Sunday, April 29, 2007

Greetings from NOLA

Good lord it has been forever since I’ve blogged. My bad. It seems I haven’t thought much about blogging this past week. I usually blog as mainly a way to keep friends and family updated on what I’m doing and where I’m going. But see, many of my friends and family were here with me in New Orleans. So it seemed silly to write a blog when I could just tell them to their face what I’m up to and where I’m going. Chances were they were up and going to the same things.

So we are in New Orleans trying to save the world. And eat as much food as humanly possible. The eating takes a long time, you know. And then there is the digestion and the plotting of the next meal. This too has left little time for blogging. I know you understand.

It’s been great to be back here in New Orleans and to be here with so many of my friends and family who came out to build and play. And eat. It’s been a wonderful way to end these past couple of months and a great way to sorta refuel after the draining effects of doing a book tour for 8 weeks. The book tour already feels like a distant memory and I’m glad to have washed it away with some good stuff here in New Orleans. Good people, good work, good food, great drink specials. And so on.

We are having a lovely time here and I am glad that a bunch of people in my group got to come out and see for themselves what is going on out here. It is nearly impossible to comprehend until you come here and see it with your eyes. A New Orleans resident said to me today, “We don’t have post-traumatic stress, because we are still in the trauma.”

I will be back here again, many times in the years to come. I’ve fallen in love with this city. Even in its weakened state it still has a hell of a lot to offer, and I think its people are probably some of the few in this country that would be able to fight back from this. They’ve got fight these folks. But they need other people to fight for them too. I hope to be one of those people for many years.

We will be here for a few more days, then it will be time to pack my suitcase one more time, get on one more airplane, and go home. My sweet home. With its wonderful couch and big screen TV. It’s waiting for me. I hope it remembers me. I know I remember it. Quite fondly actually.

Here is a video of our experience with a travel guide book:

Sunday, April 22, 2007


We have finally made it to New Orleans. My good lord did it take us awhile. Next time, by the way, I think I’ll just head straight to Louisiana. I don’t know if this state is looking especially nice because it is the last one I’ll have to see before I go home, or if I really do love Louisiana. Probably a little of both. There is something unique here. The combination of New Orleans and the area outside of New Orleans. They are two entirely different places, with totally different people. And yet they aren’t that far away from each other. I like both places. I like both people.

We went and saw a play today. It is called Rising Water. I read about it in the paper yesterday and we went and checked it out today. On Sundays the playwright comes to the play and has a Q&A session with the audience after the show is over. This is heaven for me. The creator of art, sitting right there, telling you how and why they created.

It’s a play about the floods, about two people who are waken in the night by rising water in their home. They don’t know where the water is coming from and why it is coming so fast. Katrina has passed, it had missed the city really. Why are they having to sit in their attic to avoid the amount of water that is rising in their house? It’s a great play, only two actors on stage for 2 hours. The dialogue flows and the story is told and you get a teeny tiny glimpse into what it must have been like. To have the levees break. To have your city under water, and to have no idea why.

The Q&A session was more like a dialogue itself. Many of the people in the audience were New Orleans residents. They had their own stories to tell. Mostly they said, “No one in the rest of the country knows what happened here. They just don’t get it.”

And we don’t.

It’s impossible to describe to people what happened here. That is wasn’t Katrina that flooded New Orleans, it was the failed levee system. A system similar to ones in cities throughout the country. And then after the levees failed, everything else failed as well. The stories you hear from people here, they make you wonder why there aren’t riots in the streets. And they make you understand why the suicide rate is 3 times the national average here.

My group of volunteers is going on a tour of the devastated areas on Thursday. It’s a two and a half hour tour. During that time we will not repeat anything. And we will probably still not see all the damage that was done.

The scope.

That is what we in the rest of the country don’t understand. An entire city wiped off the map. That doesn’t seem possible, so we can’t quite grasp it. But it is possible.

The French Quarter is still open for business, tourists still wander the streets, beer and food is still flowing from the bars and restaurants. So everything must be okay, right? Go 5 miles away from the French Quarter and you will see that no, it is not okay. And you will feel very strongly that it is so not okay how not okay this place is a year and a fucking half after the levees broke.

The playwright, John Biguenet, told a story today at the Q&A session. He said that Americans can’t wrap their heads around what has happened here but that the Europeans he’s met seem to understand. Because they’ve had whole cities destroyed before. There was a man from Germany who said that he understood what New Orleans was going through because Germany had been wiped out as well. He then said that New Orleans should take solace in how Germany rebuilt and rose out of its destruction. To this Mr. Biguenet replied, “Yes, but you had the United States helping you rebuild.”

I saw a bumper sticker recently that said, “If you’re not completely appalled, then you haven’t been paying attention.”

Pay attention.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

Driving Lessons

Sherry let me drive the RV the other day. Lord help me. And everyone else on the freeway. Thank the same lord that there weren’t very many of his people on the freeway, because I was taking up most of the freeway with my driving. I don’t know where anyone else would have fit.

See, the thing is, I’m used to driving a CRV. CRV’s are very tiny. RV’s, towing pickup trucks? Not so tiny. Wow. Talk about nerve-wracking. One would think that Sherry’s nerves might have been a little wracked, but no. A nice afternoon cocktail took care of her nerves. If only I could have had a few cocktails, because my nerves were a wreck.

I got us to our destination without causing harm to us or anyone else. To me that is a job well done. We won’t discuss how many lanes I needed to take up at one time, those details are unimportant. What is important is that people realize that it is not easy to navigate such a large automobile/home and therefore they need to just, “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY ” Ahem. It’s kinda difficult to brake when you are going 70 in a house on wheels. Make note of that wouldja?

Next time you see a motor home in your rearview mirror, just pull over and let them pass. You never know who might be behind the wheel. And you never know if the only person really qualified to drive the home on wheels is in the back mixing a cocktail.

I’m here to inform.

Here is a video of my driving adventure. It’s like a Driver’s Ed video gone terribly wrong.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


We’s in Texas ya’ll.

I got my cowboy hat on and I’m ready to rock this state.

We lost two hours getting here.

We haven’t really had to be anywhere at any time the last couple of days so time isn’t all that important. But it’s still a funny thing, “What time is it?” “3, 4 or 5 o’clock, I’m not sure where we are exactly.”

Tomorrow we head to Austin and then to Houston. Then we will vote republican and perhaps buy a gun. Isn’t that what people do here. Hey! Did someone die? The flags are all at half mast. (Is it half mast or half massed? Dunno.) I always hate when I see flags at half mast, because it makes me sad and a little confused. I figure someone must have died, so I should be sad, but I’m not really sure who died, so maybe if I knew I wouldn’t have strong feelings either way. Basically flags at half mast sorta confuse me emotionally, I don’t know how to appropriately react. Hell, maybe they are still at half mast for that Ford guy that died. They were at half mast for weeks after he died. Every time I saw one I thought someone new had died, but no.

And speaking of presidents, I’ve been told that Lady Bird Johnson was big into the beautification of Texas highways. Is this true? Apparently she was all about making the highways pretty. Really? Can this really be true? That a First Lady of the friggin’ United States of America decided to spend her time and energy and influence and power on planting flowers along the highway? EVERY flower we’ve seen along the highway Sherry points at and says, “Lady Bird did that.” What a phenomenal legacy...

Tonight it was all of a sudden 10 o’clock and we hadn’t eaten dinner. We had big dreams of a real dinner that wasn’t eaten in the motor home, but alas our dreams were not quite answered when the only thing open was Sonic. See, the thing with Sonic is that they have really good commercials that really make me want to go to Sonic. But the bastards haven’t actually BUILT a Sonic near me. They just run ads. They did put up a sign near my house like three years ago. It says “Coming Soon”. It is lying. So I have this kinda idealized notion of what Sonic is. I’ve seen the great commercials with great looking burgers and fries and tasty treats aplenty. Yeah. So we went to Sonic tonight and well, they should stick with making commercials because they seem to be pretty good at that and I don’t think they have any hope of their cooking ever being good. Edwin actually said, “Well, the Coke is okay.” God love him and his search for the bright side.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007

Skywalk, Part 2

Here’s the thing: The Sky Walk is a rip-off. Tell everyone you know. Tell them to avoid the Sky Walk and go to some other part of the huge, wonderful Grand Canyon.

The Sky Walk costs $25. BUT you can’t just go on the Sky Walk. The Sky Walk is only available as an add-on to another one of the tour packages they have available. The cheapest tour package you can get is $50. So then. You have to add on the Sky Walk for another $25. This brings us up to $75 for the joy of walking on a glass thing that is really beyond lame.

What does the rest of the tour include? Well, a bus ride. That was fun. It was 5 minutes. Then an All You Can Eat Buffett. We have a suggestion, perhaps All You Can Stand Buffett might be a better name. Truth in advertising and all that. Oh and speaking of which, here is the “artist rendering” of the skywalk:

Ooooo, ahhhhh.

Now, I present you, my experience in how the Native Americans intend to screw over the country that did them so wrong. Also, please notice my cute pink hat I have added to my travel ensemble. I bought it at a running store in LA. Quite aerodynamic, yes? Texas is going to LOVE me.

Oh, and the video is pretty long, so I recommend pushing play, then pause and letting it load all the way to the end before you try watching it, it will play better that way. You wouldn't want to miss a moment of this thing.

Sky Walk Sucks

Do not go to the Sky Walk Glass Thingy at the Grand Canyon. Please. For your sake and for the sake of the Indians on the reservation there. Because, the thing is, if people keep going there and keep getting totally screwed by being made to pay $75 a person to walk on what turns out to be a really lame glass thing that doesn’t really extend that far out over the canyon, well then, bad things are going to start happening to the Native Americans on that reservation. I’m not saying I’m a violent person, but I am saying that if you drive down a bumpy dirt road for 20 miles (after already having gone hours out of your way to come see the wonder) then you are made to pay $75 for the privilege of walking around the Grand Canyon, well, uh, things could get really un-grand real quick. Is all I’m saying.

The thing is ridiculous. It looks absolutely nothing like the artist rendering that lured us to what we believed would be an awesome abundance of nature’s beauty and enormity. But no. All it turned to be was a brilliant display of how people will always try to do something to get more money out of other people, as well as a fantabulous representation of how those people who are made to pay are then treated as though they are inconveniencing the entire Native American population by merely wanting to see some of this promised wonder and beauty.

I have made a lovely video documenting our waste of $200 and several hours of our time. Unfortunately I have very slow internet because we are in the middle of nowhere. So the video is loading at a speed that may make it available for viewing sometime next Fall. Stay tuned for that.

We also went to Vegas this weekend and spent a little time on the strip. We went and saw the Cirque show LOVE, the one that is with all the Beatles songs. Have you guys seen the Cirque shows on Bravo? Where they have all those people performing amazing acrobatic acts as well as overall astounding physical tests? I have. So I keep going to these Cirque shows expecting to see people doing a bunch of awe-inspiring acrobatics. And, somehow, these shows keep forgetting that they are a Cirque show and perhaps should throw in someone balancing on someone else’s head or something. Work with me here.

I did enjoy the Beatles music, and visually the show was amazing. So overall it was a good way to spend a Saturday night. Another good thing about the night was that I won $10 in the casino while we were waiting for the show. I played nickel slots and kept winning random-ass things. I was up to quite a few credits, but I wasn’t really sure how much money those credits translated to, so I just kept playing. Who knows how much I won or lost, or why I won or lost it for that matter. Who understands nickel slots really? You just push the button and wait to see if you won. There are lines everywhere with random ass pictures popping up and animated things making noise and singing songs. Man I love nickel slots. “I won! I got four buoys and a crab cage!”

So that was my weekend. I also did a couple morning shows and a book thing. Nothing too exciting there. I’m sure TONS of people were gathered around the morning show on Easter morning watching me talk about carbo-loading. I probably sold at least 20,000 books....

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Dog for April

Okay, well, some of these costumes aren’t as entertaining as others. I’ll give you that. But you try to come up with 12 costumes for a ceramic dog (no really, do that, I’ll use them next year.)

Apparently we were going for an “April showers brings May flowers” thing with this. It seems a bit weird to see the dog in a rain outfit, seeing as though it almost feels summer-y here. But I am not the one who invented the saying “April showers” so don’t blame me that it doesn’t really make sense.

In other news I am once again leaving my happy home and taking to the open road tomorrow. I am not so happy to be leaving my home. I ready to be home for good, and I still have another month. Ugh.

The good news about this leg is that it involves this:

A home on wheels! Yay! This thing actually opens out in the middle when it is stopped, which actually makes it about as big as my condo. AND it has two TV’s. Yay home on wheels!

My friend Sherry has agreed to spend the next few weeks on the Dawn Is Trying to Convince You to Buy Her Book Tour. She’s a great sport and a great friend to offer her home on wheels to my dreams on wheels. It’s all very Road Rules of us. Maybe we’ll stop every once and awhile and do a random physical challenge just like they used to do on MTV’s version. Could happen.

See ya on the road kids...


The REI things are going surprisingly well. Fun fact: I can BS for really any length of time, as it turns out. Well, I don’t really think of it as BS-ing, I just think of it as thinking on my feet. I’ve just gone in there the past couple of nights, taken a seat and started talking about marathon training. I mean really. I wrote 200 friggin pages about it, the least I can do it rambling on about it for an hour or so. The only problem seems to be that I don’t have much of a set outline of what I’m going to say, so tonight I kept hesitating on things, because I didn’t know if I had already said those things tonight, or was that last night? Geez, this is probably why people write things down and formulate thoughts before they give seminars on running. Maybe I’ll formulate thoughts on the next book tour. Or maybe I’ll formulate thoughts before the book tour and as a result will decide not to actually go on a book tour.

Lot’s of stuff has happened between blogs, and since I’m not blogging as often as usual I feel like some stuff is going unreported here in the blogworld. For that I am ever so sorry. For instance, it’s April something or other now and we still don’t have an updated picture of my mom’s ceramic dog. Things are falling apart here. You know, one of my friends suggested that I make a myspace page for the dog. I think I just might. His pictures are much better than half of the people on myspace. And he’s wearing more clothes in his pictures. (The dog, not my friend)

Last night on my way back from Seminar de Dawn I had to stop at YET ANOTHER TOLL BOOTH. Seriously. I am beginning to harbor a resentment towards tollbooths that is bordering on homicidal. Last night I came very close to hopping that border. It’s late at night. I have no cash. I see a sign saying there is a tollbooth coming up. There is no sign for an exit where I might be able to go get money. I get to the tollbooth. I have no money I say, can you send me a bill or something? The man says that the bill will be $29 if I can’t pay. This is when I started taking very big steps towards the border. I said maybe I had the $4 (and by the way - $4 for a FRIGGIN’ TOLL?!!!! Please someone do the math on how much @##%^&#$!@#$!#$ money these tollbooths are bringing in. Perhaps maybe we could set up a tollbooth to help fund things like education and health care for the poor, instead of just potholes.) in change, could I just pull to the side so the other people could go while I counted my change? He said no, the people would have to wait. I did not have $4 in change, so he took down my license number and will be sending me a bill that charges me over 900% interest because I am one of the millions of people in this country who operate almost exclusively on plastic, not cash. Do you think I could have sued the tollbooth company if I was attacked and mugged while going to get cash in the middle of the night in order to pay their ridiculous toll? Ooooooooooohhhhhh, I am not a happy driver. I will be sending this ticket back with a very strongly worded letter and a $5 bill. I am willing to pay 25% interest. That to me seems fair. If you can consider paying to driving a FREEway fair to begin with.

In other news I made a short video of two videos from Southern California. The first is a little sushi place in San Diego. It’s got flat screens all over the place, playing the most random stuff. The second was a huge bomb-looking fire in Hollywood. Big stuff, captured on film for you...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


It has been ever so long since I’ve written. My bad. Turns out the whole sick/traveling/book crap/still doing real work stuff combines to leave very little time for things like real thoughts and/or blogging. I am ever so sorry that you have not had up-to-the-minute blogs from Camp Dawn. I’ll do my best to keep that from happening again. We’ll see how it goes.

I am once again back home. And I am once again very happy about that. Let’s not get into the scheduling genius that keeps leading me back home, shall we? I fear it may lead to discussions of other very intelligent people and things that have marked this little tour of mine. Instead lets focus on some other things.

One thing is that my Blackberry just randomly decided to change times on Sunday morning, springing forward and all that. My modern, technologically advance little Blackberry. Didn’t get the memo that we already sprung forward a few weeks ago. This left me up an hour early on Sunday. An hour earlier than the ridiculous 5 a.m. time I was supposed to be up for a 5k thing I was going to.

I’m running around my cousin’s house getting ready, when she looks up from her bed and says, “What time are we supposed to leave?” I say, “Now!” She says, “It’s 4:30.". I say, “No, it’s 5:30." She says, “No my clock says it’s 4:30.” Me, “Mine says it’s 5:30." Her, “Your clock is high.” Me, “Maybe your clock is high.” Her “gets out of bed and goes to find tie-breaking clock in the living room, points to it” “That is the clock from the cable company, it’s right, yours is high, I’m going back to bed.”

Funny thing is, at 4 or 5 a.m. it is just basically “early as hell” a.m. - so that one hour didn’t make a lot of difference.

Last night I flew home and got home at about midnight-ish. I’d been up (minus a nap) since about 4. But when I saw my TV is was hit with my 8th wind. I was up till 5 catching up on my shows. Man do I love TV.

Another thing: Tomorrow. And then Wednesday and Thursday as well. Could be very interesting. I am to speak at three REI’s. Do they have REI’s everywhere? They are like outdoorsy stores. Not in like a fish and game sort of way, but more in a climb a mountain, sleep under the stars sort of way. I guess. So I am to speak at these stores. I am to inform people how to train for their first marathon. Cause you know, I wrote a sarcastic book about running. Hmmm. This has the potential to go very poorly. Very quickly. Well, actually, very longly. Cause this talking? It’s supposed to take awhile. Marathons are 26 miles, so I guess they require a lot of time to talk about them. Oy.

The REI Lady said to me, “You will start at 7pm, we’d really like for you to wrap it up by 8:30, so you have time to sign books.” Riiiighty-o. Do you know that an hour an a half is the average length of most movies? Feature length films? The ones that take years to write and produce and edit and present? Those very ones. And I’m supposed to stand up in front of people and talk or whatever for the equivalent of a whole movie? How the? What the? Oh! Maybe I’ll just PLAY a movie! That is a brilliant idea. Quick, what’s a good running movie? Chariots of Fire, right? I’ll put the song on a loop while I talk. There were also those two about that Prefontane (sp?) guy. He dies at the end of both though, so I don’t know if that is the best message to send to people. But then again, the movies are dramas, so they are probably 2 hours long, he is probably just in the height of his second act glory at an hour and a half, so that might work.

You know what is really funny in a not so funny sort of way? I really have no idea what I’m going to talk about for an hour an a half. Let’s hope they have a lot of questions. And perhaps a VCR.