Wednesday, February 22, 2012

20 Questions: Ivan Orsic

I don't officially know Ivan Orsic, but over the last couple of years I've become increasingly enamored with his use of the GoPro videocamera–he's extended the boundaries of small-scale fly fishing filmmaking, and with each effort, I've seen a notable evolution, both in terms of quality and creativity. 

King of the Herd from Yukon Goes Fishing on Vimeo.

You've probably noticed it, too, especially if you've wandered by Ivan's blog, Yukon Goes Fishing, or if you've curiously clicked on a shared video from Ivan's growing film library. His use of music and the unique GoPro perspective make his films something to behold. I enjoy each film more than I did the last.

Ivan was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. The first state in the Union, Delaware is well-known for being close to a lot of places. He grew up playing “Pooh (of the Winnie variety) sticks” on the bridges of Ashland Nature Center, body boarding down at the Delaware beaches, and playing all varieties of sports and sports-themed games as a youth.

He graduated from Denison University with a B.S. in Geosciences and is now a masters student at the University of Montana studying fluvial geomorphology and environmental geochemistry (just another term for a fly fisherman who's looking for something to do with his life that lets him fish a few days a week. -ed). 

Discovering the joy of fly fishing as a teen, he picked the sport back up in Montana. Now fully addicted, he is not willing to admit that it has effected the timeliness of his studies. But, all evidence points to his full-fledged fly fishing addiction as one of the main reasons his thesis has not yet been defended. One of these days. 

I hope you'll get to be in front of Ivan's camera one day. Here's a glimpse of the dude behind it:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I don't know what perfect happiness is yet. But, I would imagine that a healthy mix of time on the water, time on the baseball/softball diamond (playing), time at the baseball field (watching), and time with loved ones (family and friends) would make me pretty happy.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Toss up–Grove Karl Gilbert (geologist and geomorphologist extraordinaire) vs. John Wesley Powell (geologist and professional bad ass). Powell completed the first known passage through the Grand Canyon. Although, I am not sure he would have wanted Lake Powell on the Colorado to be named after him. Gilbert was a luminary in the field of geology and geomorphology. Both of them were O.G.'s (Original Geologist).

Which living person do you most admire?
John Kruk – the man has one ball and he “stood” in the batter's box while Randy Johnson (in his prime) threw in the general area of his head. I admire that kind of stupid bravery.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
This may be a little crude...but, dickishness. I don't understand it and I don't like it. It is a bad personal interaction strategy and one that I deplore.

What is your favorite journey?
In 2005 or 2006 (my memory is apparently a little fuzzy – let's go with 2006), my family and I went to Croatia for two weeks. My father was born there and we still have a great deal of family that lives throughout the country. We went from Zagreb down to Split onto Dubrovnik and back up to Krk. We went to Plitvice Jezera and to many of the coastal towns where family lived (names of those towns will not be included as my father insists that we wouldn't want those damn tourists to get any hints).

I met somewhere on the order of 25 family members and was welcomed by everyone.

My favorite part of the trip was walking down through a (purposefully) unnamed town to the bar on the beach. Having a few pivos (beers) and then promptly jumping in the Adriatic and swimming a mile or two back to the family house. That was the pinnacle. That and Teta Ljubica's and Teta Nada's food. I want to go to there.

Which living person do you most despise?
I don't know if I despise this person as a person, but I certainly despise this person for what she stands for. I despise Patricia Mulroy of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. I don't like the mindset that she represents. This mindset that humans can engineer anything and control everything to live in waterless deserts. The mindset that humans deserves to live in desert that gets 4.5 inches of precipitation a year. Las Vegas shouldn't exist. The Colorado should complete it's journey.

Having met Patricia Mulroy at a hydrology conference a couple years ago, I know that she is a terrifyingly dedicated pitbull of an advocate for the water users of Las Vegas. I am absolutely repulsed by blatant abuse of a valuable and unique resource like the Colorado.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Digitally (on the internets)...I abuse and misuse ellipses. In talking life (real-life), I say things like “for sure” too much. I also tend to form story long run-0n sentences. They are more like run-off sentences as they tend to get away from me and lose all control of the english language.

What is your greatest regret?
I don’t have many regrets. So, I will keep it pretty light here. I regret not picking up fly fishing earlier in life. I also wish I stuck with baseball and played in high school. I had some weird little league experiences. My little league coach would get into bar fights, get arrested, and not show up for the next day's game. Parts of my little league experience turned me off of organized baseball. I wish I wasn't deterred by the actions of others. I love me some baseball.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Boring, but completely accurate answer. My girlfriend, Maggie, of 5-plus years. Kind, funny, loving, and patient, she is the the greatest love of my life. Did I mention patient. To live with me, you must be patient.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I had the talent to not procrastinate. I was born a procrastinator and have lived my life as a procrastinator. I have even procrastinated with this interview. For which I apologize, by the way. (It's not a problem... I've had this interview saved for nearly two weeks–I just got around to posting it. -ed)

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
I always wanted to be a bird. If I were to choose a bird, it would be an American kestrel...or an American dipper. Kestrels can hover (which is a pretty unique talent to have) and the dipper's riverine lifestyle is pretty appealing.

Or Wilma, Bucko's australian shepherd mix. Everyone loves that dog and as a result, she gets invited on all the cool trips. Plus, unlimited belly rubs. I couldn't turn that down. Wilma is the primary reason I befriended Bucko. He knows that.

Who are your favorite writers?
This might be a blogging faux pas on my part. I have never been a huge reader. As a youth, I loved the Redwall books. In high school and college, I always enjoyed the assigned readings. Big fan of Siddhartha. But, I will admit that I lack the motivation to crack open a book and finish it three weeks later. If I read, I must read it completely. I don't have the sustained will power to read over a long period of time. In many ways, the outdoor blogging community has reinvigorated my enjoyment of the written word. The short stories of Erin Block, Sean Sanders, Chris Hunt, Kirk Werner, Mike Sepelak, and Greg Thomas are the perfect length for my ADD-riddled mind. (I'm honored, truly. -ed)

Who are your heroes?
I try not to put anybody up on the "hero pedestal," We are all humans. Everyone has their own faults. Growing up, I looked up to Cal Ripken Jr. I admired his steady, solid play and of course his ability and mental fortitude it took to play 2,632 straight games.

Today, there are people I admire for the work they do and the way they live their lives, but they aren't my heroes.

How would you like to die?
I have mixed feelings about it. One part of me would like to die doing something I love, like streamer fishing for large brown trout in the Big Hole. Say, right after I reel in a 23-inch brown trout. But, that would really suck for the people I would be fishing with, whoever discovered me, and my loved ones. Wouldn't that sully the joy of fishing for those people for a while, seeing the ghost of Ivan Orsic whenever they hit the water? On the other hand, if I were to die not fishing, it would be an unfulfilled death. I didn't die doing what I loved. What if I died doing my taxes, for example? What a lousy way to go. (Speaking of which, I need to hit "send" over at TurboTax. -ed)

I don't want to die.

What’s on your iPod?
Here are the first five songs that are played on my iPod when I press shuffle.
  • Jay Dee/Jay Dilla “Track 26”
  • Curtis Mayfield “Makings of You”
  • The Roots “Pass the Popcorn (revisited)”
  • Otis Redding “I've Got Dreams to Remember”
  • Bel Biv Devo “Poison”
I am a bit ashamed that the last one snuck in there. But, I have to be true the shuffle's word.

Ivan's 'stache... some day.
What’s the title of your autobiography?
The Life of Ivan Orsic – His unsuccessful search for his own Selleck-ian mustache.

If there’s a Heaven, and you’re lucky enough to make the cut, what would you like to hear God say to you upon arrival?
I want God to say, “Hey, do you want me to call Tim Tebow and tell him I didn't help him win any of the games this year? Do you want me to tell him that if there is a God, he certainly isn't paying attention to Broncos games? Do you want me to tell him that his 'historic' run was a function of his opponent's poor play?”

I understand that I am bitter...for no good reason. Fly Eagles Fly...

What’s your favorite film?
Bull Durham. Far and away my favorite film. Great baseball movie. Great movie. From the church of baseball to the moldy shower shoes, the movie oozes baseball. It's baseball for baseball's sake. I have compiled a list of amazing clips from the youtubes to remind you guys why it is such a great movie.
“Candlesticks always make a nice gift.” “Lollygaggers” “I want to bring the heat and announce my presence with authority.” “Crash must have called the guy a $%#sucker” “The difference between .250 and .300.”

And the coup de grace, probably the funniest piece of both masterfully and poorly executed physical comedy is included in the film:
"Throw it at the bull”

Where would you want your loved ones to spread your ashes?
Being a 1st generation Croatian-American born in Delaware and falling in love with the state of Montana. I want my ashes split into thirds and then promptly spread onto the banks of the Big Hole, the beach of Cape Henlopen, and the crystal clear and super saline waters of the Adriatic (near Dubrovnik or Split or an unnamed town on the Adriatic). That would be a super expensive way to spread my ashes. Just to be picky, I want them all released at the same time. Take that loved ones ... those are my ashy demands.

What word do you have to look up in order to know you spelled it correctly?
Arapaima. But, I really want to rant about looking up synonyms and definitions. So, here it is. I most often have to use a dictionary and thesuarus when reading the things my dad writes on facebook and on his blog. He takes verbosity to a new level. Not saying it's a bad thing. But, he wouldn't use verbosity to describe his wordiness. He would use a word like “logorrhea” instead.

BONUS QUESTION: Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
Calvin and Hobbes. I know it's a comic. But, I grew up on Calvin and Hobbes. The best. One year for Halloween I dressed up as Stupendous Man. My mom graciously made me an awesome Stupendous Man costume. Unfortunately, the reception was mixed. Some of the uninitiated thought it was a terrible Super Man costume.


  1. Great interview! Thanks for procrastinating...I felt like I was waiting for this one for a long time...ha!

    Thanks for the mention, I truly appreciate it.


    1. It is a well deserved mention, my friend. Through these interviews, I have realized that many of us are procrastinators. The next step is seeing who the biggest procrastinator is.

  2. Many thanks to Chris for including me in the distinguished group of the 20 Questioned. I feel like a bit of a fool following The Tom Chandler. I forgot to mention his writing, as well as the writing of Jason Tucker (Fontinalis Rising) and Brandon Robinson (One Bug is Fake). Those guys are alright in my book too.

    1. Great read my friends, great read. Ivan, thanks for mentioning me in the same breath as those amazing people.

      Chris, this is by-far my favorite feature of anyone's blog. You have picked some stellar people to ask questions of, including yourself. Yukon is an impressive character and I enjoyed getting to know him a little more.

      Now, can someone get a YGF video on the film tour already? JEESH!

    2. Thanks Brandon. I have to agree with you. It is amazing how some seemingly simple questions can be so revealing. I have really enjoyed following the 20 Question series. My videos are no where close to the quality it takes to be in the F3T. Thanks again.

  3. Good stuff, Ivan. From one eastern block descendant to another, I appreciate the nod.

    1. Thanks Mike. My grandfather used to say sarcastically that he was a member of Tito's glorious army, which was code for "held against his will."

  4. I knew you freaks from the Balkans would stick together ;) I enjoyed Ivan's answers a lot... thanks for participating.

    1. I am honored to be a part of the 20 Questions series, Chris. I am guessing you didn't expect actual Croatian sentences to make an appearance in the blog comments.

  5. Ivan, Vrlo dobar intervju, osim da je link za Bull Durham nije uspjelo. Ovdje je! Oh & thanks for not revealing the special secret places in Croatia. We may have had to cut you up and fedd you to the ajkula! As mentioned, here's that Bull Durham link

    1. Speaking of wordy and needing a dictionary. Google Translate to the rescue. Thanks father.

  6. This is great - nice job Ivan!

  7. Thanks, Chris and Ivan. Great stuff!

    I'm in total agreement about Las Vegas -- the place should be nuked (of course we can bus the residents to California first).

    Are you and O's or Phillies fan, Ivan? Which one would you root for in a World Series?

    1. Of course I know you wear the Phillies hat with great pride, Ivan, but wondering if you are a closet O's fan as well.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I am a Phillies fan. As mentioned, I loved me some Cal Ripken as a youth. If it was Cal Ripken's O's and the Phillies in the World Series, it would be a tough to decide. Now, it's all about the Phillies. Although, I will always have a soft spot in my baseball heart for the Orioles.

  8. Well..if truth be of the reasons why Ivan is at the top of my blog reads is because of his love for baseball! My first love before I found Brown trout...Thanks Ivan and Chris for explaining the true meaning of the major...I had a feeling it had something to do with more time on the water! Keep those YGF vids coming...

    1. Brown Trout and Baseball. I have a feeling that we would get along just fine RD.

  9. I admire your triad-spreading ash wishes. And with thinking like that, I'm sure you'll die as an old man. They get ornery like that you know. ;) I always enjoy your work, Ivan...keep it up! (And thanks much for the shout Chris said...I'm honored!)

    1. thank you, e.m.b. People often say, "Go Big or Go Home." If I my triad ash-spreading wishes were granted, I would doing both. I can't wait to be ornery old man....that's a lie.

  10. It's good getting to know my favorite fly fishing videographer. Coming back as a Kestrel or dog- tough choices.

    1. I would argue it is the toughest of all the choices.