Find-Your-Speed“Holy shit man ! My legs are killing me and I hate these fuck’ing crutches, I’m sick and tired of this bullshit man !  Where the fuck did my life go?  Believe it or not, I was young man once, full of piss and vinegar, wild hair and just fuck’ing crazy at times, but that was when I was a young man once. I stole motorcycles, drank beer before I was 16 and howled at the moon, I was a chick magnet reeling them in like bees to a honey pot, I was the stud, brash and brazen, but that was when I was young man once. I smoked Marlboro Red’s and worn button fly Levi’s jeans and combed my hair with Brylcreem. I had a need for speed with  asphalt scares to prove it, but that was when I was a young man once. I sacked grocery at Safeway and bought my first car, a 49 Ford. It was my Hot Rod with stolen Baby Moon Hubcaps, Roll-and-Tuck black leather seats and a Hurst shifter topped with a pool hall 8 ball…do you want to drag and hear my Glasspacks? I was reckless and insane at times but beer was my friend when times got tough. Let me tell you this, I never wore a watch because I had all the time in the world, but as I grew older, or should I say when my body grew older, I lost some abilities to do as I please. But deep within me is a spirit that is harum-scarum and ready to fight…. even if it’s with the aid of these damn crutches. I was a young man once full of piss and vinegar.”

In mountaineering, there is a phenomenon known as ‘Summit Fever’ in which the heightened anticipation of summiting out weighs all reasoning. It is a step into the Twilight Zone where one’s critical faculties take a leave of absence and reckless decision making begins. The boiling frog story is often used as a metaphor for the inability of people to perceive significant changes that occur gradually –  the premise is that if a frog is placed  in cold water that is slowly heated, the animal will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.

In Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air,  he describes climbers so intoxicated by the drive to get to the summit that the common sense of survival gets discarded even when exhaustion, dehydration and  bad weather becomes overwhelmingly evident – not to mention the absence of  fellow climbers who have met their death.  

Summit fever is not only limited to the tallest peaks in the world but can be found anywhere the human spirit is challenged- including the Sahara Desert. 

It has been called the toughest footrace on earth, The Marathon des Sables. Competitors have described the event as running on the surface of the sun. The  race is  held each year in Morocco over six-days covering  254 km which is the equivalent to six regular  marathons. Competitors must carry all personal belongings and food for the entire event in their backpacks. Water, tents and medical support are supplied by the race organizers. During the 1994 race,  Carabinieri (Italian police officer) Mauro Properi lost his way during a sand storm. Not wishing to endure a long drawn out death of dehydration, Mauro attempted to commit suicide in an abandoned mosque by cutting his wrists. The attempt failed – lack of water had caused Mauro’s blood to congeal the wound before the blood could escape his emaciated body. Nine days later he was found by a nomadic family and taken to an Algerian military camp. Mauro was nearly 200 miles off route.

Whether in the mountains, oceans or deserts for many adventurers the ultimate goal is to finish – at any cost. 

” I think that if you see me crawling I might be in trouble, but until then I think I’m okay.” Triathlete Felicia Wilkerson, competitor # 378, Marathon des Sables.

 





Yes, it’s a commercial but the words and video elegantly express how I feel about you – my family, my readers, my internet friends and connections. Instead of drowning when life overcomes me, I have found that in the lineup with you, your encouragement helps me catch the next big wave of life’s events. I paddle as hard as I can as the wave peaks taking ‘the drop’ down its face. But most of the time I just wipeout or bail only to recover and paddle back to you in the lineup to try again. It’s a ‘bitchin’ way to live life.
So, thank you to everyone.
Thank you to friends, first sponsors and groupies.
To all the Daniels, the Gustavos and the Jurgens.
To 4-degree waters. To flat days.
To bad boards, cheap boards, kind of boards.
Thank you to Kelly, for making it look too damn easy.
Thank you to the second title.
To 3am. 4am. 5am.
Thank you to the surf fascists and the locals only.
To the surf babes.
To the wild cards.
To those we miss.
Thank you to the haters, the bullies and the trolls.
Thank you to hashtag go Medina, hashtag **** Medina.
To pain.
To paradise.
To heaven, to hell, and everything in between.
Thank you to the pessimists, the non-believers, the party crashers.
To those who push you up or bring you down, thank you all.
Without You, I’m Nothing.

 

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.

 

For those who have not experienced the backs streets of Naples on a Vespa. Compliments of my Italian brother Vittorio and myself.

The Enduring Wasp.

Eighteen countries. Five shock absorbers. Two bikers. One amazing adventure…. That’s what the back cover of the book- Long Way Down – describe within its pages. This was an epic journey by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman across the continent of Africa on two BMW R1200GS Adventure motorcycles. The book was a good read and I am envious of their adventure. I owned a bike once. Well, not a bike but a scooter, a Vespa scooter. I was the big white guy on a Vespa scooter riding from Burbank through Griffith Park to Los Feliz on my way to work. And, I loved that little white Vespa, So, you can only imagine that while I was in Italy my love for the little Vespa was reignited. Vespa, in Italian means Wasp and true to its name and nature the Wasps are everywhere and going in every direction including the sidewalks. It is nothing to see a family of three on a Vespa or a woman on a cell phone smoking a cigarette with a baby strapped to her bosoms on the streets of  Naples or Rome. The Vespa has it own filmgrpahy that goes from, “Quadrophenia” to“American Graffiti” and the most memorable of all “Roman Holiday”. For a scooter that was intended primarily to solve the problems of urban and intercity traffic the Vespa has a rich history of adventures. In 1997 journalist Giorgio Bettinelli started out from Chile, reaching Tasmania after three years and 150,000 km on his Vespa across the Americas.  Bettinelli continued his adventure to Siberia, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. All in all, Bettinelli has travelled 254,000 km on a Vespa. Pierre Delliere, Sergeant in the French Air Force, reached Saigon in 51 days from Paris, going through Afghanistan. Few know that in 1980 two Vespa’s ridden by M. Simonot and B. Tcherniawsky reached the finishing line of the second Paris-Dakar rally.What do you think about that Mr. McGregor and Mr. Boorman ?  

 

I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated. – James Nachtwey

1100 Journalist killed since 1992

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Filed Under: WorldJames FoleyJournalism

The year 2014 was a one of contradictions, with stories only brought to life because of those journalists willing to go where the stories were.

The Sochi Olympics were a time of inclusion and world harmony as nations gathered in Russia to put differences aside and celebrate the love of sport, but weeks later Ukraine and Russia were at each other’s doorsteps, playing a game of political chess that would topple one country’s president, redraw borders, and forever alter Russia’s world image.

The U.S. legalized gay marriage in many states, while countries like Uganda and India took leaps backward, arresting gay people in the name of civility.

Health care reform took hold in America, opening access to medical care, but on the other side of the planet Polio was making a comeback in Pakistan and the Ebola virus was ravaging West Africa.

During the yearly U.N. general counsel meeting, nations talked of peace and yet Syria and Iraq burned under the onslaught of ISIS, girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and militias slaughtered each other in the Central African Republic.

The journalists below are some of the people who felt compelled to take the risks, to tell the stories, to go deeper than the vast majority would ever dream, so that we could better understand what is happening around the globe. Their pictures took us to the front lines, often at great danger to themselves. In some cases, they got too close and tragically we are now deprived from seeing the world as they saw it.

This is not every photojournalist we lost in 2014, this is only one small group, representative of the nearly 100 journalists who died while performing their job. They brought us the news we should know and reminded and why we should care.

If there is any lesson to be taken, it is this: pay attention, act, question and care for each other.—Shaminder Dulai

JAMES FOLEY 

James Foley reported from conflict zones in Syria, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, working primarily for GlobalPost and Agence-France Press. His striking, intimate video dispatches from conflict zones, such as this unflinching look at an ambush on a 101st Airborne company in Afghanistan, demonstrated his dedication to foreign reporting. He was captured while reporting in Libya in 2011 but eventually released. As the country’s civil war escalated, Foley reported for AFP and GlobalPost from Syria; he was captured in 2012 and killed by ISIS in 2014.—Jared T. Miller

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James Foley (Oct. 18, 1973-Aug. 19, 2014) in Chicago in 2007. PETER HOLDERNESS

ANJA NIEDRINGHAUS

12_22_PJs_Niedringhaus_02An Afghan soldier, left, and a policeman peek through a window as they line up with others to get their registration card on the last day of voter registration for the upcoming presidential elections outside a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 1, 2014. ANJA NIEDRINGHAUS/AP

Anja Niedrinhaus, a former chief photographer for the European Pressphoto Agency, was part of the Associated Press team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for their work in Iraq. She reported from Frankfurt, Germany; Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Moscow, and the former Yugoslavia, as well as Afghanistan, Pakistan and throughout the Middle East. Colleagues praised her fearlessness and leadership. Niedrinhaus was killed on April 4, covering the presidential election in Afghanistan. She was 48. An Afghan police commander opened fire on the car she and her friend, fellow reporter Kathy Gannon, were waiting in at a checkpoint. The commander was later sentenced to death. —Tzirel Kaminetzky
12_22_PJs_Niedringhaus_01Anja Niedringhaus is seen in this April 2005 file photo, in Rome. Niedringhaus, who has reported from many areas of conflict, died while covering the presidential election in Afghanistan, April 4, 2014. PETER DEJONG/AP

LUKE SOMERS

12_22_PJs_Somers_02Pro-democracy protesters in Sana’a, many of whom have lived in tents at Change Square for a year and a half, broke their fast as heavy rain poured outside, in July 2012.  LUKE SOMERS/DEMOTIX

By all accounts Luke Somers was the boy next door, driven by a passion to expose views of the “other” and challenge assumptions. He was also kind hearted and picked up his camera for the right reasons. “He never called with demands that his pictures weren’t being used enough, he just wanted to show people that Yemen was more than car bombs and terror,” said Ossie Ikeogu, one of the photo editors at his agency Demotix, who got to know Somers over the years. Ikeogu remembers first meeting the young man and thinking he was a teacher with a hobby, but a look at his portfolio revealed Somers was more than the unassuming translator for hire in Yemen. “He was always looking to paint a picture that wasn’t what we always see in the Western media,” said Ikeogu. He started with protests, but realized he preferred documenting the people in the market, the aftermaths of terrorism for citizens and clashes of culture, what Ikeogu calls the “winds of change” in the country, “anything that captured a flavor and sense of daily life.” He was aware of the danger, but not afraid, and felt comfortable in Yemen according to Ikeogu. At first he wasn’t worried when Somers didn’t return his phone calls, but a few days later that changed. For months Ikeogu called his phone with no answer, finally he sent a last email with the subject line “Hope you’re ok.” Somers had been kidnapped in Sana’a, Yemen, in September 2013. In December 2014 he appeared with militants demanding the U.S. give in to their demands in exchange for him. Somers was killed by Al-Qaeda militants during a rescue attempt by U.S. commandos in Yemen. He was 33. —Shaminder Dulai
12_22_PJs_Somers_01Luke Somers (1981 – December 6, 2014) SOMERS FAMILY

CAMILLE LEPAGE

12_22_PJs_Lepage_02Anti-balaka fighters from the town of Bossembele patrol in the Boeing district of Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 24, 2014. CAMILLE LEPAGE/REUTERS

Camille Lepage, 26 at the time of her death in Central African Republic, was a French photojournalist who had based herself in South Sudan two years earlier, covering the country’s development following independence in 2011. After studying at Southampton Solent University in the U.K., she was drawn to African issues, telling Petapixel in 2013 that “I can’t accept that people’s tragedies are silenced simply because no one can make money out of them.” In the last days of her life she embedded with a Christian anti-Balaka militia, in opposition to the Muslim-dominated ruling faction, in the western part of Central African Republic. She was the first foreign journalist to die covering the country’s violent conflict. —Jared T. Miller

12_22_PJs_Lepage_01Camille Lepage (Jan. 28, 1988-May 12, 2014) in Damara, Central African Republic, Feb. 21, 2014.FRED DUFOUR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

MICHEL DU CILLE

12_22_PJs_DuCille_02Moses Tarkulah stands by as colleagues enter the suspected Eloba case ward Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit, on Tuesday September 16, 2014.The newly opened 50 bed unit is managed by International Medical Corp, and was built by Save the Children. On its second day of operation, it saw three new patients; one patient died Monday night. MICHEL DU CILLE/THE WASHINGTON POST

Michel du Cille was coming off a 21-day Ebola quarantine and a few weeks of rest when he decided he had to go back to west Africa to continue documenting the devastating effects of the virus. As his co-workers and friends from past trips would write, du Cille was like that, driven by a calling to always get the story. Before his trip, the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner reportedly told his employers at The Washington Post, “I have had to check my emotions, and I use those emotions to make sure I’m telling the story in the right way, to make sure I’m using my sense of respect, my sense of dignity, to show images to the world and to do the right thing by the subjects.” He collapsed while walking on foot from a village in Liberia’s Bong County, and died of an apparent heart attack on December 11. He was 58. —Shaminder Dulai

12_22_PJs_DuCille_01Michel du Cille (1956 – December 11, 2014) JULIA EWAN/THE WASHINTON POST 

AUNG KYAW NAING

12_22_PJs_Naing_01Than Dar, the wife of slain Burmese journalist Aung Kyaw Naing, also known as Par Gyi, stands in front of a family photograph showing herself, her husband and daughter posing with Aung San Suu Kyi, during an interview at her home in Yangon, October 28, 2014. Naing was detained and killed by Burmese military while covering armed clashes between the Burmese army and Karen ethnic rebels. SOE ZEYA TUN/REUTERS

Aung Kyaw Naing, also known as Par Gyi, was a Burmese freelance journalist and political activist from Rangoon working along the Burma-Thai border. His work appeared in many local Burmese media outlets such as The Voice, Eleven Media and Yangon Times. He was detained and killed by Burmese military while covering armed clashes between the Burmese army and Karen ethnic rebels. Activists and supporters protested the killing of Naing and called for an inquiry into his death, his wife saying she believed he was tortured while in military custody. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission reported multiple injuries to his body, including several gunshot wounds, discovered after after his body was exhumed in November. —Tzirel Kaminetzky

SIMONE CAMILLI

Simone Camilli, 35, an Associated Press videographer, was reporting in Gaza over the summer when he was killed along with his translator Ali Shehda Abu Afash by an unexploded missile thought to be of Israeli origin while it was being defused. Hired by the AP in Rome in 2005, Camilli frequently covered Israel and Gaza, basing himself recently in Beirut. He co-produced a 2011 documentary with Pietro Bellorini, About Gaza, which detailed the roots of the conflict and featured interviews with Gazans about life in the region. —Jared T. Miller

12_22_PJs_Camilli_01Simone Camilli (1979-Aug. 13, 2014) in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, Aug. 11, 2014. KHALIL HAMRA/AP

ANDREI STENIN

12_22_PJs_Stenin_01Andrei Stenin, 33, was a Russian photojournalist who contributed to news organizations such as Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and RIA Novosti. Stenin covered conflicts in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Gaza before covering the war in eastern Ukraine. It is thought that he was embedded with Russian-backed combatants when he went missing. His death was confirmed on September 3, 2014. AFP/GETTY

Andrei Stenin, 33, was a Russian photojournalist who contributed to news organizations such as Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and RIA Novosti. Stenin covered conflicts in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Gaza before covering the war in eastern Ukraine. It is thought that he was embedded with Russian-backed combatants when he went missing. His death was confirmed on September 3. —Michael Ip

ANDREA ROCCHELLI

12_22_PJs_Rocchelli_02Ten orphans seek refuge from overnight bombings in Sloviansk, Ukraine, May 14, 2014. ANDREA ROCCHELLI/CESURA

Andrea Rocchelli was in Sloviansk, Ukraine, covering skirmishes between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia separatists, when he was killed by a mortar shell along with his fixer and another journalist. He founded the Italian photo agency Cesura in 2008, and contributed to Newsweek and Le Monde, among other publications. He had also covered the conflict in Afghanistan and the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Libya; here, this photo taken 12 days before his death on May 12, shows 10 orphans seeking refuge from overnight bombings in Sloviansk. —Jared T. Miller

12_22_PJs_Rocchelli_01Andrea Rocchelli (Sept. 27, 1983-May 24, 2014). COURTESY CESURA

MOUAZ ALOMAR (Abu Mehdi Al Hamwi)

12_22_PJs_Alomar_02A Free Syrian Army fighter points his weapon in Tal Al Nasiriyah in Hama province, February 5, 2014. MOUAZ ALOMAR/REUTERS

The 17-year-old freelance photographer died, according to reports, while uploading footage of a bombing he recorded earlier in the day on April 25. He was published widely through social media. —Tzirel Kaminetzky

ALI MUSTAFA

12_22_PJs_Mustafa_02A civilian search and rescue team rushes to the scene minutes after a government air strike in the Aleppo neighborhood of Kalase, February 26, 2014. At least four people were killed in the attack. ALI/MUSTAFA/EPA

Canadian-born freelance journalist Ali Mustafa went to Syria to cover the gaps he felt were missing in mainstream media. As he has said “The only way I could truly get a sense of the reality on the ground was to go there to figure it out for myself.” Beyond his photographic contribution to as a SIPA press photographer, he also kept an active Instagram and Twitter account. One of his last posts on Twitter, dated soon before his March 9 death, links to a photo of a young boy carrying a sack of objects near a demolished home. He has stated that his aim was to portray “the way war impacts us as human beings.” He was killed during an airstrike in Syria. —Tzirel Kaminetzky

12_22_PJs_Mustafa_01Ali Mustafa, Canadian-born photojournalist covering the war in Syria, uploaded this photo of himself to Instagram, where he often posted moments from his travels, on September 19, 2013. Hashtag: “#Me.” _FBTM/INSTAGRAM

TURAD MOHAMED AL-ZAHOURI

12_22_PJs_Zahouri_01Turad Mohamed al-Zahouri, a citizen journalist from Syria, died Feb. 20 in Arsal, Lebanon from injuries sustained from a mortar shell that landed near him in Yabroud, Syria. He was the photographer for Al-Qusair Lens, a Facebook page that covered events in Al-Qusair and surrounding areas. QUSAIR LENS/AP

Turad Mohamed al-Zahouri, a citizen journalist from Syria, died February 20 in Arsal, Lebanon, from injuries sustained from a mortar shell that landed near him in Yabroud, Syria. He was the photographer for Al-Qusair Lens, a Facebook page that covered events in Al-Qusair and surrounding areas. —Michael Ip

FRANKLIN REYES

12_22_PJs_Reyes_02Rafael Manso turns his face away from sparks flying from the boiler as he works at the Jose Marti Antillana de Acero iron and steel mill in Havana, Cuba, June 7, 2012. FRANKLIN REYES/AP

Franklin Reyes was born in Havana, and joined the AP’s team in Cuba in 2009 after beginning his career at a local, state-run newspaper. At the time of his death, Reyes was working on a story about the Cuban economy; he died in a car accident while returning from an assignment in Havana. This photo from June 7, 2012 shows the Jose Marti Antillana de Acero iron and steel mill in Havana, Cuba. —Jared T. Miller

12_22_PJs_Reyes_01Franklin Reyes Marrero (1975-Nov. 3, 2014), in Cuba. AP

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