Gonzo Vaults

Gonzo Vaults

Welcome to my Gonzo Vaults . . .

These are the vaults of my never-ending foray into Gonzo Journalism, Another Day in the Freak Kingdom. From here you can check on the biographies of the characters, see pieces of the novel, and attempt to pry the rest out of me through e-mail. Due to size constraints, I can't make the whole text available over the Web, but if you ask really nicely I may give them to you.

Characters

These people actually exist, for the most part. They are ten times as crazy as they appear in the book, however, and they all should be locked up for the good of the nation, including myself. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The Author

I am a college student/journalist on assignment at the wonderful institution known as the University of Minnesota. Armed with a razor-sharp wit, disarming honesty, and traffic-stopping good looks, I am attempting to blow the whole lid off the hideous spectacle of Higher Education while grabbing power for myself. I am not in this alone, however. I have a few people on my side:  

Mr. Sam Waffle

Mr. Sam Waffle is my accomplice at St. John's University in decadent Collegeville. He is a corrupt representative of the MAN, a habitual drunkard, and a party aficionado. Unfortunately, he is a ship without a rudder, and his position in life has so far been the dormant gila monster. Nevertheless, his intelligent banter, though incomprehensible, always lends an element of mystique to any situation.  

Mr. Sam Spiczka

Mr. Sam Spiczka is a refugee from the system of Higher Education. Instead of getting his degree he got married and started life as a metal sculptor. He is now a highly unstable, but competent, artist living down and out in Texas. His cynicism and reckless loyalty are constants anybody can count on. However, his aversion to other people keep most of his vicious attacks safely bottled up in mere words.  

Ross

Ross is a sometimes writer, sometimes biker who hangs his hat at the end of every day on a peg in his van. Truly the most mobile of anybody, his poetry and prose have the uncanny ability to turn even the most unflinching literalist into a die-hard seeker of the Truth. His profession can't be captured in one word, and he can pick up any odd job that needs to be completed. Like Mr. Spiczka, he is a person who chose to reject the notions of Higher Learning.  

Savage Henry

Savage Henry is the head of the grim underworld in Collegeville. Few people have ever met him, and he keeps his contact with the outside world to a minimum. Savage Henry, or his underlings, are the kind of people you go to on a Saturday night if you are in desperate need of some Seconal. His influence among all people in Collegeville is great, and no one ever wants to get on his bad side. His face is known to few, and this is one of the few blurry photos of him in existence.  

College Political Players

As politics is a large part of any College campus, many politicos appear from time to time among the analects of Gonzo. College-level politics is usually highly volatile, and the University of Minnesota is no exception. All areas of the spectrum are represented, and foul play is always a possibility. Although there are too many people to give biographies for, and they would be full of libel, needless to say they play an important role.  
However . . . I will be adding more pending the completion of April 1998, on the way.  

Other Bit Players

Many times it is necessary to protect people's identities for their own sake. From undeveloped cohorts in seedy motels to fellow party-goers to Christian Youth Groups, there are plenty of people who need to be protected from themselves and thus have been kept away from the limelight. Here, however, I am able to thank them publicly for making this truly an Experience.

Chapter Excerpts

Although no excerpts can fully capture the dynamicism of living life as a modern college student, I think that these portions will help you, the reader, get a taste of the energy that exists underneath the skin of College. If it piques your interest, it may be possible to learn more by e-mailing me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

February 1997

"The whole point of this is lost to me, but I think it has something to do with the notion of Fitting In and Being a Productive Member of Society. Sure, we all want to be like a damn green Surge mountain, and make our first million at 25. But stay the straight and narrow, my friend, or someone will make short work of your weirdness. There is no room in professional America for a person who goes around laying the stomp and the whipsong on people for no damn reason, martyring yourself. Aggressive flatulence, forced feedings of swill, and massive consumption of alcohol are certain college experiences, but they do not belong in the Responsible America we so desire."

Later In February 1997

"One of my biggest mistakes that I made when I should have known better is to assume that because these people are in college they have basic intelligence and reasoning skills. I have always been against the arguments that intelligence and common sense comes from age, and here I was making the same argument when it came to college.
"I thought, erroneously and against my better judgment, that people wouldn't be here if they were less than intelligent. It is a common notion that is forced into us time and again, that college students are young adults, perfectly capable of reasoning and living in the world. They have common sense, a sense of right and wrong, and a high level of maturity. They get this magically between the time they graduate from high school and start college."

March 1997

"'Who are you? You're not in track,' they guy said, trying hard to look tough, but failing miserably.
"'Well, we came here with ______ and ______,' Waffle said, naming several names that are irrelevant. I let him do the talking, for I was clearly out of my league. Although I seriously doubted any physical violence would ensue, I have the tendency to start rambling incoherently and scaring the general populace. Better if I left well enough alone, I thought.
"The names we dropped seemed to temporarily appease the guy. But not for long. 'Well, you're cool for now, but if anybody else comes, your gonna have to leave.'
"'Bull,' I said. 'Neal Cassady personally invited me here, and I'll be damned if any stick-person is going to throw me out.' As soon as I said this, I realized my mistake. This guy wasn't amused."

April 1997

"With finals completed, it was time for a much deserved break. No matter what the original intentions of spring break were, it has evolved into a one-week period where the goal is to get a really dark tan and party until you forget exactly where you are. Although this last point seems fairly counterproductive, nevertheless it is an intricate part of the College Experience.
"But, this type of College Experience, unlike most others, is reserved only for those who have money they can spend frivolously. I, not being in that group, was forced to spend my break in the exciting burg of St. Cloud. Truly an experience for those who have never encountered it, but pretty much pure hell for those who have been forced to live there."

May 1997

"A recent nationwide college poll bears this out. In the past 25 years, the percentage of college Freshman who say that they are going to college to find a philosophy of life has dropped from around 68% to 40%, while the percentage of people who are at college to make a lot of money has increased from 40% to 72%. College today is nothing more than a trade school, a vo-tech, where people come in and learn how to punch numbers into a spreadsheet or to punch code into a computer, then settle down into a long life of boredom, apathy, and disharmony, fueled by their new-found skills in manipulating technology to fulfill their worldly desires."

June 1997

"But that is somewhat irrelevant, especially in regards to that College Experience that I could not forget no matter how much I want to or how much I tried. The only radio we have on our beloved campus is the pitiful Radio K, a pathetic AM station that runs a few hours a day. On the third largest college campus in America, if you wanted to hear the obligatory college radio station, you had to tune to 770 kHz sometime around noon, within a few hundred yards of the transmitter. The U decided not to jump on the FM bandwagon when it rolled around about 25 years ago, thinking it was just a fad. With that kind of thinking at the top, it's a surprise we have computers on this campus, or even telephones."

Dark Interlude - Summer 1997

"However, it was refreshing to know that people were proving, left and right, that once you stop making decisions for your children and start letting them act on their own, they will find all kinds of interesting ways of taking their lives and driving them over the high side of their first lap into adult life. Either they were destroying their futures through idiotic mistakes or getting locked down, squashing whatever individuality they had in favor of 'not making waves' and 'planning for the future.' Here they were, people who knew exactly what they were going to be, majors all planned, résumés created, husbands and wives sought, mortgages acquired, children procreated, 401(k)s set up, and don't forget the yearly vacation to Salt Lake City. Human existence had already lost its luster, but with a new Ford Festiva in the garage, who needed to think?"

September 1997

"After the industrious student registers for their classes at the U, the next hurdle is finding the classrooms on this large campus. Many students are found at three in the morning, round about Lilydale and Vadnais Heights mumbling about finding the Donhowe Building or Williamson Hall. Not only are these students often drunk, they are downright ignorant as well; there are no classes in those buildings. In any case, nearly all entry-level classes are held in 125 or 175 Willey Hall, so if they show up there when they are in doubt, chances are they will stumble into one of their classes.
"However, there is always the one truly lost person, and they need help the most. One day, I was rounding a corner and going through the door when someone at least a full foot shorter than I ran into me full-bore."

October 1997

"'Hey, Mr. Spiczka,' I said as he answered the phone in his office. 'I saw the STrib today. What the hell is going on?'
"'You tell me,' he said. 'What was the article that you wrote about anyway?'
"'It was Born Slippy: An Exercise in Post-Modern Existentialism. Hell, I didn't even write the thing. It was a collection of old clips. But now some damn youth group is calling for my head. What is the Saint Thomas Assembly of Christian Youth? I've never heard of it.'
"'You know, it's one of those Christian groups that wants God on every school lunch platter. The religious aren't very much into Existentialism, if you haven't noticed,' Mr. Spiczka mused.
"'Yeah, I guess you're right. But seriously, what in that article pissed them off? I gave it to you to read, right?'
"'Yes, you did,' said Mr. Spiczka. 'Even I thought it was a bit much, too much certainly for any Christian group like that. You can't exactly call for the destruction of the education system when that's what they rely on! You were talking like you were some modern-day messiah!'
"'Really? I never though of it like that,' I said. Then I paused to think it over. Could I really show such contempt for the system that is the foundation of American society? Just then, a member of that society came by, dressed up as a mime and parodying All in the Family while begging for money. I decided then that I could."

January 1998

"When I was at the University, I was relatively safe. I could run through the hallways and bolt the door as soon as I got home, saving me the embarrassment of petty conversation. I only had to see people in the classroom, and once that was over all I had to do was pretend they didn't exist if I saw them out in public. It was not the normal social life of a college student, but I am no normal student. I only went out on journalistic assignment, merely to see what the Hep were doing these days. I had no attachment to the people who were my subjects.
"However, going back to St. Cloud changed things dramatically. I was always being hunted down, or I was searching out people out of sheer habit. A habit that was horrible but hard to break, like most are. I could usually get some information when I was these people, but they laid such bummers on me that it usually wasn't worth it. It was simply another place and another time, and old contacts were getting less useful. There were only a few things I still wanted to know, the Born Slippy leak among them."

February 1998

"Nirvana and Kurt Cobain were from an earlier era, but not that much earlier; a time of relative innocence, a time when the future held as many possibilities as existed on any given evening at Nightstorm. While not everybody appreciated the bands that came out of Seattle, which was to the early '90's what San Francisco was to the '60's, a few years later many would be pleading for it all to come back. After Cobain's trip ended, we were left to deal with the specter of the Spice Girls, Hanson, and some Puff Daddy who make the top billboard charts by stealing a song and turning it into a memorial to yet another murdered artist.
"It was enough to make a person shy away from ever turning on a radio, and I seldom did. No, it was far better for the psyche to listen to Goat's Head Soup over and over, as a kind of demented repetitive commentary on the futility of what I was trying to accomplish at the time. There was almost no joy in the early days of February, a carryover from the dark times that were the month before."

March 1998

"The beginning of the week was rather uneventful. I wasn't a tourist, and I had no real inclination to see the sights beyond what I was shown. I had come for peace, and I had no problem with lounging around and thinking about the fine mess I was in with my campaign. Sam tried to give me some help, but he just wasn't sufficiently into politics to be able to get into a deep discussion regarding the various issues around campus. Polly also wasn't about to get into a discussion on the intricacies of politics; Sam was right when he said that she wasn't exactly a high-watt bulb. Mostly she kept to herself and watched television, or worked on her college algebra homework. I tried my best to be friendly and polite, but my heart wasn't in it, and neither was her brain. I could never put up with a person like that, but then again, I never had to. It was simply another part of the trip."

April 1998

"i am on a college campus, but i let the people around me trick me into thinking that they were of a different breed. they may be pols, which is good, but they are college pols, and they fall prey to things like everybody else. the captain and jack being two of the most popular. of course, i don't spend any time with the captain and jack, and that is one source of tension. a few others are on a more personal level. bottom line is, today just didn't feel right. it felt like it was shoved sideways into the calendar, and it never did undo that."


If you have any suggestions, motivation, or if you just want to curse me out, mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Selah.

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