The international adventures of a singing, dancing zombie queen.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

There is a "massage" studio in downtown Berkeley. It always has the windows and doors covered, and looks SKETCHY. I had always suspected that there was more going down there than described by the term "massage." Then I saw this sign on the door while walking down the street one day... . Posted by Hello

Sometimes I wish I had three hands...

That way, when approaching a blog, such as this one, in which I feel overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of how much I have to write about, I could not let my cigarette waste itself away in the ashtray while I type.

So.... I found out in the last couple of weeks that I am getting laid off on December 1rst. Kablammmo! I've been filled with all sorts of anger, frustration and wrath about that, to say the least. I was supposed to be employed until Mayish, which would've been great for my time schedule; have a little travel and then head off to my new life as a grad student. Instead, all of this stress has come up on me a month before my GRE, and I will be either without a job or possibly in a new job just in time for me to have a whole bunch of grad school applications due. My wonderful manager is trying to find me a job, which rocks; as does she, but I'm really quite freaked out about the whole situation; mostly because it shakes the foundations of the next nine months or so of my life, which involve great amounts of change and into which I had just settled with a feeling of confidence and happiness that my life was finally getting back on track. I'm just trying to convince myself that it will all be okay. And it will, I'm sure, but I'll just have to improvise a lot more, especially with my time and energy. Who knows; maybe it will be great; maybe I will have a job lined up for January, and I will get unemployment for the month of December and have a wonderful load of time to get all of my applications and recommendations in order. One can always hope, right? Maybe I should consider taking those two weeks off before starting a new job, if there is that option; or at least the first week of December. Herm... that might just be a great idea. But Hay-sus!! It's not what I needed right now!!!

I had my self-defense class again today, and it was once again amazing. Today we reviewed stuff we'd done last week, and learned some more techniques, such as how to fight off an assailant who is on top of you and choking you and spreading you legs to get between them and rape you. Then we had a "custom fight." This is a fight in which you can choose the scenario; you can choose to fight against some evil voice in your head, or you can reenact a situation that you have been in before, and make it turn out the way you would have wanted. The other specific difference about a custom fight is that you don't have to de-escalate the situation. It's an opportunity for you to say whatever it is you want to say to that person. You can cuss and scream and tell them what you really think and feel. Needless to say, it was really intense and personal. Especially because you got to tell the muggers (the assailants) what to do and what to say to you.

My fight was a mixture of external and internal realities. My mugger was one of the random men who treat me like a whore and a piece of trash when I'm just trying to walk down the street. He told me that I was worthless, that I wasn't anything except the way I look, that I couldn't achieve the things that I want to achieve because I was nothing but the way I look, and that I need to look this way because it's all I've got, and that you could tell, and that I do it on purpose. And I yelled back at him that he was wrong, that I am a worthwhile person, that I can do whatever I want to do. I screamed at him that he had no right to treat me that way, and that I can do what I want. And then he went in for the attack, grabbing at my hair and throat, and I fought back. I kneed him in the groin and I screamed and I was fighting and no longer crying, and I kneed him in the head and he grabbed my legs and I dropped to the ground and kicked him in the head and kept coming at him until he made the sign that he would be unconscious. One of my classmates, who was standing behind him, said that I made his head look like a punching bag, because I kicked him like six times in a row in the face; like that scene in Scary Movie 2 when they're parodying Charlie's Angels and the African American girl just keeps kicking Hanson in the stomach, triple speed, until her shoe burns off with the friction. Heh heh heh. Afterwards, I finished the fight and ran over, and I had those choking sob/sighs, and I was shaking and I felt so amazing, and all of the women were cheering for me. I was all cracked out on adrenaline and crying again and smiling the biggest smile of my life. This class is totally amazing. If any of my friends out there would like to come to the Public Celebration on Saturday afternoon, send me an email, and I will see what I can do. It will change your life.
And you know how I'm not partial to "hippie-esque" generalizations, so don't take that lightly. It will really change your life to take this class.
Heh. Just imagine what I could do with three legs....

Sunday, September 19, 2004



I just got home from taking my first self-defense class from Impact Bay Area, previously know as Model Mugging. Wow. It's really hard to explain the intensity of the whole experience, even just day one. Each of the students escaped a full-force attack by fighting back eight times, and it was just the first day. One of the most thrilling things about the experience was really feeling the adrenaline and the fear and the power that it brought up from within myself. During the first exercise, I felt like I was in my body, and full of adrenaline, and fighting really hard; we elbowed and kicked in the face after being grabbed from behind and taken to the ground, and even the times when I wasn't quite doing the kicks right, I was still really impressed with the power of my legs, but when you line yourself up like they tell you to, you really send the assailant off of his center and through the air a bit, which I guess I never really knew I had the power to do. For our last attack, we could choose which one we wanted to do or choose to have the mugger decide how they were going to attack us. I chose the latter, and I was most impressed with the fact that not only did I beat him off of me, but also that I was really thinking of what my openings were, despite being scared and full of adrenaline and in a mental state totally unfamiliar to my own.
The most intense part of the day, though, was definitely the "reversal," which is when you start lying down on the floor and the assailant straddles you and holds down your arms. Basically it's a rape scene, but I am sure that the rape scenes will get more intense next week. This week he was just silent, and your legs were together, but even so, the idea of letting this huge man get on top of you threateningly was terrifying. Mortifying. We were all emotional just getting in line to do it. When I laid down on the floor, I said, "this is really scary," and just started bawling. I just couldn't even begin to control myself, and the instructor lady said that it was okay, and they would wait until I was ready. So I pulled myself together, and I said to myself, "I want to be ready. I want to be able to do this." She gave the go-ahead to the mugger, and I shut my eyes, and already started bawling again. He got on top of me, and I opened my eyes and looked up at him, and "went to zero," which is when you let your body go completely limp in order to trick the assailant into thinking that you will cooperate, so that you can look for your opening. I did it, but I was totally balling. Just sobbing, and then I felt my cue, and I flipped into crazy attack mode and I moved and bumped him back with my body weight and got in my position and started madly nailing him in the head with my heel and I was balling and crazy scared and angry and screaming.... and I kicked the shit out of him until he was "knocked unconscious." Even though I was totally bawling; and moreso because of it. They talked about, afterwards, how the thing to realize was that even though I was "out of control" or "hysterical" that I was in fact in no way out of control, and in fact I was more powerful and stronger than I would otherwise have been. They talked about how women are told that they are weak when they are emotional and that they shouldn't be that way precisely for that reason; women are crazy powerful in that head space, and I could think well enough to handle myself and look for openings, and to fix my technique on my kicks to make each one hit the mark stronger and better. It really makes me feel so much less scared already; not just to know how to fight back, but to know that I don't need to be afraid of feeling fear and adrenaline and hysteria.

There was awesome support and bonding that went on between the women, too; I really feel at a loss of how to share the experience of this all with everyone else, but I can't wait to go back, and I really really encourage anyone else who can to take this class. I can already feel that it has changed me on a deep level. Wow.
If anyone wants to know more about it, I'm open for questions...

Thursday, September 16, 2004

So, my friend, John, who had his heart valve replaced with one from some lovely late donor, got his broken one back in a baggie. If it grosses you out, well, then, don't look closer, but if not, well then look closer; you can see the extra nasties caused by the bacterium...  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Hoooray!! I got the scholarship for the Model Mugging class, and they are paying for a huge chunk of it!!! Yey!!! And I get to start the class on Saturday! Yey!!! Soon I will be kicking assailants in the face without fear! Yey!

Actually, I've had a pretty lovely week. I have been escorted/driven home every time I have had to come home after dark, which is relaxing. And I just joined a chorus, the Berkeley Community Chorus, so that means I will be singing again, and lots. I was pretty surprised to discover that I can still sing a high B flat, even though it's been five years and many cigarettes since I last tried to sing classical music. Soon I'll be kicking assailants in the face while trilling a high B flat; maybe I'll get even higher and be able to deafen them; I'll just carry around a crystal glass, and if anyone screws with me on the way home, I'll just hold it in front of their eyes and hit perfect pitch.... that sure would leave pepper spray in the dust.

Today I started working on an article for the Reel Video newsletter; it's going to be a Martha Stewart-esque decorating for Halloween in an Argentoesque kind of article... I sure do wish I lived in a house with crazy paintings instead of this ancient, now nicotine-stained "white" paint. Maybe when I am old and have my house with a lake to swim in, and lots of cats, I will take to painting the walls like all of the different rooms in Suspiria. That would make me happy. Yey!

I've also been feeling better and better about studying for the GRE. Although, it still baffles me how it is that my reading comprehension scores aren't the greatest. I think, personally, that I just think about things too much/ have different interpretations than they do. Yeah. Obviously, I am right, right? Why can't I score my own GRE? I would just explain any answers that they wanted to argue with me about, and give myself a 790 on everything. Heh heh heh....

It's been fun to start thinking about what schools I might go to. My plan is to just apply like crazy, and then to see where the cards fall... I'll apply to Santa Cruz, but maybe also to Chicago, Seattle, New Zealand, some american Uni's in Europe... stuff like that... Might as well, huh? It's so nice to finally feel like I have a path plotted out for myself; now there's a list of things that I have to do, and as long as I do them well, I will be in school and moving forward in life. I suppose, really, that I've always known that about myself, but it always seems to surprise me. I want to take my dance teacher with me, though. She's little; she'll fit in my bags. She might beat me to a pulp afterwards, but hey, maybe she won't mind... hee hee...

I keep wondering, though, whether I will actually get to take a big adventure before I ship myself off to school. I really want to; I'd love to go visit my friends in Germany, maybe go to Wave Gothic Treffen again (that's a big gothy/industrial music festival in Leipzig,) maybe just ride the trains around in Europe, see Prague again... plus I am wanted at a wedding that will be in Wales in some cave in April. It's Londonsummerloveboi's wedding, and his fiancee rocks. I keep imagining it sort of like that movie, the Wicker Man, even though that was on an island way up north from there. But I haven't really ever done a backpacking thing. I've also been considering a cross-country road trip sort of deal... hit up New Orleans, finally, New York, Maryland, Chicago, just visiting friends and testing the pie. Speaking of that; I saw someone reading a book on BART recently that I read a page of over their shoulder; someone had decided to take a road trip for exactly that reason; to test out pies. And they made a job out of it, because apparently they sold the book before they went on the trip, and were pretty surprised that they'd been able to do it. How awesome would that be??!! Travel books rock, really. My personal favorite is "Flaming Iguanas", which every girl should read. It's about a woman from NYC who decides to get a motorcycle and travel across the US with a friend, and they're going to do it as a gang, the Flaming Iguanas. Only the friend backs out, and the protagonist never finishes embroidering her leather because it beats up her hands, and so she does it alone in a leather jacket that says "FLAM" on the back, and tells lovely stories about being scared as a new rider of a motorcycle, and falling in the mud, and funny rednecks and walking into bathrooms that you can still smell the scent of pent-up vagina from some woman who'd imprisoned her privates in polyester. It's easy to read; it even has little pictures.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Eavesdropping quote of the day:

"Charlton Heston is a godsend. He's the best thing that ever happened to the NRA. I love that man."

Nothing like working in Concord, eh?

Today there were actually a couple of young guys hanging out in their car in the parking lot of Planned Parenthood, hitting on the clients. One of the girls I had been working with came out with a bagel, and the driver guy said, "what you got in the bag?" Now, mind you, usually when a girl walks out of there with a brown paper bag it has birth control pills or Monostat or condoms or something. She told him it was a bagel, and offered it to him. He said, "you wanna share it? Come over here, and we'll share it!" She rolled her eyes and smiled, saying, "I'm driving away now." I wonder; does that work? Trying to pick up women at a Planned Parenthood... what were they thinking? Ahh, Concord.

I kill zombies. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

good news!

Well, my friend John, the amputee punk star, is out of surgery, and is doing great. Stanford accepted him, and cut an eight inch incision in his chest and cracked him open and cut out his heart and replaced the shoddy valve with one from a cadaver, and now he's doing great and healing up wonderfully!! Hooray!

ghetto, roses, ghetto, roses.

That is what my neighborhood is like. Fourth Street posh with it's paper for eight bucks a fancy sheet, right next to crack houses.

On Saturday night, someone got shot about a block from my house. Apparently a drive-by, and they shot him about eight times. You could hear some man yelling cuss words afterwards and a mother screaming in mourning, "My baby! My baby!"

The question of the season is; "how cheap is your rent, and is it worth it?"

Honestly, I'm pretty sick of this. I went to watch a "public celebration" video for Bay Area Model Mugging class, because I'm applying for a scholarship. It was intense; made me cry a little bit. They teach women in high-stress situations, and with full force how to defend themselves from a single unarmed assailant. There are guys with full body armor, and you learn to kick them in the head until they supposedly pass out. They cuss at you, and intimidate you, and there are rape scenes and even a rape scene where they strangle you with a piece of cloth. It's hardcore. I really want to take the class, and to stop feeling scared when I am walking home. The woman who was working there and the woman who came to watch the video both were shocked by hearing how often I'm harassed. They wondered why, and so do I. My friend M says it's because I "exude sexuality", but christ, I am just walking down the street! I don't think it can all be blamed on my physical likeness to a local sex-worker. I get bothered everywhere... And it feels dumb and embarrassing that I want someone to walk with me now when I am walking at night. I feel encumbered, and I don't like feeling vulnerable. Well, hopefully I'll get some sort of scholarship, and I can take this class.

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Dance & Fitness Faculty member at San Francisco Peninsula Community Colleges, Director, Choreographer & Featured Dancer, Founder of the Living Dead Girlz, and Owner of the Steele Dance Company, which provides entertainment for festivals, corporate events, conventions and private events. Teaching private dance lessons and creating choreography since 1997, Steele graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Double Major in Dance and Comparative Literature and completed her Master of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography at Mills College. She has toured all the major cities in Germany and performed at the Cannes Film Festival as the featured dancer in TRIP -- Remix Your Experience, a multimedia exhibition of film, live music and art. Steele has also performed as a featured dancer for RJ Reynolds (CAMEL) promotional events. Steele currently manages the go-go dancers of "Poor Impulse Control," who perform frequently in San Francisco's industrial, alternative, and rock venues.