We Only Came For the Beer

[Originally written on 1.12.06]

My days of hitting clubs and supporting the local scene sort of faded due to lack of interest in the grand variety of shit that was being churned out.  It seemed like any snot-nosed brat that had mommy and daddy drop some cash on expensive instruments and equipment suddenly had a band, and more often than not, they lacked any sort of talent.  Being out of the loop due to traveling and the fact that my focus was on sideshow, I had to admit that I didn’t even know what was happening with the music scene.  Outside of a few home-grown bands I had the pleasure of seeing a few years ago, I was slowly becoming convinced that it had crashed and burned and died a fiery spectacular death.

However, thanks in part to the internet, my faith that New Jersey can still produce great tunes was somewhat renewed.  Losing touch with what used to be a regular thing feels weird, as if I didn’t have enough issues with alienation and social anxiety.  Then again, it’s different now since when I find a show I would like to attend, I have someone I can invite along.  Anyway, I was browsing some message boards to see what was happening at the venues I used to haunt, which led to the discovery of a band called Turnpike Wrecks.  Listening to the tunes they had on their MySpace page, it only took a few seconds for me to get into them.  When I saw the bulletin posted a few days ago about their one-year anniversary up at Connections, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to check them out live.

While I was nervous about asking Jon if he wanted to go with me, I had faith he would put effort into being a supportive partner.  However, I was still too chicken to verbally pose the question, so I sent him an e-mail instead and had a positive reply within a few days.

This morning I was in grand spirits and went out for a two-hour walk before going about my usual routine of getting ready.  A certain someone was certainly stalking my actions, no doubt curious about what I was doing even though surely they had their own friends to hang out with or whatever.  Since I am doing my best to avoid any conflict, I drove to a nearby park and met Jon there.

The ride up was an interesting one, as a storm had rolled in, but I felt safe in the Mercury as we chatted and smoked a joint.  The sky had a strange red tint to it, there was a light mist that crept across the highway, and I was treated to a front-row seat for the lightning that lit up the night.  We stopped somewhere along the way on account he needed to gas up the beast, but that just gave us a few minutes to catch up on kissing and inappropriate public groping.  He smelled so good I could have drowned myself in the scent that came off his tattooed skin, but his suggestion of finding a dark spot in the parking lot was turned down on account we still had an hour or so of driving ahead.

However, the trip took longer than that due to the fact I haven’t been up there in quite some time, so it took me a minute to remember which exit to take and all.  Apologizing for the poor navigation, Jon laughed and said it was just all part of the adventure, his hand squeezing mind for reassurance.  We did manage to find the venue, though likely had missed a band or two in the process of getting sidetracked a couple of more times prior to doing so.

Sitting in the back of the Mercury, we traded a bottle of rum between us and drank the whole thing between more kisses.

“You know I have a hard time resisting you,” he said, hands exploring places usually concealed by clothes.

“The feeling is mutual,” I teased, rubbing my fingers across his cropped hair, trailing them down to dangerous territory.

Half an hour later we strolled into Connections just in time to hear Broken Heroes being introduced as they began their set.  Surely we were glowing at that point [for a number of reasons], which caused us to dance around to some tunes despite the fact everyone else was just standing around.  As the band was heading off stage, this girl comes up to me and calls me by name.  Intoxicated, I didn’t realize who she was until she introduced herself as Jess.  We went to the same cosmetology school and I used to go to her to have my hair cut, but I hadn’t seen her in quite some time since moving further south and all.  Jon was quite the gentleman and engaged in polite conversation, the three of us chatting while people milled around.

Then it was on to the main even of Turnpike Wrecks, which really got the crowd close to the stage cheering them on.  Though I’m not usually easily impressed by bands, these guys had something that kept our feet tapping, and plenty of stage humor without being stupid.  Someone could not resist sweeping me up into a few more dances, which encouraged other couples to follow suit.  Well, I can say I don’t think I have ever seen people swing dance to oi before, so that was a first.

After the set, I went to say good-bye to Jess who was with a friend of hers, so the four us wind up talking longer than expected.  Next thing I know, I’m shaking hands with Pete, who is the lead vocalist of Turnpike Wrecks.  It didn’t occur to me at the time on account I was so caught up in actually being social and having a great time with Jon, but I felt it was worth noting that he is a skinhead, and not the asshole self-righteous white power type that seems to be rampant in this state.  Just goes to show that carnies can get along with people from any subculture, so it was nice to have that experience.  He invited us to come up and check out his Thursday DJ night, then said his good-byes and was off to chat with some other people he knew.

Our drive back felt quite short, and it didn’t take long for the outfits we had spent hours assembling to wind up piled on the floor together.  Spending the night with him is certainly something that I can get used to, but I am so afraid that once I do, everything will get fucked up somehow.  When I am in his arms though, I can only think about how happy I am and that I never want the feeling to stop.


A Shore Thing

[Originally written on 1.6.06]

The other morning I was sitting on the bed, contemplating what I would do to be productive for the day when my phone beeped, indicating I had a message.  Not knowing who would have been trying to call me at such an early hour, I almost completely ignored the noise.  Curiosity got the best of me, however, and upon punching in my pass code, I am pleased to hear Jon’s voice simply instructing me to come to the Shore as soon as I could.

Fighting off that giddy school-girl feeling, I packed something to eat, hopped in the shower, dressed, and headed down the Parkway.  After the amazing time we had on my birthday, I wasn’t expecting to hear from him at all, worried that the emotions were too much for him and that he would retreat into old habits.  It seemed that he was serious about making changes, and I could hear the restrained excitement in that digital message, or maybe I was hoping he had the same bubbling excitement in his belly that I did.

The time spent driving on the highway seemed to just melt away, and soon the sparkling ocean was within my sights, the late morning incredibly clear with the sun warming my face.  As soon as I stepped out of the car Jon was waiting there, his arms wrapping around my waist as he pulled me in for a tender kiss.  Our Hollywood Moment has vastly improved, though I still got that big, long, I-missed-you-like-all-fuck hug.  We go inside for a moment so I can put my things up, his demeanor quite attentive and affectionate, which is something I had apparently been needing more than I realized.  He asked me if was hungry or anything, and I may have lied slightly stating I ate before I came down.  Technically I had a granola bar and some water, so it wasn’t entirely untrue.  For some reason I didn’t want him to know I hadn’t been eating well or that my diet for the past few weeks mainly consisted of alcohol.

Jon then suggested we go out for a walk, and after a half hour of roaming through the quiet neighborhoods, he takes me into an Army & Navy store.  Surprised it’s even open, we browse the merchandise for a few minutes, and then he says that  I can have anything I wanted, his treat.  Though I tried to protest, stating that it was weird to spend his money, he insisted it was an innocent gesture.  Being conditioned by exes who made me feel like shit when they willingly bought me things I didn’t ask for, I have a tendency to turn down polite offers.  This was not one of those situations, and it was at that moment I realized what was happening.  Unable to resist a goofy smile, I wandered around the store and discovered a lovely black leather bag I can use for a purse, so I won’t be paranoid about things falling out of it.  He returned the smile and held my hand while we stood at the register; I swear my face was red from blushing so much.

Departing the store, Jon asks me if I am up for a walk on the beach.  Even though it was rather chilly, what with the winter wind coming in from the ocean and all, I happily accepted the invitation.  How long had it been since our feet had touched sand together, arms linked as hands warmed one another, nothing but the rhythm of the ocean for miles and miles on end.  Every second of those days became meaningless, as we were together at that exact moment of time and I had every intention of focusing all of my attention on him.

He eventually breaks the silence by asking me how the carnival experience was, which we apparently had failed to discuss during birthday shenanigans.  There was a lot I needed to get off my chest, about all the things that happened with my former partner, his behavior during travel and now, along with the feelings that I was battling with lately.  We sat on the sand facing the ocean, my body huddled against his, and suddenly I just started to let it all out.  The good, the bad and everything between; he listened intently while lighting a blunt, holding me tighter if I happen to get caught up in emotions and let a sob slip.  It felt good to get it out so I could put it behind me and move forward, especially since I got to vent to the one person who I know understands where I am coming from.

The world is much different where land meets sea, and I don’t know what it is, but I always feel better when I am at the beach.  Having my best friend by my side always made that experience memorable, but our relationship status had already changed.  Announcing it to ourselves wasn’t necessary – it’s just one of those things we knew without saying, and I could see that he was actually into the whole thing as much as I wanted him to be.  Jon insisted that I cleanse myself of all the negative thoughts I was carrying inside, to rid myself of them in order to start fresh.  It was a New Year after all, and there was no better opportunity to make resolutions.  Standing on the shoreline, I made my plea to the forgiving sea [rhyming unintentional] and braced myself as Jon baptized me with the chilly brine.

“Let the healing water of the Atlantic wash away your demons!” he joked in a heavy southern drawl while placing a kiss on my forehead.

When evening approached we dressed in our best dinner attire, which included polished combat boots and cropped hair, something he had done that morning on account he wanted us to coordinate.  It was good look on him, as it brought out the tattoos on his face and gave him a younger appearance.  Or maybe it had just been too long since I had stared at him and was just noticing all the things that attracted me to him in the first place.  Settling into the Mercury, I was hit by so many familiar sights and scents I felt a bit overwhelmed.  Cool ocean air poured through the open window as he passed me a blunt, the curling smoke getting sucked out into the dark night.  The Reverend and his Unholy Angel were back in town.

As the hours passed, we wined and dined as though we had done it on a daily basis for the past six years.  If it is at all possible to fall even deeper in love with someone you feel has always deserved the supercharged emotion, it was happening to me at that table while my eyes were locked on his.  How nice it was to see him genuinely smile as his hands gestured absently during the telling of a joke, the glimmer in his own eyes stealing my heart with every second I was lost inside them.

There was a moment where he reached across the table to take my hands in his and the expression on his face grew serious. “Are you enjoying yourself, Angel?”

“Tremendously!” I exclaimed with a smile.

“Well, I hope you get used to that, as it’s going to be happening a lot more.”  He kissed my palm and then gave me a wink with a sly grin.

The remainder of the evening is something I am keeping to myself, but I will say it was even better than one of my birthday presents.

Post Carnival Withdraw

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Since returning from the tree lot, I have been eating once a day and drinking myself stupid every night, making a sad attempt to fill up this void and kill the pain that is suddenly plaguing me.  My gut is rotten to the core and just thinking about food makes me ill, but I know I should try to put something in there other than alcohol.  For some reason, when I’m holding that bottle I feel as though I am becoming my best friend, but that might not be a bad thing.  When I’m swimming in whiskey I can clearly see why he has such as distaste for the holidays and why he always avoided them, thinking that maybe I should too.

Drinking always has an effect on my dreams.  Not last night but the previous one, I had a dream that I was still on the road.  After a long afternoon of putting up sidewall in the tent, I go into the bunk house to find Jerry, asking if he can help hold the ladder or something.  If there were any more details, I can’t recall them now, but just having that interaction again made me happy upon waking.  Jerry was an awesome guy, and out of all the people who traveled with us, I miss him the most.  He joined up in Syracuse and took on the role of Bozo, also helping with setup and tear down.  For those that don’t know, Bozo is a clown in a dunk tank that gets paid to insult people.  He often recycled the same handful of lame one-liners, yet still found a way to draw a crowd and keep the green rolling in.

We smoked together on a number of occasions, and he shared lurid details of his life with me for whatever reason.  He was in prison for fifteen years, for having been in a fight and accidentally killing the other guy.  Though it was unintentional, he had a weapon on him or something, but essentially he got charged with manslaughter and away he went.  There are tears tattooed on his face to signify this and one other for the time a fight in prison yielded the same result.  Jerry would joke that he had been a kung-fu master and he just acted on instinct when defending himself, which I’m not sure if I entirely believe.  There were an assortment of other tattoos he had acquired while in prison, and even more that he had done himself, a few which were actually pretty good.  The two pieces I remember was the face on his elbow he had done while looking in the mirror, and the demon on his chest that was supposed to be a Superman style shield.  It came out the way it did because he had been tripping on acid at the time he was tattooing it, which is an important lesson on why drugs and body mods don’t mix.

Jerry also spent his teenage years and early twenties as a skinhead, though I never did find out why he decided not to pursue that lifestyle anymore.  He used to have a website up and said the Feds had it shut down due to the content, then came looking for him.  Again, he wouldn’t go into exact detail about what it was beyond “some heavy shit”, so trusting the validity of the story is not a hundred percent.  However, a liar would be more boastful and have no problem spilling trivial facts, especially unprompted.  He didn’t have a habit of talking with many of the other sideshow crew beyond pleasantries, so why I had that honor is kind of a mystery but cool at the same time.

Whiskey is also a bad influence on spontaneous decisions and there is no such thing as a ‘bad idea’ until you are suffering the consequences of it while sober.  For whatever reason I decided to dye my hair SFX Blood Red last week, and in the beginning the color was brilliant, reminding me of when I had done my hair that shade in junior year of high school.  However, I forgot to wash it in cool water, so the red was  bleeding any time I got my hair wet or any kind of styling product was applied.  This is especially unfortunate since the bathroom and all of its towels are white and the last thing I want to do is touch any of it while crimson dye is running across my skin.

Short-lived success was followed by bleach which removed the majority of the red, though there are still a few orange spots I would like to touch up prior to applying toner.  According to the bottle it’s a white blonde, so hopefully I will achieve the effect I desire.  The front was left red to match the wefted extensions that have already been dyed, red that transitions to black at the tips.  Well, somewhere along the way I set to cutting my hair with clippers and wound up with a Chelsea, though I am pretty happy with the result.  This made the second bleaching come out more even than the first, and the toner took much better than expected.

Though this may seem really trivial to talk about, altering my appearance is something I tend to do to avoid other self-destructive tendencies, which I know I’m not helping with the alcohol.  Besides, my birthday is coming up in a week and I felt as though I needed a change in order to celebrate.  Oh, speaking of such, I tried to get tickets for the Leftover Crack show I wanted to attend, but Vintage Vinyl had none and neither did the venue’s website.  Could be possible that I waited too long, though I am going to try calling Starland directly just to double-check on the sold out status.  While it is not the worst thing in the world, this does make me feel as though the birthday curse is trying to make a return, as silly as that sounds.

Well, I have errands to run which should keep my mind off the fact I haven’t heard from Jon at all since I got back.  His postcards rarely leave my side, and at night when I’ve got the whiskey goggles on, I try to find some hidden message I may have missed before.  Desperation is an ugly beast when your heart feels empty and you find yourself willing to do anything to keep it quiet.

Home Sweet Home

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Say what you want about New Jersey – right now I have never been so happy to see the place I have called home for the past 23 years as I am right now.  Then again, having spent several months away from it, I feel as though I am appreciating all of the little things I have always loved about it.

After weeks of making wreaths for eight or more hours a day, there was not much more for me to do at the tree lot, nor was I getting paid.  The downside of doing your job efficiently, which created enough stock to carry them through the rest of the month.  If additional wreaths were needed, there were two people capable of producing them, so I couldn’t argue with that logic.

The childish antics of a certain individual were stressing me the fuck out to no end.  Though I did everything to avoid having contact with him outside of work, he was having none of it and would often incite conflict through aggressive words or actions.  Like, I am just standing there doing my wreathing making thing and he would just start verbally attacking me out of nowhere about how I have to “give up my dream” and “get a real job” and so on.  He could not even let me leave in peace, which my sister was witness to and really only made him look bad.

There are many things I learned while traveling, and now I have to apply them to my life.  While I have a small chunk of cash from all this hard work, I also realize I need some sort of steady income in order to support myself once I move out.  Thankfully, I am being given some time to find a place and I am extremely grateful for this kindness since there is no obligation to allow me to stay here.  However, seeing as how I didn’t invite myself into this situation, it would be unfair to just dump me out on the street.  Unless someone decides to act like an adult and accept the situation as it is until things change, the environment will be quite uncomfortable and I really don’t needed the added stress right now.

Internet access will decrease on account I don’t have my own computer and the one here is locked, which makes finding a new living arrangement kind of difficult.  Having a friend who has said I can make use of their laptop when needed is comforting, and I can always go the library if all else fails, but that is the least of my concerns right now.  There is more I would like to write about, but my time has to be spent on other things at the moment since I am at the library.

Other than that, I enjoyed sleeping in a real bed for the first time in several months.  Spending one night in a hotel room doesn’t count.  May have also spent over an hour having a nice warm shower, considering I only had one the entire time I was at the tree lot.  Which means once again unintentionally setting a record for most consecutive days spent dirt, which is now eighteen days and not something I want to try to do again.

Hearing people complain about the cold weather has to be one of the most annoying things right now.  Do you have any idea what it’s like to use a doniker in this weather?  The next time you stroll down the hall in your heated house and effortlessly relieve yourself in the porcelain bowl, imagine having to bundle up in a hat, scarf, gloves and coat just to do the same.  Without slipping on ice or getting attacked by trees, with your hands stick from sap and afflicted with a weird half-numb sensations that makes using them awkward.

There was another postcard from Aaron that welcomed me, which really made me feel appreciated when I needed to the most.  It has been too long since I heard his voice, that infectious laughter coming from him as the light hits his eyes in just the right fashion so they look like they have been carved from steel.  Though I made a new friend through traveling, I need the one who knows me the best and has the appropriate words for every situation.  The secret message on the postcard said he was making his way back to the Garden State – he missed me terribly and knew that my birthday was coming up, which for some reason he did not want to miss.  Well, we have spent every one together for the past four years, so I suppose it’s only right we continue to uphold that tradition.

Exited anticipation of when he is coming back would be an understatement, but this gives me something to look forward to since I haven’t exactly made any plans.  If I get to see him again, no matter the context, that is more than I could even dream of right now.

Kitschy Variety: Vintage Goth Pinup Capsule Collection


Designed by Laura Byrnes and Micheline Pitt, the Vintage Goth Pinup Capsule Collection available through Pinup Girl Clothing is a creative collaboration between two women who always come out with figure flattering garments, and this is certainly no exception.  Comprised of several different pieces, many of which are separates that can be worn with any of your favorite PUG wares, bold black and white stripes along with spiderweb print give classic silhouettes a modern edginess.  In fact, I am fairly certain I have reviewed both the Jenny Skirt and Lauren Top in past Carny Style articles – something tells me it was related to the harlequin print items that came out this past spring.  However, the bold graphics and contrasting, monochromatic color scheme of this collection could not be passed up as an opportunity to come up with an amazing outfit.  After all, stripes and spiders are two things that certainly fall within the realm of circus inspiration.

Though it may shimmer like gossamer, the Lauren Top in Black with White Spiderwebs carries the strength of stretch cotton sateen that is form-fitting and curve-conscious.  Now that the weather is growing colder, long sleeves are on trend, but the adjustable cuffs and coordinating color allow you  to have options when styling as opposed to accents that are static.  Black and white silk sateen will make you scream when you set sights on this don’t-say-the-name-three-times inspired Jenny Skirt, where voluminous vertical stripes are gathered at a nipped-in waist and spill down past the knees.  One would be hard pressed to resist giving this a whirl, as watching the fabric twirl would gather quite the entranced crowd.  To accentuate the waist even further to really capture that ‘hourglass’ shape often associated with pinups, use a wide elastic belt; I selected the Red Rose one for the satin ribbon and lace framed cameo set in the center.  Inside the oval frame is an illustration that gives the accessory its name, which also brings another color into the styling palette for other things to play off of.  The elaborate details of these black Spiderweb Tights come together and form an intricate design that is also abstract and doesn’t come across as too costumey.  Having the addition of red in the belt means being able to pair this look with Pinup Couture’s new line of shoes, brought to you by the same fine folks that are behind the infamous Bordello collection.  Red patent vinyl trimmed in black is just the beginning of why the Smitten Pump will bring a sense of balance.  The retro curve of the shoe leads into a round toe topped with a pleated bow, and though the heel is only four inches high, it makes the shoe ideal as an affordable basic you will love having in your wardrobe.

Instead of going for a high shine vinyl, I thought the matte red of Pinup Couture’s Bow Handbag would suit this outfit better, as it doesn’t give off the overwhelming glow that can occasionally accompany red.  The trapezoid-shaped body has been slightly rounded and edged in glossy black vinyl, which can also be found trimming the handle and in the form of a bow on the front.  While there are a few other hats that can also be worn with this look, the forthcoming Swirl Dish Hat was too decadent to resist, what with the alternating rings of white and black ribbon tucked under a cascade of netting and all.  Since it’s not available just yet, I did not hesitate to sign up for the wait list, as I suspect this will be a widely popular item and I would be bummed to miss an opportunity to acquire it for myself.  An unlikely suggestion as far as jewelry goes, but remember that mixing quality pieces with those that are of a more kitschy nature is what these guides are all about.  Personally I would wear the Pentagram Earrings by Killstar through my stainless steel tunnels, but however you choose to adorn your ears, doing it with black hoops that have pentagrams inside will certainly make a statement.  The only accessory to feature an arachnid is the Black Widow Cameo Necklace, where the red and black resin cameo is surrounded by a filigree frame and hangs nicely when the 1 3/8″ chain is draped across the neck.  This outfit is about a polished presentation, and too many ‘matching’ items can make it messy, though any of the items recommended here can be swapped for ones in the Spidora guide.  Skipping bracelets on account the cuffs of the top speak enough on their own, the final pieces of jewelry happen to be another trend this season, as Phalanx Rings appear on fingers from the runway to the red carpet.  More commonly known as ‘middle of the finger’ or ‘knuckle rings’, the stacks of white and black diamonds can be alternated to pick up the pattern of the skirt for a unique touch.

The cosmetics selected to coincide with the completed outfit are meant to reflect its minimalist aesthetics, and it is suggested that one goes through their usual moisturizing routine and priming the face prior to applying any of the following products.  Advertised as having “everything you need for the perfect neutral eye”, the Naked Basics Palette by Urban Decay contains six versatile shadows that can be used to contour, line and highlight to create the right amount of definition for any occasion.  Build a foundation using Venus, a soft off-white demi matte, by patting it along your brow bone and then blending it both directions; up towards the brow and down to the lid.  Then take Walk Of Shame, a very light nude matte, and pat that all across the lid, blending it up into the other shadow.  Finally, sweep the warm and dusty brown tones of Faint into the crease with an angled brush, making sure to soften the edges along the outer-V.  Now that you have a nice base, cut into it with Illamasqua’s Precision Gel Liner which will allows you to effortlessly draw your cat-eye wither you prefer demure or dramatic.  After coating lashes in your favorite mascara, tack on a set of Sugarpill Charlotte Lashes, their spider web shaped edges sure to make your eyes appear larger.

Versatile enough for any skin tone, Naked Flushed by Urban Decay makes an excellent companion to their similarly named eye shadow palette with a luxe bronzer, blush and highlighter in one compact.  The soft satiny bronze should be used to contour cheeks, chin, forehead and any other areas you want to minimize; dust cheeks with the rosey blush and top with the shimmering pink champagne highlight, which can also be applied to places you want to illuminate.  With the rest of the face set to neutral, the lips are the star of this show and deserve to be heart-stopping.  Take the emollient enriched Cruella, a Velvet Matte Pencil by NARS, and use it to line the lips, the creamy formula depositing rich pigment that will stay put no matter what.  Follow with Vesuvio, a full bodied red Pure Matte Lipstick that adds another layer of hydrating protection despite the matte finish.  The last touch will the Super Charged charcoal and rainbow multi-glitter splendor of Formula X, a textured polish that encrusts nails in sparkling glamour that rivals the world’s most expensive jewels.

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.