A Mind That’s Weak and a Back That’s Strong

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pic by Randy Fosth

Let me clue you in to a dirty little secret of mine: I barely ever shave my legs! This might sound counterintuitive for someone who makes a living as a nude model, but the reality is…when your tits/ass/twat are on display, no one’s looking at your leg hair. Your shins could be as swarthy as Chewbacca’s, but as long as you have a bald or neatly trimmed pubis, you’re golden. Back when I used to give a fuck, I shaved my legs every other day, and my armpits even more…but now, I only bother shaving anything if I have a special shoot or a hot date. The rest of the time…well, you can call me Sascrotch!

But after spending 10 days in pajamas at my mom’s house over Thanksgiving, on my way back to Vegas I stopped for a 5-mile run in Bakersfield (yes, I’m

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Running in Bakersfield

that hardcore about fitness)…and as I ran along the scenic Kern River Trail, I noticed my leg hair had gotten so long, I could feel it rustling in the wind. Yikes!!! Once I got back to Vegas, I jumped straight into the shower and shaved the NorCal off.

The main reason I shaved was, I had this sort of fantasy wrestling gig booked the next day — a Canadian fetish site had hired me to play-wrestle some Amazon-type chicks, and I thought it might behoove me to look conventionally attractive for such work…or at the very least, make me more aerodynamic and provide less grip for my opponents. Say what you will about me, I do give 110% at every job I do…no matter how hopeless the outlook icon smile A Mind Thats Weak and a Back Thats Strong

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completely unrelated pic by Thomas Chee

But even though I’d shaved and moisturized and taken extra pains with my appearance that morning…when I woke up, it just turned out to be one of those days. I woke up with a case of the uglies: puffy face, swollen eyelid (I am prone to what I assume to be a sort of inexplicably unpredictable blepharitis from time to time, that makes my left eyelid swell up out of nowhere), and a general sort of malaise attributable to the fact that my Aunt Flo was banging on the door, on the verge of barging in at any moment. UGH!!!! I was not feeling very sexy.

Still, I sacked up, threw some skimpy sportswear in my bag and headed over to the hotel suite where the wrestling matches were to be filmed. As of yet, I had no idea what I was in for — I assumed it would be like the mudwrestling shtick I used to do, where it’s just fun and silly, chicks writhing around pretending to be badasses, but secretly semi-choreographed. No harm, no foul — all in good fun. HOW WRONG I WAS!

This particular wrestling fetish site (I don’t know the URL) is hardcore — all about seriously strong women wrestling each other for real.  Now, obviously, I’m not a real wrestler or even a very strong person — I lift weights mainly for aesthetic purposes, and have never been able to do even a single pull-up. But the guy who runs the site has seen me in action before, and knows that I’m fairly strong for my size, and scrappy. So he thought it would be a good idea to match me up with three bigger, stronger opponents as a sort of comparison exercise. The other girls knew I was a rank amateur, so the idea was they would go somewhat easy on me, while still putting me in my place.

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wrestling Megan Avalon back in the day

I had done something similar back in the day, when I play-wrestled this bodybuilder model named Megan Avalon for a different fetish site — but she was cool, and went totally easy on me, and didn’t beat me up or anything. This time, things were different. I had three matches, and if I was able to go the full 15 minutes each match, I’d make a cool $100 per match, so $300 total. I did have the option of tapping out halfway through a match, in which event I’d still earn $50 for that match….but hell, if I’m gonna do a job, I’m going all the way, dammit! Pain and humiliation be damned!!!!

So I changed into some booty shorts and a sports bra and faced off against my first opponent, Miss Daisy Ducati of San Francisco — a beautiful black girl with pink hair and long, strong legs. She toyed with me like a cat batting around a doomed mouse, but overall she was cool and didn’t come on too strong, and I survived.

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Daisy Ducati

After an hour or so break I went up against my second opponent, this MMA fighter named Mika or Meka something, who looked truly terrifying but wasn’t too bad — again, she batted me around and roughed me up, but at the end of it I emerged more or less intact, with just a little melted makeup (it gets sweaty, grappling around like that) and mussed hair. I was offered the option of another hour-long break, but I foolishly turned it down as I had another photo shoot I had to get to directly afterward…so I agreed to go ahead and wrestle my third opponent more or less right away, in the interest of saving time.

By now I was pretty winded, but had enough energy to attack this third match with a reasonable amount of

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Jolene the Valkyrie

gusto — I figured this opponent would be the easiest, as it was a local model I sort of knew, Jolene Hexx a/k/a Jolene the Valkyrie, a girl-next-door-type brunette who didn’t look too scary at all. But looks can be deceiving — that chick is strong!!! Maybe it was partly because I was already winded from my first two matches, but I was powerless in her arms — she crushed me! Her upper body was amazing, but it was her legs that really literally almost killed me — she got me in a scissor hold between her legs, and I honestly think she fractured or at least badly bruised one of my ribs, because as I sit here typing this over a week later, I’m still suffering :/ It was my fault, since I was trying to put on a good show and out of pride/stubbornness refused to tap out until I absolutely had to…at which time it was probably already too late.

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Apres-wrestling

Anyway, when that third and final match finally ended, I was a sweaty, miserable mess. My hair was matted, my makeup had almost completely melted off my face, and my puffy, swollen eye was watering, causing my mascara to run in a most unbecoming fashion. My neck was scratched and bleeding, my chin was scraped, and if my rib wasn’t fractured, then my ego certainly was. But what was especially astonishing to me was the mental anguish I was suffering — I knew it was all pretend, just fun and games for some man somewhere to jerk off to, and that I mustn’t take it personally — but I couldn’t help it; I felt really defeated. I got beat up once or twice by mean girls back in high school, and I guess the pain and humiliation of those defeats was still lurking somewhere in my subconscious, all along…just waiting for the opportunity to come rushing back. Dammit!!!

So I collected my $300 and limped out of that hotel room a total wreck, broken and defeated. What can I say…I’m a lover, not a fighter, so I hereby announce my retirement from all types of wrestling — mud, pudding, fetish or otherwise. It’s just not worth it!!! Not only is it mentally draining, but it’s physically very dangerous and I’m really lucky I didn’t permanently injure myself in a major way. Nobody wants to hire a paraplegic model!

Anyway, I didn’t have much time to stew about it because as mentioned, I had another photo shoot immediately thereafter; this super-nutty photojournalist who shoots for Magnum.com, Bruce Gilden, was in town shooting B & W portraits of Vegas Women, and he wanted to do me. I guess the point of the story was to show Vegas Women’s faces — not their tits or asses, as normally photographed…just their faces. You know…to show their depressing character.

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The fine work of Bruce Gilden

Well, I already knew Bruce and his shtick from back in 2011, when he was shooting a story on the foreclosure crisis and photographed/interviewed me at my old house, the one I ended up short-selling for a song to some assholes. I know his style: very unflattering Diane Arbus-type stuff that shows the ugly truth…and indeed, the shots he took of me back then were anything but flattering, and could in fact be more aptly described as pathetic and tragic.

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More fine work by Bruce Gilden

But I agreed to shoot with him again anyway, because I’m a huge fan of the ugly truth, and there I was: bruised and scratched and badly beaten from a wrestling match in a semi-seedy Vegas hotel room. How much more ugly truth can you get?!?  I’m all about documenting my fucked-up life, so let’s go. So, as soon as I got home from my wrestling fiasco (I did spend a few minutes fixing my makeup…I’m not that into the ugly truth, lol) I met Bruce and his assistant in the street in front of my house, and we bullshitted awhile before he finally snapped one frame of my face. I haven’t seen it yet, but he literally only took one frame…so I’m sure he knew what he was doing. That guy is legit as fuck — he was even featured on Vice.com as one of their favorite photojournalists, and all that lucky fucker does is travel the world photographing interesting people/freaks on commission for Magnum. What a killer gig!!!

Once Bruce and his assistant left, I tried to go about my business as best I could — I had planned to hit the gym for a weightlifting sesh, but my body was so sore from wrestling that I had to skip it, and just limp around to the bank and the post office and stuff like that instead. I tried to take ‘er easy, as the next two days I had 10-hour gigs booked as a mascot at some Sony PlayStation event, and I needed my strength for that.

But the next morning I woke up feeling even worse — like a busted-up old rodeo cowboy, with aches and pains in my neck, shoulders, ribs and my left foot, which hurt so bad I was afraid it might be broken. The last thing I felt like doing was stumbling around all day in a heavy, hot, unwieldy mascot costume…but I hated to bail on a gig at the last minute, and I needed the money, so I creaked out of bed and got ‘er done.

Besides…limping to work, I thought of all the construction workers and ditch diggers and bronco busters across America who wake up feeling that way every morning, but simply pound some aspirin and get to work. America™: Brought to you by Ibuprofen!  As the daughter of a laborer and the granddaughter of cotton-picking migrants, physical suffering is in my blood — I come from a long tradition of people who made their living using their bodies…and while I don’t generally do labor-type jobs, just like them, my income is tied to my physicality nonetheless.

Incidentally, I find it ironic that it’s socially and morally acceptable for laborers, cowboys and athletes to make money with their bodies…but not prostitutes. WHY IS THIS? Why is using one’s vagina/anus/mouth to make money worse/more shameful than using one’s back/shoulders/arms? It’s all the same stuff — muscle and blood and skin and bone, a mind that’s weak and a back that’s strong. If I had rented my vagina instead of my ribs, I’d have been in a lot less physical pain the next day/week/month. You don’t hear any call girls singing “You suck sixteen dicks, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” But because there’s such an inexplicable taboo surrounding sex work, I’d still probably end up facing a world of pain — only psychic, not physical. Again, WHY IS THIS?

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At the Sony PlayStation Experience

Aaaaaaanyway, as it happened, the mascot costume I had been assigned at the PlayStation event turned out to be super comfortable — the most comfortable costume I’ve ever worn as a mascot, in fact; basically just a morphsuit with a hooded cloak over it, and a sort of fencing mask over that. The only inconvenience was a slight stuffiness and poor visibility due to the mask, so I had to rely on my assigned handler to lead the way, following her around like a downtrodden, burqa-clad Muslim wife trailing her husband.

My job was basically to walk around this convention center full of gamer kids, posing for photos and interacting with fans — I was dressed as a character from some weird video game I’d never heard of, but apparently it was very popular with the pimply hordes who had flocked to this convention from all across the land. Who knew there was even such a thing as a PlayStation Experience? Not me!

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With some of my fellow mascot characters

I have a hard time relating to gamers — there’s so much awesome shit to do out there; why would you waste your life sitting in a darkened room playing video games???  But as the convention wore on, I found them becoming oddly endearing; for the most part they struck me as gentle, sweet nerds who prefer escaping into other worlds to engaging in the thuggish bullshit that preoccupies other youth. I mean, you don’t see these guys tagging walls or robbing convenience stores…ya know? Let them play, I say!!

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gamers in action

Either way, overall it was a great gig — the walking helped work out my aches and pains, and the event staff was really amazing. Usually at these mascot gigs, they stick you in a hallway or a utility room for your breaks, but not here; we had a huge dressing area with a lounge area and plenty of delicious catered food. The other mascot actors were all cool, too — I met a dashingly handsome little person, a yoga instructor who gave me stretching tips, and several handsome young actor/models from L.A. and Vegas…so the time really passed quickly. Great gig!

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Illegal smile at the John Prine show

Now, I had only come back to Vegas for a few days to make some money and take care of household matters before heading back out on my next adventure. But before leaving town, I had one more thing to do — my good friend J.R. had invited me to go see John Prine & Iris DeMent live in concert at the Palms! I’m not a huge John Prine fan like J.R. is, but I like some of his songs…so as soon as I got out of my mascot suit that night, I hurried across town and met up with J.R. at the show. I tried to get high in the bathroom beforehand, but they had one of those damn restroom attendants in there, so I could only sneak one toke…but as it turned out, that was the perfect amount for my lightweight ass; I got just enough of a buzz to where I thoroughly enjoyed watching the show. Especially the audience!!

This was right in the thick of Rodeo season in Vegas, when all the cowboys and whatnot descend on Vegas for two weeks every December, so the audience was mostly full of Baby Boomer rodeo folk and a few 30-something hipsters. But after the show we went out into the casino for a nightcap, and that was a real shitshow! Cowboys, hipsters, the usual Vegas ho-bags…and an astonishing number of super-decked-out drag queens!! Apparently there was some kinda drag queen convention going on that weekend, too. That’s what I love about Vegas — the mishmash of weird subcultures you get, all mixed together on any given weekend. My favorite thing is when you see some kind of crossover from one culture to another — like if I’d seen a drag rodeo queen (which alas I did not). I did wonder if there was anyone else at the John Prine show who was also attending the PlayStation Experience…but I’m pretty sure I was the only one icon smile A Mind Thats Weak and a Back Thats Strong I cross all boundaries!!!!

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Mojave Preserve

Anyway, the very next day after collecting my blood money from all these various gigs, I got the fuck out of town and went back out into the desert for some peace and quiet. The plan was to meet my sister out in the Mojave National Preserve for a few days of camping — despite the chilly weather and my still-aching body, there was no way I was missing out on that! Camping out at the Kelso Dunes has been on my bucket list for years, so I piled a bunch of blankets and pillows and schnapps into my truck and headed out to meet up with her. There’s not really any cell reception out there, so we arranged to meet at the Kelso Depot, an old railway station in the middle of the Preserve, at noon.

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Dune campsite

Once I found my sis, she took me to the campsite she’d set up, waaay out behind the dunes off a three-mile dirt road in the middle of nowhere. She’d already been there a couple days (my sis is a real badass), so all I really had to do was set up my bed, with plenty of padding for my bruised/fractured rib, and I was good to go. We made some hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps, then set off to hike to the top of the tallest dune.

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The Kelso Dunes

Hiking those dunes is a killer workout! I’m not sure how tall they are, but they go on and on, and they’re closed to vehicle traffic so you needn’t worry about sand-railin’ rednecks or idiots on quads and whatnot….you can just enjoy the utter stillness and unmarked beauty of the desert. Once you get to the top, the view is amazing — just miles and miles and miles of sand, sagebrush and mountains all around you. Gorgeous!!!

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Embracing the last gentle rays of 2014

Then, when you’re ready to descend, you can simply sit on your ass and slide down. The Kelso Dunes are known as “booming dunes,” since they make a weird, eerie sort of didgeridoo sound when the grains of sand rub against each other as you slide down — and they are one of only a few such dunes in the entire world. It has something to do with the diameter and the silica content of the sand grains; I’m not exactly sure. But it’s awesome!!!

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The Mojave Preserve

Anyway, we spent the next couple of days camping and exploring around the fabulous Mojave National Preserve — a sorely underappreciated swath of desert between Vegas and Wonder Valley (between I-15 and I-40, basically). It’s a vast stretch of parkland with an astonishing variety of landscapes — aside from the dunes, there are also Joshua tree forests, mountains, caverns and canyons.

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Rings Loop Trail

Alas, the caverns were closed at the time of our visit, but we did some amazing hiking through a slot canyon with rings bolted into the walls, and across some amazingly beautiful desert scrubland. I wholeheartedly recommend this place to anyone with an appreciation of/love for the desert — camping in many places is FREE, and the place is so vast and so seldom visited that you could go days without seeing anyone!

After a couple days of sleeping in a freezing tent in the desert, we had planned to drive back up north to my mom’s house in the redwoods on the Russian River north of San Francisco…but a huge storm had just blown into the area up there, and knocked out the power and whatnot, so my mom advised we wait another day before heading up. Since the weather was still OK down in the So Cal desert, and we weren’t too far from Deep Creek hot springs, we decided to head over there to soak and camp another night.

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Americana at the Baghdad Cafe

Along the way from the Mojave Preserve to Deep Creek, we stopped at the ever-fabulous Baghdad Cafe on Rte. 66 near Newberry Springs for breakfast. This kitschy tourist stop was as sunbaked and covered in French graffiti as ever, and the food was as greasy and subpar as always. The only changes I could see since my last visit a year ago were that the abandoned motel next door had been boarded up,

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view from the rear window of an old Airstream

and they had trucked in some busted-up old Airstream trailers for photo ops and ambiance. Though the Airstreams had only been there less than a year, the interiors were already covered in French graffiti — those fuckin’ frogs love that place! As a matter of fact, Euros of all stripes love it — there was plenty of German scribbling too, and even a sticker for some Norwegian women’s motorcycle club (!!!). As gross as the food is here, I’ll never pass thru the area without stopping here for a meal!

Anyway, after breakfast we tooled along

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Murica

to Apple Valley and set up camp at Deep Creek. The easiest access to the springs from the east is through private property, the Bowen Ranch — the rancher charges you $5 for day use or $10 for overnight “camping,” though all you really get either way is a parking spot on a litter-strewn overlook; the springs themselves are a 2-mile hike down the canyon onto U.S. Forest Service land. Apparently there’s another trailhead nearby, called the Freedom Trail, that is NOT on private land so you don’t have to pay…but the guy who runs Bowen Ranch supposedly tries to cover it up so you’ll use his entrance and pay him the cash, so that trailhead is harder to find. Allegedly, the Bowen Ranch guy has even gone down and shot up the windows of cars parked at the Freedom Trailhead…so be advised!!

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sunset at Bowen Ranch

I don’t go that often, so I don’t mind paying the $5 or $10 — but in this case it was kinda ridiculous, since my sis and I both had our cars so we ended up shelling out $20 to park on a barren, litter-strewn hilltop all night. Whatevs! Last time we went, we packed all our gear down the trail to the actual springs, and camped out on the beach there. But this time, in winter, we didn’t feel like carrying all those blankets and pillows and whatnot down there…so we decided to sleep in our cars up top, and just hike down to soak.

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Sleeping in the cab of my truck :/

My sis has a 4-Runner, so she can fold down her back seat and sleep fairly comfortably. She offered to let me sleep in there with her, but I decided to just make a bed across the bench seat of my truck cab, and sleep in there. It’s almost wide enough for me to stretch out all the way, and since I had so many pillows and stuff with me, I was able to make it tolerably cozy. Still, I don’t really recommend it; I need to get a camper shell, already…ASAP!

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wading across the freezing creek

Anyhoo, after setting up “camp,” we mixed up some more cocoa with peppermint schnapps and headed down the trail to spend the evening soaking. We got to the creek around dusk, and it was amazing — the trees were all orange and yellow, and it was even better than the summertime, in a way, since there are less douchebags down there this time of year! The only downside to Deep Creek in the winter is, if you come from the east, you have to wade across the Creek to get to the springs — and boy is that water cold!! In the summertime, the creek is warm and pleasant…but wading across it in winter is a real Scandinavian-style trial by fire. But I actually kind of dig it; it makes it more of an adventure! Plus you have the wonderful warm springs waiting for you on the other side icon smile A Mind Thats Weak and a Back Thats Strong

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Deep Creek in the moonlight

We soaked until late in the evening, under an almost-full moon, along with an assortment of kooks and local characters who offered us everything from mushrooms to moonshine, and a few things in between. Can I just say again how much I freaking love that place?!

Eventually, we dried off and bundled up above the waist and waded back across the freeeeezing water, which was admittedly zero fun at night, when all you’re facing is a long cold night sleeping in the cab of a pickup truck :/ But we did remember to use an old locals’ trick, and fill an empty water jug with hot spring water…so at least when we got to the other side, we were able to douse our freezing feet in hot water before shoving them into our furry boots for the hike up. That hike up is pretty steep, too, so our blood was pumping in no time and we were toasty-warm.

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making coffee at Deep Creek

In the morning, my sis had run out of propane for her stove…so we packed up camp and brought some instant Starbucks packets back down to the springs for a morning soak, and made coffee using hot spring water directly from where it spouted from the Earth. It was pretty good, actually! Many of the regulars down there swear by the water — they say it has all kinds of beneficial minerals, and lithium aplenty, too.

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autumn/winter at Deep Creek

So we whiled away the morning and afternoon soaking and chatting with more of the regulars down there, including this cool local guy we’d met on our last trip there back in July, the Hot Springs Wizard. All this time, my sis and I were trying to decided where we should go/what we should do next — my mom said the storm was still raging, the river had flooded the roads, and nothing was expected to subside til Friday morning…so we had one more night to kill.

The problem was, it was a huuuuuge storm system that was basically blasting all of California, so there wasn’t really anywhere we could go camping to get away from it, unless we backtracked to Arizona or Nevada. We considered staying another night in our cars at Deep Creek, but I really didn’t feel like cramming in my cab again…so we finally decided to just head up north, and stop for the night in good old Bakersfield, where we could get a cheap motel and then continue on in the morning.

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Breakfast in Bakersfield

Boy am I glad we did — that storm really blew in with a vengeance, even in Bakersfield!! The next morning there were bits of palm tree and other detritus everywhere, so we just had a quick breakfast in this amazing old-school diner on Buck Owens Blvd., and then tooled on up I-5 to the Bay Area. Normally, that’s a suuuuper boring drive…but in the rain it was pretty cozy, and besides we were both listening to this amazing true-crime podcast called Serial, so the time passed like nothing.

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rainy road outside Bakersfield

We got to my mom’s house late in the afternoon, and it was true — the Russian River had flooded everything! All the vineyards were lakes, and everything was soggy and drenched. My mom’s house was OK though, and the sun had even started peeking through. Which was a great thing, since the very next day we planned to head down to San Francisco for SantaCon.

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SantaCon

SantaCon is basically a giant, citywide pub crawl where thousands of people show up from all around the Bay Area dressed in Santa costumes, and engage in drunken revelry. I guess the people who started it back in the day intended it as more of a performance art/political statement-type thing…but it took off and sort of devolved into a drunken frat melee, basically. Now they have SantaCons in cities all across the U.S. (in Vegas they call it Santa Rampage), and it’s generally derided by the artistic elite as having jumped the shark. Well, I didn’t care…I wanted to experience it anyway!!

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Fuck yeah!! TUBA!!!

A friend of mine from Burning Man is the leader of an amazing brass band called the Brass Band Mission, and he had invited me to accompany them as they paraded through the streets of San Francisco, playing Christmas carols and jazz standards as part of SantaCon. O…..M…..G!!!!! I’ve never had so much fun in my life!!!!!!!!!!!

My sis and I rolled into the city around noon, found a place to park, popped some shrooms and met up with the band in Union Square. It was fabulous!!!! Everywhere you looked, there were thousands of people in Santa outfits — most of them pretty lame, to be sure; the chicks were mostly in corny slutty Santa’s Helper outfits, and most of the guys were dumbass bros in cheesy, unimaginative getups. But there were a few really creative, cool costumes and characters here and there that made the whole event worthwhile — and the band was so effing amazing, it made up for everything!!!

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Brass Band Mission takin’ it to the streets

I cannot describe to you the sheer, unadulterated joy of marching down the middle of the street in Chinatown with a full ten-piece marching band blasting “Grazing in the Grass,” prancing and dancing and shaking a jingle bell so madly that my finger turned red and almost fell off, while hundreds of bemused Chinese merchants looked on in consternation, and passers-by in every

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F U N ! ! !

direction stopped to stare and even join in the merriment. It was like the circus, the carnival, Burning Man and Disneyland all rolled into one mobile party — and it was infectious!! This one janitor was sweeping the street with a broom, and my sis danced over and gave him a jingle bell, and before you know it, he was dancing, too! Just like something out of Sesame Street!! And I can’t tell you how many inscrutable old Chinese people I danced up into the faces of, shaking my jingle bell furiously until their stoic faces cracked into smiles, each and every one. I’M NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP!!!!!!

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Shrooming!

Ugh, it was incredible. The party made its way through Chinatown to North Beach, where it wound up in an alley named after Jack Kerouac, sandwiched between an old beatnik bookstore and a bourgeois literary coffee shop, where well-heeled tourists looked down from their second-floor tables and $12 lattes, smiling enviously at us crazy broke idiots and our madcap street jamboree. It was a total validation of the crazy pauper’s path I’ve chosen for myself — I’m telling you, I’ve never seen anything like it in all my days. The band was wailing, limbs were flailing, bells were jingling and people were flinging themselves about in a hopped-up booze-and-drug-fueled ecstatic, fantastic, joygasmic dance of sheer exuberance. FAR FUCKING OUT, MAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!

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mudpocalypse!

The parade eventually made its way all the way down to Washington Square Park, where it sort of got bogged down in the crowd of drunken idiots gathered there in the muck and the mud, hanging out drinking and braying in the shadow of a magnificent old cathedral that loomed over the whole sordid mess like a reproachful grandmother. By then, the band had sort of run out of steam, so I

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ENJOY EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!

hopped aboard a converted schoolbus that was blasting Fleetwood Mac, but the crew on board was all beer-swilling mooks and college-age gash, like a bad Burning Man turnkey camp circa 2014, so we got the fuck out of there and just headed back to our car.

I was still feeling the effects of the mushrooms, so walking through the city at night was magnificent — San Francisco at Christmastime, all lit up and sparkly and jam-packed with bougie twats toting Tiffany & Co shopping bags as they scurried from Saks to Starbucks and back again. Everyone was in awe of our costumes, and we were asked to pose for photos many times, always obliging with shroomy enthusiasm, even going so far as to pinch kids’ cheeks and exhort them to enjoy every single day of life!!!

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I asked him what tribe he was from, and he said “The Casino tribe!”

Then every once in a while, a random leather-jacketed turquoise-laden pockmarked Indian would appear, or a shady bum offering weed and Oxycontin, or a fat hippie chick in a Phish t-shirt and peasant skirt, flip-flopping down the street blasting a YouTube documentary about a 40-year-old virgin on her smartphone. Gawd, I love that city!! If I could afford to, I’d probably live there — at least until I got tired of the cold and dank, that is. Then I’d hightail it back to the desert icon smile A Mind Thats Weak and a Back Thats Strong

Anyway, after that madcap 6-hour bout of marching, dancing and boozing, we got back in the car and drove back up north to my mom’s cabin in the forest. BOY, was I exhausted! Not only was I physically wrung out from all the dancing, but my rib still hurt, I had a bad case of jingle finger, and my toe was throbbing where I had cut it while making coffee down at Deep Creek. I’m a wreck!!!!

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The best things in life are F R E E ! ! !

But when all is said and done, I’ll take the crazy seat-of-my-pants pauper’s life, any day. Like those bourgeois tourists looking down at us in Jack Kerouac Alley — you can’t BUY this kind of fun, motherfuckers; it just happens!! I’d trade a thousand Saks 5th Ave bags and a hundred Farallon steak dinners for one shroom-fueled street jamboree with a ten-piece brass band in an alley on a sunny afternoon, any day of the week!

Maybe that’s my problem.

 

 

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Villains and Superheroines and the Busted Bunny Ranch

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photo by Footeprints

I counted once, and I have 112 pairs of shoes (!!). But photo shoots aside, I only really wear two of them: flip-flops and furry boots. Flip flops are my preferred footwear — I like my toes to be as free as my spirit, and *hate* having them cramped up in socks and shoes. But each year, there comes a time when I finally have to shove my frostbitten toes into my off-brand Uggs and call it a day. That day, alas, has arrived icon sad Villains and Superheroines and the Busted Bunny Ranch

To prepare, I spent the past few weeks savoring the last vestiges of summer, like the dregs of a happytini that I just couldn’t bear to see the bottom of. I had a few outdoor photo shoots booked, and after the cold bullshit I suffered at Halloween, I expected to freeze my ass off and be miserable. But the first part of November was pretty warm here in Vegas, so it wasn’t bad; one day, I spent a super-pleasant afternoon out near Valley of Fire with a traveling photographer from New Mexico, who had me pose in the Shortest Daisy Dukes of All Time (see above), which he had crafted himself — apparently aside from being a Fine Artist, he’s also quite the fashion designer!

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photo by Randy Fosth

Another day, I dragged some friends back out to that abandoned brothel I first investigated back in September with my grouchy lady friend, up near Goldfield. We made a day of it, packing snacks and drinks and stopping here and there to snap random pics along the way, including on this busted-up old plane in front of Angel’s Ladies (still operational) brothel outside Beatty.

 

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Life ain’t easy at the Busted Bunny Ranch photo by Randy Fosth

My friend Blondie came along as a model/partner in crime, with my friend Randy (Shutterbug Studio on Model Mayhem) gamely photographing our slatternly hijinks as we frolicked about on mounds of broken glass, rat shit and stained mattresses. Gooooooooood times! I’m pleased to report that the ol’ abandoned brothel is still in pretty good shape since my last visit — I was afraid it would turn out like that abandoned water park I shot at last winter; since my shoot, that place has since been defaced by hideous black tagging, and has been pretty much ruined as a decent location icon sad Villains and Superheroines and the Busted Bunny Ranch Stupid cholos!! The graffiti at the time of my shoots there was colorful and politically-inspired…this new stuff is just ugly.

 

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photo by Randy Fosth

After the shooting our fill at the abandoned brothel, we headed up the road to Goldfield and shot a bit at the junk car forest, too — I’m telling you, the desert around here is just packed with scenic backgrounds for cheesecake T&A! Goldfield is a bit far afield (about 3 hours from Vegas), but even in the area immediately surrounding town, there are a lot of cool spots. You just have to know where to look!

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photo by Randy Fosth

To that end, another day I was hired for an all-day shoot by this traveling foreign guy who wanted me to take him out and about into the desert around Vegas and show him some of my favorite locations. Now, this guy was a rank amateur — no experience shooting models whatsoever — but as I advertise on my Model Mayhem portfolio, I am happy to shoot with all experience levels! Who cares?! These other chicks I see blathering on and on about how they’ll never shoot with a GWC (modeling term for Guy With Camera, a/k/a Amateur Perv) make me laugh…all the way to the bank! Go ahead and delude yourselves, ya hags — you’re a big time model, and you ain’t got time for nobody but Demarchelier. Meanwhile, your fat ass is covered in shitty tattoos and you’re go-go dancing in the party pit at Harrahs. Good luck with that!

Moreover, what exactly separates the “amateurs” from the “pros” when it comes to men paying women and girls to pose naked except for a roll of caution tape and a fake machine gun? Is it the cost of the photographer’s gear? The presence/size of a watermark on his finished photos? The fact that he’s been “published” in some shitty web-only “magazine” that no one but true dorks and assholes reads?? Get real, people! This business we’re in is patently ridiculous…have a sense of humor about it, for Chrissakes!!!

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No camera? No problem!
pic by Randy Fosth

Aaaaaanyway, I am nothing if not realistic about my options, and am more than happy to shoot with just about anyone (I’ve mentioned before how I’ve even shot with GWOCs — that’s Guys WithOUT Cameras, i.e., I have to lend them my own personal DSLR to use for the shoot). And it oftentimes turns out to be a fun experience, as it was with this foreign guy.

Come to find out, he was legally blind — which he let me know up front in the email, and which I did find a bit disconcerting, at first. I mean, what — I’m so hot, even a blind man can’t resist me?? Or maybe the poor fucker just couldn’t see what kind of B-grade gash he was getting himself into!! But it turns out he actually could see, he just had extremely limited vision due to a genetic condition. I actually think half the reason he hired me was just so I could drive him around the desert, to all these beautiful scenic locations.

 Villains and Superheroines and the Busted Bunny RanchSpeaking of which, allow me a moment of shameless self-promotion! If you’ve ever wanted to shoot a model in the desert, and can get your ass to Vegas, I offer this amazing value: for $500, I will drive you to the beautiful desert locations shown in this photo, where you can experience for yourself the unbridled artistic fulfillment of shooting a nude model (me) cavorting about among the sandstone and sagebrush. Did I mention I also do my own hair and makeup? What a deal! Call now; supplies are extremely limited!!

And guess what?! The next 30 callers get a FREE BONUS: in addition to getting a tour guide, chauffeur and model, you’ll also get a confidant/therapist — I can’t tell you how many photographers have confided their problems to me on these long desert drives. Many photographers are going through midlife crises, or suffering from boring lives, and need an outlet — someone who understands the perils of Life with an Artistic Temperament. Like me!

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the therapist’s couch
pic by Randy Fosth

I’ve always been a really good listener, but sometimes it surprises even me the things guys will tell me after having just met me. This foreign guy really opened up to me, in fact, about his partial paralysis (unrelated to his vision problem)…and about certain lower-body functions he was unable to perform. As a connoisseur of the Vegas demimonde, he wondered if I might be able to help him find an outlet for his carnal desires — more specifically, how he might find a “chocolate-colored girl” to sit on his face. (If you’re reading this, anonymous photographer, I hope you’re not offended…I just HAD to include that line because I found its bluntness so refreshing.)

Anyway, ain’t no thang — I was more than happy to give him some advice regarding strip clubs, swingers’ clubs and escort services (which, I felt, offered the best opportunity for him to get what he wanted). What can I say; I love helping people (and this guy was exceptionally cool)! But really, I do pride myself on my ability to put people at ease…and open them up, so to speak.

But not all my shoots are sunshine and happiness. A couple days later, I did this freaky fuckin’ fetish shoot that was so bizarre, it almost turned me off fetish modeling for life!

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http://clips4sale.com/studio/51405/Cat88-SUPERHEROINES/SUPERHEROINE–TALES#startingpoint

The shoot was for a website that sells video clips of chicks dressed as superheroines getting tied up, molested and stripped by a series of nefarious villains. There was no overt sexual content — you just get knocked out, tied up, and stripped, and the camera pans over your nude body while the villain slavers over you, with the actual raping implied to occur after the clip ends — but it was still pretty creepy because I mean, who beats off to that??? I have a longstanding policy of not shooting bondage, partly because it’s physically painful, and partly because the idea of some guy jerking off to a picture of a hogtied, terrified girl-next-door is too Ted Bundyish for my comfort zone. I got into a real shitshow on the Model Mayhem forums over this whole subject last year, so I won’t belabor the point — I get it, bondage is allegedly a power trip for the submissive, as well (!)…so, to each his own. But my own ain’t bondage, so I don’t enjoy shooting it!!!!

But this superheroine thing seemed really tongue-in-cheek and cartoonish, like the old Batman TV show, so I thought I’d give it a try. The guy doesn’t even use real bondage ties or anything — it’s all very fake and goofy. So I packed up my Batgirl costume, my Wonder Woman costume and my gold lamé bodysuit, and headed on over to the shoot.

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ummm…no!

Now, the guy who runs the site is a true nut (and I mean that in the most complimentary sense possible — he was very nice, and a total professional): a mild-mannered government employee by day, and a fetish impresario by night, fulfilling fiendish fantasies by dressing up asa diabolical characters who capture and molest sassy superheroines (he appears in the clips himself as the villain, and personally does the molesting). And BOY has he come up with some freaky fuckin’ villains!!!! There was the Evil Scientist, the Gasser (who gasses superheroines to knock them out)…and then, most horrifying of all, Albert the Dirty Old Man. When playing Albert, he dons this super-freaky realistic-looking latex old-man mask, with gray hairs sprouting from the ears and nostrils, and cackles such astonishing obscenities as, “I’ll fuck ye like yer granpaw used to fuck ye!” Heh heh heh!!! Horror!!!!!!!

The scenario in that clip was that I, Batgirl, was just leaving the old-folks’ home after my weekly volunteer session, when the director of the home asked me for a favor: “Batgirl, I know you’re on your way out the door, and you’re busy fighting crime and all, but could you stop in on your way out to see this one poor old guy who never gets any visitors?” “Awwww, sure! I just love old people…they remind my of my beloved Grandpa, rest his soul!” (This is why I like doing fetish videos; I love the cheesy acting shtick involved).

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Batgirl in happier days
pic by Maze

Well, I go in and talk to the “poor old guy,” who turns out to be Albert, and he starts telling me how he used to be a magician, and would I like to see one of his tricks? So he ties me up…but instead of making the rope disappear as promised, he ends up pawing me through my bodysuit, then knocking me out with his cane, undressing me, and drooling over my naked form. The clip ends with him hovering over me in his old-man jammies, delivering the aforementioned classic line of dialogue referencing my “granpaw.” SHUDDER!

But as horrifying as Albert was, the worst was yet to come. For the last clip, he dressed up at the diabolically creepy Bopo the Clown!!! Y I K E S !!!

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Bopo and me

Aside from his full-body clown suit, hat and full-face latex clown mask (!!!), when playing Bopo this guy also affects a super creeeeeepy clowny-clown voice that’s even worse than Albert’s voice (he’s really good at doing voices and accents, LOL). The premise of this clip was, Bopo usually uses chloroform to knock out Superheroines…but now he’s come up with something even better: Hornyform!! Once a Superheroine gets a whiff of that, it’s all over — she’s putty in his hands. He even broke out this super-creepy old vibrator to torture me with, and I was supposed to look like I was getting off, against my will.

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SHUDDER!!! http://clips4sale.com/studio/51405/Cat88-SUPERHEROINES/SUPERHEROINE–TALES#startingpoint

I mean, REALLY. Are there seriously guys out there who fantasize about this shit?!?!?!?! The prospect is unsettling, to say the least! I don’t care how many vibrators you prod me with — if I’m hogtied against my will, I’m not getting off, no matter WHAT! To believe otherwise is to assume that women are weak-willed idiots at the mercy of their fickle, overactive clitorides…and that sounds suspiciously like medieval religious hokum, to me.

But hey, I’m just a lazy hyprocrite trying to make a buck, so I went with the program and pretended that Bopo’s Hornyform and made vibrator skills got me off. Then I collected my paycheck and got the fuck out of there!!!

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Beat off to THIS, motherfucker!!
pic by Randy Fosth

Man, that shoot was so unsettlingly freaky that it made me question my life choices as few other shoots have done. Although as mentioned the guy in charge was REALLY nice, and the utmost professional about his work…by participating, I was still basically glamorizing rape. Cartoony and goofy or no, some guy somewhere is still beating off to the idea of molesting me while I’m tied up and helpless…and that feels pretty dirty. Shooting for that site was an interesting experience for sure, but I won’t do it again.

Then when I got home, I realized I’d left my cape behind…but I wrote it off as a loss, cuz there was NO WAY I was going back to get it! But wouldn’t you know, the guy texted me first thing in the morning: “Hey, you forgot your cape!!” So I had to go back across town to get it — but I tried to make it quick, as he was in the middle of another shoot, with another half-naked chick tied up on a chair. He seemed offended, like he wanted me to stay and chat…but it just didn’t seem like a good time!!!

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pic by Adam Sternberg

I honestly really didn’t have time, anyway– my dear old buddy J.R. was in town, and I had to bring his usual suitcase full of water, vodka, wine and weed over to his hotel (I stock his room for him whenever he comes to town). You might remember J.R. from my blogs back in the day — a lovesick Tennessee oilman who was going through a divorce and a midlife crisis, right around the time I got a DUI and was losing my house. The two of us together were worse than George Jones and Tammy Wynette!!! We’ve remained close friends over the years, but I hadn’t seen him in quite a while, so I headed down to spend some quality time hanging out with him.

J.R. was in town for a few days, so we went to dinner a couple times, hit up a cigar convention at the Mirage, and then one night we finally went and rode that fucking Ferris Wheel that’s been looming over the Strip since March. I hadn’t gotten around to riding it yet because I’m cheap, and didn’t want to shell out $40 — but apparently no one else did, either, and because business was so shitty they finally lowered the price.

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View from the top 15 degrees or so

How was it, you ask? OK, but honestly kinda depressing — to get on board you have to file through all these endless Disneyland-style rope mazes, designed to handle the huuuuge crowds they were apparently expecting…but in reality, no one was there, and we basically walked right in and sat down. Now, this might have been due to the fact that it was a Sunday night…but it was a holiday weekend! More accurately I’d say no one wants to ride the fuckin’ thing cuz it sucks — they built it in the alley behind Ballys, so for around 75% of the ride, you’re just looking at the ass-end of various shitty downmarket hotels. You only see the lights of the Strip and the Bellagio fountains and whatnot at the very tippy-top. Worse, I thought nighttime would be the right time to ride because of the lights and stuff — but in actuality sunset would be better, as then you could at least see the mountains and the desert in the distance when you get tired of looking at the hotel parking garages. At night, it’s just parking garages or pitch black suburban nothingness.

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I just couldn’t crack his concentration!

Meanwhile, to even get to the damn thing you have to traverse this awful fake shopping alley full of stupid bars and restaurants — but actually, that fake-ass alleyway contains one true gem that was, in my estimation, more fun than the Ferris Wheel itself: the Polaroid store! This gimmicky gift shop is dedicated to all things Polaroid, with many fun interactive photo ops and goofy tchotchkes for sale — and upstairs, there’s an awesome free museum dedicated to the history of Polaroid and its old-time advertising. Fantastic!!! There’s even a life-size wax mannequin of my #1 favorite kook of all-time, Andy Warhol, that you can fuck around with — and a bunch of his famous Polaroid portraits on display. J.R. and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at that museum, since we’re both photography buffs. I highly recommend it! (We were high, now that I think about it…but even that didn’t make the Ferris wheel fun!)

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On to sunnier shores!

Anyway, after J.R. left, the weather started to get cold. Thankfully, I only had one more gig (pranking some douchebag, pretending to assault him one midnight on his way out of the comedy club at the Tropicana as part of a Las Vegas: The Game prank) before I was off for a fun-filled seven day cruise to Mexico — where it never gets cold!!!

A friend had gotten some free Carnival cruise tickets to the Mexican Riviera, but when his Plan A fell thru (his girlfriend couldn’t get the time off) he invited me along instead. Why the hell not? Cabo Wabo, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta; margaritas, shuffleboard and hijinks with Gopher and Isaac, ahoy!!

Alas, cruising has changed a lot since the days of the Love Boat; I’d been on a cruise once before (with J.R., to the Caribbean) but had somehow forgotten the raging case of David Foster Wallaceitis I’d suffered on that previous experience. Moreover, this was Carnival — the Everyman’s cruise line: nothing but aspirational-bourgeois tradesmen and Avon ladies waddling onboard for the Funnest Time of Their (nasty, brutish and short) Lives.

There’s really nothing I can add to what David Foster Wallace already said about cruising — you wake up, waddle to the buffet, avail yourself of dozens of chafing dishes loaded with bland, hospital-cafeteria-type slop, stuff your greasy piehole until you begin to involuntarily regurgitate, then go crap into a vat of thousands of gallons of other peoples’ sewage already sloshing merrily about belowdecks…then strap on a swimsuit, sprawl by the pool and guzzle a hurricane glass of 180-proof hi-fructose corn syrup before passing out with your maw ajar, until it’s time to wake up and repeat the process for lunch and dinner. Once or twice throughout the week you encase your girth in a cheap, stretchy polyester-blend gown scattered with flecks of glitter and glue and a few remaining rhinestones for “elegant” night, at which time you tease your shitty highlighted hair to mammoth proportions and sway uneasily down to the photographer like a knock-kneed calf at the Manatee Prom, to pose for a soul-crushingly lamentable series of Olan-Mills-in-the-headlights Portraits that are as heartbreaking as they are laughable. Then you go in the dining room, fill up on food-industry-grade refined chum, and afterward stop off at the Piano Bar for a few more rounds of hi-fructose corn syrup while bawling “Sweet Caroline” with an assortment of rust belters, assembly-line workers and K-Mart cashiers before toddling barefoot back to your cabin to be inseminated by an empty-eyed, desperate walrus who you only too late recognize to be your sister’s husband.

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pic by Adam Sternberg

The humanity!!!

 

But don’t get me wrong; the cruise wasn’t a total bummer. They did have some pretty good oatmeal for breakfast, and then one magical evening in the karaoke lounge I did witness the incredible spectacle of a guy with Down Syndrome singing “O Holy Night” — all six, excruciating minutes of it. It was vastly more entertaining than the schlock on deck in the ship showroom (which was a fun-for-the-whole-family, Technicolor tap-dancing tribute to the music of the Beatles)(!).

 

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Dios mio!

The constant immersion in this human comedy left me disheartened and literally sick — whether from some door-handle virus or David Foster Wallaceitis I cannot say, but for the last few days of the voyage I had a raging fever and was coughing up my guts, one lung at a time. I ended up just staying in bed, and my poor friend must have rued the day he invited me; my senses are apparently much too refined for cruising. I tried to send him on his way and encourage him to have fun without me…but I think I accidentally crushed his spirit, too; when we’d set sail from Long Beach, he was all a-twinkle with plans of hooking up with swinger couples onboard…but the longer he was stuck with me and my buzzkilling reminders of his poor, innocent girlfriend back home (who does not swing)…the less fun the poor fucker had. He made a couple half-hearted attempts at putting the moves on a few heifers…but I think I truly had killed his spirit, and he never really pursued anything. He ended up just buying some Mexican Viagra in Cabo, and saving his lust for when he got home. Yep, you can call me the Relationship Saver — his girlfriend was probably sweating balls about him being on that cruise with me, when in reality I was the only thing keeping him on the straight and narrow!!!

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pic by Adam Sternberg

Aaaaaanyway, once we got back I basically crawled off the ship straight into bed, and slept for a couple days straight before dragging my ass back into my truck and driving for 10 hours straight up to the redwoods in Northern California, where I am spending Thanksgiving. When I got here, I bought a brand new pair of fuzzy pajamas…and guess what? I’m not taking them off til December!!!

See ya then…….

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Return to Saline Valley Hot Springs

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International Woman of Leisure

As an International Woman of Leisure, I enjoy a pretty sweet life packed with parties, adventures and the occasional foray into the depths of the collective pysche. But as a Broke-Ass Hack, I also have to take a break now and then to go home, do some laundry, squats and lunges, and work enough goofy gigs to pay the bills and finance my next trip. So when I got back from my fantastical jaunt to Hawaii, I had to put my nose to the grindstone and get busy hustling; I only had a few days before my next adventure, so I really had to bust my ass to make my nut. Fortunately, the Hustle Gods were smiling on me…and I scored a grueling 40-hour gig in a dog costume!

This was one of those gigs I book occasionally through an agency that deals exclusively with mascot characters — they needed someone 5’1″ – 5’3″ to wear this famous cartoon dog costume at a insurance event…for ten hours a day, four days in a row!! Brutal, but a fat paycheck at the end…and because the shifts were so long, and the costume was so hot, they hired another chick to alternate 30-minute shifts with me, so we each only had to go out in costume for 30 minutes at a time, with a 30 minute break for air in between. Not too bad!

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I can’t post any photos in the dogsuit, so please enjoy this old pic of me in a Hooters outfit instead!

The other chick they hired was this ultra-waifish blonde actress/singer with whom I used to work a lot of gigs back in the day, until she moved to Hollywood to make it big in Show Biz. But I guess breaking into showbiz is harder than it seems, since she needed cash badly enough to come back to Vegas for this dogsuit gig. To save even more money, she asked if she could stay at my place…so I made up a bed for her on the floor in my dressing room, surrounded by my creepy mannequins and 112 pairs of shoes.

Now, this chick is cool as shit — I really like her. BUT, she is one of the most high-strung people I’ve ever met!!! A musical-theatre-type with a degree in Vocal Pedagogy, she also has several clinically-diagnosed phobiæ (including the inability to hear the sound of food being chewed — she literally backed away from me in horror when I was eating some almonds once), and a mile-a-minute stream of chatter which is only ever interrupted long enough for her trembling hands to pop an Adderall and wash it down with a gallon of Diet Coke. She drinks so much Diet Coke, in fact, that she even carries a handbag designed to look like a giant can of Diet Coke — I’ve never seen anything like it! But she’s a super nice chick, with some super interesting stories to tell about her offbeat money-making endeavors in L.A. (If that chick ever starts a blog, I’m doomed….her shit is way more interesting than my tired old shtick!!!)

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…and this classic by GW Photography

Anyway, this dog suit gig basically consumed four entire days of my life — I woke up, drove to the miserable corporate campus of one of the local casino companies, and suited up in the costume…then shuffled down the hall to pose for photos with casino employees and their snot-nosed brats at this soul-crushingly depressing insurance faire they had going on, where employees were supposed to go in and shop for supplemental insurance. It was basically a room full of Willy Loman/shark hybrids, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting blackjack dealers, cocktail waitresses and restroom attendants in the hopes of luring them into signing over parts of their meager paychecks just in case something unthinkable were to happen. Meanwhile, to lure them in, they had all these depressing “Kids’ Activities” like face painters, balloon twisters…and one sad bitch in a dogsuit. “Fun for the Whole Family!” Ugh.

I can’t afford to have lofty morals or anything like that, so I just kept my mouth shut and put on the suit every 30 minutes, for 10 hours a day, all 4 days. It really wasn’t that bad, and I just kept my eyes on the prize: a $1,000 payday at the end of it all. That’ll buy a lot of shrooms and booze!!!

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the stock photo strikes again!

Meanwhile, there was another big trade show going on in town that weekend over at the convention center — the specialty graphics show. Wouldn’t you know it, in no time flat my phone started blowing up with tradeshow model friends of mine texting me photos from the convention center — apparently, the show was using that fucking stock photo of me in the showgirl costume on all their banners and promotional marketing!!! (I did an unpaid photo shoot once with a photographer who turned around and sold the pics to a stock photo agency, and they turn up everywhere.)

Well, I thought it would be pretty cool to have a banner of myself to hang in my garage or something, as a reminder to always read model releases carefully…so on the last day of the trade show, I headed over to the convention center the second my dogsuit gig was over. The trouble was, I didn’t get off til 7pm…and the tradeshow had ended at 4:30. By the time I got there, they had already torn the place apart — and all the banners with my pic on them were already in a dumpster somewhere icon sad Return to Saline Valley Hot Springs

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Attack of the 50′ Hussy

The only thing still on display was this ginormous fucking 20′ x 40′ monstrosity that hung over the main entrance to the show…but no matter who I asked, I couldn’t find the person in charge of it, to see if I could have it. MAN! If I had a 20′ tall poster of myself, I’d never forget to read a model release again!!! The frustrating thing was, there were all manner of people bustling about dismantling the convention — but they all worked for different entities, and no one had any fucking authority: Security told me to ask GES, the GES guy told me to ask Show Management, and Show Management was nowhere to be found :-/ Finally I gave up and went home, and for my trouble, the fucking Convention Authority had put a ticket on my windshield, threatening to tow my car because it was parked in an unauthorized area. WELL, FUCK YOU, TOO, ASSHOLES! I’ll never be on one of your shitty banners again!! Oh, wait…I don’t have any rights to the photo, so I have no say-so in the matter. D’OH!!!!

Aaaaaaanyway, I put it all behind me in the interest of getting on with my life and getting on with my dogsuit gig, so I could finally finish it up and get the fuck out of Dodge and onto my next adventure, which happened to be an exceptionally amazing one. The minute that dog suit was off for the last time, so was I — off to the desert, for my long-awaited return to Fabulous Saline Valley Hot Springs!!!!!!!

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vast, uber-desolate Saline Valley

I’d been dying to return to magical Saline Valley for quite some time now — the last (and only) time I’d gone was way back in 2011, but that fantastically magical place has been lodged in my memory ever since. If you don’t remember/haven’t read my other blog about this fantastically remote desert oasis, the Saline Hot Springs are basically a collection of pristine, volunteer-built-and-maintained cement hot spring pools shrouded by shaggy palm trees, waaaaaaay the fuck out in the middle of nowhere, on the far northwest edge of Death Valley, miles and miles and miles away from anything. There’s no cell phone service, and the only way to get there is to leave the pavement and traverse a 50-mile-long washboard dirt road that keeps out all but the most intrepid, hardcore desert kooks.

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the road’s reward

On my last trip I’d been incredibly fortunate, as I was woefully underprepared and really should have ended up one of those dumbass tourist fatalities you read about — getting to Saline is a HARD CORE ADVENTURE requiring a BAD ASS vehicle, plenty of water and food, two full-size spare tires and/or a tire repair kit…and TONS of patience. The road is so miserable, it has been known to bust axles, tires and oil pans like they were made of papier-mâché…so you have to drive reeeeeeally slow, like 5-10mph, and get out of the car to move boulders and shit every now and then. Keep in mind, if you do bust a tire or oil pan, there is no cell phone service and very little (if any) vehicle traffic for 50 miles in any direction….and this is Death Valley, so you’re basically FUCKED!

Anyhow, by the grace of Dog I made it out from that first trip alive…but at the end of it all, I vowed never to return to Saline Valley unless I was in a 4WD high-clearance vehicle –preferably someone else’s!!

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come soak with me!

Well, guess what — a reader of this blog emailed me a month or two back, inviting me to return to Saline with him in a rented 4WD Suburban…all meals and supplies included! This man lives in Atlanta, but he was willing to fly to Vegas, rent a car, buy camping gear and food and stuff, and haul my ass down a 50-mile washboard dirt road just for the chance to soak in the hallowed waters of the Saline Springs with me. How could I say no to that?!?!?!?

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Dr. Kildare, my sis and I

Yet again, you might think it unwise to meet up with a strange man and follow him into the remotest reaches of the desert — look what happened when I met up with Jack Johnson at Deep Creek!! But to that I say, a life well lived takes some risks…and besides, the guy emailed me a few times telling me about himself: a retired physician who had read many of my blogs and knew quite a bit about me and my bizarre-O lifestyle. He seemed like a really nice guy…so what the heck? Sometimes you gotta trust your instincts…and guess what; I’m glad I did! He turned out to be a super cool person, and even told me I could print uncensored photos of him here, and could use his real name — he said he was PROUD to know me, unlike “other” wussy haters who party with me but want to remain anonymous. As wonderful as I think his openness is, however, I’m still going to call him by a pseudonym…because it’s just more dramatic and fun that way icon smile Return to Saline Valley Hot Springs So we’ll call him “Dr. Kildare.”

Meanwhile, my sis had also been wanting to check out Saline Hot Springs for quite some time, so she drove down from the SF Bay Area and arranged to meet up with Dr. Kildare and I at Panamint Springs, the closest “town” (really just a motel/cafe/gas station) in the area, so we could caravan down that horrible dirt road together, in the interest of safety. (Even tho my sis has a 4×4, it’s better to be cautious…ya know?)

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panorama of Saline Valley

So after lunch at the cafe in Panamint, we all set off on the fabled dirt road. I had been telling them all about how horrible this road was for weeks and weeks…so imagine my surprise when it turned out not to be nearly as bad as I’d remembered! I must have looked like I was completely full of shit…but apparently, Saline Valley Road is technically a county-maintained road, and someone finally whined about it enough to where they graded the whole thing last winter, and now it really isn’t bad at all. We could still only go about 20mph, and up to 30-40 in a few spots….but it was MUCH better than the last time I’d traversed it. I’m not saying it’s an easy cruise — it’s still the worst road I’ve ever driven on, so BE ADVISED! Also, a winter storm could come along and fuck it up royally at any moment…so conditions are subject to change. If you’re planning a trip out there, your best bet is to check the online message boards at the Saline Valley Preservation Association forum…they have a thread there regarding latest road conditions. (I did check this myself before embarking on the trip, but refused to believe the road was as good as everyone said.)

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arriving at Saline Hot Springs

Anyway, the road was bumpy and long, but nothing our SUVs couldn’t handle, and we ended up rolling into the hot springs right around dusk. MUCH easier than my previous trip, where I had been stumbling around in pitch darkness without a clue! On that trip, my friend and I had just set up camp at the first place we came to, down in the bushes near the lower springs. On this trip, Dr. Kildare wanted to camp farther up, near the Palm Springs…out in the open desert, under a bazillion stars. It was FABULOUS!

Once camp was set up, we hiked down in the dark to soak in the lower springs. The lower springs are sort of the main gathering area, with a communal firepit, dishwashing area, showers, soaking pools and a nice shady lawn where you can relax during the heat of the day. They even have a little lending library full of musty paperbacks (and a sign warning you to keep the doors closed, as wild burros like to cruise in and eat the books). We couldn’t see any of this in the dark, but I wanted to hang out down there because I had one more friend driving in that night from Flagstaff, and I figured the lower springs would be the easiest place for him to find us.

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the main pool, by day

Sure enough, there was a group of people hanging out down there soaking in the pool next to the campfire, so Dr. Kildare, my sis and I all joined in. It was a fun group; a radio DJ and his snowboard-instructor brother from Mammoth, plus two hot fireman from the Bay Area. In other words, that pool had more simmering sausage than a pot of Andouille gumbo! But that’s what I love about hot springs — even where nudity is the custom (ESPECIALLY where nudity is the custom), a single gal need never fear jumping into a tub full of strange men. These places area all about naturism (in my experience, anyway) — nudity without sexuality. One more reason why I VASTLY prefer hot springs to nudist resorts…which almost always prove to be swinger hotbeds :/

Anyway, we all hung out soaking and bullshitting until my Flagstaff friend finally showed up, peering into the firelit darkness to ask if “Phyllis” was around. Phyllis was the code name I had chosen for myself at Saline; I don’t typically go by a pseudonym, but I was kinda skeered down there because the Saline regulars can be a real hard-nosed band of haters when it comes to “outsiders” writing/blogging/Yelping about their precious springs — all of which I have done, many times! I got quite a bit of hate mail from certain regulars out there when I wrote about my first trip to Saline….so I thought it might be prudent to go by a fake name whilst on their turf. So, “Phyllis” it was.

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the vault toilets at Saline are astonishingly clean

Anyway, as mentioned this new arrival was an acquaintance from Flagstaff — a photographer I had shot with back in March, at my German artist friends’ compound down in Wonder Valley. Apparently this guy is also a true eccentric — a truck-driving cat-lover who used to bring his cat with him on long hauls, even keeping a litter box under the glove compartment, LOL. But I already figured he was nutty…otherwise, he wouldn’t have agreed to drive all the way out to the middle of nowhere to meet up with a drug-addled batshit nude model!!! But, either way…us nutty types are the only people worth hanging out with, in my opinion icon smile Return to Saline Valley Hot Springs

Anyhoo, that first night was pretty mellow, and we all crawled into our tents pretty early. But the fabulous thing about camping with Dr. Kildare was, he likes to get up really early…and he likes to cook fantastic meals!! (Not unlike Dr. Who, now that I think about it!) So by the time my sis and I rolled out of bed in the morning, there was already coffee on tap in one of those catering carafes, followed by strawberries & cream and salmon, cream cheese and capers on water crackers. Holy Whole Foods, Batman!!! I contributed some Bloody Marys to the mix, and all in all it was better than any breakfast you could ever get at some poseur-ass 5-star hotel…because we were naked in the warm desert sunshine, surrounded by a vast, dramatic desert landscape, with towering mountains rising on all sides around us. F A B U L O U S !

We spent the day lounging in the shade down by the lower pool, reading and boozing and chatting with various leathery nude old men, all of whom had the most interesting stories to tell about their travels to this and other remote hot springs. Everyone was super friendly, so after awhile I got lazy and quit calling myself Phyllis — I don’t think anyone there knew or  cared who the fuck I was, other than some nattering naked ninny in a cowboy hat. So, the day passed peacefully…drenched in that amazing utter stillness you only get when you’re way the fuck out in the middle of a barren, cell-phone-less desert.

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pic by Dano G. fotodano.wordpress.com

But, every so often that majestic stillness would be broken out of nowhere by the screaming sound of fighter jet afterburners — Saline Valley also happens to be a designated low-level flight corridor used by pilots from nearby China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station to practice flying super low to the ground — as close as 300 feet overhead!! So you’d be sitting there naked, sipping a Bloody Mary and discussing the finer points of psilocybin, when all of a sudden this ginormous fucking F-18 would come swooping in out of nowhere, screaming through the valley, so close overhead that it rustled your pubic hair!! Sometimes they buzzed you so close, you could even make out the pilot in the cockpit!!! Far out!!!!!!!!

Even more awesomely, one of those pilots emailed me once, after reading my other blog about Saline Valley…and he attached a link to a video he shot, of what Saline Valley looks like from the pilot’s POV. But I lost the email, and can’t find it anywhere. Pilot, if you’re reading this…please resend! Anyway, rather than being a nuisance, those fighter jets really add to the bizarre ambiance at Saline. So weird!!!

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shoring up the Elvis shrine (springs barely visible in the distance, upper left)

Speaking of weird, one of the old-timers at the springs told us kids about an Elvis shrine someone had erected on a nearby hillside, so around sunset we went out hiking to find it. Alas, the dumb-ass park service dismantled it some time ago (apparently there’s a rule against erecting a monument or some such totalitarian B.S.), so all that was left was a pile of rocks. So we said a few words, and the DJ from Mammoth spelled out “T C B” in rocks at the base, and then we headed back down to camp for another one of Dr. Kildare’s fantastic meals — filet mignon and sautéed mushrooms, with a side of pasta kicked in by my Flagstaff trucker pal (who drives a bus for a living nowadays…so I’ll call him “Otto”).

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pic by Dano G. fotodano.wordpress.com

My own contribution this time was dessert — I had a bunch of chocolate magic mushroom truffles, which I passed around to all takers. Those of us who partook started tripping a short while thereafter, and we all headed up to soak in the Wizard pool — one of the upper pools that is open to the night sky, so you can lay back and stare into the heavens at the thousands and thousands of stars that can only be seen from a remote-ass place like Death Valley (or Mauna Kea). It was absolutely magical to sit there in all that silent vastness, surrounded by cool, naked people with no agenda other than a good time.

Alas, the silence was destroyed by our relentless shroomy nattering  —  about all kinds of stupid topics from cabbages and kings to the merits of Angelina Jolie vs. Jen Aniston. Apparently, my sister is on Team Angelina, and feels she has been wrongly maligned by the media as a scabrous, homewrecking whore when really it’s all Brad Pitt’s fault!! I never thought I’d be in the position of defending a humorless dullard like Jen, but in that situation I did have to take her side — Angelina had already busted up Billy Bob Thornton’s thing with Laura Dern, so she definitely knew better when it came to Brad. An honorable woman would have told Brad/Billy Bob to break it off with Jen/Laura before getting involved….but apparently, that bitch has a magic pussy that can lead men off a cliff faster than the Pied Piper. Anyway, my sis and I finally had to agree to disagree, because this is one topic on which we’re never gonna see eye to eye!

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pic by Dano G. fotodano.wordpress.com

That craziness went on late into the night, and a genuinely good time was had by all — even those among us who didn’t eat mushrooms. Dr. Kildare even said later that it was one of the most fun nights he’s ever had in his entire life! Apparently, even when I’m high as a kite and arguing drunkenly about some dumb HollyTwats, I’m fun to be around icon smile Return to Saline Valley Hot Springs But I wasn’t sure everyone felt that way…so the next morning I made sure to apologize to the other campers in the area, as they were taking their morning soak. No one was upset though, and everything was cool.

Anyway, we were all pretty hungover that day, so didn’t do much other than swill a few mimosas and lay around in the shade some more. We did sack up and hike to the undeveloped Upper Springs, way up the hill about 2 miles, just to get some exercise….but after that, we just had a light dinner and hit the sack early, so we could get up and watch sunrise one more time before leaving.

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Sick as fuck at sunrise!!!!!!

Let me tell you, it takes a lot to get me up for sunrise…but that was totally worth it!! I wasn’t feeling well, as I hadn’t slept for shit since arriving at Saline, and I was coming down with a cold or flu or something…so I was kinda subdued, but it was still fabulous to see the sun come up over the valley, bathing everything in pink and orange, my absolute favorite color combo of all time (I call it “porange”). Dr. Kildare made us one last fantastic breakfast, we packed up camp, had one last soak…and then headed off back to Vegas, pulling back into my driveway that night around 7pm. My sis followed us home, since the very next day we were both heading to L.A. together to attend a Halloween party at the home of some porn industry people we’d met at Burning Man, and it made more sense for us to drive together.

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Tita’s Burger Den/the old Del Taco in Yermo

So we basically took showers, did laundry and passed out….then got up the next day to head back out on the road again. To break up the drive, I proposed we stop off for lunch in Yermo, a dusty little desert outpost near Barstow that was home to the first-ever Del Taco restaurant. Someone had told me about this place awhile back, saying it was unlike any Del Taco anywhere, and I somehow took that to mean it would be more fancy or gourmet or something. In actuality, it’s not even a Del Taco anymore — just a sunbaked little burger shack at the side of a lonely desert side road, surrounded by abandoned buildings and crumbling gas stations and other picturesque Americana. The food is still pretty much the same shit as Del Taco, and not really any better…but the ambiance is far out! And the old Del Taco sign is still perched atop the roof, though the paint is peeling pretty badly. I definitely recommend stopping here on your next trip from L.A. to Vegas — take the Yermo Road exit, and look for Tita’s Burger Den. You won’t be sorry!

Once back on the road, we headed straight for the San Fernando Valley– our good friend Dr. Who was meeting us for the party, and had booked a genteel room in Calabasas for the three of us to crash in afterward. The party hosts were his Burning Man campmates, and we had all three been looking forward to this shindig for quite some time — although we’d had the devil of a time trying to come up with a clever group costume for one man and two women. Three’s Company? Lame! Two Girls, One Cup?? As tempting as it sounded to dress Dr. Who as a cup of shit and then go around all night licking him, I still felt we could do better.

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meta!

Finally, we ended up settling on the weird, meta idea of dressing up as the party hosts themselves. Far out!! As mentioned, the people throwing the party were all in the porn biz, so I dressed as the producer, Dr. Who dressed as his sexy blonde wife, and my sis dressed as the sound guy, whose house the party was at. My trusty bag of dongs came in handy yet again, as I wore a strap-on with the tip poking thru the crotch of my overalls (the producer is known to wear overalls, and he won the SpeedBoner contest at last year’s Slut Olympics at Burning Man) and my sis jammed another dong into the end of her “boom mic” (a paint roller on a broomstick, lol).

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the sound guy and his doppelganger

I had also bought a ginormous old bra and sundress for Dr. Who to wear with his blonde wig and false eyelashes, so once he arrived at the hotel, we set about dressing him up. To make it even more fun, we also applied liquid latex to our faces and did zombie makeup…so we were basically the Undead versions of the party hosts at the party we were going to. Kray-zay!!! By the time we left the hotel and headed for the party, we were quite a sight.

Let me tell you, I’ve been to some parties in my day, but this one was nuts! These porn industry types really know how to let loose, ya know what I mean? The crowd was astonishingly diverse, and the costumes were pretty creative. You’d think at a porn party it would be all balloon-breasted starlets in slutty nun outfits or whatever — well, this was not the case. There were plenty of hot actresses there…but there were also a lot of stone-cold kooks! Our meta-costumes went over extremely well, and after a ketamine-laced rum & Coke or two, I was feeling no pain and having the time of my life, dancing around the living room in my overalls and flipflops, with my fake dick hanging out, not a care in the world. I’m here to tell you, that was the most comfortable Halloween costume I’ve ever worn — usually I’m suffering in high heels and some kind of wig or corset, but not this year. Zombie Drag FTW!!!

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the producer and his doppelganger

Astonishingly, despite the abundance of luscious pornstar trim hanging around, my sis and I got plenty of action — even in our zombie drag. Apparently, those guys see hot chicks all the time, so a little titty aint no thang and they’d rather talk to a dirty hobo cholo (which is what I looked like). Go figure! I knew I loved that industry; they really are good people. Which reminds me — they finally aired that news story I was interviewed for, about the porn biz “invading” Vegas. As I feared, the angle is sensational and alarmist…but at least they didn’t edit my words to make it seem like I said things I didn’t. See for yourself:

http://www.mynews3.com/content/video/default.aspx?videoId=5420028&navCatId=32042

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blowfish FTW! They didn’t pay me to say this, but if you’re reading, guys…..send me a free case!

Anyway, we danced our asses off at that party until 5am (!!!!!), when we finally thanked our poor exhausted hosts, climbed into Dr. Who’s rental car, and headed back to our hotel to crash. I was e x h a u s t e d, and still feeling sick, but there was no time to sleep in, since Dr. Who is a bionic freak who only needs 4 hours of sleep per night. He was up & at ‘em at 10am, showering and getting dressed so he could go visit some other friends in the area. Meanwhile, my sis and I dragged ass like two beached sea lions, moaning and groaning and fumbling for the coffee and Blowfish (a hangover potion that actually works pretty well…I officially endorse this product!).

So Dr. Who took off, inviting us to meet up with him later at the house of last night’s porn producer and his wife, where they were all planning some sort of fucked-up sleepover with a bunch of people in town from their Burning Man camp. It sounded fun, so my sis and I made some sort of vague noncommittal reply…but we knew if we went to that sleepover it would be another late night of not enough rest, and both of us were feeling pretty tore up. We decided to go get breakfast and think about it….and as we sat there, we decided our health would be better served by driving around L.A. for the day looking at various Manson Family crime scenes, then heading back out to the high desert to get a motel room near Apple Valley, so we could hit up my beloved Deep Creek hot springs in the morning before heading back to Vegas.

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LaBianca house

So we cruised around town, stopping off at the old LaBianca residence in Los Feliz, where Charles Manson’s deranged killer hippie minions murdered a middle-aged couple…and then we hit up Sharon Tate’s old house in Benedict Canyon, which actually isn’t even there anymore; some idiot bulldozed it and replaced it with a McMansion, but the front gate is still there and you can sort of get the idea. Finally, we headed up to Chatsworth to the site of the old Spahn Movie Ranch, where the Manson Family members once squatted in various cabins and ranch buildings, living for free on the dime of poor old blind George Spahn. The ranch is long gone, but apparently you can still hike to a cave where they used to hang out — unfortunately for us, it was already dark by this time, so we didn’t even get out of the car. Still, it was a spooooooooky place, and I definitely plan to go back sometime!

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I’d rather be camping!

Now we headed back out toward the desert, and as we drove, I hit up Orbitz to see about a cheap motel room in Apple Valley, Victorville, Palmdale or any other of those depressing, lamentable desert burgs. Being from Vegas, I am totally spoiled when it comes to hotel rooms — here, you can get a fairly nice room at one of the Stations Casinos for around $30-$40; not so elsewhere! The cheapest place we could find that didn’t have terrible reviews was a Knights Inn in Palmdale; so we booked the room, checked in, dragged our bags and weary asses down the walkway and opened the door. All we wanted to do was drink some wine and pass the fuck out — but there were bugs all over the room!!! Crawling on the table, on the headboard, the pillows…and all over the bathroom. YUCK!!!!!!!

I’m here to tell you, I’ve stayed in some shitty motel rooms in my day, but I have never seen anything like it. It must have been due to the fact that the weather had just turned, and this nasty fucking cold front had blown in, rousting out the bugs and signaling an abrupt end to my beloved summertime icon sad Return to Saline Valley Hot Springs Boooooo!

Either way, we weren’t about to stay there, so we got a refund and figured we might as well just head back to Vegas. After that horror, we didn’t feel like dicking around with another shitty motel — in fact, I’m going to be scared off from all motels for quite a while now, because of that experience. So even though I was exhausted, I somehow managed to drive us all the way back to Vegas, where we collapsed into bed around 1am and slept for around 3 days. We were just annihilated from all the adventuring of late, and the weather change, and the seasonal flu nonsense.

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Delight’s in Tecopa

But wouldn’t you know it, we couldn’t rest for long — before you know it, one of my friends messaged me, inviting us out for a day at Tecopa Hot Springs, this amazingly freaky little desert outpost between Death Valley and Pahrump. Back in the day (’40s-’50s), it was a hotspot for Hollywood types looking for a relaxing, curative getaway…but nowadays, it’s just a collection of rundown old hot spring “resorts” and a bunch of snowbirds living in trailers and RVs. In other words — a fantastic spot, and only 90 minutes from Vegas!! A little soaking, a little shrooming….how could I say no?! Tecopa is one of my favorite places ever, and I wanted my sis to see it!

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Delight’s in Tecopa

So we loaded up some drugs and bathrobes, and headed back out into the desert in my friend’s tricked-out Honda. This crazy motherfucker likes to drive fast, and has already been busted going well over 100mph twice….but it’s hard not to do on those lonely desert roads, so we got to Tecopa pretty quickly, and checked into a room at Delight’s Resort (we didn’t plan to stay the night, but this friend likes to rent a cabin there when soaking, just to use as a basecamp of sorts). Meanwhile, Delight’s has been taken over by some Koreans from Vegas, so the sign is now in Korean and I can’t read it…but I’m pretty sure it’s still called Delight’s.

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shuffling along the highway

Anyway, we all stripped down, put on our robes, swallered our shrooms and headed off to soak. The tubs at Delight’s have that Korean spa aesthetic — walled-in private rooms that are regularly bleached and scoured, so you know they’re sparkling clean…but lacking a certain measure of ambiance. So after soaking awhile, around sunset we decided to head down the road for an open-air soak in the all-natural mudhole, about a half mile away.

It was amazing — we shuffled along the

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in the desert around the mudhole, earlier this year. Pic by Bennie S.

desolate highway in our robes and flip flops, across the most vast, barren moonscape this side of Mars, all bathed in the magnificent golden light of pre-sunset, tripping our balls off. Finally, ahead in the distance we saw a little smudge of green — the mudhole! This lonely patch of marshy vegetation sits in the middle of the most enormous expanse of barren desert you’ve ever seen, just like the springs of Saline Valley. Totally surreal…and as we approached, it was even moreso, as there was a group of Russian acrobats hanging out around a lonely campfire drinking birch water and potato juice, with tinny Russian pop music wafting from a little transistor radio. They were all performers from various Cirque du Soleil shows in Vegas, and come out to Tecopa on their days off for a taste of home, I guess. Far out!!!

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soaking in the mudhole, last January

We soaked in the mudhole, enjoying the breathtakingly fabulous sunset while chatting with one of the acrobats, a giant, barrel-chested Slav with a curly blond mullet who has been performing in Cirque shows for 17 years!!! I was astonished that his career had lasted that long, as it was my assumption that circus life is tough as fuck, and burns through acrobats in a few years. In fact, he did tell us that he’s had “many, many surgery” and showed us scars on his abdomen where some fountain had blasted him over and over again while a roomful of drunken tourists yukked it up. What a life!!! He did say he plans to retire after New Year’s, and possibly take up indoor marijuana farming — so who knows what the future holds?

But it reminded me of a story that my Diet-Coke-a-holic actress friend had told me, during one of our breaks at the dogsuit gig. She used to be one of those strolling opera singers at the Venetian (you know, the ones that wear those old Renaissance costumes and walk around the Grand Canal Shoppes), and she said one of the jugglers who performed with them was from Russia. They only made $17/hour at this job, but it was steady money and pretty good hours, so I guess the Russian guy eventually had his son drop of high school and get his GED so he could become a juggler as well! That’s so Russian: “In Soviet Russia, Clown College is better than State College!!!”

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in one of the pools at Delight’s, a few years ago

Anyway, as the sunset faded away into a magical desert darkness, the stars started coming out and we struck up a conversation with another guy in the mudhole, a Tecopa local who had lived in the area for years and years. Boy was HE a helpful fount of information!!! He told us about all these crazy UFO sightings in the area, and even dished us a little of the local gossip — apparently one of the other hot springs resorts near Delight’s is for sale. Hmmmmmm!!! I can definitely think of worse things than whiling away my declining years running a kooky desert hot springs resort……..let me think about this!

Once it was full-on dark, my sister and I started to get hungry, so we climbed out of the warm pool into the freezing night air (I’m telling you, summer is over — it was a low of 32 degrees out there that night!!) and bundled back up in our robes to shuffle back along the highway to our room at Delight’s. None of us had thought to bring a flashlight, but the moon was almost full and there was so much ambient light that we didn’t even need one — it was magical!! Still pretty high, we soaked at Delight’s for awhile longer before getting dressed and heading down the road to see if the good people at Pastel’s Bistro were still there.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned Pastel’s Bistro before, but I’ll go ahead and say it again: this is a fantastic little restaurant in Tecopa, all the way out in the middle of nowhere, that serves bad ass healthy, organic, high-quality foodie-type gourmet food at very reasonable prices, in a super-charmingly funky, bohemian atmosphere. The cook is a guy who used to be a chef at a highbrow restaurant in Vegas before he said “Fuckit!” and hauled ass to the desert, where he now gets baked and noodles around in the kitchen, cooking up all manner of fantastically fabulous, unexpected fare for weary desert travelers and random locals. His partner is a sort of kooky hippie-type chick who waits the tables and helps out, and they are both super-legit people. One of the best restaurants I have ever been to!!!

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Pastel’s Fucking Bistro — Legit as FUCK!

The only bummer is, they tend to close up kinda early…so usually when I come out to Tecopa, by the time my shrooms wear off it’s too late to eat there. As a result, I’ve only ever had two real meals there — but both were exceptional!! This time, they were just getting ready to close up, so they didn’t have any real food left…but they did have some soup — some bad ass meatball-vegetable-three-bean-soup!! I’m here to tell you, after freezing my balls off getting out of the hot springs, that soup was the best thing I’ve ever had!!!! They served it up with some garlic bread, and it was really one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Thank you SO MUCH, guys, for serving us even though you were trying to close up and go home!!!! Again, I can’t say enough good things about this place — if you ever want to meet up for a fun afternoon, I heartily recommend coming out here for a soak and some lunch. It’s only about 90 minutes from Vegas…hit me up!!!!

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too much magic in the world!

After dinner, my friend wanted to do one last soak at Delight’s before heading home. My sis and I were too cold and sleepy, so we told him to go ahead and we would sleep in the room…but next thing you know, my friend fell asleep as well, and we all three dozed off until around 1:30am, when we finally got up and drove home. Another long, exhausting night….but magical!!! You tell me — how can I ever get enough sleep, when all these fantastical magical experiences keep presenting themselves to me?!?!?!?

Anyway, my sister and I slept late the next day, and then she finally left, headed back up north toward the Bay Area, where she’s spending the winter in a cabin in the redwoods up near the Russian River. I’m coming to visit her in a few weeks, in fact — but first, in the meantime, I have some other stuff to do: some photo shoots, a cigar convention, a Mexican Riviera cruise…and finally getting around to riding that giant fucking Ferris Wheel that has been looming over the Vegas Strip since March!!!

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See you soon!

Shit…..looks like I’ll never get enough sleep!!!

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Mai Tais, Cyborgs and Machines of Loving Grace

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you never know where the road will lead you…

One of the things I love most about Burning Man is that you never know who you’re going to run into out there — dust is the great equalizer, and on the playa you find yourself partying with people from all walks of life, many with whom you might never mingle in the “default” world. One minute you’re discussing cosplay techniques with a porn starlet over mojitos; next thing you know you’re tripping balls on a fur-covered golf cart at 3am with a pediatric neurologist in a pink pimp hat. It’s nuts!

This year, my sister and I spent an inordinate amount of time hanging out with the character I called “Dr. Who” in my Burning Man blog — an exceptionally urbane, moderately eccentric masochist (he must have been, to spend so much time hanging out with us) who is a medical professional by day…and a fearless adventurer and bon vivant the rest of the time. We hit it off so well, in fact, that after Burning Man was over, he invited me to come visit him at his home in Hawaii.

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oh, hell…why not?

I pooh-poohed him a few times, not wanting to come off as a mooch — but he insisted. Apparently there was some big footrace going down in the town where he lives, and he thought I might find it an interesting and life-affirming spectacle to behold. He even offered up some of his frequent-flyer miles, so I wouldn’t have to spend a dime…so finally, I agreed to come out, booking a ticket right after I got back from my ill-fated San Francisco jaunt.

What could be better than a free trip to Hawaii?! I had been there once before, to Waikiki back in 2006, and found it to be a super-fabulous place full of sunshine and alcohol, with food so shitty that I actually lost weight from lack of appetite. But Dr. Who lives on the Big Island, which is a totally different scene, and I was curious to see how that stacked up to my memories. So I threw a few things in my pink Samsonite and headed for the skies.

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later that week…

Alas, nothing in my life can ever go totally smoothly, and I fucked up as soon as I got to the airport. A friend dropped me off for my short flight from Vegas to LAX, after which I had a 4 hour layover before my connecting flight to Kona. So I basically just rolled out of bed and performed minimal ablutions, figuring I’d have plenty of time between flights at LAX for my normal daily primping and preening.

However, I arrived at the Vegas airport early enough that I had some spare time to kill…so I headed to the bathroom right next to my gate, to at least powder my nose and make myself semi-presentable. After all, you never know who you’ll meet on a flight from Vegas to L.A…and I might as well look my best, ya know? You never get a second chance to make a first impression! (Although Dr. Who’s first impression was of me swinging a disco ball between my legs, and he still liked me enough to invite me for a visit!)

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fabulous pic by Michael Maze

So I set up camp in front of a mirror in the women’s restroom, and set about tweezing and powdering and poking and prodding my face into submission, keeping one eye on my phone, figuring I’d head over to the gate 15 minutes before the flight was to depart. It wasn’t like it was a Southwest flight, where you have to battle for a good seat — I had an assigned aisle seat already, so who cares…right?

About 15 minutes prior to departure, I packed up and hustled next door to the gate — not 10 feet from the bathroom, I might add — and found the gate attendant just shutting the doors to the jetway. By law, she was unable to open them once shut — I had missed my flight by 30 seconds!!!!!! FUCK!!!!!

Apparently, she had been paging me…but although I was only 10 feet away, I somehow didn’t hear her. To make matters even worse, apparently my friend Bam Bam also happened to be at the airport, waiting for a different flight to L.A. where he was to record a new Strawberry Alarm Clock album, and even he heard them paging me, and had texted me to ask if I was ok. Somehow, I missed all of this…and now I was fucked! No matter how I begged and pleaded, the gate attendant was unable to let me in — although I could see the plane sitting there, not moving, there was nothing I could do but gnash my teeth, curse…and head back down to the checkin counter to see about booking another flight.

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At the airport bar

Thankfully I had plenty of time before my flight to Kona left LAX at 5pm — it wasn’t even noon yet, so in theory I even had enough time to get a cab home and drive to LAX; barring any accidents or flat tires, I could get there in plenty of time to catch my flight, although the cost of gas and the cost of parking my truck at LAX for 10 days would probably add up to as much as a flight would. I even considered just dragging my cheap ass out to the I-15 southbound onramp and hitching a ride to LAX…but finally I decided to just book a $200 Southwest fare, and then dig myself in deeper at the airport bar with a consolatory Bloody Mary. Talk about First World Problems! ISIS is on the rampage and Ebola is ravaging Africa…but I missed my flight to Hawaii!!!! STOP THE PRESSES!

Anyway, I chalked it all up to an expensive lesson learned, and got on with my adventures. I made sure to drink at an airport bar directly facing the gate from which my new flight was to depart, and when I got to LAX I suckled at the electronic teat of a cell-phone charging station directly facing the gate from which the Kona-bound plane was leaving…so I made it aboard both flights with no further ado. Whew!

Once the tradewinds finally had me in their seductive embrace, shoving me gently toward paradise, relief washed over me and I wanted nothing so much as to get genteelly sloshed on a few airplane cocktails, and get the party started at long last. But even here, I was cockblocked! What was stopping me now, you ask??

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at the footrace

Apparently, this “footrace” to which Dr. Who had invited me was actually a hardcore triathlon called the Ironman — and this was the World Championship, no less!! This meant that the fittest, most shredded athletes in the entire world were coming out to compete — all people who had already completed Ironman triathlons in other parts of the world, and who were now coming to face off against each other in a bizarre, hairless swim-bike-run race-to-the-death among the crème de la crème of Spandex-clad Type A Caucasians with $18,000 bicycles and too much time on their hands. A show with everything but Yul Brynner!

A quick Wikipedia investigation the night before had revealed that these insane individuals planned to swim 2.4 miles in open seas, after which they would race ashore, dripping with seawater, and mount the aforementioned $18,000 bikes for a 112-mile bike ride through the searing Hawaiian desert…before dismounting and embarking upon a full, 26.2-mile marathon. In the interest of saving time, most of them would do all of this in the same skintight onesie, not even stopping to pee — they’d just piss themselves as they ran (or biked). W…..T……F?!?!?!?!?!? Why??????!

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cray-cray white people!

You might assume it was for the prize money — $120,000 to the winner, who usually finishes in around 8 hours. But there were over 2,200 entrants in this race, and only those finishing in the Top 10 of each gender got any prize money. That means something like 2,120 put themselves through this torture for free. Actually it was worse — they had to pay something like $700 to enter the race, not to mention the cost of gear, airfare and accommodations. So, these people were basically shelling out thousands for the privilege of torturing themselves. Or for bragging rights, I suppose. Cray-cray — Stuff White People Do!

Aaaaaanyway, what does all of this have to do with my inability to order a cocktail on the flight? Well, I’m pretty fit myself — I work out fairly religiously, in a Sisyphean quest to keep my ass up where it’s supposed to be, so I’m pretty well used to being the fittest person, or at least among the fittest people, in any given room. Especially on a commercial airline flight, ya know?

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for the love of dog, what have I signed myself up for?!

But this was no ordinary airplane flight — I was surrounded by superhuman cyborgs in peak physical condition, all of whom were on special low-carb/no carb/protein-heavy/fetus-testicle diets that surely didn’t allow for any alcohol. I’d feel like a real fat-assed lush if I were to start boozing around them! So I bided my time reading magazines, biting my nails and thinking of England until finally, about 3 hours into the flight, I couldn’t take it any more!!! When the flight attendant came around taking orders, I whispered “Bacardi & Coke, please.”

“What? a Diet Coke?”

“No, Bacardi Coke.” I was still whispering, trying to save face among all the pious protein- powderheads. But the flight attendant still couldn’t hear me over the sound of all those hairless legs crossing and uncrossing, and the pages of all those Triathlete magazines being turned.

“WHAT? Dr. Pepper????”

“BACARDI AND COKE!” I finally shouted, broadcasting my pathetic alkie status to all the salmon-and-broccoli-eating, Gatorade-guzzling go-getters around me.

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ahhh, to soak in a pool of vodka…

D’oh!!!! I’ve never been so embarrassed to drink booze in my entire life, not even the time I went on Jeopardy! drunk. It was horrible, and I shuddered to think of the long, dry week ahead of me — I knew Dr. Who had run the Ironman himself a few times, and that we’d be hanging around with a lot of his Ironman buddies all week; in fact, Dr. Who and many of his sports-medicine cronies volunteered their time each year to staff the Ironman’s medical tent, aiding ailing participants, and had even gotten me a spot as a volunteer assistant in said medical tent. So I was basically facing an entire week of hob-nobbing with sports-addled, health-minded physicians at an event that can only be described as the jewel in the crown of the ultra-healthy lifestyle. DOUBLE D’OH!!!!!!

Thankfully, my preconceptions were totally wrong. Those sports docs are the biggest boozers of them all!!!!

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Later that same night…

After picking me up at the airport that evening, the ever-jovial Dr. Who festooned me with a lei and whisked me away to a mai-tai party at the fabulous geodesic dome house of a flight-nurse pal who lived in the jungle amidst coffee trees and chirping coqui frogs. I stuffed myself on Hawaiian delicacies (the food here was much better than on my 2006 trip to Waikiki, alas), drank about 40 mai tais, and spent the evening roasting marshmallows on a bonfire under an avocado tree. Triathlon? What triathlon?!?!?!??

Now, I’ve been trying a new life approach lately, where I make an effort to go into new situations with no expectations…so I had no idea what I was in for here in Hawaii, and everything that happened on this trip was basically a pleasant surprise, beginning with my fabulous accommodations at the astonishingly glamorous home of Dr. Who. I’ve never seen a house like that, anywhere!!

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La vie en rose, looking out over Dr. Who’s pool

Apparently, the temperature on this island is so temperate and so even that one doesn’t need a heater, air-conditioner, or thermostat in one’s home….even if one’s home happens to be an aesthetically orgasmic masterpiece of minimalist eastern architecture, with few walls and no window glass, totally open to the elements and perched high on a mountainside, with a jaw-dropping view of Kailua Bay beyond a sparkling infinity pool floating peacefully above acres of coffee trees. Even if one wanted to keep a fabulously well-stocked wine cellar, all one apparently has to do is hack a doorway into a cavelike lava tube running through the hillside beside the garage…OMG!!! Out of respect for Dr. Who’s privacy I am not posting any photos of this house, so you’ll just have to take my word for it — it was a s t o n i s h i n g ! ! ! 

 

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artist’s rendition of the house from The Party

But to give you some idea…as a child, I was obsessed with the 1960s Peter Sellers movie “The Party,” which took place in a fabulously swanky ’60s mod Hollywood mansion that has been lodged in my mind ever since as the epitome of glamorous homes. Well, Dr. Who’s house was basically the tropical version, complete with stepping stones leading across pools that various drunken partygoers have fallen into over the years…so staying there was essentially the fulfillment of all my girlhood dreams. And I never even fell into any of the pools!!

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this shit is bananas!

Anyhoo, as fabulous as the house itself was, the grounds were even more amazing — acres and acres of perfectly tended trees, shrubs, plants and flowers; everything from orchids to date palms to Monkey Pods, all bursting with an astonishingly sensual abundance of flowers and fruits: avocado, pineapples, grapefruit, tangerines, limes, kiwi, bananas…it was like the Garden of Eden, and you could basically just pad around in your bare feet, languidly plucking ripe fruit from low-hanging boughs, eating to your heart’s content. Meanwhile, mongoose and wild turkeys scuttled about…and beyond the electric fence, wild pigs foraged plumply. It was a literal paradise! Did I mention before that I’ve never seen anything like it?!?

Ominously, the fridge was stuffed with an even greater cornucopia of earthly delights — and I ain’t talking Hot Pockets and beer!!! Dr. Who once took a series of cooking classes from Julia Child (during which he said she drank from a 1.5 liter bottle of Jack Daniels), so he doesn’t fuck around — he was constantly preparing me sumptuous meals featuring foodie delights like capers and sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts and fresh ahi tuna, plus avocados the size of footballs (!!!). It was incredible!!!!

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fruit growing everywhere!

Meanwhile, the place was also a fully operational coffee plantation — I already knew this, as every year Dr. Who brings pounds and pounds of his personally harvested Kona coffee to Burning Man, to share with caffeine-deprived hippies at dawn. But I also knew that Dr. Who himself doesn’t drink coffee, and as his houseguest, I didn’t want to impose…so I had packed a bunch of inferior Colombian Folgers instant coffee packets with me. I always travel with instant coffee, since it takes me at least three cups to get going in the morning…and I never know when or where I’ll be, so I figure it’s best to be prepared.

Well let me tell you, I don’t think I’ll ever live that down — when Dr. Who found out, he seemed personally insulted that I would bring that dreck into his home, and foisted upon me a bag of his own personal roast to brew instead. OMG, it was heavenly!! That Kona coffee is the SHIZZ!!!

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ughhhhhh

So, basically I was ridiculously coddled all week — I could hardly turn around without being force-fed some astonishing delicacy, or having some sort of delicious wine or mai tai poured down my gullet. Dr. Who is definitely the bon vivant of all bons vivants — he takes living well to a whole new level! But his definition of living well differed from mine in one significant respect: SLEEP.

Now, when I go back to visit my family in the Bay Area of California, they always complain that I’m too active, like a dog that needs walking every day — I like to get out and do stuff, not lie around watching TV and whatnot, so I guess it kind of puts a strain on them having to keep up with me. Well, now I know how they feel!!!

Dr. Who is a machine!!! He’s one of those people who only needs 5 hours of sleep a night…which I most assuredly am not. My lifestyle is as high-octane as it gets, but I require a good 8 or 9-hour chunk of rest in between adventures, just to refuel. But not in Hawaii!!!! Every morning, Dr. Who was up at the crack of ass, ready to take me out for more sightseeing, as I dragged my bleary ass into the kitchen to guzzle multiple cups of his coffee in preparation. Somehow, I managed to survive.

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the sun shines out of my behind

One day, Dr. Who had to work early in the morning, so I figured it was finally my chance to sleep in. WRONG! That happened to be the day of the charity Underpants Run, when all the triathlon people get together and don crazy costumes for a one-mile fun run down the streets of Kona…and I kinda wanted to see what that was all about. I happened to have packed my “Ready For Anything” undies, so I figured I should probably go…but the race started at 7:30 am (!!!!!) and I couldn’t decide which I would rather do — run, or sleep. In the end, my FOMO won out, and I went down to join in the melee.

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the lucky Guinness bitch!

I was glad I did! In addition to the hundreds of wackos down there, I also met this amazing chick from the Guinness Book of World Records, who had been sent out to oversee the attempt being made at a World Record for Greatest Number of People in their Underwear in Public, or some such nonsense. This bitch gets paid to go to wacky events around the world and judge them!!!!! CAN YOU IMAGINE??? OMG, that’s my dream job! AND she gets to wear that blazer!! Some chicks have all the luck!!!!

Anyway, as it happened, we failed to set the record…and I got swamp-ass for nothing. Even at 7:30am, that Hawaiian sun is intense – much stronger than even our nuclear desert sun here in Vegas. When they say “but it’s a dry heat,” they’re not kidding — it really makes a difference! That humidity was hard to get used to. Thankfully, Dr. Who’s place was high on a mountain, so it was always several degrees cooler than down in town…but the area in and around Kona where the race events were being held was swass city!!

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this crazy mofo did the entire race using just his ARMS!!!!

Now, speaking of the triathlon…the Big Island is a fairly quiet scene most of the time, but during Ironman the whole area surrounding Kona basically turns into Racetown, USA. It’s not only the 2,200-odd participants — it’s also their families and sponsors and the herds of supporters they bring with them, not to mention the staff and announcers and the TV crews covering the event. You can’t walk ten feet without seeing the steely Spandex-clad asscheeks of some superhuman freak strutting down the street in front of you — it’s nuts! You would think an event of this magnitude would be a real boon to the local economy, but remember — these joyless freaks don’t drink, nor do they eat anything other than gel packs and protein goo, so I guess the local restaurants and bartenders are shit out of luck. Fortunately, however, these sports docs we were hanging out with more than made up for that — I personally experienced an endless succession of boozy parties in their company!

Hanging with this crowd was a hoot, and a real switcheroo from the usual crowd of bums, grifters and perverts with whom I normally associate. That’s one thing I share with Dr. Who — a penchant for mingling in disparate social milieux. I love it! It wasn’t just that everyone in this crowd was older than me — they were also all super-intelligent high-level professionals at the tops of their fields, with beautifully groomed wives, everyone exceptionally friendly and exceedingly well-spoken.  I can’t say for sure, but I’d wager I was the only one there ever to have kicked a man in the nuts for money. But these wonderful people made me feel welcome, and were always careful to include me in their conversations — they were such nice people! (I told them I was a model and freelance writer…essentially true, though these days the emphasis is on the “free,” as I haven’t been paid to write anything in quite some time.)

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the official pace car

Anyway, the reason for all this socializing and boozing was, of course, the triathlon — and I was really looking forward to my volunteer shift in the medical tent on race day. I’ve had a bazillion gigs, but thus far the only medical-type stuff I’ve done was my heartbeat fetish videos, my work as an ultrasound practice dummy at Touro University, and my recent gig as the plastic surgeons’ guinea pig. Being on the other side of the scrubs was a new experience!

My shift wasn’t scheduled to start until 7pm, but we arrived at the race around 6:30am (!!!), to witness the start, when they all jump in the water. After showing me around a bit, Dr. Who had to go work, so I basically had alllllll day to wander around and people-watch. It was nuts!! For an event that started out as an informal friendly competition between a few macho surf bums, this Ironman business has become just that — a business! Someone is making a shit ton of money off this beast. Nowadays, in addition to your $700 race fee you can also buy Ironman™ wristwatches, backpacks, visors, hats, socks and water bottles…plus t-shirts for everyone in your crew from your IronMom to your IronTot (“Future IronMan™”) . Meanwhile, most of the support staff used at the race is there on a volunteer basis — including the doctors — so they’re not even paying any staff!!! What a racket!!!!

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cyborgs

And every day, around the world, hordes of white people are lining up to join in the fray (I say white people semi-facetiously; I did see one black guy, a few Asians, a Latino or two and one bearded Muslim from Dubai)…so it’s not just the Ironman organization itself that’s making money; there’s whole industries that have sprung up to feed these peoples’ need for gear: the aforementioned $18,000 carbon-fiber bikes, plus aerodynamic helmets, featherweight running shoes, wetsuits/skinsuits, women’s-specific running wear, heart-rate monitors, etc. etc. etc. The only people not making money off this crowd are E.J. Gallo and Tampax (since female triathletes have such low body fat percentages, they generally cease to menstruate). (Which is the only plus I can see to running this thing!)

When I got tired of people-watching, I hung out at the course sidelines to check out the swim-bike transition, watching in open-mouthed fascination as 2,119 hairless cyborgs (and one bearded Muslim) ran from the sea like rampaging dolphins, dashing through showers and leaping onto bicycles, jamming their feet into shoes already strapped to the pedals, racing off to cross the desert lava fields while pissing themselves in between shoving goo packs into their maws and pounding weird-colored fluids (not that I’m judging; I’ve had a Midori sour or two in my day). IT WAS BIZARRE!!!

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me vs. Mirinda Carfrae

After awhile I just couldn’t take any more, and retreated into the comforting arms of a nearby bar for some self-affirming Bloody Marys. I was starting to feel a little inferior, watching all those ultracompetitive superhumans! And truthfully, spending so much time around all those jock-types was actually giving me a mild case of PTSD, since in high school I suffered mightily on account of my klutzy lack of athletic ability — I mean, I remember being humiliated back in P.E. class when we had to choose teams for kickball or volleyball or whatever, and I was always the last bozo standing around staring at her feet, the one nobody wanted on their team. Gym class was totally traumatic for me, no exaggeration..and here I was, having flashbacks. It’s a sad fact that our society fêtes those with athletic ability way more than those of us with excellent vocabularies, drawing skills, or the other useless talents with which I am sadly encumbered. So, being forced to worship at the altar of athleticism was a little rough for me.

But once a pleasant buzz kicked in, all was well again and I went back out to hang near the finish line, to watch the winners start coming in. Now, that was a show! Teuton after Teuton came streaming across the line, with an American or two of Teutonic descent and one Frenchman sprinkled in for good measure, and the crowd was going bonkers — banging signs, shaking cowbells, hooting and hollering and generally raising a ruckus. 45 minutes later it really got interesting, when the first women started coming in — those endometriumless bitches were incredible!!!

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the winner coming in

But it wasn’t just the top finishers that were fun to watch — mostly it was the stragglers that were inspirational, like this one 84-year old nun who was running for something like the 5th time. Holy hell!! Watching these women, with their amazingly ripped abs and streamlined thighs, sort of piqued my own competitive nature, and I started thinking, “Yeah, man!!! I should try to run a triathlon!!!”

But then, I started my shift in the medical tent…and saw the other side. Ain’t no way I’m ever running that shit!!!!

Being as I have absolutely no medical background whatsoever, my “volunteer” shift basically consisted of me standing around and doing whatever grunt-work they asked of me: help this dehydrated guy to a bed! Weigh this woozy woman! Help us carry this puking Frenchman on a stretcher! It was fascinating to see the condition in which these people came in — green around the gills, knees buckling, one foot in the grave. One poor guy pooped himself, and had to be hosed down in the showers. It was like being Clara Barton, Civil War Nurse — especially since everything was going down in a tent, on a beach, with chaises from the nearby Marriott standing in for beds. Surreal!! But even more surreal…unlike in the Civil War, these people were here by their own volition! What the hell is it about humans that impels them to abuse their bodies thusly?!

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where’s my rectal thermometer?!?

Well, there I was, feeling like a real fish out of water — one minute I’m partying with some crazy doctor at Burning Man, the next thing you know, he’s convinced me to come be a part of this craziness — when astonishingly, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one to make the Burning Man/Ironman crossover. A guy came staggering into the tent wearing a visor bearing the distinctive logo “SLUTGARDEN,” which I recognized as being one of the dance camps at Burning Man. Really? A Burner running the Ironman? But it was true — I told Dr. Who about it, and once the woozy guy came to, we pumped him for details. He had been to Burning Man not six weeks prior, and in fact had even run some kind of fucked-up ultramarathon at Burning Man one morning — apparently there’s a race there every year where you run around the entire event perimeter three times and then sell your soul to devil, or something equally batty. Insane!! The last thing I want to do at Burning Man is run an ultramarathon…it’s usually all I can do to make it to the Port-a-Potties in the morning!!

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the end.

Anyway, the rest of my shift passed fairly uneventfully, and just before midnight Dr. Who took me down to the finish line, to watch the very last stragglers come in. If you don’t finish by midnight, you don’t get the title “Ironman,” and it’s a real bummer for all involved. It was heartbreaking to watch these poor saps come staggering across the finish line 18 hours after they’d set out that morning, exhausted and wrecked and in a world of pain…but just moments too late to even get the bragging rights. Talk about a D’OH!! moment! But the wrap ceremony was pretty cool, with these hot hardbodied Hawaiian fire dancers that came out and danced to these badass live drummers, while some ancient Hawaiian Auntie hobbled onstage and warbled a traditional Hawaiian folksong that said something along the lines of “We love you all, even you losers!” Awwwwww!

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who, me????

By that time, I myself had been at the race for 18 hours, and though I hadn’t run or done anything more strenuous than quaff a Bloody Mary and think snarky thoughts, I was exhausted!! But it wasn’t time to leave just yet — one of the race bigwigs had invited Dr. Who (and me, by extension) to a late-night cookout with the entire FBI squadron that had been assigned to watch over the race! Ever since the carnage at the Boston Marathon, apparently the FBI comes out to oversee all large-scale athletic events like this one, and to celebrate a job well done the race directors had hired this awesome Mexican couple to come out and cook up a bunch of fajitas and stuff. YUM!! It was a little weird sitting there among that many Feds, but they were all drinking beer and in a jovial mood, telling crazy FBI jokes, so I didn’t worry too much. But it was still a surreal ending to a totally surreal day!

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stopping to air out my swass while hiking in Pololu Valley

Finally, around 3am we went home to bed. Ahhh, sleep at last…right? Wrong — there were still a million things to do, and no time for sleep!! Now that the race was over, and all the superhumans were boarding planes back to the planet Krypton, it was time to get out and see all the other amazingly beautiful things that the island of Hawaii has to offer. Dr. Who was an amazing host, and I saw so many absolutely incredible things that it would bore you to tears if I described them all — from a moonlit picnic on a beach full of sea turtles to a strenuous hike through a rainforest overlooking a staggeringly beautiful coastline, to a day spent frolicking on a picture-postcard white-sand beach followed by a kava-kava nightcap. I mean, Dr. Who showed me everything!

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birdie num num?!

Even better, Dr. Who is so personable and friendly that everywhere we went, we made new friends and had fascinating conversations — a pit stop at a roadside macadamia nut orchard ended with the farmer coming out and giving us a free tour and lecture on the perils of mac nut farming, while feeding me fresh macadamias cracked with a vise grip. A quick stop at a coffee bean processing plant turned into a fascinating conversation with the owner about the recently discovered superfruit properties of the coffee cherry — the fleshy part that surrounds the actual bean, which heretofore they used to just dispose of or use as mulch, but which is now as valuable as gold among the açaí crowd. And an ill-fated snorkeling excursion (ill-fated because I’m a terrible swimmer) turned into a pleasant morning’s chit-chat with a kooky islander woman who was taking her cockatoos out for a walk. That island is full of interesting people, let me tell you!

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on top of Mauna Kea

But by far, the most interesting thing we did was take a drive up to the top of Mauna Kea, the island’s highest mountain — and in fact the highest mountain in the entire world (if you measure it from its base on the sea floor, it is higher than Everest, which only rises from the Tibetan Plateau). It’s so high, in fact, that our trip up there required raiding Dr. Who’s closet for some of his sub-Arctic explorer gear (purchased, naturally, for a trip he once took to Everest Base Camp — that fucker has been everywhere!). I never expected to be rolling around in snow in Hawaii…but there I was.

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beautiful!

Anyway, because it’s so high, and so remote (in the middle of the ocean, away from any major light pollution), Mauna Kea is an excellent spot for star-gazing…and to that end, there are no less than thirteen separate internationally-financed observatories at its summit — magnificent mosque-like structures that are in actualitly way more badass because they are temples to reason, not bumbling superstitious idiocy. These observatories are perched way up on top of this mountain, high above the clouds, silently and impassively monitoring the heavens in icy isolation, with only the occasional busload of looky-loo tourists interrupting their solitude. It was magnificent, and I was reminded of a line from a Richard Brautigan poem…something about how in the future, we will all be “watched over by machines of loving grace.” Awwww!

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before the hordes of tourists left

I’ve always had a layman’s fascination with astronomy and physics, so being up there was really interesting for me. I’m pretty sure Dr. Who was really into it, too, and not just humoring me. We sat up there and watched the sunset, then hunkered down in the car until the last Japanese tourist left and the observatories started opening, one by one, so their telescopes could peer out into the night skies. Then, this ginormous laser shot out of one, its humongous beam allowing the telescope to focus in on some distant celestial object way the fuck out in the universe. Far out!!!! We sat there in the car (it was too freaking cold to stay outside for more than a few minutes) looking at the Milky Way through the moonroof, and I subjected poor Dr. Who to my favorite science jam, “A Glorious Dawn,” which is this amazing song some genius made up by Auto-Tuning some Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking dialogue, then setting it to an amazing electro-lounge backing track. Check it out:

 

After gawking at the sky for awhile, we headed back down to the visitors’ center, where they give these free nightly skywatching lectures, and let you look through telescopes and stuff while they answer all your questions. SO MUCH FUN!!! If you have any interest in anything, and plan to visit the Big Island of Hawaii, I highly recommend going up there. It’s not the typical Hawaiian-vacation thing to do…but who wants to be typical?! You can see tropical fish at any PetSmart, and can get a sunburn sitting in the parking lot of the Albuquerque WalMart, for Chrissakes!!!

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how could I leave THIS?

Anyway, going up to the top of Mauna Kea was the highlight of a trip filled with highlights, and it was without exception one of the most amazing adventures I’ve ever been on. THANK YOU, DR. WHO!!!! When the time came for me to leave the island, I’ve never (or rarely) experienced such loathing to leave a place — in fact, a hurricane was brewing in the Pacific just south of Hawaii, and was expected to hit the island any minute. I actually found myself semi-hoping that it would hit, so that I’d be “trapped” there and would have to stay another few days, LOL.

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d’oh!!

Alas, however, the hurricane bypassed the island, and my flight left as scheduled…and I returned to the desert, flush with fabulous tropical memories. But what a fantastic adventure!!!!

So, here I am, back in “between-adventure” mode — which means it’s time to hustle and make a buck or two, to fund my next adventure. And I have some doozies coming up — first, a triumphant return to Saline Valley Hot Springs next week with my sister and one of my readers…and then, a jaunt out to L.A. for a Halloween party at some porn industry peoples’ house with none other than Dr. Who. Like I always say…the road goes on forever, and the party never ends!

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fabulous pic by my friend Steve White

So with that in mind, I’ve spent the last few days a-hustlin,’ doing everything from a photo shoot to handing out flyers at some redneck Supercross race…and ahead of me, I’m facing a four-day gig wearing a Snoopy suit at an insurance convention at the MGM Grand. Hey, whatever it takes to pay the bills and keep the adventures flowing….right?!?

But despite my hectic schedule, I did take a few hours out of my busy afternoon today for a freebie — one of the local TV news channels out here was doing a story about the porn industry setting up shop in Vegas, and they found my info through a newspaper interview I did about my experience being a background extra on the set of one of the productions. I was more than happy to invite them over to my house and give the reporter the full rundown of what had happened, including my vehement opinions on the legitimacy, decency and all-around awesomeness of the business — because I could tell they were coming at it from a fear-mongering “Porn is Invading Vegas!!!” angle, and I wanted to get in my two cents to the contrary. I’m telling you right here and now, I had nothing but 100% positive things to say about the porn biz, so if this story comes on the news and they somehow edit my words to make it seem like I’m saying anything otherwise, you’ll know they’re a bunch of dirty rotten disingenuous liars.

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nothing’s shocking

Even more interestingly, the whole time I was talking to them, the reporter kept blushing, as if the things I were saying were totally shocking to him, and scalding his virgin ears. But I guess he kind of warmed up to me, because by the end of the interview, he asked me, “Say, uh…have you ever, um, heard of men buying women’s underwear??” LMFAO!!!!!!!! It was supposedly for a story he was working on….but I have my doubts!!!

“Meanwhile, in other news….today in Las Vegas, a man was arrested for sniffing women’s underwear on Fremont Street…….”

I wouldn’t be surprised!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Bikers, Geeks, New Agers and Stoners

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I went to college!

My summer modeling roadtrip of last July really opened my eyes to the possibility of combining my two favorite things in life: traveling, and making money! On that trip, I drove from Vegas to Seattle via the Bay Area and Oregon, swinging back down thru Reno, and ended up with enough cheese to by a new laptop and a new phone — winning! So ever since I got back, I’ve been trying to formulate another money-making tour. Why sit around hustling tourists and morons in Vegas, marinating in swamp-ass, when I could be off seeing more of this astonishing country?! YOLO, baby — let’s go!

The seed for my latest tour came about with a tradeshow booking in San Francisco at the end of the September — one of the agencies with whom I’m registered asked if I was able to work a show in San Fran, and I said sure; my brother lives right across the Bay in Oakland, so it would be very convenient for me to stay with him and take BART (the subway) over to the convention center each morning. No fuss, no muss! I even booked a couple photo shoots in the area, to maximize my earnings while I was out there. All told, if none of the shoots flaked I stood to make about $1100 for the trip, and also spend some time with my family while I was there. Double winning!!

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Just like Sturgis

But then, a girlfriend invited me to work a bikini bike wash at a motorcycle rally in Reno, that very same week. If I did the bike rally I would still be able do the tradeshow afterward, but I’d have to cancel the photo shoots, which totaled $400. And the bikini bike wash was paid in tips only — no hourly. I’d never done a bike wash before, so I wasn’t sure if it would it be worth it.

The chick who invited me was the same girl I went to Sturgis with last summer — Blondie — so I knew she wasn’t a flake or drama queen; she’s a super hard worker, and is ALL about making money. She assured me I would make MUCH more than the $400 I’d be canceling in photo shoots, plus she also had a free hotel room we could stay in courtesy of one of her photographer friends. Hmmm! I was faced with one of those dilemmas us freelancers have to consider from time to time: is a bird in the hand REALLY better than two in the bush?! Not always!

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old schoolhouse on the way to Reno

 

Being from Vegas, I decided to take the gamble and go to Reno instead. I messaged both photographers to see if they’d be able to reschedule for the following week, but of course they were “all booked up” and I just had to eat the $400. D’oh!! Oh well — I’d just have to hustle extra hard at the rally.

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on the shores of Walker Lake

 

So the very next morning after I got back from my awesome Goldfield/Tonopah roadtrip, I got back in my truck and headed right back up the 95 the exact same way I’d just come, this time all the way to Reno. Blondie carpooled with me — there was a third chick doing the bike wash who was already up there, who could take her back to Vegas afterward, so I could just continue on to San Francisco to work my trade show. Perfect!

 

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I’m on a beach!!
Photo by EH Photographic Arts

Anyway, the free hotel room Blondie had scored from her photographer friend was in South Lake Tahoe, so we headed up there with the intent to squeeze in a quickie photo shoot on the beach at sunset, to sort of thank the guy for hooking us up…and also to get some cool beach pics, since he is a pretty damn good photographer. But like always, I was running late, and then we stopped to eat lunch on the sunny shores of Walker Lake…so before you know it, it was dark by the time we rolled into Tahoe. Still, we met up with the photographer and went down to the beach, and he was able to get some pretty good shots despite everything. That guy really knows what he’s doing! He even took us to dinner afterward. Such a nice man!

 

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Just the tip!

The next morning it was on — time to make some money!! It was a Wednesday, and the rally didn’t officially start until Thursday…but Blondie has done a ton of these bike washes, and she said the guys usually roll in early, so we should jump on it. To maximize our earnings, she took a page from my playbook and got some assless chaps (from her aunt, who used to be the costume attendant at the old T&A cheesefest Splash, at the Riviera) and wrote “TIPS” with an arrow pointing down into her butt crack…which had turned out so lucrative for me at Sturgis. So we had matching outfits, and could go around and pose for photos and make tips when we weren’t washing bikes.

Well, it’s a good thing we had a Plan B, because Plan A SUCKED ASS — that bike washing business is for the birds!!! First off, we had a terrible location — miles from downtown Reno (where all the rally action was), in some weird industrial area off the freeway. There was hardly anyone around, and it was really depressing. I only made about $80 all day, and I was starting to get really pissed that I had bailed on my photo shoots for this!

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This shit sucks!!!

Second, I had always assumed that the whole idea of a “bikini bike wash” was more of a joke than anything — basically just an excuse to ogle scantily-clad chicks bending over your bike before handing them gobs of cash. WRONG! These motherfuckers really want you to clean their fucking bikes — and not just half-assed, either; they want every bit of bug guts and cow shit scrubbed off, oftentimes with your fingernails, and then they tip you $5. And it can take 45 minutes to really clean a bike, when you get into all the chrome and engine parts and stuff!!!! By the end of the day, I was filthy and exhausted and my quads were killing me from all the squatting; I was ready to throw in the towel (literally) and drive to San Francisco early. But Blondie talked me into staying.

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whacking some poor sap

OK, if I have to stay, then I at least want to go back to the room and soak in the Jacuzzi tub — her photographer friend had gotten us a really nice Jacuzzi suite at the Montbleu, looking out over the lake and mountains and stuff. The only downside was, it’s an hour drive from South Lake Tahoe to Reno, so I just wanted to get back and soak my tired quads and have a glass of wine and smoke a jizzy, ya know? But this bitch Blondie is nuts, and she wanted to go downtown and hustle for tips first!! The other girl who was working with us wanted to go too, so I didn’t want to be a party pooper and agreed to go down there for an hour or so.

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Blondie, Bullet and me

It was a disaster!! First of all, I had this fucking eBay auction that had just ended, so I had to find a post office first and pack up this crazy shit I was selling and ship it off, which already stressed me out. Second, I was still wearing my chaps and stuff, and was all sweaty and nasty and still filthy from the bike wash, so I wasn’t in a very good mood. Third, if you’ve ever been to Reno, you know that downtown isn’t anything like the Vegas Strip or even Fremont Street — that’s a different kind of crazy up there, and those people don;t fuck around with bimbos in assless chaps. This one poor fool stuck a dollar in each of our asscracks, and out of nowhere his wife came barrelling over: ” WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!” BAM!!! She knocked him down to the pavement, and started kicking the shit out of him, right there in the middle of everything!!! YIKES!

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Look ma, I’m on local Reno TV!

Afraid we’d be next, us gals ran off behind some kiosks, literally afraid for our lives. That’s Reno for ya — raw! There wasn’t even anyone down there, really — the rally hadn’t officially started yet, so the place was deserted. We posed for a few photos and shook our asses for some camera guy from the local news, then hightailed it out of there. We had to be careful, anyway, since the third chick that was with us was a real loose cannon, and we basically had to babysit her to keep her out of trouble. OMG…you have no idea!!! I’ve never met anyone like this chick!!!!

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Bullet on a Deere

This little chick, we’ll call her Bullet, was a trip. Apparently she’d been doing the bike washes for a while now, so she was in charge and had come up early to set everything up, but instead of paying for a hotel she was sleeping in the back of her truck in the parking lot behind the bike wash (she has a camper shell). Pretty bad-ass, eh? Well, bad ass doesn’t even begin to describe this bitch — she was a firecracker! She was only about 4’10” and 80 pounds, but she had a gap between her teeth, a loaded pistol openly strapped to the hip of her Daisy Dukes, and more redneck swagger than the entire states of Texas and Mississippi put together — I mean, this bitch was ornery!!

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Hi!

Why was she so ornery, you ask? Well, come to find out she used to be a stripper, and one night when she was blitzed out of her mind she fell off the top balcony in the club and landed on her head, a 20-foot fall. She missed being paralyzed for life by about one millimeter, but was in a coma and had to undergo months and months of rehabilitation and therapy and whatnot just to be able to walk again. Meanwhile, she needed money for her medical bills so she went right back out to do a bike wash, even using a walker!!!

Jokes aside, the fall not only crushed her spine and caused her to lose an inch of height, but it also affected her brain chemistry and left her angry, depressed and unable to experience pleasure as she used to. She has a hard time sleeping or enjoying anything, and has to take a shit ton of drugs and painkillers just to get through an average day — which doesn’t interact too well with the copious amounts of booze she puts away (I’ve never seen anything like it). Meanwhile, the poor thing was sleeping in the back of her pickup, freezing her ass off (it gets cold up in Reno at night), so Blondie took pity on her and invited her to come back to Tahoe and stay in our hotel room with us. Big mistake!!!

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watching the news

After dragging Bullet out of one of the casino bars, we finally made it back to the room around 10pm. I was exhausted and just fell into bed, after watching the local news to see if that cameraman put us on there (he didn’t…too much ass for a family network, I guess). But little Bullet wanted to go downstairs and have a drink — and go “ruckussin’,” as she so charmingly put it. I’ve never heard “ruckus” used as a verb, but it was the perfect word to describe her M.O.

Well, I didn’t really give a fuck if she went ruckussin’ all the way to Rapid City — I was tired, and going to sleep. The last thing I heard before my head hit the pillow was Blondie making her put her pistol in the safe, and warning her not to stay out too late, since we needed to be back at the bike wash in the morning…and then I was out.

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hanging out in Reno (ahem)

Around 3:30am I woke up because I had to pee, and the shower was running in the bathroom — I figured Bullet had come in late, so I just slipped into the bathroom without looking into the shower. But as I closed the door to the w.c., I saw in the mirror’s reflection that Bullet was indeed in the shower — with some dude!!!!! This out-of-control little boozer had gone ruckussin’ around the casino, picked up some local yokel, and brought him back to our room without asking!!! Who does that?! Crazy redneck bitches, that’s who. The bathroom was strewn with food wrappers, soda cups, wet towels and casino chips — a total fucking disaster.

The next morning, Bullet got up first thing and went downstairs to get a beer…and while she was out, I told Blondie what I’d seen and we agreed we couldn’t really let her stay there again, since who knows what she’d do next, and we didn’t want anything negative to come back on the photographer who had gotten us the room. But we didn’t want to hurt her feelings, because at the end of the day, Bullet is a truly tragic figure who is at heart a nice girl and a strong woman…just with a lot of problems. She said she wanted to die about 30 times the previous night, and it was actually pretty heartbreaking.

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the three Stooges (these pics are mirror image for some reason…I assure you, I drive an American-style truck)

But anyway, she finally came back to the room with two beers and a Bloody Mary (!), and we all three got dressed and headed back over to Reno. I put on some country station in the truck to appease Bullet — her pistol was rattling around somewhere in the back (she wasn’t even sure where), and I didn’t want to get on her bad side. Meanwhile, her angry husband back in Vegas was blowing up her phone every two minutes, so it was a real zoo in my truck that morning. I don’t know how we even made it to Reno alive.

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warshin’ bikes

Worse, once we hit the bike wash the sky was gloomy and overcast, with rain projected. What a fuckin’ clusterfuck this bikini bike wash was turning out to be! Still, we stuck it out, and managed to wash a few bikes apiece that day in between posing for photos with people for tips. It didn’t turn out to be that bad of a day, especially since Blondie agreed to come straight back to Tahoe with me afterward, and not go downtown. So I got a good night’s sleep for once.

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cozy in bed in the hotel room

 

The next day, Friday, it was raining and shitty. Now, you might think the last thing you’d want at a bikini bike wash is rain…but for me it was a godsend; I didn’t want to wash any more fuckin’ bikes anyway!!!! To make matters worse, the guy whose parking lot we were set up in had hired two local hillbilly girls to join us (and I do mean hillbilly…they were barefooted and drinking Angry Orchard tallboys), so there were definitely not enough bikes to go around for all of us.

Thankfully, Blondie and I had our Plan B — we scrapped the wash and went downtown instead, hanging out posing for photos on the little Reno Strip where it was closed off for the rally, with vendors and bands and stuff. We did pretty good just standing around in our assless chaps (by the way, I

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Blondie stocking her tray o’crap

know “assless chaps” is redundant, and that all chaps are assless by nature…I just enjoy saying it), but Blondie is a very ambitious woman and had also brought a tray full of cigars and assorted novelties she’d picked up at conventions and whatnot, so we sold those as well, asking for “donations” to get around the law. Some Christian bikers even gave us a couple mini New Testaments, so we threw those on there too, for good measure.

All in all, it went pretty well! Those bikers up there didn’t know what hit them — they’re not used to scantily clad buskers up there, so we were a pretty big attraction. Everybody wanted a photo with us; it was amazing. And the Reno cops were so nice to us, it was freaky — not once did they question our right to be down there, even with the tray of cigars. What a contrast with the

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another mirror image shot (these were taken using Snapchat, by Blondie…apparently Snapchat takes weird photos)

Fremont Street Experience security guards in Vegas!!! They did come up to us once and very politely ask us not to sell the cigars in front of the cigar guy’s booth, since he had paid $5000 to be there and was really pissed we were stealing his business…but other than that, they totally left us alone. Bizarre!!

We ended up going downtown Saturday as well, rain or no rain, and made about 90% of our money there as opposed to slaving away washing bikes. So much more fun!! There was a little dive bar called Shooters that let us dance on the bar, and we made some tips that way, too. When bikers get drunk, there’s no telling how much money they’ll throw at you — we’d approach a guy, and he’d go, “Aw, hell…” already reaching for his wallet. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. Did I mention how fond I am of bikers? (When they’re not giving you $5 to scrape cowshit off their tailpipe, that is.) I swear, I’ll never wash another bike again — I’ll wait til the

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Give us your money!!

evening, when they get drunk and can’t ride, then corner ‘em in a bar. Much easier!

Anyway, we drove an hour back and forth from Tahoe every morning and night, until our free hotel room ran out on Saturday. Blondie had a super nice biker friend who invited us to stay with him in his room in Reno on Saturday night, but I didn’t really know him well enough so I decided to just hustle until about 7pm, then leave early and head to the Bay Area to stay with family a day early. I needed rest before the trade show, anyway, ya know? So I left Blondie in her assless chaps, holding her cigar tray in the rain, surrounded by a crowd of hooting and hollering bikers….and I got the hell out of there!!!

Now this tradeshow I was working was at the convention

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my new “straight” card

center in San Francisco, the Moscone Center. I worked a car show there once about 5 years ago, and at that time the agency I was with got all the booth models a special room rate, and we all doubled or tripled up to save even more money (hotels in San Fran are crazy expensive). But this time it was even better — my little brother and his girlfriend now live right across the Bay in a gentrified part of Oakland, within walking distance of a BART (subway) station, and it’s only a 10-minute ride to the Moscone Center! BOO YA! I couldn’t believe how convenient it was — I started to get all these ideas about working more shows in San Francisco. I’ve been wanting to work more trade shows anyway — I even had a boring-ass new business card made up to rustle up that kind of soul-crushing corporate work.

But, as they say…the best laid plans of Wonderhussy often go awry.

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ugh

At first, all was well — I got up at 6am and was at the Moscone Center well ahead of time for once in my life, dressed professionally and feeling pretty good. One of my best qualities is my ability to move from social group to social group with ease — I can get down and dirty with bikers one day, then class it up for software geeks the next. Plus, this was a pretty straightforward tradeshow gig — no brains required.

The client we were working for (it was me and another girl, who had come up from L.A.) (apparently there aren’t any Bay Area-based tradeshow models) was a major credit card company, who were there at the show to troll for leads and sign up as many suckers as possible into having their lifeblood drained in a fruitless pursuit to keep up with the Joneses. But the credit card company staff were a bunch of sad sacks — two old Death of a Salesman-type lifers and a phalanx of tired blondes in tired navy business suits. Ain’t nobody gonna sign up for a credit card with that! They needed a gimmick….which is where me and the other girl came in.

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hustling at the trade show

To entice unsuspecting geeks into the booth, they had this little safe on the desk which contained a bunch of gift cards ranging from $25-$500, and us girls were supposed to roam around the convention hall handing out keys which might unlock the safe. We weren’t really working directly for the credit card company; they had this third party running the safe game that was some kind of staffing agency or something that had in turn hired us. So complicated!

Even more complicated, the guys took us aside first thing and told us this would be a tough show; apparently, these software geeks are a hard sell, and it’s much easier to sell to doctors, lawyers, and others who are full of themselves (!). But here we were, so we had to make the best of it. They wanted us to hand out something like 160 keys a day, but not just to anyone — we were to roam around the convention center asking people “Are you a small business owner or contractor that is based in the U.S.?” If the answer to both was yes, then we could give them a key.

Trouble was, most of the 50,000 attendees were either a) employees of a large corporation and/or b) foreign-based. It was really tough to find qualified leads, but I did my best (even, I daresay, better than I have tried at many other tradeshows) and managed to hand out a fair number of keys. The roaming around helped somewhat; most tradeshows I’ve worked require you to stay put in the booth, which is really boring but usually mandated by the show authority; they don’t want companies sending their people out into the aisles. But I guess you can pay extra for the privilege of having your bitches roam freely, as this client apparently did.

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I’m a rebel; what can I say?!

Despite our god-given right to roam, however, it still pissed some haters off. This one angry cow at a certain memory-card manufacturer’s booth approached me, telling me I “couldn’t” do that in front of their booth. I was very polite and agreeable, and moved away immediately…but I think she was still pissy, since later that afternoon, someone from that very booth ratted me out to my client and got me fired!!!

What did they rat me out for? I made an “inappropriate” joke! Apparently, when I made my transition from biker mode to corporate mode, I neglected to put my filter on tightly enough, and some subversive dirty humor seeped through, causing my downfall :/ The hell of it is, your very purpose at these fuckin’ tradeshows is to mildly titillate and arouse — they’re almost all sausagefests, so much so that they have to hire in babes to mix it up and be flirty. Flirty — but not too dirty, which is apparently where I fucked up.

What was the joke? Well, like I said we were carrying around a bunch of keys…and guys were constantly asking what the keys were for. In the interest of being flirty and fun, I responded “It’s the key to my apartment! Come over in 30 minutes…and bring a bottle of wine!!” Hardly Andrew Dice Clay…or even Lenny fuckin’ Bruce, for that matter. But it was apparently too much for those corporate milquetoasts, and someone ratted me out to the staffing agency who was running the safe game. I got called over to the booth, where the staffing guy took me aside, stripped me of my badge and t-shirt, and apologized but said he had to let me go. “This is a very conservative client, and I can’t have that kind of behavior.” D’OH!!!!!!!

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D’OH!!

It was already almost 6pm by then anyway, so at least I got a full day of work in…but I mean, really?!?! To make matters even weirder, the staffing guy wouldn’t let me even apologize to the client…so I just went back, got my bag, and thanked them all for the opportunity. Nobody averted their eyes or let on that they were angry or anything, so it was really weird. I mean, can’t I get a warning first?! For all they knew, I had come all the way up there just to work that show!!!

As it was, I had come up there for the bike rally anyway, so I wasn’t really that upset. But I was still pretty pissed — that little fuckup cost me $540 in missed pay!! And I needed that money :/  To make matters worse, another guy had tried to hire me for the exact same show — some guy I met at a tradeshow here in Vegas. But since I was already booked, I gave the gig to a girlfriend who runs an agency of her own, and she found someone to cover it. D’OH!! And to make matters even worse, that guy ended up firing his model the same time I was fired — but by the time my girlfriend found out I’d been fired, she had already replaced that model with someone else….so I was double fucked icon sad Bikers, Geeks, New Agers and Stoners

I didn’t sit around and stew about it, though — ain’t nobody got time for that!! Instead, I got back on the BART and met my friend Mojave Phonebooth, who happened to be in Oakland at the same time as me, for dinner at a fantastic Indian restaurant. That guy is so cool — he had one of the earliest websites back in the 1990s, devoted to this random public phone booth in the middle of the Mojave Desert, which people from around the world would call day and night, looking for answers to anything and everything. You can read all about it at his awesome website, or even better check out his upcoming book on the subject!! We enjoyed an excellent dinner and even excellenter conversation, and I would have liked to spend more time bullshitting with him at a local watering hole…but I didn’t want to be rude to my brother and his girlfriend, who were hosting me, so I left after dinner.

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running in the East Bay sunshine

The next day I made like a typical unemployed person and slept all morning, only getting out of bed to go for a delightful 5-mile run around Lake Merritt and downtown Oakland, which I found to be really nice and not nearly as shitty as everyone says. Then I spent a few hours lounging at the pool area in my brother’s apartment complex, and when my brother’s girlfriend got home we all went out for a bomb-ass Mexican dinner at this trendy little spot nearby. After dinner, I cruised up north into the redwoods, to stay at my mom’s cabin for a couple days. All in all, a great day…and much more fun than schlepping around the Moscone center for hours with a bag of keys!!!

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fuck this shit, I’m headed for the mountains!!!!

Anyhoo, after the tradeshow, I had a couple days left before I had to be back in Vegas, so my sister and I planned to check out the Be & Be Well, a sort of New Age wellness retreat in the Santa Cruz Mountains run by those wacky New Agers we met at Burning Man — the ones who were driving the Grokitship, playing that far-out talk therapy Game. They were overjoyed to have us come for a visit, and invited us to float in their isolation tank, too — that is to say, a sensory deprivation tank!!! I was so freaking excited – I’ve been wanting to try one of those forever!!

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The courtyard at the Be & Be Well

We arrived at the Be & Be around 4pm, and it was amazing — a quaint, rambling house nestled in the mountains, with a big open courtyard in the middle featuring a treehouse, a hydroponic garden, a sweat lodge, the Grokitship, a mysterious musical instrument with a drape covering it, and the golden 1977 RV they had been staying in at Burning Man, and which was to be my sister’s and my accommodations that night. How cozy!

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treehouse bed at the Be & Be Well

We sat around in the shade for a few hours, chatting with the other guests over cups of delicious homemade chai. All kinds of interesting, kooky characters pass through that place — during our stay they were also hosting two soul-seeking matrons from San Diego, a Canadian tech whiz who was in the area to testify as an expert witness in a lawsuit against Apple, an Asian transsexual and this crazy hippie kid from UC Santa Cruz who was living in the forest behind the school to save money on dorm fees. Talk about a motley crew — it was fantastic! And then of course the Grokitship crew themselves were on hand as well — the wise woman priestess, who cooked an amazing dinner of kale salad and cauliflower soup for everyone; her husband the charismatic leader, who made a delicious “Om”elette for everyone the following morning; and the white-bearded captain, who doesn’t live onsite, but who took time out of his busy day to come up and visit with us anyway. Awwwww! What a great crew icon smile Bikers, Geeks, New Agers and Stoners

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the golden RV where I slept

Once it got dark, they pulled the drape off the mysterious musical instrument and let us play with it. It was made of beautiful carved wood, and it was called the Space Palette — “a musical and graphical instrument controlled by gesture;” basically, you wave your hands around through holes in one side, and these infrared sensors read your movements and play these haunting, ethereal sounds along with crazy visuals on the other side. For once, words fail me; I can’t really describe it, so watch this brief video to see what I mean. It was BAD ASS!!!

 

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waiting for my turn to float!!!

Anyway, after playing with that for awhile my sister went into the flotation tank. While she did her float, we all stayed out in the garden and chatted. I got a hot tip on a peyote retreat down near Tucson, and another hot tip on an ayahuasca retreat in Peru — that crowd was dialed in! I also learned more about the background of the priestess and the leader — they originally met at a squatters’ encampment in an abandoned hospital in London, then wandered around California searching for a teacher until they met this bald redneck guru in a hot tub at Sierra Hot Springs one night, who changed their lives and invited them to live at his ashram in the Santa Cruz Mountains. While living at the ashram, they spent their days meditating in celibacy, and the leader guy also worked as a door-to-door cable TV salesman in San Jose, back in the days when cable TV was new…and he made a killing! But the money all went to the ashram. But the guru has since moved onto other things, and now the ashram has become the Be & Be Well — so it all worked out!

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sweat lodge, anyone?

Also, I got an earful of their plans for the next generation of the Grokitship — the Be-hicle 2.0! The car we rode in at Burning Man was really cool, but they have some amazing plans for a new car that, if they can get it together, will really blow everyone out of the water — they plan to get an old, decommissioned MX Peacekeeper missile, remove all the radioactive materials, slap on some wheels and transform that into a new Be-hicle, complete with a sensory exaltation tank and a water cannon on the nose!!!! I know I’ve said it before, but…..FAR OUT!!!!!!! 

Keep an eye out for their Kickstarter campaign, coming soon — they have to raise a lot of money for that thing, and before even raising the money they have to figure out how/where the fuck to get an MX Peacekeeper in the first place. They were planning to manifest a friendly Congressman or something; I advised they should go check in Hawthorne, NV…I’m sure one of those bunkers out there has exactly what they need. If anyone reading this does know where they can get such a missile, email me right away and I’ll pass on the info!

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I found this photo of a tank on the Internet; I forgot to take one of the actual tank at the Be & Be Well

Anyway, after dinner it was finally my turn to soak in the isolation tank, a/k/a the sensory deprivation tank. The leader took me into the room and showed me what to do: first you get undressed, take a shower and wash your hair, to remove all oils so they don’t get in the water — the water in those tanks contains 850 pounds of medical-grade Epsom salts, which ain’t cheap to replace, so they try to keep it as clean as possible and only replace the water every year or so. (Because it’s so salty, no bacteria can survive in it…so no worries of getting sick.)

Next, wrap your hair in a hair net, turn off the lights, push this button on the stereo and climb on into the tank. Pull the lid shut over top of you, lay back in the salty water….and just float. The water is so salty that your body just bobs there naturally — even for a shitty swimmer like me, it was totally easy, and I was able to lay my head back and just totally relax. After a few minutes the lights and music turn off, and you just lay there floating in utter darkness and silence for 60 or 90 minutes…or however long you want to float for!

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the floatation tank is also known as the Sacred Space Pod

The tank is about the size of a tanning bed, so if you are claustrophobic you probably wouldn’t care for it — you’re shut up in there, and the air gets pretty thick. But if you just keep breathing, and relax…it’s pretty sweet. Like being in the womb….or floating in Outer Space: “Tell my wife I love her very much……..”

I found the experience really unique and interesting, but if I am to be completely honest, I got restless about halfway through, after I dozed off and woke up. My legs started aching, and I found myself wondering what everyone else was doing while I was in there, and I was anxious to get out and get back to the real world. Fail!! I think I’m too high-energy for that shit, but then again…floating on a regular basis might be just what I need to calm me the fuck down! A new float place just opened in Vegas — apparently Oprah recently raved about floating, so it’s become a popular thing…so maybe I’ll try the place here in town sometime. But at $1/minute, I can’t afford very much peace of mind :/ Maybe I’ll just buy an old coffin and lay in that for an hour every day; I feel like I’d get the same results, relaxation-wise!

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my sis got to sleep in THIS!!!

Anyway, after my float I did feel really relaxed, and I went out to my cozy bed in the RV and snuggled up to sleep. My sister, that lucky fucking bitch, got to sleep in the sensory eXaltation pod on the Grokitship — D’OH!!!! But my RV bed was really cozy, so I’m not complaining. Maybe I can stay in the exaltation pod next time icon smile Bikers, Geeks, New Agers and Stoners

In the morning, after our Om-elettes, we played a brief-but-intense 90-minute session of The Game, and then it was time to bid that crazy band of New Agers adieu, and head out back onto the road. My sis and I really wanted to hike out to Sykes Hot Springs in Big Sur, but alas, I was supposed to go to the first annual Las Vegas Hempfest the next day, so I very reluctantly got on the 101 south and left the Bay Area until next time. Boooooo!

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out in the Bakersfield oil fields

Because I had to be up early the next morning, and because I’d left the Be & Be Well later than I should have, I had to basically haul ass the whole way home, taking just a few minutes to stop for photos at the spot where James Dean had his fatal crash, and then making a brief stop for dinner in Bakersfield with my friend Dr. Zhivago. I would have loved to stay the night, since I was really fucking sick of driving, but I was supposed to be at the Hempfest by “11 or noon”  the next day (gotta love stoner time), so I knew I’d better just forge on ahead.

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swamp ass at the Las Vegas Hempfest photo by Brad Bode

I got home around 1:30am, showered and went straight to bed. I was so fucking exhausted from all this travel and adventure, but I forced myself to get up and put on my showgirl makeup and everything, and don my Mary Jane weed showgirl costume and go down to the Clark County Government Center, where the Hempfest was being held. It was hot as fuck, but a decent number of people were milling around…so I posed for a bunch of photos, then went over to find the friend who had “hired” me. It was all very nebulous, but I was supposed to interview people for some new internet TV station called WeedTV.com…so I figured I’d at least get paid. WRONG! Come to find out, they didn’t want me doing interviews in my costume…but no one told me to bring an extra outfit, so I was fucked :/ I ended up just wandering around aimlessly, drowning in swamp ass most of the afternoon.

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Cannatoe!!!
photo by Brad Bode

To make matters worse, the Miss Las Vegas Hempfest contest was also that afternoon. You might remember me hustling for votes in that competition — I gave up weeks ago, though, because the chick in first place had clearly hacked the system, because she had thousands of votes where everyone else just had hundreds…and besides, she was a real heifer. (Incidentally, my tech genius brother offered to do the same for me — hack the contest so that I won — but I refused to let him, because I have morals, dammit!)

Anyway, since I was already there, I figured I might as well enter the damn pageant anyway, and see what happened. Come to find out, the whole online-voting thing was bullshit anyway and didn’t count for anything (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!), and it was really down to who showed up onstage. The website had said there was a $300 prize, so I figured I should at least try.

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hijinks at Hempfest

I figured my odds were pretty good — I was one of maybe two chicks there who had ever lifted a weight in her life; the rest were sloppy, cottage-cheese-assed heifers with shitty tattoos and bloodshot eyes. But meanwhile, we were playing to a crowd of pimple-faced, half-lidded idiots who were baked out of their gourds…and the emcee himself was so high he forgot what he was doing, and the P.A. system was abysmal, and the whole thing was so amateurish and such a disaster that I was really embarrassed to be up there. Well, that’s what you get when you attend an even produced by stoners, for stoners — a royal clusterfuck!!! They ended up awarding 1st place to some halfwitted dipshit with a tiny monkey on her shoulder, and a friend later tipped me off that the whole thing was rigged all along for her to win, because she was dating the emcee. WTF?!?!?!?! I wasted my entire fucking day sweating in that damn showgirl outfit, and for what? To be made a fool of by a bunch of Dorito-breathed suburban troglodytes. Sad.

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Fuck. This. Shit.

Serves me right for even being a part of the “medical marijuana” community — the whole industry is a huge fuckin’ farce! Everyone there was baked out of their minds, slack-jawed and overweight and pimply and just fucking messes. If anything, from the looks of that crowd I’d say marijuana causes more health problems than it treats, honestly — every single fuckin’ loser there was a diabetes case waiting to happen!!!!!! I do use marijuana medicinally (for sleep), but I have to be honest..when my medical card expires in November, I doubt I’ll bother to renew it. It’s a crooked fuckin’ farce of a system, so what’s the point? What exactly am I supporting?! It’ll be legalized altogether soon enough, and until then, I can get it elsewhere….ya know what I mean?

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Bah!!!

Anyway, that all sucked pretty badly, especially because I blew off Sykes Hot Springs for it :-/ But again…I’m not gonna sit around and cry about it; I’ve got better things to do. Like flying to Kona, Hawaii to visit my friend Dr. Who! He got me a volunteer position in the medical tent at the Ironman Triathlon Finals — a chance to mingle with a bunch of vibrant, enthusiastic go-getters in peak physical condition, as opposed to a bunch of slack-jawed lard-assed pimple-faced beer-swilling stoners. YAY!!!

 

 

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Brothels and Clowns: Exploring Goldfield and Tonopah

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The open road, always beckoning
photo by http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

Holy shit, I’ve had so many bizarre adventures lately that I don’t even know where to start! I just got back from a doozy of a working road trip — from an abandoned brothel to a biker rally in Reno to a tradeshow in San Francisco, plus a day in an isolation tank at a New Age wellness retreat in the Santa Cruz Mountains — and along the way I met so many kooky characters and fucking weirdos that I would have a really tough time shoehorning it all into one blog. So, I’m splitting it into two parts: I’ll address the biker rally and the other stuff in a few days; meanwhile, here’s what happened on my trip to Tonopah and Goldfield…and at the abandoned brothel!!

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desert laundromat

As mentioned in my last blog, a lady photographer friend hired me to take her out to an “unusual/photogenic spot” in the desert for a one or two day trip. Well if there’s one thing I know, it’s unusual/photogenic spots in the desert; the hard part was choosing one! I ended up suggesting we go check out Goldfield, NV — a weird little semi-ghost mining town about 3 hours north of Vegas that I pass thru every year on my way to/from Burning Man, but have never had time to stop and explore. It always looks so tantalizing as I pass thru — lots of rusty old cars and mining equipment, plus plenty of dilapidated old buildings; I was totally stoked for the opportunity to go check it out in detail!!

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brothel!!
http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

Meanwhile, there are few people I would rather make such a journey with; this lady photographer friend is simply amazing – a grouchy desk clerk at one of the more run-down no-tell motels on the north Strip, who also happens to be a chainsmoking ex-New York stand-up comedienne with a mild case of misanthropy. She tells it like it is, in language as salty or even saltier than my own, and truly doesn’t give a rat’s ass. In short, a woman after my own heart!

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the most beautiful skies

I picked her up at her apartment one Sunday morning in late September and we headed north up U.S. 95, straight into the heart of the windswept desolation that is central Nevada. A monsoonal thunderstorm had just passed, so the sky was scattered with clouds — an unusual sight around these parts, but absolutely perfect for photos (she’s a photojournalist, and you can see more of her amazing Vegas street photos at http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/). A clear blue sky is nice, but not very interesting for photos…ya know?

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Fertility Temple to the Goddess Sekhmet in Cactus Springs

I took my role as tour guide very seriously, pointing out all the attractions we passed along the way: “There’s Creech Chair Force Base, where pimply-faced jug-eared recruits sit in darkened trailers all day jerking joysticks, blowing shit up halfway around the world in Yemen.” (I should know; I dated one of them.) “There’s the Goddess Sekhmet Fertility Temple, erected by some barren old hag who, while on vacation in Egypt, prayed to a statue of Sekhmet that if the Goddess would impregnate her withered old uterus, she would erect a temple in her honor out in the Nevada desert, just upwind from a U.S. Gov’t-sanctioned zone of death and destruction.” Ironic!!!

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this amazing photo says it all…
photo by http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

Then, just before we hit Goldfield, we stopped at a particularly interesting archaeological site: an abandoned brothel!

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the abandoned brothel

As mentioned in my last blog, before heading out on this trip I had tapped into the collective knowledge of my database of Facebook friends, asking if there was anything particular I should see while in Goldfield; one photographer friend tipped me off to this abandoned brothel. Apparently, despite (or maybe because of) its remote location, it used to be Howard Hughes’s brothel of choice…and since it had only been out of business 5 years or so, the place was still pretty much intact. So my lady friend — we’ll call her Ninotchka — grabbed her camera…and in we went!

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photo by http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

***Note to photographers: this brothel is private property and is surrounded by a chain-link fence…so don’t even think of trying to trespass here!! Ninotchka and I were lucky and didn’t encounter any cops or homeless murderers…but you never know. Be advised!***

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Into the wild
photo by http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

Going inside this brothel was a trip!!! The location is so remote that no one really fucks with it, I guess…so the place was pretty much as it had been left on the day the ladies vacated the premises; there was still a coffee can on the kitchen counter, and the mattresses and everything were still in the bedrooms, a thin layer of dust covering everything like a musty silk stocking. Just like at the abandoned Rock-A-Hoola water park, it was as if the decision to flee came suddenly.

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Ho Hum

You never know if a murderous methhead is lurking around the next corner in places like these, so you have to be careful! Neither Ninotchka or I had a flashlight, and I had lent both my stun guns to my friend Justin for one of his wacky pranks, so we were unarmed and in the dark…but we still ventured in, tiptoeing gingerly around the premises, looking for interesting artifacts and photos. I got a flyswatter and a swatch of the amazing Alphonse Mucha-print wallpaper as souvenirs icon smile Brothels and Clowns: Exploring Goldfield and Tonopah

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Sunday afternoon in an abandoned brothel
photo by http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

Some graffiti artists had been in there at some point, and the place was pretty busted up…but it wasn’t really that bad, considering how long it had been sitting there abandoned, the jizz-stained mattresses baking dry in the desert sun. We poked around in every room, and I insisted on getting naked and posing for a few photos while I was at it, Ninotchka obliging me despite her stringent warnings not to sit on anything. But my name is Wonderhussy for a reason — I ain’t skeered of no dusty old brothel mattress!

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hi Mom!

Anyhoo, after a few photos we climbed back in my truck and went up the road the rest of the way to Goldfield. As mentioned in my last blog, Goldfield was at one time a booming gold mining town — in the early 1900s it had a population of 20,000, making it the largest city in Nevada, and it even hosted a Lightweight boxing championship match between Joe Gans and Oscar Nelson that drew a crowd of 8,000. Once the mine ran out, however, the place dried up like that Sekhmet lady’s uterus…and these days fewer than 300 kooks, artists and hermits live out there, hunkered down in cabins and RVs and all manner of ramshackeldy desert fortresses. Fabulous!

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junk car forest by http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

Our first stop in Goldfield was this Junk Car Forest some artists had erected out there — basically, a patch of desert valley with a bunch of rusted-out clunkers buried nose-first in the sand, standing up like graffiti-covered metal trees. FAR OUT! This place is AMAZING, and is free to enter and take photos at. It would be an amazing spot for a photo shoot — anyone who wants to hire me, hit me up! This time of year is fabulous for outdoor shooting around these parts icon smile Brothels and Clowns: Exploring Goldfield and Tonopah

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by http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

After exploring the Junk Car Forest awhile, we rolled into downtown Goldfield to check out the Santa Fe Saloon, home of the alleged “World’s Meanest Bartender–” the one my friend had said was really bitchy to him when he asked about the Great Goldfield Flood of 1913. (He asked her “How did Goldfield flood if there’s no river?!” to which she snarled “Ain’t ya ever heard of fuckin’ rain?!” then muttered, “Take yer city money and spend it somewhere else!!”) I was really looking forward to experiencing her bitchy shtick, especially since Ninotchka can be pretty gruff herself and as an ex-New Yorker, doesn’t take no guff from no one. Would there be a fight?! I certainly hoped so! It’s been 108 years since Gans vs. Nelson — high time for more fisticuffs in Goldfield, I’d say!!!

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drinking at the Santa Fe Saloon http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

The Santa Fe Saloon is off a side street, about 1/2 mile east of the highway…so they have a big billboard advertising the turn-off, and this billboard also advertises it as being the “Home of the World’s Meanest Bartender.” Hmmmm. That much ballyhoo reeks of carny shtick; was this bartender really mean? It appeared so; I went inside ahead of Ninotchka, who was outside taking photos, to ask if they served food. The bartender, a gruff, bespectacled woman with a no-nonsense haircut and a Chicago Bears sweatshirt, drawled, “I got some frozen pizza.” I was looking around agape at the astonishing display of old-timey bric-a-brac they have in there, so didn’t answer immediately, so she repeated herself, louder and angrier: “I GOT SOME FROZEN PIZZA.”

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World’s Meanest Bartender, captured on camera!!!!

“Ah, ok! Thanks!” I scurried back outside and relayed this info to Ninotchka, who was delighted — so we both went in and ordered drinks at the bar. We were very polite, so the bartender was cool…but when Ninotchka asked if she could take her photo, she firmly declined: “I don’t allow my picture to be taken.” Fair enough!! But OMG, I accidentally captured this elusive creature on my cell phone, when I was taking some establishing shots of the saloon interior. Whoooooops! She didn’t see me though, so she didn’t freak out or anything. And honestly, at this point…I was pretty sure this “World’s Meanest Bartender” stuff was pure shtick.

Either way, after a drink, Ninotchka and I passed on the frozen pizza and soldiered on ahead to Tonopah instead, where we could get some real food and a room for the night. It’s only about 20 minutes farther north up the 95, so no biggie. We hit up the diner at the Tonopah Station Casino for some good-old-fashioned diner breakfast food, and chatted with the waitress, who used to work in the bomb disassembly plant up the road in Hawthorne, this creepy military town an hour farther up the road that is home to all the unwanted, retired munitions of the US Army. Seriously — the desert up there is dotted with dozens of bunkers built into the desert, each containing god knows what kind of explosives. WEIRD!

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!!!

After dinner, we went over to the registration area for the hotel — speaking of carny shtick, they run this game out there where you can “ROLL THE DICE FOR A FREE ROOM!” The front desk has this little birdcage-type thing with three oversize novelty dice in it, and you spin the cage to roll the dice. If all three land on the same number, you get a free room. I personally know someone who has won before, so I know it’s not rigged….but neither Ninotchka nor I were lucky that night. But it was all good, as we didn’t really want to stay there anyway — we wanted to stay at the CLOWN MOTEL!!!!

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CLOWNS!!!

OMG, this Clown Motel has been on my bucketlist forever — every time I drive by it (on my way to and from Burning Man each year) I literally start drooling with lust: a beat-up-looking old dive motel with clowns all over the facade, like they’re trying to scare away business instead of lure in customers. AWESOME! I love contrarian shit like that icon smile Brothels and Clowns: Exploring Goldfield and Tonopah That’s Tonopah for ya!

We drove into the parking lot in the dark, and it was really creepy: the manager’s office is a tiny little wood-paneled room chock full of hundreds and hundreds of clown figurines, clown dolls, Precious

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More clowns!!!

Moments clowns and one or two extra-terrifying life-sized clowns sitting around in chairs. Kind of like your grandma’s house, if she lived in a double-wide out back behind the Barnum & Bailey Bail Bonds Office. YIKES!

Still, we asked for a double room. “Smoking or non-smoking?” asked the clerk. “Smoking,” Ninotchka replied (as previously mentioned, she is a chain-smoker…plus she had brought me two joints for my birthday, so we were looking forward to getting baked with those).

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Oh hi there!

At this, the clerk handed us the key: “Why don’t you go check out the room first, then come back and let me know if you want it.” DOUBLE YIKES!! As mentioned, Ninotchka is the desk clerk at a super shitty motel herself…so she knew what he meant by that. But when we went over to check out the room, it wasn’t that bad: stained carpet, torn curtains, two black velvet paintings of clowns on the wall. I’ve stayed in worse…well, actually no I haven’t, but it was cool. (Note to future patrons: the smoking rooms are old and beat-up and haven’t been remodeled like ever. But the non-smoking rooms are updated, and presumably much nicer.)

So we took the room, and then walked next door to the historic Tonopah cemetery, where all the early pioneers are buried: victims of the flood, victims of the 1911 Belmont Mine Fire, victims of life in general (suicide, influenza,

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a suicide in Tonopah

eating library paste) (really!!). We got high among the old tombstones, then went back to the room, baked out of our gourds, and had a loooong discussion about Abba. Did you know Abba has a song about an escort agency? Ninotchka used to be the phone girl at an outcall service, so she knows all about it — in fact, she knows a ton of interesting stuff about the escorting biz, and has a lot of good

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the graveyard

stories. In fact, the last time she came up U.S. 95 this way was in the company of a black pimp who was headed to buy weed in Portland — she accompanied him for the adventure, and had to pretend he was her servant when they tried to check into one of the rural redneck motels out there and met resistance (the rednecks weren’t going to rent them a room until Ninotchka dropped her suitcase and barked to the pimp, “Take my bags, boy!” Then they were welcomed with open arms.) (That’s Tononpah for ya.)

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Mizpah lobby

Anyhoo, the next morning we’d had enough slumming with the clowns, and headed back down into central Tonopah to have breakfast at the über-swanky Mizpah hotel. This hotel is simply astonishing — a grand old fully restored turn-of-the-century luxury hotel that is said to be haunted by a ghost called the Lady in Red. Alas, the hotel has been so meticulously and luxuriously restored that it’s a bit pricey to stay at…but it has a fabulous lobby area with an amazing, elegant bar, all filigreed robber-baron-chic. I wonder who the fuck stays there?! The rooms were about $150 I think, and this was a Sunday night in the off-season. Crazy!

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these are the artifacts that define our times

We loitered a bit in the lobby, checking out this amazing collection of framed personal checks endorsed by various celebrities (my favorite was a check made out for $3 to “Valley Shoe Repair” in 1979 by Jamie Lee Curtis) and had breakfast in the cafe, then walked around checking out downtown Tonopah. There’s not all that much to see, but it’s a cool old town with a lot of history, so it’s definitely worth a visit — and the star-gazing is said to be exceptional, since it’s far from any urban light pollution. We even drove around and checked out all the back streets, too — we really covered that town!

Then we headed back down toward Vegas, stopping in one more time at the Santa Fe Saloon — and this time, the bartender was even less grumpy, so I’m saddened to report that her reputation is almost definitely 100% shtick. Booo! After drinks we stopped at this kooky art car museum on the highway in town, where some old Burning Man vet stashed all his old art cars when he retired to the desert. I had a long and interesting conversation with his daughter, who sort of runs the place, and she told me about a bunch of kooky desert shit including the story of this poor deluded shaman.

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Nevada is vast
http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

The story was sparked by this map they had hanging on the wall of the State of Nevada — the map was color-coded to show all the land that is privately held, vs. US Military land and BLM (Federal Bureau of Land Management) land. It was crazy — around 85% of the state was yellow (BLM land), with tiny pockets of white (privately held land) around Reno and Vegas. The other 13% was all US Military land — the big government base where they used to detonate atomic bombs and stuff (and which Area 51 is part of) stretches all the way from Vegas to Tonopah, pretty much! Nuts! I had no idea it was that big.

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one of the willow branches

Well, one time not too long ago, this poor addle-brained shaman had a Vision that if he would only walk all the way from Hawthorne (the munitions bunker town) to Mercury (the base headquarters, down near Vegas), and if he would only plant a willow branch every mile or so, if any one of the willow branches took root and started to grow, world peace and harmony would ensue. So this poor fucker did it — he walked all that way, toting all those willow branches….and for what?! The Middle East is ready to blow, and Russia’s not far behind…not to mention the mess in Africa. WTF!

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one of many places I plan to pose nude

Anyhoo, after listening to that downer tale it was time to get the fuck out of there — I had to drive to Reno the very next day (for the bike rally), and that night I was also having a sort of birthday party at a local gay bar that I had to get to. (It was my birthday that day.) So we hauled ass back to town, and I dropped Ninotchka back at her apartment. But we had such a good time, and made such good traveling companions, that we decided we need to figure out a way to get some funding somewhere to do a tour of the entire state of Nevada — all the weird little towns in in the middle that everyone passes by, like Ely, Pioche, Caliente and Battle Mountain. Real fucked-up towns, ya know?!

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in the Tonopah book store’s special section
http://vegasimages.tumblr.com/

Ninotchka was gonna try and pitch our road trip to some local magazines, but if they won’t fund it, I’m turning to you guys: I’ll do a Naked Nevada Kickstarter campaign, and go around posing nude in every Nevada town with a population over 5. There really aren’t that many towns, so I’d only need about $4,000 to do it — so watch out, that may be coming soon!!!

Anyway, I raced home, freshened up, and hit the “birthday” party — it wasn’t really my birthday party, but the local Burning Man community was having a get-together that happened to be on my birthday, so I sort of piggy-backed onto it to avoid the suicidally awkward unpleasantness of last year’s botched birthday “party.” It worked out great, since there were a couple others who also shared the same

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Happy birthday to me!!!

b-day, and they got us a cake and everything. Awwww! Also, they had a costume exchange going on, so I was able to unload a bunch of leftover wacky shit from my garage sale. Winning!!

And then, the next day I headed back up the 95 again to Reno…but I’ll tell you all about that in a few days. STAY TUNED!  icon smile Brothels and Clowns: Exploring Goldfield and Tonopah

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Rednecks and Foieffles

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Sucking out the darkness within
Photo by Keri Pettit

I get the seasonal blues everrrrrrry year after Burning Man — fun’s over, back to school, leaves are changing and everything’s slowly fading into the first fuzzy shades of death — including me (a subtle reminder of which being my birthday, Sept. 22nd — a/k/a the 1st day of fall). Grim, huh?! Well, thankfully, this year I have a bunch of fun stuff to look forward to, to distract me from my usual melancholia!

First, an exceptionally misanthropic, grouchy, chain-smoking photojournalist lady-friend of mine offered to take me on a whirlwind overnight vacation to the town of Goldfield, NV! She initially proposed hiring me as a tour guide to take her “into the desert, to an unusual/photogenic spot…” so I wracked my brains and came up with the idea of exploring Goldfield — a tiny ex-mining/semi-ghost-town on the U.S. 95 between Vegas and Tonopah. At one time (early 1900s), Goldfield was a boomtown with a population of 20,000…and even hosted a championship boxing match that drew 8,000 spectators (Gans vs. Nelson, 1906)! Now, it’s just a dusty, rusty collection of artsy junk on the side of a highway, with a population barely above 200. YAY!

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I can hide the darkness within VERY well, when called upon to do so!!
Photo by Steve White

I pass thru Goldfield every year on my way to and from Burning Man, but I’m always in such a hurry that I never really stop and soak up the ambiance. It seems like a really interesting/bad ass spot…so I’m totally stoked to go. A friend tipped me off to an abandoned brothel nearby, and also to the fact that the bartendress at the saloon in town is SUPER FUCKING GROUCHY and a total hater….so I can’t wait to pit her against my lady friend, who is also SUPER FUCKING GROUCHY — and from New York! No desert grouch can POSSIBLY compete with a city grouch — so it’s ON (ding)! My friend says that the way to really piss off the lady bartender is to ask her, “So how was Goldfield flooded? There’s no river here; it’s the middle of the desert!” According to this friend, when he asked that innocent question, she HARRUMPHED, turned her back to him and muttered, “Ain’t ya ever heard of fuckin’ rain?! Take your city money and spend it somewhere else!!!!”

Anyhoo, I can’t wait to see how my city friend handles this cranky old bitch — this could be even bigger than Gans v. Nelson! We depart first thing in the a.m. — I can’t wait!

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Me and my bikini bike wash sidekick, last year at Sturgis

Then, when I get back from Goldfield, I’m headed back up the 95 to work some biker rally in fabulous Reno, NV! The chick that I went to Sturgis with last year invited me to go work a bikini bike wash with her next weekend, and she got a free room in Tahoe so it’s basically a 100% moneymaking endeavor for both of us. We leave Tuesday, first thing in the a.m. — I can’t wait!

Then from Reno, I’m headed over to San Francisco, to work a three-day tradeshow gig at OracleWorld at the Moscone Center. Tradeshows are usually pretty lame, but this one pays well, and I have a free place to stay at my brother’s crib across the Bay in Oakland…so I’m gonna suck it up in the name of cheese-stacking. Because lord knows, I need the cheese! I leave for that next Sunday, first thing in the afternoon….and I can definitely wait, but I’m still planning to have some fun!

Then, I have a couple days before I have to be back in Vegas, so I’m either gonna visit the Be &BeWell in Santa Cruz and try their sensory deprivation tank…or maybe head to Big Sur instead, and hike to/camp out at Sykes Hot Springs with my sister. Either way is gonna be fabulous, and I can’t wait!

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fuck this shit! I want to go back to Burning Man!!!
Photo by Shutterbug-Studio

From there, I can cruise back down to Vegas in time to hit the big Hempfest festival on October 4th — a daylong party going down at the Clark County Government Center, with bands and vendors and all kinds of pot-related shenanigans. I’m not being paid to attend, but I figure it’ll be good networking for me to show up in my Mary Jane showgirl costume — maybe I can schmooze Dr. Reefer into renewing my medical card again for free! (My card expires in November, but I’m not sure I can/want to shell out the cash to renew it…ya know? It’s like $200 in Nevada!).

And then after that, I’m supposed to hike down to Havasupai Falls on the West Rim of the Grand Canyon — an area said to be astonishingly beautiful, but you have to have a special permit to hike it, because it’s on Indian land. I was supposed to do this hike with my frenemy Alex and a bunch of his friends, none of whom I know at all…but I figured it would be OK because Alex has a girlfriend now, and seems to have mellowed out a bit. Yay! Alas, however…his girlfriend fucked up her shoulder the other day racing a dirt bike or something, and now they might not be able to do Havasupai :/ So I could still maybe go with the other people…but I don’t know them at all, so it might be kinda weird/awkward. We’ll see!!

Anyway, after THAT I’m flying to beautiful Kona, Hawaii to visit my new friend Dr. Who!! Not only is he a fabulously interesting and charming person, he also has a coffee farm in Hawaii (!!)…and he invited me out for a visit. It also happens to be the weekend of the big Iron Man Triathlon race, which he is working the medical tent for, and he got me a gig as a volunteer, helping woozy racers and whatnot. FAR OUT!!! Those triathletes are out of this world — for this race, you start out swimming 2.4 miles, then you race a road bike for 112 miles, and then run a full marathon (26.2 miles). The elites do it in just over 8 hours total….WTF!! This, I gotta see to believe. I know I said “I can’t wait” about a bunch of other shit already……..but for this, I REALLY can’t wait!!!

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Back to the grind…   prints available at fineartamerica.com/profiles/john-gombeda.html?tab=artworkgalleries
Photo by John G

So anyway, where I’m at now is looking back at a fabulous summer, and ahead at a wonderful fall…but stuck in the present, which is admittedly kinda on the shitty side. It’s still hot as fuck and twice as humid here in ShitTown U.S.A. a/k/a Vegas, and to make things worse, business has been kinda slow.

When I rolled back in from Burning Man, I was ready to pack my shit away and get right back to work, and start stacking that cheese back up for my next adventure. I only made about $900 in August, so I was especially hurting — plus a freelance piece I was supposed to do about Burning Man for Men’sHealth.com (of all things) fell thru last-minute, so now I was left scrambling. Thankfully, I never scramble too long — I rounded up a couple photo shoots, a convention gig and an afternoon stint as an airport greeter, holding up a directional sign so that a bunch of visiting oncologists could find their limo drivers. (One would really hope that one’s cancer care was in the hands of someone capable of finding a limo driver….but…you never know.)

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I am quite hirsute when left unchecked
Photo by Shutterbug-Studio

But before I could do any of those gigs, I had a little “personal grooming” to attend to. You see, at Burning Man I basically let my freak flag fly and my body hair run rampant — not just my nether-regions, but my armpits as well! That kind of shit is great for art and shock value, but not so good for paying work as a nude model or a tradeshow hostess — so alas, I finally had to kow-tow to the bourgeois demands of Society and shave icon sad Rednecks and Foieffles But before I did, I made sure to visit my dear friend Randy at Shutterbug-Studio, and capture it all in a fabulous photo shoot! I started out trying to emulate Patti Smith’s “Easter” album cover photo….and it got waaaaay out of control! Bwahahahahahaha icon smile Rednecks and Foieffles

So anyhoo, once I shaved, I was good to go back to work in the mainstream — and the first gig I booked was this cycling industry tradeshow, Interbike. This company was  looking for an “enthusiastic, blonde” tradeshow hostess…but I applied anyway, even though my hairs are dark as sin (especially the ones I’d just shaved, LOL). I emailed them saying something like, “I’m available, and enthusiastic…but if you must have a blonde, so be it!”  Well guess what — they admired my chutzpah and hired me! And it was fantastic!

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The excitement was intense!!!

The company I was working for makes full-size folding commuter bikes, and their shtick at the tradeshow was a contest: Whoever could fold their demo bike the fastest would win $500 CASH! So my job was basically to stand in the aisle barking like a circus carny, trying to get guys to come enter the challenge. Boy, was that ever a gas!! First of all, Interbike is a show attended by NOTHING BUT the most outdoorsy, athletic, non-conformist-type guys — so not only did I have plenty of eye candy to keep me amused (that’s the kind of guy I like), but finding contestants for the Bike Fold-Off was super easy! EVERY guy wanted to try, and eventually it got SO competitive that the same four guys were battling each other over and over and OVER again (there was no limit on the number of attempts you could make…alas). It was down to this adorable Canadian kid, two brothers from Utah, and then this crazy Asian guy from Cali…all of whom were able to fold the bike in less than one second! The competition was fierce for that $500 — I almost got hit in the face a couple times when the front bike wheel went flying. The Canadian kid ended up winning with a time of 0:0:47 (that’s less than HALF a SECOND!), and boy was my stopwatch thumb sore by the end!

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More hairy outtakes
Photo by Shutterbug-Studio

All in all, though, it was a huge gas and a total riot to work — I have rarely (if ever) had that much fun at a tradeshow! A convention center full of smokin’ hot outdoorsy guys, a fun gig — what’s not to like?! If only ALL trade shows could be like this! The client I was working for was super cool, too — and they were so pleased with my performance that they gave me a bonus, and asked me if I’d work other trade shows for them as well! “Sure!” I said enthusiastically — because seriously, I would love to! Their product is really cool, too — really nice full-size aluminum folding bikes that weigh less than 24 pounds; totally portable!

The only problem was, the boss wasn’t sure they had all my contact info, so I offered to give him a card — but when I reached into my card holder, I realized I didn’t have any G-rated cards!

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Exhibit A, my G-rated bidness card

See, over the years I keep ordering new business cards, and they just keep getting racier and racier. At first, I started out with Exhibit A: generic, cutesy, sexy enough to be fun and interesting, but still safe enough for Corporate America. I don’t really like to use this card anymore though, because the Model Mayhem and OneModelPlace numbers are obsolete (and who even uses OneModelPlace anymore?!?). But, if I’m really in a bind, I’ll hand out this card.

When I started writing for the paper, I upped my game to Exhibit B: racier, but by then that’s what I was known for, so it was expected. Also, by then I had started this blog, so now I had

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Exhibit B, my PG-rated card

links to my scandalous diary all over it.

And then, last year I trumped everything with my pièce-de-résistance — Exhibit C, which I find hilarious but which you have to have a certain sense of humor to appreciate. It’s modeled after one of those cheesy hooker cards they hand out on the Strip, but if you read the fine print you can tell it’s a joke — and the reverse side is a totally straight bidness card anyway just in case you really didn’t get the joke. I can only really hand this card out to SUPER COOL people who really get it….so I don’t hand it out nearly as often as I’d like icon sad Rednecks and Foieffles

Anyway, at the Interbike show, the boss of the

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Exhibit C…my R-rated (and favorite) card

company I was working for asked me for my contact info, so I fumbled through my bag, trying to find something inoffensive…but alas, all I had on me were my PG- and R-Rated cards. I gave him the PG one, but I’m afraid that because it has my website address on it, he probably already went to this blog and freaked the fuck out — and might not hire me for any future trade shows icon sad Rednecks and Foieffles D’oh!!! Needless to say, I went straight home and logged onto VistaPrint to order some boring-ass new vanilla cards that just say my name, number and “TRADE SHOW MODEL.” BOOOO-RING…..but sadly necessary.

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on my friend’s new Harley in Jean, NV!

So after being around all those hot guys at the Interbike show, I was all pumped up on the Great Outdoors, and ready to get out in the fresh air and do something wild! The next day, I drove out to Jean, this little NV/CA border town with nothing but a casino and a prison, to meet a reader from Southern California who’d ridden his new Harley out to meet me for lunch. He even placed a $100 blackjack bet for me (which I of course lost….I’m terrible poison at the tables…so please, for the love of dog don’t ask me to gamble with you. Or dance with you. Anything else, I can handle). Anyway, that was fun…but I was still craving adventure!

Fortunately, a videographer friend called me up the very next day, to see if I wanted to help him out filming a commercial for one of those tour companies that takes you on an ATV ride through the desert. All I would have to do is ride an ATV around and be filmed doing it…so, despite the fact that I have NEVER ridden an ATV in all my life, and the fact that Dr. Who calls them “Kidney-Donation Devices,” I said Hell, YES!

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Git Er Done!!!

We all met up at 7am Saturday morning and drove out to Logandale, this little redneck town north of Vegas where the tours start out. The owner of the company had rounded up about 12 people altogether to be in this commercial, which was an unpaid gig but you got a free box lunch and a free ATV ride out of it, so I guess he had no problem finding volunteers. Anyway, they strapped us all in and then one of his tour guides led us on a 28-mile course through the desert, starting in Logandale and then winding through the astonishingly beautiful Valley of Fire. It was BREATHTAKING!

The only downside was that it was hotter than the devil’s taint that day, and we kept having to stop and idle in the broiling desert sun while they set up camera shots and stuff…so by the time we reached the halfway mark, everyone was hot and sweaty and kinda grouchy. So we stopped in the shade for lunch, and then headed back out after a little break to finish the course.

This time, this young dude led the pack, and he was going a little faster than the tour guide had been. In trying to keep up with him, one of my tires hit a rock, and my ATV ran off the trail and down a fairly steep embankment! I tried to crank the wheel hard to the left to get back on the trail, but I spun out and my ATV tipped over and crashed on its side. I was only going about 15 mph, but it still knocked the wind out of me!

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Tell my wife I love her……

Well, everyone got out and ran over like “OMG are you OK?!?!?!” And I was; they really had us strapped in there good, with NASCAR-type harnesses and helmets and everything…but I was still shaken up, especially because everyone was in my face going “OMG OMG OMG!” So I unharnessed myself and extricated myself from the ATV, standing on trembling legs to prove that I was OK — and I even tried to make a joke about it, to sort of defuse the tension: “Well, I hope they at least got some good footage of that wipeout!” LOL, haha.

Everyone sort of laughed nervously, and just then is when the owner came roaring up on his dune buggy. I guess he saw us all standing around his brand-new busted up ATV laughing, and he freaked out! “THAT’S AN $8,000 RIG YER LAUGHING AT!!!!! THAT’S $500 WORTH OF DAMAGE!!! WHO’S GONNA PAY FOR THAT!?!?!?!?! IT’S NOT A JOKE!!!!!”

Whoa! We all calmed down right away, and I felt terrible  — I mean, I certainly didn’t wreck the rig on purpose! I wasn’t even razzing around all crazy, just following the trail behind the guy in front of me! But this man was beyond irate, and just kept yelling relentlessly at me, making me feel like a total dumbass.

My first reaction was to start crying, but I didn’t want to be a pussy, so instead of crying I did something very stupid — I yelled back at him: “I didn’t do it on purpose!! What do you want me to do — suck your dick?!?!?!?!”

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Ruh-roh……

Oooooooh! Now he was really pissed — you never heard someone scream at a woman like this man did at me, in front of about 12 other people who all just stood there looking at their feet, not saying a word in my defense. Listen, buddy — I’m doing this commercial for free, it’s hot as fuck, I’ve never ridden an ATV before, you gave me beyond minimal instruction…and now you’re mad at me because I scraped up your ATV? I do understand it was a brand new rig, but….guess what?! Breaking my NECK is way more expensive than $500!

This man screamed and screamed at me, calling me every name in the book and telling me he was gonna make me walk back (in 100-degree-plus weather, about 14 miles from town). So now I really did start crying — bawling my eyes out, actually — and finally the others stepped in and made us calm down. Realistically, I understand why he was upset — he was hot, and angry about other stuff, and I had just scraped the hell out of his brand new ATV and then sassed him in the most scandalous way imaginable. But, really??

Anyhoo, he ended up apologizing, and I accepted…but it kinda soured the day and I was actually kind of afraid — I’ve never been yelled at like that in my entire life, EVER. EVER! Even though I haven’t named any names here, I was still afraid to even blog about the whole thing…so if this guy does come after me demanding his $500, will you all please do me a favor and chip in 50 cents or $1 to my defense fund? In writing this, I decided that it’s actually worth $500 to me to tell this story. Thanks!!!

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More from Keri Pettit!

So aaaaaanyhoo, after we calmed down, we all got back on our ATVs and rode back to the ranch. I was still bawling my eyes out inside my helmet — I think more than anything, I felt humiliated and betrayed — by the fact that no one stepped in and had my back while I was being screamed at. But, I do understand why no one did — the guy was going BALLISTIC, and we were out in the middle of nowhere in 100-degree+ weather, and he was our only ticket back.

Once we got back, the owner apologized again and high-fived me, so I made good with him and to be honest, I probably would recommend his ATV tour packages to tourists — it’s a really fun, beautiful excursion that shows you the other side of the Vegas valley. Just be careful and don’t wreck one of his rigs!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jawohl!!!

After that, we got the hell out of there, back to the city, where I changed into a dirndl and headed over to the Hofbrauhaus for the annual Oktoberfest keg tapping with Siegfried & Roy. A friend had invited me as his dinner guest, so I forgot the tragedies of the day and stuffed myself on wienerschnitzel and whatnot while enjoying the spectacle of the Barons of Botox limping down the aisle, greeting their adoring public. Siegfried & Roy are still astonishingly popular in Vegas, and even though Roy can’t really move around too good since the tiger attack that almost killed him back in 2003, they still put on a good show for their adoring public — they were out there for hours posing for photos with fans! The best part was, Roy had on this fake lederhosen dickie-type thing, which I guess gave him the appearance of wearing lederhosen without the hassle of actually having to put his legs through pant holes. It was more of a leder-lanyard than anything, really. Awwww!

Anyhoo, I made merry at dinner but then went home and collapsed — I was exhausted!!! And my neck and shoulder were sore as fuck for a week afterward — the safety harness in that ATV worked really well, but I still bonked my head pretty hard. D’oh!!! Oh well…at least I still have both kidneys icon smile Rednecks and Foieffles

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Laying low
Photo by John G

After all that craziness, I decided I better lay low for awhile and maybe just help a friend, to right my karma or whatever. As it happened, my friend El Pulpo (the guy with all the kayaks, from my kayak adventure last April) needed a ride out to California, to look at a pickup truck. Some a**hole had stolen his beloved Tacoma from the street right in front of his house, and he’s been unemployed for quite a while, so he was having a hard time finding a new rig at the right price. He had his eye on one out in Corona, CA, so I agreed to drive him out there to look at it — a 4-hour drive, each way!

Now, this isn’t really that weird when you consider that we live in Vegas, which is basically like living on an island — it’s 4 hours in any direction to the nearest city of any reasonable size. The population base here in town is only around 1.5 million, which makes dating a bitch and buying a truck almost as difficult — so sometimes you just have to sack up and drive out to California, with its far bigger population base (and yes, I HAVE driven out there to meet up with a date…which didn’t work out, although the guy was a TOTAL badass who lived in a Zen cabin on a mountaintop farm in the middle of downtown L.A. [you read that entirely correctly, yes! It was amazing]).

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In glamorous Corona, CA

Aaaaanyhoo, I drove El Pulpo out to Corona, which is like a little redneck suburb in a sort of rednecky dirt-bikey part of SoCal called the Inland Empire, and these two squirrelly redneck dudes tried to sell him this old beater truck…which on craigslist was fine, but in person had all kinds of problems! On the drive over, they texted him: “Oh P.S. there is a few chips in the windshield,” but by then we were already halfway there….and when we got there, they weren’t chips at all but HUGE CRACKS! The whole fuckin’ windshield was basically shattered! Damn shady rednecks. You could tell my friend felt bad dragging me out all that way, but I didn’t want him to feel like he had to buy that truck, and so I told him. Thankfully, he agreed…so we drove back empty-handed. A total of 8 hours, just to be hoodwinked by rednecks! Those rednecks must have thought we were a couple of real rubes from the desert…little did they know, us Vegas people wrote the fuckin’ BOOK on hoodwinking!!!

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Fuck yeah I drink wine at the Hofbrauhaus! I HATE beer!

It was cool though, because my neck was still sore from the ATV crash and I didn’t mind sitting on my ass driving on the highway all day — plus, El Pulpo paid for gas and lunch, so we stopped at this Del Taco in Barstow which someone, somewhere told me once was like the fanciest Del Taco in the entire world. Supposedly, the Barstow Del Taco was the first one they ever opened, and it’s like a gourmet version — all fancy and shit. Well, I can’t for the life of me remember who told me that…but it is most certainly not true at all!!! It was a regular, ghetto-ass old Del Taco with shitty fake Mexican food…which, since I was PMSing, I beasted the fuck out on!!!! Ugh.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to sit around digesting that for long, because the very next day a visiting journalist friend from NYC was in town, and he invited me to come along with him to dinner at the steakhouse at the newly revamped SLS Hotel-Casino, which used to be the Sahara, but has since been de-themed and douchified by some corporate gang of poseurs from L.A. or Miami or some other doucheburg. Gone are the camels and mosaic tiles and Moroccan shtick, and in their place is a sort of poor-man’s Cosmopolitan — all exposed ductwork and edgy wacky artsiness at every turn. It was actually pretty nice, I’ll admit….but I liked the Sahara better!

Anyway, the steakhouse was even more astonishing. If you haven’t been to an upscale Vegas restaurant lately, let me fill you in — regular-ass old meat and potatoes and whatnot just don’t cut it anymore for the chi-chi crowd. These rich motherfuckers are bored as fuck, and to get them to eat food, it has to be like foie-gras cotton candy or a twee-as-fuck miniature bagel&lox ice cream cone. WTF!!!!! If a starving Honduran saw this shit, he wouldn’t know whether to laugh, cry — or sneak over the border during the dessert course, when all eyes were on the Kobe Beef Mousse and he could beeline it for Home Depot without causing a stir.

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A foieffle

The worst part of this meal was, in fact, the dessert — a 1%-er foodie abomination called the foieffle. You read that — the foieffle, as in, a foie-gras infused waffle, stuffed with peanut butter and honey and topped with julienned blanched almonds. Holy mother of irony!! Can you believe these rich motherfuckers!? Now, where I come from we use peanut butter to mask the foul taste of, oh, say, psilocybin mushrooms……so can you imagine the ignominy of force-feeding a fucking goose until its liver is about to blow, only to mask its flavor with fucking JIF?!?!?!?!?!?! There is really IS no God!!!!!

Worse than all that, though…was the fact that I sat there and lapped it all up like Eliza Doolittle on crack icon sad Rednecks and Foieffles Boo, me. Where are my principles?! In my defense, all I can say is, I was totally discombobulated from the amazing people watching in that restaurant. I tell you, you have NEVER seen a more astonishing array of wealthy weirdos and poseurs than in that place — or, I suppose, in any expensive new Vegas hotspot. The douchebags and poseurs all flock to those places, so an amazing show is to be expected! (If you’re curious and want to check this shit out in person, the place is aptly named BAZAAR MEAT, and José Andrés is the chef to blame. Bring your wallet!!!)

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Come ‘n’ get it

Well, I guess being around all those 1%-ers whetted my appetite for money…because I spent the next two days in garage sale hell, trying to unload some of my meager possessions on an unsuspecting public in the name of earning a buck or two. I cleaned out my costume room and my underwear drawer, my shoe rack and my kitchen cabinets, and ended up netting a whopping $125 for two days of backbreaking labor, sitting in my driveway drinking vodka grapefruit with my neighbor. SAD!!

But, at least I did get rid of a bunch of crap…so I’m kinda on my way to my ultimate goal of consolidating my current three bedrooms-full of crap into one, so I can recruit a second roommate and start raking in more rental income. (I currently have an office, a bedroom and a dressing room…three separate bedrooms, which I plan to squeeze into one!) I’m gone traveling most of the time anyway; might as well find another poor sap to shack up with my other roommate and my dog. Right?!

RIGHT! Because, as you know….I have a lot of traveling ahead of me. And I CAN’T WAIT!!!

See you when I get back!

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The Dong and the Disco Ball — Burning Man 2014

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That’s what’s up!

Longtime Burning Man vets often speak of having had one “bad Burn,” i.e., the year they had a shitty time at Burning Man. It seems impossible to have a bad time at the Greatest Party on Earth, but it’s definitely possible — health, weather, mood and interpersonal drama can all impact one’s experience, turning a fabulous playcation into a shitty week of annoying, dusty hell.

Due to my many First-World Problems, I had been in a funk the first few weeks of August — shit just hadn’t been going my way, and I had a nagging suspicion that this was going to be my “bad Burn.” I tried to stay positive by burning sage and waving crystals around and whatnot…but the feeling just wouldn’t go away. Aside from already being in a funk, my usual group that I camp with had broken up…so I had agreed to form a sort of Playa Shelter for Unwanted Burners, made up from flotsam and jetsam I knew from various areas of my life…none of whom knew each other, and many of whom had never been to Burning Man before. Would this social experiment fail miserably? I had a feeling it would.

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C’s art car, the Soul Train

But ever the optimist/pragmatist, I packed up my shit anyway and headed up early. Burning Man officially starts the Sunday before Labor Day (Aug 24 this year), but for the past few years I’ve been going up early, to help a friend with his art car (you have to have a special pass to enter early, and basically prove you working on a project…not just going up early to party). This friend, C, is a professional puppeteer, and is usually booked for a gig somewhere on the Saturday before Burning Man starts…so he likes to go up early and assemble his art car on Thursday and Friday the week before, so he can fly out from Reno to do his gig, then return Sunday night with everything already set up and ready to go. I don’t mind going up early to help him, as it allows me to avoid traffic and also to grab a good spot for my camp, before everyone else gets there. And it’s not like I have to request time off from work or anything, lol.

Screen Shot 2014 09 07 at 2.46.23 PM 251x300 The Dong and the Disco Ball    Burning Man 2014It’s about 500 miles from Vegas to Black Rock City (the part of the desert north of Reno where Burning Man is held). The trip can easily be made in one day, but I usually break it into two — I can really only drive 55-60mph with my little trailer tires, and I like to get there during daylight so I can stake out a good spot for my camp. I usually stay overnight at a motel in Fallon, NV…but I’ve been broke lately, so I planned to camp out at Walker Lake instead. Walker Lake is this huuuuge lake in the middle of nowhere, near Hawthorne, NV, and it’s only $4 to camp there.

However, thunderstorms were in the forecast, so on my way up I pussed out and decided to get a room after all. There’s this creepy-ass old motel on the outskirts of Tonopah called the Clown Motel (!!), but when I checked hotels.com and orbitz, all that came up was this shitty casino in Hawthorne called El Capitan. So I booked a room there, for around $60.

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heading north through the wilds of Nevada

CAVEAT EMPTOR! I always assumed Orbitz and sites like that offered the best rates on rooms…but as I was driving up, I saw tons of motels with vacancies at $35/night — including the Clown Motel! D’OH!!! Worse, when I checked into the El Capitan, I saw they were only charging $35/night as well. But Orbitz tacked on some kind of bullshit commission, bringing my total up to $60. FUCK THAT! I’ll never book a room using Orbitz again!

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the hussy has landed

Anyway, I left Hawthorne and the miserable El Capitan the next morning, and arrived on the playa (as they call the dry lake bed upon which Burning Man is held) Wednesday evening. The weather was fine, although it had been raining the week before, so the playa surface was pretty soft and kinda beat up…which makes hammering in rebar stakes easier, but riding a bike difficult. I got to work setting up camp like a boss, reinforcing everything with rebar and guylines, so that nothing would get blown over in the often hurricane-force winds they get up there — especially early in the week, before most RVs arrive and there’s little to block the wind.

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panorama showing the loneliness of my camp, early in the week

My two colleagues from the Goddess Collective were also supposed to be camping with me — my friend C had gotten them early-arrival passes too, to assist with his car (it’s a big project, putting that thing together). But they had some kind of issues with the trailer they’d bought to stay in — neither of them were able to/wanted to tow it up themselves, so they had to scramble around last-minute to find someone to tow it up for them. As a result, they didn’t get up there til Saturday morning!!

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my camp

hate when you vouch for someone and they make you look lame. Getting an early-arrival pass, and then rolling in on Saturday after all the work is already done, is pretty fucking weak — typical Sparkle Pony behavior! (Sparkle Pony is what they call cute-but-useless girls on the playa.) But, as it happened, my friend C was burdened with a couple Sparkle Ponies of his own this year, and didn’t arrive until Friday night himself because of their b.s. So it worked out, but…WTF! He could have called me to let me know!! I basically sat around up there for two days with nothing to do (I ended up helping the Roller Disco camp set up their roller rink, since I was there anyway).

But really, all this Sparkle Pony shit is so old — am I really the only person with a vagina who has her shit together? To wit: my Goddess pals rolled in (well, the guy towing their camper rolled in, anyway) and after they parked the trailer, they wanted to hang up a tarp for shade. “Let’s find some men to help us,” said one of them, in a sexy little baby voice.

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rubber dongs make great rebar covers!

ENOUGH ALREADY! If you’ve read even one of my blogs, you know I ain’t down with that kind of pandering idiocy. It’s a fucking tarp; it takes two seconds to hang! Thankfully, I had all those dicks with me from my friend’s sex toy warehouse that went out of business last month. I was using some of them as rebar stake covers (last year I gouged my shin pretty badly on an uncovered rebar stake, so I’m careful to cover them now), but I also had a few extra strap-ons, which I immediately handed out to the girls: “It’s time to sack the fuck up, ladies. Put this on, and let’s hang this tarp ourselves!”

Wowwwww! It was like the Wizard of Oz, when it goes from black & white to color — we slipped into the boners, and the change was immediate. Before, we kinda tended to slouch over in a concave fashion to protect our tits and wombs or whatever. But once we put on the dicks, our posture totally changed: shoulders back, pelvises thrust out confidently. DICK POWER! We hung the tarp in no time, and decided to wear the strap-ons all week. We called our camp Chix With Dix, and I even made a sign.

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Chicks With Dicks

But alas, what started as an exercise in feminist self-reliance quickly devolved into slutty shenanigans: guys thought the dicks were funny and cute, and the strap-ons basically became meaningless flirtation devices. Ha ha hee hee, chicks with dicks, LOL!

Anyway, everything worked out great: the newly-badass Goddesses were able to help assemble my friend’s car after all, and we got it all done in time for Sunday night, when my sister finally rolled in. Laissez les bon temps roulez! 

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singing karaoke in the street

By this time, our camp had also grown to include one refugee from the Roller Disco camp — a guy with a bad-ass mobile karaoke rig on this crazy Filipino pedicab. He was the only guy among all us gals, and I don’t know how he handled it…but he made an excellent addition to the camp. He had an amazing sound system on his little pedicab, and thousands of songs in his karaoke book, and we spent many happy hours bawling karaoke in the street in front of our camp. It was a great way to engage passers-by! He even took it out on the open playa a few nights, just randomly finding singers among the drunk and high wanderers. Such a fun idea!

Screen Shot 2014 09 07 at 3.13.46 PM 244x300 The Dong and the Disco Ball    Burning Man 2014Now meanwhile, we happened to be camping in the part of Black Rock City known as the Gayborhood…because it’s where all the gay guys party (G street between 7:30-8:00). To that end, there was a giant, two-story purple satin penis in the plaza at the end of our street — you could climb up inside it and wave around these long white satin flags, like streams of jizz. I didn’t intend to camp in the gayboorhood — I just chose the closest spot I could find to where my friend C’s car was being assembled — but it certainly worked out well for us Chix With Dix…and we had a blast! The gay boys loved us, and I handed out a few more dongs as hospitality gifts. I’m telling you, that sex toy inventory really came in handy!

So pretty much the minute my sis rolled in, it was ON! I’ve always gone to Burning Man with my one sister, and we always have a good time together. She had barely arrived and started setting up her tent, and I was already feeding her mushrooms — so the minute she was done, we put fur coats on over our strap-ons (it was cold at night) and headed out to gorge ourselves on the psychedelic banquet that is Burning Man!

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Wonderhussy to the Infinite Power!

Now meanwhile, I was suffering a bit of personal discomfort: this was my 6th year at Burning Man, and every year thus far, I’d been lucky — I either got my period before the event, or after. But this year, it finally happened — my bitch-ass Aunt Flo decided to drop in right during Burning Man. Cramps! Anger!! Moodiness!!! Blood!!!! D’OH!!!!!!!!!

My period started Sunday afternoon, and I had two options: be miserable, or roll with it. Which do you think I did??! When life hands her lemons, Wonderhussy makes electric lemonade — before jamming in a tampon, I soaked that fucker in LSD, tied a disco ball to the end of the string, and partied my ass off!!!  (OK, I’m kidding about the LSD.)

It was really funny, actually; I’d be dancing, and people would compliment me on my big black rubber strap-on: “Oh hee hee ha ha, nice penis!”

“Thanks!” I would respond, adding, “Hey, do you want to see something really fucked up??”

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pic by Jonathan Goody

The answer invariably being a resounding “YES!!” I would then launch into my sad tale, pulling aside my dick and dropping my panties at the end to reveal the disco ball, twinkling merrily as it dangled at the end of the string: “There’s a party in my pants, and everyone’s invited!” LULZ! It was gross, but a nice way to cut thru the juvenile dick shtick, and really blow peoples’ minds. Even the guys were oddly fascinated by it — I expected them to be grossed out, but I had several men come up to me afterward and say how fucking awesome they thought the disco ball thing was. A real piece of feminist performance art, à la Annie Sprinkle! I had so much fun blowing people’s minds with that disco ball that for the first time EVER, I actually didn’t want my period to end! I milked that shtick to the max, wearing a tampon for a full extra day…which I would ordinarily never do. Super fucking fun!!

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at camp

So we partied late into the evening that first night, then snuggled up in our cozy beds to sleep in the next morning. A thunderstorm rolled in early Monday morning, and it was fantastic — since I was already set up, I just lay in bed listening to the raindrops on the roof of my camper, warm and cozy. The thunderclaps were a little scary, and I heard that lightning actually struck the playa in a few places…but I was safe and snug. We got up and erected some more shade/rain protection, laying down a carpet and hanging up drapes, and then spent the afternoon drinking hot cocoa with Bailey’s in our gussied-up digs. My sis and I know how to create a comfortable fucking camp — people came from miles around to hang out in our shady living room. Mostly it was just guys sniffing for puss, since there were so many half-naked chicks camping with us by the end of the week…but many of them did compliment us on our homey setup.

Meanwhile, however, the rain really fucked it up for the poor souls waiting to get in the gate — because the rain creates such thick mud, they actually shut down the event, and wouldn’t let anyone in for 24 hours! Some people were turned back to Reno, and others ended up waiting in their cars for up to 30 hours! Can you imagine?!

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At camp, with Tatiana

Anyway, it worked out fine for my sis and I, since we had to let our serotonin levels recuperate before going out and partying again. I try to wait a day or two between mushroom doses, just for that reason. So we just boozed and got baked, and when the rain stopped we rode our bikes around looking at art on the playa for a couple of days, until the rest of our campmates arrived. As mentioned, our camp was made up of flotsam and jetsam from different areas of my life — my hottie friend Tatiana from the Fargo Sisters came down from Alaska with her boyfriend, and my attorney and his stunningly beautiful E.R.-nurse wife came up with her gorgeous Russian girlfriend. When all was said and done, we had more half-naked pussy running around my camp than you see at most Vegas strip clubs!!! Jokes aside, though, it was definitely good to have an attorney and an E.R. nurse on hand. You never know!

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theinfintyboxes.com

We went balls-out for our first night out as a full camp. I ate some mushrooms, and after a little street karaoke, we all wandered off to enjoy the moveable feast, starting with this awesome snuff emporium right down the street, where you could try all kinds of different herbal snuffs. I snorted this one eucalyptus blend, to clear the playa schmutz from my sinuses, and then tried a patchouli blend that made me feel like Stevie Nicks had just crawled up my nose. Fun!! After the snuff, we stopped in at this amazing tent full of mirrored boxes called Infinity Boxes, and goofed around there for a good while taking cool photos. High people are so easily amused!

By then the shrooms were in full effect, and we wanted to dance!! So our friend with the mobile karaoke unit started blasting house music on his setup, and we all rolled down to the Roller Disco, turning the rink into our own far-out dance party! My friend drove his Filipino pedicab with the speakers on it right onto the rink, and it was fabulous! We all had on crazy costumes, and it was like a DeeLite video or something. Far out!!

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Marie Antoinette says: “Let them eat COCK!”

After awhile, we rolled the party along, off the rink and onto the playa, where we joined up with a dance party going on in the shadows of a giant pirate-ship art car. I was having an amazing time, dancing my ass off in my Marie Antoinette wig and black rubber strap-on (“Let them eat cock!”), when out of the corner of my eye I saw a strangely glowing white vehicle approach. It looked like one of those pioneer-days Conestoga wagons, only with colored lights coming from within, and some beatifically beaming men in robes standing around outside, exuding an aura of New Age Zen tranquility. Far out!!!

I went over and introduced myself, and it turns out this wasn’t any old mutant vehicleit was a BE-hicle called the Grokit-ship — as in, “to grok” from Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.” How appropriate! The crew of this Grokit-ship was a far-out band of New Agers who run a sort of wellness center in the Santa Cruz Mountains called the “Be & BeWell” — a priestess-like Wise-Woman, her charismatic husband, and a white-bearded captain — and they invited us to come aboard and set sail with them as they roamed the playa, looking for a good spot to play “The Game.”

Game? Ooh, I love games! A bunch of us climbed aboard, and the Grokitship set sail…leaving the oonce-oonce-oonce of the dance party far behind, in a mystical quest for deeper understanding. You can’t just play The Game anywhere, you see — you need a nice quiet spot, away from the shroom-addled furries and their incessant house music. Some artist had installed a real, functioning observatory out somewhere in the Deep Playa (what they call the farthest reaches of the desert where Burning Man is held, way out beyond Black Rock City, where it’s only sand and dust and scattered art installations — in other words, my favorite place), and that’s where we were headed. The only problem was, no one knew exactly where the observatory was…so we drove around in circles for quite a while looking for it.

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Inside the Grokitship

Meanwhile, inside the Grokitship it was warm and cozy. The back section was a lounge area, a big flatbed trailer full of cushions and colored lights, where an assortment of young Russian and Estonian truthseekers were snuggled up under the white covered-wagon roof. Moreover, at the time I met up with the Grokitship, there were no less than three women named Sarah Jane on board! What are the odds?!  Destiny!!!

Round portholes had been cut into the sides of the wagon cover, so you could peek out at the playa passing…but the holes could be plugged with giant white inflatable balls, if you wanted to block out the world. The front part of the Behicle was some kind of heavy-duty pickup truck — the captain’s personal sleeping nest was in the truckbed, and a little stepladder led up to a platform on top of the truck cab that held a second, smaller lounging/snuggling area…and a sensory deprivation tank!!!!!

Screen Shot 2014 09 08 at 4.32.49 PM 230x300 The Dong and the Disco Ball    Burning Man 2014If you’ve never heard of them, sensory deprivation tanks are basically coffin-esque pods full of saline water, where you float in perfect silence and darkness. They are said to recreate the experience of being in the womb, or floating in Outer Space — you lose all sense of time and space, and floating in one is said to be a real life-altering experience. It’s been on my bucket list for quite some time, but the only place in Vegas that has one is at some random guy’s house, and I haven’t gotten around to checking it out yet.

Well, here was my chance! The only difference here was that the pod was full of cushions, not water…and it was a sensory EXALTATION tank, not a sensory deprivation tank (they do, however, have the real thing at the Be & BeWell). You got in, and then they gave you these weird headphones and goggles to wear. The goggles flashed all kinds of bright, colorful light patterns, and the goggles played weird pulses and tones, sort of like brainwave entrainment. The idea was to lie there and listen to the whole 15-minute track, keeping your eyes mostly closed to only let a little of the light patterns in. By the end of the session, you’d be regenerated and refreshed. FAR OUT!

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the grokit-ship Be-hicle

I climbed right into that tank and went to town, letting the lights and sounds wash over me and rejuvenate my soul. It was great!! After the program ended, I climbed back down into the main lounge area, ready to play The Game. It seems they never were able to find that observatory, so they had settled on a quiet spot at the very farthest apex of Deep Playa, right out against the trash fence that marks the boundary of Burning Man. This orange plastic construction fence is there to collect any loose trash that blows away, but also to mark the point where the party ends and the real world begins. Cop cars patrol this pentagonal perimeter, as foolhardy souls often try to sneak in across the desert and get into Burning Man for free. To combat this, there are infrared sensors and shit set up — if you try to sneak in OR sneak out, they will get you!!

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overhead view of Black Rock City showing pentagonal trash fence boundary

So the Grokitship parked way the fuck out at the farthest point in this fence, around 12:00…probably the quietest spot on the playa, perfect for playing The Game. By now it was around 3:30am and most of my campmates had bailed, but my sis and I were still aboard, along with the Estonian kids and a few other intrepid playa wanderers the Behicle had picked up along its journey. We were curious about this fucking Game!! But before we could begin, first we all had to get out and play with these giant stringed toys called Windsingers.

Windsingers are kind of like swords with long rubber bands stretched from hilt to tip on either side, and when you swing them around in the balmy playa night, the rubber bands vibrate and make a haunting humming sound. They had this one jumbo-sized Windsinger, the size of a medieval bastard sword, and it took two hands to swing that fucker around — but when you did, it made the most fabulous dove-cooing sound. So before starting The Game, we spent a good hour or so swinging Windsingers around in the night. They had us hold them all up to let the wind vibrate the strings, so we could listen to the breath/heartbeat/soul of the playa, and it was fabulous. And finally, when we’d heard enough, it was time to climb back aboard the Grokitship and play The Game.

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The Game board
XtheGAME.com

The Game turned out to be this super complex sort of talk-therapy exercise with a billion different rules and cards, and this huge gameboard mat decorated with pictures of planets and galaxies and whatnot. You start out by announcing a personal intention, and then you basically talk, and draw cards, and talk some more, and then other people talk back, and draw more cards, and talk some more. It’s not exactly what you call fast-paced, and by the time we finally got started, not many people were left. The Grokitship crew vowed to play until sunrise (they don’t sleep; they just periodically recharge in the sensory exaltation tank), but by this time I was starting to get sleepy, so when the first glow of dawn appeared on the horizon, my sister and I bid the Be-hicle and its crew a fond farewell, and set off on our long, lonely journey alllllll the way back across the playa to our camp — a journey of around 2 miles.

Walking across the playa at dawn is a really curious experience — the sound camps out at the edges of the city are all still going strong, with pounding psytrance and shit blasting away into the cold morning air, and strung-out bedraggled partiers are still raving on, only by this time sort of like robots whose batteries are starting to die. Meanwhile, hippie-dippie early-riser types are already up and about, heading out to do sunrise yoga and greet the Sun Goddess at the Temple or whatever. It’s a weird scene, and one that to be honest I don’t enjoy being a part of, since it means I’m still awake at 6am and will be virtually useless for the rest of the day. But, sometimes it happens…and you just have to go with it! I finally crawled into bed around 7, to sleep as long as I could before it got too hot inside my camper (around 11am). So yeah, I was pretty hungover the next day.

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the Penetrator…so named because it was built to penetrate Deep Playa

Fortunately, I didn’t have to go very far for a hair o’ the dog — the Sunset Lounge was right down the street, and I had some friends camping there. I met these people last year, when they were camped across the street from us, and they had the most amazing art car called the Penetrator — a welded steel masterpiece with a bangin’ sound system and a fantastically cozy swing on the front. It’s one of the coolest designs for an art car I’ve seen on the playa, and we rode around on it quite a bit last year.

Anyway, we all became good friends, and I knew I had to go find them this year…because the one thing a car called the Penetrator needs more than anything, is a bevy of Chicks With Dicks go-go dancing on it!!! I knew they were camping at the Sunset Lounge, so I headed over to see if they were around.

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with the Playa Slumlord

When I arrived, I spotted the leader of the crew right away — this guy called the Playa Slumlord, so called because every year he rents out a ton of shitty old trailers for Burners to use. He stores them on a ranch up near Black Rock City all year, then hauls them out and sets them up for your use during the Burn — for a small fee, of course. Genius business model, check it out: playaslumlord.com. Anyway, he and his girlfriend and his car designer (who also happens to be a  toy designer for Mattel — how cool is THAT?!) and I all had a super happy reunion — I showed them my dick and my disco ball, and we had a laugh and a few mojitos, catching up on the latest playa news. Unfortunately the Penetrator was having mechanical problems, so we couldn’t go out on it yet…so we just hung out and partied at the Sunset Lounge…which was fine, because there was always something happening there!

The Sunset Lounge camp included a bunch of people from the porn industry — talent, crew, producers, etc. And not only was there abundant live pussy at the Lounge; they also had this creepy life-sized rubber fuck doll on a chair in the corner, as a sort of conversation piece. Apparently people want less conversation and more action, however…because by the end of the week, the poor thing was covered in dust, her twat jammed full of gummi worms and her head almost completely severed. YIKES! The scary subconscious truth beneath all that “love & light” hippie talk!!

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So THAT’S what it feels like

Anyway, being as I was wearing a penis, I had to try fucking the doll myself…just to see what it’s like. Interesting!! I plowed that doll good and hard — vaginally, anally and a titty-fucking for good measure. (Interesting, how wearing a phallus can really bring out the misogynist in a gal — she was asking for it!!!) But after being photographed and making everyone laugh, I felt pretty dirty and gross…and the tip of my strap-on smelled terrible. I think people were sticking more than just gummi worms in that poor thing.

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chatting with a kooky Burner veteran at the Sunset Lounge

Anyway, like I said the Sunset Lounge was always hopping, day and night. Any time at all you passed by, the place was full of interesting people hanging out in the shade, drinking and talking and letting it all hang out…so I spent quite a bit of time there. I met this one fascinating veteran Burner lady who had been going for ages, and who even gave Larry Harvey (the Burning Man founder) a ride up there once. She confided some cool inside info about him and how he really came up with the whole idea for the Man, but alas I am sworn to secrecy, so I can’t share it with you here. But other than that, she was just a fascinating person to talk to: an accordion player who busked her way around Europe and the West Coast, living in a schoolbus for 7 years and having all kinds of fabulous adventures. I love meeting people like that, especially women who are ballsy enough to do shit on their own and not sit around waiting for a man!! Kudos to you, sister!!

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Dr Who applying jewels to my tits… p.s. I let my armpit hair grow out astonishingly thick, and I still haven’t shaved!

But aside from all the porn people and the Burner Wise-Woman, the most interesting and fabulous person I met at the Sunset Lounge was this amazing doctor — we’ll call him Dr. Who. You know how you just hit it off immediately with some people? Well, that’s how it was for my sister and I and this doctor — for much of the rest of the week, we were practically inseparable; it was like Three’s Company! I don’t know what kind of masochist this poor motherfucker must be, but he somehow managed to stand being around us for extended periods…and it was great! Anyway, after meeting him and hitting it off, we arranged to go adventuring the following night, once our serotonin levels had repleted.

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biking around the playa

In the meantime, I was still pretty hungover, and too tired to do much of anything…even to put on makeup. My sister and I decided to ride our bikes over to Dr. Bronner’s FauxMirage — a big shower camp that trucks in thousands of gallons of water and Dr. Bronner’s soap, then provides mass showers for dirty Burners in this giant Plexiglas cage they set up in a dome. It’s a TRIP! They put you in the tank 20 at a time, then spray you with soapy water, and everyone rubs each other down and hoses off. Not having had a shower in over a week by this point, it sounded really good…but the line to get in was off the chain, around a half-mile long, and we didn’t feel like waiting that long. So we just kept riding around…and wouldn’t you know it, we ran into the Be-hicle again!

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Goddess Collective…ACTIVATE!
pic by MG Imagery

Now, there are somewhere around 70,000 people at Burning Man…so it’s really remarkable to run into the same people more than once. You can’t even find people when you specially go looking for them, most of the time — so it was actually kinda freaky that we ran into the Behicle again — kismet!! The crew was overjoyed to see us, and welcomed us aboard for another ride — they were supposedly headed out to some billionaires’ party, which sounded fun! This time we had our bikes with us, so if they ended up parking out in Deep Playa again, we could escape easier…but all they did this time was cruise out to some performance arts camp that was hosting a Vegas-style Cirque-type show, which I guess was full of billionaires but was kinda boring — if, like me, you are from Vegas and have seen every Cirque show ten times. We watched for a while, then cruised back to camp…but not before the Behicle crew told us about this amazing hot springs up near Truckee, which was supposedly a good place to decompress after the Burn. My sister and I decided to stop there for a day on our way out, to sort of ease our transition back into the Real World.

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an adorable Swede who hung out at our camp frequently

But in the meantime, we still had half of Burning Man to get through! The rest of the week passed in a sort of booze-and-drug-fueled haze: afternoons spent lounging in the shade at camp, interacting with the parade of dudes who came through sniffing for puss. I met guys (and gals) from Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Israel…all over the fuckin’ place! It’s amazing how international the crowd was this year — no wonder the event sold out; there’s only 70,000 tickets, and everyone wants to go!

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with Big T and my fellow Goddess Jill V

Meanwhile, I barely saw any of my Vegas friends the whole week — but then, I don’t really drive 500 miles to the middle of nowhere to hang with people I can see any time here in town. When I’m at Burning Man, I want to hang with my playa friends — the people I only see when I’m at Black Rock City! I’m thinking of you, Ed and the Emergence crew…and Geordie and Doug E. Fresh, and all the rest of you crazy fuckers at the Roller Disco! I spent a whole afternoon drinking bourbon in the shade with my Long Rider friends from the Roller Disco, Big T and Big Happy. Big Happy is a huge, tall black man with a deep rumbling voice, and he told an amazing story about how his family actually held an intervention for him one year, after seeing photos of him wearing his tutu at Burning Man!! They thought he was gay…when in reality, he’s just one big happy fuckin’ man in a tutu. Get over it!!!

Anyway, once my serotonin levels recovered, it was back out on the playa for more mushrooms and more fun. Speaking of which, it seemed that ketamine was the drug of choice on playa this year — it seemed to be everywhere. I even overheard this doctor who was camped behind us talking about it: “I use it on my patients all the time…I can’t wait to try it!!” (Lots of doctors come to Burning Man…and lawyers, and all kinds of professionals. You’d be surprised who you might run into out there, running around in a tutu with dilated pupils.) I did end up trying a little ketamine myself, and I have to say it was pretty fantastic. If you take too much, you fall into a K-hole and it’s date-rape central. But just the right amount is magical! Just be sure you’re dosed by someone knowledgable….like a doctor!

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with some guy from SlutGarden

Speaking of doctors, it was time for my sister and I to rendezvous with our new BFF Dr. Who. We headed over to his camp wearing matching “Clockwork Orange” type outfits, with strap-ons, picked him up at his RV, and headed out into the wilds to explore the night. We rode a few art cars and danced for awhile, then rode this little Ferris wheel some enterprising Burners had erected à la the Electric Daisy Carnival. Fabulous! I didn’t want to ride it at first because a) the line was really long, and b) do I really trust a bunch of coked-up Burner carnies to properly bolt together a Ferris wheel?? But Dr. Who talked us into it, and it was magical. Being at the top, with all of Burning Man spread out below, was truly awesome.

After the Ferris wheel we went over to the SlutGarden camp to dance. They had these platforms for shadow dancers — I’m not sure if it was the case there, but apparently at some camps they actually pay go-go dancers to come in and work for the week (with these millionaire “turn-key” camps, apparently lots of people are getting paid to come to Burning Man these days. Hmmm). Well, they let my sister and I get up and dance in their shadow boxes — basically, you dance in this little cubbyhole, and only your silhouette shows. Since we were wearing the strap-ons, it made for some bad ass silhouettes!

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lolz

After dancing there for around 5 hours, we were starving…where to go at 4am when you’re hungry on the playa? Camp Miso Horny, where they ladle out delicious steaming hot bowls of miso soup all night long! After guzzling soup, we headed back toward our own camp, stopping to drop off Dr. Who at his RV along the way. He invited us in for a nightcap, then remembered he had this amazing burrito waiting for us, from when he’d made dinner earlier in the day. OMG! That burrito was manna from heaven — I’ve never tasted anything quite so amazing! Not only was it 4:30am and I was cold, tired and starving…I had also been subsisting on beef jerky and peanut butter all week! That Dr. Who was a real lifesaver. We sat in his cozy, comfy RV eating and drinking until just before sunrise, when we skittered home like cockroaches to hide from the sun.

So the cycle of party-hangover-party-hangover continued, but I fucked up on the timing so that when the big Saturday night burning of the man happened, we were on a downswing — hungover. I’m not really a big fan of the Man burn anyway — it’s just a bunch of high idiots hooting and hollering over a giant bonfire, like some kind of tribal frat kegger. So we spent the evening avoiding it. First, we rode out to the Temple, so that I could stash my 2014 Summer Adventure hat inside to be burned.

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this year’s temple

You remember my Summer Adventure Hat — the straw cowboy hat I wore around all summer, from Mexico to Canada by way of Deep Creek and Harbin? I added mementoes to it everywhere I went, and now that the summer was coming to a close, I thought it would be fitting to burn it in the ceremonial temple fire. Every year, a crew builds a ginormous beautiful wooden Temple in the Deep Playa, and all week long people go inside and leave mementoes and notes to their departed loved ones — dead pets, relatives, lovers, failed relationships, etc. It’s a very emotional place, and I always enjoy going in there to read the messages.

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R.I.P. h.a.t.

Sometimes, however, the atmosphere in there gets a little sanctimonious…so earlier in the week, when I was still menstruating, I thought about going out to the temple, sitting on the ground, solemnly swinging open my legs, slowly pulling my tampon out of my vagina and using the bloody end of it to write “R.I.P. DAD” on the wall in endometrium….just to see the reaction of the others present. Call me a shit-stirrer, I guess….I thought it would have been hilarious. Alas, however…I pussed out, and only went to the temple once, to hang up my hat.

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man burning!

After that, my sis and I got baked and wandered around the crowd gathered around the burning Man. On burn night, something like 68,000 people all come out to the center of the playa to watch — it’s one of the greatest parties on the face of the Earth! Every art car drives out and blasts its sound system, so it’s a crazy fucking scene — lights and flames and music and high people packed a hundred deep in every direction. Since we were baked, we wandered through the crowds like ships passing silently through troubled waters, just observing everything through half-lidded eyes.

And then — who should we run into for the third time but the Grokitship!! Those crazy New Age space-sailors were getting ready to ride out to the trash fence again to play The Game, but we ran off before we could get sucked into their crazy wormhole…although we did all agree that it had to be fate that had us run into each other three times. First there were three Sarah Janes aboard, then we met them three times….what next?! I’m almost afraid to find out!

So, now the Man had been burned, and the party was basically over. Many people pack up and leave either directly after the Man burns, or the following morning…but my Goddess pals and I had committed to helping my friend C disassemble his art car, so we weren’t leaving til Tuesday. And besides, they burn the Temple on Sunday night…which was something we all wanted to experience. The Temple burn is much different than the Man burn — quieter, more spiritual and reflective. To that end…my sis and I planned to eat mushrooms one last time, and go out with a bang!

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the morning after

So the next day we rode out to inspect the ashes of the Man, and on the way we ran into the Funeral Procession for the Man — a New Orleans-style brass band funeral procession playing “Amazing Grace,” with people getting up to say a few words about the dearly departed Man. It was awesome, and would have been a nice way to wrap up the week’s shenanigans…if the week’s shenanigans were over! But we still had enough serotonin reserves for one more big blowout, before heading back to the miserable real world.

Around sundown, we took our last dose of hallucinogens, and headed out to see the Temple burn. Now, I’d been eating mushrooms all week, and the taste of them is so fucking foul that I really didn’t think I’d be able to stomach another night of them — this despite the fact that my source bakes them into little chocolate truffles. Honestly, the chocolate just makes it worse, so I usually have to choke them down with red wine and/or Goober Grape, or something equally overpowering. And even then, I sometimes feel mildly nauseous for a few hours after taking them! Well, tonight I planned to take a double dose, to make sure I got good and high. How would I ever manage to keep them down?!?

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with my friend Mario one night…he works at my favorite costume store, and is a good person to know!

Thankfully, I remembered Dr. Who advising me to take some Prilosec with them, to help with the nausea…so we stopped by his RV on our way out, to see if he had any: “Take two and call me in the morning,” LOL!

Well, wouldn’t you know it…that crazy motherfucker was home, and invited us to come in his RV for a drink before heading out. We sat down at his little dining table…and didn’t come out of there for five hours!!! We missed the entire Temple Burn, and pretty much the whole last night of Burning Man, spending the entire evening bullshitting with him in his RV. Summer 2014 Adventure Hat? What Summer 2014 Adventure Hat?!

I don’t know how to explain it; Dr. Who’s RV was like a time warp, or the Hotel California: you you can never leave! First of all, Dr. Who is a fascinating, well-traveled and well-educated man with the greatest stories ever. You could sit around listening to him all night, every night! My sis and I are fairly witty raconteuses ourselves, so between the three of us, our get-togethers usually ended up being all-nighters.

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Tom Bosley, a/k/a Mr Cunningham, teaching Richie Cunningham a life lesson

Secondly, my sis and I have both had an RV fetish for quite some time — we have long dreamed of traveling around the U.S.A. in a giant Class A RV, much like Dr. Who’s. We’ve had this dream since the late 1990s, at which time we decided we’d also need to hire someone to drive us around, so we could sit in the back in our jammies, eating sugary cereal and playing Connect Four. For some reason, we decided way back then that the ultimate person to drive our RV would be Tom Bosley, the actor who played Mr. Cunningham on “Happy Days” — he has this awesome avuncular quality, like the 1970s suburban dad we never had.

Well interestingly, Dr. Who has a sort of Tom Bosley quality himself (OK, more like Tom Bosley on acid)…and hanging with him in his RV was like making our RV dream come true! Sure, we weren’t actually going anywhere — the RV was just parked in the dust behind a camp full of empty booze bottles and a torn-up rubber fuck doll. But in our drug-addled minds, we were sailing the Seven fucking Seas!!! I’m here to tell you, the times I spent in that RV were among the most fun times I’ve ever had at Burning Man — astonishing, but true!

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best seat in the house, hands down!

As much fun as we were having in the RV, after five hours we decided we really ought to go out and see some of the playa for the last time, before it was all burned up or packed away. So we emerged from our warm, safe cocoon, and wonder of wonders — the Penetrator was up and running, and the porn kids were just about to take her out for a final spin around the playa!!! “I call the swing!!” my sister shrieked, running and jumping into the cozy cushioned cradle-like seat on the front end of the car. I jumped up next to her, and Dr. Who got in between. One of the friendly porn kids ran and got us these awesome cozy American Airlines blankies Dr. Who had “borrowed” on a flight once, and tucked us in nice and snug. Then the rest of the porn crazies jumped aboard behind us…and off we sailed.

The Penetrator cruised the dark, smoldering playa like a giant neon-lit shark, blasting ’70s soft rock as it prowled up and down the streets of the post-apocalyptic wreckage of Black Rock City at 5mph (the max allowed speed in BRC)– everywhere you looked, dusty, burned-out partiers were packing up, disassembling their toys and loading up their bikes into trailers and shipping containers for next year. Tons of people leave after the temple burns on Sunday night, so by the time of our voyage, half the city was already gone. It was like cruising around the ruins of Mogadishu — piles of rubbish and building materials everywhere, with smoke rising from fires all over the playa, and only a few shell-shocked-looking survivors milling about. They were totally fried and exhausted, but still mustered the strength to smile and wave when we passed by.

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another art car, earlier in the week

I’m sure plenty of people were already in bed, hoping to get up early and leave Monday morning…but the Penetrator cruised up and down every street, blasting soft rock into every quiet neighborhood, like, “WAKE UP! IT’S NOT OVER YET! DON’T LET IT END!” And a few wild-eyed die-hard partiers were still out there, and came running up to climb aboard and set sail for one final voyage before reality kicked back in.

We watched all of this go by at 5mph, cozy and snuggled up in the swing in all our furs and blankets with Dr. Who, the drugs gently fading away…simply a magical way to end the week. Elton John’s “Rocket Man” was playing, and it was just perfect: “And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time til touchdown brings me round again to find…” Of all the hokey fucking music to be cruising around the playa to, that 70s soft-rock playlist was perfect.

When the Penetrator returned to camp, we got the fuck out of there fast before Dr. Who could invite us in for a nightcap — I had to work the next day, helping my friend with his car and then breaking down my own camp. And I knew that if I set foot in that RV, I’d probably never leave!

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the last supper

So, the next day was like the day after Christmas — sad, letdown, cleaning up messes, fun’s over. Booooo! I spent all day in the sweltering sun helping C take apart his car, then helped my sis break down our own camp a bit. Dr. Who had invited us over for a potluck dinner his camp was having, to get rid of the rest of their food…so around dark, we rode our bikes down there to see what was happening. The potluck was already over, but he had saved us a plate of delicious food, which we paired with some champagne I’d brought to celebrate our last night on the playa. Yum!! And guess what…..we ended up hanging out in his damn RV for another few hours, until I finally broke the spell and left. But the party wasn’t over — Dr. Who had decided to join us at the hot springs near Truckee the following day.

So, Tuesday morning we got up, packed up camp, cleaned up every last bit of MOOP (Matter Out Of Place — what they call litter up there; they’re very hardcore about Leaving No Trace), peed in the nasty-ass port-a-potties one last time…and then left. Good-bye playa; see you next year!!

Because most people had already left, there was virtually no traffic, and we pretty much sailed across the desert and onto the pavement again. From there, it was only an hour and a half to Sierraville, tucked away at the edge of the Tahoe National Forest near Truckee. What a fantastic place!

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the lodge at Sierra Hot Springs

I’d always just gone straight home after Burning Man, but let me tell you — soaking at a hot spring with a bunch of other Burners is the way to decompress, and ease yourself back into the real world! Sierra Hot Springs is managed by the same people who run Harbin (from my tragic June blog), and it’s a beautiful facility, right on the edge of a beautiful alpine meadow, in a sort of pine forest. There’s a big old lodge in the center where you can hang out, check your email, play piano, play board games, read books, or just chill out by the fire…and then the surrounding woods are dotted with soaking pools.

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camping next to the Be-hicle crew’s awesome golden 1967 RV

After checking in, we cruised over to the camp area to find a spot…and wouldn’t you know it, there was the Be-hicle crew!! The Grokitship had broken down in Truckee, but they were spending a couple days out at Sierraville to relax before dealing with it and heading back to Santa Cruz…and when they saw us, they were overjoyed! DESTINY! We set up camp right beside them, and had a joyous reunion. The charismatic leader and his wise-woman wife invited us to come to the lodge later where they’d be playing The Game (!!), and then we went off to soak.

But first, to shower — the BEST part of the post Burning Man experience is taking a long, hot shower, and getting all of that fucking playa dust out of your hair. I keep my hair wrapped up in turbans and wigs while I’m up there (the alkaline dust is very drying), so it was a pretty gnarly mess when I finally took it down. There were only two showers at Sierra Hot Springs, and the line to use them was pretty long — it’s a common post-Burning-Man stop, and the place was jam-packed with dirty hippies. But it was so much fun just standing in line anticipating, listening to the groans of delight coming from within, that the wait passed quickly. Ahhhh, cleanliness really IS next to godliness!

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ahhhhhhhhhh…

After showering and soaking, our BFF Dr. Who rolled up in his RV and set up camp nearby, and joined us for a second soak. That water felt so good…but was admittedly filthy. No matter how many showers you take, there’s still a little playa grime left somewhere…and right after Burning Man is probably not the best time to come to Sierra, for optimal water clarity. Still, it was pretty sweet — they have three main pools: a meditation pool out in the woods, plus a lukewarm social pool near the showers and the super-hot, silent Temple Dome pool inside a geodesic dome. There are cold plunge baths inside the dome as well, so you can do the cold-hot rotation, like I’d done at Harbin.

The only bummer was, we three like to talk, and silence was encouraged or mandated at all the pools except the social one. So after awhile, we dried off and went over to the lodge for dinner — they have this super commune-y type cafeteria called the Philosophy Cafe that serves one healthy hippie-type dish every night, and you either order the meat or vegetarian option. For around $12 you got a huge plate of delicious hippie dippie food — grains and lentils and whatnot — and we took our food outside to sit on the lawn and eat in the balmy night air, with all the other hippies. It was just like being at a commune — far out!

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soaking

After dinner (and a magic brownie for me), we sat and watched this amazing fire dancing performance, with crazy white kids dancing around in tribal masks, drumming and shit. And then we all crashed out pretty early, since we were all exhausted and I had to get up early to pack up and drive home to Vegas. But first…we stopped in the RV for a quick nightcap, and you know what happens when you enter that RV — before you know it, Dr. Who had convinced us to stay another night. Well, why not — I can postpone returning to the steaming shitpile that is Vegas one more day, right??

So the next morning I got up and made coffee, and sat there in the woods chatting with the Grokitship crew. Meanwhile, another RV had pulled in, and it was this photographer I recognized from Santa Cruz — a real doozy of a New Age perv. I had shot with him in Santa Cruz back in 2009, and during the shoot he’d mentioned that my legs were ashy, and needed lotion — which he of course would be happy to apply. So he lotioned up my legs, and thighs, and started telling me about how he’s a tantric massage therapist, with a specialty in sports injury. Well, at the time, I had a pulled muscle in my groin…which I stupidly told him about, because now he started massaging my groin, all the while babbling on to me about the seven chakras, and how the most sacred of all the chakras is the yoni — a/k/a the vagina, which he then started to massage as well!! He even put his face into my yoni, commenting “Now, just tell me if any of this makes you uncomfortable!”

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the pics came out great, so I guess the yoni massage is forgiven

“I’m uncomfortable!!” I said, and to his credit, he stopped immediately, and we proceeded with the shoot and got some fabulous photos. But it was still weird, and it did irk me — especially because he was a total dick when I met him at Burning Man later that year (he photographed me and my sister, then refused to send me the pic unless I made a “donation”). Fuck you, ya fuckin’ pervert!

Anyhoo, that guy rolled up, and came over to say hi. Come to find out, he already knew the Grokitship crew, being as they’re both from Santa Cruz — small world! But he didn’t hang around. It was just me and the charismatic leader sitting there — he was wearing jammy pants with 8 balls on them, I had on one of my psychedelic caftans, and right then and there he asked me if I wanted to play a quick version of The Game, which he happened to have a mobile version of on his iPhone. “Sure!!!” I said, and so it was that I was introduced to the full wonders of The Game at long last.

Basically, it was a 30-minute talk therapy session, with me blathering on about what I wanted in life, and then picking cards and interpreting what they meant to me in relation to my intention. FUN! To be honest, I don’t really fuckin’ know what I want in life, and it was too early in the morning to think about it much…so I kinda ended up just telling him what he wanted to hear, although I did really try and make it meaningful. Either way, it seemed to work out OK.

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my bag of dicks

Then the Wise-Woman priestess came over and asked me if I could take out my bag of dicks and give a little demonstration about the variety in shapes and sizes of the human penis. It seems that she and her husband had lived a celibate life on an ashram for many years, spending all their time focusing on moving their sacred energy up from the yoni to the heart chakra. They had only just now left the ashram and started back in with the sex thing, so they were out of the loop and wanted to know what was up with dicks today — and I was more than happy to oblige!

I’d given many of my dongs away at Burning Man, but still had several left to illustrate my point — that these were all commercially available dongs, made in all sizes from the Li’l Chubby to the huge, floppy schlong. The fact that they were all commercially produced proves the point that there is a market for all sizes of penis, and in the words of the Wise Woman Priestess, “A vagina for every penis.” It was a very informative lecture, and for the second time in a week I felt a lot like Annie Sprinkle!

After that, the Grokitship crew people finally packed up and left, and we all hugged and promised to come visit them soon — I want to try the flotation tank at the Be & BeWell, dammit! I’m planning a trip out that way at the end of the month…so who knows??

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idyllic summer afternoon in Sierraville

After the Behicle people left, Dr. Who came over, and I put the dongs away so we could go for a morning soak in the meditation pool with my sister. Afterwards, I headed for the lodge to do some work on my laptop…and then the three of us all went for a bike ride, around the beautiful countryside outside the resort. That is a gorgeous part of the country, and that bike ride was straight

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at the rodeo grounds

out of Mayberry — we saddled up our Burning Man bikes and rode around the town of Sierraville, stopping to pick apples from a tree, and pet a horse, and poke around the cemetery and the rodeo grounds. I still can’t understand how a nice man like Dr. Who could handle being around two pessimistic cynics like my sis and I for that long, but somehow we all got along like a house afire, and had the best afternoon ever!

My sister was planning on leaving after

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biking

the bike ride, but we somehow wheedled her into staying another night —  we stopped off at this Mexican restaurant in town for a margarita or two, and got to talk-talk-talking again…and before you know it, she agreed to stay. Dr. Who announced he was making us coconut-lime squash soup for dinner, so we rode back to camp and climbed aboard the RV again. Ahhh….my happy place!

So after a fantastic dinner (that Dr. Who can really cook), much talk and a few glasses of wine, my sis fell asleep, and Dr. Who and I headed out to soak in the meditation pool in the moonlight. We were the only two people there at first, and it was truly magical — surrounded by the forest, with the croaking of frogs in the background. A few others joined in later, and I fell asleep, floating naked in the water with Dr. Who’s arm around me. Almost better than a floatation tank!!! And no, you pervs….Dr. Who did not molest or take advantage of me. He’s a class fucking act!

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that crazy Dr. Who. wearing a lampshade as a hat

But all good things must come to an end, and all magical spells are eventually broken — even the spell of Sierraville, and the spell of the RV. We finally went to bed, then got up in the morning, packed up camp, and went for a final soak. None of us wanted to leave at all, but I was facing an 8-hour drive back to Vegas, and knew I had to leave by noon-ish. Still, I dragged ass. After soaking, I even got back in the RV one last time, though I knew it was dangerous to do so.

Once in the RV, it was like being sucked back into a safe, cozy womb — a womb with rose-patterned upholstery, and cushy recliners with seat belts on them. Just like being at Grandma’s house — safe as milk! I wanted nothing more than to stay in that fucking RV forever — just keep traveling.

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why yes, I would LOVE to get baked and fly kites in this field!

Dr. Who made it even worse. It was breezy that day, and I commented that it would be cool to fly kites — to which he replied, “Oh, I have kites in the RV! Let’s go fly them in the meadow!” Shit!! I would have enjoyed nothing more than getting baked and flying kites in a field with Dr. Who and my sister, but somehow I resisted. “No, I really have to get home to Vegas.”

Then somehow the topic of Umpqua Hot Springs came up — the hot springs in the forest in Oregon that I went to last month. “Let’s go there now,” Dr. Who suggested, totally serious. ARRRRRGHHHH!!! Again, I would have enjoyed nothing so much as running off to Oregon in that fucking RV with my sister and Dr. Who….but again, somehow I resisted. It really was like trying to break a magical spell.

Finally, my sis stood up and said she had to go — and that did it. We all climbed down from the RV one last time, and that was that — I headed back to Vegas, my sis headed back to the Bay Area, and Dr. Who went back to Sacramento, where he planned to sell the RV. Boooo! My happy place, sold like a common whore icon sad The Dong and the Disco Ball    Burning Man 2014 I hope whoever buys her, treats her well. I had some happy times in that damn RV!

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I’ll be back! pic by Jonathan Goody

Anyway, it was around 3pm by the time I finally left…and boy was I sad to go. I got on the 95 and headed south back down through the desert, toward Vegas, and didn’t roll into my driveway til like 1am. I was exhausted…but happy. That was one of the best Burning Men ever for me personally; instead of just getting high and wearing silly costumes, I managed to meet some really cool people this time — and get high and wear silly costumes icon smile The Dong and the Disco Ball    Burning Man 2014 Win-win!

 

 

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Fighting Mr T, Probed By Plastic Surgeons, Wonder Valley Noise Disco…and a Bag of Dicks!

I’ve lived in Vegas 14 years now, and over that time I’ve gone through phases of loving it…and hating it. Well, right now I happen to be right in the middle of one of those times where I FUCKING LOATHE IT :/

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response to some right-winger’s meme

These periods of Loathing Las Vegas usually coincide with summer — a time of year when it is screaming, broiling, baking, unbearably soul-searingly hot and humid, due to the seasonal monsoonal thunderstorms that move in. It’s like 150 degrees, with 80% humidity — the whole city becomes one big rotting, steaming shitpile of tweekers, crackheads, alcoholics, assholes and douchebags. The omnipresent grit — which normally I find endearing — congeals into a sticky, sweaty, acrid grime that inexorably works its way in under your fingernails and down into the deepest crevices of your soul, causing (in my case) a deep existential malaise :/

Arrrrrrrrrrrgh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When I left California at the beginning of the month, my initial plan was to do like I did when I came back from Mexico — come home just long enough to do laundry, wash my hair and pack new clothes…then get the fuck out of here in less than 24 hours, and go back to California until it was time for Burning Man. I figured I could rustle up a few gigs in the Bay Area, and at least stay cool in the forest and party in San Francisco, while also spending more time with my family.

Unfortunately, some nearsighted dipshit ran a stop sign, and put the kibosh to all my plans :/

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I went to the dark side…I’m typing this on a mac!!

That’s right, I had only been back in town a day or two, and was headed downtown to pick up a Burning Man ticket for my sister…when this dumbass blew right through a stop sign, right in front of me. I tried to brake in time, but ended up hitting the back corner of his shitty little Hyundai — crumpling my bumper in the process icon sad Fighting Mr T, Probed By Plastic Surgeons, Wonder Valley Noise Disco...and a Bag of Dicks! The ends of the bumper were bent, curled all the way back in towards my tires — so much so that I couldn’t even drive my beloved truck.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve been in a fender bender lately, but due to budget cuts, it’s real shitty the way it goes down anymore — the cops and paramedics show up, but only to ascertain that no one was hurt. They don’t write a report, they don’t issue a ticket (for RUNNING A STOP SIGN!!!), and they don’t take statements. It’s all up to you — in my case, all up to ME, since the other asshole’s car was driveable, and he was able to cruise off just fine.

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D’oh!!!

The first thing I did was call my insurance, to make sure I followed proper procedure — I know how these assholes are (I’m still reading that John Grisham book I got at the lending library at those Mexican hot springs, so believe me, I’m well-informed), and I wanted to make double sure I did everything by the book. So while I’m wading thru automated hell — “Press 1 for this, Press 2 for that–” the cops are on my ass, telling me I need to move my truck out of the intersection PRONTO! Meanwhile, I’m also trying to take photos of the scene, to prove I wasn’t at fault, and get the other driver’s info, and figure out what the fuck I’m gonna do…all at once. Add to that the fact that it was about 175 degrees outside and humid as fuck, and I’m not ashamed to say I broke down weeping. FUCK THIS TOWN!!!

Finally, I got through to my insurance, the cops were able to move my truck by letting air out of the tires, and I was assured that a tow truck was on its way. My friend DC works at a body shop, so I called him and told him I was coming…and then the cops left me sitting there bawling in the miserable nuclear heat, waiting for the tow truck. FUCK!

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And I had JUST turned my plates into unicorns :/

Anyway, to make a very long, boring story short, DC was a huge help to me, and basically took care of everything — once I got to his shop, he had a rental car place come pick me up, and I got a shitty little Hyundai of my very own to tootle around in til my truck was fixed. Couldn’t take long, right? I mean, it was just a crumpled bumper — easy peasy, no? Well, NOTHING is every easy when insurance is involved. Despite the fact that this was a pretty fucking clear-cut case of this other bozo running a stop sign, I had to wait about a week for his insurance to do an investigation — and until they admitted liability, DC couldn’t start working on my truck.

So meanwhile I’ve been driving this fuckin’ Hyundai since August 5, which will be paid for by the other guy’s insurance once they admit it was his fault…but if I wanted additional collision coverage on the rental, I had to pony up $13/day out of my own pocket. With the way my luck has been going lately, I figured I’d better get it — so now, through no fucking fault of my own, I’m out $208 just because some fucking idiot ran a stop sign in front of me.

ARRRRRGRHHHHHH!!!!!!!

I know, I know — First World Problems. I wasn’t hurt and at least I had a car to drive — but it just came at a really bad time! I NEED my truck at this time of year — prepping for Burning Man aside, I also wanted to spend this downtime shopping for a camper shell, which now I couldn’t do either.

Even worse, a couple days later a friend called me, saying his sex toy warehouse was going out of business, and could I please come over and take as much of his inventory as possible with me?!?! FUCK!!! Of all the times not to have a truck!!!!!

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Holy Dildo, Batman!

As it was, I raced over there in my shitty little rental and filled two giant Hefty bags with fucked-up shit — I’m not a big sex toy user, but I did need some rubber dongs for this performance art piece I was doing the following weekend, so I took this guy for every dong he had — strap ons, buttplugs, vibrators, dildos — plus a bunch of other fucked up stuff like nipple clamps, bondage tape, rubber sheets and even a pocket pussy for good measure.

While I’m going through my friend’s boxes of inventory picking stuff out, he comes through: “You’re being too picky!! JUST TAKE IT ALL!” And I’m like, “I CAN’T!! I HAVE A HYUNDAI!!!!!!!”

Like I said, as it was I ended up dragging two huge overflowing Hefty bags out to the parking lot, and of course one of the bags split open and dongs fell out all over the sidewalk, only unfortunately there weren’t any schools or churches nearby — it was in an industrial part of town, so no one freaked out icon sad Fighting Mr T, Probed By Plastic Surgeons, Wonder Valley Noise Disco...and a Bag of Dicks! I told you I’ve been having shitty luck, LOL!

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taste the rainbow!

Anyhoo, I went home and took all the dongs out of their packaging and lined them up on the counter, just to cheer myself up. It was like the Baskin-Robbins of dongs…and it did bring a smile to my face, however briefly. Then I threw all the packaging materials into my recycle bin…and boy would I have loved to see the garbageman’s face when he picked up THAT recycle bin!!!

So anyway, dongs or no, now I was really stuck in Vegas, until my truck was fixed. Trapped!!!! It was like the old CCR song, “Oh Lord, I’m stuck in Lodi again…” only 100x worse. Not only was it hot and humid, but my roommate had broken my coffee pot, so I was stuck drinking instant shit until the replacement arrived in the mail…and then on top of it all, I lost my favorite skull bracelet at the gym icon sad Fighting Mr T, Probed By Plastic Surgeons, Wonder Valley Noise Disco...and a Bag of Dicks! I wore that fucker all up and down the coast from Mexico to Canada, but only Vegas could kill it, apparently. Just like my truck :/

So, since I was stuck in town, I figured might as well make the most of it. I worked out a lot, hitting the gym as often as possible, and also figured I might as well try to make a few bucks while I was at it. Random-ass gigs usually find their way to me…but wouldn’t you fuckin’ know it, the only calls I got were for stuff in the Bay Area!!! Work around Vegas had seemingly dried the fuck up!

Oh well, not a problem — I’m resourceful; I’ll just put on a costume and go busking down on Fremont Street and make some cash money! You may recall last time I did that I made $200 in 3 hours, so I figured I’d go out every night I was in Vegas and make what I could, to sock away some cash before I went to Burning Man. After all, I SHOULD have been in Sturgis that very same week, raking it in at the Knuckle Saloon…but like I said last time, the manager out there didn’t want to hire us back, because this one bartender didn’t get along with the other girl I went with, and talked shit about both of us to him icon sad Fighting Mr T, Probed By Plastic Surgeons, Wonder Valley Noise Disco...and a Bag of Dicks!

ARRRRRGHHHHH!!!!!!

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Zut alors :(

OK, so anyway, back to busking. The first Saturday night I was back in town, I got all dressed up in this slutty Marie Antoinette costume — I normally busk in my marijuana showgirl outfit, but figured I’d try something new, since when I used to work at the Act, people went APE SHIT over that Marie Antoinette costume. I figured the Japanese would dig it, ya know? So with a powdered face and a towering wig and my ass hanging out f a pink lace thong, I mixed up a drink and headed down to Fremont to get rich…or die trying. And guess what, I really almost did die!

When I got down there, it was super crowded and crazier than usual — Saturday night, hot and humid and sweaty and scented with piss, booze and body odor. There are so many regulations on street performers down there now, they’re all basically forced to stand in one of three little areas — ghettoes, if you will. Since you can’t busk within 10 feet of a kiosk, 20 feet of a casino, 20 feet of a crosswalk or 200 feet of a stage when a performance is going on, all the performers have basically been corralled into these three little pockets of competitive misery and angst — and IT SUCKED!

At first I stood around near a friendly enough group of superheros and half-naked chicks wearing pasties and tiger stripes, but the naked chicks were getting all the action so I moved along to the next pocket, and hung out by “Robert DeNiro” and “Scarface,” who were so frosty toward me I almost forgot it was 183 degrees out that night. So then I spotted a less densely-packed area by “Mr. T” and “Rick James,” and went to stand over by them. And that’s when the shitstorm started!

“You cain’t stand here,” Mr. T announced, swaggering over to me in a threatening manner. “This our spot.”

“What do you mean? There’s no reserving spots…I know the law, I wrote an article about this shit for City Life back in the day!”

Oooh, now Mr. T was pissed: “Whatchu talkin’ bout?!!! THIS OUR SPOT! I’ll call security right now; they’ll tell your ass what’s up!”

Now his buddy Rick James was eyeing me ruefully — I think he remembered me from when I interviewed him for that City Life article, and no doubt remembered how sympathetic and fair I’d been in my coverage of his pathetic-ass story. But he didn’t stand up for me — he just let Mr. T keep screaming at me. Well FUCK YOU, TOO, you fuckin’ loser! If anyone is interested, his real name is something like G.P. Entertainer, and he’s a total fucking spineless tool. If you see him down there, tell him I said Fuck You!

Anyway, I wasn’t about to back down, and now Mr. T was really pissed — he probably didn’t really want to call security, because if they got involved they’d probably kick us all out. But at this point I still harbored hopes of making a few bucks, so I decided it would be best if I did just move along to another spot — but as I walked off I made sure to flip him off, and I’m ashamed to say, even bent over and spread my asscheeks at him a bit (I was wearing two thongs, so it wasn’t as bad as it sounds): “Fuck youuuuuu!!!”

Oooh, now he was REALLY pissed! “FUCK YOU, YA STANKY-ASS HO!”

At this point, the existential malaise was seeping back in — I went to college, for chrissake — what the fuck was I doing fighting with Mr. T over some dumb busking turf?! I meandered around Fremont Street for a few more minutes, trying to salvage the night, but it was no use — I was terrified of all the other angry buskers, and the mean security, and I wasn’t sure where exactly I could stand, and I was getting swampass from wearing that giant wig and stuff in the hot weather….and it was basically just a nightmare. One of the other friendly buskers told me I would do better down in front of the Bellagio in that outfit — “You’re too classy for downtown!” so I even drove all the way over to the Strip, and parked in the shadow of that dumbass new Ferris Wheel, and walked around scoping out the buskers in that part of town….but I just wasn’t feeling it, and eventually I gave up and went home…now more depressed than ever. I made $5 all night, from some Japanese ladies (see??)…BUSKFAIL! You know you’re pathetic when you even fail at busking.

So after that debacle, I swore off busking for good — fuck that loser-ass shit. Not to worry, though — like I said, random gigs have a way of finding me; all I had to do was sit back and wait for some to come in. Alas, however…..the only gigs that came my way were few and far between, and didn’t pay very well, for the most part. Fortunately for this blog, however…at least they were exceptionally interesting!

First, I was hired to perform as my male alter ego, Johnny Areola, at a drag king show they were having for Lesbian Night at this bar downtown, the Lady Silvia. Yes, I was actually paid (a nominal sum, to be sure…but paid nevertheless)…so I guess that makes me a professional drag king now, LOL!

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which dong for Johnny?

Anyhoo, that’s why I was hoarding all those dongs earlier in the week — I wanted to be well-equipped as Johnny Areola come the show! I picked out the biggest one that would fit in my jeans, and wore that all night…but then also stashed the biggest, most obscene one in my jacket pocket, so I could whip it out towards the end of my performance and freak everyone out!! Lulz!!!

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ding dong

It was awesome! I did George Michael’s “Faith” (my go-to number), and whipped out the surprise dong toward the end, during the guitar solo — which it was perfectly suited for, all jangly and dangly. The only bummer was, I didn’t make any tips — most of the other drag kings got dollar bills handed to them by overheated lesbians (there were a LOT of lesbians there) because their acts were more authentic — I think the lesbians knew I was just joking around, and wasn’t serious about the lifestyle. Oh, well!

Most of the other drag kings were frighteningly realistic looking — a couple

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the drag kings of Vegas

of cowboys, a reggae-type guy, an Asian androgyne — but then there was this one other amazing showman named Jeffrey Xerxes Brice who dressed up like Rick James (and was MUCH better than that dumbass fool G.P. Entertainer, I must say)….and she and I were definitely cut from the same cloth. She didn’t make any tips either — shocker. Come on lesbians — where’s your sense of humor?! Ehhh, it was all good….I did get paid, and I got a free drink as well, and had a few laffs. So it was all worth it!

Anyway, on to my other gigs. Another day, a friend hooked me up with a day gig scanning badges at a hacker convention at Mandalay Bay — OMFG!!! This was fascinating — all these hacker kids get together in Vegas every year to compare notes and hack each other and play World of Warcraft or whatever the fuck, I don’t know. Actually, it’s a two-part convention — I was working the “corporate” show, which was all antivirus companies and shit like that, trying to stop the hackers. But meanwhile, the real fun was over at the Rio, where the DEFCON show was going down.

I kept hearing about how crazy DEFCON was — you have to turn your phone to airplane mode or shut it down completely, or you’ll get hacked. You can’t use the ATMs, or you’ll get hacked. Hell, you can’t even use the elevators — they even hacked those one year, so they wouldn’t go to the right floors!!! Those fucking kids are too smart for their own good, I tell you.

Well, I knew I had to go check this shit out in person, so one night my friend Justin and I went over to see what was up. We didn’t have badges, but figured it would be fun to “hack” our way into a hacker convention — which we did, and it was actually super lame. It was basically just darkened ballrooms full of gamer kids hunched over laptops, pecking furiously away at incomprehensible numerical shit. WTF?!? Youth really is wasted on the young! But I guess it was kind of fun to see…in a bizarre way. Some of them were drunk and running around the casino in crazy hats, like kids all hopped up on Pixy Stix.

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my gigs took a turn for the seedy

Then my gigs took the usual turn toward the seedy — this is Vegas, after all. I got a text from an acquaintance who runs an event management company, and was helping facilitate some high roller’s crazy Vegas party in the Fantasy Suite up at the Palms Hotel. In addition to having strippers and prostitutes and burlesque girls shooting darts from their vaginae, the high roller also wanted to hire some topless chicks to hang out at the pool as atmosphere, at a rate of $100/hour…so I heaved a sigh and said “Sure, I’ll do it.” I felt pretty cheap, though — I mean, I have no problem being naked, but when it’s just to fulfill some rich d-bag’s sexist Vegas fantasy, it kind of loses its luster…ya know? Still, it was a 4-hour booking, and $400 is $400 — I can buy a lot of gas (and adventures) with that. So I suited up and went over, with one of the other Goddesses from the Goddess Collective in tow.

We were supposed to be there from 10pm-2am…but wouldn’t you know it, as soon as we got there they told us the guy had changed his mind, and we weren’t needed after all. D’OH!! Still, the guy who hired me paid us each a more than decent amount for our time, so I guess it was all good — I didn’t end up having to fulfill the d-bag’s fantasy after all, and still got paid. Hmmm.

Then a few days later, I got another call from the same porn production company I did that gig for as an extra back in April or whenever it was. This time, they were filming a movie about nut milking, and needed a female extra to play a massage therapist at a spa — no hanky panky, all I had to do was rub this one actress’s shoulders for a few minutes. So of course, I said yes.

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Still from my last porn appearance (back row, right)

It was mostly the same crew as the last movie I shot with them, but much smaller — the last one was the porn version of the Wolf of Wall Street, so there were tons of extras and big production values and whatnot, whereas this one was just a quickie about nut milking at a spa (apparently that’s a thing…a guy lays on a massage table with his balls and junk hanging through a hole, and a chick “milks” him from underneath the table).

The scene was being shot at a private residence in the suburbs that was currently listed for sale, which I found interesting; I know the seller has to disclose if any murders were committed or meth was cooked on the property…but do they have to disclose if a porn was filmed there? Anyhoo, the scenario was: this couple is relaxing at an upscale resort, but the wife is bored. She pees in the pool, then sees her ex-boyfriend come in with his new girl, and decides to milk him under the table while he’s getting massaged on top by the new girl — unbeknownst to the new girl, who keeps asking him to turn over so they can fuck — “no one will see us!!!” He ends up busting his nut all over the girl under the table, who emerges covered in jizz, to the shock and dismay of the girl up top — and chaos ensues. LOL!

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selfie from later that week, in the desert

Well, unfortunately for me, this time I didn’t get to witness any of the real action — my scene was just at the very beginning, after the wife pees in the pool. I’m just kneeling there massaging her shoulders in my white masseuse outfit, cool as a cucumber. The actress I was massaging was super cool, too — very friendly and straightforward. She told me she has three little kids she’s supporting on her own, and she was tiny  — like a little bird, no more than 90 pounds, and only about 26 years old. What a trip, that someone so fragile and delicate was in such a hardcore industry! I hope it all works out OK for her and her kids!

The best part of the shoot, just like last time, was the awesome director — this Gen X-er type guy in Morrissey glasses with the most fabulous straightforward manner: “Can I get a reflector on her vagina? Sweetness, roll up a towel and prop your vagina on it so I can get a better angle. Atta girl, there ya go.” That guy is one of my favorite people, EVER! Especially because he doesn’t fuck around, and gets shit done fast — I was done in under 3 hours.

Anyhoo, the last gig I did during this miserable period in my life was by far the most interesting…and in a way, the most depressing of them all. My Goddess Collective colleague from the topless pool party texted me one day to see if I could model for this group of plastic surgeons who were taking a sculpture class at an anatomy school, to gain a better understanding of the human body and how it should look. It was 9am on a Sunday morning, but wtf….I’m an atheist; I got nothing better to do on a Sunday morning than stand around naked being judged!

So I cruise over to this anatomy school, and would you believe it was right next door, in the very same strip mall, as my friend’s dildo warehouse where earlier that week I’d been dragging a bag of dicks thru the parking lot?! LOL….Vegas; what a small town.

Anyway, this gig consisted of standing on a pedestal in front of a room of plastic surgeons, nude except for a G-string, while the instructors pointed out various flaws on my body. Sobering! Actually, I’m being facetious — they were really nice, and kept reminding me how there was nothing wrong with my body; they were just using me as an example of what they would do, if someone came in wanting work done. Hmmm.

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me and my fellow Goddess, the skinny little bizzatch!

Now, these were top-of-the line doctors, mostly from Vegas (which is one of the plastic surgery capitals of the world) but also a few from around the country/world, and it was actually a really cool idea for them to take this sculpture class, to better understand the human body in its ideal form. They each had to sculpt their own little human figure out of clay, which is what my Goddess Collective colleague had been doing — she’d been working there all week, modeling for their sculptures (she is a teeny tiny little thing with a perfect body for that kind of shit — the exact body type most hags ask for when they go under the knife).

So overall, it was a really fun and interesting experience — first they all watched a slideshow about beauty norms, and then they had my friend and I both get up on pedestals in the font of the room, so they could compare our physiques. Arrrrrgh!! I always feel like a moose next to this little bitch!! One of the instructors, a professional sculptor who runs the school, took out these giant calipers and measured our dimensions and ratios and shit from navel to hip, etc…and shockingly, she and I had the same dimensions. She’s just so skinny, it looks different on her. Interesting!! All I can say is, during our break, we went out to the breakfast area and for the first time in my life, I was not tempted to eat a bagel or pastry or anything!!!!!!!!

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probed

After the break, my friend stepped down and it was all me — the other instructor, who is a plastic surgeon here in town, got out his blue grease pencil and started drawing lines all over my body, showing where he would make incisions and suck out fat and whatnot — in theory, of course (they all kept reminding me of that, telling me I had a great body. Hmmm). Then they had me lie down on a gurney, so they could see how those lines shifted when I was lying flat. I’m here to tell you, it was like one of those alien abduction videos — lying naked on a table, with a horde of plastic surgeons hovering overhead, staring at you. WEIRD!!!

But what was really weird was the feeling of being judged — these were all professionals, at the top of their field, so I know they were automatically sizing me up, figuring out how they could give me tits. None of them really said anything to that effect…but I guarantee that’s what they were thinking! They must have figured I was a broke-ass hack, saving my pennies for a tit job…when little did they know I have enough cheese to get FOUR sets of tits, like a cat…I just don’t want to! Now, I’m not saying I’m above getting plastic surgery — when the times comes, I will definitely buy some Botox…and if there were a procedure that could lengthen one’s legs about 6 inches, I would sign up in a flash. But tits…meh.

And the rest of it, I take care of the old-fashioned way — at the gym! In fact, after they let me go from that seminar, I headed straight over there for some weightlifting — without even washing off the blue pencil lines!!! The lines gave me something to strive for…ya know??! Like, if I did enough reps, eventually I would fit the pattern that society has cut for us! (It didn’t work, but I got a lot of strange looks…which was fun.)

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hiking at Mountain Springs

So, that gig was fun at the time…but I think it got to me on a subconscious level, because I was even more bummed out after that. I’m telling you, I just couldn’t shake this damn cloud of gloom that’s been following me around all month! I tried to do what I normally do when I’m in a funk — go over and get one of those magic spell-breaking candles they sell at the corner Magick Shoppe…but I think the place went out of business or something, because every time I went over there, it was closed icon sad Fighting Mr T, Probed By Plastic Surgeons, Wonder Valley Noise Disco...and a Bag of Dicks! So I made my own little altar at home, and said some words and made positive intentions and shit, and even gathered up some wild sage to burn while I was hiking last week near Mountain Springs (the only place cool enough to hike out here this time of year is the mountains)…..but even that damn hike was jinxed, as I slipped and fell and scraped the shit out of my knee icon sad Fighting Mr T, Probed By Plastic Surgeons, Wonder Valley Noise Disco...and a Bag of Dicks! I never fall while hiking!! So, I don’t know what the fuck is up.

Thankfully, I had one more gig lined up that was also a fabulous adventure, and it was pretty much the only thing I did lately that made me happy. My friends at the Palms Restaurant in Wonder Valley, CA (remote desert near Twentynine Palms, between Vegas and Palm Springs) were hosting an experimental noise disco festival in their backyard last Saturday, and they hired me to come out and go-go dance at it!

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far out!!!

Now, you know I’m a terrible dancer — I even got fired from the Act because of it! Well, this was experimental noise music — far out shit with weird tempos and strange noises and all kinds of dissonance and discordance and whatnot, so for once in my life I was GOLDEN!!!! They had this stage set up out back, with flashing lights and weird patterns playing on a projection screen, while three bands rotated sets: Phog Masheen (two amazing guys in lab coats playing fucked-up synthesizer noises and weird electronic trombone-type things), Alien Agenda (a live drummer and a guitarist/singer who played some super experimental beats) and then Hernia, this amazing couple in little cloth Dutch caps who screeched and howled and made weird noises into the mic, and I’m pretty sure the guy was playing his electric guitar with a vibrator!!! FAR OUT!!!!!

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Wonder Valley Space Disco Commence!!!

Anyway, all this crazy shit was going down in the open desert behind the Palms, and a decent amount of locals crawled out of their swamp-cooled caverns to check it out, even though it was still around 95 degrees at night. That place is even hotter than Vegas, I think!! But I had a blast — me and the other gogo dancer just went nuts, going with the flow and interpreting the music as it moved our bodies, and then at the end of the night, all three bands got on stage together and all played at once!!! Talk about far out — it was INSANE!!!

 

 

 

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Rusty Arrow Ranch

Now, the pay for this gig wasn’t very much — just about enough to cover my gas there and back, but it was TOTALLY worth the experience. Any excuse to visit Wonder Valley, even in mid-August! Plus, the woman who invited me hooked me up with the most fabulous little desert cabin to stay in, all to myself — the Rusty Arrow Ranch, right across the highway from the Palms. What a bad ass house that was — decorated all kooky with funky art and artifacts. I’d love to stay there again! It would be amazing in the winter — there’s a fireplace and a hot tub out back, and the stargazing out there is incredible!

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Rusty Arrow Ranch

On top of that, they also hooked me up with free drinks and free breakfast at the Palms, so all in all it was a fanTAStic trip! And what made it even moreso was, some random local guy messaged me on Facebook right before I went out there, inviting me to go rock climbing with him in Joshua Tree National Park the afternoon before the noise disco (we had a mutual friend in one of the Palms staff, is how he found me on Facebook). So since I’ve never been rock climbing before, and despite the fact that it was about 150 degrees out, I said SURE!

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whaaaaat?!?!?

So I drove out from Vegas that afternoon, dropped off my bags at the Rusty Arrow Ranch, and then met up with my rock climbing buddy at the Palms around 2:30…and we headed out to Joshua Tree. This guy turned out to be super cool — a retired schoolteacher who has lived to climb pretty much his whole life — only now, he has a family, so he doesn’t get out as much as he used to. But he still gets a thrill from showing others his passion, which is why he wanted to take me out for a climb.

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I put my life in this total stranger’s hands!

Out at Joshua Tree we met up with his other climbing buddy, this awesome musician who divides his time between playing in two badass bands, and teaching music at a local middle school. (There are a ton of artists and musicians out in that part of the country, because it’s so cheap to live, I guess.) Anyway, this kid also loves to climb, so between the two of them I was in good hands. They set me up with some gear, gave me a few pointers, and then I was on my way…crawling painstakingly up the sheer face of a giant cliff, in the blazing midafternoon desert sun. WTF was I thinking?!?!?!?!

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YIKES!

I’m one of those people who likes to try anything once, so it was a great experience for me in that respect. Plus, I’ve never considered myself really athletic or outdoorsy in that way — I’ve always been more the bookish, artsy type — so it was kind of reaffirming to my spirit to do something badass like rock climb. Ya know? But that being said, it was pretty hard….and definitely freaky, so I’m not sure if I’ll do it again. But my new rock climbing pals are planning to come up to Vegas to do some climbing later this year, and they already said they’re dragging me along. D’oh!!!!!

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I’m a bad ass

Anyway, either way you look at it, it was a really fun afternoon — I pushed my boundaries, got some fresh air and sunshine, and made some cool new friends. Then I went back to the Rusty Arrow Ranch, took a quick shower and nap, and then danced all night at the Noise Disco. Nothing but good times in Wonder Valley — my two rock climbing pals even showed up for the disco! But boy…was I ever exhausted after that!!!

Alas, I didn’t have much time to rest — the next morning, after a delicious veggie omelet at the Palms, I hauled ass back to Vegas because I had planned to audition for a game show that evening with some friends. Now, I can’t say too much about it because I probably signed some kind of non-disclosure agreement for it…but it’s a new show that basically tests your pop culture knowledge. The only downside to it is, you can’t go on alone — you have to have a partner (which means splitting the prize money…grrr). The potential prize is $20k, so that means if I get on, and if I win, I’m looking at about $8k after taxes, after splitting it with my partner (who, incidentally, is DC…the guy who’s working on my truck, and who I hiked Tikaboo Peak with. A super cool dude, for sure!).

But that’s a lot of “if”s — DC and I did ace the audition, and made it to the very final round, and they said we have a 98% chance of getting called to L.A. to be on the show for reals. So….stay tuned for that!! Dog knows, I sure could use $8k.

rocks1 300x225 Fighting Mr T, Probed By Plastic Surgeons, Wonder Valley Noise Disco...and a Bag of Dicks! So, aaaaaaanyhoo….writing all this down just now, it really does seem like I’ve had a lot of interesting adventures the past few weeks, so I don’t know why I’ve been so bummed. It just felt like a lot of the time, I was sitting around sweating my balls off, killing time til Burning Man — which makes me really bummed, as I hate to “kill” time; there’s little enough of it as it is, especially in my beloved summertime! Many times over the past weeks, I wished so hard I was camping at June Lake or Zion or the Lost Coast, or any of a thousand wonderful places…but I had no one to go with :-/ People are always saying they want to go on adventures with me, but they almost always end up flaking. I can’t tell you HOW MANY TIMES I was stood up the past few weeks :-/ I guess need to start sacking up and going alone.

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packing for Burning Man…Felix and his magic bag of dicks

So, with that in mind….I plan to drive to Burning Man tomorrow, and camp out alone halfway along the route, by Walker Lake. I’ve never camped solo before, so it would be a really character-building little adventure…plus it would break up the long-ass drive nicely. Of course I’d RATHER stay at the famously creepy Clown Motel in nearby Tonopah...but I haven’t been working much lately, so my budget does not, alas, allow for that luxury.

But even THAT fucking plan is being stymied — my truck STILL isn’t ready!! That damn idiot’s insurance FINALLY admitted liability last week, but for whatever reason the bumper won’t be fixed til tomorrow morning.  Which is cutting it kinda close… but I figured if I can at least get everything all packed up and ready to go, all I’ll have to do is pick up the truck, load ‘er up, hitch ‘er up and cruise on out.

BUT, OF COURSE my run of bad luck is still holding strong — when I went out to the garage this evening to try and get stuff ready, my fucking garage door opener is busted, and the damn door won’t even open. My roommate opens it 50 times a day to get his moped out and go to Circle K or whatever…but the one time I try to open it, it breaks. F U C K!!!!!!!

OK, OK, I know….First World Problems. I’ll deal with the damn door when I get back — meanwhile, barring further misfortune, first thing tomorrow I’ll just manually force open the fuckin’ door and push the damn trailer out…oh but wait, I forgot, I had taken the wheels off so I could get new tires for the trip, and I can’t put the wheels back on because my FUCKING TIRE IRON IS IN MY TRUCK….WHICH IS STILL IN THE SHOP!!!

So basically, I can’t do anything til I get my damn truck back.

ARRRRRGHHHHHH!!!!!!!

And meanwhile…I REALLY  hope my string of bad luck ends, soon. I’ve had a sinking suspicion this will end up being my “shitty” Burning Man year — everyone has one, but I never really have as of yet. Hopefully I’m wrong…but I’m not even sure my trailer will crank/stay open, so we’ll see. Eh, either way…I can sleep in a tent, and get shitfaced and high and forget all my troubles… until they all come crashing back down on me on Sept. 2nd :/

See you then!!!

P.S. Remember when that Japanese TV crew filmed me in my closet back in March?? Well, it finally aired…check it out!!

P.P.S. Also check out this awesome campaign ad I made for my run to become Miss Las Vegas Hempfest 2014! Vote for me….or the commies win!!

 

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I Need Your Help to Become Miss Las Vegas Hempfest!!!

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photos by Adam Sternberg, Shutterbug-Studio and some old porno poster

 

So they’re having this huge festival here in Vegas this October, the Las Vegas Hempfest…and of course, a cheesy contest to go along with it…to find Miss Las Vegas Hempfest.

Well, I submitted for it, and I would REALLY like to win! I mean, who better to represent the stoners of Vegas than moi?!

If you can spare 30sec., head to this link:

 http://www.lasvegashempfest.com/hempfest-girl-contest/

and vote for #67 (me).  I mean….look at the chick who’s currently in the lead!! Surely we can do better than this!!

Come on, guys!! I have a humdinger of a blog coming on Monday…but meanwhile I need your help with this!

Thanks!!

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