Friday, September 19, 2008

A TALL TALE 2: EVEN TALLER













Let’s talk about continental breakfasts for a second. Usually, they are pretty scant; muffins, fruit, cereal, milk, yogurt...you know, the shit you normally eat at home for breakfast. Nothing fancy or sexy. So, to my chagrin, the Hampton Inn not ONLY has a strip club next door, but a kick ass continental breakfast to boot. Doughnuts, biscuits and gravy, eggs, sausage, bagels, and all the usual shit. Perhaps, I just need to get out more. No, that’s for damn sure…but still. Finally, a hotel that makes it worth rolling out of bed before noon while on vacation…

Wifey and I get dressed and ready to conquer the big, bad Cali landscape. She tells me she doesn’t want to do Venice Beach today, so I dress casual, but not beach casual. She tells me while we are driving on the highway that she’s changed her mind and that she now DOES want to go to Venice Beach. I simply turn my head and stare at her. I continue to stare, saying nothing. My blank expression says it all. In my head, there is a movie playing….in that movie, I am the star (Jean Claude Van Damme) and she is the villain (Drew Barrymore) and I have somehow managed a spinning helicopter kick to her head while IN the car.

“Carla” guides us to Venice without fail and we are parked and entering the fray in no time. Venice is like the remnants of post apocalyptic fallout, long after the “bad times” have ended and the world has started to get better and society slowly comes back into its own. Everyone is still fucked up and weird and crazy, but now they have style and hope and a burning desire to smoke marijuana a lot.

I am immediately aware that I am NOT dressed for success here. I am in jeans, sandals, and polo shirt. I look like I should get my ass kicked or at least robbed and mugged. But, I do have my Oakley’s on, which have more combat experience than most people in my presence. They are magic and will protect me.

Everyone is in some form of nakedness or extreme comfort. Everyone is very open and comfortable with their sexuality, their piercings and tattoos on display, and the vendors are hocking their wares like a home shopping network special laced with “the pot.”

It’s basically a long line of cheap t-shirts, crappy jewelry, paintings, bongs, and ice creams joints with a few outside eateries scattered about. We walk the strip up and down, taking a detour to the beach where I huff through the sand, stealing images of men fondling their girl’s asses under their bathing suits, kids digging in the sand like mindless zombies, and seagulls stealing beachgoers bags. Since I am the overdressed asshole, I’m the only dipshit in jeans on the beach. Wifey thinks it’s cute. She takes a picture. I deleted it off of her camera.

Wifey is particularly excited to take me to Muscle Beach Gym, where she is adamant about men working out in nothing but Speedos and somehow equates that to something I would be utterly fascinated with and must see before I die. Lucky for me there are, like, two guys working out there, shirtless, but with adamant below-the-waist clothing. Wifey is deeply troubled by the absence of near male nudity and I am equally troubled by her deeply troubled trouble over this issue.

I make the words pretty.

Venice gets tiring. I start to feel like I’m walking through an American Bazaar, much like the ones rampant in Afghanistan, everyone selling the same shit, just arranged slightly different from booth to booth. I buy a t-shirt. It has a sweet Jim Lee drawing of the Punisher on it (from PWJ #8 to be exact) and it makes me happy. I bought a Cobra Commander shirt from Urban Outfitters the day before. Turns out it’s one of those slim fit shirts with the wide neck and that really sucks because I’m not a waifish Emo kid that eats air for food and drinks his tears like a milkshake.

The pretentiousness of Urban Outfitters has far outweighed its novelty, which happens a lot with stores that like to haunt their image as leftist revolutionaries within their product. Obama t-shirts, Grow Jesus pills, and full price thrift store prices for shit that is cool to browse but NOT cool to buy and take home.

If you make your belly growl in order to pinch pennies to buy something from Urban Outfitters then you deserve your fate. Write that down or bookmark this page. It might save your life.

T-shirts. I am obsessed with t-shirts. I’m even in the throes of starting my own pretentious t-shirt and clothing company. So, naturally, I spy shirts everywhere, looking for unique designs, looking for what’s selling, what the new trends are, etc. That being said, I absolutely abhor (doesn’t saying that make me sound like a rich person at a dinner party that has had one too many glasses of wine?) the Volcom style of shirts with the day-glow colors that make me want to puke. And they are the most popular. I swear I won’t get my company off the ground until that style is OUT.

Trying to keep myself from buying shit I don’t need isn’t hard at all, but I knew coming in that the allure to buy new t-shirts would be there. Fortunately, I’m very choosy. So, if you ever see me in public and I’m wearing a t-shirt you know that I took great care in choosing to wear it, more so than Alicia Silverstone in “Clueless,” comparing her outfits on the computer prior to getting dressed. You are in the presence of t-shirt greatness if I grace you with my appearance while garbed in one. You will walk three paces behind me and to the left, your head down.

Our time is cut a little short as we have to make it to the rehearsal dinner, which is at a seafood joint along the Pacific Coast Highway called “Gladstone’s.” We are spread out in booths and order food, which while good, wasn’t exactly a knock out of the park. Perhaps I’m spoiled by Alaska. Probably the biggest selling point of “Gladstones” is that the waiters will wrap your leftovers in aluminum foil and sculpt them like some kind of sea creature.

Like a clown with balloons they take this task very seriously. One of the guests with us was a nine-year-old and he deliberately didn’t finish his food to get this special wrapping treat. To his dismay they quickly made him a sea turtle and the disappointment was not lost on his face. Then, at my table, they pulled out all the stops and created an epic for the minister of the wedding; a huge shark with a mermaid attached to his fin. You could see the envy on the little boy’s face. He now hates God.

Which made it all the more shocking when he plunged his steak knife into the minister’s head and ganked his leftover seafood pasta wrapped in the form of a shark and mermaid. Blood was showering everywhere, like a fountain, and I was reminded of the scene from “Aliens” when Bishop the android is torn in half by the alien Queen.

Man, you gotta see “Aliens” if you haven’t already. Classic.

No, for real, that happened. I wasn’t joking. Read the police report.

As we left the restaurant I was courted the offer of going to get a drink with my father-in-law afterwards. It was already late and I felt, as I have of late, that I am getting old in my youth as I was a bit tuckered, and here was this man, nearly thirty years my senior that was still ready to party. What the hell happened? In many ways I was hoping that he would forget about it or we could just let it slide and I could play stupid later and drop the new commonly used excuse of “Oh, I didn’t know you were serious!” which is both insulting and ignorant all at once and unfortunately I’ve used it on more than one occasion.

No such luck. Pops-in-law does not forget. We are back at the hotel (coincidentally, our room is right next to the in-laws, which seems like a joke out of the next “Meet the Ben Stiller” comedy, but painfully true here) and he is changed and ready to roll. We ditch our bitches and move out.

Strangely enough, the last time I ventured out to a strip club was with dad AND brother in law, which makes for some supreme awkwardness. I’m as cool and laid back as the next guy, but I don’t know how I’d feel about my son-in-law getting lap dances and flirting with strippers in my presence. Perhaps it’s their way of keeping an eye on me, testing the waters, making sure I’m not THAT GUY who disappears for a lap dance and comes back thirty minutes later, looking disheveled and drained.

For the record, I’m not that guy. I don’t have that much money or good looks or charm. Man, I suck.

Okay, so, here’s the next coolest thing about the GPS; you can punch in “entertainment” and locate bars and clubs and, yup, you guessed it, strip clubs. We punch it up, set a destination and off we go. “We’re gonna go look at naked vagina’s!”

Our first destination is the “Jet Strip.” It’s neon lit and sparsely staffed. Once inside we are treated to a typical, yet clean joint with mostly Asian girls, fully nude. Our waitress, who is also Asian, gives us the lowdown. Then she delivers the deal breaker: no alcohol. For whatever reason, I don’t know, Google it, you can’t drink booze and look at vagina. Diet Coke is fine, but booze plus vagina equals something very bad, although I don’t know what that is. Usually the booze has led to the vagina, but never mind that now.

Dad-in-law is none too happy about this. He was looking forward to a drink like a child looks forward to Disneyworld only to find out that the park is closed when he arrives. We sit and stare, make comments about the girl’s tattoos. The last thing I’m gonna do is play the typical game of “I’d fuck her,” which is played by ALL males, like it or not. Instead we look on in amusement, never really revealing our true inclinations to the stage entertainment. It’s like two guys playing poker never to reveal his hand by any gesture.

First off, Dad-in-law is a cool guy, laid back, and really just wants to relax and chat. Why not do it in front of what we all love? However, it must not be absent to him that it can make for tricky territory for someone who signed up to have interactions with only one vagina for the rest of his life which, coincidentally, happened to be brought into this world by him. Choose your words and actions carefully, mon ami. Yes, I am Gambit (if you don’t get it then you don’t read comics and you probably have never been picked on in high school).

The ladies are paraded out all together, introduced by name and brought before us, like an offering to the royals. We look, peruse, and enjoy, then are summarily enticed by their wares. One of them is particularly forceful and friendly and wins over Dad-in-law. But not for himself. She asks if he wants a dance and he says, “No, but…he would…” I suddenly realize I’m “he” and that I’m also in the Twilight Zone.

The stripper doesn’t care either way. She negotiates with him as to what kind of treatment I’m getting. “Topless or no?” she asks. He motions to me, “I don’t know, whatever you want…” I’m put in the middle. Why can’t they just decide for me. Is this a test? If I say yes will the charade be over? “I knew it, you want someone else’s tits, you bastard! You will never see my daughter again!” This is game show pressure here. I’m looking for Howie Mandel. I decide to go for broke. I hit the fuck it button. “Yeah, topless works for me.”

She wastes no time and leads me to the back room to a “booth” which is basically a comfy chair with armrests and a beaded curtain. It’s a three-for-one special, which means I get a “dance” for three songs for the price of one. She does her thing and in the end compliments my thighs. I never know what to say, ever, and confronted with the end of a stripper dance usually leaves me feeling guilty in a way.

A half naked girl writhes all over you, touching you, rubbing on you, and putting on the foreplay performance of the century and then it’s like someone turned the lights on and yelled “party’s over, get out!” It’s business as usual and I return to the table, where Dad-in-law pays for my perversity and we finish our drinks.

Once again, the awkwardness is not lost on my face. It’s not like you come back and start jabbering about how the dance was. I can only imagine that one, “Man, she was pretty hot. She rubbed the shit out of my cock and had her titties in my face the whole time. She used her ass pretty good too. What a talented lady…”

Yeah, you grow an extra set and use that on YOUR Dad-in-law. Let me know how that goes. I’m sure there’s somebody out there that will tell me “Dude, that’s how it is with me and my father-in-law. He’s cool as shit. We go huntin’ together and strip clubs and rob banks, and kung fu newly hatched chickens and everything…no problem.”

Well, you aren’t normal. That’s not normal. Fortunately, in my viewpoint, I was blessed with humility and don’t take everything, despite what it may sound like from time to time, so lightly.

But, naked girls do rock.

Dad-in-law is ready to roll and I can sense the feeling that no alcohol has soured the experience. We decide to give it another shot and even though we are sharing a very awkward bonding moment, I am ready for it to be over. However, I feel it’s important for him, so I go along, every bit the trooper. I can whether tougher storms than staring at naked girls. Sue me.

We go to the “Bare Essence” next, which had some very lovely girls and was way louder to boot. We pulled up a booth in the back and chillaxed back. As the waitress came to take our order, Dad-in-law was stabbed in the chest again and denied alcohol. Sure enough, they were fully nude. Fully nude equals a peach tea Snapple or Mountain Dew. Enjoy.

One big difference with “Bare Essence” was the aggressiveness. We weren’t there five minutes and I had a stripper laid across me with her tongue in my ear, ready for a dance. It must have been a slow night. I respectfully declined and couldn’t quite gauge how Pops felt about it. He’s a cool customer, no doubt, but the sight has GOT to inspire some thoughts about my integrity.

The girls flocked to the table, working us over, nearly demanding that we will buy dances, like it or not. We do not have a choice in the matter. Naked girls will grind against us and we’re just gonna have to deal with it. Oh, and pay for it, too.

At this point, something strange happens. As if wielding a truth serum aura, the girls sit down and begin stumbling over themselves. I am polite and nice, perhaps something they aren’t used to, and they begin to trip over my simple questions, such as “what is your name?” They stutter and hesitate as if stumped on a question on a game show. “Miche—I mean, Jordan…but, that’s not my real name…”

I’m not a seasoned strip club goer, but I do understand that they don’t use their real names. If your real name is Cherry Mae or Lola Pop, then you don’t even have a choice from birth…you will strip. End of story.

At one point, my little ear chomping Asian girl is back and working her magic to take me in the back. She makes half hearted conversation, asking me where I’m from. I tell her Alaska. She looks surprised and asks, “Ohh, where’s that?” I don’t miss a beat. I go on to explain it as if it’s very common not to know where the 49th state is. “You know where Canada is?” I ask. “Uh huh.” She says, like a second grader grasping the concept of the ABC’s.

“Yeah, it’s right next to Canada.” I say, no sarcasm AT ALL. “Ohhhhhhh.” She says. I send her away. You must have at least a GED or equivalent in order to rub your ass on my pelvic region.

I talk to another girl for awhile and she seems cool enough and we go to the back for a one song wonder. When complete I am escorted to the bar where I pay for the dance. I’m told it’s forty-one dollars. The “Jet Strip” had that great 3 for 1 special, which gave me three songs for thirty bucks. Not a bad deal.

However, here I was dropping forty one bucks for a girl to tossle around me as if trying to get comfortable in her seat for three minutes. The girl was hot, no doubt, but for forty-one bucks I could have bought four albums on iTunes, three or more pre-viewed DVD’s from Blockbuster or fed my whole family for the night.

Then the bartender/collector advised me to tip my girl. I turned to her. “Here’s a tip…use a condom.”

We left, sober and broke, and drove back to the hotel. It was an interesting escape and awkward bonding experience to be sure, one I will not forget, if for no other reason than the fact that I did my first price and compare on the lap dancing lassies of L.A.

When I got back to the hotel, Dad-in-law reminded me that what happens at the strip clubs stays at the strip clubs. I agreed.

Then, I wrote this blog.

The next day I had it all mapped out to venture to a place of delectable fanboy delight; Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. Now, I had never heard that the place was anything super spectacular, but I took many things into account, the biggest being that it was owned by Kevin Smith, auteur of such cinema classics as “Clerks,” “Mallrats,” and “Chasing Amy.”

Smith is the uber Fanboy himself, the cool man’s Harry Knowles, if you will. I had high hopes for the store…I mean, one of the champions of comics and comic fan related goods would have to have his hands so deep into the pulse of the avid collector that his hands would be engulfed in blood. Right?

Well, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, there is some cool shit there, but nothing like what you’d expect. The most surprising thing I found was the overabundance of DVD’s, new and used, and the underwhelming supply of comics. Sure, they came bagged and boarded, but the shelves were in such disarray that I wanted Smith to walk in while I was browsing and have a meltdown on the staff and the overall appearance of the place. I pictured him breaking into one of the glass cases that held Cock Knocker’s light saber and beating the employees with it.

More than anything, the place seemed like a Mecca for fans of his movies with all the memorabilia, etc; and that’s fine…and perhaps I had preconceived notions to begin with…but that doesn’t make it any less of a letdown. However, the fact that Jim Lee, comic book artist extraordinaire, drew a sketch on a door in the back is enough to make it worth the visit. I even took a picture of me looking like an asshole standing next to it. Observe:

I mean, how do you pose next to a picture drawn on a door? How do you pose next to Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel? Do you just smile? Hands on hips? A somber look, perhaps? Introspective? I got it, middle finger, right? Oh, no, no, how about thumb in my zipper? I’ll settle for awkward asshole smile. And so it is. People posing for pictures are one of the funniest things in the world, because how often do we actually stop and pose and smile in our everyday lives? Future generations will wonder what drugs we were on to always have the same stupid smiley face in every documented image from our past.

The next stop was for us to do the McDonald’s test. What is that you ask? Well, I’m glad you did. Here’s a little trip into my life. As if this weren’t enough. I love double cheeseburgers from McDonalds. I fucking love them. I wish I could eat them all day long and look like Matthew McConnaughey and not a jumbo tron that needs to be airlifted for her Montel taping. That’s an exaggeration to say the least, but you get the message.

BEGIN RANT:

We all know that McDonalds is bad for you. No shit, Sherlock. I love how everyone got all up in a tizzy over that bullshit “mockumentary” Super Size Me. McDonalds is to blame for people being fat? Genes aside, the main reason people are massively engorged is because they don’t eat right or exercise. That’s not Ronald McDonald’s fault. The only thing Morgan Spurlock proved with that schlock is that a) Fast food is bad for you (you didn’t get the memo, moron?), b) One Michael Moore isn’t enough, obviously.

I know, I know, the government, along with McDonalds and Al Queada all got together one day to figure out how to fly planes into the World Trade Center and make American’s fat. So, here’s my message to anyone who still wants to blame McDonalds for catering to the plus sizes; Shut your moronic hole. McDonalds is a business, a restaurant if you will, that serves cheap, inexpensive food very quickly (depending on where you live), and makes no nutritional promises. Use your noodle, make better choices, and sweat for an hour a day. Life will improve and we won’t have to blame fast food for all our problems anymore.

Of late, they have begun to take steps toward making a healthier menu, but here’s the thing…I don’t go to McDonalds for healthy food. I want a grease-soaked, fat pill, not a low carb alternative veggie burger. If I want health fare I’ll go to Subway or a salad bar or get gastic bypass and eat a blueberry and two cashews. Stop trying to take away the “good” bad things that life offers…some of us know how to moderate and balance the good from bad without having the metabolism of a jack rabbit on crack.

END RANT:

Now that that’s cleared up, let’s get three cheers for McDonalds double cheeseburgers! Look, they are a buck-fifty and the perfect Saturday afternoon meal. For me anyways. Even though I severely punish myself with exercise the next day. So, the test…I went to my local McDonalds in Eagle River prior to my L.A. trip. I’m convinced this one has the worst service of all McDonalds, but I go anyways, because it’s nearly fifteen miles to the next closest. Upon opening my wrapped up bundle of big boy delight, I find that it looks like someone played a full game of rugby with it first.

Observe:









So, after the disappointment at Jay and Silent Bob’s, I hoped to make up for it with another test. I order a double cheeseburger from the L.A. McDonalds…quality test is on. And, low and behold, this burger rocks! The standard is impeccable. The bun is aligned with the meat, the cheese evenly spaced, the condiments spread around rather than tossed like a hacky sack. And it tastes just as luscious. L.A., if nothing else, has better double cheeseburgers than Alaska….

Are you hungry for one yet? I’ll be right back…

The following day we trekked to Hollywood. It was my first time into the foray and I was interested to see what all the fuss was about. Apparently, it’s about what happens when people are encouraged to freely express every little thing about themselves in public.

Every type of the freakiest of freaks roams the walk of stars, some in costume and some…in costume. You can get your picture taken with a black Batman, Spider-man with his shirt untucked or even Master Chief from Halo. The strip is lined with tons of stores, some interesting, some not, some selling the same tourist shit as the other.

The stars were interesting, but you have to ask yourself why. I mean, we’ve seen Harrison Ford’s name onscreen and in print, etc, so why is it so great to have his name on a slab on the street? Not to be a spoilsport, but maybe we should ask these questions from time to time and maybe we won’t have to be subjected to every little thing that pop culture throws our way, like “The Hills” and Fidel Castro style hats.

Below is a picture of me with my favorite star of all time. Actually, I have no idea who he is, which is exactly why I had my picture taken with his star. It felt lonely and I haven’t even Googled his name to find out who he is. I’ll leave it to you. In the meantime, let us celebrate Richard Boleslawski for all of his accomplishments in Hollywood…whatever they may be.

The main hub, which is near Mann’s Chinese theater is abuzz with activity. It looks like a concert is either about to begin or end. Then there is a massive outdoor mall that never seems to end and circles around and around and I’m pretty sure I saw kids that have been missing off of milk cartons for years trapped within its grasp.

Luckily, we were able to escape. One thing I did notice was the fact that California malls and outdoor areas all seem to have some kind of “water” thing going on. Water shooting out of the ground, from fountains, misting, you name it. And, wherever that water is, you will find half naked Hispanic children playing in it. I don’t know what it is about Hispanic children that draw them toward these fountains of glee, but they love that shit more than Asian kids love seizure inducing anime cartoons.

It seems every race or ethnicity has their own inclination to certain things as kids. Call it geographical, genetic, even stereotypical, whatever, there is plenty of truth there. White kids, in particular, always seem to find their way into mud and sand. Who can explain these things?

So, the last big hoorah for us before the wedding day and that cramped flight back to the last frontier we decided to do Universal Studios. Here’s the thing about theme parks; I’m too fucking old. I have no kids and I don’t belong there. There comes a point in your life when Six Flags is a chore. It’s not fun. It sucks. Either way, call it for the sake of doing it, we go to Universal Studios.

Surprisingly, I had no idea that they had an entire “downtown” area that precedes the park entrance. This was really cool, with lots of interesting shops, eateries, etc. We spent a good hour wandering around there before even venturing in.

Once in we started the jaunt from ride to ride and after the first two, I was already feeling the throes of old-mandom. We waited near an hour for the Jurassic Park ride, which was fun, but nothing special. The problem with most theme parks is that the technology just can’t keep up. The dinosaurs looked like something you could buy in the Halloween aisle at Target. And they sprayed water on you. Whoop-de-fuckin’-do. Now, If a dinosaur reached out and bit the head off of one of the patrons on the ride, THAT would be something to get excited about. I’d wait another hour to do that one again!

We went on the Backdraft ride, which is more like standing still and watching flames dance around. It was cool enough, but again, suffers from the lapse in technology. Another ride that I’d heard about for years was the Terminator 3D ride, which was cool and fun, but super, uber cheesy. They have actors that look like the actors onscreen stage acting along with the theater screen, which is pretty cool. However, I think I annoyed some people when I kept interrupting and yelling out, “That’s not Linda Hamilton!” continuously. I think she even fired some blanks from her M4 at me.

In the end, it was a fun trip, but I’ve really got to resolve to stay away from theme parks until I have bastard offspring to bring with and tear the joint up. I don’t need to be viewed as an old couple visiting Crobar at this stage in my life.

Wedding Day:

I decided to wear my Dress Blues for this little shindig for two reasons: 1) It’s cheaper than renting a tux b) It gets attention, c) I’m proud to be able to d) chicks dig a man in uniform. All those wonderful reasons still don’t lessen the fact that Dress Blues are the most uncomfortable outfit to wear EVER. The suit is sized to fit me, but that makes little difference. It feels like a suit of armor and makes you sweat like Chris Farley during a live sketch on SNL.

Our journey to the wedding is a long trek into the hills and thank God for Carla. That chick led us nearly right to it, but holy fuck was it a long drive. We nestled into a cabin-esque California cove for a modest, yet elegant ceremony. All in all, it was a nice time and even though every picture I am in has me looking the exact opposite direction of everyone else it turned out well.

On departure day we had only one thing in mind; In and Out Burger. Our friends had raved about it and told us that it was our duty to go and to order our food “animal-style.” I don’t know where the term comes from, but man, that shit was good. Cheese and onions and special sauce and 250,000 calories later I was mos def satisfied.

Below are the remnants of our experience:











And so, safely seated in our plane back to the “real” world we had many great memories to reflect on. Wifey and I sat back and talked about our trip and what it meant to us:

WIFEY: I had a great time. Did you?

ME: Yeah, it was good. Better than I anticipated.

WIFEY: What was your favorite part of the trip?

ME: Seeing family and friends, visiting the Promenade, the Hollywood walk of fame, Universal studios, the shopping, buying t-shirts, and just being around people I love, like you.

Wifey stares, then does a slow roll of her eyes, never breaking contact.

WIFEY: So…you liked the strippers best…

I put my headphones on and lean back with a smile on my face, cracking open a copy of Tarantino’s “Inglorious Bastards.”

ME: …Don't blame me for your dad knowing how to party.

We ascend into the sky and I look out at the lights disappearing into the distance. I really need to vacation more.

And one last thing...







2 comments:

agent y said...

ok, so, WOW is all I can say. You saucy bitch. Oh, wait...that's two things. One last thing. Imma need you to align SOME of your pics to the right...becuase my left brain is creaming. I JUST wrote creaming and I meant screaming.

My fingers did it.

That's what SHE said.

mr.boy said...

"I’m not a waifish Emo kid that eats air for food and drinks his tears like a milkshake."


I, good sir, as always, was mos def entertained by your colorful storytelling.

You have a gift, my friend. Go and share it with the literate people of the world.