Tuesday, December 24, 2013


The travel that I'm doing around the country is a journey of discovery.  I want to learn all about this existence that we're a part of.  How does it work?  What are the best practices for being human?  Which questions should I even be asking right now?  If it must be boiled down to one thought, it would be:
"what IS this place?"

As I figure out some of the ways this universe works I've taken to sharing them and leaving random chance in charge of the distribution.  I leave little gifts around in my wake.  

I'm writing these secrets on small scrolls of  paper and leaving them in tiny glass bottles with a message of invitation written on the outside of the jar.

The jars get hidden in public places just slightly outside of where you'd normally look if you're living via your default setting.  

don't know who will find them or how they'll react.  Maybe they'll laugh.  Maybe they'll think it's stupid.  Or maybe it'll be exactly what they need to hear.

The ones who will find the secrets of the universe will be the ones who are curious about their environment.  Those who participate with their surroundings will be rewarded.  Just like in life.

Keep your senses and your minds open, friends.  You might discover that you're already playing a massive game with complex rules that we are all simultaneously writing together.  If you play the game really creatively, there are prizes!!



Monday, December 23, 2013


I spent last night sleeping in my car, lulled to sleep by the rainfall on the roof.  The weather was warm and I wanted to test it out to see if the back of the van was a plausible sleeping option, should the need arise along the journey ahead of me.  

I was able to sleep with reasonable comfort on my amazing yoga mat (it's woven & padded, not rubber) & a mattress made of scattered Indian pillows.  Duvetyne became my blanket and with a couple of old black sheets I'd packed with me I suddenly had a fort!  6-year old Andy was giddy.  

The thought occurred to me, "Does this make me a vagrant now?"
I wondered, "Where's that line between hobo and traveler?"  
Then I concluded, "Why do I care?" 

Before I drifted off to sleep I could hear the occasional passersby on the street.  Sometimes they'd comment on the "Burn Bright" words and shooting star symbol in blue paper tape on the side of the van.  Some chuckled.  Some merely read it aloud.  One teen exclaimed, "yeaaaaah!!!! He's talkin' about smokin' trees!!"  I should just park her somewhere and record people's reactions.  Maybe I can camouflage a GoPro on the roof or something.  So many art projects...

The process of this new logistical consideration; i.e. space to sleep, helped me to figure out how to strip-down the van even more.  I'm going to need to drop some more stuff in storage.  Less baggage to weigh me down.  More understanding of want vs. need.  That means back to Brooklyn, briefly.

Today was spent working from inside my van on my laptop.  We're getting to know each other well, Eshe and I.  I was utilizing the coffee and wifi of a local dunkin' donuts.  In the afternoon I went for a 2nd visit to refuel and found the door was locked with a small sign up saying:

We will be closing our 
dining at 1:30PM today 
for couple hours to 
celebrate our Christmas 
in our store but we 
are open and very happy 
to serve you thru our 
takeout window.  

Sorry for the inconvenience.


Two employees at a time would work the window taking orders while the rest all sang karaoke together and had candy canes and cake inside the dining area.  Every now and then, they'd rotate around, so everyone shared the work AND the play.  It was beautiful.

karaoke on the counter

Taking time to appreciate your fellow members of any given group and take a break together is so important.  I think I used to take that for granted when I was in white collar jobs.  The office Christmas party, the obligatory birthday cake arranged by the sectretary or office manager...these things actually ARE important.  The ceremony is really just an excuse for us to come together, to feel like 'we.'  It's an important feeling...connection.

As I stood at the window waiting to refill/refuel on coffee, I got to watch them all sing some song I could not recognize.  They were extremely enthusiastic about it.  The couple of employees having their own conversation near the back looked over to smile and join in too.  The people at the microphones all hugged when they finished the song.  Some laughed.  So simple.  So nice.

If anyone got annoyed at the small inconvenience of having to line up outside, I did not see evidence of it.  There was an overhang from the roof to keep people out of the rain, and they were being entertained.

The hugging part was my favorite.  I don't think people hug enough.  Sure, we may give that polite hug hello or goodbye, but I mean a REAL hug...where you CONNECT with that other person, right through your chest.

Not everyone is comfortable with that, and that's okay.  When I meet you, I want to offer you the opportunity.  You can say no if you want,  or keep it polite if you want.  But...

But maybe it's been a while since you really hugged.  Maybe you really need it.  Maybe you don't know how to ask.  

When we fall into a comforting hug with someone and we truly let our guard down, even just a little, something happens.  Something restorative.  Something magical.  I love that feeling.  Not that feeling of someone else hugging me, although that is great.  I love that feeling of me hugging someone else, that feeling of healing someone.

I don't need to know what's wrong.  I don't need to notice you being sad.  You don't even need to realize that something from your life is bothering you.  But chances are there's something inside you that makes you need a hug in your life.  And even if everything is incredible, wouldn't a hug make it feel even better?
So I strive to give you the guilt-free opportunity of being offered one, and not having to ask.  Asking for what we need can be hard, because something about asking for a hug implies weakness.  You don't need to do that.  All you need do is accept.

So when I meet you and you extend your hand out to shake mine, I will open my arms wide and say, "We hug around these parts!"  If you reciprocate and come in for a hug I give you as deep a hug as you go for.  

If I don't do this when I meet you, please feel free to be the one who offers a hug, because that usually means i am the one who really needs one.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


The other day I left New York City to begin my journey, to take the inertia-breaking first step.  I am most definitely a creature who is ruled by inertia. 

With my things packed, my goodbyes said, and my departure slightly more delayed than I'd hoped, I was off.

I went through a tunnel in the earth and came out in Korea.  I've been there the last few days.  Sooooo-ho-oooo much to write.  I cannot do it now though.  I feel the need to write this in the mountains, under the stars, with far less man-made light around me.  For now I'll simply say that the tidal pool which sits atop the first fall of the Dragon's Gate path is an incredible one.  This is how the journey began: going outside of my own space to end up traveling inward.

wfmu 91.1 fm reminds me that tonight is the solstice... the longest night of the year. How appropriate that this is when I re-emerge.  
Time to climb. 

first provisions, then...

So kids, if you hear the sound of someone howling at the moon tonight...well...it may just be me.
Don't be afraid.  Join on in!!!!

Entry composed while listening to 91.1fm play "AQ BULAQ" (http://www.shazam.com/discover/track/3121133#referrer=iosemailshare), followed by "NAGYANG CH'UN" (http://www.shazam.com/discover/track/70127021#referrer=iosemailshare).. the second of which is a traditional Korean Court Song.
Thanks for winking at me while I write this universe!  Hahaha!  Your sense if humor is awesome!  So glad I can hear it finally!!

Until there's more...


Monday, December 2, 2013


When I tell people that I'm shooting a documentary, I get LOADS of suggestions of other docs I should watch.  Some are close to my subject, some are simply people's favorites.  

It's amazing how MUCH watching a bad documentary can teach you.

Things I learned/confirmed today:
1.  If your documentary has some sort of thesis (which they all should), do not include yourself in the documentary.  Let the topic be the focus, not the documentarian.

2.   Do not do any kind of voice-over yourself, unless you have an amazing voice and can completely disconnect from the experience you went through making the thing.  A director who does their own voice-over risks sounding full of themselves and preachy.

3.  When choosing which segments to include in the final piece, make sure that each story provides a progression from the last.  Repetition is boring.

4.  Cinematography is EXTREMELY important.  Unless making your project look DIY has a specific purpose that's related to your theme, and that look is done in an original and properly accomplished way, it'll simply look like what it is:  amateur-hour.

5.  Unless the primary focus of your documentary is Burning Man, do NOT include Burning Man in your tale.  The filmmaker needs to earn the level of emotional/philosophical/magical wonder that people have at Burning Man by gradually leading their audience into that.  Without establishing it properly, everyone on the playa sounds either full of it, or like a cult member.

6.  In my project, my journey will not be part of the documentary at all.  Couchsurfing... staying with friends... driving across the country for the first time... none of that will have a place in the film because that is not the topic.  I will be sharing those things via social media... but the documentary is not the place for that.

Burning and learning... every day.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013



You can affect people's lives even when you're sleeping.

I woke up this morning to move my car for street sweeping, only to find this lovely note on my windshield and this sweet necklace hanging from my driver's side door.

To Minx, who lives near 21st & 8th, thank you!  You are awesome and I love you and I owe you 1 gold star!! Now I just need to meet you.

Do crazy things.  Decorate your car.  Decorate your existence.  Make love to life every chance you get (she knows what you want AND what you need!)

Burn BRIGHT, because you never know who'll see your beacon!

Embrace Your Awesome!

Friday, November 22, 2013


The other night I went to dinner with some great friends in Washington Heights.  They said there was a Mexican spot around the corner that seemed to have sprung up overnight.  

"It's either there or the Dominican place," Carla advised.

"And I don't want Dominican," Vanessa said with conviction.  

The place was small but decorated with real care.  We kept looking around at how well everything was put together.  It had lovely Aztec mandala on the walls, and a mirror at the end of the hallway positioned perfectly so that it gave the illusion of a larger space without making anyone angled to see a reflection of themselves.  

Sadly we found that they did not have a liquor license yet because the approval process in NYC is so long.  That got us into a conversation with our waitress about the place being so young.  We told her how awesome we thought it was and she seemed really touched. 

When asked if the owners were in she said, with a quietly proud grin, that this was her place she'd opened with her husband.  He was out on a delivery at the time but she said she'd introduce us to him when he got back.

We talked for a time about their journey and how they were doing what they loved.  It was a great night, meeting great new people.

This is Rafael and Sylvia, whose gold stars were awarded at their restaurant, The Grito Grill, 1555 St. Nicholas Ave., NYC, on Wednesday November 20th, 2013.  They received these stars for taking a risk, pursuing their dreams and opening a beautiful restaurant that brims over with their desire to nourish people, a beautiful act of giving!! These stars are for making their little corner of the universe a place that burns a bit brighter.

Objects chosen for brandishing of star:


Monday, November 18, 2013


This morning I was sitting in my van, parked on 9th and 29th, waiting for B&H Photo and Video to open.  I was taking advantage of my telephonic device's magical superpowers to make connections with all of the amazing people I got to meet this weekend.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man approaching my car across the bike lane from the sidewalk.   He gave me the international sign for, "hey man... roll down your window."  

I paused for a brief moment to look down at myself in my thick furry burner jacket, black playa goggles, and tons of bangly things sparkling and jingling in my wrists.  I am trying to start connecting the 'me' that others see with the 'self' in my head more, just before a conversation starts so that I am aware of what they're perceiving.

My window opens to waft in the words, "FIRST OF ALL, lemme tell you that you got the COOLEST van in new YORK!"

Sgt. Troy Daniel Walker was smiling at me, bright and warm.  He started to ask me about the "Burn Your Stars Bright!!!" message on the side, but then he stopped himself mid-word, mouth-agape and finger pointed to the sky in an 'ah-ha' pose.

"Were you wondering what it means?" I asked.

"I... well... I don't know if I WANT to know!  Hahahaha."

"Good point!  It can be different for everyone.  YOUR meaning can be the unknown one!"

We both laughed again for a minute at life, the universe & everything.  And then we got back to it.  That was the windup, and here was the pitch.

"I hate to start your day with a request but... Wait... Is that a FERN in your car?!"

I laughed again.  My plant totally threw him off his game!! "Yeah, this is Lily.  Poor thing.  She has identity issues.  She's a plant with a flower's name."

Sgt. Troy Daniel Walker started REALLY laughing now, to the point that he stepped back and looked at the van again from a wide angle.  You could see him start to question if this was REALLY the version of reality he was in right there.  He cocked his head and looked at the van, then back at me, then returned to his normal talking spot.

Sgt. Troy Daniel Walker collected himself and said that he'd like to ask me a question, but one that might be a little odd.  I said, "Sure!  Go for it!  I LOVE odd things!!!"

"I would like to ask you, if out of the kindness if your heart, you can spare one dollar, and sixty-eight cents."

Now it was my turn to throw my head back with laughter.

"I lovezit Sgt. Troy Daniel Walker!!!!  Why that number?  I'm FASCINATED!!!!"

"Well..well..see I'm gonna trade ya.  I'm going to give you a great joke in explanation."

"Yes!  I LOVE jokes but I've forgot them all!  Tell me a new joke!!"

Sgt. Troy Daniel Walker shifted his weight to his back foot and hitched his pants up a bit.  "So I want you to just clear your mind and forget about whatever you got going on in there and just think about the question I'm asking."

"Ok," I said. 

"What is the greatest nation in the world?"

For the first instant I thought, "I can figure this out.  What answer is he trying to get at? I know the obvious answer is this one, so it must be something else."

Then, in the next instant (and a bit of left over time from the first) I thought, "why am I trying to solve it?  I'm buying the ticket...I should take the ride!  Let's play into his hands!"

"The United States of America?" I question-answered.

"Good choice.. Very popular... That's the SECOND greatest nation.  SECOND greatest.  There's one better.  There's one that beats them all."

"I give, Sgt. Troy Daniel Walker!  Which one?"


We both laughed again together and high-fived.

 I looked at the little coin-holder on my dashboard and started grabbing the coins.

"How amazing would it be if there was EXACTLY $1.68 here?" I pondered aloud.

"That would just about blow my mind at this point.  I don't know if i could handle that," he chuckled.

Turned out to be a $1.92.  Sgt. Troy Daniel Walker kept saying I didn't need to give him the additional $0.24.  

I said, "That's OK!  I've got something ELSE for you... A gold star for being AWESOME!!"

He laughed and looked more than a bit confused as I started to exit the vehicle.

I told him the story of the mystery BG actress who started the idea of the stars project, and asked him if I could give HIM a gold star. He said yes.

This is Sgt. Troy Daniel Walker, who received a gold star at my car window, on Monday November 18th, 2013, on the corner of 29th St & 9 Ave. New York, NY.  He received this star for talking to a stranger, for trading me a story in the form of a joke and for thus giving me the gift of an experience.

Object chosen for brandishing of star:
Book of matches.


Thursday, November 14, 2013


Driving down route 99, back towards my old apt in Jamaica Plain ("JP" if you're from around here) and I see a giant wind turbine looming in the distance against the Boston skyline.

At once I am filled with a giant swell of Eco-pride, and immediately after I am filled with the feeling of an impending battle involving giant robots.  God, that would look cool from here!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Some mornings you wake up JUST in time to get out to your car and move it before you get a ticket...only to find you've locked yourself out of your host's house. 

While chilling out in my car, utilizing the heat and listening to some awesome radio, I've let my mind wander... and the universe brought it exactly where it needed to be.

For more than an hour I have been furiously typing concepts for my script "THE TIN MAN," into my phone's 'notes' section, and coming to some BRILLIANT and elegant solutions to concept issues I was having. These epiphanies are the product of months of percolation and countless conversations with the brilliant people that are part of my life.

Ugh!!!!  Creation is SUCH a delicious human experience!  One of my favs!!

Like a lot of the best things in life, inspiration is truly achieved not through excessive effort or angst or by depleting your energy...but by learning to relax the muscle of your mind so that it may float whichever way it wants in the stream of consciousness. 

Sometimes the hardest but most rewarding thing we can do with our time is to, simply,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


In accordance with the synchronistic nature of my upcoming documentary, NOTES TO SELF, I happened to meet Juan Murray the other day while organizing all of my worldly posessions for the upcoming journey. 

I was using the same parking lot that Juan owns a Real Estate business in.  We got to chatting and he asked if he could videotape me explaining my project.  Here I am, moments after meeting Juan... talking about the ways in which I'll embrace MY awesome.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013



This blog is a documentation of a year-long journey, traveling across the entire country for the first time and making a massive documentary fil project.  This journey also happens to fall in the year between my first trip to Burning Man, and my second.  

During this year, I have no home other than my van, covered in blue painter's tape instructing the viewer to "Burn Bright," or "Burn Your Stars Bright," depending which side of Life you're on.

I will be traveling the country shooting a documentary called, "NOTES TO SELF."  Along the journey I will never stay in a hotel... only with friends or strangers.  This blog is not intended to be a behind-the-scenes record of the documentary, it just happens to follow the same course of time.  

This is a record of what is happening at this time of my life, as I burn many parts of myself away to discover many more.  This is a place I can call attention to the special stories and moments that come up along the road, the things that teach me about the universe and people and myself.  This is MY collection of notes to self, and it is open for anyone else who cares to look at it too.

Welcome to the journey.