Camp Fire

Welcome Home Steve-o!!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Steve and Jim pulled onto Grand Route St John in the IronHorse at 12:45pm today!!

After a quick and exciting welcome home, we went to lunch at Mr John’s —
and were joined by:
Thad, Madeline and Chris, Thais and Marcus, Allison and Neil – and visited by Shawn, Pauly, and Willy P.




3 hours after lunch we had a welcome home dinner at Mila – joined by:
Vin, Jules, Pauly, Hil, Thomas, Kerry, Mad, and Chris.



The 11 day wait is finally over.
I’m so happy to have Steve back home. And I’m so grateful to Matt, Mikey Mo, and Jim for getting him back safe and sound to me.

PS – the IronHorse smells like crap…


Music Heals

Sept. 3, 2011: a doozie of a post.

If music heals, and I’m sure it does, I am a healthy boy.
Music can foster an energy that hard to tap into. Music can be calming or powerful or angry or inspiring. Or healing.
I love hearing a song and having it take me to a memory with feelings so real its as if they are brand new.
This weekend was an incredible reunion of friends who are like family to me.

Yesterday I received a text message from a great high-school buddy, Josh Hartnett.
As follows…


I am not even sure how to explain the rest of this plot. It turns out that Josh was at the show with a guy named Chris. Well, Matt and Chris have been corresponding for the last month or so. Why? Because Matt, being Matt…


was trying to get the best connection possible to enhance our PJ 20 experience.

Back Story: Through a friend, Erica Perkins, I connected with Mike and Ashley McCready a few years ago and I got to go backstage a couple times for PJ shows. Me, being me…


I never really want to ‘bother’ Mike if I’m going to a PJ show especially a 20th year anniversary show.
Well, it turns out (hold on tight here) that Chris works for Mike and Matt was talking to Chris and Chris knows Josh and Matt knows Josh and I know Josh and Matt and Mike. But none of us really knew that we knew each other until this text (see above)!

Long story short, Matt and I left Spokane four days ago content with any version of Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary show. Then we picked up Mike Moses… Then Salters arrives… Then Hartnett…


Next thing I know we are camped out on the hill overlooking the amphitheater. Then we are all shining love on eachother in the VIP tent behind the stage talking about the best of times.


Mike and Ashley came down to catch up and say hello.


And Ashley, being Ashley…


…says she wants us side stage for the show. Then she does a little wave of her hand and has someone print these up.


So, why not? Better now than never right?

Play this video for my exact pre show thought:

And then…
The lights dropped and things got crazy…

The man:


“…Let me run into the rain
To be a human light again…”

So we were on stage. Rockin in the free world. For two nights. Cameras. Bodyguards. Crowds. Tambourines. Set-lists. And it was incredible.


But at some point on the second night during ‘Given to Fly’, I walked over to Matt and hugged him and we started weeping.
It’s his favorite song.
And suddenly this wasn’t about passes or access or crowds.
It was about music and friendship. A good combination. I went to middle america with an intention. An intention to enjoy the band that built the soundtrack of our lives with my friend. And it infected the people we met up with. More friends. New friends. Family. And even when life turns brutal and impossible the soundtrack remains to hold us together. Even if we are weeping. The soundtrack remains.


“…And he still gives his love, he just gives it away
The love he receives is the love that is saved…”

Infinite Joy

We thought this might be a good ‘side post’ to our adventures.
ESPN listed the top 10 plays of the past 25 years.

Play this video:

I don’t think the video is formatted for mobile playback.

The Variscos storm the NW – Couer D’alene

So we spent the next couple of days living in this:


We enjoyed breakfasts outside in the crisp Northwest weather:



We took morning walks / golf cart rides along the beautiful grounds and golf courses of Black Rock:
(some in our new Gonzaga Prep attire)






Sean did lots of filming:



We hung out at the Black Rock country club:




We bade farewell to Seanny P


We carted to the beach on Lake Couer D’alene:



We hung out with friends:





We took a cocktail cruise on the Stewart’s Stancraft “the hornet” – after Paul impressed Steve and Michel by jumping in the cold lake:





We hung out at night by the fire pit with the colored heat flames and chatted with friends and looked at the stars. Unfortunately, no pics available.

We played liverpool rummi..



It was a heavenly few days – some of our favorites of the trip.
Thanks to Ray and Annette Kish for letting us stay in their house – we’re fortunate to have such loving, amazing people in our lives.

The Variscos leave the Northwest

August 29, 2011

It’s almost time to leave Steve and the Northwest. We spent our last day in Couer D’Alene at the country club – swimming, eating, playing cards, and working on agendas for Steve and me.


Then spent the evening at The Gleasons for a feast – homemade spaghetti, chicken wings, and salad from the garden. Some of Steve’s buddies joined us. Beautiful night.




Goodbye and thanks again to Mike and ‘Jackson’ Gleason.


That evening we stayed at the lovely Davenport Hotel.


Steve and I stayed here 7 years ago when I drove to the Northwest with him for the first time.


We had a really delicious breakfast downstairs the next morning with Gail and Kook. Paul Sr enjoyed his corned beef hash.

We said some goodbyes.

It was really rough to leave Steve. I mean real rough. We’re such a team now and it doesn’t seem right not being with him. But – I’ll see him in about 10 days. And it’s time for me to get home to start getting ready for young gleazy.


As it turns out, it was not time for us to leave quite yet. Due to plane mechanical issues, we were forced to stay for one more night!!


So we got to take the Varisco’s to a hip spot called “The Flying Goat”, which is home to my personal favorite pizza called “The Kiernan” (it’s actually on my top ten favorite foods).


We ended the night playing Liverpool rummy at one of Steve’s favorite Spokane spots – “The Elk”.


And the next day, we had to say goodbye again. Not any easier.


But Steve has some more adventure to embark upon. And I gotta get home. Until I see you again, I love u Steve-o. And I’m lucky for every single minute I get to spend with you. Ten more sleeps.

The Variscos storm the NW – Spokane

Jilly and Paul flew to Spokane today!
We were very very excited to pick them up from the airport.


How about that belly!!! – SG

Steve gave them a tour of the city. He showed them old houses, old parks where he played baseball, soccer, and football, old schools, as well as all of the cool neighborhoods.

We had to take a break to go to our OB Spokane doc, Dr Satterfield.


But first – we stopped by the world famous, well at least SPOKANE famous, Dick’s, for burgers.


Documentarian Sean Pamphilion, AKA “The Fly”, “SeannyP”, or “Sonny” was with us for a couple of days.


Dad treated all five of us for under $20. And that includes the order of fried chicken. Steve has never heard of anyone ever ordering Dick’s fried chicken, but dad couldn’t resist.


Right as we were leaving, as I was reaching for my drink, a bird pooped on my cup. It just missed my hand.

So we drove to the doctors office and I had an ultrasound.


Steve, Jilly, and Sean with his video equipment all came in to watch.
Young Gleazy definitely has Steve-o’s nose! In my opinion.


Everything looks good!!:)

After the doc visit, we continued the tour and stopped by Steve’s high school, Gonzaga Prep. We saw a couple of his old coaches.



Saw an old pic of Steve on the wall…
He’s #34, next to his best buddy #33, Jim Salters.


Notice his fingers in an upside down peace sign. Players have tried to imitate them and have gotten in trouble for it. There has been one #34 since Steve, but after him the coaches said no one has “deserved” the number. And it’s possible that no one will use that number again, because Gonzaga Prep is inducting Steve into the hall of fame on October 25th! (along with John Stockton)!


Unfortunately the baby is due October 28th – but if we can have the baby come late, he’s gonna try to get to the ceremony…
It was awesome – coaches were excited to see him and players were excited to meet him.

Afterwards, we continued the tour. Nice view of the city behind us.


After packing in everything we could, we went to the Old Spaghetti Factory with Ray and Annette Kish, who very graciously offered their cabin in Couer D’Alene to us, Tony and Tina, and Gail.


After lots of mizithra and Spimoni, we said our thank yous and drove to the amazing cabin at Black Rock.

More about that tomorrow…


We watched the Foo Fighters documentary at Ryan and Monique Thielman’s house (excellent show)
Ryan recommended a lodge in Sandpoint, Idaho. Called…
The Lodge in Sandpoint

We took his advice and made reservations and it was Awesome.


View from the Room


We had dinner with Ryan and Mo at the lodge restaurant -’41south’ which was only about 14 steps away from our room – very convenient for Steve and me.



Food was great – best thing was “Avocado frites”.



Our room had a light-switch fireplace and colored heat was very, very enjoyable.

Sunset from the room…


Anyway, the next day we drove into Sandpoint, a place that Steve really loves. We had a delicious hash brown breakfasts at “Connies” and visited a farmers market.


What a great northwest town.


We bought some beautiful sunflowers.


And brought them to the Thielman Family house on Pend Orielle River.

We went for a ride in Ryan’s boat – which I understand is kind of like the “IronHorse” of the water. And took a couple dips in the river.


Back at the cabin, we ate delicious guacamole and bbq chicken sandwiches on the beautiful lawn overlooking the beautiful river. We did lots of video recording – mostly about Steve and football at Washington State. The Thielmans are big time Cougar Fans. A great moment.

The Thoelmans are a great, loving Spokane family who really love Steve-O.
I know it was difficult for them to see him in this condition. They talked about what a great boy he is and what an inspiration he’s always been, which seems like the general consensus of everyone who knows him.


Summer Joy


I told Sean that I want to roll down my dads hill before he leaves from this filming session. Why? Why not? It’s fun! It’s not the cliffs or bridges or cornices I used to jump or the waves I used to surf but… Still fun! That’s joy. Go find your joy for today.

click the video below for the action…

You may notice that I anticipated the snap count and may, possibly, have jumped offsides. But I don’t see a flag anywhere. Winning.

Does Michel sound impatient?

Happy Birthday Outlaw!


Kenai River Drift: Jim’s Landing to Hope, AK

August 6 2011

We spent the day drifting down the Kenai River fishing for salmon with our guide Jason and his guide outfit “Angle 45”.

Kyle lined up the trip for the Kenai drift. As I said in an earlier post, thank goodness we had Kyle. He did a great job setting these up.

A little back story… I sent an email to some friends suggesting that if I am lucky on this trip I would catch a Sockeye salmon on my own and if I am REALLY lucky I would catch a rainbow trout.
See excerpt:
I’ll be fishing the Kenai River tomorrow with my family. Currently, the Kenai is full of Sockeye Salmon. The Salmon, as their life cycle ends, are turning a deep scarlet red as they travel home towards their spawning grounds. If I’m lucky I’ll snag one of these salmon and release it back into the river so it can continue it’s journey. If I’m REALLY lucky I’ll catch a beautiful rainbow trout which should be getting fat by following the salmon up river and heisting their eggs.

We met Jason at 5:30 AM on the river.


The Crew:


Unfortunately, my hands were pretty cold and I couldn’t cast the flyrod with either of my hands. Frustrating. I chose to make the most of the situation and scout the river as the sockeye moved upstream. They really are amazing. The clear blue of the river with the scarlet of the fish hovering and continuously moving upstream is something like a peaceful alien encounter.
There wasn’t much action early on. Even our guide was missing fish. I was thinking that this might go down as an epic failure. We stayed persistent.

Brendan using the ‘snag’ technique.



A note here about Michels day. Well, some back story first…
I have fished with her dozens of times. From Venice in Louisiana to Greece to Australia and New Zealand. She is a great fisherwoman. She gets what I call fisheye. It’s like the eye of the tiger but eye of the fish. You can see that she loves hooking & landing fish. In all the times we’ve fished together she has caught more fish than I have.
For some reason today, she didn’t end up netting a fish. She hooked into several.


And man, her persistence and perseverance were amazing. She had the right technique in the right spots at the right time. Not to mention, she helped film video and take pictures.

We’ve been on the road for a long time and she has been amazing. Hosting my family, helping me, keeping a good attitude, all the above. The perfect mate for a trip like this. And she’s frickin 7.5 months pregnant! Amazing! I am already a lucky boy that she caught me in her net…

Finally, Kyle snagged a Sockeye and Brendan pulled in a nice “chrome” female.



Michel actually had a sockeye take her pole from her!

I decided I needed to take another shot at this… I propped myself up against the boat and found a way to toss the line into the current and attempted a ragged technique to snag something. More harlip prayers…
Jason was working with me and wouldn’t you know… I hooked one!!
Not sure if I’d be able to reel Brendan came to help if needed. Well I wore that salmon out with my jury rigged approach.

The catch….

The photo:


Very special for a boy like me. To come all the way up here and net a fish like that is so fun. Us. The river. The salmon. My kind of creation.

That was enough for me. Kyle kept snagging reds and finally hooked a freshy that we ended up keeping.


Later we continued the drift and used plugs to try for some rainbows and dolly varden.
They were hitting. This was much easier for me. Just trolling off the side of the drift boat.

Brendan hooked…


and netted a trophy Rainbow!


I hooked and…


And netted…


A nice rainbow.


Afterwards we went to Jasons house in Hope. Real Alaska. He filleted the salmon and made sockeye sushi. Epic.



We left Kyle to do more fishing as we made our way back to Anchorage. I fly to San Francisco tomorrow for a doc check up.