Tag Archives: Mississippi River

A Highly Unscientific Test (Part 1) – A Short Run down the Cumberland River

In preparation for our SOON-SOON-SOON-to-be (we’ll have an update for you shortly but we’ll be on the Mississippi in roughly two weeks!) Mississippi River Adventure, 11 Visions paddled down a good chunk of the Cumberland River in Nashville, TN.  This will be part 1 of our Mississippi River equipment tests.  We want to work out as many technical kinks as possible before we get on the Great River, aaaaaannnnnnnd, of course, have some fun as well.  Rest assured, this video’s got all the fun parts… Enjoy!

For Part 2, we’ve got even more craziness to share with you:

  1. mysteriously placed campfires
  2. extremely slooooowww paddling (we tried it with two boats this time, argh)
  3. humorous complaining (isn’t there always?)
  4. about 7 too many references to the Edmund Fitzgerald by Phillip
  5. and of course quasi-scientific arguments degenerating into meaningless bickering (I still think I’m right, Phillip)

Hasta la proxima.  😉

The $328,835 Photo

Click for Full-size
Click for Full-size

Are you were one of the New Yorkers who had to buy new underwear after the US Department of Defense decided it was a good idea to fly a jumbo jet and two fighter planes over lower Manhatten? Well today you finally get to see what all the fuss was about! The White House finally released a photo showing their 747 flying above the statue of liberty.

Plenty of people have already commented about how it would have been easier (and $328k cheaper) to simply create the image in Photoshop. Today’s release proves them all correct. I mean this photo is seriously lame! and that’s after I spent ten minutes in Photoshop cleaning it up. Now don’t send me any letters…I like the statue of liberty and Air Force One as much as any American, but any of the guys at Worth1000 could have churned out a bad-ass photo with their right leg chopped off (edit: I meant arm).

So all this fuss about the wasted money got me to thinking… What could 11 Visions do with $328,835? (or even $328,500 for that matter)! Here is our MY list of three wacky ways 11 Visions would spend money with a DOD-sized budget:

Big Budget Boating
Big Budget Boating

We love our new Sea Eagle kayaks, but frankly there isn’t much extra room to bring hot babes along. I’m also not to keen on sitting that close to Ryan for the next 8 to 10 weeks down the Mississippi River. Now a Ferretti 68 yacht would be a complete step up to total luxury. However, we’d probably have to buy a wrecked one on a measly $328k budget as these lovely boats start in the millions.

Pros: Chick magnet, wet bar, leather interior, no paddling.
Cons: Pray that gas prices don’t go beyond $4 again.

Lucas's Wet Dream
Lucas's Wet Dream

Our last movie was shot using a Canon ZR500. If you’ve already seen the film and love the stunning picture quality, I’ll tell you how we were able to obtain such an amazing camera. Just go to B&H photo in New York City and ask for the the cheapest camera they have; something so crappy that even OJ Simpson wouldn’t steal it. Hey, it worked for us!

But if we wanted to do things right, we’d have bought the Sony HDW-F900. This is the camera that made director George Lucas declare that he would “never shoot another film on film.”

Pros: Now considered cheap at only $69,900.
Cons: Chriopractic bills after carrying it across America.

Not Much Fun
Not Much Fun

My mom would have reminded me that “it’s better to give than to receive,” but that’s only because she never got a couple free Sea Eagle boats in the mail.

If 11 Visions actually had $328k to spend (we don’t), it would have certainly come in useful in the last two years. After finishing our hitchhiking trip, we’d still have enough cash left over to buy most of the foreclosed homes in Stockton, California. (Ryan, how do you feel about moving 11 Visions headquarters to SoCal?) We’ll probably have to revisit this again after the Mississippi float trip

Pros: Sunny weather, cheap homes.
Cons: Stockton, California

So what would you do with $328,835? Let us know in the comments!

Crackheads Have Problems, We’ve Got Issues

We’re very close to being on the Mississippi River.   But we’ve got problems, problems, problems.

Dirty criminals run this site.
Dirty criminals run this site.

“Crackheads got problems, you guys are smoked.”   – Vince Vaughn in Mr. and Mrs. Smith

I had always interpreted Vince Vaughn’s quote wrong.  The first time I watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I thought what Vince Vaughn had said was, “Crackheads got problems, you guys got issues.”  Whenever a friend of mine came to me with some big problem he was having, I would repeat this phrase with a coy smile:  “Crackheads got problems, Simon, you’ve got issues.”  I thought what I was doing was putting the problem in perspective.  If a crackhead was living in a rundown apartment, possibly abandoned, on the South Side of Chicago, with a hole in the wall that lets a frigid, wintery 25 degree air in, as he whiddles down the last of his last crack rock, hands shaking, promising “I’ll change, I’ll stop, please Lord, help me to stop,” crying… pleading… while you whine to me that your girlfriend is going to Texas without you and HOW MAD YOU ARE! then, I thought, all I’d have to do was bust out this magical Vincevaughnism and you’d go, “Gee, me feel dumb.”  

Fat chance.

Rarely did it have this effect with my friends.  Most of the time it just made them justify their position even more:  “What do you mean!  You’re so insensitive!  Don’t you understand the severity of my problemmmmmmm?”

The truth is that it is not a problemmmmmmmm or even a problem.  It is an issue.  It is a situation.  It is a happening and it is an event.  Elvis Presley had problems; we’ve got issues.

Our issues are listed below:

  1. Phillip is currently on probation.  (Ha ha, didn’t know criminals ran this site, did ya?)  His camera was stolen by a woman who emphatically denied that she did it.  The evidence was OVERWHELMINGLY for her guilt.  I mean Perry Mason could have just gone to sleep during the courtcase, set up a slide show of the evidence, and the jury would have deliberated for about all of .34 seconds and found her guilty.  If you’re curious about the story, click here.  If not, the basic gist is he went after this woman with INTERNET JUSTICE!  (Did someone just hear a whip crack?) posting her info online.  This is a no no.  Even if someone takes a crap on your lawn and you have video evidence, even if they have their Social Security card in their teeth when they do it and leave pictures of their next of kin along with copies of their dental records by the mess (I’m not posting an illustration of this.)  you can’t do it.  Phillip found out the hard way.  “What this means is that he, ideally, needs to be off probation before we go on the Mississippi trip. Siiiighhh.  “Crackheads got problems…”  Keep repeating it.  “Crackheads got problems…”
  2. Ryan is extremely depressed.  (Ha, ha, didn’t know manic-depressive criminals ran this site, did ya?)  Yeah, yeah, seeing doctors, doing the whole thing, therapies, therapies, self-help, you can save your miracle cures. I’m working on it.
  3. Ryan has major health issues.  Sigh……  “Crackheads…..”
  4. We have no money.  That’s nothing new.
  5. We are in debt.  This is new for me, not new for Phillip.

And blah, blah, blah, I’m a dirty tramp.  So we’ve got severe problems.  (Yes, we are now upgraded to problems.  You can comment below if you still consider these issues.)  Whatever the hell you call them! we’ve got stuff to sort out.  Namely…

The Solutions

So let’s focus on the solutions.

The Mississippi Trip is still on.  I see it.  It’s real.  Can you hold the vision even when your world is crumbling about you?  Well, survivors of the Holocaust did it, why can’t we?  Victor Frankl said that all of those who survived the Holocaust had a clear vision of the future.  He imagined himself giving lectures to people in a warm, wonderful place even while doctors performed experiments on him.  It will be tuff, but I think we can handle these problems.

I see us on the Mississippi River performing our normal antics, making videos, sharing them with you, and increasing our web viewership by 100 percent.  I see us doing interviews.  I see us successfully completing each day.  I see us successfully cooking and staying healthy, swimming, doing crazy stuff, meeting good, great, interesting people and making an amazing movie that people love.

Can’t get a better vision than that.

What’s Comin’ Up

What’s comin’ up is that we’re going to post a web video on our Cumberland River adventure.

Heeeerrreeee’s a map.
View Larger Map

So we’ve got that goin’ for us.  I’m not worried.  I do want this to all work out, but rain or shine, we’re going.  And rain or shine, everything will be fine.

What Can I Do?

You can send positive energy.  It worked for the Alacatraz trip.

Philosophical Conclusions

We can handle anything.  Anything can be handled.  No matter what happens with Phil’s probation, or my depression, or somone else’s -ion, everything will be fine.

Phil’s roommate (who you can watch in the Free Ride video)

was talking about what he will do if the entire financial system collapses.  “I mean, I’m goin’ to be totin’ a gun in the streets.”  Well maybe it will collapse and zombies will try to eat our brains, but I don’t see how that’s a cause for alarm.  Maybe I’m being a little too Zen here, but anything that comes up you have to handle in the moment anyway.  How is depression, probation, or the financial collapse and subsequent invasion of China (do you know how much freaking money we owe these people, it’s staggering) any different than if things are going peachy?  You still have to deal with it and you still have to…

Deal with It Now

What’s next for 11Visions’ Mississippi Adventure?  I don’t know, but I can tell you that, when it happens, it will be happening right now.

Vince Vaughn’s Mangled Quote

So I messed his quote up.  He seemed to indicate that Mr. and Mrs. Smith being hunted by their respective assassin organizations was worse than being a crackhead.  Don’t think so.  They weren’t smoked.  They just had problems.  And so do we and so does the rest of America at the moment.  Shall we say we’re smoked.  Fuck no.  We’re going to continue.  We’re going to create a positive vision of the future just like Victor Frankl would have done, and lead ourselves out of this not-even-close-to Holocaust.

We’re not in a Holocaust.  We can handle it.  And we are.

So let us… hold the vision.


Free Ride Down the Mississippi River!

OK, so we have a wild and crazy idea.  Our first one!  We love our fans, and they love us (at least that’s what they tell us to our faces).

So for our upcoming Mississippi River Adventure, we’re going to do something a little bit different and a little bit wild in honor of you, dearest reader.  As you know, 11 Visions is floating down the entire length of the Mississippi River where we’ll be video blogging and making arses of ourselves as usual.


“Who, meeeeeee?”

Yeah, you!

One lucky winner will win a 2 day/1 night cruise down the greatest river in America.

“Oh me, oh my, how ever will I be chosen?”

Easy peasy, my little lemon squeezy.  All you have to do is write us!

That’s it!

To be chosen as our honored guest on the Mississippi River for our Free Ride Challenge, email us at contest@11visions.com and tell us why we should give you a free ride down the Mississippi River.

“So like… what!!!???”

Yes.  We are going to tow you down the Mississippi River in a 2 day/1 night river cruise.  You will get a behind-the-scenes look at how 11 Visions makes its movie magic.  You will be treated to 3 full-course meals of, I don’t know, porridge probably and maybe some beans.  You will be treated to on-board entertainment (Phillip will do some hula hoop tricks and I’ll tell dirty jokes, maybe I can try hula-hooping while telling dirty jokes).  You will see the greatest river in America for 2 ful days!!!  If you haven’t already, WATCH THE VIDEO!  

To enter the contest, send a brief, 50 to 100 word response to this question:

Why should we put up with you… er… Why should you be chosen to ride down the Mississippi River with us?

That’s it.

Send your response to contest@11visions.com.

Contest winner will be chosen on creativity, humor and sincerity of response. If you really want to stand out from the crowd, send a creative pic or post a video response on youtube.

All entries may be and probably will be published on this site, so be proud, put your name on it, and win the MISSISSIPPI FREE RIDE ADVENTURE!

Skydiving into a Forest Fire and Rafting 3000 Miles, All in a Day’s Work

In preparation for our upcoming Mississippi Float Trip, we have chosen to speak with a select group of individuals who have successfully paddled down the entire length of North America’s mightiest river.  A general badass, I was thoroughly impressed with Buck Nelson and know you will be too.  This post is a fairly quick read and, if you have time, you may listen to the audio as well.  Enjoy.


Buck Nelson, One of the Few Smokejumpers in the World and Outdoor Adventurer

His website is called Buck Track, and after talking with him, I became thoroughly convinced he could run down an actual buck and break its neck with his bare hands.  Looking online, there have been few people we’ve found who have actually paddled down the entire length of the Mississippi River.  For most people, the Mississippi River is “that thing those backwoods mofos from the Dark Ages used go down to hunt bears and shit.  I mean didn’t Napoleon or someone explore it?  I think it might have been Jean Baptist de la Salle – which of course means ‘of the Salle.'”  The Mississippi is iconic, a known entity, so much a part of our American culture, we accept it as we would the seasons, partisan bickering, and a new pair of shoes bought by J Lo.  For many of us, a missed question on a geography midterm or a drunken rendition of Tina and Ike’s Proud Mary is the closest we’ll ever come to actually experiencing it.  We have said it so many times:  “the Mississippi, the Mississippi River, biggest river in the United States, explored by La Salle – all lands drained by the River, I learned about that in a book one time…  I am in Illinois, it is 1983.  I am a young man – a young, young man of 6.  My teacher pulls down a strappy overhead map and it is a map of the United States.  On it she points to THE River with a long pen.  She has long fingers.  She is beautiful.”  Oh that memory.  Long gone.  The Mississippi River – a phantom, a mental construct, nothing but a cognitive placeholder in my mind.  Nothing more than that till I die.  That may have been true for me at one time, but for Phillip and me, THE River has become very, very real.

I am a man, a man now of 31 years.  I am going to paddle down this fuckin’ thing.  Holy shit!  I’m actually going to paddle down a map!  No, no, you can’t paddle down a map.  It’s not Ms. Hemmingson with her long fingers anymore, buddy, damn she had nice legs.  Hey!  Focus!  You need to get ready.  You’re actually goin’ down this thing and are making a movie about it.  You need to be prepared. For Phil and me, the Mississippi River has stopped being a neat mark on our cortical highways.  The fantasy, the passing fancy, the idea of actually going down it in our Sea Eagle kayaks is upon us.  In the summer of 2009, we’re paddling down it, and we need to talk to someone who has already paddled down it.

Enter Buck

Real man, is an understatement.  A smokejumper for 20 years, this man had seen his share of adventure… and danger.  One thing is to read about smokejumping, ah yes, isn’t that that thing they did in that movie with Richard Gere or something? NO!  It’s real! Buck knows.

When 11Visions makes enough money, Buck, I want you to take me smokejumping.  Of course it’d be a simulation, but what do you think, viewers???  Wouldn’t that be a badass story to cover?

Buck tells it best on his site, but one can gather that paddling down the Mississippi was something he was going to be able to handle.  You would think then that he would have been a bit cavalier about his preparations, perhaps even being a little cocky – I mean, come on, if you’ve jumped into a fire (can’t always get next to one), rope-landed from a tree, hacked down limbs with an axe, wielded a chainsaw, and are one of only 400 people in the world who can do this job, you’d call the Mississippi a piece of cake, right?


In fact, Buck’s first piece of advice to us was…

“Pay attention.  Always.”  More on this later, but this, he says, will save your life.  As we conducted this interview, I found his answers of real use.  The only people we had been talking to up to this point about our upcoming trip had been family members and well-meaning, but freaking annoying friends who said things like “you’ll die,” “you’ll drown,” “there are 5-foot waves,” “currents!” “bears!” and “lions!”  These are the sampe people that answered that geography question, “TRUE – Napoleon Bonaparte discovered the Mississippi,” but like I said, they meant well.

Buck was not one of those Mississippi “adventurers” who had gone down in a houseboat pulling into riverside bar and grills every hour and a half, slamming cocktails and playing grabass with the waitresses.  He went down in a canoe and camped on the riverbanks.  Real man.  So I asked him…


“Can anybody do this?”

“I think if somebody who is genuinely interested, with a little bit of preparation and by applying a little bit of common sense, I think an average person can do it.  I think it’s the type of thing a person never regrets so I would say, go for it.”

“During 9/11, most of us were in the ‘real world’ living our lives.  You happened to be out on a boat during the attacks.  How did being removed from the world affect your experience of that event differently than us?”

“I happened to be listening to National Public Radio, and it was a local program, and they were talking about some local dance troupe who was going to be giving a performance.  They broke in and said a plane had struck the second tower of the World Trade Center, and then they went right back to talking about a dance troupe, and I thought, ‘What in the world is going on?’  I was out there by myself and I had no one to talk to about it.  About the only way it changed my trip directly was I was going by The Rock Island Armory (they manufacture munitions) and the Coast Guard came out and told me to stop in case I was a terrorist.”

“What about your canoe?”

I don’t claim to be any expert on canoes.

Canoe on Lake Pepin
Canoe on Lake Pepin

It’s your standard 16-foot Alumacraft canoe.  It looked good enough to me so that’s what I went with.”

“How long did this trip take you?”

“I think 67 days.”

“I’m very curious:  If we have to go to the bathroom, what do we have to do?”

I think everyone handles it their own way, but when I was heading down the river, if there was no one around, I just peed over the edge.”

“What about #2?”

Land on shore, go into the bushes.

“Did you ever let yourself just drift, maybe falling asleep going down the bank?”

“Nope.  I think that’s one thing people kind of dream about:  getting out in the current, just kicking back and taking a snooze.  I think people tend to be afraid of the wrong things to a certain degree.  That would be really dangerous.  The current in a lot of places is really fast and even if it doesn’t seem fast when you’re flowing down with the river where everything is moving the same speed, if you came upon a buoy or something, you could hit it violently.  Or say you came to a wing dam, or

probably more dangerous than anything is a tugboat coming around the corner.  So you do have to pay attention.  Things can go from hunky-dory to ugly fast.”

“What is the scariest thing that happened to you?”

“One night I went to sleep like normal.  I was probably three feet above the level of the River and tied my boat off.  And I woke up and I heard water splashing and I thought, “Huh, a tugboat came by during the night and waves are lapping up towards my tent,” and I started falling asleep again and I thought, ‘Man, that water sounds so close.’  I unzipped the door of the tent and water was lapping right up against my tent.   The river had risen several feet in maybe four hours, and part of my tent was in the river.   I was thinking, ‘Is my canoe still there?’  I jumped out of my tent, yanked the stakes out of the sand and found a couple items floating in the shallows, threw them in the boat and drug it further up on the bank.  It was kind of a spooky feeling to have something so dramatic happen so quickly at night.”

“What is essential to bring?”

“Absolutely a life jacket.  A sleeping pad, good rain gear, sun hat, at least one long sleeve shirt, long pants to protect yourself from the sun and the cold, an insulating layer, sunscreen, and sunglasses.  You will spend a lot of weeks baking out in the sun.  Also, insect repellent and a reasonable amount of food and water to get you from point to point.”

“What kind of people did you meet?”


“I met a lot of people down on the river fishing, a lot of people down at the river to see the sunrise or sunset, and people on the big paddle wheel boats from time to time.  I just met two other guys in a canoe doing the whole River.  That was fun to be able to talk to somebody and compare notes.  A cross section of people.”

“What shouldn’t people be scared of?”

“I think people overrate the danger of the waves.  If you’re not paying attention and you let a big wave hit you sideways it can easily swamp you for sure.   But I just paid attention the whoooooole time, and I didn’t get too close to the boats and I didn’t get too close to the shore where the waves build up higher, and it wasn’t a serious problem.  People told me that there was gonna be six-foot waves that would swamp me for sure.  That turned out to be a myth.”

“What was the crappiest day you had – a day where you went ‘ah man I just want to go home?”

“The last night on the River I spent at Port Ives, a place where largely fishing boats and house boats gather, and the owner had told people what I had done, and a whole bunch of people where all excited and inviting me over for dinner, and it was really neat.  I felt kind of like a celebrity and some guy said, ‘You know what, tomorrow we’ll give you a ride up to New Orleans.’  And the next morning they gave me a ride partway to Venice and said, ‘You know what, we don’t have room for your boat,’ so I was stuck in Venice.  That was just a lousy feeling because I hadn’t asked them for their help, but they had insisted, and I was stuck – that really bummed me out.  But the way things happen… I was just sitting there and these other guys come along and say, ‘What’s up?  You know what, I’ll give you a ride.’  So my problems were immediately solved.”

“Can you paddle at night?”

“I wouldn’t recommend it.  One evening it was foggy, and I couldn’t see, and it was really creepy because all of a sudden I could hear water swirling violently, and it was a buoy with water swirling around it.  I thought, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna get to shore and I’m gonna stay there until the fog clears.’  Paddling at night is asking for trouble, and there’s enough hours in the day for the mileage you’d be covering.”

“Is the water polluted?”

“I talked to a tugboat captain

Towboat Captain
Towboat Captain

who had run into Jaques Cousteau twenty years ago.  He was doing a special on the River and said the Mississippi, for a major river running through a populated area, was one of the cleanest rivers in the western world.  I wouldn’t scoop up a glass of water and drink it, although that same tugboat pilot said he’d grown up doing exactly that.  The River is a lot cleaner than people think, so you can, and I did, swim in the River many times.”

“Do we have any chance of hooking up with girls on the River?” (Yeah, I asked him this!)

“Again, I think you make your own luck.  And if you want to make that happen you probably can.” (chuckle)

“You seem to subscribe to the philosophy that the Mississippi is a big, very complex, potentially dangerous system, but if you’re paying attention and you don’t push your luck and you’re not doing stupid things, there is no need to fear it.  Would you agree with that?”

“I would agree with it completely.  There’s a little risk the whole time; you don’t need to take extra risk, and if you’re smart about it, it’s not a very risky trip.  It’s a fairly safe trip if you play your cards wisely.”

“On that line, what should I tell my mom who’s freaking out about this?”

“I’d tell her the main reason she’s uncomfortable is she doesn’t know enough, and people tend to fear the unknown.  A lot of people have done the trip safely and if you are prepared you’ll make it in fine shape.”

“What new adventure are you on to now?”

Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico

“I’d like to do the Pacific Crest Trail.  I’ve got some irons in the fire for the summer – I wanna do some float trips, some hunting, and fishing, those types of things.”

“Buck, I appreciate your time.  I certainly learned a lot.  I can think of three specific things I was going to do on the river, and now I’ve totally changed my mind.”

“Great.  I hope you guys do it.”


Well Crap!

Well crap!  Now, we’ve got to do it.  I’d feel like a complete tool if Buck found out we bailed our Mississippi trip which will begin from Lake Itasca this May.  Stay tuned by signing up for our newsletter on the right hand side of this screen

Buck was indeed the man.  After I hung up the phone with him, I felt instantly confident.  There is a real confidence that can be gleaned by talking to people who have actually done something as opposed to people who haven’t.  Friends, family, Romans, countrymen, I love you, but please read this interview.  This is a man who has done it.  He is a safety-minded individual who still believes complex systems like a giant river can be confronted if you prepare and keep your eyes peeled.  And that is what 11 Visions is all about – walking through that door with our eyes wide open.  Not being afraid of the danger but burning it up with the power of our attention.  Thank you, Buck.  We will pay attention.  And we invite you, dear readers, to come with us in May where we’ll be pushing 2553 miles towards New Orleans.  Let’s hope we don’t run into those douchebags at Port Ives.

I am a man, a man who has talked to a master – a master in the sense that he has accomplished something I wish to accomplish.  I am thinking.  I am thinking about my family, my fears and doubts.  I know I can do this if I, if we, keep our eyes open and PAY ATTENTION!

You can find out more about Buck’s adventures at bucktrack.com.

Ethos, Logos, Pathos and the Quest for Tiger’s Milk Bars

Your Newest Superhero
Your Newest Superhero

Ethos – similar to the word ethics – is an ancient Greek word meaning character. Logos – as in logic – means word, and pathos – pathological, empathy, sociopath – means feeling or suffering. Ethos, logos and pathos are often used as elements in both literary works and persuasive arguments. Advertisers use these elements all the time to influence us. Por ejemplo…


Advertisers will try amp up your belief in their character or trustworthiness with phrases such as “the name you can trust” or “5 out of 6 people prefer Astrolube to…” As you know, they constantly attempt to remind us they are a company in good standing: “For over forty years Astrolube…” I guess I really like Astrolube. The idea is if I trust you or at least can believe that you are telling me the truth, I will be inclined to buy your product. However, oftentimes belief in the salesperson is not enough, you also need…


Pathos refers to pure, straight emotion. Advertisers try to associate positive emotions to their product whether that means indicating P Diddy drinks it (the exact reason I do not drink Ciroc – still pathos) or blasting roaring images of a roller coaster to convince you to visit Six Flags. Karl Rove used pathos effectively with the social-issue-wary, Republican party base to get George Bush elected in 2000. He sent out mailers about stem cell research, abortion, and gays to get every backwoods hick in the country to get out and vote for GW. Thank god he did too! Whew! No more gays! Now the country can move forward. Pathos involves appeals to passions, not logic. Sorry to break it to you, hickzoids, if we get rid of the gays, your problems are not going to be solved. No, no, if we get rid of the Mexicans, your problems will not be solved either. Go back to your corncob pipe and weed-growing business. Douche.


Logos treats appeals to logic, our rationality. “Look, Jim, you could stay home tonight and play Play Station and dream about women, or you could come out with me to the bar and have a real shot at getting an actual woman.” However, please note that logic must be based on correct assumptions: All women in bars are sluts. I am a slut. Therefore, I am a woman in a bar. Errrrr, where did my logic go wrong?

Whatchu telling me this for, Ryan?

Currently I am writing persuasive letters with the intention of obtaining sponsorship for our upcoming float down the Mississippi. I do not know how effective these letters will be. I did write one that was moderately successful with Sea Eagle (we have their banner on our site), but I found out some interesting things about this persuasion triple header while doing an exercise I found in an email from Michael Neill. He said that when writing a persuasive letter, you can write three versions: one with a focus on ethos, one with a focus on pathos, and one on logos. Then you write the real letter. I found my versions pretty funny, esp. the pathos one, and wanted to share them with you. Enjoy.


First let me say that your Tiger’s Milk Bars have played an important role in my life. I was raised on them. My mother was a health food fanatic during my entire infancy, childhood and adolescence. I actually did not know what a Snickers bar was until about the age of 6. I am writing you today to ask for an endorsement, either in cash or in product, for an upcoming event of which my company and I will be a part.

We are a film company. We specialize in adventure films aimed at creating a sense of wonder, joy and awe in the audience. To watch a trailer of our latest feature please visit www.hitchhikingmovie.com. Our company’s name is 11 Visions. We are a new company and started out of a love of adventure, exploration and filmmaking. Please allow me to state clearly how you may help us and how we might help you.

We have two upcoming films: Two Miles an Hour: Life at the Speed of the Mississippi and The Channel. Two Miles an Hour is a documentary cataloguing our float down the entire length of the Mississippi River. We will be embarking on this journey in May of this year and expect to complete the trip within three months. Nutrition will be of vital importance while on the River especially since we will not be using any machinery to propel us forward but will be paddling in kayaks. I’m sure you can appreciate the physical demands this will place on us day in and day out. The Channel is a documentary slated to premiere in August of 2010. This film will document my journey from beginner to skilled swimmer as I prepare for my solo crossing of the English Channel in July of 2010. I will be training for this crossing in the River and, needless to say, will be burning a tremendous amount of calories. The quality of my nutrition is of paramount importance, and we are searching for a company willing to donate both product, and if willing, cash to the endeavor.

I believe in your company. You were the first company I envisioned when I turned to my partner and stated, “We need to take tons of nutrition bars with us on the River!” (little bit of pathos, sorry) Due to the fact that I believe wholeheartedly in your product and the fact that you played such an important role in my raising and healthy state as a child, I would like you to be the first ones we have the pleasure of asking for sponsorship. We can offer you banner ads on our sites, embedded marketing of your product in our real-time web videos that will be aired as we travel down the Mississippi, and featured product placement in our feature film which will premiere August of this year. We would also like to offer you a free ad at the beginning of said film.

Kayaking and swimming will place tremendous demands on my partner’s and my body, and with nutritional supplementation by Tiger’s Milk, we stand a good chance to succeed.

Please consider this opportunity; I would sincerely appreciate a reply.


Ryan Jeanes


Dear Sirs,

First let me say that your Tiger’s Milk Bars are the bomb. My mom raised me on this shit! It’s fucking great! I love you guys and I hope you love me! Here’s the deal. I will be swimming down the motherfucking Mississippi River. Oh my fucking god, you’ve gotta check this out. Okay so my friend and I are crazy mofos and I want to say how good your bars taste. They are fucking great. My mom wouldn’t even let me eat a Snickers bar for like fucking ever! So anyway I want you guys to give us some cash, yo!

Here’s why: I am going to be making two films. One is called Two Miles an Hour: Life at the Speed of the Mississippi and the other fucking great movie that you’re gonna love if you have a nutsack is called The Channel. In the Channel one, I swim the English Channel and in the Mississippi one, I swim the Mississippi. My friend’s gonna be on a raft so don’t worry, I won’t drown or nothing : )))))). Yeah! So anyways I was wondering if you would like to be our sponsors. Check this shit out: You will be able to put a big fat motherfucking banner right on our site. It will say that Tiger’s Milk is the best motherfucking sponsor in the world. It will say that you guys support what we’re doing: adventure and shit. It will say that “hey I’m a crazy mofo who likes to sponsor shit and give away shit and we’re giving shit to these guys cuz they’re crazy mofos too! Crazy, yes, no?

So look. You guys will be able to advertise on our site. You will be able to have your product embedded in our web videos, our movie, etc. etc. It’ll be fucking great. All I want in return is some mooooolah. If you can’t do mooooolah, than hook me up with some motherfucking bars so I can munch on them and not starve to death. This is so fudgeing exciting! I’m pissing my pants!

You guys need to totally sponsor us. Tiger’s Milk will be embedded into the minds of the nation. Our goal is to sell 10,000 of these hitchhiking motherfuckers, these movies, so like get on board and don’t miss the boat – pun motherfucking intended, dog!

I want you to sponsor us, you beautiful, gorgeous motherfuckers. I want you to be our sponsor because it would be fucking great and you won’t regret it.


Ryan Jeanes, DogMasterChief in Chief


Dear sirs,

Thank you for taking the time to review my letter. I am writing you today to offer you a business opportunity. We have a website dedicated to the sale of travel/adventure related films. Though our sales are low at the moment, we are projecting increased sales over the coming months as our new release The Hitchhiking Movie gains momentum. We have several promotions in place, most notably a partnering with the site digihitch.com, which has over 14,000 registered members, an excellent market for the purchase of said film.

We believe that Tiger’s Milk has an opportunity to reach and market to a similar quantity of viewers in our next feature: Two Miles an Hour: Life at the Speed of the Mississippi. Nutrition and the vital role it plays in the completion of difficult and highly physical endeavors will be the centerpiece of this film. We are aiming to give an honored and trusted nutrition company such as yours the chance to market to likeminded individuals (such as our film and website viewers) interested in the themes of training, travel, endurance and adventure. We believe that an entirely new and exciting demographic will be open to you if you pursue an agreement with us.

Our adventure down the Mississippi begins in May. We hope to strike a mutually beneficial agreement with a nutrition bar company by that time. Also, our upcoming feature, The Channel, has generated substantial buzz and we believe that its appeal to nutrition minded individuals will be even greater than Two Miles an Hour. This film will catalogue the training for my unassisted swim of the English Channel in July of 2010. I will continue to train during the while on the river, increasing not only interest but also supporting the philosophy that any athlete can train anytime, anywhere. We know that Tiger’s Milk believes in keeping athletes and laypeople alike healthy and strong, which is why we are confident a successful partnership with your business may be possible. The popularity of our site grows more and more every day as more and more people are hooked on our entertaining posts, videos, and featured films. We hope to make Tiger’s Milk the official Nutrition Bar Sponsor of Two Miles an Hour and The Channel. We are extremely excited about this opportunity and hope the prospect of your business reaching more and more potential buyers of your products is equally exciting.

We are asking specifically for cash sponsorship as well as a large supply of Tiger’s Milk Bars during the Mississippi float. I estimate that between two people, we will average as much as 6 bars a day. The maximum length of this trip will be 3 months; therefore, if you are able to provide us with 540 bars, it would be much appreciated. We also believe a cash sponsorship of 100 dollars per month is sufficient to cover promotion-related costs such as embedding your bars into our web films (we estimate as many as 50 short films to be posted before, during and after our trip, on our parent site 11visions.com; Tiger’s Milk may have access to as many as one-third of those films either via choice product placement or direct advertising). In return, we will also offer you banner ad access to our viewers, direct video promotions (you may also run a commercial on our site if you wish, and we will film it if you wish for no charge), continual mention and consumption on camera of Tiger’s Milk Bars on both web-based video and subsequent DVDs, and 3 separate live promotions in which we explicitly and enthusiastically endorse Tiger’s Milk Bars as the only bar we trust, in the place and at the time of your choosing.

Once again, we anticipate a high level of interest in this trip, and please understand that our live blogging, real time web videos, and live promotions with chosen sponsors during that time will only add to the excitement, increasing the prospect for greater sales of Tiger’s Milk products. Please note that, in addition, each and every day we will be augmenting the size of our viewing audience as our current feature The Hitchhiking Movie tours film festivals around the world.

We believe Tiger’s Milk’s newfound access to a younger, perhaps hipper, and more adventure minded demographic will increase the size of your business and contribute to Tiger’s Milk’s popularity all over the world. We believe that you are the perfect candidate for sponsorship and hope to hear from you soon.


Ryan Jeanes

Und das ist alles, meinen friends

I decided to go with just the logos one. I know the exercise was to combine them all into one synergistic explosion of persuasive punching power, but fuck it (pathos!). Pathos strikes again! Wait a minute – that’d make a great superhero! Yes, I did the animation you see at the beginning after typing that sentence. He was a Hebrew superhero on Wiki Commons that I11 Visions › Edit Post — WordPress converted into The Champion of Emotionally Persuasive Arguments, Pathos!!!!!!

PS – When writing sponsors, I’m going to use logos as our backbone and maybe throw a little pathos in there for flair. (No, I’m not going to use the Fs and the MFs, that was just an exercise to get my juices flowing.) Then I can insert ethos when it feels natural. We will keep you posted on what happens with sponsors.  PAAAAAAATHHOOOOOOOOSSS!


Update (3/02/09): As you can see heah, we did in fact get the boats from Sea Eagle.  Thanks John!  Persuasive articles do work.  However let me point out something for those of you wishing to do something similar.  Voici I will break down how this came about:  1st, I wrote Sea Eagle and told them what I wanted to do.  I go the decision maker on the first try.  Sea eagle is a family owned and operated company so it was easier to maneuvre.  2nd, the main dude said he would like to give us some boats, but indicated he wanted to see our Hitchhiking Movie first.  Now that I think about it, we chatted about hitchhiking first.  He was drawn to our site and my email possibly since he’d done some hitchhiking.  3rd, he didn’t commit to sending the boats until after he had seen the movie.  Very important:  It wasn’t just the persuasive letter.  There was the pathos with the direct connection we had.  I also talked to him about Phillip’s positive experiences with his Sea Eagle kayak.  There was logos with what I was proposing – he got that he’d use our footage and such and that we’d promote the kayak.  But he didn’t commit to sending the kayaks until he got the ethos in check.  The ethos was seeing the movie.  Once he saw that, he knew it wasn’t a couple of tools writing for free kayaks.  We continue to build ethos by continuing to promote his kayaks and implementing them into our films.  I am going to apply this technique with Gregory Packs.  I really want Phil to get one, they’re the bomb.  I had a personal relationship with the low level sales guy.  He said he’d forward my email to the Marketing Director, but no response from him.  I’m a nobody, see?  So the in is going to have to be sending the movie off to the low level guy, he sees it, likes it, and hopefully talks me up to Marketing Master Dog in Chief, and we’re in.  You see, there are many factors here.  The whole combination has to be present or your toast.  It’s like the building blocks have to be in place before the person commits.  Please use this info when you’re asking for anything.  Everyone wants to tell you yes; they just need that right combo of ethos, pathos, and logos spun.


Adventure Movie to Feature Float Down Entire Mississippi River

Nashville, TN — February 16, 2009 — Their first film cataloged their attempt to hitchhike coast to coast, across the entire continental United States in under a week.  For their second adventure, they will cross the country again; only this time, it will be top to bottom.  “We’re gonna start in Minnesota and go all the way to the Gulf of Mexico,” Phillip Hullquist, co-creator of Eleven Visions says.  “We’ll go from black bears in the north to gators in the south.  Should be fun.”  “And no thumbing rides this time,” adds Ryan Jeanes, second creator of the production company which focuses on adventure films.  “We’re going to have to do all the work this time… paddling!  We hitchhiked across the U.S. in a week, but this is going to take us muuuuuuch longer.”

The filmmaking pair expects the voyage via inflatable kayak to take between 2 1/2 and 3 months.  As in their first feature, they will focus as much on the people they meet along the way as the obstacles they need to overcome to complete the journey.  “Our first film was a real eye-opener,” Jeanes says.  “We thought people would be really hyped on our attempt to finish the journey to Los Angeles from New York, but a lot of people commented on the people we interviewed.  They would say things like, ‘Oh, that psychiatrist guy was my favorite guy,’ or, “Oh, I wish I could have learned more about Fred; he was awesome!’  So we are definitely going to incorporate those types of exchanges when we’re on the river.”

Jeanes and Hullquist answer the claims that they are addicted to adventure.  “I don’t know if we’re addicted,” Jeanes explains, “but our films do tend to be about things people would love to do but are letting some reason, real or imaginary, hold them back.  Our movies are about facing fear to a certain extent, but really are more about doing the things your heart wants to do before your mind talks you out of it.”  “A lot of people poo-pooed our hitchhiking idea, but we’re not getting a lot of that this time,” Hullquist explains.  “I guess when you successfully complete one adventure, people expect that you’ll complete the second.  What a lot of people don’t know is that only 2 to 3 people paddle the entire river each year!  That’s less than the number of people who hike the Appalachian Trail or who swim the English Channel.  We’re ready.  Bring it on.”

The title, The River is Life, is a play on Jack Kerouac’s famous phrase, “The road is life.”  “We want to capture a piece of Americana,” Jeanes states.  “We’ll go through 11 states on this trip – from the Upper Midwest to the Deep South.  We’ll be interviewing scores of people from all walks of life.  The people we meet always add an invaluable dimension to our movies.”

What about the amount of effort it will take to paddle 2500 miles!  “It’s going to be hard work,” says Hullquist.  You have to pay attention at all times to avoid barges, pleasure boaters, changes in current, wildlife, and sometimes waterfalls (in Minnesota) and rapids (around St. Louis).  I hope we can complete the journey in 2 and a half months and get the movie out to our fans by January 2010.”

Phillip and Ryan plan to be on the River the first day of summer, June 21, 2009.  For more information visit their website at www.11visions.com or email info@11visions.com.