Misinformed X-Files Tourism in the Southwest

from email dated march 7th 2012
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so i stayed in tucson on monday and started driving towards roswell cause I thought it’d be kitschy and i’d meet some awesome people. it wasn’t what i thought it’d be. it’s just a town.

the UFO crash happened some 75 miles away from town. i didn’t know that till i checked into the hotel and wiki’d the city and incident. i probably should have wiki’d roswell before I drove there but I flipped a coin to decide if i should go and that’s chance for ya

the drive through white sands missile range made it all worth while. white sands is where the trinity test occurred. the history of the world changed forever in this desert and there are so many ruins of little structures and towers popping up out of the ground. thousands of them. i wondered if they had names that are still in use and if they are still in use.  the basin is huge and it’s all for testing. google maps doesn’t list anything in the gray area it’s zoned in, but there’s a lot there. i wiki’d it at the hotel that night: now the military shares it with NASA. it was like stepping back in time to the cold war…

i had to exit the highway and go through military check point. the mp who spoke asked if i was an american citizen. they other mp didn’t say anything. i asked mp1 if he wanted to see my id, he said no. he asked where i was going and i said roswell and both mps laughed. that was it. they let me through. going through military checkpoints near nuclear weapons is lots easier than flying.

white sands had some tests happening but i didn’t stick around cause i hate modern explosion stuff (they look way better in black and white) and i was really excited about getting to Roswell which you know, sucks. why’d i trust x-files and conspiracy documentaries on tv over a pre-wikipedia?

until miami,

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little structure on a hilltop; little structures this one's [probably] an observatory; little structures on a hilltop, do they still have names?

So Much California

i liked california. you know the song “hotel california”? of course you do: a guy goes to california to hang out and can’t leave but the song’s really saying “why leave? it’s alright here”. well i was driving route 99 and the song came on the radio and i had this moment where i was actually experiencing the song except for the part about “the beast” because that line is an inside dick joke to steely dan and i don’t know them and find a lot of their catalogue boring.

have you ever felt like something you were blogging about made perfect sense except for one thing? that’s “the beast” and most steely dan

*california will have the last laugh: its curse will echo in my car for the next week.

The Heart Castle RPG

hearst castle – i wasn’t feeling very well and it’s valentine’s day but not because it’s valentine’s day; i simply wasn’t feeling well. i’m ok being alone on valentine’s day and not-valentine’s-days because i’m not one for settling tho sometimes… i’ve been known to make exceptions. there are three options for tours: grand rooms, upstairs suites, and cottages & kitchen. i chose the grand rooms tour because it’s next. we can’t wait around for tours all day can we? no we can’t

william randolph hearst was the first media tycoon. the only child of a wealthy miner and the inspiration for citizen kane. he spent 30 years building his unfinished palace on the top of a mountain overlooking the ocean. there’s a lot of money in yellow journalism and wealthy parents

a school bus takes visitors up the winding road to “la cuesta encantada”. i climbed on and got a seat by myself. everyone else was coupled up. holding hands. holding each other. reading pamphlets. staring at the guy sitting alone in dark clothes, coughing, chanting “what- the- fuck- this is nuts- what- the- fuck-”

alex trebek narrated the bus ride up.

at the top of the mountain we’re greeted by our tour guide, rick. he’ll take us inside the castle and talk at us for forty-five minutes before setting us free to enjoy the grounds on our own. he’s in his 40’s and charismatic in a vegas lounge lizard who does tourist tours during the day kind of way. the delivery of his script is like a dry run of a high school play: fast and abrasive, insincere

“folksssss mr hearst looooooooooved entertaining-and celebritiessss were regular guests here. at. the-ranchhhhh. it was not uncommon to-find the likes of…… clark gable- greta garbo- cary grant- joan crawford but for those of you young people that’s your ben affleck, courtney cox, ashton kutcher, and kim kardashian” skjenfkjewnr fjh serjv wejfnaw No they are not!!

hearst bought entire rooms of 16th century castles and kept them in storage for decades while he tailored his enchanted slope for them. exotic animals grazed on worldly plants across 60 miles of private land. it is entirely self-contained: it’s own water source, power station, and farm. the only rule for guests is “no shacking up unless married”

rick had the old couples eating out of his hand as he led us from room to room but i felt his affectation like an icicle on the skin of my empathy. i didn’t say a word and smiled the best i could cause it’d be wrong to disrupt The Other’s experience, but he knew. he knew i wasn’t entertained and he knew i was insulted by his lack of free form and inability to match golden-age celebs with their “of this generation”s.

after a short movie he let us go. the rest of my time at hearst castle was spent in the sun: taking pictures of the grounds, chilling by the neptune pool, throwing up in the bathroom without asking rick’s permission. i don’t want to write extensively about rick because this is a positive and uplifting blog of my American experiences but if you gave me $25 for a rick tour i’d spend forty-five minutes comparing him to a lawnmower | rosebud…

the gift shop was closed by the time i got back to the visitors center but i was feeling much better

alex trebek narrated the bus ride down.

listening to raw material’s time and illusion (1969)

Soaring the PCH

the accord was pushed to its limits as i soared the curves of the coast. the prisoner built, new deal funded california state route 1 was my wind for hunting sunsets and skeletons. i love this road.

celebrities like clark gable stayed at the santa maria inn on the way to hearst castle. the “historic hotel” was upgraded in 1988 and has stayed the same since. it wasn’t worth half the asking price. the holiday motel next door wasn’t worth the two shrimp cocktails they charged. the all-night partiers in the local meth scene had set up camp there. the frenzy had been raging at least a few weeks if not longer. why did i feel it was acceptable to juxtapose such a magnificent day of driving with a real life i am legend? is saving seven shrimp cocktails that important? apparently.

above is the one from sonic 2, level 7 – oil ocean

i picked up a couple hitchhikers, wwoofers (world wide opportunities on organic farms). they stay at organic farms and trade work for room and board. they’d been standing at a bend in big sur at dusk for over an hour waiting for a lift. i barely saw them when i flew past. i picked them up and recorded the conversation because my mom reads this and i want to show her how good i am at hitchhikers. i could probably start picking up all the hitchhikers. even the ones who clearly aren’t the type to stay at hostels. that could be my thing: driving really fast on dangerous mountain roads and eluding knives as i pick up all the hitchhikers. fuck it


i love la. it’s not everywhere that everyday is a live-action sunset boulevard (1950).

generations of pioneers have found the american dream in los angeles, california: a bliss of consumption and an awakening of spirit across 4,850 square miles of coast, mountains, desert, fashion, music, movies and glorious chain homogeny. i spent most of my time in hermosa beach ’cause i like beach more than city right now. it’s probably ’cause i’m more like a phoenix than i was before i started becoming like a phoenix. a man phoenix. the real man phoenix. trans am.

Las Vegas: small and clean other places

my brother, michael, and his wife, katy, are meeting me in vegas. it’s their first vacation since they had my niece almost three years ago. my brother’s a lot like me though you wouldn’t know it till you’ve let him in – that’s how he gets’ya | that’s how he got’er

i didn’t take a lot of photographs. its pointless to take a lot pictures of las vegas. everything looks like the mall or some other place but small and clean: small and clean new york / small and clean ancient rome / small and clean pirate ship…. maybe i took photographs…

a casino-none of casino security is ok with cameras anywhere. it doesn’t matter what hotel/casino it is or how much of a dump it is or how tragic that man was- you’re not allowed to take photos on a casino floor no matter what. they’re not going to ask again

 the aria’s do not disturb / maid service door-hanger is now a convenient a light switch

on the strip, a lot of mexicans flick full-color double-sided business cards of prostitutes at tourists. they wear shirts with big-block letters that read “girls direct to you in 20 minutes”. i helped them pass the cards cards out. katy got me one of their shirts. FLICK

one of blackjack dealers told me that if i call i shouldn’t expect the girl on the card to come. he also said i should tell the girl that this is my fantasy and i won’t pay if she cums. he was fat, sported spiky blonde hair and wore the kind of rings guys who buy rings at spencers wear. he told me table dealers are the gods of the hotel/casino employees and all the janitors and maids rush to open doors for him- huge money says he’s you know…insanely good at xbox live.

i won a lot of money and i spent it all.