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Benjamin Balzer

Portland, OR, United States

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Last login about 1 month ago

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Overview

  • 163 Positive References4 Neutral
  • Fluent in English; learning Chinese, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Spanish
  • 37, Male
  • Member since 2005
  • Chef/Baker, ESL Teacher, Painter, & ...
  • BFA & several years at the Universit...
  • From Ann Arbor, MI
  • Profile 100% complete

About Me

CURRENT MISSION

Making the world a better-connected community, one friend at a time!

ABOUT ME

...My days off are what I live for, and I fill them with cruising around on my bike, watching people all over town, chuckin' rocks into the river, geeking-out however I see fit, standing on the edge of very tall bridges/buildings and peering over my toes for that vertigo rush, hunting pirates for their booze 'n booty, cookin up a storm or two, other indiscriminate (but worthwhile) late-night mischief... and the list continues, ad infinitum...

PHILOSOPHY

Seeing as how one of our wonderful Admins has said it better than I could, I'll just quote him ;)

"As far as the website goes, I would like to ultimately participate in the creation of a medium that would create friendships for anyone traveling to any destination -before they arrive- automatically. The ultimate goal for all of us [as users] is to never ever feel alone on any specific area of the world with or without the internet. The ultimate goal, as a project for society, is to promote [interpersonal] communication to art form status." -Leonardo Silveira

Also:
"Angels have wings because they take themselves lightly."~Robin Williamsand, always:"Compassion, understanding, sincerity, and benevolence are the cornerstones of virtue."~Benjamin FranklinThough, currently my thoughts hover over this:"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country.... Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic is destroyed."
~President Abraham Lincoln, November 21st, 1864

Why I'm on Couchsurfing

HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had." I seek to open doors hereabouts for fellow CS travelers that are interested in seeing Portland and our lives here in ways that paperback tour guides simply cannot offer; our lives and the profound similarities within them deserve more than the cursory glances that tourism promotes, and if we are to understand each other more fully, a slowing of the typical traveling pace must occur to allow for life to bloom of its own accord. I participate by giving, though how and what depends upon you, friend.

COUCHSURFING EXPERIENCE

The summer of '05 was of non-stop couchsurfing (via this very site!) across Germany, the UK, and southern Spain was incredibly full of experiences I will not soon forget...Plus several years of shared spaces in and around the Detroit, Chicago and Portland Metro areas within artists' communities...

Interests

A: alt comics, anime, B: bad puns, big belt buckles, bjork, blitzen, C: caffeine, clawfoot tubs, cocktails, comic books, cowboy bebop, crooked teeth, D: dancing, design, E: e.e. cummings, eddie izzard, etymology, F: fashion, fearless living, felines, film, foreign films, frank black, full moons, G: geek pride, genuine people, ghettobillies, girls in glasses, good beer, good hygiene, H: hardcore geekin-out, hating on Starbucks, heroism,I: idiosynchronicity, inserting ichthyosaur into subject headings, insects, integrity, intelligence, J: jade, japanese counterculture, jet girl, johnny cash, K: kittens, kurosawa, L: le tigre, love as a verb, M: mini-comics, minimals, mischief, monkeys, muppets, N: night skies, O: opals, orchids, P: piercings, progressive erotica, pulp, puns, R: road trips, S: sarcasm, scooters, sensuality, seven-star praying mantis kung-fu, sigur ros, single malt scotch, six-string samurai, snow, spider man, subreption is another good code word, surrealism, sushi, T: talking to strangers, tattoos, tenbyten.org, thai food, the ocean, thunderstorms, tim burton, tom waits, V: video games, visual humor, W: water, weeping willows, wilderness, wit, women, Y: yoga, Z: zelda, zen, zombie huntin'.

Music, Movies & Books

Books:currently:Finder, by Carla Speed McNeilLone Wolf & Cub by Kazuo Koike
Hellboy (entire collection), by Mike Mignola
Griffin & Sabine series by Nick Bantock His Dark Materials, by Phillip PullmanMusic:art tatum, autechre, beuna vista social club, bjork, dirty three, django reinhardt, edward elgar, everything but the girl, fischerspooner, ghettobillies, gotan project, hooverphonic, hot hot heat, Johnny Cash, kangaroo paw, king kooba, le tigre, mirah, mouse on mars, portishead, primus, postal service, sigur ros, squarepusher, taj mahal, the casket lottery, the decemberists, the exploding hearts, the philadelphia experiment, the police (old), the red elvises, the seatbelts, the slackers, tomoyasu hotei, Tom Waits, yoshida brothersMovies:cobwebbed Vincent Price flicks, The Land That Time Forgot and other wacky live-action gihugeic monster movies with semi-believable 'actors' (ie. Sinbad, Jason & The Argonauts, Clash of the Titans, etc.), any Tim Burton film, early Quentin Tarantino (pre Kill Bill II), every single movie Johnny Depp has ever done, Dark City, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead, all Jarmusch, all Jim Henson movies/projects/executive-prod uced works, Pretty In Pink, Goonies, the body of the Zatoichi stories, not only Kurosawa's entire filmography but the genre itself is keen too (spinoffs: Ghost Dog, Way of the Gun, The Magnificent Seven, Last Man Standing, Fistfull of Dollars, etc), and last but certainly not least in any way: the first and second cinematic incarnation of Spiderman hold a particularly special nostalgic place in my inner-child's heart.

One Amazing Thing I've Done

Bought a round-trip ticket to Frankfurt for nearly four months without having any idea where I would stay until I walked out of the Hauptbannhof (having yet to hear of the miracle of couchsurfing, at the time), knowing not a single soul on the entire continent, and flying with only a few hundred USD to my name...
I have been changed forever by the power of dynamic risk and found within myself an incredible capacity to adapt and succeed.

Teach, Learn, Share

A wide array of cooking skills from cultures around the globe, Small-press publication, Yoga (basics), Self-sufficient & serendipitous living, and I'm sure quite a bit more... just ask ;)

Countries I've Visited

Germany, Ireland, Spain, United Kingdom, United States

Countries I've Lived In

United States

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