What I've been listening to lately... 

From The Griffin to the Jersey Shore, or was it the other way around?


A Family Affair...

"I’ve lived in Ensenada for a bit. Spent the better part of the last decade down here. Racing isn’t just a part of the culture, it’s a part of people’s day-to-day lives, and something that ties friends and families together. Race shops are crammed between buildings. Retired race cars are parked around town. And the sound of a four-stroke dirt bike going by is about as common as the sound of roosters on a rural country farm. Jerseys and helmets hang from the ceiling of the hamburger stand down the street from my house. The walls are covered in signed photographs of current and former champions, local racers and legends. During the SCORE races, the street in front of the Cultural Center is closed down and a crowd of people pack in to get a peek at the bikes and buggies, side-by-sides and the all mighty Trophy Trucks. Little kids ride on their father’s shoulders for a better view. The vibe is unlike any other race experience you can have. A tenable sense of excitement, race fumes filling your lungs." 

I followed five friends as they entered, raced and finished their very first SCORE International event, the Baja 500. But this story isn't about them or their race effort, it's about the bond that Baja creates between friends and their families. If you have a handful of minutes, read my story on Race-Dezert.



Some say this blog used to be about surfing and what such...



This is a hard place. 

The gentle sunrise behind the mountains. The cold, beige sand. The clouds that streak across the sky, swirling around the sun. And the tall cacti rising up across the landscape like the hairs on the back of your neck... It's all just a reminder of what's to come. A moment of forgiveness before the bell rings. The only mercy the Sonoran landscape might show you. 

Those first few minutes of morning, before the sun has fully shown herself, before her warmth reaches across that cold sand and up the trunk of that tall, green cactus. Afterwards, the colors change. Beige becomes yellow, becomes white. The chilayos providing a place of respite from the sun when she's not directly overhead. The clouds migrate to other parts of Mexico, leaving behind a tight blue canvass stretched all the way to the horizon.

Narcos in stolen silver trucks crisscross the land, with ski-masks and mismatched fatigues and Soviet era AK-47s slung over their shoulders. They're young, with blood in their eyes. And they're lost. Guidance comes only from an older version of their misguided selves, whose bravado wafts into the air like prom queen perfume. A stare turns to a smirk when they realize your intentions are not interfering with theirs. Hands around your neck. At their mercy. 

And this is just your first day in the desert.


Yahritza Martínez

What I've been listening to lately... 

Her and her brother were born and raised in Yakima, WA, where my grandfather is from, and where I picked cherries as a teenager. The Los Angeles Times did a piece about the trio back in April if you're interested.

Thirty Five Millimeter | The Economy of Scale

From a recent roll of 35mm, shot on my old Olympus Epic Zoom in the Philippines and Indonesia. Still not sure what's causing the halo effect with this particular camera, but it adds a little something, some of the time. These were taken over the course of a month spent in Southeast Asia, from the gritty streets of Davao City to the secluded perfection of Palawan, and finally into the mountains of Eastern Java to drive Land Cruisers. 

An excerpt from something I started to write... 

the last great place at the end of the earth.

Alex stood, sweating, beneath a blue and brown tarp stretched from the edge of the kitchen palapa. He looked down at the beach below, the green, metal roofed bungalow facing the beach, the white sand slipping into a crystal blue sea. A "speedboat" had just pulled ashore and four people were unloading freight from its deck. Small refrigerators, resin for the wood floors, diesel generators and air-conditioning units for the cottages. The fruits of a foreign investment that was made just as the global pandemic had kicked Alex's ass one last time.

The kitchen was busy preparing our last meal, a no-brakes kind of breakfast that set the tone for our departure. This was the last time we'd see the place like this. An oasis on a tropical peninsula, free from cellular signals, buzzing diesel boats or rented jet-skis with their equally buzzed captains clad in blaze orange PFDs. The last time we'd spend our evenings lying naked, flat atop the sheets with a hand fan as our only means of escaping the heat and humidity. The last time they'd cut the lights on the deck so the insects would chase the light in a different part of the property. The last time we'd be someplace where we would find true tranquility without paying an entrance fee. The kind of calm that is acquired by escaping, not by sitting inside your air-conditioned hotel room waiting for room service.

This was the end of something amazing, but for Alex, the beginning of an entirely new life. And can you blame him for wanting to make more of what he has? To expand, if only slightly, or to add creature comforts so they can increase their prices, overall revenue and make good for their foreign investors?

Alex asked one of his staff to help a friend with her bags. The boat was waiting to take us to the mainland, and Alex was eager to unload the rest of the speedboat in anticipation of the next.

We were Alex's last guests, the final four before the cottages would shutter their doors in preparation for a three month renovation. His face was a mixture of excitement and anxiety as we said our goodbyes. The bar was barren, a few old bottles of Chivas and Captain Morgan on the shelves. Only the necessities were packed into the outdoor refrigerator. The road ahead would be hard work for his staff and himself as they prepared to reopen in the fall ahead of the seasonal tourist wave. And when they did, the place wouldn't be the same. Alex wouldn't be sweating because he was standing on the shore in the beating sun, fighting the humidity inside his shirt. The sweat on his brow would now be from the concern as to whether his tropical oasis would be as well received as it was previously, whether the price increase and added accoutrements, the new bar with shiny bottles and the dive shop they planned to open would in fact be worth the sacrifice of thirty-percent ownership.

There's so much more to say about this experience, but I'll save my words for another time, and likely another place.

From the Phone - Vol.10

A note: This post was supposed to go live in January of 2022... My bad.

Another note: For whatever reason, Google won't let me adjust the resolution of the images I am uploading, so my apologies for the low quality. *UPDATE* They're full resolution if you click on them.

Google sends me an email each month telling me how many miles I've traveled so far this year. As of December 1st I've accumulated some 87,159 miles of travel, roughly 3.5 times around the world. That's not as much as 2019, though, where I amassed 124,389 miles, or 4.9 times around the world. Mileage may vary from year to year, but suffice to say that this last decade has been spent with one foot in the air and one foot in the dirt. I can feel it, too. In my bones and in my eyes. A creaky noise and a glazed over appearance. Turns out riding fast motorcycles on islands in the middle of the Atlantic, or hiking massive sand dunes in Saudi Arabia with less than three hours of sleep takes a toll on the ol' skin and bones. But that's the shit people say when they're balls deep in something they allegedly love - the kind of complaining a business owner does when they're making more money than they have time to spend. A catch-22 if you will. With that, I'll leave you with yet another assortment of photos taken on my telephone over the last twelve-ish months. An amalgamation of experiences, from Siberia to the Serengeti, Verona to the Vegas-to-Reno, and beyond... 


It Wasn't Very Long Ago

Got hip to some old Orbison in Omsk, Russia...


From the Phone - Vol. 9

It's been a few years since I dumped some of the photos from my phone onto this here blog. And honestly, a hell of a lot has happened since my last FtP post in 2018. A trip to Peru for the Dakar Rally, crossing Mongolia in a Land Cruiser (again), late nights in La Paz with the Spruce Bruce, Crispy Boyz with my mom, giant fighting cocks in the Philippines, Moto Guzzis and Russian monuments, scramblers in Portugal, Team No Alto and some Old School MTG, among many other things. The photos aren't in any particular order, and most of them won't mean anything to you without some kind of context. But who gives a goddamn. It's just a little peek behind the curtain, a glimpse into the past, moments captured and typically forgotten on my phone. So, behold!... Shitty cell phone photos, Vol. 9!

South, Before They Shut Us Down (Again)

It's important to have an escape plan, or at least somewhere you can wander to when the shit goes sour. I typically head south, over the border and into Baja. It has worked for me once before, and continues to prove itself a viable option. And so with the left coast of our country closing its doors yet again, suggesting its citizens rat out their neighbors for having Thanksgiving feasts, but also encouraging them to hit the Black Friday sales, I felt like it was time to point my front wheel south and see what happens. Back to Baja, to celebrate long dirt roads, empty beaches, gas station empanadas, getting lost and not giving a shit.


Young Man

Been on this shit lately...


Fay Jones

Fay Jones is a fine art painter from Seattle, WA, who was trained at the Rhode Island School of Design, and whose work is exhibited in numerous locations around the Pacific Northwest, including a mural at Westlake Station and a painting in Seattle's opera house, McCaw Hall. She also just so happens to be Richard Garfield's aunt... Back in 1993, while her nephew was finishing his doctorate in combinatorial mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, he was also developing a new strategy game called Magic: The Gathering. As his game evolved from simple playtest cards to full-color cardboard, Garfield commissioned his aunt to create a piece of art for a card called Stasis. It was the only artwork that Richard Garfield would commission for the game he'd created, and the only piece that Jones would ever do. For many, it represents a simpler time in the game's history. Jones' work is unlike anything else used in the early iteration of the game. It feels inspired by Gauguin or perhaps Picasso, and yet uniquely her own. This short documentary (featured below) highlights her career and the body of work she's created. You can also see more of her painting here.