Monthly Archives: August 2012

Around the Block Kind of Girl

There is one question that comes up in conversation that irrationally irritates me to no end:
“Do you have a boyfriend?”

The answer has always really been no, and I NEVER have an answer to the almost-as-bad-really-inappropriate follow-up question, “Why not?”

Because I’m NERDY and WEIRD and SKINNY WITH NO BOOBS OR BUM and RIDING THE SOCIAL STRUGGLE BUS, k?

(And I don’t want to date someone my dad’s age, or a stalker, or a jerk…)

A good 95% of my boy-experience has left me blushing (and not in the good way). And there haven’t been many guys that even come through my life – I’ve actually been to more countries outside of the United States than people I’ve slept with. Well, toodley-doo!

So basically, cities around the world have become my boyfriends. And it’s true, I have deep feelings for everywhere I’ve gone, and I’ve felt truly heartbroken to leave some of them. So here it is, PATHETIC AS IT F**KING IS, my lil’ black book…my boyfs…the cities of the world.

(And photos of me with them, sometimes sharing with other girls because well…that’s the way it works sometimes):

Nueva Alianza, Guatemala — The Do-Gooder

How we met:  Not long after I’d given up on a real person, I wanted to volunteer, Nueva Alianza was an eco-cooperative in Western Guatemala. Match made in hippie heaven.
How long did it last: 10 days
Did the breakup hurt?: Damn skippy. For a couple of reasons, one I might touch on later. But mostly, how in the hell are you supposed to leave a rainforesty paradise in the mountains overlooking the Pacific ocean?
Best part: Waterfalls and rosa de jamaica

Guatemala City, Guatemala — The One with the Bad Reputation

How we met:  Crossed paths when we flew in, but reunited when we had to wait for an incoming traveler. Supposedly one of the most dangerous cities in the world, intriguing and surprisingly calm–didn’t encounter any bullet spray.
How long did it last: 6 hours
Did the breakup hurt?: Nope. More like a strange little hookup.
Best part: Fruit vendors set up shop next to hour little waiting spot outside this church.

Antigua, Guatemala — The Dinosaur

This city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and I totally get it—it’s a giant Spanish ruin. This was my favorite picture because we were a bunch of silly fools in it, but it was also taken in the Parque Central, which was my favorite part of the city. When I think of Antigua now, I think of ice-cream, purple flowers, hibiscus tea, and little old ladies singing Happy Birthday while playing the piano.

Volcan Pacaya, Guatemala — The Hotheaded, Just This Side of Abusive, One

How we met:  I had a thirst for a challenge, and thought that Pacaya wouldn’t be that difficult of a climb from the bottom. I mean, it’s got green pastures!
How long did it last: A 3 or 4 hours? I was pretty much done after I got to the top and it kicked my ass.
Did the breakup hurt?: Kinda. It was beautiful and memorable. Still an ass kicking.
Best part: Standing next to liquid hot magma.

Rome, Italy — The Long-Term Relationship

How we met:  I was ready to be swept away to a foreign land, eat tons of tomatoes, and be smacked in the face with awe, Rome did not disappoint
How long did it last: 3 months of glorioso
Did the breakup hurt?: I still have a box of Kleenex next to my bed and hazelnut gelato in my freezer.
Best part: Finally, FINALLY falling in love.

Florence, Italy —The Hipster

How we met:  Took a trip to Tuscany for the weekend, somehow wound up in Florence, charmed
How long did it last: 2 days
Did the breakup hurt?: Not particularly, but I look upon Florence fondly
Best part: You get one word–leather.


M
ontecatini, Italy — The Chill One

How we met:  Bored with Florence, I cheated on it with Montecatini at night. Relaxed, and quiet.
How long did it last: 2 days
Did the breakup hurt?: Nah, merely a tryst
Best part: Outdoor bars, sexy looking streetlights, natural hot tubs(!)

Pisa, Italy —The One Who Will Let You Down

How we met:  I was intrigued with Pisa’s obvious reputation and tower. Kiiind of a let down. And I HATE this picture of me.
How long did it last: 2 hours. Bleh.
Did the breakup hurt?: Been there, done that, will not miss it.
Best part: Chilling on the lawn nowhere near the tower.

Milan, Italy — The Swaggy (Thank You Justin Bieber)

IHow we met:  When I first got to Italy, I really wanted to go to the most stylish city I could think of (save Paris). Milan is incredibly easy on the eyes and has good history and substance.
How long did it last: A day
Did the breakup hurt?: Kinda, I just didn’t feel stylish enough for Milan. I wish I were.
Best part: The shopping is great but the copious amount of guerrilla advertising is even better.

Cinque Terre, Italy — The Adventurer Athlete

How we met:  I was introduced to Cinque Terre by one of my professors in Italy, who knew immediately that I would fall in love at first sight.
How long did it last: 8 hours, not NEARLY enough.
Did the breakup hurt?: Heart torn to shreds. Want more than anything for Cinque Terre to take me back.
Best part: The impossibly teal (and warm!) water! The beautiful hikes through olive fields and lemon groves! The cliff diving! The seafood! The pesto! The beaches! The peach gelato! The architecture! The mind-numbing craving I have to return!

Mount Vesuvius/Pompeii, Italy — The Whole Foods Granola Guy

How we met:  After my tumultuous experience with Pacaya, I was feeling especially masochistic and wanted to tackle another volcano. Despite having such a scary, angry story behind it (destroying an entire city), Vesuvius was incredibly gentle and probably wears smart wool socks.
How long did it last: 2 hours
Did the breakup hurt?: Not really, but I pretend it does because of Pacaya. Sometimes I like to be tragic.
Best part: The wide array of refreshments at the stand near the summit.

Naples, Italy — The Ganxta

How we met:  Forbidden to see Naples, by the ones who cared. I fiddled around the edges that I saw after Vesuvius. Craving danger.
How long did it last: 2 days
Did the breakup hurt?: Yeah, surprisingly. Didn’t do much but chill on the beach with a Nastro like a drug lord’s wife. It’s nice for life to be that easy.
Best part: The incredible tan (yes, TAN) I got that weekend.

Paestum, Italy — The Wallflower

How we met:  Again, introduced by someone else. Found it interesting because it’s got a unique place in history (the best preserved Greek ruins just happen to be in Italy), but wasn’t what I expected
How long did it last: 1 hour
Did the breakup hurt?: Not really, I think I’ll actually go to Greece
Best part: Snails. Everywhere.

Verona, Italy — The Romeo

How we met:  I’ve never been one for romance (which is probably why I’m equating cities to BOYS right now) but I wanted to see a legit Italian opera while drinking Italian wine and sitting in an ancient stadium. And that whole Romeo & Juliet jazz wasn’t as horridly embarrassing as I thought it would be.
How long did it last: 2 days
Did the breakup hurt?: Yes, surprisingly enough. It was romantic too. We broke up in the rain.
Best part: You’re seeing it. The sitting in Juliet’s tower. Though seeing Aida was absolutely stunning.

Nice, France — The Really, Really Good Looking Guy

How we met:  I was staying in Nice (though I was going to Cannes and Nice was a lot cheaper to stay in), but I was taken aback about how flippin’ gorgeous it was. Everywhere I went I felt like I was in a J.Lo video or something.
How long did it last: 4 days
Did the breakup hurt?: Yes. Leaving anything that beautiful would be tough.
Best part: The best, most amazing Lebanese food I’ve ever had (and I’m an expert) and the half-naked male models in the fountain behind me.

Cannes, France — The Lazy One

How we met:  I aimed to go to Cannes for a certain festival…(advertising, a month after film). The 2 days of festival were amazingly fun, but that’s about it. Beach was amazing though.
How long did it last: 2 days
Did the breakup hurt?: Mmmm, no. The festival was the best, but Cannes didn’t aim to impress in any other way.
Best part: Dancing with Yoko Ono, falling asleep on the beach in Cannes while reading a book about the beach in Cannes, CREPES BRITOGNE.

Chateau D’If, Marseilles, France — Jim Caveizel

How we met:  Briefly in high school after I was forced to read The Count of Monte Cristo entirely in French. The Jim Caveizel movie was the reward. And there was no way in hell I was going to the South of France and not going to Marseilles. Sacrilege.
How long did it last: 8 hours, not including the 4 hour train rides
Did the breakup hurt?: Lifetime love I’ve been stalking? Of course.
Best part: The views, the vistas, the smell of sea air!

Chicago, Illinois — The Dude Next Door

How we met:  I’ve always known Chicago. It’s relatively close by, have a few friends that moved there seeking citylife, been there enough to feel comfortable.
How long did it last: Ongoing, I’ll always be close to Chicago
Did the breakup hurt?: Can’t say we’ve ever broken up, just engaging in mild flirtation
Best part: St. Patty’s Day, as pictured. Once in a friggin lifetime experience.

Vienna, Austria — The Skinny European Guy

How we met:  My best friend has been in a long-term relationship with Vienna for 2 years. I wanted to meet the city that had stolen her heart.
How long did it last: 1 week
Did the breakup hurt?: No breakup. I never mess with another monkey’s monkey.
Best part: Honestly? The food. Cafe breakfasts, little pastries, kaisekrainer, apfelstrudel, schnitzel, Zotter chocolate. I started learning German from food names.

Budapest, Hungary — The One with Beautiful Hair

How we met:  I’d heard Budapest was amazing from a friend named Carmen Sandiego. My curiosity got the best of me. This city has some of the most beautiful architecture and bridges I’ve ever seen in my life.
How long did it last: 3 days
Did the breakup hurt?: Yes, I wanted to stay longer. Do more!
Best part: Ruin bars. Then the Gellert baths, but eating goulash in a little cottage restaurant was cute.

Las Vegas, Nevada — The Wild One

How we met: You don’t need a Flo Rida song to tell you why Las Vegas is the wild one, why I went there or how I even heard of it.
How long did it last: 4 days
Did the breakup hurt?: Not really, because I know I can always go back for a hookup.
Best part: This picture. Also carrying walking with drinks outdoors. And how beautifully, strangely inspiring the city is.

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Detroit Hustles Harder

This is the truest statement and should be the unofficial motto of the city:

That being said, I hate Detroit. But I truly love it too. The things I hate about Detroit aren’t really the crime rate (you will not die within a hour of entering the city unless you came there for bad purposes), or the phenomenal unemployment rate (hey, it’s hard to find a job anywhere).

What I hate most about Detroit is that it is so gravely misunderstood by outsiders (and by outsiders, I’m including people in the Detroit-metro area) as a place that is as hostile as Qandahar. The glorious flip side of this is seeing the flicker of fear and admiration in someone’s eyes when you go out of state and tell someone you’re from Detroit. “Really? Is it scary?”

The second thing I hate most (and its a painfully close, skin-of-teeth second) about Detroit is its administration. Since the days of the Kwame Sutra and even before that, Detroit has had some truly ass-backward people in power. In Detroit, if your name is recognized, you will get elected to mayor/city council (really, this is true everywhere but esp. Detroit). Doesn’t matter if everyone on the council is greedy, ghetto or nearly braindead, Detroit rezzies will elect them because he/she has the same last name as ______, was on the news,has pretty hair, is RayRay’s cousin, etc. (i.e. Monica F**king Conyers, [1] [2] [3])

But those are really the only two things that bother me. I love that there are people who embrace The D. We all know the Detroit celebs that love and adore the city they hail from

(Eminem, Kid Rock, every Motown singer ever) and the ones that try to hide it

(Yes, you, Madonna). But even Madonna can’t hide her Detroitness, that ballsy outspokeness and take-no-prisoners relentless drive is Detroit all day long, just delivered in a slightly English accent.

I can already feel the post getting ridiculously long as I’ve got a lot to say about it, so I will make a point about business in Detroit, share a video and wrap it up:

I said all that jazz about embracing Detroit because there was a BRILLIANT plan for Detroit’s severe urban blight problem…you know, this crap…

And actually doing something with it, instead of City Council sitting on their butts talking about what they’re going to do with actualfacts crumbling buildings.

Mark Siwak, a guy from Clawson (which is maybe half an hour out from the city), wanted to erect a zombie theme park in Detroit, turning the blight into the [most perfect] setting for the world’s largest game of Zombies vs. Humans.

City officials reaction? “Absolutely not.” They don’t even go as to say why, as if this is an idea more ridiculous than laying off firefighters or turning out street lights in what is often called THE MOST DANGEROUS CITY IN THE UNITED STATES. Detroit can only have so many urban farms. And there’s a zombie park opening in Atlanta this Halloween…

I support Mark Siwak’s idea and have a completely different ruin idea of my own that I would absolutely love to see into fruition in Detroit. But that’s looking like another post.

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Warrior Dash Part Deux

I folded and bought some pro photos from Warrior Dash. There is some actual photographic evidence that I did it…aside from mud.

This was not the best moment for my face. I look like a drooling bird here. But it’s the finish line, I’m covered in mud, it was worth it.

Better one of my face. What kills me is my friend Sara’s face, she’s not having it in this photo. Or any of the pictures. Her expressions are truly golden, as you will see.

The highlight of Warrior Dash is the leaping over fire in the end. Note Sara’s face as it falls deeper in distress.

Aaand more of Sara’s face…really the hands, dig the hands…

Sara’s face culminating in this beautiful grimace and forever bombing this poor happy girl’s finish line picture.