“We Rough Tattooin’ Up in Here” or The Time I Got a Tattoo in an Apartment in Queens

21 Feb

Tuesday I went to work. That’s what you do on a Tuesday: You go to work, and you sharpen some pencils and point at some graphs (or whatever your boss pays you to do–mine likes me to rhapsodize at length about hammers), and then you go home and make some sort of chicken casserole. Maybe you work out, if you’re some kind of fancy boy fitness buff. If there’s something on HBO, you watch it. That’s a Tuesday.

But apparently I’m bad at Tuesdays, or, at least, maturity, because after I went to work on Tuesday I got a text from Gay Meow Meow (whose real name is Linda, which I guess I can just go ahead and say now that our embarrassing exploits are outside the statute of limitations for Crimes Against Maturity) that said, “hey, maybe we should meet up at this apartment in a part of town you have literally only visited once, 8 years ago, and let some guy you’ve never met stab you with a needle until you have permanent marks on your body.” And I said, “Ok, sure.”

In Queens, they have these addresses with hyphens in them that are Google Maps kryptonite, so after getting off the subway I wander alone among a block or two of warehouses wondering if this particular Tuesday is the Tuesday I finally get my Mugged in NYC card. Then I realize I’m in the wrong section of Astoria, so I walk 10 blocks in the snow to an enormous apartment-manor building. Linda is there, and she waves in the direction of the array of doorbells to indicate that no one is home.

The person I hope will have steady enough hands not to draw wiggly lines all over my abdomen shows up 10 minutes later, holding an enormous basket of laundry, as if that’s a normal thing to be carrying around the streets of New York City in a snowstorm. “He’s kind of crazy, but it’s awesome,” says Linda, as he almost drops his uncovered load of …socks? while waving hello, then gets stuck in the gate and curses.

We enter the apartment, which contains a very friendly cat, lots of scented candles, and dozens of large painted canvases. We all sit in the kitchen and the tattoo artist, whom I will nickname Rolex on account of a story he told about making so much money as a teenage model that he once threw a perfectly good $3,000 watch over the side of a boat, begins asking the appropriate questions about what we want and where we want it. It turns out he’s a former bartending colleague of Linda’s who now works at one of the top tattoo parlors in Manhattan. He’s booked solid for the next month.

The Party Monster shows up in a wide-brim fedora and a layered wrap coat that makes him look like some sort of sexy gay wizard, because that’s how the Party Monster dresses. He points to one of the paintings on the wall, which appears to depict Albert Einstein in a ghetto letterman’s jacket. “Awesome Einstein painting, man,” he says.

“Dude, that’s my grandma,” says Rolex, who is rather large and brandishing a needle gun, and the Party Monster impressively backpedals, citing the similarity of hair and his poor eyesight. “I just, yeah, you know, those ads, with um… the hair…” He trails off.

The Party Monster goes first, getting a quote tattooed across his thigh. He displays impressive stoicism. Rolex makes an impressive number of jokes about being very close to the Party Monster’s impressive junk. Then it’s my turn. I’m getting a star on my ribs, for reasons I will explain momentarily, and Rolex says, “So… I can set up this bench so you can lie down, or you can just lean over the side of this chair here. I’ll be quick.” I look at the chair. “Is that okay? Will it turn out weird?”

Rolex looks at me like I’m a crazy person. “I’m gonna put on a stencil first,” he says.

“Oh, sorry, yeah, I’ll just lean over the chair.”

“Great. We rough tattooin’ up in here!” he says, waving the gun with more excitement than I would maybe like.

So I lean over a chair with my shirt pulled up to my bra, and grit my teeth for 10 minutes while Rolex scrapes my ribs. I only have one other tattoo, but I can confirm that any tattoo on your ribs larger than a half dollar should only be considered by people with brass testicles.

Looks nice though, right? Also, I MAY have taken this photo at work.

Looks nice though, right? Also, I MAY have taken this photo at work.

Linda goes last, and complains so much about how much it hurts that Rolex, sadistically, starts counting every single line he’s making. Hers also turns out great. Then we go to dinner in a 24-hour pan-Asian restaurant with lots of mirrors and vases of eucalyptus branches.

Queens is weird.

EDITED TO ADD: Rolex insists that the watch in question was, in fact, a Breitling. Thank you, Rolex, for your continued contributions to this blog.


Ok, so in explanation for the star, and in fact, for this entire escapade, I have to be temporarily serious. Apologies in advance.

My longtime blog readers will remember my best friend the Bad Idea Bear (Jenna) who was the light of my god damned life. We moved to NYC together and worked together and lived together. She was the closest thing to a sister I’ve ever had. She unfortunately passed away two years ago in what was the single worst summer of my life. I lost an entire month to grief.

The Bad Idea Bear had 5 stars tattooed on her shoulder, one for herself and one for each of her closest friends: Me, Linda, The Party Monster, and a chick named Marne who lives in San Diego and has not appeared much on this blog on account of distance. So when Jenna died, we all made a promise to get tattoos for her. Two years later, we did it the way the Bad Idea Bear would have wanted– with a vaguely dangerous-looking former model in an apartment in Queens.

One Crew. One Love.

One Crew. One Love.


I’m going to Hell and I blame the art department

22 Aug

I haven’t written in awhile, mostly because I was, yanno, flying around the world all celebrity-like, walking 100 kilometers through backwoods England with an old man in Keds and a Piggly Wiggly bag, watching a robot shit in a museum in Tasmania. Stuff like that. (All true).

And then I got a new job, which is great. It’s made me very busy but also very excited. It’s at a place I’ll call Mechanistic Populists. I call it that so that you’ll never EVER guess, mostly, but also to foil Google, which is one of my life goals. (It’s Popular Mechanics).

Wait! Fuck! No!

So Mechanistic Populists is great. I haven’t gotten to see any robots shit in exotic countries yet, but I’m still holding out hope. One thing we DO get to do though is have EXTREMELY glamorous photo shoots in the building, such as the one I had a meeting about today. The photo shoot I met about today is for an article tentatively titled Things You Should Keep in Your Car at All Times in Case of Emergency.

So I have a bunch of things for just such occasions, and I bring them back to the art table and lay them out, and the art director and designer and photo people come over and we all look at the things.

The art director says, “These are all great things to have in your car in an emergency.

I say, “Do you think we need additional things? Smaller things? Such as water and jumper cables and cat litter?”

The art director says, “Cat litter? Do people carry cat litter?”

I explain that some people carry clay cat litter to sprinkle under their tires if they get stuck in the snow. For traction.

“What about a cat?” he says. “We should have a cat.”

The designer seconds that yes, we should include a cat.

So then we look at the items some more and make some decisions, and the art director says, “I can see that a flashlight would be important to have in the event of a winter emergency, and this multitool and shovel. Also, a cat would be, as well.”

I say, “Yes, you could slice open its stomach and warm your hands in it like that tauntaun from Star Wars, but small.”

The art department looks at me as if I am insane.

Then the art director and I look at each other and whisper, simultaneously, “we could call him ‘mittens.'”

And I believe that brings us back to the headline, folks.


Live Blogging: Kombucha

13 Mar

We get a lot of free books sent to my office for review, and every now and again, instead of tossing them in the trash, we schlep a few down the street in a roller suitcase and sell them for cash, which we then toss in the air and/or spend on exorbitantly expensive and totally unnecessary beverages from the neighborhood boutique grocery store before returning to our drab and moneyless lives.


This, for instance.

*ahem* So having sold a few books today, we walked over to this five-and-dime of folly so a coworker of mine could purchase overpriced coffee. I’m hypersensitive to caffeine, for some reason—which is great in the middle of a drinking binge, but less handy in the middle of the workday—so I settled on a jar of kombucha.

Which, I know what you’re thinking here: Kombucha? You mean that ridiculous Gwenyth Paltrow-y beverage that has a lump of mucous that some people with sex and intimacy issues call a “mother” smack in the middle of it?


Yes, that’s exactly what I mean

I’ve had commercially produced kombucha before, and liked it quite a bit. It tastes kind of like the shrubs that everyone’s mixing into cocktails these days—vinegary and sweet—and it makes me just caffeinated enough to bounce around my office like a crazed balloon animal, without convincing me I’m about to have a heart attack. And usually the ones that you can buy in stores have had the gross jellyfish “mother” removed, so I can pretend it’s just slightly fizzy vinegar tea instead of a “living organism that boasts a dynamic, probiotic profile.”

Well, that wasn’t the case this time. I start drinking this cloudy, slightly pink thing, thinking, “Hey, this tastes not bad at all, and my hips are starting to maybe relax a little? Like when I drink booze? And maybe I want to dance a little?”

I dance a little.

“Perhaps I should look this up online and see what awesome benefits I am currently getting from all these dynamical protobiozomes or whatever-the-hell.”

The Mayo Clinic, at this point, basically tells me that the ratio of positive scientific results to adverse reactions to drinking kombucha is so low that I shouldn’t be drinking it at all.

“Ha. Ok. Well, it can’t be worse than some of the things I’ve put in my body in the past ten years.”  *imagines credit card and crushed up pile of Adderalls.*



I decide I am going to drink kombucha every day if it makes me feel this fantastic, science be damned. The end of the beverage is drawing near; I’m closing in on the dregs, and hence, the dreaded “mother” in the bottom of the glass. After every sip, I look quickly at the bottle to make sure I won’t accidentally take a sip of the blobular thing that lies in wait for me.

*Accidentally takes sip of blobular thing that lies in wait for me*

“ACK. Ugh. UGHHHH. *retches* I just. UGHHHH that tasted like a chunk of tripe made out of dirt and wall mold!!!”

The kombucha now sits in the trash. And that’s where you shall stay, kombucha.

FWIW though, kombucha mother is the consistency of really hard jello.

You know you were wondering.


OneBad versus the Turkish Subway Token Machine

3 Jul

I see you, Turkish subway token machine.  It took me a minute, seeing as how this station consists of something like a square mile of ant tunnels plastered in creepy cell phone ads featuring a freaktastic bear and (inexplicably) concert promos for Nickelback. But I found you.

You’re waiting at the bottom of that escalator, next to a bunch of gates that presumably take tokens I can procure by stuffing money into your innards. But not just any money. I see all five of these ATMs at the top of the escalators. You might think that because this is Istanbul and I’m a silly foreigner, you can fool me, but I know better. You want my cash money. I’m just going to stop right here at this ATM and remove some cash money for you.

Well, isn’t this neat. This ATM has handed me a 50 Turkish Lira note. That’s nice, and it’s quite pretty, but the last thing I want to do is accidentally buy enough subway rides for a cruise ship’s worth of visor-wearing, fanny pack-saddled tourists. Haha. Yes,  that’s funny because cruise ships do actually come here and they do actually wear that.

I think the boat was over in this here blue part.  Is that what you think, Joleesa?

What’s that?

Well, yes, I am also a tourist, but I’m not wearing a fanny pack, so, you know.

Anyway, I’m going to head over to this Starbucks I found in one of these ant passages to break this 50 so as to avoid an embarrassing mishap, what do you think about that?

“Merhaba,” I say. [Did you see that, token machine? I said hello to the guy in Turkish]

“Do you speak english? Just this please.”

Hey, guess what, subway machine. I have change now, and I am coming for your tokens!

No, calm down, I was just joking. I’m just gonna buy one, like everyone else. Haha. Yeah, Americans ARE total dicks.

Alright, I’m just gonna press this British flag button here so I can understand you. *presses British flag button*


No, Jesus, why. I just meant to… *presses British flag button repeatedly*


Ohmigod. Shutup. Shutup. SHUT UP.

A bored-looking attendant wanders over.

“Can I help you?” he asks.

“I just…how does it work?” I squeak, and the attendant pushes several buttons which result in you being quiet and handing me tokens.

You’re a jerk, subway token machine. You know that?

*kicks wall next to machine*

Yeah, what. You better be scared.

This isn’t Scary

20 May

…but it is what it’s like inside my apartment. Here, a typical exchange between my roommates, who have had an open relationship for 10 years and are basically common law married.

J Rad [watching, but not doing, a stretching video in the living room]: “Did I tell you that [friend] said she was going to that party on Friday?

Wiggy Moondust [named for her combined love of wigs and David Bowie]: “She told ME that.”

J Rad: “Well, I was there.”

Wiggy Stardust: “She was talking to me”

J Rad: “Well, I saw down her shirt.”

Wiggy Spacedust: “So did the entirety of Bedford Avenue.”

J Rad: “Yeah, but I’m taller.”


Wiggy Starlust: Are you still watching that stretching video?

J Rad: “Watching is such a strong word. Let’s say I’m contemplating it.”

And here, an example of a photo J Rad took to show his love for Wiggy Sunnuts’s backside. May we all one day find such love.

The Coachella Chronicles OR The time I took a vitamin B12 shot in the ass from a male nurse on mushrooms

7 May

If you’re anything like me, and missed out on the part of high school in which you were supposed to be dabbling in hallucinogens while helplessly making out with a kid with purple hair at the Grateful Dead concert because you were too busy being an enormous band dork, then you probably really like going to music festivals as an adult. I know this because I, a former enormous band dork, had probably an illegal amount of fun at Coachella a few weeks ago. (It actually WAS an illegal amount of fun, but never you mind about that, interwebs!)

I had been pretty unbelievably excited about attending for many months, and when it was finally time to go, I packed all my bathing suits and pink shorts and $5 teal zebra-print sunglasses into a suitcase and flew off to Los Angeles, wristband clutched desperately in my sweaty fingers. I was going to get a tan! I was going to dance! I was going to hang out with my friends and listen to Radiohead and drink beers and pick up lightsticks off the ground and watch M83 and.. and… and…

I was going to get the worst sore throat I’ve had since I made out with a dorm kid in college and caught strep.


After arriving late the night before the festival began and riding all the way to Indio sandwiched between two members of a giggly couple high on pot lollipops and sundry other prescription pills that I shall call Thurston and The Neon Indian (The Neon Indian doth not like clothes that do not glow in the dark), I arrived at the apartment I planned to share with The Pharmacist, Party Monster, Gay Meow Meow and the Naughty Nurse. Three of these last few you might recognize as my former roommates (The Party Monster had a hand in that time I ate a bull penis… ). I rarely see the Naughty Nurse as he is busy being a fabulous gay nurse in LA and only comes to New York City once or twice a year.

After our first day of wandering around the festival, which really is a magical fairyland of adult attractions (“Look at that man swinging upside down by his leg in the drum and bass tent!  Let’s go, let’s go. I can hear Calvin Harris! GOOD LORD IS THAT A GIANT GLOWING SHARK ON TOP OF A REMOTE CONTROL CAR??!), my throat swelled up to epic proportions, leaving me whispering to my friends like zombie plague patient zero.

I muddled through the rest of the day’s concerts (vowing to henceforth take every painkiller I could get my little hands on), and finally ended up lying back in the front seat groaning and trying not to swallow while we waited for Thurston and the Neon Indian to find their way back to the car (Unsurprisingly, they spent a lot of time… er… lost).

“How are you feeling, girl?” asks the Naughty Nurse.

“Throat hurts… Ok though,” I stage whisper, then groan.

“I have the perfect thing. You are so lucky. I only brought one and I’m gonna give it to you. You’re gonna be 100 percent tomorrow.”

“What. What is it?” I ask, knowing full well that the Naughty Nurse is actually a nurse who carries a medical kit with him.

“Vitamin B12 shots! All the celebrities do them. I only have one, but it’ll make you feel totally healthy by morning.”

“I don’t know about a shot right now… we’re all pretty fucke…”

“Trust me,” says the Naughty Nurse. And The Party Monster snickers.

(In our defense, we did all manage to keep our flip-flops on)


Back at the apartment, the Naughty Nurse calls me downstairs.

“Lie down on the floor and pull your pants down, and don’t look at this,” he says, pulling out the biggest needle I have ever seen.

“Ha. Like that’s the first time I’ve heard THAT!” I say.

He flicks the needle a couple of times and swipes an alcohol swab across my ass.

“Ok, one…. twooo….”

“Jesus Christ, don’t count, what’s wrong with you? Just do it before I freak out.”

I feel a pop as the needle jabs through my skin and at least several layers of ass muscle. Despite the many MANY beers I have consumed to make my throat feel better, it hurts like the bejesus.


He pulls the needle out. “All done! Wait. Whoa, this needle is big.”  The Naughty Nurse starts laughing. “This is an 18-gauge needle, hahahahaha. Fuck I am so high right now.”

“I. What?! I hate you!” I wad up a bunch of tissue paper and press it against my ass, which is continuing to bleed. Finally I wad up a bunch of toilet paper in the waistband of my shorts and walk upstairs, wincing.

“Did he stick a giant needle in your ass?” asks the Party Monster, sighing in front of the fridge.

I pout. “Yes, and now my throat and my butt hurt.”

“Yeah,” he says, looking wistfully out the window as he pours himself a glass of gatorade. “He’s done that to me like 5 times.”


“Girl,” says the Party Monster. “Not letting N.N. shoot you in the ass with a giant needle is something you got to learn on your own.”

But then the next day I did feel better. And we were all friends again in time for Radiohead.

Coachella. Teachin people bout life the hard way since 2012.

*pictures, despite being really awesome, have been omitted to protect the guilty*

Of Dewdrop Temptresses, Womb Energy and Ryan Gosling

30 Mar

Dearest Dewdrop Temptresses of the Nile,

I am writing to you to inform you of my latest obsession.

(Don’t worry. Not taxidermy.)

I take regular contemporary dance classes, as you know, mostly to stay in shape and relax after work, plus it’s kind of artsy and I don’t even have to invest in a $3,000 camera or anything.

Well, here’s the thing about contemporary dance: I’ve been doing it for so long now that I feel perfectly comfortable even heading into a class I’ve never taken before. I walk into a class and think, “Ok, so now we are stretching, and now we are doing tendus. Now she is going to say we can get water and I am going to go snag that spot near the front from this ho with the ponytail so I can see the choreography better.” etc.

It’s all very relaxing and meditative and all that, but there’s just no fear in it anymore. Also, not enough womb energy.

But you know what has a lot of fear and womb energy?


I keep going around and around until I stop feeling feelings.

Here’s how this happened: The Ha-Canadian (Henceforth renamed Zahira of the Canadian Wilds) asked me recently to tell her which forms of dance I was bad at.

“I want to take a dance class with you, but I don’t want you to be all good at it,” she said.

“Hmmm, well, I’ve never taken belly dancing, I’m terrible at African, and I don’t tap.”

“Oooh. Let’s take belly dancing,” said the as-yet-unrealized Zahira of the Canadian Wilds. (Also, she has me on the hook for African, which my white, can’t bend my knees ass is going to be a HOOT at.)

So we signed up for a weekly class at the Mark Morris Dance Center here in Brooklyn, with a spunky teacher who likes to shout “AIIWA” more than I like to drink and eat pizza (so, like, a lot). The very first day, we show up and she immediately has us wiggling and jiggling and shaking our asses all around the room like it is feeding time in the Chippendale’s Men’s dressing room. I expected that, as I am a lily white girl from Florida and not a buxom, ravishing Arabic princess, I would be incredibly awkward at it, but it turns out that beginning belly dancing is remarkably simple.

“I just, this is basically just shaking your ass,” I say. “For an HOUR AND A HALF! I LOVE IT!”

Zahira and I jiggle around in a circle and sashay across the floor. The other ladies are all wearing midriff tops and coin belts that jingle like a change purse whenever they shake their hips.

“We need those little jingly things,” says Zahira.

“I think I need a bigger ass,” I say, frowning into the mirror. ” Also. Jingly things.”

“AIIWAAAAA,” shouts the teacher. “These are Egyptian half circles. EGYPTIAN. You have to use your pelvis. You have to put your WOMB ENERGY into it.”

Zahira and I giggle. “Womb energy?” she mouths. The teacher shoots us a dirty look.

The next time we come to class, the instructor splits us into two groups for the butt shaking.

“This group will be the Divine Temptresses of the Nile!” she declares, to group 1.  “And the second group, you will be The Great Mistress Sheba Lounging on a Bed of Pillows”

*we giggle*

*teacher shoots us a dirty look*

*ass shaking commences*

Seriously, y’all. At this rate I’m going to be able to shake my ass for like four hours straight by the end of the month. And you just wait till I get them jingly things. I am going to annoy the ever-loving hell out of my roommates.

*jingle jingle jingle jingle*

“Hey, Holmes. Can you keep it down? We’re watching 30 Rock.”

*jingle jangle JINgle JINgle*

“Seriously man, this is a funny part what the hell”



and then I will blast him with my womb energy (my female roommate will survive because women are immune to womb energy)

and SPEAKING of womb energy, here is some NEUROSCIENTIST RYAN GOSLING