working backwards

Sasha’s amazing new album Involver spins in the black machine right now (take note, Aaron!) A cup of extraordinarily strong green tea brews at my right hand. It’s noon.

Three and a half hours earlier…

The phone rings at 8:30. Whenever the phone rings at that time in the morning I like to be up. If I’m not, I imagine that it’s the Boss: “Will, could you come over to my house? The computer is fucked up again. I don’t know what’s wrong…” and sleep is ruined anyway. So I get up. It’s Dayle. She relates her latest adventure. I yawn repeatedly, not because she’s boring me. Dayle is nothing if not a fascinating human being. I’m just operating on very little sleep. I’ve got to make some extraordinarily strong green tea.

Four and a half hours earlier…

I stretch out in bed. The world is swimming. I’m not drunk. I’m not stoned. It’s the caffeine with which I’d been plying myself. My body is confused. For the past three hours I’d been pleading with it to stay awake, cajoling it, begging it, then when that wasn’t working, propping it up with 200mgs of caffeine. And now I’m ordering it to go to sleep. No wonder the world is swimming. It’s just body confusion. And since I’m so damned tired, it takes me a long time to drift off. Please don’t let anyone call in the morning…

Three hours earlier…

I gas up the SuperHonda, stop by Sunshine Donuts in San Luis Obispo and buy a jumbo coffee and two glazed donuts (confessing which will do nothing to dissipate Joy’s strange conviction that I have an obsession with donuts) and hit the road for Los Angeles. The coffee is terrible, but hey, it does the trick at first. Just south of Buellton I start seeing things. I pull into the rest stop just north of Gaviota and stretch out. I think I sleep for about eighteen minutes, but it’s enough to take the edge off the exhaustion. Switching the music from trance to the “I Want My 80’s!” collection gets me down to Los Angeles by 3:30 AM.

Two and a half hours earlier…

Keir, Joy and I walk the fairway at the Paso Robles Mid-State Fair. Our ears still ring from the show. Joy’s in charge of the wandering. First she wants a snack, so she orders a soft-serve cone.

When Joy finds out that there’s another, even less healthy snack available on the fairway, she convinces me to buy one. We find a booth that sells them and order it up. It looks innocuous enough, don’t it?

The picture below reveals the true evil nature of this snack food.

And that’s not the worst thing they had. Have you ever imagined someone would try deep-frying a Snickers Bar? Anyway, after we finish the thing I remember that I currently belong to two gyms right now. Thank God for that.

Joy wants to pet animals, so we find the livestock. There are rows and rows of sheep, goats and pigs. The sheep are all awake. There’s too much going on for them to bother with something so useless as sleep.

The pigs, however, are all passed out.

A commotion over by one of the cattle pens draws our attention. We arrive in time to see a man thrust his arm shoulder-deep into the vaginal passage of a large cow. Apparently he hadn’t read the sign:

Unfortunately I don’t get a picture of that. Not quick enough, or too slack-jawed with surprise to remember I’m holding a camera. The calf on the ground had just come out of the cow. The vet is feeling about to make sure there were no others hanging back. The woman in the picture is the proud owner of this animal. Keir wanders on, creeped out by the process.

Incidentally, Dr. LongArm wears a shoulder-length glove.

Two hours earlier…

Boston takes the stage at the Mid State County Fair. That’s right. BOSTON. The show is pretty terrific, especially for someone like me who spent many, many hours at age seven plugged into the headphones practicing with drumsticks to the first album. The original lineup has long since changed, and Barry Goudreau is no longer with the band, but the brains and brawn (Tom Scholz) and the voice (Brad Delp) are what make Boston what it is. And they have a new bassist.


Three hours earlier…

Keir shows me around Firestone Vineyard, where he works as a wine chemist. He’s leaving his post soon, headed for the educational pastures of UC Davis to pursue a doctorate in Geography. And I’d never checked out the workspace, so I dropped in. The grapes grow here…they’re separated from the stems here…they’re crushed here… fermented… aged… bottled. I took some cool pics. Check out the buzznet stuff for more of them. This one’s my favorite:

An hour and a half earlier…

I stop by Emerald Video on my way through Santa Barbara. In case you haven’t heard of the place, it’s the premiere video store in the town of Isla Vista. In case you haven’t heard of I.V., it’s the square mile of land directly West of the UC Santa Barbara campus. It’s also the most densely populated square mile of land West of the Mississippi. No joke.

I ran Emerald Video on and off for about a decade. The crap that went down there could fill a novel. And hell, some day it might. But it was fun. And it kept me in silk and crumpets while I worked and worked and worked on perfecting the margins and typeface of the screeplays I wrote. Brook runs the place now. When I hired her back in 2001, she said she felt like she was fucking up at every turn. Luckily, I didn’t believe her. She’s an amazingly cool person, so next time you’re in I.V…

I leave Brook and head for the car. But before I hit the road, I have to stop by Freebird’s for a burrito. When in Isla Vista, it’s not possible for me to avoid Freebird’s.

Brook demos her tiny camera for me:

The Emerald Video DVD collection:

Fun with casino carpet remnants:

Two hours earlier…

I wrap up the post about Elephants and coffee. I glance at the clock. Oh man, it’s getting late. I’ve gotta hit the road if I’m gonna get up to SLO. If I make decent time, maybe I’ll swing by Emerald. I wonder if Brook’s working…?

Twenty-five hours later…

The Sasha album winds down. I’m beginning to hallucinate again. It’s time for a nap.

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