Hitting the Road Again

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Well, I wish I could say that I enjoyed my stay here in Jersey, but for reasons mentioned in the last entry, the visit was not exactly entirely pleasant.  However, I need to move on from that on focus on the return to PA, as it won’t be long until the crew makes its way down to Maryland, where we will be living and working for the next month or so.  After that, I will have to find myself a place to live when I come back, but there is plenty of money for rent and whatnot so I just have to worry about the actual location.

There is no holiday celebration in my future, and that stings just a bit, though it could probably be argued that is the consequence of my choice to travel.  However, as James said to me last night, I don’t need negativity in my life and he is absolutely right.   Dwelling on what has happened is not going to be useful to me moving forward, and the biggest obstacle I am going to have to overcome my fear of being alone.  Though I cannot deny that not knowing what is coming in the future [which is not that far away] gives me an unsettled feeling, and I am not a robot either.  Emotions cannot just be turned off at convenience, and those very feelings are currently still betraying me.

There is writing to do, as I open up this bleeding heart to him one last time. This is the big bet, as I feel I have far more to lose not taking the risk than doing so and not get the result I am hoping for.  The fact of the matter is that I am so in love with Aaron, I would do anything for that him in order to have a long-term relationship with him.  Some of those things will be very hard and may require me to cut ties with everyone I know.  He is worth doing so, as I have spent many years being loyal to him despite everything in life that has tried to separate us.  Even the thousands of miles which currently exist between us seem nonexistent when I think of how tight our bond has become over the years.

Perhaps that old saying is true, or it simply comes down to the fact that when you accept someone as your companion, being without them allows you to appreciate the time you spent together.  Whatever the reason, I miss him so much and dream of schemes involving adopting a minimalist amount of material possessions and disappearing from the Garden State together in search of unknown adventures.  Reality makes this a more difficult task no matter how easy it is when you imagine these things happening, and I have yet to actually make contact with him beyond that post card.  It is kept in a safe place, and I read it every night in order to keep myself focused on working the tree lot, as I don’t have much else to motivate my existence at the moment.

Dramatics aside, there are a lot of changes that need to happen next month, which I suppose is appropriate considering the New Year is coming up as well.  The timing is coincidental, but I also had a feeling that I would not continue living in this house once the job is over.  Being able to financially support myself was a main factor that contributed to reasons why I haven’t relocated up to this point, but that is less of a concern now.  At least I have something to think about and plan for when I am not working, avoiding the fact I have to share the environment with someone who has made it their mission to treat me like shit.

Let’s end this on a lighter note since I am making the effort to have daily positive affirmations in order to focus on myself without distractions.  The swelling of my new piercing has gone down considerably, which I am attributing to the sea salt soak I have been doing.  Call it preparation for knowing that I might not be able to clean it much once the tree lot is up in full swing.  Running the hoses for the bunkhouse shower is not possible in colder temperatures, as the water would freeze inside them and render them completely useless.  As a result, we were told that we should try to take a shower when we could, otherwise we would have to wait until our boss could rent a room at the hotel.  Conveniently the lot we are setting up in is right in front of said hotel, yet we have to stay crammed in these closet-sized bunks with space heaters and no running water or bathroom.

These are small sacrifices to make in exchange for earning some cold hard cash, so I am not going to complain and do whatever they ask me to while keeping my head down and mouth shut unless making small talk.


Still Hanging Around

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Well, there seems to be some delay in heading down to Maryland, that being there is no one to take care of the livestock from the menagerie, as that person is currently overseas.  This is important since their owners [aka my bosses] are going to be occupied with running the tree lot and all, so I am still in Jersey and unsure of what to do with myself.

My car is dead but I did get permission to make use of a truck today, so I am trying to think of what to do before that opportunity is over.  Must go to the store while also avoiding vast amounts of holiday shoppers.  Though I had planned errands for Saturday, I took one look at the massive line of cars just waiting to get in the parking lot and said fuck that.

Perhaps I will invite the Canadian to come hang out with me for a few days, seeing as how he is bored to tears back in PA.  He left quite a hilarious message on my phone last night, which ended with “I’m going to kill someone by the end of the week.”  A visit to James is also in order, if he would return my call or reply to a text message already.

Since there is not much else to write about, I figured now would be as good of a time as any to discuss what has been happening behind the scenes.  Something happened two weeks before I left New Jersey on this sideshow tour.  Something I only shared with a few people, as I had convinced myself it could be worked out and I wanted to believe that more than anything.

The person I have been performing with since the beginning of the year has decided he no longer wished to continue doing so.  Which is pretty funny since he is the one who initially contacted me after seeing one of my advertisement seeking locals interested in learning some skills.  He is also the one who asked me to move in, and I was stupid enough to get us both this job even though I should have gone alone.  Though I feel like a fool for having trusted someone with sideshow secrets who now clearly has no respect for its traditions nor the culture they come from, I suppose it’s better knowing their true feelings rather than continuing to waste my time one someone who clearly doesn’t appreciate it.

Part of me feels as though this was planned, as there has been tension between us that results in petty arguments that left me wondering if he was purposely trying to drive a wedge between us.  Remember that this has been a purely professional relationship, thought does not make it immune from the same issues that arise in romantic ones.  In fact, spending time with the Candian sparked an unusual jealousy, though the two of us are nothing more than friends who enjoy watching movies, playing video games and generally hanging out on account that’s what friends do.

Anyway, at some point during our travels he decided to inform me that not only were we no longer going to be performing together any more, but that I also had to move out after the tree lot.  Then I found out he expressed this desire on that trip out to Altoona.  Well shit, someone should have told me sooner so I could have been better prepared when surprised me with the news.  Oh, and he also decided to tell me that he used me to get back to Jersey in order to get his truck, which is the only reason he agreed to use his AAA card to have my car towed.

While I am pretty pissed about that, I need to stay focused on the work I have ahead of me and then worry about everything else when I am in a position to relocate.  The rest of this year is going to be a long, hard journey that I have to face alone.  Right now I honestly have no reason to trust outsiders – all they do is lie and bullshit to get their way, using you up until there is nothing left and then tossing you aside like a piece of trash.

Emotionally closed for business until further notice.

Moving on to a slightly different subject, I was browsing the web for any mention of the sideshow since there were several reporters who came through taking pictures and asking questions.  Well, this led to the discovery of Rideaccidents.com and this article:

Carnival worker killed while setting up ride

(Tuesday, August 23, 2005) – In Syracuse, New York, a 29-year-old carnival worker was crushed by an amusement ride he was working to assemble. The man was placing wooden stabilizing blocks underneath the structure of the Enterprise ride when the ride shifted and fell on top of him. Rescuers had to use a fork lift to free him. He was rushed to a local hospital where he died.

The man worked for James E. Strates Shows of Florida. His death has been ruled an accident by state police. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun its own investigation.

This is of interest on account I was there when that happened.  We were rolling out the tent for the menagerie and next thing we know, a group of people start running towards one of the rides.  Cue security personnel pulling up in their golf carts.  Next comes the ambulance, and then the media.  Two hours later, we found out what happened from our boss and needless to say the mood was kind of solemn for the remainder of that day.  Assembling rides has to be the most dangerous carnival job – over the past few months I have heard plenty of stories about injuries and deaths that occur during setup.  It is very different to actually be there when something happens, and I was a bit surprised to find no mention of another death that was in the paper during that same fair, nor of the man that fell while putting up the Indy 500 coaster in Maryland back in September.

Nothing we did was nearly as dangerous, but believe me, there were plenty of bumps and bruises from set up and tear down. And that one time Moose fell off the stage. That’s a whole other can of worms tho.

Before leaving Jersey for another month, I decided to go ahead and acquire the piercing I have been coveting since Summer, that being an earl, or more commonly known as a horizontal bridge.  Earlier today, I headed up to New Brunswick with intentions of going to Sinister Ink, but for some reason I was unable to locate the shop.  If I had more time, I would have walked around until I did find it, but I was borrowing a vehicle and just wanted to get the piercing, so I opted for Sparks instead.

Despite the fact that the piercing room is rather small in an equally small and oddly spaced hair salon, I known several few people who have been pierced there with no problem.  As mentioned, I was using someone’s truck due to the fact my car is still dread, otherwise I would certainly have made the drive all the way up to Starlight to have the piercing done by Dom.  Plus I may have stretched the truth about where I was going, otherwise I likely would not have had a vehicle at all.

Two things that bugged me a little:  the simplistic form I filled out with standard name, address, birth date and a few yes or no questions; the fact that the piercer tried handing me a bottle of ear care solution along with an after care sheet.  What the fuck was that?  Considering I have a few dozen piercings and once apprenticed as one, I would like to believe I know a thing or two about piercings, to the point that I don’t need the spiel about after care.  Unless I have a piercing in a part of my body that I am not familiar with regarding healing time/process, in which case I read everything I can and just listen to my body.  Anyway, the sheet suggested that I use the solution to clean my piercing, while at the same time prompting customers not to treat their it with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.  Guess what’s in that ridiculous solution?

At that point I was glad I knew better, but imagine people actually using that shit because that is what they are told.  Not trying to discredit the piercer, as everyone’s body is different and therefore generalized after care is not always going to work.  He definitely should have know better than to hand out a product that should never be used on any piercing ever.  Okay, rant mode is off – I was just really surprised by the whole thing.  The other 44 piercings apparently do not project the idea that I know how to care for my modifications.

Everything was clean though, otherwise I would not have stayed.  A new needle came from sterile package, jewelry was properly sanitized prior to insertion, clamps were also freshly opened, gloves never came off and skin was prepped as per usual.  He also took his time while marking the entry/exit points, as well as suggesting the position where there was the most amount of tissue in order to lower the risk of rejection.  Having to to lie down on a table was also weird, as most shops have chairs, though I fixed my mind on the soothing ocean noises that filled the room.  It has come to the point where I don’t really get nervous about being pierced any more, but the adrenaline iss still there and makes it hard to keep relaxed.  Focusing on the crashing waves, I was transported to a sandy beach on a beautiful sunny day, my best friend holding my hand as we walked across the pale beach. Deep breath, needle goes in; exhale, needle goes out.

The damn clamps hurt more than anything – it felt as though someone just pinched my bridge really hard.  After sitting up, I realized that the Canadian was right when he said that area has a pressure point, as I most certainly was receiving the effects of the piercing as a small centralized headache.  Over all, I am quite happy with the outcome.  Right now the skin the bar is sitting in is still a bit swollen, but that may be due to the fact that the 12g jewelry is a bit short. Facial expressions cause the skin around the fresh wound to pull a bit, causing slight discomfort.  As long as I don’t intentionally hit it, I should be fine.  Must keep make up away from it as well, but I am not going to be performing any time soon so that shouldn’t be too hard.

Well this turned out longer than I had intended, but there has been a lot going on and I wanted to get some of this off my mind before going back to work.

Kitschy Variety: Venus Flytrap Skirt


When searching for a piece that will serve as inspiration for one of these articles, I have all too often become disappointed and even a little disgusted at the amount of appropriation from cultures, religions and even hardcore criminals that are turned into tacky over-priced clothing.  These symbols mean absolutely nothing to the people wearing them, which becomes painfully obvious when they are more than willing to pose in them for personal gain.  However, the fact remains that certain things are offensive and it is not a case of people being oversensitive or whatever bullshit someone wants to pull out of their ass to defend their problematic behavior.  This is something I intend to write about more in the future, but for now I am willing to say there are a number of alternative fashion brands who are guilty of peddling such wares, who have been shamelessly mentioned and freely promoted on this blog in the past.  While I am only one person, I will no longer consider being a customer of such sites [even if I have purchased from them before], nor will they be actively linked, named or have any of their name brand products used in any fashion articles.

Moving right along, there is one site that I am always happy to promote, and that is Pinup Girl Clothing – they have a gorgeous selection of retro and vintage style dresses, separates and accessories that are worth the financial investment.  As much as I enjoy casual clothes, I am also someone who wants the option of quality garments that can be worn in different ways in order to get the most from my money, so to speak.  This is a site that certainly delivers, with four house brands which all have definitive details to distinguish them from one another, though they can be combined for a cohesive look as well.  Browsing the newest additions, I was immediately attracted to the Deadly Dames Kinky Box Skirt in Venus Fly Trap Print and felt it was just the right thing to reignite the creativity I have been neglecting.  Constructed from sateen tinted a royal purple hue, this skirt’s main feature are the classic box pleats, as they allow the garment to sit flat while providing fullness that defines the waist.  That is where the 1950’s influence ends and breaking the mold of conventional vintage garments comes into play through the custom designed print of grinning Venus flytrap plants that parade from top to bottom.  It is sure to grab plenty of attention, so balance the kitsch with the Eye Candy Blouse by Mode Merr, which is made from a soft cotton lycra jersey material that comfortably contours to every curve.  Red ric-rac trimming the Peter Pan style collar and keyhole neckline adds a bit of contrast to the black top, while a matching grosgrain ribbon tying everything together in just the right place.

The chill of Winter is slowly creeping up on us, so now would be a good time to lay out some serious cash for a coat that is both fashionable and functional, since the whole point is to maintain warmth.  Besides, I am a fan of outfit revealing, especially when you notice quite a few heads turning in your direction.  A nautical nobility is evident upon first glance of Hell Bunny’s Millie Coat, the dark grey material shaped into a vintage silhouette where a pair of black stripes highlight the sailor style collar, cuffs and hem, coordinating with the anchor printed buttons and square buckle on the belt that allows you to cinch it for an ideal fit.  Speaking of cinching, a Jade Stripe Elastic Belt from Vivien of Holloway is a great finishing touch to give your figure that classic 1950’s hourglass appearance, while also breaking up the top and skirt to avoid a rather obvious seam which may make that area appear larger than it actually is.  The jade is a great companion to the purple in the skirt while picking up the variegated greens in the plant print as well, which will come into play later when deciding on a color palette for the makeup you want to wear with the outfit.  Precarious lineation doesn’t get more precise than the Jeffrey Campbell Watch Cuff, the metal plated ankle cuff securing you into heels that are just over six inches tall, the matte black synthetic leather flattering the top and skirt rather than detracting from them.  This theme is carried into the final major accessory, and the Pinup Couture Amoeba Handbag has the ability to adapt itself to every occasion with clean, distinctive and futuristic lines.  No detail was overlooked: lipstick red glitter vinyl and black vinyl trim are tamed into the unique retro shape; dazzling chrome comes in the form of a chain, clasp and bullet feet that keep your purse clean when you set it down; a two-toned handle ensures longevity, while the size and interior zippered pockets allow you to carry as much or as little as you need.

Up to this point, you have a fairly polished pinup look and are certainly welcome to skip ahead to the makeup guide.  However, this wouldn’t be Carny Style without citing the correlation between the outfit and Circus culture.  Seeing as how this carnivorous plant has been the source of a fiercely popular 80’s horror movie, where an over-sized and campy version of a Venus flytrap winds up devouring a few people, I am sure that has led to a few urban legends of such man-eating plants existing in the wild.  These sort of stories are rampant in sideshow exhibits, and therefor decorating yourself in honor of Dionaea muscipula becomes a satirical interpretation of society’s vision that woman are “man eaters”.  A surefire way to get that message across is by wearing a pair of Kreepsville66 Eyeball Hair Bows, the creep-tastic veined detached oculars set in the middle of green leopard print meant to represent the tropical climate Venus flytraps are found in.  Display your love of entomology with Brass Fly Earrings, intriguing stamped brass designs that have delicate details to distinguish them from cheap costume jewelry.  Though the literal translation can boarder on cheesy, again the emphasis on quality keeps this look grounded in kitschy chic, as is examplified by the J.Crew Venus Flytrap Necklace.  Gold tone brass and steel link together faced green crystals surrounded by settings evocative of the hairs that line the trapping structure of the plant.  Fusing the sinister side of beauty with bold masculine lines, the Venus Flytrap 3 Claw Ring utilizes gold and diamonds wrapped into a captivating piece that challenges preconceptions of self-adornment.  This is also evident when wearing a Horse Tail Bone Bracelet, though the bones here have been hand made and cast in bronze as opposed to be sourced from a real animal.

No style guide is complete without a selection of cosmetics that have been carefully chosen to coordinate alongside various aspects of the assembled outfit.  Skipping over basics such as foundation, concealer and primer since numerous product suggestions can be found in previous articles.  The focus here are the eyes, and the best way to draw attention is by executing a dramatic application which begins with Marie-Galante, an Eyeshadow Duo by NARS that is long-wearing and crease-resistant.  Pat the iridescent blue shade across each of your eyelids, building up a dark base and then blending it up until it disappears to create a gradient.  Then take the iridescent orchid and layer it starting right under the brow bone and blending it down into your darker shadow.  Dip a liner brush into teal-toned blue green Pure Cosmetic Pigmet by Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, and carefully line the outer lower lash line from outer corner to the inner one; bring it up the inner corner and slightly blend it into the upper lash line.  Black liner can have a tendency of giving eyes a harsher look than intended, so keep them soft by drawing your cat eye in Steel Ink, a shimmering deep charcoal grey Long- Wear Gel Liner by Bobbi Brown that glides on smoothly and quickly dries to a water-resistant finish.  Complete the eyes with a few coats of your favorite mascara and remember to curl for extra volume, or you could add a few pairs of false lashes.

Though also suitable for eyes and lips, OCC’s Creme Colour Concentrate is an innovative cream that is buildable and blendable, offering coverage that wears like a dream.  Use the subdued, whitened plum of Miriam to give cheeks a ‘wind kissed’ appearance, which can be intensified with bronze for an evening look or diffused with a highlighter if you prefer a velvety finish.  Shifting to the lips, though it is generally known that strong eyes call for a more neutral lip, I could not resist replicating the pout on the print of the skirt and chose the cool brick red tone of Amazon as the liner to accomplish this.  Using it to fill in the lips, the product glides on and leaves a creamy texture behind that won’t feather or bleed, acting as a barrier for your lipstick.  Staying with NARS, I selected Future Red, which happens to be a part of the Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection Limited Edition Cinematic Lipsticks.  The energetic cherry is delivered with gorgeous saturation and plenty of shine, where an innovative blend of conditioners hydrate, nourish and protect your lips as you wear the product.  Classic pinup lips are always acceptable no matter how much or little makeup you choose to wear.  For an extra dose of shine and to slightly tone down the boldness, dab a bit of Scandal in the middle and gently blend it in, using the pinkish brown gloss for a more natural yet shimmery finish.  Meticulously maintained manicures deserve varnishes that are hard-wearing and chip resistant no matter what situation you find yourself in, which is why I turned to Illamasqua and their appropriately named Venous – a striking blue green polish that picks up on similar hues scattered throughout the outfit.  Though it certainly stands out on its own, adding a few coats of Swarm on top not only amps up the gloss factor, but the fleck of matte black glitter could also be seen as abstract flies.

Not every outfit has to be 100% serious or dripping in elegance – there is a balance of kitsch and couture featured in this guide that lends itself to being taken in one direction or the other depending on what your personal preferences are.  It’s perfectly alright to wear designer jewelry with hair bows that have plastic body parts tacked to them; to mix sparkling vinyl, iridescent sateen and patent leather without blinking an eyelash; to create dramatic eyes and lips and not care whether other people think it’s “too much” or “too extreme”.  Fashion is about what you like, what makes you comfortable and inevitably is successful when carried with the right amount of confidence.  While it can be fun to incorporate trends into your wardrobe, remember not to let them ultimately define you or become so lost in chasing a label that you forget to be yourself, as that is the greatest asset anyone can have.

Just Visiting: Part 2

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Where to begin about getting here?

Well, I originally planned to visit last week but that was delayed due to work related issues.  For some reason, after we finished the scheduled Shocktoberfest dates, we waited for a while after tear down to pack up the items used in the sideshow so that they could be hauled out to Altoona for storage during the winter.  Since our next jump is to the tree lot, we aren’t going to be needing the second tent, banner line and other sideshow related things.

It just hit me that we aren’t going to be performing any more, and while I am looking forward to the upcoming work, I already miss waking up early in the morning to get myself stage ready and get on with daily duties.

Anyway, a few of my co-workers took the four hour journey with my bosses, while I was left here with a few others to keep an eye on everything that was left behind.  The day was spent the day smoking and watching Shallow GroundDawn of the Dead and Land of the Dead.  Around eleven I get a call that on the way back, the truck [and cause of delay mentioned above] blew its transmission, therefore stranding everyone in it three hours away.  My bosses returned later on that night – the bunkhouses were then moved, though I would have preferred to know that it was going to happen right then.  Being in bed and half asleep while you are in motion is a really strange sensation, and I was kind of pissed due to the fact several things fell that I didn’t want to have to step on or over if I needed to go to bathroom.

The new location of the bunkhouse is out in the open field by the ‘prison’, which I learned upon  waking the next morning and stepped outside to see a massive pile of animal shit sitting beside us.  Well that was just lovely.  Though aware we had to vacate the spots we had been in for over a month, the park was getting ready for its Christmas themed attractions to be open, and two tents do not exactly fit into a winter wonderland theme.

Oh, so the stranded co-workers were rescued on Monday night and returned at three in the morning.  Yesterday I had AAA tow my vehicle, which had mysteriously decided to stop working weeks ago, back to Jersey.  That was a fantastic three hour and rather quiet drive, as I had to take someone with me on account they were  the one with the AAA card.  While I do not want to get into details or specifics right now, his attitude regarding a professional relationship has been pretty shitacular, but I try my best to put that aside on account we were both asked to work the tree lot.

Now one would think that is where the adventure ended, but no.  While on 95, the tow truck driver had to make a pit stop and re-fuel.  Taking a moment to stretch out my legs, my purse must have fallen out of the truck as I discovered its absence at the driveway.  Managed to convince him to drive back out to that spot on the highway so I could locate the valued item – I did not want to lose my cell phone or driver’s license, especially with everything I had to go through just to get the damn thing back.  Fortunately I was able to find it, so at least that ended on a positive note.

Will be in Jersey for a couple more days until we head back to PA so we can all go down to Maryland to work the tree lot.  Apparently I am going to be inside a trailer making wreaths, which is definitely not the worst thing ever.  There is talk that the wages will be more than what we were getting paid weekly for the sideshow, but anything is fine by me. We have also been informed that everyone get a cash bonus at the end of the year.  My plan is start looking for an apartment or something when I return for good, as I no longer want to reside with a person who had decided they want to perform solo.  Yea, have fun what that considering I taught you everything you know, and you wouldn’t have been traveling all this time without me.

Whatever, I do not want to get caught up in those emotions right now considering I still have a job to do.  When that is over, I am unsure of what I am going to do, though I have the option of returning as a crew member of the sideshow next year.  There are no concrete plans on that end right now, and there are other possibilities to pursue depending on what the situation is like.

It feels strange being here right now, and I am at a loss of words to explain why.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love Jersey and I always will; there is so much I want to do when we return.  Life has been very interesting these past few months – I left not knowing what to expect, and that is pretty much what has been happening.  However, in having this experience I do have to wonder if this is the only thing I want to continue doing.

There are other interests that I would like to pursue, though in doing so they would interfere with choosing to travel, and I cannot deny the fact I want to discuss everything with Aaron before I make any decisions.  No matter what, I cannot see my future without him in it, and I feel as though our relationship has gotten to the point where we either need to take the next step or just go our separate ways.

In need of a shower considering I have unintentionally set a record for nine consecutive days without one and am going to have a new set of piercings added to my ears in the near future.  Speaking of mods, I recently started the process of removing built up black dye from my hair.  Thus far, I have bleached exactly once, which brought my ends to that familiar coppery red color and made my roots a pale yellow blond.  While I have actual bathroom access, I am going to do a touch up and will not have the chance to do it again until I return.  Not too worried about that since I am going to try really hard not to damage my hair in the hopes of keeping it blond for a while.

Now I am just rambling so this is going to end.