Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kicking it off in YSO

I'm not actually going to kick it off in Yellow Springs (because if I get to Yellow Springs, I will already have kicked it off), but I am going to head that way first instead of heading toward I-71. I mean, I just finished driving to and from Cincinnati on I-71, and that was torture enough. I don't want to try it again tomorrow. Also, I want to stay off the interstate system as much as I can this time because Aimless is not about hitchhiking from Point A to Point B; it's about traveling without a Point A or Point B (and a bunch of other stuff, too).

So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to head west on Route 665 toward London sometime tomorrow morning or early afternoon. (If you've seen the Aimless contact page, you may think I live in London. Well, I don't. I don't live anywhere near London; not even the same county.) If no one stops to offer me a ride, I should be able to walk at least as far as London before night falls, about 14 miles. I'm not sure, but I think there may be a Rails To Trails trail beginning in London. I know the railroad tracks are long gone, but I'm not sure where the trail begins. I only know there is a trail a little farther down the road.

I have no idea how long it will take to reach Yellow Springs. If I can catch a ride or two, I might make it there tomorrow. But I might end up walking the whole way, which would probably get me there Tuesday or Wednesday. We'll see.

If anyone in or near Yellow Springs is reading this and may be willing to let me crash and refuel for a night, you can reach me at 614-738-3867 or keep an eye out for me.

* * * * *

So I sold my soul and went to a Major League Baseball game tonight at Corporate Naming Rights Ballpark #23. Last time I went to a baseball game in Cincinnati--about 6 or 7 years ago--it was in Riverfront Stadium (or whatever corporate naming bullshit they called it then). In that game versus the Cleveland Indians, I witnessed something that very few people have witnessed in person: an American League pitcher hitting a home run (Dwight Gooden). I don't know how many American League pitchers have hit home runs since the American League began using designated hitters, but I would imagine it has happened fewer than 20 times.

So that was the last game I attended. What unusual play might we expect tonight? Well, tonight I witnessed a triple play. The really weird thing is that I hardly paid any attention to the game, but I saw that play from start to finish. As someone who really doesn't like baseball, it's strange that I've been there to witness some things that die-hard baseball fans would love to see but probably never will.

OK, that's it for now. Maybe I'll see you on the road.

The Quasi-Aimless Trailer

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I went to Dino's today, thinking I might actually talk to the girl I mentioned in my previous post. No girl. No talk. That kinda sucks. Maybe she'll somehow find her way to this web site. (Yeah, right.)

However, I did have a really cool 4-hour conversation with a guy named Steve, whom I'd seen around plenty of times but never met before today.

Well, I'm not leaving tomorrow. There are just too many things I still have to do, like pick up my prescription, which the pharmacy didn't have in stock and apparently has not received yet. Also, my folks offered to buy me a good backpack, so I'm going to look around for one tomorrow. A good backpack should give me considerably better mobility, thanks mostly to the even distribution of weight.

I could leave Friday, I think, but I'm considering attending a Cincinnati Reds game Saturday, mostly just to hang out with my uncle. Even though I was a Reds fan (and a fan of baseball) most of my life, I now refuse to attend MLB games because the players and owners have no respect for their fans (aka customers). Baseball lost my ass a few years ago when they narrowly avoided yet another strike. The pussy-ass, steroid-injecting players keep whining about how they don't make enough money, and the overprivileged owners keep whining about how they don't make enough money, even though none of them will ever have to worry about paying the bills on time. Meanwhile, their multi-million-dollar contracts are paid almost entirely by people who really are hurting for money, people who willingly give up half of their hard-earned paycheck just to take the family out to a stupid baseball game.

Sorry, but I just can't allow myself to contribute to your empire of greed.

However, I might make an exception this one time.

The Quasi-Aimless Trailer

Sunday, April 15, 2007

You left some stars in my belly

I have a lot of different things to say here.

First, my brush with death exactly one week ago has left me with a new and improved perspective on life. Now that I should be dead, each new day of life is a bonus round. Every day now presents a new opportunity to live a little. Consequently, I have a lot less bullshit to worry about because when you really get down to it, nothing really matters. Nothing we say or do matters. Nothing we feel or accomplish matters. Nothing we believed in life matters once we're dead.

If I say something outrageously stupid here, it cannot possibly bother me if I'm dead tomorrow. So why let it bother me today, especially if my outrageously stupid comment turns out to be the deepest, most important thing I'll ever say? There will come a day when I won't be alive tomorrow, so there shall be no more pussying out when it comes to things I really want to say or do today.

* * * * *

New life objective #1
There is a girl I've noticed recently during my weekly hang-out session at Dino's Cappuccinos in Yellow Springs. I think she is a student at Antioch, but I'm not positive. Anyway, I can't stop thinking about her. Yes, I am physically attracted to her, but that's not why I keep thinking about her.

It all begins with her eyes and her smile. I've always felt that the eyes are the doorway to the soul (even though I don't necessarily believe in the existence of the soul.) I think people communicate more effectively and more honestly through body language than through verbal or written speech. Eyes don't lie, perhaps because the eyes bear witness to the consequences of all verbal lies. The eyes have a conscience of their own, and her eyes just keep whispering the nicest things to me.

My lady has arrived at Dino's late in the afternoon each of the last two Wednesdays. One day she arrived alone but soon began chaperoning a young girl after the girl's father dropped her off outside the shop. The other day she arrived at Dino's with the little girl but soon turned the girl back over to her father when he pulled up out front. I'm pretty sure, though, that she also came to Dino's alone the previous Wednesday, earlier in the afternoon, which must have been when my unconscious mind began feeling the urge to know her.

I don't know her name, but I think she drinks tea and I'm pretty sure she's 22 because last week the little girl loudly said something about her being 22. That's as much as I know about her.

Uh-oh, it sounds like Ryan's obsessed, you might be thinking. Well, what if I am obsessed? So what! I've known for many years that obsessiveness is a major component of my personality, and maybe I'm healthier than most people simply because I don't run from that inescapable truth. Besides, what do you think perfectionism is? It's obsession, and all great ideas and accomplishments blossom in obsessed minds.

I take a lot of pride in the things I've accomplished in my life, and none of them would have happened without obsession:
  • I have bowled 300 twice, largely because I spent the previous three years practicing obsessively, bowling about 100 games almost every week, brainwashing my body to make the right moves. (I bowled 300 on January 13, 2004 and June 16, 2004. I have not hurled a bowling ball since July 2005. Obsessions end.)

  • I once was a great drummer only because I obsessively practiced all day almost every day.

  • I have taught myself how to make the best pizza I've ever eaten, all thanks to my obsessive personality.

And that's just the beginning of the list of good things obsession has done for me.

I am not obsessed with this young woman. If anything, I may be obsessed with the idea that it could be good or right for me to know her. I don't feel like I need to know her or that I need to be with her. That is the dangerous kind of obsession. I just feel like there may be some kind of unspoken connection between the two of us, and I'd like to find out if it's really there. If it's not there, there's no point in forcing it or deluding myself like I've done in the past.

Even though I'll be free to begin Aimless as soon as I pick up a prescription tomorrow, I'm going to put off my departure a few days so I can go to Dino's one more time before I leave, in hopes of meeting my lady.

So am I still the pussy I've always been? Even though I've convinced myself there's nothing to lose by talking to her this Wednesday (because either one of us could be dead by Thursday), will I actually follow through with my new outlook on life or will I cave in to the same fears that have always kept me from getting what I want? There's absolutely nothing to lose by walking up to her and saying, "Hi, I'm Ryan. I think I'd like to know you." But will I do it?

* * * * *

Although I guess I knew this immediately following my recent "Fuck you" to the grim reaper, it took a few days for my mind to register that not only did I save my own life, but I also saved the SUV driver's life.

Wow, I saved someone's life.

I've always thought it would be an awesome experience to directly save someone's life, but this is not how I envisioned it happening. Now don't get me wrong; I'm not disappointed because I didn't come out looking like a hero or anything like that. Fact is, I am a hero. I know I'm a hero and the guy driving the SUV knows I'm a hero. That's not my ego talking, either. That's just how it is.

I did what I did, and now it's over. Just knowing I saved someone else's life is more of a reward than being recognized for it.

* * * * *

Aimless plans
(That's an oxymoron or something.)

I'll probably hit the road again Thursday. My plans could change, though, depending on the weather.

I think I'll start out by walking east along Ohio State Route 665 through Darbydale to Interstate 71, where I'll try to get a ride south. It's about a 10-mile walk to the interstate, so I probably won't get very far the day I leave. But if I can manage to get a ride to Cincinnati, I should at least be able to sleep at my brother's house, which is only a couple miles off 71, near King's Island. Assuming that happens, I'll be able to get up and at it early the next morning and probably get down the road pretty far.

Where will I go from there? Doesn't matter. There's a reason I call this Aimless, y'know. Although I've been planning to head south--probably to Louisiana--I might end up in Seattle or Boston instead, especially now that I have decided to take a jacket.

(If you remember, the main reason I intended to head south right away is that I wasn't going to take a jacket and northern latitudes would still be too cool or cold not to have a jacket. Also, Luke was scheduled to play in a golf tournament in Baatawn Roozhe in late April, but his schedule has changed since I made those plans. He's now playing on the Canadian Tour, which strangely only seems to have tournaments in the western United States and Mexico.)

* * * * *

My sick mind
I posted another Stephen Colbert edit on YouTube: This one is pretty sick and perverted, but I couldn't stop laughing when I watched it, even after spending many hours putting it together.

This one isn't a "full-length" video. It's just a sequence I may put in my final cut. All the audio and video is from the source interview; I added nothing. (I'm a pretty damn creative dude.)

My other Colbert edits:
* * * * *

All right, I think that's all for now. Don't expect much more blog activity for a while because I don't have any of the equipment I'd hoped to acquire by the time I began doing this for real, specifically a laptop. And to the 3 or 4 regular readers of this blog: I also will not post links to new blog entries on the front page under "New Stuff" after I hit the road. Believe it or not, what I'm about to do requires hours and hours of hard work every day, and I simply won't have time to update the front page from the road.

So just check here every once in a while. It'll be a lot more interesting this time.

* * * * *

Oh yeah, and one more thing. It's now been four months since I dislocated my ankle in Arizona, and it finally feels like it's starting to get better. I never saw a doctor about it, so I have no idea if I broke any bones or anything. I suspect I probably did break something or other, but if so, I think it has healed pretty well. It appears the most serious aspect of the injury was a pretty severe ligament tear, and I guess only time fixes that kind of thing. Anyway, I have some new hiking boots, which should help prevent another injury like that, so I'm feeling good about the next set of adventures.

The Quasi-Aimless Trailer

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    Colbert edit #3

    I think this one is my best yet, but I want to hear what other folks think. It's basically an extension of Edit #2, except I have made a lot of little changes and a few big edits/additions/cuts. My favorite part is at the very beginning because it is almost seamless, and the language is beautiful. Enjoy.

    The Quasi-Aimless Trailer

    Sunday, April 08, 2007

    Dead at 33

    Ryan Michael Powell, born December 29, 1973 in Great Falls, Montana, escaped an almost certain violent death by mere inches on this day, April 8, 2007, at 11:45 AM EDT.

    Now that I have your attention…

    [Written Sunday April 8, 2007.]

    I almost died this morning, and I’m still pretty freaked out about it.

    On the way to my grandparents’ house near Dayton, Ohio, as I drove southwest on I-71 with the cruise control set to 69, I noticed an SUV in my rear-view mirror. This vehicle was about a quarter of a mile behind me when I first saw it, but only 5 or 10 seconds later the truck had reached what I consider a safe following distance behind me. In other words, the truck was screaming down the road, doing at least 100 miles an hour.

    Experience suggested to me that the truck would pass me by, uneventfully, in a few seconds. I speculated that the truck’s occupants would then move on to their destination, never seeing me again. Nevertheless, I kept an eye on the truck.

    The truck got closer to me. It remained in my lane.

    Even closer. Still in my lane.

    With no other southbound traffic within a quarter-mile either ahead of me or behind, I was thinking This must be one of those idiots who wait until the very last second to change lanes when passing. But the truck just kept gaining on me like I wasn’t even moving, so by now the truck was uncomfortably close to me and I began to seriously wonder if the driver was even going to bother changing lanes to pass me.


    Nobody does that. What kind of fucking moron would just drive straight into the back of a car at over 100 MPH when there is a perfectly empty passing lane only a few feet to the left?

    In my 17 years of driving, I’ve never experienced this kind of uncertain feeling. Sure, there are plenty of stupid drivers out there, but I’ve never had to seriously entertain the idea that someone might actually ram me from behind, driving at least 30 miles an hour faster than me, especially when I’m already driving above the state’s highest speed limit.

    That shit just does not happen. Of course it’s not going to happ… OH FUCK! IT’S HAPPENING.

    You don’t even have time to think Oh fuck, it’s happening, because it IS happening. In one split second you change from cautious to helpless, and if you don’t do the right thing in the next split second, you’re fucking dead. There is absolutely no time to think or strategize. You just do something or you do nothing. It all comes down to instinct and luck, even if you saw it coming.

    When this happens to you, you don’t know what to do because it’s totally freakin’ unreal. I guess it’s like if you were to look out the window of your house and see an airliner coming straight at you, less than a mile away. Even with the sudden state of shock you experience from this unbelievable sight, you still instantly realize the plane is going to crash. All you know is that the plane will either hit you or it will barely miss you, and you only have a few seconds to process this unreal information, let alone make some kind of decision about what to do.

    Although you know this scenario is something that could happen, you’re positive it won’t happen, so there is absolutely nothing you can do when it does happen. Same thing when an SUV approaches you from behind like a speeding bullet. If you’re lucky (or a smart driver), you were paying enough attention to see it coming, and you might have a chance to make a move toward safety. But even if you do make a move, it still might not save you because it might be the wrong move or you might have been one-hundredth of a second too slow.

    So what did I do?

    I thought Oh fuck, I’m about to die while swerving onto the right shoulder. Another split second later I saw (or felt) the truck scream past me, at which point I became even more shocked that I was not rolling and flipping along the side of the interstate. It couldn’t have missed me by more than a couple inches.

    I couldn’t believe I managed to get completely out of the way before the truck passed me, especially because the driver never swerved, veered, or braked. Not even the slightest veer or change in speed. Nothing. Just straight through me at over 100 miles an hour. I then put my hand down firmly on the horn and left it there for about ten seconds, which may have been the trigger that brought my killer back to reality because he slowed to a near-stop a few seconds later and pulled over to the shoulder.

    99 percent certain that our vehicles avoided contact completely, I just wanted to get the fuck away from this person forever, but the SUV’s driver slowed down enough on the shoulder that I quickly passed them back. I think the driver may have pulled over for the same reason you pull over after a minor fender bender—to apologize or exchange information or whatever—but I had no intention of extending this episode beyond what had already happened.

    While passing the truck, I looked over at the driver, probably with a major What the fucking hell?!? expression on my face. It looked like a 50-something male. I didn’t see any passengers, nor did I get a good look at the license plate, but I think the vehicle may have had Georgia tags.

    After I passed the slowing truck, still cruising at 69 MPH, he got back on the road surface and remained behind me, driving about the same speed as me. Oh great, just what I need. This made me really uncomfortable. It felt like someone accidentally fired a gun at me, hitting my hair but not my head, then was stupid enough to keep pointing the gun straight at my face instead of just dropping it.

    Before anyone suggests this idea… No, it wasn’t God that saved me. If God is responsible for getting me out alive, then God must also be blamed for putting me in such a horrible position. Besides, there is no god. There is only one reason I escaped without a scratch: It’s because I am an attentive driver. Most other drivers, given the same situation, would have never known what hit them.

    I have plenty more to say about this event. I intend to update this entry soon, but not right away because I want to work on my Colbert stuff right now.

    The Quasi-Aimless Trailer

    Saturday, April 07, 2007

    Another Colbert video

    I made another Stephen Colbert video today, and this one is totally freakin' hilarious. If you don't piss your pants while watching it, you must be stupid. It's a little rough in some parts, but you'll have that when you're doing the impossible.

    Make sure your volume is plenty loud. Otherwise it may sound kind of muddy.

    The Quasi-Aimless Trailer

    Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    Stephen Colbert edit

    I have a completed a rough draft of my "For Your Editing Pleasure" project, featuring Stephen Colbert. If the YouTube video below does not load, watch this video instead.

    DISCLAIMER: The content of this video does not necessarily represent my views, particularly the really mean sounding stuff.

    The Quasi-Aimless Trailer