When I left off last time, I was trying kooky new therapies to “cure” my insomnia before my trip to Ireland…so that I would be able to sleep over there, without the aid of my medical marijuana — which I wasn’t going to be able to bring with me. As you may recall, my efforts failed miserably! So what did I do?
Well, I’m here to tell you that things got even WORSE! A few days before my trip, I got an email from one of the guys who had hired me for that golf tournament that I caddied — you remember, the one with all the “sexy caddy” shenanigans (in Vegas, “golf” = “hijinks involving scantily clad caddies, copious amounts of booze, and MAYBE a golf club or two”). ANYhoo, the main guy who had set up the golf event emailed me to see if I would vouch for him — apparently he was going to be in the Santa Barbara area for work, and had scheduled a photo shoot while out there, and had booked a local model who might want to check a reference.
Of course I agreed — he’s a nice enough man, and I’m sure any model would be safe shooting with him. But then he goes, “Well actually, I get the feeling she’s gonna flake on me. Would YOU be interested in doing it? I could fly you out to Santa Barbara and we could shoot on the beach at sunrise!”
Now, this was about 5 days before my trip to Ireland…and I was kinda sweating my finances. I had paid work booked in Ireland, but only enough to cover my travel expenses — I still needed to make my monthly nut to pay my regular bills back here in Vegas. My plan was to bust my ass working the week before my trip, and then again the week after…thus covering my nut, and allowing me to enjoy my time abroad as vacation.
But, inexplicably, all my usual gigs here in town dried the fuck up before my trip…so I was just sitting around getting nervous. I did go busking a few nights with Jay Joint, and made a little cash…but not enough. So I told the golf guy photographer “Why, sure! I’ll just drive out to Santa Barbara and shoot with you!” I figured I could just spend the night with a friend in L.A., then drive up to S.B. early the next morning for the shoot. I could even make a little pre-vacay vacay out of it. Maybe I’d even stop by Venice Beach in my Mary Jane costume, and try busking out there.
Alas, it wasn’t that easy. It turns out the photographer — we’ll call him “Ludovico” — had this cockamamie plan to shoot at sunset Wednesday night, AND then again Thursday morning. He was flying into Santa Barbara at 5:30pm Weds, so he asked me to drive out ahead of him and scout a good beach, then text him my location so that when he landed, he could get a car and drive out real quick to shoot me at sunset. Then, we’d both drive up to Pismo Beach, where his meeting was — 80 MILES AWAY! I’d share his hotel room, then get up to shoot again at sunrise on the beach near his hotel. Oh, and I had to supply my own camera, as he couldn’t/didn’t want to bring his own (or maybe he doesn’t even HAVE a camera…who knows?!).
He assured me he would behave himself if I shared his bed, so I figured I’d just deal with it later and agreed to the plan, for the price of $500. I packed my D-70 and a bag of clothes, left Vegas around 11am Weds, and basically hauled ass to Santa Barbara, making it there in about 5 hours. I found a perfect beach just outside town, and settled in to wait for Ludovico. Of course, his flight was delayed, and blah blah blah….so next thing you know, he didn’t expect to arrive in Santa Barbara til 7:30…which would put him on the beach well after sunset 🙁
Since I was already there anyway, I made the best of it: I ran 4 or 5 miles on the beach, then set up my D70 on the timer, and took my own damn sunset nudes!!! They came out pretty good, if I do say so myself. The only bummer was, I couldn’t figure out how to set the timer to take multiple frames…I could only do one at a time. So I would hit the shutter, then run out into the water and get into position before it took the shot….then run back out, check it, and repeat. Thank Dog the beach was pretty much deserted, so there was non one around to see this naked maniac running back and forth!!!
After all that, Ludovico finally landed…but by the time he got his car and everything, the sun was already pretty much down, so we decided to just meet up in Pismo Beach and have dinner. We ate a great meal, washed down with gallons of wine, and then went down to the beach and smoked a bowl while looking at the stars and having bullshit quasi-philosophical conversation. Ludovico is actually a very interesting person — part Kenyan, part Indian, part British, living in Canada — so it was pretty good times. He didn’t protest too much when I insisted on sleeping on the sofa in his room instead of sharing his bed — and it was actually really cozy, right by the balcony door, which he left open to the sounds of the crashing waves right outside. I passed out in a hot minute, and slept pretty well for once in my life…
…EXCEPT for the little fact that we were shooting at SUNRISE, which meant I had to get up at 4AM to get ready!!!!!! UGH!!!!!!
I dragged my ass out of bed when my alarm went off, made some coffee, and went about my business performing my morning ablutions. By the time the sun came up I was photo-ready, and we headed down to the beach right in front of the hotel, where by some MIRACLE it was a clear, sunny morning that wasn’t too chilly. I pranced around in the sand and rocks and surf for two or three hours, even getting IN the damn water at the very end…and while I can’t exactly lie and say it was enJOYable, it was at least TOLERABLE! I didn’t freeze my ass off….yay!!
Ludovico’s meeting was at 11am, so we went back up to his room around 9:30 and I got cleaned up, packed my bag, took my money and headed back out onto the road. Some relatives in the area had clued me into a nearby nude beach called Pirates Cove, so I headed up there to check it out before driving back to the desert. I’m originally from California, and I do miss it dearly — the beach, in particular, and the whole fog/palm tree/eucalyptus vibe…so I wanted to hang out at least a LITTLE before I went back!
Pirates Cove is up by Avila Beach, just north of Pismo….and it is AWESOME!!! I highly recommend it. I laid out for an hour or so, and no one fucked with me — although there were several other people out there that day, everyone just sort of kept to themselves. It was great!!! I worked on some writing I had to do for one of the local papers, and then laid back to decide where I should go next.
The direct route back to Vegas goes through Bakersfield, so I figured I could do that and stop off to have dinner with a doctor friend I met on WhatsYourPrice.com, who lives out there. OR, I could go south to L.A. and spend the night with another fun friend. Decisions!!
In the end, I went the Bakersfield route…because I really needed to get home and finish my writing, and do some stuff to get ready for my Ireland trip. I cruised inland from Pismo, and it was a really beautiful drive. I just love California; northern, southern, coastal, inland…it’s so amazingly diverse. The central area around Santa Barbara is underappreciated; there’s this one area called Summerland, which in my esteem is like the greatest name ever. What’s better than summertime? NOTHING! I want to live in the land of perpetual summer!! Too bad it’s all rich old people 🙁
After leaving the coast, the highway goes inland through endless fields of yellow grass and HUNDREDS of oil derricks. I had to stop and take a pic for my friend J.R., who’s in the oil biz back east — come to find out, Kern County (wherein lies Bakersfield) produces 1/10th of the oil in the entire U.S.! Ahhh, California…is there anything you don’t have in abundance?? (Well, affordable housing….which is why I left, haha.)
Even more interesting, after passing
through the oil fields, I also passed the spot where James Dean died in a fiery car crash! Back in 1955, at the height of his popularity, James Dean was driving his little silver Porsche Spyder up from L.A. to a race track in Salinas, to compete in some amateur racing event…when he collided with another car in the middle of B.F.E., Cowtown County, CA. He was pretty much killed instantly, and since there’s little else in the area to draw in tourism, they milk the whole affair shamelessly. There’s a James Dean gas station, a James Dean Memorial intersection (at the exact site of the crash)…and this weird-ass memorial sculpture dedicated to him by some wealthy Japanese fan, wrapped around an oak tree outside a nearby diner. Back in 2001, my Mormon friend Turqouise and I drove down to check it out, but I hadn’t been back since. It was exactly the same!
I didn’t have much time to dally though, so I chugged on to Bakersfield, had dinner with my doctor friend at the local Elephant Bar, and then continued on to Vegas around 9pm. I rolled into town around 1am, finished writing my column for the paper, and finally collapsed into bed around 3:30am. This all after rising at 4am for that photo shoot, you may recall — talk about a loooooong day! I had tried to take a nap earlier at Pirates Cove, but I have a really hard time falling asleep more than once in a 24-hour period, so I was unsuccessful, despite how exhausted I was.
Anyway, now I was back in Vegas and I still couldn’t sleep well! To make matters worse, because my sleep is so shitty, my immune system is worn down…and I get sick really easily, so of course I caught a nasty cold. I should have stayed home in bed to rest, but I made myself go out busking Friday and Saturday nights, which only made it worse. And even WORSE, some friends had invited me to a charity fundraiser Saturday afternoon, where some half-baked women’s shelter was trying to set a Guinness World’s Record for the largest number of people in superhero costumes — so I rode my bike downtown in my Wonder Woman outfit to take part.
Now, riding a bike in a superhero cape is something everyone should do at least once — it’s great!! The wind blows your cape around like you’re really flying; it’s a trip. Plus, there was some kind of classic lowrider car show going on in the parking lot at the dive bar across the street from my house, and I rode through all the cholos, causing quite a stir: “¡Órale homes, it’s Wonder Woman!”
But once I got to the actual event, it was pathetic. They needed about 1,500 people to break the previous record (that such a record even exists is a testament to the sadness and lameness of people)…but less than 100 people showed up!! And half of them were SAD FUCKING street performers in shitty, sweat-stained Transformers costumes. REALLY depressing. I was feeling really sick and feverish, and I REALLY should have been home in bed…but I hung out and had a cocktail while they tallied up the results. The second that shit was done, I was out like a boner in sweatpants. I rode my bike home, tried to take a quick nap, then rallied for a late-night busking session. Even busking wasn’t any fun, as sick as I was. When we were finally finished, I went home and passed out in bed.
My plan was to sleep all day and get well for my trip, but since I couldn’t really sleep, that kinda fucked everything up. I tried to just take ‘er easy the next few days, but this was a NASTY, lingering cold, and it just wouldn’t go away! I went to Jamba Juice every single day, and overdosed on Vitamin C in both pill and juice form, but nothing helped. I even went to the steam room at my gym and tried to shvitz it out…to no avail.
So on the day of my flight, I was severely congested. Bad news!! You’re not supposed to fly with stuffed-up sinuses — you can cause permanent ear damage! I know, because I did it before….and to this day I have issues with my sinuses. I called a doctor though, and she gave me some advice to get through it: Sudafed, nasal spray, and these weird special ear plugs. This all ROYALLY fucked up my plan to eat a pot brownie and pass out blissfully for the entire flight — I had intended to get some much-needed sleep on the plane, so that I could be semi-fresh for my photo shoot in Ireland on Friday. Well, there was no way I was sleeping when I was amped up on Sudafed!!!!!
Instead, I sat awake the entire fucking flight. You know how on those transatlantic flights, they try and close all the windows and pretend it’s “nighttime” so that you can catch a few Zs and then “wake up” and start a new day when you land? Well, I basically skipped that whole night’s sleep. My sister (who came with me) and I were even angrily shushed by the guy in front of us, because we were talking too loudly (about inappropriate subject matter, no less) during the fake-night. D’oh!!
As a result, I arrived at Heathrow airport all groggy and nasty and pissed off…although the good news was, my sinuses were dried out. Before my connecting flight to Dublin, I sat in the airport and put on my makeup — the photographer was picking me up at the airport, and I didn’t want to freak him out by looking too ghastly. So by the time I got off the plane in Dublin, I looked semi-alive. True to his word, the photographer met us at baggage claim, and turned out to be a super cool guy — a true bohemian artist-type, with gray ponytail and beard and all, who also happens to be a SHAMAN, who runs sweat lodges out in some Irish bog!!! Hello!! I always meet the coolest fucking people 🙂
Anyhoo, he took us out to a suburb of Dublin to this bed & breakfast he had booked us, just down the street from his studio. It was one of those great old Victorian houses with high ceilings and fireplaces in every room — super quaint. The only downside was, it was freezing fucking cold!!!!! I couldn’t believe how fucking cold it was there — I’m from the desert, for chrissakes, and apparently they were having an unusually late spring, so temperatures were in the 40s or 50s or something crazy. And I was supposed to get naked!!!!! I was basically bone-chillingly cold the entire time I was in that country, start to finish.
So anyhoo, I was really in a fog at this point, but it was only about noon local time, and much too early for bed. My photo shoot wasn’t until the next day, but my sister and I made ourselves stay awake as long as possible, to try and adjust to the time difference. We went over to the photographer’s studio, located in an amazing old 1850s carriage house
(where the keyboard tracks for U2’s “The Unforgettable Fire” were laid down, incidentally) for a quick costume fitting (this photographer is into some craaaaazy, conceptual stuff…right up my alley!). Then we walked down to the seafront, and looked around in the cold gray afternoon mist. Thank Dog I brought my warmest pea coat, I tell you — it was that cold! We ended up hiking all the way up to the top of this hill to a giant stone cross, along beautiful trails lined with bluebells and gorse bushes and whatnot, and it was really cool. Then we went down to a local pub for a bite and a drink….and then it was finally 8pm, and we were able to crawl into bed!
And guess what???? I still couldn’t sleep!!!!! Of course I didn’t have my pipe with me — I could hardly clear customs with a baggie full of weed. But I did have a bag full of the last of my pot cookies, and one brownie a friend had given me. But I figured I was soooo tired, I wouldn’t need any of that, and I could save it for later in the trip. WRONG!! I slept about 2 hours, then tossed and turned the rest of the night, despite the fact that the beds at this bed & breakfast were super cozy, and that it was freezing in the room (being in a cold room is supposed to help one sleep better).
So I woke up groggy and pissed off, and that’s pretty much how the rest of the trip went. I slept miserably over there! The last time I remember sleeping so poorly was when I went on a cruise once, and couldn’t bring my weed on there, either. D’oh!! Nevertheless, I sacked up, painted on my game face, and headed down the street to the photographer’s studio. My sister took the commuter train into Dublin and spent the day looking at museums and the Book of Kells and whatnot — their museums are FREE over there, astonishingly! Meanwhile, I froze my ass off posing for really cool, conceptual, mythological photos at the photographer’s amazing old house. It really was fun, despite how cold I was; that guy is super fucking cool!
After we finished shooting for the day, he drove me into Dublin and we met up with my sis, and had drinks at some super old historical pub, where I felt obligated to have a Guinness. Now, I’ve never drank a beer in my entire life — I despise beer; like, completely despise and loathe it. The smell makes me want to vomit!!! But “when in Rome,” etc….so I ordered and drank an entire glass of Guinness. I didn’t die…but I can’t say I’ll ever drink another, either!
After that, the photographer drove us around a few more sights, then dropped us off at our B&B and we crashed pretty early. Again, I spent a miserable night tossing and turning…but it was OK, as my second day of work (I was hired for three days) consisted of just laying around while a bunch of Irish artists painted me. They all set up their easels in the photographer’s fabulous high-ceilinged drawing room, and I laid naked in the middle, with a space heater cranking away beside me. The photographer played classical music CDs while they sketched and painted, and I basically dozed off and slept the whole day, except for during our frequent tea and cake breaks. It was GREAT!! A surreal, dreamlike, very pleasant day. The artists were all super nice people, and they had nothing but kind words about how “elegant” I was, LOL. Elegant!!!!! The first and last time I’ll ever be described as such, no doubt!
After that, I took the train into Dublin and met up with my sis at this wacky Viking pub, then walked around and had dinner. I don’t usually like to eat much the night before a shoot, to keep my stomach flat, but it was so freaking cold over there that I just had to stoke my fires with something, and ended up eating all this heavy, hearty, gravy-covered stuff. I was kinda apprehensive, because the next day was the final day of my shoot, and the photographer wanted to do some outdoors shooting in a valley he knew of out in the countryside, that was said to be carpeted in bluebells this time of year. Well, I was all for that — I didn’t come all the way there to shoot in a studio; you can do that anywhere! But I was very leery about getting naked outdoors in this freezing land.
The next day dawned gray and cold, like all the others, and I headed over to the studio for the morning’s work, which would be indoors. The plan was for my sister to join us around 2pm, when we would all drive out to the countryside together and shoot at the bluebell valley. Well, by some miracle, the sun came out and the temps warmed up to around 60 or 65 degrees — still fucking cold in my book, but definitely sack-up-able! We cruised out into this amazingly beautiful valley — all green and lush and Lord of
the Rings-y, totally Garden of Eden — and we shot some more amazingly artsy, conceptual costumed stuff which I can’t wait to show you!! After shooting, the photographer drove us around the country and showed us some sights, including an incredible old monastery from around 600 A.D., and then he took us to dinner at a little country inn-type place. So much fun! He really was an amazing host.
Even more amazingly, he offered to pick
us up at 7am the next day and drop us off at the ferry terminal — we had to take a ferry from Dublin over to Wales, and then a train into London. So the next morning, after yet another sleepless night, we boarded this 3-hour ferry ride. It was actually pretty fun — we had this giant Irish breakfast, with beans and toast and black pudding and all whatnot, and then snoozed off on the couches in the lounge until we arrived in Holyhead, Wales, where we boarded a train for London. It was so much touristy fun to look out the
windows at the green fields full of sheep rolling by….but even more fun to look at these awful British tabloid magazines my sister bought from the snack trolley!! We spent about an hour laughing our asses off at this pictorial spread about the woodland-fairy-themed wedding party of Sir Richard Branson’s daughter’s marriage to some D-list English nobleman. Everyone was there, in fairy costumes — even Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York! The idle fucking rich…..arrrgh.
Anyhoo, we arrived in London right at rush hour, and rolled our bags through the train station like real hillbillies to the the subway, where my sister figured out how to take the underground to the little apartment she had rented us for the week, in the South Bank area of London. Now, the B&B we stayed in in Ireland was much more quaint and picturesque — I forgot to mention the fact that the proprietress of the B&B was this awesome sort of brusquely friendly 50s-ish woman named Mary, who laid out breakfast for us every morning downstairs in a formal dining room. But that being said, this apartment was the shit!! We had the heater up to about 1,000 degrees Celsius, and my sister went downstairs to the ground floor Tesco’s supermarket and bought us all kinds of supplies for the kitchen — crumpets and scones and sausage rolls and whatnot. Fabulous!!
We didn’t have time to lay around though, because after unpacking and freshening up, it was time to get back on the subway and meet up with a friend of my sister’s who lives over there. This awesome guy, we’ll call him Caleb, was a total Goth pal of my sister’s in high school — I knew him too; we used to all tramp around the California suburbs in 100-degree summer weather in velvet cloaks and shit, like real idiots, back in the day. Well, now he’s a lawyer in London, and lives with his husband in this awesome little apartment that used to be a brothel above a pub!!!!! We met up with them at a wine bar, where we proceeded to drink about 4 bottles of wine over several hours. Then we hit up a pub for a nightcap, and then my sister and I stumbled around for about an hour trying to find our way back to our apartment.
When we finally found our way back, I finally ate a pot cookie (I didn’t want to eat any in Ireland, because I was afraid I’d be groggy for my photo shoots)…and guess what?? I conked the fuck OUT! I slept hard…and truthfully could have slept for about a week, but I didn’t want to waste my time in London, so I dragged my drugged, high, groggy ass out of bed and got ready anyway for a day of sightseeing. And that’s how it pretty much went all week — I slept great, but was still high in the morning, and consequently spent much of my time wandering around England in a London Fog. Because I was high so much, I took a lot of really boring macro photos of stuff like textured walls, flowers, and lamp posts. D’oh!!!
So we did all the usual touristy stuff like go to the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, etc…and then one day we took an awesome bus trip out to Stonehenge. Stonehenge!!!! LOL!!!! The site itself was cool, but even better was the bickering fights going on between the other American bus passengers –it was too fucking cold out there to look at the monument too long, anyway…although some artsy-fartsy halfwit was sitting out there with an easel, stippling away at a rendering of the stones.
Now you’re probably wondering about the food — is it as gross as they say?? Well, sort of. I had a steak and kidney pie one night that was pretty “offal….” but then another day I had a weirdly delicious sort of wrap consisting of French fries, lettuce and hummus in a giant tortilla. We kept seeing these signs at all the Subway sandwich shops, for a chicken Tandoori flatbread…but alas, they weren’t in stock yet, so we couldn’t try this strange delicacy. The best meal we had all week was when Caleb and his hubby had us over for dinner, and made a fantastic sort of traditional English dinner with roasted chicken and potatoes and kale and stuff, with a fabulous Victoria sponge cake with clotted cream for desert (both guys are accomplished chefs). Again, we drank a ton of wine and then closed down the local pub afterward.
Well, after all that it was time to head back to our apartment, as we had to check out the following morning at 11am. I woke up so fucking high it was ridiculous — I had eaten the last of my pot cookies a couple days before, so had eaten some of this brownie my friend had given me, but hadn’t been sure of the dosage. Holy mother of Dog! That fucking thing was strong!!!! I woke up covered in a cold sweat, trembling and clammy and nauseous and NOT feeling like packing up and heading out into the cold. My sis tried to get us a late checkout, but it was a no-go…so somehow I managed to sack up, pull it all together, stuff my shit in my suitcase and slap on a little makeup, and we headed out into the rain.
We were flying back out of Dublin, so had to do the
whole train/ferry thing in reverse…but our train didn’t leave til 7pm, so we basically had all day to walk around London in the rain. We checked our bags in at the station, and then slogged around town all day. My sister’s husband is obsessed with collecting silver bullion, so we went over to the Silver Vaults to buy him something…then we had some Indian food for lunch…and then killed some time in a bookstore, so I could buy something to read on the flight home. I ended up getting “50 Shades of Grey,” just to see what all the fuss is about……OMG!!! BARF! That book is awful dreck!!!
Finally we just headed over to the train station, to begin the long journey home. Our train was supposed to leave London’s Euston Station around 7pm, but when we looked at the “Departures” board, there was no mention of what platform it was arriving at. Odd! We noticed there was a crowd of hundreds of people in the station, all staring up at the Departures board…and then we figured out the shocking truth: over there, they don’t announce the platform number until the train actually pulls into the station…and then hundreds of people all RUN toward the platform, elbowing each other out of the way in a mad rush to get on the train before it’s full! WTF!!!! Where was this famous, orderly British reserve I’d heard so much about?!?!?!? Nowhere to be seen!! These people were animals!!!
So our train pulled up, we ran like the devil’s boner was poking against our buttholes, and we STILL didn’t get a fucking seat on the train!!! This despite the fact that my sister had booked our tickets in advance, and we had reserved seats! The guy on the platform kept yelling at the crowd to ONLY GET ON THE TRAIN IF YOU HAVE A RESERVED SEAT…but of course, no one listened whatsoever, and the entire fucking train car was jam-packed…so much so, that we had to stand by the bathroom the entire way, wedged in among several other travelers. It was more like Mumbai than London, I tell you! WEIRD!
But one thing I’ll say for the British, they know how to make the best of a shitty situation — by drinking!!! I guess it was the start of a 3-day weekend, so everyone was in a good mood, and our fellow travelers wedged in by the bathroom all cracked open bottles of wine and canned cocktails from the train station shop, and proceeded to merrily booze the entire way to Wales. My sister and I had bought some canned pink gin & tonics, which we enjoyed while reading more awful British tabloids, and the time passed fairly pleasantly.
We got to Holyhead ferry station around midnight, and then had to wait in the ferry terminal until 2am, at which time we made sure to be among the first to board, so that we could find a comfy bench to sleep on before they were all taken. WRONG!!! Despite the fact that we were among the first walk-on passengers to board, we had failed to take into account the number of CAR passengers who had already boarded…and they had hogged every single motherfucking bench on the damn boat!!! So we just sat at a table and drank wine the whole time. I read some more 50 Shades of Grey, and was generally miserable the entire 3 hours, until we finally got to Dublin and caught a taxi to the airport.
Because of all the hold-ups, we barely made our flight — but once we got on the plane, it was ON. I ate half of my remaining pot brownie…and zonked the fuck out!!!!! I don’t normally sleep well on planes, but this was fantastic!! I HIGHLY recommend edibles on a long flight — it’s the SHIT! I slept for a few hours, then woke up to find a hot tray of food in front of me, which I ate in the best high-as-a-kite stoner fashion. Then I fell back asleep, and woke up a couple hours later to find a second meal in front of me! I snarfed that down, then fell back asleep again. It was a stoner’s dream!!!
We had a layover in Newark, so we had a couple Bloody Marys and then I ate the rest of my pot brownie, and again passed out SOLID the entire way to L.A. I even slept on the short flight from L.A. to Vegas! It was fantastic…..except for that fact that because I did not move my legs at all the entire trip, they got hideously swollen, and I had awful cankles going on for a few days afterward :-/ D’oh!!!
So anyhoo, now I was back in Vegas, and I was kinda depressed…as one is after a trip. Thankfully, work picked up all of a sudden, and I was so insanely busy that I didn’t have much time to think about how depressed I was. I did a few photo shoots, and a fundraiser party for a clean-water awareness charity (did you know that in order to sanitize dirty water, all you have to do is place a plastic bottle full in the sun for 12 hours, and the sunlight will kill 98% of the bacteria in it??! This charity goes around Africa teaching villagers this fabulous fact) and some movie extra work, and then I got booked to work the jewelry convention.
The jewelry convention was pretty boring — I had to stand in the same spot for 8 hours a day, for 3 days, handing out magazines. But the attendees were an interesting lot, and it was good people watching. There are a lot of Orthodox Hasidic Jews in the jewelry biz, so you saw them running around in their hats and forelocks and whatnot. The show ran Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday, but because Saturday is the Jewish holy day, they all took that off and stored their jewels in a specially designated onsite “Sabbath Vault.” Then I guess they spent the entire day in their hotel rooms, praying or whatever it is they do all day on Shabbos. I can’t imagine anything weirder than sitting around a Vegas hotel room, unable to even flip a light switch, for an entire day. Religion!!!! Is there anything fucking nuttier???!!!
So one evening after my jewelry shift, I went out to the desert near Pahrump with a group of photography hobbyists and did a group shoot, which was great. Then the next day, I did a photo shoot in some guy’s room up at the Suncoast hotel…which was supposed to be a “sensual couples shoot.” You know, artsy photos of a couple caressing each other and whatnot — “NO SEX,” the Model Mayhem ad assured! But sex or no, I didn’t realize how fucking awkward it is to fondle and caress a total stranger, whilst simultaneously shrinking your ass and vag away from contact with his dangling penis. Exhausting!! But it brought up an interesting thought: if you ever wanted to hire a prostitute, it seems like all you’d have to do is have a 3rd party in the room taking photos…that way you’d never be busted by vice, as you could say it was all an “artistic sensual couples shoot,” haha. I mean, seriously! Where do you draw the line?!?
So then after all that, I got booked as a movie extra on this action movie that’s filming here in town. I despise extra work, since it’s all sitting around waiting for 12 hours while surrounded by wannabe actors and bozos…but I figured since I had nothing else booked, it was easy work and why not. We were filming a Christmas scene, so had to wear sweaters and scarves and all whatnot, even though it was 105 degrees out…OUCH! Basically, I sat around set all day from 2pm until 5:30am (!!!!!!!), and only filmed about 10 minutes or less of actual footage the entire time. I mean, REALLY??! No wonder Hollywood movies are all such grossly bloated affairs!! It takes forever to shoot one fucking scene, because they have to keep stopping every fucking few hours for meal breaks and whatnot. SO LAME! How about you wait til the fuckin’ scene is shot, then eat?? I mean, I understand the purpose of the union and all….but really. There has to be a better way!
To make matters worse, the star of the movie was some Australian or British manly-man-type actor I didn’t really know of, so it wasn’t even fun to watch. I spent most of the night laying around the poker room at Caesars Palace, waiting to be called out for my “scene,” during which I walked back and forth in the hotel lobby, so far in the fucking background that I don’t know why they didn’t just use a blow-up doll and save us all a lot of effort!!!!
The worst part, however, was that I had to be at the Cosmopolitan by 7am for another gig. So basically, I worked the movie all night, until 5:30am…then went home, changed, stopped by Starbucks, and headed over to the next gig. It was really easy — a scavenger hunt, not much brainpower required — but it was still exhausting. I finished up at 11am, and went straight home to sleep all day after that.
So, now I’m back and it’s really time for me to concentrate on curing this fucking insomnia. My next plan is to try neurofeedback — specifically, brain training. It costs around $3,000…but I am desperate!!! Supposedly they play all these weird tones and feedback into your skull, which “re-balances” your fucked up imbalanced brainwaves, and sets everything back to normal. My friend J.R. did it, and swears it helped him…so I’m going to look into it. The only bummer is, while undergoing the treatment you’re not supposed to drink alcohol or use drugs!!! Treatment takes 10 days, and then you’re supposed to refrain from drinking another 3 weeks!!!! YIKES!!! I’m not sure I can handle it.
One last thing I want to try is a sensory-deprivation flotation tank — basically, you close yourself up into a sort of dark coffin full of saltwater, and bob there in total silence and darkness for an hour. It’s supposed to be a very transformative, mind-blowing kind of process that simulates being in the womb or whatever…and I found a place here in Vegas that has a tank, so I think I’m gonna try it. It’s $65 for one hour, in a tank over in some random people’s house on the east side…talk about a freaky adventure!! I can’t wait to write about it!
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