I’m writing this for the benefit of those considering undergoing Brain Training, a/k/a Brainwave Optimization, a/k/a neurofeedback, as a treatment for insomnia. Brain Training is an expensive procedure, so it bears careful consideration and research before committing to it…but when I was researching it, I was unable to find any firsthand accounts of the process (other than testimonials on Brain Trainers’ websites). So, here is my own firsthand account.
I have had insomnia for 4 years. It started when I took some illegal party drugs that were likely laced with some kind of speed — I’m really susceptible to that stuff, and it sent me over the edge, giving me permanent sleep issues that were compounded by my hectic, irregular lifestyle. We won’t go into all that, because I’ve already blogged about it ad nauseum…but suffice it to say, I never had sleep issues until I ate those drugs. D’oh!!!
As with most insomniacs, I tried many different pills, herbs, oils and therapies to “cure” my insomnia (again, I’m not gonna bore you with all the details). Then I heard an ad for Brain Training on a local radio station, and it piqued my curiosity. Brain training/brainwave optimization is basically a form of neurofeedback that is supposed to “rebalance” a malfunctioning brain, and put it back in harmony, curing everything from ADHD to depression to drug addiction to insomnia. It sounded too good to be true, but you know how it is…when you can’t sleep, you’re desperate and will try anything.
Then I read about a study out of Wake Forest Baptist University where brain training was shown to be effective at improving insomnia, and that really made me want to try it! Even though it was kind of a half-assed study (not double-blind, no control group)…like I said, I was desperate! The only thing holding me back was the price — it’s around $1800 for a course of sessions.
Fortunately for me, I have a wealthy friend who is also an insomniac, and he tried it out on my recommendation…like a sort of guinea pig. He underwent the treatment at a clinic in Nashville, TN, and after the full course of treatments he claimed it had helped him — somewhat. But he hadn’t followed the program strictly — he drank alcohol and smoked weed during the course of treatments, which is not recommended. So there was still a nagging doubt in my own mind that maybe, if I tried it myself, and followed the recommendations to the letter, it might work for me.
After a particularly miserable bout of sleeplessness earlier this year, I finally took the plunge, if only to assure myself that I’d really tried “everything.” The recommended course is ten 2-hour treatments, 2 per day, for 5 days. Each session is $175, so a total of $1750 for the full course. Ouch!!
The name of the company behind the actual technology (computer program) is Brain State Technologies…which if you go to their website, appears to be a sort of franchise program where interested parties can get licensed, for a fee, to administer brain training. The woman who did mine said she had been really sick herself back in the ’90s, from some undetermined illness, and nothing worked for her until she tried brain training. It changed her life to such an extent that she became a licensed practitioner.
This all sounded very Jim Jones to me, but like I said, I was desperate, so I really went in with an open mind, I swear. They do a preliminary assessment for free, where they attach electrodes to your scalp and have you do math problems and visualizations and shit, in order to draw a “map” of your brain and see where the imbalance lies. Surprise, surprise — it was revealed that I had a major imbalance between my hemispheres — I think it was my frontal lobes that were out of whack or something (I don’t remember exactly; she rattled off a bunch of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo at me). Brain training could definitely help me…so of course I signed up.
Now as mentioned, I was there to follow instructions to a TEE. This meant that for the 5 days of treatment, and for three weeks thereafter, I was to drink no alcohol or smoke any weed (I have a medical marijuana prescription, which is pretty much the only thing that helps me sleep). So I cut all that out beginning the day before my first treatment.
You don’t have to do all 10 treatments in 5 days — it’s very time consuming, if you have a regular job. Since I don’t have a regular job, however, I was able to devote 5 solid days to the procedure — which is supposedly the most effective way to do it, anyway. I went over to the brain trainer’s home office from 10am-noon for my first session, and then again from 1-3pm for my second. For 5 days straight.
Each session basically consisted of me laying in a comfy recliner with electrodes on my scalp, while the brain trainer ran a software program that read my brainwaves and then played them back to me as a series of weird musical tones. Somehow these musical tones were supposed to gently re-align my imbalanced brain.
The tones were broken into segments, during some of which I was told to visualize different things (walking on a tightrope, watching a ball bounce back and forth, etc). During others, I was free to doze off…which I did, more than once. Yay, sleep! Was I cured?!!
At the end of each 2-hour session, my trainer showed me a sort of video game-type computer graphic of a horizontal bar, that I was supposed to attempt to control with my brain, forcing it down as far as I could just by thinking about it. I wasn’t all that good at it, but I did improve somewhat over the course of the 5 days.
Now meanwhile, I wasn’t drinking or smoking, so I was really afraid my sleep would be terrible. HOWEVER, since I wasn’t drinking/smoking, I didn’t really go out and socialize much (I live in Vegas, and most social activities revolve around booze). Since I wasn’t going out at all, I was in bed by 11pm every night, watching Mad Men DVDs and falling asleep by midnight. It was a depressing, old-ladyish lifestyle….but the regularity of the routine worked, and I slept well the entire 26 days I was sober.
Additionally, after my second treatment or so, I started dreaming again — this after years of having no dreams at all. It was like I finally entering that stage of sleep where you dream — did the brain training really cure me? Or was it just the fact that I wasn’t drinking??
I posit that it was neither. After the 5 days of brain training and the following three weeks of sobriety, I had to travel out of state for work, and sleep in a room with a bunch of unfamiliar people. Despite the fact that I still wasn’t drinking or drugging, my sleep went right back to the shittiest it had ever been. It was as if I’d never spent $1,750 on brain training at all.
Brain training, shmain training: my feeling is that my temporary “cure” was due to nothing fancier than plain old-fashioned routine. All the insomnia websites tell you that first thing — the most important step in combating insomnia is to wake up at the same time each day, and go to bed around the same time as well. This no-brainer technique is boring and unsexy…but is also FREE and EFFECTIVE.
Because I was going to bed early every day and not having much of a social life, my excitement levels were way down, and my stress as well. My life was BORING AS ALL HELL, but I was sleeping. It appeared that routine was the key to good sleep. But in my opinion, that’s not a realistic cure at all — and here’s why:
At home, I sleep alone, in a dark bedroom outfitted as per Sleep Hygiene 101 — no clock, no light etc. But the minute I had to leave the safety of my cocoon, and travel for work — my insomnia returned in FULL force, worse than ever.
Am I really supposed to stay home and sleep alone in my own bed every day for the rest of my life?! That is completely unrealistic — and devastatingly depressing. Besides, when I returned home from my business trip, even back in the confines of my comfy familiar bed, I was still unable to sleep (unless I used marijuana). I had interesting stuff going on in my life again, which apparently revved my engines too much for me to sleep well.
So I gave up.
I was supposed to go back to the brain trainer for a post-treatment assessment…but I never did. Why bother? I had the feeling she was just gonna tell me I need “just a few more treatments…” and at $175 per session, I simply cannot afford to throw any more good money after bad. $1,750 was ENOUGH cash to piss away on some new-age hocus pocus…which is how I feel about the whole thing, at the end of it all.
The bottom line is, brain training did not work for me. The only REAL difference it made for me was it did cause me to start dreaming again…which is cool, but I’m not sure it was worth $1,750. My sleep is no more restful or any less fragmented than before — I just remember a few dreams here and there. Big deal!
I have the sinking feeling that there IS no easy “cure” for insomnia — I can either lead a quiet life of regularity and routine, or I can live a fabulous life of adventure and awesomeness, and suffer shitty sleep here and there. I sort of split the difference now — I try to keep to a schedule when possible, but I don’t let it dictate my life. I gladly suffer the occasional sleepless night in favor of having an interesting life.
Meanwhile, if I really need a good night’s sleep, I eat a marijuana brownie — eating THC works amazingly well for sleep. If I’m out of brownies, or I’m traveling, I can always get 6 hours sleep from 15mg Ambien if I absolutely have to (I’m pill-averse, so only take them as a last resort).
If you are considering brain training to combat your insomnia, I hope this personal account helps you decide. Of course everyone is different….but I’m just telling you what happened with me. No bullshit, just my honest experience.
Normally, the atmosphere here in Vegas is thick with poseurs, whores and douchebags. But in July and August, we have what’s called a monsoon season…and now the air is also thick with moisture, suffocating barometric pressure and the smell of ozone. These massive thunderheads roll in and it gets really humid and crazy, with ultra-dramatic lightning and stuff like you see in the movies.
The climate here is usually hot, but very dry… so this monsoonal shit really sets me on edge. To make matters worse, there was a huge forest fire raging just northwest of town, which added ash and drama to the already volatile mix. Anyway, as you’re reading about my hijinks this week, keep in mind that all this shit was going down in the background!!
First off, an update on the neurofeedback procedure I underwent earlier in the month, to help me sleep: I hate to jinx myself, but I am cautiously optimistic that it may have worked. I underwent treatments for five days with no real immediate results, other than that I started dreaming again. Ever since my insomnia set in back in 2010, I had hardly dreamed at all. But around the fifth day of the neurofeedback, I started to dream again. Nothing out of the ordinary — some weird dreams, some bad dreams, some about working, etc. The usual shit, for most of you! But it was a big deal to me, because I’m telling you — I didn’t dream at all for the last three years!
Then, about 5 or 6 days after my last neurofeedback treatment, I did start sleeping again. I still wake up after a few hours, but I am now able to fall back into deep sleep, whereas before I wasn’t able to get back into anything more than a restless doze. Now to reiterate, I went into this brain training shit with a very skeptical attitude, fully expecting it to fail — it seems very woo-woo and full of shit, so it’s not like I convinced myself it was gonna work. But even if I did, and it’s all some placebo effect — who cares?! I’m sleeping, and that’s all that matters to me!
Now meanwhile, I’m still on the wagon — I was told not to smoke weed or drink booze for three weeks after my last treatment. So I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that that’s why I’m able to sleep. But, I don’t think that’s the case. When my insomnia first set in, in March 2010, I did not regularly smoke weed. I didn’t start using it until about 6 months into my insomnia, when out of desperation I began using it to help me fall back asleep in the middle of the night. (I was so loath to use it, in fact, that I remember I wept when I looked at the clock one night and noticed I was getting high at 4:20 a.m.!!!) Likewise, one of the first things I did when first suffering insomnia was cut out booze (and caffeine). It made no difference.
More likely, I think my ability to sleep may be caused by the fact that since I’m not drinking, I’m not really going out anywhere or doing anything exciting. I’ve been going to bed at 11pm every night and watching Mad Men, then waking up around 8 or 9am. I’m keeping very boring old-lady hours, and if anything, I bet that’s what’s helping me sleep better.
But if I have to choose between living and sleeping, guess what, motherfuckers?! I’ll choose LIFE! I’m hoping it doesn’t come down to that, though — my plan, once I can drink again, is to sort of keep to some sort of middle ground. I’ll keep to my old-lady schedule as much as possible, but if I get any really amazing opportunities, I’ll break routine.
The real test is coming up on August 2nd, when I fly out to Sturgis, South Dakota, for the big motorcycle rally. I’ve always wanted to go, so I got a job working at the Knuckle Saloon as a shot girl, and will be carrying on and partying with bikers for ten straight days. Not only will I be drinking (hopefully in moderation), but I will also be sleeping on the floor in some strange dude’s condo with a bunch of other models. If I can sleep through all that, then I’ll KNOW the neurofeedback worked!!
So, the end is in sight. I only have to be sober for ten more days — I planned all this out so that my first drink will be a Bloody Mary on the flight out to South Dakota (yes, I know…I wanted to ride out there on the back of a biker buddy’s Harley; but unfortunately he has lymphoma, and has to get a bone marrow transplant instead). I don’t know how all you recovering alcoholics do it — I would be miserable if I knew I could never have a drink again. The only thing keeping me going here is the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I know that makes me sound like a terrible alcoholic myself, but I was never one to binge drink — I’m talking about a glass or two of wine five nights a week. A “binge” for me is four drinks.
Anyhoo, sobriety is ruining my life in more ways than one — it already cost me this amazing gig in an anti-alcoholism PSA I was supposed to shoot!! I can’t really give too many details here, but the ad was basically to consist of me actually getting wasted on camera, and when I told them I couldn’t drink, they let me go. IRONIC, isn’t it? I got fired from an anti-booze campaign for not drinking!!!
Anyway, since I couldn’t drink or party much, I mostly worked. But thankfully, I got a lot of really interesting, weird gigs to keep me occupied! Mostly, I worked as a PA (production assistant) at this NBA tournament they have out here in the summer, helping the TV crews who were filming the games. My main duties were making Dunkin’ Donuts runs (those guys were from back East, and didn’t do Starbucks) and picking up lunch around town, but I also spent quite a bit of time courtside, watching basketball games. What a trip!!!
I have always had pretty much zero interest in sports, especially basketball, so I had no idea what it was all about. But from an anthropological standpoint, it was fascinating. I was truly a stranger in a strange land, more specifically like Gulliver in Brobdingnag — the land of giants. I never realized how fucking ginormous these genetic mutants are! I had to sit on the floor of the court part of the time, which was utterly surreal, like being a little kid or a dog, at knee-height to all the adults. But even standing up and walking around was weird, like walking through a forest of legs. I seriously never realized how fucking gigantic these guys are — it’s bizarre to me that this many supersized people even exist!
As mentioned, for some of the games I had to sit right on the floor of the court near the baskets, and it was literally terrifying to have this stampede of giants hurtling toward you. Crew members get hit all the time by flying basketballs, and sometimes the players’ momentum carries their 200-pound-plus frames crashing into the sidelines — you really have to watch out! After awhile I got too skeered, and spent the time hanging out back near the bleachers, where I had an even more entertaining view of all the scandalously whorey groupies that had converged on the area to try and catch the eye of a baller.
What these hoes didn’t realize, however, was that most of the players there had eyes for nothing but the ball. These were like showcase games, so that the coaches and whoever could decide whom they wanted to put on their starting lineups, or whatever you call it in basketball. So basically, it was a bunch of young, green kids — albeit giant kids — running around like baby gazelles, desperate to prove their worth to the suits on the sidelines. Like I said…fascinating. Also fascinating, there were all these little kids on the sidelines whose job it was to run around with big mops, and sop up all the sweat leaked onto the court by the players. Like I said, it was humid as fuck out here…and they were all sweating profusely! I accidentally brushed against this one guy when I walking somewhere, and it was pretty gross.
The only downside to the gig was, I had to sit through endless basketball games, which meant sitting through endless renditions of the national anthem. You know how all those half-baked singers do it — showing off their skills by wailing and shrieking and getting merry like Christmas? Like, sing the fuckin’ melody, already!! If there’s one thing I hate, it’s listening to some bozo butcher the Star-Spangled Banner. Even that little Mexican-American tyke Sebastian de la Cruz was guilty of this, in his cute little mariachi outfit — you know, the one who sparked all the controversy last month when those rednecks booed him? Well, he was there, and he has a powerful voice and all…but the way he showboated that song was pretty sad. I guarantee you, he has no idea what the fuck those lyrics mean. Moreover, I’d bet good money that 95% of the singers who perform the National Anthem at sporting events wouldn’t be able to tell you what a “rampart” is, or even be able to sum up the meaning of the lyrics in their own words. They’re too busy hitting the high notes, and showing off their shitty vocal technique.
To distract myself from the aural agony, I looked at the crowd instead: everyone standing, about 95% of the men with their hats off, and about 35% with their hands over their hearts (the 10% with their hats off and their hands on the hearts being Super-Patriots). Nevermind that 85% of them were obese, and 70% had nacho-cheese-sauce stains on their chins…they were proud Americans, and true patriots!!!
Speaking of nachos, I had the misfortune of being sent over to the arena’s concession stand a time or two, and it was really shocking and dismaying to see the food they have on offer: not one single healthy item available. Actually there was one — peanuts in the shell. But other than that, it was all pizza, pretzels, ice cream, etc. I saw more obese people toting trays of greasy food into the stands…it was insane. Thank dog the crew sent me out to get lunch elsewhere every day, so were able to enjoy healthy, communist food like romaine lettuce and chicken breast. Technically, we weren’t even supposed to bring outside food into the arena — that place has a lock on what you get to eat, and apparently they want you to be a lard-ass. Ugh!
Now, that event wasn’t so bad because like I said, it was all beginner players, who weren’t really famous yet. They hadn’t had the chance to get all cocky yet, ya know? Well, later in the week, I worked another basketball event that featured some better-known, established players…and boy was that a different story. I had to get this one group of guys to sign some releases, and they were so far removed it was like they were on another planet. None of them even really looked at me, just carried on their conversation about some “nigga” (their word, not mine) who drops stacks of Gs at nightclubs all the time. Krrrrazy!
Now speaking of krazy, my next gig was really krazy — I was hired to work a 7-Eleven convention as a mascot for a well-known cereal brand! I guess every year, all the franchisees who operate 7-Elevens around the country get together in Vegas to order up new stock for their stores, so every half-assed crap-vendor shows up to try and sell them their wares. It was mostly stuff like chips, nuts, Twinkies (they’re back), beef jerky, tobacco products and beer. Ya know, the usual shit you find at a convenience store…with some blunt wrappers and “Night Bullet” potency enhancers thrown in. Ha!!
My job was just to put on this tiger suit and walk around the aisles, posing for photos with people and basically just cutting up and acting a fool. Easy!! I’ve
mentioned before, I loooove mascot work because you don’t need to wear makeup or anything, and can basically just schlep right out of bed to work. Plus, the people I worked for were super cool, and gave me a shit ton of free cereal and stuff to take home.
Actually, I think that was the whole point of the convention: it was only two days long, but no one really did any business. The franchisees mostly just ambled around waiting for 2pm on the second day, when the exhibitors all started packing up to go, and gave away all their samples. Man, you have never seen such a stampede!!!! I thought those NBA guys were scary — they had nothing on the hordes of 7-Eleven owners descending on the various booths, trying to get the last of the free crap!!
There was this one booth that had all manner of cheap Chinese crap on display — stuff like hair ties and plastic toys and iPhone covers and whatnot. The lady in charge said they were giving everything away at 4pm, so my colleague and I went over at 3:30 to get a good position in line. Well, it turned into a true English soccer stadium-style stampede: someone heard a rumor that 3:30 was the new 4, and reached out to grab something, which literally started a mad crush of humanity, screeching and scrabbling and grabbing and clawing and stuffing items into their bags of holding. It was amazing!!! There were some kids in the bunch, but it was at least 50% adults…about half Indian-Americans, too! I managed to grab a thing of hair ties before I retreated to the safety of the booth across the aisle, where I watched the melee, laughing so hard I actually cried. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time — you know how good it feels to laugh til you cry? Well, I recommend going to a 7-Eleven convention on the last day.
I laugh-cried all the way out to my car, too — granted, I had a huge plastic sack stuffed full of junk food and cereal myself, but that was nothing compared to some of these other attendees. I watched this one poor Indian man waddle down the hallway, two bags full of crap splitting at the seams in each hand, so heavy that he had to stop every ten feet or so to rest them. Meanwhile, his pants were falling down around his fat ass, but he couldn’t pull them up without letting go of his precious cargo. It was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Probably the real reason I laughed til I cried was that I was exhausted — after the first day of the convention, I had to shoot a commercial overnight, from 1-5am, and then be back for the second day of the convention after only a few hours’ sleep (but even then, I slept well for those hours). This commercial was the most fabulous thing I did, in a week full of fabulous things. Let me tell you about it!
So awhile back, I auditioned for this commercial that needed a bunch of Elvis impersonators. As you may know, I have an amazing pink Lady Elvis/Stripper Elvis costume, which combined with my awesome moves was enough to win me a part! Not only that, but I got the professional Elvis impersonator rate, as opposed to the wannabe rate. Nice!!
The ad was for a well-known Japanese electronics company (and will, alas, only air in Japan), so one morning I had to go to this hotel room downtown at 10am and dance around in front of a roomful of inscrutable Japanese producers while they assessed me, and decided what outfit I should wear in the ad. I actually have two Lady Elvis costumes, and they picked my black one. But then, when I showed up onset later in the week for the actual commercial, they had rented an ugly-ass, ill-fitting red Elvis costume for me to wear instead. Boo!!
Anyhoo, the filming of the commercial itself was a hoot. My calltime wasn’t until 1am, so I think they ended up cutting most of my part out, since the rest of the pro Elvises had to show up around 8pm, and I ended up waiting around in the wardrobe trailer for a couple hours until they called me to set. Even then, all I ended up having to do was walk down Fremont Street, under the light canopy, in formation with 30 other Elvises. Cake!
It was so surreal, though, as we filmed it; take after take, walking in formation like an army of creepy Elvis invaders. They had a couple black Elvises, and a fat Elvis, and a Chinese Elvis…it was a real sight to behold. This was around 4am, so no one else was down there except a few drunks and crackheads…and boy did they ever freak out! I wish I had more photos, but I’ll be sure to post the YouTube link to the ad, when it comes out.
After that, the sun started to come up, so I got the hell out of there and went home to bed, to catch a few hours of sleep before I had to be back at the 7-Eleven convention. No wonder I ended up laughing until I cried later that day — I was hysterical from exhaustion!!! But it was alllll worth it. And imagine: if my life is this fucking surreal when I’m on the wagon…how much more fabulous is it gonna be when I can drink again?!
Well friends, I’ve officially been sober for three days now. My last puff of weed was around 9am Saturday, and my last alcoholic drink was a Bloody Mary on Saturday evening. And let me tell you something….the sober life SUCKS ASS!!!
I’m on the wagon, of course, because I’m undergoing this bullshit neurofeedback program to try and beat my insomnia. I started it Sunday morning, and while I only have two more days of the treatment itself, I still have twenty-three more days of sobriety ahead of me (they recommend not drinking/smoking for three weeks afterward). Boosauce!!!!!
Now, since I knew well ahead of time that I’d be going thru this little dry spell, I made sure to get an extra two tons of partying out of my system beforehand, to tide me over on those lonely nights at sea, so to speak. Lucky for me, I had some out of town visitors who saw to it that I was kept fully immersed in the sauce for the ten days or so before I started my neurofeedback.
First, a friend we’ll call Dr. Zhivago came to town. I met Dr. Z in the unlikeliest of places…What’sYourPrice.com, that cheesy dating site where you charge people to go out with you (as previously discussed, my profile states clearly that I am only hiring myself out as a dinner companion, so there’s no hanky-panky). Anyhoo, Dr. Z hired me back in March or April, and we really hit it off. He is a super cool guy, and we share many interests — boozing poolside at the Wynn among them! The Wynn hotel is his happy place, you see — Dr. Z comes from a central California cow town with little cultural refinement, so when he comes to Vegas he likes to stay at the swankiest, most refined hotbed of douchebaggery on the Strip. Wouldn’t you?!
Anyhoo, Dr. Z rolled into town and I buckled up for a week of boozing. Poolside lounging, fine dining and karaoke were all
on the agenda…and we managed to fit them all in, despite the fact that Vegas was in the midst of a serious heat wave where daytime temps went up to 117!!! Lounging by the pool was particularly strenuous in that kind of heat, especially since I was growing out my bush for a 1960s pinup photo shoot, and its sprawling bramble necessitated my wearing the biggest high-waisted old-timey bikini bottoms I could find. Talk about swamp ass!!!
Now, one thing about Dr. Z is that he’s generous to a fault. Since our friendship has long transcended the What’sYourPrice rigamarole, he doesn’t pay me for my time anymore…but he still enjoys lavishing gifts on me. Aside from taking me to some amazing dinners, and plying me with Vegas’s finest overpriced booze, he also brought me a bag full of gifts — just like Santa Claus, LOL!
I had to draw the line, however, when he tried to bestow upon me a check for $1,000, to be used toward my neurofeedback. Come on, man! It was very generous of him, but I didn’t feel comfortable accepting it, and rather rudely (I fear) refused to take it.
Now, as you can imagine I was feeling pretty full of myself after that, like, “Oooh look at me, chock full o’ moral fortitude!” I swaggered out to the parking lot and drove home feeling like a boss…and then when I got home, I found that one of the water heaters in my house had sprung a leak and flooded the attic and walls of my home office!!! (For some reason the idiot who built this place had a water heater installed in the attic, above my guest bathroom…WTF?!)
So now I was faced with a terrible mess to clean up, and after all was said and done I ended up having to pony up almost exactly $1,000. D’OH!!!!!!!!!! That’ll teach me to act self-sufficient!
Anyhoo, once the whole water heater fiasco was cleaned up and repaired, Dr. Z was on his way back to California, and another long-time good friend was on his way in. This is another man of means who is generous to a fault, so I was in for more good times — plenty of booze, plenty of food, and plenty of fun. Only, this person was in a real funk, and not his normal fun-loving self…so times were somewhat uncertain.
We hung around in Vegas for a few days, and then flew out to Florida for the rest of the week, where he has a beautiful luxury condo on the beach. We had planned this about a month ago, but in the interim I guess he had second thoughts, as he seemed really nervous and out of sorts the whole trip. I think what happened was, his best friend and business partner, who owns a condo in the same high-rise, happened to be in Florida at the same time, with his wife. MY friend is recently divorced from his own wife, and I guess the two wives used to be friendly…and now my friend was afraid of what would happen if we ran into the other couple in the elevator. Basically, he was embarrassed to be seen with me!!!
This was a super-awkward position to be in, and I kinda wished I hadn’t gone with him at all. I felt like a homewrecker, which is ironic because a) he’s already divorced, and b) we don’t have a romantic relationship, anyway! We’re just friends…but I know everyone who sees us together automatically assumes he’s my sugar daddy and I’m his ho.
I understood his funk, for the most part — he’s a moody type of guy anyway, so I’m somewhat used to his melancholia…but it was still a pretty big buzzkill. We flew first-class out of Vegas, but no amount of free booze and ass-kissing was able to mask the tension. We still had fun, but you could really see the whole thing weighing on my friend’s mind.
Then, when we landed, shit got even worse! We landed at this little podunk airport in Daytona, right next to the
NASCAR track, late Tuesday night. Ours was the last flight in, so while my friend waited for our luggage, I went to use the ladies’ room. When I came back out, his driver was waiting for us, and we headed out toward New Smyrna Beach, where his condo is (about 25 minutes away). But when we got to his building and started unloading our bags, I realized one of my carry-on bags was missing — the one with my laptop and iPad!!
I had given it to my friend while I went to the ladies’ room, and he had accidentally left it on a bench near the baggage carousel. D’OH!!! He immediately sent his driver back to see if it was still there, and while we waited I drank about a gallon of wine and tried to think positive thoughts about this being the Bible belt and all. Surely people were honest down here, and someone had turned it in! I mean, we were the last flight in of the night, so surely security had found it when they were closing up the airport…right???
Right….well, sort of. We got a call from his driver informing us that the bag was indeed there (whew!!), but I had to come down in person to pick it up. And also, he advised us that the bag had been cut open. Apparently, when they find an unattended bag in an airport, they have to call in the bomb squad and cut it open with the Jaws of Life or some such — so my bag had been destroyed.
Whatever! It was an old bag anyway, I didn’t care — I was just glad to hear my laptop and iPad were OK! So the poor driver had to come back and pick us up. We grabbed a bottle of wine and headed back to the airport again, where I was let in by a very stern pair of Volusia County Sheriff’s deputies. One of them seemed to see the humor in the situation, so I cracked a smile and tried to joke about it.
The other deputy did not see the humor at all, and proceeded to tear me a new asshole: “Young lady, this is a very serious offense. We had to call in the bomb squad from clear across the county, and you could potentially be fined $15,000 for this!!! NEVER leave a bag unattended in an airport!!!!!!!!!” Well, gee, motherfucker, it’s not like I wanted to leave my laptop and iPad in your shit-ass podunk airport — you really think I did it on purpose?!?!?!
But I just bit my tongue and nodded like “Yassir, yassir!” until they finally signed the bag over to me, and I was able to get the hell out of there, go back to the condo and get high as a kite. But then when I opened the bag the next morning I saw that not only had they cut open the bag, but they had somehow scratched the screens of both my laptop and my iPad, and had completely severed the cord to my iPad charger!!
I have to ask, what kind of dumb-ass bomb squad cuts through a wire when dismantling a bomb?! If it had been a bomb, the whole place would have been blown sky-high!!! I think they must have done it out of spite — the scratches on the screens, too. How else to explain a scratch on a closed laptop screen? Thankfully, my iPad had a screen protector on it that saved the day completely…and the scratch on my laptop isn’t very big — sort of a fun souvenir from my trip down South. I’m looking at it as I type this, in fact!
Aaaaaanyhoo, after all that excitement, we didn’t get to bed til around 4am, and didn’t get up til noon. That’s Eastern time, mind you — back in Vegas it was pretty much my regular hours. We kept to that schedule the whole week, too. Honestly, between our sleeping in and my friend’s foul mood, we didn’t really do much of anything down there. We did climb to the top of a lighthouse, and go for a drive on the beach (in Daytona, you can drive on the beach — it’s the weirdest thing). And we tried to go to a nearby nude beach, but got there too late and the gate was closed.
But other than that, we mostly sat around drinking. We spent the 4th of July on one of his balconies, watching all the various firework displays that were going off up and down the coast. Despite this being Florida in July, it was actually very temperate, and I had to wrap myself in a blanket, LOL!
It was also really nice the following night at the racetrack, when we went over to watch this qualifying round for the big NASCAR race on Saturday. My friend
always gets tickets to this giant hospitality tent out front, where it’s free food and unlimited booze, so we spent about 3 hours boozing in there before the race started. I even got to meet Jared, the ex-fatass spokesman for Subway…since Subway was one of the sponsors of the race, he was there toeing the corporate line, doing his masters’ bidding. Aren’t we all???
Then, we went out to the stands to drink more booze and watch the race. Unfortunately, unlike my trip to the Daytona 500 last February, there were no spectacular crashes…but it was still a nice night, balmy and breezy and ever so much more comfortable than Vegas. My friend bought me this awesome Miss NASCAR tee shirt, which is my #1 new favorite shirt, and we ended up having a pretty good time.
After the race, my friend rallied a bit and had his driver take us down to one of his all-time favorite titty bars, Lollipops, where we had more drinks and watched this poor stripper with a black eye try and schmooze some poor old redneck. But you could tell the shroud of melancholia was still heavy upon my friend, so we didn’t stay long. Instead, we all went over to Waffle House for a big old late-nite breakfast. Of course I had my hash browns “all the way:” scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, diced,
peppered, capped and topped — hold the gravy (I’m not a swine, you know!!). YUM!!!
The next day, we all went back to the racetrack and headed straight for the hospitality tent for more free booze. Alas, I couldn’t stay more than 15 minutes, as I had to fly back to Vegas — so I chugged a Bloody Mary and then said my goodbyes. My friend’s driver took me to the Orlando airport (thank dog I didnt have to face those assholes at the Daytona airport
again), and O…M…G. I thought I’d been to some shitty airports before, but the Orlando one takes the cake!! Hordes and throngs of squalling tots in asinine mouse-ear hats…oy, vey. What with all the diaper bags, strollers and parental broken dreams, it took forever to get through security. Remind me never to fly out of that airport again!!!!!!!!!
So I flew back to Vegas, had one last Bloody Mary on the plane, and then it was Sobriety Time 🙁 I got up bright and early the next morning to begin my course of neurofeedback, or Brain Training as they call it in this particular program.
Every day this week, I’ve headed out to this woman’s McMansion in the far southwestern suburbs of Vegas at 10am, where I proceed to lay in a recliner with electrodes stuck to my scalp with goo, while a software program measures my brainwaves and plays these weird musical tones back at me, to “re-train” my brain into performing correctly. Sometimes I have to visualize certain things like a bouncing ball or glimmering lights, but sometimes I just get to lay there and doze off. I do this from 10am-noon, then I get a one-hour break to go eat some protein (you’re supposed to eat a lot of protein while doing this), and then another two hours from 1-3pm. Then I pay her $350 and go home.
So far, I haven’t noticed any changes in my sleep patterns at all…but I still have two more days, plus the three week recovery period, so I’m reserving judgment til then. Since I haven’t been able to smoke weed, my sleep is pretty fractured…but not as bad as when I was in Ireland, at least. I’ve been able to get about 5 hours of “deep” sleep each night, so I don’t feel too bad. My only worry is that if this is how I sleep at home, in my own bed…how shitty is my sleep gonna be when I’m in Sturgis, sleeping on the floor of some random guy’s condo with five other models????? Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, my insomnia could have been caused by many different things — LSD, ecstasy, excessive breath-holding…but a long-held hunch of mine is that it might also be at least partially due to FOMO. FOMO is this marvelous new acronym I just read about which stands for Fear Of Missing Out — in other words, I’m afraid to lose consciousness for fear that I’ll miss out on some awesome new opportunity or adventure. I mean, I do turn off my ringer while sleeping, but I’m one of those annoying people who checks their phone every 5 seconds to see what’s going on. Between Facebook and Twitter and Model Mayhem and all the various meetup.com groups I belong to, plus all the junk mail lists I’m on, I get an email or text about every few minutes, all day long…and I check them all, in case one of them turns out to be my big break!!!
Now, that can be somewhat nerve-wracking….so lately I’ve been trying not to check so often. I mean, WTF could I really be missing out on??? Plenty, it turns out 🙁 🙁 🙁
You remember a couple of months ago when I auditioned for Wheel of Fortune out here? Well, I felt like I aced that initial test, and they said they would contact those of us they were interested in via mail or email within the next couple of months. Since then, I’ve checked my mail and email every day, but never got anything. I figured they must have not liked me after all….until the other day, it occurred to me to check my spam mail folder.
Come to find out, they had emailed me — back on June 10th!! I was supposed to have gone in for my formal audition on June 25th…which means that I was boozing by the Wynn pool, blissfully unaware I missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime to win fabulous cash and prizes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁
Of course, I called the hotline right away and left a message…and I emailed them, letting them know what happened and that I was still interested. But I haven’t heard back, so I guess this will have to go in my ever-growing file of unrequited ambitions. Damn!
This was especially painful for me because I had very little work lined up for the month of July. What with being sober all month, I really needed some work to keep me busy and keep my mind off my miserable sobriety — plus, I need to make some cash for my adventure fund, since I’ll be traveling most of August. And what with this Brain Training bleeding my bank account dry $350 at a time, I really could have used some fabulous cash and prizes.
But just when things were looking really bleak, I ended up booking a fabulous role as an Elvis impersonator in a national TV commercial!! It shoots next Tuesday, so hopefully sometime soon you’ll see Wonderhussy on a TV near you. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes. It doesn’t pay much, but it should be a ton o’ fun, at least!
After that, some kind of supernatural floodgates seemed to open, and I suddenly got a ton of work. Not only did I have a very pleasant What’sYourPrice date with a young software engineer from Canada the other night, but I am also playing Tony the Tiger at a 7-Eleven convention next week, plus doing an Axe body spray demo (LOL!) and some wrestling fetish videos later in the month. I think I’m also working some kind of NBA event later this week, too. Whew!!!!
Finally, you may be wondering what I’ve been up to modeling-wise of late. I did that ’60s pinup shoot I was growing my bush out for, and supposedly the pics were good enough that they’re going to be published in some British pinup magazine soon! I’ll be sure to post the info here when I get it. We did the shoot in this amazing retro furniture store, but the day of the shoot was super fucking hot and humid (it was one of those 117-degree days, dammit) and the place isn’t air-conditioned, only swamp-cooled. To make matters worse, I couldn’t really blast the a/c in my truck on the way there for fear of fucking up my beehive hairdo, so I was so freaking hot when I got there that the second I walked in the store I ripped off my dress and stood there buck-ass naked, fanning myself madly with my appointment
book!! I didn’t realize that the store was still open to the public during the shoot — d’oh!!! I think I made a bad impression on the store staff :-/
Also, a couple weeks ago I did a shoot with a guy who was in town for the World Series of Poker. I went up to his room thinking, “Another day, another perv…” but to my immense delight he turned out to be a true artiste, and the pics are actually classy. Shockeroo!!!!! It’s shoots like these that reaffirm my decision to be a mode– ah hell, who am I kidding???! The pervy ones are much more fun to write about!!!!
But one of the best shoots I did lately wasn’t even really a shoot — my friend Suzanne Lugano asked if I was interested in being body-painted at this tattoo expo, and then going to a benefit party and walking around naked in some art gallery. Does a bear shit in the woods?! Come to find out, at the benefit I’d be handing out samples of lickable wallapaper — like in the old Willy Wonka movie, where a strawberry tastes like a strawberry and a schnozzberry tastes like a schnozzberry — so she asked if I could do my hair like an “Oompa Loompa geisha.” !!!! Could I?!?!
I hit up Party City for some orange hairspray and then the dollar store for some oversized novelty lollipops, and headed down to the tattoo expo, where Suzanne painted me in front of a crowd of lusty blue-
collar greaser-types. When she’d finished, this random photographer came over and asked if he could take some pics of me while she broke down her booth — and boy am I glad he did! These pics are fabulous!!
After that, we headed back downtown to this schwanky art gallery on the ground floor of the classy hi-rise where my friend Fabian lives, and I handed out lickable wallpaper and edible cherry blossoms while mingling naked with the crowd of self-important art aficionados. I won’t say too much about it because it’s the subject of my next CityLife column, but suffice it to say it was hilarious. I drank about 5 gallons of hi-class wine, both at the gallery reception and upstairs in an uber-schwanky loft belonging to some local design bigwig…but for once in my life, I didn’t make an ass of myself. Well,
one of my pasties did pop off…and my ginormous 60s bush was peeking out the corner of my stick-on thong panty…arrrrrrgh, what the hell. I guess I did make an ass of myself, after all.
But, isn’t that what life is all about? The well-lived life, anyway…
I’m exhausted and grouchy and the last thing I feel like doing is updating this blog tonight…but if I don’t do it now, I never will! I’m facing a 13-day solid stretch of partying, beginning tomorrow…and I know I won’t get around to it in the midst of all that.
Why do I have so much partying ahead of me? Well, some friends are coming to town, and then I’m headed to Florida for a few days of booze & weed on the beach. I have to get it all out of my system because when I return to Vegas on July 7th, I will be embarking on a bone-rattlingly miserable 26 days of sobriety!!!!
Why, you ask? Well, in my quest to conquer the terrible insomnia that has plagued me since 2010, I have decided to undergo a course of brain training — basically, a sort of neurofeedback, where they strap electrodes to your scalp, recording your faulty brainwaves and then playing them back to you in some way that “trains” your brain to behave properly, in a balanced manner. I know it sounds like total bunkum, but I have two friends who swear by it, and I also recently read about a clinical study they did at Wake Forest University that showed near-total sleep restoration in insomniacs after undergoing the process. So I figure it’s worth a try!
I went in a couple weeks ago for an “assessment,” where this semi-new-agey woman hooked up the electrodes to my scalp, then had me recite numbers and compute math problems and stuff while this computer program recorded my brain activity. The software then drew a “map” of the regions of my brain, with numbers indicating the various performance levels…and shocker, the map showed that the left frontal lobe of my brain is seriously out of whack — dramatically imbalanced from the right side. Supposedly, this is what is causing my insomnia. She asked me if I had been dropped or injured between the ages of 1-3, but I wasn’t. All I did was eat acid and ecstasy at the age of 33.
Gawd, reading what I just wrote makes this whole treatment really sound like total bunkum! But I swear, I researched it on the internet as much as possible, and while there haven’t been any double-blind studies done on it, and I wasn’t able to find ANY first-hand accounts of insomniacs being cured by it (other than testimonials on brain trainers’ websites, which I feel would of course be biased)…neither was I able to find anything when I Googled “brain training scam.” Here’s the link…you decide! www.brainstatetech.com
ANYHOO, although this process is prohibitively expensive ($1,750 for the full course) I finally decided to try it because I am desperate. There are only two brain trainers in Vegas, both female, and I picked the one who looked more simpatico on her website. She used to have an office (and in fact used to advertise on the radio, which is how I even heard of brain training in the first place, three years ago) but now she does it out of an upstairs bedroom of her suburban McMansion, out on the edge of town. I took that as a sign that the brain training biz ain’t doing so well…which did give me pause; I mean, if it works so great then why isn’t this woman booked solid?!
But, like I said, I am desperate…so I drove out to her house for the assessment, where she strapped the stuff on my head and “read” my apparently imbalanced brainwaves. It was mostly just my left frontal lobe; all the other areas of my brain were more or less in tune, with apparently the area around my temples being particularly strong (which, according to her, is what has allowed me to function the last few years). She lit into me for smoking pot, which according to her is terrible for the frontal lobes of the brain — and I’ll admit, that kinda turned me off to her. I’ve been smoking/eating pot every night since sometime in 2010, and I’m still sharp as a tack! But when I think about many of the chronic potheads I know…I think she may actually be onto something. Either way, if I can regain my ability to sleep without weed, that would be fan-fuckin’-TASTIC — I wouldn’t need to smoke it anymore, and could go back to using it on special occasions only (Burning Man, Christmas, etc). I’m really not much of a recreational pot smoker; I hate trying to function while high. I’ve just been using it to make me sleep.
So anyway, while she was analyzing my brainwave reading, she let me try a mini 10-minute trial session of the actual brain training, so I could get a taste of what the treatment would be like (the assessment was free; it’s just the actual treatments they charge you for). She left the electrodes on my scalp, and had me lie down, put in earbuds and close my eyes. Then the computer “read” my brainwaves, and played them back to me as a series of weird, haunting musical tones.
These tones were so weird! I think they were a mix of human vocalizations and notes played on some kind of otherworldly synthesizer — really haunting. It was such a weird sensation to hear my brain basically “talking” out loud — almost like I could finally hear its cries for help, which it has been silently transmitting for the last 3 years to no avail, like a dying White Dwarf sending a final S.O.S. into the cosmos. It was like this Derek Walcott poem a friend recently forwarded me, part of which reads:
“Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.”
I’m so busy running around being witty and charming and pleasing others that I have totally neglected my own self, and to hear my own self “talking” aloud was WEIRD! So weird that I started crying! My crying was either due to sadness, or exhaustion…or maybe to the fact that I sort of feel like a chump for shelling out $1,750 for this New Agey bunk, haha. But I am going into this with an open mind, I swear. If it does work, I will never stop singing its praises, I promise you that!
So I finally decided to buckle down and pay the cash and go ahead with the treatment, but now the dilemma was trying to figure out a time when I can do it. The treatment sessions are two hours each, and optimally you’re supposed to do two per day, with an hour break in between, for five consecutive days. My friend J.R. did all this for his own insomnia a couple years ago, but he had a wedding to attend halfway through, so he broke up the sessions — and he drank booze and smoked weed during it, which is a big no-no. So maybe that’s why it didn’t cure his insomnia (although he maintains it did help greatly, for a year or so).
And that’s the fucking rub: I had to figure out a period of time when I could go not only 5 days without drinking/boozing…but also for THREE WEEKS afterward!!!! I have to be totally sober for 26 straight days!!!!!!! This being summertime, I have a ton of traveling and partying I want to do…so it was really tough to block out 26 days for this crap. And it’s not just that I want to drink and party — there’s also the little fact that I can’t sleep without smoking enough weed to tranquilize a horse, so I had to pick a time when it would be OK to be exhausted and miserable for 26 days :-/ (This is assuming the treatment isn’t an instant miracle cure; that’s me…always expecting the worst.)
What I finally did, was count backwards from the date I leave for the Sturgis bike rally, where I know I’ll get wasted — August 2nd. That brought me to a start date of July 7th, so I went ahead and booked my treatment for the week of July 7-11. :-/ I’m really hoping it works, so that at the end of it all I can celebrate by partying in moderation at Sturgis, and then afterward at Burning Man. We’ll see!!!
So, I have to get allllllllll the partying out of my system before July 7th — hence the fully-booked 13-day stretch of partying ahead of me. Meanwhile, I also have to earn $1,750 to pay this brain trainer….so I’ve been hustling extra hard lately.
I haven’t really had to resort to busking much lately, but here’s a link to this AMAZING photo essay my friend Adam Sternberg did about me when I was going out on the Strip in my Mary Jane costume: check it out!!! He took some truly exceptional photos of me in action one night, including this favorite of my little porn-slapper sugar daddy — one of those little illegal Latinos on the Strip who hands out escort agency fliers had a crush on me, and would give me $2-5 every time he saw me! Awww!
If you read what Adam wrote in the article, he got it mostly right except for the part about how much I earned: I really averaged $27/hour, not $20. Decent money, but tough, nasty, dirty work! I would only go busking in that costume again if I absolutely had no other gigs lined up — unless of course I do it for fun one of these nights, which I might — my buddy Jay Joint said people have been asking about me, so I might go back out again just for laffs.
Thankfully, I haven’t needed to busk lately because I’ve had plenty of “legit” gigs. Last week, the Licensing Expo was in town — a yearly trade show that hires a lot of mascot characters to walk around the room. I work for the agency that staffs the mascot actors, and you never know which character they’ll assign you — the last couple years I was no-name cartoon characters I’d never heard of, so it was kinda boring work since no one really stopped me for photos or anything. But THIS year, they assigned me two ten-hour days inside a sort of giant Nembutal suit — a character from some dumb-ass CGI movie that is apparently super-popular these days, since everyone wanted photos with me. It didn’t really matter to me, either way — the costume design was such that I could keep my arms inside the suit with me, so I was able to bumble around reading articles on my phone all day long while everyone and his Aunt Mabel posed for photos with me. Good times!!!
The most interesting thing about that expo was the astonishing array of brands that are available to be licensed: the usual suspects, like Snoopy and Elvis and Marilyn Monroe…but also a few surprises, like the Pope!! WTF?!! They market him as “FRANCIS: The End of the World Pope,” and you can license his logo for use on shit ranging from sweatshirts to notebooks to rosaries. Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After the Licensing Expo, I got booked to work the makeup/hair/beauty show,
helping to promote this high-end line of eye makeup…which is ironic, considering that as you may recall from my Makeup Tutorial blog a few weeks ago, I mostly wear 99cent Wet ‘N’ Wild crap from the drugstore, LOL. The best part about this expo was the fact that my girlfriend from Arkansas was working just two booths down from me — she works for this company out of Little Rock that sells stun guns, pepper spray and all manner of personal protection devices. I’ve mentioned it before — her boss is this man who holds more patents than any man in the history of the State of Arkansas, and he hires all these hot Arkansawyer chicks to work for him as sales reps. They come to town a couple times a year for various trade shows, but this was the first time I’d ever worked a show they were at, so it was
You might be wondering how I came to be friends with a girl from Arkansas — well, she lived in California back in the day for a couple years, and we became friends in 8th grade, and used to listen to hair metal and shoplift and whatnot together, until she got bored of me and moved on to a different crowd of friends, before her family moved back to Arkansas altogether. We lost touch for about 20 years, and then reconnected on Facebook back around 2011. Now we hang out whenever she’s in town, and I went out to visit her once, too.
Anyway, aside from working trade shows, I did plenty of other odd gigs the past couple of weeks, too (of course!). The weirdest — and GROSSEST — was this photo shoot I did. I responded to a casting call on Model Mayhem for a “sensual couples shoot” — basically a shoot with a male model, where we would pretend to be loving and intimate and what not (the ad specified NO SEX in all caps, so I figured it would be classy and artistic, like the photo to the left, which I shot with this awesome Finnish bodybuilder named Juha back in 2010 or so).
But when I showed up at the hotel room for THIS shoot, it was a different story. The other model, and the photographer, were both nice enough and professional enough — there was no hanky panky, and they paid me in cash, without incident — but the photos speak for themselves. YIKES!!!! They look like stills from a terrible amateur porn movie!! SHUDDER! Everything about them screams amateur — the awful hotel curtains, the flip flops in the background.
Well, there go all my hopes and dreams of running for the Senate, LOL…no one would EVER elect me with photos like this in my portfolio!!! But I’m posting them anyway (more on my Tumblr) to demonstrate my versatility, and willingness to work with ALL skill levels. Like I said, these two guys were earnest and well-meaning…but seriously, sometimes when you browse Model Mayhem, some of this shit reeeeally stretches the meaning of the word “art.” Ya know?! I mean, I know “art” is a subjective word, but….if anything, this is more like Folk Art, and this guy was the Grandma Moses of nude photographers!
This shoot also got me thinking again on one of my favorite topics: legal gray areas. These guys paid me cash to come to this hotel room, get naked, and pretend I was having sex. There was no genital contact or anything, but if vice were to have busted in the door, what would have happened? Does the presence of a photographer make it legal? If so, then couldn’t every John just set up a camera on a tripod to cover his legal bases? It’s interesting to think about. If anyone knows of any legal precedents where this defense was successfully used, let me know! I’m curious!!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAnyhoo, after all that, I needed a motherfucking BREAK! So I did do a few fun things to get my mind off the grind. One day I went down to this little town on the Arizona/CA/NV border called Laughlin, where they have a few resorts on the Colorado River, and stayed overnight with some friends at the Avi Resort…a sort of white-trash desert hideaway that draws mostly bikers, cholos and boaters from the Inland Empire. There’s a casino, a showroom, some restaurants and a bingo hall…plus a fireworks shop (it’s on an Indian reservation, so you can buy all these crazy fireworks outlawed by the White Man) and this giant football field where you can go out at night and set them off. Aside from that, there ain’t much going on at the Avi, so we spent most of the time at the pool, drinking, but we did meet this one super cool kid in the coffee shop, an astonishingly well-bred 24-year-old who bought my girlfriend and I breakfast.
Then another night, the same friends and I took the one guy’s boat out on Lake Mead for a moonlight booze cruise. Now, THAT was fun! We left the dock around 8pm, and cruised out into the middle of the lake, cut the engine, and sat around drinking and listening to music. I busted out a trick I’d learned from a hillbilly girl once: if you put on a life vest upside down (like, put your legs through the armholes), it makes a sort of floaty diaper-thing that allows you to bob in the water without paddling, so you can hold your beer (or bitch-beer, in my case) without spilling it! Speaking of bitch-beer, one of the girls who came with us — I won’t say which one, out of respect — drank too many of the sugary things, and started complaining that her “tum-tum” hurt. When we got back to the dock, she ended up puking her guts up over the edge! But the great thing about that chick is, as soon as she finished she was back to her normal party-hearty self, like, “OK, let’s go!!”
So, all that was well and good, but NOTHING compared to the BEST party I went to lately — the Electric Daisy Carnival! I’ve written about this before, but here’s a quik recap: the EDC is a ginormous 3-day rave that takes place out at the Vegas Speedway (NASCAR track north of town) every summer. They set up lasers and fireworks and carnival rides, plus massive soundstages with world-famous DJs, and it’s kind of like an urban Burning Man. Something like 150,000 raver kids come to town for this every year, so the entire Strip is packed with fat chicks in tutus and glasses with no lenses, stumbling around on ecstasy. Yawn, I know — but I still go every year. Why? Two reasons: one, I hate to miss a party — even a party of 150,000 fat chicks in tutus and glasses with no lenses dancing to EDM. But mostly, I enjoy the game of getting in without paying for the privilege!!
See, a weekend pass to EDC will cost you upwards of $300 — but I’ve never paid more than $20. The first year, one of my sisters was dating some promoter who got them free VIP passes. They went Friday and Saturday night, and gave their passes to me for the last night, Sunday. I went with my little teenage friend Savannah that year, and had so much fun (we ate mushrooms) that I vowed to come back again the next year on Saturday night (the busiest night).
So the next year, I scored a pass from a friend who had won it in a raffle. He only wanted to go one night, so he sold me Saturday and Sunday nights for $60. I turned around and sold Sunday night to my teenage friend for $40, which means I was only out $20 for Saturday. Sweet, right?! WRONG! That night ended up being so windy that they shut the whole fucking rave down, for fear that the stages would blow over and kill some poor fat chick in a tutu and glasses without lenses. So after having driven 2 hours to get there, and having spent all day making a bad-ass costume, I had to turn around and go home.
So this year, I was all like, “Screw EDC! That shit is whack.” But as always happens, at the last minute I started getting all excited, and had second thoughts. So I went out on a limb and posted on Facebook: “I need an EDC ticket and I only want to spend $20 or less. Anyone?” It seemed like a longshot, but…..guess what?! Thanks to my amazing network of friends, I got in again — for free! And this year, the story was better than EVER! In fact, the way I got in was WAY more fun than the actual event itself, hahahaha!
Late Friday afternoon, a friend called with the news that he had access to some free EDC wristbands — all I had to do was meet him at his tranny friend’s mobile home off West Tropicana at 7pm, so we could all caravan up there together. It seems his tranny friend had recently gone to a tranny convention, and while there met a tranny carny (!!!!) who had worked on setting up the rides at EDC, and this tranny-carny (!!!) had given her a few carnival workers’ wristbands to get into the event.
Perfect!! I put on the costume I’d made for last year’s EDC, which I hadn’t really gotten any use out of, and went over to the trailer park. We had to wait around while our tranny connection finished getting ready — I thought *I* was a badass because I turned my guest room into a closet; this bitch had half her entire trailer turned into a closet, with over 200 pairs of high heels and more wigs than even I could shake a stick at! It was amazing. She had this whole elaborate outfit put together, with a white leather corset and a tutu and all, plus this amazing white wig with multi-colored add-ons and a tiara atop it. The only thing was, she didn’t want to muss up her Rave Wig while driving, so she had this other wig, a sort of platinum blonde chignon/beehive thing, that she wore while driving. So we had to wait around while she put on her Driving Wig, and packed up her Rave Wig and glow accessories and whatnot. I guarantee you, waiting around in her mobile home was more fun than anything at the actual EDC!
When she was finally ready, she got into her 1980s Winnebago (which she takes to Burning Man every year) and led the way to the Speedway. My friend followed her, and I brought up the rear — I had to drive separately, because I was working a fucking convention in the morning and couldn’t stay out too late. Let me tell you something — that RV may have been a 1980s clunker, but she could really haul ass in that thing! I had a hard time keeping up with her!
When we got up near the race track, we thought we could sneak in the back way and enter through the employee entrance or something, since we had those carny wristbands. WRONG! We wasted about an hour, and untold gallons of gas, driving around the desert to the north of the Speedway, trying to get in. But those canny fuckers at the EDC block off all access roads except the main one, so you basically have to wait in line to park. Finally we gave up, got in line, and finally rolled into the parking lot around 10pm. Then we sat around in the RV while Miss Thing put the final preparations on her costume — she changed into her Rave Wig, affixed all her blinkies and glowies, and took a magic potion to ensure goooooooooooood times. And then we were ready to go in!
Now, we were a bit apprehensive about getting through Security — we didn’t really look like carnies, so would our wristbands really work? Also, we had Scotch-taped them to our wrists rather than properly affixing them, because Miss Thing wanted to use them again the following night — would Security notice, and confiscate them?? I remember the first year I went, Security was pretty tight-assed, and searched everything — even making me take off my wig. But I was hoping things had loosened up since then.
Sure enough, it was a breeze. We walked up to the first checkpoint and showed our IDs — no problem; they were just checking that everyone was 18 or older. The second checkpoint was a bit tougher — the guy asked for our tickets, but Miss Thing cut him off:”We don’t have tickets, we have wristbands. We work here!”
“You work here?” He was clearly skeptical. “Where??”
“We set up the rides.”
“The rides? Which one?”
Now Miss Thing was peeved. You could practically hear the “Duhhhh” in her voice as she snapped, “The big tall ones!!” Hello!!! What the fuck do we look like, buddy?!
Astonishingly, that answer worked and he let us through. I think he was more afraid of getting in a fight with a 6’7″ pre-op tranny in platform boots and a tutu, honestly…but whatever! We were in!!!
Now the whole glowing, glittering rave lay spread out before us like neon candy…but honestly, after all that awesomeness, EDC itself just couldn’t compete. I walked around for a few hours and had a couple drinks, but it just wasn’t as cool as I’d remembered. For one thing, there was so much garbage all over the ground — those raver kids are animals! For another thing, it seemed like it really was 90% chubby chicks in tutus, with wedgies and rainbow sox and all manner of unsightliness. I walked around for awhile taking covert photos of fat asses, intending to start a Tumblr blog called “Fat Raver Chicks’ Asses…” but the lighting was too low, and I didn’t want to call attention to myself by turning on my flash.
The main reason it sucked was, I knew in the back of my mind that I had to be up at 8am for this fucking convention…so I wasn’t able to eat mushrooms or really cut loose or anything. I still had fun, wandering around with my friend, and we did see some pretty cool art exhibits and stuff…but seriously, the getting in was the funnest part of the whole night. I ended up leaving around 1am, when I drove home and passed out.
Now, lest you think the moral of that story is that I can’t have fun unless I’m on drugs or totally drunk…think again, motherfucker! Two of the most fun things I did lately, I did totally sober. My friend Fabian doesn’t drink or drug, so whenever I hang with him, I’m generally on the wagon. And I looooove hanging out with him, because sober or no, we always find the weirdest stuff to get into.
One evening, we decided to crash one final EDR (employee dining room) — you may recall from my last blog that lately, we’ve been sneaking into various hotel employee cafeterias to eat free meals. We had saved this one super-swanky hotel for last — its dining room was said to be really high-end, with a vegan section and everything. I was pretty apprehensive because a) I’m a puss, and b) that hotel is a really tightly-run ship, and I was afraid we’d get booted out.
Well, sure enough, we found the doorway that led down to the back of the house (employee area), and sauntered through all casual-like…when all of a sudden, we encountered a security podium, and this guard asked to see our employee ID cards!
“Uhhh, we don’t have them. We just wanted to grab some coffee at the EDR,” Fabian said.
“Why don’t you have IDs? Where do you work?”
“At ___ [nightclub; I figured they might cut us some slack if we weren’t actual hotel employees].”
You could tell he didn’t believe us one bit. “Doing what?”
“Runners,” Fabian said.
“Well, then you should have ID cards. How do you clock in??”
OMG, our story was so weak. If only I’d been a 6’7″ pre-op tranny in platforms and a tutu; then we’d have gotten in no problem. D’ohhh!!!
As it was, the security guard eyed us suspiciously, then made a phone call to check with his superior. I was sweating balls; I really didn’t want to get kicked out of this hotel, since I was planning to spend quite a bit of time at the pool there later in the month!!
Apparently, the guy’s boss told him not to let us in, so he apologized but said he could not allow us into the EDR. So we turned around, all like, “Sigh! I guess we can just go buy coffee at the cafe…” And then we got the hell out of there!!! We walked slow and normal, but the whole time I was afraid someone was gonna come up behind me and grab me. It was harrowing! We made it to the car, took off, and went down to the new Gay & Lesbian Center to eat, instead. That place has an amazing vegan cafe…and ironically, it’s sponsored by the very same guy whose casino EDR we’d just tried to crash!!! His name is on the wall above the cafe in big golden letters…so we took some photos in front of it, for the irony. Ha!!
One last fun thing I did with Fabian was even better. As I mentioned, he moved to town to start a pranking company, and he set up his office in this amazing down-at-heels office building in the heart of downtown Vegas. Other tenants in the building include all manner of freaks, including P.I.s and bounty hunters, like these blonde cougar sisters who go by the name Lipstick Justice (!!). But the BEST tenant in the building is this crafty, sunburned little inventor guy on the ground floor who came up with this ingenious, cure-all musical therapy device called the Jonesaphone! Fabian got to talking to him one afternoon, and mentioned my insomnia. So the inventor told him to invite me down to try out the device for myself, and see if it didn’t cure me!
I went down there immediately, and Fabian and the inventor ushered me into the inventor’s ground-floor office, which was mostly taken up by this huge wooden bed-like device made from scavenged odds and ends of koa wood and piano strings, attached to a pair of giant speakers. The idea is, you lie on the wooden bed platform with your feet against the headboard, and then play whatever music you like, which sends vibrations through the wood and cures whatever ails you. Amazing!!!
I laid there for about an hour, and then came back a couple days later to try it again…and I must say, it’s very relaxing to lie there listening to music in the afternoon. Alas, it didn’t help my insomnia any…but it did help with my ennui somewhat. I mean, if all this was going on in the back room of just one downtown Vegas office building…what else is going on around town??? There are dozens of office buildings around town — just think of the magical surprises that await discovery!!
Anyhoo, the inventor of the Jonesaphone (his last name is Jones) asked me to spread the word, and maybe figure out a way to market this device to other people who need musical therapy. He could charge something like $50 an hour for the privilege of laying on the Jonesaphone, and I’m pretty sure he could use the cash! Soooooo…..any takers? It’s a lot cheaper than brain training, I’ll tell you that!!!!