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Bad choices made, constantly

Episode 13: Definite Choice (A Conversation With Mark McKay)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-f3zvt-82b5c1

Episode 13 is a conversation with my friend Mark McKay, founding member of Slapshot. Mark and I talk about all different types of music from The Clash to Kiss and Dead Can Dance, how Slapshot came to be and their role in hardcore history. We share similar stories of meeting a grumpy Henry Rollins, his love of reading and he talks about some amazng writing endeavors he’s involved in right now. This was a great chat, Mark has some great stories and any fan of 80’s hardcore will enjoy this episode. 

 

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Episode 12: Be a Part of It (A Conversation With Kevin Cafferty)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-p6psj-81a302

Episode Twelve is a conversation with Kevin Cafferty. We talk about the film he made called It’s a Bash about RI band Neutral Nation, growing up in Rhode Island, his radio show he had for a long time as well as his work in television. Kevin is an interesting and funny guy and I learned quite a lot from him. 

Episode 11: Something for Nothing (A Conversation With Breaux Silcio)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-qu6rd-7f191f

Episode 11 is a conversation with my friend and former bandmate Breaux Silcio. Breaux and I talk about him growing up in Louisiana. Him moving to Massachusetts and his journeys through different genres of music. This episode is a long one at almost ninety minutes. Breaux is an intersting and smart guy and we talk quite a bit about Rush, Kiss, Sabbath and everything in between. 

Episode 10: Baggy Trousers (A Conversation With Kevin Patey)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ijfsp-7e33d9

Episode 10 is a conversation with Boston area musician Kevin Patey. Kevin played in the rockabilly band Raging Teens, and now performs under the name Jittery Jack performing rockabilly/50’s inspired rock and roll. He talks about growing up in England and discovering music on the radio, moving to the United States as well as a comprehensive story about how the Raging Teens formed around the rockabilly scene in Boston in the 90’s. Kevin is yet another hilarious guest and his stories are filled with anecdotes and details that make him a great guest I hope to have on again. 

Woke Up Depressed

 

The first time I heard the song Flower by Soundgarden I shit my pants. I lost interest in hardcore and punk rock after I graduated high school. Nobody was doing anything new that interested me anyway (I’ve since gone back and discovered a lot of good stuff I missed in the 90’s but that’s words for another time) I had taken a break from “classic rock” and traditional metal like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc while spending a good chunk of my teenage years immersed in the hardcore scene. The first thing I thought of when I heard Flower was the intro to the song sounded like Led Zeppelin with Morrissey moaning along for a couple measures. And then it kicked in and it was all Led Zeppelin, or something. I couldn’t put my finger on what it sounded like. It was new and fresh and that was the moment I discovered this whole other world of music that started happening. Soundgarden were at the very top of this world, no question.

I can’t think of another band I have seen in so many different size venues in Boston and beyond, from The Rat, The Paradise (with VoiVod and Faith No More!), Avalon, Axis (with COC and Danzig!), Worcester Centrum with Guns n’ Roses, Hollywood Palladium with Monster Magnet, Great Woods in Mansfield, MA at Lollapalooza and probably a couple more I’m forgetting. They seemed to always be on tour in the 90’s, I never missed them. That first show at The Rat after Ultramega OK came out, Kim Thayil stood out to my brother and I. We thought he resembled Tommy Chong, and of course they then ended the show with a cover of Earache My Eye. As amazing as Cornell’s voice was, it didn’t hit me right away. The music and riffs were what I really dug. That changed when Louder Than Love was released and at the next show I saw, at Axis. They opened with Beyond the Wheel and Cornell’s voice was out of this world. That song is made for him. It’s one of those songs nobody should ever attempt to cover. If he was away from the microphone or when it went out his voice would still carry throughout the venue. And this band was fucking loud. They closed that night with one of my top three songs by them, the “doomy” I Awake. I shit my pants again. Every time I saw them after this show my eyes never wandered further away from Cornell. That voice, and even as a heterosexual male, let’s admit it, the guy was obviously pretty easy on the eyes. I never got to see Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden fast became my Led Zeppelin. A larger than life rock band that was loud, sexy, perfect in every sense.

 

Up to Louder than Love the lyrics on Soundgarden records didn’t connect with me that well, there was always a mix of humor and clever lines like Hands All Over’s environmental “you’re gonna kill your mother” line but nothing mind blowing. When Badmotorfinger came out that changed for me. The lyrics on that record connected to me, they were smart, sad, hopeful, funny, everything my 20 something Stussy hat sporting self needed. Mind Riot and Slaves and Bulldozers immediately come to mind as ones I wish I wrote.

 

I am at work and can’t really spend all morning writing about Chris Cornell and how big of a deal he was to me, but reading the number of posts from friends who also spent a good amount of their life loving this man’s music I felt like needed to get something out of myself. Every post and little tribute has been refreshing to see in a week of generally crappy things to read on the internet. It took me the entirety of their existence to figure out how and why I loved this man and his band so much. It was and still a long fruitful relationship that has aged well for me. All of their music (Okay, I never liked Spoonman, not to be that guy but) is still listenable, and the reissues they have been releasing have reawakened my interest in them. Thanks to a number of unreleased tracks on all of them you can see how Cornell put some of these songs together and why he was such a monster songwriter and top tier musician. Some of these bigger musicians dying the last few years (Bowie, Prince, etc) have been sad, but this one got my eyes watery this morning when I saw it on the TV in between stories about how sunny and warm it was going to be today and how surreal and sad the government is right now. Cornell was on a Lennon/Townsend/Jagger level for me. On a positive note I still have hours of timeless music to listen to escape to.

Woke up depressed
I left for work
You have a good day
It’s not your fault
I know it hurts

Remember, I love you, love you
Remember, I love you, love you
I love

Woke up depressed
I left for work
You have a good day
It’s not my fault
I know it hurts

Sorta Like Heaven

Whitestrat

“So did we ever…you know?”

“Umm, no we never did that”

“Why not?”

(Are we really having this conversation?)

“Well because you said you were good friends with your landlord and felt weird having sex in her building”

(I mean also because the first time you kissed me was three minutes after we finished a half-drunk game of Yahtzee. Well, you were half drunk. I was drinking Sprite. You had your hand in a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips that you had been snacking on throughout the night. If I know potato chips, they leave behind a lot of remnants in one’s mouth. So I still have vivid memories of that first kiss, where I was transferred some of the remnants of said sour cream and onion potato chips. The landlord thing was certainly part of why we never had sex, but I didn’t want to bring up the chips while you and your friend were coincidentally sharing a basket of tortilla chips)

“Oh okay, I wasn’t completely sure”

(How do you not remember who you’ve had sex with? Also, in retrospect, that’s kind of an insult! I can remember the women I’ve been with, fooled around with once, dated briefly or for years. A good chunk of those women, are connected to The Cure and my history with that band so it was no surprise a random girl I dated for a month almost a decade ago would pop back into my head the night of a Cure concert)

My friend Michelle sent me a message a few days before this show saying she may have an extra ticket and if so I can have it, and if I’ll drive. Deal. I tend to never get tickets when they go on sale at this point. There’s no real reason to, especially with all the buying options out there, and friends on social media going. If you can’t find a ticket to a concert the week of in 2016 you’re not trying. Also, I’m never dropping however much money people spend on beer and drinks at shows so I’m willing to pay a bit more for a ticket if I need to.

Michelle and I got to the venue early and grabbed dinner nearby. We’ve been friends for a few years online, met once in person while I was working the door at a bar six months ago but never hung out so it was nice to be able to drive and chat and sit down to dinner and chat instead of meeting up at a show and not having time to talk. She is similarly minded as me I think, and is hilarious in person as she is online. It’s good to have friends like this.

There was a woman sitting to my right alone who at one point ordered two drinks. At one point I look up and approaching the table is a girl I recognize immediately as the sour cream and potato chip girl. I have no idea what her name is at this point. I struggle with the guilt of this lapse in memory later as I judge her for forgetting if she had sex with a particular person. When I realize forgetting someone you played Yahtzee with isn’t that big of a deal I move on. Emotionally. We exchange pleasantries, she even says her name for some reason, probably sensing my lapse. I introduce her to Michelle

“This is my FRIEND Michelle”

When it’s time to leave Michelle is well ahead of me and pretty much outside when she stops me and asks

“So did we ever…you know?”

We get to the venue and of course run into Yahtzee woman and her friend again who are sitting in THE SAME SECTION AS US. That’s the last interaction we have with them.

Just as that is happening the band is suddenly on the stage and you can hear some sort of noodling around on stage for a few minutes. I think it’s maybe some sort of pre-recorded thing playing and then realize they are opening with “Open” from 1992’s Wish. I posted about them hopefully opening with this on Facebook earlier in the day so that was exciting. I mean not really but it was a tiny personal victory I celebrated inside my head alone in a venue surrounded by thousands of people.

They followed Open with five songs from what may be my favorite Cure album, The Head on the Door. It was the first record I heard by them, it’s short and has catchy pop songs and just enough darkness to at least place it in the top five essential albums in their catalog. When I first heard the record I was heavily immersed in the hardcore scene, especially what was happening there with all of the new more metal sounding bands like Corrosion of Conformity and D.R.I. The Cure was a quirky thing for me at the time. I wasn’t married to hardcore and metal, I grew up loving The Beatles and later on Squeeze and Joe Jackson and The Clash so the Cure was kind of natural for me. I think this era of the Cure is right before they would get the badge of being that band you put on a mix tape for the girl at the book store, or the band you were a sad sap for listening to. That wouldn’t start happening until the next record, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

This was also around the time I was dating my high school girlfriend I was with for about two years. After getting burned by my first girlfriend in junior high I was a slightly paranoid boyfriend. I was one of those dudes. It was early in life and I’m not even remotely like that at this point, but yeah I could get jealous.

My brother got tickets to see them at the Orpheum in October of 1985. October 25th to be exact. My girlfriend mentioned a party her and her friend were going to the same night as the show. The party they were going to was being hosted by a boy her and her friends thought was cute. I can still remember him. He was that weird quiet misfit kid. Like the one in that movie American Beauty who films the grocery bag. I was bummed she would be going to this party so I tried getting out of going to the show but couldn’t. And of course nothing happened aside from me being able to be that obnoxious guy that says things like “Oh, cool, yeah I saw them in 1985” Hanging out with that high school girlfriend years later she did admit that her and the weird quiet misfit kid had sex after she and I broke up which was a horrible thing to tell a person.

Back here in 2016 they follow the dark and brooding Sinking with three songs in a row from Disintegration (Pictures of You, Closedown [like on the album] and Fascination Street) and then on to Hot Hot Hot !!! from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (God I’m sick of typing that out over and over. Wish they played more from Wish, or Faith) was a soundtrack of a whole crush I had on a girl who turned out to be my cousin. I swear I can explain. She was a cousin as her aunt married my mother’s cousin. This would have been around a year after Pretty in Pink came out (February, 1986) The Cure album with too many words in it came out in May of 1987. Me and, I’ll call her Elizabeth became friends when my uncle introduced me to her at a family event. When I found out she wasn’t related by blood it was over. She became Molly Ringwald. Had red hair, wore those hats, may have even had “The Rave-Ups” written on her book cover (doubtful) for all I know. We spent many nights driving around Swampscott and Nahant, Ma parking and listening to that album. I was a scared baby with this kind of thing so I never made any kind of move at all. Neither did she and we just remained friends.

A couple of years later we would go to a Cure show together, it was the Disintegration tour, well “The Prayer Tour” I had seen them a couple of more times and was going to both nights. She went with me one night and I went with another friend or maybe my brother another night. The night we went at one point in the show I was yawning and my eyes got all watery. I consciously thought that if she looks at me she’s going to think I’m crying. And low and behold the next day she told one of her friends about it and they told two friends, and so on and so on…I get told by a friend “Hey dude Elizabeth said you were crying at that Cure show”

I hope I didn’t reply “Boys don’t cry”

The band bounced around their immense catalog of music throughout the remainder of their thirty-one song set. Once you get rid of any kind of disappointment you may have if they don’t play a particular song, seeing The Cure is always an amazing treat live.

I was hesitant seeing them in a hockey arena as the last place I saw them was in a nice old theater in Los Angeles (performing their first three albums and a host of other rarities) and it was probably the best time I’ve ever seen them. I was by myself at that show, thousands of miles away from seeing anyone I know, far away from Molly Ringwald and Yahtzee girl. This show here in 2016 was just as important, and if it ends up being the last time I see them it at least has an amusing bookend to it running into that girl, and spending the time with a good friend, meeting a few new people and seeing other friends.

Also, because of how we were sitting (me on the inside, and Michelle on the seat closer to the aisle, with me facing the stage and her essentially behind me) she didn’t see me get a little misty in the eyes during Just Like Heaven.

Chew Gum. Complain (More Awkward Dating Stories)

 

  


In my last entry here I talked about how horrible and awkward dating in your 40’s can be. Then I remembered how I was as a teenager…and how I was in my 20’s…and how I was in my 30’s. I feel like I might over-dramatize that I am awkward with women. I’ve had a number of long term relationships, and with all of those relationships I have remained very good friends with all of them so I can’t be that weird and awkward with women. And then I remembered these stories. All true stories. I changed the names of the women even if I am still friendly with some of them.

My second girlfriend, who I was with for a good chunk of high school was two grades above me. I was good friends with one of her friends named Julie. Julie and I lived next door to each other as kids, I was friends with her brother and her. At one point she tells me that this girl Tina likes me. I get Tina’s phone number from her. At this point I’ve maybe spoken to Tina in person zero times, but probably closer to a negative amount of times. That night I call Tina’s house (I still remember the phone number) and her mother answers.

“Hi is Tina there?”

“Yeah one second. Who’s calling?”

“It’s Chris, from school”

“Hello?” it’s Tina’s voice (I guess?)

“Hi Tina, it’s Chris Campagna”

“Hi Chris”

“Will you go out with me?”

“Yeah”

“Okay, see you tomorrow at school” and I hang up

Tina and I are now boyfriend and girlfriend, and remain so for well over a year. Everything is great, we spend every day together walking around Swampscott and getting mosquito bites from hanging around in the cemetery sitting on the grass listening to music. I was one of those kids that carried a boombox around. I’m just remembering that this second as I type this. Ewww.

My first girlfriend, Olivia she lived right behind me. That relationship started at Fantasy Island in Salem, a staple for first dates for any teenager in Swampscott and ended near Captain Pizza over by the train station. What a horrible metaphor. At one point Olivia told me she wanted to see other people along with me though. Fourteen year-old me was okay with this for about three days. Until I watched them make out in front of me. That ended but we somehow remained friends and I would often stop by her house and hang out on the porch talking to her. This would also be the first time I create a web of lies in my head to get out of something that wasn’t necessarily that bad to begin with.

I stopped by Olivia’s house while dating Tina once and Olivia’s dog came to the door and bit me on the leg. I didn’t have a dog, nobody I hung around with had a dog. When I saw Tina later that night I would have to explain to her where I was that a dog bit me. Olivia had come to the door in a bathrobe so I already felt guilty being there. I came up with some story in my head that a neighbor’s dog chased me while I was on my skateboard.

The mark the dog left on my leg went away within three hours and Tina never found out I was bit by a dog that day.

In my twenties I was again friends with two girls who were good friends. Renee and Cara. We would hang out together, talk on the phone and do shit teenagers probably do. Chew gum. Complain. Split pizzas. Order mozzarella sticks. Not know anything about anything whatsoever, etc. At one point I developed a crush on Renee. We would talk on the phone late at night about who knows what. At one point I was going to just tell her but wanted to do it in person. I made the mistake (well in retrospect not a mistake) of telling her I had something I wanted to tell her. We were going to hang out the next day anyway.

“So what did you have to tell me?” Renee asked a few hours into us driving around aimlessly

“Oh, ummm, yeah, nothing. Forget it” I chickened out

“Come on” she insisted

“Nah, it’s nothing”

“You can’t do that”

“Okay fine, I think I have a crush on Cara”

Cara and I date for a few years off and on. We had a great relationship. That was my first real “one that got away” thing when that ended. That relationship coincidentally ruined Let it Bleed for a few years for me as she was also a big Rolling Stones fan. The fact that it started falsely never really troubled me until I think about it.

In my 30’s at the beginning of the Internet (for me anyway) there was a Yahoo! Penpals thing. It wasn’t really a dating thing but maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t even called Yahoo! Penpals. Some bullshit chat thing on Yahoo! You look it up. I met a woman on there who was a jazz singer and teacher. She was the same age as me, maybe a year or two younger. We dated for a brief couple of months. It got to a point where I liked her enough that I lent her to CD’s a Coleman Hawkins CD called The Genius of Coleman Hawkins and Discs 3 and 4 from the Miles Davis Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel Box Set which is some of the best live jazz you can ever hear in your life. So you definitely want to always be in possession of all seven discs. At one point she took me to see Patch Adams (GOOD LORD WHAT A SHITSHOW), that was the second to last time we would hang out.

The last time we hung out she needed help moving a rug from one room to another in her apartment. On the way over there I decided to break up with her. I had lost interest and we didn’t have much in common besides jazz music. Music compatibility isn’t enough to sustain a relationship. As we pulled up to her apartment I asked

“Do you still want help with that rug?”

I don’t think I’ve seen a more mortified look on a person’s face since. Oh well. Who didn’t suck in their 30’s? Oh yeah, most mature people.

A year or so goes by and I decide one night I’d like to hear Disc 3 of The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965 by Miles Davis box set. It’s not there. I need to get that disc back from Terry. There’s no possible way she wants to talk to me as a friend at this point. I devise a plan. Terry is a pretty accomplished singer and vocal teacher. I’ll call her and sign up for vocal lessons and at some point ask about the CD. According to her ad in the Phoenix she charges $30 an hour lesson. I’m a complete pussy for even doing this so it will end up costing me at least $150 to get those discs back from her.

I had recently started my band Presley and wanted to attempt to actually sing so I did want to learn how to sing, so this was some sort of weird, lame excuse to do that.

I called her out of the blue and she was fine, water under the bridge. She’d be glad to teach me and would be happy to see me she explains. The lessons take place in her apartment her at a piano and me standing there singing. It was interesting and fun. I even have tape recordings of me singing things like “My Funny Valentine”, “The Night We Called It a Day” that I really should just hold a giant magnet over if I have any nerve. At the second lesson I spotted the discs on her kitchen counter lined up among twenty or so more of hers.

“Hey I just remembered something…you don’t still have my Miles Davis discs do you?”

“Oh I don’t think so. I thought I gave those back already”

“Oh okay yeah maybe you did” and then I did that thing only a true asshole would do

“Oh wait, is that it right there?”

I got the discs back and had ten or so more lessons until I realized I wasn’t learning that much from the lessons. Perhaps a better appreciation of vocal jazz.

Last summer, while broke in Los Angeles and hungrier more than a few days a week I sold the Miles Davis Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965 box set on eBay for around $100.

This is also my official announcement that I am starting a Kickstarter campaign to buy me another copy of the box set. Click the link below and donate what you can. I really need another copy of this box set. I’m kidding, there’s no link to click. You’re fine.

Dating in Your 40’s: Keep Calm and Wear Flip-Flops

 

 

“So, you’re 50 right?” I asked the woman sitting across from the pizza we were splitting

“Nooo, 48” she replied

“Oh, my bad…this pizza is pretty good though huh?”

This is just one of many awkward exchanges I’ve had with women I was trying to date or date while in my 40’s.

 

Dating in your 40’s is one of the worst experiences I’ve had to deal with, which is mainly a result of my neurotic personality, but also because at this age, especially late 40’s everyone deals with loneliness in a different way. Some deal with it by going on a number of dates with people they’d never associate with in “normal times”, some deal with it by just seeing if they can arrange a date with someone and then canceling at the last minute. Like some sort of crack highesque self-esteem boost. I feel like I have fallen into both groups.

I wrote about actual specific dates in this blog a while back which went over pretty well. I imagine some of the stories both horrified and amused anyone who read them. Aside from a three-year long relationship, a one-year long distance thing and a six month one I’ve been single for most of my 40’s. I actually don’t mind the periods when I’m single. Not having to text someone trivial shit like “I just left”, and multiple “How’s your day going?”’s every day is a key to a less cluttered mind. Having to worry about saying the wrong thing all the time. It’s not like when I’m in a relationship I dread this kind of stuff or are even conscious of it, but the absence of it glares pretty bright.

The two main ways to meet women for me have been 1) Online dating sites, 2) mutual friends introducing you, or having a friendship turn into something else. The second one seems to be the more successful one. When things start to escalate it can be a little overwhelming in a nice way at first, once things start REALLY escalating is when you have to be careful and take note of things you normally wouldn’t think of. I love tits, any size really. But if a woman sends me a picture of her tits and I can see a prescription bottle in the background, the first thing I’m doing is zooming in and making sure whatever it is doesn’t start with the letters K or X. This doesn’t really happen to me as much as that little scenario might make it sound like, but the background of these pictures is just as important as the “business” For instance if a woman’s profile has two different pictures that are clearly in hotel, sorry motel rooms you probably want to keep moving. When your profile has pictures of you and your two sons who both look like Mike The Situation, I probably am never coming to your house. I don’t know if those pictures are just a proud parent showing off her children or some sort of passive aggressive “you don’t want to cross me” thing. Either way, I’m not interested. True story: A woman had multiple pictures of her son in one profile and in every one he sported a crooked baseball hat and an ICP “Hatchetman” necklace. Sorry I don’t want my penis anywhere near something that made a Juggalo. Is that so bad?

Dating outside your comfort zone is okay for a little while, but ask how okay it is when you’re getting a blow job in some woman’s condo across from a framed picture that says “Keep Calm and Wear Flip Flops” Believe me, it’s surreal. I’ve always thought having a ton of stuff in common was overrated. Like music, one of the biggest parts of my life, since I was a kid, it’s framed who I am, led me to meet most of the lifelong friends I’ve had and always been there for me. Accent on ME. I don’t really want to date a woman who loves my favorite band The Rolling Stones. I don’t want to potentially ruin Sticky Fingers because it suddenly becomes me and my girlfriend’s “album” On the other hand if I met a woman not into The Stones and she wants to learn about them I may point her in the wrong direction on purpose. “Yeah so you’ll want to start with Emotional Rescue, their best album” Let her ruin one of those records (FTR I like a good chunk of Emotional Rescue, maybe I should have said Voodoo Lounge or one of those later ones, except their last one, a Bigger Bang which was great. People seem to like Steel Wheels and Bridges to Babylon but I’m far past them at this point and will probably never even give them a chance. Also for years I always thought Tattoo You came out before Emotional Rescue because it’s such a good record. Like how great would that run of albums looked if they had been in a row, Beggars Banquet through Tattoo You. Oh wait Black and Blue is in the middle. Okay so take out half of Black and Blue and half of Emotional Rescue and fuck what a run of great music they had. Your favorite band pales) You can also ruin meals if you go to the same place for dinner all the time or get take out from the same place. Anyone else ever cry over a chicken sub years later they used to get with their significant other? I’ve never done that, come on.

Dating in Massachusetts seems to be a little easier than dating in LA was when I was briefly there again last year. I went out with a couple of women who I somehow convinced dating an unemployed broke guy who lives on his father’s couch was a good idea. The first woman I went on a couple of dates with was Mexican, a very nice girl, definitely girlfriend material. Didn’t smoke, do drugs or drink. All great traits in a woman. I left out that I had one of those medical marijuana cards, but it never caused a problem. The first time we went out we went to one of the many nice public parks in Los Angeles and talked for hours. At one point she asked if I knew any Spanish and I replied “The only Spanish I know is what’s on Mexican food menus and what they say in Cypress Hill songs” My slight racist comment got a chuckle anyway. The next time we hung out she invited me over for dinner. She was cooking for her niece she was watching for the night. We’d spend time alone later when the child’s dad (her brother) came home. The anticipation driving to East LA from the valley was high. “An actual Mexican person is going to cook me dinner. This is going to be great” So she cooked turkey Hamburger Helper, boxed scalloped potatoes and some dry Jiffy corn muffins. We hung out a few more times and always had a good time, but I moved away so that ended.

I went out with another woman twice, once to a bar where I had maybe $11 in my bank account. She “forgot my debit card” and was trying to figure out how to pay, or have me say “oh I’ll pay” She was a regular there so the bartender told her she could come back the next day, but the fact that I couldn’t just pay the bill was embarrassing for both of us. She owned a house with a pool and I got to swim in the pool one day, and that was the last I heard from her. Holy shit that pool ruled though, it was in the 100’s that particular week so it was nice to just sit in the water for hours and talk about my ex-girlfriends. Which is what I realized I was doing when I was driving home at 9:30 PM

I wasn’t ready for a relationship, and realizing I was wasting the time of any woman who came into contact with me got to me so I took my online dating profile down and stopped.

I’m (mostly) settled right now and recently single again. I briefly thought of doing online dating again, put my profile on again and met a couple of women in person. The first one was literally standing in the parking lot of a Subway where you could smell that bread. You know how when you walk into a Subway and it just smells like yeast and mayonnaise? So I met this woman outside, we were going to just talk and go from there. Right before I got there a car sideswiped a motorcycle, right in front of her while she was waiting for me. So the entire time we were talking, two hours or so, there was a guy on the ground with EMT’s around him, a smashed car, overturned motorcycle, just disaster. So that was a surreal first “date” She assured me she wanted to see me again and I never heard from her again. The second was someone much older than me and who when I didn’t reply to her text message in a certain time frame she sent me a message that said “Hey Christian just wanted to let you know I’m gonna move on. Take care” Move on from text messaging each other for two days? That was also my cue to move on. Step away from looking for nothing. I love coming home to my new place alone. Not involving myself in trivial daily games with someone. A bitter jaded view of love and relationships? Sure, but what else is there? Someone always comes along and saves you again every few years. For now I’ll continue to enjoy Sticky Fingers by myself.

(Note: Sticky Fingers while an amazing record front to back, is not my favorite Stones album. In the slight chance a future girlfriend is reading this I’d like to keep that information confidential)

Las Vegas: The Last Day of the Rest of Your Life

IMG_5948

Las Vegas is easily the most disgusting place in the world I’ve ever been to. I’ve been three times now and absolutely love it.

 

I left Flagstaff filled with breakfast and a couple of grand ideas. I found that Public Enemy and The Cult were both playing in Vegas this night. On the same bill. Tickets were around fifty dollars, which seemed reasonable considering I would at least gamble fifty dollars away and not get it back. I love both of these bands. Public Enemy were one of my favorite hip-hop groups as early as their first album when I fell in love with the beat in “My Uzi Weighs a Ton” The Cult were also a favorite, so much that I actually have two Cult themed tattoos on my body but that’s a whole thing for another day. And no it’s not a “Fire Woman”

 

The drive there was unremarkable for the most part, mainly because my patience for driving was getting low. As a result of my detour to Austin I was well over three thousand miles at this point. I do love this little stretch from Flagstaff to Las Vegas. There are a lot of those moments where mountains in the distance take so long to reach you a sigh of frustration easily falls out of your head every time you see a new mountain range in the distance you know you have to reach. It’s the ultimate test of patience, this stretch. It’s pretty much your last day of long driving, and going to Las Vegas is literally a gamble. Every time I’ve been I’ve enjoyed myself until I got back to my room and contemplated what it was like. Imagine the entire customer base of Wal-Mart mixed with the cast of the Jersey Shore.

 

It was Saturday night and I was getting nervous, as hotels in Vegas are extremely cheap. NOT ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY THOUGH. I finally found a relatively cheap hotel off the strip (The Palms) I had a nice view of the fun part of Las Vegas from my twelfth floor corner room that was much nicer than the price seemed. I almost didn’t want to leave the room, but that was mainly because it felt like it was about two hundred and five degrees outside. I think it was two hundred and two. The woman checking me in half apologized to me that there was some sort of “pool party weekend” thing happening. Just then I noticed women walking around in bathing suits everywhere. I didn’t want to sound creepy and say, “That won’t be a problem” but I said, “That won’t be a problem” I mean really, I was on the twelfth floor and wouldn’t be going to the pool hoping for some sort of solitude.

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So the pool was pretty much right outside my window and the fucking bass from the DJ playing dance music was loud and impossible to avoid. My room was filled with all sorts of bonuses, snacks, drinks and an “Intimacy Kit” which was basically condoms, KY Jelly and I don’t know, a flash drive with a bunch of Marvin Gaye on it maybe? Who knows? The bathtub in my fancy Las Vegas hotel room had jets so of course I immediately go in, but not before I took out the marijuana grain alcohol thing and took more than I had taken the day before in Roswell. I had visions of walking into a casino like Johnny Depp playing Hunter S Thompson, crooked and wobbly, lights everywhere. I had already stopped my brief couple of days with the disposable vape-cigarette thing so I was allowed this (I think?) I would not be taking advantage of the free drinks waitresses bring you when you gamble aside from some coffee and soda. I almost fell asleep in the mini hot tub in the bathroom. I put on Steely Dan as loud as I could to drown out the pool party folks below. Not the ideal band to block out sound but you know, it was a long day and Motorhead as much as it would have been the most appropriate band wasn’t an option for what my brain needed. Certain music helps me unwind at certain times. A lot of times it is loud metal and that kind of thing just not this time. Okay.

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I took a little more of the weed cocktail thing and decided I would head down to the strip. I texted my friend who gave me the concoction in Texas and wrote

 

“So I’m going to up the dose for Vegas I decided”

“As your spirit guide I back this idea” he replied

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I discovered there was a shuttle bus to take you to the strip from this hotel. I got on the bus with a half dozen or so guys drenched in cologne. It was early still, probably about five or six more hours of sunlight. Bright Nevada sunlight. I can’t remember the last time I saw a tree. In this tinted windowed/air-conditioned caravan of douche I wondered how going to Vegas with a group of dudes works. I’ve always come here alone and it works for me. I gamble a little, eat a little and go back to my room. No alcohol or hooking up with women and that kind of thing. You know, stuff that’s just bad for you in general. When these guys meet women that are also traveling in a group how does that work out logistically? Sounds like a nightmare and a half. Speaking of nightmares, while daydreaming about the bros in the shuttle bus I start to feel the marijuana juice hit me. Thankfully it’s air-conditioned and a brief drive over a bridge and down a couple of blocks. It’s then I realize I have left my sunglasses in the hotel room. It’s so bright outside it looks like the sun, and although I don’t plan on walking around outside much, I need them to avoid eye contact. Just as it is on Hollywood Boulevard near all the bullshit, people are constantly trying to sell you something whether it’s a photo op with some unrecognizable cartoon character, or strange pussy for sixty dollars. I always make it a point to have sunglasses on the rare occasion I am down there. In Las Vegas you can at least slip from casino to casino without much contact with the sun. I just wanted my fucking sunglasses, is that okay? Especially as I started to feel like I was a little too high to be doing this. As we all exited the shuttle bus underneath Caesar’s Palace we were told there is a bus every hour on the hour and they end at 1:00 AM. I got out and immediately walked into the crowd of a casino in the afternoon. That familiar hum of slot machines, a light cigarette smoke odor and horrible people everywhere I looked. I lasted all of about thirty minutes before turning around and leaving and waiting outside for the next shuttle. Defeated by Las Vegas in less than an hour! It must be a record.

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The bus came rolling in a few minutes after the hour. For the journey back I was joined by a couple in their 60’s presumably heading back to their room to have sex; just kidding, presumably going back to their room to take a nap before going to the buffet later. I made my way back up to my room like a paranoid freak in a Black Sabbath shirt should be. I immediately took another bath in the tub with the jets in it. I waited until the sun went down. The two views in my room were west and north, the west view was blocked by a building so I did not get to watch the sunset over the mountains or anything spectacular like that. Once the sky was black and half lit up with Las Vegas I would go back out. My plans were to eat something horrible and disgusting for me, and then sit in a Keno parlor and drink coffee and maybe win a few hundred bucks. I did two of these things anyway.

 

I discovered that just across the street at the Gold Coast casino, which is kind of old and shitty looking, there is a keno area. I won’t have to get back on that shuttle bus and deal with remembering what time it is and that kind of thing. How convenient! I’m still pretty high as I leave the hotel after taking a bath and talking to a friend on the phone for a little while. I somehow forget that I was just going to walk across the street to the casino with the keno and then walk home and get back on the shuttle bus. The evening customers are a little more hardcore. About seven of us total on this bus. All men and one woman. All dressed like you assume people in Las Vegas dress. I’ve also remembered my sunglasses this time. Unfortunately it’s the evening and I now have to carry these stupid things around all night. I find an area where there is a bunch of different food and of course find the Chinese restaurant and order some rice. That’s it, vegetable fried rice and a cup of water. Not a glass, a cup of water. I take a few hundred dollars out of the ATM and make my way to the casino and immediately lose a third of that money. Bummed, I hit up the frozen yogurt place and get something that I immediately cover with shit like cereal and whatever else. I decide to leave the area and head back to my hotel again so I can walk over to the Gold Coast and play keno. It’s easy, uncool and more my speed as a seven hundred year old man.

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The Gold Coast is great, off the strip. Not too crowded, and the crowd that is there are mostly people with a good amount of grey hair on their head. I find the Keno area and pretty much stop here for the rest of my night. The waitress is quick with the soda and coffee refills and I’m fine giving her a buck each time, especially since I’m pretty much losing money by the minute just being in this casino. The folks in the Keno area are a rugged bunch. There’s me and my whole situation. A couple of women in their fifties whose husbands show up every half hour or so and hand them money, a couple of mysterious Asian men, and a handful of elderly men and women. Nobody in the keno parlor is getting laid tonight and that’s fine. I have a big day tomorrow; I’m on my last day of this long road trip where I am going to settle in California for the rest of my life. It’s going to be great.

 

 I walk back to the room, broke and feeling a little pathetic as I have every time I’ve come here. Thankfully I fall right asleep under the far away glare of the strip. I have a dream of the glare of light at the end of this trip; the final resting place, just out of reach. I’ll never take one of these long road trips again once I stop. I’m tired, torn and frayed, but yeah California will be waiting for me tomorrow when I get there. Life is just getting started.

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