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2004-01-08

IMPORTANT NEW NOTES FROM JUSTIN:

Wow, I sure have been traveling for a long time. As I post today's installment I looked at my calendar and saw that I've been out here for 136 days! This is the longest I've ever traveled, and by far the most challenging trip I've ever taken. Sometimes I think about calling it quits and heading home—some days I'm just tired of never sleeping in the same bed, some days I'm tired of wondering what happens when the money runs out. I miss my friends and family.

Yet, there is something that compels me to continue. I know I have something great to find out here. And, I know I have something great to give out here. And, I'll know when it's time to go home. But, until then, you'll find me somewhere out there. I'm the one in the red car with the driver's side window that doesn't work anymore, the one with the rust spots all over it that speeds past you. I'm the one taking the pictures of the graffiti, the statue, the strange food.

So, one of the things about this travel experiment is that I have—against my will—assumed the challenging variable I like to call 'being broke'. So, that means I am doing this crazy trip while living very frugally. For example, my slutty pants that used to be tight aren't tight anymore—that kind of frugal, you know?

So, what does this mean? Well, staying in a hotel every night is out of the question. So who will I stay with, then? Where will I sleep? I want to come stay with YOU!

I am looking for nice, fun people who can put me up for a few nights and really host me. This would involve me staying at your house for a few days, showing me a good time, feeding me a few meals a day, and leading me into whatever general mischief we can get into. I'll get to learn about your life and write about our times together! I am meeting with people I've never met before and living some life with them. That could be you! If you think it might be fun to host me for a day or two or three, email me at justingrace AT mac DOT com.

Please make sure to include your address and phone number in your email to me so I can be in touch!

I am especially looking for places to stay in the southeast USA and everywhere on the East Coast. I will be traveling all over the USA, though, so email me no matter where you are because I will probably come visit! Here are the places I will be in the next few months that I am still looking for a place to stay at:

• Florida
• Alabama
• Tennessee
• North/South Carolina
• Georgia
• Virginia

Please contact me ASAP if you want to hang out!

If you believe in what I am doing and want to help support me, please do so! You can donate money to me using PayPal. Email me for more information! Or, check out my photo sales page! Buying photos from me feeds me and keeps me on the road!



US Tour Day 116, Part 2: More Chores and Leaving Dunedin It's funny but I find that since my return to Florida I've actually spent more time doing chores and working on my to do list than having the sort of adventures I'm used to. After being back in the San Francisco area for sixteen days I really needed the time to catch up on life. There's a lot of work that goes into doing things well—writing, making an album, being a good friend, corresponding with people, having a car that functions properly. And, I tend to want to do all these things myself. So, it means my to do list is long, long, long.

But, in the last day I've made a substantial dent in the to do list! I applied for a business license, a fictitious business name permit, a seller's permit, and a business checking account.


Not only have I been trying to make a dent in my to–do list, but it appears I'm also doing a little work on the side to make dents in people's cars. I bumped into this man's fancy, silver Honda Accord on my way back from the car wash. As you can see, there was no damage. I wasn't even going 3 miles per hour, but my careless act really startled us both. Duh.

I felt smug after filling out all the forms and inserting the completed papers and the photocopies of my driver's license and the appropriate money orders into each envelope. I'm guessing it probably felt like beating someone much smarter at a game of chess, except that I've never actually done that, so I'm really just speculating.

I also—through the magic of Ebay—procured all the equipment needed to process credit cards! My mom had given me money to use to go to Disneyworld while I was here in Florida. I'll have to admit to her that I used it to start my business instead. I'm sure she'll understand.

I also wire transfered some of the money I owed to my producer in Sweden. He has been very generous and patient with me, considering that I owe him many thousands of dollars for his work on my forthcoming album (which will be out soon!). I really need to sell these records. Of course I want to share this work of art and dream come true with the world. But, really I need the money to pay back all the people who worked on it!

Chores, chores, and more chores. I changed my spark plugs, washed my car, and gave myself a hair cut. I finally opened the Christmas cards my friends sent me, I wrote a pile of thank–you cards, and packed my belongings back into my car.


I worked in the kitchen while Monica Wrobler sat on the couch with what I am sure is the worst dog ever. Ok, it may not be the worst dog ever, but this misbehaving mongrel quickly became my least favorite dog of all times.

So, where's the fun? Well, it was fun. My life is fun. It's almost all fun. Even the tedious tasks are fun because they're part of the journey towards this bigger, beautiful picture I have in my mind's eye.

After my car was packed, Monica and Marion and I had our last supper together—Chinese fast food. I asked the lady at the counter if they had eggplant. She said, No, I don't do eggplant. I asked her if she had Chinese tender greens, like pea pod greens. She got irritated. No, we don't have pea pod leaves. Listen, mister, this is a fast food restaurant, OK?

So much for asking for things that weren't on the menu. I felt a long way from home, but not in a bad way. It would be like walking into a bookstore in another country and asking them to have The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in English. Why would they have such a thing? And, if I wanted to have things be just like home, then why wouldn't I just save the money and effort and stay at home?

I ate more than I should have. I weighed myself at the grocery store the night before and I know I only weigh 136.5 pounds. Yet, still I managed to eat enough that—in spite of my tiny frame—I felt fat. Why does food have to be so tasty? Why does it so compel me to molest it with my lips and tongue? Why does it beg to be nibbled, then bitten, and then gnawed by my teeth?


In the Republican–ruled, Christian camp called `Florida', even the fortune cookies get all religious on your ass.

I could write a million volumes on my inability to meter the food that goes into my mouth. It's understood. So why bother complaining about it again? The story is predictable—it's the same thing I do at every meal: I ate a lot. Too much, in fact. Then I left the restaurant and did something else. Maybe I'm just a one trick pony, and my only trick is eating until I feel stupid?

So, once again I said goodbye—to the suburb of Dunedin, to the oak tree that had dropped leaves and acorns all over my newly cleaned car, to Marion and Monica, and to their horrible excuse for a dog, an animal that reinforced any negative feelings I had about those filthy little shit–machines that people keep around as pets to make their lives less simple and peaceful. I slammed my right foot down onto the gas and tried to notice if the new spark plugs made any difference at all as I sped off to Orlando.


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