A podcast about movie making and the scifi featurette, Daughter of God, with Director Shri Fugi Spilt, (Dan Kelly). Crazy.
Greetings and come on in to Episode 024 of the Daughter of Godcast, the story of the making of the scifi featurette, Daughter of God and a few other movies too.
This is Episode 024, Crazy and we’re deep into shirking Daughter of God for water and sunshine. In Episode 023, we left the 16ft Hobie catamaran Hello World anchored in familiar Traverse City after about 10 days and approximately 100 miles of open water sailing.
In Search of Sustainable Civilizations, I shot interviews at the Schooner Festival and Home Grown, a local organic eatery. I also needed to tweak the rig, and tune my ensemble of components.
I discovered that my alcohol stove demanded undrinkable denatured alcohol rather than the multi-purposed grain I had stocked up on, so I swapped for my much hotter Whisperlite white gas stove. I needed the charger for my laptop. A new paddle. And Steve’s bike was going to come too!
A dash of this and a teaspoon of that. The recipe for life, for exploring what we are. Improvising the pancakes as we go along. Making me.
I rode my narrative scifi short as far as I could. The life recipe required other ingredients. I needed the wild earth, risk, freedom, discovery, physicality. The sensibility of traveling rough.
As above so below. The adjustments to the expedition’s gear were an analog, the trip itself was an adjustment to my creative process.
Melonie sent me emails at the start and end of the the 2009 expedition.
From: melonie callaghan <melonie7@ Subject: The Dred Pirate Greenbeard Date: September 7, 2009 at 4:33:24 PM EDT To: Dan Kelly <anything@ Ahoy there, I saw your journey down the Elberta channel, first from the Cabbage Shed and then Frankfort Park. I went to a band-party for a while with the plan of ending up at the beach Saturday night but got trapped at the other party. I wonder where you are now. Everyone's talking about you, they all think you are crazy. I do too and I'm really glad for it. Everyone else is boring. Latcho drom (safe journey= Romani) xo M
From: melonie callaghan <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: You rock!!!!!!!!!!!!! Date: September 30, 2009 at 4:41:16 PM EDT To: Dan Kelly <email@example.com> I keep having dreams about the water and fish and boats, it's calling. My grandad was a seamen, as was his father before him and his also, the seamen in my blood is pulling me (that sounds really gross) Your journey is stoking my ache. I remember a time in Alaska when I never thought I'd live on land again. Boy has my life changed. When people tell me you are crazy for what you are doing, I think they are wrong, they are crazy for never doing it. How alive are you feeling? Cold, weather beaten, you know exactly where you are and what the fuck you are doing, there are no slumbering zombies on the water. No complacent entertainment-entranced bobble-headed couch-potatoes. There is a man in a very funny outfit on a tiny open raft merging with the elements, facing forward, making his own story.
According to the standards of convention, OF COURSE I was crazy. I could have died. I could have woken up, I could have shed the assumptions and paradigms that keep Americans matrixed.
I want a real country, I want a just and sustainable world, I want things that no one should dare want because, according to sane perspectives, they are impossible.
I got arrested in 2003 protesting a war, but America IS war. Way before George W’s Shock and Awe, through Obama, the hep face of empire, to 2017 and the authentic face, Trump. Welcome to the national acid trip, staring into a mirror and unable to look away. If Trumpy bothers you, maybe you are at last ready to really live.
How do we get our country back? Blaa blaa. In my lifetime of 50+ years, I’ve never had a country. The USA is ever diverging from democracy. What country do we want back exactly?
Ask first, how do I take myself back? How do I feel about me? Am I enabling a suicidal culture with self loathing? Am I too fat, too short, too numb, too white? Does my self concept suck? Am I practicing a perspective that supports a global horror show?
The first worthy action is to own myself. Back in 2003, when I got arrested, made life miserable for my parents, blew off being comprehensible, went on the road and then eventually ambled through the Palm Springs Shorts Fest. I want to movie. There was a becoming implied, I had finally taken responsibility for my experience and my authentic desires started percolating up. A sketch for a blueprint for a prototype.
We are the change we wish to see. We can’t sow anger and reap love, we can’t judge and expect justice. We are what we practice, as individuals and collectively. We are choice incarnate, the walking, talking results of our decisions. Yes, there’s been training, we’ve been schooled and acclimated and conformed to the norm, and that might be a little sticky but it’s not permanent. We rechoose.
In 2009 I am on a catamaran, my home in the open air, setting the world record for aquatic tiny houses, for gypsy wagons on the water. 36 square feet of trampoline. Going where? In circles, just like mother Earth. And the going in this very specific way is just another ingredient in the recipe for me. A going as a making. The going is the making. Crazy.
I’m having so much fun rediscovering the ondesire.com expedition blog and the movies that I want to saunter through these adventures in detail, but maybe better to scamper, stepping only on the stones most prominently poking above the stream. My plan was to do maybe 2-3 episodes for each of the two ALM expeditions. Which would get us into 2011 by mid March. Half way to the present. I’m having an intuition today about curating the content efficiently.
In episode 023, we dipped into the pragmatics of navigating a tiny boat around an inland sea. Power, food, shelter, time, distances, communication. Stretching out in various yogic postures for hours, tiller gripped with feet and thighs while blogging on a iPhone or talking into the camera. Mostly though just being. Hours of meditation. That does something to a guy.
Sailing up and out to places I’ve never been. In a way I’d never tried.
Here’s the premise of the ALM as Articulated in March of 2010
We know sustainable civilizations will show up within the next 10-15 years because if they don’t, we are doomed. Since we expect to survive, sustainable civilizations are a given. Obviously civilizations don’t just pop into existence overnight, they take time to emerge. Therefor, we should expect to find fragments and partially assembled components of sustainable civilizations scattered everywhere around the planet – right now. These artifacts of the future can be discovered and shared. We can extrapolate from them and understand what they imply. They can show us how to align ourselves with the emergence.
Around Lake Michigan is a Search for Sustainable Civilizations, or more precisely a discover of the emergent artifacts that presage sustainable civilizations. A detective story really, finding the clues that point to how we survived, how we averted apocalypse.
Establishing a deep feed with the wilds and asking every kooks who happened along if they’d seen any sustainable civilizations, those were my two main methodologies.
At the home of Jeff Gibbs, friend and advisor. Mentor even, feisty ally and occasional pain in the ass. He’s offering me a base of operations for reorganization and resupply here in Traverse City.
I’m off to the Schooner Festival to see if there is some fragment of SC there. More soon!
Back in Beulah
Caught some excellent interviews at the Schooner Festival yesterday with Tom Kelly, Master of the Inland Seas, Ray Minervinni of Grand Traverse Commons, Andy Gale from Bay Area Recycling for Charities and Tanya and Chris from Homegrown.
… and she’s surrounded by smokers (motorboats). This shot is all about the ironic contrast between sail and smoke, please ignore the sunbathers – they have nothing to do with this shot… though perhaps one might find a striking resonance between svelte female anatomy and the sleek geometry of Hello World, or notice how nicely these women would both fit on the trampoline. Other than that, lounging bikini clad hotties are not relevant to this purely documentary moment illustrating an ironic contrast between a small footprint approach and… oh, whatever.
I borrowed Jeff’s car and returned to Crystal Lake last night for some quality time with Mr Boy and to pick up a few items. Heading back to Hello World tonight. Look for a Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning departure from Traverse City.
Slow motion start
The bustling urban mileau fades ever so slowly into a haze of jet exhaust and wood smoke. Bows angling toward the arctic, I slither forward on an occasional puff of wind. 30+ miles before I can clear Grand Traverse Bay, with a bit more breeze I might make it before dark.
I’ve been at Jeff’s the first and last two nights with a visit to Crystal Lake in between to see the boy. When I wasn’t tuning the travel kit I was asking folks if they’d ever seen any sustainable civilizations. Busy 5 days.
I’ve got Steve Zilliax’s bike with me on the off chance I get to Canada and can give it back. It’s slung a little close to the waterline but I’ve since had a brainstorm for raising it up. I must be getting close to Hello World’s max cargo capacity.
Just before I left I visited a cwazy mofo whose refurbing a big cat (40ft?) for ocean travel, powered by kite. Seems like a lot of boat for one dude, he could have a rack of bikes!
Anchored at the tip of Old Mission
After clawing my way out of Grand Traverse Bay for the better part of the afternoon, I decided to turn right and check out the tip of Old Mission Peninsula for overnight potential. It looked quite picturesque with seagulls and herons decorating verdant shoals and a white lighthouse. These are of course hints about the nature of the place as regards to sailboats, the tip of Old Mission is quite shallow and rocky. I swooped around the eastern shoal and ventured into a bay that only waterbirds and catamarans dare to enter. I bumped and clunked to the beach and landed.
I didn’t much like vibe I got from the odd ducks (people) I saw pacing the beach, nor was the locale remote enough for camping. After consulting my iphone charts, (the new iphone with working GPS, yeah!), I decided to scrape and squeal back out and reconnoiter the western edge of the peninsula. I checked the western shoals on the way out, but their stony and flora entangled flanks were not ideal for pulling up a cat, though the birds seemed to dig them. Rounding them I found a very wild shore with a little island nearby, an appealing setup. It was far too shallow to land Hello World, so I opted to anchor and sleep on the trampoline, a first.
Looking north from Old Mission anchorage
The Science of Keeping Warm
Dressing to stay warm is all about slowing the transfer of heat from your body to the outside environment. Basically you’re trying to put your warm body in the best thermos possible. The process of heat transfer can be described quantitatively using the law of heat conduction: H=kAdT/dx.
In the equation above, H is the amount of heat energy per unit time that moves from your body to the outside. A is the surface area of your body. dT is the difference in temperature between your body and the outside. And dx is the distance from your skin to the outside. The final element, k* is a constant determined by the insulating material.
The k, or thermal conductivity, of water is .6. The thermal conductivity of air is .023. From this you can see that the conductivity of heat through water is (.6/.023 times) or about 26 times greater than through air.
Dry fleece is mostly trapped air and has a thermal conductivity of about .08. Cotton saturated in water is mostly water and will have a thermal conductivity close to that of water. The thermal conductivity of rubber is .2. It’s pretty easy to see that dry fleece is the way to go to maintain your body heat.
Fruit fly friendship
My bare back is covered with fruit flies, a delicious tingle like static electricity.
That’s this mornings update from the nitrogen accumulator, otherwise known as the dungomatic, TM. I’d anchored on a pretty wild beach and so was amazed to see them (feel them) in such profusion, but of course they have a life beyond humans. Aside from the surreal Groucho quip, this was my first positive fruit fly association. Another reason to get with nature – erotic encounters with wildlife.
Anchored on Old Mission Peninsula western edge, and a special moment on the dungomatic.
Old Mission to Barnes
Brisk north wind of 15 knots with gusts up to 25! Then there were the waves, crest to trough 4-5 ft at times. Sail up and over, big splash, do it again. After about 14 miles of tacking nw and ne to move 9 miles north, I was ready for a break and a rope check.
After running long vectors across the entire bay, I moved close to the east shore. The low dunes I’d spotted couldn’t be identified with the iPhone, but they looked remote and cottage free.
As I approached I picked out sunbathers. A friendly chap named Gerry helped pull up the cat and informed me that there was a campsite above the beach, $25 for powered sites or $21 for unpowered. So much for remote.
A staff member at Barnes campsite, Dillon, later told me I could stay on the beach as long as I wanted. I’ve decided to wait for the wind to slow and change direction from north to south as forecast. Plenty of nice folks here. Mark and Kathy of Onekema left me a care package.
Harvesting the sun to charge batteries and catch up on blogging.
Draining the hulls – a lot of water came out, maybe that’s why the boat seemed sluggish in the big wind.
Dinner by candlelight
The candle is optimally situated. The bowl of quinoa porridge with collard greens and button mushrooms steams in the foreground, illuminated enough so that one may design a fortunate arrangement of tasty morsels on one’s spoon. In the background, in fact wrapped around and above the cozy bowl of porridge – everywhere the bowl is not – stars. I am eating at the edge of the cosmos tonight.
Polite waves lap at the sand not more than 4 feet from my booties. It’s 10:10 or rather 22:10, 2:10 utc.
My neighbors at Barnes Park campground are snug in their pop up campers or tents, each with their own version of petrol powered Hello World parked nearby. Are we sharing the same night, or am I alone in the theater of stars, gateway to the universe?
Before bed, I visit the glistening facilities at the campground. Is this cheating?
Dark night of Charlevoix
My iPhone had a mishap, so I am recalling events from a future perspective, having lost several posts in process. Having left Barnes Park around 10:30 am with it’s sparkling toilets, I made the dash for the end of Grand Traverse Bay and then with a little luck – Beaver Island. I got an encouraging start, then stalled out coming up to Fisherman’s Island Park. The wind was so lame I started for shore, then got encouraged by robot reports of decent south wind of 6 knots or so off Traverse light. I persisted and sure enough got a good few miles under me, getting within site of the cement plant in Charlevoix. It was big and slow to pass by, in hindsight a dark omen.
With the wind blowing and my new night lights installed, I thought I could make Beaver even if I sailed into the evening hours. The forecasts were for a wind shift but then steady strong breezes that I could ride north – west or east, I can’t remember.
I started towards Beaver, putting the cement plant on my stern. It dwindled over the next few hours and off in the distance I could make out the weird shimmering phantasms that islands manifest when viewed from 15 miles away. I could see Beaver and so could use both the compass and a visual fix to navigate. Airplanes from Charlevoix flew back and forth on the Beaver run every hour or so, helping to point the way. Then 5 miles or so from Charlevoix, the wind shift began to feel more and more like wind dying. At about 7:30 pm I made the call, turn back, turn back! Becalmed in shipping lanes, with a frost advisory – not a good situation. I spun around and watched the sun drop for another hour as I fitfully creeped back toward that awful cement plant.
A rip roaring sunset with pink beams streaking across the dome of the sky. Hello World going slower, slower… stopped. It’s dusk and I’m paddling for some friendly looking dunes to the west of town about 2-3 miles away. After some confusion, my iPhone charts tell the story, the cement plant is the closest landfall. Now the ominous factor increases – didn’t Jeff mention that there was a nuclear plant up around these parts? Is that actually a nuclear power plant, are those domes containment vessels? Wouldn’t a nuclear power plant look more slick? What is homeland security going to think about a radical with an FBI record paddling a backpack ladened sailboat up to a nuclear power plant in the dead of night?
A boat approaches, cautiously. They come around in a long slow parabola, obviously casing me. Probably doing a night vision scan for weapons of mass destruction, expecting twin hulls filled with thermite or rocket launchers disguised as tripods. Whoever they are I feel unreasonably embarrassed to be naked, windless. A rakish sailboat shorn of all grace and speed, having no good reason to be out fumbling around in the deepening twilight. No I don’t want a tow, probably.
Off my stern, still a good 100 feet away, the pilot leans away from the wheel and asks,
Relieved and slightly sheepish I reply,
“Yeah, just waiting for some wind.”
No more questions or offers of help, he just motors off, as politely as he approached. He didn’t offer a tow. Stubborn and totally screwed to the last, that’s me.
Around 9:30 pm, a wind arrives, bringing me in, drawing me towards – the ominous complex. My destiny is to sleep next to this mighty grumbling monster, whatever it is. I drive in towards the lights of town tacking experimentally to see if I can somehow make those dunes. Nope, there’s no escape. On the last tack, I’m driving in to heaven knows what, a couple hundred yards or so from concrete towers and domes. Suddenly bumping on shallow rocks, I dive for the rudder release, the boat slews around while I’m busy and then there are huge rocks, dead ahead. I spin the boat around and away from collision more by force of will than anything, and we run gently aground. It’s not a beach, just big rocks guarding a marsh. A condo or commercial building with a few lit windows broods over the scene. The only option is to anchor and get into my sleeping bags and quick, it’s damn cold. I’ll never get the wetsuit off in time to pee, so I just let go right there. Baptism. I vow to rinse it and me before getting into dry cloths. I jump off and drag the boat into deeper waters for anchor. The water feels toasty, a bad sign. The temperature of my extremities must be below the water temperature, 65F or so? Gotta move quick and get warm. Wish I had read Gretchen’s post about this very topic instead of just scanning it. What follows is a series of tedious but essential boat shut down procedures, executed mostly in the dark and talking to myself encouragingly the whole time.
Finally – sails down and stowed and me on up the trampoline rinsed, dressed and ready to shut down. I get in the sleeping bags slightly damp from yesterdays dew and strip off my socks and bottoms. I have the over confident notion that I’ll keep them in the bag and dry them with my body heat, but nix that after my stone frozen feet make it clear that I’ve got to focus all my body heat on me. I close the bags’ drawskins until there’s only a snorkle opening for oxygen. It’s 11:00 pm. I drift off to the hum of american industry.
An Island called Beaver
There are disasters, problems and blessings. Any life worth living is an admixture of these. So much life in a couple of days.
First my current position. At a power enabled table in Danny Donegals Pub, Beaver Island, sipping a Oberon Beaver style, with a slice of orange. Short on paper money I am trying to stretch my $10 minimum so I can sit here for a couple of hours to charge batteries and copy memory cards. Started with an O’Hara’s Stout so I really don’t need another beer, but it’s a sacrifice I’ve got to make for the good of the project. Pam the bartender has got to be here until midnight so I coaxed her to switch off the hokey dance contest on TV and put on some music she likes – Tom Petty. She’s cleaning up and I’m making this movie.
I busted out of the anchor at Charlevoix at 8:30 am. The skipper of Pool Party yelled out as I passed,
“Where ya headed?”
“The U… P…” I shouted back.
He put his hand to his ear and I shouted again, but then one of his fishing lines tugged and he was no longer interested in my answer. The reason he didn’t hear me was because my answer was silly, I wasn’t headed for the the UP that morning, I was going for Beaver Island. I left him and grumbling cement plant behind me. It’s owned by the Brazilians I’ve since found out.
Looking back at the compass, I noticed the needle had fallen off it’s pivot and the entire bezel was gone. This is the same bezel that had been frozen in place at the start of the trip. It would have taken some serious force to pop that bezel off, so there must have been a minor explosion from internal pressure, perhaps due to the dramatic temperature changes – from this morning’s 40 degree chill to the warmth of direct sunlight. There was a strong chemical smell from whatever liquid had been in there. I stuffed the remains into the pack. I’d have to rely on the new GPS enabled iPhone now.
I skated north on southish winds for the better part of the day, coming in site of Beaver and watching her resolve from dark blobs into an actual island. The wind reports called for the blow to fade around 1:00 pm, so rather than take a lazy northerly course straight to the island, I decided to make faster vectors to the NE and NW to get close quickly. If I could get within a couple of miles of the island before the wind puttered out, I was probably good.
I made it to the southern tip and proceeded up the east coast by about 2:00 pm. The wind was indeed changing but I was within 1000 ft of shore, so I decided to anchor and take a swim. It was a perfect sandy bottom at about 30 feet of depth. The sun was shining and the water brisk, lovely. There were a couple of cottages visible on the beach with long stretches of sand between them. Why not land and reconnoiter?
The shore was unusual – polished gravel shoals or jettys running parallel to shore, sheltering deeper pools that lapped sandy beaches. The ducks and gulls watched with increasing annoyance as I approached their spots.
I pulled up Hello World and explored. There were many signs of thriving wildlife and bright orange ribbons tied to trees as if marking a trail – the juxtaposition was kinda depressing. I followed the ribbons and came to Donna’s Place, an empty cottage often rented, judging by the sign on the door. I headed back to the boat and made ready to launch, firing up the poopinator and debating my next move. Farther north was St James Bay and likely a decent cell signal. That seemed the best course of action.
I pushed off and moved north on an easy south wind. Sure enough, a big cell tower showed up just before St James Bay. I surprised Gretchen and then my parents by calling and reporting my location. I could imagine Gretchen telling her husband James – “Dan Kelly’s on Beaver Island!” This is the same James who bet me a dollar I couldn’t start an engine with the power of my mind. He also scared the dickens out of my dad by ranting on about how dangerous the big lake was just before I launched. Of course it’s dangerous, but my dad is already shitting bricks, he doesn’t need the husband of my producer getting him even more wound up. Actually, maybe it was good for him. It certainly made for a sweet moment – lightly tossing off my arrival at Beaver to my parents and thinking about how that might further open James to the possibilities of the universe. Gotta pay him back for all the awesome saunas he hosts!
At around 5:00pm I nosed into the bay and found the public beach just where Gretchen said it would be. My approach felt like some kind of necromancy, a perfect curving course right up to the beach that required no tacking. I was greeted by Jim, local grocery store owner. We chatted for a bit and he handed me a beer. My kind of place, Beaver Island. I asked the locals about camping under Hello World. “It’s probably illegal but no one will bother you,” was the response. Awesome.
That evening I called Gretchen’s people to schedule interviews. I ate a greasy double dinner at the Shamrock and told the Hungarian waitress that I loved her – in her native tongue. I was just kidding, I didn’t really love her but that’s the only phrase my grandmother was able to pass on to me. She was startled, the waitress that is. Afterwards we both fell back into our respective roles and nothing much else happened. I had friendly conversations with my table neighbors, charged batteries and copied files.
Continued on Episode 025.
You’ve been listening to Episode 024 Crazy, and Daughter of Godcast. We’ve traveled beyond the known and smack into the exhilaration zone, gathering artifacts of sustainable civilizations along the way and becoming more than ever.
So psyched you’ve decided to be another reason to remember. As always, I invite your applause, raspberries and catcalls because you’re clearly one of the cool people – since you’re still listening to me after 24 weeks – and I only want to be famous among cool people. Let us all celebrate as the evolved, the experimental, the visionary, the fun loving. We rock. This is the podcast for any one who chooses to rock, to shine, to be both mortal and divine. also coincidentally, to rhyme.