Archive for ‘Travel’

August 23, 2011

The New Nomads: Creative Homeless Hippies

by Accidental Bear

Nomads sound much my appealing while rolling off the tip of my tongue but it’s just a fancy word for creative homeless hippies.  Lawless and thieving equals criminals, not gypsies playing by different rules. We all live on this planet called earth, so disguising yourself by cute well put together rag outfits and renaming the way’s in which you interact with society doesn’t make you something new or lawless. You “New Nomads” living on the edge  cities,  of Central Europe live off the grid, you are just common street beggars, homeless people of a different shade of dirt. Mike Enders

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Wandering the edges of townships in the grey zones between cities, the Gypsies of Central Europe live off the grid. Myths, rumours, lies cloud their histories for they heed no rules and leave few traces – instead, they survive off the land, and sometimes they beg, thieve and steal.

Count Kálnoky tells me at his residence, in the village of Miklosvar in Romania where I was staying as a guest, that he was indeed wireless: the Gypsies had cut the cables to fence the copper for their lawless trade. If Gypsies can’t be trusted it is because they play a different game: While we build around hearth and home, and bank our paper money, Gypsies scavenge, forage and live as nomads, content to be rootless and transient. While we fill our archives with images, texts and our libraries with facts, their stories remain oral and they choose to forget the rest. (via www.huffingtonpost.com)

© Iain McKell -

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June 14, 2011

Gay-Friendly Sedona | Summer Travel

by Accidental Bear

Gay-Friendly Sedona

Not every popular gay resort destination out there has a pulsing nightlife and a wide selection of gay-exclusive guest houses.Sedona, Arizona – about two hours north of Phoenix and two hours south of the Grand Canyon – has developed an ardent LGBT following in recent years as much for its spiritual, New Age-y energy as for its increasingly swish bistros, cushy contemporary inns, and high-end art galleries. It’s a classic couples getaway, oozing romance and packed with photo ops. And just across the Verde Valley, you can switch your car’s transmission into a low gear and climb high up a mountainside to the quirky former mining town of Jerome, where a funkier, rowdier retro-cool selection of still-more galleries, taverns, and restaurants await. But what truly draws weekenders – and even a fair share of week-longers – to Sedona and Jerome are the oddball red-rock formations soaring above a high-desert carpet of pinon, juniper, ponderosa pine, and cacti. If you don’t find this landscape genuinely stirring, you might want to have that contact lens prescription updated.

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January 4, 2011

Good Place to Waste a Day Away : LA

by Accidental Bear

If you find yourself in LAs SilverLake area and have some time to spare, check out Secret Headquarters Book Store ( s0 much more than JUST a book store). Your senses will be titillated. The comic geek in you will be satisfied, big picture books will let you look  like your reading as you are actually people watching ( S.H is great for people watching and the occasional boyfriend catcher). Who doesn’t love a guy that can read, right?

Secret Headquarters

Secrethq_1Secret Headquarters is no secret. The boutique comic-book store, located on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, was named one of the world’s 10 best bookstores in 2008 by the British newspaper the Guardian, alongside much bigger bookstores in Argentina, Japan and an 800-year-old converted Dutch church.

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The store’s interior, all warm browns with deep-chocolate wooden racks, looks something like a well-stocked home library crossed with a classic men’s club. “We wanted the store to be inviting to anyone, not just people interested in comics,” says co-owner Dave Pifer.

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Pifer and David Ritchie, friends since high school in Florida, opened Secret Headquarters in 2005 (they later opened Vacation Vinyl, now located next door). Pifer says Secret Headquarters stocks an equal number of mainstream comics and independents.

Some indie picks he’s currently enthusiastic about: Catch Me if You Can by local artist Martin Cedreda;Spotting Deer by Michael Deforge, a record album-sized comic that reads like a Wikipedia entry for a deer that doesn’t actually exist; and the newly arrived, long-awaited Crickets #3 by Sammy Harkham (who owns the bookstore and gallery Family on Fairfax — but that’s another story).

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“We weren’t sure what kind of store we’d end up being,” says Pifer. “Hipster people come in, and I’m expecting them to buy Harkham or more indie, but they’re buying Marvel like they did when they were kids.”

Those early brand allegiances are strong among comics readers — Marvel fans stick to Marvel, DC Comics readers stick to DC, etc. — but getting the younger generation enthusastic about any of them is a challenge. “These days,” Pifer says, “little kids aren’t picking up comics,” he says. “Video games are more intriguing.”

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The store is well stocked with many graphic novels and collections, books geared for adult readers. From time to time, it showcases artwork by the people whose books sell in the shop. And it also caters to collectors: More than 100 comics readers who want every installment of a series have subscribed through the store, which gets deliveries and carefully sets the next issue aside.In October, Secret Headquarters presented a limited-edition set of prints designed to promote the AMC TV zombie series “The Walking Dead,” based on the comic book by the same name. Jordan Crane, Lisa Hanawalt, Johnny Ryan and Jon Vermilyea each drew a creature on an imaginary shooting range target practice sheet for Georgia law enforcement. A few are still hanging in the shop; each print is $40. 

Secrethq_6Secret Headquarters isn’t the kind of store that will scoff at browsers who don’t know that Crane, Hanawalt, Ryan and Vermilyea are alternative comics stars. “I want people to be interested in coming to our store,” Pifer says, returning to the importance of the store’s welcoming environment. Secret Headquarters, open seven days a week, packs a lot of comic books, graphic novels and welcome into its 500 square feet.

— Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Secret Headquarters. Credit: Carolyn Kellogg / Los Angeles Times

RECENT AND RELATED:

Bookstore of the Week: Village Books, Pacific Palisades

Bookstore of the Week: Barnes & Noble, Pasadena

Twitter: @latimesbooks
Facebook: latimesbooks
December 27, 2010

Drive, Hike and Gawk with Me: Joshua Tree

by Accidental Bear

Up until today Joshua Tree National Park at 74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA has escaped me. U2’s album Joshua Tree was a a staple record to pass the long days of summer back in high school ( ahem, just a few years ago). But that was all I knew of Joshua Tree at the time. Later, as my green thumb grew, I became interested in cacti and desert plants which brought to my attention the truly unique conditions the desert of J.T. Secondly I’ve heard moans of the insane, deadly temperatures during the summer months. I friend who moved to Palm Springs a year ago would text me high temperatures that soared to 117 in the evening. This intrigued me , I wanted to experience this heat torture.

I’ve google searched seasonal plants species and indigenous creatures of the desert, a semi Joshua Tree online stalker. So, a dream came true this morning. As I jumped out of bed, in my oh so gay hotel, I felt like  I had an extra pep in my step, ” Lets go lets go lets GO.” I eagerly prodded my bf to drink up his coffee and down his banana because its JOSUA TREE TIME!

J.T. was all and more than I expected. I WAS unaware of the set up of park though and had to compete with a few to many tourist on the road and interrupting several photos moments. But all is well that ends well. I give J.T. 2 thumbs up! Another event marked off my bucket list.

December 23, 2010

Essentials for Holiday Road Trippin’

by Accidental Bear

Some of the “best” movie memories I have are road trip movies : Vacation, Easy Rider, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Thelma and Louise and Smokey and the Bandit. I am embarking on a southern road trip tomorrow morning , San Francisco —> Santa Barbara —-> Los Angeles —> Palm Springs and I am coming up of a list of things NOT to do, miss or forget.

We now have Jetson like devices iphones and GPS systems so it should be impossible to get lost, right? Road trips excite me, tap into my still teenager encased soul wrapped in my fuzzy exterior. The open road, the unknown. Of course in this 38 year old body I have more restraints than my teenager at heart- care free -throw caution into the window soul.

Road tripping over the Holidays adds another layer of pre-caution. Do you run into the truck stop on highway whatever to take an emergency number 2 without covering up and securing presents piled up in back seat from lurking eyes? Desperate times, desperate measures, BE WARNED. You hear stories about junkies crashing a car window for a cigarette butt they see in car ash tray ( I made that up). Thankfully I will not be contending with snow storms so I can remove car tires chains, sleeping bag like coats, leg warmers ( just kidding..maybe) off the ” to bring list”.

Be safe, be as smart as you can, be wary of hitchhikers and only pick up if they are drop dead gorgeous and you are horny ( just kidding… maybe). Don’t fight with the driver , avoid fast foods that will loosen your stools ( for real), put down all you electronic vices and stare out the window, soak it all in and have fun because soon you’ll be back in morning traffic on a conference call heading to work.

TAKE PICTURES!



Here are six tips for feeling safe and sane on the road:

1. Don’t advertise your travels. Avoid leaving road maps in plain sight inside your parked car; instead, try to look like a local, even if your license plate isn’t. If your vehicle is laden with luggage, and especially if you have gear stowed on the roof, park where you can see it from a restaurant or store. At night, take everything that is in plain view with you into your motel room.

2. Look like you know where you’re going. When sightseeing, avoid standing on street corners wearing a befuddled expression while staring at a guidebook or map. Get a few bearings before you venture out of the car.

3. Get an upstairs room. At roadside motels, consider getting a room on the second floor so you can scan the parking lot before heading down to your car. (Personally, I prefer first-floor rooms, so I don’t have to lug my gear up the stairs.)

4. Consider the refund policy. If you stop at an inexpensive mom and pop motel, and there is a sign at the check-in counter that says, “No Refunds for Early Check-Out,” consider moving on. I speak from experience when I say that is likely that the establishment has some unsavory condition that you won’t detect until you’re covered with bug bites or awakened in the night by noises too loud to ignore. At the very least, ask to see the room before you pay.

5. Use the truck stopsTravel and truck centers are some of the safest places to stop and rest. They have 24-hour security and professional drivers who are used to staying aware and protective of their vehicles. The only drawback is that they aren’t very quiet. You’ll have to get used to the “big-rig lullaby,” because most drivers leave their engines running even when parked for the night.

6. Chat up the locals. Get local information whenever you can. Coffee shops, hair salons and taverns are all good places to chat casually with residents. Also pick up a local paper or watch the local television news. Being aware of local current events will not only help you have more fun, it can also keep you safe. Participate in the Great American RoadTrip Forum before you leave town to gain a local’s perspective about the places you will be driving through.

Road trips are meant to be adventurous and fun. Channel the energy you’re spending on that worst-case scenario into some sensible precautions, and you will have a safe, sane and enjoyable trip. http://www.studenttraveler.com

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Photo by Jeff Booth



December 20, 2010

I am a Palm Springs Virgin

by Accidental Bear

Hot, sleazy, old rich guys, campy, Liberace, tacky, clothing optional, gay friendly,  and AWESOME, These are words I commonly hear people associate with Palm Springs. Somehow, in all my time here on the west coast, Palm Springs has escaped me. I’ve actually never been  to a desert ( I’m more of an island guy). For X-mas my better half and I are embarking on a Bill and Teds Big Adventure type road trip south with our final destination, 5 glorious days in (drum roll please and Vanna White hands) Palm Springs.

Joshua Tree is on the top of my list. I’ve googled searched the plant life of Joshua Trees for years, fulfilling my green thumb desires and can’t wait to wrap my eyes around a  Mohave Yucca ,Beavertail Cactus or a Prickly Pear Cactus ( Bucket list, check, check, check)

A friend Advised us take a tram up Mt San Jacinto where we can enlighten our senses with the best mountain view in SoCal, meadows, pine forests, granite formations, RAD!

 

Mt San Jacinto

As a gay, I guess I’m suppose to talk about Palm Springs night life. Although I warn you during my travels, my days a jammed packed and its common that I grab a bite to eat and crash by 9pm. After a quick internet search I have come up with club names like, Barracks, Blame It On Midnight, DiGS and The Tool Shed ( yes, you read it right Tool Shed). So, gay Palm Springs Night life, don’t be mad  if we never meet up for a night time adult fruity cocktail.

I will be on the sear for the “real” Palm Springs and give a full follow up review. I tend to be picture happy on trips ( breaking up the natural flow of life with the shutter of my lenses) Im so excited to pop my Palm Springs cherry.