Saturday, June 11, 2011


Since I've been home, I've been doing a lot of things, mostly looking for work. But another big thing is learning about my own ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder.¹

I've known that I've had it since I was in 11th grade, but this past New Year's Day I happened to catch a documentary on it on PBS. It was fairly bizarre how closely it described me. I bought one of the books that they recommended, and it's been like my personal instruction manual. I don't think most people have it this easy when it comes to self-discovery.

But anyhow, one of the questions that has bugged me since just after I came home was: What will my next adventure be? Something in Hawaii? New York or LA? Juneau, Alaska which I'd presumably get through the family friend that works in the industry up there? Maybe even another overseas adventure. Will I ever have another adventure, or will I just settle into a nice job with a small production company in Charlotte or Greensboro and never look back?

Welp, now I have my answer. After more than six months at home, I'm about to start my next adventure: Teaching Video Arts to kids with ADD and other disorders at a summer camp in another state. Everyone who has been their loves it.

In some weird ways, it already sounds like the Rock. It has a very international staff, so once again I'm going to be surrounded by people from the United States, Australia, the UK, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, New Zealand, Canada & Ireland. It's also out in (a very different definition of) the middle of nowhere.

As such, I'm doing a lot of the same things to prepare for this that I did just before I left for the island (or returned there, in the case of my trip home a year ago). I went to the dentist and the doctor while I had the chance. I'm renewing my car's registration while I'm here to do it. I'm getting new clothes, because it's easier to do that here than there.

Unfortunately, my time at camp won't really be bloggable. I'll be awfully busy and won't be around computers very often, and my own laptop will probably be in storage with the video equipment, away from where I'll be sleeping.

I was hoping to finish up writing about my time in Samoa (where I left off I was about four days from when I left), but it looks like I'll have to take a break for now. I hope to stick in some kind of random updates over the summer when I get the chance. There's at least one more commercial that I made that needs to be posted here, and there's a few more Samoa-related links that I'd like to post. I should be back in September. Think of this as a show in between seasons.

Except that this show has never taken a break for much more than about a month, and this one will take a way bigger one and then suddenly end. So maybe something more like LOST.

What I'll do after camp, I still don't know. I'd really like to go to Hollywood and work with several of my friends in the heart of my industry. And in just the last few days I've been talking with someone from a major cruise line. We'll know in the future. Until then, stay tuned!

¹What, you though all of these footnotes (and excessive parentheticals) were normal?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grand Samoan Adventure Grand Finale Part 3: New Heights

Welp, the taxi driver got his rainwater, put it in the engine, filled up his bottle again and we continued onward. Next stop was Falealupo Rainforest Preserve, a...get this...rainforest preserve (!) in the northeast corner of the island, rather close to the edge of the settled world.

From the 2003 version of the map that I had with me. Click if you need to see the vast majority of it for some reason.

The highlight of the preserve is a rainforest canopy walkway. It's a swinging metal bridge 40 meters (131 feet and some change, for those of you with good taste in measurements) above the ground. And it was still very wet and slippery that day. So of course, I had to try it.

The taxi driver elected to stay behind in the parking lot. I paid my $20T and followed the guide, who was about my age and spoke about 40% English, to my doom the metal tower that with the stairs that lead up to the bridge.

"Hey, uh, how high is this bridge?" I asked.

"Oh, very high." The guide responded casually.

"Um, has anyone ever fallen off of it?"

"Oh, yes." He replied casually.

"Really?! Did they die?"

"Yes." I couldn't tell if he understood me or was just answering everything in the affirmative because he didn't know what I was saying. But we were there now. I tried to tell myself that it was too late to chicken out now, and tried not think about how this would be a terrible place to die, and how far away the nearest hospital must be.

"We go up, then across then up, then up." said the guide, motioning an awful lot. I didn't understand. Were there two bridges? Was one much higher than the other? I pretended I understood, figuring that I wouldn't know what he just said if even he said it another dozen times.

I began my ascent. The metal tower at the beginning, constructed only about a year ago to replace a rotten banyan tree that previously held the steps leading up, was slippery but climbable. I held onto its one railing for dear life and tried not to look down.


We had reached to top, and now I was face-to-face with the bridge. It looked...incredibly safe. Giant nets on either side. No way you could fall off of that thing. I felt a lot safer.

The guide obviously felt very safe.

We posed for a bunch of pictures, then when we started walking across, I realized what kind of bridge I was walking on. The guide made me go first, which was totally not nervewracking or anything.

Ah yes, the classic "boards lying on top of ladders, suspended by cables."

It was wobbily but cool, as long as you watched your step and didn't have a foot go through one of those foot-sized gaps. I got to the other side without a problem, and the guide soon followed. It had actually been a lot of fun. We continued upward, this time up a long series of very steep wooden steps that wrapped around an enormous tree. We arrived at the top, and I do mean the top, to a view above the rainforest canopy.

It was a magnificent view, despite the cloudy weather. You could see miles of canopy in one direction, and the ocean in the other. And if you looked straight down, you could see how the canopy was so thick that the ground was barely even visible. I was glad to see that there wasn't a second bridge after all.

Check out how far above the bridge this platform was. If the bridge was 131.23 feet, and the platform was this much higher, then you should do the math if you just have to have an exact figure, because I don't.

In scientific circles, this is referred to as "really high up."

After a whole lot of pictures and laughing and carrying on, we headed back down. This time, we followed the steps around the tree all the way to the ground. And they were as steep and slippery as ever.

I was glad to be back on the ground. Very glad.