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 :/


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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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.


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!


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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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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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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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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.


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:

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!


Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Wonderhussy’s Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour

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Fooling around with Katlyn on the dry lake bed. Photo by Deep Exposure

A few years ago I met this bad ass art-nude model named Katlyn. She had an expressive face, an amazing super-artsy posing technique and an übergnarly briarpatch of a bush, but none of that was what was really amazing about her — she was only 20 years old, yet her modeling m.o. consisted of traveling from city to city, shooting with various photographers along the way to make money. She slept in her car or in hostels, thus keeping her road expenses to a minimum, and was able to make a good living while seeing a lot of the country at the same time. Fabulous!!

Come to find out, there’s a whole sisterhood of traveling models on Model Mayhem — many of whom travel pretty much full-time, booking trips to random cities and hitting up every local photographer in the area to find work as they go. It works out great for photographers, as they tend to get tired of the same old local gash, and this gives them the opportunity to work with someone new — especially guys who live in podunk towns without many serious models. If a model is hardcore enough to travel around booking shoots, odds are she’s pretty serious about work and will do a good job/not flake/not be a bitch. (There are always exceptions, of course.)

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Out in the desert with Jill V. Shot by Larry Hoth

Another example is my good friend from the Goddess Collective, Jill V. She splits her time between Vancouver B.C. and Vegas/Phoenix, but travels all over the place to shoot, and has been doing it for years. She’s pretty much used to sleeping on couches and living out of a suitcase — a true gypsy, which I admire greatly, as I am kinda high-strung and aspire to being more gypsy-like myself. I’m one of those people who likes to have my stuff with me, ya know? I have a long way to go :/

As a model in Vegas, I’m actually pretty lucky — even though all the local photogs are sick to death of my dumb ass, there’s always a fresh stream of guys coming into town for tradeshows or vacation or whatever, so I never really run out of new clients to shoot for. You’d think competition for bookings would be pretty stiff in Vegas, given the abundant local “talent…” but the truth is, there aren’t that many serious nude models, let alone art nude models, in Vegas. Women here are spoiled by the easy money that can be made elsewhere, and can’t be bothered to go through the trouble of getting up at 5am for a desert sunrise shoot, ya know? Also, most of the chicks here are heavily tattooed and/or have fake hair/tits/lips/whatever, so I get a lot of bookings based on my more-or-less natural appearance.

So while it’s fairly easy to sit back and wait for photographers to come to me, I always thought it would be fun to try out the life of a traveling model…and what better time to do so than summer, when it’s 115 degrees in Vegas and too hot to shoot outdoors anyway? So, I decided to take the plunge, and plan a modeling trip of my own…to the Pacific Northwest.

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from a shoot with Irisphoto at Rhyolite, in Death Valley

I chose the Pacific NW mainly because of my photographer friend Irisphoto, with whom I’ve shot a couple of times in Vegas, and who was always trying to talk me into visiting Seattle, where he lives, so we could shoot in the forest. Now, like most models I get cold really easy, so I asked him when was the hottest time of year in Seattle…and he said late July-August. At the time I planned my trip, I thought I’d be working Sturgis in August…so I booked the trip for mid-late July, hoping temperatures would be warm enough that I didn’t freeze my balls off.

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my route

Also at the time, my grandma was intending to have a family reunion at Lake Tahoe the weekend of July 25, so I planned out my trip in a big loop, starting in Vegas and ending up in the Tahoe area on the 25th. I figured to leave Vegas around July 5th, then head to the San Francisco Bay Area for a couple weeks to spend time with my family there, before heading on up to Seattle, then back down to Tahoe and then to Vegas again at the end of the month.

To secure gigs, I logged into Model Mayhem and posted what they call “travel notices,” to alert photographers in the cities I’d be passing thru to my availability: “Hey guys, traveling Wonderhussy on the loose! Who wants to shoot?” I posted notices in all the major towns along my route: Bakersfield (hey, you never know), San Jose/San Francisco, Medford OR, Portland OR, Seattle WA, Bend OR, and Reno/Tahoe NV. Then, I sat back and waited.

Now, legit traveling models are more proactive — they blast out direct messages to all the photographers in every city they’re visiting, and see who answers. But this being my first such trip, I was pretty passive, and just posted travel notices, waiting to see who was interested. Plenty of photographers regularly check the travel notices in their city, trawling for fresh meat so to speak, so I did end up getting a decent amount of interest, almost exclusively in the Seattle area. I ended up booking 7 shoots, most of them full or half-day bookings, so if all went well and no one flaked, I stood to make a decent amount of money — which was sorely needed, as both my cell phone and my laptop are on their last legs icon smile Wonderhussys Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour

Now speaking of flaking, I hear from photographers all the time about how flaky models are, and how many of them either cancel last-minute, or don’t show up at all. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s a two-way street — I’ve been stood up by a photographer or two in my day as well, and when you’re driving 1,000 miles for a shoot, you’re assuming quite a bit of risk…and it’s not like you can ask for a deposit (I’ve tried that before, and it just turns people off). So I just hoped for the best, and booked as many shoots as possible to compensate for any possible flakes. Also, my sister came along with me…so if worst came to worst, I could write the whole mess off as a profitless-yet-fun roadtrip.

Fortunately for me, I had very few flakes on the trip — really just a guy in Bakersfield, who cancelled because  of a scheduling conflict (but really I think he didn’t want his wife finding out he was shooting a nude model). But I had to pass through Bakersfield anyway, so it was no biggie — I just stopped there for dinner with my friend Dr. Zhivago, instead.

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my summer adventure hat is collecting quite an amount of shit!

Anyway, the breakdown ended up being: 1 shoot in the SF Bay Area, 0 in Medford, 0 in Portland, 4 in the Seattle area, 1 up near the San Juan Islands and 1 in Reno. (I did get an email from a guy in Bend, but he was only offering to pay $50 and it just wasn’t cost-effective.) As a bonus, my grandma’s family reunion in Tahoe ended up being cancelled, so I came back to the Bay Area after Reno, and booked 1 more shoot in ever-glamorous Petaluma, CA in the north bay. So really, it was a total of 8 shoots.

The total miles traveled was around 2,526….and that’s a lot of gas money!! My sis paid for a gas a couple of times, and we took turns paying for food…and I also tried to stay with friends or family when possible, to avoid the cost of motels. I even brought my camping gear, thinking to save cheese that way whenever possible. But it’s really hard to do your hair and makeup in a soggy, damp tent…so until I get a van, motels or friends are really the most feasible option as far as lodging goes. Anyway, I still came out ahead on the trip…although not by as much as I would have, if I’d had a van or RV :/


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Anyhoo, I basically started out my modeling tour in the Bay Area. After the unfortunate events of my last blog, I headed down to the east bay to shoot for Natural States, this nudist website that videotapes you doing stuff naked, like painting and jogging and whatnot. We went up to this park in Walnut Creek and he filmed me hiking nude among the oaks…and guess what, that wasn’t the first time I’ve been naked in public in Walnut Creek! I was born there, at John Muir Memorial Hospital — delivered by a Dr. Kronik, no less!!!!! Lulz!!!!!

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Heading up through Mendocino County

That was my only shoot in the Bay Area, and on the 16th I departed Santa Rosa, CA, bound for Medford, OR, where my mother’s super-awesome cousin had offered to let us stay at her place for the night. Google Maps said it was around 6.5 hours to Medford…but that was if you took boring-ass I-5, which as everyone knows is one of the most boring freeways anywhere. So my sis and I decided to take scenic 101 up the coast instead…and while it took way longer, it was fabulously beautiful!! They call the Nor Cal coast up around Humboldt the “Lost Coast,” because most of the population has deserted it due to a shitty economy…so all that’s left are beautiful misty redwood forests hiding sporadic marijuana grow ops, with the occasional hippie and a few Bigfoot tourist attractions here and there. FABULOUS!!

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near Humboldt with Cy Cascade

Alas, however, we didn’t want to get to my mom’s cousin’s house too late, so we pretty much had to haul ass the entire way up, gawking at the gorgeous scenery as it flew past at 70mph icon sad Wonderhussys Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour Our one pit stop was to get gas at this funky little outpost in Humboldt, a convenience store that sold all kinds of tourist shtick and pot-smuggling accessories, LOL. We met this super cool hippie biker there named Cy Cascade, and he put one of my Wonderhussy stickers on his bike and invited us to visit his camp at Burning Man. But then we had to get back on the road, and floor it through Eureka, Arcata and Crescent City…all of which I would have loved to have stopped and explored! Once I get a van or camper, the first fuckin’ thing I’m doing is go back and take my time through that area. It’s gorgeous!!!

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near Medford, OR

As it was, we rolled into Medford pretty late, so just barely had enough time to pick up some delicious foodie-type pizza and head over to my mom’s cousin’s house for a late-night dinner. This woman is so bad ass, and her backyard looked out onto the most beautiful pastureland, so we had a really good time staying over with her, and I thank her for her generous hospitality! She cracked open a bottle of really nice local wine for dinner, and gave me a little goddess face to add to my 2014 Summer Adventure Hat before we headed on our way up to Portland, our next stop.

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this coffee is AWESOME, and they only sell it up north!

Interestingly, I was unable to book any shoots in Portland (?!), so we only stopped there as a sort of layover. My recently footloose sis is considering moving there, so it was a good opportunity for her to check out the scene, so see if she could handle living among all those earnest white people. While in town, we stayed with my awesome tattoo artist ex-boyfriend, who had recently bought a huge house with plenty of room for not only me and my sis, but also his two roommates and these three mountain biking lesbians he’d met at Burning Man who were also in town. Talk about a fun group! My special favorite was his one roommate, this awesome 90% deaf gay man who collects jewelry to sell on eBay, and who gave me a beautiful silver bracelet as a token of his esteem. But everyone else was cool, too.

The lesbians were actually really interesting because two of them lived in a pickup truck, with which they towed a cargo trailer that, besides being used for mountain bike storage, had also been converted into a mobile kitchen — one of them was a legit chef, and cooked up a bomb-ass dinner for everyone one night. But aside from cooking, they lived in the truck, which was a monster 4X4 with a huge hi-top camper shell on the back — they had a system of storage drawers underneath their sleeping platform back there, and it was a pretty cozy setup. Hmmm!!

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my lil truck, flying off into the light!

Since I already have a bad-ass little truck, I’m thinking that maybe I should just put a camper shell on the bitch and call it a day, instead of getting a van. I hate to jinx myself, but my little ’05 Ranger made this whole trip like a fucking champ, and at 136,000 miles it’s still going strong. I’m only the second owner, and have put 100,000 of those miles on it myself, maintaining it religiously all the while…and have never had a problem with it other than a dead battery, so I’m guessing it has a LOT of life left in it. If I can get a high-top camper shell and a storage rack on top, I could probably go pretty far, in decent comfort. Something to think about!

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Freedom in Portland!!

Anyway, after the amazing trailer-cooked dinner, we all stayed up late drinking and talking, but one of the lesbians had to go back to Saipan in the morning (the one who didn’t live in the truck, obviously) so my sis and I spent the next day just roaming around Portland…which is one of the only cities in the U.S. where female toplessness (and nudity) is legal, as long as it is without the intent to arouse. Well, I didn’t intend to arouse anyone, so we both went topless…although I was too big a puss to do it in town, and only walked around this park, sunbathing and picking blackberries and whatnot. But still, it was a pretty liberating experience!

My hardcore series of back-to-back photo shoots was scheduled to begin the next day, so I went to bed early that night, while everyone else went to some no-holes-barred gross-sounding vegan strip club (a strip club that also happens to serve vegan food). Now believe me, my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) was in overdrive, as I would have enjoyed nothing more than to visit a vegan strip club in Portland…but I hadn’t been sleeping well, and really needed some beauty rest, so I forced myself to go to bed in the the little basement bedroom we were staying in. But my sis reported back the next morning that the club had been truly disgusting, with women licking each other’s assholes and whatnot — apparently, Vegas strip clubs ain’t nothing compared to Portland! So I was pretty bummed that I had to miss seeing that.

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morning coffee in my travel mug

Moreover, I was especially bummed because I still hadn’t heard back from the photographer I was supposed to shoot with the next day. I had confirmed all my shoots about a week prior to the trip, but now this guy wasn’t responding to my emails asking what address I was going to. I emailed him the night before, and the morning of, just before leaving town — no answer!! If I missed out on that vegan strip club for nothing, BOY was I gonna be pissed!! But I headed up the I-5 toward Portland anyway, hoping he’d respond by the time I got to Kent, where he lived.

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I stopped at a rest area along the way and did my hair and makeup, at a picnic table near these two miserable-looking Bible-thumpers who were unsuccessfully attempting to proselytize to travelers, none of whom showed the slightest interest in their pamphlets. Maybe they were just there to save wayward teen prostitutes — apparently there’s a big problem with human trafficking up there, as this sign posted on the bathroom wall indicates. Yikes!!

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by Windstellar Photography

Anyway, my shoot was supposed to be at noon, and by 12:05 I still hadn’t heard from the guy, so I assumed he was flaking. I sent him one last email, including my phone number, and apparently that was the magic bullet because he finally texted me. Apparently there was some miscommunication, but whatever — we straightened it out, and had a fantastic shoot at his home studio…and I finally made some money! Up til that point I was pretty broke, so it was a huge relief to get some cash flowing again icon smile Wonderhussys Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour

After my shoot wrapped, my long-suffering sis picked me up and we continued on up to Bellevue, where I was to be interviewed for this awesome documentary being made by another full-time traveling nude model named Kristy Rebel, all about the experience of being a traveling nude model. Alas, Kristy herself was out of town modeling (LOL), so I just interviewed on camera with her videographer…but it was a cool experience, and it sounds like it’s going to be a very interesting documentary. It also happens to have the greatest name ever: Bring Something Sexy. LOL…story of my life!!! Here’s the link…check it out!

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fighting off a cold, roadtrip-style

Anyway, I didn’t have much time to dick around because I had a photo shoot booked on Mt. Rainier the next morning at 5am!!!!!!! I was supposed to meet the photographer at this nearby campground, and my original intent was just to camp out there as well, so I’d at least save myself the drive time. But as mentioned previously, the thought of getting ready in a damp, dark tent sounded miserable, so I had gone ahead and booked a cheap(ish) motel room in nearby Enumclaw, WA…about 30 min away. So that meant I had to get up at 3am (!!!), and couldn’t really dilly-dally. I had a quick dinner at Chipotle, which is the greatest traveling model food ever — ubiquitous, cheap, healthy and awesome. I wish I’d eaten it more on my trip…but I didn’t want my poor sis to get more bored than she probably already was. Anyway, then I hauled ass out to Enumclaw.

Now, I was actually really excited to visit Enumclaw, as it’s a site of no little notoriety, being the location of a super-infamous horsefucking scandal about which I once watched a fascinating documentary! It seems there used to be a ranch out there where guys could go pay to be fucked up the ass by a stallion (!!!), until one time this Boeing exec got rammed too hard and started bleeding internally, and the other guys dumped him anonymously on the steps of the local hospital, where he died. A thorough search led animal cruelty investigators to discover the ranch, but when they went out there, they determined that there was no cruelty being inflicted on the animals, as they seemed to enjoy fucking the men! In fact, as the investigators pulled up to the ranch and spotted the main stallion grazing peacefully in a corral….next thing you know, a little pony came out of the barn, ran up to the stallion and started fellating him!!!!! I’m not making this up!!!!! If you don’t believe me, see: and FAR FUCKING OUT!!!!

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Because I can!

Aaaaaanyhoo, I didn’t have time to look around for any horse-related shenanigans — I basically just checked in, got a drink at a local cocktail bar, and went to bed. But one thing I did make time for was smoking weed in public — it’s legal in Washington State!!! I hit my little glass travel pipe while walking down the sidewalk in broad daylight, and nobody batted an eyelash — the only people to approach me were two Mormon missionaries, who asked if there was anything they could do to help me. Being as I had a pipe full of weed in one hand and was on my way to a cocktail bar, I was able to respond “No” totally truthfully…although now that I think about it, I suppose I could have asked one of them to stand in for me the following morning at the damn 5am photo shoot. “If you really wanna help me, brother…….”

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So, don’t ask me how, but I was somehow able to drag my ass up at 2:50am (I woke up before my alarm even went off) and get ready for this photo shoot. I usually go to bed later than that, LOL! My poor sis had to get up with me, as I had another shoot booked immediately after the first one, and she would have been stranded in Enumclaw without a car all day if she didn’t drop me off. So we both headed out in the predawn misty rainy darkness, me running late as usual, hauling ass along these winding mountain roads that felt like nothing so much as a David Lynch movie.

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by Taylor Maxwell

But I made it to my shoot only a few minutes late, and the photographer turned out to be super cool — a true artist-type who likes to shoot at dawn because the light is like a giant softbox in all that gloomy mist up there. We drove way the fuck up some crazy logging road, deep into the forest, and the temperature dropped down into the 40s. Whenever we got to a spot he liked, he would have me jump out, pose for several minutes, then get back in the car to warm up. This went on for five hours!!!! It was astonishingly beautiful up there, but I’ve never been so cold and damp and miserable in my entire life!!! To make matters worse, at the end of the shoot he casually mentioned something about having heard Sasquatch up there one time — you know, Bigfoot!!!!! As in, the giant hairy beast-monster known to carry off women and mate with them!!! He was dead serious, too…YIKES!!!

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freezing my balls off on Mt Rainier

I didn’t have much time to worry about it, though, as I had to meet the photographer for my next shoot at the Chinook Pass by 10:30 — my ever-loving sis picked me up and drove me out there, and I spent the next 8 or 9 hours shooting with my friend Irisphoto. His plan had been to shoot on the mountain as well, but the whole area was so socked in with fog that we only shot for an hour or so, and did the rest of the shoot back at this house in a nearby suburb. WHEW!! It was much warmer there, and we had a pretty good time shooting in this awesome old railroad caboose he has on his property, as well as among the trees and vegetation on his extensive grounds. He even offered to let my sis and I stay overnight in his caboose, which has been totally remodeled and is really comfortable inside…but alas, I had already booked a room in town, and had arranged to meet another photographer there at 9am, so I had to decline.

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cruising up to Mt Rainier

So my sis and I checked into our next shitty motel, a Days Inn on a super-methy, prostitutey stretch of highway in Federal Way, and I basically just passed the fuck out and finally got some blessed sleep before getting up at the luxurious hour of 7am and doing it all over again. This time, the photographer wanted to shoot up on Mt. Rainier as well…but first he thought he’d make some use of my hotel room, since I had it anyway, and he could shoot some boudoir stuff. So my sis took off for the day to do some sightseeing, and I went down to the lobby and met up with the photographer.

Now, many (most) of the photographers I shoot with are real characters, but this guy really took the prize!! I ended up really liking him and enjoying his company, but he kinda started everything out in a super-weird manner: he came up to the room and started drilling me about my limitations — i.e. how much vagina I was willing to show in photos. Idk, I make it pretty fucking crystal-clear on my Model Mayhem bio, but he had all these weird clinical questions about my labia and whatnot, and it kinda took me aback! Plus he had me strip down and turn in a circle so he could see my body, which was unusual…and plus, did I mention he was a dead ringer for John Candy?!?!?! I didn’t know what to make of this fucker….but I eventually figured out that he was just nervous and kind of a hyperactive ADD-type, and as I said I really grew to enjoy his company, and had a really good time cruising around with him all day. But considering all the wacky characters I’ve shot with over the years, I am sorely tempted to do a one-woman monologue-style show about my modeling adventures, with me doing all the voices and impressions. Wouldn’t THAT be awesome?! I’m here to tell you, I’ve shot with some real DOOZIES!

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After shooting in the room for awhile, we headed back up to Mt. Rainier…which, shockingly, was totally blue and sunny and gorgeous that day!! We were able to get quite a few nice locations in, including flowers and trees and rocks and cabins…and this one ice fucking cold waterfall that I actually got into. Man, I really suffer for art!

After that day, I was totally pooped and just met up with my sis at our next shitty motel, a Travelodge up in Everett. I was staying up north because my next day’s shoot was in Anacortes, out by the San Juan Islands — but Everett turned out to be a really cool little town in itself, with all kinds of fun, funky hipster bars and restaurants, so it was actually an interesting place to stay. We had dinner at this hipster-foodie Latin place called Sol Food, then pooped out early so we could get up in time to drive up north and do a little sightseeing before my shoot the next afternoon.

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I don’t want to come to your fuckin’ country anyway!!

Now remember, my sister and I had just been down in Baja California, Mexico a few weeks before all this — now that we were headed up to Anacortes, we had basically traversed the entire length of the West Coast, from the Mexican border to the Canadian! Since we were so close anyway, we decided it would be stupid not to drive all the way up to the Canadian border — even though I didn’t have my passport on me, and even though even if I did, those fuckers wouldn’t let me into their precious country on account of my DUI icon sad Wonderhussys Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour

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Take THAT!

It’s true — you cannot enter Canada if you’ve had a criminal conviction, which I just found out a few weeks ago, and which really cheeses me off! Apparently if the conviction was over 5 years ago, you can pay the Canadian government some kind of fee (around $200, I think) and they can grant you special dispensation for entry — even Pres. George W. Bush had to do this as head of state, since he had a DUI back in the day! It seems those moosefucking commies up there really take shit seriously, and me and my ilk are personae non grata. Meanwhile, they have this whole bullshit park on the border dedicated to peace and brotherhood with the U.S., including these symbolic gates which may “never be closed.” HAH!!!

I didn’t waste too many tears on it though — I had to be at this Indian casino in Anacortes by 2pm, for my shoot with Fotosymfony. He had booked a pretty nice suite with some cool ultramodern decor, so for once I didn’t have to freeze my ass off, and was able to roll around nude and semi-nude in relative comfort, as my sis got sloshed at the bar downstairs. When I finished, my sis and I got back in the truck and hauled ass out of there — away from the the freezing misery of the Pacific Northwest “summer,” over the mountains into the eastern portion of the state, where things would hopefully be warmer.

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Mt. Si

I didn’t have another shoot for two days, down in Reno, so now it was kinda like a little vacation. We cruised through the gorgeous, endless Pacific Northwest twilight (one thing I’ll say for them, they have the longest, most amazing golden hour ever), stopping to pick blackberries and take photos and other various road-tripping-girlie things. We drove through the most beautiful country, down through all these little towns and over the amazingly gorgeous Snoqualmie Pass, and ended up in ever-glamorous Ellensburg, WA, where we stopped for the night mostly out of necessity. On the way, we tried to stop for dinner at some tourist trap in the boonies called The Brick, supposedly the oldest restaurant west of the Mississippi, where they used to  film the TV show Northern Exposure….but despite the fact that the website said it was open til 11, come to find out at 9:30 the kitchen was already closed. So we ended up at a shitty truckstop in Ellensburg, which was actually probably way cooler, anyway!

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The next day I had no photo shoots, so I was able to get up and go for a run…after beating up the free breakfast at the Super 8 where we stayed. (On this trip, I became pretty adept at milking all I could out of these shitty motels — and loading up for breakfast was one way to get my money’s worth.) Anyway, my running experience in Ellensburg SUCKED ASS, because not only did I keep getting lost among all the dead-ends and horse properties, but somewhere around mile 4 it started pouring rain, and now I was lost and soaking wet and pissed the fuck off!!! I ended up running 7 miles of soggy hell, and boy was I ready to get the fuck out of Washington after that!!!

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my boudoir-on-the-go

A quick stop at Starbucks for coffee and makeup adjusted my attitude immensely, and then it was off on the road again — adios Washington, may we meet under better terms next time!!! Alas, it continued to rain on and off the whole way south to Oregon, which really sucked because we had planned to camp out at some hot springs that night, and camping in the rain ain’t no fun. We really didn’t want to miss out on these hot springs, though, as they came highly recommended by many people…so we just booked the cheapest room we could find in the closest town, Klamath Falls, which was only about 80 miles away. Practically next door, haha. If we hauled ass, we could make it to the springs by dusk, soak for a couple hours, and then be at the hotel by 1am or so. I didn’t have to be in Reno til 5pm the next day, so we had a little leeway.

But hauling ass really sucks, as it made me miss out on some really cool roadside attractions — like this full-size replica of Stonehenge I apparently blew right past without even noticing! Apparently, all kinds of kooky Wiccans and shit go out there and chant and wave sage and shit, but I didn’t even notice it icon sad Wonderhussys Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour D’OH!!!! I hate rushing!! Why can’t there be 30 hours in a day??

As it was, we were only able to stop in Bend, OR for a quick bite…and I had heard so many good things about Bend that I thought I might really like it there, and had wanted to explore it a little. But I think I found out all I needed over burritos at the FABULOUS Parilla Grill — the food was excellent, dare I say better than Chipotle and at the same price, but the atmosphere of the townspeople was decidedly bro-ey, and not really my scene. And this was in summer — I can only imagine what it’s like in winter, when the place is choked with sno-bros!! I said this before in my blog about Mammoth — I hate snow culture! Snowboarding, skiing, whatever — it all seems to be popular with the most assholiest of all annoying assholes. “Whoa, bro, way to shred!” I’d like to shred your face on a cheese grater, bro!!! And don’t even get me started on skiiers….elitist poseur fucks, one and all!

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they had me by the short and curlies

Thankfully, we were basically just blowing through Bend on our way down to the fantastically magical Umpqua Hot Springs, which are way out in the boonies sort of southwest of town. It was a pretty substantial detour to be taking on such a tight schedule, but BOY AM I GLAD I DID! I almost ran out of gas, and had to shell out $4.99/gallon at some foggy little podunk campground along the way, but guess what? It was totally worth it! Those springs are A M A Z I N G ! ! !

I know I say this about a lot of hot springs I visit, but Umpqua really is up there in my top 5. As you may know, I prefer a natural hot spring experience — undeveloped, in nature, no admission charge. Up until now, my favorites had been Deep Creek, Arizona/White Rock and Saline Valley…but Umpqua might have stolen the top spot! I am DEFINITELY coming back to camp there sometime…it was wonderful!!

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the road to Umpqua

To get there, you drive through a rainy, misty forest (and this was in July, so I can imagine it must pretty much always be rainy and shitty there) down all sorts of winding roads that get progressively worse, until you reach a turnoff onto a really bad pot-holed dirt road. One thing I’ll say for Umpqua, the turn is well-marked by helpful regulars…which is really cool, considering some of the “other” springs I’ve been to have sort of an elitist attitude among their regulars, like they don’t want people to know about them. Deep Creek regulars are guilty of this, and I have gotten some very nasty emails from Saline Valley regulars for having dared to write about those springs…god forbid.

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trail to Umpqua

But anyhoo, Umpqua is cool as fuck and all are welcome. You park in a little lot by these vault toilets, pay $5 (it’s the honor system…but don’t be an ass), and then hike up a short but steep trail, about 10 minutes or so (and totally doable in flip-flops) to this little clearing on the side of a cliff overlooking a rushing creek, with four or five little rock-lined pools radiating misty heat into the forest air. Giant old-growth fir trees surround you, and it is totally magical. The hottest pool is at the top, by the source, and it’s around 107 degrees — hot, but totally soakable. The other pools are cooler, and the main one, which is in a sort of open-sided wooden hut covered in hippie graffiti, is pretty tepid and actually kinda gross….but it’s where most people were soaking that night, so I hung out there for awhile to chat.

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Be advised! There will be nutsacks!

I was there on a midweek rainy night, and even then it was pretty crowded — these springs are legendary! Kids and grownups come from all around to soak in the fabulous atmosphere, and we met some really interesting characters there. First, we were hanging out talking to a toothless old letch who gave me a foot massage and invited me to visit his camp at Burning Man (hmmm….I sense a theme), and this other cool old naked dude who was with the adorable 11-year-old son of his drug dealer — this amazing little kid in board shorts who was totally comfortable chatting with me and my sis, who were both buck naked and drinking wine. That was kid was so freaking cool — he kinda reminded me of my little brother, who is now a successful software engineer, haha. See?? There’s hope for you, kid — even if your dad is a crazy hippie drug dealer who drags you to remote hot springs full of strange naked ladies on rainy nights!!!!!

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We also spent some time chatting with an awesome Zen Buddhist high school history teacher, who filled us in on the secret racist history of the state of Oregon. OMG, I had no idea!! Oregon comes off as so liberal and friendly…but come to find out, it used to have the biggest Klan chapter outside of the south, and really mistreated blacks and Chinese laborers back in the day. No wonder I saw so many freaking white people there!! Seriously, my impression of Oregon is white bros, white yoga women and white hippies in VW Vanagons — I never saw so many VWs in my life…nor so many, many white people. They were all friendly and cool, but still….kinda creepy, like the Granola Stepford Wives!

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a lake near Umpqua

Alas, after soaking awhile and only a glass and a half of wine, we had to dry off and leave for Klamath Falls…getting into that godforsaken little burg around 1am, and checking into yet another shitty motel. At least now that we were out of the Seattle area, motel prices were more reasonable — back in Everett and Federal Way I paid between $80-100 for a shitty room with a “Continental” breakfast — out here, the same deal was $50. And in Reno, the room was only $30 — no breakfast, of course…but who gives a fuck?!

But really…$30, $50, $80, $100….that shit adds up! Next time I do a modeling trip, I have to have some kind of van or RV, as lodging is really ridiculous. My problem is, I have to wash my hair pretty much every night before a photo shoot — and that can be hard to do in a van. So I guess what I really need to do is sign up for a 24Hour Fitness membership, so I can use one of their gyms wherever I go. Hmmmm…all things to consider, when I think about becoming a vandweller.

The next morning, it was time for my final shoot of the tour — some kinda cheesy strip-poker site based in Reno, NV. We headed down from Klamath Falls through the Lassen area, stopping in Susanville to buy lottery tickets (my sis felt Susanville was just the type of weird podunk town where winning tickets would be sold…alas, neither of us won), and then came down the 395 into Reno. Along the way, we stopped on a friend’s advice to check out Zamboni Hot Springs…but I am sad to report, they are no longer open to the public. There’s some kind of nutty hippie pottery studio there, and I’ll bet you anything they have their own private soak going on…but the guy was kinda weird and didn’t invite us in or anything, so we left, and headed for the fabulous Sands Regency Hotel in ever-glamorous Reno, NV.

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Truckee River trail

Acutally, Reno was way nicer than I’d expected — I’d never really spent any time there, but I found it to be a super cute, quaint, fun little town with great outdoorsy options and a thriving hipster marketplace full of bars, restaurants and vintage shops. I really liked it! Now granted, this was summer — I’m sure in the winter it gets clogged up with sno-bros, just like everywhere else with mountains. Yecccchhh. But during my visit, it was great — I ran five miles along the Truckee River Trail, and really enjoyed myself. All races of people were out and about, walking their dogs and riding bikes, and I only saw one or two bums…a far cry from Vegas!

Anyway, my reason for being there was this awesomely cheesy photo shoot. I met the photographer at his home, where we shot the first video: me dressed in a horticulturist’s outfit, trimming a bush in the backyard. Then I stop and put down my shears: “Hmmm!” Cut to me stripping my clothes off and displaying my own bush, which I then proceed to trim up with scissors and a razor, in the shower. Classy!!!

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cosplay nudies

The rest of the shoot was at this studio inside the photographer’s place of employment — I got the feeling he sneaks in there to shoot stuff on the downlow, since the company he works for has a badass studio setup but makes a different type of product that isn’t totally unrelated to strip poker, but I guess isn’t into nudity. Anyway, we shot some videos of me in some kind of sexy Star Wars costume, swinging around a lightsaber and stripping naked, and that was pretty much that — the end of my Pacific Northwest Nude Modeling Tour of 2014!! I got my money, counted up my total, and found that I have enough to pay for a new laptop, a new cell phone, and a chemical peel (I had a terrible breakout last month)…woo hoo!!!!! If I subtract all the gas and hotel money, I probably came out a little behind….but it’s all good; I had a blast and so did my sis (I think).

From Reno, I cruised back through California to my starting point, near Santa Rosa, on July 25. 10 days, 2,526 miles…and no flat tires, no speeding tickets, and no cancellations icon smile Wonderhussys Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour YAY!!

As mentioned, I did have one more shoot a couple days later, in Petaluma — I was kinda sketched out by this one, since I got it off Craigslist, the guy had no Model Mayhem profile, and he wanted to shoot in an industrial park area. They always warn you about shit like that in Amateur Modeling 101…ya know?

But it turned out to be totally cool — he had no Model Mayhem account because he was insecure about the quality of his work, but after leafing through his portfolio, I told him with 100% certainty that he needn’t be so bashful — usually, it’s the other way around, with photographers being overly boastful about the quality of their work, which can sometimes test the limits of the (admittedly subjective) word “art.” But this guy’s was fine.

Anyway, he was a really nice man, and he seemed so pleased with me that it gave the confidence to start thinking about doing another modeling roadtrip…maybe in the fall, after Burning Man. But where?? I’ve been wanting to check out New Mexico, so maybe a Havasu-Phoenix-Tucson-Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Flagstaff-Vegas loop? Or what about Colorado? I could do Vegas-Salt Lake-Cheyenne-Denver…the problem with these western states is, the population is so spread out, it takes forever to get from city to city. But as long as I made enough cheese to pay for my gas and incidentals, I’d be happy…I love roadtripping, and I’d love to see more of the country that way icon smile Wonderhussys Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour

Whatever the case, I definitely need to start working on some kind of camper option — whether a van or a camper shell for my truck bed; either way I’m totally comfortable sleeping in a WalMart parking lot, and brushing my teeth in the bushes or whatever. I just need to get the hairwashing part figured out — anyone work for 24Hour Fitness that can hook a sister up?? icon biggrin Wonderhussys Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour icon biggrin Wonderhussys Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour icon biggrin Wonderhussys Summer 2014 Nude Modeling Tour


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A Busted Tailgate and a Broken Heart

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

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photo by Doug Ross

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

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

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

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

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photo by Doug Ross

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

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

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

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the van is back

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

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

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Far out, man! Club Deluxe!!

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

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

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boo hoo hoo
photo by Doug Ross

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

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

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

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on the way to Harbin Hot Springs

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

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on the way to Harbin Hot Springs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the forest primeval
photo by doug Ross

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

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

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

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

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

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my friendmaker robe, in happier times

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

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

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an uneasy distance

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

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Up and at ‘em!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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photo by Doug Ross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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in my tent

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

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

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

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peace out!

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

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

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Photo by Doug Ross

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

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

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



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Going Gonzo in Mexico

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fuck yeah!!

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

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

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

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drug Geocache!

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

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nothing back here but us chickens!!

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

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

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

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barren desert and the Sea of Cortez

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

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

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

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

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

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the house we stayed in

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

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

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tanning nude in isolation

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

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

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camping on the beach

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

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the road to Puertecitos

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

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in the library!

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

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sunset at the springs

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

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

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camping on the beach at Puertecitos

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

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sunrise at the springs

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

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

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

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border crossing traffic

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

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

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

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

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oasis in the distance

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

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Five Palms Warm Well

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

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

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digging up the drugs

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

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

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what a great place to spend Independence Day!!

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

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deep creek

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

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

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

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awesome photo by Adam Sternberg

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

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Mojave National Preserve

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

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

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

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

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mojave thunderstorm

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

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in the forest

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

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last year at Sturgis

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

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the road goes on forever…

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

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

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

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

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by Oyo Photography

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

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

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raver attack!

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

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

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I hate Mondays!!!

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

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I want whatever that dog is on!

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



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Who’s grumpy now?!

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

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

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

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

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a truly remarkable product!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This world is all kinds of fucked up!!


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Deep Creek With Jack Johnson

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naked and unafraid

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

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

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Jack Johnson and his van

it simply for fun?

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

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the middle of nowhere

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

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at the Neon Boneyard


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

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


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



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the fall of the Empire

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

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Philip Phillips

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

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the view from my tailgate

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

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Deep Creek map

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


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

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Sleeping in the shade of the van

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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thankfully I did not sleep naked!

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

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hiking down naked. When in Rome!

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

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me and Louis Mayer Maude

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

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

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

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pic by Jack Johnson

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

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pic by Jack Johnson

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

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a secluded lagoon

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

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

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

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

I’d sing you a morning golden and true

I would make this day last for all time

and give you a night deep in moonshine.

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

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

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I could stay here forever

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

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naked in Palm Springs

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

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lounging at one of the pools

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

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

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pic by Jack Johnson

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

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

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

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pic by Jack Johnson

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

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

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pic by Jack Johnson

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

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

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

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

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swing kids

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

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My conk

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

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

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

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

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stupid clothes!

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

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Run, Jack, run!

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

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













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My friend is writing a book

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

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photo by Keri Pettit for Goomah Magazine

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

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

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

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fuck the police!

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

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

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

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Who, me? Do drugs?!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another nudie by Astroid

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

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

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

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Astroid Photography

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

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

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

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Last week at the Burning Man campout
pic by Ben Tang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Me on acid! Pic by Kyer Wiltshire

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

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

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

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I’ve done a drug or two in my day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Either way, I’m super glad I did it!

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The Forgotten City

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

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

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

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

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Fried as fuck!!!

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

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

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

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my camp

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

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

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with the radio show crew

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

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

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

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at work in the photo studio

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

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

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

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Saturday night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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one of the awesome portraits I took this weekend

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

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

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another of my awesome portraits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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yet another portrait

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

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

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

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

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




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hanging out one afternoon

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

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

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one more portrait

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

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

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Pic by Astroid Photography

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

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

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

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