MAY, 2003 E.V.
COYOTES CAN'T EAT MY SILVER COLEMAN
On Friday, May 2nd, Camella, Kat, Stacey and I (Blair) left on a weekend road trip to Las Vegas. On Saturday, we planned to camp near Highway 375 (the so-called ET Highway), hoping to do some star gazing on the near moonless night. Later, we would take a drive to the perimeter of the famous secret military installation designated on government maps as AREA 51, with a scheduled Sunday afternoon trip to Tikaboo Peak on the east side of Tikaboo valley, one of two known locations where civilians can still view the Groom Lake base (albeit from 26 miles away). The strenuous, hour-plus hike (without any porters to carry my stainless steel Coleman ice chest) was actually the main reason for our making the trip. We wanted to check the feasibility of placing a web-cam on Tikaboo, in hopes of capturing any black budget activity over the base.
BLAIR'S APARTMENT: THURSDAY, 7:33 PM
A phone conversation with the little hor... ticulturalist in a soft monotone:
"... I'm going to show you a white-lined Sphinx hummingbird moth... Yes, that's right, honeybutt... Hyles lineata... better than riding a horse... Don't worry, it will happen... I usually see at least one of the magnificent things hovering out there just before sundown... Yes sundown, that's western talk... when the bats come out... So what are you doing?... Baking cookies for the trip... How much sugar is in these cookies?... None? No sugar... Honey instead... Bee barf... Well, just be sure to get plenty of rest... because you're gonna need it... And don't forget to bring a pillow... and some Tiger Balm... just kidding... I'll see you at eleven... Be here at eleven... and I'll drive... Don't be late because we have to beat the traffic out of LA... Do you have any pomegranates?.. I'll be ready at eleven... Hummingbird moth... I love you... Bye... "
HAND CAR-WASH: TUESDAY, 6:30 PM
While walking up to Trader Joe's to get a bottle of TeJava iced tea, I (Blair) see Adam & Camella getting their (almost) matching Jeep Cherokees washed of a peculiarly resistant layer of plutonium-laden dust. Camella flashes her beautiful smile and says, "I had a great time." Adam offers me a piece of "spicy" gum, dropping several of the red balls in the process. Chewing away, I proceed...
LN 34.6: GROOM LAKE ROAD, NEVADA (AREA 51) - AT MILE 6.5 (MEDLIN RANCH COMPOUND)
Stacey (surfer girl/ hor... ticulturalist) and I (Blair) are listening to Phillip Glass ' 1000 Airplanes On the Roof (as I've done on about 40 trips to the perimeter of Area 51 since 1989) while driving my rented SUV down the well-maintained dirt and gravel track which will take us to the warning signs at the 13.8 mile mark. Glancing at the rear-view mirror, I laugh a the calculated storm of plutonium-laden dust that has all but obscured Camella's Jeep Cherokee... that which I (Kat) am piloting. I (Blair) turn to Stacey and laugh, "That shit's hard to clean off." Off to the left, lights appear out of nowhere and then disappear. We've got the 'cams' (security patrols) attention. I (Blair) hit the brakes and pull over. A frazzled and slightly dusted Camella rolls her window down next to me, gazing expectantly into my knowing eyes. "Is it a go?" I (Blair) ask. She gives me a shaky but committed thumbs-up. "I've got a disposable camera in case they take it away," she says. But I (Blair) tell her: "But the sign doesn't say that they'll take your camera away... it says that they can kill you." An even funnier look on Camella's face. We proceed towards the restricted area.
KAT'S APARTMENT: TUESDAY, 11:04 PM
We've downed the last 2 Coronas left from the trip (remnants of Cinco de Mayo) in our brand new stubby-holders that I (Kat) purchased at the Little Ale'Inn. (I tried handing Blair the blue one but realized by the look of horror on his face, that one was mine and the purple one was, of course, his.) We proceed to write, knowing that it will be a word battle from here on out.
BLAIR'S APARTMENT: FRIDAY, 10:30 AM
My phone rings. I answer by saying, "Way too early." It's Camella wanting to know if I am ready to go. Actually if this were a reality TV show and there were cameras on me, she would know that I made a fatal error in calling "Iceland*" at 9:34 PM the night before. Therefore, invariably, I had been up all night watching my supply of brandy and cognac disappear at a rather remarkable rate (in particular, a special bottle that Danny gave me for my birthday - an ingenious idea for a gift, believing that he would partake in its ultimate demise), sealing my own doom.
* From an email to a 'friend': "I wanted to tell you about something funny that happened at Ben's show the other night. As you know, I recently wrote something about my ficticous Icelandic goddess on the Toolband site, having also recently posted something about Ben's "Lotus Eater" show at the Knitting Factory on St. Patrick's Day (see: "He Poured a Pint of Guinness over Benny's Boots.") Well, as it turned out, a real-life Icelandic goddess turned up at the show, asking "Where is Blair?" She was delightfully drunk, and, in the process of maintaining this admirable standard, accidently spilled a pint of Guinness over Benny's boots (actually he was wearing sneakers but still you get the idea).
I (Blair) spent the last hour admiring the view. While doing so, "Iceland" says "You know what would be good right now... that TeJava iced tea of yours." After finishing a glass, and knocking over three brandy snifters, she exits. Moments later Stacey arrives from San Diego and walks into "the night before." A galaxy of candles reflecting off glasses on my Kaboom-clean carpet. With an accepting, sweet surfer-girl smile -- the smile of a girl that's going to see a hummingbird moth -- she says, "Damn you, Blair." Still a little drunk, I say "You have to drive... after all you have three hours experience under your belt already." (The only thing I could think of.) "Drive to see the hummingbird moth" ... But first, Stacey wants to get some "In and Out." We get a couple of number #? combos, whereupon Stacey notices that there is a Biblical quotation on the bag. It's from Revelation. In that it's our policy at Toolband.com not to quote the Bible (unless it's a funny quote), we won't. But suffice it to say, I threw the bag of shit into my stainless steel and incredibly expensive Brabantia trash receptacle. I then tried one of her bee-barf cookies (specially made without raisins). It was glorious...well, delicious, anyway.
TOOL LOFT: FRIDAY, 1:30 PM
Surfer-girl Stacey wants to give Danny a plate of the bee-barf cookies. Danny is passed out cold on the couch, but Shepherd (Pigmy bassist) walks in with a bag of BK and Danny stirs. I (Blair) say, "Hey, some of us can't afford to sleep all day... some of us are going to Area 51... to see hummingbird moths." Like a Genie garage door opener with waning batteries, Danny manages to raise a lid: "You're insane, Blair." Shepherd, with one eye on Stacey (surfer-girl), and knowing that Camella and Kat are in tow gives him a "I don't think he is" look. Stacey's cookies delivered, as I'm about to leave, I look back at my Lodge Brother and say, "And yes.. I am insane."
TOOL LOFT: FRIDAY, 1:30 AM
Meshuggah after-show. Fifteen Tommy's chili-cheese-burgers and five fries later, the Kiwi driver meets Victor Charlie. Party in progress. (Use your imagination.) Long haired Swedes and rapidly dwindling bottles of Vodka. Smoke fumes from diverse fields. Blair enters with "Iceland" as I (Kat) discuss the benefits of 25 shows in 30 days with Gustav of the good nipples. Cut to 2:59 PM. Blair is herding people out the door with cries of,"I have to get to Big 5 in the morning to get long-johns for Kat!" Little did we know that Adam and Camella were coming, direct from the first screening of "X-Men 2" to interrupt Shelee and Justin's early exit to rescue the dogs from the bedroom. We (Blair, "Iceland", Sash and Kat) made it out just in time so that Blair could get up early to buy my (Kat's) long-johns..
KAT'S APARTMENT: TUESDAY, 11:52 PM
We're getting so wasted on our third bottle of wine as we write this that Blair just told to write the TOOL LOFT: FRIDAY, 1:30 PM scene again.I elbow him, putting a fresh ice cube in his glass of Chardonnay, and tell him: "Let's proceed."
PEPPER MILL LOUNGE, LAS VEGAS: FRIDAY, 12:37 AM
Blair: "Kat, are we drinkers that write or writers that drink?" Camella: "You're definitely drinkers that write." Vegas-style Mai-Tai's and champagne cocktails. Camella is horrified by the newly added TV monitors hypnotizing us with "Divas Live." ? Blair agrees until he catches a glimpseof Kylie's a** then says to Camella, "I whole-heartedly agree."
STRATOSPHERE TOWER, LAS VEGAS: SATURDAY, 11:36 AM
Camella is buying us lunch. We stare up the tower in anticipation until we get to the security gates: "DRESS CODE." The words loom over me (Kat) in my tank top, jeans and thongs (flip-flops) like an angry parent with a belt. With a sigh they pat us down and let us pass, only stopping us briefly for the obligatory photo in front of the blue screen: "You in Vegas!" Not a pretty site by any standard. We proceed to the top in record time (we think). We're all hungry and ready to eat what Camella said she'd pay for. Just as the food is about to arrive, and knowing that we're logically hungover, Camella shares this story: (operatic, crescendoing shrilly voice) "I walk outside the other day and there's a dead rat with its guts shat out from the poison, as that sometimes happens. But on top of the shat-out rat guts, there's a pile of shit from another animal." Camella throws her hands up in the air and her voice gets even more shrill, "With all this space, what in the f*** kind of creature needs to shit on a dead rat with its guts hanging out?!" And I (Blair) was just about to eat my sandwich. Kat and Stacey choke on their Bloody Mary's.
TROPICANA MOTEL 6*, LAS VEGAS: SATURDAY, 4:02 PM
*Camella and I (Kat) have dogs."What the hell is that?" the black security guard says to Stacey, pointing to her DannyCarey.org t-shirt. "You're a witch, aren't you? You're practicing witchery!" Stacey smiles the kind of smile that shows that she is tolerant of anyone who doesn't understand these kind of things. She says, "I'm just looking for the closest grocery store." To which the security guard offers a comprising smile and gives her good directions. Stacey flashes her sweetest smile and says, "Thanks, now I won't have to put a spell on you."
KAT'S APARTMEMT: WEDNESDAY: 2:01 AM
Blair keeps digressing to how sweet Stacey's smile is, but with each sipof wine I (Kat) try to steer him back to our story. Flaws and all... We decide not to edit or spell check it, just to see how we do under such wonderful conditions.
SOMEWHERE ON HIGHWAY 93
Stacey looks over at me (Blair) with a frantic expression on her face and asks "Did you get my pillow?" "No," I say "You should have got it youself...It's your pillow." She starts mock crying, "We left my pillow* back at theTropicana Motel 6." She picks up a sweatshirt and rests her head on it. She's smiling again. The sweetest smile of all.
* this was her "perfect" pillow with a special pillow case that she'd had since she was a child.
VONS ON TROPICANA BLVD - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SATURDAY 3:03 PM
Kat asks me if I have her Long-Johns. I have no idea what she's talking about.
LN 31.7, CAMPING SPOT: SATURDAY 5:59 PM
Blair's been out here about 40 times. I've never been here so this is my account for all you virgins out there. On the way out the weather is dramatic, aggressive, extreme. We (Camella and I) wonder if we should turn back to the 'safe' haven of Las Vegas. But Blair urges us on, Stacey the calm one by his side. We press on into the ominous black thunderheads, surrendering our hesitations to the inevitable over a case of Corona with a shot of Patron Unknown. We arrive, drink margaritas,throw the ball and watch the beasts foam at the mouth. How do we not belong here? The bats that Blair promised never arrived, the coyotes never yipped and yapped, but Blair did show the surfer-girl his hummingbird moth. It was a promise fulfilled, and she was full of joy watching as it hovered over a desert flower. Before the sun drops we climb the ridge to see what will afront us in the hours to come, but as Blair and Stacey* construct our flames for food, the clouds pass and we feast on steaks, southwest-spiced potatoes and complex salsa-guacamole dips (not to mention, Kat's veggie burger which is done in record time and leaves the carnivores astonished, especially Blair.)
*Stacey actually assembled the Rite-Aid grill, as Blair is better at "other"things.
TROPICANA MOTEL 6, LAS VEGAS, FRIDAY 6:05 PM
Stacey lets out a scream. "Moths!... Get rid of them, Blair!" I take a towel and chase about six moths outside before constructing margaritas. I then send Stacey to the MGM to buy a jar of salsa from the Coyote Cafe. Never one to live like a savage.
THE ET HIGHWAY (375), NV: SATURDAY, 9:08 PM
As we understand, there are two types of cows out here: black ones for night and tan ones for day. Well, fortunately we don't see shit. (Actually we did see some dried cow shit... actually lots of it, but nothing that would fess up to it). We guzzle Tecates as we drive, we listen to Cocteau Twins, Fisher-Spooner, and Bjork's latest until we pull into that trailor roadhouse known as the Little Ale'Inn. The Ale'Inn is closed (they've shortened their hours), but what do you expect when JT worked for many years in a coal mine in Kentucky prior to serving time at the Mercury test site in Nevada. Pray for his health... because he's got the coldest beers in town (actually, the only beers). So that's why they call it the Ale'Inn! On the way back we wonder again about the bike riders (not motorcycles, not motorbikes, just pedal bikes) all with their number "51" race signs on their altitude or are we really f***ed up? Blair decides they are definitely aliens trying to blend in.
KAT'S APARTMENT: TUESDAY, 2:49 AM
We are really f***ed up now, no question about it, trying desperately to remember this shit from our great trip to share with you all. Drinkers that write we are.
LN 13.8 GROOM LAKE ROAD, NEVADA (AREA 51): SUNDAY 12:44 AM
We pull up to the perimeter in our SUVs. I (Kat) am peeling off layer after layer in anticipation of taking the first (known) naked photograph in front of Area 51 (which of course does not exist). As I shiver (it is freezing cold out there), Blair walks up to my open window and says, "Is it a go?" I stupidly open my mouth and respond, not knowing there are hidden cameras and microphones in every Joshua Tree in sight, "F*** yeah, I am getting naked at Area 51!" At this precise moment, flood lights erupt out of the darkness and reign down upon us. I freeze, hypnotized. Pulling my clothes back on, I look around to the sound of 'soundless' helicopters and jeeps with banks of blinding lights. Camella falls asleep innocently and I squat on the ground with Blair and Stacey paranoidly sipping Tecate. "Let's go back to the campsite," I say, still frozen like a deer in the headlights. I (Blair) curse to any god that will listen. Stacey smiles, shielding her eyes from the lights that the cams are shining on her. You would have thought that they would have been smart enough to let me get a photo of the three girls naked by the "No Photography" sign in the forty degree weather.
KAT'S APARTMENT: WEDNESDAY, 3:29 AM
Without any nudity to write about, Blair says, "Let's crash." "What about the ending?" I (Kat) ask. "There is no ending... I'm calling an audible."