Asbury Adventure Gone Wrong

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Since we had such an amazing time in NYC, I wanted to have the chance to talk to Jon about a number of things and so invited him out for an evening of music and bowling down in Asbury.  He was more than flattered by the direct manner in which this was delivered, to the point where he was momentarily at a lack of words.  In fact, he needed a distraction since there was an issue with the Mercury that had him questioning the trade, and accepted with enthusiasm while citing I would have to be on driving duty for the evening.

The whole day I was distracted with styling my hair, applying makeup with precision and changing my outfit at least three times.  My phone is buzzing and I have a message telling me to look outside.  Jon is standing by my car, a smile plastered on his face as he waves.  It is one of those strange things that just happens you shouldn’t ask about.  The dreams I had about him that morning did nothing to soothe my nervousness, and I admit much swooning occurred while engaged in our Hollywood Moment.  Nothing else mattered as I became fixated on the comfort of his embrace, the smell of his cologne overpowering the usual aroma of licorice and leather which accompanied his presence.

The rain and heavy fog set the scene for me driving darkened rural roads while we smoked a joint and listening to a Link Wray mixtape he made for the occasion.  Even after all the years we had been friends, Jon still had the ability to surprise me, though it was without his usual display of prestidigitation.  It also did not take long for him to start making jokes about the Jersey Devil and other creatures rumored to haunt the highways, which had me laughing so hard my ribs hurt.

Once we got into town he was making suggestions of places we could go to finish the smoke and imbibe a bit of booze he brought before hitting up the Lanes.  Casually cruising down the street, my face was starting to ache from the smile across it but my mouth could have fallen off for all I cared.  All plans were null and void within a matter of minutes.

Passing through a four-way intersection, I had the flashing yellow light and slowed down to the appropriate local speed.  As soon as I entered it, there was a realization that the car coming up the side street to my right was not making any attempt to either slow down or stop despite having the flashing red light that clearly means stop.  Watching the car enter the intersection, I curse loudly and hit the brakes.  Slow motion impact. Heard it. Felt it. A thrid [white] car coming from the opposite direction of me gets hit too.

Jon wastes no time in hiding the joint and flask as a woman clutches my hand, asking if we are alright.  For some reason I am mostly upset about my car on account it had just been fixed, then concerned for my passenger kicked in and I had my best friend holding me as though I would disappear if he let me go.  The woman is telling me that she was behind me and saw the whole thing, assuring me what happened was not my fault.  Though standing a few yards away with a cell phone and likely calling the cops, she and the entire scene seem so far away as my focus returns to myself.

“It’s going to be alright, Angel,” he says, kissing my forehead.  “Our safety is more important than a vehicle that can be replaced, and I trust you can handle the situation.”

Though there is an undeniable intensity to his words, composure and the expression in his eyes, I nod in agreement and work up some tears while he hides a smile.  Sirens cut through the quiet evening and flashing lights approach; some guy is asking me if everyone is okay.  Though my leg hurts, I assure him that I am fine and just shaken up by everything.  He asks me to get out of the car, and I comply, then sign a release saying I don’t need to go to the hospital.

A police officer comes by to ask questions and write down some information while Jon is on the sidewalk putting on show for another one.   While we chat I survey the damage to my car: the engine is smoking and  the right side is all smashed up; lights are broken; the  bumper is cracked and hanging down.  The car that caused the whole mess belong to out-of-state teenagers who were impatient and not paying attention to the traffic signal.  Their front tire is bent out of shape and the plastic grill slid under the third car halfway across the intersection.  When the clean-up crew arrive, my car goes on the back of a tow truck and I am kind of just staring at it as I get a card that says where I can find it.   The officer tells me it was the other guy’s fault [no shit] and that he’s issued a summons; I should contact my insurance company in the morning to file a claim.

There was nothing more I could do at the moment, and Jon kindly escorted me away from the intersection so we could smoke that joint on the beach.  It was difficult not to wonder what if? but I knew it would not change what happened.  Even if we had not been entering the intersection at that exact moment, the stupid kid would have ran the light anyway, plowing right into the other gentlemen who was just minding his own business when it all went down.  He began to apologize but I told him that nothing was his fault and spending the rest of the evening mulling over things we could not change was futile.

The magic flask appeared and something resembling whiskey was dumped down my throat, followed by a sour face as I tried to swallow air to counteract the burning.  We shared an intimate moment on the beach followed by emptying the flask, at which point Jon suggested that we start making our way back to familiar grounds since hanging around Asbury at night was not a thrilling idea.  His hand held onto mine tightly as we navigated narrow streets and came across the train station.  Neither of us had any money, but even if we did there was nowhere to purchase tickets.

When the train pulled up I was quickly escorted inside where we then hid in the bathroom hoping no one saw us.  The confined space felt cramped at first, but it was only a matter of moments before reservations were lost to passionate kissing.  Somehow we wound up in Long Branch and there we transferred to another train that we thought would take us to Rahway.  Nope, that train doesn’t stop there so we had to transfer in Elizabeth, locked in the bathroom to avoid the conductor.  Getting off at New Brunswick, Jon hails a cab and it takes us to a diner not far from the station.  For some reason the smell of bacon grease and coffee eases my anxiety; a stack of pancakes with a side of sizzling sausage helped calm my stomach as well.  There was no doubt we were both shaken by the events of the evening, but something told me it was effecting him more though he would not actually say anything.

By the time I returned to the house it was five in the morning and Jon was babbling about how much I meant to him, that he had been scared of losing me and could not imagine life without me, but I was also half-asleep and may have imagined some of that.

+++

5.4.05 – The Aftermath

For the past few days I have been on the phone with my insurance company and the place that towed my car.  Since the accident wasn’t my fault, the other guy’s insurance has to pay me for my loss, as well as provide me with a rental if needed.  Apparently my car is a total loss, so I will be financially compensated for that and honestly am just happy to be relatively okay.

Today I have to go pick up the police report, take it to where my car was towed to collect my belongings, and hopefully I’ll be hearing from the insurance company soon.  Basically they have to assess the damage done to my car and make me an offer based on the value prior to it being all smashed up.  They have to pay for any storage and towing fees, which is great since I really don’t have money.

Someone offered me an Oldsmobile they have that is not being used, so I am going to take that since I need a vehicle to accomplish certain things. Getting the registration and all that will be in order, so I guess I will be making use of that rental car offer.

Things could be far worse, and while I am sore in a few areas I am quite thankful that I was not seriously injured.  Physically I know that Jon is alright, but I am concerned for his mental state on account he never fully recovered from his Wall of Death accident.  He has been checking in with me every day, asking how I am and continuing to assure me that there is nothing to worry about.

Is he trying to convince me or himself?

+++

5.11.05 – Mobile Once Again

Yesterday I went down to Asbury to gather any belongings I wanted out of my car.  It was time for the Taurus to die, I believe, so there is no reason to be upset it is a scrap pile now.  Besides, I already made the needed phone call to let my insurance company know that I am going to be driving an ’89 Oldsmobile, and my rate actually dropped.

Should be getting papers in the mail soon, and once I fill those out I will be receiving my settlement which is going in a safe place.

Took care of all necessary MVC stuff to transfer the title into my name and register the Oldsmobile as my new mode of transportation.  It’s a lovely shade of blue on the inside and out, and once I had the needed paperwork I washed the car, put on the plates and took it out for a spin.  Though there are a few worn spots in the paint here and there, the body and interior are in decent shape.  The trim could use a coat of spray paint, the passenger window is broken but that is not big deal, and I actually have AC now.  Overall I am just happy that I can drive again and will be quite cautious while do so for the next few months.

At least the situation is being sorted out in a timely fashion, but I keep thinking about what to do with the money I am going to receive and come to the same conclusion without having the courage to act upon it.

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Modify at the Tribeca Film Festival

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

No one should dictate to me what I can and cannot do to my body. – Modify

My knowledge of film festivals is limited to the media coverage they get, but when I learned that there was going to be a documentary of sorts about body modifications being shown at Tribeca, my interest was piqued enough.  Though I am not what would be considered active among the community short of having a decent collection of tattoos, piercings and scars, I have constantly spent time reading and researching to gain a better understanding of why any of us change our bodies at all.  There was that piercing apprenticeship where I was so close to being able to pierce customers, but I chose sideshow and pursued other interests on the side.

The two have a long history together though, where heavily tattooed individuals could put their artwork on display and earn a decent amount of money by doing so.  While tattoos become more prominent by the day, I have used mine to an advantage while performing so many times that the thought of them being a hinderance towards anything I want to accomplish becomes laughable.  However, my attitude also comes from being friends with someone who has face tattoos and constantly gets prejudice thrown his way for them.  We often had conversations about how if the colors on his skin wore born and not received, such actions would be called racist; being a white man with tattoos mean he was biker, convict, drug dealer/user, thief, unemployable and so on.  Hearing people shout rude remarks at someone who has never hurt you a day in your life is fairly unpleasant, and the fact that a few of those terms I just mentioned happened to apply to him has nothing to do with his modifications.

By the time I was 18 and graduating high school, I had five tattoos and four piercings I had acquired at shop; two of those were in my face.  The idea may have been implanted by Pulp Fiction and watching those ridiculous ‘makeover shows’ on trashy talk shows where ‘rebellious’ kids were dragged on stage to have their faces scrubbed, hair dyed and put in a new outfit that they suddenly ‘love’ despite having been brooding a moment before over having to change.  There was one episode where a guy came out looking like a GAP ad and was unhappy with the result, though I wonder what they told him to get him on the show, as judging by his reaction he was not really expecting the makeover.  When asked why, he held up a small plastic bag filled with body jewelry as he explained they were a part of who he was, not what they had turned him into, and he had no problem with people having an issue since he was satisfied with himself the way he was and their opinion pretty much didn’t matter.

Wanting them when I was 16 and by then knowing that state law required either parental consent or I had to wait two years to be able to sign the paper myself.  That time was spent browsing the piercing galleries of BME, where I discovered much inspiration provided by photos of individuals with multiple facial piercings – particularly lips – and stories of transformation where the end result was a feeling of elation.  They were a sort of gift to myself for having enduring twelve years of so-called education and I managed to do well enough to get out; there were no immediate plans for college since I did not want to waste time or money.  By then Jon and I had been friends for six months, and he surprised me with a vacation to Wildwood the week before I graduated, which is pretty much when we solidified our relationship and I may have spent hours asking lot of questions about his tattoos and piercings.  He was the one who funded the double lip piercings, though he did in an indirect way on account of being unsure how to approach the whole subject, having slipped a few bills into a box of salt water taffy he gave me after returning from the vacation.  A classmate worked at a local piercing shop, and that is where I went the day before graduation to have two holes poked in my bottom lip, selecting green beads for the hoops to match my eyes.

Then I called Jon to tell him the good news and I spent the night at his house since I had no intention of dealing with my mom’s reaction.  There is more to that story though it’s not relevant to the piercings, but having him be the first person to see them meant a lot.

Anyway, it had been a while since Carny Trash had graced the City with their presence, so just the drive up along with riding the PATH and other subways was exciting.  The evening was a clear one, not too warm or cold as we smoked a blunt and walked with arms linked, light traffic passing by on darkened streets and steam rising from the sewer.  Though we had the name of theater, we were unsure of knowing the exact location the film was being shown, which led to us walking around for about half an hour only to wind up where we had started.  It gave us a good laugh though, and to see Jon smiling makes my heart melt.  He went into a corner store to ask for directions, and forty-five minutes later we were waiting patiently in line with the rest of the folks that had come out for the last showing, fairly impressed at the turn-out.

The theater was absurd and I don’t think I have even been in one that was so big or had multiple levels.  Signs directed us to the screening area and it was already half-filled.  Sitting further back did not bother us, but you have to file in a certain way [no choosing seats], and we were in the middle of the row.  Of course we were absolutely drawn in by the film, sipping on whiskey out of Jon’s flask as figures on the screen discussed all aspects of body modification.  Most people readily assume it’s just tattoos and piercings; the more well-informed individual knows it also spans into branding, scarification, implants and transdermals.  The intellectual knows that anything you do to change your physical appearance is considered a modification: cutting, dying and extending hair; trimming and polishing nails or having fake ones; putting on makeup; getting cosmetic surgery, shaving, tanning, weightlifting; people do these every day yet aim negativity towards those who do something different.

It definitely wasn’t your ordinary Discovery Channel or MTV documentary, which I very much appreciated, and there were great interviews with people like the Lizardman, Steve Haworth, and Fakir Musafar that really sank into my head.  There is not enough room to fully discuss the whole film, but I firmly believe that Modify should be shown to the high school and college populus as means of  serving as information on why people choose to change themselves, and why it that should not be a target for ridicule.  That is about as ridiculous as shouting names at someone for wearing jeans or a red shirt.

Following the credits there was an open Q&A session with a few of the people who made the film, and that went on for about an hour or so.  The whole event was utterly fantastic, and I walked away with more than one memento from the occasion that would certainly be tucked away in a safe spot.

Our trip back to Jersey was filled with much excited chatter and general conversation about everything, making the evening feel a lot shorter than it actually had been.  Sitting in the back seat of the Mercury in some obscure darkened parking lot, I thanked him for having treated me to such a pleasurable experience.  Without his unwavering support, I am uncertain if I would have had the courage to modify myself as extensively, and though my passion for sideshow has shown me that beauty comes in all sorts of packages, I am still human and capable of weak moments where confidence diminishes.  Jon has constantly given me confidence boosts with no ulterior motive and assisted me in building up my self-esteem for no other reason than he wanted me to happy with myself.

The fact of the matter is I could sit here and write for ages about all of this, as it is not a topic I often have an opportunity to discuss with many people, yet I am always seeking knowledge in the quest to learn about the decisions we make as conscious beings when it comes to adorning and otherwise altering our bodies.  Instead, I would like to note our words eventually dwindled and our lips were busy doing something else for quite a while before we finally parted ways.

Cops ‘n’ Rodders

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

The day after my incredible date with Jon was spent still drunk and recovering from the copious amount of mystery whiskey that swirled in my digestive system.  While I usual do not have a problem holding my liquor, this time it was just too much and I could only blame myself for the terrible way I felt.  At least I could wallow in misery alone, though Jon sent me messages all afternoon to check up on how I was doing, and eventually even called with a voice full of concern.

Our conversation began with him apologizing for having given me something he wasn’t sure I could handle; it had just been a special occasion and all that he wanted to celebrate right proper.  Though there are things I remember with such clarity it is difficult not to be distracted while listening to the soothing tone of his voice, so instead I ask about the random bruises that showed up on my skin.  He laughed as casually mentioned that someone might have been a bit drunk and clumsy even though he had done his best to help me out.

Then it turned in the direction I knew it would, sort of like when you are stuck behind a car on the road that has had its signal on for the last five miles before it actually makes that dang blasted right.

“You were beautiful last night, Angel.”  He wastes no time going right for the flattery but means every word of it.  “From the moment I saw you I remembered why I love you so much, and all I wanted to do was disappear with you.”

“Well you didn’t.”  My mouth moved and the flatness of my words did not register since my head felt as though it was swimming in booze.

“This ain’t some manure I’m trying to sell you by telling you it’s air freshener.  You are the only thing that keeps me coming back to Jersey and I am tired of my heart aching without you.”

“Then why do you leave at all?”

Five years of caring about this human being who randomly came into my life and has stuck around longer than anyone else I ever called a friend.  He knew he was more than that; we had a bond which refused to be broken yet remained weak due to the constant strain put on it.  The relationship had its history of flaws but at the same time I could not deny the fact he had been there for me when I thought no one was, and quite possibly even saved my life once or twice.  Five years of falling in love over and over, accepting his shortcomings and all of the things that made him imperfect, as that meant he was real and not just some asshole in a pretty package.

Five years of passion ignited and extinguished so many times even the ancient phoenix is impressed.  Through all the tears and fears, we were talking on the phone and hanging on each other’s words as though they were the air we breathed.

“If anything were to happen -”

“Aaron, enough.”  If I had to hear the explanation again I might have hung up.  “It it has been almost two years now, and I still miss them too, but if someone wants to fuck with you then they will have to fuck with me too, and we can deal with it together.”

The silence on the other end had my heart racing, or maybe that was the wave of nausea from having practically inhaled a whole plate of fruit.

“What if it’s me?”  His voice is small and he asks this in Carny Speak so it takes a moment for the question to sink in.  “The reason I always leave, I mean.  What if it’s on account might be the one to hurt you?”

“Aaron, that would never happen.”  My reply is sloppy but the intent of making the message clear comes through.

“How do you know?”

Sighing as I buried myself into bed, wanting nothing more than to look in his eyes at that moment so he could actually see how serious I was, I remembered the first time I saw him perform as the Geek.  It changed me in a way I do not talk about since I doubt people would understand, but suffice to say that image of my best friend was one of many that may have unsettled others.  He could skewer his tattooed flesh without spilling a drop of blood or defy the laws of gravity while riding a motorcycle, yet somehow that confidence failed to extend to the belief that there was nothing about him I did not love.

“We have to try to find that out,” I said, doing my best to sound comforting.

“Yea, I reckon that makes sense.”  He sounds more relieved than I realize and am just trying to hold that fruit in.  “Hey, you made me smile Angel, and I hope you are too.”

We never say good-bye since it is not something that ever seems to be permanent.

When morning came again it was hard to get out of bed and I thought I had dreamed the past two days until I saw the messages in my phone.  A new one wished me fun times at the car show, which is what motivated me to peel myself from blankets, shower and get dressed with enough time to still check it out.  Hooked up with James and his girl when I arrived at the show, and the three of us wandered the numerous aisles while casually chatting.  My head was turning in various directions, completely captivated by those magnificent metal masterpieces.

Personally, I don’t care for the fact that there always seem to be modern plastic vehicles mixed in with the steel classics. Coffins on wheels just don’t do it for me.  Granted, some of the paint jobs were eye-catching, but they just tend to look rather silly when sitting next to a hard-bodied hunk of steel, chrome dancing in the sunlight.

The Chevy’s always do me in and tend to make me drool.  The Mercury made me pause for a moment as I remembered something from earlier in the weekend, smiling as I thought of how nice it had been to sit in one.  The purple Licoln was sweet and a salmon pink truck was pretty eye candy.  Of course I am fond of muscle cars as well, as the ’70s were kind enough to breed so many great legends that squealed down the asphalt at night, engines growling with extra horsepower.  Hearing those classics rev up and watching them hit the road always seems to leave this little knowing smile on my face.

We split after a few hours on account we all had sore feet, and went to chill at James’ place where I steadied myself with a liquid breakfast of warm whiskey to kill the headache I still had.  Then we shared a blunt and my hangover was finally beginning to disappear.

Quite a satisfying end to one very memorable weekend.

Rebirth of Romance

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Despite having survived numerous obstacles over the past five years that we have been intimate friends, these days it feels like actually getting to spend time with Jon is a rare occasion which leaves me with numerous questions I cannot bring myself to ask.  It seems our time together has been broken up into the period where we were an almost inseparable dastardly duo that set upon the Big Apple to plunder its goods before retreating to the comfort and safety of the Jersey Shore, and the after effects of death which claimed our dearest friends whom we loved as family.  Though content with what Electric Sideshow is doing, it pales in comparison to the shows I had with Outlaw Cirkus, and certainly nothing could ever replace those experiences.  My best friend risked his life one too many times and continues to pay the price, something that weighs heavily on me despite the fact I never really discuss it with anyone.

Every second I have spent with Jon is one I will cherish for eternity, and no matter how many times we have drifted apart, we always find our paths crossing and easily fall into the routine of rekindling a relationship that never actually ends.  The majority of the time he disappeared from my life was out of concern for my safety and something I had to come to accept if I had any hopes of pursuing a mutual level of trust.  Jon often expressed how devastated he would be if any harm fell upon me on account of just knowing him, and I can attest that there is nothing thrilling about being scared due to the fact you are friends with someone.  All of that was ignored in favor of discovering who he was as a person; what his passions were and what motivated him to do the things he did; what his dreams and fears were.

Though I will never post any photos of us together nor publicly call him anything but Jon, and certainly he will not make any appearances among those I consider close acquaintances, there is no doubt that he has been a huge influence and continues to serve as a mentor.  While he is far from perfect, I do not and would not make the claim that he is such, particularly since I have seen him at his worst and even lower than that without ever wanting to abandon him.  Sometimes there are just individuals who come into your life and make such an impression on you, that despite all of their shortcomings and possibly even attempts to ward you off, you see beyond the superficial exterior and find a deeper connection.  My love for him is undeniable and perhaps one day I will be able to fully indulge in it.

Onto the events of that evening, which were kicked off by a strong glass of vodka and orange juice and coming to the conclusion I had too much hair.  Shaved the sides to create a sort of  ‘hawk, which is still in the baby stages and therefore will need some length before it looks really good.  Not worried on account it is just hair and DIY to the best to my ability.  There was enough to apply a liberal amount of product to create a stripe of tiny spikes so that made me happy as well.

Jon requested that I meet him in Cherry Hill, a town that has been subjected to our antics on a number of occasions which still served as a location for our heartfelt reunions.  There was a lot of emotion in his voice that he attempted to mask with enthusiasm, though I did not get the feeling they were negative or heavily influenced by drugs.  My mind wandered a lot through the whole getting dressed and applying makeup routine, slightly nervous to be seeing him after almost two weeks had gone by and in such a public place.  By the time I was rolling down the highway those thoughts became distant voices drowned out by thundering drums and twanging guitars.

When I pulled into the parking lot there was instant confusion – where was the iconic Chevy Nova that often accompanied my dates with Jon?  We had logged many miles in that car, the source of an affectionate nickname I used when we first became friends and only spoke of him in code.  It was more for our amusement than anything else, though there was a lot of sentimental value he invested in that car.  Then it occurred to me we had a brief conversation about his desire for change, something about being tired of the daredevil junkie who doesn’t give a fuck and wanting to become more than a character.  Having him share such deep thoughts is never easy; Jon is his own worst critic and not afraid to be brutally honest with himself.

Standing outside my humble Ford, I watched someone I thought I recognized climb out of a ’49 Mercury, the maroon paint job almost glowing under the parking lot lights.  For a moment I was dumbfounded and caught myself staring at him, dirty blonde hair groomed in shallow waves away from his face, which was freshly shaved and contrasted by the prominent tattoos I sometimes forgot were there.  Though there was still a weariness settled in the fine lines that interrupted this artwork, a genuine happiness sparkled in his eyes where I found myself drowning in blue-grey pools of liquid emotion.  The smell that came from his soft skin was spiced with liquorice, heady wafts of weed dancing off the hyde of his red leather jacket, a great statement piece to an outfit that was vintage casual edged in attitude.

It was not until we were both inside the Mercury that we engaged in a Hollywood Moment which may have resulted in a kissing session that slightly ruined my makeup.  Having always wanted to cruise the streets in a classic, just doing so was enough to put a smile on my face, but I also happened  to be with my partner in crime who was enjoying himself just as much.  We split a blunt as we were making an attempt to find the movie theater; Jon is driving around in circles yet neither of us could figure out what we were doing wrong.  It made for great amusement up until we almost got wasted by a mini van, which he apologized for profusely even though it was not his fault.  Eventually we aimed ourselves in the right direction, but the theater was on the other side of the highway!  Then it was time to play How Do We Get to the Dang Theater?

Swerving through a mall parking lot, possibly accidentally scaring anyone in the vicinity as traffic signs were ignored, we finally reached our destination.  In the lot we smoked the remainder of the blunt and drank strong whiskey Jon would not tell me the name of, citing it was a present from his trip to West Virginia where he had traded in the Chevy for the magnificent beast we currently sat it.  Approving the choice came naturally, and I am sure that I babbled on about how good he looked and all that.

Whatever was in his magic flask hit me hard, but he was a gentleman as always and had no problem escorting me  into the theater so that he could purchase our tickets.  It was challenging to maintain composure, but  even though the people glanced our way, they avoided staring for too long and had nothing witty to say.  Apparently having a heavily modified Carny as my date was the exact defense I needed against ignorant comments.  Go figure.  The drugs and alcohol continued to filter through my system and we found seats, just in time for Sin City to begin, as it is the sort of film I felt compelled to see more than once.  Doing so in the company of someone you love certainly enhances the experience, and I am pretty sure that aside from casually holding hands, neither of us moved the entire time.  Our eyes were fixed on the screen as though we were casual observes in that black and white world.

Of course hitting up a diner afterwards was in order, and the immediate area offered two chrome gems:  Silver Coin [which is nicknamed In and Out for some reasons] and the Cherry Hill Coach.  Our choice was the latter, where we consumed even more whiskey in the parking lot before going inside.  In my inebriated state I managed to send a text message to James, though I have no idea what it said or if he ever responded.  After being seated we put in an order for two omelettes – mine was Western, his was Spanish – waffles, bacon, toast and plenty of coffee.  His hands held mine as we discussed the film and then were presented with our food.  Plates were cleaned, coffee was consumed and conversation flowed; I was having trouble seeing and shared this with Jon who then decided to pay the bill and guide me back to the Mercury.

The backseat is like a miniature living room, the white leather interior neatly tucked-and-rolled in pristine beauty, my fingers dancing along the ridges for a moment before he tilts my chin up and catches my lips in his.  If sobering up had been his plan, I became even more intoxicated by his taste and smell, every gentle touch of his hands on my body more than welcomed and encouraged.

An hour later Jon was helping me get into my own car, and followed behind as I made my way back to the house.  With no one around he kissed me one final time on the porch, gracing me with the most beautiful words that southern twanged Jersey accent ever said before driving off.  Pretty much had enough energy to change into sleeping clothes and passed out.  Have been recovering all morning, and though I just ate a massive amount of fruit, I still have a bit of rotten belly.  Memories plagued me while I laid in bed, unable to prevent my thoughts from returning to everything that happened and trying to make sense of it all.

Cruising the Garden State

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

One of the greatest joys of warm weather is when the classics come out of their long winter hibernation, once again cruising the long stretches of asphalt ocean, bright paint jobs and chrome sparkling in the sun.  Of course I have made it no secret that I love these massive metal machines and enjoy when they gather for people like me to gawk and drool over.  There was no doubt when I read that there would be some of these beautiful mechanic masterpieces on display down in Asbury that I would be going to see them.

It should be noted here that I received my new insurance policy and card in the mail, which meant I was finally able to get my car fixed, rendering it a paperweight no more.  The repairs did not cost me a dime either, a relief since I spent most of the money I had saved up on the insurance.

Anyway, driving along the highway that late Sunday afternoon with the windows rolled down, smoking a blunt while listening to surf tunes and just enjoying the cloudless blue sky gave me a sense of freedom I had not felt in a while.  Saw some great cars that were obviously on their way to the show, mostly restored classics but there was a chopped and lowered yellow and turquoise station wagon which caught my eye.  Nothing could beat that black hot rod though, as you just don’t see those beasts prowling the streets these days.

When I finally got to the spot where the show was, there were not many people and I was sort of disappointed.  Then again, the cars I saw were nothing short of great; I admire those who take the invest time, money and effort to keep these pieces of living history in running condition.  Perhaps it was the blunt and all that fresh sea air, but I found myself being social without reservations and was having a blast despite being by myself.  There were thoughts that strayed and wondered what my best friend was up to since I had not heard from him in a while, and our last few interactions left me with questions about our relationship.

Thankfully I had brought my good friend Jim along, which enabled me to focus on partaking in solo rounds of drunken bowling.  A few more drinks were had at the bar as I sat and listened to those good old rockabilly tunes, randomly falling into conversation with people who asked me about my tattoos or piercings.  Whether it was the continued consumption of whiskey or occasional smoke breaks in outside alleyways, I talked to more people in a few hours than I had all year and was well entertained.  Sasquatch and the Sick-A-Billies rocked the lanes all evening and I may have even danced with a random gentleman who had politely invited me to.

In the early morning hours I drove along winding country roads to a remote part of the D&R Canal where I decided to go for a stroll, enjoying the scenery as I always do, and taking some time on the way back to hit some rocks into the water with sticks.

The following day I went for a ride, having made myself a nice little picnic lunch consisting of a turkey sandwich and fruit salad.  For some reason I had a lot of energy and was cycling aggressively, quickly working up an appetite with the quest for speed over distance.  Stopped to sit by a lake and ate my lunch, gazing across the water to watch ducks float on its surface.  Absolute serenity used to feel as though it was something I would never find, and yet it was so easy to gain access to when I looked in the right places.  Being separated from everyone by towering trees has always brought me as much comfort as sitting on sand and seeing nothing but beach and ocean for miles.  There are noises you notice that usually are drowned out by the constant flow of traffic and obnoxious conversations, songs of birds you cannot see but know are fluttering among the branches that are heavy with flowers.  It doesn’t matter that there is a spider crawling over your foot, as you are too busy focused on the way the sunlight dances on the lake.  The ride back was a bit harder, but I accomplished it nonetheless and had greatly enjoyed myself.

There had been plans to do the usual Electric Sideshow performance at the Rail, but unfortunately I had an allergic reaction to some O-rings.  Rewinding to one week ago, I stretched my septum up to its final size of 0g.  After a few days, the crescent kept sliding around and I was paranoid that it might fall out in my sleep.  Going through the process of stretching a septum is definitely not comfortable, and not wanting to have to repeat it, I needed something that would prevent the jewelry from slipping.  Though I should have tried to get another piece of jewelry, I had already invested in that hematite plug and figured that purchasing O-rings was the better option.  After only two nights, I realized that like my ears, my nose was not happy with them and the hole was in fact oozing, which leads to crust and discomfort.

Since my nose and its parts are now extremely tender even though they have been receiving daily sea salt soaks, this leaves me unable to perform my Human Blockhead stunts, which makes up a significant part of the Electric Sideshow routine.  There did not seem to be any sense in doing half of our acts, as I am someone who goes for all or nothing, and so I hit up the liquor store to distract me from what was happening with my nose.  Picked up vodka and drank that while watching the Amityville Horror.  Have not seen the original so I am unable to contrast and compare the two, but the flick managed to make me jump more than once so I was pleased to have a horror movie actually accomplished its purpose.

There is a car show up on Route 1 this upcoming Sunday, so of course I will be attending that, but for the time being I am keeping myself company with a bottle.

Diamond Diehards

Regarded as having the highest value among gemstones, the diamond has been an emblem of passion, devotion, excellence and class for centuries.  Due to its supreme clarity and hardness, it is also a symbol of sovereignty and brilliancy, while throughout history they were looked upon as a magical item.  Unable to be cut and impervious to fire made the Greeks believe they were tears of the gods, and Romans considered them to be splinters of fallen stars.  There are said to be healing properties that diamonds possess, and at one time Marilyn Monroe sang a song about how they are a “girl’s best friend”, but the truth is that everyone can enjoy them.  Whether a representation of engagement, celebrating an anniversary or you just really like the way they sparkle, there is no denying society’s fixation on diamonds and how they are often equated to the amount of feelings one person has for another.  Though I certainly cannot deny the appeal of these dazzling gems, I also understand they come at a price and would never ask for nor expect them for anything.  On that same note, this guide encompasses the aesthetics and transforms them into more affordable products that can still capture their unrivaled beauty.

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diamond-diehards-makeup

1  – Proclaim your eccentricity and relish dense pigmentation by sweeping Moonflower across your eyelids, the soft creamy white Powder Eyeshadow delivering a gorgeous shimmer finish that is concentrated and long-lasting.

2 – Distribute robust, brilliant color with Yeyo, a metallic white 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil composed of moisturizing ingredients in a waterproof formula that glides on evenly, allowing for efficient blending which will stay put all night once dry.

3 – A multipurpose creation that can highlight cheeks, eyes and brows, Beguile is a Pure Pigment with light shimmer which can be worn on its own or mixed with other products depending on the type of effect you want to achieve.

4 – With summer looming on the calendar, a Pure Sheer SPF Treatment to nourish and hydrate lips may be in order; Bianca is a pearl tint with plenty of shine that would be even more stunning topped by a few coats of Albatross Lip Gloss.

5 – Invigorate your visage and shade, brighten, enhance or defining your anatomy by using Intrigue, a white highlighting Powder Blush that has a matte finish and will make you the center of attention.

6 – Composed almost entirely of pure synthetic mother-of-pearl particles, Diamond Powder in White Gold 2 merges pearly iridescence and bright glitter that results in a white powder packed with gold shimmer which can be applied on eyes, cheeks, lips and body for plenty of luster.

7 – Enduring whatever adventure you may find yourself on, Edelweiss is a sheer white Nail Polish that gives any manicure unbelievable sheen, though it can be enhanced with a few layers of Zizi, a clear sheer polish that has plenty of peach and gold glitter for the ultimate shine.

8 – To augment the appeal of your finished look, try some iridescent white Glitter where lightweight particles can be put on the face or body with a wet brush and will emphasize the area in sparkling elegance.

9 – Whether using the Vanity Brush Set at home or when you are traveling, the six essential makeup brushes coming in a stylish case which allows you to achieve any design you desire.

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diamond-diehards-body-jewelry

1 – There is no denying my fascination with opulent body jewelry, and for readers of previous guides it should come as no surprise that I consider Body Vision Los Angeles at the forefront of decadent designs.  The Paloma Square are visually appealing yellow gold eyelets that have a very prominent diamond shape in the middle, which happens to serve as the base and setting for an eccentric black diamond.

2 – Anatometal also deserves recognition for offering their own brand of sparkling jewelry, such as the Super Teardrop Eyeylets which have gems surrounding the entire perimeter.  While the stone in the center may be a Cubic Zironica, often said to be the poor person’s alternative to a diamond, it does not diminish the overall aesthetic of the set.

3 – Another trend coming up on the market are inserts, usually a cutout that fills the interior space of an eyelet and gives it an instant makeover while others have something to stare at other than a gaping hole.  Stainless steel is contrasted by bronze in the Nouveau Eyelets, where champagne gems captures the tone of both metals and blends them beautifully.

4 – Stretched lobes don’t get to have all the fun, as is evidenced by BVLA’s Dahlia, where the minimalism of a polished white gold ring has been augmented by 1 mm diamonds.  Though categorized for ears, I would wager this piece could just as easily be worn in a septum, nipple or even genital piercing.

5 –  The effortless way to bring glamour into your body jewelry is by trading in the traditional beads and ends for those set with precious gems.  A titanium captive bead ring suddenly becomes ten times more fascinating by snapping in an 18 karat yellow gold Captive Bead that holds a genuine diamond.

6 – Flowers are an eternal symbol of Spring, and there are plenty of them which can be found gracing various bars and curves.  Once again, 18 karat yellow gold is used but this time it creates the entirety of a Partial Bezel Navel Curve, which also features genuine Pink Tourmaline on the petals and an authentic diamond in the middle.

7 – Conspicuously parade your passion for perfumed petals with a Flower Navel Curve, crafted from 18 karat white gold and topped by a genuine diamond.  The six point flower on the other end is also set in white gold, where seven gemstones intensify the overall luster of the piece.

8 – Desires to be self-indulgent can be satiated with the Sarai Ring, as distinguished septums seem to be en vogue these days and have replaced skewed ‘horseshoes’.  The solid platinum ring has been loaded with diamonds which are going to be the focal point while it’s nestled inside your nose hole.

9 – Accessorizing your existing jewelry can revitalize a collection one has taken much time to cultivate, and as always I encourage them to be used beyond what they are marketed towards.  For instance, Misty is a Slinky that has a platinum chain hanging from a bezel cut diamond, a 5 mm pearl attached to the end, and though it is marketed as navel jewelry, I feel it can be worn on other pieces as well.

10 – Taking the familiar geometrical shape and filling it with 1.75 mm gems, the Kerry Diamond certainly examplifies the evolution of nostril jewelry.  A seemingly ordinary white gold post holds on to this gleaming Cluster where each gem has its own diamond shaped nook.

11 – Economic subsitutions do not have to be acrylic nightmares or mass-produced garbage if you are still willing to invest in the quality of the material itself.  An Ispa Nostril Screw in 18 karat yellow gold has a detailed disc which sets it apart, while a 1.5 mm cubic zirconia does its duty as a replacement diamond.

12 – Straight bars get a stylish makeover with Rose Bell, where eye-catching white gold explodes into magnificent forward facing 18 mm gem clusters.  These would definitely be superb as nipple jewelry, though they could be just as exquisite in ears, particularly industrials.

13 – Multipurpose pieces are quite handy for those who like to switch things up without having to buy pieces that are sold for specific piercings.  Abiding by Diamond Life, golden circular barbells hold on to forward facing bezel set gems that would promptly draw awareness from others.

14 – As mentioned earlier, sometimes the ends one chooses can be just as important as the jewelry it sits on.  The Altura, for instance, is a white gold cluster with 3 mm center encircled by 1 mm gems genuine diamonds, that would not fail to dazzle no matter where it was worn.

15 – Hands down, the best part of Lysa – yellow gold labret jewelry – are the interchangable threaded face plates, allowing one to have options depending on what mood you are in.  Both micro pave discs measure in at 11 mm; one is a handmade hammered shield while the other has been packed with 1.25 mm diamonds.

Hanging in the Limelight

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Since everyone else in the house would be gone for the weekend, thus leaving me in a position of seeking company, what else could I do but call up my good friend James?  There had been a plan to attempt riding somewhere I could cash a money order, but I had no clue what I would do afterwards since my car is still a paperweight and I had no success getting in touch with Jon to possibly hang out with him.  Instead I just cycled Route 1 for half the afternoon with Los Straitjackets on full blast, as I had found a CD player no one was using that just needed some fresh batteries.

Eventually I received a call back from James, who invited me to come chill with him and this girl that he dates or whatever.  There is something really thrilling about pedaling alongside speeding traffic, the rush of cars slightly drowned out by the music blaring through headphones strapped tightly to my head.  At some point I seem to even forget that I am rolling along the shoulder of a highway

When I arrived at his place we shared a bowl and I obtained some for later use, then climbed into his Firebird for a short drive to his girl’s place.  She is a nice girl and all, but apparently I still have issues being around unfamiliar people and have my doubts about her as well.  Though I want to be supportive as a friend to James since I know he has some sort of feelings for her, it is difficult to fight the desire to protect him, which seems to come from instinct more than anything, on account of being concerned for his well-being.  At the moment I was amused by our conversations and the fact we all drank a shot of 40 year-old whiskey that was the best damn shot I have ever had.

The three of us returned to James’ abode where we shared a blunt and then headed to a local diner.  Teenagers were out en masse that evening, decked out in their mall goth outfits and posing out front with cigarettes they never smoked, leering at the ‘normies’ and making rude remarks.  It never ceases to amuse me that no matter how shocking they try to be, they just seem unable to resist gawking and whispering about me, sometimes making their thoughts quite vocal without realizing the hypocrisy since they would certainly put on the offended act if someone said the same thing about them.  Humorous statements that stood out were “Who is that?” and “Oh my god!

We had to wait for a table since there were so many people, and while doing so there was a commotion in the dining room.  A girl had decided to flash her friends and someone called her a slut, screaming for her to “put those nasty tits away”; guess that escalated into a full on fight where employees were scrambling to move customers away from the scene.  It was too much for us so we left without even getting a table.  James drove his girl back to her place and then it was just the two of us.

For some reason we tried to go play some miniature golf, but the place was closed since it was well into the evening.  Having enjoyed my evening with James, I retrieved my bike and managed to ride it in the dark without dying, which felt like a huge accomplishment when I parked in the yard.

Taking advantage of the empty house, I decided to dye my hair since I was tired of the natural color.  Being able to change small things about my appearance seem to have a positive effect in the self-esteem department, not that the encounter outside of the diner had diminished it or anything. Maybe it is the satisfaction of having control over such choices, the autonomy to do as I please without having to worry about someone attempting to drill their version of beauty into my head.  This has become evident since getting my first facial piercing when I was 18, which people constantly told me I would regret or grow tired of, yet I am now 23 and still have those same lip piercings.  It was pretty awesome that I could just sign a piece of paper and sit in a professional piercing studio to have them done the right way, as opposed to jamming a dirty safety pin in my face or whatever kids do these days to self-pierce.

Anyway, the point I am getting to is that certain aspects of my appearance change frequently – hair, makeup, clothes; there are specific ornaments which are permanent – tattoos, piercings, scars; while they do not ultimately define me as a person, they are an essential element of my existence.  They do not make me better than those who have less or none, they are not a desperate plea for attention [especially since there tends to be a significant amount that is uncomfortably negative], and yet it is undeniable that they set me apart in a way I understand better now than when I began showing an interest in body modifications.