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I promised Julianna long ago that she could get her ears pierced when she turned 12.  Much to my surprise, she turned 12 about 2 weeks after her 8th birthday.  I made sure she really wanted it by telling her that we were going to a piercing/tattooing parlor to do it.  She was still game.  I’ve read and heard that a needle piercing from an actual professional is less likely to get infected than a gun piercing.  I have no clue what the statistics are and it seemed unlikely that she’d lose an ear even if we went to Claire’s, but it just seemed to make sense to go to someone that is trained and licensed rather than some mallrat with a gun.  Apparently, the needle actually removes the piece of ear tissue– like a hole punch–rather than just shoving the stud through the way the gun does.  yeah, I know, it’s just an earlobe hole.  As Jerry pointed out–I like to make everything an adventure.  And, you know, I have to win at ear piercing.  I went to our food co-op and sought out the multiple piercing crowd and asked them who they recommend.   They all agreed on two downtown parlors.  And thought I was just the most adorable old lady, asking them about tattoos and piercing.  So cute I am, in my flowered clogs and my single-hole ear lobes.  One of the recommended places doesn’t do kids at all, so our decision was made for us.

Molly was going to get hers done at the same time, so we all trooped up to Time Bomb on Market Street downtown.  Ben was at a party, so it was me, Julianna, and Lily, as well as the entire Donald clan–two parents and girls 14, 10, and newly 8 AND a Westhighland Terrier.  And, let’s face it, we don’t look like the usual tattoo parlor crowd.  We looked like we done come off the mountain to go to town.  Which, well, we did.  Hidey ya’ll!  I had to produce Julianna’s birth certificate and my picture ID to prove that I wasn’t just an easily bribed baby sitter.  Around this point, Molly decided she was A-OK with the Piercing Pagoda at the mall and became a spectator.  To be fair, I’m really impressed that Julianna didn’t.   The fellow who was preparing to help her was named Moose.  He looked like all guys named Moose do, except that he had a baby face.  Provided that baby had a face full of metal.  Both eyebrows pierced, bridge of nose, three on his upper lip, one on the lower, pointy semi-circle through the nose, many in the ears–and HIS lobes had gaping open holes where he could insert those fat plugs or what have you. Would that bad guy from Hellraiser even seem scary anymore?

Moose (on the way home, Julianna pointed out that his last name, as seen on some certificate of completion or license or what have you, was “Almighty.”  Moose Almighty.  How I hope that is his legal name) was super gentle and kind and sweet.  He joked with Julianna just as much as he thought she could take and kept checking in to see how she was feeling.  He complimented her on how well she was doing and assured her that she was doing SO much better than other kids her age.  He also told us about his three guinea pigs and was excited to hear of cubes and coroplast cages, AND knew Small Angels, so he was our pal.

It certainly took longer than the gun, but it was a far better show.  As usual, I was excited to get to be on the set of my own reality show.  I watched Miami Ink for ages, since I’m quite taken with really gifted tattoo artists.  *I* don’t want a tattoo, as I’m already well on the way to knowing what my skin will look like old (and I buy my clothes at Goodwill so that I can toss them after one season.  I need change), but I’m drawn to the culture.  When I was bartending, I discovered that motorcycle people are, as a whole, the salt of the earth– good tippers, not rude, and not pervvy like the truck drivers were.  I find the same with the body-mod crowd I encounter.  I’m not sure what drives them to need such control over their bodies, but they’re never as scary as they look.  I think I’ll become a tat hag and just hang out and swap jokes with them.  We got to watch a woman getting a key tattooed behind her ear (I know.  Who can see it? Maybe it’s so she always knows where her keys are.  Maybe the key to her heart is over her cerebellum.  Who can tell?), and see people coming in with ideas that the artists then sketched out–just like on TV!  Let’s see, I’ve been on Shear Genius, and House, and now Miami Ink…I need a way to get on Lost…

So here she is:

They use the barbell kind so that the ear can swell without danger of skin growing over the back post cover thing (which happened to a friend of mine).  But also, how cool does she look now?  Oh, no sappy little hearts for us, my friend.  Oh no.  THAT show would be on Lifetime, which we don’t watch.  At least until Project Runway ends up there.

Sigh.  Sometimes I hate people.  Well, a lot of the time, but sometimes even more.  I’ve long been annoyed at the change that My Little Pony underwent between the time my li’l sis played with them and my li’l girl started hoarding them.  To wit:

Look at their chubby bellies

Look at their chubby bellies

She seems shy, doesn't she?  Probably because she's a fatty.

She seems shy, doesn't she? Probably because she's a fatty.

Oh. my. god, Becky!  Look at that pony’s butt.

I was too old for MLPs when they came out, but I was charmed by them because a) horsies! and b) they were cute.  They had sweet faces and chubby bodies and were generally all things that should cause little girls to squee.

When they came back, somewhere between Julianna and Lily, they had changed.

a cotton candy tramp-stamp?

a cotton candy tramp-stamp?

Have you lost weight?

Have you lost weight?

Look how much thinner they are.  And their legs look more like they’re wearing boot flares.  The manes and tails are much thicker and longer.  The eyes are anime-huge.  I found the weight-loss annoying and unnecessary–dude, they’re ponies.  Ponies will literally eat until they die–but chalked the other changes to a more modern look.  They’re still fundamentally cute and were welcome in my home. Mostly.

But the next stage I will not stand! Imaginary Lisa pointed me to Princess Sparkle Pony‘s blog (I was SO close to using that name myself) and exposed me to the outrage that is “Struts” (rhymes with “Sluts”).

ponystrutsWould someone like to explain to me why that horse has a bosom?  Leaving aside the hooker shoes and the clothes and the come-hither looks…

If you buy this for your child, you deserve what you get.

If you buy this for your child, you deserve what you get.

WTF?  I mean really?  Horses ARE mammals and nurse their young and stuff, but they don’t have a rack.  Must be all the genetically modified grain they’re eating.  Princess Sparkle Pony has dubbed them “whorses” which is genius.  The brilliant Bitch magazine had an article about the changes in MLP, but sadly it’s not on-line.  Strawbery Shortcake and the Care Bears have suffered similar slimmings.  Oh yes, the Care Bears.  BEARS.  I guess these are the “just emerged from the den at the beginning of spring after not eating for 4 months” bears.  And really, who doesn’t love a skeletal, food-crazed teddy bear?

Are there not enough messages out there to convince our girls that they aren’t thin enough?  Or tarty enough?  Or wearing painful enough shoes? Honey, if a HORSE can manage a Manolo, I think you can kick off those Crocs.  Apparently, these horses are “fashion models” which would explain the twiggy legs.  I guess the stomp that the runway models do inspired some toy designer. “That girl walks like a parade pony….wait a minute…No, hear me out!  Imagine an ACUTAL parade pony, but with strappy heels, pierced ears, and time in the L’Oreal Paris Make-up room!  I’m a genius! Where’s my bonus?”   I wonder if the Struts (this really should end in a Z, don’t you think?) can do that menstrual cramp pose?  I wonder if they smile with their eyes?  I’d be happy to help any of them acheive that broken=down doll look, though, no problem.

That cutie-toot is TWELVE now.  Yesterday was her birthday, but I was running around all day.  So twelve years ago today, I was still in the hospital, being awakened every few minutes for a blood draw or a blood pressure check or to see if I was sleeping well or if I wanted to try, unsuccessfully, to nurse the baby.  Julianna was sleeeeeeping.  She was almost 3 weeks early and I’d had a magnesium sulfate drip to keep from having high bp-related seizures (but no pain meds, dude!  Even with a pitocin induction.  Bow before me), so she was seriously groggy.  It was almost a week before she figured nursing out.   I was nearly insane by that point, but lookit!  How cute!

I had a Beatles Tshirt waiting for her when she woke up.  Then she had to go to school, of course, but I came and took her out for lunch.  We went to a yummy tapas place and I ate most of the food.  Nom nom nom.  Then I took her to the candy shop and let her pick out some chocolates.  Creepy Mr. John that used to give her free chocolate when we lived downtown and she was small and cute was not there.  Which is a bonus because, as I mentioned, he is creepy.  All candy shops should be run by creepy dudes, don’t you think?  We had 4-H after school (saints preserve me) so we went to the diner for dinner afterward and I let them each choose a slice of yummy diner pie–that’s for you, Laura The Pie Hater.  In fact, Julianna chose Boston creme pie first, and the cake in it was utterly stale and gross so she switched to coconut creme which was delicious.  Ben got about a quarter of a chocolate cream pie, from which he ate the meringue,  and Lily got plain cheesecake which was awesome.  I mooched.  When we got home, she went up to see the Beatles bedding I made her:

I went into the fabric store to get tie-dye print fabric for that big pillow and then I saw Yellow Submaries!  Perfect.  She’s never actually seen the movie, and prefers early Beatles, but this is the fabric selection.  Roll with it.  A nice day with my nice Schmoo.

Rosie O’Donnell once said that Grease is like jury duty for actors.  Indeed everyone who treads the boards must, at least once, be involved with a production of Grease.  I got mine out of the way backstage and only briefly.  It was in Germany and they used an actual Trabant for Greased Lightning–a car made of particle board and fiberglass and, once the engine was removed, light enough to be carried on and off stage by 4 people.  That production used all te naughty bits, though.  I just got to see the “school version” that has lyrics like “but no customer would go to you unless it was your father!”

Julianna was playing Cha-cha in the second cast of her school’s production.  The cast was made up of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, which makes for awkard dance scenes, but they did a good job with it, on the whole.  I just love getting to see these kids, that I’ve known since they were bringing My Little Ponies to school in their Blue’s Clues backpacks, all dressed up and half-grown.  Because everyone who auditions gets a part, the show is double cast and they missed several rehearsals due to snow.  There were many long “who’s line is it?” pauses, but there is no audience more understanding than one made up of your parents and grandparents and people who’ve known you forever.

The first night, I helped out backstage, taking tickets, running the bake sale concession, lending a hand where needed.  In doing so, I got to watch Middle Schoolers at Play–the kids who weren’t on stage that night, messing around with each other.  Oh, the flirting.   It’s that side-ways not really flirting kind.  Girl pokes boy in the belly, boy pokes back.  Girl squeals “Hey!  Cut it out!” (but you know that if he did, she’d cry herself to sleep)  Boy makes crack about not feeling it b/c of his rock hard abs.  Then says “Well, it’s more like that kind of rock that breaks if you scratch it hard…” (I know, I thought it was pretty cute too.  But I refrained from poking him in the belly) They were adorable and it felt like only about a week ago that I’d been doing the same thing.  But the judge said I had to stop.

I took photos at a dress rehersal, since we couldn’t use a flash at the show.  Julianna was wearing a cardigan in rehersal b/c I’d had to extend the back of the dress and it was kind of choppy looking.  For the show, I’d masked the patch job so that she could go sweater-less.  She was playing Cha-cha, Kenicke’s blind date for the dance.  She’s kind of a snot, but is the best dancer at St.Bernadettes.  Kenicke ditches her for Rizzo, and Cha-cha ends up teacher Eugene to cha-cha and then wins the hand jive contest with Danny.

Here, she arrives with Kenicke and they exchange bon mots (yes, he’s an 8th grader.  He’s been a big kid for a long time.  Yes, she’s a 6th grader.  She’s been a big kid for a long time):

She gets stuck with Eugene (this whole section got cut both nights, someone dropped a line and someone picked up a page later….the Cha-chas were not happy):

Oh, Hand-Jive, how you bore us!

This is an elegant move, don’t you find?

It’s less “jury duty” and more “court-ordered sentence.”

The night of the show, they had a local beauty school (my beloved Paul Mitchell Temple) come in to do hair and make-up.  They were fond of the curling iron.

The red dress in that photo was my Granny’s.  I’ve worn it to holiday parties, too.

We call this one “*sigh* Daaaadddy!”

Who’s a tired Schmoo?

After two weeks of rehearsing until 7 every night, she could barely move once she got home from the cast party.  But she’s already sad it’s over.  until, lord help me, Annie.

It was hard to choose a line for the title on this one. I had so much to work with: “Plain Jane’s brother,” “How many models does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” “You have to make sound effects in your head,” “Do you people look in the mirror before you come here?” (to which the answer, tragically, is yes. For a very long time).

Was this show always this bad? It was, wasn’t it? I’ve wasted HOURS of my life. Up to days by now, I imagine. But really, I could swear that it didnt’ feel so dirty for the first 3 cycles or so. I think that once Naima won, it was all over. And do girls really think this has anything to do with getting a modeling job any more? Hasn’t it become clear that this is a one-way ticket to obscurity. Or, best-case scenario, the Cover Girl factory in Baltimore, where they’ll have to wear a hair net? But…can’t…turn…away…Tyra…crazy…

We open with the girls bitching about Sandra still being there after twitchy Isabella was sent packing with her 3 month supply of epilepsy meds. It has a “The wrong boy died!” feel. They haaaate her. And, really, she’s pretty hateable. But damn if she’s not gorgeous. Doesn’t seem to photograph well at all, though. Let me rephrase…doesn’t seem to inspire the producers to choose good photographs of her at all, though.

A gigantic pink plaid SUV limo pulls up for the girls.  So….the whole “green” thing is over then?  Gotcha.  Then we cut to J and Jay in Bergdorfs, holding a phone that has a video of Tyra superimposed on it with Get Smart (the TV series)-like graphics capability.  Tyra’s a Super Spy! (in addition to goddess, space alien, robot…) and she has sent dossiers containing each girl’s new look that will take her to new heights of–no kidding–femme fatalism.

Makeovers have never been this soon, but at least we got some drama this time.  I mean, if–every season–we get girls who are stunned–STUNNED–that they’ll have to walk in heels/pose in a bathing suit/share a room with other girls, surely we’d get a few surprised that there would be haircuts.  As they were presented to us, and as I reacted when I saw them:

Jessica–shorter with layers, same color–looks pretty, but not at all “edgy.”  A haircut I would get.  In fact, it might be the haircut I have.  Note: I am not a spicy latina teenager.

Sandra–removal of the Grace Jones flattop, died blonde.  Color doesn’t really suit her, but the shave looks great.

Allison–I was skeptical when they said “big blonde weave” but it really does look good.  For now.  White girl weaves always go south, and quickly.  But it does bring her from “odd looking” to “interesting.”

Naija–long boring black girl weave.  So tired of this look.

Fo–Super short. GORGEOUS.   I actually spoke aloud this looked so good.  Fo was not in agreement with me.

Celia–Short back, long front, they swooped it back like a pompadour.  Hideous.

Aminat–Her gorgeous Afro was a weave!  They remove it and give her the same, tedious long weave that everyone else gets.  She goes from really cool looking to Meh.

Kortni–She gets red hair to clash with her orange skin. Really, she is SO skanky looking.  pit lizard indeed.

London–short and blond–looks like the same cut as Celia, but hers gets brushed forward, which is much cuter, and is a white blonde.

Natalie–after much drama about her freaking about cutting her hair, they do nothing to her.  I thought for sure that was a ticket home.  Jay lies “We’re not making decisions for shock value.”  Uh-huh.  You guys try to find ways to recreate past hair freak-outs.  Do not lie to me.

Teyona–Tyra actually said that they were shooting for a jherri-curl look.  Really.  and they acheived it.  Awful.

Tahlia–Massive blonde hair.  She’s not even a little pretty and might be bigger than “the plus size” one.

Fo, watching all the ratty weaves, is overcome–not with schadenfreude about how much better she looks, but with self-pity.  She actually interviews that she has to hide her hair “to feel pretty.”  Oh shut. up. She is no longer cute to me.

Years of indentured servitude have paid off (?) and Sutan the Make-up Man is getting lines!  He gets to introduce the WalMart challenge (bless his heart, but you have to start somewhere).  As the quote in my title indicates, there are not Walmarts in NYC.  Apparently, this cycle, they aren’t allowed to leave city limits.  So they’ve set up a Cover Girl Wall o’ Paint in some other building and the girls have to go out onto the streets and convince someone to come be on the teevee.  Ostensibly they’re pitching some crap product with sparkles to make your eyes pop out or something.  I missed the make-up learning window and now can’t put on eyeliner without looking like it was done by a blindfolded drunk.  With epilepsy. Hey, too bad Isabella got sent home!

Kortni looks like a HAG.

Back at the house, they get Tyra Mail (or, as they get on the far superior RuPaul’s Drag Race, “SheMail”) that says “How many models does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”  Oh!  Oh!  I know!  Two, but the lightbulb has to be big enough to hold them!  Um, Three, one to screw it in and two to talk about how fat it makes her look when she turns sideways and you can see that she has 3 dimensions!  Two–one to screw it in and one to interview in the confessional how much she hate that stank ho that think she all that just cause she know about ‘lectricity and shit.  With her stank ass weave.

Oh, it’s just a dumb photo shoot where the girls have to hold their own lighting.  Please, they can barely smile with their eyes and not lose their necks at the same time!  First they have to learn to do make-up, now lighting? Cut-backs much?  Anyway, they all stink and Celia looks JUST like Patsy Stone.  Fo continues to be a whiny crybaby, saying that she looks like “plain Jane’s brother” which is kind of a great line, but shut it.

Among our judging panel delights:  Tyra informs the girls that they have to make sound effects in their heads while posing in order to acheive “tension” and proceeds to make DC Comics noises.

Nole Martin is back!  I rather hated him back in the Janice Dickinson days, as she did crazy bitch SO much better than he (or anyone on earth), but now he’s a needed breath of fresh snark.  Complaining about the lame crap the girls show up wearing (and again, 12 Cycles in, have we not learned to show up with our hair pulled back, faint make-up, no jewelry, wearing a tank top and jeans and heels?), he said the above line about looking in the mirror, which was awesome.

Aminat and Sandra’s delight whenever the other was criticized.  It was pure and wonderful to behold.

Next week: more drama.  More barely attractive girls complaining about their good fortune.  Tyra will likely act nuts.

I didn’t want you to miss this.  If you never saw Atari games in the early 80s, you aren’t going to care about this, but if you did, please continue.    From the mightygodking blog, via monkeys for helping:


Actually, I don’t know if they tested for that.  Probably.  But it’s not MS, which is nice.  Okay, the neurologist said that the lumbar puncture only catches 75% of cases  (“But a second one catches 90%!”  I’ll let you know if I get tingly fingers), but we’re going to go with “not MS.”  I asked to be tested for Lymes and he said that my spinal fluid was also tested for that and it was negative.  I’m currently researching to see if that’s a reliable test.  Meanwhile, I’m to see an opthomologic neurologist and get another MRI in May to see if there have been any changes.  I’ll also see my GP and ask for a heavy-duty Thyroid panel and a different lyme test if need be.  So there we are, no new news, but no bad news either.

I got a slice of cheddar cheese out of the fridge yesterday and a chunk fell off.  And it was shaped like Ohio:

Now.  Tell me what it means.


March 2009