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A Subtle Hint, Perhaps?

Friday, February 24th, 2006

I was quite sparked when I received an email from REI informing me a buncha schtuff I’d ordered online was ready for pickup.  My faithful old trusty and rusty steed, Charlie the Wonder Car, carried me safely to Northville to pick up an order worth far more than he is.

Now, I’ll admit I’m not always the most graceful gal, but could REI and Chaco be trying to tell me something?

 A subtle hint, perhaps.JPG

(Rob and Marsh: photo is of two LEFT sandals)

Spare Time…

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

Okay, I’ll admit it; I’m just as squirrelly with my spare time as am I with saving money.  I may as well take that final step and say, “Hello, my name is Jamie Bradish, and I’m a Hoarder on a grand scale.”

More often than not I work six days a week (I certainly don’t mind the money, and I actually like my job), so when I have a day off, I’m hesitant to commit to much of anything.  When I got a call on my day off to do an interview with roots/rock band City Goat, however, I didn’t hesitate.  I do a little freelance writing on the side, and the Goats and I had been talking about doing an interview for months, but scheduling was always a problem.  I’d previously written a piece on Good Noise Studio (frontman Dan Worley is owner and engineer), but this was a chance to get together with the entire band. 

So after working out and practicing Mandarin (I figure I’ll use “I don’t speak well” the most, so I’ve got that down pat) I walked to the studio near downtown Ypsilanti.

Throw in a few extra friends, a couple drinks and an impromtu jam, and you not only have an article, but spare time splendily spent as well. 

Studio Throne.JPG

The studio throne.

Goats on the throne.JPG 

Goats on the throne.

Mike as the Interviewer.JPG 

Mike takes over the interview, inquiring Neil as to why he’s so fond of Kristy’s knitted poncho. 

The jam begins.JPG

Eric beings the impromptu jam with Mike Bruneau from Collateral Damage.

Kristy N Boyz.JPG

The jam moves into the recording room, where a poncholess Kristy observes.

 Dan at the Mic.JPG

Dan at the mic, Rich on electric, Mike on drums (a happy coincidence discovered that night; it was both Rich and Mike’s birthday at midnight…woot-woot!), and contented observers on floor.

You can check out City Goat here and here


Monday, February 20th, 2006

The first time I mentioned I wanted to hike 1,800 miles of the Great Wall, my father’s mouth fell open and he gave me that all too familiar look of incredulation. He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment while slowly shaking his head, as if the gentle prodding could somehow teleport him to a situation where the information he was trying to process made sense.

To his dismay, I assume, he opened his eyes to find me still standing there with a “Please don’t have a heart attack,” grin on my face.

In an effort to undo his tightly knitted brows, he sputtered a bit and then said, “You want to do what?!”

My mother, on the other hand, sported a fashionable nauseous expression (tinted with just the right shade of green) while proclaiming she didn’t like the idea at all. She recovered quickly, however, and followed up with the oft-heard mantra, “Geez kid, I don’t know where you get this crazy sense of adventure, but it certainly isn’t from me.”

My parents (in the photo below), well before hurricane Jamie.

My parents.jpg

Although I agree with most people’s assertion that I’m a bit nuts for wanting to do this, I was surprised to find that few people have actually made the journey. After doing a bit of research, I could only find three foreigners who’d hiked it, and one admirable lunatic from California who biked it.

Back in 1987, William Lindesay made the trek amid unimaginable red tape and documented his experience in the book “Alone on the Great Wall”.

Three years later, Kevin Foster tackled the Wall on his bike. His account is a good read and can be found online here.

To my knowledge the last documented foreigners, Beau Basevicius and Eddie Davis, completed the hike back in 2000.  A couple of stories still in existence online can be found here and here.

As luck would have it, Basevicius and Davis are from Michigan, the state in which I live. It took me more than a year and countless, agonizing phone calls to Beau’s relatives (once I got a hold of his family, I found them to be really friendly and charming, but oh, how I loathe the phone), but I finally contacted him and met him in person. Unlike William Lindesay who refused to help my fellow Michiganians, Beau has shared with me a wealth of information and remarkably, still answers my phone calls (his family is far more charming on the phone than I am, to be sure).

Big kudos to Beau and the trailblazers before me, and to mom and dad; I’m certain you’ll both look fab with the new gray hairs you’re sure to sprout.

Introduction of the Opponents

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

La-a-a-dies and Gentleme-e-n!

Welcome, welcome, to what will prove to be the event of the season!

In this corner, hailing from China and weighing in at an undeterminable weight with an 1,800 mile reach, we have the Great Wa-a-a-ll!

And in this corner, hailing from Ypsilanti, Michigan, weighing in at 135lbs and covered in pasty white skin, we have Ja-a-a-mie Bradish!

Hard at work.jpg 

(The contender, above, far left.)

With over two-thousand years experience, and with Mother Nature and food-born illnesses on it’s side, the Wall will certainly prove to be a formidable opponent.

Having spent only a mere 37 years on this Earth, Bradish will have to rely on sheer determination, unintelligible Mandarin, and a sidekick named Ig to endure what has been dubbed a crazy undertaking.

Place your bets and stick around folks, because you won’t want to miss the battering, the blistering, the slaughtering of Mandarin and the cultural faux pas sure to be committed during the six month, 1,800 mile battle that commences in Jiayuguan the first week of May 2006.