Summer Has Arrived

At the end of the day when I enter the lobby of the building where I work, I can feel some of the heat while I’m still a couple of yards from the revolving door. I push through, freeing myself from my air conditioned office prison, and for the first minute or so the heat is a refreshing contrast. But by the time I’ve crossed the courtyard and properly entered the parking lot, I’m wilting. Halfway across the asphalt that separates me and my car, I feel sweat pooling on my forehead, on my upper lip, under my arms.

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All of the photos in this post are from more pleasant summer times than the sticky week I’m currently enduring. Here’s the first Dippin Dots I ever had, taken at Six Flags in 2009.

I make it to the car and haul myself inside, desperately turning the key in the ignition as quickly as possible so I can roll down the windows. I feel blood rushing to my face and the sensation of all my pores opening up like I’ve just steamed them for a skincare treatment. The breeze from driving with the windows open calms my heat borne agitation (the AC is reserved for only the hottest of days, or when it rains).

I get home, and do I get to go inside where it’s cooler? Not yet — I have the task of pulling the rest of the family cars into our long narrow driveway once mine (the last to leave in the morning) is properly situated at in the back of the property. My brother’s car is black, with a black vinyl interior. Even if he remembers to crack the windows and park in the shade, I feel like I am sitting in hell.

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Here’s a weird baby head that was on one of the carousel horses in Dorney Park. This was the second carousel, way in the back of the park, that played hilariously out of tune music. Taken 2010.

Once that’s done, I go inside and eat dinner before going up to my room and cranking on my big boxfan. Last summer I successfully shunned the window air conditioner on the floor of the spare room that has my name on it, as it dries me up inside and out, usually giving me a cold. Hopefully this year I shall remain strong again. I’m usually wearing long pants or a cardigan in the interest of being office appropriate, and I curse them as I peel the sweaty cloth from my body. I flop down on my bed in my undergarments and let the cool air of the fan blow over my sticky skin.

Yes, I hate being cold. But I hate the heat even more. When it’s cold you can put on a sweater or grab another blanket. But when it’s hot, you can remove all of your garments and still be miserable, and I am absolutely not about that life.

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A beautiful view from the fortress of Wulzberg in Germany. Taken in 2012.

Romeo, oh, Romeo!

This is Romeo.

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He is my aunt’s cat. She adopted him over five years ago from a local shelter. (I’m not sure exactly how many, since I was still in college while she did it.) He chose her before she chose him. She’d been to the shelter a few times to check out the cats, and finally came the day when she was going to make her final decision. When she set down her cat carrier on the floor, Romeo ran right inside, and that’s how she knew it was meant to be.

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He is a big boy, weighing in at around 20 pounds. He’s a little tubby, but even if he wasn’t he would still be a large cat. Not sure if this picture shows his proper scale, but I just want you to know this lad is an absolute unit. That vest was actually made for a small dog.

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Romeo is not really a lap cat, the above picture is the closest he’s ever gotten to sitting in my lap. This is not to say that he’s not affectionate. He is a very sweet, loving boy, and a very sociable cat. Sometimes all you have to do to set him off purring loudly is walk into the same room as him and say something in a friendly voice. He loves to be scratched, and to be brushed (which is good, because he’s a very shed-y cat). But what he loves more than anything is food! He gets food twice a day, and treats once, and as my aunt puts it, “he knows how to tell time.” He gets his snack at 8PM, and when the time comes, he’ll walk into whichever room you’re in and just look at you until you get up and give it to him.

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He and I have gotten properly acquainted in the past couple of years because my aunt has started to travel more. The first time I housesat/babysat Romeo was when my aunt and younger brother went to Germany for the 900th anniversary of the village where she grew up. Why was I not invited? I will never know (I do have some guesses), but living alone in my aunt’s apartment for the week and a half they were gone was a nice consolation prize, and a tantalizing taste of what my proper dream adult could be like. I’ve also stayed with Romeo on a few other occasions since then, when my aunt has gone on trips with a seniors group in the area.

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I’m always very glad to babysit him and spend time with him. It makes me feel like I have my own cat again, and I’m sure he loves the company since my aunt is half-retired and he’s probably used to having her around a lot. He makes me laugh a lot, like when he hangs out in the doorway of whatever room I’m in at 9 or 10PM because he thinks it’s bedtime, or like the most recent time I babysat him, when I walked out of the kitchen while I was making dinner to find him sitting on the sofa somewhat like a person. It was so funny, I just had to snap the picture above.

So you’ve caught me, this whole blog post was just an excuse to post some highly excellent cat pictures. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it even if you’re a dog person instead!

–Krys

 

 

My Cosplay History!

Ever since I got back from Anime Boston, I’ve been wanting to do a post about the cosplays I’ve done so far. (Well, actually, fun fact, this is the post I wanted to write the week of the con, but I didn’t have time due to travel prep, etc.) I’m not nearly so prolific or skilled as any of my friends who cosplay, but I’ve done some good work over the years (and, in all honesty, some really, really bad) and I want to share it with all of you!

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A babby, with the Staryu that still hangs on her wall.

2009 — Misty (Pokemon): I didn’t call this Misty costume a cosplay at the time (not sure I even knew the word then?), but thinking back, it really was my first one. For years my high school held an event for seniors at the local bowling alley called “Midnight Bowling” (actually held from 10pm to midnight). The tradition was for each lane to dress up in costumes around whatever theme they wanted, with costume prizes awarded at the end of the night. My friends and I dressed up as the gym trainers from the first Generation of Pokemon. No one seemed to understand who we were; a fellow student asked me if I was Ash, and I wasn’t sure if they were being sarcastic. (If you’ve watched my YouTube at all, you may recognize Staryu from my art wall! We cut our characters’ distinctive Pokemon out of cardboard for props.)

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All of the pictures from this night are blurry and dark, because bowling alleys are blurry and dark.

Most of this costume was borrowed — my shirt was a friend’s graphic tee turned inside out and I borrowed the suspenders from my older brother’s girlfriend even though they were the wrong color because I didn’t have the means to get red ones. My hair was the wrong color and way too short to do a proper ponytail. At least my bag was red! And we had a fun night bowling together, as I recall. (If you’re curious, no, we did not place in the costume contest and the group that took first place was a group of boys where one dressed as a pimp and the rest dressed in drag. Tells you a lot about my high school, doesn’t it?)

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Oh no.

AnimeNext 2009 — Lucas (Mother 3 / Smash Bros.): This Lucas cosplay was a travesty. My friends and I decided to cosplay characters from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but their alternate color versions. I don’t know why I went along with this instead of doing my own thing, since my friends were cosplaying characters recognizable regardless of color palette (Fox and Pit), whereas without his red and yellow shirt, Lucas is just a random small blond child. I had never worn a wig before, and we styled it the morning of the con. Instead of, I dunno, buying a striped shirt, I painted stripes on a white shirt, using masking tape to mark them off. Except, surprise, the blue fabric paint bled under the tape, so I tried to fix it with white paint, and it was just a huge mess. The only thing I like about this is my Rope Snake! I sewed him by hand out of an old t-shirt, and I think I still have him in the attic.

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Me with two Dark Magician cosplayers, because I have always been, and will always be, YuGiOh trash.

AnimeNext 2010 (Female Trainer from FireRed/LeafGreen): This is probably my favorite work! I did a lot of sewing work on this one, hemming a skirt I bought on eBay, making the blue shirt, altering a t-shirt into the black undershirt, attaching the red parts to a borrowed hat, and making the bag entirely from scratch. I bought some fabric, decided what dimensions I wanted, and went from there.

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I don’t do “angry face” very well, lol.

I wasn’t satisfied with the shirt though, so when I eventually brought this costume to Anime Boston in 2011 and 2012, I just wore a blue tanktop. By the time I brought it to AB I’d also resewn the felt onto a properly white hat, and I might’ve just worn red Converse with my leg warmers too, because I remember at one point the fabric top of the shoes mysteriously shrank and became very uncomfortable to wear (I don’t think it’s that my feet got swollen, because even though I’m fat, none of that fat is in my feet).

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Hauled this bad boy out of storage for its closeup, since it’s not properly shown in any of my pics!

The bag held up remarkably well through the three different cons I brought it to, although it’d need patching/remaking to put it to heavy, all-day convention use again. The skirt also no longer fits, and I want another try at doing the top properly. And I guess if I was gonna do this costume thoroughly, I’d have to get a really long brown wig, but I don’t like wearing them, so probably I won’t. Maybe I should get my act together and try and revive this for AB next year?

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Spooooky.

AnimeNext 2011 — Bosses from Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: This is the most impressive cosplay I’ve done by far, and getting to do it with a group of friends made it super fun! It definitely wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have friends that were waaaay more artistic than I am. One or two of them (or three? my memories have faded) did up the designs, we acquired our individual materials, and then worked together to get the costumes done. It was a very collaborative effort; most of the costumes were worked on by more than one person, at least a little. For instance, I vividly remember painting that lantern brown. Someone was usually playing Wind Waker in the background while others worked on costumes — this summer is definitely when I fell in love with this game.

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Another friend of ours dressed as Link.

I portrayed the boss of the Forbidden Woods, Kalle Demos. We used an old dress of mine as the base, and the sleeves are from a high school graduation gown that someone still had. The flower around the neck, is actually just a collar, so the whole outfit is relatively easy to put on, although I remember having trouble with the hat slipping around. I still have this one in the back of my closet, and last I checked it still fits! I’d wear it again, but doesn’t really make sense out of context. (If you want a look at the official art of the rest of the bosses, I’ve got a link for you here.)

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“And then I said, ‘OATMEAL? Are you CRAZY?'”

AnimeNext 2012 — Pinkie Pie (MLP): I had a very brief My Little Pony phase between 2011 and 2012. I originally tried to have this costume together for Anime Boston 2012, I even brought it to the con, but when I started putting it on, it just didn’t feel right, so I decided to revise it before wearing it. Part of that was restyling the twintailed wig I’d bought into a single ponytail, which was a mistake because it was incredibly uncomfortable to have all that weight in the back and the wig kept slipping back on my head.

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Ta-da!

I honestly wasn’t too crazy about this costume overall, except for the bag, which I sewed by hand again. This one worked out a little better than the Pokemon bag, because I made the strap wider and the bag smaller. I really felt that my costume was kind of mediocre, especially because my friends did AMAZING cosplays for this con. It made me not want to cosplay anymore, because I just felt that my crafting skills just weren’t up to snuff, and I didn’t feel invested enough in cosplaying/going to cons to put the money/effort/time into improving. After Pinkie Pie, I didn’t cosplay for six years. Which brings me to….

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2018 — Ariel (The Little Mermaid): This was a dream costume of mine. I’d even researched how I could do it back when I was more seriously into cosplaying. But this year for Halloween I was hosting a costume party at my house, and I saw Torrid carrying this dress, and the rest was history. I brought this to Anime Boston 2018 as well, and it was a big hit! If you want to read more about this costume, check out my post about the Halloween party, since I’ve already blathered on long enough in this post.

So there’s my cosplay history! I have some cosplays I’d maybe like to do in the future, but, again, it’s a matter of having the energy/skill/creativity to pull them off. Plus, I’ve kind of gotten too accustomed to just wearing comfortable clothes at cons (aka, the one con I go to annually) to feel much desire to go fussing about with cosplay again. So we’ll see what happens in the future!

–Krys

Thawing

When the long winter ends, and the first really nice warm day arrives, you ache to be outside. So when you’re finally released from your day of work, you acquire provisions and drive to your favorite field.

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It’s a simple pleasure to sit in a sun-filled field on a warm evening, a breeze caressing shoulders that have finally been able to shed their cardigan exoskeleton. The sun slowly sinks toward sleep behind the trees as the air is filled with the scents of warm grass and the cigar that a stranger is smoking a ways away from you. You’re not even sure if your grandfather smoked cigars, but somehow the scent reminds you of him, which in turn reminds you of how he loved taking you on your childhood Disney trip so much that he talked about it until he died. But the bittersweet sadness of this memory is whisked away on the wind before it can properly take root and ruin everything, thank god.

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You lie on the old soft blanket you keep in the trunk of your car, reading a good book, and feel real deep peace steal over you for the first time since the long season of storms began. There is sweet music around you — someone calling their dog, the breeze shaking the still leafless tree limbs, and yes, actual music, Latin rhythms softly coming from the radio of the stranger with the cigar.

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You’ve experienced all of these individual sensations before, but somehow taken as a whole, all at once, it feels lovely and new. You can’t remember the last time your heart felt so light, but as your skin warms up, you feel part of yourself blossoming like the yellow flowers on the bushes by your office. The cold times have passed, and it feels like this is actually the proper start of the year, that enchanted time when everything feels possible.

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The world is coming alive around you, and it perks you up to no end.

(I hope you all are getting to enjoy nice weather too, where ever you are!
— Krys)

 

 

Why do I censor myself?

In my previous post, I briefly mentioned that there are things that I can’t talk about on my YouTube channel. I wanted to talk about why that is, because you might be wondering why I, a grown woman, would feel the need to censor myself.

It all goes back to the 2012 trip to Germany I went on with my younger brother and my aunt. I vlogged a bit, and wound up showing this video to my aunt because I thought she would like it. It’s still one of my favorite videos I’ve made, and she enjoyed it so much that she asked me for the link so she could watch it again later. Rather stupidly, I somehow never thought that she would watch my other videos, because while my family was aware that I did YouTube, no one had really shown an interest in it, and I was pretty close-mouthed and private about it, because I didn’t want them watching.

When my aunt watches YouTube she’ll do it when there’s downtime at work because she’s not that technologically inclined and doesn’t quite understand how to use her home computer even though she can use her work computer just fine for the most part. Another essential piece of background info for this story is that my mom and aunt work at the same business.

One day my mom came home and said she’d had a small fight with my aunt at work that day because of a little video I’d uploaded called “Virgin Territory.” This video was inspired by an MTV reality show of the same name that came out around that time and followed the lives of several different virgins who were in their early to mid-twenties. In it, I discuss my own virgin status, and some of the circumstances surrounding that. My aunt was rewatching the Germany video, and then picked this one out of the recommended videos on the sidebar.

My mom and aunt’s desks are close to each other, but still far enough apart that you have to raise your voice slightly to speak between them. My mom’s recollection of the argument opened with my aunt reacting to the video intro in which I tell my mother not to watch the video by calling to my mom and saying, “She doesn’t want you to watch this one!” My mom responded that she wouldn’t have wanted to watch it anyway. And then when my aunt got to the part of the video where I say that I’m a virgin, she yelled, “Oh! She’s a virgin!” across to my mom.

My mom then got into it with with my aunt about how you shouldn’t just shout things like that across the office because even though no one was really around the office at the time, the office is small and what if someone else had heard?

At this point in her recollections, my mom stopped to say to me, “I don’t even understand why you feel the need to talk about stuff like that online anyway.”

Because I want to. Because I can. Because telling all my uncomfortable and/or unusual stories could maybe help someone else, whether it’s by actually relating to what I’m saying and gleaning some advice from it, or even as a distraction from their own troubles by using me for entertainment.

In that moment, sitting there in a room loaded with my mother’s disapproval, I felt something inside of me close off.

I’m non-confrontational by nature, and in order to avoid possible future confrontation with my family, I decided that there are certain topics I could never address in video (not all of them sexual in nature, by the way). It’s a loss and a limitation that still annoys me, which I part of why I wanted and needed to start this blog.

And the next time my aunt decides she might want to rewatch one of my videos, I will burn her a DVD.

This is Krys.

The last guy I was in a relationship with is named Chris. (Normally I’d change the name to protect the innocent, but this story won’t make any sense if I do. Almost everyone he knows calls him by an extremely unrelated nickname anyway, so it should be fine.)

One night we went to eat at a diner (I’m from New Jersey, occasional diner visits are mandatory or I get kicked out), and there was a bit of a wait, so I put my name down on the hostess’ list. Instead of giving her my full first name, which I’ve often had misheard as other names, I told her to put down Krys. (Which she probably wrote down as Chris, but whatever.) So when she called for us, she asked for Krys, and Chris said, “Why didn’t you put down your name?”

My response? “I did.”

He had no idea, and neither would most people.

Hello, I’m Krystal, but very rarely, mostly to my family, I am known as Krys. I’m called Krys so rarely that it sort of feels like a secret identity. And yet, Krys name is the one I’d like to use on this blog. The use of such an extremely personal name is a reminder for me to be my most personal self here. I already have a well-worn-in online handle I could have used — I’ve been krystaaaalkay since 2012, if not before. But for this blog, I want to abandon that name, for a couple of reasons.

  1.  There is a little problem with the name krystaaaalkay called “nobody can remember how to fucking spell it.”
  2. krystaaaalkay is more or less my “brand,” and in some ways it has become an alter ego. Yes, krystaaaalkay is candid with her thoughts, but she’s also highly veneered. She rarely appears in front of a camera without a full face of makeup, and won’t talk about certain uncomfortable things from her life that maybe she’d like to talk about if she didn’t want to make people uncomfortable. (Except mental health. She’ll always talk about her depression and anxiety.)

Krys is easy to spell. Krys doesn’t give a fuck about a lot of things that krystaaaalkay does. krystaaaalkay needs a full face of makeup to do a video. Krys is currently writing this blog post with her hair wet from a shower, wearing her pajamas — a floppy tank top, Walmart leggings, socks to hold in the lotion on her feet, and Crocs (her house shoes).

So here we go. Let’s lose the veneer. Let’s get sloppy. Let’s get personal.

Much love,
Krys

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