A California Yuppie in King Charles' Court

Never travel with other people if you really want to see the world.

Last Tuesday night, I flew to Las Vegas and then caught a red-eye to Philadelphia. I was beyond tired, having slept for only two of the past 24 hours because of a stupid English paper I had to write. My eyes burned and looked as if somebody had injected 50 CCs of blood into them. I arrived on the east coast the following morning on three-and-a-half hours of airplane sleep to the nerve-racking realization that I actually had to be up and about at 4:00 AM (Pacific time). What a way to start your summer vacation.

The first thing you notice about Philadelphia is the smell. The city has a distinct smell, like Chinatown, any Chinatown. Think pungent fish.

Philadelphia has a sorry ass Chinatown, and no, I'm not talking about the Wharton School of Business at U Penn. You just don't see very many Asian people in Philadelphia. At least, I didn't. You know what you do see a lot of though? Bricks. I have never seen so many bricks in my life. Philadelphia is bricks, a bunch of bricks. And statues. Bricks and statues.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) owns a monopoly in public transportation, giving them free reign to charge $2 for a bus ride. TWO FUCKING DOLLARS FOR A ONE-WAY TRIP!

The Philadelphia equivalent of 7-Eleven is Wawa. That's right – Wawa. There is a chain of convenience stores with the name "Wawa." Apparently, Zoboomafoo and Kajagoogoo were already taken.

On Wednesday, I rode a ferry from Penn's Landing across the Delaware River to the Tweeter Center At The Waterfront in Camden, New Jersey for the Y100 FEZtival and once there, I was literally surrounded by white people. I guess all the white people in Philadelphia and Camden decided to come out for the day and revel in their whiteness. Moreover, the weather was so unbelievably hot and humid. It was like attending a concert…IN HELL! Luckily, I had a seat seat and got to sit under the pavilion, protected from the sun.

It must suck to be a goth during the summer.

Now, Y100 plays hard rock, but their radio shows have a reputation of being pleasantly anti-aggro, devoid of all that Disturbed/Crazy Town bullshit. While it did feature some blah rock acts like Vertical Horizon and Lifehouse, the 5th annual FEZtival, a converted Barenaked Ladies US tour date, delivered to a sold out crowd of 25,000. I was kinda disappointed though that nobody smoked any pot. What is a concert without pot? Painful to watch, if Aaron Carter's on stage.

Quick notes on the FEZtival: Richard Cheese opened the main stage. The novelty of doing lounge covers of rock songs grows old quickly. Good Charlotte, a band that hooked me as early as last May, was the third largest draw of the day, despite going on at 2:30 PM. My only beef with the band is their incessant need for audience participation. Look, if the audience likes your band, they will sing along and jump around automatically. Our Lady Peace is a fucking rock band. Their songs fucking rock and they're fucking Canadian too. They played fucking Canadian wrestler Chris fucking Benoit's new entrance music which (you guessed it) fucking rocked. Mike D is on a roll signing artists to his Grand Royal label. First, At The Drive-In, and now, Scapegoat Wax (aka Marty James). Chico-born James was very good on the second stage and boy, this guy has vocal range. Vertical Horizon sucks. Tenacious D, on the other hand, is the greatest band on earth. Period. Jack Black and Kyle Gass blew it up on stage with a mere two acoustic guitars. It was some seriously funny shit. Steve and Ed, the two lead singers of Barenaked Ladies, came out to witness the Tenacious D set and sat in the amphitheatre control booth, right next to my seat. Whoo! I fell asleep during G. Love and Special Sauce. No comment there. Lifehouse was blah as usual. Then, Weezer walked on stage to the biggest pop of the night and for 45 minutes, the Tweeter Center became the Weezer Center as Rivers and company played a blistering set of new material and old hits. I was surprised that not everybody in the audience recognized each and every Weezer song. They should be ashamed of themselves. BNL closed the show. It was standard BNL fare with two encores. Good, but my heart left with Weezer.

Weezer Y100 FEZtival set list

I have to give credit to most northeastern folk for actually wearing their pants at waist level. We here on the west coast have yet to pick up on this controversial fashion trend.

I was walking down South Street in Philadelphia (the equivalent of Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley or just about any neo-Bohemian hangout in America) and I saw a Gap. Why is it that Gap always seems to infiltrate these clearly un-Gap areas? It was awkward seeing a Gap located on the same street as tattoo and piercing parlors and a store called "Condom Kingdom."

King Of Prussia – what a stupid name for a city.

Alas, my quest to find Will Smith led me to New York City on Friday by way of a train ride through New Jersey (or what Jose refers to as "the great suburban void"). I saw an ad on the train that read:

Ordinary men
called to do extraordinary work
Is God calling you to be a priest?
Philadelphia Priest Call

You know, the world can never use enough priests. What's even funnier is that the latter text was accompanied by a photo of five priests, each of a different ethnicity. Not only is priesthood "extraordinary," it's also, evidently, in favor of affirmative action.

A store in Rockefeller Center had on sale English and French versions of a videotape entitled The Mad Adventures Of Rabbi Jacob. He's mad, I tell you. MAD!

A Greenwich Village store had on sale t-shirts with "New York," a drawing of a gun, and "It ain't Kansas" printed on them. How uncouth.

Some people had plastic bags with "Duane Reade: New York's #1 Drug Store" printed on them. I thought Wow, this Duane guy sure is one cocky dealer. It turns out that Duane Reade is another case of Wawa.

Times Square is not that impressive in person. It's the same Times Square you see on television…supersized. I was tempted to stand outside the MTV studios during TRL to see Carson Daly and Mandy Moore, but then it dawned on me that I HATE THEM. It's bizarre how every day at 3:30 PM, Times Square magically becomes screaming jailbait land. It totally throws off foreign tourists who don't know what the fuck's going on. "Is das MTV?" The situation has escalated to the point where the police just leave barricades on the sidewalk in front of the MTV studios specifically for use during TRL tapings. TRL duty has to be the best position in the NYPD. Woo who.

One poster in the TRL crowd read "A.J., rehab is for quitters."

The Naked Cowboy, as seen on the Howard Stern show, was playing guitar in the middle of Times Square…naked. Dude, the best panhandlers are in Manhattan. My favorites are these guys who dress up as statues and stand completely still for money. Now that's genius right there.

At Planet Hollywood, I saw a Death Star model and a Darth Vader costume from the Star Wars movies. How many Darth Vader costumes did Lucas make? I saw a Darth Vader costume at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas too and a Darth Vader helmet at the Washington D.C. branch. I think ubiquity cheapens the value of memorabilia. You know what you see at every Planet Hollywood? Prop gold bricks from Die Hard With A Vengeance. I feel so special after having seen these gold bricks at ten different Planet Hollywoods. Woo who.

Friday night, Jose and I went to see Cabaret at Studio 54 starring…Brooke Shields. We had to leave during intermission in order to catch the last train back to Philadelphia, but we probably would have left anyway. Brooke Shields acting is bad. Brooke Shields singing is even worse. Brooke Shields in lace rubbing her crotch is irreversibly traumatic. Tall women scare me.

Saturday morning, I had to go, go, back, back, to Cali, Cali. Unfortunately, it was a connecting flight again, this time with a stop in Phoenix. I think I've visited more airports in my lifetime than actual cities. In the Phoenix airport, I was on a moving walkway and the loudspeakers kept blaring "Caution! Moving walkway is ending. Caution! Moving walkway is ending." On top of that, there were signs that read "Caution! Walkway ends: 30 feet." I swear to God, the Phoenix airport is an insult to my intelligence. Oh and by the way, there's a reason why they call them "moving walkways" and not "stand-there-like-a-fucking-retard-and-block-traffic ways."

I guess you can't expect much from Arizonians. After all, Arizona is just a failed version of California. All the losers who can't take the pressure of California flee to the pathetic sanctity of this desert wannabe state. It's an egregious society they run out there in Arizona, a culture of old people, Barry Goldwater, and college basketball teams that go to shit when most of their smug players decide to turn pro after ONE successful season. Fuck Arizona! The government should've moved nuclear bomb testing one state to the left.

This concludes my summer vacation.

If there's anything I learned on my trip, it's that tourist attractions don't do it for me anymore. I seem to be more attracted to shitholes. I mean, my one chance to get out and really see the world was college and where did I choose to go? Los Angeles – a location that if ever inundated by water, would yield more flotation devices than you'd think.

Next summer, I want to go on a road trip, a comprehensive tour of American shitholes. I want to hit up all the fine shitholes in our fine fine country. I'm talking about places like Flint, Michigan, the New Jersey Turnpike, Northwestern University, and Congress. Get ready America, because this Asian driver means business (for insurance agencies).

So what happened while I was away?

Mariah Carey was hospitalized for "extreme exhaustion." What can possibly be that exhausting about being Mariah Carey? I hate how pop stars always complain about fatigue and shit like that. The only people who have a right to complain about "extreme exhaustion" are Asian geeks who have lame websites.

Nathaniel Brazill was "sorry" for killing his teacher. That's terrific. Did you hear that everybody? Nathaniel says he's "sorry." Screw the jail sentence! Let's go ahead and forgive him.

Jason Black and Frances Schroeder don't know what they will name the baby boy they're expecting. The couple is looking for a corporate sponsor to pay half a million dollars for their son's name. Yes, they need the money to pay for therapy once this kid grows up and realizes his name is "Playtex."

I'm feelin' promosexual…

The Rock, Laetitia Casta, WankerCounty, and now, Hoe Hater.

Hoe Hater is a simple website run my Matt (aka Math Yew) and Joe (aka J-Lo), two guys from Oregon who, while not too productive on the writing side, produce some of the silliest downloadable short movies that never fail to amuse me. And when the two actually write something, it's usually amusing as well. Hoe Hater is older and more immature than most weird kiddie websites (Wanker County, anybody?), but it's just weird and kiddie enough to be the fourth key element of a special event post in the works. Did I mention that today's promo is for Hoe Hater?

Well, I have finals this week, and then I'll be FREE…until next week when summer school session C begins. Damn. I hope to post on Wednesday to celebrate MTV's 20th anniversary. If not, then in the words of Matt from Hoe Hater, fuck all y'all! I'm tired.

Who is the lamest boy band member ever?
(out of 208 votes)
A.J. McLean • 6 votes • 3%
Ashley Parker Angel • 6 votes • 3%
George Harrison • 0 votes • 0%
Joey Fatone • 1 vote • 0%
Jonathan Knight • 189 votes • 90%
Ricky Martin • 3 votes • 1%
Tito Jackson • 4 votes • 2%
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. Oh, oh, oh, oh. Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. The right stuff.

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