Road Tripping To SXSW: Part One

The Champ, as he contemplates every decision he'd made in the previous 72 hours

The Champ outside of the Austin Convention Center, as he rued every decision he’d made in the previous 72 hours

4:30PM Thursday: As I sat in my car, ready to begin my journey to the film/interactive portion of SXSW in Austin, Texas, I was reminded of the fact that while I have many great qualities—I can eat an entire pound of bacon and watch three episodes of Luther right afterwards, I can pee in the shower without splashing any on whoever might be in there with me, and, while I haven’t tried to do this in some time, I’m pretty sure I can dunk a tennis ball—one quality I do not possess is the ability to not procrastinate, even when I know said procrastination will cost me money.

I first learned I would be a panelist at SXSW a few months ago, and could have very easily purchased a plane ticket to Austin while the rates were still reasonable. (I don’t remember exactly how much it was, but I know it was in the ballpark of $350-$400) Naturally, I didn’t purchase them then, and as the weeks passed, the rates continued to climb. When I checked back a couple months later, they’d nearly tripled.

After seeing this, I began to talk myself into driving.

“I always wanted to make a long road trip. I’d save money, get to drive through a bunch of states I’ve never even been to before, and if the Gay Reindeer came with me, it would be fun! Plus, what’s the point of buying a Charger if you’re only going to drive it to LA Fitness?”

 

After a couple days of this, it sounded better and better. So what if Pittsburgh to Austin is a 1,400 mile, 20 hour long trip? So what if between the pre-road trip checkup I got on my car, the gas, and the food we purchased while driving, I’d really only end up saving a couple hundred dollars? And, while I enjoy the Gay Reindeer’s company, so what if 50 hours of car time together in an 100 hour span could potentially turn us into Iago and Othello? I was convinced this was a great decision.

5:30PM: After sitting in Pittsburgh rush hour traffic for an hour, and realizing we still had at least 20 hours of driving to go, I began to regret my decision. Luckily, the Gay Reindeer purchased a bunch of snacks and drinks before leaving, and I began to drown my regret in a cascade of granola bars and Naked juice.

11:00-ishPM: I take the wheel from the Gay Reindeer as we make it Kentucky and do our first scheduled driver switch. Highlights so far:

***A theme throughout the trip would be my surprise whenever we’d stop at a gas station or drive thru and see Black people. Basically, I was the stereotypical northerner who’d never been south and assumed that everywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line could pass for a deleted scene from Mississippi Burning. But, not only are there Black people everywhere, the White people we encountered on the trip were exponentially friendlier than the White people I’m used to. Like, suspiciously “They’re not really cannibals, are they?” friendlier.

***I talk occasional shit about Cincinnati—I’m a Pittsburgher, so I’m contractually obligated to do so—but I have to say that it’s a very pretty city at night.

***Being from PA, a state where most highways have 55mph speed limits, the 65s and 70s we’re seeing as we head farther south is taking some getting used to. It almost feels like a ploy to punk out of towners into speeding tickets.

2:00AM Friday: I felt myself getting a little groggy while somewhere in the middle of Tennessee, so I turned up the music and started violently and excitedly singing along in my seat. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work very well when listening to Forrest Gump, so I needed to find something more appropriate.

2:03AM: “Deez niggas won’t hold me back!!! Deez niggas won’t hold me back!!! Deez niggas won’t hold me back!!! Deez niggas won’t hold me back!!!”

2:05AM: This outburst wakes up the Gay Reindeer, who starts freestyling as soon as she opens her eyes.

“Wack niggas wanna wake me up!!! Wack niggas wanna wake me up!!! Wack niggas wanna wake me up!!! Wack niggas wanna wake me up!!!”

I guess this would be a good time to explain how the Gay Reindeer got her name. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m prone to spontaneous bouts of ridiculously off-beat and off-color freestyle rapping. During one of these sessions a couple months ago, I encouraged the Gay Reindeer to try. She’d never done it before. But, as I explained, I’ve been doing it for a decade and even though I still sound like I’ve never done it before, I feel like I’m getting better. And, feeling like you’re getting better is all that matters. Just ask Dwight Howard.

She agreed. And, surprisingly, she was able to stay on beat and even rhyme a few times in a row. But, she did something with her voice where she tried to change the pitch, but it ended up sounding something like a bigger, drier, lisp-heavy chipmunk—basically, a Gay Reindeer. From that moment on, the Gay Reindeer has been her “rap name.” (My rap name? Well, it changes every couple of months. But, right now it’s “Monster Shits.”)

8:00AM: We wake up after napping for a couple hours at a rest stop. Before stopping, we’d left Tennessee, crossed the Mississippi river, and made our way into Arkansas, the wackest state ever made.

Why exactly is Arkansas the wackest state ever made?

8:30AM: We see a sign for Arkadelphia, the most prominent example of Arkansas’ wack tendency to hijack another name, put “Ark” in front of it, and pretend like the name wasn’t hijacked from another name. The entire state even did this to Kansas!!!

9:45AM: To say that our car has begun to smell, um, “interesting” would be an understatement. Without getting too graphic, let’s just say that it seems like the Gay Reindeer and I started playing a game called “Fart, Burp, or Both?”

10:30AM: After passing “Arklanta” and “Arktimore,” stopping at an Arkdonald’s, and mentally preparing ourselves for the longest single straight stretch of the trip—a four hour long trek between Arkansas and Texas—a few things began to dawn on me

1. This trip started roughly 15 hours ago and we still have 8 f*cking hours to go.

2. This trip started roughly 15 hours ago and we still have 8 f*cking hours to go.

3. This trip started roughly 15 hours ago and we still have 8 f*cking hours to go.

10:31AM: “F***********************************CK!!!!”

***Go here for Part 2***

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

I’m Not Ashamed: That Ignant Sh*t We’re Not Afraid To Like

Although yesterday’s “Things Bougie Black Girls Say”¹ may have implied otherwise, I don’t have anything against them at all. In fact, I’d say that the vast majority of the 25 to 35 year old women I’m close to qualify. Many of my homegirls are Thai-loving Deltas, and how else would I know that Target makes bougie black girls squirt without being in the room while it happens?

Also — and I’m sure this admission won’t shock anyone reading this — I’m (somewhat) bougie myself.  Brunch is my favorite meal, I too find myself asking “Wait, who else is going?” whenever I’m invited somewhere, and while I won’t join you at the Smiling Banana Leaf, I won’t think twice about dropping 25 bucks for a gourmet cheeseburger.

Despite this bougieness, there are a few particularly anti-bougie things I just can’t get enough of — sh*t that’s about as legitimately tacky, gaudy, uncouth, ignant, and, gasp, ratchet as one can get. I wouldn’t call them guilty pleasures either, because there’s absolutely no guilt involved, no shame in my game. I like it, and if you don’t like the fact that I like it, you can like deez.

This list includes…

Rick Ross

I know his subject matter is about as varied as the skin tones of the crowds at Rick Santorum rallies, and I know his incessant grunting, “uhhh”-ing, and “whooo!!!”-ing occasionally makes it feel like I’m listening to a warthog masturbate, but I can’t deny the fact that his music makes me repeat things like “I levitate on all you p*ssy n*ggas” to myself while waiting in line at Au Bon Pain.

Also, he actually is a good rapper. Panama mentioned this to me a year or so ago and I scoffed at him, but he actually does check all the cadence, word play, and “beatrideability” boxes you’d want.

(Btw, with both Twinkie and Maybach going under within days of each other, isn’t Rick Ross having the worst week ever?)

The Twerk Team, and various other strippers, pseudo porn stars, and kitchen sink twerkers on YouTube and WorldStarHipHop

You ever happen to view some video of some random hoodrat bootyclapping in her bathroom, see that the vid has like 400,000 views, and wonder “Who the hell are these 400,000 people that sit around and watch videos like this all day?

I’m not saying I’m one of those people, but, well, I’m just not saying that I’m one of those people.

Kool-Aid

Yes, I know it’s nothing but water, sugar, compressed paint chips, and asbestos. Yes, I know that too much of it will give me the gout or the diabeetis. And yes, I know “Hey, you want some Kool-Aid?” makes bougie black girl’s panties drier than KG’s lips.

But, there’s no other beverage that manages to go well with hotcakes, hotdogs, and hangovers alike, and the Kool-Aid test — Can you make a half gallon pitcher without looking at the directions? — is my version of the bougie black girl’s passport test.

American Muscle Cars

My love for Chargers is well-documented, but I don’t think that linked article fully encapsulates my infatuation. Let’s put it this way: You ever play the “what would you buy?” game, where you’re asked what car you’d purchase first if you had an unlimited income? (Btw, if this sentence urges you to leave a comment talking about how we’ll never rise as a people as long as we keep talking about spending money on the white man’s chariot, please quell that urge, and please go stick your head in a toilet and flush it)

Well, while my first choice is usually the Panamera, my second choice is usually “You know, I’d probably just buy a 700 horse power engine and put in my car.” Who cares if this choice shows that my imagination game is on “comatose,” and who gives a damn that the only time I’d actually be able to use the extra horses is when I’m speeding through a yellow light on the way to Trader Joe’s. That’s what I want, if you still have an issue with it, we can meet outside after brunch and “settle” our disagreement.

That’s enough ignance and ratchetrey for me. People of VSB, we already know that you negroes skew bougie, so list some decidedly non-bougie things that you’re not afraid or ashamed to admit that you like.

¹Thought you all might like to know that not only did “Shit Bougie Black Girls Say” have the most unique visits in VSB history, it beat the next closest entry by 17,000. I guess the bougie nerve is quite sensitive. 

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)