Throughout the past three days, I’ve done nothing but tackle the issue of change. My exposure to the “real world” has somehow altered my outlook on life. I guess it’s all apart of growing up, but with two more weeks to go, I can only wonder - what’s next?
MONDAY started out pretty darn slow. I found myself in the Dimond Mall, the once glorified mack spot of the original hype-boyz from Mr. Rags (Kaloni Kurtis, Jeff Franco, Kosmos Harrison, Chass Jones, Roy Garcia, Jason Canfield, Larry Ernest, Bobby Macdonald, Duane Stallworth, Shane-dog, Derrick, and yours truly, Geo! “The hype-man”). Those days are long gone and so are the original glory days of that mall.

“Hey stranger!” Echoes a female voice.
It’s Sarah from Soldotna. I met her while cruising ‘the strip’ in March of ‘94. I gave her my phone number and she called me 45 minutes later. Now, I ask you, was that a desperate move on her part? Or, was that certified coolness – letting me know that she is most definitely interested? Oh well, we now laugh about that story. Sarah & I were exchanging hugs when Brad Trevithick arrives on the scene (he was with me the night I met Sarah). Brad looks like a new man. All that facial acne was gone. I walk Brad to his car as he shares with me a near death experience, during a winter hike in the Chugach Mountains. He expresses a lot of emotion to detail, as he takes me on a violent avalanche ride down the mountain.
“Dude! I kid you not! I fought as hard as I could, but that snow was just too fuckin’ tough! I finally gave up and thought - oh well. I guess this is the way Big B’s gonna go!”
Next, I had a run-in with Shelly. I pretended like “everything was all right” and yes, this jilted lover took the bait. Truthfully, I was trying to protect my reputation from false advertisement. Shelly wanted to make things up with me. She treated me to dinner, which I found to be totally cool! Afterwards, she drove me to her house, simply to get me a wash rag and blanket – cool again! Then, she re-offers me the luxury of her home. Man, I kid you not, I was falling head over heels for this reformed Shelly Coolridge. Although the fearsome thought of confronting Clyde laid not far behind, Shelly assures me that nothing unexpected will frighten me. She even uses Clyde’s name to distract my attention.
Oh, Geo! Clyde is okay with you.” She says.
We’re even meeting at the gym tonight!”

Okay, call me a scary cat, but luxury isn’t all that. Remember, true believer, we’re on a mission.

7pm - I gave ol’ Allison Westervelt a ring. She was excited to hear from me.
7:45pm - Allison and I embrace in some kind of ‘welcome back’ hug. She drops a few tears.
Oh my gosh, Geo! I didn’t think I’d ever see you again!”

Allison's Wedding

The feeling was mutual, although I got the better end of the deal. Allison Westervelt’s all grown up. We converse for a few more minutes, before heading out to Bartlett High for her indoor soccer game. There, I ran into Megan O’Leary from Saturday night.

“Hey Mr. MTV!” She says. “Are ya coming to our Singled Out assembly on Friday?”
Talk about being over-rated, that was my first sign of how popular that game show was to my hometown. I joked with Megan about my appearance on the show – ya know, the inside scoop on how cool Chris Hardwick was and the truth about that damn Jenny McCarthy character. I figured my Hollywood exposure would most definitely flatter Megan’s heart. It was working, but ol’ Allison killed that plan pretty darn quick.
Geo! You’re not scammin’ on my teammates now, are ya?”
Wouldn’t ‘cha know it, Megan and Allison are best friends. Well, their team lost miserably to an unranked opponent. Allison blames her poor performance upon my presence - I can understand that. Afterwards, Allison and I munched down some appetizers at Red Robin - while having a cool run-in with Donny’s friend Will and his gal-pal, Shar’ra.
TUESDAY “was a cold, brisk, flannel type of morning” - H. Finfrak.  I journeyed to the FOX television station to say my hello’s to my former co-workers.  Next, I went to see my old ROTC instructor, SGM Magwood.  He usually has a lot of advise to give me.  Hm... Maybe his silent treatment was his message. His only true comment;
Didn’t you come here after your ‘Price is Right’ show?” (responding to my appearance on Singled Out).  I understood his point.  That 10 year reunion is right around the corner.
8:30pm – Anthony Appel, hype-boy #3 and my DJ partner for the groundbreaking “Service Cougar” dance (Tales of The Hype! year 5) arrived on the scene. Anthony was suppose to rendezvous with Roy Garcia & I last summer in New York City, but the darn fool fell in love, so he never left Alaska. Whoa, Anthony gained a lot of weight. Obviously, this was a direct result of his new laid back lifestyle with a girlfriend. I updated Anthony on the direction of “The Hype” – Roy, Donny, newcomer Pete and the mid July rendezvous in Seattle, Washington. This time around, Anthony assures me that he’ll be there.
After several failed attempts to find something to do on a lonely Tuesday night, we ended up at Anthony’s house – critiquing my appearance on Singled Out.  Everyone expected me to sell “The Hype” or at least try my best to outshine my competition.  But, in front of those Hollywood camcorders, “The Hype” translated into being ‘the coolest guy on earth’ and I totally understand why.  My show was one of their highest rated shows for that season.
WEDNESDAY’S are always dry.
THURSDAY, I was in the valley, hangin’ tough at Powersounds Music Outlet.  A cutie comes in to flirt with us. She must be from Eureka Springs, AR - ‘cause her real name is Candance.  She puts up a shy front, but who is she fooling - I know all about these valley girls (Tales of the Hype! year 2).   Candance joined Donny and I in some kind of small bon-fire (kind of hot, if you touch the flames).
10pm - Donny and I were running late to Allison’s house (tomorrow was their Singled Out assembly and I wanted to give Allison a Singled Out T-shirt to wear - got it?).  Donny was doing between 55 and 80, until Trooper Jones pulls us over. The moment gets kind of intense, ‘cause Donny has no more points left on his license.  I did nothing, but envision Mrs. Dean’s frustration, anger and yelling!  Everybody loves to toss the blame onto me, like the UAA incident (Tales of The Hype! year 3).  Donny gives Trooper Jones the ol’ late for the airport story.  I don’t think he bought it.  However, I do believe his kindness was based highly upon Donny’s off-beat originality.
10:45pm - Allison’s house.  Her father greets us at the door.   That’s when I realized how idiotic our late night rendezvous had become.   Let’s analyze this situation more clearly...  It’s late, a school night and two older men are at the door to visit his 18yr. Old daughter!  You best believe he invited us in for some man to man conversation.  So, there we were, stranded for the next 35+ minutes, locked into a deep conversation with Mr. Dan Westervelt.  But wait, the conversation goes good.  So good that I have to wonder, why is Donny still nervous?  Matter of fact, why is Donny dishing out all the dirt upon me?
“He’s the one seeing your daughter!” Donny said. But don’t worry, ‘cause he doesn’t smoke, drink, or even have sex!” - the darn fool wouldn’t stop.
Allison’s dad grabs a seat before removing his cap.  He comments me upon my white teeth.  Then, he hands me this total sob story on Allison’s smoking addiction.
“I found her in the yard one night, smoking by herself! That’s how I know she’s hooked!”
It was an indirect approach towards a solution.  You could actually feel her father’s final cries out for help.  Somehow, I already knew that even I was too late, smoking was just the bait.  This is the part of my life that really sucks.   I’ve lost a lot of great women in the past.  The endless stories that looked so promising at the beginning.  All their hopes, dreams & fantasies...   Gone.
Dionne Carter, my first pen pal from the Kenai Peninsula.  She had the desire of becoming a dancer: “Like those black guys in the music videos!” – she wrote.  She planned on leaving Alaska after graduation.   Simply traveling from state to state, until she found her edge.  But, three months before her high school graduation, all that endless amount of energy managed to disappear.  Her pregnancy test came back.  Positive all the way.  Today, she’s on her second marriage.  Two kids and another one on the way.   She’s a housewife for life.  Born and raised in the small township of Nikiski, Alaska.
Often, I sit back and wonder – what I would be like, without my crusades for “The Hype”.  My father always told me to go to college, get an education.   Therefore, I’d have something to fall back on.  He disagrees with my decisions and closes our arguments with the same mind-boggling question;
“Where do you plan on going with your life?”
Well, the way I look at it, you only live once.  I’ve seen the power behind the life I live!  The smiles, the joys & all the great things I’ve produced along the way.  I’ve seen what I am capable of doing.  So, where ever this dark, endless journey takes me, that’s where I’ll be.
FRIDAY morning, I rented a car for the weekend.  Then, I cruised to Dimond High to photograph the Singled Out assembly.  Naturally, I was mistaken for some kind of MTV bigshot.  Cool, I can deal with that.  Anyway, I was sitting on this bleacher, alongside some class officials and Roy’s cousin, Robinson-mack.  The girls were cheering and jumping around when a naked white boy in a red ski mask, runs across the gymnasium floor.  He stops for one brief moment - wiggling and shaking his stuff, as I focus my lens upon the Emmy award winning photograph.  The event is kind of intense, so I think twice before certifying the moment. In some way, I would’ve been forced to hand over the picture.   That would surely draw a heavy line between me, the students and the school district.
My life as a photographer is all about crediting my name towards that one in a million shot.  Sometimes, people find out the hard way that the picture itself, wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.  Hopefully, you won’t forget the vicious battering Vicki Taylor went through after photographing the death shot of that one athlete (Tales of The Hype! year 3).
After the assembly, a small crowd of guys formed around Robinson-mack and I.   They’re laughing and exchanging hand slaps about the streakers performance, when an angry teacher steps to us.
“I know you guys know who it was...” She says. You can just tell Vince, he’s finished!”
A deep silence engulfs the crew. I’m looking from the inside-out, as if I had something to do with it. Cody-mack, the Sr. class president, steps to the plate.
“Ya, know Mrs. Tilly...“ He said. “The only person who would know, besides the streaker himself, is the guy who drove the get-away truck!“
Mrs. Tilly spreads a sinful grin across her face. I catch on to her reaction. The committee, dumb founded, remained pinned against the wall.
“So,” She replies. “how’d ya know there was a get-a-way truck?“
I laughed alongside her remark. The committee was stunned – The Great Vince O’Neil, was done.
Afterwards, I chatted with Robinson-mack and his friends about the weekend.  We discussed Sadie Hawkins and throwing some off-beat dance party, tomorrow night.  I guess we were meeting at Romano’s for a few appetizers and some pre-party socializing.
3:30pm - Robinson-mack and I arrive at the Little Red Schoolhouse. I wanted to see the kids I used to visit during my run with the late Power 102 fm.   When we got there, all the old staff members were gone.  I only recognized Jo-Jo and two other kids.  Naturally, Jo-Jo calls me a dummy and wonders where have I been.  Immediately, I am questioned by the two ladies at the front desk, who are eyeing Robinson-mack and I like two crazy lunatics.  I searched all around for some kind of certification as one of the ladies kindly asks us to leave.  That’s when it happened, true believer.  My eyes took notice of an object on the wall.   There, on a small platform, next to an unused candle, a couple glass ornaments, and one crazy looking necklace I lost awhile back - was this 8x10 framed picture of your favorite Alaskan story teller and the kids.  It looked like I was dead or something, but that photograph alone, proved to be more than enough for the hype-styles to come through.
“Oh my gosh!” Says one of the ladies. “You’re Geo! ‘The hype-man’, famed crusader of the Ol’ Mighty Hype!” (okay, so she didn’t go that far - but I did get the red carpet treatment after that).
8:15pm - Anne Ramos arrives at the house of Robinson-mack.   She’s looking absolutely spectacular - all done up in her evening dress.   We snap a few headshots before jetting to dinner with Cody-mack and his girlfriend, Lorena.  On our way out, Robinson-mack secures an alcoholic beverage underneath his jacket.  I halt his progress and lecture him on the issue of underage drinking.   He ignores my warning and blows my comment right out the window.
“Gosh Geo! They’re only wine coolers!”
8:30pm - Romano’s Italian Cuisine.  I sat opposite of the two couples, capturing every hilarious minute on film. Cody-mack breaks into a past story about their previous school dance.  They laugh and joke about the incident as if they were experiencing some kind of deja vu.  That’s when I started to see that happy bunch of diversity, that lived in my stories while dealing with hell in LA. Robinson-mack, a Spanish Jr. class vice-president, escorting his best friend - Anne Ramos, a beautiful Phillipino senior.  Cody-mack, a Caucasian Sr. class president, goo-goo eyeing his girlfriend - Lorena, an exotic looking Chinese cheerleader.  I sat in total awe with this young Alaskan group – wondering, if I would ever find them during my journey in the so-called “real world”.
“Hey guys!” Echoes a familiar voice.
It’s Allison and her goofy looking date.  She doesn’t introduce him, so I’m pretty sure he’s something less than ‘just a friend’.  She smiles big and poses alone for the photograph.  It’s the first time I’ve seen her in a formal dress.  She looks absolutely beautiful - except for that tiny spider tattoo on her upper left breast.  Then, her father’s spirit appeared. He had that same “help me Geo!” look on his face.  It’s not looking good. Not good at all.
10:00pm - Dimond High School. Lorena, fed up with parallel parking, decides to leave her car in the open roadway. We tell her that she can’t do that, but she simply explains to us;
“I’m Lorena. I can park where ever I want!”
Robinson-mack grabs the cell phone.
“Hey pops...” He opens. “No dad, where not drinking...”
Cody-mack empties out Lorena’s car of several finished beer cans. He tosses them into the snow banks while Robinson-mack concludes his conversation.
 “No dad, we’re not gonna get into any trouble.”
I figured he was referring to last time, when Cody-mack got busted for drinking.
Inside the dance, we all separate.  I’m at Sadie Hawkins all by myself.   I’m not the DJ and I’m not a student, so I’m feeling kind of strange as I walk around.  Truthfully, I’m experiencing life outside of “The Hype”.  A few cool songs come up, but I try to look uninterested, simply to blow away some underclass cuties.  I wanted to dance with Allison, but she was nowhere to be found.  Her favorite song came up - “Lady in Red” still, no sign of Allison Westervelt.
At the close of the dance, I found myself chatting with a few of the students about life in Los Angeles.  I was trying to explain to them about Alaska’s rich source of ethnic diversity.  How people and clubs are one and not categorized into financial or racial groups.  But, I don’t think they heard a word I said.  They constantly brought up MTV, Singled Out and my conversation with Chris Hardwick.  I found this kind of ironic.  All they did was remind me of Year 3, when I was 18 and running “The Hype”.
“Geo!” Blurts out Jennifer Prange. “Robinson and Cody got busted for drinking!”
It took awhile for her sentence to sink in, because ten minutes ago, I saw Cody-mack and Lorena on the dance floor, dancing.  Jennifer grabs me by the arm.  She drags me into the main office, where Robinson-mack sat, patiently awaiting his fate.
“Yea, Geo. I guess you were right,” He explains. “A security guard saw Cody toss his cans into the snow banks. Man, my father isn’t gonna like this at all.”
Robinson-mack drops his head as I began my solo journey to my car.  I was kicking up snow, analyzing the situation at hand, when it finally hit me that my life would’ve been done, if I would’ve rode with them.  I am 22yrs. Old. In the eyes of the law, that classifies me as a responsible adult.  Robinson-mack, Anne Ramos and others are simply minors. Nothing but children to me.
When I entered the parking lot, wind gusts tossed snowflakes into the air.  Suddenly, a distant voice breaks the bitter sweet silence.  It was Allison, a beautiful smile and one awesome way to conclude the night.  It was dark and the over head lights cast a unique shadow into her eyes.  Tiny snow flakes flew around us, as if some kind of Hollywood magic would finally push me to kiss her.  But I didn’t.  I kept my cool.  She gave me a warm hug and laid in my arms for one long and unforgettable moment.
“I’ll call you first thing in the morning!” She says.
Naturally, I couldn’t get any sleep.  I did nothing but think about Allison Westervelt, the good & the bad, all wrapped into one.  I feel GOD put me on this planet to accomplish a certain number of things.  Finding a true love is one of the last things on my list.  It’s a sad thought, ‘cause it only tells me that Allison’s not the one.  Right now, I feel that I’m so far behind on things, that I might never meet her, my one true love.  In the past, I’ve seen my heart crushed and thrown aside for the vultures to devour.  It’s just a matter of time, before it happens again.  Believe me when I say, I’ll drown myself in a pool of tears and wake up the next morning, ready for the next adventure.  Hype-boy #2, John Spence, once said unto me;
“Geo... Where do you find the strength to go on?”
One of these days, I’ll find the time to answer that question.  But until then, I will continue to crusade for the glory of “The Hype”.  I can’t recommend my life to others, because selling “The Hype” is one big gamble.   There’s a chance that I might fail and end my career with The PHOTOhype, stranded in a room full of photographs.  Aging with sorrow.   Single, lonely & bored off my ass.  Dying in an empty house, with not one true love to claim as my own.   
[to be continued...]


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