Posts Tagged ‘I’m hungry’

About as ghetto as it gets

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

I like to save a buck.

Great Wall Chinatown NYC

Outside the 'bus terminal': taken about the time I started to realize what I'd gotten myself into.

This is a nice way of saying that – about certain things – I am as cheap as they come. Over the years I have evolved my own personal sense of where it is okay to scrimp and where it is very, very stupid.


  • Travel
  • Hotel stays of two days or less
  • Fast food (meaning: it’s all crap, so just order from the Dollar Menu)
  • Nail polish
  • Tank tops


Very, very stupid

  • Haircuts
  • Eyeglasses
  • Electronics
  • Dental work
  • Toilet paper


Great Wall Chinatown to York bus

The Great Wall bus is unmarked, of course, but you can probably smell it coming.

Thus, it goes without saying, I’m willing to endure a red eye or a long connection or even an airline I slightly hate (Southwest, anyone?) if it means I’ll save a hundred dollars or more. The way I rationalize it, the haircut is on my head every day for months¸ it better not look like a monkey did it. The flight or other travel inconvenience is just a few hours out of my life: I’ll suck it up.

Mostly I stand by this theory and will assert its wisdom.


Except for now.

<<< To explain, this post was written in large part on the Great Wall bus: super-ghetto, semi-direct transportation from Chinatown in New York City to York, PA (the nearest stop to my father’s home). I think I anticipated that it would compare with the unpleasant but otherwise unremarkable Megabus or GoBus. I was wrong. >>>

I chose Great Wall over my other lame bargain options because it was $25 (a $12.00 savings!!!), but what I didn’t realize was that I would be the only round eye on board. I also didn’t realize they would be airing loud Chinese movies overhead (no headphones required or, unfortunately, enforced) or that the whole place would smell like kim chee.


Custard Apple

The Cherimoya or Custard Apple, native to the Andean-highland valleys of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. I had some in Hawaii once. It was nice.

On the upside, my role as token white person has garnered me a seat to myself: the only empty chair on the whole bus, as near as I can tell.

I don’t know why, but the circumstances surprised me. For starters, I grew up in South-central Pennsylvania, and I honestly didn’t realize there were so many Chinese people there. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just mean to say that I might have guessed the entire town of York, PA had about 60 Chinese people, not that there were that many bussing in nightly. Good news, however, for those seeking Hami melon, cherimoyas, and bok choy: each person seemed to be toting six to eight bags’ worth apiece. (Thus, I imagine, the smell.)

Similarly, I didn’t realize transportation was so segregated. The rest of my maneuvers during my east coast jaunt has been facilitated by the spotty outfit known as Megabus: sometimes awful, sometimes perfectly great. Megabus sports a lively mix of white, black, Asian, Middle Eastern, and possibly non-human customers. There are accents aplenty and every hairdo from dread locks to skinhead. The bus driver will tear you a new one if your music is audible via your headphones, and they don’t cotton to loud cell phone conversations, either.

Chinese melon

There seemed to be several of these on board.

On Great Wall, anything goes. The driver started laughing when I got on, and couldn’t control his giggling when he came back to check all of our tickets. I had bought mine online – the only person to do so, of course – and their method of issuing me a paper ‘ticket’ was to take a photocopy of my driver’s license and have me sign it.

“A special memento to remember me by,” I told him, handing him the paper. “An autographed picture of me.”

“Special picture!” he agreed, nodding enthusiastically and giggling like a twelve year old girl. I’m not sure if he was laughing with me or laughing at me, but I suspect the latter.

Or maybe he just sensed that I had a full bladder and was pre-predicting my internal horror at the bathroom situation. Let’s pause and talk about that for a moment, shall we?


Great Wall bus plays Chinese movies

From my seat, en route to York.

1. You have to pee, so you make your way to the back of a wobbling vehicle rapidly changing lanes at 80 mph.

2. As you approach the bathroom door, you note that opening it involves sticking your hand into a splinter-ridden hole seemingly carved by a beaver.

3. Normal efforts are woefully insufficient: getting into this bathroom will require yanking, pulling, and tugging with every muscle fiber in your body.

4. Bus toilets – much like train and boat toilets – are neither fancy nor spacious. However, most of them at least catch the waste in receptacle. From the light shining up from below, you’re pretty sure that when nature calls on a Great Wall bus, there may be splash back…from the street.

5. There is no toilet paper, but shouldn’t you have presumed as much?

6. You didn’t really expect a door you opened by sticking your hand into a hole to have a lock on it, did you????

6. Apologies to those on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. If you foolishly drank a large Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shortly before boarding the bus, you may or may not have showered the windshields of several dozen cars with pee. It’s not your fault, really, but it’s still a little more third world than how you typically (like to think you) roll.


Dr. Bombay

Apropos of nothing, my friend's cat, Dr. Bombay, sitting at the kitchen table.

I’m not sure I’ll be rushing to avail myself of a second Great Wall journey, but there is one thing I like about my new Chinese travel companions, and that is – by comparison – I am Pamela Anderson. While in the area (the bus picks you up just off of Canal Street, because that’s the kind of classy I’m all about), I decided to get an I heart NY tank top. Tee shirts are plentiful, but tanks are strangely hard to come by. I finally found one in the back of a creepy little shop, and the female store owner was tailing me like a five-foot tall Hispanic man in Washington D.C.

“This!” she announced shrilly. “This tank top. This fit you.”

“But it’s extra large,” I responded. I wear a medium or maybe a small in ‘ladies’-sized brands. Extra large is, well, extra large.

“No. This fit you. Boobs too big.”


“Boobs too big,” she repeated, pointing at my acceptable but hardly DD chest. “This fit you, Big Boobs.”

And with salesmanship like that, how could I resist? So sure, the bus may stink like rotting garbage and my ears may be ringing from the sound of young Chinese women shrieking grievously on the super loud TV above my head, but my boobs are (comparatively) huge, my bladder is empty, and I have a seat to myself. What more could a lone white lady on a cheap ass Chinatown bus want?

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Canine Paparazzi

Monday, April 11th, 2011

You know how it works: you’re famous. Everyone wants to know if you wear underwear or not. You’re often climbing out of cars and staggering toward red carpets and – more often than one would ever imagine considering the circumstances of your life – you’re very infrequently wearing panties. This isn’t your fault. You were too busy rolling around on a bed covered in money and getting high on cocaine to worry about such mundane things as putting on some skivvies.

This is all understandable.

Paparazzi with cameras

Sometimes it honestly feels like this.

What I don’t understand is the dog paparazzi who plague my dog: the Japanese, the French, the Brits, the Southerners, the Indian girl I was almost kind of hoping he’d bite… The whole lot of them can kiss my ass.

I’m glad you like dogs. That’s fantastic. You’re obviously a super person, and I wish you great happiness and abundant success. But is it really necessary that you approach my dog without even glancing at the lady holding the leash and proceed to love on him for five minutes? Did it ever occur to you that maybe I have something better to do than stand there while you indulge your freaky canine fetish? What about you super breeders who have actually arranged your four kids in photos with him while he’s trying to find a good spot to crap in the park? Really? REALLY? What if he was a vicious killer with a handsome face? You remember Ted Bundy: it happens.

How about those of you that drop to your knees and wrap your arms around his neck without even once asking me if you can pet my dog, let alone checking if he’s friendly. Okay, well, yes, he’s friendly dammit. He’s insanely, stupidly, devoid-of-a-shred-of-self-respect friendly…but does that mean it’s a good idea to put a strange 100-pound dog into a bear hug? No, it is not. And if you were just eating Slim Jims or smell like Spam and he – for some unforeseen reason – decided to bite your lower lip off, guess whose fault that would probably be? Mine, I imagine, you stupid idiot. I hope you enjoy going through life with a bottom lip made out of skin from your nether regions.

Malamute and Himalayan

Ready for his fifteen minutes.

I realize the paparazzo are unhindered by any laws while in a public space: they can take any pictures they want of Madonna because she’s famous and she’s drinking a non-fat latte while wearing latex. I don’t know that this is entirely fair, and I imagine it’s rather annoying, but the primary difference is that Madonna is FAMOUS. She’s RICH. She can have her people go and get that latte if she preferred. Or she can afford incredible disguises the likes not seen outside of Mission Impossible movies. Or she can get her other people to do her hair and makeup so that she can be certain she looks incredible while rocking said latex and fetching said latte.


I’m walking a 100-pound beast – usually in the rain – in order for him to pee upon everything and eventually drop an elephant-sized turd somewhere. To add insult to injury, it turns out I’m also carrying a plastic bag in my pocket so that I can get up close and personal with said fecal matter, pick it up, and carry the steaming mess around like a lowly servant.

“Who’s walking who?” people often like to crack.

Who’s walking whom, indeed. I think the lady holding the bag of scat is on the bottom rung.

That’s why I wonder why you must commit the worst offense of all, oh tourist paparazzi: why do you include ME in these damn photos half the time? I don’t know you. You don’t know me. I don’t need to be in your family album. It creeps me out when I see your lens pointed towards my face. Correction: it creeps me out and makes me wish I’d done my hair and put on some makeup, for some day when I am important and famous and filthy, stinking rich, but probably not wearing latex, I don’t need old pictures of me in my red bathrobe with my motorcycle jacket over it, half-unconscious on Advil PM and carrying a bag of poop around at 7am because the sky was so dark I got thrown off about the time and thought it was a lot earlier than that, cropping up.

Thus, moving forward, I will be demanding the following price scale and printing a corresponding neck sign for us both so that there’s no confusion:

PET THE DOG: $1.00







Ask me about commemorative mugs, t-shirts, and our annual centerfold calendar! He might be neutered, but he’s still rocking a package. Thanks for shopping with us. Please come again.

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Hello again…apparently

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

It has come to my attention that some (many?) of you have been unable to access the blog – in fact, and more accurately, the blog sent your web browser to a screaming halt – for MONTHS.




I imagine that means that some of you will never see this (i.e. never come back) so I wish you fond adieu and apologize for my dire and continued lack of network administration skills. I am a 100-year old woman when it comes to managing this website. It’s a wonder I can even figure out how to post.

A little self-snapshot of me circa right now as thanks for your perseverance and proof of my continued existence, as well as evidence of my lack of St. Patrick's Day green and substantial indicators that I am thinking of growing my bangs out or they're growing out without much resistance for me or some such thing.

On the other hand, since it seems the only browser impacted was Internet Explorer and since even more obviously Bill Gates has a serious issue with me (get over it, Bill. It was years ago, and I was – and remain – too young for you, although I’m not saying I don’t regret it on those cold nights I’m eating Kraft macaroni and cheese and drinking cheap beer while watching basic cable.), I suppose we can predict these things will happen again. In that event, allow me to share some crisis-management tips:

  • The RSS works much like the post office (rain/sleet/snow/new versions of IE hate me)…or so I’m told.
  • Stockpile three days of non-perishable food. I recommend Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
  • Try a different web browser. (People I know who seem to be in the know recommend and use Firefox, which has the added benefit that – as far as I know – it has yet to turn on me.)
  • Purchasing a gas mask is NOT recommended
  • Send me an email, and I’ll do any system-wide WordPress upgrades I’ve been avoiding out of fear they’ll bring the whole world crashing down around me. The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
  • Avoid puddles of liquid, particularly if they’re full of chemicals or toxic stuff or even just sticky mud.
  • Do NOT immediately rush to the Emergency Room unless RSS, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera have failed and you simply cannot live without the blog. Hopefully someone there has a dual MD/MSCS degree and can get you some meds and hack into and fix the blog while you chill the f@ck out.

Otherwise, and as previously mentioned, welcome back and – a thousand times over – THANK YOU for actually coming back continually and after an unduly long and unnecessary and inexplicable absence. For you alone I shall strive to post better and more often and without the use of cheap staff in Banaglore. Your loyalty may some day be rewarded by a loyalty program or membership card or maybe even a unique gift chosen just for you!

But don’t hold your breath on that because – as previously mentioned – it’s really all I can do to keep this site up and running…barely. (What is this issue I have with typing “barfly” whenever I mean to type “barely”? A subtle, unconscious tribute to Bukowski? A desire to chuck it all and become a drunk? Late-onset dyslexia? And why doesn’t WordPress know about daylight savings time and realize it’s 6:15pm and not 5:15pm?  And why do fools fall in love? And where oh where has my little dog gone?)

Seriously though…welcome back to that same old place that you laughed about.

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Things Can Only Get Better

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Welcome to 2011.

I hate to start things off referencing (even accidentally) mid-80s pop musician Howard Jones, but sometimes distasteful choices must be made. If, like me, you are the highly suggestible sort and will now spend all day singing “No One Is To Blame” then please accept my apologies in advance. You can look at the menu, but you just can’t eat…

Anywho, and as the title suggests, I am optimistic for this new year to the degree that “it can’t get much worse.” Although I’m trying to be more power of positive thinking than that in articulation and presentation and overall attitude, truth be told, my mindset is more ‘buck up and knuckle down’ than ‘yippee.’

But maybe that’s 2010 talking?

2011 is the brave new world, without the caste system, but maybe in a sleep-learning kind of way.

Admittedly, my down mood (seriously kind of a year-long event now) has been hard on those who count on me for optimism. “You’re the one who always says it’s going to work out!” is the cry, and it’s a lot of pressure to be a cheerleader when your own team is on a losing streak. However, looking back at my entire life, I’ve always been the Queen of the Silver Lining (as opposed to the Silpstream), and I know I’ll soon hit my bounce. In fact, ironically – or not – I woke up on New Year’s morning with the words to an old Dar Williams song on my mind: “This is your year, and it all starts here, and oh, you’re aging well…”

And I believe it.

At least the aging part.

And I’ve made my list of goals (almost entirely professionally/writing related…but hey, focus on what you can control), and we’ll go from there. I have a new resolve and a willingness to work harder and broader and smarter than before, and I will try like hell not to look back on the disappointments of the last year as harbingers of the future. Part of process (whether it be creativity or life itself) is boredom and suffering and even despondency: it must be slogged through to get the ultimate results we want. Sometimes those qualities are an unavoidable part of getting to the finish line: they must be pushed through or even endured.

So perhaps they had it right: it is better to end than to mend and start anew. Take what we’ve learned and bet it all on a new plan. I have no idea whether or not that’s true, but let’s find out together, shall we?

Something tells me that’s the best option I’ve got…

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Friday, August 27th, 2010

I just got an email from my host that the server upon which this blog resides will “undergo an upgrade onto newer and faster hardware. This will increase performance of the server and ensure continued stability. This transfer will cause an estimated downtime of 4-7 hours.”

New hair

Putting aside the general terror associated with any server related  change (due mostly to an extensive prior history of things hitting the fan or looking like sh*t or ceasing to function altogether after said ‘upgrades’), what really has me baffled (and a bit alarmed) is that the intended date and time for this project is Friday, June 4th at 8pm.


June 4th like 13 weeks ago?

That June 4th?
Or are they giving me notice nine months in advance?

And do they really expect that I’ll remember this in nine days let alone nine months?
And is June 4th even on a Friday in 2001?

(No. No it is not.)
And why is my dog licking the keyboard?

And is dog saliva safe for a keyboard?

So do they mean to say they’re doing this upgrade tonight?

Same new hair, different background

Or that they already did it?

And can I have any faith that things will look as they should in the morning?

And do I really need this added stress?

(No. No, I do not.)

And am I going to do anything further than post this whiney blog and hope for the best and maybe avoid looking at my own site until at least Sunday for fear that I will find an epic disaster that I have pretty much no idea how to fix?

Probably not.

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