Life in Montana: I Didn’t Expect it…..


In July as I wrapped up the last of the road trip for the year I stayed one last night in NYC. Got an amazing hook up for a high rise apartment stay and figured why not stay one more night and enjoy the views of NYC? Originally when finishing a road trip, I’ll take the next flight out back home or if I’m flying my own aircraft, take myself home. Worth the few hours…..well to me. My buddy and bus driver Mark was going to be driving the bus back to his home in Wyoming. He had a few days head start. I knew I wanted a short little vacation so to speak. CA can be hot depending on where you are. Malibu is always very cool and the warmth there is comfy. The evenings nice and cool. I had been in Texas for a long while since my father passed away in 2017. I honestly don’t like it there. My friends and family there make it bearable but the weather in Houston is fucked 350 days a year. LOL Yeah Houston area doesn’t get much cool weather. The weather reporters love to say COLD FRONT…..bitches that a cooler front….A not so hot front! LOL Definitely NOT a COLD front.

I had already planned a short stay in Pray Montana. Nicely located North of Yellowstone National Park. Im an Annual Parks Pass holder =). Got there the next evening and relaxed. Picked up some dinner from a few places because I was craving a bunch of shit lol. Sat back, relaxed. Cats enjoying the peacefulness. Oh yeah, remember I said Mark had a head start heading home to Wyoming. Since it was on the way he stopped off at the place I was staying and I told him to stay a bit and chill. He’s always been like a second father to me. Mark is a former Marine and a dude who doesn’t take shit from people but all around a funny ass dude to chill with. I got some stories from this year’s road trip that have to do with him but perhaps I’ll get back to writing on here on a consistent basis again and I’ll share those stories soon. So yeah Mark made it to crib and unloaded all my shit and got the cats all comfy cause YES…….I always travel on tour with my cats! lol. Well in the USA. The cats actually really like the trips. They’re always staring out the windows looking at the scenery and chillin at the campsites on our days off. I got a pretty neat little cat cage that lets the cats relax outside and enjoy the fresh air and outdoors. From the spot in Pray to Mark’s home is about 86 miles. So he was cool with chillin for a few extra days. We actually drove the next day in the bus back to his home and dropped it off. It’s my personal Prevost. Oh man the story on how the last one burned outside of Nashville and how I got this newer one is a good story. I might have shared it on here years ago. Who knows I forget. lol. We got out to his place and parked the bus in his huge barn/garage. He’s building a hangar and private air strip. He flew with me many times and got the urge to become a pilot. Before I sold my Cirrus SR22 I basically unofficially taught him on that. Then he went to ground school and now has his private pilot certificate and flies mainly in a Cessna 182 and a few times in the Cirrus. I don’t think he’s too interested in learning to fly the Phenom 300 I currently fly. After the ordeal my friend Vic and I had……yeah I haven’t flown much myself either. Let’s just say any landing is good landing and Vic and I were lucky to survive the near complete malfunction of that thing….Thats another story…..

So we got Mark’s car and headed back to Pray. Did some hiking. Checked out the trails n shit. Went to see some of the Yellowstone damage we could see. Threw up the drone for some great footage. But it was cool to sit back and have a few beers with a good friend and BBQ up some damn good food. After a week I began to really enjoy it in MT. Mark left after 4 days. He was ready to get back and relax himself and get back to working on some projects. I on the other hand had started looking at properties there. Online only. Just surfing….Seeing the possibilities. I ended up finding 4 that were quite nice and caught my attention. Then……made arrangements to see them. Didn’t take me long to realize that I could totally see myself staying there off and on throughout the year. Even thought of putting the Malibu house on AirBNB or something. The Vegas house is already on AirBNB and is brining in a pretty nice easy income. But I was thinking of a place more for me. I ended up narrowing down to 2 properties and then…..made and offer and bought one!

So yeah…..what was supposed to be a short vacation to relax turned into me buying a home in Livingston. I love snow, cold weather, mountains etc. So shit why not? Pretty cool when you see Elk and Moose in the yard. LOL. It was worth it in the end. Definitely will be a great winter getaway when I want to be in the snow and mountains…..Shit this is long..

Ok gonna hold off the rest and post a Part 2 soon……and hopefully I’ll get back in the habit of posting here again…

Cheers for now

Gilly

Kids Are So Strong…



Today I visited children’s hospital as a guest. I donate yearly. What I saw was similar to my past times but today was rough. I met a man who’s daughter is near death because of cancer. That little girl shows no fear. To hear a child say she’s not afraid to die… that’s hard. She’s deserves to live a full life. But to know that her family is there with her is comforting. 

I saw a boy in therapy to learning to walk again. He would fall and cry but he would get up and still try. Over and over.  Breaks your heart to see that yet he never gives up. When he made it to the end of obstacle he gave his mother and the nurse a big hug and everyone high fives. 🙏🏻👍

There was a 15 year old girl who has  cancer. She’s so weak but wants to one day learn to play guitar. I took a few guitar picks with me. I asked her if she was a fan of Katy Perry. She was overly excited and said yes. I gave her a guitar pick. She said when she learns to play she is gonna use it.  I wasn’t there representing anyone. I just felt I’d take some because to kids something so simple can mean the world. Her eyes lit up. 

I wasn’t going to go in there wanting to record anything. That’s disrespectful. These families and kids go through so much. Those are some of the toughest kids you’d ever meet. They’re faced with so much yet they keep fighting. They make you smile even when they know they have a sickness that will one day take them. 

While we all have our own issues if you ever want to do something to help out these families donate whatever you can. It helps them. I saw some parents crying because they was overwhelmed with knowing their child is suffering. I can’t possibly know how hard that is. Before I left I saw a girl who is dealing with brain damage. She would just wave at you and say hi and smile. She was telling a story of her illness her still smiling. When I was about to leave she had a sad face. It made me sad. She kept saying come back and see us. If they’d allow it I surely would. 

If you’ve ever had to deal with a child who has an illness thst needs constant medical attention then yuh know it’s hard to see these kids. I grew up an only child. Many of the kids I met today were also the only child. Some didn’t have brothers or sisters to be there with them. So I can imagine how visitors make them so happy. This is what makes donating so amazing. Seeing these kids fighting their sickness. Smiling through all their pain. 

This all reminds me of the young man I met back when I worked Slipknot. His sister took him to a show and he was in a wheelchair. She was worried about his safety but he wanted to see the band because Slipknot was his favorite band. I got them backstage and we allowed him to watch from the side with the rest of us. Near the end of the show Corey brought him out in his wheelchair and asked everyone to make some noise for him. He loved it. They played a song and he stayed out there with Corey. Afterwards he got to meet all 9 members and some pictures and autographs. He was so excited. He kept saying thank you to everyone. Months later we were back in town and I saw his sister at the show. She was looking for me back behind the arena. I asked her how her brother was. She sadly told me he had died weeks before. She was going to take him to that show too. She said in all the things he went through he wanted her to let us know again that he was happy he got to be part of the show

That might. Best night of his life he had said according to her. I think about that kid a lot. But again he knew he had a sickness that would soon take his life. He didn’t fear it. She said they buried him with everything he got that night. 

Was thankful to be invited considering covid protocols as they limit guests but thankful I could be there. Those kids give me strength with my own issues….

Leaving on a Jet Plane…..


For the past year I have contemplated moving. Moving away from this place. Mainly because I feel there’s nothing more left for me here. Its true I have some friends but as friends we know people move on in life and sometimes move away. Bonds can be maintained but sometimes people just lose contact and eventually forget about one another. Sometimes that scares me but I’ve always believed that your true friends no matter how great a friend they are or not will still want to keep up with you and know that you’re doing good. I know if I leave ill miss my friends and of course hanging out at my usual spot in my same seat. I guess thats a sacrifice ill have to make to better things for myself.

There’s a song I believe that has the lyric “leaving on a jet plane” if I remember right. It popped in my head yesterday and its been on my mind since. The idea of hopping in the plane and saying goodbye and good riddance to this place. Only Im not sure just yet if I am emotionally ready for that. Is one even really ever ready to just up and leave? Sometimes we do it because we just have to get away in hopes of a better life and future somewhere else. That can mean a few miles away or the next city over. It can also mean across the country or around the world.

Last year I was set to spend as much time as I could in Paris. Covid changed that. As an American I think the maximum time is 6 months. I was just looking at 3. Paris is one of my favorite cities. I don’t know why but I just love it there. Plus I have friends who live in the city. It is the last thing on my bucket list to do before I die. I’ve done everything else. Hell I could die happy now. well almost lol. I was just hoping to spend some time there for the holidays and enjoy the snow. Perhaps another time will come in the future.

When I get stressed about life I travel. Either by motorcycle or plane. By motorcycle its just calming. The cool breeze even on a hot day is nice. I also enjoy hopping in my plane. GF1 as I call it. Call me a dork but yeah I call my plane GryllsForceOne. lol. GolfFoxtrotOne I acquired in 2019. I once had a Cirrus SR22. Was a nice plane but I wanted something more. My friend owns the same aircraft and I logged many hours on the deck with him as he taught me to fly it. Working with the manufacturer I was able to get cleared to fly the damn thing. They’re not cheap by any means to maintain but for now its something I enjoy. As my moods have changed ive thought about if I really want to keep maintain it or sell it and go smaller again but I just can’t see doing that. I like having the ability to fly where I want to go faster. Just being a pilot in the air is relaxing for me.

I always travel when I can. Sometimes people say im just running away from my problems. I think they’re right though. I do. I run away from my problems with life and with people. Hoping that in my absence things will change only…..they don’t! I should know better but yeah yeah……..Im stubborn. I mean who isn’t to some degree? My only reason for staying in the beginning was for my dad. Now that he’s gone I just don’t see the point in staying. As I said earlier I do have friends here but there’s a big difference. Age! I’m older than all of them. Most of them are in their mid to late 20s. Here I am in my early 40s. Thanks to all those who tell me I do not look my age because that means a lot lol. I don’t feel my age but I still am that age. Trying to better myself in hopes that it will keep the weight off and keep me looking younger and healthier. I don’t wanna get older and fatter. As I was saying though, my friends are much younger than me. That puts us in a different crowd. I don’t fit into the younger crowd. At least I don’t think I do. Most of the people who work at the restaurant I go to probably think im this old sad fuck who goes to the bar and stays there all day because I have no life. Right now they’re right. I can’t do shit but stay home. Cant really travel. I decided to stay away for awhile because I felt I was looking like that old depressed guy at the bar. A friend told me the other day I looked like I was gonna cry when I went in. I mean wow I didn’t even know I looked that sad. I usually try to mask my emotions but I guess I didn’t that day. Its ok though im glad she told me because I would have hated to be there all that time and looked sad. Others at times would come up to me asking me if I was ok. I guess they noticed that too. I’d always say im good. I was just lying but I don’t want them to worry about me. They have enough to worry about. Work, college, love life, etc. I don’t fit into their lives as much as I once thought I did. In the end im just another guest.

Im so thankful for the friendships ive made over the past 3.5 years. I won’t use their names. Lets just call them Joe, Jim, Paco, Ramon, Taylor, Tiffani, Mary, Kelsey and Ashley. lol. Each of them has their own things going on in life. Many of them are ready to move on to better and bigger things. There will come a day that all these people Ill hardly ever see. Possibly even ever again. If I left on a jet plane to live somewhere else aka HOME, I’d still make it a point to come see them and ask them to hang out but I think about the friends I have that are my age. They have all moved on and live full-time lives now as parents. Family comes first and there’s just not much time for hanging out anymore. Thats good though. Im happy for all my friends who have found happiness in their lives. Its what im searching for everyday. Only I don’t focus on it. I just try to live my life the best I can while I can. I ruined friendships and out of nowhere lost them. Still with no reason as to why. Hell my ex-girlfriend won’t even talk to me these days. I guess that friendship we had withered away. Thats ok though. People move on and evolve. Those chapters of her life that I was part of have been closed. Same as with another friend. Its sad to think about but it is what it is. I don’t have a dad anymore. Only in spirit. I don’t have that person to go on road trips with anymore or to go eat and try out some random restaurant. That was my dad. Its possible I could have had someone to do these things with but I never ask because I always feel they’ll get the wrong idea. I just can’t see doing these things with a male friend because I did these things with my dad. No one can replace him. So I always thought maybe one day I could find that one platonic female friend that would enjoy spending time with a totally dorky fucker like myself. I mean because no one is going to find me attractive as a fat 270 pound cow. Im working on that though lol.

I miss Malibu. I would usually go back and forth often but with COVID I haven’t. Now that the lock down has been lifted I think I can go back and be happy. I guess no matter where you go women want a certain kind of man. Many say they want a trusting man who loves them. Looks don’t matter…only really they do. You know that saying girls say, “if I was single id totally date you…” then when they’re single for awhile and you ask them out they flat out laugh at you and say “yeah right like id be interested in you…..” Then why did you say it? So you lied to make someone feel better. I guess sometimes we seek validation and I guess I’ve sought it more often than others and Im ashamed of that. Here in Texas women like two kind of guys. The buff skinny guy with abs or the really obese guy with a beard who drives a pick up truck and wears a cowboy hat while listening to George Strait. I guess there’s no room for the casual guy who dresses nice with an average body who listen to everything and plays instruments lol.

So I think imma leave on a jet plane….back home to Malibu and say goodbye to this place for awhile. Sit on the beach at night. Maybe get me another dog and a cat. Of course Heathcliff is coming with me. I know I am not ready to permanently move away but at least I think now I can go back and forth and give myself some new atmosphere from time to time. Im not running away from anything. Just moving on……

Cheers….

G

Adapting


Over the past month I have been trying to change many things about myself. I’ve grown tired of always looking the same. The only thing is I am not where I want to be in order to make these changes 100%. Yet. Ive been sticking to a lifestyle change that has me eating in ways I never really could have before. I never really was big on over eating. I drank all my calories with sodas. Now here I am eating tons of protein, fruits and veggies. Only now I actually enjoy it.

Over the past year I have come to the conclusion that many things in my life had to change. My feelings, my lifestyle, my sense of fashion or lack thereof. lol. It feels nice to wear smaller clothes. Nicer clothes. New shoes and of course new shirts. I’m just not ready to the change yet. I can’t wait for the day I can wear casual form fitting t-shirts and not feel shitty about how I look. For years I’ve been told im not fat. People say things like that to make you feel better when in actuality they do think you are fat. I had one friend flat out tell me I was fat. I didn’t get mad though. At least not at her. I got mad at myself for being a fuck up. For letting myself go for so many years. Once an athletic guy who didn’t have to worry about weight and now so upset with how much I have gained.

Depression is a real thing. I think I can safely say I have overcome much of it but I do fall into slumps here and there. I think I am sort of in it now. Yet I still feel confident enough to continue with my daily life and new way of living. I don’t have the support from my family. Just Facebook and Instagram friends. Its kind of sad that the people you care about the most, family and friends, just don’t care anymore. As I’ve said before though….you just have to move on and let it go. People will care for you and support you. Then one day you don’t fit into their life and you’re just a distant memory…if even that.

Earlier tonight I was standing around at the bar of the restaurant I visit regularly. My friends Amber, Gabe, Michael and Johnny work there. These are the people I probably see most often than my own family. Many of them recognized changes in my weight, my appearance and my overall attitude. Honestly not much has changed I just got sick of being fat and predictable. In the past 3.5 years or so I have seen many people come and go from there. Some im still friends with and others not so. It’s hard for me to unfriend someone because I care too much for people. It takes a lot of hate, anger, resentment or whatever before I decide to remove someone from my life. Sadly, some family and friends removed themselves from mine. It hurts me daily to know that I lost them. I miss them dearly. I try too hard to stay in the good graces of those I care about. The fear of losing someone scares me. It happens though.

When people let you go from their lives its for good. That bond will never be the same. Just let them be. Let them live their lives and just wish them well. Its hard but you have to do it. I struggle with this daily. There’s a song from the 90s I think from BoysIIMen called “Its So Hard to Say Goodbye….” Man it truly is.. Its hard to say goodbye to people you love and cherish. Love is not always romance. Love isn’t always about intimacy. Love is about caring for people who touch your life and make you feel special. In return to strive to make them feel special. Love is a hard trait to accept and to give. So many of us have been hurt by people that we don’t want to love or care for others. We avoid it. We build walls. We miss out on people who truly care about us because we can’t see the good in them. I only hope for all the people who let me go that one day they will realize that I am a good person. I’m a loving person that just wants the same respect back as I give to them. It’s not much to ask for. Its sad that family turns their back on you. Well in this case me. Its sad that friends let little misunderstandings change the outlook of a friendship. Its sad that family can get jealous of someone.

All my life I’ve tried to adapt to this life. This world we live in. Im not doing a very good job. Ive made so many mistakes. I’ve hurt people and ruined friendships. I’ve lost friends for reasons I don’t even know. One day a friend texts me and says “hey lets go have lunch then go shopping….” then the next she doesn’t even care to talk to me. Why? What did I do? Yet I still cared too much that when she had no where else to turn I put groceries in her home. Not even a thank you after that. But I walked away knowing I did something good even if she didn’t appreciate it. Can I be honest with you? Im sick of trying to adapt to things. Im sick of trying to be worthy enough to people. Im sick of just trying to be accepted. I won’t lie, there’s still days I wake up and grab my pistol and sit on the edge of my bed and think of putting it under my chin and pulling the trigger. Its hard to continue moving on when you don’t feel there’s much to move on for.

Ive been trying to adapt to a new life because I hate who I am. I hate what I see but I am trying to cope with who and where I am right now. So I can achieve my goals. I just want someone to care about me. Someone who wants to genuinely hang out with me. Someone who will text me and say hey what’s up lets chill or hang out. I miss having those kind of bonds. I miss being accepted. Only I have to learn to adapt and care for myself more before others will care for me. I had this mentality for the longest time that if I lose weight then perhaps someone will find me cute enough to date. That someone will want to be around me. I see so many guys that I just can’t understand how they have a girlfriend yet here I am single. But as I probably said in my last post….money doesn’t buy happiness. It buys you temporary joy. I told a friend a while back that it seems girls want either the skinny buff guy with abs who treats them like total shit or they want the really obese guy who wears cowboy hats and has a shit ton of facial hair he looks like ZZ Top. lol. I fall in the middle and it seems like there’s just no love for guys like me.

They say some people die of a broken heart. Sometimes I think that will be me. I try to adapt to this life but I think that one day when everyone I know least expects it…..they’re gonna find out that I killed myself and I won’t leave any note as to why. I want to adapt but I really don’t have much left to live for. I’ve enjoyed life. Traveled. Done my bucket list 100%. Well 99%. I gave up on ever finding love because no one will ever love a guy like me. I’m too nice. I’m not attractive. I still hope to change some things but if I fail I seriously will say don’t be surprised if you’re attending my funeral…..

Thats the depressive me speaking. I still need to find the extra strength and confidence to keep going. I wake up everyday feeling like I have a purpose in this life for now. I’ll never have what I consider the most beautiful woman in the world in my eyes but I hope to….one day. I just need to keep my head up and keep doing what I am now so I can avoid that depressive state I feel. I just hope I find happiness one day. I hope I reach my goal of weight loss or at least come close to it and that someone will find me worthy of her time because ill spend lifetime showing her how much I love her…..BUT……..I have to adapt to these changes in my life. I have to continue to move forward rather than back. I have to stop thinking negative thoughts. Im not perfect. No one is. Just please let me find the strength and faith to be a better person…. Please let me find my happy place. Let me adapt into the person I dream to be……

Absence


Well damn I noticed I’ve been posting on here on and off since 2009. Wow! Sadly I wish I had kept it up but ive meant to get back to posting and then I forget. I was hoping in 2020 to post more about my travels and about spending Christmas in Paris but that fell through with COVID. Sadly, I just don’t know what travel will return to normal again. Probably never!

I guess wearing a mask is a small price to pay to be able to get back on the road again. Especially knowing that I won’t be doing it for “work.” I’ve had my days “at the office” and as much as I miss it sometimes, I am done with it. 2020 was such a boring ass year. All I really did was stay home, fly to a few places like Aspen, LA, Nashville, NYC, Seattle and Phoenix. A few more but those were the fun trips. The virus just really changed things.

A good friend told me awhile back that I should be thankful that I’ve been able to travel because others can’t. Made me see how selfish I was about it. I needed that reality check. In the past I had invited friends to come along with me to Europe at no cost to them because I would cover it. I just wanted someone to be around and hang out with. Being a giving person comes with its drawbacks. Most people either think its too much or think im kidding. I took my dad to Russia with me because it was his dream to go there. I don’t know why. He always had a thing for watching movies filmed in Russia or appeared to be. To take him to Red Square and show him around was amazing. Never saw that man grin that much except for when he was watching his fav football team.

The past 3 years of my life have had a lot of absence. People I miss. Mistakes ive made. Im still learning and healing but I recently told my dads friend David that I was now finally coming to terms with his death. His, my grandmothers, my uncle and a few friends ive lost since 2017. Its been quite a journey and many visit to therapy. A suicide attempt that would have been successful had a friend not found me in 2019. While I still need to heal I know I have made some progress and for 2021 I have made some new goals. Goals I promised my dad. I spoke of them before because I wanted to start back then but my mind wasn’t ready emotionally.

I feel now I am ready to take this challenge. Its with my weight. My friends tell me I look younger than my age. I guess I can see that but what I also see is an unhealthy obese man. Ive had female friends tell me I am not fat. Its nice to hear but I always believe they’re just saying that to be nice. Well, thats what I thought before. I still see something I don’t like and that bothers me. I’ve watched videos on YT of guys younger and my age who fought adversity and changed their lives. I fucking know I can do this. I learned to fly small single engine planes. I learned to fly multi-engine jets and currently do. I learned to skydive and earned my Class D Pro license. I’ve BASE jumped off the mountains of Switzerland. So why couldn’t I be able to conquer my weight goal? All the times I said no was because I was mentally not ready. Well now I am. It will take a lot of time, effort, blood, sweat, tears, failure and accomplishment but I’ll reach that plateau and I know I’ll feel better once I do.

If you’re reading this I hope you’re doing well and I hope that in 2021 whatever is bothering you will change. I hope you as well achieve your goals because I want to meet mine. I don’t have a huge support group. I don’t have real friends. Friends that actually enjoy hanging out with me. Sadly, the people who I call friends now are much younger than I am and they surely don’t want to be around me besides when they’re at work. I understand that. Age gaps are tough. Some don’t mind them. I have a few circle of friends that I can hang out with and sometimes when able do. COVID kinda messed that up too. My biggest issue is that I don’t want to push myself onto people when they don’t want me around or if they hate me. Sometimes in life we care for people who maybe at one point cared for us but now they don’t. I don’t really think its personal I think they’re just moving on in life. I…..WE have to respect that. I only want the best for my family and friends and if that means im not part of their life anymore then so be it. I have to still live my life until my last breath.

I’ve said it before. I don’t wanna live long. My dad lived to 66. Just before his 67th birthday. I guess I could see living that long if I had a family and kids but if im alone I’d rather die doing something I love. Flying, skydiving, riding my motorcycle. Its just the mentality ive had in me for so long. We all hurt when we lose people. When they walk away. When they die. It hurts but again, life goes on and we have to go on.

Just days ago was the one year anniversary of Neil Peart’s death. My favorite drummer. His books guided me through so much drama in my life. From losing my friend Paul in 2010 to losing my dad…etc… Just seems fitting again that I use this quote Neil wrote…..

“We’re only immortal for a limited time…..”

Cheers and thanks for reading if you made it this far. I wish you well in 2021. I wish you all the best in your life and journey. Take control of your life and reach for the stars……..

Gill

Remembering Eddie Van Halen My Guitar Hero


I don’t know where to begin…..I never thought I’d be mouring Eddie Van Halen. I thought the same in January when Neil Peart passed. We never think that our idols and closest of family and friends will ever leave this world….but they do…

When I was a kid around 5 or 6 I remember hearing Van Halen for the first time. My uncle Rick was a huge fan and had seen them in concert. We had cable at home and when I was by myself the channel was always set to 32 for MTV. They played Van Halen videos all the time. Jump, Panama, Hot for Teacher etc. The keyboard intro 1984 always caught my attention. Then going right into Jump. It was Eruption thought that blew me away.

If anyone plays rock guitar and likes Eddie at some point in their playing career they tried to or did learn Eruption. I remember once I got it. My friends Andy, Eric and George would constantly say “play Eruption.” It was our jam. As that little 6 year old kid I used to get in trouble all the time. I had this old tennis racket that I pretended was my guitar and id jump on and off my bed as if it was a stage. Trying to be just like Eddie. I’d go to the corner store Bills or Davila’s and buy the candy cigarettes and tape one to the racket because it looked like Eddie lol.

I met Eddie a few times and he was cool as hell. I never thought I’d meet my guitar hero but I did. Come to think of it, he was the only guitar hero of mine I actually got to meet. Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads….they all died young and before I could really know much about them. Back in 2014 my dad bought me this guitar. The Eddie Van Halen Frankenstrat replica. I love this guitar. I dreamed of owning this guitar when I was a kid. I had dreams that I had one and I’d wake up and look around my room and the house looking for my EVH guitar but it was just a dream. Thats how real the dreams were for me at such a young age.

Eddie inspired so many guitarists. Many would say he wasn’t that great of a guitarist. They’re full of shit! Eddie is Legendary. He filled this guy with the passion to learn an instrument that has now been part of my entire life. I have this guitar, the shoes, guitar picks, etc but the memory of meeting the man himself and what the music has meant to me will live on…I was sitting here playing Eruption over and over and realized holy fuck I forgot some of it. Then it came back to me. I really don’t know what else to say….Eddie Van Halen has always been one of my idols and he always will…..If I had the chance to tell him again I’d say thank you for the music and the inspiration….

RIP Edward Van Halen

Neil E Peart 1952 – 2020


Its been a few weeks since learning about Neil Peart. Still in shock to know that my drum hero is gone. Yet he wasn’t just a drum hero, he was also the person who inspired me to start traveling by motorcycle. I had always rode motorcycles but never actually traveled on one. Around 2008 I had purchased his book Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road and was blown away by his story. I knew some things about him but never really that much of his personal life. Discovering that he lost his daughter Selena in a car accident on her way to college and then months later his wife. He would later lose the family dog and then his best friend Brutus was pretty much banned from coming into the States. He felt so alone and isolated but not as a rockstar; more as a human.

That book was just a book at one point. Then in May 2010 I lost a good friend and colleague. A friend that helped get me into the music industry. He was more like a brother than a friend. I felt in many ways the same as Neil did. “Consider me retired….” I had told my colleagues. I began drinking much more until I was plastered and would just fall asleep from being drunk. I would endlessly find myself feeling upset over shit. I had no where to turn. No one to really talk to. I felt as Neil described in Limelight….Isolated. I would lay in bed for hours after waking up. Never really getting out of bed. I’d get up and get myself a drink of water and sit out on the patio looking out to the Pacific Ocean. The silence was grand. Well except for the sound of the ocean which I loved to hear. I was able to bask in my thoughts for what seemed like forever. Still feeling sorry for myself. I had a motorcycle in my garage just yearning to be rode. That just sounds wrong doesn’t it? lol.

One evening I decided to pick up my copy of Ghost Rider and I read through about 140 pages before deciding to call it a night. I tend to read books a few times as I always end up picking up things I didn’t on the last read. The next day was basically the same. I got up and got a soda and went out to the deck with my book and finished the book. As I closed the book and put it down I started thinking……Now what! A phrase Neil mentioned in a past book. A reference to his daughter Selena who would all sleek as a seal jump out of the water and say now what? That began to make me think about things. Now what? What if I got on my bike and just rode off to wherever? So that next day I grabbed some clothes and other necessary items and started packing my bike. I quickly looked up some routes and decided to head to Lake Tahoe. It seemed like a nice little trip.

I remembered something I had read in the book. Neil talked about the Loneliest Road in America aka Hwy 50. I thought why not go that way? I headed towards Lake Tahoe and then onto Reno to Hwy 50. Went straight across that 287 mile stretch of desolation. Well there’s the occasional town and hotel/store. Eventually making it to Ely and Baker before heading farther east into Utah and up to Salt Lake City. Then off to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. It was worth the time I spent with my ass hurting forever on that seat. I’d do other trips like heading into Canada and the Yukon as Neil did. I could see why he felt so relaxed and healed on that trip. It really was relaxing and healing.

I guess I strayed off the point of this post but I did try to make the references to Neil as needed. I grew up listening to RUSH and discovering Neil. I was more into Neil than Alex or Geddy in the beginning and I ended up being a guitarist! As years went by I began learning their guitar and bass parts as well. Fully appreciating the music that was RUSH. I’d listen to them in an endless loop. Air drumming as probably every other fan had done. Thinking back to reading Ghost Rider after my own depression something amazing happened one day. While on my motorcycle heading east to Texas I decided to stop and grab a bite to eat. While inside I spied something I couldn’t believe. It was Neil Peart wearing a cap and drinking coffee while reading a book. Obviously I wasn’t going to approach him because he hated all that. So I wrote a little note on a napkin which simply said, “thanks for the soundtrack of my life and times….safe travels Shunpiker…” I asked the waitress to give it to him after awhile which she did. I never made eye contact or stared for a reaction. I just kept eating my meal and was thinking of how cool it was to see the man behind the music and lyrics I’ve adored for so long. The man who inspired me to start traveling by two wheels and of course I went out and bought a BMW motorcycle as well. How cliché huh? lol. I finished my meal and gathered my things as I headed outside to my bike. I had no idea I parked my bike next to THE bike of THE Professor of drums. I was very nervous and felt odd as fuck. Like what if he came out and said get the fuck away from my bike. Only I doubted that because I was sitting on my own. I was grabbing my gloves and just getting myself set up for the next leg of the trip. During this trip I was reading Ghost Rider again. I just thought why not? I had the book sitting on top of my tank bag as I was rearranging things and suddenly I heard that voice! “Thats a nice bicycle you got there!” It was Neil. The man! The legend! Right there in front of me talking to me about my bike! I tried not to look shocked but I couldn’t help it. After a quick moment all I could get out was “thank you sir.” He saw my book and said “hmmmm what you reading there? Ahhh I’ve heard of that guy. Let me see that.” So I handed him my book and he turned a few pages in and signed his name to it and also wrote safe travels shunpiker. He had truly seen my note. I won’t go into all of it but after a short conversation and some laughs we shook hands and wished each other well on our journeys. He was heading west back home. I’d later read that around that same time he was in Texas staying at a place near the lake he enjoyed so much with his family. As I was heading to Texas myself.

I like to think of myself as blessed for that moment. Its one thing to grow up admiring a music artist but to one day meet them was truly amazing. So when I learned that Neil passed away after his health issues I couldn’t help but just grab my bike keys and ride off  into the sunset. Losing my father in 2017 brought many changes to things I thought about. Places we’d go to, rides we would take in his car and of course the music my father sang that I get the ultimate pleasure of hearing on his records. Hearing his voice forever etched on vinyl and playing on the radio for the world to hear is epic. I thought about the day I met Neil and the music I loved listening to. Only now that music has new meaning and new feelings. I once could listen to a song and enjoy it. Now it brings me to tears. Watching the RUSH DVD Time Stand Still chronicles their last tour, the R40 tour. That last bit of the movie shows Neil putting his sticks down on his snare and walking past the “prime meridian” as he called it to take a final bow with the guys at work. The prime meridian was the imaginary line in front of his drums. He vowed he’d never walk in front of it after a show. He always struggled with his own demons when it came to fame. He didn’t understand the fascination with people and rockstars. So he strayed from it with respect to the fans and their adoration for him and the band. He always made sure fans knew he was thankful for them. Anyways, he walked past that line to Alex then to Geddy and they took a bow together in front of that Los Angeles crowd for one last time. Then he ran off the stage for good….At the end of the movie the song The Garden plays. The song fitting to an end of their tour and to their run. Only now that song The Garden holds a different vibe for fans. It made fans tear up because it was really the last time to ever see Neil Peart on a stage again even if they felt he would still come back….one day. Now that song brings tears to fans because Neil is gone.

He always told stories with his lyrics. Some called him the worst lyricist of all-time. Whatever. His lyrics and his books full of stories are truly his memoir that he chose to share with everyone willing to take the time to pay attention. The world lost a great one and this time this loss truly hurts. If you’re reading this and don’t know who Neil Peart is thats ok. Think of it this way. Whomever your favorite artist is, they probably were inspired at one point by Neil and RUSH. That drummer of your favorite band would probably say that one of their favorite drummers was Neil Peart.

Im thankful that I had the opportunity to tell Neil thank you personally for the music. I was able to tell Alex and Geddy as well. I know that for a years to come they will be thanked for everything they gave us and for their loss of a great friend and brother. For Carrie and Olivia, Neil’s wife and daughter, they’ll have a lifetime of amazing memories although cut short. Olivia once introducing her class to her dad the retired drummer lol. I’m sure at her age now she knows just how famous her father was. Carrie an amazing photographer caught many amazing photos of Neil in her book Rhythm and Light. Sometimes I wish I could have ran into Neil again on the road but ill always cherish that first meeting. Neil is gone but his memory will live on forever. So thanks again Neil for all the inspiration….for taking that moment to speak to me when you so dreaded talking to people. Thanks for the music and the memories…..

“Suddenly, you were gone from all the lives you left your mark upon…..” – Afterimage

43302793_1875994575852934_7250217868699107328_o

Its Been a Journey…..


ITS BEEN A JOURNEY…..

So its December and nearly the end of this year. Since 2017 I’ve had so many ups and downs. So many things have happened good and bad. I really don’t even know where to begin and what to even mention. Since my father passed in August 2017 my life has been one heck of a journey. I couldn’t say I have recovered because I haven’t. Does anyone really? 

I learned to cope with losing my father thanks to therapy, my travels and many friends. After he died I felt alone. About as alone as a person could feel. Except I wasn’t. I have lots of family and friends but I’ve always been the kind of person that leans towards friends more so than family. Family is always busy. Well, so are friends but sometimes I think friends understand a little more what I’ve been through. Perhaps it was just my ignorance. I sat back for so long feeling sorry for myself. Then in December 2017 I started doing something that I never imagined……I somehow became more social. 

For many years I’ve turned to travel as my escape from life. There’s just something about riding a motorcycle down desolate roads or hopping on a commercial airliner and crossing the ocean. If you know me well enough by now you know that some of my favorite destinations are Germany, France, Switzerland and Iceland. I love traveling all over the world. Japan is amazing. Russia is…..interesting. Greece is full of history as Italy. Of course I can’t forget South America. Brazil is wild and Argentina has some good wine but dangerous roads and areas. Chile was always a splendid place. Fiji, Mexico, Belize, Philippines, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Canada…..need I go on?

I guess I feel blessed to have seen so many places in this world. For the longest time I never felt the urge to share my travels as much as I wanted to because there was always someone with the “oh he’s bragging line.” So many have said they lived vicariously through my travels and I always felt happy to share a photo here and there or a story. It’s been many years since I’ve gone on any long motorcycle trip. My travels have turned to the air. I love planes and airports. Im the guy who would book a flight with a connection to an airport I’ve never been to just to say, “hey I was there.” It’s always nice to let someone else do the flying even when you’re a pilot. Four score and many distant years ago, lol I got my pilots certificate. I flew smaller aircraft like Cessna’s and Cirrus SR22’s. I wanted more though. My friend has an Embraer Phenom 300 and he began training me to fly it. Then I took the course through the manufacturer and here I am now flying THE Embraer Phenom 300 as a single pilot. Small planes to jets. That’s quite a journey right there. 

Looking back to August 25th 2017 at one point would be very painful. It still is but I’ve grown stronger over the last few years. On the 24th I remember driving out the the hospital in downtown to spend the day with my father. He had already decided he didn’t want treatment to fix his heart problems. He was just ready to die. We had many conversations alone just father and son. He prepared me for the day. That dreaded day. I can’t say I was really prepared but at least he did what he could to mentally get me ready for the day that he would no longer be here. At this point my life was just as normal as anyone else’s. I didn’t do much. Just spent time with my father. I guess looking back I did what was right. I spent time with my father so that I could have many memories to look back on because in all the travels and fun we had we always forgot to take video and photos together. Probably one of my biggest regrets in life. I will not ever regret though spending all the time with him as I did in the hospital. In fact I wish I had spent more. That last day was like any other. Perhaps he knew his time was coming to an end but he didn’t say anything. To me it was just another day at the hospital with Pop. We had conversations that evening after everyone else left. We said things that needed to be said. Then within moments I witnessed the most intense event of my life. Buzzers and alarms went off and my father’s face was blank. His mouth wide open as he looked straight ahead at me. Only I don’t think he was looking at me. It’s as if he was looking straight through me at something or someone else. The nurses asked me if I wanted them to bring him back. The hardest decision of my life at that point was to say…..no. He didn’t want that. He wanted to go in peace and me having him brought back would only prolong feelings for him and for me. In fact he probably still wouldn’t have survived anyways. For a moment he looked to have come out of that out of body trance. He moved his head and then a quick jolt of his body. The buzzers and alarms again going off. Its all I could hear. The haunting sound of those alarms. It was 11:42pm. I looked at him and he appeared to be looking up in the corner of the room. There was a single tear coming from his right eye but he was gone. I felt it. The buzzers stopped and the heart rate monitors were all flat line. It was over…..

I felt so alone at that moment. It made me think how I felt so fucking worthless because I had no one special in my life to be there beside me to help me. Guide me and comfort me in that moment. The nurse gave me a hug and told me it would be ok. That he was no longer in pain. All I could do was break out in uncontrollable tears. I was mad at him for leaving me but then again I was glad he wasn’t suffering anymore. I knew I had to call my family. So I made the call to my aunt to call my mother. It usually hard to get ahold of her. Thats another story…Then I called my aunt and uncle, my dad’s brother. I’m sure they knew that me calling after midnight meant only one thing. The doctor on duty that night came in to evaluate my father and he checked his vitals. He told me, “yes he is gone.” He called the time of death at 12:07am August 25th. For me though I consider his death August 24th at 11:42pm. 

After that night I drove him listening to some peaceful music. I turned on the radio while I was at the light and this song from a choir called Libera came on. The song was Ave Maria. The song started right at the beginning and just 3.5 hours after everything happened I broke out in tears again at that light. It’s like I was meant to hear that song from the beginning. It sounded like a bunch of angels singing. I felt at peace after hearing it while driving home. I got home that night around 4:45am. I sat in my living room with the lights off and shocked. I went to my dad’s room and laid on his bed. Cold sheets and a total feeling of emptiness. I couldn’t say I felt his presence or anything but I just felt alone. I had posted to Facebook and Instagram of his death. There was many condolences to my page and his. As I read every comment I couldn’t help but cry. My best friend and father was now gone. The man who taught me to grow up and respect others and women. The man who sacrificed so much just for me. The man who would always buy me things even when I didn’t ask because as a child he didn’t have much. He grew up dirt poor. I managed to fall asleep and wake up the next morning from phone calls from many family and friends. Texts as well. My phone flooded with condolences only I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I just wanted someone to comfort me. An ex-girlfriend I’ve been friends with was there with me days before at the hospital. She always thought the world of my father and he the same of her. She’s married with kids but I was flattered that she took the time to come see him and be there for me. She was also there for me for a short time during the services. I mean she had to get home to her kids and husband. Still I was thankful for that. 

Since that time I’ve struggled with his loss. Only a week after we buried my father my grandmother passed. I felt like everyone I cared about was suddenly leaving. At this point all I could do was yell, “who’s next?” I thought why believe in a God when he’s taking all these people away from me….From us. Only its all part of a plan that we all set in our lives. I’m not religious but I do believe we are here for a purpose and for all of us that doesn’t always mean we live happy healthy lives. My father lived a happy life but he was depressed. My father suffered the same depression I fell to this day. He was alone. My father was a great man who would do anything for anyone. He risked his life for many years as a firefighter. He sang to many for entertainment to brighten their days. You would see him and think man he looks happy but he was all but. He was sad. He was broken down. Just like his son. My father was always told how handsome he was. Many women would mention how attracted they were to him. Like me, my father would attract the wrong women. He spent time with some that seemed to only use him for money or other reasons. He was never happy after his divorce from my mother but he found a way to move on. For many years he resented how things ended up for him because of that split. He found it in his heart though to forgive all those emotions he felt and to forgive my mother for their split. He tried to find happiness just as I had. He never found it. Besides spending time with me and family he was always depressed. That’s why he told me to take his decision to die like a man. He wanted me to deal with his loss and not cry over him. 

Months had gone by and I felt I needed to change. I started going to therapy in December 2017. That’s when I made the decision to find something new. This is where Texas Roadhouse comes in. I’ve said this before but my decision to go in there was probably one of the best things I could have done for myself. I broke out of my comfort zone and I met some amazing friends. It took me time to get to know many of them as it took them to know me. I first came across Matt, Katlyn and Mykala. The bartenders. They were so nice and welcoming I just felt so happy and excited to go back again. I always enjoyed the food and now I felt I could really enjoy the company there. I remember going in and ordering a Blue Moon. I ordered a steak and had a few drinks. I talked with Matt and the others. At Roadhouse its part of the atmosphere for the bartenders to ask for your name and to speak to you in such a personal way as to call you by your name rather than hey or sir/ma’am. I got to know them better and after a few visits they remembered my name. I felt comfortable going there and having a few drinks and a meal. I went on a Friday and I saw some of my dad’s friends there. I later would find out they go there often on Friday’s to have a few drinks and relax. Soon after I’d be having conversations with them. Everything was just feeling right. 

Over the past year I have been going in to hang out with my friends. I made even more friends as time went on. Amber, Gabe, Jodi, etc. I always felt comfortable going in there and I think I began to feel too comfortable. Here I was on this new journey in my life away from traveling and riding motorcycles. It felt great but over time I began to grow too dependent on these friends. I expected them to always be there for me and I felt my actions were becoming selfish. So I took time away from going in to distance myself from that. I had made many friends but I did things to ruin friendships. Last Christmas I remember many of my friends took me to eat for my birthday. It felt great to have people appreciate me because for so long in my life I never felt appreciated. I felt worthless and used. They took me to Cracker Barrel and we had a great breakfast that Sunday morning. Many of them had to go to work soon but they took time out of their morning for me. That’s just special. Now here we are a year later and some of those people who once took me there don’t talk to me anymore. Again because I became too dependent on them. I never figured I’d lose friends. I let my mouth talk about things I didn’t know much about and in the end I lost friends. It devastated me to the point that I felt I was right back where I was when my father died. 

Lots happened during that time that I won’t get into but I did take time away again from going in. I continued therapy more intensely and eventually I found my way back to going to this place I enjoy so much. I don’t go as often anymore so that I don’t feel like a pest and because friendships were lost and not mended. It’s just part of life and something I have to live with. This journey I’ve been on this year and over the last few has been full of regret but also happiness. I am so grateful for all of my Roadie family. The friends I’ve made and even those I’ve lost I still am grateful for and only wish them a life full of happiness. 

This journey in my life surely isn’t coming to an end. That won’t happen until I die. Im trying to find peace and happiness with my life currently. It’s still hard to go through life, holidays and everything else alone The same depression my father suffered from I am as well. I always asked the question, “if my father and I are such good, handsome men why are we forever alone?” Therapy of course made me realize that my hatred for myself, my body and my looks was the reason for me. Yet I can’t just settle for less. I have to try and improve myself. Be it my looks, health and my attitude. It’s the only way I will find confidence and happiness in myself and in life again. I’ve watched other men get the woman they desire and don’t even put forth any effort. In fact many of them treat their women like shit. Yet they got them. Here I was trying to be a Prince to every female I dated only to be thrown away. Years ago I realized that I didn’t think I wanted a relationship anymore. I figured I’d just make friends with as many people and women as  I could. If I couldn’t date them well I might as well be friends with them women. 

Im trying to put forth a new outlook on my life. Im trying to change the game for myself. Through faith, healing, fitness and friendships. I just want to become a better version of myself and that all starts with me. That starts with a new journey in this fucked up life im living. For the start of this new decade in 2020 I want to improve my well being. I want to change how I feel about myself. I want to mend my friendships with people if they’ll accept me, forgive me and give me another chance to be that good friend I once was. This isn’t a time to cry about the past its a time to give respect to the future ahead of me. My father wouldn’t want me to be sitting here crying and feeling sorry for myself. True some feelings will come and go and I’ll have bad days but I have to start loving myself and caring for myself before I can expect others to love and care for me. I’d like to say that one day someone special will come into my life that will bring me lots of joy and happiness. That person or persons doesn’t have to be a intimate partner. They can be just friends. I found many of them. I lost many of them but I hope to bring new happiness to my life. New friendships, new trips…Just new journeys. I’ll still keep traveling the world. I’ll still keep learning the German, French and Russian languages. My heart may be hurt and im still mending the sorrows I feel but one day….one day ill reach that happiness and I’ll then be able to look at myself and say, “you know im not a bad fucking guy after all!” 

If you want to change your outlook on life you have to recognize you have a problem. You have to be willing to lay it all on the line and accept change. You have to understand that not everything will go as we wish. We will gain new friends and we will lose some. People will like us and some will despise us. While I can’t change my face which I feel is horrendous I can change my attitude, health and soul. Only then will I begin to see change in myself, my body and my mind. 

This journey over the last few years has been rough. I’ve learned to never take for granted people. To never expect more of people than they’re willing to give you. I’ve learned to never turn on people. Never speak of things if you don’t know what’s truly going on. Help others and be kind to those you care about. The people in our lives we care so much for won’t always be there forever. Some are part of the chapters of our live who will come and go. Some are there forever. It’s up to us to be there for each other. Be there for your family and friends. Be the shoulder they need to cry on. Be the one who listens. Be the one who they will look up to when they feel their own lives are falling apart. You both will help each other heal. Spend the rest of your lifetime being happy and making others happy rather than feeling sad and depressed. It takes time but if you believe in yourself you will one day find that your journey will take you right where you want to be….happy and enjoying life. So for 2020 I hope you all have lives full of happiness and love and I hope to find peace and confidence in myself…..

Cheers to you all

G