Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why I Plan to Quit Everything to Travel...

This seems to be a recurring question in my life lately from friends and family and its becoming quite an annoyance. So many people just refuse to believe that there is any other way than our pattern...
1) finish highschool
2) goto college or learn a trade
3) get married
4) buy a house
5) have kids
6) work 30 years paying for said house (usually falling down by now) and children
7) retire and hopefully you aren't too old to do the things you used to when you were young.

I however argue that there are many many more paths of life than the one that 98% of the population choose. Those paths can be opened by doing some basic reading and just learning to open your mind to something other than the normal or what is accepted as normal. When you really let go of everything... you see that there is no normal or "right" way. I even have an argument for the criminal up in my mind somewhere...

The path I have chosen for my life extends from several things I believe in. The entire cookie cutter existence just literally makes me want to puke when I think of the massive amount of mediocrity that it is. I believe people choose the above path because its easy. Life is easy when you just work and slave away, paying the man and buying into every single trend out there; a revolving door of payments if you will. Most people's argument for working 30 years to retirement is based upon the fact that most secretly hate it and regret how successfully they have brainwashed themselves into believing working is the key to happiness. Just remember kids, the things you own will end up owning you.

Another scary thought for me is marriage. I come from a family so huge because of divorces and remarriage that I would need a king size bed sheet to draw you a tree and that's working in a size 10pt font! Every Christmas I have to meet and relearn the names of some shithead new additions to my family when I really want to pull them to the side and politely inform them to enjoy it while they can, they probably wont be around next year. I plan on doing the world and my family a favor and never marrying. Another scary marriage thought for me is all the work that is now suddenly necessary to keep the wife happy. That is all I see from my friends... "I have to install this"; "I have to fix this"; "I have to go shopping for...". They have traded their personal time and freedom for a relationship which is supposed to be fair and balance... and all I usually see is work work work work work. Here is a note to the female readers... we don't want to spend our entire weekend fixing shit for you. I enjoy my freedom to the max and relish every single second of it... I don't plan on giving it up any time soon.

Children are another thing I'm avoiding like the plague. Much of this stems from my previous argument of time (if you haven't noticed a trend Ill point it out, I'm EXTREMELY selfish with time) and a huge belief that the world is horribly overpopulated. Every time I use Google Earth searching for waves and I just see massive amounts of deforestation, even in our own great country, for cash; crops and room to expand I just want to run away. There isn't much left out there people... and I challenge you to explore Google Earth and just see for yourself. Check the Azuero peninsula of Panama, look at Indonesia and you will see whole islands stripped.

A home is something I consider to be the biggest waste of time out of all of these things. When I see the construction methods we use in this country I cannot help but think that these homes are thrown together as fast as possible and they will last just long enough to be paid for... then its time to spend another 150K (Texas has wonderfully realistic and UNinflated home values for my California readers, 150K will get you 2500-3000sq/ft in the right area around here) and do it all over again. REVOLVING PAYMENT/DEBT CYCLES ARE WHAT THIS NATION IS BUILT ON! Buying useless shit. The "must have this" disease is rampant in this nation and we all could live such simpler lives if we didn't believe or invest in such stupid ideas. Doesn't it preach this in the Bible for all you do gooder Christians out there??? I could live the rest of my life in a camper and be happy with that. Is there something wrong with me? Maybe. I look at "living", the actual acts of sleeping, showering, eating, and breathing as just things we have to do. When you realize you can sleep in anything that is 6ft long and reasonably comfortable, a 3000sq/ft home suddenly isn't necessary.

Ok.. so you don't buy into any of the arguments I have just posted right? Fine.. here is a simple list for those of you looking for a simple answer because...
a) thinking and learning this much just makes your head hurt
b) your favorite TV sitcom they have you addicted to (instead of living life and educating yourself) is on and you need to finish this quickly

1) I'm getting old.. I know I know, I'm only 25 but its just a feeling ok? I KNOW I cannot do some of the things I used to when I was 16...

2) Most people don't know this about me but when I was 21, after some intensive testing it was determined that I needed back surgery for some shit in my lower vertebrae. The doctor advised I wait as long as I can for this... and there isn't a day I have that it doesn't hurt. I'm in a loosing battle with time on this one. Sure, I could work and retire at 50, but will I still be surfing? Doubtful

3) Ready to live my life as I see fit. No one can tell you how to live, so why do we all follow an imaginary road with as far as I'm concerned, some pretty shitty road signs and paving.

4) Because a whole world of adventure is awaiting me out there... and I just KNOW I'm going to be horribly angry when I get killed commuting to work, never getting my first retirement check.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Free Charlie Toups

GEORGETOWN — Charlie Toups is Colorado's ultimate ski bum and a relic of a fading era.
Since 1976, the 63-year-old has skied 120 days a season, shoveling snow and doing other odd jobs for a few bucks and skiing every day. What affirms his title as ski bum supreme is the fact that at night he retired to his car, parked close to the lifts.
But now Toups' brawny 6-foot frame is wedged in a jail cell in Georgetown, imprisoned for the past 57 days on misdemeanor federal charges of camping on public land, possessing marijuana and assaulting a Forest Service officer.
He could walk free with time served if he admitted his guilt. But Toups won't do that.
"I've lived this life for 33 years and now all the sudden I'm supposed to admit I'm guilty? I can't do that," he said from jail last week. "I don't know what changed after the Forest Service tolerated me for all these years. I thought we were just respecting each other. Let me ask you, is it snowing?"
Toups' tale is the embodiment of ski bumdom. Since the 1970s, he has bummed at Mammoth in California, Snowbird in Utah, Oregon's Mount Hood, Aspen Highlands and all the ski areas in Summit County. His home — for nearly a decade — was a Volks wagen Beetle, the passenger seat torn out so he could sleep.
"He had a little tunnel down to it like a snow cave," said Halsted Morris, a longtime Loveland skier.
"He was the real deal"
After a few years at Loveland, where Toups worked in the ski area's kitchen, he moved on to Aspen Highlands, where every morning he stomped steep snow as part of the ski patrol's avalanche mitigation. A few hours bootpacking earned him a day's lift ticket. He haunted the mid-mountain cafeteria, munching food from abandoned trays. He stocked shelves at the local grocery at night.
"He was the epitome of ski bums. He was the real deal," said Mike Tierney, a veteran ski patroller at Highlands. "He was just a totally eccentric individual who was here to ski. We don't see those kinds of ski bums anymore. And that's kind of sad."
Mac Smith, the longtime director of the Highlands patrol, spent a few seasons in the 1970s camping at the base of the ski hill. He remembers Toups with fondness, as a "gentle giant."
"He was a really intelligent person," Smith said. "He just had a different drum beat, and he followed it."
Toups first ran afoul of the Forest Service, which prohibits living on public land, in 2007 when he was back living in Loveland in the ski area parking lot.
So, he fired up his most recent home — a tired Ford, its hood and doors closed with ropes, its bed topped with a dilapidated camper. He rattled over Loveland Pass, towing a trailer full of old skis and a rusting Honda motorcycle. He landed in the Colorado Department of Transportation utility lot on Forest Service land next to Arapahoe Basin ski area.
On Nov. 14, five months after a Forest Service cop issued Toups a ticket for camping on public land in the CDOT lot, they came for him with a warrant for his arrest.
Toups had missed two mailed summonses, sent to an Aspen-area post office box he never visited.
Forest Service law enforcement officer Jill Wick and a Summit County sheriff's deputy found him, naturally, skiing. He grew irate when told he was under arrest.
At a Nov. 20 detention hearing in federal court in Grand Junction, Forest Service special agent Travis Lunders testified that Toups "became actively resistant in the sense that he tensed up."
"Officer Wick described Mr. Toups as shrugging his shoulders, bending his arms, flexing and putting his knuckles together near his stomach, at which time both officers took Mr. Toups to the ground, the snow covered ground, and placed him face-first down," Lunders testified, according to court transcripts.
Toups said he was trying to make a call on his cellphone before he was taken away. He said he was under the impression he had a "gentleman's agreement" to stay near the CDOT utility shed, based upon his camaraderie with CDOT employees.
When officers searched his pockets, according to Lunders' testimony, they found "misdemeanor level paraphernalia and marijuana."
The day after Toups' arrest, Lunders testified that Wick suffered a "post traumatic condition or disorder . . . that caused her heart to enlarge after the arrest." Doctors later told her, Lunders testified, "she did not suffer a heart attack and her arteries were in fact good."
Lunders wrote in his report detailing the arrest: "At no time was she (Wick) struck by Toups, nor did he attempt to kick, punch or strike either officer."
Still, Toups is facing charges that he "did forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate and interfere with an officer." Add the illegal camping and marijuana charge, and Toups is facing more than two years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines.
Toups is scheduled for a jury trial in Denver District Court this month.
Toups' attorney declined to comment, but Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the Colorado U.S. attorney, said the charges are appropriate, "given his conduct."
"Danger to this community"
U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer is prosecuting the case against Toups. At his November detention hearing, she argued successfully that Toups be held without bail on three misdemeanor counts.
"This defendant has shown he is dangerous, that he has no place to go," she said. "Being that he — all he wants to do is apparently ski and not work and live this alternative lifestyle, makes him a prime candidate for flight, not to mention he has exhibited himself now as a danger to this community, openly hostile to the government."
Calling Toups "hostile" and "dangerous" dismays Toups' friends.
"Charlie has been harassed most of his life, but even though he can be a bit of a curmudgeon, he's a really sweet guy," said Michael Cleveland, who has known Toups for 30 years and paid $1,700 to get his friend's truck out of impoundment. "He's just a ski bum who never grew up."
Toups proudly explains that in all his years of homelessness, he has never collected any public money. In the past three years, he's earned about $20,000, mostly from shoveling snow and moving furniture.
Still, he admits he has struggled to keep jobs.
"I guess I have a personality that conflicts with some tenets of management," he said.
Decades of negotiating (or violating, say the feds) federal, state, county and municipal boundaries and rules has taken its toll on Toups. When he parked near A Basin in 2007, he was at the end of his rope. He needed to be close to his work shoveling — where his boss, Bob Towne, said he never missed a day in two winters. He could no longer keep his truck running to move it daily. And he needed to be close to his beloved ski hill.
"I ski because it is a portal, a gateway to health," he said, noting that in all his years on skis he has never been injured. "But when I moved into that lot, I was desperate. Sure, I may live like a bum, but I do not behave like one."

My email to the US Attorney prosecuting him..

Mrs. Heldmyer,
After reading the article in the Denver Post, I thought I would email you and let you know just how dissapointed I am at you and Georgetown Police Department.

It is a sad sad day in this nation when being prosecuted for being an individual living outside the constraints of the system is a crime. This nation as you of all people should know, was founded on the basic liberties and the freedom to pursue happiness and self determination. Charlie was a man that was doing all of those things and yet here he is caught up in a legal battle with the system. The system that does not approve of his lifestyle and now seeks to incarcerate him for living "dfferently". In my eyes... you and the Georgetown police department represent one thing, the interests of big money. Charlie and other ski bums like him are an eyesore and you seek to rid the slopes and towns of them per the wishes of big money and whatever racist/judgemental ideas you have.

You can continue on your path as Im sure you will but eventually one day, you will have to answer for your poor judgement and frankly picking on people who cannot afford to defend themselves. There is a large and growing movement of people like Charlie... people interested in the roots of life and this great country. We will not stand by and let big money and misaapointed attorneys like yourself push the small people around. The revolution is coming.. maybe not in your lifetime or mine.. but it is. You can arrest him, but you cannot arrest us all.