Blue Highways + Last Exit To Elsewhere

I haven't read Blue Highways: A Journey Into America. Clearly though, I better. It's a book written by William Least Heat-Moon in 1982 which chronicles his late '70s roadtrip across America.

For a taste of it, we've got this damn fine video called Last Exit To Elsewhere. It features VO taken from the book, paired with footage filmmaker Dan Sadgrove shot while on a recent 5,000 mile road trip of his own. 

The tone, of both the VO and the visuals, are entirely different than your typical roadtrip video. The piece doesn't culminate with tight tan bodies leaping from cliffs into the sea. There's no final call to action. There's no Go For It Bro! There's just this tone, throughout. Of searching and sadness too. 

The video culminates with a realization: "I still dream... but I'm not restless anymore." Is it wisdom? Surrender? A bit of both I suppose. I've come to the same understanding myself after extended time on the road.

I imagine one of these times the feeling might stick for me. But not quite yet.

Morgan Maassen made a fine to-do list for you

Don't have your summer plans ironed out yet? Nothing nailed down for this weekend?

Fear not my indecisive one, photographer and filmmaker Morgan Maassen has about 4,000 ideas for you and he's compiled them all into one absolutely gorgeous video called "Motion."

I suppose "Things You Can Do If You're Bored" wasn't his intention when he put this together. But if watching it doesn't make you want to get out and do something (like right now!) I don't even know what to say to you.

Anyway, check it. The footage and the edit are fire and the music track by Kelpe drives it all perfectly. This kid is really really good. At 25, he's already shot for some of the biggest companies in the world. His work doesn't feel that way though which is about the highest compliment I can give.  

He's a good follow on Instagram too: here.

Goats and limes and oysters oh my!

A friend I haven't seen for quite a while recently stumbled across Bring Limes. 

She sent me a nice note in which, among other things, she mentioned that she's reached a bit of a personal plateau. After kicking some serious ass in the corporate world over the years, she's wondering what's next.

Now, she tells me, she's working on a plan to become a goat farmer. Of course, the fact that I've felt the same farming urge, only with limes, shouldn't come as a surprise. But I feel a lot of urges. All the time. In fact there's stuff careening through my head right now that I won't even remember in... wait, what was my point? Heh.

My friend though? It seems she's serious. And I hope she figures it out. First of all because goats are awesome, even with their freaky-ass eyeballs. But more important I can't think of too many things that provide connection to, and meaning for, our lives on planet earth the way farming does. 

This video is a great example of that. If you like farming or oysters or the sea or incredible french guy voices, I bet you'll like it.

Our life is determined by the tides and the sea. Which is good because we can’t just make something up. The wind and the sea are unchangeable. You don’t mess with it. You don’t cheat with it. So it’s very important to us.

Being There > Being Away

This past week had me on both coasts.

I was within yards of each ocean, to the east and the west, but never got the chance to touch either one. From my hotel window in Asbury Park, New Jersey, I could see a tiny sliver of the sea. And then 48 hours later: a strip of bright white turbulence, lit by the moon, along the Pacific Coast Highway. Just a quick glimpse from the driver's seat at 60 miles per hour before the 10 took us inland.

They were business trips both: a presentation in New Jersey followed by a photo shoot in LA. The presentation was well received and the shoot, despite a huge celebrity and 50 or 60 people on set, went off without a hitch. So: mission(s) accomplished. I made my way through the airport Sunday evening feeling exhausted but, you know, pretty good. 

One thing I wasn't feeling though is that I had actually been in either place. Yes, I had been away from home. There were planes, trains, and automobiles. I have receipts. But I never really had a moment, or more accurately: I never took a moment to be where I was. 

I was thinking about this last night. And then this morning I came across this video. The filmmaker, Andrew Norton, and his wife (who sounds as cute as a bug!), serve up a great reminder of what it's like to truly be in a place. To be affected by it. Sometimes it's epic in scale. Other times, small and simple. If you don't open yourself up to it, though, you're going to miss your chance for either.

I do realize he was in the Galapagos and I was in Jersey. So I'm not going to beat myself up over it too much. But my point holds. 


Those of you that know me know this: Johnny don't surf.

Not that I haven't. And not that I won't again (hopefully soon, I love it). It's just that in my neck of the woods, the only rideable waves are called "wakes."  And the closest we get to surf's up is "snow's down." 

So why am I diving into another surfy post? Because this: Surfers make the best videos. That's just how it is. Or at least they make the most soulful ones.

Trust me, I've at least dabbled in pretty much every solo sport there is: winter, summer, action, silent, hook, bullet, esoteric-stuff-that-white-guys-with-dreadlocks do, you name it.

The point is, my interests tend to careen. And with each new obsession comes hours of youtube time. So it's with absolute certainty that I say no one draws the connections between who they are, and what they do, as well as surfers do. 

The short film "Out of the Black and Into The Blue" is no exception. Of course, the surf footage is spectacular: Ridiculous sets – the likes of which I've never seen. And ridiculous rides – the likes of which I can only imagine in my wildest Spicoli dreams... right before me and Mick wing over to London to jam with the Stones.

But this is not a surf film. 

You can watch it as a surf film, yes. I'm sure director Luke Pilbeam would appreciate it, since that's the film he made.

But once you've watched it, play it again with your eyes closed.

Just listen.

This is a life film. 

Of course, that's the film Luke made too. Surfers just get that kind of thing.

"It's difficult to explain to those who haven't found their calling..."

Props to Luke Pilbeam (Director), Nick Tsang (Music), and Joey Brown (Words).

There are no Top 10 Beach Movies of all time

There are no Top 10 Beach Movies of all time

The list starts at 11 because all beach movies (so far) suck.

This pains me. I've done an extensive internet search for the best beach movies of all time. It turns out there are none.

See, the other night I had the itch. I had it real bad – some strange summer strain of cabin fever. It was time for a beach movie. I figured it would be easy to find one...

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The Endless Summer

Sometimes I find myself missing places I've never been during eras I've never lived. Such as? Key West in the 30s. NYC in the 70s (alright I was alive but not of the recommended age for doing 70s NYC things). And California in the mid 60s. 

That last one is where The Endless Summer comes in. If you're not familiar (and you should be, friend-o), the film follows several surfers to Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Tahiti and Hawaii. Because "On any given day of the year, it's summer somewhere in the world." (Some decades later, the philosopher Jimmy Buffett would further parse this seminal theory to conclude: "It's 5 o'clock somewhere."

Despite the worldwide locations, though, The Endless Summer couldn't be more 60s Californian if it tried. It's the perfect tale of care-free wanderlust and adventure: beautifully shot, wonderfully narrated, and set to a killer soundtrack. In my mind, when I think about escape plans, they look exactly like this.

You can watch the whole thing right here: