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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cornerstone 2002, Day One: The Show Me State Shows Me. Now That's Enough, Show Me State, Put That Away.

On the night of Sunday, June 30th, 2002, I finished up my shift at KLSU with my two great buddies, (in alphabetical order) Dave the Human Cartoon and Jolly Robker, then headed for the home of my cousin, Adrian, aka Amo, aka The Rabbit, aka I'm not gonna go with nicknames for this travelogue because it gets too confusing, and I generally hate nicknames because I hate when people call me anything other than The Nicsperiment, which actually IS my REAL name. It says it on my birth certificate right over the line that reads:
Sex: Blog
Great, because of that joke, everybody who googles "sexblog" is gonna end up here, but that is fine because a 1984 Datsun with cellophane over the windows, pouring out more smoke from the muffler than a private school restroom in Denver, still counts as traffic. Now I really feel like the search hits for this post are gonna be weird.
Anyway, no one is gonna be known by a nickname here, except for the two guys in the first paragraph because I hadn't made the rule yet, and then pretty much every single person mentioned in the rest of this travelogue because this happened twelve years ago and I'm not Bill Clinton. That means I don't have a nameographic memory, and also, I don't smoke cigars. I feel like at some point I was trying to tell a story here. Oh yeah, I went to Adrian's house...
The two of us tried to get to bed early because we knew our buddy, Jon, was going to be picking us up before sunrise in his mom's mini-van because you can't drive 850 miles to a rock and roll festival where you sleep in a tent, take spigot showers, and get blugeoned and beaten in mosh pits for a week without your mom's minivan. I have no idea how Jon convinced his mom to let two college students and her 17-year old son put 1700 miles on the minivan she used to transport her four kids, as well as the family ferret (and that ferret got really unruly if you didn't give him shotgun) without question, but then again, that was 12 years ago, so I'm not entirely sure. I mean, that sentence started with the phrase "I have no idea," so you should have already known I was not entirely sure about whatever the topic of the sentence was, and I already don't even remember what I'm talking about.
Oh yeah, minivans. Minivans are creatures of the deep past, like dinosaurs, and people who watch Grey's Anatomy. Now everyone drives an SUV (Suburban Utility Vulva). If you're wondering the difference, minivans favored function, while SUV's favor going to war with middle-eastern nations over vulvas.
Jon did indeed come well before sunrise, and this sentence is inappropriate after me saying vulva so much. We loaded up our tent, which we borrowed from someone or other, let's just call them Squirrely Joe or maybe it was Chipmunk Mike. Like I said, 12 years ago. Anyway, we loaded up the van and drove into the sunrise.
That wasn't like, a bunch of fluffy sentimentality in the last sentence or anything. We drove east down I-12, literally into the sunrise. Not literally "into the sunrise" because that would just be silly. I'm sorry if that previous sentence was offensive to everyone who dreams of literally driving into the sun. I'm sure the great minds behind Facebook and Twitter will get right on that when they realize that simply having civilization drive directly into the sun will end it even faster.
We then hooked a North on I-55 because if you keep driving in the same direction forever you just end up going in one big circle, unless your planet is oblong, in which case you just go in one big "funky" circle. George Clinton was greatly mistaken. Oblongs got the funk.
The three of us took turns driving, sitting in the passenger seat, and lying down in the back, as we had removed Jon's mom's backseat and either thrown it in the trash or stored it in her garage, not sure because you're more impulsive when you're younger, and 12 years ago. I took the third driving shift, and got stuck behind this green van that kept hovering in front of me, then passing me when I got in the left lane, no matter my speed. We decided the woman simply had bad, yet chromatically perfect gas, as it kicked in like clockwork every time I tried to pass her, launching her forward in a massive blast of methane. I just taught you an incorrect usage of the word "chromatically." Anyway, we thought her car was methane driven because the thing you think about when you are that age when you are not thinking about sex is farts, and also because when my brother eats pickles he farts a lot. Man, I just used the words and phrases "sex" "farts" "pickles" and "my brother" in the same sentence, and now I feel so wrong, things can never be right again. The only thing that can solve this is the best solution for everything: just forget about it.
What was I talking about? St. Louis! St. Louis looks just like New Orleans! Just switch out the arch for street porn! I hate New Orleans!

River? Tugboats? Ancient bridge that is possibly not up to code? New Orleans!!!
As soon as the three of us entered city limits, we held a short debate, and it is one of the only word-for-word conversations I can remember from the trip.

Should We Go to the Arch?: A Dramatization Based on the Conversation "Should We Go to the Arch?" by The Nicsperiment, Adrian, and Jon

Dramatis Personae (names placed in syllabic order):
Jon: Human, 17
Adrian: Chick Magnet, 19
The Nicsperiment: Blog, 20
St. Louis Arch: Chick Magnet, 37, Single, Looking to Mingle

Setting: A minivan. Adrian drives, as Jon sits in the passenger seat, The Nicsperiment in the back.

The Nicsperiment: Hey, guys, let's go to the St. Louis Arch.

Jon and Adrian: Where is it?

The Nicsperiment: (Points at large arch visible from miles away)There.

Jon and Adrian: Okay.

As we knew that St. Louis looked exactly like New Orleans, we also knew that we did not want to make a wrong turn in St. Louis. Thankfully, we did not, though we did look like this, so it wasn't a total win.

To the left, Adrian, to the right, Jon, to the far right, The Nicsperiment and his socks.

The arch is majestic, and if you visit St. Louis, you should probably...visit it, but if you do, you probably shouldn't follow our example of leaving your friend's mom's minivan running on the curb while you take pictures of each other.
The rest of the drive was pretty unremarkable except for the fact that southern Illinois is a black hole that somehow sucked in an infinite amount of corn fields and you will drive through them forever and I am still driving through them. Strangely enough, as we began to near Bushnell, we saw all these weird iron cages on the side of the road. Rather by delirium or some other synonym for crazy that I don't feel like looking up right now, we began to propose some kind of logically supported argument that the cages were supposed to be occupied by gay lions, and I have no idea why, and gay lions, I'm sorry, I'm sure you probably thought that this travelogue was finally going to be your shot at exposure and representation, but I can remember neither why you live in mysterious corn field cages in the middle of nowhere Illinois, nor why you are attracted to lions of the same sex, but you weren't even in the cages specifically constructed for you, so really, this is all your fault.
We made it to Cornerstone. We thought we were lost a few times, but not all who wander are lost and all that. I'm gonna go play video games before I write this next part.
Okay, I'm back. I just beat Shadowgate 64. That maze at the end is brutal.
Anyway, as I return, I notice that the title of this post is the state motto of Missouri, and we did drive through Missouri for a very long time, and we did originate from a state that features approximately 30-square feet of exposed rock (Lusiana), and I did take 100 pictures identical to this one.

But wait, I already got to the part where there? Oh, well, sorry, Missouri, you shouldn't have been so inappropriate and you have made me take so many identical pictures of your bare rock, you dirty pervert state.
Speaking of inappropriate, you may notice that a lot of these photos are...extended. That's because I used a panoramic disposable camera. I don't even know if they still make those, but I used to seek them out when I went on trips because I thought the pictures they took were more cinematic. You're welcome.
So anyway, we got there, realized there were indeed nearly 30,000 other humans vying for camping space, picked a camping spot that combined the best location with the weakest family that we could easily overpower. We brutally, yet silently and stealthily murdered them, wrapped them up in their own tent. While Jon and Adrian put our tent where their now corpse-filled tent once was, I took the bodies out to the middle of one of those remote Illinois corn fields and disposed of the remains. If you enjoy scavenger hunts and are also a huge fan of the incredible film, The Shawshank Redemption, I buried them in a field. It's got a long rock wall with a big oak tree at the north end. It's like something out of a Robert Frost poem. It's where I asked my wife to marry me. We went there for a picnic and made love under that oak and I asked and she said yes. Promise me, if you ever get out... find that spot. At the base of that wall, you'll find a rock that has no earthly business in a Maine hayfield. Piece of black, volcanic glass. There's something buried under it I want you to have. It's their bodies.
Find the bones.
Release their souls to rest.
The task is in your hands
Once Jon and Adrian got the tent all standy and from 600 hundred pieces to one tent-looking piece, we turned around and saw this horrifying sight:

That's right...every decent human's worst nightmare: a tent full of Minnesotans.
"How how ya doing?" they asked.
"Do ya need any help with that?" their haunting voices intoned.
"Want any brats?" they offered with hair-raising smiles.
"Hey, we've got a lot of water if you need any," their voices scratched the very surface of our sanity.
"No, really, we brought extra brats, just for neighbors!" they said straight from the blackness in their souls.
"We always keep a guy near the tent, so we'll keep an eye on your stuff, too, neighbors!" sealing our doom.
If you can't see past the joke, people from Minnesota are really nice, except for that one guy looking back making the obnoxious face in the picture, but you can tell that one is a jackass without me pointing it out. He was a bit of a nemesis for me, because every great hero needs a great villain. That previous sentence was full of so much ego and fantasy I threw up in my mouth a little.
Anyway, I should end this entry. We met the Minnesotans, and I'll go into greater detail about them later, when I don't have so much to ramble about. We explored our new Cornerstone digs, which included rolling hills, mysterious forests, a massive lake, thousands of camper tents, dozens of music tents, and approximately 10e+05 port-a-potties. Oh, but we'll get to the port-a-potties later. We'll get to it all later, my, friends.


Jessica said...

Thank you for using the term "vulva" instead of "vagina," because using the wrong one really irks me. Rarely do people need to say "vagina." They usually mean "vulva" and just don't realize that they aren't saying the right word. SUVs, man...

Also, I kind of got all nostalgic about those cut-out rocks surrounding roads when I went home to Illinois recently, and we drove from Springfield (where our plane landed) to the muddy Mississippi, where I grew up and loved those striations. They are in Illinois in places, too, and I always forget them until I'm back in the area and then I miss them (even though I'm looking right at them and didn't miss them when I wasn't looking at them, so yeah...except I kind of miss them right now, because you showed me a picture of them, and now I miss them even though I'm looking right at them again. Huh, how weird is that?)

Nicholas said...

I know exactly what you mean on the cut-out rocks! I didn't duplicate any of our conversations on the striations in this entry to save time (as these are all pretty long), but they all pretty much went like this:
"Man, what are these things called?"
"Like strations... stratingtons... striations?"
"Yeah, striations!"
"Man, these striations are awesome!" (takes 20 pictures of striations)
"I mean, they're cool, but they're not that awesome." (takes 20 more pictures of striations)
"Man, these striations aren't that cool." (takes 20 more pictures of striations)
(Sigh) "I love the striations... crap, what happened to all my film?!"
"Striations, man. Striations."

Neal said...

"That's right...every decent human's worst nightmare: a tent full of Minnesotans."

Hey... I've resembled that remark from time to time. :(

That was hilarious, though, I totally was not expecting a tentful of Minnesotans in this travelogue. Most of your sentences go all over and should fly apart at the seams (but somehow magically do not), but I was still not expecting that. :p

Nicholas said...

Heheh. Obviously, I go more into some of the Minnesotans individual personalities in later entries, but there were two of those guys I made really good friends with. They wrote their phone numbers and addresses down for me, but unfortunately, that sheet, along with a small stack of my Cornerstone memorabilia, got blown away before we made the trip back home. A shame to, as they were both awesome dudes, and I think we would have stayed in touch.

Nicholas said...