"i was alone in my life
with little to live for, trying my hand at art, thinking that maybe i could save myself. but in my desperation, all my hope would fly away until there was nothing left of me. nothing left to save. and in this nightmare there was a dream of a girl so beautiful beyond compare: the girl of my dreams. so wonderful. so beautiful. and i had her boots. this was so along ago in my idealistic dream, with so many songs. laurie. yes. she inspired 1,000 songs. and then i knew i was an artist."
i don't have internet
at my new place. i know. i feel so disconnected from the world. i'm surprised how i've made it this far without gmail, boingboing, and you guys. i don't watch tv, but am so desperate for companionship that i might buy a television.
the at&t guy is going to install me some dsl this friday (fingers crossed). at the moment i'm at my parents' house. i found a sweet pair of nikes in the garage that belonged to my uncle and will most likely wear them to class tomorrow.
back to my new apartment. it's a studio in koreatown. i love it and hate it.
day 2: albuquerque, new mexico to springfield, missouri
woke up at just in time to make continental breakfast. as we left the lobby for our room an elderly woman in a wheelchair chased after us down the hall and asked if she could purchase some cigarettes from me. ever the enabler, i give her two free. not about to let us go empty-handed, she tells us her schedule for the day, which includes trying to get someplace that happens to be over some hill off in the distance to which she points through the window. she explains that she needs the smokes to make it up the hill. we departed albuquerque shortly, dubbing new mexico 'worst state of the union' with hardly anything to substantiate such a claim.
the highlight of the day had to be the big texan steak ranch in amarillo, texas. it's pronounced a-muh-ri-LOW, not a-muh-REE-OH as we originally suspected. we chose to eat here because it was along the 40 and it has a wikipedia entry. this place embodies the everything's-bigger-in-texas mentality, hence the name. it's all about excess: finish the 72 ounce steak and it's free. the walls are lined by no less than twenty deer heads attached to plaques. the place itself is two stories, and the main area room has an area slightly bigger than that of a ballroom. those bold enough to try and conquer the 72 ouncer sit front and center at a dining table on risers, their crimes of gluttony on display for all to see and, hopefully, applaud, should the four and a half pound slab of beef (plus sides) be consumed before the sixty minute timer goes off. and the dress code for waitresses is best described as 'sorority girl attends wild west party'--western checked shirt with the top three or so buttons unclasped, short denim skirt, cowboy boots and hat, etc; i can understand that. what i couldn't understand were the garters they wore. the servers didn't seem to happy to begin with, and i can imagine the garter being why. ridiculous. we had a pretty late lunch, and the place seemed pretty empty; as we left we considered the possibility that no self-respecting texan eats here. damn tourist traps. i love them.
the drive to oklahoma was pretty easy. outside it was prettier and greener. christian talk radio was more abundant, as were country stations throughout texas. we saw jesus billboards and giant crosses. at the oklahoma border we made our first stop at love's, and it was here that i feel the trip really began. love's will always mean cheap gas, friendly faces, and driving around the country with pals for no apparent reason; what sets this trip apart from all the others is that at the end of this one, someone would be staying behind to start a new life 3,000 miles away from where we started.
the road to springfield seemed a little too easy at first, but then the thunderstorms hit. the rain drops were fat and beat down on the van. it was pitch black out and you couldn't see five feet in front of you save for when the lightning would illuminate the sky purple, like those glass globes with electricity inside that follows your finger, the kind you played with on the 4th grade field trip to the science center. it was very surreal and actually quite beautiful. what made the whole ordeal that much more annoying was the storm's on-again-off-again temperament; ten minutes of maelstrom followed by ten minutes of calm and so on. so it was like, IT'S OVER, I'M ALIVE then HOLY SHIT I'M GOING TO DIE IN OKLAHOMA. we stopped at a starbucks in tulsa to collect ourselves. this was the first starbucks i've been to where the average baristi age was 35. they were very friendly.
this was by far the most difficult night of driving; the storm slowed us down and springfield didn't seem to be getting any closer. a little after midnight we ate dinner in a quiktrip parking lot. (dear arby's: if your los angeles locations add onion petals to their menu, i will eat at arby's.) this was my first time at a quiktrip, and it's a very clean place. their toilet stall scrawlings made me laugh and weep: not only was there HOT ALL NIGHT LONG BLOWJOB, 12:45AM, AUGUST 29 BY THE FENCE, there was also a SAVE AMERIKKKA! followed by other things that at first glance would confirm every stereotype about the south you've ever had. the douche who wrote that shit is probably some teenager who commutes 25 miles everyday to work at the dairy queen.
matt was getting tired during the night shift, so i took over for the last 50 miles or so. i put on abbey road and told myself, before this record plays the whole way through, we will be in springfield. we arrived at the best western about fifteen minutes after paul mccartney's guitar is cut off on her majesty.
day 1: los angeles, california to albuquerque, new mexico
we stayed up til four packing what we could of matt's life into crates and trash bags, trying to stuff it all into the rental van and abandoning on the curb those things whose only misfortune in life was either a) not being able to fit nicely into a box, or b) being in the shape of something other than a box. after that we walked to 7-11. i got a tina's burrito. that night i went to sleep smelling of sweat and cigarettes and microwaveable burrito.
we ended up leaving at 9:30, already behind schedule. we stopped for gas and lunch in needles, california. there isn't much to do in needles; there are a few motels, an adult video store, a handful of restaurants, a gas station or two, and according to my count three churches that happen to be on the same block. we ate at carl's jr. it was 100 degrees out, so naturally i was more excited about the air conditioning than the fish and chips. while we were eating these two guys walked in, clad in baggy jean shorts and wife-beaters which left their upper-arm crucifix tattoos exposed. they gave the "bro" handshake and man-hug to the guy at the counter and seemed really excited. as we left we passed their table and saw that they were filling out job applications.
i hadn't a good night's sleep in weeks, so on this first day i did a lot of catching up in the van. i didn't feel like i missed much, because the drive from to albuquerque is pretty much identical to the drive to santa fe (scenery-wise, at least; lots of rocks and dirt and sun), which we already did a few years back on our way to austin. come to think of it, seeing as the whole trip took four days, this account of the country is almost based strictly on observations through car windows and encounters at fast food restaurants, gas stations, and motels.
i took the wheel in flagstaff, arizona; we arrived in albuquerque around 12:30am. at his insistence, ray had us drop him off at the spearmint rhino down the street from the super 8 where we stayed. despite his enticing us to accompany him--"it's only a six dollar cover. SIX DOLLARS!"--we declined. as we entered the motel and approached the front desk, a strangely-comforting scent hit my nostrils, reminiscient of hugs from my grandmother and my apartment from senior year of college. i immediately recognized the smell as nicotene, but my brain was still programmed in golden state code and hence wouldn't process a concept as absurd as indoor smoking. i lit up in the hallway and made a few calls to tell people that i was in a place that was not california.
**if people who reside in california are californians, are those who reside in new mexico 'new mexicans'? and no, i am not being facetious.**
part 2 of the great louis vitton debacle
will have to wait; in less than twelve hours i'm hopping in a minivan, and if all goes well i'll be in boston by monday just time time for my morning flight back to los angeles. we're not quite sure what route we'll end up taking. if we decide to brave the rockies, it's los angeles to grand junction, colorado; grand junction to cleveland, ohio; and cleveland to boston. seeing as driving through the mountains will cost us an extra hundred bucks gas, we might do la to albaquerque to little rock to columbus to boston. regardless, weather.com warns of thunderstorms. i suppose that means i should bring a heavy jacket.
the crew i'm going with is different than those with whom i drove to vancouver and austin, so if anything i'm a tad anxious to see how everyone gets along. i don't know what to expect; all i know is that i got my hands on a wide angle lens with which i'm going to attempt to photograph as many JESUS SAVES signs along the way as humanly possible. apparently they're everywhere.
one of my least favorite places to be
is the mall. malls freak me out, man--thousands of consumers with shopping bags in one hand and a cinnabon in the other, mobs of adolescent boys gazing and hollering at anything in tight jeans and a tube top, the artificial light and lack of any view of the outside world--i hate it all. i do a decent job of avoiding them altogether; my three year record of not stepping into a shopping mall was broken late last year when that fake supermodel luca pinifarina tried to get me to buy a 700 luis vitton bag for his fiance, with whom he was allegedly going to marry the next day in milan, which was part of his predicament, you see. i intended to never post this story (i alluded to it earlier) because a) it's fucking long and b) it reveals just how much of a fucking doormat i can be; but what the hell. this one is called, "one time i followed a fake italian supermodel into the beverly center and watched him try on louis vitton belts that were supposedly for his fiance on whom he cheated with a mexican whore, part 1 of 2."
i was driving home after a late lunch downtown when an unmarked chrysler 300 pulls up next to me at a red light. the window rolls down and this man asks for directions to lax in a heavy italian accent. i give him straightforward directions, but he seems genuinely confused by the english language. i pull over into the residential neighborhood and motion for him to do the same. i usually don't mind helping strangers in need, but now i know better. i figured this would be my good deed of the day. i get out of my car and hand him a wendy's napkin upon which i drew a map to the airport from hollywood. he is very gracious and tells me what a lifesaver i am. he extends his hand and introduces himself as luca; initially i was amused at how pathetic his handshake was, but then remembered that they don't shake hands in europe. luca gets out of the car and immediately i think to myself, "this guy could totally be danny bonaduce's brother. yeah, danny bonaduce's younger, thinner, eurotrashy brother." the outrageous outfit--skintight calvin klein t-shirt tucked into baggy jeans with the designer's name emblazoned down the front side of the pant leg--makes sense after he explains that he is an armani model from italy who just did a few fashion shows in beverly hills. he needs to get back to the airport because he is getting married the next day in his hometown of milan; he pulls out a silver razr phone and shows me a photo of his fiance. "she's gorgeous, you're a lucky man," i lie. i wish him the best on his big day and say goodbye.
but before i could make it back to my car he says, "tony, please accept this gift." he opens the backseat of his car and pulls out a beige leather vest, which he informs me is the latest from the armani fall collection, AND, get this, is seen on the likes of ricky martin. "ricky marteeen!" he exclaims, as if i weren't sufficiently enthused the first time i heard the name of the latin lyricist. but that's not it. luca asks, "do you have a lighter?" without question i hand him one, which he lights and proceeds to touch the flame to the vest. at this point i should have realized, okay. an italian armani model just offered me a leather vest which he is attempting to set on fire. i should leave before this gets weird. as i was having one of life's what-the-fuck-is-going-on moments, some kids on scooters and skateboards roll down the street and stop to see what the fuss is all about. seeing as a), the vest was sized XXL and wouldn't be flattering to my fourteen year old girl frame, and b) that i never cared for hideous, albeit fireproof, leather accessories, i decline the gift. stupid me, i know. disappointed that some david blaine shit did not go down, the roller gang turned around and returned from whence they came, presumably to enjoy whatever remained of their weekend.
although i'm done with work,
i'd like to think that i have better things to do than drive all the way to los feliz for a drink, but that would be a bit self-aggrandizing.
i start grad school in a few months, so ideally i'd like to be moved into my new place by the beginning of september. but that's a bit of a problem because i haven't found said new place. i've always lived with people, but i suppose it's time to give this living alone thing a try. craigslist isn't much help in the roommate department, because either a) everyone on craigslist wants a female roommate, or b) the person seeking roommates is a "clean SWM fond of full body massages." if anyone wants to let me in on some westsiderentals.com account action, that would be sweet.
by the way, tap tap's lanzafame is perhaps the most wonderfully refreshing pop album since oh, inverted world. i don't want to call it this summer's clap your hands say yeah, because it's so much better. do you remember that time in 9th grade when you ran into the girl you liked at the neighborhood sav-on and you guys started talking and it seemed that she was finally starting to notice you? and right when you have her laughing at one of your lame jokes that was seemingly delivered effortlessly (and most likely stolen from conan o'brien) but was actually the result of hours of practicing in front of the mirror, all of a sudden you hear your mom from a few aisles down announcing to the whole store, "i got your eczema cream, time to go sweetie!" well this record will make you forget all about that.
i've been saying," ah fuck" a lot lately.