I get lost again walking through the hotel/casino I’m staying at. Never trust Mexican food from a place that sells margaritas by the yard. Never trust old ladies that look like old catchers mitts and carry their cigarettes in sequined coin purses. A man lies passed out on his shoes in the bus shelter by the Bellagio. Past the flash and glitz of “Disneyland” lies north Las Vegas. The crooked past of the city is exposed. The further north I walk on the Strip, the faces look rough and mean. Missing teeth, chiseled age lines, hollow eyes and ruined dreams manifested in each countenance. It costs $30 to go to the top of the Stratosphere. That’s Daddy’s crap money. I turn south and head back down the Strip after I realize I may get robbed and stabbed. I snap pictures of things and a crack head emerges from the darkness behind a palm tree and quips, ‘Take all the pictures you want, baby, they don’t cost nuthin’.’ A man lies passed out behind the bus shelter across the street from Frontier. I quell the urge to wake him up and tell him it would be more comfortable if he were sleeping on his shoes. Drunk fat girls drinking margaritas by the yard howl and ogle as men walk by. A punk in a Slayer shirt sings South of Heaven loudly in the middle of the street. I get propositioned by another black prostitute over the walkway between the MGM Grand and Tropicana. I hit the craps table thinking I’m White Chocolate. I lose $40 before the waitress brings me my first drink. On the walkway to the Luxor, a fat girl’s ass hangs out of her mini-skirt. I’m leaving tomorrow only $39 down. The last thought that enters my head before I drift off to sleep: I AM White Chocolate.
This town is a corporate dumpster. Drag queens on the corner ask me for spare change and menthol cigarettes. Children asleep in their strollers as parents walk them back to the hotel after blowing this month’s mortgage payment on roulette. Mexicans peddle sex on the street corners that killed our best gangster poet. Ugly people pretend to be beautiful. Beautiful people pretend to be ugly. Underage frat boys watch the Bellagio fountains with a twelve pack of Corona. The well-manicured casino landscaping smells like vomit. A black prostitute propositions me. I say ‘No thanks’ and she calls me a racist. A man in a wheelchair races his friends on the Excalibur walkway and crashes into the glass doors at full rolling speed. I lose $39 at the craps table. Tomorrow I will get an In-N-Out Burger for lunch.
Highlights from my past two weeks of travel:
- At the HOW Design Conference, I learned some new tricks, saw some awesome design work and ate deep-dish pizza and drank numerous beers with friend/former coworker Michael. I cannot wait to get back to work with renewed creative enthusiasm only to have it crushed in a matter of seconds when I am given four pages of copy and told to “make it work” on a one-sided direct mail postcard.
- Caught a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. The future wife and I soon discovered that our alcohol tolerance is much higher in the Midwest that at altitude. I spent the entire game covered in sweat due to high humidity and a broken air conditioner on the El-Train ride out to the game that was packed butts to nuts.
- Visited the Art Institute of Chicago and saw some amazing work (Picasso, an orgy of impressionism) and some atrocious work (minimalism and American Gothic). Best quote while looking at the Georgia O’Keeffe collection: “She is very vaginal.”
- The future wife and I took a beautiful sunset architectural tour of Chicago.
- Visited future in-laws in Eugene, Oregon. I found out that Eugene is almost identical to Boulder, minus the sex assaults, random rioting and the Flat Irons.
- Animal House was filmed at the University of Oregon so the future wife’s cousin took us on the Animal House tour at U of O, showing us the infamous frat house (currently vacant) and the cafeteria where the food fight scene took place.
- Drove up the Oregon coast on Highway 101 that is incredible for scenery, shitty for traffic and great for fried seafood joints.
- Spent three days in Long Beach, Washington in the heart of Lewis and Clark Country. We did the tours of various Lewis and Clark outposts, forts and landings, learned that the proper pronunciation of Sacagawea is Sa-caca-we-ah and ate a cut of fresh fish the size of our heads in Oysterville, Washington.
- The closest I got to the ocean was dipping my feet in the 42-degree water. The oceans surrounding the Columbia River are some of the roughest and most treacherous in the world. Mix that in with the fact they are as cold as an Eskimo’s vagina so swimming is not ideal (unless you are white trash parents laying out on towels “watching the kids play in the water” while smoking cigarettes).
Sidenote: After months of procrastination and toil, I finally got Broz Design up.
In a few short hours, I will be on a plane headed for Chicago and the 2005 HOW Design Conference. Once the conference concludes, the future wife and I will be hanging around the Windy City for a few days. We will be back in Denver next Thursday only to leave for Oregon the following Saturday to visit with our in-laws for the week. Posting will be minimal to none on the MB during this time. If you start going through withdrawals consider Jake, Boing Boing or Fleshbot your methadone. Especially Fleshbot. They have dirty pictures and stuff.
Designer #1: I remember you telling me that you and your girlfriend are runners. Are you running any upcoming races?
Me: We are running the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day.
Designer #2: Oh, I think I have heard of that.
Designer #3: How cool!
Me: It is a fun race. At the end you get to run around Folsom Field.
Designer #2: That’s where CU plays their home football games, right?
Me: Yes. They added a feature this year where a group of college football recruits will be sexually assaulting a drunk and incapacitated 18 year-old girl on the fifty yard line.
Designer #1: Oh … 10 seconds of silence … So, did everyone enjoy the keynote speaker this morning?
I just played a game of catch with a large hotel security guard with a Nerf football I won at the Boise Paper booth. He said the football’s colors reminded him of the of the local arena football team the San Diego Riptide. Being as the football is green and orange and the Riptide colors are blue and gray, I think he was probably stoned or, like me, had too many drinks at the hotel lounge on the 40th floor last night.
For the next two weeks I will be going on tour like a trashy hair metal band in 1988. Early tomorrow morning, my lady and I are off to San Diego where we will walk on the beach, eat fresh sea bass, patronize the new Padres stadium, visit the San Diego Zoo, watch a live donkey show in Tijuana and drink our body weight in margaritas. Sunday night, my lady flies back to Denver and I will stay in the OC for the 2004 HOW Design Conference. The HOW Design Conference lasts three days and I will be attending sessions, chilling with my old boss Michael and last year’s partner in crime Scott from Minnesota (who won a free pass to the event and will be crashing in my room, assuring me he will not go all Fear and Loathing up in that bitch) and kicking it California gangsta style by the pool with chocolate honeys and bottles of Courvoisier.
After the HOW Design Conference wraps up, I will be catching an afternoon flight to Las Vegas where my good friends Kaye and Aaron will be getting married. I will be staying in Sin City for one night, winning big at various gaming tables and drinking free watered-down whiskey as I insult professional card dealers for giving me trash.
I arrive back in Denver Thursday evening, only to catch a plane to Boise, Idaho the following morning. In a state that is synonymous with potatoes and the white power movement, I will be attending my lady’s grandfather’s 95th birthday celebration.
On Sunday, May 23, I finally make my way home to Denver exhausted and battered from almost two weeks of traveling where I plan on crawling into my king size bed and sleeping until Armageddon.
It is my first day back in the office after the HOW Design Conference in New Orleans and I have over 100 emails to sift through. While I was gone, I missed a party at CH‘s house. This morning he shot me an email describing what went down:
Here’s a funny story from the party on Saturday.
Juck took on the role of class drunk as we were wrapping up the trivia game. I had a tiebreaker where people had to hula-hoop and do shots at the same time. After the two teams failed at it (neither were Juck’s team) he decided to try it, although he wasn’t supposed to or required to. He failed miserably, and as the rather small hoop consistently fell, he tried picking it up and jumping through it like performing dogs do. That failed too. No one was amused, rather, they were scared. I was convinced his weight of jumping on my wood floor was going to knock some art off the walls. Finally, tired of trying, he returned towards his seat. He appeared to trip over a Coors Light box another team was using as a trash can. Full on like Chevy Chase, he fell into our table that was covered with plates of snacks, beers, chips, dips, etc. He landed against the edge of the table breaking the fall with his forearms. All of the aforementioned food went flying everywhere, people’s beers spilled into their laps, and the dip onto our white rug. After that, everyone was cracking on him unmercifully. Keep in mind; this was the same Juck whose Pakistani roommate broke my coffee table at a party last year.
As the night wore on, he drank more. I found him on the back deck later in the night in a deep discussion with Spotty and a couple other guys about “If you could suck your own dick, would you?” Not surprisingly, he was very vulgar. Guys he had just met that night were very uncomfortable. He was also loud. Very loud. My new neighborhood has a lot of little kids (2-6 years old) in it. So I asked him to keep it down, and he yells at me, “Hey, it’s not my fault you moved to fucking suburbia!”
I arrived back in Denver today safe and primarily sound. Aside from a wicked day-long drunk followed by a slow, mind-numbing hangover, I am in good spirits and had a great time. Last night I attended the finale party hosted by a paper company (I was too drunk to care which one) where conference goers were given free reign over a warehouse where the majority of the Mardi Gras parade floats are stored. In the midst of six foot paper-mache heads of jazz music legends, sports heroes and animals, we drank and danced the night away.
Over the course of the 2003 HOW Design Conference many relationships were established and by three o’clock this morning were solidified by toasted imbibed spirits. A design posse has now been established reaching across the North American continent. There is me, Holly and Tina from Denver, Wes from New Jersey, Scott from Minneapolis, Mark from Montreal, Dave and Beatriz from New York, Stacy from Pittsburgh, Rod from New Orleans (who gets props for taking us tourists to some of the best eating establishments in town) and whoever else I forgot to mention that I may have sat next to at a session, ate fish with at a restaurant or drank with on Bourbon Street.
Although my liver hates me, the rest of me had an excellent week.
All is well in the Big Easy on the HOW Design Conference tip. Last night’s voodoo and haunted tours were a minor disappointment. The scariest moment of the evening was being witness to a homosexual couple performing boisterous fellatio acts on each other atop a parked car on a crowded street in the French Quarter. I lost a $20 bill somewhere near Jackson Square and proceeded to drink whiskey the rest of the night. The conference thus far has been phenomenal. There is a palpable creative energy with excellent speakers like James Victore and Genevieve Gorder. This environment has not only gotten me excited about design again but has yielded two crippling hangovers.