Friday, October 31, 2003

Return of the Dandy! 

Happy fuckin' Halloween, everybody--may total chaos, inebriation, and vices of all other sorts reign supreme ce soir. I, dears, will be contributing to the general din in a most glorious manner: my blue three-piece suit, 3" stack platforms (painted the same color as my suit), pink nail polish, devil horns, and so much make-up that I'll be able to take a knife slash to the face without receiving so much as a paper cut. Damn it I love this holiday.

The suit is an interesting story in itself. It was a complete bargain find at the Salvation Army in 1997 when I needed something to wear to my high school's fall formal (I actually got invited by a real girl... how could I turn that down?) For eleven dollars I got the pants, jacket, and satinesque vest. I remember I spraypainted an old pair of tennis shoes silver to go with the outfit, and since I lived with my parents and couldn't afford any cosmetics, I let some girl on the school bus "do my face." She showed me that, when on a limited budget, one only needs a cream foundation, mascara, and a few primary tints of eyeshadow: the rest is just a matter of blending. I was very impressed that this sixteen year-old knew so much about a craft that is still quite alien to me. She knew the rules, man.

Anyway, she made me look like a total fucking fright... and I loved it! The girl who invited me to the formal was so upset that I hadn't rented a tux for the event (I suspect she was more pissed-off that I'd shown up looking like a drag queen) that she ditched me at the entrance to the gym... er, ballroom. While this was unplanned, it worked to my advantage as I was scouted out by the other ghoulies at the formal. I knew they were my people at first sight as several of them had also accesorized with copious volumes of metallic spraypaint. We danced so much that night that all the silver had flaked off of my shoes and I had perspired a good deal of my make-up onto the collar of my shirt. That three-piece became kind of a costumery tradition for all undesirable social events at my high school... we bonded, that suit and I. Among my circle of friends it was known as "the Dandy," and, to my surprise, it got more requests to go out than I did. I was even offered twenty five dollars for it by a complete stranger at a riverfront get-together.

I wore the Dandy so often that, like a prosthetic or a treasured heirloom ring, it became an aspect of my personality. In fact, it probably was the agent that split my personality into two halves: the daytime and nighttime Jeffs. It became an extension of self, an item so closely associated with my evening behavior that it advanced its own cause and enhanced certain aspects of my character when I would wear it. It was my first time to experience the liberating sensation of identifying the loonier parts of one's pysche with an inanimate object.

Which is why I was so sad to find that, when I started gaining weight in college, I couldn't fit into it anymore.

I've been losing weight over the past couple of years, though, and a couple of weeks ago I came across the suit in my closet (still a bit skanky from its last soirée some years ago). With Halloween plans already buzzing around, I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if I could wear that again?" I tried it on and, god bless, it fucking fits again, like a glove! It was a sign from my ego, I must wear this outfit again! In public! In heels! With glitter!

Tonight, I'm going to wear that bitch out in every sense of the phrase. Oh suit, how I have missed you!


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I'm so proud of our Sun 

A Coronal Mass Ejection of shocking magnitude (the third-strongest to register since these things have been measured) happened about thirty hours ago. In a potentially amazing twist of timing and position, we are directly in the path of the resultant high-speed fart of energized particles. When watching video of this event, note that, although the bubble of slower-moving heavily-massed particles is still mushrooming outward in the distance, electrons and other nearly-massless particles travelling at nearly the speed of light flush the electronic optical equipment recording the burst, creating a cool static haze on film. Potential inconveniences and electrical damage aside, this could make for some amazing displays of the aurora borealis, and NASA is even predicting that there is a distinct chance of some nice mid-latitude aurora action. Taking my note from the guy at fark, I'm getting some beer on the way home, pulling the lawn chairs out into my back yard, and unplugging my computer.


Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Oak and hickory from dad 

Today my dad drove into town to come have lunch with me. The best part about it? He not only proceeded to come to my house and neaten up the lawn while I was still at work, he also brought me a massive truckload of firewood (thanks, folks)! It's only been cool for three days, but he already knew that I'd be longing for a big roaring fire. When winter would hit when I was younger, my siblings and I would always beg him to start a fire for us, especially on Saturday mornings and other cartoon-watching holidays (god bless my mom for keeping the television set near the fireplace). Since essentially everyone I know lives in tiny apartments in the city, nights when I have fires tend to be the nights that everyone finally commutes out to the sticks (bringing beer, even!). I welcome it--we all end up dozing, scattered about the cone of radiant heat in my living room, until, one by one, they each realize that work is still coming tomorrow.

Walking them out the door, groggy going into the shivering air, I remember why I wanted to live all the way out here. Throwing another log onto the fire that I now have to myself, I'm glad I live all the way out here.


I think she and I have historically been such good complements because, when we get tired of people, we like being tired of people with each other.


Monday, October 27, 2003

Il fait beau 

Saturday afternoon, accompanied by a load of wind and rain, autumn finally arrived in the state of Arkansas. As a lover of the colder months, it's a bit irritating to live in the southern states; as we're still having 95 degree days, the rest of the deciduous-laden nation is neck-deep in newspaper articles about the beauty of changing fall foliage. Sometimes I think this (exceedingly boring) seasonal newspaper fodder exists simply to goad those of us who live in the Hot States. It's very effective.

During the early afternoon I could already feel the change happening... the skies were greying, the streets were wet, and I noticed for the first time the increasing number of senesced leaves filling up gutters and ditches. The trees looked a little more ochre than green. The guy who runs the snow cone stand (trailer?) near my home had given up and shuttered the windows to his booth in the Kroger parking lot, chained and clamped to the back of his truck for a trip to overwinter in storage.

We all met up around dusk to grab a slice-and-pint special (under $4!), and everyone was wearing long sleeve shirts or hoodies, even the usually I-tear-the-shit-out-of-all-my-band-shirts NuMetal kids. When we finally left the bar to go dance, you could see people on the street rushing to their cars, arms locked against their sides with hands in pockets. By the time my friends and I left the dancefloor half a dozen hours later, the steam rising from my friend's bared shoulders confirmed it: summer's over.

This morning I didn't roll up my sleeves to go to work. Hooray!


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