Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tricks, Treats, a Trap and October 31st Madness: "Jessie's" Halloween Adventure

The last time our author cross played as the femme fatalle of Pokémon's extremely laughable Team Rocket, there was much love for him as a lady. On a date that is traditionally the time for guys to dress as girls and vice versa, “she” (for the lack of a better word) would have to dodge raindrops, march in the annual costume parade in Newtown, get a small glamorous makeover and then from there hand out goodies for ghosts and goblins at his crib in a span of just over twelve hours!

Because of the Irish influence in many things – potato farming, beer making, celebrating holidays – we can thank them for the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with parades, drunken debauchery, wearing green even though they might not be of Gaelic decent. We can also thank them for the modern celebration of All Hallows Eve, where people celebrate with some parades, some drunken debauchery, and wearing outfits that are more suited to an episode of Let’s Make a Deal the rest of the year. Cosplayers have joked about a slogan for this time of year as it were: “Amateur Night”.

The last time that I went out as Jessie, Team Rocket’s diva, de facto leader and sex symbol amongst the okatu from the Pokémon meta anime series with my new costume, it was at an anime convention, and the outfit was met with glowing reviews and praise from those that were there. Now another event was coming up, Halloween. Another morning into day into night as a female being played by a male, and to paraphrase Maxwell Smart “loving it.” And to add some spice to the rack as it were, throw in a bit precipitation through most of the day until a downpour ceased the activities of October 31, 2009.

Fright Time IS The Right Time?
For me, the time of 4:00 AM is a good time to wake up when you have a long day of playing ahead. Put on top of this the fact that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA to the locals in Philadelphia) was scheduled to strike at 12:01 AM, but delayed the strike threat first until 6:00 PM that evening, and then ultimately until the 2009 World Series passed through The City of Sibling Love. That, though, would be another story to be told at a later time. So after the customary shower and shave, I got dressed into my make up, tights (two pairs to keep warn, even though the temperature was scheduled to go up to a balmy for October 72°), padded bra and panties, body shaper, back brace (making me look even more effeminate), leotard and cheerleader briefs (or a “modesty brief” as they sometimes like to call it.) I even decided to shorten the skirt I wore a bit making it look like Jessie’s micro-mini as it were in the illustration below. Women, I now feel your pain as it were to don this part of the outfit. The skirt (for the lack of a better word) looked like more a giant belt. At 5:30 AM, I exited toward the bus stop and I had everything except one little thing I forgotten: those green earrings. I had hurried out the door, and forgot to put them on and left them. It was too late to turn back, and since it was drizzling, I put a white poncho made from low grade cheap plastic atop the costume to prevent it from getting wet. There were a couple people who recognized me from a similar trip I made the year before as Alice in Wonderland; after all, it had been 373 days since last year’s event, which was postponed and the judging had been moved indoors to the Newtown Theater, so this year it looked like the same.
Wet, damp, drizzly, rain threatened to spoil the party as it were. Arriving at the transfer point of the Route 84 near the Franklin Mills Mall located on what was an orphan farm, and then Liberty Bell Race Track. Simulcasting of horse racing within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had came one year too late, because the track was closed in 1985. The tales I had there would have to be put on hold for some future story. As I awaited the Route 130 to head out to Newtown, a small borough in the middle of Bucks County, there was a down time as it were. A year earlier, things were hunky dory to speak. Small businesses were doing well on Main Street, the local Chevrolet dealer was okay, and autumn was in full bloom. Well since then, Stockburger Chevrolet was forced out of business by General Motors, the lot closed but the service area still running. But just like anyplace, there was a Starbucks Coffee shop. At one time, as Dennis Miller said before he retired from comedy, “They’re actually planning to open a Starbucks inside a Starbucks!” Now our story gets to become fun.

Inside, a kind lady saw me dressed as I was and then was taken aback by her request: she wanted my autograph as Jessie! An autograph? In character? How could I not pass the chance up? She then decided to buy me a hot chocolate and sticky bun out of her Starbucks card. The cost was $5 and change. Well worth it needless to say. Everybody there got a kick of my appearance, so much so that one employee asked if he could take a picture of me with my camera phone. Again, how could I pass the chance up, it is after all, October 31st? So after giving him some brief instructions on how my camera phone works, I posed in a rather sexy (if you can call a 5-foot-9, 270-pound man dressed in a somewhat revealing outfit from the chest down) pose, legs crossed on a chair at the coffee shop. When I later saw the picture, I noticed a little “fan service” as it were. In the pose, I accidentally showed my panties in the shot.

The Fan Service Kiosk
Well, what exactly is “fan service” you say? Allow the pillar of education called Wikipedia to explain it all to you:

Fan service is a vaguely-defined term primarily used for anime and manga (Japanese illustrated cartoons) to refer to elements that are unnecessary to the storyline. Fan service explicitly refers to material that is designed to amuse or excite the audience with sexually-derived content. When such content fits within the storyline, it would not usually be considered fan service, but excessive content is usually considered gratuitous regardless of its justification.

Any gratuitous content included in some form of entertainment primarily to please a core group of fans is fan service. The term has been used in a broader context than just anime, including the three Star Wars prequels.

The typical, but not only, variety of fan service is racy or sexual content (usually female but sometimes male) used to titillate the viewer, such as nudity or other forms of eye candy. Shower scenes are very common in movies, and in anime of the 1980s and 1990s, while many more recent television series use trips to onset (Japanese Hot Springs) or trips to exotic tropical locales, in order to showcase the characters in bathing suits. All aim to depict characters in states of relative undress when it would otherwise be out of place with the tone of a series. In anime, two common types of fan service are the panties shot and jiggling breasts. Male homo eroticism, such as accidental kisses, is a common feature of fan service for females, and has been described as ‘easier to get away with’ in terms of censorship than fan service for males.”

Therein lies the answer to the question laid out. Yes, even Pokémon has had some kiddie fan service moments. The three female protagonists – Misty, May and Dawn – all have worn bathing suits and both Jessie and James wore them as well. And there was the now-banned episode “Beauty and the Beach”, where James donned inflatable breasts in one of the most controversial moments in the history of children’s television in America.

Forward, March!
So much for the fan service. Let us return to the story of that date in question. After Starbucks, I walked in my thigh-high boots that are tight in the toes toward the landmark called The Stocking Works. has an explanation of the building, its history and the the current use of this historic place:

Originally, the Newtown Hosiery Mill (a.k.a. The Stocking Works) operated out of this building at 301 South State Street. In 1884, the Excelsior Bobbin and Spool Works was founded by John B Mawson in Yardley. In 1889, it was moved to Newtown after a fire destroyed the Yardley plant. In 1904, the Bobbin and Spool works chartered the name Excelsior Bobbin and Spool Company, which expanded with new buildings and updated equipment. After the brief tenure of the stocking manufacturer, the building was used by a stained glass company, a bobbin factory, and then during World War II, by the Lavelle Aircraft Corporation.

When World War II started, there was a tremendous demand for aircraft, and Lavelle expanded to meet the demand. To mark its success, a ceremony was held at the plant in July, 1945, where the company was awarded the Army-Navy ‘E’ for excellence in production. After the war, the company changed over to stainless steel production for jet engines, missiles and satellites. The world's first weather Satellite, TIROS 1, was manufactured here in 1960. It recorded the first TV image from space. Some of the components used in the Apollo space missions were also manufactured here. In recent years, the property has been renovated into office space.”

So thanks to the borough of Newtown, Pennsylvania, we wouldn’t have The Weather Channel or even, Neil Armstrong would have never declared “Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” And to complete the cycle, the building has gone from hosiery to stained glass to bobbins to airplanes to steel manufacturing to office space. Anyway, returning to our tale of travel, as I stood in the parking lot of the historic complex waiting for an okay, and I had doubted it would go off, but surprise, surprise, surprise. The judging went off without a hitch, and my judges were dressed as the pre-slutty Janet from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and a Civil War soldier because he does reenactments, the ultimate in cosplaying as it were. As did the parade, with the Council Rock South High School Band – complete with their band major dressed in the infamous Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia zentai green man suit – going right to the theater. And fate would have it, politicians looking for re-election in the area handed out officially licensed Pokémon trick-or-treat bags, and I was just plain lucky to get one of the only two. After a brief performance by the band, we went into the theater for the prize presentations, and needless to say, I didn’t win. Hey, I tried.

As I went about the town post-parade, I ran into a mother and daughter who complimented me as a nice-looking lady. After thanking them, I sprung the oldest Halloween trick of them all: I told them that I was a guy. Mom was shocked, and actually wanted to pose with me for a picture. The daughter, aged 11, ran away but reluctantly came back And because she was a good sport, she took our picture together. Later, as I was awaiting the bus to head to my next destination, a lady passing by in her car gave me a wolf whistle. It was after that onto the return trip Route 130 bus to Neshaminy Mall and more fun.

I decided to head into Macy*s there and ask for a makeover at the Lancome counter. Needless to say, the people were surprised to see a guy who stands is dressed in a micro miniskirt, baring a midriff as it were and in thigh-high boots and wearing a burgundy (or a dark purple?) wig come in and ask to have a makeover as an bossy, evil diva. Thank you, my dear friend for doing so. For the next couple hours, I went out and did trick-or-treating inside the mall. A 48-year old guy dressed in comedic crossplay drag doing trick-or-treating. And since my skirt was falling down a bit, I headed to American Eagle to get a re-pinning of my micro miniskirt to the proper length.

Theres No Place Like Home...and Getting Theres Half the Fun
Well after about an hour of this fun, it was time to head home. On the way to my house, after getting off SEPTA Routes 14 and 70, I decided to walk from the terminus at the intersection of Cottman and Torresdale Avenues, it was walking down Torresdale Avenue to meet a few friends in my outfit. They were really taken aback on how I looked to say the least. To say they were shocked was an understatement, as for two of the last three Halloweens, I was dressed for the whole day in my costume. In 2007, I was Alice in Wonderland, in a blue dress, pinafore apron and Mary Jane shoes. I went to Center City Philadelphia (we never call it “downtown”), got made up at the Sephora there and had a lot of fun. I looked like I had stepped out of Disneyland after having opened a “Drink Me” bottle and grown tall enough not to fit through that door.

In 2008, the whole thing was called off because of a small parade honoring the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. So I only wore the costume for trick-or-treaters who had gotten juice bottles with a label attached with “DRINK ME” upon them. From what I know, Center City was too crowded and it would have taken forever to get home with overcrowded trains.. I was disappointed because this was going to be my first championship parade I missed (and it was a quarter century since the last big event of this kind happening) because of the lack of tickets available at Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field – you had to either be a season ticket holder or enter a drawing to get the ducats, plus the fact some moronic scalpers decided to sell them on eBay for $500 or so – and that in turn riled my anger that Id like to see any future parades move from south to north, say at Eakins Oval in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And irony of ironies, the team was playing the [CENSORED] New York Yankees in the World Series this year. That however, was not going to be historic for our fair city as those Damn Yankees win their 27th World Championship.

Well, when I finally came home, the neighbors playfully wolf whistled at me, and the whacked out (in a good way) neighbors from around the corner who have a haunted porch every year were getting ready for their scare affair as it were. Even the girl from three doors away liked my costume. The trick-or-treating commenced early due to the postseason baseball events, and we gave out a lesser amount of goodies (in this case, small bags of pretzels) before the rains came at 7:10 PM in the evening to end the legalized begging because of that and weather issues. So all in all, fun, weather, and sleep during a World Series game was enough for me. After all, isnt All Hallows Eve supposed to be like that?

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