i turned 19 recently. how did i celebrate? with cake and ice cream and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, perhaps? au contraire, mes enfants. i went to austin.

austin is my favorite city in the world. there's so much to do, and the people are all super-nice and super-cool. i took my brother nick with me, as he is the only person i know who not only knows how to have fun, but is guaranteed not to start moping about the existential dilemma while everyone else is trying to have fun. so, our bags were packed, my entire paycheck was cashed and in my bag, and we were on the road.

we got to austin around 9 and checked into our hotel room. now, i don't know if you've ever stayed at the capitol la quinta, but i suggest you don't. its sanitation leaves something to be desired. the first thing we noticed on checking into our room was a mysterious and painful stench, a stench that would last all weekend and drive us near insanity. this was after our ride up to the third floor in an elevator with a floor so filthy, i thought the germs were going to soak right through my boot soles. that elevator resembled nothing so much as the bog of eternal stench, and we ended up avoiding it religiously lest we catch hoof & mouth disease from riding in it.

well, we'd had a long day and we were both very tired. obviously, a rejuvenating night on sixth street was in order. we got ready to go out, and like a fucknut, i had to decide to wear my favorite black spike heels (the shoes that once elicited the comment, "nice shoes. who made them, s&m of california?") they're the foxiest shoes ever, but they hurt. i wisely didn't wear them on the walk down to sixth st. (a walk during which a wino made kissy noises at us as we passed him... at first we thought he was making them at me, then we decided he was propositioning nick) but after 10 minutes strolling down sixth in them, i became the whining menace: "niiick! my feeeet hurt! i haaate these shoooooes!"

we went to emo's, my absolute favorite club (well, in the continental us, anyway), expecting to hear some good music. but alas, it was not to be. this hideous goth-goose band was playing, long violin songs laced with tortured howls and wampire vocals. after snidely talking amongst ourselves ("this is what happens when spooky kids grow up!") we fled in horror, but not before noticing a flier advertising a show by the supersuckers the next night. nick couldn't get into any more clubs, so we walked around looking in some shops. in a piercing studio, nick bought some 6 gauge ear plugs (he had 8 gauges in at the time), refusing the offer of the piercer to stretch his holes to 6-gauge size. after that, we went back to the hotel, where nick put his plugs in with much bitching, yelping, and wincing.

before we went to sleep, we set an early wake-up call so that we could go raid the free continental breakfast. when the call came, i looked across to the other bed. "hey, nick."


"do we really care about the continental breakfast?"



when we got up 3 hours later, we decided some shopping on guadalupe was in order. this was now the actual day of my birthday, and i was feeling like hot shit. i was in my favorite city with one of my favorite people, i had money to burn, i had... i had a devilish clever idea. i'd pierce my tongue!

with visions of barbells dancing in my head, i got ready to go. nick knows austin better than i do (okay, i admit it- i just have no sense of direction) so he determined to navigate our way to guadalupe. we were halfway there when he decided to take a shortcut. we walked. and walked. and walked. we got lost. i suggested we ask for directions. nick asked why we'd want to do that. we walked. we walked some more. i insisted we ask for directions. we asked. we were headed in the entirely wrong direction. we turned around. we walked. we walked. we walked some more. i collapsed on a sidewalk and had to use nick's asthma inhaler to get my breath. we walked some more. nick commented on the hot pink shade my face & shoulders were turning. we walked. and walked. and walked.

finally, we got to guadalupe. i was so tired, sweaty, and sick (i do not tolerate heat terribly well) that all i wanted to do was curl up under an air conditioner with a big gulp, but i figured we'd better eat. we came across a baked potato place, much to my delight. i am a firm believer in the power of the potato- it's the only thing i really want when i'm sick, tired, or in a hideous mood, all of which i was at this point. unfortunately, the potato place was in the scientology building, so we had to battle our way through an army of too-friendly people offering "free personality tests" to get there. but we did, and after a nice lunch, it was time to shop. with reckless abandon!

and after we shopped... it was time to pierce! with reckless abandon!

nick got his tongue pierced in austin, at a place pretty near guadalupe called the crimson dragon. we walked there, and i was told to wait while the piercer finished another customer. so i sat, and just hoped this wouldn't hurt too bad. meanwhile, nick said encouraging things like, "it doesn't hardly hurt at all!"

when it was finally time to get pierced, i went back to a little room, where a sinister looking needle awaited me. a sinister looking needle and... the clamps of death.

the piercer put this little clamp thing around my tongue and yanked it out. let me tell anyone who's thinking about getting their tongue pierced: don't even worry about the needle. worry about your tongue being pulled out by the root. the actual piercing part isn't pleasant, but even i, the world's biggest wussy, managed to be stoic about it. those clamps, though... the blood-spitting part isn't terribly pleasant either. i'm a bleeder, and i spent the next ten minute leaning over a sink looking like gary oldman in the last five minutes of bram stoker's dracula.

a few hours later, we went back to our hotel room. by this time, my tongue was puffed up, bloody, and horrid, i was talking like i had a mouthful of marbles, and it huuuuurt! i was also starving. we ordered a pizza, and i spent an hour watching evil nick take big, yummy, pepperoni-and-black-olive bites with exaggerated relish while i picked off and nibbled gingerly on single olives. after that, it was time to go hear the supersuckers (yay!). resplendent in my new bettie page t-shirt, a black skirt, and a tongue the size of a casaba melon, i was ready to go.

the tongue of death

needless to say, the show was awesome. afterwards, nick and i started walking back to the hotel, and we decided we needed smokes. we started talking about davidoffs, these yummy cigarettes i'd brought home from germany (made by the same davidoff as cool water cologne, btw). we were like, "wouldn't some davidoffs be good right now? too bad we can't find them here." then we walk into a convenience store to get kools and viola! guess what's prominently displayed on the cigarette shelf?

so we hang out on sixth street and smoke our davidoffs for awhile, and then we go back to the hotel and get some sleep. the next morning, we came back to san angelo, where life is boring, live music involves cowboy hats and line-dancing, and everybody asks you if your pierced tongue is a cry for attention. *headshake*

oh well-- austin was fun while it lasted. and hey, my 20th birthday is coming up pretty soon...