I met John Jackson about four years ago as an intern at Bonfire. I was up in Government Camp, helping out with the Bonfire Pipe to Pipe and John wanders in to say hello to Java or someone else I’m with. He walks over to us and extends his hand to me- on it is the tiniest kitten I’ve ever seen. He asks me if I want to pet his kitty. After a second I realize, no- that’s just a fake kitten made of rabbit fur. But the earnest look in his eyes when he first asked me had made me second guess whether that was a toy or not. Later on I saw him walking around with it tucked into a headband in his dreads.
I just watched episode 3, part 2 of Air Time and it made me think of the first time I ran into this guy. I was put off at first, but then realized I was intrigued and didn’t want to stop watching the video. Also, it ends with them picking up an impossibly tiny puppy in Mexico (that I didn’t believe was real- first kittens, now puppies).
[You can find all of John Jackson's episodes of Air Time on Transworld]
The whole reason why I started this blog was to help remind myself why I’m living the life that I do. Once or twice a year, I start to falter in my conviction and second-guess my lifestyle choices. In fact, one of those times is occurring right now. I panic, I can’t sleep well at night, I feel anxious for no apparent reason. It’s usually coupled with a significant lack of money, which either spurs on my anxiety even further or is the main trigger to it. I usually accompany it with an intense desire to go shopping and purchase a whole new wardrobe- that feeling of needing to reinvent myself kicking in hard.
What saves me are my friends. I’m pretty sure I’d be on 1,000’s of different medications if I didn’t have friends. I think a lot, probably too much (hence the reason I can’t smoke weed- more thoughts and reduced ability to talk? No thanks). It begins with a choice, something I have to decide. My mind will start racing in a circle, going over the options and every possible outcome over, and over, and over until I’ve literally paced in a circle, picking the same three things up and setting them down again and again. The thing I’ve learned that saves me is an interaction with another person. As soon as I engage with someone, I’m free. My mind sits back, relaxes, and no longer cares about the 20 various hypothetical consequences of wearing shoes versus sandals to walk to the corner store.
My brain helps me out a lot, and all of the thinking it goes through has pushed me to do more in my life than I ever thought possible. But what’s really made my life possible are my friends. From inviting me out on trips, to finding a new drink at a bar to merely hanging out and pulling me out of my head- friends are the most important thing I’ve gained throughout my life. So, thanks friends. You’re awesome.
In my last semester at PSU during Fall, 2013 I took a documentary film class. This short film shows the process of preparing AeroPress coffee at Heart, brewed by my friend Ashley Rehfeld. I first posted this on jennjennago.wordpress.com, but felt it might fit a little better here on Gofer. Enjoy!
I have been on the edge of being broke (or right over the edge and in that ditch) for the last…. Five years? Four? Ever since I moved away from home? Something like that. Anyway, when you’re broke you realize a few things:
1. You have no money
2. You still want to eat and drink and go on road trips you can’t technically afford (but are determined to do anyway).
So what do you do? If you’re too much of a pessimist then this might mean you hole yourself up, get depressed and make passive-aggressive facebook posts. OR you can just say fuck it, live like a dirtbag and make it work. I highly recommend taking up the second option.
Sure, you may not have a bed to sleep in all of the time. Maybe you eat one meal a day and call it good. Perhaps you catch yourself sitting in the parking lot of Lowe’s Home Improvement Store leeching their wi-fi because the friend’s house your crashing at doesn’t have any and you can’t really afford a latte right now just to get some internet.
What this all brings me around to is- I love rice bowls.
I’m talking make-you-own, throw-everything-on-some-rice-and-eat-it bowls. They don’t have to be “Asian.” They don’t have to “Mexican.” They just have to be delicious and they always are. And do you know what the most ingenious part is? They are a never-ending left-overs meal! Just make a huge pot of rice, (as in more freaking rice than you could possibly try to eat in one sitting), some veggies, open a can of beans and eat what you can. When you’re done, throw it in a big bowl (or old yogurt container, then you haven’t spent money on a container itself) and dive back in to it when you need some more sustenance to keep fueling whatever it is that keeps you staying so broke.
Never made a real non-enthnic rice bowl before? Here’s my go-to starter kit for the never-ending meal solution.
-Rice: It can be brown, it can be white, whatever is the cheapest. I do recommend buying a big bag of it because it’s cheaper per pound and come on, you know you’re going to use it.
-Beans: I use canned. Yes, I know that buying dry is cheaper and slightly healthier (not as much sodium) but my logic is this: beans take a long time to soak and I usually forget to plan ahead the day before I want to eat. Or, if I actually do remember to prepare them, I can’t eat that big pile of beans before they go bad and then I’ve wasted food. For me, canned works great and I’m sticking to it.
-Vegetables: Whatever produce is on sale. Boil it up for five minutes, strain and you’ve got something green to throw in. HOWEVER- if you’re super-unbelievebly-broke-but-still-want-to-maintain-an-ounce-of-wholesome-eating, then I say buy that giant bag of frozen veggies for $1.50. I’ve been there. Frozen veggies keep forever and still give you something green to eat. Even though you have no idea how long ago they were packaged. Whatever. You’re broke and hungry.
-Cheese: Not always possible (cheese is the most expensive thing on this list) but always tasty and makes a good snack by itself too.
-Hot sauce and/or salsa: I really love buying those giant gallon jugs of salsa and using it to make everything taste better. This is no exception. Buy that handle of spicy, tomatoe-y, vinegared sauce and slather it all over this big mama bowl of rice. If you can’t spare the bucks for salsa, just buy a lot of hot sauce and it will do the trick. (the hot sauce will last longer but the bowl ends up being dryer. But hey, if that’s what you got, that’s what you’ve got).
And there you have it! Mix everything together in that recycled container from deli meats and eat with satisfaction. You can feed yourself AND stay somewhat healthy. This thing has grains, veggies, protein, calcium and spoice. I’d call that a balanced bowl.
I made it to 25! I can’t believe I’m here, really. Feels like not too long ago I was 19 and moving to Portland with not much more than a snowboard bag and a dorm-room number. That seems like the marking point for me where I started really growing up; prior to then I’d always been pretty close (if not at) home, and even though I wouldn’t always stay there, I knew I could go back there very easily. Moving to Oregon suddenly put 3,000 miles between myself and anything I had known up until then. It was scary, and I honestly kind of hated portland for the first 4-5 months of living there. However, once I joined the PSU Snowboard Club my life was changed. Being a part of this group and finding people (like Chris and Eddy Barnhart) who were immediately so friendly and inclusive and FUN made me realize this was a place I wanted to be and that snowboarding was something I needed to keep doing. So that was it. I continued my push to finish my Environmental Studies degree, all while working paid (and unpaid) jobs and internships that allowed me to get that much closer to this fantastic new family of riders I’d discovered. I didn’t consciously realize that I was slowly shaping my whole life around this ‘sport’ (activity? passion? fun thing to do with friends?) but it happened all the same. Sometimes I get nervous that I should be out working a 9-5 job that pays more than $10k/year (actually I made less than that this year, according to my tax returns and W-2’s) but then I think about what that would really entail and I immediately feel better about where I’m at.
Last year I celebrated my birthday in the snowy mountains of Alaska, and this year I was in the rather warm Salt Lake City with a few more friends and a lot less snow. On my actual birthday I was taken through my first runs of (baby) chutes at Brighton,
followed by a gorgeous hike in to Diamond Fork Hot Springs,
and finishing with a less-than-pleasant four-police-car-pullover and drug-dog search of Tyler’s van.
Apparently there was a color festival happening the same weekend as my birthday and cops were staking out the hotsprings in hopes of catching out-of-town drugged-up hippies coming out from a relaxing soak. They didn’t find anything (of course), kept us there for about 2 hours, made me dump the rest of my closed bottle of sake (that was in my backpack) out into the dirt and charged us with open containers because we had chosen to carry out our empties instead of leave them in the hot springs for future visitors.
Oh yeah, and one of the cops wished me a happy birthday. Gee, thanks.
My second birthday celebration involved fewer police but was just as fun. My friend Laura R. works at a high-end restaurant in Park City and took myself and a few others out for one of the BEST meals of our lives. Although the plans were a little confusing to everyone (probably my fault for changing from telling everyone it was going to be a nail party to dinner party) we all had an amazing time.
I will remember that meal for the rest of my life, it was that good (seriously). There were dishes such as winter fruit salad, champagne covered lemon sorbet, filet mignon and finally a richly liquored-up desert coffee that tied the whole thing together perfectly.
Those chefs know how to make people happy.
I think turning 24 scared me more than 25; when this birthday rolled around it felt like most of the other ones I’ve had throughout my life; another year older without any kind of life crisis. Maybe that means my life is more together than it was last year? Though I find that a little hard to believe. Perhaps it’s a sign of maturity. Either way, I don’t really care; I’m just grateful to have amazing friends, family and some good stories to share. I’m gunning for another adventurous 25 years to come (and, you know, maybe a few more ;)).
I slept for the first two days after getting back to Salt Lake from Japan. Literally. Ok, I was up for a few hours in the afternoon and stayed up til about 3am each night, but I felt like I had the flu or something and had to sleep it off. Adjusting to being back home is a lot harder than adjusting to a new place. My friend Andy said he usually gets his culture shock when he returns to the states from Japan rather when he first gets out to the foreign country. I have to agree with him there; Japan is totally different and definitely has a distinct culture we don’t have here in the states, but it’s all fascinating. I’m enthralled the whole time observing how people live their daily lives over there. But because my brain is curious and looking at EVERYTHING the entire month of being there, when I got back to something familiar it just had to shut down. When I was awake and walking around again back here in the states, it was as if I was seeing everything around me for the first time again. Shopping was a new experience once again because my eyes looked at packaging and ads as if they had to decifer them. I was looking at EVERYTHING here, as I had in Japan. It was kind of cool actually. I gained a new perspective not only on a foreign culture that I’d never had a true glimpse into, but also found a new way to look at everything that was familiar to me at home as well. It’s also nice to feel like I’m not in danger of getting horribly lost all the time if I’m on my own, and that store clerks understand exactly what I say to them and they respond back to me in perfect english (well, culturally perfect anyway).