Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Neighbors Think I am a Drug Dealer

It has recently come to my attention that my neighbors think I am a drug dealer. It's both humorous and obvious looking back at the past evidence that has no doubt led them to this conclusion.
1) I keep to myself.
In a "typical" situation I don't think this would be a big deal. However in my case everyone where I live is overly friendly. Everyone has kids but me and everyone seems to know whats going on in everyone else's lives. Sure I'll say hi if I pass someone but I don't ever stop to try and talk to anyone. After a few months they all pretty much got the hint that although I live there, I don't really wish to be a part of their community.
2) My car is too nice for where I live.
I definitely don't live in a bad part of town. In fact it's a very nice part of town, but the community itself...well let's just say it's far from being gated. When you pull into my parking lot you can instantly tell one car does not fit - mine. Typically there is a positive correlation between how nice someone's home is with how nice their car is. I don't fit this mold because I have different priorities. I don't spend a lot of time in my home so it's quite modest and that suits me just fine. However, I spend a lot of time in my car and like something that is comfortable and reliable. Unfortunately I've been told the combination of being a young male, driving a luxury car, living in a modest home screams drug dealer.
3) People coming and going at all hours.
I tend to have people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. If you're familiar with BASE jumpers then you already know we rarely pass up a good opportunity to jump. If the conditions are right then chances are my crew is organizing something. Since my place is centrally located and close to one of our favorite objects it tends to be the meeting point. Combine this with the fact that most of us work during the day, the best wind tends to be at night, and we are less likely to be seen at night, and you have the perfect recipe for my friends to come and go when "normal" people have already called it a night.
4) "Shady Looking Characters"
I don't mean any offense, but let's be honest here, jumpers tend to look a little shady. This is especially true when getting ready for a jump. In keeping with old school ethics we tend to wear dark, loose fitting, nonbranded clothing. Throw on a pair of heavy duty boots and a beanie and suddenly we completely look like we're up to no good. Frankly I find it downright amusing for people to see me wearing cargo shorts then glance down to see my tightly laced full ankle boots. 
5) Strange looking bags.
Ah the stash bags. One thing I KNOW has got to be bugging the hell out of me neighbors is the stash bags. I mean, if you saw 5 to 8 "Shady Looking Characters" coming and going in the middle of the night all wearing identical giant black shapeless bags on their back wouldn't you be a little suspicious? One neighbor has chatted with me a few times while wearing my stash bag. His darting eyes during the brief conversation make it painfully obvious he is just dying for me to volunteer to him what's inside. I don't however, if he wants to know he is going to have to work up the courage to ask. At that point I will probably just ho hum and avoid answering. He doesn't need to know what's inside...and if I told him the truth he would probably think I was lying anyway.
6) I leave town a lot for short trips and pack "too much."
Another thing I know is driving my nosy neighbors crazy is how often I leave town and how much I pack. BASE trips come up fairly often, typically take a couple to a few days, and we usually plan on hitting a few different objects both slider up and slider off. Trips like this means a lot of gear: 2 Rigs, Gear Bag, and Clothes Bag. Every time my neighbors see bags or a suitcase they have to be friendly and ask "Wow, look like you are gonna be gone a while! Where ya goin?" I'm typically as vague as possible, tell them I am visiting some friends and will be back in a couple days. Now, even though they don't say it, the look on their face clearly says they don't understand why I have at least 4 bags if I am only going to be gone a couple days. It's especially amusing when someone see's me heading to the drop zone in the morning, and coming back that same evening, because I typically have around 4 bags then too. Sometimes I just feel like saying "Hey...if had enough drugs to fill these bags I would NOT be living here."
7) Strapping and stowing of firearms in the parking lot.
OK, I know this one sounds pretty obvious, but a few of my jump buddies like to carry. Because of this we are frequently moving firearms around in the parking lot. Either from one car to another, or from the glove box to the hip, vice versa, etc. I suppose this one is entirely avoidable...but who doesn't want CCW BASE?

Based on all this "unusual" behavior I really can't complain too much of what my neighbors think of me. I am after all up to no good, they just have no idea what I am really doing. The result of being labeled as a drug dealer means my neighbors no longer try to talk to me as often, which suits me just fine. Classic misdirection. However, it's going to be quite amusing one day when the cops knock on my door and to their disappointment they are not going to find any drugs, but they will find a LOT of nylon.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Man Arrested After BASE Jumping from Downtown Chicago Building


SW was arrested this week for BASE jumping off a Downtown Chicago Building. Typically busts like this are best kept quiet but since it's made national news and is being reported by dozens of news sites includes Reuters and The Huffington Post then what is the harm?

Situations like this suck. In this case it appears SW at least took the necessary precautions. It is reported he was busted at 2:40AM on a Sunday morning doing a solo. So unless he was jumping near the bar district it looks like he really was trying not to be seen. (Because who in their right mind would jump from a building by a bunch of bars right as they are letting out...especially as their very first building...at 150ft) Anyway it could have just been a case of wrong place at the wrong time and SW didn't see the cop. If you're jumping in a downtown area there are going to be cops...that's just the way it is. If you're lucky then no one ever looks up when they hear your canopy open. Everyone just assumes some poor fool is getting shot in the alley because the human brain reasons that loud bang in a downtown area has a much higher chance of being a gun shot than a parachute opening.

Two unfortunate things came from this bust:
     1) The building is burned, at least temporarily. Which sucks, because reports vary but claim he jumped somewhere between the 20th and 25th floor so it was either a low freefall, or more likely a static line. Apparently the building will eventually be over 90 stories tall however....which means in the foreseeable future there will be a Slider Up Downtown situation. The mere thought gives me a tingly feeling in my nether regions. As long as it's left alone then the B will be rejumpable however. Road trip to Chi-town anyone?
     2) SW was arrested for "reckless conduct." Reuters reports "The officer took actions to prevent danger to pedestrians in the area, himself, and vehicles." How many spectators pedestrians have ever been injured by a BASE jumper? None. That's how many. Yet every  time an Urban story makes the news it is sensationalized and the public gets all rabble roused as if thousands of BASE jumpers are going to start falling out of the sky like hail crashing  all around them smashing their poor foo-foo Yorkie as they take it for a midnight stroll. 

In all honesty part of this sport is not caring what the public thinks. It's easy for us to use their misinformation to our advantage. The less truth they know, the easier it is for us to do what we love most. It's just unfortunate some use this misinformation to rally against us. They can rabble all they want though, I will forever be an Urban Night Ninja.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011



Satan; the devil.
any evil spirit; demon.
a diabolically cruel or wicked person.
a person or thing that causes mischief or annoyance: Thosechildren are little fiends.
Informal . a person who is extremely addicted to some pernicious habit: an opium fiend.
Informal . a person who is excessively interested in some gamesportetc.; fan; buff: a bridge fiend.
a person who is highly skilled or gifted in something: a fiend at languages.