January 20, 2009

Back to boats and back to Alaska

The boating adventure has morphed into a boating venture and the labor of love into labor for money. She's twice as long and twice as wide as Noche. This boat was sold at close to half its value because of the uncertainty of the economy and the fickle nature of fishing. Some are scared and some are simply ready to move into their place. The taste of Alaska is now a lifestyle and days on land few and far between. I am living in Seattle and its awesome! I am metting inspiring people and the weather has been relatively dry and nice to us.

I am a "waterfront character" to these poeple, who sleeps in a sleeping bag, on a dirty smelly boat, with oil on my clothes, with earth in my nails and grime stained calluses. And to me my friends are "nine to fivers", living up the finer aspects of city life, working for a greater cause, tasting adventure through a flat screen, raging two days a week and two weeks a year and trickling the extra into the promise of a 401k. Its all an adventure and you sleep in the bed you create. Admittedly I only have one pair of jeans that I like to wear, a favorite hat, no car in my name, but a powerful confidence/ delusion of my self as one of the wealthiest men alive. I have a hundred dollar gift certificate to Nordstroms that I cant spend because there is nothing that I need. I wake each day, and its the day that I own. I show the wear and tear of a large boat project, but its my project. Its up to me each day to do what needs to be done, to make that list and cross it off. I like that. Free to run, free to work, free to read, free to talk with the person next to me. My tools aren't made by Black Berry but I can build, fix and interact fist person with this universe and still strike five conversations a minute with a group of strangers on the streets or in a room.
Today overwhelmingly I sense this great dichotomy with whats being said and whats actually going on. I think that we should learn to read the weather for our selves, and nourish our instincts and what it really means to be a human. Its crazy to get all our information from a Television or even a newspaper. Its crazy to experience an emotion with a a inanimate object like a television. Our ability to read life and sense whats going on atrophies to nothing when we swallow, believe, and act with out our own reason. A decade with out television (except for movies and the Lost Series) and I feel like I have a pretty strong grasp of what is going on around me.
I can feel rain when its on its way and when its not. As far as the economy goes I was in line at REI (an outdoor clothing store) listening to a couple in front of me talk about stories of "lay offs" and this massive "recession" that we were in. All I could think of was that, in fact we were standing in the longest line at REI that I had ever been in. So many people were getting new ski outfits that Sunday that I had to wait longer than I had ever waited. Last night after a sold out concert the bars were so packed with free spending consumers that my friends and I had to walk several blocks in the cold to find a place that was empty enough to hear each other talk. I am writting this now in a cafe with out an empty table, there is heat, 46 visible light bulbs burning, food going stale in their show cases and coffee being poured out every hour because its not fresh enough for our palets. Times are tough, thats what I hear, but sometimes I cant get over what I see.
For every person that is out of work and forced to sell their stuff there is someone buying stuff cheap. There will be more opportunity now to acquire promising assets, than buying houses or assets when they were at their peak. The channels of information have us scared, when we should be getting ready for the biggest opportunity for economic gain this generation will experience. The boom is when allot of people see a steady gain, the bust is when a select few will see tremendous gain. American companies are on sale. Wealth will be shifted again even more now into the hands of those who already have it. The economic middle class will pour like sand in an hour glass into the lower region and the money will swell in the pockets of the extremely wealthy.

Companies will shrink, because they over expanded. Houses will loose value, because we built too many, and frankly we built boxes around shiny marble counter tops surrounded by other unimaginative boxes that were engineered in shapes that squeezed more into less with no regard for livability. Our dallor will loose its value because we are printing too many. Our credibility in the world as a power, as a leader as an inspiring idea has lost its luster because we wrote checks our soft power account couldn't cash.

So that's my soap box as you know, don't miss out on the land of opportunity. A friend, fisherman, businessman from Alaska and I are venturing into the uncertain waters of this recession with a Canadian boat. The Canadian salmon fisheries are in turmoil and boats are being sold off. Alaskan fisheries are in good shape, but traditionally really expensive to capitalize for. So a cheap boat from one area, brought to to the promise land is the plan.

Of course there are always reasons why there aren't other people doing the same thing... this boat was too long on both ends.. so we cut the bow off and part of the stern. So nothing is easy and you have to take risk. We are taking engines out, and putting engines in. Cutting nets apart, and sewing nets together. Cutting catches off, and putting hatches on.

Here is my number one: Jamil, a Peruvian, who drove from LA a month ago with his mind set on becoming a fisherman, and he did.

And we are looking for more: