Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two months of crashing down, and where to go next?

Where to begin. These last few months, I’ve had some daunting challenges thrown in my path. 2011 came in heavy, but we are still early on in the year. I’ve currently no job and no relationship, thus freeing my ties but also ending a progressively roughening chapter of Life.
I have earned wisdom from this. Lessons for me to note:
  • Spend time developing and finding yourself, and don't settle down until you are absolutely ready.
  • Love and care for your friends and family. 
  • Appreciate everything you already have. Life can always be worse by multitudes.
  • Music can be truly moving. If you're down, and you listen to music with a nostalgic bite or that is oft associated with happy times, it's pretty much guaranteed to tug on the heart strings a bit.
 I’m starting a whole new chapter now, going in many ways back to the basics. This is a very do-it-yourself, go with the flow type year for me. A lot of change is underway personally and professionally.
To start with, I’ll be moving out of my one-bedroom habitat and fully furnishing my storage unit. Not to live in, of course; just to escape rent. I’ve concluded that, with one month’s rent I could pay here, I could easily last a month overseas traveling, or if staying in more or less one area and/or with friends overseas, perhaps 2 or 3 months that would surely stretch my dollar thin but manageable. Yet I digress; the point is I may or may not be officially houseless between April and July, and am figuring out arrangements for the time being.
In other news, The Dread Crew of Oddwood is going through its third year of Pleasure Faire in San Bernardino, which means another seven weekends of debauchery, headbanging, extreme social interaction, and some ego boosting. The dates are April 9th thru May 22nd. I highly recommend going if a.) you’ve never been to a renaissance faire and b.) you want to have a fun day with memorable experiences. There are hundreds of vendors selling such things as swords, drinking steins, leatherwork, woodwork, costumes, mock battles, fun games, musical shows and comedy acts.
Photo courtesy of Duc Duong: website
We’ve also recently completed filming of our first ever music video! It was shot over two weekends in late January in Laguna Beach, Dana Point, and Chapman Studios. We tirelessly collected various scenes with some great results, and an unbelievable 360/1 shooting ratio. What that means is we shot over 300 times the amount of footage we needed. That is about 9x the typical Hollywood-budgeted film, or 2x the amount shot for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I can’t delve too far into the details of the video, but do understand it very much has the potential to go viral online, and will easily take the cake as the best pirate-themed video on YouTube, or dare I say EVER made. 
Photo courtesy of Duc Duong: website
We’re coupling the release of the video with our second, but hopefully not last, national tour! It’ll take place through July, and has dates in many major cities: San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Boston, Houston, New Orleans, and many more. Our thoughts are to buy a 15-passenger van this time around that we can simply load all our gear and collective souls into.
 I am planning my next transcontinental journey for August. To Bolivia. Not Ecuador or Argentina, like my thoughts last year led me to believe. Bolivia is located in the heart of South America, and is not only incredibly biodiverse, but culturally striking and affordable as well. The country is pretty much split into the high mountain Altiplano, an area of extremely unpredictable weather and otherworldly landscapes, and the eastern lowlands, which are very much just the Amazon and some towns. You may remember my trip in Argentina’s altiplano, both when I crossed over to Chile and when I spent time on its outskirts in Barreal. Bolivian sights include the immensely white/vast Salar de Uyuni, a blinding salt flat that holds the largest concentration of lithium in the world, Mercado de las Brujas (of the witches), home to llama fetuses, potions, and more, other large outdoor markets, colonial-aged architecture, the highest indigenous population in Americasur, the deadliest mountain highway in the world, jungle treks and guinea pigs for eating. What more could I ask for? 
Salar de Uyuni during the winter season. Stock photo.
Bolivia also allows me some strategic options, in the event I want to cross its border to northwest Argentina again and revisit some friends and sights, or dipping into Peru or Chile, Bolivia’s other immediate neighbors. I have this inkling to return to Valparaiso, after the devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake in February of last year—two months after I left. Just for analogy, the Chilean quake was 500 times more powerful than the quake in Haiti the month prior, which was still an impressive 7.0 magnitude. Alas, more pictures of Bolivia!
Las Yungas - world's most dangerous road. Stock photo.
La Paz, the antiquated capital of Bolivia. Stock photo.

Lago Titicaca, near La Paz. Stock photo.
I’m hoping to find sporadic work here and there until my income is good enough to get me back on my feet.
 Anyway, all for now, more for later. Until then, this is Drew Peters.

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