November 30, 2010
12:11 PM – BOB
So yeah, basically we had three people for Hell on Wheels and five for Total Badass last night. It was freezing tits cold, so there’s that excuse. We also got zero press and had no derby support here. I’m sure I could make more excuses for the lack of a turnout, but why bother? However, all five stuck around for the Q&A. You might argue that they only stuck around out of fear of being rude by walking out or that they were just over-courteous, but all of them chatted it up with us after the screening. So, if you look at it this way, 100% of the crowd hung out and talked with us after the flicks.
Today, we split from Ally’s house (she had a badass quilt made up of old socks, btw (thanks, Ally!!)) and holed up in the downtown Providence library. We’re uploading vids, emailing, promo-ing, taking shits, fielding questions from cinemas, etc… in short, we’re partying balls.
Library in Providence:
12:31 PM – CHAD
We woke up in Providence and went to what is bound to be the main library downtown and spent a couple hours working on our tour journal. I’m confident that the work we did there will have us caught up with everything in no time. The truth is, I think Bob and I both are in no hurry to get anywhere, because we have no idea where we are going to stay for the next two nights. We have a showing in Boston tomorrow, and know nobody there. We stayed here in Providence with a friend of a friend last night, but without even speaking with each other, Bob and I mutually concluded that we had probably imposed enough and asking to stay again would be simply… indulgent. Besides, whether we know anybody or not, we’re convinced Boston is going to be a blast and are eager to check it out.
8:49 PM – BOB
We made it to Boston. We haven’t been here long and already I’ve done more u-turns in Boston in the last three hours than I did on the previous 20 days of the tour.
12:31 AM – CHAD
Boston Sucks. I might just now be typing that phrase for the first time in this journal, but you must believe me when I tell you that it eventually becomes our mantra over the entirety of our stay in the city. I don’t want any place to suck, ok? I’m a firm believer that you can go anywhere and it will all just be one big adventure and you’ll meet all these wonderful people and do all these amazing things but I’ve been to Boston twice now and it sucked both times. I want to apologize to all the good people of Boston too, and assure you that I’m certain that I’m wrong about this and the only reason I think Boston sucks is because I haven’t met you yet. I think part of the problem might be that both times I’ve gone to Boston, it has been straight from New York City, and maybe it just sucks by comparison. I’m fully aware that saying that might even be worse than simply saying “Boston Sucks” but I’m trying to offer explanations, so as to soothe the masses in Boston. I’ve got to tell you though; Bob and I seriously talked about printing up “Boston Sucks” t-shirts at one point.
Anyway, when we rolled into town, we went to this Irish bar that Davis Comeau suggested we go to, and told them that he sent us. I think our Texas accents may have been a big part of the problem, and maybe the folks at the bar thought I said “Albert DeSalvo” instead of “Davis Comeau” but we didn’t exactly end up pounding rounds of Irish Car Bombs into the night at this motherfucker, ok? On top of that, we had no idea where we were going to stay, and it was looking like we’d be sleeping in the car because we’re both too cheap to even split a hotel room. At some point I suggested to Bob that we place an ad on craigslist which would explain that we were two filmmakers on the road looking for a place to stay for a couple of days, promising free admission to the screening, tons of memorabilia, and just a great time, in general. I specifically posted the ad in the “men seeking women” and “strictly plutonic” sections of the site, and assured Bob that we’d be hearing from hordes of hyper-sexed gay men, in no time.
2:02 AM – BOB
It’s late. Were driving from a bar to a dude’s house that we met on craigslist. The roads here are fucked. The signs are fucked. The layout of the city is fucked. If you wanna get riled up, drive in Boston. On top of that, there’s a fuck-ton of cops. Those two elements came together in a fearful moment of dread followed by a momentary panic as I was making a weird turn at one of Boston’s finer seven-way intersections and bounced across some sort of bump/curb/train track thing in a weird fashion. The cop was headed the other way, but he could pull a u-ey any minute, right? And did he see what surely appeared to all civilized folk in the vicinity to be a drunken driving maneuver? We didn’t know. But we did panic. “Ditch the car?” Chad asked. Let’s think: car full of drugs, Texas plates, beer in car, cops looming. Answer: yes. I swung the car over to an empty parking spot between two bigger cars and we bailed the fuck out. We strolled down the road a bit acting nonchalant. After a few blocks, and nerves calmed by time, we made our way back to the car and headed over to the craigslist dude’s house. His name was Jim, or James. We took to calling him Jim James.
Upon arrival at Jim James’s pad, everything was weird. It would be wrong to assume that Jim James was a gay man intent on raping us, gutting us and replacing our vital juices with gallon upon gallon of Jello™, but the circumstantial evidence was mounting.
2:12 AM CHAD
Had I written this journal on a day-to-day basis as planned, it probably would have been cool here to post some of the responses that Bob and I got from our craigslist advertisement. In reality though, this shit all happened back on about November 30th and it is now roughly February 8th of the next year, so I’m not going to go digging through my emails looking for the shit. You’ll have to make do with me assuring you that most of the replies were about dicks, and whether or not we sucked them. There was one guy, however, who rose above all the petty vulgarities and suggested that we could come crash at his place with no strings attached, though he did leave the door open for shenanigans if we decided that was the way shit was going to go down. His name was James.
We get over to James’ house and he lives in this really nice part of town and his “apartment” is like the third or fourth floor of a… I don’t even know what the hell you call this type of place; they don’t have them in Texas. It was like four houses stacked on top of each other with a stairwell running up the middle… one of those. We get up to his level, he lets us in and the when we walked through the doorway, the first thing I notice off to the left is that the living room is completely empty… no furniture, no pictures, no rugs, nothing. This was one of about four times in my life that I’ve walked into a situation and realized immediately that I’m likely to be killed. If you’ve seen Goodfellas, then you remember the part where Joe Pesci walks into the house with the old mobsters, thinking he is about to become a made-man and then he sees that the place is empty and almost has enough time to say “Oh No!” right before they blow his brains out. It was exactly that type of moment. I mean, I saw this shit and literally maneuvered myself away from Bob to where I felt like if there was some sort of attack, maybe at least one of us could react, fight back, or run while the other was being killed. Like I said, this is about the fourth time I’ve ever been in such a situation. Two of the other times were on drug deals, and I think I might have written about them in an old article that I pledge to post here in the journal sometime down the road on a slow news day (believe me, there are going to be a lot of slow news days coming up). There was one time though, that I’ve never told anyone about, so I’m going to go ahead and tell that story now before I carry on with this James in Boston situation.
Ok, about ten years ago, right around the time I started writing for Rank and Revue Magazine, I was online surfing yahoo chat and I run across this couple over on Riverside Drive who invite me over to come have a threesome with them. Now, I had pretty much grown out of threesomes involving men at that point in my life, but this was a really fine black girl and they swore that there would be no interaction between males… the girl just really liked getting fucked by two guys, or so the story went. I go over and meet them at a convenience store across the street from their apartments so we can all three make sure we’re comfortable with each other before we go to their place… this is all normal protocol when setting up threesomes over the internet, I assure you. It’s important that I mention this initial meet-up, because I think it lends credence to my theory that these two were planning to kill me, all along.
Anyway, I meet them at the store, and it’s a black girl like I said, with a white boyfriend. The funny thing is; they were a complete role reversal. She was a college student over at UT and was almost sorority-like in her speech and mannerisms while he was a ghetto-acting thug with a bad case of nigger-mouth. Not to be confused with trench-foot or pink-eye, nigger-mouth is an ailment that strikes one-in-four young Caucasians, causing them to insist on talking like a black person, and it bothers the shit out of me. In fact, I’m not ashamed to tell you that whenever I encounter this phenomenon, there is a little trigger in my brain that, the second I hear a word come out of the affected party’s mouth, it simply “switches off” and I never listen to or process a single fucking word they say for the rest of my life. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the way black people talk. In fact, I consider their command of the English language to be at the very least unique if not downright admirable. I don’t mind the way white people talk either… I’ve been talking like them for years. It’s just when a white person talks like a black person that I have an issue. The odd thing is, when a black person talks like a white person, it doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I find it rather refreshing. Why is that, you figure?
Let’s not get hung up on semantics here, ok? The point is, I pass their initial inspection and am invited back over to the apartment. We get over there and all three walk in the door, and I can’t help but immediately notice that they have pulled up all of the carpet in every room, obviously in a bid to kill me without any of the troublesome bloodstains that are always getting people busted for murder on the TV shows. They tried to put me at ease by explaining that the carpet was all pulled up because of their dogs. You see, they had a whole bedroom full of pit bulls that they were going to chop me up and feed me to over time, in order to dispose of my body. We go back to their bedroom and begin watching Scary Movie 2… the one that starts off with James Woods spoofing The Exorcist. They started smoking crack, you know, to get themselves all amped up for the kill, but I respectfully declined because I’ve never smoked cocaine, only snorted it. Basically, I spent the next several hours trapped in their bedroom, trying to stay in their good graces so as we could either all fuck, or they at least would decide not to kill me. I was doing whatever it took to be charming… I even told homeboy that I was pretty sure I could get the magazine to publish some of the drawings that his friend had been mailing him from prison. The thing is; the issue of sex never came up. I mean, we were obviously not there to do anything of a sexual nature, so what else does that leave? I mean sure, maybe I just wasn’t their type, but the whole point of having an initial public meet-up before random internet sex is so that you can just tell the person right there on the spot not to waste their time or yours. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I was ninety-percent sure that these two intended to kill me, ok? But the girl was so fine; I was willing to risk my life for a ten-percent chance of fucking her. It actually got to the point where I had played out my own private screening of Forensic Files in my mind. In that particular episode, the police were able to go back and look at the archived conversations on my computer and that would lead them to the convenience store, and then eventually to the video surveillance footage of me and the last two people to see me alive. From there, it was simply a matter of sifting through dogshit to secure a conviction.
Anyway, obviously I escaped and went on to survive long enough to encounter this James in Boston situation, a decade later. Now, as I was saying about an hour ago… When Bob and I walked into James’ house, the bare-empty living room took what was already an awkward social situation and turned it into a potential double homicide. James ended up being a bit older than us, and not quite as in shape, so we weren’t in any danger of a bull-rush type situation, but that didn’t rule out treachery involving firearms, poisons, or sneak attacks in the darkness of night. Don’t think I didn’t have this in mind when I never drank a sip of the already-opened Heineken James gave me before I went to bed. Actually, since it was almost three in the morning, I was already so fucked up; I didn’t need a Heineken any more than James needed to drug me to make me pass out. I fell asleep on a couch within about ten minutes, leaving my life in Bob’s hands. The next morning when I woke up, Bob was curled up like a watchdog, sleeping on the floor next to my couch even though he had a bed available in another room. It was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. Incidentally, this might all seem like exaggeration and humor, with just a smidge of blatant homophobia mixed in, but when we woke up the next morning and did a thorough inspection of the premises, it became quite obvious that something was seriously amiss about our surroundings, so stay tuned for the next episode.
2:52 AM – BOB
I’ve seen enough war shows on the TV to be familiar with the divide and conquer technique. I know Chad secretly wanted me to sleep in the other room so his fantasies of being molested after his death could finally come to pass, but we still have screenings to attend. And I want to attend them not as a ghost. For a man who intended to murder us, Jim James was quite nice and cordial. So nice in fact, that he politely offered and re-offered to share his bed with me. There’s plenty of room, he insisted. No need to sleep on the hard floor, he pleaded. Have more booze. You have nice veins. Don’t bother with the beer, have some of this whiskey, he offered as he dug out a bottle from way back in an empty cupboard. My keen eye noticed that the half empty bottle had previously been opened and had bits of pills floating in the booze. Well, potentially, anyway. This is when I began to suspect that Jim James wanted not only to murder me, but to gay sex me as well. I’m not sure if the sex or the murder was to be first, but later I realized that he’d also intended to pack my corpse full of Jello™. Not to sound like a huge wuss or anything, but murder kinda scares me. Have you seen Auto Focus? The movie where Bob Crane gets his head caved in with a tripod while he sleeps? The shunned “group grope” got him killed, but good. Group grope or not, gay sex just disinterests me. Too much penis and not enough vagina for my tastes. And I don’t think it makes me a homophobe just cuz the idea of a couple of dudes rolling around all sweaty and stabbing each other with their penises is not a turn on for me. Hell, I don’t even get why hetero dudes get so riled up about lesbo sex porn. I like the gays and the lezzies just fine and all, but sex-wise, I’m keen on the idea of cute, naked, sexy girls. And if there’s a sexy naked gal having awesome sex with a penis (specifically, MY penis), all the better! That’s exciting! And if it’s porn with a hot gal having penis sex, at least I can imagine that it’s my penis and totally beat off to that. But, having never tried the gay sex, maybe I’m being closed minded about it. Actually, maybe I’m jumping to conclusions. Jim James never specifically offered gay sex, just a bed to sleep in alongside him. And I was too much of a pussy to take the gentleman up on his offer. Fingers crossed he doesn’t murder me for being rude. My apologies, Jim James.
August 17, 2010
We’re back in TEXAS!!!! Party time!!!
We never made it to Marfa. We did manage to finally get arrested. For those of you in the betting pool that wagered on our arrest on Day 35, you are the lucky winner!
Well, today was the day we finally get arrested. Before we get to any of that, I have a cautionary tale for you. The next time you’re driving down the interstate and see a cop hauling ass after someone to pull them over, so you pull out your camera and record it, singing, “Whoomp! There it is!” while the guy gets lit up, be sure and keep in mind that you may be next.
Basically, we drove up to a Border Patrol checkpoint. They had a dog sniffing every fucking car that passed through.
As we waited in line at the checkpoint, we stuffed the weed, the hash and the pipe in a ziplock bag inside another ziplock bag inside a jar inside a plastic container and jammed the fucker in the armrest compartment and hoped for the best. Right as the car in front of us pulled up, the drug-dog had to take a shit. Luck was blessing us. We waited for them to release the car and hurry us through. But that was a stupid plan. They held that car until the shitter finished up and proceeded to sniff not only that car, but us and every other fucking car that rolled through there.
I guess the dog winked at of gave some other secret, unidentifiable sign to his handler cuz the human component of the gang got excited and sent us across two lanes and over to the secondary inspection site. The agent pointed out where I was to pull up and I intentionally overshot the spot to buy us some time. “What the fuck do we do?” “I don’t think they can put the dogs on us. They can sniff the car, but not us. One of us needs to pocket the weed.” “I don’t wanna.” “I’ll do it.” I hastily pulled the jar from the large plastic container and stuffed the jar in my pocket. It wasn’t a big fucking jar, but it was none too small and made an oilcan size bulge in my shorts. I did my best to assume a crooked posture that hid the lump.
So we’re standing there, about six agents surround us as the dog and another agent tear the car apart. I’m feeling particularly cocky and smug as I know I have all the weed in my pocket. That dog can hump every inch of that car and our belongings, and I couldn’t give two shits (I mean, other than the fact that my Fourth Amendment rights were being gang-raped). The plan was working! Fuck yes! Hell, I was even small-talking the hell out of the lead agent. I was prying from him cool stories of action that went down at the checkpoint. On the inside, I was grinning like a possum eating shit. I had a jar full of misdemeanors and felonies in my pocket and there wasn’t shit he could do about it.
Then, from the cop raping the car, I heard “We got marijuana.”
“No!” I thought. I almost said it. “There’s no weed in the car. It’s in my fucking pocket! This can’t be!” I didn’t say that. Not out loud. I looked over to see the dog dry-humping Chad’s luggage, his shit strewn about. I looked back and the agents had moved in and I was cuffed like greased lightning. Fuck.
They had found Chad’s freezer bag of shwag. I guess he’d forgotten about it. Before we were arrested, as we were waiting in line to be sniffed, we did have an actual conversation and decided to consolidate all the weed. All the weed. We put the k.b., hash and pipe together. That was ALL the weed we had. Or so I thought. I thought wrong. Chad’s forgotten shwag brought us down, adding insult to shitty injury.
Once we were busted and cuffed, they found the jar of the good stuff in my pocket. The gig was up. My plan that was working so well went to shit in two shakes. I was cocksure like a motherfucker only two seconds ago. And now I’m eyeballing the possibility of a felony for the hash. The fucking shwag is gonna get me busted for hash. That is fucked up. Did you know that possessing any amount of hash is a felony? I learned that from Total Badass. Even the smallest speck of hash is a felony. Fucked up, huh?
I know you’re expecting the story of our arrest to be real knuckle-whitening finale to our tour journal, but it was really all a bit mundane. For one thing, I think Bob and I somehow both had the feeling all along that we weren’t going to get into that much trouble over the detainment, even after we had been handcuffed, searched, and put in a cell for about seven hours. I don’t know how to explain it, but there was an air of spring-breakishness to the whole affair. Sure, we’d been caught with marijuana and hashish at a federal checkpoint about an hour or so east of El Paso on I-10, but the hashish was so covered in marijuana, that it looked like marijuana, itself. This was working for us all along. Plus, from the minute we got arrested, there was just a parade of other detainees being led in after us, almost all of them two white dudes traveling together, obviously busted for their personal weed and obviously all about ten to fifteen years younger than me and Bob’s burntout asses. You see, the big drug runners, they don’t drive through the federal checkpoint about an hour or so east of El Paso on I-10, because the police stop every fucking car that comes through and run a dog across it.
Anyway, we probably would have gotten rid of all our weed, had we known about this dog on every car policy that the feds are running these days. It’s a lot like the chicken in every pot promise that the federal government made back in the Hoover administration, except instead of everybody getting something to eat and a feeling of financial stability passed down from the ruling class, everybody gets pulled over and sniffed down by a drug dog. I feel like this policy is very unfair to the average citizen, especially the ones carrying drugs, but who am I to complain? I’m not even allowed to vote… I’m just saying, after over two decades as a professional criminal, I’m all too familiar with the unspoken agreement between law enforcement and the average citizen that with a little bit of luck, you can get away with almost any crime because they’re not trying to catch EVERYBODY, just some people. What the fuck ever happened to that? How do you pull over every fucking person, and search them with a dog? How is anybody expected to get away with anything under these circumstances? It is an assault on The American Dream.
I’ll go ahead and step off the soapbox long enough to tell you what happened. We knew we were in line to go through the checkpoint for about 20 minutes, because it takes a long time to run a dog over every fucking car on the highway. We never did a goddamn thing to protect ourselves the whole time we were inching our way up to the inspection station. When we were about three cars from the front, Bob notices that hey, there’s a dog up there, and it’s sniffing every fucking car to go by. Well, we decide maybe it’s a good idea to at least get all the drugs together in one place, so they’re not just all over the car. I guess we thought the border patrol was going to give us credit for tidiness. Still, the idea of actually getting rid of the weed and hash never comes up… it was really, really good weed and hash and we weren’t about to let a couple of draconian drug laws deprive us of it. If they wanted our weed and hash, they were going to have to take it from us themselves, and that’s exactly what they did about seven minutes later, after arresting us for having it. Ok, so we’re seriously like two cars back in line, and Bob hatches his plan where if we have all the weed on our person, then they’ll take us out of the car, sniff the car down, and tell us sorry, false alarm and you can leave now. I’m still interested to see if this would have worked, but don’t worry, I fucked it all up, anyway. See, when we left Austin on the trip to begin with, I had brought like almost an ounce of shitty mexican weed for us to smoke because we had no idea how things would turn out on the drug front as the trip went along. Well, they turned out like this: People showered us in drugs in practically every city we went to, and the shitty mexican weed was soon completely forgotten… In my green suitcase, in the car, with the dog. While we were standing out on the tarmac with a couple officers, I realized all of this and took a nervous look over towards the car, where I knew my suitcase was sitting right on top of everything else in the backseat. I look over, and I swear the dog was just fucking the suitcase. Seriously, it had both front legs wrapped around it and its back all humped, and was just fucking it with its tongue out. The cops took the dog and the suitcase out of the car and were all like, good boy and shit, like they were proud of the dog for getting some pussy. Well, we were under arrest from that minute on, and when they searched us, they found the motherload that Bob had selflessly hidden in his pocket. It was all hispanics handling us at first, but when they got us back in the cells, they sent the white guy in as a liaison. He explained that we’d basically be sitting there until the local sheriff came along and gave us a ticket, and then we’d be on our way. Bob and I were in separate cells, and the guy did his best to suggest to us that only one of us should take credit for the weed so only one of us would get a ticket, but this all got lost in translation and we both ended up claiming it. After a couple of hours, they actually moved Bob and me in together. That was basically the most exciting thing to happen to us during our stay. That, and I had a couple pills in my pocket that I had to ferret out and eat while we were handcuffed to a bench in the processing station. It was a xanex and klonopin cocktail that normally wouldn’t have interested me, but seemed like a good idea at the time with an impending search and seizure. The only other thing worth mentioning was that after we had been released, and were about ten miles down the road, I realized that my green suitcase was gone. They had never given it back to us. I didn’t care; it had been fucked by a dog, anyway.
At first, I had my own cell. Gray wall. Bench. Steel toilet. Cold. So I did some push-ups. That’s what you do in jail, right? Then I saw a fly. I almost killed him. But then I realized that he was my only friend. I took a shit so my new best friend would have something to sniff.
A few minutes later, they brought Chad into my cell. They needed his for some gals they just busted. Over the course of the next several hours, they brought in two more pairs of white dudes. College-age looking kids who weren’t smart enough to ditch their weed either.
After about seven and a half hours of this kind of fun, they finally plucked us from the cell. We waited to see the outcome. What next? What were the charges? How much money and time would I be dumping into this West Texas county over the next several months of court appearances, probation and jail time? This whole turn of events had me realizing that the tour was about to go from being in the black to being in the red. The meager profits were about to evaporate and I’d be staring at a shitpile of financial and legal hassles. Several months of work and five weeks of gigs on the road and all the little bits of chump-change we managed to squeeze out of this tour was about to be redirected to the Hudspeth County coffers. I worked my ass off for that cash, I hope Hudspeth County spends it wisely.
The hermaphrodite-looking sheriff presented his/her citation pad and asked for a John Hancock. In the end, they didn’t slap a possession charge or a hash charge on either of us. They had us sign for a $537 “possession of paraphernalia” ticket. Gay. And, fucking Ouch! Aside from the financial fucking, I guess they figure I should be grateful for the slap on the wrist (it coulda been a felony, remember?), but fuck that. The whole situation was shit. It’s fucking wrong that they search every single fucking car without any probable fucking cause. And we never even left the country. We’re over an hour east of El Paso in Texas. That whole fucking thing is just plain wrong.
Inside the tin that used to hold my pipe and a small bag of the weed is stuffed this dollar bill:
I always hoped that it would help me weasel out of a bust. I’ve talked my way out of a shitload of busts in the past. And I never had George fucking Washington on my side. I’ve had that bill in that tin for years and I always figured that I could play the patriotism / “our founding fathers grew weed” card if I ever got busted with it. I never even had the chance to talk on this one. No silver tongue a wagglin.’ In the moment, I had completely forgotten about the “I grew hemp” bill. So it didn’t help a bit. But at least they gave me my dollar back.
But on a more practical note, can someone explain it to me how it is legal for the cops to search every single fucking car that passes through? Do we not have a Constitutional right to not be searched without probable cause? Or am I mistaken?
I mean, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” WTF?
Apparently someone can explain that to me. They are called the ACLU. I guess they are quasi-famous or something. Did you know this shit? From the ACLU’s site (http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty/are-you-living-constitution-free-zone):
“Using data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the ACLU has determined that nearly 2/3 of the entire US population (197.4 million people) live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders.
The government is assuming extraordinary powers to stop and search individuals within this zone. This is not just about the border: This “Constitution-Free Zone” includes most of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.
We urge you to call on Congress to hold hearings on and pass legislation to end these egregious violations of Americans’ civil rights.”
Also from the ACLU (http://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/fact-sheet-us-constitution-free-zone):
Fact Sheet on U.S. “Constitution Free Zone”
· Normally under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches.
· The border, however, has always been an exception. There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply. For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.”
· But what is “the border”? According to the government, it is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 />United States.
· As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.
· Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship. Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders. They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts.
· However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose. On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
· The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.
Much of U.S. population affected
· Many Americans and Washington policymakers believe that this is a problem confined to the San Diego-Tijuana border or the dusty sands of Arizona or Texas, but these powers stretch far inland across the United States.
· To calculate what proportion of the U.S. population is affected by these powers, the ACLU created a map and spreadsheet showing the population and population centers that lie within 100 miles of any “external boundary” of the United States.
· The population estimates were calculated by examining the most recent US census numbers for all counties within 100 miles of these borders. Using numbers from the Population Distribution Branch of the US Census Bureau, we were able to estimate both the total number and a state-by-state population breakdown. The custom map was created with help from a map expert at World Sites Atlas.
· What we found is that fully TWO-THIRDS of the United States’ population lives within this Constitution-free or Constitution-lite Zone. That’s 197.4 million people who live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders.
· Nine of the top 10 largest metropolitan areas as determined by the 2000 census, fall within the Constitution-free Zone. (The only exception is #9, Dallas-Fort Worth.) Some states are considered to lie completely within the zone: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Part of a broader problem
· The spread of border-search powers inland is part of a broad expansion of border powers with the potential to affect the lives of ordinary Americans who have never left their own country.
· It coincides with the development of numerous border technologies, including watch list and database systems such as the Automated Targeting System (ATS) traveler risk assessment program, identity and tracking systems such as electronic (RFID) passports, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), and intrusive technological schemes such as the Secure Border Initiative Network (SBINet) or “virtual border fence” and unmanned aerial vehicles (aka “drone aircraft”).
· This illegitimate expansion of the extraordinary powers of agents at the border is also part of a general trend we have seen over the past 8 years of an untrammeled, heedless expansion of police and national security powers without regard to the effect on innocent Americans.
· This trend is also typical of the Bush Administration’s dragnet approach to law enforcement and national security. Instead of intelligent, competent, targeted efforts to stop terrorism, illegal immigration, and other crimes, what we have been seeing in area after area is an approach that turns us all into suspects. This approach seeks to sift through the entire U.S. population in the hopes of encountering the rare individual whom the authorities have a legitimate interest in.
If the current generation of Americans does not challenge this creeping (and sometimes galloping) expansion of federal powers over the individual through the rationale of “border protection,” we are not doing our part to keep alive the rights and freedoms that we inherited, and will soon find that we have lost some or all of their right to go about their business, and travel around inside their own country, without interference from the authorities.
It was about 11 o’clock when we got out. We never had a phone call, so no one had any clue as to our whereabouts. Or even if we were alive. We just vanished for a while. Needless to say, we missed the Marfa screening. So we made some phone calls and apologies and just drove the fuck home. Sober. Lame.
But honestly, who didn’t expect us to get busted, right? We do aim to please around here. Your welcome.
August 11, 2010
Finally, Chad is earning his keep. Actually, he’s doing just fine riding shotgun and keeping things fun. He’s like Julie from the Love Boat, always arranging the party situations and shit.
On the tech side of crap, I put about 5000 miles on the car since we left Austin. So I took her get her juices drained and to get her oiled up proper. We walked around Hollywood while they got the car lubed up as evidenced in these fine touristy-pics. Feel free to print these and mail them to your parents and claim that you were in L.A. That’s what we did.
To add injury to injury, I had the water pump replaced 12 months and two weeks ago. It is barely 500 miles out of warranty. What a load of shit. They want $518 to fix it. I can fix it for about $40. So we’ll just keep an eye on it as we drive through the dessert next week. I’m thinking that the water pump might be kinda important in keeping the car cool… we’ll see how far we get with this new plan.
A highlight of the recent days was meeting and putting around with Harvey Sid Fisher. He was fun. We putted around the green and drank warm beers form his duffel bag.
You guys heard of Harvey Sid Fisher? He’s an entertainer out here, just one of the many bigwigs we hobnobbed with in Hollywood. I’ve always thought he was an interesting guy, and had briefly met him through some friends back in Austin, so I had my people call his people, and we did lunch over a round of golf. I’m taking to L.A. like a duck to water. I know all of this seems improbable, but it’s captured here on film, including a video hello from Harvey to his friends back in Austin:
We putted around and shot the shit with Harvey for the whole day and evening. He gave us a bunch of pointers on our upcoming stardom, and also laid out for us some of the pitfalls and hurdles that we can expect as fame takes over our lives. He’s particularly bothered by websites that have clips of his astrology songs posted up, getting thousands of hits, but he doesn’t see a cent of it. Clips like this one:
We met up with another old pal from Austin and had drinks with Dave Bennett at the Dresden. We caught a tad of Marty and Elaine’s piano act.
At the bookstore next door, I saw this:
I know everybody is expecting me to get arrested on this trip, and I certainly don’t want to let anybody down, but all I could muster up tonight was a thorough pat-down and handcuffing up against a fence. I even let the cop find our weed pipe, and he still wouldn’t arrest me. The police out here have their hands full, so Bob and I had to literally walk down Hollywood Boulevard drinking a twelve pack of Keystones to get them to even pay attention to us, to begin with. As a final reminder of our insignificance, when I picked up all my belongings from their pile on the sidewalk, the cops had slipped the pipe back in with everything else before driving off, laughing.
Yeah, that was odd. All we were doing was heading to a pool party on the roof of the Roosevelt Hotel. Or maybe it was a pool party on roofies? We weren’t exactly sure and our info was shaky at best. Turns out there is no pool up there. But as we strode through the streets of L.A., chugging shit-beer from a can like we own the goddamn place, a couple cops decide to bust our balls about drinking in public. “Hey! What are you drinking? Wait right there!”
Chad needed to jettison the weed, so I put up a diversion as I started blindly crossing the street to meet our uniformed buddies at their car. Can tilted skyward and chugging more beer, the cop demanded that I stop and step back on the curb. I figured to not waste it is all. Besides, look at me! I think it worked. We felt in control even as we were cuffed and up against the wall. We sounded coherent and confident and the cops appreciated that. We were mentally Alpha-humping them and they knew we were in command of the situation. I played the Texas card: “Y’all can’t drink in the streets here in California? Down in Texas you can drink on the streets all day long,” I insisted with a newfound Texan accent.
It was a powder-puff affair, all be told. As part of the inquisition, we told the cops we were going to a party on the roof of the Roosevelt. “I been up there. It ain’t that impressive.” Cops gotta burst my bubble too?
We ended the night partying at the Chateau Marmont with Chepo Pena and some of the folks he is on tour from Austin with. I learned a little something just now. I’ve gone through life thinking that a “Marmont” is a medium sized rodent very similar to a groundhog. Turns out, these things are called “Marmots”… there is no “n” in Marmot. A “Marmont” is a French guy. I think I have been subconsciously blending the words “Marmot” and “Varmint” all these years. It was not until this very minute that a combination of spell-check and google led to this discovery.
I’m glad y’all were able to grow with me just now, but this is all detracting from the biggest news of the trip so far by a fucking landslide… I PARTIED WITH MRS. STANWYCK!!! That’s right, motherfuckers. Mrs. Stanwyk from Fletch. I was partying in a room. Mrs. Stanwyk was in the room. I partied with Mrs. Stanwyk. I played it totally cool, and sure as hell didn’t say anything stupid, like “Can I borrow your towel for a sec, my car just hit a water buffalo.” I just acted like everything was normal and even opened a bottle of wine for her at one point. She’s more beautiful in person now than she was in the movie, just in case you’re wondering.
Yeah, that was nice. And this was funny. Earlier in the night, Chepo stuffed some cold beers in his man-purse. Unfortunately, the condensation form the beer combined with a faulty lid on his Xanax bottle led to the contents of his bag being coated in an orange Xanax shell. Enjoy:
Then there was more singing and drinking and hash smoking.
Anyway, shit must have gone downhill from there because I woke up the next day with this on the camera. I wasn’t able to make heads or tails of it, so you shouldn’t expect to either…
A big thanks to Kat of The Treasure Valley Rollergirls and her family for letting us stay with them here in Boise. When we got up this morning, the dog was watching television. Seriously… The TV was on animal planet and the dog was totally fucking watching it, freaking out on other dogs. I got it on video, see:
Not that any of this topped a dog watching television, but I did spend about three hours walking around downtown Boise, and it fucking rules. The nightlife was pretty happening last night, too. Here are some videos of the state capitol building, and then I filmed an Idaho State Police car. It was probably the coolest police car I’ve ever seen…And I’ve seen a lot of them.
Double-up on the ditto Chad done said, and a big thanks to Kat and her fam for the sweet, sweet hospitality. The triptych of couches served us well. Even when the pooches needed a snuggle. We hit the road for another 8+ hour drive. Despite the declaration of no more getting lost, we got lost on step one right off Kat’s porch. But we managed to overcome and found the interstate.
Rest stop: (see big blue piss box on the right)
We saw several burnt-up patches of grass and a few tires. The second vid was cool as we drove right through the smoke at 8Omph. But the battery died before we got there, so just take a huge bong hit, blow out a puff of smoke and run through it at top speed and you’ll get the proper effect.
These 8+ hour drives are getting routine at this point. Except this time we’re cruising through the Washington mountains and we’re about to run out of gas. No shit. In a Prius and about to run out of gas. Nice, huh? Let’s see how it panned out:
Originally, I was going to ride into Seattle today with Bob and then take a bus down to Portland so I can wait for him there while he does the Canada shows, seeing as how I’m not allowed into Canada. Well, it occurred to me that this might be the only chance I ever have to see Seattle, but I really don’t have anywhere to stay here. I got on the phone with friends down in Austin in a panic and asked them if they know anyone here whose house I could crash at for a couple days while I checked out the city. I was referred to a girl, Heidi, who might let me stay at her place. I say “might” as though I don’t know yet, because I’m pretending to have typed this days ago when actually I have already been in Seattle and Portland both, partying for over a week, and yes I stayed at Heidi’s house for about five fucking days, thank you very much, dear. Oh yeah, we went completely apeshit, too and here’s some video from my first night in Seattle:
I spent most of my Seattle nightlife up north in Ballard, where Heidi owns a bar and frequents about twenty others. They have a badass strip of bars up here, and I’ve met a lot of nice people and seen a bunch of shows. The above clip was Kaleb Hagan-Kerr doing an improvised little ditty in the back of Hattie’s Hat.2:21 AM
Okay, we got lost a few more times, minor affairs. Before landing in my Seattle destination, I dumped Chad off. He found a gal to crash on. Or a couch. I’m not sure which. I’m not usually one to brag, but fuck it: what I am sure of is that I did get laid before Chad did on this tour. So suck on that!
Okay, so don’t flip. Everything’s cool. I didn’t ditch Chad. The thought crossed my mind. Chad and I had to part ways cuz the fucker ain’t allowed into Canada on account of him being a convicted felon and shit. And, there are a handful of Hell on Wheels only screenings coming up: Bellingham, Tacoma & Port Orchard and one more double header in the forbidden land of Victoria, Canada. But we’ll meet back up when we screen in Portland on the 29th and be a two-headed bastard again through the rest of the tour.
Despite his rep and a few annoying habits, Chad’s a dam-fine travel companion. I mean, except the part where he has a suspended license and can’t drive so he’s effectively dead weight half of the time. But he means well and leaves very little damage in his wake, so it’s mostly pleasant or maybe tolerable.
Here’s a vid from inside Seattle. I think I’ve played a race car video game where I drove through these:
An insanely funny and wickedly debaucherous new documentary about crime, sex, art, drugs, music and life in the Austin underground.
Bob Ray and Chad Holt will be at all the screenings for post-screening Q&As.
TOTAL BADASS is the Texas tale of a hilarious, crazy-ass writer/publisher/singer/weed-dealer/sex addict/Guinea pig enthusiast/dad/pirate radio host/raconteur and general man-about-town as he rides out the last six months of felony probation and, ultimately, must change his ways when a financial crisis befalls his estranged family.
May 19 & 26 in Austin at 9:30pm
Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
320 E 6th Street
GET TIX HERE:
This will SELL OUT! so get em’ while you can!
Pre-screening gathering at Jackalope at 8pm for drinks and 2-for-1 burgers!!!
After-party with filmmakers and pals with a FREE KEG! Come to the screening to find out where (within walking distance of the Alamo Ritz).
May 22 in Houston at 10:00pm
Alamo Drafthouse West Oaks
West Oaks Mall #429
North Houston, TX
get tix now: http://www.drafthouse.com/westoaks/shows.php?id=510