January 26, 2004

Exclamation Points...to the Extreme!!!!!

Have extreme sports lost their edge? There was a time when every soda, candy, snack food or hamburger was advertised with a young, hip dude sky surfing, bungee jumping or skateboarding across an urban landscape with half a dozen sparklers dipped in kerosene crammed securely in his rectum.

“When I’m not doing a 360 double-fakey backside on a street luge course while pondering my next No Fear tattoo, I drink Mountain Dew. Do the Dew, Dudes!”

The promise of non-traditional athletic ability delivered by means of the latest pizza-flavored chip or cracker seems to be over.

Extreme sport competitions such as the X-games and Gravity Games still appear to thrive. These massive, heavily sponsored gatherings give closure, once and for all, to the never-ending barroom discussions on which country has the best “Inline Skating Vert” competitor (In 2003 it was Japan). Besides, how else would up and coming punk/pop bands showcase their radio-friendly aggression and spiked hair enthusiasm. Eleven year-olds can mosh to pseudo-punk songs geared towards high school sophomores with titles like “My Step-Dad’s New Girlfriend is Hot,” “Hall Monitor Prick,” and “Prom is for Fags.” A rock group of bad-boy punkers with boy-band faces -- it’s a marketer’s dream.

These events also allow spectators an opportunity to sample the latest energy “soft” drink infused with 43 heart-attack inducing herbs* (*this statement has not been evaluated by the FDA) from deep within the Amazon jungle…and a little bit of crystal meth thrown in for good measure.

Tween #1: “Man, this new drink, “Crank-in-a-Can,” rocks! I can’t stop my teeth from chattering, I can feel my hair follicles slowly growing out the top of my head and I want to punch my Dad in the face! The Amazon rules!”

Tween #2: “Well I can’t see straight and I think I just involuntarily evacuated my bowels!

Tweens #1 and #2: “AWESOME!””

Perhaps a new angle in an effort to preserve the rain forests isn’t on saving animals or the discovery of possible medicines that could cure the world’s diseases, but on protecting the previously unknown plants that can give you a killer rush. Ruining the rainforest of today will rob future generations of the energy drinks of tomorrow. Perhaps the presence of an environmental organization will give more legitimacy to the other promotions at the X-Games. We’ll put the “Tomorrow’s Wondrous Environment Accomodating Kids” (or “TWEAK”) booth next to the Latch-Key Kid brand bit-size pizza pocket poppers.

These magical 250 ml energy drinks are educational as well. The list of ingredients reads like a Dr. Seuss book:

“This drink you’ll enjoy, whether you’re a girl or a boy. It’s got Ginseng and Gingko Biloba, Fluggedy-Fleed and Pica-di-Pohba. Some Guarana to get you on your way and Whoopadeedonga to trick the FDA. This snazzy little can is full of chemicals-a-swimmin’. Not recommended for children or sissy, pregnant women.”

Yep, this is what we want in a kid’s hands before they try to concentrate on doing a back flip while roller-blading on a half-pipe made of cement. I think I preferred young people drinking a 64 ounce, super-duper-ridiculously-Big Gulp of Pepsi. At least I’ve heard of sugar and caffeine. I’m not sure what Ma Huang and McFluzzelarinium does to a little girl’s internal organs, but apparently it gives her the confidence to video tape herself skateboarding off the roof of her elementary school.

In my day, we needed PCP to jump off roofs. Kids today are so spoiled.

So what to do about the lull in extreme sports? Perhaps it’s time to introduce some new events to the X-games. Time to up the ante and give fast food restaurants and soda companies new ways to promote their products.

Am I qualified to suggest new extreme sports? While times have changed, I still think of myself as ‘Old School” as I began skateboarding 25 years ago. I rode my thin, brightly colored plastic board through the neighborhood, and the sport was still known as “Sidewalk Surfing.” Later, we got wooden decks, like they use today, except we had tons of guards on them. Rail guards, nose guard, trucks guard and even a guard for the “heel” of the board. With my cloth knee and elbow pads, the only real injury we could get was to our shoes (and ego). My Buster Brown sneakers had the heels rubbed down to sharp 45 degree slopes from sitting on my board and riding down the hills using my heels as a brake.

Man, were we lame. Then again, we didn’t have the benefits of “Crank-in-a-Can.”

While I may not be completely tapped into the extreme scene, I propose the following suggestions to grab the attention of the mainstream audience again.

1. Bungee Contact Lens Removal
One contact lens wearing participant must stand beneath a crane looking directly up with eyes wide open. The partner bungee jumps from 120 feet above to cautiously remove the standing partner’s contact lens before the cord snaps the jumper back into the air. Points are deducted for missed lens’, poked eyes and screaming “Oh my god, my eye! My eye!”

2. Body Art Algebra
Five Algebraic equations must be completed within a five-minute time limit. With a tattoo gun. On your own skin. All work must be shown, however a 3x5 card with formulas written on them may be used.

3. Sky Meal Preparation
Sky surfing, parachuting, sky diving – big deal. This event involves preparing the Indian dish Chicken Masala while freefalling from 10,000 feet. Onions must be finely chopped, chicken marinated and coriander ground before pulling parachute...or crashing to one’s death.

4. Scorpion Backgammon
This one’s pretty self-explanatory.

5. Cadbury Cream Egg Century Club Street Luge
Combining the best of eating competitions and extreme games, competitors must eat one Cadbury Cream Egg per minute for 100 minutes while racing down the hills of San Francisco on a street luge. And there’s bears chasing them...with nun-chucks. And spectators shoot paintball guns at them...but the paintballs are filled with hot oil. And those robots from the show where the robots fight each other with circular saws and spikes are also waiting for them along the course.

Oh, and there’s probably some hot girls in bikinis somewhere, too.

Posted by Kaya at 05:05 PM | Comments (8)

Beer Goggles

Jimmy and Halcyon have a few beers and get beer goggles.

30 second .wmv video. (3meg)

Posted by Halcyon at 01:56 AM | Comments (5)

January 20, 2004

Porn Convention 2004

(note: this is "adult" in nature)

Porn Convention 2004: “Money Shot as Mandala”


Tabitha Stevens asks me, "Would you pleasure me anally?" photo - Jonno

When all the porn people come together, the world gets a little bit sexier. And I’m not just talking about the eye candy.
I mean, it is glorious beyond words to see Jenna Jameson in the hotel bar or Devon in the buffet line… but there is more to a porn convention than porn stars. There is an entire industry. Directors, writers, photographers, bodyguards, PR people, amateur hobbyists, appreciative celebrities, press of all sorts, and fans.

Wrap a few thousand of these people in the decadent furnishings of the Venetian in Las Vegas, and you have a very unique environment.

You can ask for your salad with “extra Ranch, bukakke-style” and people will know what you’re talking about. You can discuss the curvature of Jake Stead’s penis while in line to pick up a convention badge. You can look people in the eye with the shame-free understanding that everyone around you is at peace with their porn.

This is more unusual than you think. I mean, I am pretty comfortable with my love of porn. But it is rare that I have 2 way conversations about it. I think about porn and sex and art a lot. So having intelligent conversations with smart, spiritual, porn-loving people is rare.

It’s not all about the sexual aspects of porn, either. It is the whole taboo sex industry scene. One cool Canadian I hung out with said, “Some guys love baseball. For me, its porn.” And its true, some guys can name off every movie a starlet has been in as if he was rattling off the number of home runs Babe Ruth got each season. A porn fan is more than someone who enjoys watching people have sex.

So while the superhuman cleavage filling the Venetian was certainly a treat, the most wonderful (and surprising) thing about the porn convention was that it proved to be an extremely fertile ground for discussing sexuality.

+++

I found myself having discussions about sex on so many levels.

  • The physical enjoyment of it.
  • The shame/pride associated with it.
  • The selling/exploitation of it.
  • The spiritual potential of it.
  • The inherent love in it.
  • The gender issues involved with it.
  • The power exchange inherent in it.
  • Etc. etc. XXXcetera.

During one personal epiphany, I found myself trying to explain the porn fan mentality to a writer friend from Rolling Stone over a lunch of noodles and tempura. Of course, since the porn experience is so varied, what I really was doing was sharing a bit of my perosnal psyche…learning about myself along the way.

I tried to explain that what hooks me to porn are those rare pure moments. Those moments when an actress is in tune with her partner – it could be a gasp, a look, or body arch. It’s the same phenomenon that makes reality TV so compelling: that even in those ridiculous scripted scenarios, we might see a glimpse of someone’s true self. An exasperated gasp or exclamation of pure joy are the pure humanness we crave.

Porn has always offered those moments. Sometimes you have to look long and hard for them (or long and flaccid, as the case may be) but they are there.

I think the true art of pornography, and of being a porn starlet is to be able to cultivate and relax into those moments, even with all the extra pressures and people around.

So, once in a while – certainly less than once per video- you come across a moment that hits all your triggers. A facial expression, a natural rhythm, or an out of breath groan -- that just seems divine. It is a glimpse of all that is pure about sexuality.
The moment highlights that connection to the transcendence possible with sexual union. The moment captures a purity. It captures a link to a level of awareness beyond the day to day. From my perspective, it is a link to the divine.

(At this point I probably need to explain that I see the sexual climax as a transcendent moment. That, when experienced fully, it is the most profound spiritual experience we experience in a day-to-day way. One reason why I am so interested in sex is because it is sort of a back-door to discuss spirituality. You can reject religion in general, but “touch god” daily with the help of a Hitachi magic wand. And, yes, I acknowledge that meditation probably provides a different type of daily transcendence, but I lack that discipline and experience at this stage in my life to speak to that.)

So, to have that transcendent moment captured on film, is powerful. Its like watching the moment when an Olympian breaks the world record…the look on their face when they go beyond themselves. Except people have these moments much more regularly in the bedroom.

I have specific fragments of porn scenes that I have watched 20, 50, 100 times.

So these video fragments (or magazine images) become like Mandalas we focus our masturbation/meditation on.

It is no wonder that a porn fan has an unexplainable connection with a porn star. In some ways, it is like meeting a saint and coming face to face with someone who has been a part of your daily spiritual/sexual journey.

Yeah, The Rolling Stone journalist was a bit skeptical, too. “Did you say, ‘Mandalas?’” she asked. But the point was that it was a legitimate conversation in this setting. And I never would have given my self the opportunity to explore the idea except in that environment. Where else on the planet would a “Money Shot as Mandala” discussion been appropriate?

+++


It has been a week since the conference. My body needed a full week to recover from fatigue and illness. I am finally feeling lucid in my head. Now I need to go back and sort through all the ideas and inspiration my dirty mind generated in that magic city of sin.

Luckily I have digital photos to remind me and a bunch of DVD samplers I picked up from the convention floor booths. Who knows…somewhere between the pizza boy’s arrival and the credits, there could be another magic mandala to find.

Perhaps it is the individual’s never-ending quest for the next mandala that fuels this billion dollar industry.
Hmmm….I guess that is a conversation for another time. Hopefully I won’t have to wait for next year’s convention to have it.

xoxo

My Tales from previous years at AVN:
+Halcyon & the Porn Factory
+ Interview with Chloe

Posted by Halcyon at 08:39 PM | Comments (26)

January 19, 2004

Baby Birthdays and Piñata Pummeling

As I enter my thirties, children become more and more a part of my life. I find myself in discussions on how many kids my fiancé and I will have, (I’m pushing for a very average 2.3 – allowing one child to be shared with two other couples) noticing that babies become cuter and cuter and spending time with friends who have little ones running around. I couldn’t be more excited or scared about entering that chapter of my life. While the transition from “Macho Jim” to “Snot-wiping Dad” is frightening, my dreams of creating a life and forcing it to believe what I believe is within reach.

Being around children means going to children’s birthday parties. I was off to attend the second birthday party for my friend’s beautiful daughter Hannah (when I pointed out that her name was a palindrome – a word that can be read both forwards and backwards – my buddy said, “So you’re going to be that guy, huh?” Maybe I’ll name my kid Splash or Crack or Drip so he can point out to him that his name is an onomatopoeia. Of course I’d be ensuring that my darling son ‘Drip’ gets beat up everyday, but what a grasp he’ll have of literary terms!)

Like usual, I stopped by a drugstore to do some birthday gift shopping. I was hoping to get her either art supplies or Chinese throwing stars – and the store was out of the latter. All of the items in the art supply department (although glitter glue and 10 pack of crayons hardly qualifies as a “department”) had “AGES 3 AND UP” posted on them.

Now, I don’t normally check age restrictions on items I buy and I didn’t know if this was an age law (like buying liquor and voting) or an age suggestion (like purchasing firearms or starring in a porno). If a two year old cruised in with money in hand, could they buy the “Three and Up” crayons? Would they need to show ID or have their friend’s older brother who drives an El Camino buy it for them? I decided Hannah was a smart girl and was probably a year (or 50% of her age) ahead and bought her some water colors and paper.

The party itself was great. Kids running around, adults drinking beer, dogs running down kids and not a single lawn dart fatality. A wonderful day to celebrate being two.

Then the parents brought out a piñata.

The excited children gathered around to take their turns with this colorful donkey-ish creature dangling from a tree like a prisoner of Muppet war. The beast’s dead eyes stared off into the distance, seemingly accepting its miserable fate. Children began warming-up, eagerly awaiting a chance to wield the broom handle of justice.

Hannah gently tapped at creature. More pushing it like a friend on the swing set than someone intent on disemboweling. After a few moments of this display of kindness, an older boy grabbed the stick and showed her how to SMACK the animal.

WHACK! SMASH! DRIP! POW!

Suddenly, much to the surprise of this adorable two year old, candy, sweet, glorious candy began to flow from the open gash on the side of this beast. The more they beat in the sides to this nearly decapitated piñata, the more life-giving candy spewed from its sides. Candy literally exploded onto the grass with each violent whacking with the broom handle.

The defeated animal had nothing left to give. It was unceremoniously pulled down and thrown away. No Tootsie Rolls, no Laffy Taffy, not even any Bazooka Joe gum was left inside the papier-mâché carcass. Such is the life of an animal whose internal organs are made up of candy.

What a curious lesson this must be for a young child. “Let me get this straight…if I whack an animal hard enough, candy will pour from it’s torso? Holy crap!”

If Hannah’s parents weren’t so attentive and loving, I may have been more concerned about the gift she received from some other friends. A new puppy – whose insides may or may not be made up of Bit-O-Honey pieces and Gobstoppers.

Posted by Kaya at 09:42 PM | Comments (9)

January 12, 2004

Possible Side Effects...

I’ll just go ahead and say it; the advertising for prescription medication is the most entertaining and humorous programming on television today. Not since Urkel was fresh on the scene have I been so entranced by TV. I love these ads! The promise of a beautiful tomorrow where gentle smiles adorn every face, soft lighting shines in every room and possible side effects may prevent you from ever enjoying a potentially social situation without dry mouth and loose stool. A harsh price for good lighting and forgiving smiles, if you ask me.

The idea of advertising for prescription drugs is a bit unsettling as it is. I don’t expect doctors to flawlessly assess every client, but I fear patients diagnosing themselves because the moderately attractive spokesperson’s message really resonated with them.

Hey Doc, I need that purple pill – like the guy eating the chili-cheese dog was taking in the commercial.”
“Actually, I recommend you don’t eat chili-cheese dogs due to your other health concerns.”
No, you don’t understand, this pill makes it okay to eat whatever you want. Trust me, I saw the ad. Everyone looked real happy in it. Great lighting.”

The real reason why I think prescription ads are the greatest part of TV is the mandatory description of possible side effects. How has practically every other product escaped this forced truth in advertising, but not prescription drugs? I cherish the moment the entrancing, thoughtful music and flowing images are shattered by the horrific list of what might happen to you if you actually used this drug.

A woman is standing in a field of vibrant daisies holding a pastel colored sheet high in the air. Her arms are stretched out in exaltation while a confident smile celebrates her serenity. The wind gently keeps the sheet flowing and her light brown hair dancing. This is how we want to feel. Then the soft, low voice chimes in like an early alarm clock harshly waking you during a dream involving spreading a thin layer of vanilla frosting on the cast of “Charmed.”

“Claritin may not be for everyone. Possible side effects include dwarfism, searing genital pain sluggishness, and thunderous diarrhea. Some study participants showed double-jointedness, the ability to communicate with toast and renewed interest in Flemish paintings, particularly the works of Van Dyke and Rubens – symptoms similar to those taking a sugar pill soaked in LSD.

Pregnant women should not take Claritin as they may give birth to a superhuman race devoid of compassion and capable of killing dolphins, otters and other mid-sized sea mammals with their ultra-advanced mind powers. Ask your doctor is Claritin is right for you.”

Whoa. I’d like to be calming smiling in a field of flowers, but does the diarrhea need to be ‘thunderous?’ I don’t think I’d smile calmly given any of those symptoms…unless the toast told me to do so.

I only wish all products had to be so honest.

Continued use of Miller High Life beer may cause unattractive people to become more sexually appealing. Late night cravings for pancakes and gravy were seen in some test subjects as well as nausea, regret and apathy. Karaoke singing and philosophical discussions should not be attempted while using Miller High Life.”

Or perhaps:

"Research showed that most purchasers of the “Thigh Master” used the product only once or twice. Subjects felt enticed by the ease of use showed in the informational commercial, but were sincerely lazier than they had believed at time of purchase. In rare cases, drunken male subjects bought the product hoping to meet spokesmodel Suzanne Sommers. The “Thigh Master” is meant as an artist addition to one’s living space and should not be used as an exercise device. "

I gotta run…I think my Claritin is kicking in. Whoa…how could I have overlooked the merits of Flemish painting for so long?

Posted by Kaya at 05:05 PM | Comments (9)

January 05, 2004

Secret Agent Science Stud

Sadly, my science career peaked when I was in the sixth grade. Using the word “career” is an exaggeration, of course, but had I stuck to the high-stakes science path I was on I’m sure I’d be growing ears on mice or creating citrus toothpaste by now. I can only assume my sixth grade science project caught the attention of the likes of NASA and several wealthy scientific benefactors operating think tanks for geniuses of the scientifical arts such as myself. I’d imagine myself in a think tank in Hawaii, working on top-secret formulas by day and seducing the bronzed Polynesian ladies at night…and solving crimes during my lunch break, time permitting. I’d be the brash, young scientist with a pierced ear and a devil-may-care attitude. I’d arrive to the Christmas parties (in my Cherry Red Ferrari with the license plate ‘200 IQ 4ME’) with a different supermodel on my arm each year. I’d have the scientific talents to back up my cocky and debonair demeanor and six-pack abs that you could pour batter on to make waffles.

That is, of course, if I hadn’t lost my edge in the academic community and showed no particular skills in any scientific arena after the sixth grade.

The sixth grade science project was not as glamorous as I had been led to believe. There was no major cash prizes, no statuettes to bring home (or prepare speeches for receiving) and very little shameless groupie sex going on. While the endorsement deals with beaker sales companies and centrifuge cleaners barely brought in enough dough to keep even a mild science habit going, the lure of my Hawaiian scientific think-tank/private investigator/gigolo gig kept my attention.

Most of the sixth grade science projects from my classmates involved mold. There must have been four or five projects titled “Where Mold Grows Best.” While mold is truly an glorious medium to work with, the necessity in understanding what part of the house mold grew best escaped me. My family threw away bread when it got moldy. Were there families who actually sought out bread with mold on it? No need to conduct time-consuming research to rot bread, just come over to my house. Was there a Mom somewhere holding a loaf of bread searching around her house for the place to most-quickly ruin her sandwiches? “Hmmm…under the sink? On top of the fridge? In the garage? We can put a man on the moon, but the government can’t tell me the best place to mold up my bread?”

Needless to say, if I was going to become a famous, wealthy and impossibly good-looking scientist I needed to separate myself from the mold-growers. As good fortune would have it, a few years before sixth grade I had come to realize that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Russians and the Tooth Fairy had something in common. They all were created to keep children in line and none of them were actually “real.” Given my Mom’s role in the existence of all of these characters (and her extreme sentimental nature) I thought she might have something to work with.

In an act both loving and creepy, my mom handed over all of my ‘baby teeth’ that had been cashed in for a quarter in years past. I had placed these little enamel investments under my pillow and assumed I would never see them again. As an agent of the tooth fairy, my mom saved all of my brother’s and my teeth. I can only hope she had the foresight that I might use them in a future science project and not something more sinister (Cloning? Making a voodoo necklace? Arts and crafts projects? Homemade dentures for babies?)

Losing teeth seems so long ago. It really is quite different from anything we experience as adults. Nothing leaves our body only to be replaced by a stronger, larger better version that fits our new body shape. When we get older, we lose hair – but it doesn’t return thicker and more full of body. We simply go bald. We lose teeth again, but we don’t get a new batch again, we just eat more soup and use false teeth.

Having a loose tooth was so promising. You were growing up, shedding your “baby” teeth and about to get some hard-earned money for that tooth. Your tongue would wiggle the imprisoned tooth relentlessly, even tonguing the tender and newly naked gums below. Then, when it was at its final stage, that tooth would hold on by one tendril – it’s last chance to remain in the mouth. Pulling on it only made it angry, but twisting it showed that this root had a weakness. It would finally be free and your mouth would have the bizarre feeling of a missing tooth awaiting the arrival of a new, adult tooth. Bigger, stronger, sharper. Put that gross, little tooth under your pillow and it’s payday time.

With two handfuls of gross, little teeth in tow, I stated my hypothesis. What part of the house would these teeth grow mold the quickest? I quickly talked myself out of that idea and settled on testing the effect of different liquids on these once proud teeth.

I used 15 teeth, each was left to soak in its own film canister of varied liquids (Yes, my mother also had dozens of film canisters available. There was always a project that might need a Popsicle stick, film canister or egg carton. Our garage looked like an abandoned convenience store with boxes of now useless products. Apparently the promise of a clever Christmas tree ornament made of pipe cleaners and Popsicle sticks is simply too good to pass up.). I had a tooth soaking in orange juice, Coca-Cola, milk, Sprite, water (for a control subject) and a few others.

For two weeks I checked in on these little cesspools of spoiling liquid and decaying enamel. Finally, when the two weeks were up, I pulled out the teeth and marked my results.

The most dramatic change was the tooth bathing in Coca-Cola. That tooth had turned nearly black and was frightening to even look at. The acidic orange juice had practically turned its tooth clear. Further research would have to be done to explain why, but my guess was it was the work of evil juice gnomes…or the Russians. What about milk? Did the calcium-rich milk gloriously keep the tooth in pristine condition? Well, perhaps my next study will be about the magical transformation that occurs when you leave milk in room temperature for two weeks. “Where does cottage cheese grow best?” Being on the cutting edge of science is a stinky business.

After my triumphant proof that soda actually is bad for your teeth (and the subsequent smear campaign against me and my scientific achievement from the Coca-Cola Corporation), I was ready for more glory. Two years later came the much more grand Eighth-Grade Science Fair.

If winning a ribbon at the sixth-grade science fair was like placing seventh in an Olympic event, a ribbon at the eighth-grade science fair was like finishing fourth. You could cut through the nerd-filled excitement with some sort of scientific cutting tool. With pre-fair buzz centered around my scientific prowess and Luden’s Cherry Lozenge addiction in elementary school, I knew I was the guy to beat.

My project title?

“Does Stretching Really Work?”

Sadly, my report could have been four words long. “Yes, stretching really works.” I suppose I could have shortened it to one word (simply “Yes”), but my flair for prose prevented it.

My unimpressive project involved a group of people that I had complete a standing broad jump. Then stretch. Then jump again. Then stretch. Then jump again. And, you know what? People improved! By golly, stretching really works! Alert the military -- if we’re going to ever beat the Russians at the standing broad jump, we’ve got to get this information to the Pentagon!

I could feel the Nobel Prize slipping through my prepubescent hands.

I had lost my scientific edge. I didn’t even get an award other than the insulting green scarlet letter of ribbons; the ‘Participant’ ribbon. No amount of cherry-flavored cough drops or black-teeth inducing soda could cheer me up. My career in science fizzled out like a Bunsen burner deprived of it’s gas source.

My only solace came years later when I learned that my fiancé did her science project on unicorns. Unicorns?! A “science” teacher let you do a report on a mythical beast with one horn? I love it. Suddenly a project on stretching, standing broad jumps and defeating the Russians in an Olympic event that hadn’t been competed since the 1908 games in London didn’t seem so silly.

Then again, as a scientific community we know little about unicorns. Or leprechauns, elves, dragons, trolls or professional wrestling fans. Perhaps this is the future of science? Perhaps there is still room for a renegade scientist who has lots of promiscuous encounters with Hawaiian Tropic models and plays by one rule; there are no rules.

My love of science has returned. I’d better call the DMV and reserve ‘200 IQ 4ME’.

Posted by Kaya at 06:29 PM | Comments (15)