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What about the second noel?

Nobody ever talks about that one. It’s completely overshadowed by the firstborn. Typical.

So. It’s Christmas Eve. Our holiday plans are fairly chill. Even before covid, we tended to try to stay home as much as we could over the winter break. Partly due to weather – driving in the ice and snow sucks…though since it’s 69° F here today (nice), that seems to be a concern of the past. Climate weirding. Whee.

Mostly we just like to be in our own place, doing the things we enjoy. 

When I was growing up, we were a Christmas Eve present family. With my kid, I went a different route: we open a single gift on Christmas Eve – usually pj pants – and the rest are saved for Christmas Day, as are the stockings. Speaking of which, Starbuck adores Christmas. She recognizes her stocking as soon as we pull it out of the tote and she can’t wait for it to be filled with goodies. 

Today, dear Reader, I am going back to my roots. In a fashion. I have a couple gifts to share with you and you don’t even have to wait for tomorrow. 

1) The Story

To begin, I just want to say that I regret not getting this written up sooner. Each time I remembered, each time I mentioned it, I felt I was building it up to be something it’s not. So whatever your expectations are, divide them in two. Then again. Okay, now lower them just a scooch more. There you go.

It all started way back in the spring of 2020. Yes, that’s not even two years ago. But in Covid Time, it’s like a decade. 

This was before I quit Facebook (if you found this post on Facebook, I’m sure that sounds ridiculous, but my author page is the only thing I do on there. Well, that and check the groups for the HOA and the marching band because they both have a bad habit of only sharing certain information on that fucking hellsite). For those who were also chronically online at that point, you may remember that new Facebook groups sprung up like weeds. Many, many people were stuck at home when they were used to being at the office and needed to find ways to fill their socialization needs. Suddenly everybody was talking about everything and even the most inane observation could prompt days of conversation.

Case in point: I kept seeing these ads from MeUndies. They have this thing with their promotions where they use “normal” people. Or models who look like average people. Something like that. Anyway, I realized I saw a specific ad over and over; it featured a guy who had a tattoo on his rib cage that appeared to be an upside down wine glass with…something under it. It was a large tat – stretched from his armpit to his hip – and it bugged me that I couldn’t figure out what was going on with it.

Because I had also been caught up in the trend of expressing every thought online, I made this post:

An underwear ad with a man sitting on a white couch in gray boxer briefs. The text above the image reads "I keep getting this ad because my dumb ass keeps clicking on it because I really want to know wtf is going on with that tat on his side. ETA: Mystery has been solved! Image in the comments."

That got my friends involved in making guesses as well. My brain immediately went to tentacles, because I’m me – but it was nice that another of my friends was on the same wavelength. Another suggested it somewhat resembled a scientific illustration. A third had the idea that it might have something to do with a port wine stain birthmark. There was some discussion about a job history that might include catering, hence the spillage.

Because I was intrigued and because there was still that feeling of camaraderie, that we were sharing this experience with everyone else suddenly online all the time, I messaged the company. They were apparently feeling it too, as they jumped into the speculation pool feet first.

The first response was somewhat restrained, though they did also hazard a guess along the birthmark line.

It seems the MeUndies team needed a distraction as badly as the rest of us did, however, because they soon messaged me again:

Now, our CheekSquad team is joining the discussion! We’re so on for the quarantine debates! Wine spilling, creative tattoo to cover birthmarks or scar – these are just some of the guesses we have.

Never one to pass up a chance to make something weird, I included mention of the tentacle possibility in my response. A couple of hours later, I discovered our query had percolated through various levels of their team:

Ooooh! Tentacles? Well, one of our team members in HQ can’t sleep on it and needs closure – so she DM the model and asked about the tattoo. Guess what? It’s actually a tribute to his late father. He and his father used to drink wine together all the time and on the spill were words “you live on through the grapes”.

That someone was curious enough to reach out to the model was both surprising and gratifying. It was nice having others share in my weird little obsession. And to find out it was a tribute tattoo hit me right in the feels. I think it was the words in the spill that made it difficult to fully grasp in the ad photo. Had it been a full page in a magazine, they probably would have been much more clear. Regardless, it was nice to finally put my brain splinter to rest.

I thanked them for finding the info and expressed my hope that they and the model had found our “quarantime” (ugh, yes, I cringe now that the word was ever a thing) topic diverting. I know our little group enjoyed the mystery as well as the resolution.

He said: “Love that this person was curious enough to inquire. Tell them thanks for noticing”. Well, you and your friends really made our day! This quarantine discussion was really fun! After the quarantine is over – we’ll surely do a scavenger hunt! Thanks for your time! If you have more mysteries needed to be answered or just wanna ask us some questions, just holler at us! Good night!

Sometimes I think about that model and wonder if he occasionally remembers that some random person on the internet saw him sitting on a couch in a pair of boxer briefs and wondered about his tattoo. Could be this is a tale that is shared with new MeUndies associates; “one time, someone messaged us about a model’s tattoo!”

Or maybe it was there and gone. A brief interlude that passed like a whisper, leaving no trace behind. I haven’t asked my friends. Perhaps none of them recall it. There is the possibility that it only lives on in my brain. And now on my website, I suppose.

Well, there you have it. The much anticipated Story. Was it all that you hoped? (oh god, don’t answer that)

2) The Filk

As this is not something I’ve mentioned before around these parts, there are no expectations for it to live up (or down) to. Whether it is better or worse than The Story, well…

Just to get the (soon to be) obvious out of the way, I am not a singer. I have never claimed to be a singer. I did the best I could with my limited vocal talents. Should your ears begin to bleed, please stop the video immediately and contact your nearest urgent care center. Hopefully the bleeding stops on its own, because anyone who has ever tried to get seen at one of those places knows “urgent” is a misnomer.

Perhaps it was meant to be ironic?

Okay, now I’m just procrastinating. Here it is, in all its glory, my filk of Still Alive from Portal: I Won NaNo

Believe it or not, the filking plague was one of the best things to come out of NaNoWriMo this year. At least as far as I’m concerned. Honestly, I don’t know that I’ll participate in NaNo again. Y’all, it broke me. It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I even attempted any kind of creative writing. 

There has always been a kind of backlash for me after November. I’m bad at getting something done without an immediate deadline, so I always end up getting 30% – 40% of my words in the last few days. Makes sense that I’d need a bit of a break, time to recharge, afterwards. This year was different, though. Even with nearly a month off, I’m still struggling to get anything on the page. I think it may be time to admit to myself that pushing myself to be part of NaNo is counterproductive. Perhaps I will go back to it again eventually. And I will continue to participate in Game of Tomes and the tourneys. 

I need to wrap this if I’m going to actually get it posted before midnight. You may not believe it after all the bullshit above, but I truly wish you all the best in the coming year. I hope you have a supportive family and, if  not, a supportive found family. Really, the latter can be the best kind anyway. And hey – if you can have both? All the better.

Be safe out there. And, as always, eat trash, be free.

Categories: general musing

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Stormy Lane McKnight

Writer of trashy queer superhero romance, smutty sci-fi, and other things that are gay af. Disaster enby and all around bisexual wrecking ball.