Thursday, February 26, 2009

Disappearing act

Ron said:
So, you carry around a camera and don't shoot video or take pics? What kind of journalist are you? No wonder you can not get anyone to fund your endeavor. If you want people to read your book (or blog) you really need to work on your marketing skills.

Oh yea, more pics.

(If you can't read the quote above, just highlight it.)

Hey Ron,

You go out and try to create something out of nothing, OK. You'll end up with A LOT less than I have. I never claimed to be a journalist or a photographer or a writer or a filmmaker.

This has nothing to do with marketing because I'm not selling you anything; I'm giving it to you, and I was giving it to you from the beginning. I knew there was essentially no market for this [documentary] before I ever started. I tried to create a market that I already knew didn't exist, but I may have also begun creating that market, despite obstacles like you. And guess what: It didn't cost me any money. (It cost me some feeling in my left hand and it cost me some of the functionality of my left ankle, as well as some other things, but it hasn't cost me any money.) If I end up creating a real market and getting my book published, well then I think that means I will have won.

I'm gonna close my web browswer in a minute, and I'm not going to open it (or check my e-mail) again for at least a week because I don't need to be distracted by you or any of the other crap that has sucked America's brain out through its nose.

P.S. - I used pink for your quote because you seem kind of wimpy.

Aimless Video Evidence

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dear Anonymous in Cleveland, Tennessee

Hey Anonymous,

Um, I'm trying to write a book right now. I have not been on the road for two months. What kind of pictures do you think I've been taking with my phone lately? There are some pictures in there that surely have good stories attached to them, like the picture I took of a guy named Ramses outside the In-N-Out Burger in Henderson, Nevada. But I'm too freaking busy writing a book right now to spend time giving the story away to people who don't understand or appreciate what I've put myself through. And I was too busy starving and walking 3,000 miles, with 50-65 lbs on my back, to stop and tell you the whole story as it happened.

Do you think I'm making any income from this blog?

I'd like to give you what you want here, OK, but I'm busting my ass on something I hope will put some money in my pocket someday because there is no money in my pocket right now, nor has there been since I can remember.

This web site and blog have been here for over two and a half years, and it still does not see much traffic. Way back whenever, when I had hope that people might visit this site and tell their friends about it and help me generate some buzz and support, it didn't happen. A few people, like Brad, Jay, Luke, and Lew, tried to help me spread the word, but basically no one else did. And whenever, if ever, I am in position to give something back to these guys and the other people who have helped me, I will, even though I doubt that any of them consider me in debt to them. Especially Brad, though, because Brad has gone out of his way to help me promote Aimless.

Do you know who constitutes the largest demographic of visitors to the Aimless web site? People looking for pizza recipes. Yes, and I have given them almost all of the secrets behind the best pizza on the planet, for free, just as I have given you something you want for free.

There's a brand new web site called Pimp This Bum that has generated tens of thousand of hits in less than a week because people talked about it and wrote about it and told their friends about it. You could say it's very similar to what I've been doing--and I'd say it's less interesting than what I've been doing--but people are going there and helping these guys create something out of nothing. Maybe the guys behind that site are just smarter than me. Or maybe they knew someone who had the power to get the word out for them. I don't know. But they took about half an hour to interview one homeless guy, and now there is tons of buzz about their site, and there are probably people lined up to help them further their cause.

All because one person told someone else about that web site, just like I've done by telling you about it and linking to it. That's precisely the kind of snowball effect I hoped to create when I began this project, but it hasn't happened and I'm over it.

I don't care if you stop reading this blog, all right. Obviously, according to your comment, there is at least a little demand for what I've tried so hard to give you. Sometimes when people bust their asses to give you what you want, you have to give a little bit back. If you don't give back, it goes away.

If you haven't already seen this, here is a response to your comment. (Since the anchor doesn't appear to be working, scroll down to the comments.)

Aimless Video Evidence

Monday, February 23, 2009

In case you've never seen this

I just watched the Quasi-Aimless (Revised) video twice for the first time in a long time, after receiving an e-mail from the drunk guy ("Character" #2) who recently found this blog after Googling his name. Even though he let me stay at his place one night, he had no memory of meeting me or knowing me.

I have to admit I like the video.

One thing I noticed in this video for the first time is the "BL" sign to the right of the "Beverly Hills" sign. As I walked around LA last September, after seeing a few of these signs, I became curious and followed one of them to find out what they are for, and I figured it out really quickly. These signs help cast and crew find their filming locations. All the locals know what the signs mean, but all the locals are used to having Hollywood in their back yard. Tourists have no clue what the signs are for, so they never become a nuisance.

Aimless Video Evidence

Thursday, February 19, 2009


This is a nice story. Sad but nice. Sometimes the smallest gestures in a meaningless game of basketball can be the kindest, most memorable acts in one's life. People like the DeKalb High School basketball coach and his players are awesome. I salute you.

By the way, Brad "Fishbone" Perkins and I (and probably a few Aimless Blog lurkers) once called DeKalb High School home for a day or two, as members of the Limited Edition Drum & Bugle Corps. (A bit of worthless trivia: Cindy Crawford is a graduate of DeKalb High School.)

Aimless Video Evidence

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two miracle cures in one day

Disclaimer: To anyone who found this blog post by searching for either 'XanGo' or 'mangosteen,' I am not in the business of either promoting or opposing XanGo or any other "miracle cure" drink. I am merely relating a true story here, of which XanGo is a major theme. Nevertheless, I invite you to read this entire post because this post is more informative than any of the propaganda you're receiving from the people who are trying to sell you XanGo.

Trying for a couple hours to get a ride beside the on-ramp in Cedar City, Utah, I ventured back to the gas station where Dennis dropped me off, hoping I could go inside and warm up. Shortly after my arrival, a lady walked in and proclaimed that she had just won a 1976 Corvette in a 35-dollar drawing. (You may remember this from the Quasi-Aimless video.) While she was in the restroom, her travel companion came inside and began talking to the attendant and me.

Lady #2: “XanGo. Have you ever heard of it? It’s a functional health beverage. It’s just a fruit juice, but it has, like, medicinal qualities. It’s really delicious and it’s a natural anti-inflammatory. So if you have joint pain or arthritis or, you know, migraines…

"She actually had cancer and [now] she’s cancer-free. This is listed on the Sloan-Kettering Institute. It outperforms the top five chemotherapy drugs in a petri dish. There’s a cancer clinic in Arizona with Level 4 cancer patients that, I understand, have like a 65 to 72 percent recovery rate.

"When we got involved with it, it wasn’t for anything other than just to drink the juice, to keep your immune system up. But three months later, when the doctor went in, she was declared cancer-free…

“It helps arthritic fatigue, depression, anxiety, cardio-vascular, cholesterol… It’s just a natural food, just like aloe vera is natural.

“We really shouldn’t be surprised. God put aloe vera on the earth. What, thirty years ago nobody had ever heard of it, right? But now it’s in every toothpaste and hand lotion; y’know, everything. And so they’re saying that mangosteen juice, which is the name of the fruit, is going to be bigger than aloe vera.

“But just in four years, the company itself, as far as businesses go, it has outsurpassed [sic] Wal-Mart, Cisco, Yahoo, Dell, and Microsoft; in just four years, outpaced only by e-bay, with just one small product.”

It’s interesting that the lady brought up the “Sloan-Kettering Institute” because here’s a little bit of what the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s web site has to say about the mangosteen fruit and XanGo:

Scientific Name
Garcinia mangostana L.

Common Name
Numerous brand names. XanGo is a dietary supplement that contains Garcinia mangostana and other fruit juices. But it is not synonymous with the mangosteen fruit.

How It Works
Bottom Line: Mangosteen has not been shown to treat cancer in humans.

Research Evidence
No clinical studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects of mangosteen in humans.

Clinical Summary
Despite claims by several marketers, the efficacy and safety of mangosteen products for cancer treatment in humans have not been established.

  • Several Mangosteen products are sold via a network marketing approach. There is no conclusive evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of mangosteen in treating cancer. Patients should consult their oncologists before using any supplements during cancer treatment.

  • Mangosteen products have antioxidant effects. They may interfere with the action of certain chemotherapeutic drugs and radiation therapy.

  • Due to the sugar content, diabetic patients should use mangosteen juice with caution.
Literature Summary and Critique
There is no clinical data available to support the beneficial effects of mangosteen in humans.

To me, it doesn’t look like the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has anything good to say about either XanGo or the fruit that XanGo is made from. The funny thing is that most of the mangosteen juice retailers’ web sites link to the page on Sloan-Kettering’s web site anyway, as if they don’t realize the web page has nothing good to say about mangosteen juice. Perhaps these juice retailers realize that their target market consists entirely of a special demographic: people who can be easily swayed by their emotions, ignoring all evidence that contradicts their emotions. (Hmmm, sounds A LOT like religion.)

These ladies were nice and seemed sincere, but I've now realized they were completely full of shit when it came to this XanGo stuff. (Mostly it was just the second lady, not the lady who won the Corvette.)

Having done a little research yesterday, it's clear to me that some of the things they said were "talking points." Like the thing about the cancer center and probably the allusion to aloe vera. I also read something on a more reputable web site that said studies in petri dishes are not generally reliable because they don't simulate real-life conditions. These studies just give you a preliminary indication, which may lead to more substantial, in-depth research.

But I haven't looked into everything she said. It's probably ALL bullshit, though, because people generally believe bullshit if you feed it to them in an authoritative tone.

Aimless Video Evidence

Sunday, February 15, 2009

There's something about Utah

Today, as a tool to refresh my memory of Aimless events, I've been watching video I made while riding with the first person who ever picked me up. During the drive from Richfield, Utah to Cedar City, the driver, Dennis, was quick to mention a drink called Reliv. Reliv is one of those "miracle cure" drinks that people get tricked into selling as part of a pyramid scheme. He told me about how it "cured" his chronic fatigue and his wife's head pains, but that's not all he said about it.

I don't think Dennis was trying to sell me Reliv--I haven't watched all of it yet--but while watching this footage I realized for the first time that he was a "distributor" of the drink. In fact, he was only driving through Richfield because he had just taken (or sold?) a bunch of Reliv to family members in central Utah.

I had no idea at the time how many snake oil salesmen I would end up meeting in Utah, but damn near everyone I met in Utah tried to turn me on to this kind of shit. If I didn't show any interest in buying it, they tried to get me to sell it. (Remember, pyramid scheme.)

So I did a little research today, just hoping to find a little information about Reliv, Xango, and the blueberry drink some old ladies at a Salt Lake City truck stop were selling. Why Utah, specifically?, I wondered.

Are you ready for the answer? You're never gonna guess this...

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Yes, the mormons.

These companies are not necessarily sponsored by LDS, but almost all of them have LDS folks at the top of the pyramid. I haven't looked too deeply into it yet, but it's pretty creepy.

I wonder how Dennis (a mormom) is doing now, almost two and a half years later.

Aimless Video Evidence

The scary part

After a very slow start, my first attempt at writing a book is really starting to come along. Almost 6,000 words into it, I'm just getting to my first hitchhiking experience. It's hard to write about the "Quasi-Aimless" leg of the adventure because there is so much I need to leave out. But there is also a lot I can't leave out, like the story of my first time hitchhiking. I can't wait until I get to the experiences I actually want to write about. There are so many of them.

It's not going to be difficult to write a 300-page book about my travels. The difficult part will be writing it in a way that will make it easy for people to read and enjoy. Am I a good enough writer to turn an incredible story into an incredible book? I know sometimes I am, but I also know sometimes I'm not. That's the scary part.

Aimless Video Evidence

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lexington, Tennessee

Here's one of many observations I've been wanting to share for a long, long time.

At I-40 Exit 108, near Lexington, Tennessee, beside the westbound on-ramp, there is a sidewalk that ends about twenty feet down the ramp. Seeing how pedestrians are not allowed on the interstate, there's not much reason for people to use this sidewalk. But the ants use it like crazy. There is a constant line of ants doing ant work; walking back and forth from whatever to whatever else. And they always use the same route. They've used it so much over the years that their tiny little legs have actually carved a visible path into the concrete sidewalk. (Do ants have feet?)

Aimless Video Evidence


63% Reject Darwin's Theory of Evolution. And Americans wonder why we can't do anything right anymore. Oh wait, no they don't. They just keep PRETENDING we're the best at everything and that fairy tales are real.

Let's all have faith that the banks will have enough faith to use our trillion-dollar gift wisely, even though they've already proven their incompetence by ruining the whole economic system. (What could you do with $789,000,000,000? With that kind of money, I could open at least 4 million pizzerias!)

I think they should start teaching bullshit--I mean creationism--in science classes. But instead of teaching science as an established set of facts or information, they should teach science for what it really is: an objective analysis of observable physical evidence. That way, the "creation science" chapter would last about 30 seconds, because there is no evidence supporting the tenets of creationism. Zero evidence.

Oh, but evolution has a missing link. Yeah, well creationism has a missing chain.

If you want to base your entire existence on total bullshit fantasy, there is already a place where you can go to do that. It's called church, and no one's stopping me or anyone else from going there to learn about things that aren't real. When I want to learn a little bit more about things that are real, though, I'll go to a science class.

How many thousands of times does God have to let you down before you realize he either doesn't exist or doesn't give a shit?

Aimless Video Evidence

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Composing the beginning of a true story is a very difficult task, especially when there are about 20 different events that could be considered the starting point. You have to figure out which of those points in time is the most interesting moment to grab prospective readers, and then you have to string together the best possible combination of words to make it readable.

If you're obsessive-compulsive (aka a perfectionist), like me, nothing is ever good enough. However, if I am able to write something that does manage to satisfy my own high standards, I'll know I'm on the right path.

My story began way the hell before I ever thought about hitting the road with a backpack, but I think the story begins the night I watched Wanderlust, a documentary about road movies. I never even finished watching that movie because one quick image started the ball rolling in my mind.

I've written a few pages' worth of stuff so far, but I don't think it's right yet. Of course, the right opening came to me while I was driving earlier tonight, but I've since lost it. I think it will be back soon, though.

Focus, Ryan, focus.

Aimless Video Evidence

It's on

Tonight at 12:17 am EST, with my brand new HP Pavilion dv6-1030us, I wrote the first sentence of the book Aimless. It's all downhill from here.

Also, my "sourdough" starter has already begun bubbling a little bit. There's a bit of a sour smell brewing, too.

Aimless Video Evidence

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sometimes life is good

Tonight I had a three-hour chat on Facebook with my dear old friend Jackie. I just joined Facebook a few weeks ago, so this was the first time we've communicated in over a decade. Now married, Jackie lives in Minnesota and has a young son. He's four years old, I think.

Jackie and I used to be really close, beginning in high school and continuing for at least a few years after high school. I don't know how we lost touch with each other, but I sure am glad we've reestablished contact.

I love you, Jackie, and I've missed you. You are an angel, and tonight you've inspired me more than you'll ever know.

(OK, so it's 'pithy,' and it must be on page 53, right?)

Aimless Video Evidence