Saturday, August 30, 2008

Left Too Dry

Track 1 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Left too Dry

I can’t say that I lack all of any sort of redeeming qualities
I can’t say that I’ve done nothing of mention
Which I really haven’t done
But there is one thing common unto
Humanity beings you and me

There’s nowhere left to run to anymore
There’s nowhere left to run

The seeking of the care
Can’t it be the wherewithal
Of dawning light
Unilateral friendship
And the need to pull it in two

There’s nowhere left to run to anymore
There’s nowhere left to run

See it in the lane
Flag it down like pain
Then stair the apathetic air
Then when we knew who we rent
We buy more like we threw away as spent

So if we think
That our life's on the brink
It just may be

Collapse the race
And roar the crowd
The wonderlust is for the proud
Sound of interminable malaise
I hope it pays one of these days
We who all prowl inane
Without in toto

Cause it takes more effort to be a pest
To be a naysay
That we can do more
And that we won’t do shit
Never are we here
And everything in it
Yeah, well
There just isn’t

There ain’t nowhere left to run to anymore
There’s no where left to run

You think it’s all in fun
You think it’s all done
But when you need a place to go
And there ain’t anything you know of

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

Give In

Track 2 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Give In

I didn't think that I knew of all the odds seeing that the way shun to the flaweds
I'm on the prowl baby can't you be, with me leacherous for fell en knee
We gonna go down slow into the wanes into the pains
(I'm pro let tear it off apart places we won't be caught
and bring your blanket stare I cant only you got me moving there)
We're gonna bring what we all know to be the case and the carry you there
So come here
And give in

The pussy pass and they glide down to forgot
you know the way we always think and thought
You got an eye and a shape and a I move to your gait
I'm gonna unlock and let us go inside the Garden of Earthly Delights tonight
we know everything is scared utter shitless and see of the fitness
the fire and the all we will never die
(the flowers without your adding more in the tribulations inner I adore
adorate bed my mate see all on the thin ice skate ice on no body skin we're never in
wolves' stare will cry and we won't even know that we will die)

So come here
And give in
So come here
We're bedding deeper in sin
So come here
And give in
Come on
We're bedding further than you've ever been

Why do you want to go home with such a duchebag
Everything that he says lies triple slag
I'm gonna fashion to gather all his lies
together and make a huge balloon
That says 'I'm an asshole'
You do not read it
I see it certain 30,000 miles away
But you think all he cares about is the sway
with his swagger ways and candor
in the can't to can not see the light in all the thought
I'm gonna give you real things
To make you think and I hope
In all the ring around us brings

'Give In' This is track 2 from ChineSeXXX American Idolatry, the september 2008 euphoreador release. The song is about how we need to be fearless and open ourselves up for the possibility of love and intimacy.

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

slum lord

Track 3 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Slum lord

Been baffled by beauty
Taking languid drawts* all day
Sifting through the words of my government
My slumlord sol invictus I have to pay

Been talking too regal
Tempting all the tail
Wandering parts
Of the onerous arts
Nefarious duplicity

Ought we go down
Into the New Orleans
Penchant the blessed
Of worn-out virgin
Leaped into the ocean
On a whim
And I don’t think she can swim
In the fever of our lives
Do we not exercise
Then come again

Conjecture fits, the face don’t
Sublimely doubt in lycopene
Tearing down the road towards a fucking low
Could lay million dollar on another fun over here
Keep a goddamn plan
Fierce to the false occasion
Feast to the fuck
Blister in the mind declare
I simply don’t care

Hell and we will go there
Inner phage
Things won’t be free for fools are we
We all dainty
Wasted lifetimes
We all decree
Portion putrid fail

Thems are the way
Pull him off
We can tell the curtain call
Bring it down into the womb now
Hold your faith
Feel the light
See your vision
Fear resolve flight
Offer, take, to the world
We care less everyday now
We’re just little ants
What supplants what I see
What is you then we

Fluttering take-down
Do we can’t die anymore
We can’t die again
Only once
So better make it goddamn faster
Into the world we only go

*drawts – a combination of the english word, draught
and the french word, droite

"slum lord' This is track 3 from the September 2008 euphoreador release entitled ChineSeXXX American Idolatry. The song is about standing firm in the resolution of who we are and not pretending what we aren't. Also not being afraid to find out who we are. The video is a new rehashing of video that was used in some Confession of Faith performances. This video also contains the decapitation of a chicken.

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

Waves of Murky Drift

Track 4 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Waves of Murky Drift

As the waves crash against me
Seems soaring to land ho
There is no love here
It was swept away
But when I knew it
lingered long
But under these waves even now they pummel me
Like a catastrophe thrown in typhoon swell
White squall give it to me your all
And then it’s helter-skelter
And left behind I’m a floating pinion in this bedevilment
Can’t even hide
My arms are tied
My body leaches this way and that
I can not even float right
Sinking is my empty
Sinking is my plight
Here we go again
My arms collect the fluids of neglect
The plan to cull
The can’t-tackle
The shiva we don't need
Raining waters
Wind biting as wile
I’m caught in the murky drift_
Is there still a chance to learn how to swim
But when I knew the course to take
Problems last a lifetime, then we know
Lengths of time are what we hold and let go
We made up time
It’s our concept
And in the winds are awesome swept

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

Kingdom of Wanton Shit

Track 5 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Kingdom of Wanton Shit

Been out to the places I deplore
Seen a little more of what I can’t stand
Been a man in high demand
By mainly fat chicks on this earth
Done nothing matterful since birth
But endless surmise to wander through
This brokenesque consumer dis
Filled with vinegar and piss

Many days gone too far
And death will be the best of loves

All my instinct fails me
Hear in this kingdom of wanton shit

On the left side
On the right side
Just douche bags
No one can confide
In the lamest use of what sentience brings
We speak of shit-fickle things
Are we mere chattel for prattle
When our lives are just bone rattle
Off from ourselves
we gave a damn
And truly thought for ourselves

Dark times ahead
In maturation bed
When we joyfully eat
All that we’re force fed

Think for a moment
Now silence your mind

Kingdom of Wanton Shit is track 5 from the September 2008 euphoreador release entitled ChineSeXXX American Idolatry. The song delves into the lengths we go to find fun but usually finding nothing either due to our attitude or our narrow mindedness. The video is a new rehashing of some video that was used during some Confession of Faith performances.

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

Never Even Started avec le femme

Track 6 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Never Even Started avec Le Femme

I haven’t tasted skin in such a long time
That I wonder if I will again
I’ve wandered through the valley of the shadow of death
Just to catch you and my breath
Where to begin

Let’s lie in the presence of the lunar eclipse
Whilst your full moon gyrating hips
Slowdown let us ponder
And lick as we launder
Our supposed dirty moves

I want to roll in the clover
And bend you right over
And feel your grooves intimately
I want to see your face in a million places
And chase you as we do it
Like Kama Sutra and make it biblical lore
Until our love-vessels be sore
Till the core and digging deeper
At non-quixotic pace
Baffled we laugh at your skills of a whore
Pure in spirit and virtue
That just knows the moves of a whore

Dawdle down into the ramparts
A myriad hue is the sex of arts
Count your times
Let’s make it another
Let’s fucking make love like we’ll never recover
As our bodies cascade apart
Feel the beating alive heart
Grow intensity
I want to investigate thee some more
So that’s what I’ll do

In ramshackle feebleness naked endless
All our self we confess
And I shall teach you to yearn for love and burn

When we think we are done
We ain’t never even started to run
In the way in which we can
Be for each other’s more
Helping everything as we
Sing a new song
And let it be righter
Than the best wrong
And let us fawn and let us be ravaged
Until we are one

When, when will the son rise
And go between your trembling thighs
As the you’re rolling back your eyes
You’re pondering the gift of effort
Well no one gets hurt
In this time far beyond basic flirt
Where we will hold ourselves
In the frigid cold

Never Even Started avec le femme is track 6 from ChineSeXXX American Idolatry, the 9/2008 euphoreador release. It was filmed at and near The Three Gorges Damn and the city of Yichang in China. The lyrics pertain to the longing and pining for love and human intimacy that is created by allowing oneself to embark and engage in love; in a frank and excited way with new eyes. The video is a juxtaposition of this pining by showing what appears to be two young lovers do what lovers do, exploring each other and the world. The pain is created when one knows or at least idealistically thinks about what they are missing when they have fallen out of love or the relationship has ended.

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

Purse Your Lips

Track 7 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Purse Your Lips

You wanted somewhat of a change
No I don’t find that strange
Just reasonable
To think that when your life goes fast
You have to take a look and make it go slow
Before your life has passed
You have to shift on a dime
The thought it be the time you never bought
I know you work for tips
So baby purse your lips

A breakdown when we knew not what we were
And do not divulge information
That you feel will hurt you
But that’s all we are alive to do
To give more than we are
To be much more than we have
To stoke up the fires and learn

I want rumination lockstep with innovation
I want to hear of all I knew nothing about
I want to devout all my sentience and clout
To finding out what you are thinking of this
A rolling in the hay sounds great to me
Our bodies mesh so openly
With our wall down we install
Something better than us all

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

cut and run

Track 8 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Cut and Run

When will I know of that which I do
Has value, never do you
Non quantifiable
Non categorical
Just asked the oracle
But she speaks in riddles
That don’t give no answer
Just question
Like what the fuck am I doing here
Dirt is the all surrounding
Wasted time draw near

Who will be the ones
To give you ballast
A main stay
That won’t let the river’s currents
Carry me away
Just get annul
And feel that honor
And when the line that ties them two
Will make my limbs black and blue

Forever learn to go
And always give a damn
Let not in a heart the widening fact
The neighbor needed contact
Jereminder my a little poll
Tears taste of what we don’t know of

Want to be method
To cut all the tether
We did not know
Of the way it would pedal
You satellite to the wan in my eye
She don’t want to plea for-reason
So don’t want to placate

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

look beforeward

Track 9 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

look beforeward

I’ve been banished by love to the alone
For the length of nonparley goes
Polite every which way
The thing passing never held at bay
My eyes have seen you rise
Forever planned in all of the things we do

There in a new palladium
Bold and once declawed
Come rose compass
Where is the lass
Which way to go

Linger on
Feel the leed I have
So down free fall
We beseech thee
Or long to become

Then on mean
Pulling an I knew we could
Do before and again
Where that I knew we had bore the hidden layer
Collide without
Purpose nor pride
And taste of a new collection I offer to you

Behold how each and every lay
The morn I undo
Windfall cresting another imperfect breath
And I leave, homily don't fail me
Can I forestall
Giving it away

Trust in one
And then to others sound
Of gold we fight for
Point being then another
Sea seeing
How our lives all spiral this way
Into at bay
Counting all the layers that
Duty utters all the feeling

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase


Track 10 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry


And when us humans gather us all
And construct from ego
A self truly small
To be made fun of
Our clandestine call
I see the twitch knee-jerk fruition stall
Mull it over abysmal pall
A roll in the clover
Well mull it over

I'm standing in the doorway
And gazing at you
I see the things flit passed that flew
How incontinence can be
When rapidly I come towards thee
In a numb of frenzy

Mull it over
Think in line
What borders on
Conducively fine

Own a way I dodge
With ounce to glow
Each of oppinions they go
And left us all we nude
Renewed our strength embued
It's thievery delight
'Cause I hold you this night

So I shall try to give my all
Reconstructing under fall
Each shed through
Every year with you
I shall try to be a better me
The one I care to look at and see
Which ever way I knew

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

Where art Thou

Track 11 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Where Art Thou

On the horizon
The fields burned with in-tents-city
What have we learned

Just how much more easy it is to kill then to love
How much more easy it is to take then to give
So tell me why do we live

For a little piece of what is mine
As supplicant twisted tine
Times we bought ourselves with ease
The mimes we paid to appease

Play your part in this cog-stifled wild
Opinions ravaged our hands full
And hog-piled

I brought a lamp of illusion
Let’s cover ourselves in its light
In its coarse then we bully ourselves bright

Left up to us
We call it, don’t remind me
Something that leaves the taste sweet
And in the mouth pockmark lined

Love, ho, tell me how we know
If you don’t stop and
Look down when your feats go too slow
And tell me what we got now
Or now
Or even then

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

Tried to be

Track 12 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Tried to be

The want to behold
All the beauty there is
I want to confess
That I don't see it often
Enough of that
When I tell you it calls
And it recalls that it's still cold

So turn away
And when I cloven be
And lay it at
The feet of love

So don't you claim to know mind
At the windowpane
Don't you play 'til you find mine
Every into a bloom

The clown suit bolted
The things we do for love
And if we don't claim
Cautered we plea

A tramp

A trial to be humble
I tried to be brave
But saving doom
I am the kneeling knave
But just lay it down
At the feet of love
And when we talk

Don't be kind
Don't be care
And don't you care for that
When we say what we do
My emotions all have value
And I don't keep anything well
Who can tell
'Cause everyone

Just lay it down
At the feet of love
When it comes in focus

I tried to be humble
I tried to be true
I believed in us
Probably more you
Then I take
And don't replace
But when the woman's face
Hits the know body
And what have I done to deserve you
Or you
Or you
Or you

What have I lain
Lay it down
At the feet of love
Singing softly
Little Angel

Always amicable
As we leave it
This world
I want to be spoken not slurred
On top of a course
And weighing our time
My blasted only one line
One word
It's better to be loved
Then to be the lover lent
Into whatever spent
Lept to call a cab and a
Leper back stab
Better to love
It's better to love
Than be the leper leaping off of the ledge

So lay it down
At the feet of love
And when a bow of Ice
Never surprice me

Blank stare
All shaken

Make it shaken not stirred
Like the cat pussy purred
And the lines
Oh, draw them in sand
On the hand
Of the wing to course
Just think
In dotted S.O.S.
Let me confess
That the purpose in the land we call West
As our time
Drew itself down
I could have been better
You could've been better
We could have tried harder
We could have given more for
The four lettered word
Best goddamn fucking one ever heard

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

clear the air

Track 13 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Clear the air

No derivatives on concrete lean
Sounding level with wonderment
The course does glean
A Trojan horse

Wide fear
Life forcing each other to be
Nothing, why, how
We be alive today in the here and now

Look into my eyes clear the air
Ask if anyone about Darfur does care
When we talk into the breeze
See what is easy
In our lives all we care about
Is but one percent of the actuality
Of what being a human does mean to me

Step right up
Let’s fill the whole
In life’s wheel spoke birth
For only condiments we race
We tear the reason apart like lace

Look into my eyes see the care
In my bloodshot baby blues stare
It lingers to apple knew apropos
Do we care to know about our lives
When we attempt to go
Either not fast or slower than fucking slow
Each of us can do what we have to
For everyone

'clear the air' This is track 13 from ChineSeXXX American Idolatry, the september 2008 euphoreador release. The song is about how we sometimes loose site of our true feelings and our love, replacing them with anger or blindness and how we need to clear the air and start anew.

This is part of the Montreal Fringe Festival 2007 performance for Euphoreador + Friends. In this part the 'lounge singer' performs the euphoreador song 'Stammering'. The performers for the whole piece were Josh Hinck, Morgan Murray, Franco Proietti, David Schultz. Sarah Gagnon-Turcotte filmed the performance.

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

Harlot as Half Shade

Track 14 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Harlot as Half Shade

I need to take each day with a grain of salt
I need to see all my human endeavors as my fault
Line from antiquity, yeah that lady’s for me

I’m crossing all my eyes dash-dotting my tease
S.O.S. please
I’m bleeding all my hard-earned money on total sleaze

I see the bullshit comes easy
A fucking breeze
As they step from every darkness
With my every wheeze
I’m gonna make them prey
Like I pray
From behind
With them on their knees

I see the bullshit comes easy
A fucking breeze

Where art thou in the lane

I need to take each way with my face on the asphalt
I need to see my face in all the clever which way they be

Harken little children
Don’t come this way
There’s no turning back
There is only being prey

Whore the mainstay
For the halflight
For the one who don’t know virtue
Like you do
Hold you breath
Hold your legs so tight

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

She'll Find

Track 15 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

She'll Find

Slowly she change her mind
Open eyes cataracts-kind
It’s her heart that seize me
When she look in my flooded hold she’ll find
Will shaped ore that is solid gold
It just wasn’t shined

When a new sheen is set ablaze
And our stress floats as castaways
Bobbing and sinking
Rising me thinking
It’s you that I adore
So feel me throbbing and sobbing
At your labia’s door

Look deep in the god awful till
Yet look deeper still
Through the broken fabric of detritus
Past the chicken-scratch sawdust and tinselled pus
Beyond the slops of plastic debris there you will find us
Together we are stronger and we go as thus

The heart of the maelstrom calls to me
With whispered winds that softly sleep
The cause a surmounting avoided we
The power can disdain
The calm of the harbor
When the harbinger is the one I am
I come around again
My speak don’t recollect too much you might
With storm clouds gathering around
Don’t trust the calm now
One word to find
Don’t trust the calm
For through the rest takes effort

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song or show your support with a song purchase

Magdalen with a Different Face

Track 16 from the September 2008 euphoreador release
ChineSeXXX American Idolatry

Magdalen with a Different Face

Dark angel down
Falling, falling fell
Into the well
Just as my heart stepped
Creeping through
Crypt crept I do
Cross threshold
A season in hell
That’s when she fell away
Like the shade that will fade
With onslaught of day
Jade of eyes that did tantalize
Into the human condition I knew
Bring your bare-naked whole

view my website for more art
or a free version of this song
or straight here to hear this song
or show your support with a song purchase

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fear Dawned as Night Fell

Fear Dawned as Night Fell

The soldier beneath my balcony motioned to his lips the quintessential universal sign that all smokers know. The puff sign. So I tossed down a nail figuring ‘here you go’. One always if practical offers out cigarettes. Not when one has too few for the next moments, but when one has enough. Sometimes the last. The soldier dropped the falling offering and then scampered off to the guard box to find some matches. Upon his return to being beneath the balcony he yells up what sounds like ‘yer kay’. I slightly shook my head affirmatively with absolutely no conception of what he was saying to me. An empathetic head-nod. The guard seemed pleased maybe too pleased. For it then struck me that what I had just barely nodded my head too is the question of ‘you’re gay’. It seems impossible to comprehend why I thought this but his question when posed to me sounded closest to those words. ‘He isn’t saying that’ I thought to myself. But no matter, I am misunderstood on the frequent, whether it’s thought, word, or deed. Then the soldier offered to me to listen to his cassette player. I respectfully turned down the much-appreciated offer. Appreciated because I hadn’t had human interaction of any sort for about 2 days, plus it was night and I was conversing (without understanding each other) to someone. I was incredibly afraid to be outside after dark now seeing as how I had just been assaulted in this city less than a month before. I still hadn’t shaken the fear of this foreign, alien, malicious dark. So as I sat back down knowing that not much was being communicated except for the new fact that I was apparently a homosexual. Amused, I had to laugh at my fear and situation, at anything actually, I just had to plain laugh at something.
The hammer swings.

A few nights later it seemed that the same guards were on duty again. I really couldn’t tell but they adorned the same uniforms, had the same type of faces and hair. It being dark and they seemingly being friendly; they may not have been the same people.

I was staying in one of the nicest hotels in all of Bishkek, incredibly afraid to be out after dark. This had never been a feeling I ever really have had. Even when alone and wandering the dark cities anywhere. Only occasionally I have been somewhat nervous when with my lady-friend (more scared for her safety than mine). Seeing as how the hotel was actually connected to the Ministry of Defense and these being soldiers on duty beneath my balcony, I figured I’d venture down and share some of the vodka that I had just offered them. They seemed very enthusiastic to this idea.

I had been watching them a little as I was sitting/standing and reading on the balcony very much bewildered as to their total lack of ability to water the very dehydrated meter-tall pine trees planted beneath me and in front of the hotel. So I walked down the four half-flights of stairs to meet up with some humans. They were watering these ten or so trees by spraying a high-pressure hose at only one of the tree’s roots. This partially exposed its surface system and did nothing for the other trees. So after we poured up some very healthy portions and shot them down we shared some rather mediocre sausage that one of them had brought back from the guardhouse along with plastic cups. I signaled for them to pour up some more while I took the hose and set it down at each of the trees in turn. I did this to make the impact of the high-pressure water much more minimal. We shot some more shots and I tended the trees. They seemed very thankful to hangout even though they and myself exchanged no words that either of us understood. I was glad to be outside, at night, even though it was only just below my hotel room and only for about 15 minutes. I returned to my room feeling a little bit better, a little more human.

I had planned to stay in Kyrgyzstan from between one and two months but the decision to stay for the longer amount was made for me, as I was forced to seek a new passport seeing as how mine had been stolen. I must be one of a very small number of people (on some esoteric bureaucratic list) who currently holds a U.S. passport issued out of the embassy in Bishkek. That fact (I think) has held me up with some customs officers when heading into other countries (few as that number may be). I reflect on this now and not at the time. For my time, when seeking said passport, visas and other traveler’s inter-country papers, was spent being afraid to be out after dark and trying to figure out where and who and what the fuck I had to do.

There was a girl who came to my aid as always seems to be the case. As much as I hide and shy away they seem to come ‘round and help me more then I help myself sometimes. Maybe this is the true purity of the female. They seem to be much more willing and generous.

I walked in to the Kyrgyz consulate to start the bureaucratic wheels a’turnin’. First off, the clerk spoke no English and I spoke no Russian or Kyrgyz. Secondly I had no idea what I actually had to do to begin the process and thirdly there were some rather long lines that I had just waited in to arrive at that point of complete ignorance and non-ability to communicate with the consulate clerk. I tried to explain that my passport was stolen and that I needed a new visa for the duration of time that I had already been in the country until the date that the new visa would expire. This being a fairly complicated concept to relay in language that all parties don’t understand. I had thought of what I didn’t need happening. I didn’t need to finally receive a new visa that would begin sometime in the future while the one that I was legitimately there on expired. I knew I would surely be stopped by some nosy cops and didn’t want more unwarranted trouble with being there during some limbo loophole time-frame on an expired visa while holding a new visa that would not start for some yet to be determined date. This may seem like the splitting of hairs, but I must say that after having dealt with the powers that be I was in no mood whatsoever to be spun through some hostile, hassle-the-tourist hoodwink. I let the man read the police report and that gave him a better idea but then he just pointed at the door from whence I had come and said, "Go". I looked at him and then at the doorway, back at him again and tried to reiterate that I needed a new visa. He made the ‘writing sign’ with his hand and pointed to the door again. I thought that I might never get this visa predicament figured out. I had waited in line for about 25 minutes to be told to leave again. I really didn’t want to wait around anymore, wasting yet additional time, seeing as how the window for consulates to deal with foreigners was already small and on specific days (only 2 hours on Tuesday and Thursday). I had no desire to be told (or shown) yet again that I lacked ‘vital’ papers of a most critical nature. I didn’t know then that I soon enough would continue to do this waiting with improper procedural papers over and over again, in a multitude of languages and a multiplicity of locations. Waiting in lines and going to correct and incorrect places. Talking to the right and wrong people.

So I exited into one of the numerous antechambers between the entrance and the main clerical room. There were a large number of people waiting here as well. Everywhere was people waiting. I saw a Caucasian girl here amongst the throng and accosted her for assistance. Maybe I asked her for help because she was more similar to me in appearance or because most of the Kyrgyz I had run into didn’t speak my tongue. Whatever the reason, she was most helpful in showing me which forms I had to fill out and where actually they could be obtained. So with newly filled out forms I stepped back into the lines and waited my turn. This time it seemed that things would start working. The clerk nodded his head and rubber-stamped a bunch of places. I had to relinquish my brand-new, two-day old passport I had received from the U.S. embassy there. I was very hesitant to part with it after I had been sans passport for over a month. I was told to come back to retrieve it a week later at a time when the consulate was actually supposed to be closed. I thought that this smelled of grift but what was I to do being in a country where money talked and I actually had enough where I could make it be heard. Doesn’t, unfortunately, money speak everywhere, and usually only in avaricious drivel-toned, repugnant cadence?

I had made a half dozen treks to the U.S. embassy and even met the ambassador himself. The first time I went to the U.S. embassy by my lonesome I thought the little van would take me out of the city and continue to some other forsaken place. Forsaken because my nerves were still jangled and everything was so new that I was completely unsure of the correct movements and motions. The embassy is much on the outskirts and to get to it you almost have to leave the city. It always seemed that I had missed the spot to get off and walk the rest of the way. But I managed. The last time I went I was held up in the security checkpoint for almost an hour as they thought I might have had bomb-making components in my hair. I was as amicable as possible but that was the day I was to receive my new passport and another hang-up was to be expected but also just add to all of the everything that made it so much more of a huge hassle.

So after my passport was given to the clerk I went to find the girl who had helped me and offered to buy her and her colleague lunch. This, I suggested, as a show of my appreciation plus meeting new people is often an enjoyable occurrence. They had to return back to their offices but I was shown where I could have passport photos taken. I needed to give the Kyrgyz embassy two or so, not to mention how many I would have to give the Chinese. So we parted but she invited me to a concert a few days later at the stadium and I heartily agreed. I gave her my phone number in case she wanted to converse with me before hand, to see that I was actually a nice guy. It didn’t hit me until after I had started walking back to my hotel room, aka (safe house), that I had just agreed to meet her on some corner at night in the city where I was now afraid to be out after dark. A quick fear trembled through me but I knew I had to face the darkness sometime. Plus, this was an external darkness usually easier to face than the internal black.

So we met at the designated time and location and walked to the stadium together. There was an incredible amount of people trying to get in and this comforted me to some extent because I figured that I was less likely to be attacked again with so many people around. If I was out after dark where would the attackers be coming from and what could I do. Not just be careful but WHERE WOULD THEY BE COMING FROM! This was now what I would be thinking for some time into the future. We walked to an entrance with less people pushing and shoving to get in. I was told that the bands we would see were very popular in Russia as well as Kyrgyzstan. I was up for something more than being in my hotel. As the show went on I eased into a more relaxed feeling and she and I chatted about things and life. The music was very pop and pretty nice. It was fairly obvious that the singer was lip-syncing but rather enjoyable seeing as what else I had been doing, such as reading for 6 or more hours a day for the past good amount of weeks.

She decided to go see if she could find her friends who may have been attending the concert, as well as to grab some beverages. So I stayed to hold our seats and continued to watch the show. Seated directly in front of us was a group of about 5 Kyrgyz guys in their mid-twenties. One of them turned around and tried to start conversing with me. I tried to as well. We fumbled through words and made each other laugh at our inability. I felt more at ease and watched more of the concert. Then when he turned around again he informed me in his best English yet, that he really enjoyed boxing, fighting or anything that had to with violent activities. He seemingly told this to me as a new confidant, more quietly than before and almost an aside that his friends didn’t necessarily need to hear at the present. This normally wouldn’t have meant anything accept for the sheer fact alone that this dude had way too much testosterone. But after getting boxed to the ground already in that country he informing me that he liked pugilism only succeeded in making me think that what he really wanted to do was pummel me to the dirt. It was like being at a picnic that is thoroughly enjoyable, in the sun, with friends, playing croquet, and having brought your dog or cat along to enjoy the wonderful ambiance. Then at the height of the exceptional day being told by a friend that your pet actually is now dead, being crushed beneath the car tire there in the street behind you. I kid you not. The frazzled nature in which I was existing at the time made what he told me feel as ton-of-bricks heavy as some incredibly painful knowledge. The wind was truly sucked out of my sails. My heart quickened and I tried my best to keep up the pseudo-humorous lack of communication that had been going on, and that had abruptly been choked off on my side by the new information I was unfortunately now privy too. All I could think about was how had I allowed myself to get into another situation where I was going to get my ass kicked yet again! He and his friends grew more animated as the show continued. He informed me that the last band was his and his friends’ favorite. I could only imagine what the favorite band of a group of Kyrgyz guys that like to fight and that would be subsequently kicking my ass, could truly be. Was it going to be some Death Metal? How about some hard Gangsta Rap? What about punk? I really couldn’t decide. I hastily whirled through the possibilities in my mind. I was however, still thinking in terms of occidental culture, what people that enjoy fighting would listen to according to my preconceived notions. What would be my assailants theme? This is what I thought about for sometime and that I really didn’t want to ever find out. I knew whatever it was going to be I would most likely not enjoy it. Not the music itself per se, because I so enjoy many elements from many styles, but the physical assault I believed to now be so agonizingly imminent.
My new friend, Masha, finally returned and that eased my nerves a little. Not that she would have been able to protect or defend me but that she could more successfully yell for help on my behalf. The moment of truth arrived as to what the sonic make-up would be for the soundtrack to my beat-down. The stage dimmed, the spectators rose to their feet and smoke began billowing out onto the stage. Then came a low rumbling of synth. It struck me as how much like Depeche Mode this was going to be. I thought ‘hey’ this could be worse it could be some ridiculous kind of music. But this was starting off sounding very cool. The music I was going to be beat-up too was actually going to be cool, a small consolation at the time. The swooning keys began to take a more melodious gait while the smoke continued to gather and the lights started to flicker and move. My next attackers began to shout as well as most of the people. They started to jump up and down and really get heated up. The palpable excitement only grew the longer this intro went. Then right at the moment I thought it was going to kick in to some uber-cool industrial music, five guys ran out onto the stage and the most unexpected boy-band tune was afoot. It was like a burst of gay sunrays through the dark and cool storm cloud of music. I stood completely dumbfounded. Everyone else was yelling and screaming at this New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys Russian knock-off version and I was completely speechless. Not that I had been yelling in anticipatory excitement but I was so thoroughly stunned. I didn’t know if I was more shocked that I was going to be beat-up or the fact that the favorite music of the perpetrators was considered to be ‘gay’ by popular culture in the U.S. if men of that age listened to it. Not necessarily that the music was homosexual but a definite derogatory opinion with some of that connotation. Where I’m from only usually pre-teen girls listen to that genre of music. The dancers/lip-sync enthusiasts were busting out some super half-assed dance moves like they had just learned to dance the week prior to this performance. So, I was incredibly surprised. I had not conceived, even on a whim, that this was to be the aural accompaniment to my next injurious altercation. I had to think, what strange new hell is this!
As the show advanced and Masha actually conversed a little with the guys in front of us, I grew more at ease. They eventually moved to get better seats but I thought perhaps they moved only to get in better position for a much more formidable surprise attack. I was still somewhat nervous as we stayed through the entire concert. Some people began leaving early so there was a constant stream of exodus for the last 45 minutes of the show. I really didn’t want us to be the last people to leave. The thought of my return to the hotel was becoming more and more weightily present. As soon as the music was over we departed and I jockeyed us into the far edge of a large crowd. This so I could look around behind me to see and hear the omnipresent attackers and be able to keep an eye on everyone in front of me. It was a very nervous and brisk walk. As fast as possible without looking as worried as I seriously was. Never let ‘them’ scent your fear. I was rife with the odor. She tried to talk about the show and other nice things but all I could do with my prey induced, self-preservation thought, was focus on where everyone around us was located. I saw her to a taxi about halfway back to my hotel, on a very non-streetlight-lit street. She headed away home, safe. Then I increased my brisk stride and arrived back at the hotel, I felt, miraculously unscathed. Now that was a show!

A few weeks later I was told by Joe that his ‘foster father’ (the owner of the house where Joe and Caroline lived) wanted me to get in contact with a friend of his that lived in Bishkek. His friend spoke some English and wanted to meet with me to practice. I was on a very loose schedule that consisted of reading, shopping for food and liquor that I would bring back to the hotel room, attending a play or concert or going to a museum, and then every couple of days going to a consulate or embassy. All of this most certainly done with one lone chief goal, to return to the hotel before sundown like some kind of reverse vampire.

So this man called me up and we made and broke various appointments and finally kept one about a week before I left that country. We arranged to meet in the main park of the city where there are some theaters and restaurants skirting on the eastern exterior. He had invited his niece along that spoke English a little bit better than he did. So all three of us went to a restaurant that served ‘Western’ food. They thinking, perhaps, that this would impress me by having us eat some food that I was familiar with. (To be honest I really don’t care what style food is prepared in. I am very open to almost all. I do cook certain things and try new, dreamed up recipes of mine occasionally and I definitely try new styles of food, especially in a foreign land. One has to keep in mind that people in some countries think that ‘Western’ food is from a higher social-strata, it usually is, due to its unbelievably more expensive price. I really felt quite embarrassed at this because I am a human like any other. Also, most ‘Western’ food has almost become synonymous with fast food and the like. I am not much of a fan of fast food at all. In fact I steer clear of the shit). We sat down at a table outside and I was told to order whatever I wanted. I didn’t want to make him seem cheap because I already knew that I was most definitely his guest and I didn’t want to force him to pay too much, so I ordered one of the least expensive wines, which was still quite a luxury in Bishkek. The waitress came and lit the candle in the center of the table and poured our glasses full. The girl and I started conversing in a more amicable way. She was fairly cute and very nice. We talked about Bishkek and what I like to do. Art, reading and the like. This suddenly seemed to piss the man off. We had all three of us been at the table about 15 minutes when he, out of nowhere, laid into her, very angrily and extremely animated. We had already ordered our food and were all sharing the wine when he informed me that his niece would now promptly be taking leave from our company. I asked why this was seeing as how her food was coming and he said that she had someone else to meet, a friend. I found this highly unusual but after they had this yelling match maybe it would be for the best. But the yelling match had basically been one sided, from his. So she left, which was against my wishes because she was female and much closer to my age and we had been trying at nice conversation. Now I became engaged into a conversation with some older man by about 15 years, at a supper, overly romantic candle-lit dinner in a crazy country that I was afraid to be outside in after dark. There were about 5 other couples at the restaurant, all man and woman. I was with some dude who had just shouted away the lone female from our table before the food had arrived and who was wearing a white sweater wrapped around his shoulders, tied at his chest. This isn’t a sure sign for ‘gay’ but then again I think that in his case, it was.

So the sun slowly sank and with it my fear rose. The dinner lasted some 2 hours and we had good enough conversation, I trying to keep it away from sports and other things that are the easy questions to acquire from courses and on things I find much more interesting. I talked about some of the shows I had been to see. Such as the 3 hour Russian farce play, where I understood only about 16 words and how I had clung to those 16 words for any semblance of understanding. But what is fascinating about watching plays in other languages is the fact that the actors are human and how body language and movement as well as the tone of voice have so much to do with the conveyance of the intended message. Add to that context and an open, willing mind to understand and I understood the main gist, I suppose, by sheer will. That is my summation and no one else’s. I could have missed everything. We discussed cars, of which I am no real source for information but I could hold my own especially with someone trying to speak a second language. We talked about many things. I couldn’t quite shake the fact that he had screamed away the girl and the inescapable thought that it was now night and I still had to walk back to my apartment.

I mistakenly acquiesced to his suggestion that he escort me back to my hotel. I thought that surely there is strength in numbers and that obviously two in a fight is better than one. But what I have yet to mention is that this guy was also lame. I mean really he was lame. His left leg was not very useful, he could stand and pseudo-walk, but his walking speed was at such a fraction of the pace that I needed, to return to my hotel room promptly. Instead of using it to walk it was more like sliding it on the ground to use as a brace to lunge his much more useful leg forward. So what I had thought about the safety in numbers, was blown out of the water by the site that we must have created. Here we were moving across the park, creeping, ever so painfully slowly, me, a definite foreigner and he, a half-cripple middle-aged man. We seriously must have been the envy of all would-be attackers. I was so certain of this. The conversation, incredibly sketchy by this time. I was trying to keep a look out for the perps and yet trying to keep a steady flow of information. I really don’t know how I did it. The distance back to my hotel was about 2 km and it would have taken me alone approximately 10 minutes. We seriously snailed along for about 30 minutes, all this time with me in a sort of reserved panic. This man had on the whitest of preppy sweaters, dangling about his shoulders like some kind of mugger’s target beacon pinned to his back. In the darkness of the night it was shining like a huge hunk of iron on a submarine’s radar. A bull’s eye beckoning for the beat down or so I thought.

We arrived safe enough at my hotel and I thought he would leave me at that but no, he wished to see what a hotel room there looked like as well as use the facilities. I am not sure why but it may have had something to due with the former much more oppressive regime but he actually asked the permission of the hotel clerks to accompany me, to my chagrin, up to my room. He was told that they didn’t mind. Like what hotel clerk anywhere minds who comes and goes with one of their best paying customers? This man must not have been in many hotels for sure and that is one reason (hopefully the only one) that he wanted to come to my room. So we went and I showed him briefly around the non-too-spectacular room that was definitely nice enough. Then he used the facilities and while he did this I left the door to the room ajar to let him know that was the way out, in case he had forgotten. He left and I settled into any easier mind-frame and prepared myself mentally for the next part of my journey the following week into China. I mostly hoped that I would leave my fear behind.

Southwest to the City of Sin, Onwards Through the Valley of Death

Southwest to the City of Sin, Onwards through the Valley of Death

The goal was Vegas in 24 hours. To hit up the city in our style. Then make it to San Francisco within two days after that to meet up with six or so other friends at the airport. A small miracle really. Or some crazed concept considered a great idea. Whatever it was, I jumped at the chance. Two friends, Cory and Dave, and myself would make the trek by car. This most circuitous route to San Francisco was only for the thrill and to see if we could.

I was also accompanied by a new video camera that another friend, Jean-Michel "Gay-Paris" Marr, and I had purchased with the goal of documenting this final childhood trip, or perhaps the first trip of adulthood. His middle name is really Perry but seeing as he was actually born in a French speaking country his parents had given him a French name. We called him Mike. The "Gay" as in happy "Paris" was made by me as a subtle change to accentuate this fact of his birth locale. He would be among the friends we were to meet at the airport. I don’t think that many of my friends looked at the journey in those terms of childhood finality, or even if I did, but I knew that it would be the last time we would be this many friends all going on a trip of this nature. One of the friends, Kristin, was also 3 months or so pregnant, this fact would definitely change the situation for some of them very soon.

We started driving in the late afternoon on a Wednesday. All three of us were in very good spirits. I was using the new camera and getting a feeling of how I could work it and what I could do with it as well.

24 hours straight is a very intensive type of travel especially in a car, mainly due to the cramped quarters. I find it strange because as you look out the windows there advances the sprawl of Earth that one legitimately could reach out and physically touch. This being a little different story when on an airplane even though the quarters are still a little cramped.

The Great American Plains are truly a marvel. Just how expansive they are baffles the mind and how they just really do roll and continue. How flat Kansas is, is still unbelievable, some grad students somewhere measured and mapped a pancake and then using some new-fangled satellite telemetry deduced the dimensions of that state. Voila, now we know that Kansas IS flatter than a pancake.

Our first major stop where Cory was able to relax a bit was near Denver. We found a very wonderful park high a-top the Rockies’ western facing side of the continental divide, where he laid on the ground for some time, stretched out. The gorge we were next to was very beautiful and I took the opportunity to test my camera panning abilities, shooting video and getting a broader sense of the capabilities of digital video. We took a stroll around the little park perched amongst the heavens. We contemplated a bird that was circling around the chasm even higher and then lower than we were. What might it be doing? How long will it stay doing it? And so on and so forth. Like most of the places we rested, the brevity of the stay was due to the time constraints we had placed on the journey and the vast distances we had to traverse. We sped off at our break-neck pace trying to accomplish our goal.

Pulling into a Denny’s in Utah (much to my chagrin as I really do try to stay away from the mass omnipresent restaurants) was a brief something in mundane. We walked in and received many hard looks from the other patrons. Then when I tried to order a beer I was glared at by even more customers and some actually turned around in the booth next to us for the specific reason of staring at the ignorant. Most places in Utah are dry. I was informed that they didn’t serve any liquor by a very agitated waitress. Maybe she was just upset due to the fact that she worked there. (I do have a friend that had a job at a Denny’s and she was adamant about how much she enjoyed working there. She liked it so much in fact that one New Year’s Eve a bunch of people and I stopped there after partying so she could loose herself in barf-colored fast food American nostalgia that I criticized a little to harshly, making her cry. She being a little quick on the tear-trigger and me being a big dick sometimes. I hadn’t realized that she had in fact worked there until after I, unbeknownced to me, had made very curt and most likely contemptuous observations about the place and the lighting. Also about how the jukebox had first stolen my money and then played my selections way too quietly. I had always pictured another Denny’s to be the one she had worked at, if they are actually any different from one to the next. This was the start of her new year. I hope it went better after that first morning.) I hadn’t known about the no-booze policy. We ate our mediocre meals and upon exiting we found a brochure for cheap Vegas hotels. It must have been divine intervention but we found one listed right on The Strip for about $25 a night. We quickly settled on this one as the place we would stay.

The ‘highway to heaven’ in Southwestern Utah was one of the worst any of us had ever been on or seen. Potholes, bumps and large rocks coalesced to create a thoroughly terrible road. They had also stripped the road down and seemed to be in the process of laying new asphalt. But what I thought and commented on was how the Mormon government there may have actually wanted to make the road to Sin City the worst as possible, almost non-usable. Perhaps this was true, because for many miles (20, 30 or more) the road was truly terrible and I am sure that they may not look too fondly on the Vice Capital. Stopping at the rest-station in really the middle of nowhere after the car precariously slipping and thunderously sliding on loose rocks and gravel, we relieved ourselves. With the dust being kicked-up from the deconstructed road by all the different vehicles big and small alike, enshrouded the rest-station in a blanket of isolation. It singularly, alone, with there being no lights on the highway just next to it to give it any contextual semblance. It created a creepy constricting atmosphere with the dust cloud wrapped around the building, billowing like smoke. People all seem especially strange at a rest stop in the middle of the night more so after many endless hours of being cooped up in a car. The people that came and went all seemed wired, we probably did as well to them. Each person strained from driving, the dirty air stinging the eyes and everyone looking at each other through squinty lids a little on edge. Some, perhaps, longing to find companionship of one kind or another. Others a midnight rendezvous. Some just to relieve their waste filled organs. We stayed about 15 minutes before continuing the journey on down that treacherous road to Vegas.

After some more hours on the road, all of us very tired and fatigued. Cory, who was still driving, who always insisted on driving, began to talk about some ‘weird’ animals that he could periodically see just off the road on either side. Dave and I could not see these animals so we laughed very hard and told Cory that he was crazy, as one does when a third party tells the other two something that the other two don’t believe. Then most unexpectedly we screeched to a halt, all of us very startled, at least Dave and I. Cory had thought that one of the ‘imaginary’ animals had moved onto the road in front of us and we were on a trajectory to collide with it. This only made me laugh more but really freaked Dave out. I who have never really driven a car but for three times and never had a license, have usually given the driver a great amount of trust and never usually felt scared or nervous. So I laughed at the lunacy of him having slammed on the breaks to stop us from hitting the imaginary animals. We started moving again after realizing the danger we were in just sitting stationary on the highway.

Approaching Vegas by night is a spectacular sight. From nowhere rises a city bedazzling and alive. The desert subsides, the darkness wanes and then you round a bend. There in the valley looms a huge amount of little jewel like lights, vastly more than just casinos’.

Stopping to get some gas and use the restroom we pulled into a station on the outskirts, wanting to avoid the hassle of doing so in the city proper. The station seemed as from some movie. There was a green illumination covering a very cheap motel adjacent. The station itself exuded seediness. I went in and there were two women and the clerk. The women were speaking to each other in excited tones. I strode to the can where I encountered an abnormal amount of blood splattered everywhere (not that blood-splatter is normal but I have seen a little here and there). The blood was freely strewn on the floor, in the urinal, on the walls and in the sink. Almost everywhere had some amount. There also stood a man bent slightly over, holding his bleeding face that quickly ceased using the urinal and vacated the restroom after our eyes had met in a state of mutual shock. He, surprised because someone had entered this war zone unannounced and I, because of the striking state of the affairs. The greenish hue still slightly blinking and shining in here on the blood covered green-tiled floor. It seemed like some kind of swamp thing. Not that I have seen that movie if one exists but the colors seemed to fit those words. Very eerie. I stepped up to the facilities not really behaving as if anything was awry and afterwards left briskly. The injured man had rejoined the women and then they stared at me as I sauntered out of the store. I hope they pierced together their conundrum as much as the man’s face seemed to be.

It was a little after 9pm when we pulled into the brochurely divinated hotel. What a perfect time to arrive in Vegas. We hadn’t slept in 24 hours but had made it to Sin City. After checking in it was time to hit The Strip. We were revived with our whirlwind accomplishment and the excitement of being there. The first place we moseyed into was probably the last place that any mid-twenty year old dudes ever go into. It was an old-time mostly nickel betting joint. It suited the moment of crazy adventure to not head straight to where everyone else goes but to head into the professional gambler/drinker abode. We walked in and sat at the bar, ordered some top-shelf drinks then started to gamble. This ordering of the high-end liquor peaked the interest of a fairly washed-up hooker. She swung her caboose into the seat next to Dave who was on my left. Dave who has always been very affable with females flirted nicely while we all gambled and put back some drinks. Not that I have ever been rich or gambled very much (but a good amount) did think and still do that nickel betting is close to a waste of time. It should at least be quarters to get any bang for the buck. So we said some goodbyes to the regulars, the hookers and both types of tender (legal and bar).

Vegas smells rankly fragrant of opulence, that is part of its allure. Its face had changed quite drastically since the last time I had been there as it always seems to. We ventured in and out of the major casinos and settled down in the Bellagio at the far end of a bar with most of it being comprised of quarter slots. Dave and I ordered up some drinks (Jonnie Walker most likely) and Cory ordered up a Long Island. We laughed our gamblings away. Then with no warning, Cory who had only drank a little of his ‘Tea’, moved his hand, spilling the contents of his drink onto and into the machine in front of him. With a queer electrical sound and a poof type of flash the said machine shorted out. We had a thoroughly grand laugh, then hastily debated whether or not to take our leave and find somewhere else to sit. Somewhere, anywhere, that one of us hadn’t destroyed an expensive slot machine. Dave held us firm and when the bartender promptly came back around, explained to him what had just happened. The barkeeper, I thought would do something such as take our names or have us pay for the machine, something of this nature, but he batted no eye and asked Cory in a very friendly manner what kind of drink it had been. The barkeeper, after being told, proceeded to make an even stronger Long Island and cooly said that it was on the house with absolutely no pun intended. We stayed there awhile then headed off on our gallivanting around The Strip.

We holed ourselves up in Caesar’s Palace at a place called Silhouette or something like that where above and behind the bar were two screens with a woman behind each, dancing, with a bright light shining on each of them from behind. Very classy and sexy we all agreed. We ordered some more drinks and then Cory started talking to the waitress. This would have been normal enough and obviously part of the night except for what he choose to relay. I really don’t know what he was thinking but it certainly couldn’t have had anything to do with trying to impress her, for he told her a lot about how he had driven while being drunk before. She didn’t seem to think that that was very cool or that we were either. I was just dumbfounded as to why he would be disclosing these lapses in his judgement. When she took her leave to get our orders, I tried to ask Cory why in hell’s name he was telling her about that when he could be telling her about seriously anything else. He agreed that maybe he shouldn’t be. So with me believing that he was finished and that was that for the most ridiculous of chapters, she came back and he started in again on drunk driving. She looked at me very skeptical as to our suave natures so I quickly interjected that we were in fact only walking that night, which was true. She rolled her weary eyes and thought that was for the best, then before leaving us our liquor I mustered some deeply buried cool exterior, adorned it, then agreed with her assessment. We joked and laughed and watched the silhouettes of the dancers, debating at first if they were real or just video until we saw the dancers replaced by the next shift. We had probably stayed there too long.

Upon exiting to the outside world Cory and Dave began arguing so much so that Dave decided to return to the hotel. It seems understandable seeing as we had been in each other’s company strait for more than 24 hours. I never usually become so animated with my male friends only sometimes with a girlfriend. I think it is because more of myself, that is to say, different and more palpable emotions are invested into such a relationship. Cory and I went a different way, getting briefly lost. We discussed existence and reason for living. The kind of conversation I so thoroughly enjoy, especially one on one or in very small intimate groups, where with ego aside and true ‘self’ presiding, emotions and ideas come flooding up from a too often forgotten and nary tapped cauldron. This must have gone on for an hour at least as we traipsed up and down the seemingly more than normal empty weeknight Vegas streets. We got back to the hotel and alas we slept.

We awoke and I visited with my father and brother that both live there for the day. Then my brother escorted Dave, Cory and myself around to see some of the sites as I captured the interesting colors and sounds on video. Then we napped a few hours until the early morn, before driving off. We wanted to make it through Death Valley in front of the sun, before it had risen too high and we would be consumed in the heat of the hottest place in North America and perhaps add to the number of people that had expired, giving the place its name.

We entered Death Valley and got a substantial ways into it. I was able to video the sun rising overhead which had been one of my personal goals of the trip. Quite a wonderful feeling. Here we little humans were in the middle of that forsakenly beautiful place with the sun throwing its ever-increasing light onto both the salt-coated sand and us. We drove on and stopped at the lowest point in the whole continent to soak up the situation and individually reflect upon the significance, plus we had arrived early enough so it wasn’t so hot yet.

In the San Bernardino Valley Dave and Cory suggested that we finish off the shrooms which weren’t very many. We all agreed that that was a good idea and let them kick in as the scenery, which was very beautiful, and the music, were allowed to pass and waft over us as we hastened our way towards San Francisco. Dave wanted to piss so we found a most basic rest area with one porto-potty. Dave, who was acting a bit strange, decided to seek sleep outside in the shade. This usually would be a wonderful idea if we had no time constraint nor if he hadn’t decided on lying down next to the obscenely rank Biffo. Of all the places in this area to take shade (which were numerous) he had decided on the one most likely to have pee all over it plus the smell within 10 feet of this area was rank-foul. Cory and I laughed a great deal at Dave’s selection of place for respite. We finally coaxed a very discombobulated Dave back into the car and set off again in very high spirits.

Stopping to get some beverages at a gas station, Cory and I stood in amazement at what we were looking at. A very strange amalgamation of shapes and images just across the road on the other side from where we stood. Cars and trucks sped past as a regular occurrence that only added to our inability to fully comprehend what we were gazing at. There were real standing hindquarters of two horses, a large poster of a lady smiling, a car, a truck, a smattering of many colors and a vehicle with many house windows affixed to its side. All of these things overlapped in our field of vision that it was very hard to discern where one ended and another began or what was actually still a part of itself. It really was a spectacular sight that I don’t think Dave fully appreciated due to the fact that he didn’t look at these things as long as we did and we had teased him for a good while about lying next to the porto-Biffo in the ungodly stench. This maybe dampened his mood briefly, a little.

Passing into and through Yosemite National Park I was somewhat nervous at points for the first time on the trip due to all of our fatigue and of how high up the cliffs we were. Most places seemed to have no guardrails. We stopped at least at two scenic spots. The first where we took some exceptionally cool photos and video of Cory appearing to walk on water. There were some rocks just below a pond’s surface that really made it seem in a large way that he defied logic. The second was another pond high in the mountains where we three beleaguered dudes thought we could catch 30 minutes of shut-eye. This was to no avail as where we had lain on the rocks by the pond was inundated with families consisting of very loud, screaming children. So we rested and soaked up the wondrous sun.

We finally arrived at the airport in San Francisco incredibly on time, in fact about 35 minutes early. We wrote up some silly name cards for our friends to read when they stepped off the plane. They seemed to find the names rather lame in fact, when they finally read them. This being the last summer before 9/11 so we were able to wait for them at the gate. We slumped fairly tired into some seats to await our arriving friends. It struck me as very cool to consider all the distance we had come and all we had seen and now here were more friends just arriving not knowing any of that or about how tired we were. All of us eager and ready to have, find and make more revelry.

The newcomers to the operation rented a minivan a couple of days later and off we all headed to a hostel near the Red Woods on our way to Mike’s uncle’s place. The hostel from the start was sub-par. A 10pm curfew, we had to remove our shoes and I don’t think they allowed alcohol on the premises. Neither of the last two reasons were incredibly terrible but the first, I mean come on. You can’t be out past 10pm just sitting and looking at the stars? But when it came time to remove my shoes I had just put some powder in them to make them smell good about an hour before. So when I took my shoes off the powder got all over the ground and left white footprints up the first couple of stairs. This maybe made up for what they had us do later.

We headed to the nearby beach and talked and made fun. We met a young Arab classical composer that after chatting with him for awhile he told us to keep an eye out for him in the future because he was to become famous. Maybe/maybe not but after 9/11, which soon came, it is more likely that the FBI kept an eye on him for us.

We turned in early at the required time to receive some much-warranted sleep. In the morning after packing up the vehicles we found the last piece to the uber-weak hostel’s pie. We evidently had missed the part that all of us had needed to sign up on the chore sheet to help clean. Since we were new to the place all the other travelers had already signed up for the small and easy jobs. It was left up to our gang to clean most of the place, sweeping and mopping. So some of us in our ironic humor whistled the ‘Whistle While you Work’ song from Snow White while cleaning. After having done way too much for the ridiculous hostel (seeing as we were there about 12 hours) we finally left, vowing never to return.

At Mike’s uncle’s (which was a couple of cabins on a bunch of forestland) we were putting back some beers and everyone was taking turns shooting the guns at bottle and can targets. Everyone was being extra cautious and some of us suggested ways as to how to make it safer. Then Dave proceeded to take a turn. He did everything like everyone else had been doing but when he got to the spot just above the steps, like where everyone else stood when shooting, he succeeded in falling down the steps with rifle in hand. He only fell about 4 steps and rolled about one full revolution. It was a little dangerous but extremely funny. I don’t know if anyone had thought about making the activity safer by making it fall-proof. This could have only happened to him. It was quite humorous as his legs and arms wound through the stairs briefly entangled as he was, still clutching the rifle. We helped him up, dusted him off and he started all over again.

Later on I was given the opportunity to kill a chicken for dinner with a small hatchet. I took the opportunity very enthusiastically. To prepare for this, Tyson put a hat on, cocked askew to one side, to make himself look way more ‘hick’ than normal and I tied my shirt around my neck like a superhero cape. We road in the back of the pickup truck like executioners to the beheading trough. My first ‘coup-de-grace’ didn’t completely sever the head that it was supposed to have done, so I hacked away at its flailing neck a few more times until its head was finally severed. Mike’s uncle, Jim, had two daughters that were both running around and screaming by this point. It really is amazing how much energy a chicken retains even when sans electrical signal processing center (brain). I then learned how to clean the chicken and cook it. Something to know for sure. Jim’s wife stated that I must have been really into biology when I was in school, I laughed and said that I was no more interested in that than in anything else and that almost everything did interest me. I think she figured that I must be sadistic. I am just interested in knowledge and a posteriori truths. I wanted to experience the whole chain-of-events for what it means to eat meat, to be alive in a sense. Not many people focus on the gruesome aspects of being alive especially when they think that chicken breasts appear out of nowhere ready to be purchased from a grocery store, already packaged, just waiting to be eaten. My bologna has a first name, it’s C A N I V E R O U S M U R D E R! The fact that simply to be alive and remain alive means by necessity the consumption of other living things, animal and vegetable. I have thought about this before, that people who don’t eat meat for some type of moral objection (not that I care if they do or don’t) really don’t see the whole picture. As well as people who eat too much of it. When humans put animals to be slaughtered in rows upon rows of cages it is similar to the cultivation of plants into fertile rows for harvest. Albeit that animals long to move around a lot more (laugh) but by putting plants into rows and not allowing them to freely procreate and let the wind move them hither-and-yon is similar to a point. These are not exactly the same thing seeing as how plants and animals ARE different but still, look at it seriously in terms of; for us to continue being alive we have to consume other living things for energy, whatever they be. In this regard they are incredibly the same and humans have tried to find ways of more efficient harvesting, since the beginning of civilization. Not that efficiency is the answer and it definitely can lead to cruelty. It is absurd when it exclusively is in the name of profit margin. We do have some type of moral obligation to be ‘humane’ but not because they are animals. This could be taken, in a sense, as speciesist. That only animals need to be allowed to free-range or something like that. But, hey, everything we use as food we usually first have to kill, maybe we find an apple that has fallen from a tree or we eat a dead pheasant that we stumble onto, but surely they have to die. That is my main point of the similarity. Nothing more. But what an incredibly large similarity for us and for them! I just don’t think many people truly realize this or appreciate fully the meaning of continuance in existing. The chicken was a little tough, or so thought some of my friends who supped on its flesh, but I thought it was just plain, ‘good eat’n’, especially for my first chicken-kill.
Later that same night after Mike and I had allowed Jim’s daughters to play dress-up with us into long skirts and make-up, Jim wanted to test drive the mini-van. So Joe, Tyson, Mike and myself climbed into it and off we tore along the rural mountain roads. His uncle rounded a curve when a rabbit came bounding out to freeze in front of us. Jim tried to humorously scare it out of the way by briefly speeding-up towards it but only succeeded in blasting it to the other side of the road. Jim stopped to survey the scene and when he got back in what now accompanied his hand was the mauled rabbit. He hurled the bloody lifeless bunny into the back where we were sitting. All of us were screaming and yelling, trying to seek shelter. What proceeded next were five minutes of busted-up bleeding rabbit carcass being thrown around the van. Droplets of blood were going everywhere. On the ceiling, floor, seats, on our clothes, faces and hands. One person would get a hold of it and promptly chuck it at someone on the other side of the vehicle. This was followed again in turn. All the while, all of us yelling and laughing hysterically as Jim went driving sporadically, jerking and swerving down the road. We kept falling and being thrown around the van like the dead rabbit that we threw. Rag dolls the whole lot of us. It was definitely a crazy and highly unusual thing to throw around in a mini-van, moving or stationary.

We finally threw it out and arrived back at the cabin and I in my narrow-minded clarity said how we should immediately clean the van. This wasn’t so well received by the others and when Joe’s girlfriend, Caroline, came out to see what had taken us so long. I only said something to escalate the sobering realization of the gory situation and get Joe into a worse mood than he was in. The now blood engorged mini-van was rented in his name! I calmly told him that his girlfriend was being a bitch because she had started to scold him for having been gone so long even though she knew nothing of the rabbit incident or the state of the van. She had seemed to briefly act this way since I was so concentrated on wanting to rectify the splatter. We didn’t clean the van that night, but soon enough it was thoroughly cleaned.

The night grew older and we all faded, one by one, off to sleep. Some of us remaining better friends to this day than others (for a myriad of different reasons) but all of us having shared at least in the ending of our childhood together and all of us enduring through our various transitions into the constant change of now.