Fast Fiction:The Rabbit Hole

rabbit-hole

Thirty-one years ago I came to the sudden realization that I was engaged in a pretentious attempt to fit in. That significant moment wasn’t life changing but life beginning. It was as if the neurons in my cranium erupted blasting the magma of conscious knowledge of my own character.
Admission and acceptance is difficult without counsel, so I sought out my mentor Ernest. My visit with Ernest was and is the most significant moment in finding the wisest course of action and direction.
This is what Ernest said that seemed so simple – but again a lot of things that seem simple aren’t so simple.
“Travis, let me put it in terms that you can best understand, life is not a dress rehearsal, this is it, this is all you get ” that was Ernest’s advice.
It’s been a good run with life experiences that most people only dream about. I didn’t want to live a life of quiet desperation and go to the grave with a song of missing pieces in my heart.
But don’t think that I don’t have regrets, just too many to mention here and that is my burden to carry. All and all I have accomplished as much as I could and have given to the point of emotional depletion. My world has gone from technicolor to monochrome with all the grays of confusion, angst, remorse and grief.
I once read that, “Life is difficult, once we accept that life is difficult only then can we transcend it”, so easy to say but such a hard task to employ. Where am I today ? I’m far away in a place where paradise is broken and only surrounded by pigments of a colorful past. There is no pill for the rabbit hole that I have found myself and all that is left are the winter days ahead – I have no more to give but to jump into the abyss.

Crossing Borders: Knickknacks, Curios and Doohickeys

Souvenirs

The souvenirs themselves may have intrinsic value, or simply be a symbol of past experience. The symbolic meaning is invisible and cannot be articulated except for the Visa bill at the end of a vacation trip – Holy Moly ! Honey have you seen the Visa bill ?

Life in the City of Angels:Chinwag on Melrose Avenue

Main line Dialogue

“Hey man ! It’s all about infinite reflection isn’t it? We ask for an eternal embrace after our rite of passage, but like string theory it’s always about getting the right vibe. The vibe man, the vibration of energy from someone who believes in the third eye… Jesus! I sound so woo woo or stoned. Which reminds me, back in the day I use to watch wonky Dance Fever on tv while stoned….popping Tootsie Rolls and caramel popcorn, man oh man! Maui Wowie! Good shit back then.
Jesus! Dance Fever man, hosted by that baby face and swarthy Adrian what’s his name of T J Hooker and Captain Kirk. “Where no man has gone before.” Oh yeah, been there in the cerebral abysses man, damn near didn’t come back. Got to go man, have a date at Pink’s Hot Dogs, peace brother.”

Preview of My Next Book, Odds & Gods

Chapter One

The first time I saw my name in print was not on a “Hello My Name Is” sticker but in the American Alpine Journal on climbing accidents in North America. Which was not the kind of publicity I needed, after all I was the go to guy for remote and hostile location camera work.

           123530_13018_M

California, Yosemite Valley, Half Dome Route

On June 4, 1988, at 1200, dispatch received a call from Wesley Walton concerning an injured climber on Half Dome. Walton had talked with people on top of Half Dome by CB

Dave climbing Half Dome

me and my 80’s porno mustache

radio. At 1215, six SARSITE climbers and I were flown to the top of Half Dome starting at 1330. At 1443, Kevin Brown arrived at Big Sandy Ledge after being lowered 150 meters. He met David Banks, who had an uncomplicated injured elbow, bruised seriously enough so the he could not climb. Banks was raised the 150 meters arriving at 1545. Brown, Klotz (Banks climbing partner) and two Half Dome climbers who had helped jummarred out. All rescuers were flown out, ending at 1847.

Ranger Horner interviewed Banks later. He said that he had injured his arm/ elbow  (After x-rays I learned that I had shattered my left elbow) in a slow, sliding fall on the pitch below Big Sandy on June 3. He was slightly off route and did not protect well. He fell about ten meters (about 33 ft.) and stopped prior to hitting a larger ledge. Banks was lowered to his belayer and then Klotz led the pitch to Big Sandy. Banks took an hour and a half to jumar to the pitch, which he did in a lot of pain. They were also hauling the largest haul bag ( which we referred to as the “Pig”) anyone can remember seeing. (Source: Dan Horner and Bob Howard, Rangers, Yosemite National Park)

 

Whitewater WestAnalysis: Banks and Klotz had each been climbing for several years, led at the 5.3-5.10 level, but had little wall experience. They had brought too much hardware and other gear, and their huge haul bag and lack of experience hauling meant long, tiring days. They were on schedule but had underestimated their daily food and water requirements by about half, however; and by time of the accident they were tired, hungry and dehydrated. In retrospect, they felt their condition made an accident “only a matter of time.” Two points:

By their own admission, they had too much gear; that’s not an argument for taking nothing.

To Be Continued…..

Crossing Borders: Sunset in Scotland

Sunset in ScotlandA sunset drive on the A72 near Rosebank, Scotland. Standing sentry are ancient elders of oak, silver birch and pine that border the country lane which is empty of all traffic. With the windows down the crisp air dashes about and fills the cab with aroma of turf, heather and earth. For a moment my soul is lifted from all of life’s complications and I slow the car to a crawl to absorb every second. To my left is the River Clyde, running dark and silent as the sun ends another day in the land of my fathers. I am home and received by the spirits and magic of Scotland and yet I struggle to believe that I just saw a unicorn on the banks of the River Clyde. It was a magical mystery tour and I can’t wait to go back because Scotland is in my heart and soul.

Random Thoughts: Washed Upon the Shores of this Tiny Blue Marble

The Sahara is a great leveller, making all men equal regardless of their station in life. So, when you come across another soul within this vast arena of sand, you stop, share, and remind yourself that here, we are all brothers.

 

Cue The Camels: Ancient Spores and Kim Kardishian

I slid my right boot then my left boot into the hole leading to the tomb’s tunnel. There was the soft, muffed sound of my pants sliding against the rough stone as my feet fell into the tomb. My knees passed and my thighs followed – which was as far as I got. I was stuck between two worlds. My companions started laughing before cheering me on. “Push! Push, Dave”. There was a scraping noise as my 34 waist and belt buckle tried to shimmy. I’ve been told in the past, during romantic endeavors, that I have ‘a booty like a black man’ – something I’ve always thought of as an attractive asset, but which, in this instance, was a real liability. ‘I think I’m too big, guys,’ I told my audience, ‘I’m wedged in!’ as giggles grew louder and escaped from the darkness of the tomb. I too began to chuckle, which was uncomfortable considering the added pressure of stone against my waist.

When I returned to the States and the Tonight Show, I shared my big ass adventure with one of the comedy writers for the show, Larry Jacobson. We both had a good chuckle when Larry added. “You know Dave, if you were Kim Kardashian you’d still be stuck in that tomb.

Dave Banks Demo Reel

Life on The Road: That, Then, This

Dave-Image047 There was a time in my professional life that the tools of my trade required 13 anvil cases, patients, and throw away paper underwear. The demands for international travel as a documentary filmmaker was like an assault on climbing Mt. Everest. Months of preparation are involved along with logistics, scheduling, and risk management. Once at the point of entry in a foreign country the arduous task of clearing customs begins with lots of patients as every item in the anvil cases are cross referenced to see that the serial numbers match the Carnet.  For those not familiar, a Carnet is analogous to a passport for equipment. It is an import/export document, which allows property to pass across borders without hindrance. Free passage is assured by the guarantee that imported property will be reliably exported again after a set period of time. However, the documents Whitewater Westmust be scrupulously prepared and every item’s serial number on the Carnet. The Carnet must be recorded through customs on entering a country and then checked out again on exiting. Any errors or omissions can cause the delay of the entire shipment unless you have Baksheesh which is tipping or as some may call it charitable giving. I call it outright bribery.
That was then and this is now, I can now wear brown socks with white tennis shoes, plaid Bermuda shorts and a “Go Dodgers “ tank top and travel as a tourist. Today, I travel “Light and Fast”  which is an alpine mountaineering approach to traditional mountaineering that seeks to leave behind everything but the minimum gear required to reach the 252617_3880792791286_1338272699_nobjective and allowing the climber to summit faster. An experienced mountaineer will jettison gear that was not used on previous climbs and go “Light and Fast”. With that in mind and since I’m not tackling Mt. Everest but Scotland I have downsized my gear to an carry on bag.
This is my equipment list today:Travel Gear
  1. Canon 5D Mark II, 17mm – 40mm Lens, for stills and HD video w/Sennheiser short shotgun mic, headphones.
  2. Fuji X Pro 1, 18mm Lens
  3. GoPro Camera
  4. Macbook Pro
  5. Portable battery charger
  6. External hard drive
  7. 3 thumb drives
  8. 4 Report’s Notebooks
  9. Composition Notebook
  10. 5 pencils
  11. 10 copies of Cue The Camels
  12. 100 business cards

Beirut L.A. Graphic Novel and Preview Trailer


A Graphic Novel

So, I’m gong to write a graphic novel, I’ve never written one before but the idea has been brewing in the back of my mind for years. I own several graphic novel’s, Sin City by Frank Miller, Cairo by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by M.K. Perker and DMZ written and artwork by Brain Wood and Riccardo Burchielli. Being aSin_City_Hard_Goodbye child of the 60’s I collected comics books as most kids did and we would barter and trade the comics like baseball cards. At that time comic books weren’t without their critics, conservative and religious parents called them “the ten-cent plague”, it was so bad that some of my friends would leave their comics at my house in a separate box with their name written in crayon. My collection ranged from Amazing Adventures, SilverSurfer and even amazing_adventures_2_post_cards-r5c5b358ac51b45618e4fe7c9b4cf9ed8_vgbaq_8byvr_324Uncle Scrooge. The artwork of these comics kept me in engaged as I dealt with the reading disability of dyslexia and attention deficit disorder (ADD). While thumbing through colored pages of eye candy, my ADD would settle and eventually I would scan the panels of narration and the dialogue balloons of the characters and read. In many ways the comics became my visual aid to keep me reading – even if they  weren’t the leather-bound classics, I was reading. AA1_Workout

In 1966 the social fabric of American culture changed with civil rights, anti-war demonstrations and the Beatles. I left my beloved comics in a cardboard box on the floor of my closet as I grew into adolescents and started watching TV. My attention and imagination was capture by an NBC television show called Star Trek. In an interview with Gene Roddenberry, Gene_roddenberry_1976the creator of Star Trek, he is quoted as saying, “I have no belief that STAR TREK depicts the actual future, it depicts us, now, things we need to understand about that”. Real issues of Racism, Sexism, Militarism and Peace were disguised in his science fiction teleplay and broadcasted to the American public – which I can only now appreciate Gene’s boldness and forward thinking. As my hair grew to shoulder length wearing puka beards and flashing the peace sign from my Volkswagen bus, I joined the counter-culture and gave financial support in buying R Crumb’s comics at the local head-shop. My favorites are Zap Comix’s, Keep on Trucking’ imagesand Mr. Natural. Crumb’s comics were filled with wonderful countercultural values of gratuitous sex, drugs, and violence.

So, as I start this project I bring with me a more mature attitude, experiences and a growing sense of awareness of how our world is changing. As Gene would say and I’m paraphrasing here,  “not to depicting the actual future, but depicts us now and things we need to understand”.

Beirut L.A. Journal Entry, July 14, 2025,

 After 17 years in the Middle East covering the war in Israel and North Africa, I have come home to an America that I know longer recognize. Ever since the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court back in 2010, a shadow government by Multi-National Corporations now controls America and all media outlets. The First Amendment no longer protects journalists and I can be arrested for having a camera in public – all as a result of the Patriot Act. The take over was insidious as the public was distracted with non-news, pop culture and celebrity gossip. There are riots, refugees, vigilantes, a serious water shortages, genetic food that is making people sick and private armies protecting pockets of wealthy communities from the rest of society — none of which is being reported. I have come home to Beirut L. A.    – Vito De La Luca

vito-email_1The Lazarus Report is Vito’s public moniker and news service. Much like a graffiti artist, Vito uses any means to get his reporting out to the public. Needless to say, Vito’s life depends on his anonymity. As a result of leaking real news to the public by bloggers, journalists and photojournalists, Corporate America a.k.a. SG (Shadow Government) is out to censure Vito and others like him permanently. Empowered by the Patriot Act and the Clear and Present Danger doctrine, SG’s private security detail is the US Enforcement Bureau, a.k.a.  Black FlyThe street name comes from the use of drones, quadcopters, stealth helicopters and close circuit camera. Beyond Black Fly perks and pay rate, handsome bonuses are given to those who find dissidents and eliminate them and the truth.

Beirut L.A. Trailer   Beirut L.A coming in 2015. Stay Tune !

%d bloggers like this: