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!!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!!!!
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!!
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!!!!
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
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.
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!!!
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!!
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!
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
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!!!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!!!