Thursday, November 5, 2009

enigmatic half asian planter girl
heard she was like 27
she was by far the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen in a planting camp
whenever I was in camp I was aware of where she was, or was looking for her
sometimes she would walk over this hill in the evenings, mysteriously
it seemed to me
I was fired and later found out she was gay

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I found this when I was doing some research today.

Lots of them were still using Polaski like things. This was just when the D-Handle revolution was beginning.

I am coming to grips with having planted for a while now - well past college. Past an MA degree, even. Past moving to New York. I am trying to make a film about Franz Otto, who is a planting legend, and who I have spent some time with over the past month.

They Interview a guy named Pete Robson who had worked in reforestation since 1964. Are these Fitness babes?

haha above "flatulence reforestation."

"On the first planting projects I was involved in we used inmate labor, After that we hired whomever we could. we hired locals, hired off the reserves, got men off of Main and Hastings in Vancouver. We paid by the hour and few had much interest or much skill in it. Needless to say our production was low."

"By 1967 we decided to try letting a contract. We were not impressed with the results of the first one, but the next year we let a contract to two hippies - complete with beflowered volkswagen van. They camped under plastic and planted faster than we had ever seen."

'These two hippies were to revolutionize tree planting in the province.'

'They let the way for a new breed of planters, people pursuing what was once called "alternative lifestyles."'

'One big time contractor has a degree in religion. Another is a dropout nuclear energy engineer from the atomic energy commission of Canada. There are homesteaders. teachers, artists, craftspeople, lots of carpenters, and at least one potato farmer. '

'Tony Berniaz, mountaineer, world traveller and now gentleman farmer, has probably planted a million trees; he used to be a PhD chemist.'

'Holly Arntzen, a Vancouver musician, liked to wake up camp every morning with the golden sounds of Handel and Vivaldi played on her French Horn.'

'Clay Perry, legislative director of the IWA in Vancouver explains, "Because of the strategic importance of silviculture to the future of the industry, it has to [should] be organized in a rational way and give people a rational lifestyle. It is just not rational for BC to rely on 'counterculture' people for such important strategic work."'

'Dirk Brinkman, founder Brinkman reforestation, responds: "not only is it a logistical necessity to use tent camps and to move all over BC and Alberta doing short term contracts in remote places, it's also a part of our lifestyle."'

Article ends with planters finishing up a contract and drinking beer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Finished with this Job

I am done as a planter, until the fall, when I might go to the coast.

I planted 36 days and earned an average of "enough to buy a camera and travel around in my new (self appointed) role as 'nomadic documentarian' for the next month or so."

My other blog.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

This season has been pretty comfortable. I have not been in a bush camp. As a result, I feel, the planters have been less 'wild.'

What I mean: in my land the other day I was thinking "I have not seen anybody going to the bathroom nor have I seen anybody elses' penis on my crew." I attribute this to people showering and living where there is concrete.

Will hopefully never go to a bush camp again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Brent is an older planter.
He isn't really forthright about his age - just says things like he has been 'doing this for a while.'

I asked him some questions last night. We went to a strip bar and one of the girls danced to 'I'm on a boat.' Another girl had narrow hips and visibly strong abdominals. I gave her ten dollars just to be nice, I guess.

'Do you feel rootless, like, a vagabond?'
'Do you like that?'
'Yes, sort of.'
'Do you feel a strong pressure to not be a tree planter anymore?'

Brent is writing a book of stories. I don't know what he writes about. I think he is going to try to get Benny and I a job on the coast for the fall.

8 more days til the season is over for me.

His nickname is 'the doctor.'

Saturday, May 30, 2009

feeling okay about planting right now, will probably feel like I should be doing something else, a higher status job, in 10 minutes

I think about the kind of people who become tree planters.

There are a few groups.

1. People from Prince George or any town like Prince George to whom working in forestry is one of very few options

2. Ecotourists from all over the world

3. Educated, or in the process of becoming educated, Experientialists

4. Older planters who become, like, "planters" as a master status
-these people usually know many people in the industry
-they like to be free to not work all winter long; maybe they collect EI
-maybe they are still working on their undergrad / MA / PHD / novel / arts related project
-avoiding 'soul crushing' big city "job job"
-lots of friends who are planters, who they might see in "the off season"
-no fixed address
-possible seasonal depression, months of inactivity every year
-possibly live in asian / south american hostels for months at a time

These categories are not mutually exclusive.

What am I?

Pat is a Chilean raised in PG. His mother is from Valparaiso and fled after the Pinochet coupe, then married a logger in Prince George. Pat can drink 18 beers and a bottle of whiskey in one evening. I told him about Roberto Bolano and he seemed impressed with me. Pat has been in a lot of scraps.

I am a "peter pan planter," maybe, because I use it to avoid making long term career decisions / continue to "try to make art."

I am also a good planter (so is Pat), and feel positive about planting lots of trees and highballing other planters. If I were not a good planter I would not do this.

But then when will I stop?

If it were easy for me to give up the life I have chosen and get a job job that is pretty good and would allow me to play golf with my brother and father would I do it?

If it didn't require shame, and "going back on a lot of stuff that I quote believe"?

Would it be better if I were working for a high status planting company like zanzibar?

How much of this am I actually in control of / is worth worrying about?

Monday, May 25, 2009

had my first "big day" of the season

Shreddies with milk and (sometimes) hemp hearts

two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with hemp hearts inside them
a granola bar
some nuts
some jujubes

Something from the slow cooker
Maybe a foot long sub with a meal option (Jalapeno chips)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Woke up this morning for a 6:30 leave time and looked out the window; snow was falling. I maneuvered onto my left hand to see if I could get a view of the top of a truck outside, and felt pain. I winced. The snow was sticking.

The alarm went off, Ben got up and said “Shit.” I asked him to draw the blinds. My shoulder and elbow are fucked feeling.

I put some hemp hearts on top of my Shreddies and poured coffee into an empty bottle of vitamin water. My stomach began to cramp.

When I was on the toilet trying to stretch my arms shoulder and wrist, Ben came to the door and made a choking sound, or not a choking sound, the kind of sound people make when they do that fake slit across their throat thing as if to cut somebody off stage, or end something. At that point I knew we would not be working.

Now we are watching a TV movie where a black car is driving around killing people in the desert. The car has no driver. The car just revved a lot and disappeared. I guess it is a ghost car. Think I am going to go and find a hot tub later. Get my shovel fixed so it doesn’t twist when I do a hard C-cut.

The snow has stopped and it is only 9:15. In a couple of hours we will all feel grumpy for having to waste another day. My original feeling, upon being told we weren’t working, was relief.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I saw Cam Stewart - My Foreman from last year

I knew rhino was around town but I had been ducking them, thinking they would be offended that I went with another company.

I wondered if Cam would want to punch me. I saw him. He was in a truck. We spoke. I saw Chris Montagner, who is making more money than I am, apparently. Chris and I were competitive last year, by which I mean that he would defeat me occasionally in BC, and I would defeat him consistently in Alberta.

I saw all of my old crew, as well as Simon, who is running a crew at Rhino. Simon and I talked about his portrayal on my blog from last year. I think Simon is a good guy.

Saw Travis Holmes who is no longer running the turbulent times, which is too bad. My hands are bad for typing right now. I feel arthritic and hungonver. I went to a bar last night and they played that song "save a horse ride a cowboy" a few times. It was similar to other bars in other towns.

I replanted yesterday but maintained my cool and did a good job of it. I think I am growing up. Two meter minimums, 7's and obstacles don't work very well. You can't ask for all of those things - I will break the minimums. That is why I replanted. Oh well. The trees were good, are still good, I am happy about that.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

After First Shift

I am in 100 Mile House at a cafe called "the Chartreuse Moose." The coffee is excellent. Planted about 8000 trees last week.

My body is adjusting to: 10 hours of physical labor performed on 4 consecutive days; a 5000 calorie per day diet consisting of great quantities of nuts and sugars; shitting in the woods.

My crew boss is Matthew Bock, and as a planter I think he was 'hot shit.' I think he is the first crew boss I have had that could highball the living shit out of me.

Maybe not in Alberta. My Alberta game is solid.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Things I have heard about Franz Otto

Planted into his late forties maybe 50's

Nominated more times than any other person for the tree planting hall of fame

Ran a company called "Puck" which failed

Has been referred to publicly as "legend" and "ubermensch"

Things I've heard

He is a badass

He is an alcoholic

He pulls stumps out of the ground with his bare hands in order to build bridges across waterbars

He has had his shoulder replaced

He has destroyed his body by planting

"I have been around camp fires where planters publicly doubted his actual existence, and claimed he was a planting urban myth."

"His numbers tripled those of the next best planter (who was far from a slouch)."

"the numbers he did back in the shovel screefing days was astounding."

"During the working day he would down jars of honey for quick energy,"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Half-Assed Fitzcarraldo

I have an idea for a film I think.

A film about planting.

I just got back from a run. The words "half assed fitzcarraldo" kept repeating in my mind.

A film set between new york and the cut blocks of BC. A calm film about working. A kuntslerroman, kind of, too. A film about sacrificing and alienation, about the origins of art. A film about planting paid for by planting.

I anticipate this film could be funny, and autobiographically honest. I anticipate this film would be "boring" to some, but would be taken seriously by festival commitees, good, smart critics, and people who care about art/film.

I think it will say something semi affirming about art, and the act of sharing stories, while maintaining a solid pessimism about these things too.

It will "blur the lines between reality and fiction." That is boring. It will "flatten the geographic space between the two places." It will "flatten the cultural gap between New York art world and Bush hippies." It will have an Asian lead.

I need to buy a camera when I get back to Vancouver. The images have to be "beautiful" and "inexpensive" at the same time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm going to go, I bought a ticket. Gave my two weeks.

I have taken a Sudafed and am going to go for a run now. I am not as fit as I should be.

Reading the start of Moby Dick where he talks about how he gets a little crazy right before deciding to go to sea.

It's a drizzly November in his soul, and he has to prevent himself from knocking the hats off of passersby on the street.

Lately I have been less patient on the sidewalks, less cool. I don't know if it is a drizzly November in my soul or if I am still getting over a hangover from Sunday night.

Feel like going from manhattan to the bush to manhattan to the bush is ridiculous. Massive cultural gaps traversed. Kind of wish I had one solid thing a little more.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Spring summer seasons are starting in late April early May.

I am experiencing strong feelings of wanting out of my current state. Living in New York and working part time at a store.

I don't need the money, really. But I'm bored and want to feel like I felt at the end of summer last year. I want to be able to go to Paris for a month in September and meet my girlfriend at Premier Vision.

I want to be able to respond to the question, 'what do you do?' and be more enigmatic. Not say: 'retail.'

The most major Con: missing the nhl playoffs again. I want to sit with Chad and Jonny and watch hockey at nights; but maybe Chad will leave New York also, so I don't know. Also, leaving Lauren again.

Tree Planting again is a possibility.

"Career outlook" somewhat negative.