Endercession blog post May 25th
Okay things really suck right now. No really whatever I said before now it’s even worse. For starters as you may have well figured out from reading this blog I am stuck in San Diego with nothing to do and nowhere to go, what I thought would be a great intercession let alone a great summer has absolutely shattered before my eyes.
Today I spent all day trying to contact my family to get money to pay off the money I borrowed to fix my car on the road Kansas. My mother could not help, one set of grandparents said they can’t loan it to me and another will not liquidate my trust to help me with it.
So right now I am counting on my dad to help out with this mess. Assuming I can get my car fixed my grandparents are willing to fly my out to Kansas city so I can drive down to Dallas TX and stay with them and work for my grandfather’s company. (this things is solid the floor won’t fall out like in KC).
But the issue is I need to have the money, so I have been applying for jobs today in San Diego within walking distance so I have some way of reliably making money to pay for this repair. Yet even that does not solve the issue that I need to upfront some large payment tomorrow otherwise I will have broken my word.
I’m nervous, I’m anxious and upset. Am I learning anything? Heck yeah, all of this awfulness has been an excellent lesson for the future, i’ll bet more so than anybody else’s endercession. Here is a list to start
Understanding how to set expectations around others you don’t know well
Proper car maintenance and repair
Planning and disaster mitigation
Living below poverty level IE: Limited budget, in home with no furniture bad neighborhood, no power, no warm water
Reliability of others
Evaluation of opportunities and assessment
Defeat... over and over and over
Acceptance and keeping a level head
Building and maintaining connections with strangers
And more I can’t put into words
I do not have a place where you can visit but I am happy to come into school and discuss where I am at and what I am doing to fix it. I know I certainly haven't used my endercession and an excuse to relax, take a vacation or pretend to work. This has been a non-stop ordeal, lessons are painful to learn and while good experiences are nice its better to know the other side so you are not shocked
Endercession blog post May 19th
What did I do this week?
Well things have not been so great this week as a number of things changed. For one I started to become very sick, not having access to consistent power in the apartment, coupled with the lack of AC and the sordid state of the restroom among other issues did not make for a “clean” environment. Whatever it was I had a fever, an awful cough and sore throat. Eating mostly dry foods and beans certainly did not help either.
Now this on it’s face was not what did me in. I have spent a month backpacking and mountaineering in the rockies living off far worse with far less so the urban squalor was not too much of a challenge. Rather it was the the contract that me and my mentor were supposed to fill got delayed for a number of weeks or at least until the foreseeable future. I found out about this around Monday after a long weekend of fixing up and painting the apartment putting it into a semi decent state. I figured that it should be no problem and that I could wait it out and find other things to do in the meantime such as photograph the area, the second objective and reason for going to Missouri. Although I was stick I spent my time travelling around the industrial areas of KC, along the railroads, past oil refineries and through miles of swamp.
Yet I quickly realized that my access would always be limited by the weather. You see while I am not in the “South” nor not technically in the “Midwest” either it’s still hot and humid as all hell. For a number of days it was about 90 degrees and humid! Now you can’t go around photographing from a car you need to be on your feet and far too often without shade. Atop of that I am not carrying around a small point and shoot much less a large DSLR, no I am shooting Large and Medium format. If I do not have a 10 pound camera necklace slung on the back of my neck I am dragging a 40 pound box out of my trunk up against a giant aluminum steel tripod, from where I begrudgingly open the top and hoist the 25 pound camera onto the three legged stand. You can imagine in the heat and humidity it is miserable and unsustainable for more than 5 minutes before I limp covered in sweat back to the car and into the comfort of having AC on full blast.
And trust me that’s if I want to walk around with the cameras do not get me started on what it is like to shoot them, for example getting under a thick black cloth for the Large format camera is like walking into a oven and then being forced to compose your dim upsidedown backwards image in a somewhat pleasing fashion hoping you don’t mess up as each image is 5$ in film and development. It was terrible and that was why I started to go out at night to photograph, yet here I was stymied once again. Being on the Kansas border there is no shortage of wind in the evening. And due to the lack of light at night and my insistence on having my images perfect and tack sharp I must use a tripod and take long exposures often leaving the shutter open for 5-10 minutes at a time to soak up the precious light. Yet the wind knocks the cameras around making vibrations and defeating the whole point of the tripod making the images blurry.
Here too it might not be so much of a problem if not for the giant cameras I use, which come in sizes no smaller than your or my head. If I was using a handheld dslr on the camera the wind would not be a big deal so long as the tripod is stable and the wind was under 20mph. But nope with my equipment it acts like a sail the evening wind crashing into the camera making it move ever so slightly on the tripod. Of course I thought this shouldn't happen, I mean I have a 15 pound weight on the top of this thing, I did not cheap out with my choice in tripod, every serious photographer knows if your images are unsharp on your tripod you cheaped out thinking that “hey its got 3 metal legs that all I need.” Nope it was just the Kansas wind and large cameras, so I tried to shield the camera's, shooting from angles that minimized the surface of the camera where wind would hit, hung a heavy bag under the tripod to further weigh it down, and use my body as a shield to no avail. Bad enough I was was relegated to a single 12hr section of the day but each one was miserable.
So to recap, I have nothing to work on in the contracting management job, i’m sick and live in a run down apartment that I am still waiting for the city to get power to and I am having lots of trouble simply photographing. So it was decided on Monday evening that I go home to San Diego to recover until further notice leaving my car, my cameras and many belongings behind. I spent the rest of the week exploring and taking notes on the the city, and people I met, venturing into car junkyards, granary storage depots and steel mills all things that are rarely if not impossible to find in Southern California much less the west coast. I still look forward to going back and I know that I will in a few weeks before coming home for graduation then back out again for the rest of the summer. There is plenty to do and see and I have been told the steaming weather and wind doesn’t last past early June. For now I am stuck in San Diego without a Car. I am keeping myself busy though trading stocks, options and futures as the market gets more and more volatile as Trump’s Whitehouse delves ever farther into chaos.
Endercession blog post May 12th
Tell me about your mentor. What is He or She like? How do you like following orders? If you are traveling: how is it going is it easier or harder than you expected. Tell me a story about your travels.
Daniel Kaufman is a man of the arts. He studied acting at the royal academy of London then went to the UCLA film school where he graduated Cum Laude. He went on to have a successful directing career directing hundreds of commercials and writing many TV scripts as well as producing.
He is incredibly tough on mistakes and is a perfectionist. He rarely tells you if you are doing something right only what can be improved. It can be exhausting at times but it is really helpful for me and I have been learning a lot. Right now things are a bit harder than I thought. The apartment we are staying is is a lot rougher than we expected as it looks like it belonged to a Junkie who treated it terrible. Keep in mind Danny actually owns the Apartment building its just that this is the only apartment vacant and in order to not have to pay rent elsewhere we are cleaning it up. That said there is no water or power as the Kansas City Power department will not turn it on until they can inspect the property because the place has been vacant for over a year.
It sucks but I am making due, Danny had to go to a trip in NYC to sort out some contract work while I am at the apartment painting, cleaning, flooring and repairing. I have bought lanterns and a propane stove and have been able to be not too uncomfortable. As for power I have a charger in my car for my laptop and phone or I go to the Starbucks a few blocks down.
As for a story about my travels ohh jeez, this entire venture has been adventure but if I must choose a moment.
When we were stranded in the middle of nowhere Baker, Ca (pop. 700) we were told a joke by our tow truck driver. Small note Baker, Ca is the home of the world's largest thermometer and alien beef jerky it's really sad.
J = Jared the tow truck driver
G = Gabriel
J = “We used to have this woman out here, named Kathy Dee. She was a Lot Lizard”
G = “What’s that never heard the term?”
J = “She hangs around the truck stop lot jumping in and out of cabs”
G = “Ohh”
J = “We would call her the Baker rectal thermometer”
Endercession blog post May 8th
My first day fucking sucked. It really did, in fact it started even before the first day, it started sucking on sunday. I will try to give details but not too much because i’m exhausted and I do not want to relive it.
As you know my Endercession is with my mentor in Kansas city and involves a contracting job that I will help manage until the end of summer, because I plan to take my car to the east coast for college I decided that I would drive it out with both of our stuff together to KC. I thought the car was in good shape, after all I recently got new shocks and tires as well as brake pads. Alas I was wrong.
On Sunday night, on our drive out after packing in Los Angeles the car slowly started to break down. It started with the lights which dimmed, soon after just to see the highway I was putting on high beams, then the gauges started to get dim, all the lights in the car began to die. In short time my gauges all went black, the car was driving but I had no clue what speed because I could not see the dash. To make things worse there was nowhere to pull over, we were in the middle of the desert 60 miles outside Barstow, Ca. So I kept on going until the car started to hiccup, the speed tapering off the brakes the only thing that was working in the pitch black. Before long I had to turn off to the side of the freeway under the moonlight.
Called AAA had to wait forever to get towing and stand with lights some distance before the car so people would not run into the car that was sitting halfway on the side of the road with no lights. They towed us to the closest town Barstow, Ca (pop. 700). Nightmare as all the repair shops were worst than the last, terrible reviews, out of someone's garage or just straight up take advantage. Anyways after many hours, hitchhiking to Vegas then driving a car back down to put a new battery in the car so it could run (alternator was blown) we got it to a shop in LS. That is where it is right now and it turns out it was not just the Alternator but the Radiator was leaking, axle fluid was not jointed and the front brake pads need replacing. Long story short, while we should be crossing the rockies right now we are still in Vegas overnight hoping the car will be ready tomorrow and 2500 less in our wallets then we hoped. I glossed over many many many terrible details like the towing the repair places in Barstow, the horror of driving without input but now I am safe and sound and ready to continue our journey.
Endercession blog post April 17th
After a lot of uncertainty regarding my mentor I believe now I have mostly if not kinda confirmed my plans. My mentor is taking a job in Kansas city to work on a construction project and I plan to spend the month in Kansas with him helping and also photographing. Also his background is in Hollywood directing and screenwriting as I have known him for the past 3 years he is trying something new to refresh things and I would like to join him. Not only to spend time and gain work experience but also to explore the state of Kansas.
As of now details are yet to come as he is in Israel celebrating Passover with relatives but after passover I expect to get more information and confirmation on the project and details. This is where I currently am, I have some back up plans but I am not too worried I will have to use them.
1. Roadtrip to visit friends and family across US photographing as I go. San Diego --> Arizona --> New Mexico --> North Texas --> Oklahoma City [Uncle and Niece] --> Kansas City [Mentor and Friend] --> Missouri --> Arkansas --> Dallas [Grandparents] --> Austin [Friend] --> Home
2. Spend time with mentor investing and trading stocks in Phoenix
3. Work from home photographing project and stock trading