A Busted Tailgate and a Broken Heart

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there was a beautiful, peaceful nudist retreat in a forest, high in the golden rolling hills above Calistoga. Magical healing waters flowed from the ground, and people came from miles and miles around to soak their weary bones in the springs and the sunshine. One day, a wandering hussy from a faraway land followed a traveling minstrel into this magical realm…and shit was royally fucked, ever after!

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photo by Doug Ross

Fairytales aside, I like to come across as a hard-ass in my public persona. But the truth is that I’m a pathetically sensitive sap who’s just looking for love and kindness, like most people. I maintain my brash shtick as a defensive maneuver, because I don’t trust anybody – the world is full of assholes!

Well, apparently there was a chink in my armor, because despite my most valiant efforts, some feelings recently seeped in. Or maybe it was the ayahuasca — when I did that ceremony back in June, my “intention” going in was to open up more, and let people in. Well, what do you know — the very next week a traveling jagoff in a hippie van crashed into my life, and fucked everything up!

You remember my dear pal Jack Johnson — the random fan from the Internet with whom I met up in the middle of the desert last month, then ended up having weirdly intense sex with in the back of his van on a backstreet in a quiet L.A. suburb overlooking the Santa Monica Pier? Yeah, that asshole! Well, I don’t know what kind of spell he put on me, but it’s like he had a bayonet on the tip of his dick, and stabbed the shit out of my heart.

After he drove off down Sunset Blvd., I honestly didn’t think I’d ever see him again…and to be honest I was pretty bummed about it, and I’m not gonna lie, shed a few tears. But surprisingly he kept in regular contact, and we arranged to meet up when we were both in the San Francisco Bay Area this past week. He was doing a gig at some Italian restaurant in S.F., so I planned to come see him play, after which we would both drive up to Calistoga to check out the legendary Harbin Hot Springs nudist retreat for a couple days. Since we’d had so much fun on our Deep Creek sojourn, I was really looking forward to it.

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photo by Doug Ross

Still, as I made the 11-hour drive up from Vegas, I was uncertain. I suck at relationships, and this guy in particular was hard to read; I couldn’t tell if he was really into me or not, and I didn’t want to get too excited about someone I was unsure of — I’m timid about showing too much interest in anyone, for fear of ending up a patsy. But just as I was pulling into the Bay Area, around 1am, he called me in a drunken stupor and laid all kinds of crazy effusive affectionate shit on me. Was it drunk talk, or in vino veritas??

Ill-advisedly, I took it as the latter…and like I said, was really looking forward to hanging out with him again. I rarely meet anyone I get along with as well as I did with him…and to be totally honest, I was also looking forward to having sex again — I was more open with him than any sexual partner I’ve ever had, and it was an embarrassingly big deal for me.

At first, things seemed peachy — I arranged to meet up with him the afternoon of his show, so we could drive into the city together, and he even invited me to accompany him to some gigs up in the Mt. Shasta area after our hot springs retreat…a little taste of his freewheeling life on the road. It would have been a total blast, but I declined because I also needed to spend some time with my family up here; I can’t blow them off totally just because I have itchy pants for some random troubadour, ya know?

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the van is back

In any event, he didn’t seem offended, so I got all dolled up and drove down the 101 to meet him in Marin county, just across the Golden Gate Bridge, in a gym parking lot. I was super nervous, but he rolled up and gave me huge hug and a little kiss…so I figured we were more or less right back where we left off, and climbed aboard his van again for another wild ride with the circus of broken hearts.

This was the first time I’d ever seen him perform live, and he was really good — he plays a kind of old-timey steel guitar roots music, and works a sort of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” sartorial shtick. The gig was in a little tiny Italian restaurant, so while he played, I sat at the artists’ table (reserved for the bands and their family/friends) and had dinner and a couple glasses of wine. It was one of those slightly chi-chi San Francisco joints full of Botox matrons and upscale yuppies, so I felt a little dingy in my jeans and straw cowboy hat…but jeez, I didn’t know! It’s fuckin’ roots music, for chrissakes!

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Far out, man! Club Deluxe!!

Anyhoo, afterward we went out for drinks with another one of the fans who came to see him, this really nice chick whose dad was in the Grateful Dead. I guess he had met her backstage at a concert a while back, and he was fascinated by her family history, and now he talked to her for hours at this awesome little dive bar near the corner of Haight and Ashbury while I hung around the periphery, drinking vodka tonics and chatting with the other kooky winos in the joint. I guess I kinda felt like a third wheel, but the bar was super cool — a smoky old-school jazz joint with two crazy Jewish bohemians on piano and drums, totally Kerouac and totally far-out, so it was right up my alley and I had a pretty good time.

Anyway, by the time the three of us finally left, we were all totally fucked up. We got in Jack’s van and they started listening to some of the other chick’s dad’s music, and I guess all the talk about her dad made me start thinking about my dad, who committed suicide a few years back. I pretty well internalized all my sadness over that, but occasionally it leaks out (usually if I’ve been drinking) — and before you know it, I was awkwardly bawling my eyes out.

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boo hoo hoo
photo by Doug Ross

To be fair, it wasn’t strictly because of my dad — I also heard Jack say something about his girlfriend, and that’s what set me off. At Deep Creek, you may recall I fended him off as long as possible because he had mentioned being in a supposedly open relationship with another woman…but he was so persistent, and the sexual attraction was so strong, that despite having severe misgivings, I ended up caving like a bitch and giving up my puss. Well, in the process, come to find out I also gave up my heart :-/ Hearing him mention his girlfriend gave me a sinking feeling that it was much more serious than he’d let on, and for some reason it just killed me! But also, I was super drunk…so it could have just been the booze.

Either way, all three of us passed out in the back of the van in Golden Gate Park, my insomniac ass wedged between their peacefully snoring bodies. I was still weeping like a little bitch, and before he passed out Jack tried to stick his hand down my pants — so I elbowed the shit out of him. I wasn’t in the mood, ya know? And besides, the Grateful Dead chick — I’ll call her Cass– was right next to me! Thankfully, I finally passed out around 4:30am, and got at least a few hours’ sleep.

When we woke up, Cass had already left, the van was enshrouded in thick fog, and my tongue was enshrouded in thick nastiness. Alas, my toothbrush and stuff were in my truck, which was parked back in Marin County. Also, it felt like my head was full of a thousand little MMA fighters beating the shit out of each other — hangover from hell! Jack dosed me with Advil and offered to let me use his toothbrush, but I grumpily insisted on waiting til I got to my truck. I was still kinda sour about the night before, I guess…but once I was able to brush my teeth (in the parking lot of a Jo Ann Fabrics, nonetheless) and wash off my makeup (at a McDonald’s bathroom), I felt much better. We got coffee, and headed back up north on the 101 toward Harbin Hot Springs, me following Jack’s van like a faithful puppy. Or more accurately, like a bloody heart being dragged up the freeway on a leash made of blind ignorance!!

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on the way to Harbin Hot Springs

Now, a word about Harbin Hot Springs, where we were headed — it’s a 5,000-acre retreat in the hills above Calistoga, popular among Bay Area nudists, New Agers and hippies, said to be an astonishingly beautiful place of relaxation and reflection, with several pools fed by natural hot spring water from an ancient sacred source. I’d heard about it for years, but the consensus was divided as to whether it was a peaceful Zen sanctuary or lurid Sextown, U.S.A. I was really curious to check it out, so when Jack suggested it, I was all in.

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on the way to Harbin Hot Springs

Harbin is pretty remote, just outside a quaint little village called Middletown, where Jack suggested I leave my truck parked so we could drive into the resort together. So I threw my things into his van, and without even really thinking about it something made me throw my tent and sleeping bag in, too — I think I was afraid that if Harbin turned out to be a hotbed of sex he’d try and hook up with another couple, and I wasn’t into that, so wanted to make sure I had a safe haven. But I honestly assumed I was sleeping in his van with him.

Anyway, we checked in, goofing around as usual with the gate staff, and set up camp — Harbin has beautiful guest rooms, cottages and domes you can stay in, but us broke-ass hippies are on a perpetual budget, so we just camped, which is $30/night, per person, and includes 24 hours of access to the facilities. Not bad! After setting up, we headed to check out the pools, and go for a relaxing soak.

**Note: Harbin does not allow photography, so all the cheesy photos that follow are from their website.**

 A Busted Tailgate and a Broken HeartThe facilities at Harbin really are beautiful!! I guess you could call the aesthetic “rustic Zen chic” — lots of crumbling stone walls, lush landscaping, quiet grottoes and little Buddha statues in every nook. Meanwhile there are several soaking pools, ranging from the super, super hot (my favorite) to the icy cold. The idea is, you go from the super hot pool to the super cold plunge, back and forth, to get your circulation going…and they also have a sauna and steam room for the same type of effect. My only beef was, there’s no Jacuzzi-temperature soaking pool — there’s a sort of lukewarm heart-shaped “conversation” pool, but it wasn’t really warm enough for my taste…and the next-hottest pool was around 114 degrees, and way too hot to hang out in for long.

 A Busted Tailgate and a Broken HeartAlso, silence is mandated in most of the pools, except for the heart pool and the big lap pool…Harbin is more of a meditative place than a social place, I guess, which sucks for a long-winded conversationalist like me. But on the plus side, I didn’t really see any sexual activity going on in any of the pools — there were lots of couples holding each other and caressing, but nothing freaky or overtly sexual. Maybe it was partly due to all the “NO SEXUAL ACTIVITY” signs posted everywhere — it reminded me of when I was an extra in that porn move earlier this year, and they had all those fake “NO FUCKING” signs in the office. Lulz!

Well anyway, I didn’t realize just how dry the place would turn out to be until we were walking back to camp to cook dinner, and out of nowhere, Jack casually let it drop in conversation that he had decided to be a “good boy” and not have sex this trip, after all. It seems that while at the time of our Deep Creek sojourn his relationship had been an open one, in the meantime he had decided to commit, and just decided to tell me now.

Whaaat? You should have heard the shit he said to me on the phone Saturday night!! This new declaration was so unexpected, I felt like a china setting from under which some bumbling magician had just yanked a tablecloth — the ground flew out from under me, and I crashed down hard. But ever the wannabe hardass, I tried to keep a blank face and take it in stride: “Oh, yeah?” But inside, I was like, “Jeez, now you tell me!! After I just shelled out $65 to camp out for two nights!!”

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the forest primeval
photo by doug Ross

Talk about awkward! If my truck had been there, I honestly would have left then and there. More than anything, I was horribly embarrassed – not only did I feel like a homewrecker, but I was acutely ashamed of myself for having been so excited to see him, and at having such feelings for him. I should have fuckin’ known…arrrrrrghhh!! But since my truck was parked down in the town, I was trapped — trapped in a paradise of serenity, love and openness, with the devil running around taunting me. SUPER awkward!!!

Anyway, I guess I hid my distress well enough, because we went back to camp and he made dinner like nothing had happened….while I stood on a rock nearby, staring into a beautiful ravine, trying not to bawl my eyes out. For once in my life I had zero appetite, so while he ate and chatted with our neighbor, I stood by in stunned silence — the boring old punched-in-the-solar-plexus-bleeding-bruised-heart shtick, happens all the time, nothing new to see here, move along! It’s trite, it’s boring, and it happens every day…but it’s still a real bitch, as I’m sure most of you know icon sad A Busted Tailgate and a Broken Heart

Meanwhile, there is no rational explanation for the devastation I felt — I barely knew this tool, so I don’t understand how I came to care for him so deeply. WTF?!?!? It’s like I said…he put a spell on me, or something. Shit!

temple 300x200 A Busted Tailgate and a Broken HeartTHANKFULLY, there happened to be a dance party going on that very night, with a dj and all, so I left camp and headed over to check that out, thinking that if I were around other people, it might ease the pain somewhat. At first I thought it was being held in the temple — this amazingly beautiful, J.R.R. Tolkienesque building about a five-minute walk from our camp. But when I got there, the building was deserted; I went inside, and had the entire place to myself. So I sat cross-legged in the very center, under the skylight in the fading twilight, and bawled my eyes out!!! If you must moon about with a broken heart, you might as well do it in ultra-dramatic fashion, in a fabulously surreal setting like that temple…ya know?? At least it was cinematic!! But the whole place was so surreally beautiful, it just seemed wrong to be so miserable there.

Anyway, after weeping awhile, I figured it wasn’t really doing me any good, and being around people would help me a lot more — so I got up and continued on to look for the dance party, which turned out to be across a little lighted footbridge, in the conference center. When I opened the door, I was greeted by a dj spinning some kind of trance/house hybrid in a huge mirrored room with a hardwood floor, full of barefoot hippies and New Agers dancing like the Charlie Brown kids on acid. I mean, you’ve never seen white people dancing like this!! They were all over the place! Old men, young bucks, hot yoga sluts and middle-aged matrons, all spazzing out and letting themselves just go with the music. It was crazy!!

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my friendmaker robe, in happier times

But it was just the right thing for me in my miserable state — I literally ran into the room, and threw myself into dancing like a possessed demon!! You know how they say certain religions get into a meditative trancelike state of ecstasy through dance? Well, that was me — I had on my garishly brilliant friendmaker caftan-robe, with nothing but a loincloth underneath, and I just whirled about like a fiery Phoenix, swooshing my robe about me like brilliant porange-and-purple flames, swishing in every direction, sometimes just running madly around the room with the robe flying behind me like great porange-and-purple wings! I must have been quite the sight — half the time I wore a huge, blissed-out smile (I’m a shitty dancer, but I love when I’m in a groove with a bunch of other people; it’s better than any drug, and makes me beam like an idiot). The rest of the time, tears streamed down my face as I whirled around and around, like a centrifuge trying to fling away sadness. It was so therapeutic!!!!!

I must have danced like that for an hour or two — I mean, balls-out craziness — and when I stopped for a water break, who should I spy but Cass, the Grateful Dead guy’s daughter! Jack had invited her to meet us up there, and despite her misgivings (she’s really shy and self-conscious about her body), she actually showed up. It was a good thing I ran into her, as there is no cell reception up there, and in the darkness it would have been next to impossible to find us (remember, it’s a 5,000-acre resort!). As I showed her back to our camp, I told her the whole sordid story of what was going on, and she was very supportive — I mean, she is just a nice woman. I think she felt kind of awkward being there, and even offered to leave, but I told her I was glad she was there, to break up the tension.

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an uneasy distance

Anyway, we met up with Jack and headed back to the pools to soak some more, all three of us ending up in the heart-shaped pool, ironically. They were still talking about her dad and music and stuff, so I tried to make conversation with some of the other soakers…but there just wasn’t anyone super interesting to talk to…or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. After a while, we all went back to camp — I crawled into my tent, and Jack and Cass slept in the van. It has two bunks, and Gentleman Jack took the top one…but it was still a lonely sound to hear the door slam, me on the outside with the coyotes howling in the distance. Wonderhussy….ever the lone wolf.

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Up and at ‘em!

I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and of course all this bullshit made it even worse, so I was awake at sunrise, wandering around a golden field dotted with oak trees in my friendmaker robe, still bedeviled by stupid tears, watching the abundant wildlife roam around — that place has deer, turkeys, quail, foxes, rabbits…all kinds of shit wandering merrily around, like a Disney movie! When Jack and Cass woke up we made coffee and breakfast, but I still had no appetite, so just chugged coffee and tried to look alive before we headed to the pools for the day.

Before heading to the pools, Jack suggested Cass drive me back into town so I could check on my truck — not that he was really concerned about my truck itself, but he had left his amp and some of his gear in it, and I guess wanted to make sure it was still there. So she kindly took me down to Middletown to check, and it was still there…and I figured I might as well drive it back up to Harbin, in case I needed to bail at a moment’s notice. So now at least I had an escape hatch.

At the pools, I basically spent the entire day moping — moving from one pool to the next, trying to stanch the well of sadness inside me. I can’t believe what a fuckin’ baby I was about this — like I said, I barely knew this guy, but I was disappointed beyond all rational measure, and just could not stop crying. Tears just kept leaking out, in the hot pool, in the cold pool, in the steam room and even in the sauna — hell, I even watered the hot rocks in the sauna with teardrops to make steam out of my sadness!! It was ridiculous how sad I was…and I could not cheer up. I could not enjoy this beautiful place — everywhere I looked, it was hippie-dippie couples in love, caressing and enjoying each other, and I was alone and miserable. Boo-fuckin’-hoo.

The only thing that got me through were drugs and alcohol — both strictly prohibited at Harbin, but both completely necessary to my survival that day. I was very discreet about it, and ate a bit of pot cookie to get me through — to dull my senses. I feel bad about violating their policy, which is in place because there are a lot of recovering addicts living full-time at Harbin, but I just could’t handle my life sober that day. I was too fucking sad!!!

 A Busted Tailgate and a Broken HeartAnyway, I got into this routine Jack showed me — sauna, then steam room, then ice plunge; then repeat. Apparently that’s what they do way up in the frozen tundra, where he’s from. I did this triad over and over and over again, all day long, singing my own version of that song from “South Pacific” in my head: “I’m gonna sweat that man right outta my pores!!” It didn’t really work, but I definitely got a good shvitz…so I guess all was not lost. But between all the soaking and all the tears, I was really waterlogged by the end of that day.

Meanwhile, the only thing to distract me from my melancholia was the fabulous people watching: most of Harbin’s patrons are run-of-the-mill hippies and Bay Area New Agers, but it was a pretty diverse crowd, with even a few minorities in the mix…not just old white people, for a change! My favorite was this bespectacled, bearded old man in a bathrobe and a huge straw hat, who sat around sucking on his index finger all day, every day. I mean, he had his finger in his mouth all the way to the first knuckle — and just sat there, sucking on it, staring around. Freaky!!!

Then of course too, there were plenty of naked guys hanging around, trying to hit on me. I was offered more than one massage, and one guy even told me how he and his wife are looking for a third person to come into their marriage, and invited me to stay with him if I’m ever in New York (people come from far and wide to soak at Harbin…it’s well known). Unfortunately, I was not attracted to any of them — like I said, I’m hardly ever attracted to anyone — but I did at least get some interesting information from a couple of them.

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photo by Doug Ross

As I was soaking in the heart pool, one old dude struck up a conversation with me (as he was massaging me, of course) and told me about these secret hot springs in Marin county. See, where I live (Mojave desert), there are tons of natural hot springs dotting the landscape, where you can just hike in and soak for free. In California, they’re all developed, and charge you an arm and a leg to get in…so I asked this guy if he knew of any undeveloped springs in the area, and he told me about these ones right on the coast in Marin County, that can only be reached during super low tide during a certain phase of the moon!! Wow!!!

But, shhhhhh!!!! He warned me that they were top secret, and that the locals didn’t take kindly to others finding out about their spot, so I had to keep it all on the down-low. But guess what? Not 20 minutes later, another old perv showed up and told me about the exact same springs, with the same caveat not to tell anyone, because they are “secret.” HA!!! I guess they’re not that fuckin’ secret, eh?? Meanwhile, I looked them up on Yelp and the reviews all emphasize how rude and hostile the locals are to anyone who comes to soak there — those rich uptight assholes think it’s like their private thing, or something. Fuckers! If anyone in the Bay Area wants to go check them out with me, let me know — I’ll be here til August, and might even stay til Burning Man.

Anyhoo, while all this was going on I really felt like the mature thing would be to talk to Jack Johnson a little and find out what was going on, or at least tell him how I felt, just to get it out in the open. All this time I was still hiding my feelings, trying to be cool — I was being really quiet, so I think he thought I was mad at him, which I wasn’t…I was just disappointed and sad. But with Cass there it would have been too awkward to talk, so I just sat around and soaked and festered. But as the day wore on and I sweat more and more, I managed to pretty much get myself under control….and by the time Cass left around 4pm, I was in much better shape.

hotpool381 199x300 A Busted Tailgate and a Broken HeartAround that time Jack wanted to eat the mushrooms I’d brought along, and I figured why not? It would certainly beat sitting around sober and miserable all night! So we each ate a small dose, and because we hadn’t been eating very much food the past couple of days (especially me; I had a virtually empty stomach), we tripped our balls off!!! It was amazing!!! Sweating in the sauna, shvitzing in the steam room, then plunging in the ice pool — it was all really trippy on shrooms. We were pretty discreet about it, not wanting to piss off the brass at Harbin…but it was great!!! I even managed to laugh a little — ahh, the wonderful healing powers of psilocybin icon smile A Busted Tailgate and a Broken Heart

After a few hours, we went back to camp to eat dinner…and finally had an extremely awkward conversation about the situation. Jack said he has a history of making bad decisions, and had finally decided to start making better choices — which I guess means I’m a bad decision…d’oh! Or maybe he just meant being unfaithful to his girlfriend was a bad decision, I don’t know. All I know is, I told him I felt like a country song, because I had a busted tailgate and a broken heart — and he seemed genuinely surprised to hear that I had a broken heart. Which was the saddest thing of all — he had no idea what was going on, and it was obviously one-sided. D’OH!!! A few tears fell into my salad, but I didn’t really make a scene — just let him know how I felt :/ It wasn’t really as bad as it could have been, and it was definitely a relief to at least let him know…ya know?

Then he started in telling me how I need to leave Vegas, how it’s a poison place, and not right for me, and I surround myself with idiots as part of my shtick, but it’s not really me. And the sad thing is, he was kinda right — I’m not really into having my toes sucked or my twat photographed by some slavering fuckin’ perv who won’t stop trying to get me to open my legs wider, wider, wider — it makes for good blog copy, but other than that, it is kinda depressing. I wish I could figure out a way to make money based off my brain, not my twat. I just don’t know what! I have a fuckin’ art degree, for Pete’s sake…I’m adrift.

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I need this (or something similar) so bad it hurts!!!

As for Vegas, I’m torn — part of me truly loves living in the desert, and I do enjoy how easy it is to make a buck in that crazy city. But lately, I’ve been feeling a little Vegas-ed out…which is part of the reason I took off for California. At heart, I’m a total Nor Cal granola hippie dippie ding dong, and whenever I come back here, I feel like I’m home. But I don’t think I’d want to be here all the time. Which is why I need a van to travel around in — then I can come and go, chasing the odd buck, traveling around meeting interesting people and writing about it, homeless and adrift and still a lone wolf….but in bad ass style!!!

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in my tent

Anyway, after talking for quite a while, we went for a night soak and then headed to bed. I suffered another shitty, sleepless night, dreading the morning and the awkward, unbearably sad good-bye I was facing. It was sad enough when I left him the first time — now it was ten times worse!!

That last day, Jack didn’t have to be at his next gig until the evening, so he planned to stay at Harbin until our 48 hour pass was up at 4pm. I had told my mom I’d leave around noon, so I kinda dragged my ass around, stalling, until then. I soaked in the super-hot pool, then plunged in the super cold pool, and did that invigorating rotation a few times. I hiked up the hill to this awesome little teahouse perched way on top of one of the mountain, overlooking the entire valley, that had a meditation area and an altar where you could write down your intentions and prayers and shit, and scribbled down a bit of heartsick drivel and tucked it under a Buddha foot or some bullshit.

20140712 123802 300x225 A Busted Tailgate and a Broken HeartThen I decided to decorate my hat — on all my travels of late, I’ve been wearing this straw cowboy-type hat I’ve had forever, but only started wearing around recently. I stuck a bunch of pins and buttons and stuff on it to personalize it, but now I decided I would add a little memento from each of my adventures to the mix — a fake flower I found at Deep Creek (when I went with my sister), a seashell from Mexico, a bottlecap from one of Jack Johnson’s beers, and now I made a little decorative rosette out of reeds from one of the landscaping plants at Harbin. This hat tells the story of my Summer of 2014…and I think at the end of the summer, I might burn it — maybe in the temple fire at Burning Man, I don’t know. Anyway, I thought it was a cool idea!

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peace out!

But finally, it was time to stop stalling and get the fuck out of there…so I put on my friendmaker robe and hat, gathered my things, and went to find Jack Johnson to say goodbye. I found him over by the cold pool, and bid farewell in the midst of a bunch of naked New Agers, who barely looked on as we hugged each other one last time. “We’ll still go exploring stuff together sometime, eh?” he said…but I just shrugged, squeaking out a lame “Yeah, maybe.” Then I blew him a kiss and flashed him a peace sign, and walked off to my truck…which I now discovered had a cracked windshield, in addition to a busted tailgate. Damn, I’m a wreck!!!

And that was that — bury my heart at Harbin Hot springs! It’s a beautiful, peaceful place, and I wholeheartedly recommend it…but I’m not sure I’ll ever go back. Aside from my bad associations with it, they probably won’t let me go back, after reading about my drug use!!! But in my defense, I was going through some really tough times up there…so cut me some slack, willya, guys?

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Photo by Doug Ross

So anyway, on the drive back to my mom’s house, I started thinking… if life really were like a fairytale, or the modern Hollywood equivalent, shit would have gone down much differently! Picture Natalie Portman as Wonderhussy, a burned-out nude model cruising around in a beat-up pickup like a busted-up rodeo cowboy, making one last modeling trip around the West Coast. Matthew McConaughey as Jack Johnson, a confused and directionless vagabond, afraid to tap into his true potential, working an endless circuit of one-night gigs in smoky bars and dancehalls. Their paths cross, drama ensues, then they help each other find true love and freedom: Natalie inspires Matthew to finish his album, which goes onto resounding success. And Matthew inspires Natalie to write her memoirs, which are then optioned by Hollywood and made into a movie starring Natalie Portman and Matthew McConaughey. Whoa!

Alas, however… this ain’t Hollywood, and that shit ain’t happening. And this sure as fuck ain’t no fairy tale!!! If my and Jack Johnson’s Deep Creek trip was charmed…this trip was cursed!

The real answer might lie in my aforementioned busted tailgate: it broke back in June, at Deep Creek, right around the same time as my heart. Maybe if I fix it now, it’ll break the spell of Jack Johnson – who, ironically, offered to help me fix it…then either forgot or changed his mind.

Sigh.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 31 Comments

Going Gonzo in Mexico

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fuck yeah!!

Well friends, I finally checked another item off my bucket list by going to Mexico last week. But my destination was not some pansy-assed all-inclusive resort full of pasty Alabama factory workers pounding beers while Sammy Hagar wails in the background — I went Gonzo, and drove down into the dusty, dirty hinterlands of Baja California!

My sister has been on a sort of corporate detox/Rumspringa since quitting her loathsome marketing job back in February, and accepted the offer of an ex-colleague to stay at his family’s beach house down near San Felipe for a couple weeks, to chill out and meditate and think things through. I had to work the first week she was down there, but after I finished with the licensing expo and the beauty show and whatnot, I packed up my truck and drove down to join her.

It’s not that far from Vegas to San Felipe — about 8 hours, depending on the whims of the border guards. My sister sailed through the border with no problem at all — they didn’t even check her milquetoast little Infiniti, just waved her through. But since I drive a pickup, they did make me stop and explain in my sad güera Spanish where I was going, why I was going, where I came from and what I do. Fuck, I can’t even explain that shit in English!!! ¿Como se dice “hussy” en Español?

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drug Geocache!

Anyway, I somehow bungled through, and they let me in, after banging on the sides of my truck bed a few times to roust out any hidden contraband (I guess people are known to smuggle drug cash in pickup truck beds, is why I was flagged). What those poor fuckers didn’t know was that I’d thought ahead, and had already stashed all my drugs in a secret hidey-hole in the desert, so I could pick them up on my way back from Mexico, when my sis and I planned to camp out at Deep Creek for a couple nights before heading back home.

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nothing back here but us chickens!!

Since there was no way I was spending two nights at Deep Creek with no weed to smoke or shrooms to eat, and since I couldn’t exactly bring it all back and forth across the border with me, on my way down I scoped out a quiet spot behind some bushes at an intersection just outside the town of Brawley, and buried my little sack o’ fun for later retrieval. The ultimate Geocache!!! So anyhoo, by the time I rolled into Mexico, there was nothing for those rifle-wielding teenagers at the border to find. I did bring one special chocolate chip cookie, camouflaged in a bag of regular chocolate chip cookies, and an empty pipe, since my sis had indicated she’d found a connect down there. But aside from that, I was clean as a whistle. ¡No problemo!

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Yeah!

I entered Mexico just south of the Salton Sea, through this shitty little town called Calexico on the U.S. side, Mexicali on the Mexican side. Jeez, I thought Calexico was shitty — Mexicali was a whole other world of shittiness! Dogs roaming around, garbage everywhere, leathery toothless beggars and just a general air of steamy, sun-baked, sewage-scented lethargy and decay.  Awesome!!

But after passing through Mexicali, it was basically just two hours of desolate, barren desert highway, nothing but sagebrush and busted tires, with the Sea of Cortez off to the left. That is some serious wasteland — most of the touristy stuff you see in Baja is on the Pacific side of the peninsula, Ensenada and Tijuana and all that, but the east coast of Baja is pretty much just vast, empty desert. And in late June it was screaming, broiling hot; I can’t imagine how desperate a poor illegal immigrant would have to be to undertake a crossing by foot — it really speaks to the hopelessness of their situation!

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barren desert and the Sea of Cortez

Meanwhile, if you’re coming from the other side of the border, Baja is a great place to hide out! The desert and the beaches are sporadically dotted with rusted-out trailers, campers, shanties and bizarre compounds housing god-knows-what type of hippies/hermits/fugitives, with the occasional beachfront campo made up of retired American expats living on the cheap in fairly nice homes…out of sight and out of mind from meddlesome U.S. tax and legal authorities. It’s a real mix of weirdos down there. In other words…I felt right at home!!!

The place I was headed for was called Pete’s Camp, about 7 km north of San Felipe; basically a tidy little beachfront community of U.S. and Canadian retirees living out their their days boozing and racing around on quads and dune buggies. There’s a big redneck speed freak demographic down around San Felipe, and everyone has “toy” collections made up of various motorized contraptions upon which they careen madly about for fun and profit in various off-road races. I personally don’t get it, but that stuff is huge down there!

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boozing

Now this was late June, so things were pretty quiet — it gets hotter than balls down there in the summertime, so many people board up their homes and take off for the season, returning in September when it’s not so unbearably baking hot and humid. Only the dregs were left behind, and it was a real fun crowd, let me tell you! There’s a little cantina in the middle of the campo where everyone hung out to watch the World Cup, and since they had free Wi-Fi, I spent a lot of time there myself, drinking Cuba libres and posting shit on Facebook.

In between postings, I found time to chat with many of the locals, and like I said they were a fun bunch. Alkies, boozers, leathery-chested ladies and hard-drinking, teary-eyed men. Often they would tell you the same story over and over again, but they were all so nice that it didn’t matter. This one guy would come over and sip his double Jack and Coke while reciting a litany of all the toys he owned: “Three quads, two sand rails, dune buggy, Jeep, Trophy Truck, etc. etc. etc.,” and would invariably sum it all up by emphatically reminding himself how happy he was, and how great life was down there. Meanwhile, he always seemed just on the verge of breaking down in tears. Then there was this other cute little old — nay, ancient — man with a liver-spotted countenance and a terrible black eye, which he said he got when he “took a tumble” the other night (in a drunken stupor, no doubt). Awww!

The scuttlebutt was, there were also some unsavory types living in the area — pedophiles and whatnot, on the lam, hoping to escape detection. Like I said, it’s a pretty remote place… but apparently the Federales came in and arrested this one guy one day, and come to find out he had all this child pornography on his computer. Yikes!!!

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the house we stayed in

In any event, all the people I met down there were amazingly kind and generous, in particular the Realtor who was handling the sale of the house my sis and I were staying at (it’s listed at $220k, if you’re interested…it was really nice, and right on the beach) and his wife. They had us over for dinner one night, and they were just the coolest people ever. Everyone down there, without exception, was super friendly and welcoming; my sis (having already been there for a week, and being about 30 years younger than everyone else) was already the Queen of the Campo by the time I got there!

005 300x225 Going Gonzo in MexicoAnyway, I rolled in around 5:30pm — everyone had warned me over and over again not to drive in Mexico at night, so I made sure to leave Vegas super early so as to arrive before sunset. But like everything else in life, I found Mexico to be way less scary and dramatic than everyone makes it out to be. I had zero problems down there, and it wasn’t because I was cute and flirty — I barely speak Spanish, and my face was going through a terrible breakout, so I was totally self-conscious and not on my A-game. But I was polite, alert and careful, and thus managed to bungle my through several checkpoints and car searches without incident nor payment of any specious “fines.” It was all good, in my experience!

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tanning nude in isolation

Once I got down there, I basically did nothing but drink and eat. It was too fucking hot to do anything else!!! I did manage to drag my ass out of bed at 5am a couple times to run 5 miles on the beach, because sunrise was the only time it was cool enough…but other than that, I just laid low. In deference to the conservative culture, I wore a bikini most of the time, only tanning nude on this little crow’s nest patio on top of the garage, where no one could see.

We went out to San Felipe a few times to eat, but the rest of the time we just hung around the campo, relaxing. The house we were staying at was really nice, with air conditioning and nice bedrooms and everything, so it was basically like being at a hotel where you had nothing to do all day but relax and stare at the sea. But you know me — I can only take so much relaxing! My friend Bennie had given me this awesome guide to all the hot springs in the U.S. and Baja California, and I’m determined to visit as many as possible… so after a few days at the beach house, we packed up and headed down the coast a couple of hours to check out these nearby springs in the village of Puertecitos.

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camping on the beach

The springs are located in these beautiful tidal pools right on the edge of the Sea of Cortez, and there’s only a limited window each day during high tide when the mixture of seawater cools the thermal water in the pools to a comfortable soaking temperature. But if you camp out overnight, you can at least catch two tides…so we decided to bring our tents, and stay on the beach.

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the road to Puertecitos

Now meanwhile, everyone at the cantina was warning us about the journey: the roads were said to be really rough, pitted with steep dips called “vados” that would fuck up your shocks if you didn’t drive slow…plus there’s no cell phone service down there, and it’s really remote. But what the fuck?! YOLO!! I took my truck, and we made it just fine. The road was nicely paved the entire way, and most of the vados were mild annoyances rather than shock-busting disasters. It was really remote, though, and there isn’t anything along the way, especially in the dead summer season when everyone with half a brain flees for the Pacific side of the peninsula.

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in the library!

But there was a little campground in Puertecitos, right on the beach about a ten-minute walk from the springs, where for $20 a night you get a little shaded picnic table, water, electricity and use of the toilets…plus unlimited use of the hot springs. There’s even a little lending library full of English-language paperbacks which was a real hoot — I “borrowed” a John Grisham thriller, which I do plan on returning or replacing upon my eventual return (I am the kind of person to really do that, I tell you!).

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sunset at the springs

My pidgin Spanish was enough to ascertain that the tidal situation was just right to go soak as soon as we arrived, so after setting up camp, we hiked up to the springs, right at sunset. It was beautiful!! I swear, my new theme song is Itchycoo Park — lately it seems all I ever do is take drugs and cry about how beautiful shit is (well, not really). But these were definitely some of the most scenic hot springs I’ve ever been to!!! There are three or four large, fairly deep

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soaking

soaking pools with super-clear water and rocky bottoms, and plenty of boulders to sit on while you soak and watch the sunset amid the pounding surf and squawking seagulls. The only drawback is, the water smells pretty strongly of sulphur, which eventually you sort of get used to, I guess. But what I never got used to was the thousands of super-creepy bugs skittering all over the rocks!!! They looked like a prehistoric combination of a leech and cockroach, and they were scurrying about everywhere!!! Some of them were up to two inches long – SHUDDER!!!!!! The smell and the bugs prevent me from giving these hot springs an A+ rating, but it’s still an amazing place. Just be advised!

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camping on the beach at Puertecitos

Anyway, after sunset we hiked back down to our campsite on the bay, and drank wine and munched on whatever shitty snacks we’d brought — there’s no restaurant or anything like that in Puertecitos, at least not in the summertime. This cute little mouse kept bugging us though, running onto our blanket, trying to steal food. We kept scaring it away, even going so far as to pull out some stun guns my Arkansas girlfriend had given me, and zapping them in the mouse’s direction…but the dumb little fucker wasn’t fazed, so I finally bashed it with a tire iron and killed it!!! AWWW!! All I wanted to do was scare it away, but I guess I was a bit overzealous icon sad Going Gonzo in Mexico Don’t come between me and my food!

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sunrise at the springs

Anyhoo, we woke up at sunrise and went for a half-assed little run back up to the springs, where we enjoyed a fantastic sunrise soak. That place is amazingly photogenic!! Even my shitty little Samsung Galaxy got these amazing shots! Imagine what you could do with a real camera icon smile Going Gonzo in Mexico Once the sun came up and it got too hot, we went back to camp, packed up, and drove back down to San Felipe for a few more relaxing days of boozing and

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!!!

reading. That John Grisham thriller came just in time — I had just finished my other book about Ted Bundy that one of my fans sent me from my Amazon wish list. We blew through the rest of our pesos on ceviche and Cuba libres, and then used the remainder to haggle for a cheap hammock at a souvenir shop in town. Good times!

All in all, it was a fantastic trip…but I was really looking forward to the drive back. The plan was to head directly to Deep Creek hot springs for a couple days, then my sis would continue on to the Bay Area, and I’d go back to Vegas to do some laundry, lift weights, and pack up for my July west coast modeling trip. Everyone in Pete’s Camp told us to hit the border around 10-11am for optimal traffic, but we didn’t manage to leave San Felipe around 9:30am, so came to Mexicali right at noon — one of the worst times of all!! The line to cross into the U.S. was recockulous!!!!

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border crossing traffic

At first I didn’t mind sitting in line so much, because I finally had cell phone service and was able to check my voicemail and stuff. But after an hour or so, it got old pretty fast — it was broiling, baking, screaming hot and humid, and even my a/c quit blowing cold after awhile. Talk about First World Problems — meanwhile, hordes of poor resourceful locals were out in the direct sun, working the lines of cars, selling everything from window shades to iced coffee, with a few beggars thrown in for measure. This one poor legless man was scooting along the broiling asphalt on a piece of cardboard, dragging himself from car to car with his hands, which were protected from the searing ground by nothing but playing cards. It was surreal, like the 10th circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno — all these poor, desperate souls writhing and melting in the relentless sun, knocking on windows like damned wraiths in the depths of Hades. FUCK!!

Anyway, we finally made it to the checkpoint, and of course were singled out for special searches — me because of my truck, and my sister just randomly. I only had a small chunk of cookie left (those cookies are strong, and you only need to eat a tiny piece to get baked as fuck), and I had cleaned out my pipe with boiling water as best as possible, so I wasn’t really too concerned. They made me pull over, open my hood, and wait in a cage while they searched my stuff for drugs or hidden people or whatever the fuck they’re trying to protect us from. What a fuckin’ circus!!

Meanwhile, my drugs were waiting for me in my little cache not 50 miles away icon smile Going Gonzo in Mexico After finally clearing the border and being allowed back into the sacred U.S.A., we stopped for lunch in Calexico and plotted the rest of the day. My hot springs book showed a cool looking little spot called the Five Palms Warm Well Oasis in the desert outside Brawley, not far from my cache, so we decided to hit that up before unearthing the treasure and heading up to Deep Creek.

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stuck

To get to the Five Palms Warm Well Oasis, you take CA-78 east of Brawley for 15 miles, then turn off south on a dirt road for 1.6 miles. The road was said to be easily passable, but of course the sand was all tore up by crazy quadders from the nearby Glamis Sand Dunes redneck paradise, so wouldn’t you know it….my truck got bogged down in the sand about a half mile from the springs icon sad Going Gonzo in Mexico icon sad Going Gonzo in Mexico icon sad Going Gonzo in Mexico Damn! We tried to get out by putting firewood and towels and stuff under the rear tires, but it was no use — I was stuck. I called AAA, but because I was more than 10 feet off the paved road, they wouldn’t cover the cost of a tow truck…so I had to shell out $150. D’OH!!!! Expensive little detour!

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oasis in the distance

While we were waiting for the tow truck to get there, we went ahead and hiked the last .5 miles to the Oasis, which was easy to spot as it was the only cluster of palm trees for miles and miles and miles around. Let me tell you, that place is a true oasis — it’s so unexpected!! There you are, in the middle of a vast, barren desertscape of sand, creosote and sagebrush, and then all of a sudden here’s this little cluster of palms surrounding a super-idyllic shady little pond. The water

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Five Palms Warm Well

isn’t really hot (that’s why they call it a warm well), so it feels refreshing, even in the heat of summer. The bottom is sandy and only a bit mucky, and the water is fairly clean. Some enterprising hippies put in a little bench and a floating coffee table made from the top of a Styrofoam cooler, so it’s a pretty sweet little spot to chill out for a few hours. A Mexican family was picnicking there when we arrived, but once they left I got naked and went for a little soak. Fuck, it was costing me $150 — might as well get my money’s worth!!!

After soaking a bit, we hiked back to my truck and the tow guy was there. He winched me out in about 2 minutes, and I tried to sweet talk him into giving me a discount — which he claimed he was already doing, since allegedly there’s normally a 2-hour minimum, and it would have been $300. Hmmm. Then he wanted a photo with me, which I obliged, afraid he’d charge me the extra hour if I said no!!

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digging up the drugs

Anyhoo, we got out of there, swung by to dig up the drugs, and then got the fuck out of that godforsaken part of the country. I love the desert, but in the summertime there are places I’d rather be…ya know?? Like Deep Creek Hot Springs!! After stopping in Palm Desert for gas and supplies, we headed out to Apple Valley (where Deep Creek is), arriving just before the gate closed at 10pm. It was already dark, which sucked for our hike down, but what are ya gonna do?

Now, last time I was there (with my good buddy Jack Johnson), we camped up top at the trailhead, in the desert. This time, my sis and I wanted to camp at the bottom, on the beach by the springs. You’re not supposed to, but people do it all the time — as long as you’re quiet, and clean up after yourself, it shouldn’t be a problem. But, you do have to pack all your gear down that 1.5-mile trail…and then back up, which is a real bitch :/ Which is why so many assholes leave garbage and junk behind at the bottom — the amount of litter and old sleeping bags and stuff down there is unbelievable. Who are these irresponsible assholes?!!?! If I was rich, I’d hire a helicopter to take me down there for a massive cleanup.

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what a great place to spend Independence Day!!

Anyhoo, my sis and I somehow loaded up our tents, sleeping bags, booze and accessories, and hiked down in the darkness. This time there wasn’t much moonlight, but we had headlamps so it was ok. We got to the bottom, waded across the creek, and set up camp on the beach in the shade of some cottonwood trees, by the Arizona pool. Then we ate some pot cookie and soaked in the delicious, clean warm water late into the night. No weird bugs, no sulphur smell, no mucky bottom and no sand to get stuck in. That place DEFINITELY gets an A+ rating!

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deep creek

In the morning, we were up super early like kids on Christmas morning — my sis was so excited to see the majesty of Deep Creek in the daylight! I was afraid it would be really crowded on account of it being July 3rd, right near the holiday…but it was perfect. Just the right amount of people! Aside from the usual naked dudes, there were even a couple of hot young topless chicks who soaked with us and smoked us out, and there was also a guitarist and a fiddler who played some awesome acoustic jams that were perfect for napping to!

We spent a nice lazy day drowsing around, and then ate some mushrooms around sunset, and spent the evening soaking in the Womb pool with this Deep Creek veteran called the HotSpringsWizard who was super interesting to talk to. He had this magical little lantern, just big enough to hold a tealight candle, and it cast the most beautiful light on the rocks and the water, lending a real Tolkienesque ambiance. Fantastic!

The only unfantastic part was getting up early the next morning to hike out — we got up before 7am to try and escape the heat while hiking, but it was still a long, hot slog uphill, especially with the weight of all our gear on our backs. That’s the only downside to Deep Creek — that hike up is brutal!! But it does keep the half-assers away… so I guess it’s actually an upside, not a downside!

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awesome photo by Adam Sternberg

Anyway, we left camp before 10am on Friday, the 4th of July — plenty of time for me to go home, write my blog, lift weights and pack up for my journey to the west coast. I wanted to leave the very next day (Saturday), to avoid the holiday traffic on the I-15 on Sunday, when all the Southern Californians would be heading back from Vegas. But what I didn’t realize was, traffic on the 4th itself was miserable!!!! I figured all the Californians would have left for Vegas the night before, but I was wrong — by the time I got to Barstow it was horrendous. Stop and go, totally shitty. The problem with driving to Vegas is, there’s really one ONE way in and out from So Cal — I-15. It’s two lanes in each direction, but I’m here to tell you that ain’t enough…especially on holidays.

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Mojave National Preserve

With all my backcountry experience, I figured that surely there had to be some other route — but I didn’t want to go too far out of the way. Alas, my only options were to sit in traffic — or go way the fuck out of the way. I chose the latter, taking the Newberry Springs exit south to the Bagdad Cafe, then catching the 40 up to the Mojave National Preserve, and cutting through that over to Searchlight, by way of Nipton. What should have been a 2-hour jaunt (from Barstow to Vegas) ended up taking over five hours!!! But hey — at least I was moving icon smile Going Gonzo in Mexico

Anyhoo, I got home late, and my Aunt Flo was giving me shit, but I still managed to get most of my stuff done in time to leave Vegas around 1pm the next day, Saturday. That’s how committed I am to fitness — even though it felt like my uterus was trying to force its way down my birth canal and plop out on the ground, I still made myself go through my whole weightlifting routine, cramps and all icon smile Going Gonzo in Mexico

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the best view of Vegas is in the rearview mirror!!

I figured no one would be on the road in the middle of the holiday weekend — wrong again!!! That fuckin’ 15 is always a mess — especially because a huge, fabulously dramatic thunderstorm was moving through the Mojave! It was part of the same weather system that fucked up the Vegas Strip fireworks show the night before — which really delighted the hater in me. I find fireworks to be overrated and boring as fuck, so I thought it was super cool that a thunderstorm moved in and stole the show  – nature’s fury is way more exciting and fun to watch, in my opinion! I’m sure all the dumb ass alkie partiers on the Strip were bummed, but oh well — let me tell you, I couldn’t get out of that city fast enough. I was back in town for less than 24 hours, and that was too long for me. I’m all Vegas-ed out right now…it’s so hot and humid and full of dumbasses this time of year.

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mojave thunderstorm

So anyway, this massive thunderstorm was dumping rain all over the Mojave, so it took longer than usual to get to Barstow, again. But once I turned off that fucking 15, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. I stopped off for dinner in Bakersfield with my friend Dr. Zhivago, who greeted me at the curb with a Campari & soda and filled me in on his latest WhatsYourPrice.com hijinks (spoiler: he broke down and bought that one whore her Louboutins), and then drove alllllll the way north to my mom’s house up in Sonoma County — a total of 12 hours!!! I was exhausted!!!

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in the forest

I rolled into my mom’s at 1am and basically just passed out. But when I woke up today, it was all worth it — she lives in a beautiful, rustic cabin in the middle of a cool, lush redwood forest just off the Russian River. In other words….the perfect spot to spend the summer! I brought enough stuff to stay til the end of the month, but who knows?? My original plan was to stay here, then do my Seattle road trip (I have several photo shoots booked up there in a couple weeks) and then head back down to Vegas, go to Sturgis, and then Burning Man. But Sturgis might not happen after all — it looks like the guy my girlfriend and I worked for at The Knuckle Saloon last year doesn’t want to hire us back (!!!??!?!?!), so I guess I have no need to be back in Vegas til Burning Man now!! Fuck!!

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last year at Sturgis

On a side note, I can’t believe that guy isn’t hiring us back — we worked our asses off for him last year, and sold quite a bit of booze for him! I guess he preferred to hire local heifers or something…oh, well. It was a fun one-time experience anyway, as I’m sure you’ll recall from reading my blog about it last summer icon smile Going Gonzo in Mexico So anyhoo, as it stands now, I’m spending the summer in Northern California. My buddy Jack Johnson will also be touring the area, so we made plans to hit up some hot springs together next week, and I’m going to see a couple of his shows in San Francisco, so I can finally catch his act. I’ll be going to see him at some Italian restaurant called Osteria on Monday night, if anyone wants to meet for dinner…hit me up!

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the road goes on forever…

One thing I know for sure, I need to make some ca$h, and pronto — I spent almost $400 in gas in the past 12 days alone!!!! So if you’re a Bay Area-based photographer, and want to hire me for any projects any time between now and August 19th or so….holla at me!! Or if you need any copywriting or editing or other writing-type work, I can do that as well. I need adventure money….because in the words of Robert Earl Keen…

“The road goes on forever and the party never ends!”

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P.S. for more photos from my Mexico trip, see my Facebook album!!

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What’s a bitch gotta do to get a pelvic exam in this town?!

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by Oyo Photography

Since getting back from my trip to Deep Creek Hot Springs, I’ve been in a real funk. That was such a totally charmed trip in every respect; regular, workaday life couldn’t possibly compete. When I got home, there was hot sauce all over the carpet from my roommate feeding my dog birria, I had a mountain of laundry, and because it’s summertime in Vegas, the house was hot as hell. I’ll tell you, I was ready to sell it all, buy a van, and take off into the sunset!!!

My ever-practical nature kicked in, though, and I scrubbed the carpet, washed the laundry and settled back into my usual routine. But after spending all that time in the beauty of nature and then at the beach, Vegas seemed gross and dirty.

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raver attack!

To make matters worse, it was EDC week — that’s the Electric Daisy Carnival, the ginormous rave they hold every year out at the Speedway. Something like 100,000 ravers drive up from So Cal for this event each June. Every hotel on the Strip is clogged with ding-a-lings in muffin-topped tutus, and traffic is a clusterfuck. I tried to avoid the Strip during the siege, but you couldn’t get away from ‘em — the rich ones hire helicopters to ferry them back and forth to the racetrack (which is pretty far north of town), so even the fuckin’ sky was abuzz with whirring choppers full of blissed-out e-tards blathering platitudes about PLUR. The city was literally under attack on all fronts, like Da Nang in ’75…if the VietCong had been made up of chubby, scantily-clad suburbanites with terrible taste in music.

Thankfully, I didn’t have much time to fret over it, though, because I had work booked pretty much every single day until my next adventure (I’m driving down to Baja California, Mexico tomorrow morning…YEE HAW!!! Sun, sand, booze and caftans!). So I tried to just concentrate on making money. First on the docket was the ever-fabulous, always amusing Licensing Expo.

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I hate Mondays!!!

As I’ve written before, the Licensing Expo is a show focused on any and all brands/characters/personalities that are available to be licensed out and used to sell everything from bookbags to buttplugs. You may recall that last year, even Pope Francis had a booth — come to find out, you can license the Pope’s name and image to sell shit. Wow. Anyway, there’s always a huge demand for actors to wear various mascot costumes and walk around the show floor as Garfield, Pac-Man, Cookie Monster, etc.

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I want whatever that dog is on!

This year I really lucked out and got an awesome costume — a fairly popular character that people really responded to, and the costume itself was pretty comfortable. As a bonus, DreamWorks Studios had just licensed the character to make some shitty new CGI movie, so I got to hobnob and pose for photos with the likes of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Lassie (yes, a live collie dog…which must have been totally drugged up, as it didn’t even blink when I lumbered over to stand beside it in my giant, maniacally grinning outfit). It was truly thrilling, let me tell you!

 

 

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Who’s grumpy now?!

Even better, during my breaks I got to walk around and schmooze with all kinds of other fabulous characters — WWE wrestlers, Harajuku girls and even Internet sensation Grumpy Cat! (I have no idea who that even is, but it was really popular — some live cat, also drugged to high heaven, no doubt, that happened to have been born with a grumpy-looking face, and which just sat there looking grumpy while people lined up around the block to take a photo with it. WEIRD!)

Anyway, the Licensing Show was cool because being in a mascot costume all day meant I didn’t have to look particularly good, face-wise…which was lucky, since my face was all broken out from the stress and excitement of my Deep Creek trip. But before you know it, the Licensing Expo was over and it was time to work the Beauty Show! Ruh-roh!!

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Blinc brow mousse in Dark Brunette, as seen at hot, sweaty Burning Man

Oh well, nothing to do but spackle on a shit-ton of makeup and get to it! I was working for the same client I worked for last year, a manufacturer of high-end über-industrial-strength eye-makeup products with real staying power. I’ve worked a billion tradeshows in my day, and have promoted a billion dumb-ass products that are complete bullshit but which I have to pretend to get behind — well, I’m here to tell you, Blinc eye makeup is one product I really CAN endorse! In particular their “brow mousse,” which is a product for filling in/drawing on eyebrows: I can personally attest to the fact that Blinc Brow Mousse is not only waterproof — it’s also Burning Man-proof, mascot costume proof…and mudwrestling-proof!! It’s true — every time I wrestle, I wear Blinc Brow Mousse so that my eyebrows don’t come off either in the “mud” or in the shower afterward (we have to go back out and mingle with the crowd after showering, so you still have to look good).

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a truly remarkable product!

Anyway, working the Beauty Show is always a riot because women are such easily hypnotized dingbats when it comes to beauty products, you can pretty much spew any line of b.s. at them and they stand transfixed as if it were the Sermon on the Mount: “This product will not smudge, clump, flake or run.” “I’ll take fifty!! Do you accept food stamps?” I didn’t even have to mention the mudwrestling — this shit sold itself!!

Speaking of mud wrestling, I also did that one night during the Licensing Expo — which was a bit of a jam, since rasslin’ goes til 1am and I had to be back in my mascot suit at 9:30am. Also, despite my best and most thorough efforts at cleaning every last bit of “mud” out of my crevices, the distinct aroma of chocolate pudding filled the head of my mascot costume the next day, making me slightly nauseous. But wrestling is so much fun, I can’t complain — this time, a woman won the bidding war to be my towel boy (girl), so that was novel. Alas, I was defeated (again) by Little Red Riding Hood, who is one bad bitch…but everyone had a great time, and I made some extra money for my adventure fund, so it was all good!

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Pic by Dreamweaver Photography (from a shoot a couple weeks ago)

I also found time to squeeze in one final gig — an art-nude photo shoot, out at one of my favorite locations in the desert near Searchlight. This was with a photographer I’d shot with last year, a really classy guy who shoots artsy black-and-whites and who, unlike other photographers, isn’t constantly trying to get me to spread my vagina open. (I’m serious — on something like 65% of my shoots, the photographer never stops trying to get me to spread my legs just a liiiiittle wider, past my clearly stated comfort level. I’m actually thinking of taking a cue from one of my favorite fulltime traveling art models on Model Mayhem, and purposely growing my bush out super big and thick, so that my vag won’t show no matter what cockamamie pose the photographer wants to put me in! I’m sure I’d lose a few bookings because of the bush, but…..do I really need money that bad, that I should subject myself to constant battles with perverts? I haven’t decided yet….stay tuned!)

Anyhoo, everything was going swimmingly at this shoot — cool photographer, no vag shots, weather not too hot, acne well-concealed — until it happened: for the first time in six years of outdoor nude modeling, I was busted by Johnny Law!!

Now, I’ve been run out of Valley of Fire, Ash Meadows and Red Rock for being nude — but it was always just park rangers bawling me out, not actual police. Well, this time, none other than a Nevada State Trooper pulled over, hiked across the desert, and proceeded to lecture the photographer and I on the indecency of what we were doing. Thankfully, the photographer is from the South, and laid on the drawl real thick: “We apologize, Officer…we’ll be on our way.” And to his credit, the cop was pretty cool (he was young, maybe early 30s, if that), and left us with this parting shot: “Well, hopefully they come out good.” Wink!

FREETHENIPPLE3 300x280 Whats a bitch gotta do to get a pelvic exam in this town?!But I mean, really — aren’t there much worse things going on out there to worry about than two people shooting art nudes in an old building?! Shouldn’t you be busting a meth lab or something?!? The irony is, if I’d been out there shooting up tin cans or something, I’d probably have been fine. In this fucked-up culture, guns are OK but female nipples are destructive as hell! Check out this meme I made for Facebook — I think it makes the point pretty well. (Note: I am well aware that is an AR-15, not an AK-47…I just figured it reads better this way, since no one but gun nuts and humorless pedants know what an AR-15 is.)

ANYhoo, the photographer and I were forced to cut our shoot short, get back in the car and drive back into steaming, stinking, raver-ridden Vegas…where we shot the remainder of the two hours in his room at the LaQuinta Express on Tropicana. The whole hotel smelled like pot smoke and was crawling with tutus — in fact, coming back over the mountain into town, we noticed a thick, gray miasma hung over the entire city. I thought it was smog, but the photographer joked that it was probably a cloud of pot smoke…and I think he was right!!! Those fuckin’ ravers obliterated the city!!! It was insane.

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mmm…yeasty

So anyway, I basically hustled my ass off all week, and through it all I was experiencing no small degree of discomfort: I don’t know if it was the Bikram yoga I did last week, or the sitting around in hot spring water, the sweaty-ass mascot costume or the pudding wrestling….but somehow, I picked up a nasty-ass yeast infection!!! I’m inclined to blame the hot springs — you may recall that I was on my period, wearing a tampon, the dangling string of which probably acted like the wick on an oil lamp, sucking up murky hot spring water and filling my nether regions with questionable water. Yuck!!!!!

Either way, it took three seperate doctor’s visits for them to diagnose me — I kept telling them I suspected a yeast infection, but for some reason they were loath to give me a pelvic exam and be done with it. I wanted to be sure I was ok before heading to Baja — the last thing I want is to end up in some janky Mexican clinic, ya know?! But the first guy just thought I just had jock itch, and prescribed an ointment. The second lady thought I was ovulating, and made me feel like a hypochondriac. Only when I went back to the first guy again, and insisted that I had yeasty symptoms, did he prescribe a Diflucan — but again, without doing a pelvic exam. He basically just took my word for it!!

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???

 

I mean, srsly — what’s a bitch gotta do to get a pelvic exam in this town?! It’s not like I like having my hoo-ha cranked open and probed, but if it saves time (you saw how busy I was this week; it’s not like I had time for three doctor’s appointments) I’m all for it!

And don’t think the irony in all this was lost on me, by the way: I spend all my photo shoots trying to stop men from looking into my vagina. But when I actually want a man to look in there…he won’t.

This world is all kinds of fucked up!!

 

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Deep Creek With Jack Johnson

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naked and unafraid

I just got back from one of the most amazing adventures of my life. And if you know me, you know that’s a strong statement! But this really was up there.

It all started when one of my readers messaged me, asking if I wanted to meet up and camp out by some hot springs sometime. Meet up with some random guy in the middle of nowhere?! Sure, why not? It’s the Wonderhussy Way! After all, I go out to the desert with strange men for photo shoots all the time — why not do

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Jack Johnson and his van

it simply for fun?

Actually I’m being a tad facetious — I did sort of look the guy up (well, emailed back and forth with him, anyway) and we did talk on the phone a few times. He seemed pretty cool — a traveling musician who frequents nude beaches, and who also happens to live in his van. A real Jack Johnson type! Anyway, he seemed legit enough…and besides, I was SO ready for an adventure that I would have said yes to just about anyone – it had been awhile since my last desert adventure, with my frenemy Alex. (I usually go adventuring with guys — not because I’m looking to hook up, but simply because I know few adventurous cool chicks who want to do this shit with me.)

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the middle of nowhere

Anyhoo, I suggested we meet up at Deep Creek Hot Springs, near Apple Valley in the high desert of southeastern California. I had been there once before, and knew it to be a fantastic spot…and it’s pretty much halfway between Vegas and the area where this guy happened to be at the moment, so it worked out. So we arranged to meet out at Deep Creek on Monday afternoon.

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at the Neon Boneyard

 

Of course, nothing in my crazy life ever works out as planned — I ended up staying out really late on Sunday, working a gig as the craft services lady on the set of an NHL commercial featuring American Idol winner Philip Phillips. I am the last person you want running the crafty table at a shoot — I ate half the snacks and junk food!! But it was a fun gig — we shot some scenes at the fabulous Neon Boneyard, where they store all the old casino signage of yesteryear, and then we shot inside the old PURE nightclub at Caesars, which they had just closed for remodeling.

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old menu from PURE — vodka was $450 a bottle. And this is the A menu — if you flip it over to the B menu, it’s the same exact thing only $100 more on everything! Greedy crooks!!

 

Being in there was a trip! Back in its day, PURE was the shizz — mobs of people out front, throwing hundreds at the assholes at the door for the privilege of getting in and spending hundreds more on booze. The amount of money that changed hands in that place was mind-boggling — the bottle waitresses made bank; in fact pretty much everyone in there was raking in cash. So much so, that the IRS had to step in at one point and investigate, LOL! I even met my ex-boyfriend in there, which should have been a big red flag, since our relationship ended badly with me up to my balls in debt from a house he advised me to buy (which mess I have thankfully resolved, after 4 miserable years).

 

 

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the fall of the Empire

But anyway, after 9 years of operation, PURE’s popularity was waning, so they closed it down and will reopen bigger and better, under a new name, next year. But every day it remains closed costs the hotel something like a billion dollars in lost revenue — so they wasted no time in knocking down the walls and starting with the reno. At the time of our shoot there, it had only been shut down for a few days, but the place was already gutted!

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Philip Phillips

Anyhoo, Philip Phillips was nice enough (actually really nice), but the shoot went way late, so I got kind of a late start the next morning on my journey to Apple Valley. To make matters worse, I accidentally followed the wrong directions, and ended up coming in the back way, over the mountains up by Lake Arrowhead — which area is astonishingly beautiful, and which is now on my list of places to go check out!

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the view from my tailgate

So I ended up not rolling into Apple Valley until almost sunset. But fortunately for me, the guy I was meeting — we’ll call him “Jack” — was also running late, so it worked out. I got to our rendezvous point before him, and sat on my tailgate drinking wine, watching the sunset, until he finally rolled up in his van just before the sun went down. You know how you can tell pretty much right away if you’re going to like someone or not? Well, this fool rolls up in his hippie van, windows down, with a shit-eating ear-to-ear blindingly-white grin, radiating sunshine and happiness, like, “Heyyy! Let’s go!!!” and I knew we were going to get along juuuuuuust fine. Relief! He was basically the polar opposite of my frenemy Alex, who can be pretty dark and grumpy.

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Deep Creek map

Anyway, we convoyed up the rest of the dirt road to Bowen Ranch — the easiest trailhead to the Deep Creek Hot Springs is located on private property, but the people who own it are super cool and only charge $5 per person for day use, and $10 per person for overnight camping. There are no toilets or running water, just open desert out by the trailhead that descends into the canyon where the hot springs are…but they give you this awesome J.R.R. Tolkien-esque map, which is worth the $10 alone. The last part of the road to the parking/camp area is pretty rough; my 2WD truck was able to handle it fine, but Jack had to be pretty careful in his VW van, although he made it OK by going slow.

 

We rolled in just before dark and set up camp on a bluff overlooking the trail — well, I set up camp, anyway; all Jack had to do was park his van, and he was ready to go. You know how I’ve been wanting to buy a Scamp trailer? Well, seeing Jack’s VW van made me think twice — it was awesome! Self-contained, no fuss, no muss…just enough room for the essentials. I always thought it would be better to have the option to unhitch and cruise around, but now I think it might be better to have all your shit with you at all times. Hmmm…anyone selling a van??? icon smile Deep Creek With Jack Johnson icon smile Deep Creek With Jack Johnson icon smile Deep Creek With Jack Johnson

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Sleeping in the shade of the van

Anyway, Jack offered to let me sleep in his van (it has two bunks), but I demurred, figuring he would just try to get in my pants (even though Deep Creek is a nudist spot, and I wasn’t really even wearing pants). I had told him ahead of time on the phone that I wasn’t looking at this as a romantic hookup — just a campout. Fuck, I do this kind of shit all the time — I can’t be sleeping with every dude I camp with!!! Besides, a) I have a low libido and am hardly ever attracted to anyone…and b) he mentioned something about having been staying at a girl’s house lately, so I figured he had a girlfriend. Either way, to set things straight I set up my little one-person tent in the shadow of his van, and was good to go.

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the trail by day (from my winter trip in 2013)

By now it was totally dark, but the moon was almost full, so there was plenty of ambient light and we set off on the hike down to the hot springs, which are located in a canyon down a fairly steep 1.5-mile trail from the camp area. The trail is pretty smooth and sandy — in fact, we did it barefoot — but does get a bit steep at parts, so you have to be careful, especially in the dark. But we had headlamps, so it was pretty easy.

The trail descends into the canyon and comes out onto a sandy beach area by the creek, which you have to wade across to get to the springs on the other side. On my previous visit, it was January, and the water was pretty deep and icy fucking cold — actually kinda fun, making the hot springs even more of a reward. In fact, all along the hike I had been warning Jack about this freezing wading part…so imagine my surprise when the water turned out to be super warm and awesome in the summertime! I’m telling you, this place was amazing in winter…but was M A G I C A L in the summer.

Adding to the magic, the entire canyon was bathed in this crazy ethereal silvery moonlight, making it really look like a mystical, sacred place. Now, I am a total hard-assed atheist cynic who doesn’t bandy about words like “sacred” lightly…but I’m here to tell you, if there is magic in the world, it’s in places like this. I can’t imagine what it was like for Jack, seeing it for the first time in that light. Awesome!

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all I had was my cell phone, so no night pics came out :(

There were about 25 people hanging out down there that night — you’re not supposed to camp out overnight at the springs themselves, but apparently people do anyway. As long as you clean up after yourself, it’s cool — the real trouble is from all these day-users who leave beer cans and trash behind; the hardcore overnighters are much more respectful and into preserving the springs.

Once across the creek, I couldn’t remember where the real trail was, so we scrambled along in the dark through the rocks until we came upon a tall, super-thin Zenlike old man with a white ponytail and a super-deep, quiet voice who was kind enough to give us the lay of the land. I think he’s a regular down there or maybe even lives there, I don’t know. All I know is he was fascinating to look at, almost like a wizard, and I wanted to take his photo so bad, but didn’t want to come off as a looky-lou, so we just kept going, headed for the beach on the far side.

The next guy we came upon in the darkness held out a bong and said, “Hey, do you guys smoke weed?!” That’s the kind of place this is! From there, it was on. I think everyone was on drugs down there — weed, ecstasy, mushrooms — but it was all totally peaceful and cool; people just tripping quietly in nature. Except this one poor kid tripping balls on ketmamine, who kept circling around asking us where he was, what was in his hand (a GoPro camera), and if he was dead. LOL! The best part was, the GoPro was on the whole time…and that has to be the most awesome footage ever. Finally, a good use for a GoPro! One of my readers sent me one a while ago, and I haven’t been able to figure out a good use for it, since I’m not into extreme sports. Now I have an idea! icon biggrin Deep Creek With Jack Johnson

Anyway, imagine sitting in this amazing hot spring on the edge of a river, in the middle of nowhere, in the dead of night, with nothing but moonlight to light the scene, after a bong hit from a stranger and a glass of wine, totally naked and talking machine-gun style with some guy from the Internet you only met two hours ago. That was magical!

Jack and I really hit it off right away — I know I said this about my frenemy Alex, but Jack really is the male me: good-looking, charismatic, free spirited and somewhat directionless. It was kinda freaky, but it made for excellent and abundant conversation. We drank wine and blabbed away until around 3am, then hiked back up the steep-ass trail to our campsite and passed out.

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thankfully I did not sleep naked!

Anyway, I only got a few hours of sleep before the sun baked me out of my tent in the morning — I thought I had set it up on the shady side of the van, but apparently I miscalculated because the sun was shooting dagger-rays into my eyeballs from the time it came up around 6am. If you camp here, be advised — there is VERY little shade, and it gets hot as fuck in the summer! I dragged my sleeping bag out and tried to sleep in the shade of the van, under an umbrella, but it was pretty crappy going, so eventually I gave up and started the day. Jack was making fun of me for refusing to sleep in his van with him, but like I said, I only met him the day before, and he appeared to have entanglements. My name might be Wonderhussy, but I don’t give it up that easy!

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hiking down naked. When in Rome!

Anyway, Jack made a fantastic breakfast and then we packed up and hiked back down to the springs for the day. They were even more beautiful in the daylight! Lush and green and shady, with birds and butterflies and dragonflies buzzing around over the sound of water rushing over the rocks — it sounded exactly like the intro to Pink Floyd’s “Grantchester Meadow,” a song about some guy getting baked in the English countryside. Some things are universal, I guess.

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me and Louis Mayer Maude

I laid out my sleeping bag in the shade on the beach, and we spent the day soaking, snoozing, smoking weed and chatting with the other hippies down there. Deep Creek is located along the Pacific Crest Trail (a trail that goes all the way from Mexico to Canada, which many people hike every year), so we met some resting PCT hikers as well, which was really interesting for me, as I’ve read a few books on the subject and am possibly interested in doing it myself one day. The hiker in this photo is Louis Mayer Maude, all the way from New Hampshire, and this was his first time on the West Coast! Can you imagine?! Welcome to the West…where we know how to live!!!

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Fuck!!!!

Everyone was cool, and almost everyone was naked. I love places where you can be naked in a completely non-sexual way — naturism! There is no place like that in Vegas — here, if you’re naked, it means you want to swing (and I hate swinging). But in Deep Creek, it’s different. Hell, I was on my freaking period the whole time — my tampon string was dangling down, and no even even blinked!!!

That being said, I guess just being in that environment around all those bare genitals gets people fired up, because around 5 o’clock shit got freaky — one guy was jerking off in the bushes, looking at a naked black guy stretched out on a rock…who later went over and gave it to his girlfriend, right there on the beach in a little cluster of trees. Far out!!! Thankfully, aside from a few lewd remarks, Jack was pretty classy and never molested me.

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pic by Jack Johnson

Around that time, we ate some mushrooms, and went for a walk back up along the creek to this beautiful, peaceful lagoon. I swear, I’ve never seen such beauty!! I felt like the guy in that Small Faces song “Itchycoo Park,” where he eats acid in the park and cries because “it’s all too beautiful.” It really was!! Jack spent about an hour taking astonishingly beautiful nude photos of me with his iPhone — if even these crappy iPhone pics came out this good, imagine what you could get with a real camera. AHEM!!! Any photographers who want to go out there, hit me up!!!

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pic by Jack Johnson

I took a bunch of really cool photos of Jack as well, but unfortunately he isn’t quite as free spirited as I am in that respect, and asked me not to post them. In fact, he didn’t even really want me to write about him at all, which really knocked me back — I hate when people are ashamed to be associated with me, ya know? It happens now and then — people think I’m fun and awesome, but don’t want their wife or boss or girl whose house they’ve been sleeping at or whoever to know they were with me. Fuck! I am an exceptionally good person, and I’m not doing anything wrong (except drugs) — so why the shame, people? It makes me feel dirty, and really hurts my feelings, to be honest. So you’ll notice I have concealed Jack’s identity with Jack Johnson (the musician)’s face — he doesn’t care for Jack Johnson’s shtick at all, so I figured I could at least exact a small amount of revenge that way, however petty and meaningless. It was a real bummer though, because all the people we met kept asking how long we’d known each other, and when I told them we’d just met the day before, they were blown away: “Wow, I thought you guys had been together forever! You’re like one person!” And it was true. Plus, he leads such an interesting life that I am dying to write about it…but I guess I’ll honor his request, because like I said, I’m an exceptionally good person.

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a secluded lagoon

Aside from that, the only other bummer was all the trash and litter down there — people had left all kinds of crap behind! Beer cans, tequila bottles, food wrappers, half-eaten bags of potato chips. I mean, really?!? Who hikes all the way down there to do that?! Jack and I bagged some of it up, but didn’t pack it out with us icon sad Deep Creek With Jack Johnson But at least we tried. Also, the other bummer was a two-foot rattlesnake that came slithering along in the gloaming — we gave it a wide berth and were fine, but you really have to watch yourself!

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Jack has the Linda-Blair-like ability to turn his head around 180degrees

By now, it was getting dark, and the moon came out — even fuller than last night, bathing the entire canyon in fabulously beautiful silver light. We soaked in one of the cliffside pools with the Zen wizard guy and this bisexual dude from L.A., the one who was jerking off earlier to the naked black guy. I think the Zen wizard was gay too, because they both kept looking at Jack, who seems to be one of those people everyone wants to fuck…but they kept the party polite, and we had a great time soaking and talking. The moonlight reminded me of that song from the movie “Babe,” so I treated everyone to a performance:

“If I had words to make a day for you,

I’d sing you a morning golden and true

I would make this day last for all time

and give you a night deep in moonshine.

That song pretty much summed up the day, for sure. Awww! I love that movie icon smile Deep Creek With Jack Johnson

But it was getting late, and Jack had some steaks up at camp he wanted to grill…and I knew we had to get out sooner or later and hike back up the trail. Nothing gold can stay! I stalled as long as possible because I didn’t want it to end, but eventually the thought of steak and wine won out, so we bid our adieus and hiked back up the trail, naked and barefoot in the warm desert night, and made a bad ass steak dinner with a fantastic salad and lots of wine. Despite the entreaties of Jack to “just sleep in the van!!” I moved my tent to the shady spot in front, and slept great :-)

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I could stay here forever

The next morning we had to decide where to go next. Jack didn’t have a gig until Friday night, and I didn’t have one til Saturday evening, so we were in no hurry. I was fine just staying at the springs, but Jack wanted to check out Lake Arrowhead or another spot in the area, and brought up the idea of checking out a nudist resort in nearby Palm Springs. I was open to the idea — I’ve been to nudist resorts, and they’re OK, but I have a friend in Vegas who’s been telling me about this place in Palm Springs, so I was kinda curious to check it out, depending on price. Well come to find out, there are a few resorts in the Palm Springs area, and Jack initially wanted to check out the one with a “younger” clientele, which turned out to be a seedy swingers’ paradise. NO, thanks! I am just not into being hit on by sunburned douchebags in gold chains, ya know?!?!?!

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naked in Palm Springs

We finally agreed to go to the Desert Sun Resort, which is the one my friend had told me about. It’s popular with an older crowd but is a solid no-swing zone, so it sounded much better to me. For $90 each we could stay the night in one of the rooms, plus use the facilities all day and until 4pm the following day. I didn’t really want to lay out $90 when I could stay at Deep Creek for free, but I was curious, and had always wanted to check out Palm Springs…and also, a shower really sounded good, so I agreed, and followed Jack down to Palm Springs.

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lounging at one of the pools

Now this was my first time ever visiting Palm Springs, and it was pretty cool — all retro mid-century architecture and palm trees and gay guys, etc. The Desert Sun resort is right in the middle of town, a sort of walled fortress to protect the delicate ballsacks and labia within from prying eyes on the street. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, and there are three pools, jacuzzis, volleyball and tennis courts and a workout room. Hanging out there is like being a tiger in an enclosure at a zoo — all these water features and shit to keep you busy, but you can’t leave the enclosure. Grrrrrrrr!!! I much prefer a natural outdoors experience, but that being said, it was a pretty nice place.

Since it was midweek, and summertime (temps in the 100s), the place was fairly deserted — there were one or two other couples hanging out, but that was it. So we took showers and ate some of my patented pot cookies, getting baked in the sun by the pool and pretty much wasting the afternoon away. After dark, we got dressed and walked around downtown Palm Springs and had a burger, still pretty much high as kites, and then went back to the room.

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pic by Jack Johnson

Now is when shit got real: there was only one bed in the room, so I pretty well expected some hardcore molesting to go down…and to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t that upset about it, because Jack is pretty good-looking and I felt a real attraction to him, which is really rare for me (I’m hardly attracted to anyone). But I was uncomfortable with the fact that he had these entanglements, even though he swore it was an open relationship, so I fended him off for around 3 hours, expecting him to finally give up and go to sleep.

First he just wanted to hold my hand, which was fine, except for that it turned out to be the most intensely erotic hand-holding I’ve ever experienced! I’ve never been a big hand-holder, so I didn’t realize how many nerve endings you have in your palms and fingertips and whatnot. The simple act of hand holding can be super intense, I’m here to tell you! It was a trip!!

Anyhoo, I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say I fended him off for quite some time until finally caving, to my eternal shame and self-loathing, and giving up third base. (I don’t think he even really wanted to go to 4th base, because then he’d have some ‘splaining to do back home — this way, he could pull a Bill Clinton. Lame, and super depressing position for me to be in.) I felt really shitty about giving it up, but I honestly couldn’t help it; I really was attracted to him — he had the right pheromones or whatever, and I liked him as a person, too. Fuck!!!!

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pic by Jack Johnson

Anyway, I slept surprisingly well after that (I usually can’t sleep for shit if someone else is in the bed with me), and we got up in the morning for more lounging by the pool. Things were slightly awkward, but I had brought some champagne and orange juice, so a few mimosas cleared that right up. We met this super cool couple from L.A. out at the pool who are working on a reality show about naturists/nudists, and of course I gave them my info so they could hook a sister up. Jack was a bit more reticent about appearing nude on TV, but you know me — IDGAF!!

We were allowed to stay at the resort until 4pm, at which time I planned to drive back to Vegas by way of Wonder Valley, so I could stop in at the Palms Restaurant for a burger or something, and say hi to my fabulous friends there, the Sibleys. But Jack decided to go to Hollywood that night to meet up with his publicist, and see this amazing Canadian rockabilly act called Petunia and the Vipers, and he invited me along.

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pic by Jack Johnson

Now, I had no reason to be back in Vegas til Saturday (this was Thursday), and a jaunt to Hollywood sounded fabulous…but my conscience was telling me NOT to go, that it was a bad idea to hang out with this guy one second longer. I already liked him way too much; who knows what would happen next?! So I sobered up with the intent of driving home when we left the resort. I was in a pretty shitty mood about it, but I felt it was ultimately the right decision. That didn’t mean I was happy about it, though icon sad Deep Creek With Jack Johnson

But Jack kept badgering me to come with him, and after talking to the L.A. couple for awhile I cheered up and had a change of heart, and decided Fuckit, I might as well go have one more fun night. It’s better to regret doing something, than to regret not having done something, right? All I had to lose was my self-worth and dignity, and that ain’t worth shit anyway. So I followed the hippie van down the highway to L.A., feeling somewhat like I was running away to join the circus. The circus of broken hearts! Ah, Hollywood.

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Petunia

After getting a burger in Hermosa Beach, we cruised up to Silverlake to this amazing old-timey little club called El Cid, where Petunia and the Vipers were playing. They were freaking awesome!!! It’s basically this one yodeling rockabilly Slim Whitman-type guy and a backing band, but let me tell you something…that kid can yodel! His voice is amazing!! It didn’t hurt that he was super handsome, either, and all tricked out in old-time cowboy gear. Sweet!!

L.A. has a big swing dance/rockabilly scene, so the place was packed with dressed-up kids dancing and doing all these fancy moves. I can’t dance for shit, but the groove was so infectious that I had to get up and at least start jumping around. Now, please keep in mind that I had just been camping in the desert for three days, and hadn’t expected to go to a rockabilly show in L.A., so I was severely underdressed, in my trusty WalMart shorts, a tank top and flip flops. But I went in the bathroom and rigged up a mighty rockabilly conk, so I at least fit in somewhat.

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swing kids

Anyway, it worked too well, because some French guy asked me to dance!! I’m a horrible dancer — I mean, horrible – so I demurred as vehemently as possible, but he kept insisting that he was a “dance instructor” and could show me. So, in the spirit of the moment I let him drag me around the floor, and tried not to step on his toes too much. But every second was excruciating for me, and I couldn’t wait for the song to end. If you ever see me out and about where there’s music playing, for the love of God don’t ask me to dance!!! I MEAN IT!

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My conk

Then Jack and I did a sort of drunken reel (I don’t think he’s much better at dancing than I am, if at all) and we spent the rest of the night drinking and carousing and smoking weed on the patio with various kooky rockabillies, until last call at 2am. Living in Vegas as I do, I always forget there’s such a thing as “last call” — what a quaint, antiquated custom! But we had to leave the club, so we stumbled out onto Sunset Blvd. and back to where we’d parked our cars.

Now, whenever Jack does gigs in Hollywood, he has this one secret location he found to park his van, on a quiet side street overlooking the ocean and the Santa Monica Pier, where he can sleep overnight without being bothered. So I grabbed a few things from my truck, and climbed aboard the hippie van to get a taste of the vandwelling lifestyle. It was bad ass, and now I’m addicted!

To get to our overnight spot, we basically cruised all the way down Sunset Blvd, passing all the douchey nightclubs and hotspots that line that strip, blasting all kinds of weird music from Alison Krauss to AC/DC (like me, Jack has eclectic tastes in music). We rolled up to a stoplight by the club 1OAK, and I looked over and noted “Oh, there’s Ron Jeremy,” like it was the most natural thing in the world. He was standing on the sidewalk with some crackhead-looking methhead chick, and Jack rolled down the window to let some AC/DC waft in their direction. Ron Jeremy was not interested in the slightest (two hippies in a van…meh) but the crackhead’s ears perked up like a dog hearing a bag of potato chips being opened! Then the light turned green and we cruised off, but it was one of those funny, surreal moments that make life so interesting…ya know?

Anyhoo, we got to the secret parking spot and peed in the bushes and brushed our teeth and stuff, then went to bed. Of course now there was little question there would be some hanky-panky, but again, I won’t go into too much detail. Suffice it to say I went to 4th base and finally gave up the old wonderpussy — all of it, all the way, much more than I usually do — and shockingly, I don’t really regret it. Life is short and shitty, so sometimes it’s best to grab whatever fleeting moments of pleasure/happiness come your way…even if they leave you with an overwhelming melancholia in the morning. But whatevs — melancholia is a cloak I wear on a near-daily basis, so one more day of it ain’t gonna kill me. Although it did kill my dad (he committed suicide), so I guess I should be a little bit careful.

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stupid clothes!

Anyway, after this bizarre intimate interlude in a van parked on a backstreet of an upscale L.A. suburb, I fell asleep in a tangle of arms, legs and confusion…and slept astonishingly well. I woke up to the sound of the surf far below, and now I got to see what a typical morning in the life of a vandweller was all about: get up, piss in a bottle (well, I didn’t — I waited til we got to a bathroom, since I didn’t want to pee in the bushes in broad daylight) and then head down the hill for some delicious gas station coffee and a vigorous toothbrushing on the beach. This particular beach had nice bathrooms, so after finally peeing I ran into the ocean and took a fantastic, invigorating saltwater bath. It was so frustrating to be in the middle of Santa Monica, and thus unable to go in nude…but I still managed to do it topless, so I guess that made it better. Still, I really missed the freedom of Deep Creek icon sad Deep Creek With Jack Johnson

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Run, Jack, run!

Alas, all good things come to an end, even this trip…and after drying off, Jack drove me back down Sunset Blvd. to my truck, and we parted ways. He hit the road off to his next gig, and I drove back across the desert to Vegas. I hate saying goodbye to people, and it was an exceptionally awkward one at that…but who knows? No regrets; I had a fantastic time, and had plenty of time to mull it over on my drive back through the Mojave.

Around Victorville I stopped to pee, and was sorely tempted to go back to Deep Creek for the night…but by now the spell was broken, and my practical nature had already resumed its stranglehold on me. Live practical, dream magical! I continued on to Vegas, and even went to a Bikram yoga class when I got home….to sweat out all the bullshit oxytocin in my system. Did it work? Only time will tell…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My friend is writing a book

My girlfriend April is working on her memoirs, and asked me to post this link to her kickstarter. I don’t know, her book sounds pretty freaking interesting!
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
For the last five years, I’ve been working on my memoir focusing on my 13-year career as a stripper. I danced all over the country at some of the top clubs. I ran a stripper house in Las Vegas, pimped out girls to high-end clients, had orgies, bought and flipped real estate, threw large music festivals with A-list performers, ran a stripper sorority and went to circus school. Also lots and lots of sex. 

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AyaWHOsca?!

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photo by Keri Pettit for Goomah Magazine

Of all the drugs in the world, I’ve been wanting to try ayahuasca most of all. For those not familiar with drug culture, ayahuasca is an herbal potion brewed from Amazonian plants that causes crazy hallucinations, puking…and eventually (they say) spiritual clarity and transformation. They also say a middle-class white hippie can find her true self by drinking ayahuasca, as it contains DMT and will really open up your consciousness and allow you a glimpse of the divine truth of nature.

Though there are recipes posted, and the herbal ingredients can easily be ordered online, it’s not advisable to just chug ayahuasca alone, willy-nilly — you need the guidance of a trained shaman, who can mix and administer the brew, and guide (babysit) you on your trip. If you Google “ayahuasca,” you’ll find all kinds of crazy/terrifying firsthand accounts…so you really don’t want to fuck around with this potent stuff. Among all the far-out drugs in the world, ayahuasca is definitely one of the furthest out – this ain’t mushrooms, fool!

Ideally, the ayahuasca experience consists of flying to Peru or Ecuador or someplace in South America, then trekking deep into the jungle to the hut of a grass-skirt-wearing ancient wise man, and swiping your credit card on his iPhone. But some of us don’t have the cash to fly to South America…so luckily for me, there are shamans in the U.S. who also conduct ayahuasca rituals. So if interested, all the intrepid drug explorer has to do is find one of them. How convenient!!

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fuck the police!

Now, keep in mind that because ayahuasca contains DMT, it is considered a Schedule I drug, and is totally illegal…unless you’re a member of a church that uses it for religulous purposes. And even that is a kind of gray area. But you know me!!!

That being said, I don’t want to get anyone else in trouble…so I have to be kinda sketchy with details here, which you know I hate. But it’s the only way.

Anyhoo, let’s just say a friend I ran into at that Burning Man party I went to last weekend invited me to an ayahuasca ceremony she was hosting at her home last night, and let’s just say I said FUCK YEAH!! This friend spends a lot of time in a certain New Age woo-woo town in the Southwest, where she had fallen in with a Brazilian ayahuasquero (shaman) and his group, and she ended up inviting them up to Vegas for a special ceremony. One night only!! Like I said, I’ve been wanting to do this forever…so not even the steep “recommended donation” of $150-200 scared me away. I signed up, saved my pennies and dimes, and started reading up on what to expect.

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Who, me? Do drugs?!?

As previously mentioned, if you Google ayahuasca, all these terrifying personal accounts come up — tales of puking and freaking the fuck out, people screaming and crying and masturbating uncontrollably while simultaneously enjoying cosmic revelations. Whoa, man! I couldn’t wait!!! If there’s one thing I need, it’s truth — I mean, I can’t go around flashing my twat to old men forever, ya know?! I need to know my special purpose! Maybe ayahuasca would help me find it.

Because I’m a sensible type, I followed the recommendations in the RSVP email and avoided certain foods (avocado, garlic, meat, alcohol) the day before the ceremony…and then fasted on the day itself, so that my stomach would be totally empty, and I’d be less likely to puke. If I’m shelling out $150, I want to make sure I get the best experience possible! So by the time the ceremony started around 8pm, I’d been fasting for 24 hours.

Now meanwhile, I was also working as a booth babe at this bullshit convention — the JCK jewelry show, a huge expo where all the diamond dealers and gold-hawkers of the world converge to contrive new ways of convincing idiots into spending an entire year’s salary on carbon crumbs. I’m not a jewelry fan myself, so the whole idea of spending thousands of dollars on something as intrinsically meaningless as diamonds leaves me ice-cold…but whatever, plenty of suckers line up to buy this shit, so every year they have this ginormous convention in Vegas. And I usually end up working it.

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As I wasn’t able to take photos during the events described in this blog, please enjoy some unrelated nudies by Astroid Photography

This year, I was repping a group of inscrutable Chinese who manufacture modest mens’ engagement rings made from cobalt, ceramic and titanium…none of which retail for more than $300-$400. (Come to find out, many guys spend all their money on the woman’s ring…then sort of cheap out on their own band.) Whatever, it’s all completely alien to me, and I don’t give a fuck. I just pretended to be enthusiastic about it, as per my job description.

But the convention was fascinating, on many levels. First of all, this is not a racist statement, but a fact: there are a ton of Jews in the jewelry biz (in fact it was really fun to watch them interacting with the other two main demographics, which were Chinese and Indians. All three are known to be hard bargainers, so it was pretty entertaining). Many of the Jewish exhibitors at the show are observant Orthodox, so even though the show ran Friday-Monday, half the show was dead on Saturday because it was Shabbat, and the observant stayed back at their hotel rooms. This is so prevalent that the show even has a “Shabbas Vault” where companies can safely store their gems while they’re observing Shabbat from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

I think I may have mentioned this last year…but I really wonder what all those Orthodox Jews do all day on Saturday. If they’re really observant, they can’t even turn on a light switch — do they stay in their hotel rooms all day and pray?! They can’t get downstairs without operating an elevator…so I guess they must. I find this bizarre. Why don’t they change the days of the show to Tuesday-Friday or Sunday-Wednesday?! But for whatever reason, the show always runs over a weekend.  All these observant Jews end up paying for an extra night in the hotel, for nothing. It seems counterintuitive!

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Another nudie by Astroid

Anyway, this was a particularly long and physically draining show for me — four 8-hour days of standing on concrete in high heels under fluorescent lights, braying “Cobalt? Ceramic?? Titanium???” at passers-by. By the fourth day, I was exhausted, and to make matters worse I wasn’t even able to eat anything, since the ayahuasca ceremony was that night. I didn’t even have a glass of wine the night before!! (I did, however, smoke weed…against their advisory. But, really?! Am I to have no enjoyment at all?!) Anyway, somehow I made it through the day, and was looking forward to the ayahuasca trip as a sort of celebration that the damn show was finally over.

So the second I got off work, I raced home to prepare, donning an all-white outift as per the email instructions: they recommended loose, comfortable, modest clothing for women, so I wore a long white skirt and white cami. But I also brought a blankie and a shawl and some warm socks, as they say ayahuasca (or “the medicine,” as they call it) can make some people cold.

I also brought a crystal I was once given by a Thai saleswoman at a hippie boutique on Haight Street in San Francisco, as a sort of good-luck talisman — I was really trying to go into this with an open, believing mind. I tend to be an incorrigible skeptic/cynic, so I really tried hard to banish my usual snarky thoughts and believe! I even spent time meditating on my intentions for the ceremony — what did I want to get out of it? I decided I was going in with no expectations, but that I was hoping to become a more open person, better able to connect with those around me. Because truthfully, in my day-to-day life I have a hard time taking many people seriously…most people I meet strike me as insufferable dumbasses. And that’s no way to live.

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Astroid Photography

The ceremony was taking place at my friend’s suburban McMansion up on a hillside in the farthest reaches of town…not very far, in fact, from the house where I used to film all those breath-holding fetish videos back in the day. This struck me as possibly meaningful, since my insomnia set in right around the time I started doing those videos — maybe if I had a revelatory ayahuasca trip in the same area, it would negate all the negative vibes lingering from that previous shitty experience (I used to shoot for a medical fetish site that required us to hold our breath to the point of almost passing out, while hooked up to an EKG. I have often wondered if that experience contributed to my inability to “let go” and fall asleep, for fear I’d stop breathing.)

Anyway, there were about 15 people there for the ceremony — a shaman and priestess, plus a triad of male acolytes who had accompanied them up from their desert retreat, and a couple other regulars. The rest of us were first timers — and a fairly diverse group: a few single guys, a hot Asian bottle waitress from one of the pool clubs, and a mysterious quiet couple. We all sat around chit-chatting nervously until the sacred space was ready for us, and then we were ushered in to the hostess’s casita, which had been transformed into a sacred ayahuasca-drinking chamber, with an altar in the middle covered in sage bundles, crystals, candles, etc and surrounded by pillows and blankets for everyone to get comfortable on. We all sat down, and the ceremony began.

After a welcoming speech , the priestess administered some kind of weird snuff to each of us by blowing it up our nostrils with a little bamboo gun-type thing, to sort of prime us for the experience. Damn, that stuff burned like hell!! It did clear out my perpetually clogged sinuses, though, and gave me a really heady buzz…so I couldn’t complain. After everyone had their snuff, the singing, chanting and drumming began…and the shaman poured out little glasses of ayahuasca for each of us.

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Last week at the Burning Man campout
pic by Ben Tang

Now, I was pretty nervous. Aside from fearing what sort of freak-out I would experience, I was also apprehensive about all the incongruous plastic puke-buckets ominously strewn about amidst all the incense and crystals and flowers. I hate puking…but I was ready to give myself over to the medicine — to let go, and let ayahuasca! Still, I wasn’t looking forward to that aspect of the trip.

After drinking the cup of bitter, sweetish brew, we all sat back and sang songs from this songbook they passed out, while the shaman played this little electric guitar and his acolytes drummed along and shook gourds. The lyrics to these songs were about stuff like Mother Ayahuasca, Queen of the Forest, show us true wisdom in the loving arms of your eternal embrace, etc. Since this was a Brazilian shaman, some of the songs were in Portuguese, but most were in English, so we could all sort of bumble atonally along: “Let your ego die, love is the only truth,” etc. It actually felt very Spahn Ranch to be sitting around chanting about ego death in the company of a bunch of longhaired, dashiki-clad white people — because that’s what it was; aside from the one Asian chick, everyone there was white, middle-class, in their twenties or thirties. But so very earnest! 

Before long, the first chick started puking…and from there, we all sat back and got progressively high, while the singing and chanting and drumming continued, accompanied by the sounds of intermittent puking from various corners of the room. I got mildly nauseous myself, but never did end up puking — I think I was the only one who didn’t. Apparently I’m such a Bitter Betty that my ego refused to let go and be purged, so all that blackness and bile is still trapped within me. D’OH!!!

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Out on the river with my fellow Goddess Collective member, Miss Jill V. Pic by Dan P.

But I was nauseous, so I laid back on my blankie and just let the sounds of the music and the smell of the incense/sage wash over me. Alas, I was so fucking exhausted from the jewelry show that I kept dozing off…which I fear fucked up the experience for me. I mean, I sort of drifted in and out of a dreamlike state, with sort of dreamy visualizations appearing behind me eyes, but nothing that could remotely called a hallucination. It was more like the typical drifting-off-to-sleep experience — or at least my typical drifting-off experience, since I get high every night before bed. In fact, the whole experience felt like nothing so much as being really, REALLY baked…with maybe a touch of mushrooms added in for variety. I kept waiting for all the intense visualizations and shit to start in…but it never did. I also kept waiting for the urge to purge, which also never happened, despite the fact that there were puking people all around me.

The room we were in was totally sealed off, so there was no sense of time at all, and I had no idea how much time had elapsed. I’d read online that an ayahuasca trip can last anywhere from 4-5 hours to 8-9 hours, so I was prepared for an all-nighter…but had no idea when was when, or what was what. About 3/4 of the way through the night, the priestess offered everyone a top-off shot of the medicine, but I was afraid if I drank more I really would puke, so I didn’t drink any. Maybe that was my problem — I was unwilling to let go and allow the medicine to make me puke, so out of spite she denied me a true experience.

But I don’t know….I have my doubts. It felt like going to one of those comedy hypnotist shows, where you really wonder if the people pulled up onstage are really hypnotized, or just playing along for the sake of entertainment. My gut feeling was that all these earnest white kids around me really wanted to have a trip, so they had a trip. Skeptical me, in all my snarky cynicism, wouldn’t “play along,” so I was left out. Hmmm.

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Me on acid! Pic by Kyer Wiltshire

After the second dose, the shaman passed around a medicine staff and we all said blessings or prayers or thoughts that we were having, about stuff like relatives that had passed away, or the divine spirit of love that was filling us, or how blessed we felt, etc. One of the three acolytes, a tall, skinny kid with an adorable afro and hipster glasses, told a story about how the thirty-third day of a pregnancy is the exact day when a fetus’s heart starts beating on its own, and begins generating an electrical impulse. This, they say, is the exact day the soul enters the body! In retrospect, I’m not sure what that has to do with anything…but at the time, it was very heavy-duty stuff!!

Then it was my turn. It’s always awkward for me in situations like that, because I’m not a spiritual person in the slightest, and I don’t really put much stock in that hippie-dippie mumbo-jumbo. But in the spirit of the moment, I dragged some platitudes from my ass about experiencing wonderment and enchantment, which was actually sort of true, so I didn’t come off as an asshole, at least.

Meanwhile, at the beginning of the ceremony we had all pledged to the shaman not to leave until the ceremony was closed — but toward the end,  we noticed that the one mysterious, quiet couple had disappeared! Come to find out, they were hard-core psychedelic explorers who take mushrooms every other day in the interest of consciousness-expanding, and the medicine hadn’t been dramatic enough for their liking, so they bailed. How rude!!

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I’ve done a drug or two in my day

I myself stayed til the bitter end, when we all held hands in a circle and said some more blessings and shit, then adjourned to the other room to talk about our experiences. (It’s bad form to talk about stuff in the sacred altar room, as it is filled with spirits.) I was finally able to check the time, and was startled to find that it was only 1:30am — much earlier than I expected! The entire trip was only about 5 hours from start to finish.

By now, I was starving, so I asked one of the traveling acolytes if it would be ok to eat now. This one beautiful white-blonde Nordic spirit-Viking kid advised that watermelon was a good thing to eat, and lo and behold our hostess had a watermelon in the fridge, so we cut it up and sat around beasting it, sitting on the floor talking. Another one of the acolytes told me that I looked completely different now than I had at the beginning of the ceremony.

“Oh, well probably because I put my hair up,” I explained.

“Ahahahahahahahah!!!!!” everyone chuckled heartily. Silly me, it wasn’t a physical change — my aura was different! “You’re shining now,” the acolyte beamed at me.

And he was right. I was shining like a motherfucker — my face was all sweaty and oily from being in that stuffy room with all those chanting puking people!!!

Anyway, after thanking the hostess and the priestess and the shaman, and bidding everyone else adieu, I walked back out into reality, got into my truck and drove home. I really felt none the richer or wiser, but it was a fabulously interesting experience.

Apparently, it’s fairly common to have a lukewarm first experience — they say it takes patience, and many sittings with the medicine before you really start chipping away at your ego…like a column of marble, with each subsequent trip chipping away more stone until your true self emerges, like a sculpture. Once you really start following the path of the medicine, that’s when shit gets real. Alas, at $150 a pop I can’t really afford to follow the path very far :-/

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High on shrooms. I like to wear wigs when I do drugs!

So, at the end of it all, what was my opinion? Well, I thought it was a fantastic experience, and actually worth every dollar. After all, people spend $150 on dumbass bullshit shows like Celine Dion and Cirque du Soleil all the time — this was infinitely more interesting, and interactive to boot!!! So do I recommend taking ayahuasca? YES! Just be careful about vetting your shaman, because they say there are some real mercenary types out there who only want your money, and don’t give a fuck about you personally. The shaman and priestess at this ceremony were actually really good — very attentive and kind and helpful.

Sure, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t puke/cry/scream/masturbate uncontrollably…but I guess it’s like everything else in this fuckin’ world: a letdown. Nothing is ever as amazing as the accounts you read online — in fact, it reminded me of nothing so much as my first Burning Man experience (as detailed in my last blog). Even though I really tried to go into both situations with no expectations…I guess I did have expectations, despite myself. And both just ended up being intense fun with friends.

Now, you might say the reason I didn’t trip out more is because I didn’t take the second cup of medicine — but to this, I argue that a) the second dose was very small, and b) I heard the others talking about how the second dose was much milder. They all tripped balls right off the bat, apparently.

You might also say my shaman was no good, or that the brew was faulty. To this I argue that a) the shaman was awesome, and b) everyone else seemed to trip out just fine. I’m just a particularly crusty nut to crack, apparently.

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Back in the day when the only drug I did was alkyhol

More realistically, I think if anything hampered my experience it was my extreme fatigue — I can’t express how fucking bone weary I was from working that stupid jewelry show! I can’t remember the last time I was so tired. Because of that, I drifted off several times during the ceremony. Maybe if I’d been better rested and more alert, I would have had a more animated experience.

So all that being said, I definitely want to try ayahuasca again. There are many different styles of ceremony — each shaman does it differently. They say there’s another shaman in town who does a Peruvian ceremony that is more meditative and religious in nature, whereas this one was more lovey-dovey and Spahn Ranch. It would be interesting to try a different method, and see how I react to that.

Either way, I’m super glad I did it!

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The Forgotten City

1384193 10202833635259167 1953310602764594751 n 169x300 The Forgotten CityFriends, I attended an EPIC party this past weekend. The local Burning Man group threw a massive 3-day desert party out in Boulder City, and around 600 people showed up to tune in, turn on, and camp out in what basically amounted to a mini version of the real Burning Man.

Now, I know Burning Man is basically just a big frat kegger with tutus and hula hoops…but for many people, the whole Burning Man ethos has become a lifestyle and a real community. There are probably at least a thousand Burners (as they call Burning Man habitués) living in Vegas, and our local group is pretty hardcore. Many of them/us meet up all the time for parties, campouts, drum circles, spaghetti dinners and art events…and it really is kind of like a big, funky, fucked-up family. Some of us are annoying as fuck, some are fun, some are raging drunks, and some are dependable and helpful. But for better or for worse, we all hang out together, and have been for years.

Back before I started this blog, I didn’t have (m)any friends outside my ghetto-ass work colleagues and my boyfriend at the time, who was ultraconservative and kinda square. But when I broke up with him, I had a sort of bohemian Renaissance, and came back wackier than ever. My sister suggested I embrace my newfound nuttiness and go with her to Burning Man, so I joined the local Burning Man meetup.com group to figure it out. And I made a TON of friends! Say what you will about Burners — they’re super friendly people.

That was in 2009, and since then I’ve been to Burning Man 5 times and many local events as well. And over the years, it’s been the same crew of loonies in the local Burner community. Sometimes I get tired of it, and take a break for awhile…but I always end up coming back. Who the fuck else am I gonna hang out with? I mean, I have other circles of friends…but my Burner friends are the nuttiest.

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Fried as fuck!!!

Anyway, this past weekend was the local officially-sanctioned Burning Man Regional event — a pretty big to-do, so I decided to go. I hadn’t been to many local Burner events lately, so I figured it was time for me to stick my toe back in the waters and see what was new. Well, guess what? NOTHING was new — they were all the same loony, loopy, hoopy pill-popping druggie alkies — with a few meditative yoga types thrown in. In other words…..I fit right in!

Our local regional campout is called The Forgotten City, and this was the 5th year it was held. 600 people showed up from as far afield as LA and San Diego, and it was actually pretty amazing! Even though it was only a 3-day event, people spent a TON of time, money and energy setting up art, dance floors and theme camps…so that when it was all done, it really did look like a little mini Burning Man. Hey — as recently as 1992, the real Burning Man only had 600 attendees (now it’s 68,000)! You never know!!

Anyhoo, I drove out to Boulder City on Friday morning and set up camp. This was a good opportunity for me to test out my poor pop-up camper, which is on its last legs — after my trip to the Salton Sea in March, I really thought it was kaput. But my frenemy Alex greased up the gears for me, and it seems to be working OK for now. We’ll see if it survives the REAL Burning Man!

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my camp

I camped out with a group of people I didn’t really know — my friend Scott and a few of his pals, plus another couple who are among the more responsible/capable local Burners. It turned out to be a super cool arrangement! I set up my camper and shade structure, and then pimped out my space into a little photo studio. Part of the whole Burning Man culture is sharing your art with others, and making an inclusive, interactive experience…so I decided to share my love of costumes and photography by taking psychedelic portraits of my fellow campers. I did this at the real Burning Man last year, and it was so much fun that I figured I’d do it again. I even ordered a bunch of Polaroid film, so that I could give out hard copies.

And honestly, after just 5 minutes I felt right at home — before even setting up my camper, I was half-naked, drinking a mimosa and chatting with a tranny friend in the warm spring sunshine. THAT’s living, my friends icon smile The Forgotten City

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with the radio show crew

Unfortunately, I had already committed to a gig in town that afternoon, so I couldn’t get too wasted — around 3pm I had to sack up and drive back to Vegas to be on the 702Rox internet radio show with Foxy Roxy. I’ve been making sporadic appearances on her show lately, and this week she wanted to use me as a guinea pig for this company called IV Rescue that does vitamin drips to cure hangovers. That’s right — Vegas is so fucked up that they figured out a way for you to party all night at the club, then get shot full of B-12 in the morning so you can make it out to the pool and party all day!!! It’s a wonder anyone in this town has a liver anymore!!

Anyway, I told them the timing was all wrong, and that I was only now headed to a three-day rave where I would likely get fucked the fuck up, thus requiring an IV on Monday when I got back. But they assured me it was OK to do it this way – -a preemptive strike, as it were, plumping me up with fluids and vitamins to ward off the upcoming assault. So despite my misgivings, they jabbed a needle in my arm and filled ‘er up.

As soon as the radio show was over, I hauled ass straight back to Boulder City, only stopping off to pick up two other local Burners who needed rides. One poor guy had to ride in the back of my truck, but it was all good — it was Burning Man, maaaaaan!!! We got back to the party around sunset, and it was ON!

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at work in the photo studio

The next three days are really kind of a blur. I remember drinking a lot of booze, smoking a ton of weed and eating a mushroom or two…all the while running around half-naked in a clown wig and two strategically-placed light-up balloons. F U N !!! During the afternoons, a steady stream of victims found their way into my little photo studio, and subjected themselves to my cosplay madness: you see, when you have your portrait taken by me, you have to let go and let Wonderhussy; that means *I* get to choose what you wear! I did a pretty good job on everyone though, I have to say.

In addition, the colorful tapestries I had hung up everywhere as a backdrop and as shade also happened to be printed with 3D ink…so my studio also did double duty as a 3D chill lounge. I had a bunch of 3D glasses, and a mound of pillows on my mom’s old Oriental carpet on the ground, so you could just lay around and zone out. Many took advantage of this. It was awesome!

One interesting thing I did while photographing people was, I would ask them to tell me about themselves. Man did I get some interesting stories! One couple met on an airplane (I never sit next to anyone interesting on planes), another couple met at a youth hostel in Ecuador. Another pair of friends met on a base in Antarctica!!! I’m telling you, these Burners really get around! It was really interesting to hear people talk…I’m a good listener, especially when I’m half naked and drinking a Bloody Mary icon smile The Forgotten City

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Saturday night

Anyway, I did my portraits all afternoon, and then partied all night. Saturday night was the real shindig — a friend and I ate some mushrooms (actually, I’m pretty sure 99% of the people there had eaten something) and went cruising around to see what was up. There was a big space-themed White Party that night, so I put on my good old Alien Disco ensemble and went to town. Some friends and I rode this piranha-shaped mutant vehicle around all night, stopping off at camps here and there to dance, drum, drink, whatever. I had a blast!!!

Everywhere you looked, it was wackos — trannies, tutus, naked people, sparkle ponies (what they call cute stripper-type chicks all dolled up in furry platform boots). It kinda seemed depressing, at first — like, can you believe all these 30- and 40-somethings dressed up in idiotic costumes, acting like 3-year-olds? Is that all there is? Shouldn’t we be out somewhere building a well or making a difference? Writing a book or something?

Then, the mushrooms kicked in! Book?! What book?!?!?!?

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My favorite photo EVER (not from this weekend, from a different event) when I was shrooming in my alien disco outfit

I don’t particularly love electronic dance music, but I’m here to tell you…when you’re wearing an alien afro and 6-inch thick platform boots and have a bellyful of drugs, it’s the best!! I danced my ass off! I had a smile on my face so big, it almost cracked my face in half. The euphoria I experienced was actually somewhat akin to a transcendent experience, so I guess I understand the whole Whirling Dervish thing, where dance is a form of meditation. If you’re drugged up, anyway. I don’t think I’d feel the same way sober!

But looking around, I actually did feel my attitudes changing toward those around me. I lead such a fucked-up, out-there life that I tend to look down on “weekend warriors,” who put on a tutu and get drunk at festivals but then go back to being a square on Monday. But at this party, I looked around and realized that as trite as it seems to me…Burning Man really IS a transformative experience for many people! Some people are really just too shy/square/inhibited to let their freak flag fly until they’re at a party surrounded by 599 other freaks doing the same thing. Maybe I’m just getting soft in my old age…but it’s actually really touching to watch it go down!

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one of the awesome portraits I took this weekend

One case in point was this cute bro-type guy who was new to the scene. He came by my photo studio in the afternoon and I made him up in a fez and stuff, like that creepy monkey in that Stephen King movie, and he was really good-natured about it — like he was really willing to immerse himself fully in the experience. Then we ran into him that night at the Party Naked Tiki Bar.

The Party Naked Tiki Bar is this awesome enclave of middle-aged nudists who set up this huge enclosed plywood tiki bar every year, with colorfully painted privacy walls and a strict no-photography policy. I always rolled my eyes at the no-photo thing in the past — really, who cares?! – but with my newfound mellowness, I actually get it. The aforementioned bro-type guy was there, and he allowed himself to really break down his personal barriers and get totally naked, which you could tell was a huge deal for him! If you do get naked at the Tiki Bar, they give you a flower lei necklace with a commemorative plaque on it, and this guy seemed really proud to have earned his lei. He had a super endearing kind of bashful pride about him, standing there naked, getting hugs from random people.

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another of my awesome portraits

Like I said, I live this kind of shit 24/7/365…so the novelty of shit like this seems a little lame to me at times. Buncha naked people in a tiki bar? Big deal!! But, I need to check myself. Not everyone is used to running around naked on a warm desert night, mingling with trannies and tutus and gay guys and naked grannies. It really IS a transformative experience for many — and I dig it!!!

Even better, that particular night I was hanging out with this super-awesome local longtime Burner chick from New York, who has sort of become one of the elder statespeople/leaders of the Burning Man movement here. This is a woman who really has her shit together, and I’ve always looked up to her and her husband. They’re fun, but also capable, productive, super-smart people…not just bean-eaters running around hula hooping in zebra suits, ya know?

Well, the shy naked bro guy told us he was going to the real Burning Man for the first time this year, and asked for advice…and this woman gave him the best advice I’ve ever heard: she told him not to expect too much. If you go in expecting a life-changing experience…you’ll only be disappointed. Just go have fun!

DAMN! Where was this woman when first went to Burning Man?!?

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my first night at Burning Man…OK, I don’t LOOK very disappointed!!

The most vivid memory I have from my first Burning Man was the total disappointment I experienced, before even setting foot through the gate. I had read online, and heard from many friends, about how amazing the art and music were, and how the community would touch your heart and change your way of thinking, and you would find your soulmate and your purpose in life, blah blah blah. Well, those hopes were all dashed in the first 5 minutes I spent waiting in the Will Call line…which was basically just a big drunken free-for-all of frat boys in Dick-in-the-Box costumes. This is what I drove 10 hours to experience?! A giant kegger?!?!?!

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yet another portrait

I had fun my first Burning Man, but spent a good portion of the week thinking about how I’d never go again. How all this b.s. about art and connectedness was just an excuse for frat bros to ogle naked chicks while getting hopped up on ecstasy and dancing to shitty club music all day and all night. My attitude lightened up considerably after I ate LSD and ecstasy myself…so much so that I ended up coming back four more times (despite the fact that the acid/ecstasy gave me permanent insomnia that persists to this day). But I always found it kinda sad that it took drugs to make me enjoy Burning Man.

If only I’d known ahead of time not to put too much stock in it….it might have changed shit!

Anyway, as it is, over the years I’ve come to appreciate Burning Man for what it is — a big kooky party full of the funnest, craziest people you’ll ever meet. I don’t think I’ve ever once had a meaningful conversation with anyone there, and I’ve certainly never met a soulmate…but I have made some cool friends, and had some really fun times. So as they say…I guess it is what it is! And what it is, is pretty fucking fun. Especially if you’re on drugs!

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I first met this jolly fellow at Saguaro Man in 2012!

Meaningful or not, one thing I really dig about the Burning Man scene is the astonishing diversity of the participants. It’s not just hippies or ravers — it’s an amazing cross-section of all types of people. At this particular weekend campout we had cholos from L.A., local hicks who snuck in from Boulder City, club kids from Vegas, hippies, ravers, middle-aged stagehands, drummers, artists, airport bartenders and limo drivers! Fuck, I spent all night hanging out with a buff mook in an Indian headdress who was rolling his balls off…and I never had such a good time!!!

 

 

 

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hanging out one afternoon

The astonishing cross-section of humanity there was really driven home to me as I was riding along on the piranha-shaped mutant vehicle one night, idly chatting with the guy next to me…a sort of methy, biker-ish burned-out middle-aged white dude in a t shirt and khaki cargo shorts. His voice sounded familiar…and wouldn’t you know it, it turned out to be none other than a certain mad scientist assistant to a certain fetish goddess whose site I shoot for often!!! It was really hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I was sitting on a piranha-shaped car, in an alien afro wig, next to this guy…who I associated with a totally different sphere of my life. Far out!!!

But that’s what’s so great about Burning Man — you never know who you’ll run into. P. Diddy, Johnny Depp, Goldie Hawn — all have been known to roll around Burning Man on the downlow. It’s the great equalizer!

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one more portrait

Another really cool thing about the scene is that you don’t have to worry — one of the guys I gave a ride to left his laptop in my truck all weekend, with the door unlocked. I couldn’t find him when I left, so I brought his laptop home with me…and he never even broke a sweat. He knew I’d hang onto it for him…which is, when you think about it, a really amazing show of trust. Likewise, I was able to run around in balloons and a clown wig, and not worry about anyone trying to molest me — at Burning Man (and Burning Man events), people are just cool.

Anyhoo, I partied my balls off til sunrise on Sunday morning, and then went to bed a bit earlier on Monday morning because I was so exhausted, and hadn’t been sleeping well out there. I had finally sunk into a blessed, deep dark slumber….when I was rudely awoken at 5:30am by the BLASTING, POUNDING strains of Metallica coming from a local jokester’s camp. I couldn’t really be mad, though…it was listed in the guidebook as “Monday Morning Metallica,” guaranteed to get your chi flowing just in time to pack up camp. As irritating as it was to be woken up just as I was finally getting some sleep….I had to laugh. It was so subversive…so Burning Man!!!

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Don’t forget to “Like” me on Facebook!
Pic by Astroid Photography

So, I ended up getting up way earlier than I intended, and packed up my camp, drove home, and put everything away. It was a lot of work to do for just three days…but it was totally worth it. I had a blast, met some super cool new people, and had fun getting to know people I already knew, better. Plus, I hardly checked my cell phone at all, and had very little time to worry about bogus shit in life like “direction,” “career” or “future.”

Escapism, you might call it. I call it therapy!!!

Oh, and P.S…..the IV drip was inconclusive. I mean, I felt like shit when I got home….but I suppose without it, I might have been dead!!!

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Spying on Area 51!

How was YOUR weekend?? Mine was awesome!

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Fun!

Not that the term “weekend” has any real significance to a freewheeling Bohemian like me — in my world, every day is a weekend! I shed the oppressive yoke of 8-5 M-F back in Oct. 2000 when I moved here to Vegas…and then I shed the oppressive yoke of ANY schedule at all when I quit my last “job”-job in Dec. 2012. Now that I’m self-employed and set my own schedule, it can sometimes be kinda hard to even remember what day of the week it is at all!

But I usually party xtra hard on the “weekends,” since that’s when the rest of the world is off…and that’s when all the best parties are icon smile Spying on Area 51!

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photo by Adam Sternberg

This past weekend started on a bum note: on Friday night, one of my all-time favorite bands, WAR, was performing at the Hard Rock Hotel with none other than Cheech & Chong!! I really wanted to go see the show (I ***LOVE*** WAR) but alas….none of my 2,568 Facebook friends wanted to come with, so I didn’t buy a ticket. But as it happened, I ended up being a guest on a radio show that same night at the Double Down Saloon, right across the street…so I figured I’d cruise over to the Hard Rock afterward, and try to sneak or bullshit my way into the show. Alas again, I failed miserably…and ended up just listening to “Cisco Kid” from the foyer, just out of sight of the stage…before slinking home to eat a pint of Almond Dream and watch Mad Men. Booooo!!!

The following day (Saturday) was much better: I spent the afternoon kayaking on the Colorado River with a friend (well OK, we really just paddled about 100 feet into a cove, then got high and sat around bullshitting for 5 hours). And then when the sun set, we cruised back up the highway to the nearest dry lake bed for this bad-ass monthly full-moon drum circle!

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pic by Bennie S.

I haven’t been to a drum circle in ages, and I was stoked. I looooove me some drumming — especially on a warm summer’s night, around a bonfire in the middle of the desert with a bunch of likeminded hippies and freaks. Goooood times! There were about 100 people hanging out drumming, dancing, drinking and just being mellow under the canopy of stars. It wasn’t just drums, either — I had my trusty maracas, plus there was a guy with a guitar, and a guy playing a flute, and a fabulous Earth Mother-Goddess named B.B. playing this magical steel-drum-type instrument made out of a recycled propane tank. I recognized her from back in 2009 when I bought my first pop-up camper from her and her boyfriend, so I went over to chat. Come to find out, her boyfriend makes the drums and tunes each one to a different weird, ethereal octave — one of them was tuned to an Egyptian tonal scale, another to an Oriental one. And they all sounded amazingly haunting, like the music from “Close Encounters” that they use to communicate with the aliens. Check them out here: www.facebook.com/auroratankdrums. SO AMAZING!

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Aliens!!!

Speaking of aliens, I couldn’t stay at the drum circle all night because I had to be up at 7am for this day trip I had planned up to Area 51. I had originally planned to camp out at the drum circle and just sleep in my truck bed, under the stars, and then head to Area 51 from there….but I guess I’m too high maintenance to be that much of a gypsy, because the lure of a hot shower and my comfy bed was too much to resist, so I left around 1am and headed home.

Then the next morning, it was on! My friend D.C. came over at 8am (!!!) to pick me up, and we headed on up the road in his truck to see what we could see.

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map

For the non-tinfoil-hat-wearing among you who might not know, “Area 51″ is this secret government air base in western Nevada where they test all the latest military aircraft. Because the security up there is tighter than a nun’s pussy, all kinds of rumors have circulated over the years about what exactly is going on in there: some say the flying saucer from the Roswell, NM crash is stored there…some say there are alien bodies cryogenically frozen there…and some even say the gov’t is conducting all kinda weird research out there, including but not limited to their having attached a baby’s head to a penguin’s body (I’m not kidding, someone told me that back in 2000, when I first visited the area).

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warning!

Basically, the base is located on a huge dry lake bed (not unlike the drum circle) called Groom Lake, surrounded by formidable mountains on all sides. The few entry gates are heavily secured, and in fact there are security patrols all around the entire perimeter…our tax dollars at work. You can drive or even hike right up to the perimeter line, but there are signs at the edge stating that trespassers will be shot, basically….so proceed at your own risk!

Since you can’t get into the base ( though I’m working on a plan…bwahaha), the next best thing you can do is climb to the top of one of the nearby mountains and spy into it with a high-powered telescope. There used to be two really good vantage points on the mountains directly surrounding Groom Lake, but the gov’ment got wise to people spying on them, and extended the boundaries of the base to include those peaks. Fuckers!

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Area 51, as seen from the top of Tikaboo Peak (through a shitty Samsung Galaxy SIII camera)

Fortunately, some savvy tinfoil-hat-wearer figured out there was another mountain a bit farther away, that also offers a relatively clear view of the goings-on at the base: Tikaboo Peak, near Badger Mountain off U.S. 93 just south of Alamo. It’s about 26 air miles from the base, but it’s the closest/best view you can get. And if you arrive early in the day, and pack a telescope/binocs/sniper rifle with scope…you too can sneak a peek at the shenanigans afoot at Area 51! Peek-a-boo, Tikaboo!

I’ve been wanting to hike this mountain forever, and I tried to set up an overnight trip where some friends and I would camp out at the base of the mountain, then hike up first thing in the morning and check it out. Unfortunately, every single Facebook “friend” who said they wanted to come (I’m starting to doubt that I even have any real friends on FB) bailed or pussed out….so it ended up being just me and D.C., and we decided to do it as a day trip. But a campout would be optimal….so hit me up if you REALLY want to go, and are sincere about it!

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the lonely road to Area 51

Anyhoo, D.C. and I cruised up the 93 north of Vegas for about an hour and a half, through miles and miles of remote, barren desert…until we reached the unexpectedly lush oasis of the Pahranagat Wildlife Refuge — two lakes surrounded by green, marshy waterfowl blinds. Just before the Upper Lake, there’s a little dirt road on the left-hand side which takes you up to Badger Mountain and Tikaboo Peak. (Incidentally, I used these directions to find the trailhead: www.birdandhike.com/Hike/Other_Areas/Tikaboo/_Tikaboo.htm).

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scarecrow

Basically, you drive up a fairly decent dirt road for about 45 minutes until you reach a campsite with this creepy sort of scarecrow monument…and then you pretty much hike straight up the side of the mountain for another 45 minutes til you reach the top. It’s a pretty hardcore hike — I did it in flip-flops, carrying my CamelBak and D.C.’s telescope, but I was totally winded and had to change into my tennies for the hike back down…so be advised! This hike is not for heavy smokers or the out-of-shape.

The trail can be kind of hard to keep track of at times, but thankfully some helpful tinfoil-hatter wrapped rocks in extra tinfoil along the way…so just follow the silver rocks, and you’ll be there in no time icon smile Spying on Area 51! What an ingenious way to mark a trail, huh?! Much better than those dumbass hippie cairns you usually see, which any passing deer could knock over with a single fart!

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sniper’s nest

Anyhoo, when you finally reach the peak, there’s a clearing big enough for a few tents to camp out on, but not much room for anything else. A U.S. Gov’t “Climate Monitoring” tower hogs much of the space, with a big ole camera watching over you in the name of “climate monitoring” (a likely story!!). And the rest of the space is taken up by this rock bunker some nutters built, facing Area 51, with a handy ledge to rest your sniper rifle’s scope on. Also provided in the bunker are a couple tarps, a couple knives and one of those little trail register notebooks in a plastic jar. Of course, the trail register is filled cover-to-cover with conspiracy gobbledy-gook…and shitty penis drawings :/

 

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Pikaboo!

At the top, D.C. set up his telescope and we took turns peering through it, squinting at the distant shapes of buildings, airplane hangars and baby-headed penguins. There were a bunch of wildfires burning in San Diego at the time, so the sky was really hazy and visibility was worse than normal. Plus, it was already afternoon…and the best light for spying on Area 51 is early morning. So we kinda fucked that up….but it was still fun to look!

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juvenalia

After a few minutes, however, we got tired of squinting…so after signing the trail register and packing the telescope back up, we headed back down the mountain to the truck, and continued on our journey to the next stop: Rachel, NV…home of the world-famous Little A’Le’Inn!

Rachel is the closest “town” to Area 51, and they capitalize on that fact as much as possible. The only real thing going on in Rachel (population: less than the Moody Blues) is the Little A’Le’Inn, a collection of double-wide trailers fashioned into a bar & grill, gift shoppe and motel for the intrepid UFO enthusiast. I’d been there four or five times in the past, but my last visit was in 2007…so I figured I was long overdue for another visit. It’s always an interesting time…and this time was certainly no exception!

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sign marking the “Extraterrestrial Highway,” now covered in stickers

To get to Rachel from Tikaboo Peak, we continued north on U.S. 93 past Upper Pahranagat Lake, through the little farm town of Alamo, and then left on highway 375…which was long ago renamed “The Extraterrestrial Highway” in the interest of tourism. Another hour or so down the road, you hit Rachel. It’s not much more than a few trailers, so don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Just before getting to Rachel, you also pass this one poor local rancher’s mailbox which, because it is the only thing for miles around, has become a sort of unofficial stopping place for UFO tourists, and everyone writes their names and shit on it. Astonishingly, when I visited back in 2000, I etched the entire long-ass lame-ass URL to my old blog on it (www.geocities.com/sarrrahjane)…and some poor fool actually took note and posted in my guestbook!!!! (Incidentally, here’s a link to my old blog…inexplicably preserved in the internet archives.)

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poor Steve Medlin’s mailbox, covered in wacky grafitti

After passing Steve Medlin’s beleaguered mailbox, Rachel is just a few more miles ahead. We pulled in at the Little A’Le’Inn, starving for some of their world-famous delicious Alien Burgers…and the bar atmosphere did not disappoint. Aside from D.C. and I, there was a drunken farmhand from a farm 59.7 miles away (this was the closest bar to where he lived and worked) (!!), the cute gypsy bartender he was besotted with (she lives in a camper, and travels from place to place when she gets bored) (!!!!), and the owner, Connie, a fantastic, salt-of the-Earth woman who filled us in on all the local gossip:

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the besotted farmboy and the traveling gypsy barmaid

It seems that folks in the area look down on the denizens of Rachel (all ten of them) – especially those hoity-toity Mormon fuckers down in Alamo, who think Rachel is worse than Sodom & Gomorrah because it has a bar!!! (Alamo itself is basically a dry town…the only place you can buy booze is at the Shell station in nearby Ash Springs, or at this one janky motel south of town.)

Moreover, Connie got in a real jam with the Alamo morality police because her kids were distributing condoms to their high school classmates!! Connie, being a sensible fucking person, keeps a cookie jar of condoms by the door of her trailer, so that none of her kids knock anybody up/get knocked up. Well, not only do the stores in Alamo not sell booze, they don’t sell condoms either…so the other high school kids were relying on Connnie’s brood to supply them with the contraband. Apparently they had a code, and would send a text message reading: “I need a brown bag…”

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The parking lot of the Little A’Le’Inn

Well, one day the principal of Alamo high school caught wind of this, and called Connie in for a stern talking-to! And guess what happened? Miss Connie don’t brook no sass: she flipped open her son’s cell phone and waved it in that hypocrite principal’s face, because guess what? None other than the principal’s very own thirteen-year-old-daughter had just texted, asking for a brown bag!!! BAM!!!! “This is just a little Peyton Place, and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites!!” BOO-YA!!!!

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A’Le’Inn exterior

I found all this smalltown gossip infinitely more interesting than all the bullshit Area 51 gov’ment conspiracy conjecture…but either way, Rachel is a fantastic place to visit and the whole Area 51 experience is really a must-do for any serious fan of desert weirdness. If you really want to make a trip of it, I have two recommended itineraries:

1. Drive up from Vegas one afternoon and set up camp at the base of Badger Mountain. Spend all night boozing and/or shrooming around a campfire, then get up at dawn to hike up to the summit and spy on the base with a telescope. After a few hours, hike down and head to Rachel for lunch, by way of Steve Medlin’s mailbox. Bonus: stop off at the market in Alamo and ask if they sell condoms!!!

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View from the A’Le’Inn

2. Drive up from Vegas, with an optional pit stop at Badger Mtn. to hike up Tikaboo Peak. Continue on to Rachel, stopping in Alamo to inquire about condoms…then book a room at the Little A’Le’Inn and stay the night! I did this once, back in 2000, and it was fantastic — they have these double-wides out back with shared bathrooms, and there’s a lending library in the bar, full of VHS tapes about real-life alien abductions and whatnot that you can take back to your room and watch until you’re blue in the face.

Either way…call me! I’d be happy to be your guide. Why would anyone want to spend their Vegas vacay at Hakkasan or Cirque du Soleil, when this fabulousness is right up the road? You tell me!

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Inside the A’Le’Inn

Anyhoo…we left Rachel around 5:30, arriving back in Vegas around sunset. And that was my weekend! I’d say it was a doozy, but….next weekend’s looking pretty great, too; it’s the annual local Burning Man campout in Boulder City, and I’ve got a few surprises up my sleeve. Stay tuned! icon smile Spying on Area 51!

P.S. For more photos of my trip, see my FB album! 

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Wonderhussy’s Field Guide to Wildlife of the Vegas Strip

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TaylorMadeClips.com

The other day, I got an emergency Tweet from none other than Ms. Taylor St. Claire: she had a pro fitness/porn model coming in for a Lift & Carry shoot the next day, but the other model had flaked. Could I possibly step in last-minute?

Could I ever! First of all, I’d do most anything for Taylor St. Claire — she’s amazing. I’ve mentioned her before: a gorgeous, brainybosomy ex-porn starlet who got tired of the game and quit to start her own fetish empire, which she maintains at TaylorMadeClips.com. That site mainly caters to inflation fetishists — weight gain clips, overeating clips, and girls being blown up into giant blueberries, that kind of thing. But Taylor also shoots all kinds of other random shit — anything that sells, which basically means a little bit of everything! I’ve shot superhero stuff for her, sweater fetish, and even pedal-pumping (where you literally sit in a car and press the gas pedal with your foot, over and over… that’s it).

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TaylorMadeClips.com

And secondly, if there’e one fetish I loooove to shoot, it’s lift & carry; it’s SO easy! I used to shoot that genre now and then for this crazy Canadian muscle fetish site: basically, it involved a bunch of gorgeous lady weightlifter/fitness model types picking me up and carrying me around like a sack of potatoes, showing off how strong they were. As the one being carried, you really don’t have to do much at all – super easy.

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TaylorMadeClips.com

So when Taylor called me over, I knew I was in for an easy shoot. Which was a good thing, because I had an art-nude shoot out in the canyon that same afternoon, and only had one hour to get this shit done. But Taylor is a pro, so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem. And the woman I’d be lifted and carried by was also a real pro — none other than the legendary Miss Austin Taylor!!

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TaylorMadeClips.com

Basically, we just had to knock out three 10-minute clips: first, Austin and I are working out at the gym…when I notice her amazing muscles, and she offers to pick me up, squat me, lift me, etc. Second, I’m the bratty schoolgirl forced to stay after class for detention: I keep mouthing off until Teacher gets pissed, rips open her frumpy spinster teacher outfit to reveal gleaming muscles and heaving breasts, picks me up over her shoulder and spanks the sass right out of me!! And third, I’m sitting at home minding my own business when out of nowhere, a sexy lady cop busts through the door and arrests me — carrying me off to the station over her shoulder. Warrant?! Austin Taylor don’t need no stinkin’ warrant!!!!

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Being Arty in the Canyon
By Oyo Photography

As predicted, it was an easy and very fun shoot, and we were done in no time…allowing plenty of time for my artsy shenanigans in the canyon. But it got me thinking, as I went about my business over the next few days: is there any correlation between effort expended and eventual payout? In my experience…not at all!!! Consider this anecdotal evidence from my last few weeks of work:

  • I made more in one hour of being carried around by a sexy porn star than I did in six lamentable hours of handing out flyers in sweltering heat to rednecks at a motocross race
  • I made more lolling around a dry lakebed naked for 4 hours than I did “caddying” a golf game with ten rambunctious, drunken Canucks for 8 hours
  • If someone ever takes me up on my Model Mayhem vagina photography challenge, I’ll make more money in one hour than I made all week working the Hardware Convention!!!!!

It’s really interesting to think about. And it’s almost to the point where I’d rather just roll over in bed, flash my twat to some slavering perv, collect my money and then go back to sleep…rather than deal with all this other rigamarole. Almost!!!

But, then I’d miss out on all the fun. Right??!

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a real-life still from the Supercross race

Actually…right! Even doing some of those lowly workaday gigs like the Hardware Show, I had a pretty good time and met a lot of really interesting people. The guys I worked for at the Hardware Show were super cool, and in fact so were the dudes I worked for at the Supercross race (the crowds at that latter event, however, were another story. Nothing but pure, nasty-ass, sunburned-redneck-speed-freak solid white trash. UGH!!!!).

So I guess you could say I’m not ready to hang up my hat and become a lazy prostitute yet. To that end, I decided it was high time I got some new headshots taken — you know, nice photos I can use to submit for “legit” gigs. Sure, as a full-time model I have bazillions of photos….but the sad truth is, I’m naked or wearing a clown wig with an Uzi up my ass or something in all of them. I can hardly submit that to these convention modeling agencies — I needed nice, corporate-looking photos!! So I hit up a few local photographers and arranged to shoot trades with them (meaning “you shoot my boring-ass headshot in trade for whatever type of shots you want of me”).

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One of my go-to “normal” shots for the last 4 years
By Jim K Decker

Now, shooting a “nice” headshot is a tricky thing. It’s kinda like when you’re writing your resume — you want to come off as knowledgeable and experienced, yet still fun and young and innovative…right?? Now, imagine trying to convey all that in a single photo!! You want a photo that says, “I have washboard abs and can crack a walnut in my ass, but I’m also reliable and drama-free, with a decent grasp of the English language, a sparkling wit, and the ability to hand out lanyards and koosh balls to greedy conventioneers!!! But I’m also FUN and SEXY and you MIGHT just get some!!!!!!!!!icon biggrin Wonderhussys Field Guide to Wildlife of the Vegas Strip

Anyway, every time I try to take a good headshot I totally choke up. I can take a million gorgeous art-nudes or zany concept shots…but when it comes time to looking “marketable,” I always freeze up. Consequently, I’ve been using the same old tired-ass headshots for years….and I hate to say, but they don’t book me much work :-/

So anyway, I did a few shoots…and guess what happened?! The naked, zany part of the shoots yielded amazing photos….but the headshot part, not so much. Witness the following examples:

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nudie = excellent
by Bennie Shapiro

 Wonderhussys Field Guide to Wildlife of the Vegas Strip

headshot=meh
by Bennie Shapiro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zany concept shot=awesome!
Pic by Michael Maze

 

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corporate shot=meh
By Michael Maze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I’m not blaming the photographers at all — both the aforementioned examples are great photographers. I have no one to blame but myself. I think it all goes back to self-esteem: because I see myself as a D-list model, I don’t feel “interesting” or even noteworthy unless I’m flashing twat or doing something salacious. I feel that my legs aren’t long enough, I’m not tall enough, and my tits aren’t big enough to really catch anyone’s attention in a “normal” shot, so it’s almost like I don’t even try. My inner light only starts to shine when I’m naked, because nudity is basically my Cloak of Invincibility…and only then do I feel worthy of attention!

Anyway, enough psychoanalyzing. Either way, I got around the whole issue by shooting with a new guy who didn’t expect me to get naked or weird — ALL we shot were corporate-type headshots, so failure wasn’t an option:

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By Scott K

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By Scott K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, now that I have some new ammo in my arsenal…hopefully I’ll score up many more fabulous, interesting (and well-paying) gigs in the future! (Fingers crossed!)

Now it has recently come to my attention that, if I were like other girls in Vegas, I wouldn’t be worrying so much about earning a living — I’d just be mooching off some idiot! This might come off as catty trash-talking…but I’m here to tell you, it’s the sad truth that I’m living in a city full of bald-faced (and no doubt bald-twatted) whores. ***NOTE: when I use the term “whore,” I mean absolutely NO disrespect toward any woman who is earning an honest living by having sex with men — I’m referring to the lazy half-assers masquerading as “models,” who are really just looking for a well-off moron to sink their talons into. Real prostitutes, I have respect for.

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One of those stock photos I posed for strikes again…this time in the local paper

What brings this up, you ask? A good friend was recently in town, and this particular friend is fond of recruiting female companionship on the worst website this side of AshleyMadison…. What’sYourPrice.com. I’ve written about this site before, but for those who don’t know, What’sYourPrice (WYP) is basically a site where “generous” guys bid on dates with “attractive” women…supposedly eliminating time-wasters, and leading straight to true love. HMMMMM!!!!!

I’ve used the site myself, but state explicitly in my profile that I’m only offering my services as a dinner date — I am not interested in a sugar daddy, or in romance of any kind, for that matter. I’m just there to make money, and I state my fee right at the top of the page: $200 for a 3-hour date.

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By Bennie Shapiro

Well, apparently guys like being milked and lied to, because my profile doesn’t get much action — shocker!! Meanwhile, there is a multitude of other Vegas hookers on the site, each with slutty selfies as profile pics and long litanies of demands: they’re all looking for “generous gentlemen” who will treat them “like a lady,” and then they’ll “see what happens.” Let me decode this for you, guys: these bitches are looking for FREE SWAG, after which they will BOUNCE!

As mentioned, my visiting friend is a frequent user of the site, and he let me use his login info to browse the listings (my competition). Thus, I was able to scope out the other hookers — and it was shocking! And HILARIOUS!!!

First off, I recognized more than a few of the “ladies” on that site – you know who you are, ya hookers! Second, NONE of the other gals were offering platonic services like me — they all, without fail, were looking for True Love™ and That Special Someone™ Now I ask you…..who the fuck uses a site called “What’sYourPrice” to find true love????? Only a seriously deluded shmoe….or a seriously disingenuous whore, THAT’S WHO!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, I know firsthand how awful this site is — not because of my own dates (which have been almost without fail surprisingly pleasant), but because of the trials and tribulations of my friend, who as mentioned has gone on several dates with various tattered remnants of raggedy Vegas puss. He comes out here a few times a year, and usually books at least one or two WYP dates while he’s here….and so far he’s been stood up, ignored, lied to and taken advantage of by a succession of shameless, ill-mannered, self-centered hookers. It’s a total disgrace!!!

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By Oyo Photography

Things got really bad this trip, because the poor guy finally met someone he thought he really liked. He made a more than generous offer of $400 to have the hag come hang out with him at the pool for the afternoon, and they hit it off so he took her shopping the next day. (He genuinely enjoys buying things for people, so it was his idea.) They went over to the Fashion Show Mall, where of course she dragged him straight into Neiman’s, where of course there was this pair of $1,200 Christian Louboutins that she just had to try on. A $1,200 pair of high heels – can you imagine?! Anyway, my generous friend bought her a dress and jewelry and who knows what all else, but he balked at the shoes — rightfully so!

Anyhoo, now this bitch was allllll fired up to get those shoes. I know, because he kept showing me her text messages: “Did you get my shoes?” LMFAO!!!! What’s really funny is, the three of us were all supposed to go to dinner Friday night, but at the last minute the hooker’s dog twisted its leg or something, so she couldn’t come. My friend and I figured out it was really a case of her being afraid that I’d see right through her shenanigans — my brain isn’t connected to testicles, so I can usually see what’s up with these bitches. I mean, I could already see from her photos that she was not 31, as she claimed to be…nor was she single (the dumbass had on a ring in one of her photos) or childless (as a simple Facebook search revealed…I mean, come on! If you’re gonna lie, at least do it well!!).

So anyhoo, despite this sad hag’s constant nagging, my friend never did buy her the shoes…and consequently, she never did meet up with him again (this despite her tearful avowal that she was starting to have “feelings” for him…”feelings,” apparently, that were directly related to the possibility of scoring Louboutin shoes). What a sad bitch!! You’re 41 years old, lady….buy your own fucking shoes!!!!!

Not to worry, my friend also had a backup date from WYP — some other disingenuous leather-twatted old chippy who had roped him into another one of his $400 poolside escapades. Only this bitch flaked out on him altogether — first she had a “sinus infection,” so they rescheduled for later in the week…but before that could even happen, she texted him that her girlfriend was in town and offered to put on some kind of show for him for an exorbitant price. JEEZUM! They really are all whores on there, just like the name says. My advice for any lonely guys coming to Vegas is to AVOID this site! Unless you enjoy being taken advantage of…which, apparently, plenty of men do, since the site is alive and well and apparently thriving.

I should come out with my own fucking site: Wonderhussy’s Field Guide to Wildlife of the Vegas Strip. I’ll have photos and annotations describing all the various types of gash you encounter out here, with warnings and advice on how to best interact with each species, like so:

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Fig 1.

 

  • Mutton dressed as lamb — beware! This species of golddigging, Botox-faced Frankenhag haunts upscale lounges and steakhouses, usually in packs of three that are so foul of spirit, they make the witches of MacBeth look like the McGuire Sisters!

 

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Fig 2.

 

  • Les B. Friends — with your wallet! This deceptive species will rub up on each other in the most provocative manner possible, causing you to lose track of your credit cards…at which point they abandon all faux-Sapphic affectations and head straight for Neiman Marcus. Beware!

 

A Field Guide is actually a good idea…but in reality, I’m just jealous, because I’m so bad at playing the game myself. An example came just the other week, when I was hostessing/caddying that “lads’ weekend” golf trip thing with the Canadians. Basically, I was hostess, entertainer, pimp, procurer, golf caddy and model (we did a photo shoot one day) — sort of a one-stop shop! And on the last day of the trip, we were all supposed to go to a pool party together. However, it was raining that day, so plans were scrapped and the guys invited us over to brainstorm and figure out something else fun to do instead.

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training my dog, Freddy, to look into the camera prior to his first ever pro photo shoot

No one ended up coming up with a fun idea, and by then the weather had cleared somewhat…so the guys decided to go to the hotel pool after all. But now, us girls didn’t have our pool gear with us. Being a terrible Vegas Ho, I always roll around with a spare bikini in my truck — it’s my ugliest old beater, to be sure, but I carry it around just for emergencies like this one, so I was prepared.

However, one of the other gals piped up first: “We didn’t bring our bikinis; you guys will have to buy us new ones!” So now it was off to the pool shop, where all manner of overpriced swimwear is sold, so that the “guys” could “pick out” new bikinis for us gals. On the way to the shop, about half the guys bailed out, not wanting to shell out any extra money…so only the poor suckers who couldn’t dip out got stuck with the bill. By the time we got to the shop, there were only 4 or 5 guys left, and they made a sort of halfhearted judging committee as we gals tried on bikinis.

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By Bennie Shapiro

True to my nature, I picked out the cheapest one I could find…but even still, no one stepped up to pay for it! It was so awkward, like back in the day in gym class when you’re the last spaz standing around waiting to be picked for volleyball, and no one wants you. Finally, one guy sprung for the top….and then finally another guy begrudgingly squeaked open his wallet to pay for the bottom, but by that time the situation was so awkward that I wanted to throw the fuckin’ thing at the wall and go straight back to college!!!!!!!! And grow my armpits out while I’m at it — fuck all y’all!

But instead, I just sacked up and had about six cocktails, and laughed and danced and titillated like a good, if somewhat ineffective, Vegas Ho. Because bikini or no…I was on the payroll. And I always pride myself in doing a good job…whatever the job may be! Let’s just hope the next one allows me to save more face. I mean, I’d rather be spanked and carried around by a porn star any day than be stuck pandering to philandering, overgrown frat boys!

P.S. Here’s a little cannabutter tutorial I made the other day, out in Florida at a friend’s house. Fun!!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

My Life as a Blueberry, and Other Weird Gigs

 

summer trip 300x186 My Life as a Blueberry, and Other Weird Gigs

I always thought it would be cool to be one of those traveling gypsy-type models, so when one of my photographer friends invited me to come shoot with him this summer up in Seattle, I decided to plan a whole modeling road trip around it. I posted a casting call on Model Mayhem, and before you know it I had six or seven shoots lined up, mostly in the Seattle area, but a few in the Bay Area and Reno as well. My plan is to leave Vegas around July 12th, then make my way up to the Bay Area, spend some time with my family there, and then continue up the coast to Portland and Seattle before heading back down toward Tahoe for a family reunion with my grandma and extended family on the 25th.

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unlike OTHER models! photo by Jorge Lara for vimmag.com

My sis agreed to come along with me, so we plan to make it a fun adventure, like we did on our Salton Sea foray last month. But in order for it to be REALLY fun, I decided I need to get my finances in order before I go: if I earn enough money to pay all my July bills up front, before I leave…then I won’t be under as much pressure to make money while I’m traveling, and can use my modeling earnings on the trip itself, for meals and hotels and whatnot…instead of living off Alpo and couch-surfing, like other traveling models.

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tit-tini! Photo by Jorge Lara

Since I’m already super-anal about my finances, and have long figured out it costs me $70/day to live, I know exactly how much cash I need to earn before July 1st. If I earn enough, I can even go up there a few days earlier, and spend more time with my family — and if I really bust my hump, I can even make enough to cover August as well…which would be awesome, since I’m not sure yet if I’ll be going back to work Sturgis again this year. I certainly want to, but I have to confirm with the manager of the saloon where I worked last year…and he was kinda hard to read. My plan is to hit him up in early May, and see if he wants me back…in which case I’ll do like I did last year, and spend the first half of August spanking drunken bikers, and the second half running around naked at Burning Man icon smile My Life as a Blueberry, and Other Weird Gigs

So anyhoo, in preparation for my summer adventures, I’ve been busting my ass, hustling for a buck left and right, socking it away. And as always, no job is too small…or too freaky!!!

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ONE MILLION B.C.!! photo by Dan P.

Not all my gigs were freaky, though — I actually did a few normal, “nice-girl”-type jobs recently, just to keep my nice-girl skills from rusting. One night I worked a charity fundraiser wine-pouring event for this smoking hot French winemaker, who used to be a rugby star but retired to open a winery in the south of France. Must be nice!!! Anyway, he only showed up for photos at the beginning of the event, and then delegated the job to his assistant, this adorable little French hottie who took a shine to me. I offered to give him a ride back to his hotel after the event, because there were no taxis at the venue, and to thank me for my help he hooked me up with two cases of bad-ass hi-class French wine! SCORE! I normally drink Two Buck Chuck or worse, so this shit is a real treat.

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cork sniffers?! Photo by Dan P.

Meanwhile, I was kinda nervous about pouring hi-class wine for all these cork-sniffers — this was a huge charity event they hold every year, and all the Botoxed society Frankenmatrons of Vegas come out to show off their new lips and tits and whatnot and talk fancy-talk about wine, while their husbands perv on all the model servers. But I needn’t have worried – everyone was so fucking wasted it was embarrassing. These dumb-ass poseur chippies would stumble up to my table with their wineglasses held out for a pour, and the French hottie would start blathering about the terroir and notes of oak and shit, and you could see these dumb-ass bitches had zero idea what he was talking about — nor did they care, they just wanted to get fucked up for free. It was amazing! I don’t know why I’m always so self-conscious at these events — despite the fact that I am a foul-mouthed plebian, I have more class and brains in one hair on my big toe than most of these idiots have in their entire collagen-plumped bodies.

Aaaanyhoo, aside from pouring wine to the wealthy, I also put in a few days at a tradeshow, which I always loathe, but this one wasn’t so bad because I was working with a pretty good girlfriend of mine who makes things fun. NOTE to prospective tradeshow clients: if you are looking to hire a booth model, consider hiring two! I find that two models are waaaay more effective than one, because they can tag-team these poor shlub conventioneers and hustle them into signing up for your iPad drawing or whatever-the-fuck hustle you have going to generate leads. MUCH more effective!

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with some guy from Sons of Anarchy at a photo shoot!

The best part about working tradeshows is the corporate gobbledygook they have you parrot, to reel in prospective leads: at this show, they told us to say that “we” (and by “we,” I mean the client, not “me”) are a cloud-based project management solutions platform. Now, you tell me….what the fuck is a “cloud-based project management solutions platform?!?!?!” 

What’s really interesting is, you’d think that booth models who actually understand what they’re saying would be the most effective — but you’d be WRONG!!! It doesn’t matter one bit if the model understands the first thing about cloud-based project management solutions platforms (hereafter to referred to as “CBPMSPs”) — as long as she’s attractive, and personable, and calls the guy by his name (as seen on his nametag)…she can pretty much talk him into signing up for anything. I’ve seen this firsthand with the chick I was working with — she’s beautiful, flirty and aggressive, but has such a thick accent that I’m gonna say 95% of the guys she hustled in had no idea what was going on….they just did what she wanted, because she’s hot and was persistent. She could have been signing them up for chemical castration, for all they knew! But anyhow, I really like working with this chick because she’s one of the best I’ve ever personally witnessed, and she makes it fun and easy to rope in leads. Although I must admit, I’ve already forgotten what a CBPMSP is, and moreover…I don’t care!

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goofing around in Michael Maze’s studio

Anyway, like I said I don’t really love tradeshow gigs, but they do pay well and can be kinda interesting, here and there. But I have a hard time getting those gigs, because when it comes time to apply, I have very few “decent” photos I can submit, like headshots! I have hundreds and hundreds of photos, but in most of them I’m naked or wearing a Viking helmet or something, so I can’t use them to get “straight” work. With that in mind, I set up a few photo shoots recently to get “square” shots…but gawd, it’s so boring!!!!! I shot with my one of my favorite photographer/friends Michael Maze the other night specifically for the purpose of getting a boring-ass headshot, but things devolved quickly until the next thing you know, I was wrassling on the floor in a Lucha Libre mask and my electric vagina :-/ I just can’t seem to get it together and be normal!!! Arrrrrgh!

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photo by Michael Maze

The easiest solution to this quandary is just to not do any “normal” gigs — which of course I have no problem with, as I’ve certainly done my fair share of unorthodox gigs lately. The freakiest and most fun were these two fetish sites I shot for: first I did a shoot for DecorativeGirls.com, where you strip naked and pretend to be a piece of furniture, like a plant stand or a nightstand or something (?!?!?!). This was one of the WEIRDEST shoots I’ve done — two-minute videos, no talking or anything, just sitting there naked holding a plant. Bizarre!

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TaylorMadeClips.com

But even more bizarre, and  quite possibly the most amazing, freakiest, funnest gig I have EVER DONE, was for TaylorMadeClips.com the other week. Taylor shoots a lot of inflation fetish, where a girl gets fatter and fatter until she explodes or whatever — and one of her most popular sub-genres is the blueberry fetish, where a girl turns into a giant blueberry, a la Violet Beauregard in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (I guess a lot of guys popped their first woody during that scene, so it remains a hot-button for them for the rest of their lives). Well, I finally made a lifelong dream of mine come true last week when I was blown up into a giant blueberry!!!!!!!!!!

OMG, it was amazing — in the video, I play a Monsanto scientist, working on a genetically mutated blueberry big enough to feed the entire world. But when I go to add the special super-sizing agent to the blueberry DNA, it froths over and accidentally spills on my hand…causing me to turn blue, and swell up into a giant blueberry!!!!!! Oh, no!!!!! I get bigger and bigger, and more and more terrified…until finally I just give in and realize how good it feels to be a giant blueberry swollen with delicious blueberry juice — mmmmm! The feel of all that blueberry juice sloshing around against my taut skin feels so good that I end up just moaning and groaning and finally disappearing into the blueberry altogether….until finally, I grow so big that I EXPLODE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMGif you’re into the blueberry fetish you will bust your fucking nut in no time watching this amazing masterpiece!!!!

While I was there, I also filmed another clip of dirty blueberry talk. I’ve been chewing magic Wonka gum, so I’m already swollen up and blue like a blueberry: “Would you like to join me? Here, chew this gum! Do you taste the roast beef and tomato soup? So yummy!! Now do you taste the baked potato?? Mmmmmmm!!!! Uh-oh, now it’s time for dessert — here comes the blueberry pie!!!! Do you taste it?? Doesn’t it taste good??? Oh no, look! You’re starting to turn blue and swell up too! Your fingers are turning blue, your arms are swelling up and turning blue….oh my, now even your dick and balls are turning blue and swelling up!! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!” 

In summary, I can’t fucking believe I got paid to something this fucking fun!!! It was amazing!!!! The only downside was, I had blueberry juice in my ears and toenails for like a week afterward. But that was OK, since I also put in another night of mud-rasslin’ at Gilley’s….and that messed me up pretty bad, too.

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my fabulous British towel boy

You may recall that last time I mud-rassled, I accidentally ingested some of the chocolate pudding “mud,” and was afflicted with terrible diarrhea afterward. Well, this time I knew better, so made sure to keep my lips shut, and to shower off thoroughly afterward. This rassling experience was better all-around than my last time, which you might recall was slightly scarring since I only got a $40 bid to be my towel boy — well, this time, some poor drunk guy bid $60 on me, and paid up….but was so wasted that they had to escort him out of the bar before he had a chance to get in the ring with me. So they auctioned me off a second time, and this awesome British dude bid another $60 on me — and he was cool. He helped me defeat my first opponent, Kombat Kitty…but then I faced off against Betty Rage, and she beat my ass icon sad My Life as a Blueberry, and Other Weird Gigs Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all!!

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last year on 4/20

Then before you know it, it was April 20th again — a/k/a 420, the national pot-smokers’ holiday! Last year, I had just finished making my marijuana showgirl costume in time for this momentous occasion, but you may recall that I went out busking with my friend Jay Joint in his giant joint costume, and they made us leave Fremont Street because his costume was “inappropriate.” Well, this year I decided to go out alone, since a) I didn’t want to get kicked out again, and b) I wanted to go out earlier, and Jay Joint never goes out til after 10pm.

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busking on Fremont with my friend Bam Bam!

So this year I headed downtown to the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall around 7pm, and went to town. It was great!! I made about $200 in three hours, and could have stayed longer if I hadn’t been bummed the fuck out by the oppressive police-state vibe down there. See, Fremont Street is technically a public thoroughfare, but they blocked it off to vehicle traffic and put in this cheesy light show canopy thingy overhead, so now it’s run by a gang of buzzkilling thugs known as the Fremont Street Experience, LLC, which I guess all the casinos down there pay into. Because it’s still technically a public thoroughfare, they can’t ban buskers (street performers) outright — but they can and do make it next to impossible for us to work our shtick!!

I hadn’t been down there more than 5 minutes when a security guard came up to me: “You’re new here, aren’t you? Well, you can’t stand within 200 feet of a performance stage when there’s a performance going on.”

“Oh, OK! I’m sorry!”  I moved down the street, 200 feet-ish away, but I couldn’t stand there, either: “You can’t stand within 20 feet of a crosswalk, it’s a hazard.”

“Oh, my bad, I’m sorry! Where can I stand?!”

“Over here, by these trash cans. But don’t get closer than 10 feet to any of the kiosks, or 20 feet from any casino entrance!!!” “YES, SIR!!!”

So I basically glued my feet to this one tiny little spot where he’d said it was OK to stand, and meanwhile there were about 50 other buskers working the same patch of ground, since it was basically one of the only free zones on the entire fuckin’ street. I mean, Captain America, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Elvis, Michael Jackson and three sets of showgirls were all crammed into this little bitty shitty spot, and it was nuts! 

Still, things were going pretty well for me until these two beat-up old stripper-looking showgirls showed up in raggedy-ass bedraggled costumes. They might not have looked like much — but every time someone posed for a photo with them, they would each raise one leg up in the air so that their ankle was behind their neck, basically flashing their sequined twats at the camera!!! Forget about it — my business was over! I tried to walk down Fremont Street to another spot, but it was so fucking tricky trying to figure out what was 200 feet from this and 20 feet from that, while still maintaining a distance of 10 feet from the other, that I kept fucking up and getting yelled at. Finally this one snaggle-toothed redneck kid security guard screamed at me to get out and go home, because I wasn’t listening to him!!!

I was like, “Hey man, I’m really making a sincere effort to abide by your regulations, but I find them baffling! I don’t have a tape measure on me!” At this he relented a bit, and showed me exactly where I could stand: “You see that sign in front of the ABC Store? You can stand anywhere on the far side of the “B” in “ABC.” Are you fuckin’ serious?!?!?!?!?

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photo by Adam Sternberg

Look, I know what’s going on: these fucking casinos downtown are pissed off that tourists should spend a few bucks outside their gambling tables, god forbid. They’d rather see people piss their money away on craps, blackjack and plastic footballs full of sugary alcohol slush!!! It’s so fucked up I don’t even know where to begin…but that’s the way it’s gonna be, and mark my fucking words, they will not rest until they’ve regulated every fucking inch of space down there to the point where there’s no room to busk whatsoever. Fuckin’ Vegas, man!!! I wish that all the hundreds of Vegas street performers and buskers would all band together and stage a fuckin’ protest march down there — how awesome would that be?!?! Can you imagine — a throng of a thousand Elmos, Elvises and SpongeBobs???? They’d never be able to stop all of us!!!!

By that time, I was so disheartened that I gave up and started walking back to my car…but on the way, my headdress inadvertently got in the background of some big fat saggy-titted hag in a slutty pirate costume’s photo, and she snarled at me to get the fuck out: “GIT OFF’N MY LAND!” basically. JEEZ! The atmosphere down there is so toxic and miserable, I don’t know when I’ll have the balls to go back down there. I mean, it was good cash money, but….at what price?!?

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stuck in the bunker again!

One final wacky gig I did lately was act as concierge for this group of rowdy drunken Canadian guys who come out every year to play golf and cat around: I caddied for them last year, and they were so taken with me that this year they hired me to arrange everything. The first day, I set up a nude photo shoot with me and my fellow Goddess Collective members up at Red Rock Canyon — we drove the guys out there and posed for softcore lesbo photos for a couple hours, and a great time was had by all. Then the next day, we all met up at a local golf course and proceeded to booze our way around the course, taking all manner of salacious photos and engaging in all kinds of naughty shenanigans involving strategically-placed golf tees and lots of puns involving the word “balls.” The final day, we were all supposed to get a cabana at one of the big pool parties, but the weather had turned shitty so we ended up just getting wasted at their hotel Jacuzzi, then going to the nightclub and getting fucked up til all hours of the night.

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too much to drink!

Now, I haven’t set foot in a nightclub since the days when I was working at The Act…and guess what, it was just as abhorrent an experience as I recalled! This particular place, HAZE, was especially lame and unremarkable — they actually had the gall to hire that tired-ass moron from Jersey Shore, Pauly D, as DJ!!! Even worse, all the star-struck, fat-assed farm girls in the crowd were absolutely stoked, holding up their cell phones to capture footage of this momentous occasion. JEEEZ!!!!

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golf shenanigans!

Still, I’m not sure what happened but I ended up having a fantastic time — I was dressed really sloppily, in leggings and flip-flops (remember, we were boozing at the pool all day), but something happened and I went bat shit dancing, burning about 1,000,000 calories and having a really good time, despite the horrible DJ and lame-ass environment…so I guess it wasn’t all bad! The only downside was, after all that I felt like I’d been hit by a giant alcoholic Canuck bus — I mean, I was exhausted when those guys left! I don’t know how they did it.

Now that I think about it, I was probably tired not only because of the Canadian guys…but because of all the other crazy shit I’ve been up to lately! I mean, not only the shit I’ve already covered in this blog — that was all just work!! Don’t forget, I also had plenty of PLAY the past few weeks!!

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photo by Lem One

The best party I went to lately was this amazing Burning-Man-themed bicycle pub crawl organized by one of my neighbors, called Blinking Man. Twice a year, about 300-400 wackos in costumes ride bikes covered in blinking lights all over downtown Vegas, stopping at four or five bars along the way for drinks and fun. This one group carts around a full DJ setup, and we basically have raves in all the parking lots we stop at along the way -

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guess which one is my roommate?

- it’s a RIOT! I went with some of my neighbors and friends, and even my roommate made an appearance, Rollerblading around half-naked in an Indian headdress and a G-string. NICE! All in all I was out til about 2am, pedaling furiously about the streets of downtown Vegas, dancing and drinking and getting merry like Christmas. NO FUCKING WONDER I’M TIRED — that was my day off!!!

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rockabilly bitches

Then another night, I went over to the annual Viva Las Vegas rockabilly festival at the Orleans Hotel. I used to go over there every year to scope out all the crazy hardcore rockabilly kids from L.A. and all over the world, but I hadn’t been for a couple years, since it kinda gets old after awhile. But this year, I went with my friend the Baroness, and it was pretty cool! We sneaked into one of the lounges and partied late into the night to the rabble-rousing strains of a fabulous rockin’ Western Swing band — good times! The only bummer was, I had to drive…so I couldn’t get royally wasted, like the Baroness, who ended up baby-talking to two cops like the shameless hussy that she is!!!

Now, after all that city dwelling, you know I had to

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kayaking

get out into the desert and have some fun in the fresh air and sunshine, too!! One night, some hippie pals and I kayaked out on the Colorado River and had a bonfire on one of the beaches to watch the Blood Moon eclipse. Remember that? When the moon turned all orange and weird that one night? It was fabulous!! We had a big ol’ fire, and listened to Rush on my friend’s boom box, smoking some reefer and partying like it was 1981. Good fucking times!!!

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bonfire!

The only downside was, the eclipse didn’t even start until like 11pm, and it dragged on until like 2am….and we couldn’t leave until the whole eclipse was over, since there wasn’t enough ambient light out to kayak by until the moon came back!! But let me tell you, when the moon finally did come back out, it was fantastic: gliding down the silent river in the dark of night, with just the gentle splashing of the kayak paddles in the moonlit water. Magical!!! I didn’t end up getting to bed til like 5am, but…hey, YOLO, man!!!

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view from the top of Mt. Potosi

Now finally, the most traumatic adventure I had lately was this overnight campout I did on the top of Mount Potosi, with my ol’ buddy Alex. You remember Alex — the guy I went on that bickering snowbound campout in Mammoth Lakes with? He and I don’t really get along too well, but for some reason I thought it would be fun to hike up to the top of Mt. Potosi with him — it’s been on my bucket list for eons, and he brought it up so I agreed to go, and camp out overnight at the top, overlooking the lights of Vegas.

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hiking up the LONG, STEEP 3.5-mile road to the summit

Also, there’s the wreckage of this historical plane crash up there — back in the ’40s, the actress Carole Lombard died in a fiery crash on one of the mountain slopes, and to this day no one has ever recovered her wedding ring. She was married to the actor Clark Gable at the time, but she heard a rumor he was messing around with up-and-coming-starlet Lana Turner, so despite the advice of the air traffic controller, she insisted on flying back to L.A. that night to keep tabs on him — in the middle of a terrible storm!! The plane ended up crashing and everyone aboard died, and Clark Gable spent three days at the nearby Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, waiting for word from the search party…but it was of no use. The area where the plan crashed is super rugged, and they had a hard time getting up there to look for survivors, even if there were any. Anyhoo, like I said the wreckage is still up there, and Carole Lombard’s wedding ring is supposedly up there somewhere, too…just begging to be found by an intrepid Hussy!!!

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slogging uphill

So when my buddy Alex invited me to go, I was stoked…despite the fact that our Arizona hotsprings adventure ended badly. I packed up my tent and sleeping bag and stuff, and rigged up a backpack to carry it all, then headed out to pick up Alex at his parents’ house. The trouble started there: he wanted to bring a pair of bolt-cutters, so we could cut the lock on the gate at the bottom of the road and drive up to the top of the mountain. He kept telling me it was too hard to hike the whole way — like, it was straight vertical uphill, harder than the Grand Canyon!

However, I insisted that I would not be party to his cutting a lock, and that we would hike the whole way like real men. So already, he was peeved with me. He kept arguing with me that “no one has the right” to put up a lock, that “no one can own land,” etc. etc. etc. (He’s obsessed with that whole bullshit Cliven Bundy debacle up in Mesquite…you know, the redneck rancher who’s refusing to pay his grazing fees?)

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our campsite on the summit

Still, we didn’t bicker too much on the way up. He kept saying things to goad me, but I was pretty relaxed and let it all slide — he kept mocking my makeshift backpack, and questioning the legitimacy of my work as a model, etc. etc. etc. Some people are just like that, and if you want to hang with them, you have to deal with it. Anyway, we both made it to the top of the mountain a little after dark, and it was actually really cool — we set up camp, had a big bonfire, and sat there looking out over the lights of Vegas. That is an AMAZINGLY beautiful spot to camp — what a view!

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campfire and the lights of Vegas

Alex had forgotten to bring much food, but he refused my offer to share my falafel, so he sat there while I ate, and he drank his only beer and I drank some wine. He kept bitching at me for not bringing mushrooms — he’d asked me to via text message the day before, and secretly I had brought some, but decided it was a bad idea to eat them up there with him, so kept mum. As it was, we ended up having a pretty nice, peaceful night with little arguing and some pretty good conversation. I smoked him out, although he did make fun of me for being cheap with my weed, and not changing the bowl out after every hit — that’s the kind of person he is. drove us out there, offered to share my food, shared my weed — and all he does is bitch me out for being miserly and not bringing mushrooms. You just can’t win with some people.

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morning coffee

Anyway, he fell asleep by the fire, so I shoveled dirt on it and went to bed myself. It was really windy up there, so I didn’t get much sleep, with my tent flapping around and stuff — but I was super stoked to get up the next morning and hike down to that plane crash site! So in the morning, Alex made coffee and eggs (I’ll give him credit for that, he shared his breakfast with me but still refused to share my Clif bars with me, even though I had an extra one for him — he’s so weird like that) and then we packed up camp and headed back down the mountain.

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signing the trail register at the summit

The plane crash site is off the side of the mountain near the top, down a really rugged slope on a totally unmarked trail. Alex’s idea was to hike down to the crash site, then continue hiking overland to the bottom of the mountain and back out to the road that way. Well, I was uncomfortable hiking on that steep slope with all that gear strapped to my back — I felt top-heavy, and preferred to leave my gear up at the top, hiking down a different way to the crash site, then back up to get my gear and back down the way we’d come up yesterday. Sure it was a longer route, but it seemed easier to me.

Well, Alex just wouldn’t let up about how stupid it was, and how I “never” take his advice and how his way was so much easier. Despite his anger, he begrudgingly hiked back down the way I wanted to go, and we both left our packs at the top of the mountain, just off the trail, and started picking our way to the crash site. The whole time, Alex is reminding me how stupid my idea is, and how this way is just as hard as his way, and I should have listened to him. Jeez!!! After about an hour, we lost sight of each other — the terrain out there is SUPER rugged, as mentioned, and it’s easy to get lost.

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scary!!!

I picked my way along for about another hour or so, but I wasn’t really dressed for it (I had on shorts) and it was REALLY windy, and I couldn’t find the plane wreckage anywhere…so I finally gave up and hiked back up the mountain to where we’d left our packs, thinking I’d wait for him there. I sat around for a bit, but saw/heard no trace of him…which kinda got me worried. I called his name a few times, no answer. So I decided to hike back up to the spot where he’d originally wanted to hike down to the crash site — it was a better overlook of the crash site, so maybe I’d see him there. I left a note on his pack saying I’d be right back, then hiked back up to the first spot — no sign of Alex!

So I hiked back down to where we’d left our packs, thinking he’d probably be there waiting for me — still nothing! Only now, my sleeping bag was missing!!! Our backpacks were there, but my sleeping bag was gone. I figured he’d hidden it somewhere nearby, and was sitting there watching me — so I looked around, but no sign of Alex or my bag. My next thought was that the wind had blown it down the mountainside — but I looked around pretty thoroughly, and saw no trace of it. I mean, a bright blue bag would stand out pretty well on a scrubby hillside, no? But I couldn’t see it anywhere!!!

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my long-lost sleeping bag. RIP :(

So now, I started to get a little weirded out. I figured a person didn’t take it, since a) there were no people up there, and b) there was much more valuable equipment in Alex’s pack. So did an animal drag it off?? I had no idea, and it was so windy and weird up there, with the ghost of Carole Lombard keening in the pines, that I kinda got a little creeped out. I sat there for another hour waiting for a sign from Alex, until about 3pm, but it was fucking cold and windy and shitty, so finally I gave up and decided to wait for him in my truck at the bottom of the mountain. I left another note on his pack saying I’d wait for him in the truck til 7pm, then hiked all the way back down to the bottom, about 3 miles.

When I got to my truck it was about 5pm, and I called my mom to see what she thought I should do. There were only about two hours of daylight left, and part of me was afraid something had happened to Alex up there, and I should try to find him before dark. But ANOTHER part of me knew that he is totally ornery and independent, and for all I know had hiked down all the way to the bottom, leaving his pack up at the top to pick up the next day, on his dirt bike. For all I knew, he was already at the Saloon, waiting for me. I wasn’t sure what to do!

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view from the top — you can see Vegas, Pahrump and Sandy Valley

Alex had left his cell phone in my truck, so I took the liberty of calling his dad and asking him what he thought. His dad didn’t seem too worried — apparently Alex disappears all the time like this. He said I should wait til 7, and then call him if I still hadn’t found him. But then somehow his mom found out, and she called me, all worried, saying that she was sending his dad out there right now to look for him. I mean, the terrain up there was so rugged that there was nothing either one of us could really have done, anyway…but it seemed like we had to do something! At this point, I hadn’t seen Alex in five hours…kind of weird for someone you are supposedly hiking with!

Anyway, I drove around the base of the mountains looking for signs of Alex, but most of the roads were either gated off or two gnarly for my little 2wd truck to handle. I went into town and checked the saloon, but no one had seen him there, either. Finally, I headed back to the place where I’d parked the truck overnight, down by where he’d wanted to cut the lock — and there he was, waiting for me! Apparently he’d hiked to the crash site and hung around for a couple hours waiting for me, and when I didn’t show up, he figured I’d just hiked out and followed me back. D’OH!!!!!!

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oh well. Photo by Jorge Lara for vimmag.com

Now I felt like a total ass for having called his parents — and when he found out I’d called them, he flipped out! “DON’T YOU KNOW I’VE HIKED ALL OVER THE WESTERN U.S., CANADA AND MEXICO?! I CAN SURVIVE ANYTHING OUT IN THESE WOODS!” He made me feel like a total puss for having worried, so I bawled him out in the car and told him I never wanted to see him again. I drove him back to his parents’ house, dropped him off, and that was it. Two days later he moved to Colorado for the summer, to work at some high-class golf resort out there…and I haven’t seen him since.

Honestly, it’s for the best. There are some people who just don’t get along, and he and I are two of them!! But now I’m really wondering…..was I a total idiot to have worried so much about him up there on that mountain? In retrospect, it seems I should have just sat in my car and waited til he showed up, and not worried so much.

Dangit!!! I need to be less of a worrier…….and more of a WARRIOR!!!

 

 

 

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