Friday, March 1, 2013

Last post - New Blog!!!!

As promised, here is the link to Bolts of Thunder's new blog. I won't be writing on this one any more because I can't post new pictures. And with filming in progress for a new video, there are bound to be new pictures wanting to make their way onto the cyber web. The format, style, and whatever else you can think of will be the same on the new blog, and I encourage you to keep a steady eye out for new posts and fun pictures. Thanks for staying tuned here, and I hope to see you on our new blog!!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The best of times: New blog coming!

Most of what I say on this blog is pointless dribble. 98%, at least (if not more...) I will proudly admit that. But today I actually do have something important to say. The next post I write is going to be the last post I write on this blog. And I'm dead serious about that. And the reason for this news is that I am starting a new blog, one in which I can add new pictures...

You see, several months ago I maxed out my limit of pictures that I'm allowed to put on this blog for free. Any new pictures and I'd have to pay money to buy space. I don't want to delete old posts because that would go against everything I stand for. It would be like ripping out pages of my journal and denying my Bolts of Thunder heritage. And I won't do that to my friends... So being the American that I am, I refuse to pay for something and would just rather put in more work and effort to go around the system to keep my mooching habits alive. So I actually started a new Bolts of Thunder blog so that I can add new pictures to it and keep you posted on the progress of our next video. This is quite a big leap for the Bolts of Thunder franchise because I am once again committing myself to take a lot of pictures when we're out skating and put them on the blog. Oh, those were the days when I used to do that... So it's what I'm going to commit myself to doing again. So in the next post, I will put the link to our new blog and try to make sure that it is really clear where all the latest action is going to be going. I'll give you a hint, it's going to be called "Bolts of Thunder 4" in commemoration of our next blog. But that's all I can say now.

So in this, my last real post of the Bolts of Thunder blog, I would like to leave you all with the image of the OG Bolts of Thunder team, the crew that started it all, the 5 ragtag rebels that spit in the face of social structure, classes, organization, law, age, and gravity. We made middle aged skating look good, we brought sexy back way before Justin Timberlake was pretending to do so, we told you that war was good for absolutely nothing, and we were the wind beneath your wings. And as a side note, I will say that the feeling in the air these days is very similar to the old days, which is an exciting feeling. We've got a solid crew of friends, and we all skate, hang, cry, and film together, the way skate crews should be. So I'm really excited for what Bolts of Thunder's putting out next.

So in this picture you will find the fit, post central American surfing sugar glazed version of Nick, the 35 year old scout master version of me, the timeless version of Matt, the jacked up drugged out of his mind making you feel uncomfortable while he invades your private space and stares deep into your eyes Dave, and the having fun, business as usual Dan. They were the best of times and the best of times. It was the first Bolts of Thunder video premier at my house. Brings a tear to my eye...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Havasupi: the final chapter

Tonight I finish this story. For real. So the trip was super fun, swimming in the water and jumping off of waterfalls the entire time. Beside the minor setbacks of having to cuddle with Matt's girlfriend to keep me warm and eating Matt's food to sustain myself, the trip went relatively smoothly. So we went down on one condition, and that was that we had to be out of Havasupi and back at our cars by a certain time so that we could drive back to St George the next morning so that Spencer could catch his flight to Salt Lake to make it to work the next day. We all agreed on it, and that was the plan. So the plan was to be at the cars by a certain time and we were all good. All that stood between us and this plan was a 13 mile uphill hike with a killer last mile or two of steep switch backs to finish us off. But we knew what it was before we picked it up, so we started our trip home in the evening giving ourselves 6 or 7 hours to make it to the top. Plenty of time if you keep a steady pace.

All I had to eat on the hike out (and most of the trip anyway) was a package of roman noodles and a package of maple syrup instant oatmeal. It would have been too tricky to try and sneak that last granola bar out of Matt's pack on the hike up, so I ruled that out of the equation from the get go. But one problem was we didn't have time to stop and cook water, so I had to eat the roman noodles raw, which is disgusting. But half way through the trip I gave in to hunger and did it. I will never do it again...

So Matt followed the camel back theory to hiking which is one of the more dangerous approaches to outdoor living. It is that rather than spacing out your rations of water over the entire hike, you down it all at the very beginning and then let your body slowly distribute the water to the appropriate places. This method doesn't work, and you end up being thirsty an hour later no matter how much water you drank at the beginning. So Matt and maybe even Hannah drank all their water at the very beginning of the hike and had nothing left for the rest. Add on top of that that they were both planning on eating their granola bars that they had saved for the hike up only to find that a rat had made his way into their pack and taken it all for himself. And then add one more tasty layer on top of that that Matt noticed a pain in his foot at the beginning of the hike that later turned out to be a fracture he had gotten some time on the trip. He was about to hike 13 miles on a broken foot.

After a couple miles of hiking out, Brian and I were setting a much faster pace than the rest, and we'd have to stop every half hour or so to let the rest catch up. Matt, Hannah, and Justin finally told us to just keep going and they'd catch up to us at the end. So we booked it out of their. Every time I've hiked out of Havasupi, I stare at Brian's foot prints right in front of me and just step in those. I keep the same pace as him, and we end up making good time. A couple hours later, we were looking up from the bottom of the switch backs at our car at the top. We started up the switch backs for a few minutes then decided to have a rest and wait for the others. 15 minutes or so later Spencer showed up and took a seat with us. He said he hadn't seen the others for a while, and they were behind him. So we sat and waited for a while. Then for another little while. Then for like a solid hour. They didn't show. We didn't want to get too out of the groove, so every 15 minutes or so we'd get up and walk another 5 minutes then sit again, hoping to see their flash lights coming up from the canyon, but nothing happened. After a good hour or so of waiting, we thought it'd be a good idea to send one of us back to see if they were alright. I was nominated to go, and Brian even carried my pack the rest of the way for me up the mountain in exchange for back tracking. But before parting ways, I grabbed my last pack of maple syrup instant oatmeal and put it in my pocket for safe keeping. I figured I'd want a little snack on the way back up.

I didn't have a flash light when I was walking back into the canyon, so it was kind of scary. I had a little blue light that you stick on your key chain that really serves no purpose for how bulky it is compared to how little light it provides, but it was all I had. I kept thinking that a bum or zombie would attack me en route, so I was sure to keep all my survival fighting tactics on call. They failed me as all of a sudden I heard my name being called from the bushes in some beaten, raspy voice. I shined my little light in the bushes to find a man staring straight at me. It was Jesus coming off the mountain from his 40 day fast, and he looked beat... Wait, no, it was Justin, who looked exactly like all the paintings of Jesus I've ever seen (he had a beard and long hair), and he was lying on the rocks on the side of the trail. "What are you doing? Where are Matt and Hannah?" I asked him. "They're back there a little way. They're not doing so good. And I can't walk anymore..." So I left him stranded on his rock and walked another couple minutes down the trail to find Matt and Hannah sitting on the ground with their gear sprawled out on the trail. Hannah was mumbling gibberish from being so exhausted, and Matt looked like he was in post-alien abduction shock. I don't remember what the conversation went like, but I remember being informed that I had eaten his granola bars, that they had no water and so I gave them what I had, and that Matt couldn't walk because his foot was broken. So I took the contents of Hannah's pack, emptied them into Matt's pack, then carried the pack with the contents of two packs. But just before setting off, I downed that pack of instant oatmeal, and I remember feeling the sugar rush through my veins and give me a new sense of vision in life. I had so much energy.

So we walked up the trail a little way to meet up with Justin where he tried to mutiny against our original plan of hiking out of Havasupi. I remember saying that we needed to get out of there within an hour to make it back to St George in time, and Justin responded with, "yeah.. it's a good plan and all, but.. I think I'm just going to stay here..." Not wanting to strand one of our company in the middle of the grand canyon, I volunteered to carry Justin's pack for him, which wasn't a pack as much as it was just a big duffle bag way too full for only a couple days of camping, and his guitar. With Matt's super pack already on my back, I put Justin's bag on my chest then strapped his guitar to the side of my body and started walking up the mountain. I remember Justin yelling at me, "are you on crack or something?!" as I started walking up, but I told him I was on oatmeal, which is pretty much the same thing. So we made our way back up the mountain with Matt limping along, Justin trying to find large rocks to lie on and die, and Hannah wobbling from side to side as she walked and mumbling nonsense as we walked. We made it for a ways like this, but they finally said they had had enough and couldn't go any further without some more food or water. So I walked up the rest of the mountain with the rest of the gear and made it to the car where Brian and Spencer were waiting. I told Brian that they needed food and water, so he walked back down with a gallon of water and some candy. That was enough to get them mobile again, and they soon made their way to the top.

We barely made it to the gas station driving out of their because the car was on empty. Once we filled up, me, Matt, and Hannah slept in Matt's car while Brian drove mach 5 back to St George with Spencer and Justin sleeping in the car. He had promised to get Spencer back to St George by a certain time and only had about 5 hours to do so, so he had to get moving fast. I remember him telling me that he was running stop signs and everything through little towns so that he'd make it on time. And he did it. He got him there right on time. Then Spencer told Brian that he actually didn't have to be there right then, he still had a couple more hours before he had to be at the airport, and he just wanted to make sure he was on time. So thank you, Brian, for being a man of your word and flirting with danger to be so. Me, Matt, and Hannah woke up in the car the next morning, drove to Vegas and had our customary buffet breakfast at Palace Station. It was a well-deserved meal for 3 starved and dehydrated campers. Then we drove to St George where Justin and Brian were waiting for us at Justin's place with home made sausage, biscuits, and gravy, which we ate with no problem. It was a fun trip...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Havasupi, our sleeping arangements

I hope I finish telling this story tonight. It's taken me a while to get it out, but I'm really hoping that tonight will be the final night. So last I left you, I had eaten almost all of Matt and Hannah's chocolate Sunbelt granola bars because I did not bring much food of my own and was starving. Not only did I overestimate myself in thinking I could last a week with no food, but I also thought that my core body temperature does not need to be sustained above a healthy 96 degrees. I didn't bring a sleeping bag, only a small fleece blanket to try and cover my bones, but it didn't even completely cover my body. Then Brian only brought a tarp that has no warmth-retaining attributes whatsoever, so we were up creek without a paddle...

I don't remember what happened the first night, but I'm sure it involved little sleep. I was freezing. But I remember the 2nd night very well. I woke up probably a half hour or so into my sleep shivering and wishing I was some place warm. Then out of the darkness I heard a shivering voice, "Jonny?" It was Brian. He wasn't sleeping either. "Hey, maybe if we sleep next to each other we can keep each other warm," he said. I've heard of this kind of thing from survival stories on Discovery Channel and what not, and I figured we'd gather strength in numbers. So me and Brian huddled together on the ground and combined our fleece blanket and tarp together, hoping that with our combined strength we'd be warm. It was a good attempt, but it failed... A little while later, me and Brian were both shivering and seeing a bright light make its way toward us. Not ready to walk through that light, we lashed out in desperation at the first person we could find. Hannah.

Hannah is now Matt's wife, but she wasn't at the time. Although I had known her for a couple months, Brian had just barely met her, and we were quite uncomfortable asking for her help. I can't remember why we didn't ask Matt, but I think it had something to do with him not wanting to give up his comfy spot on the table where he was sleeping. So we woke up Hannah and asked her if she'd be willing to share any of her nice warm sleeping bag with us. Feeling very uncomfortable and a little pressured into the situation, she gave in, and the next thing she knew she was lying between two freezing future brother-in-laws that were using her for her warmth. We opened up her sleeping bag and put it over all three of us, and me and Brian cuddled up next to Hannah whose body acted as a heating system under our little makeshift bed. I slept just fine after that, but I've heard from Hannah after that it was very uncomfortable for her. I can imagine...

Well, I'm not going to finish this story tonight. An impending bed time and those bad carrots I ate two nights ago are making me tired and a bit weezy, so I'm going to have to finish this story another time. Think of this as the longest story I've ever had to tell on this blog...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This week's inspiring quote

This little gem comes straight from the belly of the most conservative school I know of, BYU, in probably one of the most conservative classes it has to offer, Family Finance in the School of Family Life major. My teacher was talking about insurance, and he asked a probing question to know what kind of risks or dangers we each face each day and why we should want insurance. He was looking for more broad answers like accidents and what not. To this question, a girl raised her hand and answered,

"Cancer, we should get insurance to protect ourselves from cancer. Because if your husband has cold sores in his mouth then you can get cervical cancer, and insurance companies don't cover your medication, and it's REALLY expensive!"

to which my teacher stared surprised and blankly back at the girl, wondering why she would divulge such intimate and personal information in front of a class of 200+ strangers. It was inspiring.

My next post, whenever that will be, will probably continue our Havasupi adventure. Good stories deserve time to tell them...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Havasupi: I'm sorry, Matt...

Ok, Havasupi. So we made the trip down just fine, it was a fun hike of about 13 miles, and we got a spot staked out. Did I mention that we didn't have permits to be down there? That meant we had to try and hide from the Indian police while there so that we wouldn't get thrown into Indian jail or anything. But we made it down and had a full day ahead of us to swim and play. Havasupi is the most amazing place I've ever been, no joke, and I love to swim there. I will go as soon as I can, so keep a look out Havasupi...

Things went rather smoothly until it came time to eat. I honestly don't even remember what I brought down with me, but I know it wasn't much. Me and Brian both boasted on being able to survive the elements with minimal preparation. Except, as I recall, Brian actually did bring food. But I just had a couple packages of oatmeal and roman noodles, and I seriously think that was it. So after a hearty lunch of roman noodles, I think Matt and Hannah were feeling generous and offered me some of their Sunbelt chocolate granola bars. I've never been one to turn down free food or chocolate, so the combination of both can be dangerous. Not to mention that over consumption of products tends to eat the lining of my stomach and produce some of the most potent methane gas you've ever smelt in your life. It can bring a grown man down in one whiff, I'm not joking here. So I've been staying away from it lately. Except in Italy, dark chocolate was my stable diet. I've lost 10 pounds since I've been home from Italy. I'm way off track...

Free granola bars from Matt and Hannah. They offered me one and made the mistake of telling me where the box was located in their package. I guess I could have gone looking for it had I become desperate, but I usually don't look for food, that's not my style. When I stumble upon it, that's when I go to town on it. So I helped myself to one of their delicious Sunbelt chocolate flavored granola bars and really liked it. It got me through the rest of the day, but sometime later that day or the next, I got hungry again... Well, in a package of 10 granola bars, who's going to notice if one more is missing? So I helped myself to another one of their granola bars... Man, I'm so ashamed of myself right now as I write this. I would just like to say that I have learned to control my appetite as I have gotten older. I used to be a thieving, conniving liar when it came to eating other people's food. I was willing to stab my best friend in the back in order to steal his chocolate milk from him.. Well I don't think that ever happened, but in first grade I would have seriously considered befriending someone over chocolate milk. That's how hungry I was... But I think that I've become a lot more honest in my dealings with my fellow men and culinary items. But I'm ashamed of eating all of Matt's granola bars. Because that's what happened. One turned into two which turned into three which turned into pretty much the entire box. They might have eaten one or two out of the box before I got my grubby little paws on them, but I ate the rest until there was only one left. It was at that moment, as I stared into an empty granola box in my brother's backpack, that I realized my friendship wasn't worth a dime and that I needed help. Real help. But that would have to wait until I got back home. I had too much swimming to attend to before I straightened things out... So I left that box with one granola bar left in Matt's backpack as sort of a note to Matt that I should no longer be trusted around his life line of food. It was his fault for telling me where the food was hidden... Man, I'm a lousy brother... Well, remember this empty box of granola bars because it will come into the story later on as we battled through broken bones, starvation, fatigue, and dehydration to make our way out of this place. More to come...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

more havasupi

Here are some pictures of Wizard grinding the hospital hubba. So last I saw you, I left you getting ready for our epic Havasupi trip. We got it all planned out, I was coming up from California to meet Matt, Hannah (who had come from Provo), Spencer (who came from Salt Lake), Spencer (from St George), and Brian (not sure where he was?) in Las Vegas. We all met up, made sure we were ready to go, and in a few minutes we were off to Havasupi. Let me prep this by saying that Brian and my last trip had instilled quite a lot of confidence within us. We went there and back again in a total of 48 hours (10ish hours of driving, 11 ish hours of hiking, 3 ish hours of sleeping, and the rest of the time swimming in waterfalls) with no blankets or provisions. I ate raw packages of oatmeal that pumped my blood up full of sugar and got me right up that mountain. We brought two cans of soup, one of them we brought down and ate for lunch, the other we left in the car and ate as a victory meal. We were pretty confident in our amazing ability to survive the elements of Havasupi, and we didn't feel many provisions would be necessary on this trip. Keep in mind that last time we went was in June or July when it was really warm at night, and we didn't really even sleep a full night, and this time going down was in September and we were sleeping a couple nights. But I thought I would be fine with no more than a fleece blanket that was 3 feet by 5 feet, a box of oatmeal and a few granola bars, a couple cups of noodles, and maybe a couple freeze dried hiking meals. I didn't even bring a stove or anything to cook the food, I was just going raw on it. I was pretty confident about this one...

Brian, too, was quite confident. Although I don't remember what he brought as far as food goes, I remember very well that all he brought to cover him as he slept was a camouflage tarp from the army. It had no warmth-retaining skills at all, just a little tarp that could barely cover his body.

Justin came way over prepared. There's a nice balance somewhere in the middle where you come ready but not overly ready. He was overly ready. He had a giant duffle bag filled to the brim and overflowing with gear and a guitar strapped to his back so he could jam while we were chilling. Everyone else seemed to have been in the good balance section of being prepared.

Sorry, but I have to leave you now. School calls... But the story lives on in our next post...

Monday, February 11, 2013

A man with nothing to lose

This is the look of a man who's got nothing to lose. Remember this look, friends, you'll see it again soon... I'll continue the Havasupi story this week, so stay tuned...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fellowship of the trip

Two weeks is the longest silent treatment I've ever given, and it was to you. I'm sorry. You're not the one to blame, it's me. I'm the one with problems, not you. It was completely unintentional, actually. I just lost track of time. No joke. My life has been absorbed in school, pug dogs, and skateboarding now that the weather is tinkering somewhere around the freezing mark and our parking lot is cleared off. School's in there somewhere too, but I'm not sure where. But it all fits together.

So a couple weeks ago my brother Brian suggested to me that I tell the story of Havasupi the year that we forgot food and shelter. Actually, forgot suggests that there was some planning on our part and we just didn't forgot to grab the stuff. I can't give myself that much credit. There was no planning... This story is filled with broken feet, eating your brother's granola bars behind his back, and cuddling with his girlfriend at night, so if haven't the stomach for such drama, get out now. I almost fitted the aitch word into that last sentence, but being the family man I am, I didn't. I won't be able to tell this story in one sitting, so it'll probably be a short series we do here on this blog. Good reading material, I can tell you that much.

First off, Havasupi is a magical place. It's a tropical rain forest in the bottom of the grand canyon. Don't believe me? Google it right now and see what happens. You can't keep reading this post if you don't have those images in your head, so take 5 seconds and google it. Ok, now that you're' blown away by those pictures, I will tell you that Elves originally inhabited the area millennial ago, but were driven out by the dark powers. Indians stumbled upon it way back, and they've been there ever since. So you can hike down there, and me and my brothers make it a point to go down there every couple years. It's one of my favorite places in the world, and I've already got goose bumps thinking of the next time that we go. You're invited...

The first time we went I was 13, then me and Brian made an improve trip down there once. From the time we left our house in St George to the time we pulled back up to it was almost 48 hours to the dot. There were only a couple hours of sleeping in there, and I've never sweat that bad in my entire life. That was the epic "F--- you, Andy!" trip. Brian will have to tell you about that one. Suffice it to say that Andy is probably still lost at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, haunting hikers and leading them off the trail to their doom. The third time I went was when I was just about to turn 20 years old. Brian came back from the army on leave for a couple of weeks, so we made sure to fit in a trip to Havasupi for 3 or 4 days. In getting ready for Havasupi, we assembled our team which consisted of Me, Brian, Matt, Hannah (Matt's girlfriend who later became his wife), Spencer (who had come with me and Brian on our 48 hour trip), and Justin (who hadn't walked more than a mile at a time in the last couple years. He came equipped with enough gear to last him several weeks and a guitar strapped to his back. These are important details for later on in the story, so make sure and take note of them).

Well, I think I've written all I have time for today. So I've somewhat set up this little journey, and next time I will take you deep into the heart of the Grand Canyon and to the waters of Havasupi. 'Tis a magical place...

Friday, January 25, 2013

A defeated man is a powerful man

There are times in a man's life when he's been debased so low that he has been defeated. It doesn't happen often to your average Joe, and it's a sad sight when it does. At this point, the man no longer gets mad at what happens to him; getting mad would imply he's still got a fighting chance. But in his defeated state, he sits in a stoop of bewilderment, wondering what went wrong and how he could have made some simple choices earlier in his life that would have led him to greener pastures. This man was me yesterday...

I pride myself on not losing my cell phone or keys every time I leave or enter the house. There are some people that just can't seem to keep a grip on those slippery little objects. Locking myself out of the house doesn't happen often and is a really unexpected and unanticipated event. So yesterday morning when I found myself in my pajamas and a hand full of junk mail at a front door that didn't mind opening when I left the house but currently had no intention of letting me in and a pot of 10 grain cereal cooking on the stove on the other side of that door, I quickly followed the natural stages of patheticness: denial, anger, depression, seclusion, isolation, and finally defeat. I was cold and wanted in, and I really didn't want to burn down my house with my 10 grain cereal (a healthy breakfast choice, I may add. One serving contains 40% of your daily recommended value of fiber and many other essential vitamins and minerals. I eat a bowl every morning to keep me healthy, strong, and regular), so I asked some passerby neighbors for help. The girl that lives directly above me was just super ditsy, laughed uncomfortable at the thought of helping me, and suggested breaking my window on the front door to get in. Then she was off. Not seeing any other viable options, I found a snow shovel and took it to the window in 2 of the angriest attempts I've ever given at breaking a window. The window won, and the shovel almost broke. Wasn't made in the USA, can tell you that much... After a couple more neighbors gave me their deepest and most sincere apologies for not wanting to help, one neighbor that had just gotten home from getting in a car accident with her 3 year old and 2 month old kids was really nice and helped me. She got the number to a lock smith and called them for me and let me hang out in her home while I waited. It was really nice.

After a couple minutes of cartoon watching with the 3 year old, I made my way back to my front door to wait for the locksmith. He got there at least 20 minutes after his original 30 minute estimate, and he didn't even know how to open a door. After arriving, he immediately called a friend who walked him step by step through the art of wedging a crow bar in a door and prying it open. It took him a good 15 or 20 minutes to get the door to cooperate, so it was about an hour and a half since I had been locked out, and upon opening the door, a wall of smoke greeted me as I ran in to take my cereal off the stove. Looking into a pot of molten lava cereal, I put water in it, opened up the windows, and tried fanning out the house. Upon doing so, the locksmith informed me that his expertise in door opening would cost me $160. I told him that that was ridiculous and that I couldn't pay it. He insisted and assured that he wasn't leaving until I paid in full. Seeing as he had proven that he could indeed, with great difficulty, open locked doors, and he knew where I lived, I tried to bargain with him.

It was at this moment where I sunk to the deepest levels of defeat and resorted to my animal instinct of survival at whatever cost. This is what happens when a bum fights someone else, especially another bum. They have nothing to lose if they do lose, and they will gnaw your arm off before they let go of the dream. This was me. While the man was demanding money, I sat down at my computer, pulled up my bank account, and showed him my bank statements, revealing an impressive $166 in my combined checking and savings accounts. He wanted to take all but 6 of my dollars. After having him kneel down next to me and look at my bank accounts, I then resorted to the lowest, dirtiest, most cliche form of begging: pictures of my children. Except my child isn't even born yet, so I showed him pictures of the ultrasound that Rachel got on Wednesday of our baby (we found out we're having a boy!) to soften his heart. I believe it was at this moment that the man saw that I had been completely backed into a corner and my next move was to bite, and he caved a little. Just a little. He charged me $120. Reluctantly, I handed over the greater share of my life's savings to this man as he left me alone in a smoke-ridden home. But it was warm...

As I write this, dear readers, all the windows in my house and the front door are completely open. It is 30 degrees outside, and I have 3 fans blowing to air out the place. But although I was defeated yesterday, today I rose from the ashes a new man, a changed man, a richer man. Well, no, a poorer man, but a hardened man. I know now that I have no shame to lose, and that, my friends, gives me great power...

I like that picture up top. It's Garrett giving us a stylish 5-0 180 out down a long and mellow hubba, my favorite...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brian's insights

I never thought the 3 stooges were funny until I saw their very essence embodied in my sister and her boyfriend on our trip to Havasupi a couple years ago. Thanks to their udder disregard for our (and especially Brian's) camping and backpacking advice, their disrespect for Mother Nature, and complete underestimate of the forces at work in that holy place, they provided us with about a week's worth of entertainment as mishaps, setbacks, injuries, and accidents beset them. It was a super fun trip, and we all had a good time, and you really have to hand it to John, my sister's old boyfriend, for trying to salvage the scraps of his former manhood every time he fell down a waterfall, broke a toe, got sunburned, dumped out perfectly good drinking water because it tasted funny and then got dehydrated 30 minutes later, drank syrup from his army rations, and tried to carry a teenage girl's backpack. He was a good sport, as was Gin, and we had the best of times. In this here post, I asked Brian to share some insights into one of the most profound utterances uttered by man, my sister's old boyfriend:

Jon May: "you never realize how close you are to dying in the wilderness... until it almost happens"

Brian's insights: 

Whats so funny about that quote is that it was said, literally, 20 feet away from a dirt road that is frequented by dozens of hikers, day tourists, and fat Indians in golf carts (that live in a small town 1 mile away) several times an hour every single day.  And the author was completely serious too.

Ode to John May:

 May your bowers be warm, 
 and your pinky toe as straight as an arrow.
 but if an undersized pack brings you down,
 the river is for drowning your sorrows.

Jon - Speaking of Havasupai, tell us about the great exodus from Havasupai when we almost lost Hannah, Matt, and Justin and we found some random vagrant looking guy sleeping in the grass that turned out to be Spencer.  I believe that was the trip that nobody brought any eating utensils or pots or anything to cook their food in.  Or sleeping bags for the night.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This week's crazy story from the Hart boys

So the Hart boys have been kicking it together their entire lives, no way around it. Crazy things tend to happen when we're out and about on our skateboards or just wandering around. Matt is the other half of my memory, and he tends to remember funny, weird, and random events that we have that I either have forgotten or don't remember all too well. Or even the ones I remember well, he has a different and usually really funny perspective on these events. So I emailed Matt a couple one liners, phrases that represent weird or funny stories that we have to share with the world. I sent Matt maybe 5 or 6 phrases, and this is the response he gave me on the first one, so we can all enthusiastically wait for what's coming our way with the other stories.

And just by way of clarification on this story, the price of the Sega was originally $12 but the guy moved it down to $1 after he went into the back room to test and see if it actually worked. When we asked why he was only charging $1 after he said $12 and if the thing even worked, he just stuttered, mumbled, and said, "ya...... it....'s only a dollar man. you know. one dollar." I think that was the spark that lit the fuse under our Ays.... with no further adew, I give you this weeks crazy story from the Hart brothers:

The Phrase: "hey little boy, does your mommy know you're out this late?"

Matt: When I was a teenager, my brothers and I wanted to buy a Sega Genesis so that we could play video games. I don't know why we wanted to buy one cause I think we already had one. Maybe it had broke or something... I don't know. Anyway, for some reason we wanted one so Brian drove us to this place called Family Pawn. It was a new pawn shop that had opened up in St. George... Santa Clara to be exact. Right off of Sunset Blvd near Bluff street I believe. Actually, probably closer to Arctic Circle. Anyway, so Family Pawn had all these new advertisements on TV about how awesome and family friendly they were and stuff so we figured that would be a great place to get a Sega. I think Brian called them first and they said they had one, so off we went. We got there and I remember Brian had to negotiate a price with the worker there. If you've ever seen that stupid show "Pawn Stars" then you know what I'm talking about. Except this worker was some guy in his twenties and was not overweight like all the guys on that show. So this worker was kind of an idiot and was giving Brian the runaround with prices. When I think about it, I think the prices price ranges they were looking at were below $10, or maybe even below $5. Brian probably wanted it for a buck and the guy wanted 5 or something. But if anyone knows Brian then they know that he's not caving in for nothing. So eventually Brian gets what he wants and the guy isn't that happy about it but goes for it anyway. Brian tries paying with his debit card and the guy asks to see Brian's ID. Brian could have just shown his ID, but he's not about to bow down to anybody. What's the point of having a pin number on a debit card if you have to show ID. That's just stupid, and Brian told that to the guy. The guy kept asking and so instead of just showing the ID, Brian felt that it was better for us to leave, I guess, cause he was like "forget it" and started walking off. Well, the guy took this insubordination as a sign that we must have been trying to buy a 2 dollar Sega Genesis with a stolen debit card. We were walking towards the door and then the guy just yells out "hey buddy, does your mommy know you're trying to use stolen credit cards?" We just kept walking for the door, trying to ignore him, which is what I usually do in embarrasing situations like this. And then the guy yells out "hey little boy, does your mommy know you're out this late?" I've thought many years of the deepness of this simple sentence... and I still can't tell you what it means. It was about ten o'clock on a Saturday morning, so it didn't make much sense. I suppose that in his anger and frustration, seeing that three hardened criminals were about to escape his pawn shop and there was nothing he could do about it, he resorted to desperate measures and tried to emberass us in front of the other customers. That will teach us to mess with him. But for some reason, asking us about our mother's knowledge of our whereabouts didn't give him the satisfaction that he had thought possible. With no more witty questions to fire at us, he decided that turning us into the police was the only thing left to do. So as we are walking out the door the guy grabs a piece of paper and runs outside after us and gets in front of the car and starts writing down Brian's license plate number. I just remember that we got in the car and Brian was like "Why don't you get behind the car so I can run your ass over?" He was really calm and collected when he said that, which I've always admired. Brian's always good at keeping his head during weird situations like this. So then we just backed up and drove off. That was it. Based on the length of this paragraph you probably thought you were in for a better written story, but not from me. Maybe Jon can be my ghost writer and spice up the writing a bit.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I talked to Dan today, so this post is in his honor. Here's Dan hopping up and over the edge of that little ramp to the edge of the big ramp, pulling a Shaw-style lipslide across the half pipe, meaning that his pants are ripped open at the crotch. Miss you out here, Dan.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Interview Fun Rerun

This is an interview I did with Ammon before Bolts of Thunder Gone Wild came out. It's one of the funniest things I've every read, and I wanted to put it up again. I hope you laugh as hard as I do when I read it. Enjoy!

Ammon T is the funniest person I know. Anyone who's met him would completely agree with me. He's been killing it on the scene for years now, and he's only getting started. I think he would feel selfish by not sharing his skills with the rest of the world, so we decided to do an interview. I have to apologize, I don't have a picture of Ammon on me right now, but I'll get one up tomorrow so you can see him. So I just put a picture of me skating instead. That's all I have...

(MrThunderBolt) Who taught you such moving, inspiring dance moves?

(Ammon) I learned them from MTV.  I never had cable growing up so I used to
watch it at my friend Kenny Paddocks house. I watched this one show, I
forgot what it was called.  It had a swimming pool and a bunch of
college kids dancing around it.  I remember watching for hours as a
train of the most worthless people America had to offer, slowly pelvic
thrusted their way around a swimming pool. That had a profound impact
on me. I studied their moves, I learned their ways, I interpreted the
meaning, and I perfected the art.

Would you consider yourself an icon in the underground UT Austin

scene? How long has this been going on?

I am an icon in the underground scene.  Its been going on for two years now.

Remember when that dude on the motorcycle wanted to fight us for
cutting him off, then he gave us the abridged version of "Road Rage
Rules 110"? Could you tell our readers what went down?

I made the mistake of flipping off a guy in Provo Utah. I think Matt
and Jon have some great stories of road confrontations precipitated by
an extended middle finger.  In Utah, the greatest offense to a man is
to show your middle finger.  Its like walking up to a guy and pulling
his pants down and motor boating his butt in front of his friends.
So anyway, after I flipped this guy off he hounds me almost all the
way home demanding justice.  We end up having arguments at like four
red lights.  "How Dare you!!!! When a man beeps his horn, he is trying
to communicate..."  "Well I flipped you off because your honking
startled me!", "when you a flip a man off you are showing great
disrespect to him and his family!".  This went on all the way home. I
actually dont flip people off very often. The one time I decide to do
it I end having to argument with the guy all the way home to justify
my behavior.

So what's going on in your life right now?

Right now I'm working on my PhD in evolution and genetics.  I know
many of you out there dont believe in evolution. Thats because you
dont know very much about biology.  I love how offended people get
about the idea that they are descended from apes.  "You're telling me
my mama was a monkey!!!" "How come we never see monkeys giv'n birth to
a human??" Yeah, thats exactly what evolution says.  "One day some
animal somehwere gives birth to a human and viola! Evolution!"  I
blame X Men for all this misunderstanding.

You get the same question as everyone else: Who would you be trapped
on an island with out of all the members of Bolts of Thunder. I know
you don't know them all, but just go with your gut feeling on this
one, your very life may depend on it.

I would be trapped with Matt.  We used to go tracting together in
various places in Washington.  It was always a blast.  I bet it would
be the same way on an island except instead of tracting we would sit
around and make fun of people and hope Hannah would come by with
something for us to eat.

What's the weirdest thing you've seen in Texas?

A: I saw a bunch of armadillos.  they're weird looking.

what's the funniest story you have from your days as a missionary?

A: Probably the masturbation inquisition of 2002-2003. Our new mission
president, President Allen, was seeking to root out the underground
masturbation ring that had infiltrated our mission.  He interviewed
each of us trying to sniff out a rat.  I remember when I had my first
meeting with him, he started the interview off with "Some of the
brethren...", now when the last mission president started a sentence
like that you expected to hear about some new revelations straight
from the top; "the brethren" was how he referred to the twelve
apostles and their immediate underlings.  So I stunned when this new
guy, president Allen went on to say "Some of the brethren are having
trouble with masturbation"  My reflex was to say "No! cant be!"
Really, my first thought was that corruption had gone all the way to
the top and for some reason President Allen was warning me about this.
 "There is going to be some major fallout Elder Thompson, these are
uncertain times when even the holiest of men are succumbing to the
dark arts of masturbation."
    Anyway, President Allen was actually referring to my fellow
missionaries.  So I finish the interview, I think I had to give 50
hale Joseph's to make things right with the authorities on Kolob.  I
went back home to my Mongolian companion who had the same interview.
As I was sitting at my desk contemplating the awkwardness of my
conversation, it donned on me: Elder Mongolian probably never learned
that word in the MTC! I turned to him and asked "Hey Elder Mongolian,
did President Allen ask you if you masturbate?"  Elder Mongolian gets
this grin on his face. "Yeah, but I didnt know what that meant!  I was
like, What is masturbate?"  According to Elder Mongolian, President
Allen fumbled around trying to describe it as discretely as possible,
"Well, when a young man is by thinks certain
thoughts makes him want to..." he finally had to
resort to hand gestures to communicate what he was getting at.  To
which Elder Mongolian replied "Ooooh! yes! I like that very much!"
Just kidding. He didnt say that.

What would you like to say to all the Bolts of Thunder blog readers,
and to the world in general?

Kids, keep dreaming.  Never stop dreaming.  Even when you're awake.
If anyone says not to dream, pay them no heed!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Matt Pace

This is one of the coolest tricks I've ever seen in person. It's Matt Pace doing a nollie backside flip to back tail on his half pipe.  It was beautiful and inspirational to behold. I have to make pancakes now, gotta go...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tigger theory

I don't have much time to write, so I'll just leave you with a picture. This is another goldie from our Paris trip, and it's Dave doing what Daves do best.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Jon's new career

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the greatest movie of our generation. An epic of epics, a giant among men. Taken 2. If you've ever wanted revenge on someone and didn't know quite how to go about inflict serious pain without getting in any trouble whatsoever with legal authorities, this movie gives step by step instructions. Liam Neeson even kills a cop and nobody seems to mind. Grenades going off in busy market places, shots fired at will, Eastern Promises-style bathroom fighting, and ramming through US embassy barricades are among some of the gems found in this movie. And for all of you who fell asleep of boredom during the Hobbit, this movie is for you. It wastes none of your precious time doing that boring stuff that the Hobbit does, like "story and character development", but it cuts straight to the chase and gives you the adrenalin rush you so badly desire...

I don't know why I'm going off on this movie. I actually did like it because it was like an hour and a half of revenge with no consequences, which is exactly what I expect from Liam Neeson these days. If you liked the first, you'll love the second. As far as I can remember, they used the exact same story as the first, just made it take place in Turkey rather than Paris. But that being said, don't get me wrong. I loved the Hobbit. I've seen it 3 times and I'm up for a fourth if anyone is down...

Well, I guess you can count this post as the first step towards my new career. I'm going to be a movie critic.

Speaking of gems, here are some pictures from Bolts of Thunder's epic trip to Paris in 2011. If you don't like my writing, just look at these pictures.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Bolts of Thunder's New Year's Resolutions

Seeing as it's the new year and so many wonderful things happen just because a new year started, Bolts of Thunder is creating some realistic, achievable goals that you will be able to follow and keep track of. These goals are meant to inspire you to do great things and serve as a model of what your resolutions should be. They are posted in no particular order...

1) Collectively lose 12 13 pounds. Each member must pull his weight and eat more vegetables. Or at the end of the year, just pull out a cheese grader to the love handles and take one for the team. Either way, we've gotta drop some pounds if we're going to keep up with the industry these days. It's a skinny man's game.

2) More grass rides.

3) Go bigger, badder, faster, and harder than ever before. Drive through the ten yard line and get that first down.

4) Get footage of Nick. If this was the only resolution we accomplished, I'd be a happy man.

5) Don't faint when my wife has her baby. Hospitals make me weesy.

6) Make a video. Yeah, that's right, another video. Deal with it. Try and wrap your mind around it. Suck it!

7) Get Ben to show off his abs in public more often. That will give us more street cred.

8) No less than three-in-one trick combos with a flip in or out of every 4th trick.

9) Get with the program.

10) Artsy, over-produced trailers, cameras on remote-controlled space ships, confetti, hype, ribbons, awards, tears, drama, anger, blood, and some sweat. Just a little sweat though, we don't want to work that hard...

Keep track of our progress over the year! And until then, enjoy this little gem of Matt and Nick when they were but children...

First post of the year

And we're back. Seeing as this is the first post of the year, I wanted to put up one of my favorite pictures of myself. Weston took this two and a half years ago, and it still remains a classic. This is the dreaded power box that I battled some years back for our first Bolts of Thunder video. Me and Matt saw it probably 5 or 6 years ago, and we both agreed that it was unskatable. The gap to the power box is reasonable, but the gap to the parking lot after is a solid 12 or 13 feet, and we didn't think it would be possible to clear it off a grind. Then one evening with Nick and Dave, we saw the power box again and thought we'd check it out. As fate would have it, there was a nice piece of wood right there that we could put at the bottom to land on. That started everything... That night I 50-50ed it and went back the next day to 5-0 it. I slipped out on my first try and thought I was going to break my leg on impact. But I walked out of it unscathed and went back for round two. I pulled off the 5-0 which encouraged me to try and 50-50 it and clear the gap at the bottom. And trained for like a month; I practiced short 50-50s and ollieing out as far as I could after, and I became a practicer of lamas to calm my nerves. My first attempt on grinding then ollieing over the gap resulted in me riding the top, clearing the gap, catching one wheel on the edge of the parking lot, breaking my board, and not being able to try it again that day. My second try was this day when Garrett was in town and Weston was able to come out and take photos. I was so scared to try it, but with both Weston and Garrett there, I had to man up. It was the first thing I skated all day, so my legs were stiff, and my mind wasn't in the zone yet. On my second or third try I did one of the crappiest ollies you should ever do onto a power box of this size, which sent my board spiraling off the power box and my body flailing through the air. I thought for sure I was going to break my leg again on this slam, but I came out alright. I elbowed myself in the stomach on impact and had a hard time eating for the next week, but other than that, I was fine.

I think I've put this picture on the blog like 2 or 3 times already, and I'm ready to do it again. It exemplifies the standards with which Bolts of Thunder conducts itself, and it shows the love that comes together when we pull in all our resources. 3 things I love about this photo: the look on Garrett's face. He wonders if the years we've spent skating and filming together are soon coming to an end. My face. I'm accepting the inevitable slam that awaits me. My swamp crotch. It shows how afraid I was of trying this power box; it was only my 2nd or 3rd try. Thanks Weston for being on point and taking this shot even when you knew I was going down...