Shift West

Dancing with Danger

11 months ago in Big Sur, California

by Jacob

“Hi there, so, the two of us are on motorcycles…” Barron looks at me and cocks his head to the side. "Oh, right.." Id nearly forgotten - we still have plenty of cash from our gigs in Atascadero. I just start the pitch out of habit sometimes. “Anyway, my friend and I are passing through, and we’re looking for a place to grab some brews and maybe a view.” I was just being friendly. I saw the beer brimming from the fridges that lined the back room. The small convenience store had a patio that jutted out over the edge of cliff, rising a thousand feet above the jagged coastline of Big Sur. The views really don’t get any better than this. The store manager appeared discontent, but finally mustered a response that matched her body language. Stiffening up, and with some attitude, “Nepenthe’s down the street ten miles. It’s world renown. Food’s better here, though.” Convincing, huh? Pep and I just wanted to split a six-pack and relax for an hour or two. I needed to unwind after my first real motorcycle wreck.

I passed through Big Sur last summer and paid $45 for a campsite. Pep and I knew finding a cheap place to camp was going to be a challenge in the tourist trap. Luckily, a friend had...

Home Grown with Joan

11 months ago in Atascadero, CA

by Barron + Jacob

Soul; [sohl] noun

  1. the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
  2. the emotional part of human nature; the seat of the feelings or sentiments.
  3. the animating principle; the essential element or part of something.
  4. the essential part or fundamental nature of anything

Here is a definition to help me out. Some things are tough to describe. In times of hurry, my personality lends me to simply say a lot, streamline directly from the brain, and hope that what I mean comes through to whoever is listening and/or reading. Its a genuine approach that sometimes gets me into trouble. But if I waited for the perfect words before speaking, I would probably never say a word.

For weeks, Ive tried to formulate how to tell a story about our time in Atascadero. But its all so incredibly non-linear, much like grief. Some places, Jake and I just didnt have a great story to tell. We cant expect crazy things to happen every day. So, instead of telling a story about what happened, in those ...

Day 43

11 months ago in Atascadero, CA

by Barron

Day Start: $37.29

  • -$0.00 (coffee with Joan)
  • -$0.00 (breakfast tacos with Joan)
  • -$0.00 (beers with Joan)
  • -$28.25 (combined gasoline; Atascadero, CA)
  • +$140.00 (combined labor from working for Joan)
  • -$0.00 (salmon dinner with Joan)
  • +$20.00 (gift by Greg and Michelle - thank you!)
  • -$0.00 (perfectly made cookies by Joan)
  • -$11.00 (rum and cokes)
  • +$1.83 (performing music on a party night - fail)

Day End: $159.87...

All American Randy

11 months ago in Durango, Colorado

by Barron

"There are guns in this house. I know where they are. You don't," Randy rasps over his smoke-worn voice behind gleaming glasses. "All I ask is you don't walk away from my house with anything you didn't bring here. You treat me fairly and I'll do the same to you." We nod speaking over each other, "Yes sir," "No doubt," "Absolutely." Shawn stands by his dad, petting Striker, the military trained German Shepherd (seriously, sixth generation German bred) that could take down a grown man in a heartbeat with one command. Striker understands English and German but won't stop an attack unless spoken to in Dutch. "He doesn't see you as a threat," Randy consoles us with a grin. Jake and I both love big dogs. We're both a little apprehensive. Striker is a trained killer and Randy has the scars all over his arms to prove it. "Trained him myself from birth," he puffs proudly. Watching the two of them together, you can understand where dogs get labeled mans' best friend.

alt text

An hour after our initially slow and awkward introduction, all tension was diffused. We'd passed the sketch test. Randy was sitting indian style on the floor in the living room, I was cuddled up with his other dog...

"Sunshine, Cool Breezes, Love and Love Making"

1 year ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico

by Carey Janecka

“I like to tell people I’m just a simple farmer.” I smile, “But Adam, you seem to have so many complex and interesting thoughts.” He reflects my smile and looks up towards the horizon. He stares intently at the mountains a hundred miles away in Mexico. “Complex thoughts don’t really matter in the long run, Jake. When you think about it, our human experience boils down to sunshine, cool breezes, and love…” he pauses with a snicker, “and of course love making.”

Full of quirky jokes, honesty, and awareness, the 41 year-old seems to have found what makes him happy. He doesn’t live an easy or comfortable life by modern society’s standards. Most people would chose to spend their workday with co-workers in the air conditioning in front of a keyboard over ten hour days in the west Texas sun laboring over a vineyard. But Adam isn’t most people.

alt text

He resides in a two story “barn” that oversees the vineyard and the vast landscapes of Jeff Davis County. A lap steel guitar, “funky” bass, and a twenty-year old drum set make-up a homemade recording studio in the cluttered gar...

Day 10

1 year ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico

by Barron

Day Start: $9.30

  • -$0.00 (cereal at Pat's)
  • -$0.00 (lunch; Jimmy John's, courtesy of Pat)
  • +$25.00 (watercolor commission)
  • -$0.00 (snack; burger given to us on street by guy who thought we were homeless)
  • -$0.00 (snack; watermelon from guys who couldn't finish it)
  • +$10.00 (playing music over THREE hours)
  • -$0.00 (dinner; Freddy's hamburgers. Thanks again, Pat)
  • -$0.00 (Miller Light... thanks, Pat)

Day End: $44.30

That's about $150 below what we were hoping to make in Albuquerque. Not good....

Feelin' The Groove of Shift West

2 years ago in Albuquerque

by Barron

Today started out a little frazzled. We'd slept through our alarms at Patrick's apartment and woke to find him needing to leave for work - like, right then. So we grabbed our instruments and laptops and paints and dashed out the door.

alt text

After a long, unnecessary loop by my fault, we sat down at Starbuck with our coffees and split a breakfast sandwich. (Thanks again for the gift card, Margie! If you're in Waco and need some have a photo job, she's your woman.)

Our plans was as follows:

Enjoy our burnt coffee Write blogs, edit photos, make video Get to NMU campus by mid-morning to make money playing music between classes Get rich Travel onward, potentially to Santa Fe or maybe try to work at Christ of the Desert Monastery Live happily ever after What actually happened was that we stayed at Starbucks until noon and didn't leave Albuquerque until 6:00P. Meanwhile, all the stars were aligning..

alt text

I was in the groove on Adobe Premiere with my paintings splayed out on the table next to me with "FOR SALE," written sloppily on the back of our receipt. A man walked up with a inquisitive grin. I take out my headphones. "Are these yours?" he asked. "They c...

Day 14 - Two Weeks of Shift West

2 years ago in Ouray, Colorado

by Barron

Starry Colorado night sky

Day Start: $419.13

  • -$21.80 (combined gasoline; Hermosa)
  • -$7.62 (world's best funnel cake; Silverton)
  • +$100.00 (outrageously generous gift from Angela, who we met eating funnel cakes)
  • -$1.00 (postcards)
  • -$0.00 (two rounds of beers from our motorcycle comrades)
  • -$13.29 (split a cheeseburger and chips; Ouray)
  • -$4.32 (coffee so that we can chipper up to write some blogs) Day End: $472.10...