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Unique Experience-LiveIamA bicyclist who rode 14,000 miles around North America - from Seattle to Maine, down to Florida, over to California, and up to Alaska. AMA!

May 7th 2017 by ehmatthes • 58 Questions • 307 Points

I am an actor, director, Chicano art collector, and writer, and half of comedy duo Cheech and Chong. I have a newly released memoir called "Cheech Is Not My Real Name, But Don't Call Me Chong!"

https://www.instagram.com/p/BTmOSy1Bxfo/?taken-by=cheechmarinofficial

https://mobile.twitter.com/CheechMarin/status/859450507747663872?p=v

Q:

So are you basically the Forrest Gump of biking?

A:

Thanks for responding.


Q:

My friend who has the disease used to have a fairly grueling physical training regimen. His father used to cup his hand and hit him in the back to help break up some of the mucas inside. I guess my question is whether or not there has been progress in that respect? Or if that type of physical therapy is still required? It was always hard to listen to when we would hang out. I felt bad that he had to go through it so often. But hey he's still alive and doing very well for himself so I guess it must have helped.

A:

How did you get started in terms of marketing? I imagine once you get going that word of mouth referrals take care of new clients but how were you able to break into what I'm assuming is a very competitive field?


Q:

As someone who lost their face, lived for a time without one, and then received a new one, do you see your outward appearance as part of your internal identity?

Is what you see in the mirror "who you are," or just a mask being worn by the person inside?

Many peoples' entire concept of self is based on their external appearance, so I'm curious as to whether experiencing such a dramatic change to your outer shell caused you to reevaluate how you think of yourself internally.

A:

I'm a property crimes prosecutor. Our motor vehicle theft detectives and I have noticed a weird new trend. When the cars are recovered, a noticeable amount have had the rear view mirror removed. Theories range from the thieves are keeping them as trophies to they think there's some sort of tracking device in the mirrors, like onstar. It's a newer trend so we think it's younger thieves. Notice anything like that with your subjects? Opinions?


Q:

What are you doing currently in places like Saudi Arabia? I have a Saudi friend who has mentioned that someone he knew there got put in jail for tweeting something against the government.

A:

Why do I love you so fucking much?


Q:

I sure felt like Forrest Gump when I reached Alaska, and despite all the beauty around me I really just wanted to be done. And I do like chocolate.

A:

PinchBetter: Carina Mia is supposed to run her first race back since Breeders' Cup. I'm also in the Kentucky Oaks with Daddy's Lil Darling -JL

Other than Classic Empire in the Derby, who else are you excited about riding this weekend?


Q:

Excellent question!!! Yes, there has been advancement. There are many airway clearance devices nowadays. The most popular machine being "The Vest"... which I am currently doing. :) It is a machine that has a vest attachment that puffs up and vibrates to break up mucus. There are also other machines (that can vary as to where you live) and hand-held machines too. Manual PT (what you described in your comment) is still an effect therapy for airway clearance. My partner is actually learning to perform manual PT for me as soon as his schedule clears up because The Vest alone is just not as effective as it used to be.

A:

I started out by getting experience in the market as a contractor for other tutoring companies. People told their friends about me, and I started getting organic leads that way. Nowadays it's almost all word-of-mouth referrals, and I only need around 5 clients at a time to keep my schedule full.

Sometimes, when I release a new product like my GT practice books, I will put up flyers around the city to generate interest. For that particular product, most other companies charge 2-3x what I do, so I wanted to have a more obvious form of advertising.


Q:

Honestly, I see myself, never really had any type of dysphoria.

A:

We've heard of this and were told it's because they think there's GPS in the onstar mirrors. Haven't heard that from kids themselves though.


Q:

Saudi Arabia has an absolutely atrocious human rights record, including but not limited to free speech issues. One of the world's worst governments, and one which several of the organizations participating in this AMA have been highly critical of in the past:

https://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/38207/en/saudi-arabia:-poet-ashraf-fayadh-given-death-sentence-for-apostasy

http://www.ifj.org/nc/news-single-view/browse/5/backpid/59/category/gender-equality/article/ifj-condemns-brutal-and-inhumane-saudi-action-against-woman-journalist/

My own organization hasn't been very active on Saudi Arabia not because we have any affinity for that horrendous government, but rather because, as a small organization, we tend to focus our resources on countries where we see some potential of impacting positive change, which just isn't the case in Saudi. It's the same reason we haven't been that active on China, despite their atrocious record.

A:

cause you're only human


Q:

I know you wrote a book to share the journey, but any particular incident/moment that stood out to you that you could share with us?

Also, what place that you'd never visited before the trip would you say surprised you the most?

A:

/u/pinchbetter reply


Q:

Thanks for sharing, so it's an aerolized antibiotic? Interesting about the vitamins.

A:

Awesome answer, thanks!


Q:

Would Operation Mend be of any assistance, or do they only volunteer the surgeries?

A:

You float in the story a couple of potential explanations (population density, public transportation issues), do either of you have any other pet theories to explain the car theft issue in Pinellas County?


Q:

My uncle was killed in the Iranian 1988 executions for political dissent against the Islamic regime. Today, there is no such thing as freedom of speech in Iran- speaking out against hardliner politicians or against Islam, even if you didn't mean to and somebody just perceives you as doing so, can result in a prison sentence and severe penalties (lashings, executions, etc). Hardly a few days ago, an Iranian TV executive that translated media into Persian was mysteriously killed in a drive-by shooting.

The more the west tries to influence Iran, for example if western circles publicly called for more freedom of expression in Iran, the more ground the conservative hardliners (aka most of the regime) would gain because they are against western influence. How can the rest of the world promote freedom of speech and expression in Iran today? Is this even possible?

A:

Bit of a cliche but, What advice would yo give your younger self?


Q:

Sure, there were lots of moments that stand out. I think the moment I saw my first grizzly was probably one of the moments I remember most clearly. Riding around the lower 48, people would ask where I was headed. When I said "Alaska", most people told me some reason I wouldn't be able to make it. "That's too far!" "You'll get hit by a truck!" "You'll be eaten by a bear!" I heard that kind of stuff so often I started to believe it a little bit.

As I headed towards the Pacific Northwest, I started thinking more about bears. I considered getting a gun, but a little research showed I couldn't realistically carry something big enough to make a difference in a bear encounter. But bear spray really does work. I met a guy in Bend, Oregon who had lived in Alaska and worked as a kayak guide. He'd been around lots of bears, and assured me you can learn to be around them safely.

I was riding a section of gravel road in British Columbia, and I saw a patch of matted grass on the side of the road. I thought to myself, "Oh, it looks like a bear slid down that grassy slope", and I imagined a bear happily sliding on its back. I then wondered if it was still nearby. I looked to my left, and found myself staring at the biggest bear I'd ever seen, about 10 feet away. I was already too close to stop, so I just kept pedaling steadily and started speaking loudly but not aggressively to it. It huffed at me, and squared its paws on the ground. I turned back and asked it not to eat me. It huffed again, and took one step forward. I just kept pedaling steadily, and it didn't chase me.

It's funny what prepared me for that moment. When I was in Florida, I got chased by two Rottweilers for about a mile. They would take turns darting at my front wheel, trying to make me fall. I just rode steadily and waited them out. That mindset works for bears as well.

A:

From yesterday: "I ride since I'm 6, currently 19. I've never had a scary experience with horses, but I'm so afraid of speed that I don't ride horses that aren't "safe". It's really difficult for me to have trust in a horse, and obviously it shouldn't. Have you got any advice on how to manage speed when something bad happens, or when the horse is scared?"

The main thing is to trust your horse and have faith in him, and you'll lose the fear naturally. Trust your horse to gain his trust. -JL


Q:

The medication list varies A LOT from patient to patient, but for the most part we all take forms of bronchodialators (sp?), medications to thin mucus, and inhaled antibiotics among several pills and vitamins, then add in airway clearance therapy such as The Vest. Plus, IV antibiotics whenever infections flare up.

A:

No problem!


Q:

I'll look into that.

A:

We don't have any particular theories. We tried really hard in interviewing kids to find an origin or at least a time when this kicked off. But they described it in extremely plain terms. "It just happens," basically was the answer. We're planning to look further into this as we continue reporting out car theft. There's something to be said for the West Florida laid-back atmosphere and unlocked cars. Multiple official-type sources told us they thought people feel safe here and thus are less vigilant in locking up their stuff. I'm not sure that's true, but it's certainly interesting to consider. We read in police reports about victims saying much the same to police -- I thought my neighborhood was safe; I was gone just a minute.

As to pets, Lisa has a wonderful dog named Landon.


Q:

Sorry to hear about your uncle. Iran's government is utterly atrocious, and one that my colleagues in this AMA have been sharply critical of: https://www.article19.org/en/azad/, http://www.ifj.org/nc/news-single-view/backpid/1/article/iran-three-journalists-arrested-in-one-week/. It's not an area we've been particularly active, because as a small organization we tend to focus our resources on place we see potential to impact positive change and, as you point out, outside criticisms seem to only fuel the hardliners. In terms of what to do in a case like that - solidarity among the rest of the world is important, as well as consideration of a country's human rights record in establishing economic relations. Without necessarily coming out in support or opposition to the recent Iranian nuclear deal, I do think that the country's human rights record has, to a certain degree, fallen by the wayside with the focus on their nuclear programme. Hopefully, with the proliferation of the Internet and the increasing democratisation of tools of mass communication, Iran's youth will be empowered to finish the work of the Green Revolution in 2009 though, like Turkey and the Philippines, when a government is dead-set against respecting human rights, and has solid support of the army and security services, it can be incredibly challenging to impact change.

A:

protect yourself at all times


Q:

I've always wanted to do something like this - I'm a bit of a pedal junkie myself, but hilly country roads bum me out due to their coarseness.

What were the roads like? Smooth or crunchy?

A:

/u/mybangbang reply


Q:

Thanks, so it can progress to pneumonia, if you don't stay on top of treatments?

A:

Is there a logic behind $140/hr figure or is it fairly arbitrary? (Do you think you could charge much more without significant drop-off in clientele)?


Q:

Hi Mitch,

I saw your picture on your first AMA, and in that one you mentioned that you would soon go to Boston for some "touch-ups" and the like. How did those turn out? How has your face been adapting to being on you? How good of a "match" (for lack of a better word) is your face now?

Thank you

A:

Is my truck really safer because it's a stick?


Q:

How would you rate the freedom of expression in the United States as compared to other countries around the world? A lot of my friends think that the Government in the United States tries to shut down the freedom of expression, while it appears as Americans can say just about anything (with a few exceptions, of course). In stories I see about other countries, those same freedoms don't seem to exist in the same manner.

A:

If you could go back and decline a role in something, which would it be?


Q:

Smooth roads are wonderful, and crunchy roads keep me on fat tires.

The shoulders on US roads are really varying in quality. Some places have nice wide shoulders and good quality pavement; others have really narrow shoulders with lots of debris and broken sections. I always stay on the smallest roads that get me from one side of a state to the other, so traffic is only an issue when there are no good secondary roads. On roads with really low traffic it's really fun to ride in the middle of the road for hours without seeing any vehicles. There are still lots of those roads around if you know how to look for them.

By far the worst roads I found were in the south, particularly Louisiana. I remember roads there with negative shoulders - the white line was painted over gravel off the side of the road in some parts. That was compounded by the large trucks carrying freight to and from the barges from the Mississippi River. One time a double trailer carrying giant sections of pipe passed me, taking both lanes of the road. The pipe sections brushed the trees on both sides of the road as it navigated a corner. I had to get into the woods to let that truck pass.

I rode the Top of the World Highway through Chicken, Alaska at one point. That's a red dirt road, with endless rolling hills. There were washboard sections that rattled my bike on the downhills so much I thought it would all fall apart underneath me and I'd end the trip sprawled out in the middle of the road with my bike in pieces around me. But at the end of one long downhill I reached the Alaska Highway, which had a giant shoulder of impeccable asphalt in that section. I made a hundred miles on day on that good shoulder. With twilight stretching after midnight in the summer and no one else on the road, that was joyous riding.

A:

Ruddiver: It's more about how the horse will perform that day. Now I have more experience in the race, so I'm not as nervous as I was earlier in my career. -JL

Do you feel more pressure being the favorite? or is it all about how the horse performs that you worry about?


Q:

Yes! It can still lead to pneumonia even if we are diligent with our treatments too. The treatments are preventative care, but it's not perfect. The lungs also get scarred from chronic lung infections.

A:

I chose that figure based on undercutting with other tutoring companies charge. Most charge upwards of $180, I know some that charge $240.

I could probably raise it significantly if I targeted new students in the wealthiest neighborhoods, but I wouldn't want to double the rates for my clients I've had for the past years. I love working with my current kids, they basically feel like siblings at this point.

Another factor is that I aim for year-round clients. I work with my kids for test prep, education enrichment, and for a fun summer school. But for clients who are only doing a few weeks of test prep before their SAT/ISEE/SHSAT, etc. I can charge a higher rate since it's more temporary. But it would be quite a significant amount for somebody to pay $240/hr all year!


Q:

It's been a great match i.g. skin tone, hair color, ect.

A:

Yes -- almost certainly. We saw a case where the would-be thieves couldn't drive stick. Others involved some stalled cars.


Q:

Freedom of expression is a multifaceted thing, so it depends on which areas you want to focus on. In some areas, like hate speech, the US has an almost absolutist approach to freedom of expression, which goes beyond most of the rest of the world. However, recent years have seen some alarming trends, such as the increasing targeting of whistleblowers, and even journalists. Also, widespread mass surveillance is considered by most to be an infringement of freedom of expression. On the whole, Freedom House's World Press Freedom Index is a fairly handy guide, which places the US in the "Free" category, but serious threats to freedom of expression nonetheless exist in the country, and it's important to be vigilant to safeguard this right.

A:

ive liked all my roles


Q:

That sounds beautiful.

Did you ever have to replace your outer tyres at all then? Or were all punctures just cosmetic (teeny bits of glass, metal, etc)?

A:

/u/ruddiver reply


Q:

Good OP. As a doctor i know what you go through. All the best and God bless you.

A:

Have you thought of doing a sliding scale for charging? I imagine for some clients $1000/hr is no more a burden than $100/hr.


Q:

Did you request the transplant or did they seek you as a "guinea pig" as you say? When you state that you went into rejection, can you elaborate on what exactly that means?

A:

What was it like talking to the kids? Were they shy or boastful or somewhere in between? What kinds of questions did you ask them?


Q:

What do you think about last year's story of Mike Ward (Stand-up comedian) VS Jeremy Gabriel and the Court of Human Rights in Quebec, Canada? Have you heard of it?

It sparked a lot of debate towards freedom of expression, specifically for comedians and what they can/can't say legally.

For context; Jeremy Gabriel has Treacher Collins syndrome (facial deformities, especially ears, jaw and cheeks. In his case, he was born pretty much deaf due to malformations. He eventually got very good hearing aids and around age 10 started his dream of singing. 5 or 6 years ago, his parents exposed him a lot to the media and more importantly, he appeared with the make a wish foundation, which made his dream of singing before the Pope come true.

Fast forward 2016, Mike Ward has a number in his one-man show that starts by reminding people about him from years ago, stating that most people were saying "he sings so bad, he sounds awful, etc." (which people were saying), but that he kept defending him. "It's ok, it's his dream, let him be, he's sick, he's dying, let him be, yeah he sings bad but it's his wish, he's dying, let him be."

But then, he's really upset because today, he's not dead! "Of course not, I now know what sickness he has. Goddamn, he's just ugly! I was defending him and now I look like a fool!" (Usually Make a Wish foundation is for very sick children who are dying, they make their wish come true before they die... But TC syndrome is not dangerous for your life). Then he goes on being upset that he wouldn't die. "It's simple; I defended you, you just had to die!" When his mother made him such a parade years ago and presented him with Make a Wish as a dying little boy, the whole Province pitied poor little Jeremy as if he was dying-sick when he never was (I was here and he actually became quite the pariah because of his mother). The harshest thing Mike Ward said is: "I saw him at the waterpark last summer, I tried to drown him but he just won't die!"

So the Court of Human Rights sided with Jeremy and sued Ward for difamation and damages to personal life, then won for an amount of $42 000. Mike Ward is waiting for a appeal to the decision.

A:

Are you sure your name is Cheech? Cordially yours, Larry


Q:

I definitely replaced my tires, but only from wear. I never got a single cut that made me replace the tires. My tubes had about 20 patches each when I replaced them, and I went through several tubes for every tire I used. I'd usually get new tires when I noticed flats coming more often than usual.

I crashed hard as I was heading into NYC. I took a ferry from Connecticut to the end of Long Island, and found some beautiful woods to camp in. The next morning I got up early to make it all the way into the city, where I was going to stay with a friend. I got to the outskirts of Queens, and I got doored hard. But all the weight on my bike actually saved me; I started to go over the handlebars, but there was so much weight on my bike my rear end didn't go up high enough to pitch over. Instead I just went most of the way vertical, and then flopped over sideways. I thought I hit the pavement, but when I started moving limbs and assessing the damage I found I was suspended off the ground between my panniers, still clipped into the pedals. My front wheel was bent though, so I had to replace it. I happened to crash two blocks from the last subway station, so it was easy to get to my friend's apartment.

I was riding just outside Yakima, WA later on. I broke spokes occasionally, and when I was replacing a spoke I noticed that my rear wheel was cracked in about five places. I found a bike shop in the next ten miles, and got a new wheel.

My favorite bike malfunction story happened just a few miles from the end of the trip. I had ridden a little over 14,000 miles, and I was on the last day of riding. I was high at the approaching end of the journey, and also just ready to be done riding. At one point my right pedal stuck and my foot jerked out of the clips as the pedal stopped rotating. I pulled over and popped the dust cap off the pedal. I should have seen some bearings and some grease, but I just saw flakes of rust. On these long trips sometimes you get to test the overall lifespan of some components. I squeezed enough grease into the pedal to fill the space, duct taped the dust cap back on, and finished the ride into Anchorage.

A:

@Runs_n_goses: A little bit, but not too too much. Not in a race. Florent Geroux and I like to mess with each other but not anyone else. It's a friendly rivalry. -JL

How much trash talking is there in the jockey lounge area before races? Also, any trash talking happen during the race?


Q:

Thank you for your support and what you do. :)

A:

It wouldn't be "fair" really to the clients on the high end. I try to look at it as what I charge for my time, not what they can afford for my time.


Q:

To elaborate more, there are four stages of rejection, the 4th stage can't be reversed and you lose the organ. As it progresses from stage 1 to 4, the face starts getting really splotchy, stage 3 looks like a full blown sunburn. I've been in stage 3 in the past but it was always caught in time before it hit 4.

I also had government insurance up until last year so I never saw medical bill, but it was taken away, along with my disability. The government ruled me no longer disabled but my leg still hasn't grown back.

A:

It was strange to talk to the kids. I cover public safety/crime, but it's really atypical to speak to convicted people who are this young. I actually expected them to boast more, since this was seen as such a cool thing to do. But they generally undersold their history to us. They said they stole only a car or two, or didn't steal any at all, even when police records contradicted that. They said they never crashed (crashing is called "blowing it;" it's not cool). They didn't embellish their crimes, they diminished their history. And ultimately talking to them was like talking to pretty much any teenager. They were shy, they mumbled, they were slow to open up. They thought they could get one over on you. One of the most shocking moments was when a 15-year-old told me he'd never steal eyeglasses. I asked why, and he said "because people need the to see." They're smart kids, they're saavy, probably smarter than people give them credit for. But underneath it all they rarely had some profound reason for stealing a car. They spoke about it so plainly. It was just something to do.


Q:

I don't do a whole lot of freedom of expression work in Canada, because my organization mainly focuses on emerging democracies, but I find the Mike Ward case very, very troubling. People should have a constitutional right to say offensive or hurtful things, and it's not the State's job to protect people's feelings. This is absolutely chilling for Canada's expressive discourse.

There's not a lot I agree with that Stephen Harper did, but scaling back on the anti-hate rules in the Human Rights Act is one of them. We have hate speech laws in the criminal code. If speech doesn't rise to that level, it shouldn't be subject to State sanction. Unfortunately, at the provincial level enforcement is still more intrusive.

A:

I thought so until you mentioned it


Q:

Ah yep. I have been doored twice (and have the lifelong facial scars to prove it...) Usually it's the city folk who aren't actual city folk and so aren't used to looking out before opening a door. People need to know the dutch reach.

I take it you didn't have to replace the forks then, that must be a damn good frame you're riding (carbon alloy?)

And yeah, it's amazing what grease will fix! Some of the the bearings gripped up on my steering column a few months back, thought I'd have to replace the entire stem -- nope, just squirted some grease down there -- right as rain since.

Also wow, Alaska -- you rode on snow/ice?

A:

For Reddit, use /u/ instead of an @ symbol. For example, /u/RichardBachman


Q:

What has changed to most for you since last year's AMA?

A:

My daughter is taking the SAT in the fall, and she's really nervous. Do you have any tips for SAT test prep?


Q:

The government ruled you no longer disabled with one leg? You must have made the mistake of getting a job.

A:

Did you talk to the parents? If, so what did they say?


Q:

Do you feel online spaces like Twitter or Facebook should allow equal opportunity to all voices to be heard without censorship?

A:

The E.T/Eddie Torres/Extra Testicle bit was one of my all time favorite things. How much did y'all laugh when writing that?


Q:

My worst crash actually came from a bridge. I used to commute on a mountain bike in NYC, and the fat tires meant I didn't really have to pay attention to expansion grates. I went to a workshop in a different location one day for work, and I took a road bike instead of my mountain bike. On the way back some construction pushed me off the shoulder of the road and into the lane as I was heading from the Bronx back into Manhattan. I didn't notice until it was too late that the expansion grate openings were wider in the middle of the bridge than on the shoulder. That grate just ate my front tire and threw me over the handlebars. As I looked up, all the passing motorists were holding their hands over their mouths, with their eyes wide open. I felt blood pouring down my face. But a passing taxi stopped and took me to the hospital right across from the bridge. It wasn't too bad, and now I'm someone who can tell a "cracked my helmet instead of my head" story. I also have a nice cheekbone scar to show for it.

I got to Alaska in July, so I didn't ride on any snow or ice. It was over 80 degrees when I passed through Fairbanks; interior Alaska gets quite warm in the summer. When I was heading south towards Anchorage I saw the first dustings of new snow on the higher mountains though, and it felt like a good time to be finishing the trip.

A:

sixfourthree: We are handicapping to win the race--see what we need to do to beat the favorite. Put the horse in best spot to win the race. -JL

What exactly do jockeys look for when handicapping a race they're about to run in?


Q:

I LOVE your question! A LOT has changed, actually. My baseline (which is what we call our normal) has had quite a drop and I am in the middle of re-adjusting my lifestyle to fit it. I have an official college degree now (I was 2 weeks away from getting it last time I did this AMA) and am working full-time in my field. That has been another adventure in itself. I am also transitioning in "full" adulthood, which to me means having my own insurance and being 100% responsible for my health care. Those are just the big things.

A:

I can sympathize, I hated taking the SAT too.

The first thing you want to look at is if the ACT is a better fit. The ACT is more "common sense" based, and if she has scientific aptitude, it does also have a science section.

Regardless of which test she takes, it's important to break things up into manageable chunks. I like to split the sections up by question type. So for math, split the problems into Geometry, Quadratics, Simple Algebra, Number Theory, Trig, etc. Khan Academy has 8 college board approved practice tests and keys online, they're really great for this.

This part's important: Take a FULL LENGTH, TIMED practice test, and analyze which question types she gets wrong. There is almost always a pattern. For example, on reading, she might miss the "why do you think the author said _____" questions, but not the content questions. For math, she might miss the quadratics, but be excellent with trig.

Focus on the areas of need without neglecting the other sections. Once she's mastered a specific area of need, don't drop it completely. Just work in a few review problems into her future practice. So once she's confident doing geometry, move onto a Trig focus (but work in a few geometry practice questions with each practice session, along with the other questions she's already proficient in).

For the other sections, do the same thing. If she's always missing comma usage in Grammar, focus on those questions while still "maintaining" proficiency in the other questions.

For each practice session, try to do at least one set of each test section to keep it all fresh. Don't have overwhelming amounts of practice, I'd say 3x/week works well for an average kid.

Good luck!


Q:

Yeah, I had 3 kids and then child support, disability wasn't covering that.

A:

We did talk to parents. Most of them were frustrated. They said their children did not respect the courts, which made it harder to get them to respect anything at home. They also said their kids always started the same way -- falling in with a bad crowd -- before they began committing crime.


Q:

It's a very interesting question as to what level of responsibility comes with these intermediaries' role as the facilitators of online speech. Generally, human rights are understood to apply to States, rather than the private sector, but there's been increasing recognition that responsibilities should attach to these tech firms as well. For a broader discussion, check out something I wrote on this issue at: responsible-tech.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Intermediaries-Print.pdf

A:

a whole lot! I thought, this is perfect


Q:

yep, think I'm gonna have to give your book a looksee -- you seem to have adventures and a half!

A:

Thanks Julian!


Q:

So, some pretty big milestones - congratulations, (not on the lower baseline part mind you)! How do you handle the mental side of it; the ups and downs, the uncertainties? How have your parents been handling this time of transition?

A:

This is really great advice!


Q:

How common is it for a face transplant to be rejected? Does your current insurance assist with any of the expenses?

A:

Any idea what the average amount of money they make if they sell them? I'm sure a lot go for joy rides, but I wasn't sure how lucrative the stolen car market is...


Q:

What do you think of the situation on the island of New Guinea / Papua? Its such a large region with so many conflicts, and yet, there seems to be so little coverage of news. Do the original papuans have any free press or human rights at all?

A:

What's your favorite strain to smoke, and what's your favorite way to smoke?


Q:

Thanks, I hope you enjoy it. If you have any questions after you read it, feel free to get in touch. I'm not hard to find online.

A:

downeastkid: Classic Empire first, State of Honor, and Irish War Cry

What horse would you pick in your trifecta?


Q:

Thank you! It certainly has been a learning experience. I have actually been struggling with the ups and downs lately. I am really lucky to have an awesome support system, though. My family and friends are always there for me. I have been reaching out to some close CF friends more lately. That has really helped me... just to speak with people that get it. Then it always leads to joking around and laughing and that's what really helps!

It's funny you ask about my parents because I wrote a post for the CFF blog on that subject. I know my mom is taking the adjustment pretty hard, but they are very supportive. This last hospitalization they drove through a snow storm to bring me food & underwear because it was a surprise admission.

A:

Thanks! It's essentially what my AP Bio teacher did for my high school class, and it wasn't stressful to prepare at all. We were used to seeing the question style in small doses throughout the year as we completed each unit, so it wasn't hard to just do more problems when the test came.


Q:

We typically go into minor rejection once a year but none of the patients so far have gone far enough into rejection to lose the face.

The french woman who died a few year ago from two different forms of cancer from the meds we take to not go into rejection did lose some muscle control in her mouth area after a bout of rejection.

A:

Great q. First, they don't really take these to chop shops. If they sell a car, kids told us, they do so only after police have chased them and they know it's "hot." At that point, just get rid of it, right? So they might flip it for $20 or $30 to a friend or someone older who is desperate for a short-term means of transportation. Sometimes, they claim, they can get $100 or $200 off a car. But as you can see -- selling the vehicle is not really the point, it's an after-effect of the ride itself.


Q:

I went to Papua a few years back as part of an international human rights mission. It's a very troubling situation, and particularly relevant since this year's UNESCO World Press Freedom Day event is being held in Jakarta. I know a lot of people have been trying to draw attention to the abuses in Papua as part of that event, so hopefully it succeeds in shining a light on the abuses that continue to take place.

A:

Free weed and the other free weed


Q:

Great adventure. I drove the Cassiar highway years ago and it was one of the most beautiful stretches of scenery I've ever experienced, although the road was murder on my '89 mustang. Did they ever pave the whole thing? What was your most noteworthy, awesome road?

A:

Hmm was thinking tossing State of Honor, but I at least have to try this bet!


Q:

Aww, the things parents do for their kids. I'll have to check out your post. Do you think your mom is taking it hard because you are making decisions that she doesn't agree with or is it more that she has a hard time giving up control? Has your mom spent most of her life caring for you, going with you to doctors appointments, dealing with pharmacies and insurance etc and now she isn't needed as much? Is she having struggling with finding her own life again, but feeling like she can't make any big commitments in case you need her? (If this is too personal for a public forum, don't feel that you have to answer.) I ask because my young teen was recently diagnosed with cf right around the time that I was thinking of going back to work / changing careers, and every time I think I have a handle on meds and routines, the protocol changes.

I also wanted to ask you how your siblings have handled your illness. Has there been resentment growing up around parental attention, division of chores etc. Are your siblings older, younger?

A:

Have you ever worked with celebrity kids? If so, how was it?


Q:

You can sell testicles???

A:

Part of their post at the top is showing about police arresting a lot of them. I'd think that's a consequence?


Q:

In a time where "fake news" is spreading like wildfire, what role (if any) do governments have to play in regulating the profession of journalism? When does a government cross the line from legitimate standard setting to undue influence in the marketplace of ideas?

A:

What was it like to play on Celebrity Jeopardy! ? Did Alex Trebek want a hit from your pipe after the show?


Q:

To mention something beyond the Cassiar, my second most memorable roads were probably long stretches of desert riding. I loved the section from Tonopah, NV to Rachel, NV. Part of that is called the Extra-Terrestrial Highway, because it passes right by Area 51. That was 111 miles of riding with no water. In the early mornings and evenings on those roads, you can ride in the middle of the road for hours at a time without seeing a single vehicle.

I also enjoyed the stretch from Parker, AZ to Twenty Nine Palms, CA. That was 90+ miles through the Mojave. I always rode late into the night in those areas and got up as early as I could. It was good to get miles done while it's cool. But inevitably the sun comes up, and it gets hot and windy, and then it's just brutal riding. Since those desert rides, I've never complained about the water I drink. When water is lukewarm or tastes a little off, I just remember those days when I would have given anything for a faucet to drink from, and enjoy the water I have.

A:

MostlyH20: I've been fortunate to be on a lot of good fillies. Classic Empire we find the perfect exercise rider for him that gets along good. They respect each other, and it's been going good since then. We're a team. -JL

Thanks for doing this! I've always appreciated your thoughtful, kind hand with your mounts- do you think that has been a significant factor in your success with fillies & mares? Similarly, Classic Empire is reputed to be a bit... erm... strong minded. Have you & Casse come up with any unique methods to get him running when you need him to and not just when he wants to?


Q:

I think she is just having a hard time because she is a mom. She took me to all my appointments, deals with insurance and pharmacies, and now I am independent. No parent wants to watch their kid suffer. It just makes her sad to see me not doing well and to be in pain and there's nothing she can do to fix it. Long story short, she just loves me. :)

I have an older sibling and two younger siblings. There hasn't been any resentment (as far as I know :P). My siblings are very supportive, which I know I am lucky to have them. My parents didn't treat me any different than the rest of them. In fact, I was kind of the problem child (sassy and trouble-like)... so I had more negative attention. Haha.

A:

Yes and no. I haven't worked with them as a private tutor, but I my first teaching work as a TA at my old high school. A few celebrity kids went there, including Terry Crews's daughter (who was in the year above me) and Zack Snyder's kids. One of Zack Snyder's daughters was a student in the Bio class I TA'd. She was a sweetie :)


Q:

Apparently, saw a few articles about it here and there.

A:

It is, to some extent, but a lot of kids said they don't care about the arrest because they're often sent right back home. They laugh as the cuffs click shut. One girl asked police to take her through the McDonald's drive-thru. Several said they'd be right back out to do it again.


Q:

The traditional approach is to always favour self-regulatory models over the press, rather than any heavy handed government intervention, and I personally am not convinced that the current storm over fake news is enough to warrant a shift from that. Dominance over the news industry is a hallmark of repressive regimes. Any time you get to a point where the government is regulating what the "true" version of the news is, it leads you into some dark places.

A:

It was the most nervous I've ever been in show business, because you can look like a real doalt out there.


Q:

What was the weirdest thing you saw on your adventure?

A:

/u/mostlyh20 reply


Q:

that's a good question, I would probably have seen a therapist if, and i know this is going to sound bad, if my mum was not the person who suggested it. There's no malice between my mum and I, we love each-other to bits. it's just that when your mum has been saying for 17-18 years to do your medicine, if she says see a therapist it would have just sounded like noise "just another thing she's nagging me about".

If the suggestion came from a outside source, like a friend who's never commented on my health before.. I believe it would have made me stop and think that maybe there's something to it.

As for exactly what to say.. I really don't know. I guess it would have to be a fairly frank conversation with them to spell it out.. thing is at that age, the important thing on most 17 year old's mind is school and/or dating, not picking fights with their best friends.. so it would probably have not happened.

hindsight as they say is 20/20. I know now that therapy would probably have helped me back on the path to recovery earlier, but at the time there was in my mind "nothing that anyone could do to make it better" so I'm not sure how effective it would have been.

I'm paying for it now, but I kind of feel that I needed it to go wrong. I learned humility practically overnight, and did a lot of growing up staring at the hospital ceiling.

A:

was this public school? I wouldn't have expected rich people to enroll their kids in public school.


Q:

Part of my training as a surgeon in the 80's was at a Veterans Administration hospital. We gave terrible care. There is no such thing as an emergency or special exception. GI s are right to call them selves government issue. The VA would not cover care outside their own system. I have dozens of nightmare stories, but the most ridiculous is a nose bleed patient flown in 600 miles with units of blood being transfused because we were the closest VA with an ear nose and throat doctor on call. What should have been a $200 "outside" ER visit probably cost us tax payers $30,000.

I believe all veterans ( assuming you are one since DOD is paying) should have full coverage of all services anywhere they want to go. It would be #%¥|€£4&:&€{{€. cheaper!!!

I suspect you have answered before, but do you have your vision and ability to speak intact?

A:

Why do you think this particular county in Florida has so much higher of a car theft rate then other similar counties in similar regions?


Q:

What about a corporation like Facebook or Google deciding what is "fake news"?

E: typo

A:

What was it like being involved with South Park? How did that come about?


Q:

That's a fun question. Here's a few.

  • Drizzly days were not usually fun in developed areas. I'd just put on my raingear, keep my head down, and put in the miles. One day in the southeast I was riding along like this, and I suddenly found myself staring down at a flattened dead cat staring back up at me from the bottom of a puddle. It wasn't even gross or anything, just weird to see that from the bottom of a puddle I was riding through.

  • I stayed at a Rainbow Camp one night in a Florida forest. I saw some hippie-looking people filling up a camper van at a gas station, and they came over and asked where I was going. They invited me to their camp in the woods, and I decided to stay with them for the night. I had no idea who the Rainbow people were before that, and it was wild to suddenly understand that there were people living in the national forests for decades at a time.

  • I lived on a bicycle longer than most people, but I knew there were people who had traveled farther than I had. I met a few of those people. They seemed to be either really committed adventurers, or people dealing with mental health issues in the best way they could. I met a guy in the Mojave who was carrying a full camping setup, plus an electric guitar and an amp that ran on eight D batteries. He would set it up in the night and sing songs to God in the middle of the desert. He also carried a baseball bat in case anyone gave him trouble. His bike shook when he got back on it, it was loaded so much.

A:

PAdogooder: Not really yet but feel like I will when my son is growing up -JL

Julien! You're my favorite jockey and I will often bet a horse just because you're on him- Louisville native here.

Question: do you ever ride horseback in other styles or for fun? Trail riding or jumping?


Q:

My parents were always open with me about the realities of CF. If I asked them why, they would tell me. I personally love that they handled it that way.

I had my own personal revelation when I went off to college and I started having CF really affecting my life. I had to start fighting harder to keep myself healthy and sometimes, no matter how hard I fight, I still lose battles. It's just part of it.

A:

Yes, it was a private school in Pasadena.

Here in NYC, lots of wealthy parents use the Gifted Public Schools though.


Q:

I have both

A:

Good question! We asked a ton of people. Kids, law enforcement, judges, politicians. NO ONE had a clear answer. The most logical conclusion -- kids here have just latched onto it as a fad. Fads can be local. Once it becomes the "thing to do" in a particular place, it can spiral.

Our numbers are auto theft arrests, so they do show, in part, that cops here are really going after this particular crime. But all the evidence points to that being a legitimate reaction to the danger at hand.


Q:

So, when this whole "fake news" thing kicked up, I was very uncomfortable with the calls for tech firms to do more. Major tech firms (and Facebook in particular) are INCREDIBLY powerful forces in the online space. This is true everywhere, but especially true in places like Myanmar or Indonesia where many people literally don't understand that the Internet exists outside of Facebook. I don't want Facebook taking a firm position on which version of the truth is correct - and then passing only that version on to their 2 billion users. It's horrifying to think what they could do with that kind of a platform if they decided to use their powers more aggressively.

That said, it looks like the tech firms are moving towards taking a firmer interventionist hand, so the thing to do is to engage with them to make sure they act responsibly, and don't try and push a news agenda that suits them. It's a very delicate, and dangerous space. I don't think Facebook or Google are "evil" companies, but we do need to watch very carefully to see what they do with the unprecedented levels of power over the global discourse that they now wield.

A:

They called us and had a bit for us and we said SURE! It was nice being part of that show, its one of the funniest ever


Q:

Did you run into a lot of Rainbow people on your travels? Have you ever been to a Rainbow gathering?

A:

/u/padogooder reply


Q:

Where do you see yourself in a year's time? What is on the horizon for you?

A:

Did you go to a school like Flintirdge or Westridge?


Q:

Hey, how did your friends and family react to the face transplant? Are you in a countant pain? Like if your always feeling close to getting an infection. Hope your Government sort this shit out for you.

A:

Follow up question:

Are Tampa/Clearwater residences more likely to leave their cars unlocked w keys available?


Q:

It's my personal belief that many people, in the US at least, have become intellectually lazy enough to rely on online sources of information that are highly biased, at best, and outright fraudulent, at worst.

In an age when people are so easily influenced, and just want to be entertained more than informed, how does serious journalism remain viable, politically and economically?

A:

Are you still friends with Chong?


Q:

I didn't run into a lot of Rainbow people, but I started hearing more about them once I knew what to listen for. I still like the idea that there are people living their lives in the forests of North America right now, rarely setting foot indoors. I know it's not all peaceful and happy living, but it is inspiring in some ways.

I haven't been to a gathering. It was interesting to stay at a Rainbow camp in the middle of a solo trip. The people at the camp were super welcoming, and it was one of the most magical nights of my life. I heard stories sitting around that campfire that I still remember vividly. But everything at the camp was shared, and I wanted to keep some things to myself, and I needed my own space at that point in my life. So against their pleas to stay longer, I got back on the road the next day.

I probably won't go out of my way to attend a gathering, but I would be happy to check one out some day.

A:

kocomma: Top 10 jockeys get best opportunities to ride better horses, but it's also the top jockeys make less mistakes on big day racing -JL

What makes the difference between the top jockeys (e.g. top 10 money earners) and the rest? What do you do differently in a race that sets you apart from the others?


Q:

THAT is something that has gotten difficult: planning the future. I was just reflecting on this the other day. It's funny because they always ask you if you have problems doing that on questionnaires at the doctors. I have always checked no. The plan was college, career, family. SO much has changed since then. I am working full time right now and I am struggling. I hope that I am still able to work in a year because I love my job, but I just don't know. If my health gets any worse or just doesn't get better, I'm not sure I'll be able to. I also have chosen, with my partner, to not have children. It's too risky for me and too exhausting. It's just so hard to make plans when you don't know what your health is going to look like in a year or if/when you will be hospitalized (I've had some close calls with trips that way). I really just take life as it comes and enjoy the present. :)

A:

University of Rochester for College. I didn't go to Flintridge for HS, but we did have football games against them sometimes.


Q:

They were amazed! The only pain I'm in is in my amputated leg.

A:

Interesting question. We haven't calculated location to car unlocked. We don't have broad data for Tampa but we do for Clearwater. Anecdotally, people leave their cars unlocked all across the county. There was never one area that stuck out to us as a place as having more unlocked cars. But I don't have specific numbers here, and maybe we'll look at this further as we continue to report on the problem. Thanks for the suggestion!


Q:

"Viable economically" is an enormous challenge, and not one I see any easy solutions for. The best long form journalism seems to be being produced at institutions that have independent sources of wealth - either from a trust, or State support, or from a rich owner. Not an ideal situation, and all I can really say to that is - pay for your journalistic content :)

But I do think that breaking people outside of their bubbles is one of the biggest challenges we face, especially given that, according to some accounts, the Internet, rather than bridging these gaps as one might expect, has actually made things worse. Even here on Reddit, you have Politics and The_Donald - and never the twain shall meet. I think that we need to do more to foster engagement between polarised positions, and to try and find forums to agree on shared interpretations of the facts, if there's ever going to be progress made towards addressing common challenges.

A:

why yes, we will always be connected. We played golf yesterday at the George Lopez tournament


Q:

Mr Matthews, what can kind of preparations do you make before doing your very first journey? Is there any kind of training that you do before hand?

Also, other than tents and sleeping bag, what else do you bring with you?

A:

What made you want to ride horses? What made you keep the interest in horse riding?


Q:

I'm training to be a respiratory therapist. I admire your AMA and love that you spread awareness with such charisma. My question is "what can I do, as I prepare to be in a field working with CF patients, to be the absolute best for you ? What makes you happiest if you are in a situation that would have us meet?"

A:

An entry exam toddlers have to drill for? Doesn't that strike you as straight up dystopian?


Q:

That's awesome man abour the fam and friends, shit about the leg. Will the leg pain go away "heal"

A:

The article linked at the top was great. It suggested that the viral nature of social media seems to be a large component in the unusually high concentration of car thefts in the Tampa/Clearwater area.

is there one preferred social media platform that the kids are favoring or does it cross over?


Q:

College universities are currently some of the areas most affected by dwindling freedom of expression and speech in the United States. How do you guys plan on addressing this?

A:

Can you talk a bit about the Chicano art center and why it's important?


Q:

That's a great question, and the answer was quite different than I thought it would be. I thought I should practice riding on a loaded bike, but it turns out you don't need to. Time on a bike is more important than riding a loaded bike. I lived in NYC when I was doing these long trips, and I used to commute 5 miles each day to work by bike. That meant I was always in good basic riding shape. As the trips approached, I would do an extra 10-20 miles several times a week, and a few longer rides on weekends in the spring. I made sure I was doing 100-200 miles a week of riding.

Also, it's easier to prepare for an 8-week trip than a 1-week trip. On an 8-week trip you can take it easy the first week or two and still get where you're going. On a 1-week trip you've got to be strong from the beginning.

I think the clearest thing that made this kind of travel possible for me was the choice to continue riding my bike after I got my driver's license. That wasn't a conscious choice, I just always enjoyed getting around on a bicycle. When I was about 12 my friend and I would ride as far as we could from our homes in New Hampshire, and try to find our way back without looking at a map. We really learned how to get around on our own, under our own power, and we learned how to ask other people for directions. You get different ideas for where to go from local people than you do from a map. My friends who stopped riding bikes after they got their licenses would have had a harder time getting into this kind of travel.

But that said, just about anyone can get comfortable riding a bike long distances. The bigger factor is being comfortable knowing that you'll deal with difficulties you can't possibly anticipate, and being ready to deal with those difficulties as they come up.

I brought books, a journal, a chess set, climbing shoes, a stove, and a few other things. When I was finishing the ride I was planning to get a motorcycle next, so I also had about five or six motorcycle magazines with me near the end of the trip.

A:

colhurts: There's a lot. There's many horses I wish I rode. American Pharoah, Zenyatta, all the big horses are the ones you want to be on. -JL

Which horse that you didnt get to ride do you really really wish you could've ridden?


Q:

LEARN TO PLAY MARIOKART!!! Haha. I know that seems like a silly answer, but my favorite hospital memories are playing MarioKart with my RTs. CF patients deal with a lot of medical people, so the ones that treat them like friends rather than a patients are gold.

A:

Absolutely, it's terrible. I hated having my abilities reduced to a set of numbers as a student, and I hate it now as a tutor. It's dehumanizing.

One of the things I aim to do is make that test prep more accessible and affordable for people. Most test prep companies keep their materials under lock and key, and charge something like $100 for a crappy book with a day's worth of exercises. So I released a free test, and a bunch of inexpensive downloadable practice tests, along with a free book on at-home prep methods. Free videos are coming this fall, too!

Hopefully with more companies like Khan Academy offering free prep, and more ethical tutoring companies, standardized tests can be less of an issue for everybody.


Q:

Nah the phantom pain will always be there

A:

It definitely crosses over! But Facebook and Snapchat seem to be leaders.


Q:

I'm actually troubled by this. The academic space is supposed to be the most open and freewheeling expressive environment out there, and the drive to silence dissenting voices, even offensive and hateful ones, is deeply troubling. Engagement is always preferable to trying to shut the other side down.

And, for the record, the reason I wasn't responding was because, at last count, there's 884 comments :). It's difficult to keep up, even if there are a few of us working on it.

A:

because it will be the first museum dedicated to chicano art, culture, and industry, and has the potential to grow into something increible world wide


Q:

I have wanted to do some bike touring for some time now. I race triathlon and my bike fitness is really strong, but I'm incredibly hesitant to get out there and just do it.

I will have some time at the end of summer before school picks back up, but—how do I start? Any sites/guides you would recommend? I've never camped in my life, but I would love to do a self supported with some camping... Feasible?

A:

What made you want to ride horses? What made you keep the interest in horse riding?


Q:

Game on! I'd love to play with patients. I haven't played in years though. I need to practice.

A:

Mentioning Khan Academy gives a lot of respect from a university student. They are praised by so many I know in the engineering field.


Q:

You mentioned in one of your other answers that you usually deal with minor rejection once a year, and you've been up to stage 3 in the past.

Will there be a time when there is no longer a risk of rejection, or will this always be a risk no matter how long you've been healing?

A:

Did you find trends in the time of day that most cars were stolen -- mostly in the middle of the night or all times of day?


Q:

How is pepsi helping your cause?

A:

Hey Cheech, since your movies were a huge influence on my teenage years in the 80's do you feel responsible for how I turned out, and if so would you change anything?


Q:

First of all, I encourage you to do it. You'll learn a great deal the first few days and nights out, and then you can consider all kinds of trips. There's not a huge difference between a 3-day trip and a week-long trip. There's not much difference between a week-long trip and a summer trip. Getting into year-long trips becomes a question of whether you can stand long nights alone in a tent more than anything else. Once you need to carry a change of clothes and camping gear, the length of the trip begins to become less significant in what you bring.

I have not participated in it because I did most of this riding before reddit was even a thing, but the r/bicycletouring subreddit is a wonderful resource. You can pick up a lot just from reading through the threads there. I think the most important bicycle issues are having a low enough gearing to climb hills with weight on your bike, without hurting your knees. Being a cyclist, you'll make sense of that pretty readily. Then, having components that you can maintain and repair with only the tools you carry is a huge plus. Even in the most remote places, you can always wait and hitchhike to safety if your bike becomes unrideable. But these adventures are much more satisfying the more self-reliant you are.

You might spend a night in a tent without a bike before biking with the intention of camping. Then again, you can practice setting up a tent and rolling out a sleeping bag just about anywhere.

In short, absolutely feasible! My first ride was a three-day trip out of NYC to Ellenville, where I took a hang gliding lesson and then got a bus ride back to the city. Then a week-long trip from NYC to Niagara Falls, and then the first cross-country ride. Good luck!

A:

amb326: I'm not sure, but he wore them in the Arkansas Derby -JL

Do you know why Classic Empire is now wearing glue on shoes?


Q:

Haha. I used to bring my Wii/Wii U every admission. Every one knew me as the MarioKart girl :P

A:

Thanks! I have enormous respect for what they do, and I'd love to make a similar website to supplement their materials one day.


Q:

Rejection will always be a risk until medical science finds new ways to trick the immune system which they are working on.

A:

Car theft happens in broad daylight and at night, but it's hard to track down the specific time of the theft. Speaking generally, many of them are reported in the morning, because people wake up to discover their car is gone. Then they call police. But police reports only say something like, Call time: 6:32. And then it'll say in the narrative, the car was likely stolen between the hours of 11 p.m. (the last time the victim saw it) and 6 a.m. (when they wake up to the horrifying shock of no car). A lot of kids certainly go carhopping at night, but if they spot a running, unattended car during the day or try a handle and strike gold, they're just as likely to take it at 3 p.m. as 3 a.m.


Q: JoinTheMovement
A:

Absolutely and no, I wouldn't change it


Q:

Mr. Matthews, How long did it to write the book?

A:

Are TBs your favorite breed? Are there any other breeds you particularly like?


Q:

Have you seen the movie "Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist"* and if so, how do you feel about it? Considering that it is a tough movie for anyone to watch I would imagine it would be extra rough for you.

*For those who have not seen it, it is a documentary chronicling the life and eventual death of artist/CF sufferer Bob Flanagan.

A:

Any crazy stories, being in and out of people's houses?


Q:

Cage or Travolta?

A:

Are people really leaving their guns in their cars unattended that often? What percentage of car thefts also include gun theft?

Besides changing sentencing, do you have any other potential solutions suggested by your sources?


Q:

Do you feel the use of anonymous sources has undermined the public's trust in modern journalism?

A:

You've managed to pull away from the combined cheech and chong image, do you ever regret how inseparable those names are together in people's minds?


Q:

It's taken a while, which turns out to be a good thing. I didn't set out to write a book; I've never wanted to write a book just for the sake of writing a book. When I had enough meaningful and unique experiences to share, I thought it would be good to put together a book.

I considered finding a place to hide out in Alaska right at the end of the trip and write the story then, but I was ready to get back into the teaching life. So when I could I typed out all the journals I'd been keeping on the long trip. It was 1500 pages raw! I then cut out all the stuff that would be meaningless to other people - dreams, encounters that didn't turn out to be that interesting, etc. That process of reading the journals and typing them and trimming them really cemented my memories of the trip. But still, it read like a journal, not like a book. So I stayed in a tent for a week in the Arizona desert and wrote out the story in an oversized art journal. I then typed that out when I got back home, and edited it from there.

The benefit of taking a long time to write the book is that it's much more timeless. I took out all the stuff that seemed important at the time but really isn't in the long run. What's left is the timeless joy of long-term independent travel, the hard lessons anyone who lives on the road for an extended period learns.

Edit: I never answered your question directly. I did the ride in 1998-1999, so I've been working on the book off and on for a long time. Every time I got close to finishing it, the school year would start up again and I'd get busy. The first few times I reread it after putting it down for a while, I'd find sections I couldn't believe I had kept in the book. the last few times I read it I couldn't find anything to take out, and the story as a whole seemed even more relevant than when I first started drafting it. That's how I knew it was ready to share. It really was a life-defining journey, and the book captures that well.

I also wrote Python Crash Course, which is an introduction to programming in Python. That book has done really well, there are 48,000 copies in print and it's been translated into six other languages. The experience of writing that book made it a lot easier to put the finishing touches on this book.

A:

moaia66: My passion for it. I group up around horse racing. I always loved it and always wanted to be a jockey. Obviously I'm lucky with my size, too. -JL

Was it your physical attributes that lead you to the sport? A love of riding? A combination of some sort?


Q:

I have not yet, but I hope to some day. Where is the best place to watch it? I have watched other CF movies, but I am more of a reader. I find that they are rough, but I imagine they are rougher for individuals without CF to read. Haha. We are accustomed to trials of CF and so might not find them as difficult to watch/read about. I read the stories more out of interest. Each CF patient is so different and we often have very different lives -- that is something that truly fascinates me.

A:

In my current work, I carefully choose the 5 or so families I work with to be sane haha. But when I worked for other companies (usually a few hundred different kids every month) I saw some shit. What stands out most was a little 4-year old who had some trouble focusing on his test prep for the Gifted and Talented Exam.

He didn't have terrible focus, just what you'd expect from a kid who is used to playing all day and now has to sit through an hour of drilling questions.

His mom got into a screaming match with him about his poor focus, was threatening to call his dad to come home from work and punish him, etc. It was really sad. Some kids just aren't ready to sit through that many questions at once. But if he has any hope of focusing, screaming at him isn't the way to get him to do it. You gotta make it a positive experience, reward what little focus he does have, etc.


Q:

Cage

A:

First -- yes, people leave their guns in their cars pretty often. More than you could imagine. We did not calculate an exact percentage of car thefts including guns because we looked specifically at police reports involving an auto theft arrest. If you looked at all auto burglaries, not just thefts, you'd likely turn up a lot more gun cases. But just in car thefts, we saw guns involved in some way in more than 50 cases. A decent chunk of those guns you can guess are stolen -- most 13 or 14 year olds in stolen carfs don't have legally-purchased Glocks.

Sources told us, aside from changing sentencing, they'd like to reach more kids/families with resources like counseling and mentoring. They said they believe this kind of juvenile crime overlaps with dependency issues, substance abuse, mental health problems -- and keeping kids/families involved in schools, support programs, etc. will help keep them away from crime. Of course, that's an unsurprising response. Actually fixing that problem, or determining who provides those resources, and how, brings less clarity.


Q:

The use of anonymous sources is a critical journalistic tool, in order to encourage people who wouldn't talk to you otherwise. That said, there have been legitimate questions raised about the pervasiveness of its use, and that in some instances it's abused by governments to plant stories without have to take responsibility for them. It's a highly contextual and difficult question as to whether and in what circumstances promises of anonymity are appropriate, but certainly it needs to be protected as a journalistic tool.

A:

no I rejoice in it. Its all part of the deal and I would be sad if it wasn't


Q:

Mr. Matthews, where were you in the twitter photo with the snowy mountains?

A:

Are TBs your favorite breed? Are there any other breeds you particularly like?


Q:

I had to get it off Netflix, it's obscure enough that I don't know where else one would obtain it except buying it outright.

Fair warning, you basically see him die on camera though :(

Part of the film's theory is that he became a sadomasochist in part to have some form of control over the pain his body was in due to the CF. Interesting idea, I guess.

Best of luck to you.

A:

Man, if you want to give your kid test anxiety, that's definitely one way to do it. Poor thing.


Q:

Since this statement is only a few weeks old. Contact the DoD. Seems like this is an oversight. Proof that they arnt footing the bill would be nice.

That aside im sorry for your troubles. What happened to make you go back to get work done? I get rejection but i dont understand what that means. Did it start to slide off?

A:

What do you think mostly influenced them to do this other than to have fun?


Q:

In the most open and inclusive of forums like Reddit let's say, where anyone can talk but nobody has to listen, should any speech or rhetoric or idea be off limits ?

A:

Who came up with the Pussy Rant on Dusk til Dawn?


Q:

I moved to Sitka a few years after finishing the trip. I climbed Gavan Hill (a 2500' mountain) yesterday morning, and turned back when I reached waist-deep snow because I didn't have my snowshoes with me.

Sitka is in southeast Alaska. I never really thought of southeast Alaska as "real" Alaska; I thought I'd move here for a year and then figure out where I really wanted to be. But I love it here, and I'll probably never leave. Sitka is big enough to have much of what I like about modern life, but you can only get here by boat or plane, so it feels really isolated. We also have a lot of protected water that stays fairly calm because of barrier islands, but the open ocean is quite close as well. We really have a little of everything here, and true wilderness is right outside our doors.

A:

skibonit: Hopefully not but never say never. I wouldn't mind being like Mike Smith and getting to ride whichever horse I want. -JL

Do you hope to still be riding in your 50's like Stevens & Smith?


Q:

Hmmm... interesting. Thanks for sharing! Maybe I'll have watched it by next year's AMA.

A:

It was horrible to watch. I was getting anxiety just from hearing it.


Q:

to elaborate more, there are four stages of rejection, the 4th stage can't be reversed and you lose the organ. As it progresses from stage 1 to 4, the face starts getting really splotchy, stage 3 looks like a full blown sunburn. I've been in stage 3 in the past but it was always caught in time before it hit 4.

The face wouldn't just come off, if I hit stage 4, they would surgically remove it. I also have a letter from the hospital that it was performed at that the DoD would not be doing anything to help, I can upload that if needed. This wasn't an oversight.

A:

Good question. There are a lot of factors at play, but social pressure is a big one. They do it to hang out, to be cool, to gain popularity. A lot of them post pictures to Facebook or statuses about being "on wheels."

Car theft is a crime of opportunity, too. Many of the kids are those who don't otherwise have access to cars or, they say, the money to entertain themselves. One boy told us, simply, "We have to make our own fun."

Lastly -- access: It's super easy to steal a car when you find it unlocked with a key inside. So the simplicity is appealing. Then when they get caught, they're often released right back home. Then they do it again. They get sent home again. It takes a while for consequences to catch up to them, critics say, and that enables more thefts.


Q:

I think everyone believes that speech should have some limits. For example, you won't find many people defending death threats, or child exploitation images. The key is to craft restrictions around protecting against real and legitimate harms, and making them proportionate to promote a free and open discourse.

A:

Quinten Tarrantino and Robert Rodriguez


Q:

Hey man this sounds really cool. I've always thought about doing some long distance on my fixed gear whenever I get the chance to. As for sleeping on your journey, what was your typical set up? Did you just crash in a personal tent most of the time while sometimes couch surfing?

A:

How excited are you for Channing?


Q:

How often are you on Reddit and what are your favorite subreddits?

A:

I teach chess to the same market. Not even 30 minutes into the first lesson I had with this one kid who I just met (at his modern museum-looking apartment on Park), he replies to my advice "I don't care if my King isn't safe... I don't care if he dies... I don't care if I die." Thankfully his mom heard and gave him a talking to in a separate room. The kid was miserable the whole time; it was only toward the end when we started playing on his iPad against other people, whooping them one by one, that I noticed a huge grin on his face when he had a simple checkmate in 2 and was going to let his time wind down a couple minutes until he only had a few seconds left to make his moves... and then asked his mom if we could extend the lesson another hour...


Q:

What the hell happens if they remove your face? I mean, they can't just sew the old one back on!

A:

Are local politicians and law enforcement embarrassed about the story?


Q:

Hi there, thanks for doing the AMA! Do you think that potential misinformation (fake news) deserves to be restricted in order that 'credible' outlets reach the public? If so, how would you decide which is and isn't 'credible' as such? Once again, thank you so much for your time!

A:

Do you have any thoughts on 1st generation Latino Americans and 3rd and 4th generation who weren't taught to speak the language and how to bridge that gap within the culture?


Q:

I carried a tent and sleeping bag, and one of my favorite memories of these trips was walking my bike into the woods at the end of each day. I was amazed to find, that even in our seemingly over-developed modern world, you can still find stretches of woods almost every day you travel. I only trespassed once or twice to find a sleeping spot; I almost always found unmarked woods I could just walk my bike into. You can't do that in a car because you need to find a place to park. On a bike, you can just spot an opening into the woods, and be invisible to the rest of the world in 50 or 100 feet. It was a wild feeling to sleep in a tent just a short ways from the road, hear cars and trucks passing by occasionally in the night, and know that nobody knew I was there.

When I couldn't find open woods to sleep in, I would knock on doors near big fields and ask if I could put a tent in the back of the field. People would listen to my story a moment, look at my loaded bike, and usually say yes. If people said no it was usually because they didn't own the fields near their house. I got a rude awakening once or twice from an angry or confused neighbor, but those were rare exceptions. I was usually packed up and gone before most people were awake when I slept near houses like that.

In the deserts out west there were often no trees to hide in. But if there's no trees because it's a desert, it's usually dry enough to sleep without a tent. those were wild nights, waking up in the middle of the night to the stars up above, forgetting where I was and what I was doing for a moment, wondering how all those stars got there. Sleeping outside of four walls night after night was one of the best parts of all this travel.

A:

iwas99x: Those are the best ones. After that, any Grade 1 -JL

Mr.Leparoux, outside of the triple crown and breeders' cup, what is the best race and why?


Q:

This question has a funny story to go with it. My first time really using Reddit was for my AMA last year. Then I got on the front page -- my partner is an avid Reddit user and has never been on the front page... so we giggle about that all the time. I go on Reddit about once a week, I would guess. I frequent the /r/CysticFibrosis subreddit, although since we started a Discord I have been on less often. Otherwise I really like /r/aww, /r/funny, /r/mildlyinteresting, and /r/showerthoughts.

A:

Wow, I had no idea chess tutoring was a market too! It's great when they finally "get it" and start enjoying it, isn't it?


Q:

The old one no longer exists, they would regraft skin from my own body and reconstruct my face like they originally did after the accident.

A:

Embarassed might not be the right word. They told us they were shocked, a bit horrified. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist had a pithy statement: “This is not who we are as a community. It’s reckless and it’s criminal." He said he wanted “to put an end to this madness.”


Q:

No. Once you get into the business of restricting "fake news", you have to have an official source who determines what the truth is - a typical hallmark of authoritarianism.

That said, there are avenues that need to be explored around promoting media literacy and public education. Also, it may be fair to differentiate in the case of government sourced campaigns to spread disinformation - though that's an area that still needs a lot of thought.

A:

Knowing more than one language is always a plus. For those who don't know a lot of English, learning more is a necessity. For those who don't know Spanish, learning more is an opportunity. It makes the exchange of ideas much fuller and richer. Do what you can!


Q:

Have you ever been to Denmark, the (I think) number one cycling nation in the world?


Q:

Are you aware of any promising new treatments for CF? What treatments have you been through? Thanks for sharing and good luck to you.

A:

What is the most popular home science experiment that most of the kids like; yet are simple to learn and explain?


Q:

The face transplant was funded through a DoD grant for veterans that Brigham and Women's Hospital has received. Source

A:

Do people really leave their car keys in their cars in 2017? I feel like this doesn't happen in the UK, outside of perhaps isolated Scottish islands and the like...


Q:

What are your thoughts on Edward Snowden in specific but other whistleblowers?

A:

Can a young Chicano get some wise words of wisdom?


Q:

I have not! I was just about to start traveling internationally when Sara asked if I'd do another cross-country ride in the US. As a result, I still haven't traveled outside the US at this point. That's one of my next goals in traveling. I want to ride across the US once more to see how much has changed, and I want to see other parts of the world.

I'm most interested in seeing Patagonia, Iceland, the Himalaya, and maybe some of Europe.

A:

iwas99x: I really enjoyed Go-Karting but now spend a lot more time with my family and son.

Leparoux,What are your hobbies outside of work?


Q:

There are always studies going on. I try to participate in as many research studies as I can. Unfortunately, with my big health drop I am not eligible for any at my clinic at the moment. I was in a 2 year long study for Orkambi, which is a gene therapy drug that has helped many people keep stable with their health. Unfortunately, we did not see those results in my own health.

A:

I've found that almost any science high school level science experiment can be simplified to an elementary schooler. People have this preconceived notion that some stuff is too complex for kids, but that really isn't the case.

Here are some examples of stuff I've done in the past few months with my kids in grades 1-5.

Endothermic and Exothermic reactions: Brief talk/review on how molecules and atoms interact with each other, but this involves energy changes. Heat is energy. Some reactions absorb heat (called endothermic), and some reactions release heat (exothermic). Discuss the etymology of the words.

Prepare two reactions in glasses. Use baking soda+vinegar for one, Hydrogen peroxide+yeast_soap for the other. Both reactions produce a volcano, kids love it. You can add red dye too. Have kids guess which one is endothermic and exothermic (they try to remember the different vocab terms here, or refer to a sheet where they wrote it down).

Discuss the use of endothermic and exothermic reactions in the real world. Challenge them to think of where something getting cold/hot is useful. Most kids will bring up medical uses at this point, and you can discuss how hospitals have chemical hot and cold packs to help people soothe their injuries. You should also discuss the gas production in both reactions, and talk about where that might be useful (filling a balloon, or harvesting a specific type of gas).

Depending on the age and interest of the kid, I'll look at the products of the reaction to prove that things "changed." Specifically, for the baking soda and vinegar, there isn't any vinegar left once you add enough baking soda. They can taste it to prove it to themselves.

Other recent experiments include: using google cardboard and stereoscopes to talk about our brain's perception of 3D, and then brought over the Vive to have a fun day. This week I talked about mass, volume, and density, and we built a density column in my graduated cylinder out of different fluids. We sometimes do less "involved" experiments, like illustrating probability by counting the responses in 100 shakes of a magic 8 ball, etc. One of these days I'll probably write a blog detailing what I do every week, haha.


A:

Yes they very much do. That happened in 250 cases here in 18 months. It probably happens more than you think!


Q:

Edward Snowden did the United States, and indeed the world, a great service by exposing illegal and incredibly abusive mass surveillance policies, and for that he's been exiled from his country and officially threatened with spending the rest of his life in jail and worse. International standards mandate that whistleblowers should not suffer any sanction for reporting in the public interest. His treatment by the US government has been atrocious.

A:

stay centered and show up on time


Q:

Can you tell us a bit about places within California you would recommend for biking/hiking/sight-seeing that you personally enjoyed?

I'm in the bay area but I've been so busy I haven't had the free time to explore anywhere. Yosemite is definitely on the list, but what are some other places you would recommend for maybe an introspective weekend trip / getaway?

A:

You make these all up? They're good.


Q:

Is there a list of drugs that you are NOT allowed to take? Also are you not supposed to eat certain kind of food items?

A:

We have also locally seen a giant rise in car thefts in the area. 250 reported thefts in 2017 in a city of 150,000 These are also attributed to minors. Do you think this is becoming an epidemic in the US ? What do you think we as peers can do to curb this in minors ?


Q:

How important do feel that Net Neutrality is as an aspect of freedom of expression/freedom of the press?

A:

Cheech, what are your favorite Chicano stereotypes?


Q:

California is so full of good places to visit. I rode through Joshua Tree, and then up 395 all the way along the eastern Sierras. But in other travels I've visited the redwoods and the sequoias. Just in that you have deserts, mountains, and forests. It's unreal the variety that California represents.

I went to a conference in Santa Clara, and I took a side trip to Big Basin State Park. It was amazing how quickly the development just ends and suddenly you're driving through cool forest air. Then you get to the redwood stands and everyone's just quiet and humbled. Tahoe is gorgeous; it's one of those lakes where you can see straight to the bottom even in deep water. I went through a lava tube near Lassen volcanic park; it was interesting to go in there and turn off all lights. That made me realize I'd never experienced absolute darkness before.

A:

Yeah, I collected a lot of science equipment over the years and use that. 4M also has great kits on amazon, where you can do cool things like build a hovercraft, make a lemon battery, etc. I use those too.


Q:

No grapefruit or passion fruit

A:

Interesting! Where is your area? I don't think we've seen evidence to suggest this is a nationwide epidemic. One other area in which we've read a lot about an uptick in juvenile car theft is Milwaukee. The local media there has covered it extensively, and it seems pretty similar to our situation in Pinellas. What can we do to curb this in minors? Everyone we talked to -- politicians, police, judges -- said they did not have a single, perfect fix. But they said in general, keeping kids involved in more positive activities -- school, sports, clubs, mentoring -- will give them less time to act out. That seems like such a simple concept, but several of the teens we talked to said they did in fact start stealing cars or getting into trouble when they began cutting class or stopped playing on a local team.


Q:

Vitally important! And very troubling to hear talk about this principle being scrapped. If you're in the US - call your representatives, and sign onto campaigns like EFF that are leading the charge against these changes.

A:

that we don't speak spanish, which lets face it, most of us don't


Q:

This is awesome! Lots of questions but I'll limit them-so I used to be a bike mechanic, what kind of bike did you ride? How many chains did you go through? Were there a lot of other repairs throughout the trip-maybe cable replacements, wheel truing, hub work? Also how did you work up the cardio to make it through the 100 mile trips? I've ridden for 10 years but just get so bored after a while and can't seem to make it farther then a 50 miler

A:

What do you think is the most effective way of teaching someone to teach themselves? Or is that just within them?


Q:

If you ever go into a life of crime, you could be a real life Two-Face. That's pretty neat.

My question: are you considering a life of crime?

A:

I live in the Midwest. The city I'm talking about is Davenport, Iowa. The news sites around here are aggressively pushing the issue in the media. The police had put out a notice around 2 months ago that they had seen a huge jump in car thefts and had advised everyone to keep their cars locked at all times.


Q:

Hey Cheech, do you have a favorite musical album from 2017?

A:

I rode a Gary Fisher Montare mountain bike. I modified the gearing to get a super low gear, and I rode a narrow mountain bike tire with a continuous tread, and ran a higher tire pressure when I was on pavement. I also put bar ends on bar ends, kind of like a homemade aero bar. I really only used those when I needed to get down and out of the wind. My weight was on the main handlebar, but I could steer with the second set of bar ends.

I only broke a chain once, and I think I know why. I rode about ten miles on the beach at Daytona one night because it was just gorgeous, but I think that put sand in the chain that just ground away at the links for a long time. I broke the chain on a steep stretch in New Mexico, but I'm pretty sure it came from that Daytona beach riding. Of course I had hundreds of flats. I'd go through periods where I'd break a spoke every couple of days, but I had learned to true a wheel before taking the trip. I used a hair elastic to hold an allen wrench on each side of the rim, and trued it right on the bike. It makes a truing stand seem luxurious, but it works. I don't think I ever replaced a cable, but I did break a steering stem once and had to replace the handlebars. Fortunately that happened a two-mile walk from a ski area that had some bike parts in the back of the shop. I did clean the hubs every once in a while when I found someone to stay with and I could really take the bike apart.

It's a lot more interesting doing 100-mile stints when you know you'll end up 100 miles from where you started. Long rides from my apartment in NYC were not nearly as interesting as long rides in the middle of a trip. On these long trips you can just take shorter days in the first few weeks and build up. On the shorter trips I made sure to get in more specific bicycling shape before starting on the rides.


Q:

I do this by asking leading questions, and encouraging the research process. I don't pretend to know everything with my students, and I'm very open about when I need to look something up.

For example, I did a density column recently with my younger kids. We talked about what density is, and how denser things will sink opposed to less dense things. They got to hypothesize about whether molasses or water has a higher density, and then experiment to see if they were right. I asked them questions about where they think the alcohol would settle in the column. If they asked about a chemical I didn't have on hand, we looked it up together online, and discussed the results.

If you do all the talking and thinking, you teach people to be complacent. But kids are naturally curious, and it's easy to teach them to design their own experiments and do their own research.

A:

Only if I find out I have some terminal illness and know I'm going to die. I'll be taking a bunch of pedophiles with me to hell.


Q:

Thanks -- that's something we'll take a look at. Do people seem to be locking their cars more, now?

A:

Kendrick Lamar - Damn.


Q:

Just wanted to say first that your trips are inspiring. I've long been considering a cross-country ride, and reading your comments definitely gets me more eager. A few summers back I planned out my first trip, from Boulder, CO to Missoula, MT, but ended up not going due to family reasons. Hope to do one next summer.

Anyway, do you think your trip and time on the road changed your relationship with people in general (like how you see/understand them), but also did it have any impact on your close ones?

A:

What use is a test to see if a student is gifted if students train for such a test?


Q:

What would be the chain of events if you go into stage 4 rejection? What is the best that can be done cosmetically and functionally if you'll have to do without a transplanted one?

A:

How did you first approach these kids?


Q:

Did you take Spanish in night school? What grade did you get?

A:

It feels really good to hear people being inspired by my travels. I started riding because I happened to find an old book called A Walk Across America, by Peter Jenkins. That book opened my eyes to the idea of traveling long distances under your own power. Then one summer while working at a camp in the White Mountains of NH I met someone who had just done a cross-country ride. Before that I had never met anyone who traveled a long distance on their own.

Anyway, do you think your trip and time on the road changed your relationship with people in general (like how you see/understand them), but also did it have any impact on your close ones?

This is a great question. Yes, absolutely this affected my relationships. I got the idea for the first trip sometime in the fall of my second year of teaching. I told my girlfriend at the time what I was thinking and she said something along the lines of "How could you think of doing something like that, when that could be our time together?" It hadn't even occurred to me that some time apart would be bad for our relationship; I knew I would grow and learn from the trip, and thought she'd be fully supportive of the idea. We broke up for other reasons shortly after that, but that conversation made it clear where we were each at in our lives.

After that I stayed single for a long time so I could follow my adventures where they led. I wasn't so much actively avoiding relationships, as I was focusing on where I wanted to go in the world. I went four years without dating anyone, and it was really good to get to know myself before getting into a relationship again. I learned who I was on the road, and my time on the road has grounded me for life. It's hard to get too rattled by everyday things when you've met people from all walks of life, and faced real physical dangers on a regular basis for a while.

When I was traveling people would walk up and just start sharing their stories. When you're standing over a loaded bike, you look very non-threatening, and people can tell you're just passing through. People told me stories they hadn't told their loved ones, because they knew I wouldn't be staying around for long. That context gets people right to the most important life conversations. It was a privilege to stand on the side of the road and listen to people share their life's stories. So when I see people now, I know everyone has a story and that we just don't tell our deepest stories often. It helps me see the good in people, and understand why some people do awful things as well.

Most of my family is from New England, but my generation has started to fan out to other places. I've visited a number of family members on my travels, and that's been a nice way of connecting as adults. I would say I'm closer to many family members than I'd otherwise be because of these trips.

Good luck in your trips, I hope you make them happen! Boulder and Missoula are beautiful places.


Q:

At that point, it's really measuring how well the absorb the teaching (much like a test in school does). Which still measures something, but it's not as valuable as a metric and people seem to think.

A:

I would look similar or worse than I did before the transplant.


Q:

Many different ways. Some we cold-called. Some we met after court. Some we met on police ridealongs. Some we requested interviews with in jail, which is a process. When we sat down to talk to them, we tried to keep it simple, to let them talk, to just hear what they had to say. There's a question above about what it was like to talk to the kids. Most of them were pretty bright. They were more than capable of explaining themselves and talking to adults. They've spent a long time in the very confusing criminal justice system and in many ways have mastered its intricacies. Every interview was interesting.

A:

I got a Beeeeeeeeeeeee


Q:

I have two kids and none of them took the G&T because I'm zoned in one of the best elementary schools in NYC and didn't see a need. what percentage of your kids make it?

A:

Have you ever ran into someone you knew from before your injury and then have to explain who you are?


Q:

This is all so interesting. How did you get an in with this kids? How did you get them to trust you?

It sounds like many of the factors that go into why this happens is similar to why you see children getting into trouble in lots of inner-city, high density areas. Do you have any ideas for communities to take steps to reduce this type of crime and provide other outlets?

A:

How baked are you right now?


Q:

Pretty much all of my kids end up placing in a GT program. One of the things that I feel is broken about the system is that my work has proven to me that with enough prep, nearly everybody can get the scores. It's less about innate intelligence than it is about learning to focus and learning the rules for each puzzle.

That said, I've been pretty disappointed in what the programs end up looking like once you're "in." One of my students, an absolutely brilliant second grader, recently had a homework problem along the lines of "Bob read 5 books, Carol read 6 books, Susan read 3 books (based on a picture graph). If Jose read 4 books, how many students read fewer books that Jose? Explain how you know."

This is a kid who already understands fractions and multiplication. Facepalm.

A:

Not at all, with all the media coverage and word of mouth, everyone pretty much already knew.

Maybe someday it will happen, I'll make a note to let you know how it goes.


Q:

To the first part, we pretty much just asked them if they'd like to talk. I know that may sound ridiculous, but a lot of it was asking, being told no; asking, being told no; and so on. There were so many kids, we thought some of them would probably speak with us. And they did. Sometimes the kids were trying to change their ways and wanted to warn others. Sometimes they just were willing to talk. They didn't always trust us, but part of it was showing them we knew what we were talking about. We spent months researching, understanding this, building a database. We were able to demonstrate knowledge, to show that we understood and were genuinely interested in their side, and that helped build trust.

There are certainly some similar factors. I think everyone is looking for ideas and ways for communities to stop these problems. Good schools, social programs, opportunities -- that's always the answer. But still a lot of people need help or support.

A:

baked but never fried


Q:

yep

i know a kid who was in G&T but didn't get into a really good school for middle school. his mom tried to hard to help with tutors and got the kid reliant on a tutor for everything where he couldn't do a lot of the work himself. he's smart, but a little lazy because of his tutor doing too much work for him

A:

In some of your photos, it looks as though your eyelids are too far apart to close. What are/were you dealing with as far as that goes? Is it or will it ever get better?


Q:

Do y'all know of any plans by current FL legislators to fix this law, or at make the penalties for carjacking as a minor more stiff?

This article was really well done, your hard work is appreciated!

A:

What's the weirdest thing you've ever smoked out of or turned into a smoking apparatus?


Q:

Yeah, that's just bad tutoring. A good tutor empowers the kid to find the answers on their own, and once that becomes easy, will challenge them to think and work above grade level.

A:

There is still work to be done around my eye area, it may improve in time after some minor procedures, that will be covered since it will be done in the hospital the transplant was done.


Q:

Yes, actually! Legislators have been moving a bill that aims to try kids deemed "prolific juvenile offenders" more quickly and to keep them detained or on an ankle monitor until they're sentenced. It's an attempted fix at a small part of this. And thank you! See more: http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/how-state-leaders-are-trying-to-fix-the-juvenile-car-theft-problem-in/2321579/

A:

a clear palsti coffee cup. what you do is take a piece of paper and a pin and stick the pic through the bottom of the paper. You put a piece of hash on the end of the pin and when it starts to smoke you put the coffee cup on top of it. When the cup fills with smoke you lift the glass and suck it out. Works in every hotel room in America


Q:

A good tutor empowers the kid to find the answers on their own

Out of curiosity, what do you do when you can't do this?

I used to be sort of the opposite of you, I tutored kids but they were the "not the sharpest tool in the shed" types that came from low income immigrant families and were failing grade school. Way behind, zero work ethic, and put out the minimum effort possible when I tried to help them.

I tutored two of them and couldn't get through to either of them.

A:

Did they use a condom?


Q:

Do you think some or many of these kids can be reformed if they are sorry and have the network to help them?

A:

What has been your favorite place to visit?


Q:

My mom taught in inner city LA for a long time, so I understand your struggle. I'm fortunate that all my kids right now love learning, and I help foster that. I used to have a student that didn't enjoy learning so much, and getting her to start to be interested in books was a year-long challenge. For that, I read out loud to her from books for hours every week, asking questions and discussing the material periodically. Finally, she started begging for the next chapter, and applying the info she had learned to her other subjects. For a kid to love learning and want to succeed, it helps so much if the parents are on board with taking them to museums, discussing the world with them, etc.

A:

Doesn't feel like it.


Q:

Interesting question. Kids are young, their brains are still developing. That's established. So the guiding philosophy in Florida juvenile justice circles is that everyone can be reformed. No child is lost or beyond hope. The network to help them? That gets more complicated. Many come from difficult circumstances. Most sources we talk to said that network is the biggest struggle -- getting resources and support to children who need it most.

A:

Oh so many, but I love Ibiza, Spain and Bamf, Canada

The hot and the cold


Q:

How do you feel about a higher proportion of rich kids being identified as "gifted" only because their parents can buy test prep?

A:

Was your surgery performed in a DoD hospital? I'm just curious if they're actually performing the transplants or contracting out. Also would think it'd be a lot more bullshit if it was in DoD hospital and no longer covering costs. The long shaft of the military will always fuck you.


Q:

Hey man, a different question; This article clearly took a shitload of work, if we want to be scientific we can say it took a "Metric shitload" of work.

With how difficult it is to source, cite, find, and corroborate all of this information, and with the contrary, low effort opinion pieces, getting a lot of buzz, how the hell do we rejuvenate journalism on a large scale when the major news outlets in the states seem to be actively working against it? And what's your opinion of how the biggest news outlets with the largest reaches approach the dissemination of information?

A:

What's it like living a life like this? If you could go back and change anything, would you? Also, what's your best advice on how to be happy


Q:

It's terrible. One of the things I aim to do is make that test prep more accessible and affordable for all people. Most test prep companies keep their materials under lock and key, and charge something like $100 for a crappy book with a day's worth of exercises. So I released a free test, and a bunch of inexpensive downloadable practice tests, along with a free book on at-home prep methods on my website. Free videos are coming this fall, too!

Hopefully with more companies like Khan Academy offering free prep, and more ethical tutoring companies, standardized tests can be less of an issue for everybody.

A:

They are funding other hospitals to do them.


Q:

Hey interesting question. I'm sure a lot of journalists could talk on this for hours over a few beers. This did take a lot of work. I think the important thing we've seen is that readers really value long takes and accountability work. This story gets plenty of buzz, too, but part of the dilemma is defining value. At the Times, editors place a lot of emphasis on watchdog journalism, which sometimes involves projects like this. There's value in that, people really do read those stories and sometimes they lead to positive changes. Buzz or not, any impact in that sense -- a change that improves a dangerous situation -- is what we hope for. Sure, that sounds grandiose, but I think that's what a lot of reporters are after. I think anyone with a big platform or a mission of informing the public should be striving for accuracy and relevance.

A:

I would live it exactly the same way except I wouldn't see Star Wars 3. If you want to be happy, stay centered. I meditate and do Tai Chi. Use a discipline, it doesn't jut magically happen


Q:

It's good that you've thought about the unfairness in the academic world. However, just so you know, many poor families don't have computers, let alone printers, at home, and have rather poor computer literacy, so offering materials online is more or less useless. The parents will not know to look for the materials, and often not be able to work with the children on the books, either because they are too busy or they don't have a suitable academic background to make it through the books. At the very least, if you are serious about democratizing your materials, I encourage you to reach out to schools in underperforming areas so the teachers and admins can spread the word!

A:

What explanation was given for your loss of benefits? Was your insurance covered through DoD or VA? Check into the exact explanation given and then, depending on your income, contact a local veterans' legal services organization, or veterans' attorney. The VA (especially) likes to find bullshit ways of getting around payments here and there but, with decent representation and advocacy, they'll kowtow when called out... that or use your story to generate bad press for DoD.

So sorry for your predicament.


Q:

Do the kids that do this.usually have enough information to realize how dangerous they are when they do steal and drive a car ?

A:

who do you miss more seeing on a daily basis? Tommy Chong, or Don Johnson?


Q:

That's a good idea, I'll do that!

A:

My income ruled me no longer disabled in the governments eyes.


Q:

They know that people crash cars. They know that people get hurt in them. But they told us they're not really thinking about the danger when they take the car. Kids feel invincible, right? We say that all the time. Mortality or injury aren't often at the front of their minds. So when they're behind the wheel, they said, it's all adrenaline. It's cool. And if a cop gets behind them? They said they'll speed the wrong way. They'll hop a curb. They'll do whatever it takes. Because at that point their mind is on one thing, getting away. It's not so much they don't have the information as it isn't a big factor in their decision-making, from what they told us. They don't think anything bad will happen to them, and an arrest isn't that bad -- they don't fear it.

A:

I miss em both


Q:

Why did you become disillusioned with the field of genetics or the medical field?

A:

Why did you leave me?


Q:

Former child car thief checking in.

Have you guys talked to any older ex-thieves to get more clarifying answers on why kids steal cars?

A:

What is your fondest memory from being a part of the Lion King?


Q:

I worked in mosquito research at Caltech, in the most awesome sounding lab I could find. The work we were doing was to genetically engineer mosquitoes to pass on the malaria/dengue/other disease resistance gene at a higher ratio than wild mosquitoes. This is the type of work that could save countless lives if it worked, get a nobel prize, etc. And yet, there was no guarantee that it would ever work, even if it looked great on paper. And in the end, it was decades of just pipetting the same reaction with a new variation over and over again.

I have enormous respect for those called the field of research. But I was going stir crazy just sitting in the lab. What I thought would be an exciting journey of using your wits to solve a new problem ended up being like 2% of the process. The rest was just getting the reaction to work.

However, my experience in that lab did inspire me on one of my latest projects, which is a portable mosquito netting design. I wanted people to have physical protection in addition to bug spray, so I developed a DIY tutorial for making an adjustable net that fits over an umbrella. That tutorial is at www.Zikashield.net

For medical school, I realized that while I loved learning the material, I just couldn't handle the process of human dissection. I know a lot of people donate their bodies to science, and want to help medical students learn. But I couldn't emotionally handle peeling somebody's face off, or sawing their genitals in half. The school handled it...poorly to say the least. They told me I could skip the labs if I kept my grades up, and I did. But then it ended up becoming a political thing about the curriculum value of an expensive anatomy lab, and they changed their mind after the first semester, essentially forcing me to repeat the year (and classes I had already passed) if I wanted to stay (while accumulating 8% interest on my loans, not to mention the apartment lease, etc.) So I left.

A:

Lol, I bet I know you


Q:

We haven't reached a ton of older thieves but it's something we've looked at and will possibly keep trying to do. The interesting thing is a lot of older thieves stole cars with screwdrivers/forced entry. The crime today is a little less technical, and some different people are doing it. You from the area?

A:

seeing the first bit of animation made after I put my vocals down. You see right away that its another level of animation. Thats when I realized it was going to be a huge movie because it was an incredible step forward


Q:

I find your comments really interesting to read. Once you've collected enough anecdotes, you could write a very readable memoir.

A:

Did the accident and subsequent trauma affect you in any surprising ways either psychologically speaking or otherwise?


Q:

Funny you should say that. Here in Saint Paul, Minnesota the city has started renting goats to use as weed control on some public lands. The local press can't get enough of it.

A:

Nala's booty


Q:

Thanks! I'll probably do that one day. If you like my writing, you should check out my books (listed in the main post.) The hygiene one is currently free!

A:

I was diagnosed with ptsd and my psychiatrist wants me tested for tbi.


Q:

I used to live/work in Boston and they did that there too!

A:

great point


Q:

Just graduated from med school in NYC and I don't want to start residency. You hiring?

A:

Might seem like an inappropriate question but could you pull your face off?


Q:

What is your favorite dinosaur?

A:

I'll let you know!


Q:

Probably not, it's attached pretty well.

A:

I like a stegosaurus


Q:

Reading this makes me think about doing this.

How would you warn someone not to do this?

A:

Cheech, what actor and actress do you most want to work with and why?


Q:

I wouldn't! It's great (as long as you're a good teacher and get along with kids), and I love my job!

A:

Johnny Depp once again


Q:

I am extremely jealous that I can not afford you for my children! You sound awesome and fun. Do you have any tips on finding good tutors for lower income families? How to spot a good tutor?

A:

On a scale of mouse to giraffe how high are you right now ?


Q:

Hey thanks! There are great tutors at all price points: if I lived outside of NYC I wouldn't be able to charge what I do. Good tutors are people who click with your kids and explain things in a way they understand. They should be able to reduce stress, and help them see learning as fun. You can find tutors at colleges and high schools, a lot of students and teachers can definitely use the opportunity for some spare change.

A:

hippo, my friend


Q:

Do you feel that training young students to devote large blocks of time in the pursuit of maximizing their score on a standardized exam is missing the point of applied intelligence entirely? Let's be real here: the world needs critical thinkers that can analyze empirical data and draw relevant conclusions in conjunction with "soft-skills" that are difficult to measure (i.e. leadership ability), not people that are skilled at taking a multiple choice exam. What are your thoughts on society's over-emphasis on high stakes testing?

A:

So, the most dangerous to humans?


Q:

Absolutely, standardized tests are totally evil. I really wish we lived in a world where they had little to no emphasis on standardized tests. And most of my work isn't really test prep, it's educational enrichment (which is a lot more fun for the kids and for me!) For my year-round clients, I anticipate which tests they'll be taking and just work in some occasional prep questions here and there. That way, it's not overwhelming, it doesn't take too much time, and it still gets them used to the wording and test style.

When I do have to do focused test prep, I try to make my prep as "fun" as it can possibly be, by teaching questions with respect to their applications to in other fields, using experiments where I can, and even using games to teach the logic concepts for the younger kids.

A:

deadly


Q:

When will you decide to start a school?

A:

How fun was it working on the set of lost?


Q:

Maybe one day haha.

A:

it was pretty good, it was in Hawaii so that was cool. My wife came along and we cocktails and stuff


Q:

Did you ever find a hardcore sex chamber or hidden room?

A:

I love to cocktails


Q:

Not while tutoring, I don't snoop around my client's houses, haha. I have found a hidden sex chamber somewhere else though, which was at a party in the Hamptons. My friend got tickets to a party at Sir Ivan's Castle, and he had a sex dungeon with a bunch of giant stuffed rabbits in chains. No, we didn't use it haha.

A:

me too!


Q:

How much of an advantage do you think private tutoring gives, would you want it for your own kids?

A:

That sounds like a great vacation ;) what's your drink of choice?


Q:

It gives a huge advantage. I got the occasional tutor in school myself for subjects where I needed help or didn't click with the teacher, and it made a world of difference. I'll definitely tutor my own kids, or if they don't want to hear it from me, I would 100% hire somebody if they needed it!

A:

Mezcal Mule with Tres Papalote Mezcal. Highly recommend.


Q:

How many billable hours do you do in a week, summer and winter? How do you work around school hours/weekends?

A:

I loved Born in East LA. Was it fun to shoot?


Q:

I basically don't start work till 3PM on most weekdays, and hours are definitely less in the summer. I spend my mornings writing and working on other projects! One of the toughest things about this industry is that for my kids are on vacation, I don't get paid. If I'm sick, I don't get paid. So I have to budget for that all year.

A:

it was so much fun to shoot. It was so fun seeing it come together just like I envisioned it.


Q:

Hey nice AMA! I am kind of in the same boat as you as I currently private tutor kids of the upper middle class in HK. I charge a bit less than you, around $85-95 per hour for a 1:1 class. Most of my students are between ages 3.5-10.

My question for you is do you feel this is sustainable in the long run? Is there a reason why you choose to work 10-15 hours a week as opposed to working a few extra hours for a few extra hundreds of dollars?

I have been doing this for that past 5 years now and I am not sure if it's just me, or how it works being a private tutor, but I equate everything into hours working. For example if I want to buy something, I'll just think "oh it's ok, that's only 40 mins of work, no problem". It's actually quite a bad way of thinking but I can't stop it. Do you feel the same?

A:

Any big regrets?


Q:

My hours are limited by the hours kids are in school. I usually only get one day off per week, and I can only fit in 1-2 students on a given weekday.

I totally get what you mean about thinking about spending in terms of hours worked. I then have to remind myself that it's hours worked before tax :P

A:

regrets ive had few, but then again too few to mention.


Q:

What were your goals before deciding to start your tutoring company?

A:

Cheech! I'm a huge fan of you and your movies. I can recite most of "Up In Smoke" by memory.

My question for you, I know you do some standup - any chance of you putting out a comedy special? Perhaps a-la Netflix?

Thanks again!


Q:

I wanted to do either a PhD in Genetics or Botany or go to Medical School. A PhD I worked with at Caltech convinced me to go to med school, but I hated it and left after the first year. I always tutored on the side though, and loved it. So this was a natural direction to go in.

A:

you never know!


Q:

even though you find standardised tests totally evil, (which I agree with,) do you still devote most or all of your focus with the kids to test prep? or do you spend time teaching them how to teach themselves or work on critical thinking etc which may not be 100% relevant to their upcoming exam(s)?

A:

Did writing or acting in your movies ever feel like work? Or were you having as much fun as some of your movies portrayed?


Q:

I spend very little time doing pure prep, most if not all of the time on an average day is science experiments and critical thinking!

A:

I always had fun, always always always, right from the very beginning. You can read about it in my new memoir "Cheech Is Not My Real Name, But Don't Call Me Chong!" available at a bookstore near you!


Q:

What house would you be in if you went to Hogwarts?

A:

Huffle puff puff pass


Q:

Cheech, Brownies or cookies?

A:

brownies. Old school


Q:

What was it like working with Marty Feldman? Did you smoke with any of the Pythons?

A:

I have over the years. Marty was a unique individual. We worked together on Yellow Beard and the last day of shooting we drove out together in a taxi from Mexico City. We were stalled in traffic for a few hours and we told eachother our life stories and we laughed a lot. He told me about a jazz festival he was doing in lake maggiore. We got to the studio, shot my last scene and went to the airport back to LA. I heard on the radio that he had died that night. He was a unique and wonderful human being.


Q:

Hey Cheech! What was it like working with Martin Scorsese in After Hours? Also, how did Cheech & Chong end up in that movie? It's such a "New York" movie and it's very strange to see you guys in it.

A:

We met him at the Cannes film festival one year. We had lunch and had a good ole time. Years later he was describing a movie and the two characters were exactly like Cheech and Chong, and then it dawned on him that he knew us, so he called us up and asked us to do the movie and we said, sure why not?


Q:

Cheech, are you better at singing or dancing?

A:

singing by a long shot


Q:

When was the very first time you've ever smoked weed, and how did it go down?

A:

freshman in college and it went down my mouth


Q:

What are some of your favorite pieces of Chicano art that you've collected?

A:

It changes all the time


Q:

What's your fondest memory involving food?

A:

my first bite of a Dodger Dog. I thougt mmmmmm how long has this been going on?


Q:

Your collection of Chicano art at LACMA was very impressive when I visited several years ago. Are you noticing an thematic evolution in this artistic style as you've been collecting over the years?

A:

yes I have, every five years or so, a new generation of Chicano artists jumps into the pool, and their first efforts are always news from the front. The art usually reflects the state of the community on a lot of different levels and techniques.


Q:

i'm a big fan of your work but i can't really remember all of it. anyway, what's your go to snack?

A:

Snickers bar, I think, I can't remember


Q:

Cheech, Del Taco or Taco Bell?

A:

taco bell all the way


Q:

You've done a lot of movies with Robert Rodriguez, what's he like to work with?

A:

Hes very cool, very efficient, great sense of humor, and hes looking at you all the time because he operates the camera.


Q:

What's your favorite ride in Disney?

A:

its at California Adventures, Soarin' over California!


Q:

You are an excellent dramatic actor. When will you take the lead role in a series of cerebral action films?

A:

Next Tuesday will be my good news day


Q:

What's it like to work with Don Johnson?

A:

It was the most fun I ever had working with anybody. Donny likes to work hard and have a good time, just like me


Q:

What are your thoughts on Trump?

A:

Hes like gas, he will pass


Q:

You wanna get high man?

A:

depends....


Q:

Hey Cheech! Indica or Sativa?

A:

probably Sativa, but I like her sister a lot too


Q:

Did you have fun in Houston for the Art Car Parade? Looks like you made some good friends who would love to see you come back!

A:

I had the time of my life, it was the coolest live event I've done in a long time


Q:

Cheech, what would you do for a Klondike Bar?

A:

pretty much anything


Q:

Do you believe that recreational marijuana use should be legal? Do you have any thoughts or feelings to share on the current marijuana legal status, especially as it compares to the legal status while you were producing all your films..?

A:

I think should definitely be legal, but every state is different and has different laws. Its like a lava flow right now, were past the tipping point.


Q:

Cheech, when is a Cheech & Chong video game happening?

A:

as soon as we can mak it