I’ve been operating in a fog all week as a result of my trying a new insomnia cure called Sleep Restriction Therapy.
I have had terrible insomnia for over a year, and have tried every pill, tincture, vitamin and herb, as well as acupuncture, meditation, yoga, sex, and therapy. Nothing really works, so as a last-ditch resort I am doing this miserable regimen of sleep restriction, whereby you only spend 6 hours in bed. Normally, I need at LEAST 8 hours to function…and to make matters worse, since I’m not taking any pills, I’m not even sleeping the full 6 hours — usually more like 4. The idea is that you’ll eventually get so tired that you’ll end up sleeping the entire 6 hours…and once you’ve done that for a few consecutive nights, you can start increasing your time in bed by increments of 15 minutes. So far, I’m on day 6 and haven’t noticed much improvement. But I’m giving it a full 2 weeks before I give up and go back to my special herb blend and Lunesta/Ambien/whatever my doc prescribes next.
So anyhoo, my adventures this week were sort of weirdly enhanced by a somnambulent dreaminess brought on by extreme fatigue. Only some of the time, it felt more like I was having a nightmare!
First, I scored an invite to this freaky skeptics’ convention party. Skeptics are basically a group of science-obsessed know-it-alls, nerds and in-your-face atheists devoted to debunking myths and exposing New Age fakery. Avowedly anti-God, they instead worship at the altar of James Randi, a tiny, wizened little old man who heads a big skeptics’ foundation that has fronted a million dollar reward to anyone who can prove they have supernatural/psychic/paranormal abilities. He used to be a magician himself by the name of The Amazing Randi, so I guess he knows from charlatanism.
On the last night of their convention, the skeptics had this blowout bash hosted by none other than Penn Jilette (the tall, loud, obnoxious one from Penn & Teller — an avowed atheist, skeptic, and host of Showtime’s “Bullshit!”) called “Penn’s Bacon & Doughnut Party,” held in a ballroom upstairs at the South Point casino. It was basically a roomful of bearded nerds, with free bacon and Krispy Kreme donuts for all (I guess skpeticism extends to not believing in healthy eating or arteriosclerosis).
Entertainment was provided by the No God Band, Penn Jilette’s side project that features him bellowing confrontational atheist bromides while rocking out with a group of like-minded musicians. The band was actually pretty good, and played an interesting variety of music, from my all-time favorite jam “Fuck You” to obscure, iconoclastic tracks by Patti Smith, Jonathan Richman and the Plastic Ono Band.
99% of the partygoes were hardcore nerds — science nerds, computer nerds, skeptic nerds, girl nerds — and 99% of them had some sort of facial hair (even the girl nerds). I’m here to tell you that you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a roomful of bearded nerds jerking arrhythmically to “Gimme Three Steps.” GOOOOOOOD TIMES!
Now, a little-known secret about me is that I’m OBSESSED with nerds — I find myself oddly attracted to MIT types. So I was in hog heaven! While getting ready for the party, I fretted over what to wear for about 5 minutes before deciding on a pair of pink short-shorts. Since I couldn’t blind them with science (my background is sorely lacking…I never even took chemistry, let alone physics, in school), I decided to blind them with a flash of my white ass, instead!
The party was great, and I met all kinds of kooky skeptics, including the Amazing Randi himself, some super-smart famous physicist named Lawrence Krauss, and some Slavic skeptress from Romania who apparently has some kind of skeptic-porn vlog all the science nerds go apeshit over (pic at right).
I wouldn’t have known any of these people from Adam, but thankfully I was in the company of a seasoned skeptic/forward-thinking polyamorist who filled me in on the who’s-who of the skeptic world. So thanks to him, I was able to navigate the room full of snidely nerdy know-it-alls with ease.
Now, I consider myself both an atheist and a skeptic, but apparently I lack the moral fiber necessary to be a card-carrying member of either — it seems that to be a good atheist, you have to be willing and able to bray assertively in the faces of those you don’t agree with…and I’m just too nice to do that. Even when confronted with a bass-ackwards-thinking, Bible-thumping, Jebus-loving Creationist…I always sort of puss out and just keep my mouth shut. I’m really bad at arguing and debating, so I usually take the coward’s way out, and just shut up until I can go home and write snarky stuff in my blog about how lame bass-ackwards-thinking, Bible-thumping, Jebus-loving Creationists are.
But there I was, in a ballroom full of crazed nerds hopped up on donuts screaming “FUCK GOD!” and singing along to a Penn-penned song whose refrain ended with “in a river of shit, you cunt!” Such hostility on a Friday night in Vegas! It was like “Revenge of the Nerds” meets “The Hangover.” Truly good times, and I must give a special shout-out of thanks to my Twitter friend Kefox for inviting me 🙂
Now, aside from mingling with the brilliant and smug, I also hung out with some real dumb-asses this week. A photographer friend of mine — this extremely nutty guy whose garage is full of weird wheeled contraptions he designed to carry himself around Vegas, like motorized Rollerblade-attached Pegasus Wings and a homemade recumbent bike with a sidecar that he uses to get to work at Caesars Palace — was hired by this wealthy Atlanta couple who was visiting Vegas, to do some nude photos of the MILF-cougar wife. They also hired three other models, myself included, to go out to the desert and do a nude group shot at this nearby ghost town. The Atlanta husband, who was bankrolling everything, had the artistic vision of four naked cowgirls in a shed, to be blown up to poster-size and tastefully displayed in his in-home bar.
Out of all the models in Vegas, he ended up with a couple of real doozies. One of them was a beat-up tattoo-and-stretch-mark-covered stripper with nappy extensions, a potbelly, no chin and a fouler mouth than even me. The other was that rarest of all mythical beings — a hot, young swinger!!! Of alllllll the swing clubs and swing parties I’ve been to, I have never once seen a truly HOT young chick at ANY of them, and I sort of thought they were like Santa Claus — a marketing ploy devised to suck dollars from the wallets of men. But I’m here to tell you, this chick was 22, blonde, trim and HOT. Who knew?
So we all piled into an SUV — me, MILF, skank, swinger hottie and nutty photog, with rich husband at the wheel — and drove out to Nelson’s Landing, this weird little fake ghost town out by Lake Mead. A lot of photographers like to shoot out there because it’s a collection of antique junk piled up in and around a bunch of sheds and barns, with rusted-out old-timey cars and crashed airplanes and stuff… but I personally find it lame in the extreme. First of all, it’s corny as hell…and secondly, they won’t let you shoot nudes there. The guy who owns it (a Norman Bates look-alike and act-alike) allows you to shoot regular photos (for a fee, of course)… but there are too many tourists and families out there to do nudes.
So we shot our nude group thing at a little wooden shack right outside Nelson — at the side of the highway, in plain sight of the tour-bus full of Asians that came rolling through, gawking unrepentantly at our motley crew of naked chicks in cowboy hats and boots. FUN!
Now, the MILF cougar wife was actually pretty hot — she was in excellent shape, and had a fairly classy look about her. Her wealthy financier husband basically sponsors her as a model, paying for photographers and whatnot so that she can have a bitchin’ portfolio, and so that HE has something to brag about at swingers’ parties (they didn’t overtly come out and SAY they were swingers, but they mentioned going to the Hedonism resort down in Jamaica, and took a special shine to me…so I put two and two together).
They liked me so much that they invited me back the second day, to shoot some private nudes with the wife in their timeshare suite at the Marriott Grand Chateau. We did some cheesy bubble-bath stuff, and they had me put soap on her ginormous fake titties and tug on her nipples (?!?!?)…and then they invited me to join them at the pool for an afternoon of sun and booze at TAO Beach, a “European-Style” dayclub at the Venetian which is basically an outdoor nightclub that allows topless sunbathing.
There are several of these “European-style” dayclubs around town now, and I’ve been to most of them. TAO Beach is OK — secluded and rather tropical, with a barely tolerable amount of douchebags in attendance — but they have the LAMEST policy of all the topless pools in town: you can sunbathe topless, but if you want to get in the actual pool, you have to put your top on. When I asked the club host why, he said it was a Health Code regulation to prevent women from lactating in the water!
PLEASE! Like the water in those dayclub pools isn’t already a primordial bacterial soup of sweat, precum, vaginal secretions and inadvertently-leaked amniotic fluid and endometrium. You mean to tell me that a bikini top is going to prevent anything else from being added to that foul brew?! None of the other dayclubs have this bizarre policy….so if you’re coming to Vegas and want to chill at a topless pool, I recommend Bare or Moorea instead.
Speaking of Moorea, a wealthy furrier/horseman/bon vivant friend of mine who goes by the moniker the Ambassador came to town this week as well, and invited me to join him poolside at Moorea with his entourage, which included a ballerina and an equine attorney. He always hangs out with the most interesting people — all this guy does is party, from his home in east-coast horse country to Vegas, Maui, Miami and Ibiza. I don’t know when he finds time to attend to his fur business… this guy gets around!
I met him about two years ago, when I was performing as a plant in a 1930s-themed scavenger hunt. I’ve mentioned before that I work for these two companies that stage elaborate scavenger hunts on the Strip (thegogame.com and venturevegas.com) — usually I play a bride abandoned at the altar, and sometimes a character called Secret Agent Hotpants. For this one, I was supposed to dress up all 1930s and hang out at the awesome Commmie-themed bar Red Square, at Mandalay Bay, and wait for the teams to find me so I could give them a clue.
While sitting at the bar, I met the Ambassador, and we hit it off immediately. We shared the same birthday, and while bonding over that we found that we also shared a love of shallow, meaningless relationships! In fact, I hooked up with him that very night — one of a shamefully alarming number of casual encounters I’ve had (they don’t call me Wonderhussy for nothing). He’s fairly hot, funny and oozing with Southern charm, so I didn’t feel too badly about it…but these days he’s in love with a nice woman back in horse country, so now we’re just platonic friends.
Anyway, I spent a few hours catching up with the Ambassador at Moorea, enjoying the fact that I was able to go into the pool without a top on…and discussing equine law with the attorney, who was very interesting to talk to. I didn’t realize horse racing was so litigious — but come to find out, it is! The jockeys are always getting suspended for bullshit reasons, and this guy defends them against the racing officials.
After that, I had to schlep across the street to work, taking souvenir photos at a certain French topless revue that is billed as “art” but is mostly frequented by dirty old men dragging their wives along for a “romantic date.” (Sally Dingdong is at Botox camp again, so they made me go do this other show…thankfully just for one night.) I only made $45 all the livelong, miserable night…and boy was I pissed! I could have been partying with the Ambassador and his crew…but whatevs; a girl’s gotta pay the bills.
The rest of the week was a foggy blur because of my sleepiness. I felt bad about it, because I like to live life to the fullest — not half-ass it like a drugged zombie :-/ I had a hiking date up on Mount Charleston one day with my all-American hero friend (the one from the amateur porn party), and I almost fell down the mountain five times because I was so groggy and discombobulated! Then, when we got home, the poor guy had to sit around for 20 minutes digging splinters out of my fingers because I grabbed so many trees trying to keep my balance. Normally I’m used to scrambling up boulders in the nude, sure-footed as a mountain goat…but not this week!
Then another night, a fan of mine from Austin, TX was in town and really wanted to meet up. This woman is a total bad-ass, so even though I was exhausted from partying with the swinger couple at the topless pool all day, I sacked up and put on my Wonderhussy game face, and went over to meet her and her girlfriend down on the Strip. They were both super cool, super-independent women (of which there is a paucity in Vegas), so I’m glad I made the effort! The one woman (at left) is a nurse, adventuress and outdoorswoman who blows up cockroaches with matches and Aqua Net but refuses to kill a spider, and her daughter is running for Miss Texas on some kind of Tea Party platform! She’s the only other person I’ve met beside me who brings nail polish and a heated eyelash curler camping. Good stuff!
The other woman is a ballsy hottie who just decided one day to move from Texas to Manhattan, and packed up all her belongings in a U-Haul and then moved across the country all by herself, and now lives in a 300-sq-foot apartment next door to the Chelsea hotel. I always secretly wanted to try living in Manhattan for awhile, but it always seemed overwhelming. This woman confirmed that moving there was overwhelming at first — but ended up being so totally worth it. Hmmm…. the Adventures of Wonderhussy, Part II: Nude Madwoman of Manhattan has a nice ring to it, don’t you think???
Anyhoo, the two superwomen and I roamed the Strip for awhile, watching these three drunk chicks who were tottering along in matching bebe dresses, bickering with each other, crying and almost falling into the gutter on more than one occasion. Then we ran into one of the myriad street performers who clot the Strip these days — mostly you find musicians and people dressed as Darth Vader or Elvis, but this night we lucked out and stumbled upon a performance artist named Francisco, who comes down to the Strip after his “yob” (his accent) and does a weird sort of pantomime in a mariachi outfit with a blowup doll and a ray gun. It’s bizarre as it sounds — and as awesome! If you see him, give him a buck — he’s totally worth it!
Anyway, I’d write more but I’ve been invited back to TAO Beach to talk “business” with the Atlanta couple. I can’t wait to find out what that‘s all about! Tell you soon…..
P.S. all the old-timey Polaroids in this post are from a shoot I did about a month ago with an obese Hawaiian man who had a black eye and a quivering pannus flopped over the waistband of his shorts, all the way down to his knees. I had doubts about his skills…but the photos turned out pretty good!
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“…miserable regimen of sleep restriction, whereby you only spend 6 hours in bed. ”
Uh, that is normal for me.
So Wonderhussy has a thing for MIT types? I can certainly help in this department, being a graduate of the ‘Tute, class of 1984. Did you know our mascot is the beaver, engineer of the nature kingdom? My undergraduate degree from there is in Ocean Engineering, but I found a loophole in degree requirements allowing me to take all the film classes offered by the school by doing a senior thesis in Underwater Photography. My advisor was Dr. Harold Edgerton, the world renowned inventor of the electronic flash and strobe light. You probably have seen his iconic photos of a bullet going through an apple or the crown pattern made from a milk drop hitting the ground. Well “Doc” was also a pioneer in the field of underwater photography, having provided the first underwater camera to “this French scuba diver with a big nose” aka Jacques Cousteau. My project with Doc produced a paper titled “Development of a Silhouette Photography System for Recording Wildlife in an Aqueous Environment” which led to a post graduation research expedition to Drumnadrochit, Scotland to attempt to get new photographs of the Loch Ness Monster.
Which ties in nicely to the “skeptic” topic also covered in this post: before I went to the Loch, I was a total believer in “Nessie.” After the trip, not so much. The locals there who were true believers were pretty much eccentric nut-jobs, and the science just doesn’t support the possibility of a large unidentified species residing in that environment. I am also a fan of James Randi: his book Flim-flam is a classic and in my permanent library. I also had the chance to go to dinner with him back in my MIT years when the student activity I was high-up in brought him to the campus for our lecture series. He freaked out the waitress by duplicating a trick oft performed by psychic fraud Uri Gellar – holding a spoon between two fingers and shaking it till it bent and broke in half. I also remember having a conversation with him in the car after we picked him up at the airport about the existence of Santa Claus.
OMG I love James Randi! I met him once at a party…he was cool!! 🙂
Would you believe me if I told you it was actually searching bacon and donuts that led me to this post?
I sure would!
The Skeptics meeting looked interesting. Exposing “psychics” and other frauds should be the job of magicians, not scientists, since magicians are experienced at the sleight of hand that swindlers use. Magicians are entertainers, most of whom don’t like self-proclaimed psychics pretending that they have super powers when they’re merely using simple tricks. Houdini is often cited as a debunker, but his friend Joseph Rinn is too often ignored. Rinn was a part-time magician who exposed dozens of frauds during his life, and eventually wrote a book titled “60 Years of Psychical Research”. One amusing story centered on his staging of a séance in front of an audience. The people at the table were blind-folded and told to describe what they thought was happening; the audience often laughed at their interpretations, as they could see everything that Rinn was doing. The book is rare; it was reprinted in England with a different title.
I second the recommendation of James Randi’s “Flim-Flam!”, and also like his book on Uri Geller (titled either “The Magic of Uri Geller” or “The Truth About Uri Geller”, depending on the edition), “The Faith Healers”, and “The Mask of Nostradamus”. Randi often went on television to demonstrate how “psychics” performed their tricks. One that I remember was putting a compass on his knee and making its needle move while waving his hand over it. He explained that the hand was a distraction so that the audience wouldn’t focus on the fact that his other knee was moving gradually toward the compass, since he’d taped a magnet to it.
Speaking of television, a psychic fraud was the killer in one Columbo episode. Here’s a scene from it:
One of the best lines on the topic was written by H. L. Mencken: “My skepticism is more thoroughgoing than you imagine. I doubt everything, including even my own doubts.”
LOL yeah, I’m a pretty hardcore skeptic myself… My problem with these Skeptics though is that they can be a little bit rude and in your face about it. You’re not going to win any converts that way!