I haven't done any kind of wild-crafting in quite some time. It's a strange thing. I love when I get my hands in that stuff, but it is something I rarely ever do. That's only because someone has to inspire that kind of art out of me. I need someone to give my art to before I can even begin whatever it is I'm gonna do. I can't do it any other way.
I never do wild-crafting unless someone brings it out of me. They give me the idea by planting the seed in my mind. I completely pour myself into it as the vision unfolds, and then I give it away to that person upon completion. I never keep what I make. It's always for someone else.
That kind of inspiration has recently captured me again, and now I'm getting into a carving project for a friend who is having a bit of a tough time at the moment. Even though I am just in the beginning stages I have rather been enjoying it.
I seem to always forget both how much I like that kind of creating as well as all the good things it gets flowing within me when I do it. There's something I really like about the whole process of making a piece of art for someone and then giving it to them, thinking about them all the while from start to finish.
I'm starting to gain momentum with writing all kinds of random stuff too, which is also something I am quite enjoying. Tonight I was bouncing back and forth between the two lost in a world of creating...
I was flowing along nicely until I clicked on my Facebook for a quick sec. When I did, the first thing on my screen was this photo of Kaila. I was instantly entranced as it completely stopped me in my tracks.
"What each of us believes in is up to us, but life is impossible without believing in something. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF..... I️ believe in YOU!" - Kaila Jean
- Photo by Jenna Kaufmann
Everything I was doing came to a screeching halt as it froze my mind into a thoughtless state. I just stood there staring at this. I was humbled by the beauty of it and couldn't help but marvel in awe. It's such a picturesque moment that left me thinking to myself...
"Where do I start, and how do I begin?!"
Being the owner of the Bambu Hot Yoga studio in Nelson, you could say this snowtime image is quite a contrast to that, but I see the symmetry in it all the way Kaila brings her warmth to the crisp snowy air.
The snow covered meadow creates a field of white, and the layers of tree ridged mountains stand bold with powdered wintertime frosting.
They both hold this intrinsic beauty of their own, but when they come together a real sense of peace washes over. It's hard to explain, but I can feel calming right into my cells as I sit and look at this.
All that emotion that is stirring is simply because of the backdrop of the image though, but that backdrop is only cradling the real truth and beauty of this photo...
"The image of Kaila doing a gorgeous yoga pose in the foreground."
Even though it is a snow covered wonderland in the mountains, where you know there is a good bite in the air, any sense of a chilly sensation dissipates into an all encompassing warmth.
This picture holds an illustration in everything that is right in this world. Pure balance! Her image is like statue and grace...an embracing moment between Yin and Yang. Solid rooted strength that is fluid and soft where conflicting ideas come together in an effortless symmetry.
This woman of an innate power dissolves any realistic harshness of the elements. Turning from foe to ally when met with her grace...creating unison!
There's nothing that isn't absolutely beautiful about this photo of Kaila. Absolutely beautiful! It goes beyond the image to say something more than what the eyes can simply see. Sure, it's inspiring, but that's only the easy thing to say...maybe even just a simple cliche.
I find that this captured moment of Kaila generates an emotion of optimism that stirs an urge to want to better one's self within; and the more you let it take you away, the more the optimism grows. The more the optimism grows a sense of balanced peace fills inside in an almost overcoming way.
Thinking about the combination of optimism and balanced peace it is easy to realize that those are two of the core ingredients in the recipe of hope.
When the notion of hope comes into the forefront of your mind, even if your thoughts meandered their way to getting there, you start to see something more. It brings you back to that urge of betterment, and in turn shows you a way to purpose...
Maybe that's the perfectly odd way to describe this photo. It just elicits so many facets of everything that is good and even possible. I love this photo. I can't even believe it Kaila...It is absolutely stunning!
Bambu Hot Yoga
Nelson, BC, Canada
When I was doing a bunch of fundraising last year I got something like 1000 new friends on Facebook in about three months. Although I didn't know the vast, vast majority of those people I ended up developing some great friendships because of it all.
One of those people who has become a really good friend is a girl named Skye. We collided seemingly from outta nowhere and got along really well right away. In our many conversations about stuff and nothing, one of her best friend's names came up casually consistently. That person's name is Aszjeca.
It turned out that Aszjeca was also one of those thousand new people on my friends list.
(Aszjeca and Skye as mermaids.)
I wouldn't know how to spell out the proper way to say her name, but because of Skye, I am one of the few randoms who knows how to pronounce her name properly. Hers is the most unique name I have ever seen...and I totally dig it. One thing I love a lot is individual flair, and this girl has that in spades!
Another thing I really love a lot is seeing people really pursue their passion. That could possibly be my favourite thing outside of my own little world. When you see people truly engaged in what makes them thrive they produce this very radiant shine which is something that is quite infectious. That very notion is instantly easy to see with Aszjeca.
As far as my world's concerned, she just appeared from nothing too. Once she did it didn't take too long to start seeing all these photos of Aszjeca's popping up on my Facebook feed thing...whatever you call it. (I never care to learn too much about Facebook, and I often get made fun of for it, but I'm OK with that.)
It's easy to tell she has a deep rooted passion for make-up. (That feels like a really lame way to say that though.) I've never been a make-up person, I don't like the term because it implies that you need to make yourself up to be beautiful, and I find true beauty from within. It's the only thing that matters to me. My opinion is just mine though.
I kinda feel that my thoughts on make-up enhance what I am trying to say about Aszjeca even more though, because it's not something I am into, but she brought me to a place of captivation to sit and write about it. I never ever thought that would happen.
She grabbed the artist inside me by the throat, gave me a good shake, and said, "Lookkit this you dumb bastid...this is some amazing shit!" That silent voice spoke to me pretty loudly too, and stuck with me
(This teal is what started me thinking about writing this article.)
I feel the true definition of a great artist is the ability to inspire and change minds, and expand thought to break barriers of the perceived norm. That's exactly what she has done. Aszjeca's talent is incredible.
Her photos turned into live videos of the process. I've seen maybe one or two minutes of maybe 5 or 6 of them, but I see that she has done them a lot...almost every day it seems like now. When you watch the videos, this very authentic flair of her personality just jumps out of your screen and takes hold.
Aszjeca is very engaging. She has such a light, kind, and personable essence about her that is laced with warmth and a hilarity too. The strongest thing about it all is her genuine nature. There is nothing disingenuous about it.
(You need to keep in mind when reading this that I am not a make-up guy, but she has me engrossed. That is indicative of both her talent and her personality.)
(Aszjeca and Mike having fun.)
When it comes to her live videos, even though I have seen only a couple minutes of maybe 6 of them, two have been with her partner Mike. Those are by far the best ones. It definitely shows the kind of guy he is when he lets her draw all over his face in front of the world. I've never met either of them, but the support he has for her is incredible. The two of them are absolutely hilarious when he jumps in on one of her videos.
The theme I am staying with is Aszjeca's talent though. That's what the artist in me sees. I can't not see it. I've come to enjoy seeing her photos the way I enjoy seeing the posted photos of other amazing artists I know. Although hers is a different medium, the talent of her artistic skill, flair, and knowledge cannot be denied. She is fantastic!
(Aszjeca's workspace where she does her live videos.)
I don't know why I had this thought seep into my mind, and part of me thinks it isn't a fair thought to have, but it is there none-the-less...
"I don't think Aszjeca realizes how talented she really is."
With that thought stuck in my head, one morning, after seeing some of her final photos, or maybe a piece of one of her videos, I wanted to satisfy my own curiosity so I Googled the top 10 "How to put on Make-Up tutorial Video Blogs on Youtube." I skimmed through a few of the videos and couldn't believe what I was seeing!
(I also couldn't believe that I was watching how to put on make-up videos. That thought was not lost on me in the least bit, but it just showed me the strength of Aszjeca's talent!)
The one I skimmed through the most was a 15 or 20 minute thing that had something like 160,000+ views. I could only stomach a total of about a minute...even with skimming through it. (I watched a few seconds at the start, then skimmed through the process until I could take no more, and then looked at the final product.)
I guess the girl was giving a lesson in the video, but it was absolutely awful. Her make-up was ultra over-kill to the point where she looked like a freakin' clown, except with normal make-up-y stuff rather than bright clown make-up. I had to turn it off. I'd seen enough.
On top of how overkill and brutal the make-up was, there was absolutely no authenticity coming through the person that was doing it. It was so fake and phony. I couldn't believe that so many people were watching this garbage and it was in the top 10 on Youtube. It was beyond ridiculous!
(Mermaid and Unicorn fun.)
I was legit confused by it. I started thinking that maybe it's just that Aszjeca is on a completely different level, and that's the only standard I know, because I've never seen any others besides hers. I guess she is the hidden gem the world doesn't know about! She's like the rookie that jumps in the game and changes the nature of the way the entire sport is played forever. An indelible impact!
Immediately after I scarred my brain with that video, I messaged Aszjeca to tell her so.
As I said, the video of that Top 10 girlie seemed so phony with no personality, but Aszjeca, on the other hand, takes you on an interactive journey that is full of personality and warmth while she creates her newest masterpiece and talking you through the whole process.
I started looking at it all in a simplistic way:
On one hand, you have phony clown paint, and on the other you have true art full of personality. Draining vs Uplifting. I definitely mean the uplifting part. If you wanna laugh, just watch one of Aszjeca putting make-up on her partner, Mike as I eluded to earlier.
(Christmas fun 2017)
The things she does captures a full range and spectrum of facial art. Sometimes it's just about going out for dinner. Sometimes it's simply for fun. Sometimes she does unicorn and mermaid looks. She does Halloween and Christmas themes. Sometimes she will even do two looks at once...one on each side of her face. You just never know. Sometimes she takes suggestions. It's really quite fascinating to see play out. Aszjeca is really freakin' amazing!
(Halloween fun 2017)
Aszjeca sells the line of products she uses too, so she shows what can be done with them...puts them to work.
She also works out of the Aura Spa & Salon at The Hume Hotel in Nelson, BC, Canada.
(Her luminous shine.)
If you wear make-up, or respect a high level of art, you really should check out what Aszjeca does. She has an astonishing gift that like any true artist, she makes a masterpiece look perfectly effortless as it comes to fruition.
Aszjeca's talent has changed my mind by opening me to a whole new artistic realm, and has brought me to a place where I look forward to seeing what she does next. I really hope she gets a Youtube channel because her gift needs to be shared! Her passion really shines and exudes a deep rooted sparkle that our world desperately needs more of.
She leaves you with something good inside and that is a beautiful gift to have!
*Oh yeah...and she loves her doggie and rides dirt bikes too. Aszjeca is just that bad-ass!
In her own words...
“If you want to improve your life and live with all that you deserve, you must run your own race. It doesn’t matter what other people say about you. What is important is what you say to yourself, being comfortable in your own skin. Be true to you. That’s a key source of happiness.”
Aszjeca just started a youtube channel so she can share her Make-Up videos as well as her fun videos of her love for traveling. I am excited to see where she goes with this and will likely write a follow-up about her down the road.
Since it is the Winter Solstice, and many people are getting colds, I felt this is kind of a good time to put this up here.
When I brought a fat jar of this amazing tea to work a couple of the girls were quite diggin' it. I love it! It tastes amazing and has really great healing properties. It's the only tea I drink, and have I been for 20 years.
-2 slices of Lemon
-Few little chunks of Ginger (Cut/peel off skin)
-1 Cinnamon Stick
-Apple Cider Vinegar (Optional)
**I didn't have any honey when I posted this.
Fill the jar you are gonna use with water so you know the proper amount. (I drink it by the jar as the size of a mug just doesn't cut it!) Pour water into a pot. Add the lemon, ginger, and cinnamon stick. Cover with lid. Bring to rolling boil. Turn off heat, but let steep for a bit on the still hot burner. Pour entire contents into the jar. Add honey to your liking and a tiny splash of cider vinegar if desired.
If you want to travel with it and keep it hot for longer, wrap the jar in a small towel. I figured this trick out when I used to go down to the ocean and sit on the beach watching the sunrise when I lived on the islands many years ago. I'd roll 'er up in a dish towel, put it in my pack, and break out the hot tea as I watched the beauty unfold.
It is a couple days before the Winter Solstice. Fresh blankets of snow are starting to cover the ground. Despite the chill in the air, grey skies, and white covered everything's, it seems all cozy inside where I sit at The Falls Music Lounge.
Still mid-morning, the place is quiet as it won't yet be open for several hours until later this afternoon. Regardless, there is a nice setting leaving a comfortably serene feeling resonating through.
The boys are busy making their beers in the brewery, and the music seems to be the right soundtrack for the moment at hand.
I was captured by a captivating image that struck me right away when I walked into the Lounge. It is one I have seem countless times before, but something strangely grasped my attention in a different way today, so I clocked out, went to my office, grabbed my laptop, went back to The Falls and took a seat in one of the booths.
I seated myself so I could look across to the bar, because sitting there was Lori, our Hotel Manager. Saying it like that falls short to what she really means to this place though. Right now that's neither here nor there for why I am sitting here writing this.
Lori is one of the special ones. She really is! I am far from alone in that idea too.
Lori is commonly referred to as one of the nicest people who ever existed. That is clearly evident and easy to see.
I find her as one of those kinds of people where words don't really belong because she treads in a world beyond their reach. If you met her you would not need any further explanation...it would all just make sense.
Seeing her simply working away by herself, plugged in with her headphones on over her wintertime toque held a draw of warmth on this chilly day. I was captivated without hesitation.
I'm somewhat stumbling over the thoughts rolling through my mind as I search through the words I know trying to capture this wonderful person, and the essence she holds.
Maybe it's not the notion of finding the proper words to say anything about Lori specifically where the truth is held, but rather the thought that there was a pull to write anything at all just from observing her doing the most modest act of simply sitting and working.
There is something truly special about this person and the way she can take that simplicity of a rudimentary act and splash it with an embracing warmth that is stop-you-in-your-tracks gripping.
It may be dark and cold in a snow-covered world outside, but the Falls is filled with warmth because of this beautiful being.
Lori Gunn is the epitome of kindness in a gentle wonderful soul, and she is indicative of those who work and staff the Savoy Hotel.
I spent 5 years bouncing around from living in a friend's home, to spending 5 weeks in a hotel, then 9 months in a tiny home in town. I moved from there to a home up the lake for a few years. It was also a small place that was semi-furnished, so most of my stuff was still stored, including my bed.
In June of last year a friend got cancer, so I packed up everything I had, put it all into storage, and moved into town to try to help her out. I first moved into my friend, Jana's, home for the summer.
Jana was in California when I told her I was moving in. I just left a message, and without even hearing back from her, I packed up my house hoping and assuming it'd be OK. (I've known Jana for 20 years. She really is a spectacularly kind person.) I lived there with Jana, and her daughter, Maya, for about 6 weeks.
(Bit of a fuzzy photo...)
It wasn't unusual for me to sleep only 1-2 hours a day as I was working full time and doing whatever I could to try to help with some fundraising. Jana and Maya kept me fed, and tolerated my mess all over the house with fundraising stuff so I could keep going.
I lived with piles on the bed in my room. If I wanted to sleep I had to move everything. More often than not it was too much of a hassle though, so I'd just pass out sitting up in my chair in font of the screen with a keyboard on my lap.
Midway through August I had to leave Jana's place as she had her foreign students coming back for the new school year. I ended up moving into my friend's mom's place as she was away on the coast helping her daughter out with all the treatments, therapies, and such. Her place was only steps away from Jana's. It wasn't a permanent move, but it was great for what I needed at the time and kept me going on the fundraising stuff.
I was living in piles there as well. I was too focused on more important things to care about the state of the piling mess from all the things I was doing. I barely slept in a bed at first. I just slept on the small couch in the living room. It was the same as at Jana's...if I wanted to sleep, I first had to move piles of stuff off the couch. I often slept in my chair there as well.
It wasn't too long before her mom returned from the coast, so I moved down to the basement. She had a bed down there, so I used it. At that point, my bed was a gnarly moldy mess in the back of my storage unit. I couldn't get to it even to throw it out, so I just let it sit until it was time for me to make my next move.
The thought of moving was exciting for me because it meant a brand new bed of my own for the first time in many years. I can't emphasize enough the importance of a good bed when you have a pain filled body as messed up as mine. I couldn't wait to have that all done and sorted. I mean...I really wait to have my new bed.
Sometime in the start of the year I met just the person I needed to: Jody!
My part in fundraising had come to an end, so I brought all the remaining items I had to her. When I dropped them off I saw she had tons of mattresses in her basement. I was instantly intrigued because I desperately needed one in my not too distant future.
I inquired right away and didn't hesitate to tell her of my plight. When she told me she sold them I told her I'd be moving soon and she'd be hearing from me.
Something like the end of March or start of April I saw on a Kootenay Buy & Sell group kinda thing that there was a mattress sale happening. Not knowing it was Jody's, I messaged her letting her know there was some sale. (Just wanted her to know of local competition.) She told me it was her sale. I giggled and told her I was comin' by to check it out.
Even though it was my day off, I stopped in at work quickly for something. I saw Brian there and we talked for a moment. When he asked what I was up to, I told him I was on my way to go to Jody's mattress sale. That captured his intrigue as quickly as Jody had caught mine, so he decided on the spot to come with me. Away we went.
Jody's sale was at a storage locker just outside of Nelson. Of course I drove to the wrong one at first where I had stuff stored when I first moved to the area in 1999. It wasn't even 1 km off course though, so it was no big deal. We got there no problem otherwise...two banged-up guys lookin' for comfy beds. (Brian had broken his back from a fall in December 2016.)
I said hello to Jody and introduced Brian. There were other people there too. I wasn't as quick to get right down to business as I enjoyed watching Jody work. I found it impressive the way she seamlessly talked with and helped everyone who was there. She definitely had the personal touch down pat and you could tell it was genuine. Her knowledge of all her inventory was just as impressive.
I was listening to what people were looking for, whether that be size, price, coil-counts, what their lifestyles were in relation to the bed they each needed, and watched Jody just do her thing. It was excellent. (I like watchin' people crushing it at whatever it is they do.)
Service is an important thing for me. I want someone who knows their shit and who really listens to what the needs of their customer are. You can tell the difference between those who are just doing anything to make a sale, and those who actually give a shit about their customer. It was easy to tell Jody is the latter. That got me psyched to get at it.
Brian and I made our way into the depths of Jody's locker checking out all the mattresses in there. The beds were all factory wrapped in plastic, and leaning up against the walls. We were all pressing on them to get a feel for their firmness, etc. While doing that, and talking with her, whenever there was one that stood out to someone, she'd flop it down on the floor so the person could lay down on it; and while they did she talked with them about what they thought.
Brain and I both found the ones we were each interested in, and did the same thing...tried 'em out while Jody gave us the detailed rundown about them. She gave us a freakin' smokin' deal too.
At the time of the sale I finally knew when I was moving, but it wasn't for a bit, so I asked her if I could just pick it up or get it delivered on my moving day. Jody was more than happy to accommodate. Brian also made arrangements for delivery/pick-up of his own too. We both thanked her, and then took off all psyched with our new purchases.
There were several reasons why I was filled with anticipation for moving. My new bed was a shining light within all of that. It had been years since I had my own bed, and my busted up body was really excited to have this kick-ass one to cozy up in for years to come.
Moving day was a looong grind. That's usually the case though, so it wasn't a big deal. I was thinking of the bed all day long. I can say for sure that I don't know if I have looked so forward to something in several years.
The simplicity of my first night in this new bed was overwhelming for me. When I finally set it up, put on clean sheets, and crawled into it I was in a state of bliss. It wrapped me up in its arms and I melted away.
Moments after I got into bed, my fuzzy doggie curled up with me and we passed right out in no time. Before I did, I had a picture of Jody in my head with a big thankful smile.
It has been 6 months since I have had my new bed now, and there is never a time I am not filled with anticipation to lie down and am completely happy with it.
I don't think she realizes what she has done for my pain-filled self. I don't have any comfort in my life because I am so sore everywhere in my body all the time. There is no break from it. I don't sleep too much, but I always look forward to crawling into this thing. When I initially get settled into my bed, it's the only sense of a comforting moment I get each day
(Fennario diggin' it too.)
I am very grateful for our worlds colliding. Now, whenever I hear of anyone who needs a new bed, I tell them, "Forget the stores, that's just bein' stupid and senselessly throwing your money away! Go see Jody, she'll take care of you!" Then I give them her contact info.
I LOOOVE MY BED!!! My body really needed it! It was years in the making, but it was worth it.
Thanks Jody...you ruuule!
Here's a link to her Facebook page, "Kootenay Luxury Mattress Outlet":
**I don't sleep too often, and when I do I just lie along the edge, so my doggie pretty much has claimed most of it, but I'm happy to share...she's snugly!
10 – rel-ish bistro – August 16, 2017
$18.90 After tax, before tip
I was having another one of those super sleepy feelin’ nights at work, so it was pretty stylin’ to walk outta there into a bright sunny day. It was so bright that it took me a couple moments for my eyes to adjust, and I was diggin’ it! "Sweeeeet!" I had only one thing on my mind...to get home and get in the water for a swim.
As I was rubbing my eyes from the bright sun the thought of how starving I was came along and punched me in the face. My starvingness knocked out any thought of swimming in that moment which left me in a short conversation with myself.
"Daaaamn maaan! I gotta sort this shit out right here and now!" The light bulb clicked on in my head instantly, and said to me:
"It's burger time again, go to rel-ish mutha-fucka!"
I promptly answered myself,
"Ooooh shiiit, that's a freakin' great idea!"
That was it, rel-ish's tractor beam grabbed a hold of me and didn't let go. I could resist no longer. That shit was pullin' me in right then and there! I couldn't wait!
The location of rel-ish has always had a special draw for me because of my love affair with the Rice Bowl stemming from the first summer I lived here in 1999. (I’ll write about that - and my introduction to wasabi, sushi, and Pad Thai – at another time.) I’d go eat there and then stroll over to the Co-Op and grab some food as a routine 2-3 times a week.
I was sad to see the Rice Bowl go. With the Co-Op recently moving as well the dynamic of that end of Baker Street has changed from a time that was. No place has changed more than where rel-ish is it seems. It is nice to see them holding things down nicely.
I don’t eat out too often, and I have my certain places for certain things. For rel-ish, that has been their Baked Cheese Bread appetizer. H-O-L-Y FUUUCK is it ever good! Daaaamn… It’s like a quick junkie fix of pure awesomeness! If it was liquid I would swim in it all day long, laughin' and gigglin' all the while.
I’ve never had their burger at rel-ish, but I’ve definitely heard a lot about it. I was one hungry, super starving bastard too, so I couldn’t freakin’ wait to get at it. Shiiit maaan!
The patio was full, so I went inside. I didn’t care that it was such a nice sunny day, inside was good for me. I'm not much of a big crowds kinda guy anymore anyway.
I got myself really, really psyched up because of how hungry I was. That resulted in me walking in there with very high expectations.
I went to the back to find a seat. There was a little triangle-like booth that seemed a bit around a corner, but really wasn’t. Perfect, I’ll sit there. It was my own little world.
The hostess came to give me some water and bring me a menu. I smiled and told her I didn’t need a menu because I knew what I wanted. She smiled back, said some kinda somethin’, and then went to get my server.
In the time between the hostess leaving and, my server returning, I took pause to enjoy the simplicity of the plain water in my glass.
"Water, the nectar of the gods!"
I always prefer plain water to water with fruit, and would rather it come that way 100% of the time. Fruit, or vegetables in the case of cucumbers, should be offered as a choice, not given with no choice.
Plain water at a meal is important for pallet cleansing. Adding fruit to the water leaves a slight flavour residue that may, or more importantly, may not go with the food being eaten. Plain water every time for me please!
When my server arrived I ordered my usual: A burger with cheese, bacon and hopefully jalapenos…and a ginger ale that comes with the food.
She said they have one called “The Uncle Buck,” which came with Sriracha Mayo, Swiss Cheese, Capicola, Tomato, Red Onion, Lettuce, Hot Peppers, and Crisp Sweet Potato. I didn’t hear anything she said past “Uncle Buck” though, because I instinctively started thinkin’ of John Candy and started gigglin’.
I had to get her to repeat it to me, so she grabbed a menu as they were only about two steps away. She opened it up to show me the Uncle Buck, and also so I could also see the option of Building My Own. She did tell me that it could get expensive that way though with the add-ons I wanted.
As I scrolled through what was in The Uncle Buck I thought about it. It looked good, but even though it might cost more, I was going with the usual so I could keep things consistent and a fair with the rest of the restaurants.
Since I had the menu in front of me I could actually see what was in the Build Your Own, but I didn't bother reading it as the foundational toppings were irrelevant to me. It just had to have bacon, cheese, jalapenos, and come however else it comes.
She did explain to me that the fries had to be baked as their fryer was down at the moment. I didn’t care ‘cause I felt baked might be a nice break from fried.
I didn’t think too much about anything at all, and reading the ingredients of the Uncle Buck was kind of a waste of time because there wasn't any real doubt that Build Your Own with Bacon, Cheese, and Jalapenos is what I was goin' after.
A few stops ago on my burger tour I started taking notes during the experience. One of the reasons for that is that it gives me something to do while waiting for my food to be prepared. I pulled out my paper and pen to start scribbling down as soon as my server left my table.
The hostess showed up with some ketchup, a water fill up, and everything else I might have needed. Sweet. After a couple places lacking in that simple area, it has now been something I pick up on more…the littlest things as simple as S&P, and ketchup when serving a burger and fries. It seems odd that plain normal shit has at times become a luxury.
Part of the reason I didn’t bat an eye at the thought of baked fries was because they made me think of Hoanie from when we were roommates on Saltspring Island. She cooked baked potato wedges all the time. She cut them a bit bigger than thick fries and always seasoned them nicely.
Even all these years later she’s still rockin’ ‘em to the point where it makes me smile to see them if I have randomly stopped in. (I don’t see her enough anymore and it makes me a bit sad at times. Hoanie is a really special person.)
(Savanah on her way to Texas)
The thing that I thought about most while I was waiting for my food was another person who randomly appeared in my mind. Savannah!
For those who know me really well…Savannah is Sierra’s younger cousin. I’ve known both their mom’s virtually their whole lives. Totally kick-ass sisters raising totally kick-ass kids!
Savannah is 13 years old and already a very accomplished gymnast. Watching her and her progression over the past bunch of years has been quite incredible. The photos and videos her mom (Shannon) puts up are insane. I’m not shy about telling both of them how seriously bad ass Savannah is.
The reason she came into mind from outta the blue is because she was down in Texas on her own for a bit for some gymnastics stuff. I thought it was for a week or two for a camp, but it turns out it was way crazier than that. Savannah will be staying in Texas for a year for intensive gymnastics training and competing while she’s in school.
I’m so excited for her ‘cause I know how much she loves it, how hard she has worked, and what it means to her. Go Savannah Go!
I was gruuuvin’ on that thought when my food arrived.
When my food came I looked up to thank my server. I also asked for a steak knife, which made me feel like, by now, I should just be asking for it when I first order my food.
This was definitely the hungriest I have been on this burger tour yet! I’d been awake for about 18 hours and hadn’t eaten anything, so it felt like my insides were starting to eat my insides.
Because of how much I had heard about this burger and how freakin’ hungry I was I really couldn’t wait to get at this fucker!
It was served open faced. I never really thought too much about an open faced burger other than it’s like a build-your-own. Sometimes I’m into that and sometimes I’m not.
Looking at this burger, and then getting into it, I really liked that it was served that way. Being able to really see the extent of the bacon smothered in cheese was nice.
Having the perfectly cooked bacon right on top of the patty and sealed in by melted cheese was a thing of beauty. It definitely was a burger’s version of gorgeous looking. I mean, shit maaan…it was one sexy mutha-fucka!
I also liked that the peppers were staring me right in the face. Knowing that they were gonna get merged in with the cheese when I put the burger together, it led me to say to myself, “Lookkit you, you lil’ fucks! I hope you bring the heat ‘cause I’m gonna eat the shit outta you!"
The salad-y side was very vibrant with the way the variety of colours stood out. I was definitely eating with my eyes before my meal started. I took a couple photos, then put it together, and took a couple more.
I started thinking about how much I can’t stand cutting open my burgers. Absorbed in that thought for a moment made me want this tour to come to a close so I could eat a burger like it was meant to be eaten...grab the whole thing and shove it in my face!
Somehow, thinking about the end of the tour made me anxious to get back to the Best Western…my burger home court! Eating at all these other places made me feel like I was cheating on the BW…whoring myself out to all the burgers in town. I really miss having a shake with my burgers. Shakes’r the perfect touch, and they barely exist in this town!
(As I typically only go for a burger once every 3-4 months, all the ones I have been eating made me start thinkin’ about doing a vegetarian dish tour of Nelson. Once I had that in my mind, I thought about a chicken dish tour and a curry dish tour as well. I think I’m gonna keep going with this food touring thing of Nelson.)
As much as I am fed up with cutting these burgers in half before I eat them, an aspect of that has become one of my favourite parts of the burger tour experience that I never saw coming. After I cut it in half there is always a little coat of the juice from the patty on my right thumb because of the way I open it up.
When I lick my thumb I get a first faint preview of what the patty is going to taste like. It gives an advance on the level of moisture as well as how the spicing is. (How much or how little there is, and a good sense of the flavour.) It builds the anticipation even more. It makes the next few photos a pain in the ass to get done ‘cause I just wanna get on with it. It has become like the first test to pass, and rel-ish crushed it!
The first bite is never the best one, but it is my favourite one. I’d say the third bite is the best one ‘cause that’s the first real bite when you’re hitting the middle of the burger where the main event of the party is.
The first bite is my favourite though because of all the anticipation finally manifesting in a single moment. From the time I decide to go for another burger, picking a place, ordering, having the food hit my table, and then the whole photos and opening it up thing…shit…it just seems like forever! Add in the little tease with the juice on my thumb…fuck maaaan!
I did admire this one opened more than the rest for sure. The way the bacon was done under the blanket of melted cheese…it was captivating to me. Also, the peppers standing out and sayin’, “Hey mutha-fucka…let’s do it!” had my full attention! I was ready to destroy this sexy lookin’ bastid!
Even being my favourite one, the first bite doesn’t really count ‘cause it holds the initial rush of endorphins or whatever from magik in your mouth. It wakes up and kick-starts your taste senses. I always like to take a little drink after the first bite to somewhat cleanse my palate now that my taste buds are awake and ready to party.
As I was about to take a sip of my water I was put on notice that the peppers were comin’ out swingin’. They were making their presence known ‘cause I could feel the heat from the peppers emerging and sayin’ they were here to mess me up! “Sweeeeet…I love a good battle you lil’ bastids!”
Two bites in was very validating and the difference maker right off the bat! The second bite confirmed my anticipation was as I suspected it, that the way the bacon was served was the best by far.
I embraced my captivation even further. I just couldn't get over having the bacon served under that thick blanket of melted cheese like that. It is way better than having the bacon sitting on top of the cheese on the patty, or on top of the salad toppings.
The cheese holds the bacon in place, even pulling it down a bit into the patty. The juices from the bacon start seeping into the patty and mixing with the juices of the beef. It seems to have added this sense of potency to both of the flavours, so that when you bite into it, the juiciness of the two mixed together washes over all your taste buds in a pretty wonderful way. It’s a profound flavour explosion with a euphoric rush.
The patty itself had a great texture to it. It was perfectly moist and so nicely cooked. The sear lines were beautiful. The spicing was great, and it held amazing flavour. The star of the meal lived up to its purpose.
The addition of the way the bacon juices mixed with the beef, and what happens when you bite into it all, seemed to have the same effect as what happens when Popeye scarfs down his spinach. It just turned it into this ultra ass whuppin' burger that was ready to punch out anything in its way.
Rel-Ish is by far my favourite place for the way the bacon and cheese aspects of the burger were approached and served. No other place comes remotely close.
The salad part of the toppings was fresh and quite enjoyable. The peppers held their heat true with every bite from start to finish. I don't care much for caramelized onion and would choose raw ones every time. That raw crunch and the sweet juicy pop with bite is such a natural accent to a burger.
The balance of the fresh toppings vs patty (with cheese and bacon) was perfect. As I have stated before, I can’t stand when places put this mountain of salad between the patty and top bun. It doesn’t make any sense. It makes it harder to eat, and buries the patty in the process…which is a total shame
(*I did a shitty job at holding this and taking a photo at the same time.)
Each bite of the rel-ish burger brought such a variety of flavours, textures, and sensations washing over my taste buds. It was a great size of a burger, and it was easy to eat. As a burger is meant to be, every bite had a bit of everything in it.
The bun was great too. Fresh, soft, and the perfect size for the balance of the patty and toppings! It wasn’t soggy or greasy either. It was just right.
Before I had finished my first half I understood why I had heard so much about this burger. It was fuckin’ good!
One thing that drove me a bit nuts was a particular spice that really stood out and was amazing, but I couldn't place it. I know it, and I love it, but I was drawing a blank, so I couldn’t identify it. I likened it to seeing one of your good friends who you have known for years but totally blank on their name like a dumb-ass when you randomly run into them. (I have no chance on identifying that spice now as I am at home writing this. Bummer!)
The baked fries asserted themselves right from the start. Their aroma stood out in a very familiar way. They were nice cut fries, but as I never deep-fry foods at home, the smell of them being baked felt surprisingly comforting to me.
I enjoyed the difference of baked vs deep fried. I liked the texture. I also simply liked that it was different from regular routine of a burger served with deep fried fries. By a surprise default, the fries really spoke their piece and I dug it!
The ginger ale?? Nice and crispy…no fruit!
The burger was so good that I made a point of it to finish my fries before I started into my second half. I didn’t want them disrupting the flavour flow of the burger, and did not want them to be the last thing my taste buds that I walked out of there with.
There was a moment I really took pause as I was going through the second half. It was one of those moments of perfect content-ness. It was like everything around me went silent as I got filled with a peaceful sensation and all was calm and right. The burger was a great size, but I didn’t want it to end.
I didn’t realize how busy the restaurant had gotten til I got up from my table. It was virtually full. All but one table and a little back bench table were gone. It half blew my mind that it was that busy at that time of day in the middle of the week. Totally crushing it! It’s easy to understand why though.
This was a great experience for something as simple as a hamburger, fries and soda. This burger at rel-ish is a great example of how to do a traditional burger with your own take, but staying true to the simplicity. It was beautiful. I loved it! I loved it! I loved it!
I was curious what this one would cost after my server telling me it could get expensive when I ordered it. When I got my bill I was happy. It was a full $3.00 cheaper than the most expensive one, was on the low end of the average pricing. Score another point!
I just wrote this long-ass thing about rel-ish, but here’s the four worded version:
Rel-Ish?? Fuck yeah maaaannn!
A sprinkle of magik...
The Break-down of my body began on the Fall & Winter Tours in 1993, so the following summer things were still really new for me. The intense pain all over my body and the zillions of appointments weren't things I was used to yet, and it definitely was not yet something that would become defined as normal for me.
Despite what I was going through I still never lost sight on seeing Jerry play whenever I could. Jerry's guitar and the sound of his voice are like a drug to me. They were most definitely medicine for the pain I was enduring. When everything else hurt, Jerry never did...he only made it better.
(If someone ever says music isn't healing and wants to debate it, send them my way and I'll put them in their place!)
I had second row seats for the Lovelight > Stella Blue > Lovelight in Ohio, and tickets to a couple other shows on the '94 Spring Tour that I had to give away because I was too sick to go to. I was horrified when I saw that set list from that double Lovelight/Stella sandwich! Some of my tape tradin' bros in the States kicked down some kind music 'cause they felt bad I had to give that shit away. One of them, George Petsoff, gave me a real crisp AUD copy of that show weeks after the fact.
For all you internet raised folk, we used to dream about being able to push a button and get any show we ever wanted to hear and have it be a cracklin' soundboard. That shit didn't exist in our consciousness as realistic possibility. Finding shows was grind at times. Sometimes it would take several years to find the right copy of the right show. I still remember the first time I popped in 5-2-70 Harpur College after looking for a long time...refusing shitty copies 'cause I knew I had to hear it sweet for the first time. When it arrived it was magikal! It was the same thing when I had just gotten a crisp board of 8-27-72 Field Trip show. I still have the snapshot in my mind of when I typed it into my tape list. I had the show blaring and as soon as I was done typing it, I sat back and just stared at it on my list like I just accomplished some amazing feat. I was beaming with smiles and filled with happiness. (Little tangent there...but a tangent that reminiscently filled my cup.)
I had a lot of emotion missing those shows, so when I got those surprise tapes in the mail I really sunk into 'em. It just made me wanna see them again even more. Luckily, I got to see a few shows that summer at Buckeye Lake and The Palace.
(I really loved Buckeye. You camped right there. No driving after the show. It was a total free for all party right there in all the action...and then you just walked into this slight bowl-like natural amphitheatre...and then you stumble out and keep partyin' right there again til morning. It was fuckin' smokin'!)
Right after Jerry's birthday show at The Place on Summer Tour I went straight into the hospital for a week and a half of testing. (*By the way...I had a 5th row right in front of Jerry for that show...score one for the team there, but my bro, Jeffrey had front row right in front of me...lucky bastid! I was so jealous during that Scarlet > Fire!) It was a quick turn-around for Mail-Order for the Fall Tour, so I had to fill out my order from my hospital bed. I was sending away for the second set of three shows of the Boston run and one of the Philly's at the next stop on the tour. (I was supposed to meet my bro Derek from the Detroit area at the shows in Philly, but I was too beat down, so I gave my ticket to Beef and went home. Bummer!)
Every time you left the floor in the hospital you had to check out by writing in a book what time you left and where you were goin'. I checked out and wrote that I went downtown to find a post office to mail away for Grateful Dead tickets, and I drew three little smiley faces right next to it. (Smile, smile, smile!) When I got back, and was checking in again, my nurses said, "Did you really just check out to go order Grateful Dead tickets?" I giggled, and said, "Yeah, Of course!" and kept walkin' back to my room and put my walkman on full blast and laid there happy as fuck!
(*Side note... I was in the hospital for a week and a half. I packed 80 tapes of shows and a walkman with me so I could fix any jonz I might have, whatever that may be! Hey maaan, it's not enough to wanna hear a Morning Dew...maybe you wanna hear an '87, but maybe you wanna hear a '70 or '77...sometimes '67's the one! The only way to properly fix a jonz is to be locked and loaded, and ready to go.)
I was excited to go see Jerry cuttin' it up again...fuuuuck maaan! I had a bunch of friends at those Boston shows. Some were hometown bros from Ontario, and some were from California, Chicago...all over the place...you know it goes! Some of them I hadn't seen since I flew home from the San Diego shows in December while they finished the tour up in Oakland.
The crazy thing about Dead Tour, was that even when my body was falling apart and was in agonizing pain I still felt indestructible when I was there. The boys made me feel nothin' but bliss. I jumped, I spun, I ran around laughin' and gigglin', hootin' and hollarin'! Fuck me did I have a good time! I never took it for granted...not a single moment of any show. From first to final note it was the best time ever!
I loved Boston Garden! I immediately fell in love with it the previous year when me and Beef went. There's just somethin' crazy about seein' Jerry playin' while Bobby Orr's number hangs overhead...when legends collide! Me and Beef were both conscious of that and took time to appreciate it.
We took time to sit down and smoke a bowl sitting right under Bobby's banner during the show. Security smelled us and started shining flashlights on our faces. We laughed and kinda played dodge 'em while we finished up. When we were done we got back up and moved into the aisle to start dancin' again.
The boys had a long rich history with Boston. I couldn't wait to get back to that town!
This show was sick! I mean, Help > Slip > Frank, Scarlet > Fire, Terrapin Station, So Many Roads and Stella Blue all in the same fuckin' show! Shit maaaan!! The Boys were really throwin' down too!
(Here's the link to listen to it.)
So Many Roads had come to mean a lot to me because of the Deer Creek '93 and Vegas '92 ones originally. (Me and Beef listened to the shit outta that Deer Creek summer solstice tape) My feelings for that song have evolved and grown alongside the changes in my life. It has become a part of me. It's even one of the songs tattooed on my arm. (Dark Star, Terrapin Station, Morning Dew, Franklin's Tower, Standing on the Moon, Ripple, and Scarlet Begonias are the other songs)
On this night in Boston, something really special happened for me though...
So... I filled out my mail order in my hospital bed, checked myself out to go send away for them, and then at my first show from those tickets, rather than "So many roads to ease my soul," Jerry changed the lyrics and sang...
"SO MANY ROADS TO HEAL MY SOUL..."
I still haven't heard a version of him singing it like that. I've heard the Shoreline '94 where he sings, "to fill my soul," but never another, "to heal my soul." (*That Shoreline '94...Daaaamn...you should really check it out!")
Jerry seemed to put everything into this one too. He screwed up a few lyrics during the main part of the song, but that's something I never found as a real turn off...I kinda saw that as more of another part of his charm. He wasn't perfect, but Gawd Damned was he ever amazing! Any lyrical flub was completely erased from memory when he hammered the shit outta the ending.
Every time I saw Jerry play there was literally no place I'd rather be on the planet at that place and time. Good show/Bad show...it never mattered, If he was playin' I wanted to see him!
After everything I'd been through leading up to him playing this song this way, when he broke into the ending the way he did, I felt like Jerry was playing it just for me, and I was fortunate enough to share it with thousands and thousands of the kindest people you'd ever wanna meet. It completely carried me away.
This show was beyond something special for me. I mean...I said all these words just now, but really it was truly so much more. I was lucky enough to get a real smokin' SBD copy of this show pretty quickly too, and when I did, hell yeah I played the shit outta it over and over!
When my bro, Paul, brought Mickey to play in our little-ass mountain hometown in BC in early 2013, he let me and one of my best friends of 30 years come meet him. Brian flew in from Ontario for the two shows. His first flight in the morning was cancelled 'causea shitty weather, so we virtually went straight from the airport to the venue 'cause there was no time to waste. He didn't understand why we were there so early.
I didn't tell him he was gonna get to meet Mickey until a couple minutes before Paul let us in. It wasn't until after Paul came out to talk to us that I told him. Bri both totally couldn't believe it, but also somehow wasn't surprised. Needless to say, it blew his freakin' mind! It was pretty excellent for sure.
Knowing I was gonna get to meet Mickey, I brought the first set of that Boston show with me. I got to tell him about what this meant to me (and why) while he was signing it. Then, me and Bri got a photo with him. Paul let us come back in to talk to Mickey again the next night so I had foresight enough to print off two of those photos into 8x10's, and brought a marker so Mick could sign those too.
So Many Roads to Heal My Soul...
Jason and Justin...
Their birthday was a few days ago. I was about to send them a quick lil' message, but I seemed to pause and wait for the right thing to say.
At this point in my life, the thing I like to do the most is help people through a tough time. I just like it when people are happy and free from pain, struggle and strife. The way I kinda see it is that there's no bigger honour than using your time and life to help that of another in need...and the biggest honour of all being giving your life to save that of another.
Jason and Justin epitomize that notion. They have molded their lives around being of service to others. They're really good solid guys that I've been lucky enough to know for a long-ass time...even if after almost 30 years I still can't tell who is who. They've done everything the same, they look the same, and they're both equally awesome humans.
(Things were so much easier for that short stretch of time in high school when Jay was kinda skin-head-y lookin' and Justin was not. Outside of that I could never tell the difference and I've always gruuuved on it 'cause I never cared as it was always a pleasure to be around either of them. I'd actually giggle a bit at my stupidity whenever I was able to be around both of 'em at the same time.)
(I also like Rye n' Ginger's!)
They've both done some pretty extraordinary stuff throughout each of their lives. Pretty inspiring guys. They epitomize the notion of the type of person I aspire to be. This world is definitely better with Jason and Justin Frye in it.
Happy birthday boys.
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.