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2002-08-17 10:19 p.m.

Clear Lake is a funny place. On one hand, it is a sort of paradise to me—lush, oak–covered hills, a towering dormant volcano, warm water for swimming in day or night. Nights are for relaxing, as our bodies ache from jetskiing all day. We eat summer meals like barbecue and ribs with peaches for dessert.

But, at the same time, Clear Lake and all of surrounding Lake County appears to me almost a ridiculous caricature of White Trash America. Broken windows on mobile homes are held together with tape. Dogs always bark. Couples scream and swear and fight at the gas station. Broken down trucks punctuate—almost define—the yards as much as stars bring meaning to the vast, clear night sky. Every car seems packed to the ceiling with naked babies wearing mullet haircuts. So many people are missing teeth; so many people have broken legs.

I always enjoy the man–made elements of Lake County. The scenes are strange collisions between an abandoned ghost town and carefully–chosen, extreme examples of low–income, mobile home parks. I love it, and I see photo opportunities everywhere. I especially like the written words here—the signs, the graffiti, the storefronts, the advertisements. But, with the risk of being shot, bitten by a dog, or run over by a 1977 Chevy van with different colored body panels, stealing some snapshots can be risky.

The neighbors here are always milling about out in their yard—naked babies, dirty–faced children, out–of–work fathers, and irritated, tired mothers. It gives the impression that their house is just a façade, and that their entire extended family actually habitates in their fenceless, makeshift yard. I pretended to watch cars drive by until the last of them finally disappeared behind their dilapidated mobile home façade. Then, I ran across the street as inconspicuously as possible and took a picture of the back of their 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit. Someone had used their finger to write WASH MY ASS in the caked–on dust.


The agony of defeat! The picture did not come out. But, trust me, it definitely said WASH MY ASS.


I got out of the car to take a picture of a sign that boasted "WE COME". Boris, Adam, and Jenny wave before they lurched the car forward without me in it, pretending to leave me on the side of the road. I always liked that trick. They did it fairly well, too, but I think the best way to execute this move is to pull away at the very moment the passenger's hand is about to touch the door handle. It is funnier that way.


Be informed that in the City of Clearlake, people have actual orgasms, and not fake ones. Look at that sign boasting how they COME, all huge and fat and in your face.


Remember Run DMC's song "Christmas in Hollis?" Conveniently located next to Hollis Lane in Glenhaven, Darnell's Northwood Park is trying to expand its customer base and bring some new flavor to Lake County. Darnell, appeals to 'homeez', G's, and 'gangstaz' by offering the 'full hook ups'.


High school health teachers still think it is the 70s and that kids are doing 'ludes' and PCP. It turns out that maybe those teachers aren't as crusty, outdated, empty–headed, and misinformed as we thought! From this photo we see that Satan himself—with the help from 'drug lords' and 'gangs' and 'sodomites'—is trucking in PCP by the ton to deliver to drug–hungry packs of elementary school students! Hurry America! Run to church right now and ask your pastor to pray that baby Jesus up in heaven will send a fax to the president urging the importance of the drug war. Call upon the power of the Holy Spirit for more anti–drug education at younger and younger ages—we even need anti–PCP literature in the womb for unborn baby humans!


This man noticed me photographing the huge PCP shipment, and suggested that I should take a photo of his truck, since it was "similarly themed". OH, HAHAHA. IT IS FUNNY BECAUSE IT SAYS 'WEED', GUYS! DO YOU GET IT? HAHAHA WEED! THAT IS SO FUNNY! LET'S DRIVE OUR OLDER BROTHER'S EL CAMINO TO A HEAD SHOP AND USE OUR ALLOWANCES TO BUY A SIX FOOT TALL CARTMAN BONG! THEN WE CAN ALL BE STONED AND LET COLONEL SANDERS JAM 1,000 DICKS IN OUR FACE! I obliged and took a picture, since the guy was really nice, and I did not want to disappoint him with the fact that 'weed' references are cliché and not especially funny. Marijuana is about as rebellious as church and as racy as 1950's television. If you want to be truly rebellious—change the world—and piss off legions of conservative adults...try voting.


Speaking of Jesus, patrons of the Safeway in the City of Clearlake left this morsel of wisdom in the restroom stall—so striking, eloquent, and relevant. Note the alternative, more modern spelling of this popular spiritual leader's name.


One Clearlake theologian suggested this well–researched rebuttal.


I was amazed to read that CLEALAKE HO'S SUCK GOOD DICK. I got all excited at this prospect until I realized that I was in CLEARLAKE (with an 'R'), and not CLEALAKE. Oh, well. I guess I will have to remember this important piece of information for the next time I find myself in CLEALAKE.


I am not sure what is better about the editorial discussions of this Safeway's restroom stall: 1) the creative spelling choices, or, 2) the frequent use of 'fag', the average American's favorite word for things which they do not understand. Or, perhaps I am misjudging this artist's work? Maybe they have purposely used the words 'fagits' and 'magits'—lesser–known homonyms of 'faggots' and 'maggots'—as tongue–in–cheek suggestions to the viewer of the important political themes of homosexuality and baby flies.




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