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.
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!!!!