Thursday, June 26, 2008

Life decisions

Even when I first came up with the idea for Aimless, I never expected the project to make me rich or famous. I always knew I was a major underdog because I am an amateur with amateur equipment and no connections.

All I had was hope. I hoped people would help me spread the word to reach a larger audience. I hoped people would recognize my insight so I could somehow reach the right person (or persons), who would subsequently become the connection I needed to make something out of this. I hoped calling it as I see it (instead of watering things down to present an entirely safe, rah rah, "America: Fuck Yeah!" story) would be compelling to people.

In other words, I ran Aimless much like the typical small business owner runs their failing business, hoping to reach a market that may or may not exist. Unlike small business owners, however, I could afford to do this because I didn't have a couple hundred grand riding on the success of my project. I had essentially nothing to lose by doing it my way.

I am very well aware that my style of conducting Aimless breaks almost all the rules of operating a successful conventional business; I always have been. But there has never been a "business" like Aimless, and I will not allow myself to tell a manufactured happy story instead of the real story. I will not disguise my true thoughts and feelings (which I know make me look like a total fuckface sometimes) to make myself appear as a heroic protagonist.

I am not a heroic protagonist!

There is so much completely stupid programming (presented as educational documentaries) on TV these days. To begin, we have Ghost Hunters, UFO Hunters, Paranormal State, and that show about psychic children. On each episode of each show, the premise is that someone is investigating something paranormal and will eventually present some kind of evidence of that paranormal activity. They keep you in suspense, making you believe there will eventually be some kind of answer or breakthrough, and then the show ends. It's like a soap opera, except they just leave you hanging forever because there is no next part; there is no answer. Yet with absolutely no evidence that there was ever even anything to investigate, the "investigators" always leave the spooky place and act like they accomplished something. (In reality, there's not even a problem, except for the things people made up in their heads. The only thing that makes these shows appear remotely, almost, sorta legit is the spooky noises dubbed onto the video in post-production.)

It's fucking ridiculous and totally unentertaining.

Then you have the "Modern-Marvels-turned-drama" shows, like Ice Road Truckers and some others I can't even name. Ice Road Truckers was a great topic for one episode of Modern Marvels, but it is a fucking stupid soap opera, just like all the other shows in that genre. Even Deadliest Catch, which I used to like, has become completely pointless.

I can't even begin to tell you how much more interesting an Aimless TV series would be than all the crap on TV today. Yes, even with my filthy mouth and unrefined demeanor. (Check out Anthony Bourdain. He's the fucking man!) You wouldn't believe the shit I see. You wouldn't believe the shit I do. You wouldn't believe the people I meet. And shit wouldn't even need to be edited to make it seem outrageous; my travels are 100 times more outrageous than any of that ultra-edited bullshit they're trying to make you believe is real.

I mean, I watched a new travel show last night with a host who is a "veteran travel guide." He told me Hoover Dam is on the border of California and Arizona... Your TV so easily makes you stupid.

All I'm saying is that Aimless would blow people's minds if they had access to it. No bullshit. No editing tricks. No catering budget. No lodging budget. Just an incredible expose of one guy's life as a traveling bum.

Unfortunately, I'm the only person who knows how incredible and entertaining it would be, and I don't know the right people.

Even without use of my normally good hand, I make the best-tasting pizza I've ever eaten. Even after a three-month hiatus in pizza-making, I make the best-tasting pizza I've ever eaten. Even with substandard equipment, I make the best-tasting pizza I've ever eaten. Even after eating literally thousands of my own pizzas, I make the best-tasting pizza I've ever eaten.

I'm not one of the best documentarians on the planet. I'm not one of the best bowlers on the planet. I'm not one of the best bloggers on the planet. I'm not one of the best hobos on the planet. I'm not even one of the best tramps on the planet.

But I make some of the best pizza on the planet and I know how to sell it and I know how to create happy customers that would return again and again for my pizza. Unfortunately, I don't have the resources to make that scenario a reality and I don't have anyone to back me in my efforts to make that scenario a reality. My parents have the resources to use me to make themselves rich (or at least very comfortable). They love eating my pizza, too. But they also think I'm the stupidest motherfucker that's ever walked this planet. Don't ask me why; it's just something they decided when I was just a kid, and nothing will ever change their minds about it.

If you've ever read the "supportive" comments from my dad, usually under the handle of "Twerky," "Gorf," "Anonymous," et al, it's all bullshit. Five minutes after he picked me up two weeks ago, he told me it's good that I was coming home because I've just been wasting my time out there. Less than 24 hours later, he told me to get out of his home.

Fuck You, Larry Steven Powell! You are no longer welcome to read this blog. You are no longer welcome in my life. You are a fucking piece of shit who has fucked my head for as long as I've been alive. I don't even know how to handle success or friendship because you've treated me like a failure (and physically abused me) since the day I was born. I know why I hate you, but I have no fucking idea why you've always hated me. I will be out of your precious house as soon as my hand heals, and I ain't never coming back.

That sad thing is, I'll probably cry when you die.

I'll probably hit the road again whenever my hand heals because I no longer have a home. Will I blog? I don't know. All I know is that I have a better chance of meeting someone who'll recognize my talents on the road than I do here. But for all I care, I'll be dead within a year.

Aimless Video Evidence

First time

This is the first time I've touched a computer in over two weeks. I'm going to try to say some stuff in another post to follow, but it'll probably take quite a while because my right hand--my normally good hand--is about as useful as a tree branch right now. I can't even use it to control a mouse. Oh, and showering is real fucking fun.

I'd love to upload a picture of the original X-ray, because the doctor said the two parts of my bone were at a 30-degree angle, but I haven't even seen the X-ray. I think I'm supposed to get the cast/splint removed next Wednesday.

Aimless Video Evidence
Call me sometime; I get lonely. 614-738-3867

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A little gimpy

I have a whole bunch to say, but as you may have guessed already, I can't really type right now because I broke my hand.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I threw in the towel.

I threw in the towel. My dad's coming to get me (about 30 miles) because my inadequate equipment causes constant, intense pain. I'm finished...

Long-ass walk today. One mile

Long-ass walk today. One mile into it, I feel shitty and my feet hurt (probably because my soles are nearly bare).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

After spending all that time

After spending all that time in New Orleans, it feels weird to walk through an urban neighborhood with houses and people.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Franklin, Kentucky

We're staying in Franklin, Kentucky tonight.

In Memphis today, some dumb-ass on a crotch rocket damn near got himself killed right in front of us. Bobbing and weaving his way through interstate traffic, he passed us on the left then cut over in front of us at the same time the pickup ahead of him was getting over. Seeing how he was going about 20 MPH faster than everyone else on the highway, he only had a split second to react. The stupid fuck is really lucky he didn't get sideswiped by the pickup and then run over by an International 18-wheeler. Nonetheless, he continued bobbing and weaving his way through the traffic ahead of us.

Seeing this guy almost bite the dust, I got that "Oh Fuck" feeling in my chest and stomach. It was that feeling you get whenever you have a close call of your own, when you feel like you just missed dying by a hair. But after seeing the dipshit race off into the horizon, I almost wish he'd just eaten the asphalt right in front of me. It's going to happen sooner or later, anyway. Might as well prevent his genes from making it to the next generation, unless they've already made it.

Aimless Video Evidence
Call me sometime; I get lonely. 614-738-3867


I made up a sign last night that says "ANYWHERE." Well, anywhere happened to be Jackson, TN this morning. My driver David originally said I'd have to get out in Jackson because he'll be picking up another driver there. But plans have changed. He no longer has to pick up the other driver, so we're going to Ohio, which means I'll probably go home. Will it be home for good or just for a break? I don't know. I don't even know if I'll go home at all.

Friday, June 06, 2008

I'm tired of this

I'm fucking sick of dumbfuck truck stop managers who can't figure out the difference between a sponge and a customer.

I'm fucking sick of being blistered and burned and scabbed and hungry and thirsty and sore and tired and broke and wet and dirty and threatened with guns and...


Most of the people I meet think what I do is cool as fuck. When they meet me and hear my stories, they live a little for once in their lives. For a few moments they experience a second-hand sensation that they always wanted to feel for real but never had the balls to do it.

That's why people give me money. That's why people give me food. People give me things in return for what I've already given them.

Excluding fuckface truck stop managers, of course. They just give me shit.

There's nothing left on the soles of my boots because I've walked a thousand miles in them. My backpack is not right for me, either. I am so ridiculously ill-equipped for this jouurney, it's not even funny.

I'm probably about to quit (and I'm not bullshitting this time.)

So all you lurkers and critics: If you like having Aimless Ryan as your little bitch guinea pig, it's time to show it. Otherwise...

Screw you guys; I'm going home!

Aimless Video Evidence
Call me sometime; I get lonely. 614-738-3867

A failed experiment

When I came up with the idea for Aimless, one of my major objectives was to make something out of nothing, mostly through the kindness of strangers. While I have received a lot of help from strangers, I’ve received a shitload of help from my family. Too much help.

Excluding the things I bought with the REI gift card I received from a friendly German fellow named Stefan, I’ve received all my gear through help from my family and other people I already knew. In other words, I wouldn’t have made it this far if not for the privileges that come from being a middle class white boy. And no matter what happens from now on, I will never be able to say I made something out of nothing.

Can it be done? Could someone take my original premise and make something out of nothing? Probably, but not this time. The integrity of this project has been compromised. Even if I somehow manage to capitalize on this project, I have failed.

The proof is in the paragraph (as opposed to the jumbled mass of words so characteristic of my phone posts).

Aimless Video Evidence
Call me sometime; I get lonely. 614-738-3867

Still at Pilot. Wanna go

Still at Pilot. Wanna go anywhere far away. I have written another post on word processor, but can't send it until I get within range of wi-fi.

Baton Rouge Part 2

Before I continue, I want to thank Mom, Dad, and my brother Roman for hooking me up with the laptop. Thanks y'all. Now back to the story... Long story short: Today was freaking hot and humid, like every day around here. Due to very heavy traffic on a narrow bridge, I had to walk over 12 miles just to get 6 or 7 miles. It sucked, but that's how it goes sometimes. Consequently, I now have some new blisters on my ever-blistered arms. --> I arrived at the Pilot station at about 5:00, hoping I could get some wi-fi action on the premises, but no dice. So I sat around playing solitaire and talking to truckers for a while, not too concerned about getting a ride. --> There is wi-fi access at the Days Inn next door, which is where I'm camping right now, but I'm about 50 feet outside the range and I don't want to wander away from all my stuff, which is why you're currently reading another phone
post. --> Lotsa shit on my mind right now. Hopefully I can post these thoughts soon.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Baton Rouge

I woke up yesterday in Gonzalez. Six miles up I-10 I got a ride about ten miles to the Best Buy beside the Mall of Louisiana. Upon reaching the parking lot, I realized I'd been to that particular Best Buy store, too (with Jeff, of course). By the time I arrived, I already knew this store carried the laptop I was looking for, because I asked my mom to call and check. --> I used the credit card to buy the laptop, then I sat at the Rock Star "drum set" for the first time and messed around with some Pixies, Radiohead, Pumpkins, Weezer, and Rush. Kinda fun, but it's nothing like playing those songs on real drums. --> After 20-30 minutes of messing around with Rock Star, I walked to the mall for some AC and a chance to acquaint myself with the computer. However, I never found a good place to plug it in, so I left the mall and headed for I-12 East, in search of a Pilot truck stop I knew was
around somewhere. I suspected the Pilot was at least ten miles away, which Jeff eventually confirmed...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Beautiful night in Baton Rouge.

Beautiful night in Baton Rouge. I put up the tent canopy, but I've been sitting outside for at least an hour. Nice cool breeze and no mosquitoes!

Thought I was closer

I'm walking alongside the interstate because Louisiana doesn't seem to care.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

In pursuit of laptop

Having slept across the street from Best Buy in Metairie last night, I went into the store bright and early this morning because my brother and parents have been talking about teaming up to get me some type of small device with internet capabilities. My brother's old laptops are too heavy and the ideal laptop costs $1,800, so a laptop seemed to be out of the question. After a couple phone calls with my brother, we couldn't figure out what would be the best option, so I left Best Buy and started walking west. --> It turns out that Best Buy carries a small, simple, two-pound laptop that costs $400 and should suit my needs, so everyone agreed that I should go ahead and get that one. The Metairie Best Buy actually had this model on display, but I was long gone by the time I received the go-ahead. No problem, I thought; I'll just get one next time I see a Best Buy. But Mom called me from
Best Buy and said not many Best Buy stores keep that model in stock. --> I'm close to Baton Rouge now.

I love cypress trees.

I love cypress trees.

JJ, Denise, and Luke just

JJ, Denise, and Luke just showed up near the NO airport and are taking me to lunch at Ho Ho's ("Ha Ha's") Chinese buffet.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Outdoor lodging

I can get away with sleeping in a lot of places that homeless people could never think of sleeping. The first reason is because I'm normally only there for one night, then I'm gone, usually before people really have a chance to notice me. Second, I camp in places that are fairly visible. If homeless people were to set up camp in the same places on a regular basis, they'd eventually be seen and "evicted." --> I really do not like my tent. It's too labor intensive, it has absolutely no head room, and it has a tiny vestibule, among other things. (But it's really light.) --> Consequently, I can't wait until I get to REI because I intend to utilize their 100 percent satisfaction guarantee to trade in my Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 tent, probably for an REI Quarter Dome T2. I'd prefer not to do it, partly because my SL2 is not in the best condition, but that's mostly a result of the tent not
being right for me. When you can't move inside your tent, you get clumsy and fuck it up in various ways.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tent City

Web traffic for the blog went up by like 25 percent last month. That's interesting to me. --> It was really hard to leave Common Ground. Not just because I had to wait for the return of my shirt, but because I really liked everyone there. That includes people who are gone already and people who just arrived, as well as the long term volunteers. Thank you everyone! --> Taking a walk around the Lower Ninth Ward last night with several other volunteers, I got an even better sense of how devastated the neighborhood is. There are no tourists or construction workers driving around at night; there's absolutely no one. For two hours we walked around, yet we saw no traffic and we only saw a handful of homes with people living in them. You can't see that in the daytime because there are some misleading signs of life. --> There is a tent city under I-10 at Canal Street. By volunteering to fix up
New Orleans, those people could have good meals, showers, a place to sleep inside, freedom, etc.

I've been listening to a

I've been listening to a Barack Obama speech on a TV at McDonald's, and the guy is really impressing me. He may actually be on OUR side.

I haven't shown you my pretty face in a while, so here ya go. I took this picture on the St. Claude bridge over the industrial canal, heading west out of the Lower Ninth Ward (into the Upper Ninth Ward, I believe). I couldn't get much scenery in the picture because I didn't have any room to hold out the camera. --> This heat really sucks. It doesn't seem quite as bad as a couple days last week, but it's almost unbearable with my backpack on. --> I think I will walk through the French Quarter today, but I don't expect to spend any time there. (I'm only a mile or two from it right now, anyway.) --> I had planned to go west from here, through TX, NM, AZ, and possibly Vegas, but I don't think I'll keep those plans. Instead, I think I'll only go as far west as Houston (because I really need to go to an REI store). Then maybe I'll head waaay north (like to North Dakota/Montana) to get out of
the oppressive heat. Right now, though, I just want to get somewhere new.

Disaster tours and levees

I finally got my shirt back from the person I let borrow it, so now I'm about to leave Common Ground and the Lower Ninth Ward. It's really hot and humid, so today is not going to be much fun. I was thinking about walking around the French Quarter a little bit on my way out of town, but I think I just want to scram right now and work on getting a ride to either Lafayette or Texas. --> In the picture you can see a "disaster tour" bus beside the levee, as well as some empty lots that once had houses on them.