Happiness is a Journey, Not a Destination

[Originally written on this date in 2006]

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Jon thanking me for a great time last weekend, which totally made me blush since he was the one who had treated me and all.  His communication skills are improving even if he doesn’t write much and has a habit of slipping into Carny Speak when bringing up certain topics.  Being able to have such an open relationship now is doing wonderful things to him, particularly on the paranoia front, as he doesn’t request to sit facing the door and isn’t exhibiting the usual behavior that I have grown accustomed to.

He did promise that drugs were something to be left in the past, particularly since the emotions that were coursing through him were much more enjoyable.  Recovering from addiction is a process and I understand it’s something he needs to do at his own pace, but I can see that he is really making an effort and that tells me he is serious about the commitment to get clean.  That’s not to say he is going to be completely straight-edge or anything, as we still smoke when we are together and he is capable of drinking responsibly.  It just means that we won’t be drag racing and I don’t have to scream down the highway at a random a.m. hour on account he shot too much dope and wanted to make sure I was there with him in case he died.  Nights like that should be buried in the past as we continue to build a future together, and even though I’m aware that either sounds highly cliche or like I’m putting my faith in a pipe dream, it’s something I know we have both wanted for a very long time.

Relocating has only strengthened our friendship and when he talks about being with me on a permanent basis, I know he means every word from the bottom of his heart.  When he says the ones that used to feel like they could only be whispered through the roar of the ocean, I can hear the passion behind them that used to be repressed for reasons that no longer matter.  Being close to him, physically speaking, is when I feel safest, as though nothing else in the world matters and we are the only two people on this planet.  Parting is not something that causes me heartache since I can talk to him whenever I want now, looking forward to when we are together again.

While it is certainly far too early for predictions, since I know better than to excitedly ramble about all the things I want to do and set myself up for disappointment, I have noticed a marked difference in the direction our relationship is taking.  That term has been used casually here and there, but lately it has taken on a much deeper meaning that I understand how serious things are becoming.  Do not want to get carried away with fantasies and all, but he is on my mind every day and I fall into thoughts of what it would be like if we were together all the time.

Need to search for affordable source of body jewelry, as I have had the urge to downsize a lot of what I wear for a long time now.  Since this desire still remains, I believe it is something I should do, but there is no Unimax and I am unsure of where to even start looking for a place like it.  Guess that means I have some on-line searching to do after practicing for my upcoming show at Axis Lounge.

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Ritzy Ruby

The exceptional hardness of a ruby is surpassed only by a diamond, making it one of the elite precious gems which are not only used in presenting you pride for a July birthday but also revered for their valued beauty.  Characteristic colors and quality varies depending on the geographical source; a fine, deep, clear red in Burma; a dark red to brown tint in Burma; medium light tones in Sri Lanka and small, sheet like purple hued stones in Africa.  Durable for every day wear, rubies symbolize intelligence, prosperity and generosity, radiating a strong sense of vitality where feelings of passion are unashamedly incited.  A phenomenon caused by very fine needles of rutile inside a ruby give it a ‘silky’ shine, and rarely they can form a star-shaped deposit that would be highly visible should this kind of stone were to be cut as a half-dome cabochon.  While derived from the Latin word rubens, which literally means ‘red’, the color of a ruby is far more warm and fiery, an undiluted, hot and passionate tone that is unrelenting in saturation.  Though certainly the most important feature, transparency matters just as much and inclusions that do not impair the quality are viewed as a fingerprint defining a ruby as genuine.  No matter how you choose to display it, be confident that you are just as rare and radiant as the characteristics of this ‘king of gemstones’!

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1 – Leave the bleach out of the equation when coating your locks in Manic Panic’s Vampire Red, adding richness to brunettes and dark blondes without damaging the hair, leaving you with relatively virgin hair that is shimmering with natural highlights and lowlights.

2 – Red around the eyes can be too intense or give off the wrong vibe, but thanks to Ruby Red Make-Up Studio Eyeshadow you can get strong pigmentation in a soft powder that glides across eyes and leaves behind a subtle shine.

3 – Combining the hydrating power of an ointment and the shine of a gloss, Ruby Color Balm Lipstick rejuvenates your lips in a luxe, satin finish that contours them to add definition and volume.

4 – The convenient design behind the Mysterious Red Lip Pencil allows application of crimson pigments that provide long-lasting and seamless coverage whether used for lining, all-over cover or pairing it with another product.

5 – Another way to protect your pout in style is with a blend of conditioners and antioxidants found in Trans Siberian, a brilliant ruby rose Semi Matte Lipstick that is vivid but doesn’t leave lips feeling dry.

6 – Notable for serious shine that is ultra-smooth and comfortable to wear, the sheer cherry red tones of Misbehave are accented by just enough golden shimmer that makes this lip gloss as enriching as it is dramatic.

7 – The brilliant quality of Scarab is due to the nail varnish being exceptionally hard-wearing, allowing the deep ruby-red to stand out as a bold shade while the metallic finish is reminiscent of the gem it represents.

8 – In case you are craving even more shine, top it off in the shimmer red tones of Saratoga, giving nails an extra layer of fortification that will resist chipping and fading.

9 – Collecting false lashes has become a small hobby due to the versatility of looks which can be created by using them, so discovering these cute Ruby Red pair that is decorated with tiny black stars and red swarovski crystals at an extremely affordable price has the ideas brewing.

10 –  If wearing red is a bit too daring, try storing your favorite cosmetics in a Holdfast Makeup Bag, a custom construction of ruby-red glitter vinyl decorated with white glitter vinyl stripes and a contrasting bandanna style print lining.

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1 – Alternating colors that surround the perimeter of these Anatometal Gemmed Eyelets is just one of the many customizing options available, the polished stainless steel reflecting white and black cubic zirconias alongside synthetic rubies.

– Though recommended for healed lobes, Teardrop Eyelets are a stylish alternative to the circular shapes that dominate the selection of jewelry for stretched ears, while decorating them with synthetic rubies further accentuates their intriguing shape.

3 – Going one step further by anodizing the steel to a crisp light blue, these Super Teardrop Eyelets not only have the same gleaming trim as the others, but also a huge synthetic ruby nestled in the lower half of the interior.

4 – Forecasting autumn trends, the Pear Faraway is a rose gold septum piece that features faux wire wrapping and a genuine ruby flanked by a pair of 1.5 mm diamonds.

5 – Compliment your refined taste with a Water Lily, the rose gold petals surrounding a bezel set ruby on the end of a nostril screw that is dainty and daring.

6 – The filigree details of Leslie’s Heart is a testament to the quality of jewelry offered by Body Vision Los Angeles, the charm dangling from the end of a yellow gold curved bar highlighted by a genuine ruby.

7 – Romance abounds at any time of year, so if you are looking to give that special someone who also happens to adore body jewelry something that shows them how you feel, go for the Heart Navel Cluster where 18 karat yellow gold arches between a round and heart synthetic ruby gem, the latter surrounded by cubic zirconias.

8 – A slightly different design that has the same strong yellow gold base, the Flower Navel Curve is topped with a  white synthetic opal while a cluster of synthetic rubies surround a cubic zirconia.

9 – If you have a curved bar you already adore, simply slip on an Oval Prong dangle, the delicate beading of a white gold chain supporting a 6 x 4 mm Chatham ruby bringing instant opulence to any ordinary piece.

10 – A solid metal spike protruding from a piercing might be too much of a ‘hard’ look for some, so a threaded Prong Set Spike made from a synthetic ruby on a flat back labret could be an appealing alternative, the tip almost glowing when sunlight hits it.

11 – Balanced on the anodized blurple surface of a titanium Gemmed Industrial Bar are a set of synthetic rubies and a synthetic amethyst centered flower with synthetic ruby petals, giving the 1 1/4 inch length a bit of sparkle without overloading it.

12 – There is nothing understated about the Mini Pleades, what with all that white gold, diamonds and rubies; somehow it still manages to be less contentious than other low quality pieces would be when aiming for a certain aesthetic.

13 – Give your jewelry the royal treatment with Doubled Threaded Princess Ends that anchor down square-cut synthetic rubies, available in several sizes to put the finishing touch on your daily adornments.

Last Weekend in New Jersey

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Today was the beginning of my last weekend in the Garden State.  Plenty of people have laughed when I said I will miss Jersey, but I suppose they do not have the same feelings toward it that I do.  There are many memories spread across this diverse land which is brimming with weirdness and has been my home for the past 20+ years.  My existence as a sideshow performer was spawned from the depths of the Pine Barrens while I have spent days and nights and afternoons and countless hours on stretches of sand that disappear into the dark ocean.  Say what you will, but there is a connection to the place I have come to know and love as my homeland.

Moving along, the 1 1/2″ stainless steel tunnels I ordered from Tribalectic came in the mail the other day.  They are beyond gorgeous and now I can see through my ears!  Dyed my hair all black recently as I am likely not going to have time or the proper means to keep up three different colors.

Austin sent me a postcard from West Virgina explaining that Aaron was doing better and had planned on taking a trip out to California.  Though I am sad about not being able to spend time with him before leaving, this is for his own good and I can only look forward to that reuniting Hollywood Moment.  There was only one other person I thought of that I wanted to see and say good-bye to.

My visit to James was at his new place which is nice; we chilled in his room listening to tunes and splitting a blunt.  Let me note here that he has one of the most beautiful lounge voices I have heard, and no, I am not ‘just saying that’ on account he is my friend.  When it comes to all things music, I am quite particular about what hits my ear, but had no complaints of him crooning along to Hollywood Nocturne.  Though I wanted to take a little something with me, I remembered the whole traveling across state lines thing.  Perhaps I was just overly paranoid due to the fact I haven’t smoked in a week or so and was just overly thinking the situation.

A bit of an update on my new piercings before I continue – my lip was swollen for a day or so, sensitive to movement and whatnot though it is fine now.  The punches were going along well until I had a bit of a mishap when I added the star-shaped O-rings purchased from Kaos.  For some reason, my ears got really hot, red and sore about twenty minutes after putting them on.  Ingested many ibuprofen and removed the stars; my ears settled down immediately.  Well I have to add silicone to the list of materials not to wear in my piercings.

The afternoon was spent driving to the Shore, stopping in with James again for a moment as I had changed my mind about something and was glad I did.  While I am mainly focused on getting to the first location and meeting the people I will be working for over the next few months, it is less than thrilling having to take someone else along when they really put forth no effort in obtaining the job.  Instinct dictates I belong by Aaron’s side and I want that more than anything, but I also want to know what it’s like to wake up every day and do something people said I would never make a living doing.  My father wanted me to go to college and get any job so I could suffer like all of the other fools who convince themselves they need to be employed by some corporation in order to qualify as ‘earning an income’.  Apparently hustling with your best friend does not fall into that category, nor does entertaining crowds with unusual talents or selling art and other such things.

Standing on a beach I have been to a few times before, on those occasions the three of us were together and wanted to feel like the only people in the world, I smoked a joint and gazed into the churning sea.  If I was really as good at what I did as they led me to believe, I could suck it up and drag the gilly along for a laugh; there is always the possibility of red-lighting the baggage if it gets too heavy.  Fears can be set aside as confidence rises, knowing I am responsible for the destiny that awaits me in just a few days.  Turning back is not an option and I have come too far to give up anyway; part of the challenge is facing the unknown head on with as much bravery that has been gifted by my mentors.

Though I would have preferred for one or both of them to be standing beside me, there is no doubt they have not abandoned me.  To the contrary, we are a pod of whales who have been together for as long as any of us can remember, but for the moment we have gone our separate ways.  Somehow this has made our love stronger and not a day goes by where I have not thought about Austin and Aaron at least once.  They will be with me in spirit as I travel and there is always that promise of being together again to look forward to.

The sun slowly moved across the clear blue sky as I walked along that beach and smoked the joint, ankles seeping into the sand if I stood in one place for too long.  Plenty of seagulls floated in the air, waiting for the right moment to gracefully land or scoop up a quick meal.  A boat or two bobbed up and down on the waves and though somewhere cars cruised along the streets, I did not see a single other person for several hours.  My head was filled with various tunes and the reminder that I needed to plan out the route to Bedford, PA before departing.

On the return drive I stopped at a neon-lit diner and settled down for what felt like my last meal.  Having been seated in a quiet section was actually really nice, the table-side jukeboxes gently providing atmospheric music.  Dinner was a pile of fried calimari flanked by thick mozzerella sticks and sizeable side salad; the sweating glass of ice was ignored in favor of a strawberry milkshake, complete with the extra sitting in a tumbler.  There was no one to show the tentacles to, nor a low voice reading the people at the surrounding tables.  Four years ago I had been spending my first Summer as an official part of Outlaw Cirkus learning what it meant to pursue the lifestyle of a variety artist.  They taught me what being a Carny meant, sharing their language and law with an outsider for no other reason than one of their own trusted me.  There must have been something he saw in me, but he wasn’t alone and maybe that made an impact on the decision.

In six days I am going to find out if I take all of these years of experience and translate them into being someone who will listen to what they are told, then do it to the best of their ability.

Purloined Pearls

Pearls can be found in the waters of place such as the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Mannar,the South Pacific, the Gulf of California, the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Europe, Japan and Australia, produced by calcium carbonate that resides in the soft tissue of a shelled mollusc.  These spherical wonders come in a wide range of iridescent shades: black, blue, gold, green, pink, cream, silver or white – the lighter tones will be the main focus of this guide.  Originating from the Latin word “pirum” which translates to “pear” and indicates the shape of the gem, a decently sized pearl can take between five and eight years to grow.  Value is determined based on the coating known as “nacre” that gives the pearl its lustrous appearance, though color, size, lack of surface flaws and symmetry appropriate for the type are attributes also taken under consideration.  When combined, these requirements ensure that precious pearls are recognized as such, though one certainly does not have to wait for the right one to be discovered in order to reap the benefits of their beauty.

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1 – Exceptionally simple to apply and blend, Cultured Pearl is a glimmering bareMinerals Eyecolor that bestows opaque allover color or translucent highlights depending on how you choose to use the pigment, giving you the option to customize your favorite products with it.

2 – Achieve maximum coverage with Iridescent Pearl Grey eyeshadow, the satiny luster carried by dense pigments that merge into skin for a rich texture which is sure to stand out.

3 – Technologically advanced enough to claim “insane color payout”, Urban Decay’s Vanilla is a velvety pearl eyeshadow with golden shimmer that effortlessly glides on lids and will stay put so you can enjoy it all day long.

4 – Shimmer does not have to be gaudy and Star Powder in Pearl Gold certainly gathers light to impart a unique glow on skin, increasing hold by dabbing it on with a wet brush to whatever area you want to accentuate.

5 – Kohl lined eyes walk the plank this summer in favor of Heavy Metal Glitter Liner, the chunks of opalescent pearl in Distortion depositing crystalline shine whether you draw precise lines or arc the side of the brush across your face.

6 – As seen on red carpet celebrities, Pearl Encrusted False Eyelashes form a lasting bong from the minute they are put on, flawlessly mingling with your own lashes for a natural look.

7 – Prepare lips for perfection by generously applying Lustrous Pearl, a highly reflective lip gloss that packs plenty of shine and saturates your pucker with moisturizer for all day comfort and no stickiness.

8 – Hailed as the ultimate all-in-one makeup stick, the Multiple in Copacabana offers a cream-to-powder glistening pearl finish that can be utilized to charmingly heighten specific features with a luminous sheen.

9 – Decorate your latest manicure using Nail Art Pearl Beads, an imitation of the coveted white gems that are 2mm in diameter and have a flat back to readily adhere in any patter of your choice.

10 – Formulated to be long lasting and ultra glossy, Mayfair is a pearl white nail polish that takes inspiration from runway trends and gives you the best possible results every time you put it on.

11 – Rejuvenate the area under your eyes with Masque*ology’s Revitalizing Eye Gel Masque, the mesh saturated in luxurious pearl powder to reduce puffiness and leaving behind a youthful appearance.

12 – One of the new dyes released by Manic Panic this spring, Manic Mixer is hyped as a pastel-izer which can be combined with any of the other various vegan colors put out by the company, though it could also be just the thing needed to generate the ideal pale white hair, especially when combined with Virgin Snow and previously bleached hair.

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1 – Decadence is always on trend, particularly when one finds their social calendar suddenly filled with potential events to attend and in the mood to do so by making an unforgettable entrance.  To achieve this, turn to Body Vision Los Angels and their Jill Eyelets, a magnificent pair of gleaming rose gold fronts decorated in minute detail, pink pearls and green quartz which are worth the investment to watch jaws drop when you come onto the scene.

2 – Equally impressive are the Reign Eyelets found over at Kolo Piercing, the stainless steel tunnels surrounding intricately carved mother of pearl inlays that have a semi-opaque quality and will have people doing a double take as they realize your holes are filled with magnificent art.

3 – Featuring deeply embossed mother of pearl inlays displaying Lotus flowers, these Black Horn Plugs use a more organic container for the sculpted pieces to help them stand out, particularly since patterns and coloration vary between each piece.

4 – On a the more minimalist spectrum are the Ebony Bolt Plugs where the ebony dominates the majority of the eyelet that is set off by a mother of pearl inlay shaped like a lightning bot, for fans of kitschy accessories and solid plugs.

5 – Treat yourself to a royal pleasure with Crown Eyelets, immaculately polished white gold settings grasping firmly onto 14mm mabe pearls which reflect the flawless surface of the metal it is set atop.

6 – Hanging styles have become more popular since there are a variety of shapes that can be inserted into various ear piercings, and they are particularly decorative in large gauge cartilge.  The Winged Glory has a simple curve at the top which leads to feathers hand carved into mother of pearl and back into another pair of curves, some waves sprouting from the sides to cap off these unique pieces.

7 – A similar style are these Floral Spirals that take a set of mother of pearl spirals and add just enough flourishes to set them apart from all of the other designs that can be found in materials such as steel, bone or glass.

8 – Breezy island getaways are the perfect time to hang Tawapa’s Stellar Shell Plates from your  tunnels, the circular shaped mother of pearl adorned with geometric silver accents that give the jewelry a sort of art deco flair.

9 – Cut out all of the settings and get right to displaying opulence by wearing Adonica, a strand of genuine 2mm pearls that take the iconic pearl necklace and presents it in miniature form to wear in your favorite piercing.

10 – This is not an engagement ring, it is a BVLA Pearl Ring crafted from 18 karat gold that has a 3mm pearl as the captive bead.  Though it may seem simple compared to some of the other pieces here, when place in certain piercings it raises the bar for quality over quantity.

11 – Gold and pearls are matched again in the Pearl Sunburst, a navel curve topped with a 3mm and 5mm 1/2 pearls surrounded by slightly pointed petals.

12 – The only other non-white pearl of the collection, this yellow gold Pearl with Tri Accent navel curve has a 4mm black pearl that shows off the gems iridescence, a trio of 1.25mm diamonds on the bottom and a sparkling cubic zirconia on the other end.

Dazzled Emerald

A gem beloved by Cleopatra and dedicated to the goddess Venus by ancient Romans, the emerald has long been connected to fruitfulness, revival and  passion.  Contemporary jewelry fans use it to signify devotion and companionship, believed to contain effective healing powers relating to issues with  eyes, the spine, headaches and fertility.  Originating from the Greek word “smaragdos” which translates to “green stone”, the emerald is well-known for its rich color and is the most valuable gemstone in the world by weight.  A member of the Beryl family, the gem generates its green hues from elements of chromium that are contained in the crystals.  In Victorian times, it was customary to wear jewelry decorated with emeralds to represent the rebirth of nature, the deep green a reflection of the plant life that returned each spring.  Though almost all of them have small imperfections, they are seen as part of the character rather than something negative, which is a reminder to embraces flaws rather than trying to hide them.  Emerald has also been elected color of the year, appearing in garment form on celebrities during red carpet events, being promoted by alternative models wearing it in their hair, and comes in many variations of cosmetics one can use to create their own trendy beauty looks.

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1 – Count on Illamasqua to provide magnificent matte shadow in the form of Permission, a cool emerald green that still has plenty of powerful pigments which are tremendously long-wearing.

2 – A reformulation of Urban Decay’s notable eyeshadow has resulted in Loaded, a remarkably smooth consistency delivering dense distribution of deep metallic emerald that blends in a uniform fashion and offers a crease-free finish.

3 – Enhance the vibrance of Pure Pigment No. 18 by mixing it with gloss to produce your own unique product, or using a wet angled brush for drawing precision lines, ensuring to add a pop of color to your face.

4 – Profoundly spectacular shade named for an iconic street, Rue di Rivoli is a metallic forest green Larger Than Life Eyeliner with a buttery texture  that does not smear or cake and presents incomparable 12-hour wear.

5 – For those who have an on-the-go lifestyle, where you are constantly in motion but still want to look great there is Mildew, a 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil that is a deep forest green that goes on strong and lasts all night long.

6 – Give your lashes layers of volume with Smokey Lash Mascara, the green tint penetrating the roots of your lashes to lengthen and curl as you apply, an intensity that brings out all eye colors.

7 – Chic manicures begin with quality polish, something you don’t have to worry about when using Rampage, a dark green jelly varnish that has a glossy finish and exudes plenty of opulence whether using it alone or topping it in a coat of glitter for extra shine.

8 – Reign as jungle royalty in Zulu, deep vine green that is chip-resistant whether you are battling venomous plants, wild animals or a pile of paperwork preventing you from leaving work early to enjoy a sunny vacation.

9 – Though looked upon as a color of affection, emeralds may also incite jealousy, especially if your hair is dyed with Venus Envy, one of Manic Panic’s High Voltage vegan dyes  that transform ordinary tresses into gleaming locks befitting mystical creatures.

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1 – Golden spools studded with diamonds and genuine emeralds are a symbol of the quality available from Body Vision Los Angeles, where Ritual Evolution allows a transition to sophisticated jewelry without overwhelming the wearer.

2 – Filling the gap of large gauge eyelets is one trend I like to keep tabs on, and then discover intriguing designs such as Plumeria Eyelets by Anatometal that has bronze petals surrounding a synthetic emerald.

3 – The finish of Anatometal’s jewelry is recognized as one of the best in the industry, a prime example being their Super Gem Bling Eyelets which are a combination of refinement and sophistication, the large synthetic emerald in the center surrounded by a unique patter of alternating cubic zirconias and more emeralds.

4 – Setting the standard for majestic adornments comes in the form of Irish Eyes, a dazzling yellow gold septum piece featuring princess cut emeralds and several minute details that make it worth closer inspection.

5 – Four millimeters is the total measurement of this Tiny Flower, an 18 karat gold nose stud topped with six emerald petals that surround a cubic zirconia center to meet a certain level of refinement BVLA is known for.

6 – Another design that is three millimeters larger is the Emerald Flower which has a sapphire center and white gold tips at the edge of each petal, hand polished to a mirror shine.

7 – Threaded ends allow certain jewelry to become more versatile, or sometimes there is just a special occasion where 18 karat gold Tama Ends with synthetic emeralds are more visually appealing than the usual default finishes.

8 – Continuing along this floral theme, the Rose is an exquisite curved bar that has an explosion of gems set on each end composed of Chrysoprase and green cubic zirconias accented by yellow gold.

9 – Slightly more demure though sure to make a statement nonetheless, a Gold Flower Navel Curve constructed of 18 karat white gold provides sleek contrast to genuine emeralds and diamonds that make up a flower and rounded ends.

10 – Luxury is evident in every twist of filigree that makes up Ascott, listed as an Exotic navel curve that has plenty of aesthetic elements to capture the eye, ending in a 2.5 mm emerald gem.

11 – Ear projects are another way for piercing artists to showcase their skills, particularly when using a Gemmed Industrial Bar with Prong-set Gem Ends and Threaded Flower, the anodized green titanium serving as a colorful base for synthetic emeralds and peridot st0nes.

12 – Prepare to be covet when you wear a Polaris Pendant, the sleek design and variety of selection in customization appealing and in high demand, the anodized green titanium surrounding a deep purple opal seen here illustrating just one of the many possible combinations.

Carny Trash Adventures in the City

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Electric Sideshow had another performance at the Rail on Thursday, something that was mutually decided would be a weekly occurrence now that the weather has warmed up nicely and more people are coming to the venue in general.  There are regulars who have been coming since our first show there, who have brought their friends who in turn bring their friends, and so on.

The karaoke set up had been moved to the front room, which meant having more space to do the sideshow acts and giving everyone a new experience.  Somehow I managed to get shocked by the microphone, cut both my feet performing my broken glass routine, and my partner wound up with a few nicks from lying in it as I stood on him.  Well, it is broken glass so those things are going to happen no matter how many times you try to convince people your skin is made from rubber and therefore impenetrable by such objects.

This morning I was greeted by an e-mail from Jon that said he would be coming by to pick me up and whisk me away for an afternoon in NYC.  The last time we had been there was for the Bindlestiff show, so it was exciting that we would actually have time to walk around and whatnot.  My stomach was bubbling with nerves since there has not been much contact between us over the past few weeks; I have been riding my bike, practicing and doing shows while he has his own things going on.  Though I have seen him a few time, the signs of him being strung out on who knows what were quite obvious and unsettling, but I never know if it is appropriate to say something or if he would prefer me to pretend I don’t know he’s high on coke and flirting with death for kicks.  None of that even matters when he pulls up; inside the Chevy is filled with sweet smoke from a freshly lit joint and twanging surf tunes that drown out the rumble of the engine.

Then we are off, cruising along asphalt highways comfortably sharing conversation about my time spent riding around and all of the things I had encountered.  He listens with a smile on his face yet I have a feeling it is a carefully constructed mask meant to keep me from something.  This man I know too well on account we have been friends for so long and I can read him better than he would like me to.  Before I can  gather up the courage to initiate a new topic, we are parking in Newark and walking quickly to catch the PATH.  From there we rode it to the World Trade Center stop, which had been transformed into a memorial for the events that occurred there in 2001, and then hopped the subway up to Canal which was literally a thirty-second ride.

Once inside Unimax, I wasted no time in approaching the counter with my list in hand, as I am always prepared with one when visiting the store.  Though I had briefly entertained purchasing the 1 1/2″ titanium double flared eyelets, I was there with other purpose and resigned to treat myself in the future.  The list consisted of: 16g barbels [18], 16g curved bars with spiked ends [12]. 0g crescent [for my septum], 0g solid hematite plug, a set of 14g curved retainer and a set of 14g CBR’s.  The large gauge items are for my septum, as I aim on stretching it one final time before settling at a 0g, while the retainers are for when I go on job interviews since I am trying to get my own place by Summer.

The total was more than planned, so Jon decided to pay the bill instead and said that way I could save my money for something else.  It was entirely unexpected and there was no time to protest since I had been too stunned to say anything.  At least I am set for a while and that is a pretty good feeling since I actually have a decent collection of body jewelry which offers me versatility.

We ventured into Chinatown and selected a random place to eat where the food was incredibly fresh and the most delicious things I had tasted in a very long time.  For a moment I was reminded of the younger years of our friendship, where afternoons were used as the setting for a variety of  cons and hustles, spanging off tourists and cursing at bourgeoise business people who called us dirty punks.  Were we really so different all these years later?  Surely getting drunk off 40’s and cloud gazing at Tompkins Square while making plans of traveling the world was what we thought life could be if we stuck together through the good times and bad.  If I had been told how dark of a place the latter would take us and was offered a path to avoid it, I am inclined to believe I would make the same decision.  The bond of loyalty runs that deep with us, and even seeing him at his worst, packaged and delivered to death’s door, I have never hesitated for a single second to let Aaron know how much he means to me.

New York City was one of many playgrounds where we could go to visit and cause havoc without care for repercussions since we did not take them into consideration.  We were indestructible Carnies from Jersey, charged with attitude and ready to take your money the moment you are distracted, confronting society at full force and offering opinionated commentary in an unapologetic manner.  Indeed we have not changed that much from the rambunctious scoundrels we used to be, but rather have evolved into more refined versions of ourselves, confident in our skills and capabilities that work to our advantage.  Nothing was as perfect as those moments I spent learning everything I could from a person who was humbled by my admiration, and often I become aware of how very much like him I can be.

On our way back to the PATH station we were stopped by a tourist who wanted to take a picture with us, presumably to show the people of their country these strange beings they encountered in the United States, and Jon went into instant Showman Mode which left them several dollars poorer but very happy for the photo.  We were also approached by an alternative couple, as one of them wanted to know how long it had taken me to stretch my ears.  That opened up a conversation about body modifications which lasted for a few minutes before the four of us parted ways, though Jon mentioned he was not ready to end our adventure quite yet, and that is how we wound up walking hand-in-hand along the Hudson River.  Sitting together on a bench, we watched the sun set over Jersey, green tinted orange slowly fading up into the cloudless blue sky, a sigh of satisfaction absently escaping my lips.

By the time we arrived in Newark evening had enveloped the Garden State, lights flickering to life all over the place as the Chevy cruised down darkening highways.  Was this how it would always be with Jon?  Once upon a time he was the escape I needed from people and places I could not identify with, constantly searching for somewhere else to be.  Whether that was found in drugs or deep in the woods of the Pine Barrens, Jon was a prominent part of all my favorite memories, influencing decisions I might have otherwise been hesitant to make myself, yet not once did I find myself feeling any sort of regret.  Quite the opposite really, since when the endorphins die down and reality rises again to remind you of where you don’t want to be, all you can think of is the fact you want more, and perhaps are willing to do anything to get it.

There is no one else I have felt this way about, and while we have shared our feelings for one another on many occasions, we are drifting in different directions and nothing frightens me more than losing the man I love more than anything in the world.

Keen On Aquamarine

Derived from the Latin words “aqua marina”, which translates to “sea water” and is indicative of this gemstone’s color, the aquamarine is a member of the Beryl family and can be found in Brazil, Nigeria, Zambia, Madagascar and the Ukraine.  As the birthstone of March and those born under the sign of Pisces, aquamarine is symbolic of bravery, fidelity and friendship, while reports also suggest it can be used to treat throat problems and stress-related illnesses.  The serene color of this gem is said to calm tempers, allowing those who wear it to channel calmness and remain levelheaded in any situation, while the pale hue is one that compliments Spring and Summer wardrobes.  Believed to protect sailors and ensure they had a safe voyage while navigating dangerous oceans, it is ideal to incorporate aquamarine into looks that have a nautical theme to them.

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1 – Perfectly paired, the iridescent ocean blue kissed with golden mist and rich turquoise that make up Burn It Blue by NARS is a Cream Eyeshadow advertised to blend easily and resists creases with a lightweight formula.  Wear each shade alone or together, layering for intensity or just using them as a subtle wash to a liquid lined cat eye.

2 – Notoriously bright, Sugarpill continuously sets trends as an alternative and independent makeup brand, but with Pressed Eyeshadow such as Mochi – a matte seafoam with slight pearl sheen – it is easy to see why.  Top off with one of their glittery loose shadows for a look that packs an exta punch!

3 – Precision lines can be used to enhance and accent your eyes, drawn dramatically for extra emphasis or lightly dotted along facial curves for a unique touch.  Fierce feline fantasies are achieved with Kitty, an Eyeliner pencil that is powerful enough on its own but plays well with other products too.

4 – Highly concentrated mother-of-pearl pigments provide a luminous finish said to resist creasing and smudges even “under the most extreme conditions”, and the multipurpose Aqua Cream Waterproof Color can be applied to eyes, lips or cheeks.

5 –  Instant sparkle in a tube is the best way to describe Too Faced’s Starry Eyed Liquid Liner, which can be applied to the lash line for restrained shimmer, or all over the lid for a look befitting a disco queen.  The micro-glitter is also non-irritating, but it would be better to go with a pair of Glitter Tipped Eyelashes just to avoid any glitter-in-eye disasters.

6 –  Filled with plenty of iridescent specks that might make your manicure reminiscent of glimmering shells on the bottom of the ocean, Gone Gonzo by OPI is a stunning nail varnish which may have been pried from the clutches of a mermaid princess.

7 –  Designed to put the “fun” back into functional makeup application, the Make Me Cool Essential Kit comes with a dozen brushes that have vibrantly colored handles which happens to match the innovative container; it is also a way to organize and display the brushes.

8 – Crystal adorned temporary tattoos have been seen everywhere from Italian runways to the streets of California, the elegant designs quickly becoming a vogue fashion craze because of how many different occasions you can wear one.  Though this particular one is suggested to be placed around the navel, it can beautify other areas of the body as well.

9 – Though it requires your hair to be a decently pale blonde, Manic Panic’s Atomic Turquoise is a brilliant shade that starts out dark and gently fades to paler shades the longer it is left without a touch-up, making it great for creating ethereal ombre effects.

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keen-on-aquamarine-body-jewelry

1 – There is no shortage of dazzle when it comes to Anatometal’s Super Gemmed Eyelets, where the interior has been filled by a gleaming cubic zirconia, and the flared edges of titanium anodized yellow is set off by synthetic aquamarine stones.

2 –  Even at a smaller gauge, this pair of Gemmed Eyelets still have plenty of shimmer in the form of synthetic aquamarine gems wrapped in titanium that has been anodized to a light blue.

3 – For those seeking a more unique style, these Super Ellipse Eyelets offer a pair of synthetic peridot gems that sit inside an oval of alternating synthetic aquamarine and pink cubic zirconias.

4 –  Rounding out the ‘Sparkly Things For Your Ears’ category are these amazing Floating Stone Eyelets, where a genuine aquamarine gem seems to levitate in the middle of brilliant green titanium.

5 –  Heading over to Body Vision Los Angeles territory, one is immediately distracted by a field of gleaming petals, and upon bending down to inspect them, you find the white gold flower has bloomed in mint green and aquamarine, which is plucked and then placed in your nostril.

6 – Though not a scepter for an incredibly tiny member of royalty, the Princess Gem Nostril Screw has plenty of blue titanium that clutches an aquamarine stone which might make you feel as though you are wearing a piece of treasure.

7 – Giving plenty of options to customize jewelry ensures a variety that did not exist when piercings were first becoming more popular, so it is nice to always see updated versions of classics such as the Gem Captive Bead Ring, where titanium transitions from one blue to another in a subtle splash of something different.

8 – Another example is this Gem Labret Spike, where the pointed end that can seem intimidating has been replaced by an aquamarine cubic zirconia, and the jewelry can be worn in other piercings such as nostrils or ears.

9 – Saving the best for last, Tumble 5 by BVLA is a curved barbel that has articulated links which feature diamonds and aquamarine gems, and while the site suggests this piece is better suited for a navel, I would be highly tempted to wear it in my vertical labret.