Half Moon Bay, California Breaking News: Nazis hiding in Earth’s Core

I’ve never stayed in a hotel room with its own wine locker.

I’m at the Ritz-Carlton just south of San Francisco.

Ritzcarlton

I have a standing policy that if Google invites me to a 5 star beach resort, I say “yes” to that. I suggest you do the same.

They brought me here to speak at an off-site conference dinner event.

…I suppose “speak” is kind of generous. I wasn’t asked to give a lecture or anything. I stood up in front of a bunch of people and explained who I am – which, I soon learned, was entirely unnecessary. They knew exactly who I am.

I showed a video I just finished making with Google Earth. Not the one I put up last month. This is different. It’s a project I’ve been meaning to do for ages. Working with the Google Earth folks inspired me to pick it up again and I finally had the time to follow through on it.

It’s pretty neat. I can’t put it up right now cause I don’t have music clearance and I don’t feel like getting my butt kicked by the Johnny Cash estate, but there was no harm in showing it at the event and they were a receptive audience.

Thanks to Chi for inviting me down and Sri for hosting me.

After the dinner I posed for pictures and drank fancy booze. The Googlers flittered away in different directions to play poker and board games. I got sucked into something called Ticket to Ride. It’s one of those numbingly complex sprawls that takes a solid hour to learn and another four to finish. As a videogame designer, I’m conditioned toward the sensibility that if the rules aren’t immediately self-explanatory, something has gone terribly wrong. Once I let go of that, I dug it.

Tt_photo8

This is not a sneakily embedded product endorsement (though I’m not above that). I just felt a visual aid was needed and I forgot to take a picture.

Speaking of which, one of the “Googlers” dropped a comment that keeps echoing in my brain. Apparently she heard a rumor that I’m fake.

“Fake? Really?”
“I’m not saying I think you’re fake. That’s just what someone told me.
“Okay, but what does that mean?”
“Well, the video and all that.”
“Ah. The thing about how I stood in front of a screen and didn’t actually go anywhere? Yeah, people have been saying that from the beginning.”
“No, not that. The story that you quit your job to go traveling and a sponsor just rung you out of the blue. I heard that’s made up. That it was planned out by the company.”

…wow.

Temporarily speechless.

On consideration, I have to admit that all the revelations of contrived phoniness render the theory plausible. The rapidly aging term “viral marketing” is almost synonymous with duping people at this point. If I were born out of a corporate brainstorming session instead of a postmature Caesarean, I’d just be one more for the heap.

But here’s the thing: let’s suppose for a moment that my story is made up and I’m actually posing as someone I’m not, doncha think the person I’m pretending to be would be a little more…demo-appropriate? Wouldn’t I have higher cheekbones? Better haircut? Rakish man-stubble? Wouldn’t I hold up better in interviews and not do things like forget to mention who sponsored my trip on the Today Show?

Why would anyone conspire to produce so shoddy an operation as the one I’m running? My ineptitude as a media entity is bona fides.

I had an idea I wanted to try on the flight down here. I just got Flight Simulator X and I’ve been learning to fly. I opened it up on the plane, set my departure airport to SeaTac, set my destination to San Francisco International, set my plane to a Boeing 737-800, then replicated the flight I was on from my seat. I watched Rainier go by, then Mount St. Helens. Things were going well as I neared the border with Oregon, but then Vista pulled its usual crap and my whole computer shut down.

If there’s anyone out there on the fence, please don’t make the mistake I made. Do not switch to Vista. It’s a sputtering, bloated monstrosity that should never have been released to the public. We’re 6 months into release and it still takes a solid minute to load up a video file on my brand new machine. Attempting the Sleep function is still tantamount to a cold reboot.

I won’t be going to Burning Man this year. My request to shoot a dancing clip was rejected. They say it’s because I’d only be using Burning Man as a backdrop, rather than “exploring the event and its participants.” The sponsorship thing certainly doesn’t help either, and, in all fairness, I missed the request deadline by a few days.

It’s irksome. I am irked. I wanted to see Burning Man, but if I can’t shoot a clip, it’s a whole lot of time and expense that I’d rather put toward something else.

I also find myself unable to adopt the spirit I’m told is necessary in order to appreciate the event. I must be open. I must be involved. I must be ready to embrace and immerse myself with wild abandon.

I’ve never been to the thing, so it seems like a lot to ask in advance. It triggers a wariness, deeply ingrained, of all things cultish.

I’ve always had great difficulty joining groups and being a part of enterprises beyond my control. In high school, chess club was a carefully measured commitment. I prefer to either observe or abstain. Participation is something I can only do once I’ve dipped my toe, then my ankle, then my knee, then experienced the full-body shiver subsequent to genital immersion.

Burning Man seems to demand a belly flop. I’m not comfortable with that. And if it means I’m spiritually inferior, well, okay then.

I was ready to take the leap if I could come back with a good dancing clip. But they’ve decreed that what I’m doing doesn’t fit with what they’re about. So I’m reciprocating.

I’m getting ready for the North America trip. It starts September 5th and goes for about three weeks. It’s going to be as whirlwind as any traveling I’ve ever done. I’m trying to hit the big population centers, so if you’re in the states and you haven’t signed up for an invite to come out and dance, please do so.

As it says on the sign-up page, I’m not announcing dates and locations. You’ve gotta tell me where you are and then I’ll tell you if I’m going there. Sorry. That’s just how it works.

I got a ride to the airport this morning from Bud. Bud has become my cab driver of choice in Seattle. I have his personal cell programmed in so I can ring him directly. Bud is just about the most interesting person I know.

Bud is a fruitarian. He lives on two apples a day.

Bud says the local taxi business has been taken over by the east coast mob. They’re squeezing out all the career cabbies and filling their seats with indentured and easily exploitable Ethiopian drivers.

Bud says Hitler didn’t die in Germany. He escaped to South America and then pressed onward to Antarctica, where there is a warm, lush region the size of Texas. Hardly anyone knows about it. He says that shortly after World War II, the US sent 3000 troops to Antarctica to hunt down Hitler. He says they were all killed and the whole thing was hushed up.

Bud says civilians aren’t allowed to set foot on Antarctica. The whole continent is off-limits to all but a tiny group of scientists and military personnel.

Bud told me about the Hollow Earth theory. Apparently there was an Antarctic expedition in the late 19th century, decades before Shackleton, that discovered a tunnel leading straight up to the north pole. The planet, he says, is actually donut-shaped.

I suppose that means Hitler could be anywhere by now.

13 Responses to Half Moon Bay, California Breaking News: Nazis hiding in Earth’s Core

  1. Mmmmmmm….Doughnut. Matt, you meet the most interesting people. I’ve read your blog before, but haven’t commented. Happy travels – stop by Longaberger’s basket in Newark, Ohio. You’ll love it! 😀

  2. Rich

    Anyone who could possibly think you are phony is uninformed.

    p.s. I missed your entries, so it’s great to see a couple more. Thanks! :)

  3. Whomever who thinks you’re phoney has obviously never read your blog. I doubt any sponsor would be happy with some of the things you’ve reported (i.e. safe sex ads in Vietnam).

  4. Toyoko

    Hi again, Matt

    The people who think you are fake are just so insular. They probably have never left their mum’s until they are 35 years old.
    Long time ago, I did the similar thing as you (not as extensive as you have done and I didn’t dance, though). I worked for 5 years and quit the job and used up all the money in one year in Europe. That was so liberating. I had no responsibilities or committment. Good old days.
    Good luck with your trips in America and Canada.

  5. CyberianK

    The whole antarctica hitler story has been around for quite a while. The people who believe in it are of the bunch who believe in UFOs and stuff.
    The secret place some say it is in antarctica and some on the moon (where hitler flew with Nazi built UFOs called “Reichsflugscheiben”).

    There is an actual region in antarctica that was the target of a german expedition 1938/39 and the “Third Reich” claimed that region afterwards as: “Neuschwabenland” or “New Swabia”.

    link to en.wikipedia.org has some info on this

    But be careful with people believing in these stories if they aren’t friends of yours.
    They are often used as Neo-Nazi propaganda despite their sillyness and crazyness.

  6. Everet

    Dang.. Good old Adolf is down south getting a tan again is he? Things haven’t been the same since he left. I was thinking maybe we should go down to his fortress and have a spot of tea and then take the flying saucer up thru the earth back out near Washington. Saves travel time and the core is a really hot and happening place to meet some real thrill seeking devils. But away from the craziness of such views.. but be thankful you are allowed to have freedom of expression !!

  7. Jeff, I had to laugh at the person who’d come up with the idea you were “phony” which said that one small aspect of your life story was made up, as if that invalidated the rest of it.

    It reminded me of the doctor who told his patient that used alternative herbs, “You don’t REALLY feel better–you just THINK you do!”

  8. YOU are very interesting and your cab driving friend, Bud. Glad to see your postings. I check on ya and it appears you’ve stayed put for awhile. September should be lively.
    Ever think of coming to Costa Rica?
    Pura Vida, Teri

  9. .jon

    It hurts me to see people, that make a lot of noise and fuzz about their alternative lifestyle, their craziness and their desire for freedom above all (“Burning Man”) not to realize, whom they deal with, when talking to a man, that gave up his burgeoise job in favor to see what’s “out there”, to see what’s “behind the horizon”. They even do not realize, that this very man has a strong passion for freedom and independance, a passion so mighty, that he does not feel well in organizations, where the decision making is beyond his own influence.

    Having read this, my opinion about Burning Man has decreased close to below zero degrees celsius. I do not think anymore they are hot. I think they are some burgeoise with a strong alternative twist, but that is all. What they have proven is, that they do not judge by the heart, but by some political agenda, and that usually never is free of pre-judices. Jealous outsiders…

  10. davidB

    Bud sounds like a fruitloop more than a fruitarian but hey, he is probably a better driver than the ethiopians and entertains to boot!

    Seems to me you have found a good life Matt.

    Safe travels.

  11. Rachael

    Tunnel through the whole earth huh? I like that. Heck there is places like the underwater caves of Yucatan, the large amounts of underground caverns, and stories of secret alien underground hideouts. I found this link to a map of United States caverns you may like: link to burlingtonnews.net
    My Grandmother has even told me a story of how she went shopping in a secret underground city in Northern Florida. I guess it wasn’t enough to have all of the hustle and bustle above ground. Matt, your a funny guy. I enjoy reading your journals. So, when it your first book going to come out?

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