Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mexico: My Top 20 Red Hot Tips!

1. Befriend a maxin', chill girl who is fluent in Spanish and can hang with the locals.
2. Stay in a posada. You will make lots of cool friends. I recommend Casa Vilasanta.
3. Commit the phrases "Eres casado?", "Tienis novia?", and "Tienis hijos?" to memory. Trust me.
4. Take every opportunity to dance even if it means looking freaktastic onstage.
5. Never turn down a free shot of tequila (this does not apply strictly to Mexico).
6. Take a bus to a distillery in the town of Tequila and learn how to professionally taste tequila.
7. Do not turn your back on your camera. Ever.
8. Never turn down a shot a flambe.
9. Do not talk yourself out of attending at least one La Luche Libre match. You won't regret it.
10. If it's your birthday and everyone else has gone to bed, take a birthday shot anyway (thanks for trying, Josh!).
11. Never pass up an opportunity to speak French, even if it's spoken very poorly.
12. Make friends with the front desk people. The front desk people at the cooler hostels are especially nice. Ahem. (Melissa, we need to talk!)
13. Take every opportunity to speak Spanish, even if you royally suck at it.
14. Travel with an awesome person and you will never get lost (Amy, you rock!).
15. Take the night bus for long trips. Don't sit in the back.
16. Kindly ditch the people who judge you (this does not apply strictly to Mexico).
17. Girlfriends + long bus rides + tequila + Squirt = rockin' good times.
18. Yes, there are places to party on a Sunday night!
19. Mezcal is an arguably safe alternative to tequila.
20. Yes, Virginia, there are tall Mexicans!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Hotness

An extremely more detailed report will follow, but let me just tell you how amazing Costa Rica is. It´s amazing. I do NOT want to leave. A brief listing of activities that I have engaged in over the past week and a half:

bungee jumping
canopy zipline tour
crazy hiking through rainforests
hiking to a few intense waterfalls
jumping off one of the intense waterfalls
mangrove tour in a boat replete with monkeys (originally I didn´t know nor did I care one iota about mangroves, but now I consider them part of the hotness)
absofuckinglutely fresh roadside fruit stands with the biggest carrots I have ever seen (i.e. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde episode of LooneyTunes circa 1983)
Turkish Delight smoothies
wild horses
fresh coconuts cracked open by machete beachside
hell yes

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Goodness Gracious Me!

As you may know, I visited the southern portion of this great state this past week. I am happy to report that I lived through the experience, but not without sacrificing a small percentage of my soul to the great wasteland that is Columbus, GA and it's surrounding areas. I did not do it willingly; it was stolen from me. Fortunately, the way soul-stealing works (at least with me) is as soon as the buildings of Atlanta are visible from the freeway, the portion that was stolen is immediately returned back to me and all is well. The suffering is undone. I do not completely understand how it works, but I am thankful nonetheless.

Despite this painful process, I did try to enjoy what I could while I was ensnared in the thickets of hell on earth. I took some pictures. I make some funnies. I did some laughs. I tried to focus on the good things surrounding me: cows, peachtrees, grass, summer thunderstorms, heat lightning, fireflies, and vegetable gardens. But I could not entirely escape the insufferable boredom that accompanies these beautiful things. As soon as I stuck my head out of the window to breathe in a lungful of that precious polluted air, I felt real comfort and joy.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ray Bradbury

So I'm back into reading literary fiction again and it is quite refreshing. I always loved Fahrenheit 451 and I finally got a copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes. I'm lovin' it. Here is my fav excerpt so far:

"His wife smiled in her sleep.
She's immortal. She has a son.
Your son, too!
But what father ever really believes it? He carries no burden, he feels no pain. What man, like woman, lies down in darkness and gets up with child? The gentle, smiling ones own the good secret. Oh, what strange wonderful clocks women are. They nest in Time. They make the flesh that holds fast and binds eternity. They live inside the gift, know power, accept, and need not mention it. Why speak of Time when you are Time, and shape the universal moments, as they pass, into warmth and action? How men envy and often hate these warm clocks, these wives, who know they will live forever. So what do we do? We men turn terribly mean, because we can't hold to the world or ourselves or anything. We are blind to continuity, all breaks down, falls, melts, stops, rots, or runs away. So, since we cannot shape Time, where does that leave men? Sleepless. Staring."


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Good times, great oldies.

For those of you who are not familiar (god bless you), Columbus, GA is a military town. I have always had an ongoing *almost* love affair with all things military, but I have never immersed myself in the knowledge or been able to be fully swept away with the lifestyle. It is still fascinating, though. I respect the discipline, the hierarchy, the extreme commitment by those involved. It makes so much sense from the outside, but it is flawed like everything else. It is a human organization, so there are mistakes and politics and probably an enormous amount of bullshit to be tolerated. But they have supremely fast aircraft and that's a big draw for me.

Recently, I heard an interview with Gregory Levey on NPR who was talking about how, as a (bored) law school student in NY, he was unceremoniously drafted into writing speeches for Ariel Sharon. You should listen to his story. The U.N. is actually a really kickin' club and I want tickets to their tea parties.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thoughts on Violet Crumble

An Australian candy with this melt-in-your-mouth buttery crunchy stuff covered in chocolate. They call it "honeycomb"; I call it "delicious whatever". The chocolate is not the best, but it's minimal and the crunchy middle makes up for it. Get your mits on one of these (these were obtained from A Taste of Britain in old Norcross. They are probably also at Harry's or Whole Foods). I think it's one of the few foodstuffs still made with hydrogenated oils these days. Maybe that's why it's so good. Yum.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Creatures of the Night, Unite!

I forgot to describe the plethora of lightning bugs that I spotted on the way to TN a couple of weeks ago. I felt like a kid with her nose pressed against the glass in the van. I thought I was hallucinating at first, but I focused my eyes enough and the bugs were bright enough so that for several miles, I saw lots of tiny flashes of light along the highway. There were millions of them in the evergreens. I was so excited, I thought surely the locals would have been writing a blurb or two in the newspapers, at least the editorials. Right? I would much rather read about trillions of lightning bugs than half the stuff that's going on today. Can't I just bury my head in the sand and it will all go away?

Speaking of flashing things, I'm researching bioluminescent bays in Costa Rica. I know Puerto Rico has some famous phosphorescence, but surely CR has some, too. It's been sort of a priority{wish} for years now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sharon + Wii + Amphibious Sneakers

Friday I finally got to see Amy's mad marionette string pullin' abilities in the Cinderella Della Circus at the CPA. She explained to me how she does it, but I still do not understand. I believe that what she was trying to say is that it is some kind of old magic. Later, we made my very own Mii that ended up looking kind of like Cindy Lou Who.

Games at which Sharon excels ("excel" is used very loosely): Knitted cow racing, skeet and empty beer can shooting, tennis, and bowling. Games at which I suck: the matching faces game. This involves matching two or even three similar Miis while they're doing various activities like swimming in a stupid ocean or running through the streets. They do it progressively faster and faster so it's nearly impossible. Amy's score: 189 million Sharon's score: 0. Fail.

Saturday was Lauren and Patrick's wedding. The food was excellent and that's really all that matters, in my opinion.

Today I went to Abbadabba's and bought some amphibious sneakers for all of the globe trotting that I am preparing to do. They are red with stripes and they are fabulous. On my wishlist: a Camelbak & a 5-day hiking backpack.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

To the freak who would not stop rattling the door handle in Caribou Coffee today:

I am typically a mild-mannered girl. But today this biatch totally crossed the line with her incessant bathroom door handle rattling. She tried the handle very thoroughly the first time and I forgave her. I thought to myself, "Yes, she tried it very well and good. Surely she is satisfied that the door is, in fact, locked and will now wait patiently outside until she sees someone leave." BUT NO. A few seconds later, the same persistent doorknob handling. I'm in disbelief, but I still want to forgive. I'm like, "Ok, she's really got to go, but if it's that serious, she can step into the men's who wouldn't do that?". And then the third time happened and I could not stop myself from shouting at her "SOMEONE IS IN HERE, GO AWAY!!! JEBUS GOD!!! FOR REAL??!?!". I even muttered, "Just because you can't see me doesn't mean I'm not in here." A triple negative. I know. I kind of surprised myself. I mean, seriously lady, THREE TIMES?? Did you witness anyone leaving the one locked door that you tried only moments before?? Doesn't it stand to reason that the door will be locked until someone unlocks it? Then she made me feel kind of bad with her polite response of "Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't realize." Seriously?! How could it have been made any clearer to you that someone, a real person with needs and feelings, was in the bathroom?

The real issue that I have with what happened today is that one of the main differences between being an infant and being an adult is the ability to infer unwitnessed activities to explain situations that you do not understand and are presently experiencing. For instance, if I'm an infant and I see someone walk into the bathroom, I will not know that the person is still in the bathroom until I see her walk out the door again. When she walks out, I will be bewildered into hysterics that the person is now in front of me. I mean, who knew someone was behind that door and didn't utterly disappear from the universe? As an adult, I can make all sorts of inferences about the present situation even if I didn't witness the original event of the person walking into the bathroom. As an adult, I am capable of inferring that the original event occurred even though I didn't witness it and the locked door is evidence of that. I can infer from this evidence that the person inside the bathroom does not cease to exist simply because I cannot see her. The lack of object permanence is what makes peekaboo so crazy fun for babies and not so much for adults.

I made a vow to myself long ago when I finally calmed down enough mentally to tame my temper somewhat (today was a rare slip-up) that I would not let people rush me unnecessarily. There are examples of this subtle form of patience in anyone's daily routine. For instance, the passing lane. If you ride my ass, I am NOT speeding up so that you can zoom around me. I set the cruise control for a reason. I know that it increases my risk of getting shot, but I'm doing it for your own good. You need to slow yo ride and bullying me is only going to make me drive slower. [I feel the need to explain, however, that I only do this when I myself am passing someone. It seems that I sometimes do not pass people as quickly as they would like so they think that riding my bumper is going to make me pass faster. But they are wrong.] Yes, I am THAT person. And also, the checkout counter. If I have a wad of cash in my hand and you're standing there waiting to checkout, don't think that I'm moving out of your way just so you can save five seconds. You can stand there and wait patiently because I got to put my stuff away, ok? If there is room, I will move aside so that you can begin your extremely important transaction. It's a hard lesson to learn, but just because you have an agenda doesn't mean that it's more important than anyone else's. For real. DEAL.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Adolescent Memorabilia from 1935

I had the pleasure of visiting my parents over the weekend. My parent's house has become a treasure trove of mostly invaluable items (and I do mean they do not have value unlike the other "invaluable" that means they are priceless and so expensive that you cannot put a price on them. I remember learning the meanings of "invaluable" and "priceless" as a kid and it totally blew my mind. Like, I specifically remember getting those words wrong on a vocabulary test in fourth grade and LEARNING AS A RESULT!!!). This weekend I thumbed through a dilapidated book entitled "Classmate Autographs". I eventually figured out that it was my grandmother's from 1935. Here are some examples of the things kids in high school said to each other back then (names have been reduced to initials to protect the identities of the 90-somethings who may be reading this):

When you are married and spanking six,
Remember me between the licks.
Forget to forget,

I wish you luck and happiness through out the
year of 1935.
R. (my grandmother's future husband--not much of a creative writer, but he was pretty hot in the pictures I've seen so I guess she overlooked that. Or maybe he was ahead of his time because that's about as creative as people were in my yearbooks...)

When you are married and live by the sea,
and when your husband quits just look for me.
A. H. J. (pretty fresh--how does a husband quit, exactly?)

A lump of dust
A stick of wood
A kiss from you
would do me good.

The well is deep
The water is muddy
Your darling face
is all i study.

In your garden spot of memories
Keep for me a tiny spot.
In the depths of your affection
Plant for me a forget-me-not.

Excuse the writer
Blame the pen
Save the writer

Long may you live
Happy may you tarry
Love who you please
But (for your sake) mind who you marry.
M. (This is my personal favorite. Well done, M.)

I also found a certificate that said my grandfather was a Lieutenant Colonel of the Aide-de-Camp, which is apparently something to do with the Governor's staff? I wiki'd it, but I still don't know what it means. It sounds extremely boring, though. Like, between my grandmother and DAR and my grandfather and the Freemasons, my grandparents were pretty swingin' in the social organization world which is what kept people entertained before the internets. Whenever I think of freemasons now, though, I always think of that song by Penal Colony and the words "freemasons of (enochian magick)". It's a good tune and very endearing to the memory of my grandfather. And they used to think that I was in a cult! So silly.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Because I just had a round of hide-n-seek with my cat! I'm on a second wind. By far, one of the coolest personality traits of my cat is the hide-n-seek tendency. Here is a typical game: I walk into the hallway where cat is sitting. Her eyes are quite round and maniacal. She darts with some furor under the couch, or, these days, behind a box, and crouches, wild with anticipation. At this point, you can feel the tension in the air and I am glad that I am not a small rodent. I stand there and feign hesitation at going out into the open meadow of the living room, like Bambi's mom. Cat charges and ends the charge with a pounce that sends me reeling the other way with a giggly scream. I scramble to the side out of the hallway, into the kitchen and out of my predator's sight. I slowly reappear around the doorway, reengaging said predator. The game ensues until cat wants it to end. It is great fun. My cat is pretty genius for a cat, even if I do base her genius solely on her instincts and not on any real scholarly aptitude. It's awfully cute.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Black Bottom Coffee = Liquid Crack Cocaine

As you may or may not know, I am putting my things into storage and traveling for as long as I can until I either run out of people to exploit for their dwellings or money or both or whatever. This prospect has so far been more exciting to those with which it has been discussed until tonight when I talked it all over with a friend over a nice steaming cup of liquid crack. She happens to be going on a similar adventure in Mexico except her trip, God bless her, actually involves learning things and sounds quite productive. Like, the kind of productive you can be totally immersed in another culture, forced to acclimate as best as you can and be as resourceful as possible. So now we're trying to meet up somewhere in Mexico, sometime in August, for some kind of profound experience that also includes tequila tours and .... Like, what else is there to do? Am I going to have to read the internets again to find out? Maybe I could teach yoga to the locals by day and perform in a mariache band at night. Unless mariache bands are so totally gringo that they only exist in U.S. restaurants just like queso dip. When I found out that queso dip is really just melted American cheese, it felt like such a letdown. I don't want to be the clueless American who goes to Mexico expecting THE BEST queso dip and mariache bands only to find that they are illusions of Mexican culture that exist only to satisfy the American quest for something exotic-yet-palatable. Does yoga exist in Mexico? Am I displaying my cultural ignorance by asking that question? Am I too self-aware? When did this become not fun? Why is blogging so much work? Is this really work? I can type like I'm cracked out on speed so it almost seems like nothing at all. If I could get paid to do this but be lots more interesting while doing it, that would be totally rad and that's it I'm going to be a travel journalist I just have to keep thinking slightly faster than I can type and everything will come out fine I can add the punctuation in later it's a good thing that my spelling is pretty right on that will be much less work to do later when I edit ok goodnight.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Caving and Korean Stinkyfruit

So, I went on a spelunking adventure last weekend which, much to my surprise, also turned out to be a nudist camp/naked hot tub adventure for the so inclined. (*If you are interested in participating in future events, check out The AOC's website.) This was my first event, so I don't know how crazy all the events are. I'm guessing that if there is alcohol involved and it's an overnight stay, all kinds of things happen in all kinds of tents. Just remember that bonfires purify and you should be ok. Note: Ask me how you can avoid losing your iPod! Answer: I don't know! I lost mine!

Our group of 13 went into Worley's Cave. It took roughly one hour to find and four hours to explore. It was dark in that sure was. I think the highlight was sitting around in the complete darkness for several minutes, snacking and chatting. Oh, yeah, and getting out alive. That was cool, too.

Some of our Korean friends brought a delicacy that for the sake of simplicity we will call "stinkyfruit". It looked exotic and smelled quite craptacular. It smelled like rotten meat and scared many of the weaker stomached drunks away. I, however, have a very strong iron-like stomach, especially when empowered by strong social lubricants and an even stronger affinity to show up a man any chance I get. So I ate it. At first, it tasted like the rotten meat that it smelled of. Then it started to taste like cheese. Then it started tasting sweet. At the point where it started to taste sweet, I swallowed and all was well. I repeated this experiment twice and lived. I also didn't complain about the smell until I ate guacamole the next day and I swear it tasted just like rotten meat. I would rather be a fan of guacamole than stinkyfruit because stinkyfruit costs $20 a pop from a Korean grocer and I just can't work that into my fruit budget.

I highly recommend AOC events, Korean stinkyfruit, and responsible drinking.

I don't like any of the Blogger templates and my house smells funny.

Mmkay. So I finally cleaned out the litter box. Thank you to Eric who has volunteered to keep my cat for an undetermined length of time while I spend some time on the road--er, in aeroplanes--and crashing couches in order to "find myself". Lately, I "find myself" engrossed in C-SPAN, but for the life of me cannot reason why. I do sleep better, though, and I "find myself" feeling more like a real American citizen every day. But, it's only been two days. And already, RESULTS!

I can't wait for the election. I long to stand in line early, to once again feel like part of the corporate workforce for an hour or so. I miss the polls and the shifty laughs you get from those in line with you when a driveby shouts "YEAH, KERRY!!!" or whatever. The names will change this year, but the sentiment will remain the same. The air will be crisp, the leaves will be changing colors, and there will be a certain charge in the air, like some of us in line are going to be making a huge mistake, we just don't know it yet. I checked in this morning for the daily prayer and I have to say the chaplain did an excellent job. I was ready to work! Except I don't work in the House. It is fascinating to see Nancy Pelosi in action (I had to Google her name to see how to spell it. I admit my faults on the rare occasion that they manifest.). She has great command of the post and rules the whole room from her little roost there on the top. She gets a great view of the tops of all the shiny heads of the guys who are either catching up on sleep (great representation can only come from a well-rested Representative) or who are head down, too busy texting their mistresses to pay proper attention to the real issues and H.R. 333. Screw impeachment, I'm all about some lunch and a quickie.