...if this is your first night, you have to fight.


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Saturday, November 30, 2002

"Beautiful Girl"
whatever.

earth girl
Which Ultimate Beautiful Woman are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Ah, yes. Ultimate beautiful woman. That's me. <---sarcasm.

Seriously, though. How much of beauty is really in the mind? They tell you that if you feel beautiful, then you are beautiful. I can't help equating that addage with something doled out to ugly ducklings with low self-esteem. That kind thinking, of course, is not only a by-product of our fucked-up society, but also makes me a part of that fucked-up society. An accomplice, if you will.

I'm told that when I was in kindergarten, and mom dressed me for school in soft, girly frocks, people would stop us on the street and tell me I was beautiful. I would simply smile sweetly and answer; "I know!" How obnoxious, no? I cringe to think of it. And even though I know I was just a little stain and I didn't know any better, I cannot believe I walked around like that, all smug and delusional-like. It makes me want to hide my head in atonement. I also envy her, little taiwan_on. So confident and self-assured. Where did she go, I wonder. I don't think I dwelled on it, my professed beauty, that is. I had no "beauty ritual" in kindergarten. No beauty woes. The only thing I can ever remember dwelling on is my ugliness.

It had to start when I was around seven or so. I remember gazing in the mirror over the fireplace in my creaky old house in Dorchester, and wanting to cry because I couldn't believe how plain I looked. Just plain old generic taiwan_on. No golden blonde hair, no sparkling blue eyes, no dusting of freckles like cinnamon sprinkled across the bridge of my nose or the apples of my cheeks. I had a long, unweildy neck, utterly common brown eyes, utterly common light brown hair in a pony tail, and a butt-chin. A fucking butt-chin, Kitten! No great beauty has ever had a butt-chin, you know.

From then on it was all downhill. School goes from a place where guilless classmates ask; "Ya' wanna' be my best friend?" to "Damn, girl! You ugly!" Now, believe me when I tell you, I didn't need any help feeling uglier and more awkward than I already did, but if I did in fact need anymore negative reinforcement, I could get plenty at school. I was "the giraffe". I was "the ostritch". I was "too tall". I was "shaddap, ugly!" And when we cruised around to that age where all the boys in my school had a crush on someone, I was the odd-girl-out. Absolutely no boys in my grade-school/junior-high had a crush on me, ever. I had crushes galore, but they were all of the unrequitted variety. So, unrequitted, in fact, that when one boy snatched up my unattended notebook in the lunchroom one day and deduced which of my musings were about him, he read the passages aloud to the mirth of grades five through eight (I think we were in seventh). When he was done, he closed the notebook, climbed down from the chair he was using to better orate my utterly private thoughts and advised me; "You better stop writing shit about me. I don't like you, I'll never like you. You're ugly."

Look, this isn't about junior high trauma, because really, that incident turned out to be a rather enlightening one. Sure, of course I was hurt. Wounded to the core, I might even say, but I healed quickly enough due to the fact that I couldn't believe I ever liked him in the first place. His pettiness, his fear of dropping rank among the herd, and most importantly, his cruelty, made him instantly repellent to me. It was the twist of his mouth as he declared me ugly that did it, I think. He was still the same sporting, snub-nosed, touseld hair-in-the-regulation-blue-eyes, smirking boy I thought was "the shit", but in that heart-stoppingly rotten and humilliating moment, I got a peek at something beastly behind it. Something wretched and small and self-loathing and cowardly. Maybe I didn't know it as specifically as this back then, maybe I couldn't quite put my finger on it, other than the fact that he behaved like a complete and utter asswipe, but for whatever other reasons, he ceased to be interesting at all to me after that.

And don't think that simply because old blue-eyes decided I was ugly I had to agree with him, I was doing just fine on my own. I don't know exactly where or when beauty went from a consequential fact to an unattainable myth for me, but I had already been walking around with my head down for years. I was a rather proficient "zit-farmer", sprouting angry red pustules overnight that would blaze and throb like traffic lights on off-peak hours. Of course I couldn't leave them alone, squeezing and picking until they became festering craters, which naturally, only made me feel uglier. Fuel this fire with the mandatory 80's hair-spray overdose and bangs plastered over my unsightly forehead "blemishes" (ah! what a forgiving word!) and you can see why the problem was an ongoing one.

Remember the movie "The Legend of Billie Jean"? Well, I think I had more of a big, girly crush on Helen Slater back then than I did on her brother, Christian. (incidentally, I didn't convert to "the Christian Faith" until the even more formative teen movie "Heathers" four years later.) Well, remember the part in the movie when Billie Jean goes all outlaw and chops off her bone-straight, flaxen blonde hair? Her big Joan of Arc moment when she emerges from the bathroom of the "kidnapped" rich kid all self-shorn and bad-assed and mighty-mighty ready to be a power-martyr? Fuck me, I wanted a haircut like that! It was boyish and sassy and tough and dammit, that was just the image I was striving for. I carefully cut out pictures of her from movie magazines and shopped them straight to the hairdresser down the street. I vaguely remember her trying to talk me out of it, explaining the difference between straight hair (Helen Slater's) and wavy hair (mine). I stubbornly ignored her advice, figuring this was just another attempt to quell my burgeouning rebellion, and went ahead anyway.

"We can't afford to be innocent! Stand up and face...the enemy! It's a do or die situation, we will be INVINCIBLE!"

And with a single snip, there went my glossy, silken, waist-length ponytail to the tounge-clucks and sad head-shakes of a posse of small, white-haired old ladies awaiting their perms. The result? I had this fucked-up, big-ass pompador on my head that was all short on the sides and feathered up...up...up into a mass of curls I never imagined I had, piled into a structural oddity atop my head. This big, pouffy bundt cake of curls sprouting big and tall and fluffy with Aqua-Net right there on my melon. Jesus Christ! This was not what I ordered. But, eh, you play the had you're dealt, right? So, Billie Jean I was not, sadly, so I had to pass myself off as Nick Rhodes from then on, complete with skinny satin necktie, pastel suit jacket pushed up to the elbows, and a veritable rainbow of eyeshadow to complete the look. Pink, blue, purple, frosty white, all at once. Rockin'.

"Sha-la-la-la...the re-flex-flex-flex-flex-flex!"

This, also, was not the look to attract the guys. I mean, unless your intention is to attract the kind of guy with a heavy lisp and Barbizon School of Beauty aspirations (and believe me, even those kinds of guys stayed away from this certified fashion disaster), you do not run around looking like the queerest member of Duran Duran.

But, hey! Who the fuck has time for guys when you're spending one and a half to two hours a day arranging a hairspray cake on your head and attempting to eke out those perfectly starved cheekbones with just the right shade of dusty rose and trying to remember does the blue go on the crease or the inner corner of the eye? Do you line with it, or will that overpower the green on the outer corners? And the pink...where does the pink go in all of this? Browbone! Was I supposed to put that on first? Fuck! Now it looks all muddy, you can't even see the pink for chrissake! And the crying! Oh, the crying! How I would cry when I couldn't, with all of the cadaverous pinkish foundation, concealer and pressed powder in all the world, cover up that weeping, busted zit right between my eyes. Or when the humidity carved my fragilely constructed hair-souffle right down the middle and it looked like I had a giant, hairy ass on my head.

There's a metaphor in there, Kitten. In my big, scary, hairy ass-head. I swear to fuck there is.

So, there's me with my ass-head and my butt-chin and my oozing third eye and every color Crayola ever rejected as "way too gay" blazing across my eyes. Was I beautiful yet? Well, what the hell do you think? And I didn't delude myself, either. I walked around feeling more lowly and awkward than ever, I just spent more time trying to achieve the level of ridiculous I had reached.

All of this in the name of beauty.

And on the taiwan_on evolutionary scale of clownish attempts at beauty, I ran the gamut from there. There was the mandatory metal phase, where I traded in all of my pastels for camel-toe jeans (and, subsequently, my first yeast infection), a "customized" denim jacket with the sleeves hacked off, thirty pounds of safety pins as a "fringe" on it and the autographs of such one-hit nonentities as Bulletboys and Skid Row scrawled across the back. Then there was the inevitable goth phase, where, thank god, people at least had the decency to tell me I looked like shit, so I could reply all smug and self-satisfied; "Thanks! You too!" while inwardly feeling shitty and depressed. Even my mom, bless her, told me gently as I pasted over my blotchy, rosy complexion with a whiter shade of pale; "You just don't look pretty like this". And I honestly thought; "Good. Fuck pretty. Fuck pretty right in its pretty little ear. Because I fucking give up on the whole pretty thing. Now leave me alone so I can go write bad poetry."

Then the strangest thing happened. I went straight from goth to slut.

Mind you, I didn't behave like a slut, at least not in any direct way. Only in the most unattainable, cock-teasing sense was I slut-like. I dressed like a slut, I walked like a slut, I wore slut-shoes, and from my high-holy vantage point atop my towering stilletto heels, I flashed slutty eyes at every unwitting man and boy that crossed my path. And do you know what? Suddenly, I was beautiful.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I was sold a bill of goods. Of course I wasn't beautiful, at least not in that pure, glamorous real sense that I dreamed of being, but the fact of the matter was that I was suddenly a "hottie" and I could strut my shit with a modicum of confidence I had, heretofore, lacked. I had legs. I knew how to use 'em. I donned the micro-mini with what I thought to be such a sexually savvy accessory as *gasp* a garterbelt and thigh-highs. I had this patented little maneuver where, if I spotted an interesting boy, I would pivot on my dangerous heels, lift a leg up ever so discreetly, and adjust a "stray" shoe. This of course, meant that the skirt would ride up just enough so that said boy could see just the barest flash of lace where the thigh-high stocking ended, thus alterting him that I had some kick-ass lingerie going on.

So contrived. Still though, you have no idea how many phone numbers you can rack up in a night with a stupid little move like that. Phone numbers of strange men whose opening lines consisted of "Oh my god, you are so unbelievably hot" equals beauty, right? Yeah. Sure, Kitten, sure. Whatever you say.

I remember my equally, if not even hotter, girlfriends and I, in my rust-colored velvet dress, going to a rock show to meet up with our respective boyfriends at the time. I remember my boyfriend's best friend leaning over to him and declaring me "slammin'!" I remember the handsome, dean's list boy who had French class across from my Literature class slyly holding up a number every day (he never went below 9.5, and often way over 10 bless his little heart) rating my legs for me. I remember being known as "perfect" and (retch) "Barbie" by the boys in my high school. I remember having no trouble getting into such restricted areas as nightclubs, because I looked like a woman, even though I was way too young. I remember my friends holding me out as bait at nightclubs when they wanted free drinks or the phone number of the buddy of the guy who was gawking at me. I remember jealous dates snarling at anyone else who might have gawked. I remember every boyfriend I ever had decalring me "the sexiest/prettiest/hottest/most beautiful/whatever girl in the world". I remember people asking me if I was a model at least once a day. I remember a steady stream of business cards of agents, photographers, film-makers and other provocateurs being slid into my seventeen year old hand. I remember how much I craved, no, desperately needed this kind of approval, and how baffling it all seemed to me. I still felt distinctly un-pretty, but surely if I'm getting this much attention, then something clearly must be going on here, right?

I played this hand for a good long time. I couldn't help it. Even though I didn't necessarily believe the hype, it sure afforded me some nice perks. But then the day came where it all seemed like so much bullshit. Too much work. And frankly, the fucking shoes were killing me. All I wanted to be in the world was to be comfortable, and you can't do that in sky-high heels, skin-tight dresses and fixing your lipstick all the damn time. What a hassle. And I couldn't get over the illusion of it all. Did anyone really see me? Think I was beautiful? Or was it the clothes, make-up and hair?

Flash forward to now-ish, although I've been "really me" for a number of years now. My hair, which has been lopped off from childhood perfection, tortured into an ass-cake, hairsprayed into every complicated shape imaginable and grown out again into ultra-vixen curls, is now close-cropped. Sometimes spiky, sometimes bed-heady, sometimes a smooth sculpted cap, but never more than five minutes to do. After that, I don't worry about what happens to it. My skin? Still temperamental at times, and I'll be damned if I cannot leave a zit alone every now and then, but I treat it more gently now. I breathes instead of suffering under a layer of pan-cake foundation. My clothes? Is it cotton, motherfucker? Because if it's not, I won't wear it. Anything tight or pinchy or restrictive or uncomfortable in any other way gets shoved into the back of the closet and never worn more than once. The shoes? Sneakers, combat boots, anything flat. Do you know what high-heels do to your spinal and pelvic alignment, bitch!? Do you!? No good for any kind of real sex life, so you can just stuff that "high heels look sexy" propaganda. The lingerie? Sure, I bust out "the good stuff" for special occasions, but for the most part, I am a boxer-briefed bra-burner now. The makeup? What makeup? No, seriously. When it comes to day-to-day living, I can't be bothered. I want that extra sleep, dammit. Sure, if it's a night on the town I'll do it up in some lip gloss and light eye work, or if I just don't want to look like a complete filthy animal, I'll dot some concealer on the blotches and curl my lashes, but let's not make a production out of it.

I remember this one day in high school when I got caught in the rain, and my oil-free foundation beaded up and ran so it looked like someone had spit milk in my face. And my mascara streaked, of course, and I remember thinking; "ain't that a bitch?" because I really love the rain and I wanted to turn my face up and just be bathed in it without watching my whole facade melt and wash down the front of my shirt. I never want to go back to that. I love the fact that I can wallow in the elements, rather than be victimized by them. The wind doesn't muss my hair, the rain doesn't make me look like Tammy Faye, and I don't worry about leaving half my face on boyfriend's pillow. In fact, I look the same in the morning as I do when I'm bedded, give or take a flushed cheek or two. I think there's something to be said for that kind of truth in advertising.

So, now that I'm me, the supposedly beautiful girl so lauded for her "charms" in the past, do I have the same cache I did when I made the (concerted and extremely time-consuming) effort? Well, no. There are no raucous cat-calls as I go from point A to point B. There are no sleazy fourty-something men wearing too much jewlery asking me if I want to be "in pitchers". There are no sly, cool photographers asking me to pose sometime. No one mistakes me for a model these days. But I can honestly say that I feel a hell of a lot more beautiful now, than then. Do I consider myself beautiful? Let me put it this way, I still answer that question with a "well, I'm not a fucking mutant, am I?" because that's still the only answer I'm comfortable with.

But every now and then, secretly, the seven year old in me rears her plain head and takes an objective look in the mirror, seeing something no quite so plain anymore. That skin that gave me so much trouble in puberty is still wrinkle-free and passable enough to startle the hell out of people when I tell them I'm thirty. Those utterly common brown eyes are of a shape lovers have described as "exotic" and "almost asian". I've got damn fine cheekbones, actually. And a woman told me once that I have the kind of nose people endure surgery to get. Still got the butt-chin, but hey, Bruce Campbell's got a wicked butt-chin and look how fuckin' cool he is! But more importantly I see something else. Something that cannot be quantified. I see a history, a past. A rather amusing and entertaining past, actually, dotted with meaningful lessons and hardships. I see a little mystery there, too. 'Round the eyes and the smile. I see something youthful and excited and passionate that has nothing to do with any of my facial features. I see a saucy sense of humor. I see the very same things in my face that has attracted me to so many others. That "something". That "life". That "passion". That "kindness". So, why can't I declare myself beautiful when I have no trouble at all declaring them beautiful in others?

Because it's not important, Kitten. That's why.

The fact of the matter is that if you're fretting about your hair and your makeup, then you're not really feeling the rain fall all over you. If you're worried about your perfectly applied lipstick, then you're going to miss that exquisite kiss. If you're sweating breaking your nails, you're never going to fix that motorcycle. If you're worrying about how bad your ass looks, then you'll never be a badass. If you're worried about how fat your thighs look, you're missing all of the delicious things that are going on between them! Goddamn it, get out of the mirror and go LIVE!

Take Boyfriend, for example. A sumptuous feast for the mind and the senses. A true beauty. A kindhearted and selfless soul that would do anything to make me happy, to bring me joy. A man hell-bent on making sure I'm healthy, well-rested, well-fed, well-read, productive, drunk with pleasure, entertained, safe and warm and laughing as often as possible. A rude awakening for a girl who thinks she doesn't need anyone to validate her, but still. If I can turn his head, such a remarkable human being, then I must have more going on than I'm comfortable admitting.

So, yeah. I'd love to end this post with a big, cathartic awakening here. To unashamedly decalre my alleged beauty without feeling like a vanity case, but I'm afraid I can't do that. Suffice it to say it's a lot easier to be me these days. I can give props to myself that I formerly couldn't, even when it seemed like I had the world at my feet for no other reason than simple genetics and a complicated artifice. That's good enough right now.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 2:37 AM#
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Friday, November 29, 2002

"Lucy..."
choo got some splainin' to do!

I know.

It's right here.

Relax, Kitten, taiwan_on is getting back to business, forthwith.

Stay tuned.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 1:14 AM#
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Monday, November 11, 2002

"Little Red Riding Hood"
my, what high aspirations you have!

This has been an utterly fantabulous weekend, and I have Boyfriend to thank for it. Thank you, boyfriend.

It started out as a Friday birthday fest replete with presents and a vegan chocolate cake. Yes, you heard correctly, a vegan chocolate cake. Which I ate with unspeakable gluttony. That shit rocks, boyfriend, despite your uneasy feeling that it requires "a little something extra to make it more decadent".

And he got me DVDs of "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" and "Spongebob - Sea Tales" (which I discovered tucked under the pillows of boyfriend's bed while I was in the throes of passion, no less!). We watched both, of course, but we ended up watching the Spongebob episode "A Life of Crime" twice because we spent the entire weekend quoting it and laughing so hard we snorted. He also got me a big honkin' bag of Lindt's Lindor White Truffles because he knows they're my favorite, even though it pains him that I eat them. (too much hydrogenated oils, he says.) But that's what's great about boyfriend; even though he's a vegan, he's not a member of the Vegan Death Squad. He worries silently about my snacking choices while still appreciating the pleasure I derive from things he doesn't find entirely wholesome.

Write your own joke right there, I'm too tired right now.

Boyfriend also did the shopping before our big weekend making sure there was plenty of soy shake mix, maple english muffins and The Baker's pecan granola (a big bag of which sent home with me was yet another delicious b-day gift.) for breakfast. Mmm. Breakfast with boyfriend is one of my favorite past-times you know. It means we get up obscenely late, fill ourselves with healthy treats, watch Spongebob cartoons and then fall back into bed for a few more hours of fun and napping.

So, after our usual Saturday ritual, we went out to play with my Nikon, ineptly trying to figure out which settings to use in dusk lighting, and visited my very cool former co-worker Kev at my very cool former movie theater job. Yes, I still miss the place. Duh.

Suddenly the big bad wolf was at the door and our tummies began to snarl with hunger. Boyfriend and I promptly sped off to the Porter Exchange in search of sweet, sweet sushi. Kitten, I fucking love sushi. Some might say in an unnatural way. I could eat nothing but sushi for the rest of my life and feel like the luckiest girl in the world. It's been about three years since I've had it because, due to my really poor descision making skills (Sure the roe looks cloudy, and I've been waiting with my take-out tray of sushi in the blistering sun for about an hour and a half, but it's still good right? Even a little warm? Please say yes.), I got a parasite from it and that was a bit of a deal-breaker. Add into the mix that I moved to the land of fucking Wonder Bread and Velveeta and TV Dinners, and I've been sushi-less for a while.

But to get back to the parasite for a moment, because my parasite really deserves equal time here, you have no idea what a suck-o-rama experience that is. Odds are you and that parasite are going to be co-existing for a long, long time. I suspect I suffered with mine for at least a year and a half, falling unbearably nauseous and sweaty whenever I got run down, which was unfortunately often. It was bad enough so that these days it occurs to be on a near daily basis that it's really fucking nice not to have to be dry-heaving all the damn time. Hey, all foods have their inherent risks, Kitten, so let my poor judgement be a lesson to you.

Okay, where was I? Ah yes, the Porter Exchange, which is like a little piece of Japan smack in the middle of the tragically hip Porter Square. We put in our names at the Blue Fin restaurant, and I pretended not to be dazzled geeky by all of the Eastern coolness. Once I hit Kotobukiya, though, where we killed time until our table was ready, I lost my shit amongst the dazzling array of Pocky variants and bags of freeze dried anchovies (fuckin' heads and all, Kitten!) sitting right next to the rice crisps like they were an acceptable snack to fill the neighborhood pub's snack bowls with.

What a cool-ass place! I bought Pocky, of course, just plain old Pocky, not Pocky Crumble or Mint Pocky or Men's Pocky. Just traditional Pocky for me, folks, because it doesn't get any tastier than that. I also couldn't resist these cute mushroom looking cookies called Kinoko No Yama (Which means The Magic Mushrooms. Hah!). Those bitches are tasty as fuck! Almost all chocolate, and you know how I loves the chocolate!

I also got two packs of gum, "La France", which tastes like a juicy pear, and my new and second favorite oral fixation in this world, "Black Black". I bought it because the Engrish copy on the package was all the delicious I needed, but the taste is fascinating too. Sorta' licorice-like, then minty, then mentholy. Weird in a good way. But really, get a gander of this. On the wrapper the gum claims; "Hi Technical Excellent Taste and Flavor!" and occasionally; "Yes! Chewing!" I wish I bought more.

But I digress. After missing our table-call due to my wild-eyed shopping binge and waiting an extraordinary length of time, which is the restaurant equivalent of foreplay, by the way, boyfriend and I launched the great sushi glut of 2002. We pounded some absurdly good sake, which got me all kinds of fucked up, and then we proceeded to eat our weight in Funamori and Make. We also amused ourselves by seeing who could stand the most Wasabi, which was fun in an excruciatingly painful way.

From there we jetted off to a party hosted by the lovely and talented Tony Goddess of Papas Fritas fame. That cat can throw a party, right there, let me tell you. Chock full of fascinating characters that rival any indie flick and not a single second devoid of entertainment in some form or another. As soon as we walked in there was a human beat-box rocking the house to a totally enraptured crowd. For once I entered a party instantly transfixed without first bonding with my fellow degenerates in the designated "smoking area". Boyfriend and I hung up our coats after his performance, and we found him dozing peacefully on a couch all of five minutes later amidst the raging throng. He proceeded to nap until at least 2:00 AM. I decided he was the hardest relaxing man in show business.

I also ran into Alex, former damsel in distress and host of a damn fine Halloween party. She and I discussed the culinary majesy of the Porter Exchange and decided we should have been born Japanese. Well, technically I decided that when I was, like, twelve. I suspect she did too, but it's good to hear it from someone else, even at my advanced age.

And there was a real "moment" out on the balcony when I did finally get a chance to bond with the crowd from Flavor Country. As I puffed and deconstructed Spongebob with my fellow carbon monoxide inhalers, I watched a fellow pull his hooded sweatshirt on while dangling a spliff from his mouth. Not only did he not knock the cherry off of it, but the length of ash was still on the fucker as he smoothed the pucker out of the fabric. When I commented on this, the explanation he offered in a Sheffield accent was "That's because I'm smooth." Then Alex said; "If you're lucky, he might inadvertently jam his armpit in your face." And then James, from Sheffield, I remember his name because a girl named Corina from Rome confused me for him, my feelings about which are too complicated for me to get into right now, said; "Yeah, but it smells nice, right? It's not smelly. I maintain my arm-pits. I rub coriander on them every day." Which is something you just don't hear in everyday conversation.

People, Kitten, fascinating people. Too many to list here. I could go on and on, but this is about my birthday weekend with Boyfriend, and so I'd like to end this party re-cap with the mention that people I barely knew came up to me all night and wished me a happy 30th, which is a testimony not only to their coolness, but most especially boyfriend's, who put the hit out on my ass. I love that sort of thing.

It was late when we got back, unspeakably late considering how early we had to get up, but that didn't stop us from initiating what I think turned out to be a transcendental experience of some kind. Jesus. I mean, now I really get this whole intimacy thing that all the kids are talking about. Jeeezus.

But I really don't want to gloat, believe it or not. I began this post with the intention of telling you about a little project I've taken on.

See, I really don't handle the winter with the same New Englander backbone I used to. Haven't for years. Used to be I hated the summer and all the sweaty, smelly, uncomfortable nonsense that accompanied it. When the weather got cold I thrived all apple-cheeked and snow-bound, guzzling hot cocoa for warmth and praying school would be cancelled. Maybe it was the death of snowdays that brought about my hatred for winter, but I despise everything about it. Shovelling, commuting in foul weather, fingers turning so blue with cold that I can't even type properly, too many confining layers of clothing, it can all kiss my frosted ass.

I'm constantly, miserably freezing from about mid-November to late-April or so, shivering like a chihuahua and bitching about conditions like a foul-mouthed sailor. It doesn't matter if I'm indoors or out, I'm uncomfortably cold through it all and no coat is ever sufficient. Well, this year I decided to combat the annual sense of dread I feel coming on 'round this time of year with the persuit of creating the ultimate warm coat for myself. It's not actually a coat, you see, it's called a Kinsale Cloak. I like the fact that it's elegant and dramatic and rich with lore without looking too Ren-Fest-y. And it's pretty fucking original, too. If I pull this off the way I'm hoping to, I might actually start some kind of a "cloak rage" in the winterwear world.

I decided I can make this fucker out of the thickest, warmest, most tightly-woven, completely inpenetrable fabric known to man and it will be so voluminous I can huddle in it, something I do instinctively when it gets cold anyway. I had planned on making it in black, but after a head-spinning trip to Saftler's, I fell in love with a thick, beautiful, wool coating in a devine shade of deep scarlet. Yes, that's right, "outward bound taiwan_on" gets to play at being Little Red Riding Hood. I can hear the lame jokes from strangers and co-workers already but dammit, I don't care. I'm as surprised at my choice of the color red as anyone else, but when I saw this fabric...when I touched it, I could feel it in my bones. This was going to be my glorious Kinsale Cloak. It would be the height of fabulousness.

...Provided I don't fuck it up somehow.

See, up until this point, the only thing I've been able to make with any reliable outcome is pillows. Pillows are easy, pillows are fast and you can never have too many of them lying around. I got a great sewing machine a couple of years back, and after a few abortive apron outcomes and a throughly disastrous attempt at a pair of Gallway cotton drawstring pants I grew intimidated and frustrated and stuck to making pillows and mending existing clothing damage. I began to view my Singer as a tool for possibilities I was too clumsy and impatient to realize and it seemed like a symbol for failure. I would browse internet for sewing sites containing "patternless" sewing projects, and dismiss any out-of-hand as just too hard.

But after reading too many of Anais Nin's diaries, I began to find the idea of a hooded cape hopelessly romantic and oh-so practical that I began my search for cape/cloak patterns. The Kinsale Cloak is by far the loveliest I've found and dammit, I'm going to do this.

Now here I am with 5 yards of 60" width scarlet red wool helping along a grand total of roughly $100.00 in sewing materials and a completely crushing fear of actually doing anything with them! Seriously, the sweaty-palmed terror I feel when reading over this incredibly easy, yet sometimes inexplicably incomprehensible pattern is an entirely new neurotic experience for me. This is my last big expenditure on myself until well after Christmas, so what if it all goes horribly awry?! Not only will I be defiling some of the sweetest, most luxurious fabric I've ever laid my inept hands on, but I'll be out a good chunk of change and doomed to be cold all winter long! This is horrifying.

The woman at Saftler's, whose name I wish I knew because she was so incredibly helpful and encouraging, assured me that I would do fine, but who are we kidding here? I didn't even purchase a lining material, for fuck's sake, because I was all head-strong thinking I could forgo the hassle of lining it. Already I know that this is impossible. I do wish I knew her name, though. All my clueless ass had to do was fall in love with my chosen fabric and buttons while she ran around and gathered all of the (foreign to me) materials the pattern called for. And all the while she talked a blue-streak, bracketing everything with the words; "honey, hun, sweetie and dear" so excessively that I found myself giggling at times. I promised her I would come back with all the pieces basted together so that we could decide if the lining really is optional. Which it isn't, I know that now. Which means that I have the added pressure of getting this right for her, too, because now this virtual stranger has total faith in my efforts. Oh, god help me.

But at least I ignored the instinct to blaze right in there tonight and begin cutting the fabric with my new rotary cutter, purchased because I don't even trust myself to operate a pair of fucking scissors properly anymore. The more I read the sewing instructions, the less sense they began to make, so I knew I was too tired tonight to risk it. Good for me for at least having better judgement than I did in past sewing endeavors. But will I ever feel confident enough to get it off the ground?

Yeah, whatever. We'll see. In any case, it was a great, great weekend and I still have lots to look forward to. If this keeps up, I won't have time to get bummed out about winter, which is good.

And now for something completely different. While this isn't the picture I promised boyfriend, here are two that I know he will appreciate anyway.
we can forget to shave!
do starfish even have genitalia?

posted by taiwan_on 'round 1:33 AM#
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Thursday, November 07, 2002

"I'm Your Secretary!"
red Sharpies excite me now.

So boyfriend and I saw "Secretary" last weekend. It was good. Really fucking good. I doubt I could do it any more justice than The Filthy Critic has, which took me an atrociously long time to get to read, despite boyfriend's urgings that I do so. If you are unsure as to whether or not to see this movie, the above review should close the deal for you. It really is incredible.

And while you're at it, why not let The Filthy Critic make all of your moviegoing descisions for you? I do.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 8:31 PM#
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Wednesday, November 06, 2002

"We're Fucked, I Tellya..."
FUCKED!

Jesus Fucking Christ on a cheese cracker, we are utterly doomed. Assachusettes now has a rich, mormon, pro-life, anti-gay, xenophobic dead-eyed suburbanite for a governer.

Fuck!

C'mon you guys, this is the shittiest birthday gift ever.

Who the hell voted for this asshole?! Can anyone actually relate to this guy? Did I wake up in the Village of the Damned or something?

Sorry, never mind...stupid question.

Well, I might as well just sew my vagina shut and hang a sign on it that says "property of the state", because Shit-Wit Ram-Me will be making all the descisions for it now.

Isn't it comforting to know this Stepford drone is going to free all of us women from the burden of choosing our own sexual destiny? Boy, I think so. And it's just such a bonus that the person deciding the fate of my vagina has never had one himself.

Here's a thought, Mitt. Why don't we test your commitment to the pro-life movement. Let's ram a watermelon all the way up your urethra, put you in stirrups, and spend the next 72 hours watching you trying to push it back out again. Sound good? Hmmm? Don't forget to breathe, asshole. And no epidural for you either, breedtard. This is au naturale. The sanctity of life. And I get to do it to you again and again, whenever I get lonely and decide I want to hear the pitter-patter of tiny watermelon feet. Oh, and let's not forget the college fund. You can just front me the check on that one because these watermelons are going Ivy League all the way.

And just in case you're not having the full vagina experience, I can stop by once a month (when you're not gestating watermelons for me, that is) and kick you so hard in the nuts that you piss blood for five days. You can just forget about sex during those five days, too. Nobody wants your blood on their nice clean sheets. Nuh uh. I'd try to think of a way to simulate bloating for you, but chances are you already know what it feels like to be bloated.

Am I right people? Huh?

posted by taiwan_on 'round 9:33 PM#
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Monday, November 04, 2002

"Begin Countdown..."
in four...three...two...

So, here it is, approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes until I turn 30. The big three-oh-shit. Should I be freaking out now? Because I'm just not feeling it, y'know?

Some people have asked me if this is denial. My official answer is, no, I honestly don't think so. I am freaked out about a few things related to turning 30, like my crappy job, my even crappier income, and my debilitating Peter Pan syndrome. Oh, and the never having a driver's license thing. That too. I was always a city girl, though, so it's really only been a pain in the ass since I moved to the suburbs 3 years ago. Which is an inexcusable length of time to get my ass in gear, dontcha' think? Me too, Kitten, me too.

But as far as turning thirty? Whoopdee shit, I say. I don't look old, I don't feel old, and most importantly, I don't smell old. So where's the harm? Why worry? Call me naive, call me a dreamer, but I still feel a world of endless possibility. If the world is my oyster, then that oyster still snaps shut tight when you run cold water over it.

Oh, no wait...that's for when you're preparing mussels, isn't it? Or clams? Ah, whatever, the world is just a glorified clam anyway, right? Or you could be all creative and just apply your own Freudian interpretation to that one. Enjoy.

Besides, I'm in a bit of an up-swing, at the moment. I have a sweet, sexy boyfriend, interesting persuits, and some very cool people in my life right now, so I can't really get all bummed out at anything at the moment. I think this is what being on Prozac feels like. Mmmm...mellow.

And the fashion police have staged their annual birthday raid on the usual Sunday and I got some new clothes. That's the great thing about living like a filty animal; you wear your clothes down to clean, Downy-smelling threads while you blow every cent you make on "entertainment". Sooner or later a few people start to feel sorry for you and they team up and say; "Here's some money, now for chrissake will you do something with yourself!? You're makin' us all sick!" I love it. I am so not above that kind or irresponsible behavior.

See, I hate buying clothes. It seems like such a waste of money. Not to mention the indignity of fitting rooms. You never know anymore if you in your worn-out, broke-down, over-washed undies are gonna' end up on bitchyouneedsomesun.com. It's a scary thought, but not one that doesn't merit a pinch of paranoia. But damn, I love it when other people buy me clothes. You buy that shit all at once and don't worry about it until next season. It's great. I'll risk the public exposure of an ass pimple for that.

And I took the day off from work today too. Just because I wanted to. Nyah. I slept late and then cleaned, because it's tradition to go on a massive cleaning bender before my birthday. Loot shines better on a clean surface, y'know? And there's all that "out with the old, in with the new" psychology that goes along with it. Clean slate and all that. Which is another reason I can do nothing but chill.

So, all in all, life's pretty good. I have some fantastic things to be grateful for, the presence of mind to know I'm lucky and some exciting things to look forward to.

And the drugs. Don't forget the illegal psychotropic substances.

I know I'm late with the latest Superhero Alter-Ego Trading Card, but it's in the mail, I promise. Just been pleasantly flaky these days. Please stand by.

posted by taiwan_on 'round 10:49 PM#
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Female/26-30. Lives in United States/Massachusettes/Brockton/North Brockton, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes Film/Writing.
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English, Female, 26-30,
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