Josh Vander Vies Featured in Short Documentary

Josh and Karolis Cooking

Last summer, Karolis, Dalia and I spent a day with amazing Vancouver filmmaker Angelina Cantada.  She filmed an ordinary day in my family’s life, and has put it together into a beautiful short documentary.

Everywhere I go, people usually ask me: “How do you write without arms and legs?”  “How do you get dressed without hands?”  “How can you do stuff without arms and legs?”  This video shows how I have learned to accomplish the tasks that I need to, with what I have.

Angelina submitted the video to the webseries – “Ripple” is about regular people like you and me whose lives have had a positive influence on their communities. By virtue of who they are… by standing by their beliefs… by following their dreams… they create a ripple effect around them.

“Ripple” is a brand new web TV series that premiered on July 30, 2010. It is produced by Layaco Media filmmaker Carol Gancia. Layaco Media is a video production company based in San Francisco, California that uses technology and social media to solve the challenges of reaching your target audience.  Here is what the webseries had to say about its “Josh” episode:

Josh and Dalia Prepare Snacks“One ordinary day in an extraordinary man’s life.” Filmmaker Angelina Cantada is convinced that spending a day with Josh Vander Vies is enough to change how one see’s life. Josh is quite an achiever—he’s an athlete, artist and motivational speaker who’s now working towards a law degree. The guy’s got big dreams. That he’s pursuing these dreams while living his life without arms and legs is simply one of those challenges that he’s overcome.

“I love the concept of Ripple—providing inspiration through ordinary people’s lives,” says Cantada. “Josh is a source of inspiration for me and I know he will be too for many of the viewers who will see this film.”

Cantada feels it’s awesome that Josh is living his life to the fullest and “that he doesn’t let his disability, or anything for that matter, get in the way of his goals and dreams.”

Do you feel that life has dealt you a bad hand? Snap out of it. If Josh can get over his problems, so can you. Watch “Josh.”

Click below to watch the short documentary.  I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Goodbye Movember

Movember Moustache

Movember came to a crashing close yesterday, and as a result, faces of men everywhere, including my own, are beginning to regain innocence so violently lost.  During my morning commute I noticed several strangers on the bus, who seemed very familiar, yet unrecognizable.  Shadows of their former selves, their bare upper lips were shining in the morning light.

As the commute wore on, I rubbed my arm against my own incredibly smooth face, and my lower lip kept thrusting upward, searching for the bristly comfort of a month’s worth of work.  Whatever a moustache is to others, to its wearer, a hirsute upper lip can be a Samson-like source of power.  Through the grief of my loss, as the bus bumped and jostled down the street, I silently asked myself:

Why are moustaches so shady?

No immediate answer presented itself; only a small smirk, as I realised that yes, moustaches are indeed shady – except on those among us with the prowess to embrace their true glory.  A group to which, as you can see in the picture above, I certainly do not belong.  But then, a chain of causality was unleashed in my mind so circular, I was dumbfounded:

Does the man make the mo, or does the mo make the man?  We may never know.

What we do know is that in a media saturated world, Movember captured the faces of men and the hearts of women, across the globe.  Perhaps it is the inherent power of the moustache itself.  Perhaps the reminder of our own teenage impotence calls us to action.

Whatever the cause, the effect is clear: millions of dollars raised – fuelling a global fight and just cause.  We were given hope that we will one day cure the terrible affliction we battle.  Male facial baldness – I mean prostate cancer – will be shaved from humanity’s upper lip.

Cool Way to Decorate Easter Eggs (Lithuanian Style!)

Lithuania Easter Eggs

My Lithuanian girlfriend Dalia showed me a great, fun and easy way to decorate eggs. Easter is a major event in Lithuania, and egg decorating is a big part of it.

You can find a very interesting history of Lithuanian Easter traditions here.

The eggs in the photo above were made by boiling onion in water. Then, raw eggs are wrapped in string, with herbs, grass, spices, seran wrap, tin foil or other objects underneath. The eggs are then hardboiled in the onion water, taken out, and the items held by string are removed. Hard boiled, and beautiful.

The same process can be done with anything that creates any coloured water – instead of onion. Food colouring, tea, blueberries and beets are great options. You could also use water soluble paint in water, for very vibrant colours – I wouldn’t eat them after though!

To create designs, use anything that holds interesting patterns onto the egg, and lets the colour in, in portions. A nylon sock works well.

The picture above, is the final product of the fun that Dalia, Karolis, and I had. With these hard boiled masterpieces, there are several fun traditional Lithuanian games to play.

Egg Breaking: Two players hold an egg in their hand, with just the tip exposed. They hit the tips of the eggs against each other until one of them breaks. First to break loses! The key is to test the strength of an egg gently on your teeth. If the sound is clear, the egg is strong. If the sound is muffled, the egg isn’t even worth colouring!

Egg Rolling: Similar to boccia, a small wooden ramp is used to propel an egg onto grass or carpet. Wounded eggs from the previous game are perfect to use here. Once an egg is in play, the next player tries to hit it with another egg, and wins the last player’s egg. Player with the most eggs wins!

Here are some other Lithuanian masterpieces that have been made by using wax to create designs, before dying – or by etching / scratching colour off, after the dying process.

We hope you have a happy and positive Easter – mostly though, have fun!

Pictures of False Creek in Vancouver

Vancouver Skyscraper Buildings

I drop Karolis off at school most days. At first I was awestruck by the view each morning. Then I started to take it for granted. Yesterday, we took some pictures of the skyscrapers, ocean and mountains we get to see.

Karolis took these two photos – the first is our view as we walk down the street near our apartment.

Then we get to the seawall.

False Creek Seawall

Finally, I get ahold of the camera!



We hear the bell ring and head inland, just to find this beautiful sight in a pond on our way. I got stuck in the mud taking this picture, and as Karolis and I tried to get out, a nice lady helped us pull.

heron-waterMy spinning wheels free but covered in mud, I thank her and she walks away. A muddy Karolis whispers to me: “I was doing most of the work pushing from the back!”