April 28, 2013

The days had been filled to the max. The deadline for the 41 scripts to translate looming I set a strict schedule of work: work, short breaks, caffeine ingestion and more work. By Wednesday I still had to do 8 scripts to finish by Friday and with my 2 a day rate it meant I had to take double size bites. So I upped the production. It’s amazing some times how much you can get done. It’s as if time disappears and only necessity exists.

Thursday came and I did  6 scripts in two days, plus rehearsal, and other errands.  I get a weird feeling, weird thought about taking the road, going all the way over there… I brush it off.

I even managed a short nap. I am so tired, but duty calls. Duty and the fact that playing the music is so rewarding… so fulfilling, and playing it with Forrest even more so.  I put the saddle bags on the bike, loaded cables, pedals, make up and stage clothes put the leathers on, slung the guitar on my back and headed out on the ten westward towards Hollywood.

I had a bit of a strange feeling. Must be fatigue… I find myself heading towards the sunset, towards the ocean, towards this city rising out of the earth, gigantic teeth in the sky surrounded by haze. LA… I have a hard time keeping up speed.. constantly slowing down, un-energized. Traffic snarls up near the 5 North. I am so glad to be on a bike. That allows me to cut through this mess of practically parked cars.

I’ve gotten to be a lane splitting junkie. The high intensity, the fact that it demands every cell of your body to be awake, aware, ready to react. To read every sensory input, analyze every move, space, feeling, vibes in the air surrounding a car. It’s intoxicating.  So despite the fatigue I start getting into the game…

The 101 is particularly intense, it is narrower than say the 10 or the 210, it is old, pot holed, dented and angry, the drivers are LA drivers, maybe not dented or pot bellied but there is angst, it’s LA… It’s the capital of celebrities, of power, of this weird thing they call success …. I slice through all this, a Ninja. Yeah, Ninja like a cartoon character. I’m a hero with my red and white jacket heading into the center of the commercial music world of this planet we call earth.

I make it to the club, the area is quiet right now… it’s too early yet. I park right in front of the club. Get in. Find Forrest, hugs and I go get ready trading the leather for cotton. The helmet head & face for make up and rumple my hair to give it a bit of some sort of attitude. Ready.

We play our set. One hour. One hour is short… There are some really good moments. The club is not as full as I would wish but hey, one way or another it’s the same deal, we’re playing for nothing, people are getting partied up, we’ll get off the stage and another band, and yet another band after that will have lugged a pile of gear, driven their cars from God knows where, set up and  go play for nothing.  The booze will flow and the night will go on.

It’s a full moon night. I’m really glad that our friend Hector is here. I’m drinking in this whole scene. The beautiful women, the slick dudes, the doorman whose name is Austin and whose whole demeanor is so movie like, I don’t really understand half of his jargon, but I get that he loved the show.

I think of Turkey, Istanbul, what it would be like under this full moon. I look around, now there’s tons of traffic. The people beautiful, elegant. The next bands are so loud I stand outside. Hector’s bike is next to mine. Across the street the valet parking is making gold. There are so many police cars going up and down it’s mind boggling. Earlier there was a story of a skateboard kid who rolled by and threw a brick at some gentlemen’s car… that was around 6 PM, it’s now past 9 and the gentleman in question is still waiting to talk to a cop. Somewhat ironic…

I feel good after playing. I’m enjoying but I’m detached, could be the fatigue.. dunno. Around 10 I went to put the leathers back on. Wanna go home… We chat and chat some more, there, that weird feeling came back again. Why am I nervous? Maybe the fatigue?

Hector Leaves. Forrest heads out to his car as I get on the bike. I let it warm up.

There is a lot of traffic, I’m parked on the left side of the street and need to go up, cross the lane and turn left. That weird feeling again. Slight uncertainty.  

A woman stops to let me cross. I don’t really want to but I do.. I hesitate… there is an SUV in front of her car which means that I can’t see the oncoming traffic. I move forward half way up the lane, there’s broken pavement under my left foot, a bit of a hole, I look to the right, I can’t quite see, I try to inch forward just a little bit.

Next think I know, the engine is revving full blast, I’ll never forget that sound. WIIIIINNNNGGGG!!!!  I see this car in front of me… parked on the other side of the street and I’m heading for it full tilt. Then I’m not so sure, I hear scraping the engine madly revving and then I am down thinking something along the lines of “What?… I’m dreaming this right?”  “Oh my God the car”… 

Suddenly, there’s a whole bunch of people around me, numerous black pant legs surrounding me, I feel arms grabbing me…

“Are you OK!?? Are you OK?!??”

I do an assessment, neck, back OK.. Ow! Pinky finger on the right hand, I recall the feeling of the glove moving as I was crashing in that car…

“Are you OK?!”

“Yeah, I’m OK.” I try to get up and my legs give out, I try again and Austin lifts me up and others I don’t know make a circle around me.

“You don’t look OK if I trust my first aid training experience” One guy with a mustache says…

“I’m in shock.” I said

I see other guys getting the bike up, moving it backwards and then up on the sidewalk. It looks so light and small…

The parking guys attendants get a chair, sit me down. I’m in a daze.

“Oh my God.. Oh my God, the car… the car… Oh my god…” I keep saying trying to get up but I’m not quite ready to get up.   I’m in a foreign country… I dunno how this accident stuff works… this is my first accident… Oh my God I trashed that car….

“Do you want water?”

“Uh.. yeah…”  I don’t know what I want… this is so unreal, I’m trying to feel some sort of anchoring..

I look at the bike and I see all the damage… My Arkadaş… all busted up. And so incredibly strangely, I’m not upset. At all. My thought is simply:  “it’s just plastic.”  What’s most upsetting is that I have no idea what happened, I could not possibly have done what just took place…  I relive the feeling of the bike taking off from under me as if someone had floored the throttle in my place…   people ask what happened and all I can say is:

“It’s as if the throttle got stuck…”

I look at the car… A Mercedes, one of the long ones, the expensive ones… I trashed the whole side of it… I can’t believe I did that… I am so respectful of people’s stuff.. and there I just trashed the thing… I am appalled… confused I don’t know what to do… I ask around…

“I’m Canadian, I’m not sure how you do this stuff here? What should I do?” And no one is really concerned…

“Oh just leave your information..”

In Canada you have a form to fill, we love bureaucracy up there… Constat Amiable, they call it in French…

I sit down on the chair and try to figure out what to do. I call Ozzy, no answer, he’s probably already sleeping… then I call Forrest.

“I’ve been in an accident… I’m at the club… I crashed in this car… can you come back?”

He did.

Finally about an hour later the car owner showed up. She’s a very pretty, expensive looking young woman. Tight pastel jeans, high heels, tight shirt, pretty face, curly hair… She starts talking to me like I’m trying to do something shady. Slightly rude. I stayed quiet.

“No, I am totally at fault, I am so sorry this happened, I’m just not sure what I am supposed to do… Yes I am insured…”

“I have to call the cops!”  She calls and says :

“Yes, I have witnessed an accident, my car…”

She ain’t witnessed nothing… I’m thinking, she just came out… And then I realized that she meant that she saw her car busted up… she was trying to sound good on the phone…

“My car has just sustained extensive damage…” she says. At that point I decided that I didn’t have to hear any of what she was saying on the phone, as it might just be upsetting. There were enough witnesses that saw the whole thing if there ever were questions.

She hung up and came towards me

“Are you insured?” She asks.

“yes I am.”

“I will need all your information… Don’t try to run away..”

“Run away?! I’ve been here waiting for over hour to find out who this car belongs to… I put my number on your windshield..”

Then she mutters something to the effect of people trying to screw people… I said :

“You won’t get that from me. I just want to do this right. I”m not from here and I’m not sure what it is I should do. I am so very sorry…”

I got paper and pen and started to write all my information, driver’s licence, insurance policy number, phone, address… then the police arrived.

Two young men. She goes to them right away and rattles something.. I talked to the other one, explaining once more how I’m not quite sure what the procedure is being a foreigner and all… He said:

“Accidents happen, there has been no crime committed here, you just need to get each other’s information and the insurance companies handle the rest.”

I was so grateful for his calmness, helpfulness. I thanked him.

“If you want we can get her information for you?” he offered.

“Oh that would be great.” I was glad. I was thankful, I was still under shock and didn’t really feel like talking to her, trying to write in the dark, my hands shaky, my body all filled with adrenaline and my mind filled with a strange sort of guilt and such a sense of unreality.

She requested all my papers, at one point she had all of them in her hands, driver’s license, registration, insurance card, writing everything, I felt slightly violated…

Under this LA full moon. I feel dumb, shocked, incredulous, confused, bruised yet I am calm. I finally took a good look at the bike… cracked front fender, dislodged from the front forks, cracked and broken fairing in multiple spots hanging sadly over the headlights, loose plastic, cracked plastic.. but the engine and everything looks intact. I forced the fender back into place, checked for anything that would impede motion..

The cops left, life continued on the busy Selma street. The moon was high. I’m feeling a bit nervous. I guess I’ll have to ride back. I backed up the bike on the road. I told Forrest :

When I used to ride horses we were always told that the best thing to do was to get back in the saddle immediately after a fall if possible… so I guess that this is one of those …”

The engine runs. I see a whole in traffic, head down Selma. I go gingerly. I head onto the 101 freeway. Thankfully it’s not busy. I get onto the 10. It’s dark in the interchange and I realize the headlights are not quite pointing the right way… What else is wrong I wonder…

It seems to take forever to get home. I’m getting cold. But I’m all right minus a pretty bruised up pinky.

The house seems strangely lifeless… I’m feeling strangely not there… I wonder about the insurance process.. dunno how that works? Never had an accident… What if they don’t want to pay? Then I would have to cover this… Then I could not go to Turkey… Then… then.. then… My mind started to race.  So I sat down.  Closed my eyes and meditated for a good long time.

Something else is poking at me, something other than this stress and fear… Something I had a slight inkling over the past few weeks… something about being on foot. Something about the fact that the next stage in this whole adventure that is my life was going to require being on foot, bikeless… And also something to the effect that this “had” to take place for this girl… She did mention to the parking attendant something about “serendipity” again not quite the right word for the situation but a good sounding one… She had almost had her car  parked in that lot  earlier on that night,  then decided to park on the street… before I crashed into her…

Ah the mysteries…All that we do not know and must surrender to.   

I’ve been sore but OK.  The insurance people were nice and all is under control in that department…  I played the Klatch with Forrest the next night, Friday.  We had a really good show…  Then I kind of collapsed, tired.  All of it, accident, shock, stress, the gigantic work week coming down at once… but I’m OK.  I’ve not looked into fixing the bike… I’m just trusting.  Breathing.  

I said it before, I’ll say it this time again… never a dull moment.


We reached 15% !!

April 20, 2013

the latest update with the fund raising efforts!

It’s Friday afternoon… I’m zonked. I’ve been working for 3 weeks straight now on a translation project; 41 scripts to do in 4 weeks, simple math, 10 a week and I’ll make the deadline.


I like the project, it’s a really well done French animated series. I’m starting to feel like a cartoon character myself. Actually when I wear my motorcycle gear, the step is not really big and I’m there… superhero riding ninja! On a Suzuki that is!


After all these cartoons I’m starting to hear, see, think in terms of “Whap!” “Oooohh!” “Zonk!” and everyone is smiley…


And that whole universe is making me forget what’s at hand… Leaving for Turkey. I wrote a letter last Sunday and it made me realize that I’ve had no time at all to think about the journey much. The questions such as “when, how, what” are left unanswered. The little bit I looked into it, the logistics seemed impossible to tackle. So I let it ride… Answers always come…


Oh, it is Friday afternoon, it must be getting close to 80F and a breeze blows gently. I feel my brain pinging like hot metal. It is so peaceful. The cat sits on the couch, eyes half opened. The chimes tinkle in the air, hummingbirds dive bomb the feeder, competing for an endless supply of sweet water.. human like… aren’t they?


Last Sunday I went to see my friend Steve race at Willowsprings in the high desert. Well, I started the day too late to see him race, but I figured I’d see some races and see him and that was good enough. The mountains were cloaked in angry looking clouds, Steve said it was windy on the Lancaster side of the Mountains, so I figured one way or another, the 2 might not been a good choice, especially considering how tired I was so I elected to go the long way ’round, via the 210 and 5 and 14.


Once on the 210, I noticed this BMW 701 sleek machine kind of keeping up with me. Then I noticed the two guys in there, young, excited and looking for some sort of thrill. I realized they were kind of racing with me. At one point I was treated to the rock and roll salute and I responded with a peace sign.


One thing I do on the road is to always stay away (meaning ahead) from clusters of cars, from cars that slowly “pass” by keeping me in some blind spot. I always get away from drivers who step on their brakes when there is no evidence of the need for braking for anything and of course I stay away from the ones who drift either left & right or fast and slow.


When I do get away, it’s usually about accelerating quite fast, then making sure the culprit is quite small in the rear view mirrors, then resuming speed.


I think that strategy had the kids in the BMW thinking I was playing a game with them. So the whole way towards Lancaster was a spring and sprong thing between us. At one point I looked over and they were practically jumping up and down in the car… I laughed… On the 14 I laughed again when I saw that EVERYONE was doing 140 KM per hour (my speedo is in KM) The speed limit up there is 104 KM per hour… I must admit, it’s something to like about California… people GO!


About half way up the 14, the kid in the BMW gave me the finger… still can’t figure out why??? Maybe there are some rules to this game that I am not aware of… Peace, I thought, and kept going.


Cresting the hill just before Palmdale, strong winds hit. Nothing unusual there… it’s a few miles down the road that I realized something was amiss…


In the distance, brown walls… Sand. Hiding the whole mountain side from view… Hmmm…


I got off the freeway and edged towards the track. The brown walls bigger and bigger and fast approaching… could that be… a sand storm?


That was one of the things I said I had never encountered on a bike… or otherwise come to think of it. I kept going and as the field of vision narrowed to beige, on the pavement in front of me waves of shiny, thin stuff were washing away… just like a snow storm, but of gold color, fascinating. Cars coming in the distance were blurred, like in a snowstorm, by the sand blown by the winds…


I stopped to look at the GPS since I could not find the road I was looking for. Within seconds, my phone was completely covered in sand. I put it away and kept going. I realized I had the wind in my back when I turned right. Suddenly I am getting pounded sideways by a wind so strong it was hard to keep my head straight, I actually could not keep my head straigt, the bike was at an angle and the road became blurred, I could hear the sand beat on the helmet. I thought of the air intake, wondering how much of this stuff was getting in… Would the engine choke? Then my eyes started to hurt, at that angle, the sand was getting inside. At one point, the sand turned into light gravel and just blasted us… that was when I wondered if this was going to end well…


But it wasn’t too long after that, I took a right and with the wind in my back things were quite a bit easier. I made it to the track where they are shielded by the hills behind, so it was still windy but not sandy.


So there I had it, my first sandstorm. I actually enjoyed it… I realize more and more how much I am a “high intensity moments junkie” mix the unknown, the bike, speed, wind and I’m really happy… I love not knowing what’s in the curve ahead. I love letting things happen. I love to see if I can gracefully absorb what it brings.


And that takes me right back to the “when, where, how” questions about my trip.


I had two alternatives: Land in Turkey or land in France, get a bike there and ride to Turkey. Since I’ve had no time to look at any of the logistical issues involving getting a bike in France, I’m starting to think I should just land in Istanbul, settle then look at the bike thing. The other issues is the money. Getting the bike right away means I have to spend quite a few dollars I don’t have of yet.


But I’m tired, long week, long month so far… I’ll sleep on it a few more days… See what the winds and the Gods come to whisper in my ear.


This is the bike before heading into the sand storm.. nice and clean!



Love to you all

Wow, what a week end…  I had worked my a** off all of last week, got a Godsent translation job.  41 scripts to translate from French to English, a really cool animation series, I`m really enjoying but it`s a lot of time in front of the glow of the screen, I gotta get 10 scripts done per week to make the deadline at the end of the month. 

This is a Godsent because of my impending trip to Turkey, It will bring in some very helpful funds.  I would like to stay there for 6 to 9 months, so that means rent, food and all that good stuff has to be covered.  (you can help me get there to study by making a donation in exchange for pretty cool rewards here:

So the week end came and I had made sure my quota of translations was met so that I could get away from the computer.  First, Saturday AM was the Turkish class in Irvine.  I zoomed down there on Arkadaş (the Suzuki).  I had told Ozzy I was going to “take it easy”.  He smiled and said, until you hit the 57…  And at the moment I really meant taking it easy…  Until I did hit the 57 and I found myself flying down the road on a gorgeous California morning…  

After class I went to a jam I had been invited to by Mona & Hector of No Matter What band… They are just SO cool…  

there we saw this really great band :  The Wicklow Atwater flaming sting quartet.  If you see their names in  your neighborhood, go see them.  It’s kind of Blue Grass but it’s urban, so is that called Astro turf?  Anyways, they played so well and they played all original stuff with so much presence and gusto and … they had us in the palm of their hands…

I went up there later and actually got all the boys to come and play with me and that was a super treat!  

Sunday, reading a book, cleaning the bike, cooking dinner for everyone, then chatting a storm, laughing even more.  Life is good.  

Oh my, I’ve been so busy…

a couple of days ago I launched a Crowdfuding project on RocketHub, the kind of thing where regular folks can create fundraising platforms for anything from medical cases, software development, big business ventures, art, music projects… etc.

It took me a while to get all sorts of documents ready, a project description, make a video, created a rewards plan, write a story… all this to ask all you good folks for your help in sending me to Turkey.

The rockethub site went live Sunday at around midnight, when I woke up there was $550 on there, then the day ended with $750.. Yeah, it’s amazing.

I am trying to raise enough money to stay in Turkey 6 to 9 months to study the saz and Turkish music. With a very conservative budget, things went over 12 thousand in a hurry… Flight, lessons, rent, food, insurance… all that stuff..


I kind of approached this whole thing with this attitude: “I’m going.”

The reality is that I did not have the cash to go, but as with everything else, when there is a will there is a way and I trust the Gods in this. They are the ones who convinced me to go anyways… and I have faith in them.  For example, this week, a miracle of a job appeared in front of me, translation work…  Just as I had looked up towards the clouds thinking: something has got to give with this money thing…   And there it was.  


I am so excited about this… Along with the study, I plan to make journeys to the Black Sea, Anatolia, the South Coast in the search of history, stories, music, musicians, people. I have all these places I want to see. I debated the question of getting a motorcycle or not… there is an upfront cost… But when I looked at it, I really think it is such an important part of this whole adventure.  I think the bike will take me inside Turkey a way nothing else would. The bike is the ambassador sometimes…

So this whole thing set up on RocketHub at this address:  

Please go check it out, and I humbly ask, support this if you can….  I will not disappoint. I’ve set out some pretty cool out ways to reward the donations.  I decided to offer some very unique artwork of mine. Sculptures of stone and clay.  Albums, your name on the tank…  heck if I can I’d come play a private concert for you!  (local people, this is not an idle quote..!)

My new album is part of those rewards.  The thing in download form for an exclusive, two months before it goes public for $75. Yes, it’s much more than what a CD would normally cost, but the idea is to support the cause… 

I gotta say, it’s kind of wild to be out there asking for donations… One thing sure is that I’ll be giving back. I’ve already started to create new music, new soundscapes with the saz, with the new rhythms and scales I am discovering… This whole new universe has been like an artistic renaissance for me. It is so powerful, it’s a bit hard to explain without waxing too gushy and enthusiastic… but it’s true.

Oh, and on Rocket hub you can hear the first song I wrote on the saz, in Turkish (with some help with the Turkish! ) And if just for the heck of it, go see the video! I was pretty proud of my first video creation!  So please go have a look…

All right, gotta run.

It’s late already! The saz is calling….