent out a movie theater, and have an exclusive showing for whoever is reading this right now. Yes, I will stick around for a few minutes after the screening to answer questions.


“I really enjoyed your Oz post. I miss it there. My blog is looking for travel photos. If you have the time, email us some at or check us out at Continued fun on your travels, Eric”

This is an actual comment posted onto my blog from an actual stranger. This is how it begins people, first Eric starts following my blog, then an unsuspected facebook friendship emerges between us… it turns out Eric and I have much in common… it turns out Eric IS INSIDE MY HOUSE!!!

Perhaps it may not go that far… perhaps, but between this comment and the fame I’ll soon garner in Southern New Zealand there is no telling how big I’m about to get. I’m picturing myself in 5 years having authored something featured on Oprah’s book club, and having invested wisely in a small frozen yogurt chain.

So Eric (I know you are reading this): let’s talk figures. This blog I’m doing is already pro-bono, and now you want me to send pictures too? I don’t think so. Please don’t even waste my time with your first offer. I have been bartering on the streets of Thailand while you sit in your parent’s basement scouring the net for more “dirty hippies.” It’s not about free love/blogs for me… I just watched a boot legged copy of “Get Rich of Die Trying,” and I’m jacked as hell to start “make’n dat paper.” So go ahead and double your first offer, and contact my management/legal team of Dickstein Jain & Lloyd.

-Ja ja ja Ja ja ja JAMES UNIT!

That’s Not Sexy

Youuu Wah Massaaaaaaaaaaahh? No I don’t want a massage (as you may already know I’m very ticklish, and the prospect of an oil massage represents a squirmy hell for me), but regardless of the incessant offers for a “Cheap Cheap” “Massaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh” I’m having a lovely time here in Thailand.

As you have likely already realized, while on my travels I am constantly accruing new skills, talents, and deadly arts knowledge. I know that is hard to fathom seeing that I was already a master coin flicker, free body diagram drawer, polo match heckler, and “Toad Jam & Earl go to Funkatron” player. So the thought of me realizing even more skills is arguably terrifying, or possibly terra-frying as the earth may spontaneously erupt into flames as such a versatile master passes over it. So brace yourself, and try to imagine me returning home able to…


Yes, I am likely the worst motor bike driver of all time. My first full day in Thailand was spent driving motor bikes around Phuket with Phil, two guys we met the night before, and a Thai women who served as our tour guide. Interestingly enough, the same women served as a prostitute for one of the two aforementioned guys the night before.

We went to rent the motor bikes for a full day for 300 Baht (roughly 9 US dollars), little did I know the price I would actually pay for the bike would be grotesquely more at the end of the day. They wanted me to leave my passport as a deposit for the bike, but this was something I was not too keen on, so instead I left my Virginia drivers license. At the time there was no way of knowing that I would later be stopped by the police, and fined another 300 Baht for driving without a license.

But back to the beginning, I’m just getting onto my bike, and I have no idea what I’m doing. Nobody asks if I have ever driven one before, or if I know what I’m doing. When I don’t know how to start the damn thing, however, I am given some minimal assistance. So now my motor is running, and I still have no idea what I’m doing… this is a bad combination. In an attempt to inch forward I turn the throttle just a hair and rocket my bike into the bike of the prostitute/tour-guide’s bike. I fall over, break my sandle, cut up my feet and knees pretty bad, and take a lot of paint off of the bike. Everyone starts laughing at me and I feel every once of pride, confidence, self-worth, manliness, and ability to complete simple tasks drain out of my body.

Luckily, this is Thailand so instead of taking the bike away from me, they stand it back up for me, and tell me to have a nice day, and to just be gentle on the gas. I’m free to continue my rampage through Phuket, but now I’m barefoot.

Long story short, I crash the bike twice more. Once at a crowded intersection, and once into a ditch. I returned my bike missing a lot of paint and feeling like a new, vastly inferior man. Again I’m laughed at profusely by Thai man, and I barter for a while and end up paying another 1,200 Baht (roughly 36 US dollars) in damages.

Sadly I have much more to say, but some Brazilian dude, Bernardo, wouldn’t stop talking to me while I was writing this, and now I need to catch my bus to some other fantasy island. I will conclude this with more skills/accomplishments such as.


BECOMING A MASTER THAI CHEF (with a certificate to prove it)






And I know there is some more cool stuff. I’m just doing so much cool stuff, I can’t even remember some of the cool stuff…, but trust me… lots of cool stuff is happening.

I have to credit my travel/life partner Phil Sukys for the title of the blog. He said it in observation of some people we were talking to while buying street food at 3 in the morning. It was very appropriate then, and sums up much of our travels.


“The plan is to get in, make dance, and get out”
-Julia Calabrese