Fear and Self-Loathing

Fear and Self Loathing Title ImageI met a woman at a party. (One of many women, heh, heh…) Okay, I’d been drinking. We talked for a bit…I can’t remember how long. Like I said, I had a few in me. I do remember we differed in our appreciation of fireworks. (I liked loud booms, she liked pretty lights). But apparently I gave her my card. A drunk Halcyon is a self-promoting Halcyon.

So she looked up prehensile.com and sent me a couple emails.

Then she sent me an email asking if I would be her date to her High School Reunion in Las Vegas the following weekend. She already had airline tickets and hotel reservations.

Whoa.

Half of me says WARNING! WARNING! STAY AWAY! The other half is screaming, “What a crazy story this would be!”

Halcyon at the Airport Desk

Aside from the fact that she could be a crazed sociopath, I had mixed feelings about going to Vegas.

I’m not really a big fan of the place. Its an artificially created destination. If it had its own culture worthy of visiting, they wouldn’t have faux-cultures for each themed casino. “New York, New York” has a Statue of Liberty Replica. “Luxor” has replicas of Egyptian landmarks. It gives me the willies. I wonder if parents believe that taking their kids to see the replica of Michaengelo’s “David” in Caesar’s Palace is an inexpensive equivalent to visiting Italy? Culture PLUS gambling!? And where are the performing white tigers in Europe? In Italy, you can’t even get ice in your soda. That vacation decision is a no-brainer.

And when you get beyond the theme-park facades, Las Vegas is a sin-pit. All the excesses are allowed and encouraged. Drink hard. Fuck whores. Gamble. That’s the norm is Las Vegas. It almost takes the fun out of excessive behavior. Crossing the line is half the fun of being deviant.

I think Vegas fell when they started putting “SPIN” buttons on slot machines instead of making people pull the lever. If pulling the lever is too labor-intensive for you, you need to take a step back and look at your life.Walking on the Tarmac

But as much as Las Vegas sickens me, it holds a groin-tickling fascination as well. Some of this feeling is due to my love and admiration of Hunter S. Thompson and his “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”

Thompson pioneered Gonzo Jounalism. This was a method of not reporting on an event, but reporting from within it. For example, in Fear and Loathing, instead of writing about the motorcross race he was supposed to be covering, he wrote about the drug crazed adventures he got into while in Las Vegas hotels for the event. The event is secondary. Just a backdrop for his personal storytelling. Hunter was hugely influencial for me. The main charater is the author, himself. And if you’ve read a Tale or two, you know that prehensile.com dabbles in that formula, as well.Within the Terminal

My dynamic with my “date” worked perfectly with the Gonzo setup. She doesn’t know me from Adam. She’s never seen me sober. For all she knows, I never AM sober. She only knows me from what I’ve written on Prehensile.com. Based on my stories about masturbating and assorted lunacy she wants to take me to Vegas.

She’s begging for a weekend of Fear and Loathing.

I HAD to go.

This was a perfect Gonzo opportunity! I could be anyone I wanted. What would I tell her old classmates?
“Hi, I played bass in the band, Europe. Yeah, you might remember our hit, ‘The Final Countdown?'”

or
“Yes, I produce adult films. My ‘Deep Inside the Ass-Master 2000’ series is selling fantastic overseas right now. In fact, we’re always looking for new talent…here’s my card.”

As we boarded the plane to Vegas, my mind started wandering. I was kinda worried that she was going to return her tray-table to the seat-back in front of me and confide, “You know, I actually don’t have a reunion this weekend. We’re going to visit my parents. They think we’ve been married 3 years. Our daughter’s name is Yolanda. And you’re an Electrical Engineer.”

Before I left, I forwarded her email to my brother and said, “If there’s no new Tale of the Week on Monday, track down this woman and have her show you where she disposed of my body.”Boarding the Airplane

Well, I got back last Sunday. Did I do it? Did I go Gonzo?

Seeing Fear and Loathing in the theatre recently reminded me why I will never be Gonzo. Hunter S. Thompson is Gonzo at the expense of those around him. When reading the book, my mind’s eye created cartoonish scenes of his antics. Seeing his behavior inflicted on real people in the film turned my stomach. I’m just too concerned about other people’s feelings, whether it be my date, her unsuspecting classmates, or the guy who trades buckets of quarters in for paper bills.

So I lost a few bucks in the slots, saw “Everest” at the Caesar’s Palace IMAX, caught up on my sleep, and was pleasant as pumpkin pie at the reunion.

The only Gonzo I feel an identity with is the muppet. I haven’t decided yet if I’m disappointed or proud.

My Ass Was Blurred on MTV

*I’m going to start posting some of my favorite Prehensile.com Tales here to add them to my WordPress database. **

I was one of the subjects of an MTV documentary called “Sex2K: Naked on the Web.”

Background:

In Jan of 2001, I was contacted by MTV News and Docs division. They were looking for people to film in a show about sex online. I told them about Globalgasm (which had JUST started) and they started drooling.

Filming

They flew out and filmed for a day. After meeting us, they altered the “script” of the show to be more focused on us.

Then they flew out and followed us with cameras for 4 days. They filmed a party at our house. Fire dancing friends. A night out at a club. Daily Life. Lots of interviews with me and the housemates. And two Globalgasm nights.

FYI: Having an MTV film crew entourage follow you to your favorite dance club can be a surreal treat.

The documentary was originally supposed to air in June 2001. It was postponed, then 9-11 happened, then postponed again.

The original version of the show was rejected by the MTV standards committee. MTV has been humbled by lawsuits over the last year and was afraid that the sex-positive message was dangerous to broadcast to children.

The director told me, “It was perfect for HBO’s ‘RealSex’…unfortunately, much of MTVs audience is 13-18.”

The director shot additional footage and re-edited the show to show more of the negative consequences to being naked online. They blurred out all our URLs so kids couldn’t find our sites. They removed the scenes of fire dancing. They even altered the audio so you didn’t hear us say “globalgasm” out loud. As one person commented, “it sounded like you were saying, “Gulpgasm.”

The new version of the show was scheduled for June, then finally aired on July 4th 2002.

The Show

Overall I was pleased with the show. We were the center of three basic story lines and then miscellaneous commentary by “internet users.”

There was 7 minutes of me, Globalgasm, and TheRealHouse.

Aside from the fact that they kinda played up the “Hal and his Harem” angle, I thought those 7 minutes were awesome. The other stuff was…predictably lame. The person who got the worst out of the deal was “Adam” the voyeur. He had a pet pig, and they attached an image or sound of a squealing pig to most of his commentary. He was clearly made out to be the stooge (and it made his criticism of us sound weak).

The ending was misleading and made it look like the projects are over. Considering the pressure from MTVs lawyers,however, this editing decision makes sense.

In my mind, the show ends when I say, “I have hope for the world.” And NOT when Leilani, in her born-again enthusisam, accuses her ex-housemates of being weird and crazy. At least the show put her comments in perspective when they put text on the screen saying that she left the house and “found god.”

My favorite part was a 6 spilt-screen scene. My head in interview jumps from screen to screen as scenes of sexiness play in the other 5 screens.

“I recognize that living like this is not normal…People email us and say, ‘sex is something that should be private and sacred!’ Wha?! Those are two different things ‘private’ and ‘sacred.’ Church is sacred, and its not private. It is too bad that things that are sacred, meaning that they are core to our existence, should be hidden and shameful.”

Did I say that? Right on!!

Twenty years ago I remember telling my cable company, “I want my MTV.” I had no idea they would someday want me, too.