The international adventures of a singing, dancing zombie queen.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

"Just punch them."

Ahhh, yes, everyone loves hearing about my walks home, eh?

So, a couple of nights ago, I was tearing down the street from the BART station, rushing home to wash off the ninety-something degrees of blazing Concord sweat from my day and hoping to be ready within a half an hour for my ride to yet another friend's going away party. I had just passed the mini mart, and was crossing the street as a middle-aged drunkard was crossing towards the mini mart. He was slightly taller than me, full head of black hair, Hispanic, and wearing a shirt that appeared to be yellow; but underneath those sulfur street lights and covered in filth and stains as it was, we'll take the Martha Stewart approach (TM) and call it 'putrescent tobacco'.

He stuck his right hand out in front of him, as if to shake mine, and said, "Hola, senorita, como estas?" There just isn't any language barrier to the international singsong intonations of "I want to put my dick in you," so I continued looking straight forward and passed him on my right. Turns out he wasn't trying to shake my hand, because at the last minute he raised his arm so that he could grope my breast as we passed. I whipped around and screamed, "Fuck you!!" at the top of my lungs, but he just continued to stumble towards the curb without looking back or even twitching at the sound of my voice. I turned around and crossed the street, seeing a cop car just ahead of me. Really, though, are these guys completely senseless? Why would you do something like follow a girl onto her property or grope her breast with the cops not ten yards away?

The cops were watching to make sure that a car was moved; a youngish Asian officer was leaning against the hood of his car. The car which had to be moved had been there all week; every seat except for the driver's was filled to the ceiling with junk, and they had even been piling various broken appliances on the roof for the past three days. I approached the officer and told him what had happened. "The guy with the yellow shirt?" He asked me, "yeah, we just kicked those guys out of here. He's a neighborhood drunk. I can go over there and talk to him."
"Do you need me to go with you, or...?"
"Well, even if we do go over there, he's not going to pay, or do time or anything."
"And if we do, he'll just get more pissed off at the world and just keep on drinking," I said...
"Look, really, if someone does that to you, you should just punch them."

Yup, that was the cop's advice. Just punch them. I told him that I had been getting harassed about once a month on the way home, and that I was glad that they were there, and he apologized to me, and offered again to go talk to the guy, but warned that nothing would come of it. Really, I wish I had a cousin who was a lawyer, so that we could pin him on not just assault, but on a hate crime against women. I mean, if there were a crackdown on sexual harassment, might'n it help change the way society just lets nothing happen about it? Apparently, I am supposed to take the law into my own hands and just punch them. That's what I'll say in court, too; "the cop told me to do it."

On a related note, my housemate told me that a couple of days ago, he saw an attractive young woman crossing the street there while he was walking home. She made eye contact with him, and then leaned up against the windows across the street from him, continuing to hold his eye contact. She was about my size, long curly blonde hair. My housemate decided to walk on, since leaning against the window seemed to much to mean "you could fuck me right here, against this window (for a price)." When I asked him whether she looked like me, he admitted that, were she dressed like me, we could be easily mistaken for one another. Perhaps that explains why I have been suffering so much harassment recently. Just what I need; a hooker doppelganger who works my street, because we all know that men don't already have enough ideas in their heads about me while I'm walking home. I should have my friend make me a giant neon sign that says "NOT a hooker," so I can carry it on a big whooping stick while I walk home. With my luck, they'd probably think it was sarcastic.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Two great bands and a heart surgery; PLEASE HELP!

What incredible bliss....
I can't believe that I actually found a new band that blows my mind, and not just because I wanna shake my hiney to it, but an actually talented, sexy, exciting, blackly humorous, inspiring and emotionally intense band. I want to sell them my soul. I want to drop everything to run off with their circus. I want to be their circus.
They're the Dresden Dolls, and you will love them. Take a gander and a listen at:

They sold out last Friday night at the Cafe du Nord in San Francisco. There were statue-mimes there, passing out roses, and red velvet and obscene puppets. The floor is murder to stand on, but I am not one who needs encouragement to plant my ass on the bar.

They played "Coin Operated Boy" and "Missed Me" and they even played a Sabbath cover. Their sound is a cabaret punk, he plays the drums, she sings and plays piano...

This week has been a hard one, but simultaneously inspiring. A number of my friends are leaving town; Curly girl is going to Chicago for grad school, another friend is moving to London for grad school and she's taking her two partners who are also my friends... and I worry about my friend John of the Angry Amputees, who is in the hospital. He's already the first person to survive bacterial meningitis, lost both legs below the knees after the doctors cut into his calves and they were black slush all the way through. Yet somehow he managed to become a punk star, the most optimistic person I know and was my close friend and big fan of the soap opera of debauchery and international love that was my college life. I love this guy. He's got a dangly bit of bacteria in his aortic valve now, and in the hospital for weeks while they pump antibiotics into his murmuring and now enlarged heart so that the dangly bug slime doesn't fall off and float into his brain and give him a stroke. Even better, once that dangly bug slime is dealt with, he'll have to have heart surgery to replace the faulty valve.... We'd all thought that he'd be done with hospitals after that first bout.... He's trying to get insurance now, but he hasn't had it so far, so if any of you can help out at all, it's a huge, wonderful gift. He's got a paypal account going for him, and if you donate $20 or more, they'll send you a cool band T-shirt. But anything will help. Please check out their website, it has the link to the paypal...

You'll have my eternal gratitude, and a cool ass shirt...

Saturday, August 21, 2004

She was thirteen and sweet as all hell. Her skin glowed unblemished, as yet untrodden by greasy teenage hormones. She had on liquid eyeliner; straight across her lids, with the points to either side, implying eyelashes made of obsidian, chipped razor sharp. And her smile was delicate; lined with the mocha brown, only slightly smeared into her lipgloss like a coloring book drawing of a flower; the outer edges too hard, and yet still tender by way of contrast, a toddler in its fathers T-shirt. I didn’t expect her to speak English; but she understood me quite well, and her Spanish accent was so light that it only added to the sense of purity she still had around her; a mysterious lilt a halo to her voice, the drifting ghost of a first communion dress. Settled in the groove at the base of her slender neck she had a bright rhinestone pendant; a playboy bunny, the sliver paint new enough to not yet have begun chipping off. And her red shirt draped over her six month stretched belly like a tablecloth over a rock for a little girls’ tea party. She was so young that I couldn't even offer her help.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Vegas: Bipolar Republican Wonderland Part IV

It seems that the time has come for me to finish the harrowing tale of Vegas, and perhaps shed some light on the semi-mysterious titles of said postings.

During my final 24 hours in Vegas, I took a lot of cabs. After the novelty of the size vs. distance mirages has worn off, you get to like the idea of spending eight bucks a pop to take a cab. There's nothing quite as fun as walking around in 105 degree heat wearing black and a fashionable dislike of sunshine outside of a fifteen foot radius of a swimming pool. The big bonus with cabs, though, is meeting the drivers.

The Sage Cabbie, of course, was my first lovely initiation into the benefits of taking cabs in Vegas. If I could've, I would've gotten him to take me on a personal tour. I imagine him saying things like, "and this is where the Corelione family shot down ten men; which is why you can still get cheap surf and turf in this restaurant...." And he probably would've driven me into the non-tourist parts of town on a wild hunt for the CSI van. In any case, the Sage Cabbie certainly made me sad that I was being taken to the airport in order to go home. I hopped out and tipped him well, and made my way to the gate with time to stop and buy some of those lovely trinkets that your friends just can't live without; namely two black coffee cups with writing in the same design as a Jack Daniels label that say: "Las Vegas Old School Player - Loud, Lucky and Out of Control - Push the Limits - Guaranteed Good Times," and a little purple pencil sharpener that looks like a slot machine and rings up two out of five as triple BAR. Yeah. The smoking section was in a little slot machine area, so I decided to give gambling another try.... but apparently those cups didn't give me any luck sitting in a plastic bag. I should've filled them to the brim with whiskey and balanced them on the angled chrome top of the machine so that when I pulled the arm they'd fall off and dump whiskey down my throat. That would've gotten me a triple BAR. Or at least a wet shirt.

When I got back to the gate, people were starting to board, so I positioned myself in a chair next to the gate and waited for my seat to be called. It was soon afterwards that I heard the footfalls of the four horses trotting down the runway.
"Now boarding seats 23 and higher for America West flight to Phoenix."
Wait a minute; Phoenix??? Was I at the wrong gate? Well, no. But apparently, the flight to Phoenix had been delayed, and we would be boarding right afterwards. The man sitting next to me was balding and chubby, and he was whining into his cell phone in a flaming drone. (Yes, that is possible.) "So I asked Jim if he would share a room with me, since he'd had the space, and we could both save some money, and everyone else had someone to share with and he said no! ....I offered to take them for coffee and they all ordered seven dollar desserts with their coffees, and they just left the whole tab to me, which was way more than I'd paid for lunch that day. It was so inconsiderate! I know people think I'm cheap, but it was over thirty dollars, and they didn't take me anywhere! I mean, couldn't they offer? I mean, really! I'm not cheap, but that was thirty dollars I didn't offer to spend. Really!" From my side of things, I suppose the guy had a point, but he was so incredibly whiney, I could understand how those other folks would want to take advantage; you don't feel much gratitude when someone whines about a gift they're giving.

When he got off of the phone, I started chatting with him. It seemed that he was cursed with a whining disease, but I offered my condolences anyhow; after all, he had a cell phone, my flight was going to be late and I figured that he might be from the Bay Area as well. I explained my situation; and that I didn't have a cell, but that my ride would be heading to the airport in Oakland unawares of my situation. He didn't seem to care; just blathered on.. I gave up, but by the grace of some lovely spark in his soul -probably the same spark that encourages him to let himself be jerked around by people over seven slices of cake- he offered me his cell at the last minute before he got on the plane to Phoenix. I left a brief message and thanked him profusely. Hopefully he'd spend his flight feeling proud of having done something sweet instead of continuing to mull over cake-eaters.

Once the Phoenix flight had taken off, the remainder of us stared out the windows like unblinking fishes, waiting for our plane to pull up. The empty asphalt stared back at us blackly. It wasn't for a full half an hour that the staff announce that, in fact, our plane had never left Denver, apparently because of some sort of security issue. We slumped in unison. The blonde couple beside me and their two adorable blonde girls kept stirring themselves in circles. The young husband was holding the older girl, who was no more than three, while his wife went mad with the stress of it all, insisting that they had to get out of Vegas right then. I think her head was going to explode. The younger daughter had discovered that somewhere under my seat there was something delicious and inedible, and the wife kept yelping at her husband to stop her, but his hands were full with the other little girl, so I ended up repeatedly snatching her by the back of her soft, cottony baby outfit. The wife was far too upset to thank me, even when I ran out into the hallway after the toddler a few minutes later. I was in good spirits, though; fatted on the irony of the situation, so I didn't mind.

The airline hostess took a poll of hands to see whether people wanted to get hotel rooms or to try to get on the next flight, once she had finally figured out that our plane wouldn't arrive for another four hours. Luckily, I had not been sure which flight I would take home, so I had told my boss that I wouldn't be back the next day for work, so I chose the hotel option. A strange Middle Eastern couple let me use their cell phone to call my friends and let them know that I was heading back into town. The husband was the loudest customer I'd ever seen; he plowed in front of every line, nearly yelling, while his wife sat quietly by, chatting with her friend over their bad luck. His plump arms were still waving about in the air like an indignant Arabic Santa Clause as I marched downstairs to get my hotel voucher.

With my vouchers in hand, I headed away from the downstairs counter towards the cab lines. I'd been warned by the airline that not all of the cab companies would accept my voucher. Two of the cabbies were so confused by the question of whether or not a voucher was okay that I took the cab driven by a blonde woman who looked as though she liked to run over kittens and scream at small children. She slammed herself into the driver's seat and growled at me that all cabs have to accept vouchers. Judging by her attitude, though, I could understand why people might not accept them. You'd think that is was a paper bag full of dog feces that she would have to present to her superiors.

I'd asked for the hotel out of the two choices which would be closest to the strip so that I could more easily get back to my friends. We passed the other choice heading away from the trip on our way to my hotel. The blonde cabbie was kind enough to tell me that gratuity for her extra efforts at acting completely put out by the universe, was not included. I tipped her a buck just because I didn't really want to incur any of her wrath myself. After checking in, I got another cab and headed back to the strip.

Once again, the bipolar nature of Vegas revealed itself. This cabbie was a sweet guy, in his thirties who gave me no trouble about the fact that I had to return to my hotel room to get my other card in order to get cash from the ATM to pay him, since it turned out I had given my last dollar to the crabby blonde lady. I was feeling completely frazzled at this point, and I was running late to catch up with Ariane and co. I told him about my flight having been cancelled, to which he responded, "Lemmie guess; America West? They cancel at least two flights a night. Any time they have a plane which isn't full, they claim some sort of 'security issue' and force everyone else onto a different flight." Herm.... I asked him about the vouchers. "Well, not every cab has to take the vouchers, but any cab could, and why wouldn't they? Sure, they don't include gratuity, but you can write yourself in any amount that you like. The fare shouldn't have to tip, because everyone always adds on a good fifteen or twenty dollars to the tab."

I arrived at the Bellagio just after last call, but it was a froo-froo bar right in the main entryway. The seating was raised from the main floor, and a grand piano centered in the middle of the pale marble tables, reflecting the white molding of the ceilings. I greeted my friends and headed up to the bar to catch a drink at the last minute. The bartender fit right in with the decor; white tuxedo shirt, black vest and a smooth scalp which reflected the white molding on the ceiling. He was on the phone to room service, and I think he served me mostly out of a feeling of gratitude for my patience and sympathy since I was putting up with the same man who had forced him to get on the phone with room service at 1:50 am while he was trying to close up shop. This man was in his forties, with thick dyed black hair and a black mock turtleneck sweater and Kakhis. He was at the end of the bar, with another man in between us.

Mr. Mock Turtleneck had decided that he was going to have caviar with his vodka. He didn't want any toast points, no, no; just the caviar in a little bowl, on ice. He wanted to see my back piece, so he got up from his bar stool and walked up behind me and, without my permission, pulled my shirt away from my back so that he could see the bottom half of it. My teeth would've ground if it weren't for my instant recognition of his type. The man sitting to my right looked slightly embarrassed at Mock's drunken rudeness.
"So, what I want to know is how do you kiss with that thing in the way?" Mock said of my lip ring, "I want to find out!" "I'm sure you'd have to ask my boyfriend about that," I replied, to which he shouted drunkenly, "Well then, you'd better call him right now and have him come down here so we can settle this!"
The man on my right squeezed the corners of his eyes in an effort to keep them from rolling. He asked me politely how I was, but Mock interrupted him, "Do you like caviar? I'm ordering some caviar. I'm having it sent right here. I shouldn't have to wait to get to my room; I want caviar with my vodka!"

I ordered a dirty vodka martini with Belvedere and extra olives from the bartender. I could see where this was going, and I wasn't about to order some piddly well drink in circumstances like these. It was gambling time. I responded that I hadn't had caviar, but that I love tobiko and salmon eggs in sushi. Mock turtleneck insisted that I have some caviar with him, then. "But I want to find out about that ring." The polite man recommended the blue cheese-stuffed olives in my martini, but my drink had already arrived. I sipped at its salty smooth rim, the flakes of ice touching my lips with their sharp, crisp edges.

"Shall I put this together, then?" asked the bartender of Mock Turtle-man. He balked. Suddenly his bragging that he'd made three trips to Vegas spontaneously in the past month had run in with the bill. I sipped politely and smiled at my icy alcoholic bliss, but moved my wallet into my hand where the bartender could see it but Mock Turtleman could not. "uuuuh... uuuuuh.." I let my eyelashes down gently and put on my most innocent face, deliberately not looking at him, and then turned with a clear and confident smile of challenge towards him. He slumped into his leather stool. "Yeah, I guess so." I smiled and thanked him. "But now I want to find out about what it's like to kiss that ring!" He shouted. "I should be getting back to my friends," I said. "Where?" "Right over there," I said and nodded. "Oh.... Well maybe I'll just come over there." I turned away from the bar, exchanging a smirk of success with the polite man to my right, and waltzed my huge expensive and glorious martini back over to Ariane. Ahh. That's my favorite gamble.

By the time I sat down with Ariane, I was exploding with laughter at the entirety of the evening. Finally the sketchiness of Vegas had caught up with me, and I liked it. We all leaned over to look back at Mock Turtleman and laugh. By the time I had finished my drink, he was leaned over a chair with some poor woman who worked for the hotel massaging his shoulders at the bar. He kept turning around to flirt with her, and she kept leaning away from his vodka caviar breath. On our drunken way out to the cab lines, two working girls were standing outside, looking bored in their six inch stiletto platforms. I regret not having trusted my instincts and given them the hint of who to hit up. If the city were really on her toes that night, they would've stolen his wallet after he'd passed out.

Back in my hotel suite, I watched some music videos before crawling into one of my double beds. I considered ordering some food from the menu, but apparently the food service was delivery, and therefore would probably not have accepted my vouchers from the airline, so I passed.

Well, it seems that there shall indeed be one more part to the Bipolar Republican Wonderland after all....

Friday, August 06, 2004

And Now, a Break for the News -- And You Thought Vegas Was Crazy!

On a non-Vegas note, I saw Out-Foxed last week and then had the glaring truth of the scary conservative omissions in the media shown to me on an innocent BART ride to work. It was painful. A couple of days ago, the SF Chronicle had a front-page story about how the recent terror alert is based on data that was collected before 9/11, and that the last time that they added to this data was in January. It seems quite obvious to me that the alert was purposefully enacted in order to draw attention away from the Democratic party's nomination of Kerry as their running candidate. It seems frightfully obvious to me that the Bush Administration is once again using fear tactics to sway the vote, without basis in fact.

The story was the headliner on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. I was laughing with the disgusting helplessness that I felt when I looked down at the cover of the paper a man in a business suit was reading on the BART train. It was the Contra Costa Times, a paper that I generally avoid, no matter how bored I am on the train, and no matter how many copies of it may be strewn on the seats around me, because it never covers any stories that don't seem like propagandist fluff. Well, the headline on the CCT was about Bush's new plan for a chief of intelligence, and the entire front page said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the fact that people have been duped into a false sense of insecurity by the Bush Administration yet again. No wonder people who watch the falsely self-proclaimed "Fair and Balanced" Fox News affiliates have such utterly skewed ideas about what is going on.

If you can't get around to watching the film, then at least read the article on it in the SF Chron today;
it covers some of the bigger points covered by the documentary, including a little about how Fox gets away with being biased and pretending not to be, and a little bit about the PIPA polls showing the extreme contrast in numbers of misperceptions that Fox News watcher have vs. other news channel viewers. You can check out the PIPA study at:
My favorite graph is on page 21. It shows the differences in percentages of people who had the misperception that Iraq was linked to Al-Queda, contrasting Democrats and Republicans who watched either Fox or PBS/NPR.
Of the Bush supporters who watched Fox, 78% of them believed that those links had been found. Of the Bush supporters who watched PBS-NPR, 50% of them had that misperception.
Of the Democratic nominee supporters who watch Fox, 48% of them believed that links had been found between Iraq and Al-Queda. Of the PBS-NPR watchers, 0% believed that the links had been found.

Makes you think, eh?

In other news today, one of a couple of things which caught my notice was the sweet love story of Cifford Garrison, who almost got to honeymoon with would-be wife number 10. Apparently he swindles the ladies out of their money, and marries them. One woman caught on just fast enough to avoid wedding bells, although he had already bought her a car with his own money, and a necklace for his "daughter," A.K.A. the other dumb broad he was trying to marry in Vegas. He had told fiance number 10 that his wife and son were killed in a car crash... even that would cause me to be suspicious of a new paramour. She must be a Fox News viewer... and he should run for President.

My other favorite story of the day was of ... well, I was going to tell you about the schools in LA that are being shut down for having a curriculum that taught (mostly immigrant students) that the United States has 53 states, and two branches of Congress (one for the Democrats and one for the Republicans.) The school offers a cheap (if you consider $500-$1500 for what you could get for nearly free at an adult school cheap,) and fast high school diploma, which is obviously a way to get people to fail on their citizenship test.... but then I found this article:
It's about a dentist in North Carolina who was making his female patients swallow his sperm during their visits. He had dozens of syringes filled with sperm all over his office and in his lab coats. When a woman complained, saying, "That smells like sperm!" he told her that she was crazy. So remember, kids: when your dentist tells you to lay back and swallow, he might really be asking that you just open up and say 'aaaah'...

And that, my darlings, is the news for the day....

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Vegas: Bipolar Republican Wonderland Part III

Well, for those of you who weren't exploring hard enough, here is a better link to Zumanity.

Be sure to check out the little videos; they're short, so they download quickly. Be sure to check out on M1 the clip of the "surprise performance" before they had moved into New York New York. It's the two topless contortionists, both women, in the fishbowl. It's amazing, though of course a film clip won't do it justice.

Ariane and I had seats right up next to the side of the stage, which spooned out into the middle of the audience. The show opens with a cabaret atmosphere; some of the performers come out into the audience to taunt them and pass out strawberries or hump their chests, and others just parade around smoking while they sing at you that you may not smoke inside the theatre. One of these was AlmuKataB, the flamenco dancing, corseted queen with a goatee... He came by us, slinky and arrogant, blowing smoke into our laps as if to challenge us to complain. I motioned for him to hand me his cigarette, and he cocked an eyebrow at me. Now, if any of you know me well, you'll probably remember my uncanny habit of getting myself invited up onstage. Well, here's the secret. Performers are up there to interact with you. They want to see your eyes piercing into them with awe, challenge, emotion. Having been on stage performing many times myself, I can tell you that there is nothing an audience can do to improve a show more than looking the performers dead in the eyes and interacting with them. Enough of you golf clappers out there; if a show is good, your hands should be swollen and red for slamming them together. Your voice should be hoarse with screaming their names. A professional performer has sold their soul to be up onstage in front of you; hours and hours of sweat and frustration and agony. A performer will blossom and give you more if only you clap your hardest. Or in this case, give them the "come and get me" eyes.

And he gave them right back to me... by the third time he passed us, stopping and posing on the stage above us, he mimicked my hand motion from earlier, 'snip snip'... he was playing with us... he kept passing by and looking down Ariane's back, where her hips curved gently out of the bottom of her shirt... and then he whisked himself away again...

The show itself is beyond explanation... amazing aerial stunts, beginning with a schoolgirl and fifty or so hula hoops writhing around her as she is lifted up into the air and swung out over the audience, dozens of feet above us. She hung upside-down from one wrist in 180 degree splits with one hula hoop swinging around her wrist below her. There was also a she-male who, bound at the wrists and ankles, twisted himself into submission and bondage by which he was then raised from the floor to come flipping and untangling down again in an exhilarating orgasmic dance.... There was an incredibly intense pas de deux between a black man and a white man, in which they used one another's weight to lean onto one another and then flip each other around, swinging back together with fierce slaps and violent eroticism, and ending it all with a glorious wet kiss and a nonchalant parting of ways.... The piece starring the entire company had numerous claw-footed tubs, whose edges curved downwards in the middle, so that the dancers, sitting spread-eagled over the tubs, could slide on their greased thighs towards, above and beneath one another and into entangled lifts....

Towards the end of the show, the cast was arrayed on the rotating end of the stage, caressing and sliding across one another as the MC stood, embarrassing some man, drug up from the audience, demanding his name and whether or not he was horny. Another dancer had ventured out into the audience, searching for another victim, when AlmuKataB came for me. He gazed down at me like a drag-queen panther and invited me to join him with two fingers. Once onstage, we were directed by another of the near-naked cast to stand by the piano just behind them, as another dancer had chosen a young woman from Texas who looked much more likely to blush when they asked her name. AlmuKataB leaned me against the piano and wrapped his long, steely thigh around my waist, running his fingers over my shoulders and back, whispering to me about how he loved my back piece and encouraging me to take off my shirt, which he pulled teasingly at. He asked if Ariane was my girlfriend, and if he could come home with us that night, gyrating his chrome, hooked, erect strap on behind me until another gorgeous drag queen came out to retrieve me after the climax of the scene...

The moral of the story is, of course, to always give the eyes to hot performers....

Out in the thick heat and crowds of the Strip again, Ariane and I headed towards the Bellagio to meet up with her friends. A water show was just ending as we arrived, and while we were waiting for her friends, the hotel announced that the next show would be cancelled, due to the same strong winds which had forced my plane into a CSI-style extra turn around the strip before we could land. Not having found our companions, we headed over to the Mirage for drinks drowned in the major-key din of the slot machines before catching a cab back to the Luxor.

Beneath the left paw of the Sphinx, we drank beers under the stars, watching the late-night families surging in and out of the monorail and prayed to the gods that let us drink outside for the flimsy fiberglass-plaster of the Sphinx to not break underneath our asses. Despite all of her grandeur, you could bend the fiberglass with just one hand, and feel the hollowness beneath you. We returned to our room shortly afterwards to munch on the potato chips and dip that we had ordered from room service that evening for a measly $12.50.

The next morning we went for another overprice breakfast, in the hotel. According to my beliefs, I ordered the cinnamon roll french toast. Tuesday is the holy cinnamon roll day, after all, and since there were no Specialty's Bakeries in Vegas, a girl has to get her crack however she can. It was crack-tastic. Once in our bikinis, we headed out to the gigantic pool area. The thermometer in the cabana registered the weather at a chilly 103 degrees, and the air was filled with the mist from the sprayers wrapped around the immaculate palm trees. It reminded me of when I heard on TV that the geriatric crowd had ruined the dry heat in Phoenix that they had all moved there to enjoy by building too many pools in their retirement homes. After laying in the sun, I went swimming to practice my leaps in 2nd position, and also my handstands. I was inspired by the show the previous evening and had decided that I should at least be able to do one. Apparently it paid off, because when I got back to dance class that Sunday, I had one of my best days ever and even pulled off a triple pirouette without stumbling out of it. Yey! And to think that a year ago I could barely do a single pirouette. Who would've guessed that running off to Vegas should be such a worthy excuse to miss dance class?

The Manhattan Express called to us, so we ventured back to New York New York to conquer the roller coaster. It was a good thing that the line was only about fifteen minutes long, or I probably would be writing this from an insane asylum. There were four women in front of us, mother-daughter pairs, with the most horribly cliche Southern accents. They all had acrylic nails and highlighted hair, and they were loud and obnoxious. One of the daughters had a frosted New York - Dallas puff, complete with hair claw. They also all had shirts from the Coyote Ugly bar downstairs, which said things like, "I danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly!" They squealed like piglet bridesmaids who had just been told that they had one week to plan a wedding and a baby shower. What was it that they were so excited about? Nothing. They shared deep, riveting comments like, "We should get something to eat," and "I saw her last week, she's doing okay." Apparently the cover charge at Coyote Ugly is your cranial matter. This worries me, actually, because the doorman said the night before that Ariane and I could get in for free...

The roller coaster was awesome. We sat in the middle of the train, so we couldn't see the tracks in front of us, but that first incline just goes on forever and ever, twisting your mind into a frenzied, anticipatory shock. Yey! The picture of the two of us showed me with an insane clown grin and Ariane glaring down the tracks before us like a warrior facing the Grim Reaper.

Well, since the computer just forced me to rewrite an hour's worth of this post that it rudely annihilated, I am going to leave the story of my ridiculous adventure home until next time....

Monday, August 02, 2004

Vegas: Bipolar Republican Wonderland Part II

Well, on to day two of Vegas, I suppose....
The first thing that I did on Monday was to rise and check out of my room, which was, regrettably not destroyed in a rock star manner. No, sorry kids, there were no sliced up oranges or bashed in televisions. But, really, how could I smash up the cute little panda babies? I'd have nightmares of their cooing for the rest of my life and probably die a horrible death, vivisected by the chain link fence that some panda would pull me through on an innocent trip to the zoo....
I ate breakfast in the crappiest restaurant I could find in the casino. It was called the Pink Pony, and you would think that with a name like that, it would be cheap. Wrong-o, buster. It was nearly eight dollars for my omelet. The give you your own carafe of coffee at the table, but it's just an excuse to charge you $2.25 for crappy coffee that you would normally get free refills on. Sigh... This was my first realization that perhaps I wished for the Mafia to be back in control of Vegas.
Later the next night, I had a cabbie who was driving me back to the airport (the first time,) and he told me about the sad, sad fate of all of the $12.99 Surf and Turf deals that I had been unable to find on the Strip. Apparently, those were the benefits that came of people being shot down in the streets for unpaid debts. According to my cabbie (who of course must be considered the sage of the town, since he seemed to be the only person I met who actually lived in Vegas,) the gangsters used to just skim all of their profits off of the tops, thereby eschewing taxes or worrying too much about the actual costs of running their businesses. Since there were no taxes being paid, the city itself was nearly bankrupt. This was probably the true reason that the Mafia was eventually driven out of Sin City. Nowadays, there are indeed still cheap steaks, but I have been warned personally by the Sage Cabbie that you get what you pay for in most of these cases. Which should mean that most every steak on the strip is like heaven on earth, plus a flock of nymphomaniac love slaves, since the cheapest steak that Ariane and I could find was $18, and all of the others were $45. For $18 I got a steak that was medium rare when I had ordered rare; and I think that it was not that my order was taken wrong, but probably had something to do with the bizarre charring symbols on one side of my steak. Oh, well. At least the A-1 was good.
After checking out of Circus Circus, I walked over to the pool and spent a couple of hours swimming amongst the squealing children and their parents. And what I have learned from this experience is that if ever a lifeguard toots his whistle at you, and you feel annoyed, have some sympathy for those folks. Sure, they get to sit around in the sun all day, but I have never seen anyone look so bored as the lifeguards all over Vegas. Compare their job to one of a parking lot attendant. At least in that position, you can read or watch TV. But the lifeguards; they have to watch you and your squealing children all day while sitting in the same chair. Okay, so really I was thinking about how I almost became a lifeguard, and that it looked kind of nice....
I went to meet Ariane and her friends; I only had a long distance cell number for them, so I was avoiding calling it until the last minute. So I sat in Nefertiti's Lounge for two and a half hours in the Luxor, finishing Fahrenheit 451, which I passed on to Ariane afterwards. But before that I wandered the stores and realized how much I would have loved to come to the Luxor when I was young. I had a decades long obsession with Egypt when I was a little girl; from the time I was seven, if not before. I wrote and illustrated a book in fourth grade which illuminated my secret past life as the daughter/reincarnation of Queen Nefertiti herself, and since she had to go on to be a goddess, she pulled me back in time to be the queen of Egypt. And yes, I did know the word "reincarnation" when I was seven, so there.
When they finally showed up, we checked into our room, which was expensive. Hooray for the kindness of Ariane, in not making me pay for bundles of it. So Ariane and I headed out to New York to go find tickets to Zumanity, the newest show by Cirque du Soleil. It's about sex. Check out I will try to post some pictures for you,
but for now, I must eat some television and watch some sushi.
But next, I will tell you about how I was seduced by l'ame de Zumanity... onstage...

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Vegas: Bipolar Republican Wonderland Part I

All I wanted was to see the skeezy Vegas I remembered from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. At first, I didn't think that I had gotten to see what I wanted to. The streets were fairly clean, actually, and it wasn't until the third day that I actually saw some Vegas locals, that is drunks who were smelly and begging for money. I wonder if anyone really does live there. It's more like Disneyland; where everyone goes home after the lights go out, except that the lights never go out in Vegas.
You can't tell how far away things are, for one thing. The buildings are all so surreally huge, and the sky so huge and open, without sight of any mountains, that you really can't tell exactly what a commitment you are making when you think that you are going to take a quick stroll from the Luxor to the Bellagio in 110 degree heat. And each block is more like three or four, since each block holds a whole city of casino/hotel craziness.
The first night I was there, I stayed at Circus Circus, because I was secretly hoping to see H.S. Thompson himself dragging his ether-laden body off of the rotating bar. Since Circus Circus is far from the strip, or anything resembling a mini mart, I made the mistake of running out of cigarettes. Inside the hotel, I paid $6.25 for one pack. At least they had the kind I wanted, but I later discovered that cigarettes only cost $3.50 outside of the hotels.
It was after midnight by the time I found the Horse-a-Round bar, and it was indeed just below and to the side of the circus area. But, unfortunately, the bar was closed. I hopped the chain anyway, because one has to experience the rotating bar, and I had hoped that the bartender might just be on a break and I might get to partake of one of the extremely powerful drinks that I had heard they serve there. No such luck, however. The bar wasn't even open the next afternoon when I passed by. But you don't really need a bartender there; just sitting at the bar and watching the tables circle around you makes you a little nauseous anyhow, especially when you are trying to ignore them in order to watch the trapeeze artists above. So, after watching an uber-brief trapeeze show, which, I must admit, was pretty amazing with it's triple flip catches, I decided to find myself an actual alcoholic beverage, instead of straight nausea.
I had walked all over the casino and beyond to the amusement park entrance before I found an open bar. My dance teacher really wasn't joking when she warned me that Circus Circus had been directed towards children. They were swarming all over the place, and they were tall and loaded with stuffed animals that they'd won on the midway. Turns out there was a youth basketball convention going on there. The bar I finally found was called the Blue Iguana, and the bartender's name was Danny, which confused me because I kept thinking that the waitresses were all calling him daddy. After all of those kids, I figured that even the bars were family oriented.
So I chatted with Danny and had a lovely, huge frozen margharita with lots of salt around the edge and chips and salsa. A man came to the other end of the bar and sat down, having a margharita on the rocks, no salt. He was a muscular, attractive black man, older than me, and he looked over a few times before he came to talk to me. He asked what I do, and I told him, and he said that he used to also do AIDS outreach education/surveys, etc. So I was pretty pleased to have him keep me company; he was a complete gentleman. He was at Circus Circus with his son and nephew. He lives in L.A., and he and his boys had come to Vegas on impulse because their fishing trip had been cancelled due to bad weather. They had been in Rosarito, Mexico, just before that, so we bonded over how frighteningly sick and nasty the nags you can pay to ride on the beach were. They look like they've been watching Fear and Loathing in drug-synchronization mode with Hunter. Scary. The boys had met two girls down in Rosarito, who just happened to be staying in the same tower of this very hotel as he and the boys had ended up in. Needless to say, the boys had ditched him for their new girlfriends.
Since I was curious what such a generous uncle does for a living, he told me. He's Will Smith's stunt double. He did the Wild Wild Wests, the Bad Boys, the Men in Blacks and I, Robot. So, over my second margharita, courtesy of him, he told me tales of jumping in front of taxi cabs, and my favorite story, in which he was flushed down a giant toilet. I imagined a toilet six feet in diameter, but I was wrong. This toilet was as big as the whole bar we were sitting at. Bigger than my living room. HUGE.
Rather appropriate for Vegas. A giant toilet story in the land of oversized everything. I'm surprised Vegas isn't in Texas, really.
Well, drunk as I was by then, I said I was heading up to my room, and he thanked me for my company, and was, once again a perfect gentleman. Shook my hand, and didn't follow me home. I smiled all the way to my King size bed, where I smoked inside some more and watched a show about panda breeding. They're so tiny and all pink when they're born! And their tails are as long as their hind legs; sooo cute.... Meanwhile, their fathers do handstands to rub their crotches as high up on the walls and trees as possible. So I passed out with my clothes on to the cooing of pandas, which sounds like a cross between a walrus and a pigeon. And my passing out with my clothes on was the skeeziest thing there was to see in the family-oriented Circus Circus that night. I should've tried to throw up or something, just on principle.
Oh, well...
More Vegas coincidence and sketchiness to come, and lots more high priced drinks, too.....

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Dance & Fitness Faculty member at San Francisco Peninsula Community Colleges, Director, Choreographer & Featured Dancer, Founder of the Living Dead Girlz, and Owner of the Steele Dance Company, which provides entertainment for festivals, corporate events, conventions and private events. Teaching private dance lessons and creating choreography since 1997, Steele graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Double Major in Dance and Comparative Literature and completed her Master of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography at Mills College. She has toured all the major cities in Germany and performed at the Cannes Film Festival as the featured dancer in TRIP -- Remix Your Experience, a multimedia exhibition of film, live music and art. Steele has also performed as a featured dancer for RJ Reynolds (CAMEL) promotional events. Steele currently manages the go-go dancers of "Poor Impulse Control," who perform frequently in San Francisco's industrial, alternative, and rock venues.