Category: Travel


Cock fight

I’m a lover, not a fighter.  And by that, I mean I’m a huge pussy.  I don’t like confrontations, and I certainly don’t like getting into fights because I’d just rather not get punched in the face repeatedly.

So it was sorta weird when I found myself having strange violent tendencies this morning.

Crowded TrainAfter a couple of warm(ish) days, mother nature decided to bring a fresh serving of mild rain and snow overnight.  Now, if you live in New York, you’ll know that the slightest whisper of inclement weather brings the highways and public transit to a goddamn halt.  And that meant that my commuter train into the city this morning was inevitably delayed. When it did show up, it was already packed full of commuters, with dozens more trying to shoehorn their way aboard.

Since all the seats were taken, I had to stand in the aisle.  No biggie, there are worse commuting catastrophes.

Now, to the uninitiated, there are two distinct forms of train-riding behavior.  There are those who’ll talk with anyone around them, whether they’re friends/neighbors or complete strangers.  These are outgoing, gregarious windbags who have a goddamn opinion about every fucking thing in the world.  Then there are those who will go to extraordinary lengths to mind their own fucking business.  Partly because of the first group who like to bloviate incessantly.  That first group need to go fuck themselves.  I fall squarely into that second group.  In fact, I’m almost religious about it.  More to the point, I find it hard to carry on some silly casual conversation without a beer in my hand.

Anyway, this morning, I’m standing the aisle in the middle of train car, minding my own business – headphones in ears (the new Orbital album “Wonky”, is lovely, by the way), tablet in hand, reading away.  Oddly enough, I was reading about a street fight.  Then I felt a slight nudge to the right.  Then another poke.  I look over and there’s some fussing from this guy in the seat next to me, as he reaches for his jacket, shuffles some papers around his briefcase.  He’s just being a fidgety wanker, I figured.  I ignored him and went back to reading.

As the train starts to pull into the Grand Central, there is now a distinct shove from my right.  Then what felt like an elbow in my side.  This middle-age Chinese guy seated next to me was now properly trying to irritate me with his shoving.

I swung around and barked, “HEY!  Stop shoving me.”  Everyone in this otherwise quiet train car now turned to glare at me.  Great, now I’m the asshole.

Like I said, I typically prefer to avoid confrontation, so I’m not sure what made me snap suddenly.  I must’ve spooked this asshole a little.  He looked at me and uttered, “Wha…?  What’s your problem?”

My problem?  My problem is you.  Stop pushing me.”  Everyone’s still staring at us, by the way.

He then motioned with his right hand, “Get out.”

What the fuck.  The train had just pulled in, the car was jam packed with riders, and there were easily 50 people ahead of me who were trying to disembark.  And this fucker tells me to “get out”?

I swear I was prepared to choke the bitch.  Actually, I was prepared to first punch him so hard and square in his fucking ratface, and then choke him.  I realized that my left fist was clenched, ready to launch.  I didn’t even think anything of hitting this fucking guy.  I was prepared to do it as if I routinely knocked people out every day.  Just as casually as if I was getting a cup of coffee.

What.  The fuck.

Somehow, common sense prevailed (or pussydom, depending on how you see it, I guess).  I gave him another glare and told him, “If you touch me one more time, I will hit you.”  And with that, I turned and walked off the train.  More bewildered glares.

Only after I had walked out of the train station did I realize that for some reason, I was fully prepared to beat the living shit out of some guy this morning.  Where the fuck did that come from?!  I don’t get into fights.  I get into plenty of arguments, but because I’m a huge pussy, I almost never let it escalate to the point of someone throwing a punch.

I’m pretty sure the last time I got into a fight was when I was about 10 years old.  When I was playing soccer in school, and some fucking kid missed a tackle on me, and in frustration, swung his open palm across my face, hit me square in the ear, and popped my eardrum.  I remember the instant pain and ringing in my head, and my own arms flailing wildly to exact revenge on this cowardly little shit.  That was the last “fight” I got into.  And it wasn’t even that good of a fight.

Anthony Bourdain suggests in one particular “No Reservations” episode, “I happen to believe that everybody in this world at one point in their life needs an ass-kicking.  It is an enlightening experience getting your ass kicked.”  He’s probably right.  Because whether you’re at the delivery end or the receiving end of an ass-kicking, it’s a life experience.  That’s a life experience I’ve never had.

Do I need this sort of life experience now?  In my late-30s?  Bullshit, I’m supposed to be a proper functioning member of society, a responsible dad (!), that sort of thing.  I can’t go around trying to punch complete strangers.  Right?  Right?

punchOr maybe I should just get it over and done with.  At the very least, if I get shoved again on the train, I’m just gonna punch the guy right in the balls.

The most common risks when flying are delays or unplanned diversions.  That and unwittingly pissing off a surly TSA agent who orders you a full cavity search.  Not crashing in a ball of fire, thankfully.  But delays and having your flight diverted to another airport?  Sure, that shit happens several thousand times a day.

Like last week, when my flight from toasty Ft. Lauderdale back to stormfucked New York was first delayed by several hours, then diverted in mid-air to Washington, DC, thus making me scramble to book another flight out the next day.

This was when I finally understood the single-most vital piece of travel equipment with which one must be always armed when travelling – good headphones.

I’d sooner lose anything else I’m travelling with – books, clean underwear, rescue inhaler, you name it.  All that shit is worth losing if you manage to hold on your precious headphones.  Headphones that you stuff into our left-right head holes, plug into your iPod and drown out all voices around you.

You see, all the voices around you at airports from all the other travellers are all bat shit crazy aural diarrhea that will make you want to commit murder if you listen for more than 30 seconds.  You do not want to commit murder at the airport because that will probably fuck with your travel plans.

So yeah, headphones.  To drown out all the retarded yammering of these flying windowlickers around you.  This time ‘round, in my haste of running around airports to chase planes that were going to absolutely nowhere, here are some of the gems I had the misfortune of overhearing while my headphones were neatly stuffed away at the bottom of my bag, frustratingly out of reach.

  • I stood in line ahead of three well-tanned cougars from the Jersey shore who spent what seemed like an eternity debating just how long one can or should wear a pair of jeans without washing them.  When you shit your pants.  Or look like you shit your pants.  The answer is when you shit your pants, OK.  Now please shut up.
  • Intense business professional looking all Brooks Brothersy, and more importantly, flashing one of those look-at-me-look-at-me bluetooth earpieces, who kept angrily gesturing and barking into the air, “I could care less! I could care less!”  You show ‘em who’s boss, Joe Suit.  I honestly couldn’t care less if he got sucked into the plane’s engine.
  • “I think I’m gonna have a Five Guys cheeseburger with the works.”  “It’s 6:45 in the morning.”  You don’t even realize why you need universal healthcare, America, you fat fucks.
  • Election banter – SO CURRENT, PEOPLE! “They have us divided!  Short, tall, Israeli, Palestinian, Muslim, voodoo!” said one guy to another.

These are only a handful of awful things I unwittingly overheard at the airport.  Frankly, after a few minutes, I just lost count.  It’s bad enough that I gotta travel with all these fuckwits, now I gotta hear them, too?  And seriously, they’re all fuckwits.  Do not feel compelled to speak to anyone else when you travel.  You have absolutely nothing in common with any one of them other than a coincidental mutual objective to get the fuck from one place to another.  That’s it.  You have no idea who these people are.  They could all be imbeciles.  Attorneys, pornographers, vegans.  Fuck ‘em.  Much better to block them out and deflect any opportunity to interact with them, actively or passively.

Which is why you don’t set foot near an airport without a decent set of headphones.  Ever.

 

 

I’m fucking famous.  No, not really.  I just seem to have inadvertently drawn a bit more attention to myself than expected.

Holy shitballs, Malaysia.

Yesterday, I wrote a piece about how I feel about my country of birth.  As with most things on this blog (and by that I mean everyfuckingthing), I guess it was a little less than complimentary.

Most people don’t even know where the fuck Malaysia is on the map, nevermind give a shit about it.  So, with most of the shit I post, I didn’t expect anyone to read it.  What I also didn’t expect was that the stupid write-up would get passed around in Malaysia like a goddamn herpes outbreak.  When I peeked at the blog stats, I didn’t just get tens or hundreds of clicks – I got thousands.  In the first 24 hours, WordPress tells me that this stupid story had been clicked on over 10,000 times.  And about three-quarters of it had come from Malaysia.

It’s so stupid that anyone actually gives a shit about what I have to say about anything.

Seriously, who gives a rat’s ass.  I have no influence over anything or anyone.  My own kids don’t listen to me.  And people are getting caught up in what I wrote?  Fuck you.  People should give a shit about large collectives who do and/or say stupid shit.  Lookin’ at you, North Carolina.  And Arizona.  Because that’s when you realize that it’s not just one insignificant person – that’s a large festering group of like-minded imbeciles.  And that’s fucking terrifying.  But I digress.

In any case, I didn’t expect the sort of response I got for that piece.  WordPress does this thing where I have to approve a comment before it’s posted.  It doesn’t just do it automatically.  Which drives me a bit bananas, because that means it permits people to approve only positive comments to their blogs and leave off the negative ones.  Fuck that, I make sure every comment gets approved and posted.  Which also means that I wasted far too much time making sure all these comments I got were posted.  You get in, and you get in, and you get in… everyone gets in for free!

So I got slightly buried with comments.  Some more eloquent than others, natch.  Some more coherent than others, duh.  And some more outraged than others.  So I thought I’d milk another post out of this subject and try and respond to some of them here.  Some of these sentiments are repetitive, so I’ll just respond to one given example of the comment.  Cool?  Cool.

 

That’s actually a rather good point about the treason bit.  I still hold a Malaysian passport, because I’ve been too lazy to get it switched.  That said, consider how you’re actually condoning the idea that irrespective of my own location, a blog post warrants as an act of treason.  A stupid blog post.  Words on the interweb.  Is treason.  You’re a fucking idiot.

 

I fucking love comments along the lines of, “Hey, fuck you, you fucking fuck!”  The threat to me being “fucking dead” if I was in Malaysia is a classic.  The little dollop of bigotry at the end with the “faggot” seals the deal nicely.  A+

 

That’s right, “most”.

 

I wish I knew more about what East Malaysia’s like.  I never visited when I lived in Malaysia.  It boasts this wonderful, brilliant flora and fauna that not enough people marvel over (everyone’s always busy going to Kenya, South Africa, or South America that’s had better marketing).  But the neglect and exploitation of the indigenous people are not lost on me.  Because it’s largely the same all over the world.  The original keepers of the land are shit, and why would anyone expect things in Sabah and Sarawak, and to some measure, the other Orang Asli tribes (by the way, is that still cool to say, “Orang Asli” – I have no gauge of ethnic sensitivities in Malaysia anymore – hah, just kidding, no one in Malaysia gives a flying shit about ethnic sensitivities; my own father until a few years ago was still calling black people “colored”!) on the peninsula.  I watched this episode of Bourdain’s show once in which he went to Borneo – I swear I saw more of what Borneo was like on that show than when I lived in Malaysia.  Having never visited East Malaysia is a massive regret for me.

 

I didn’t take any fucking easy way out.  I fought hard to legally stay, live, work, and pay taxes here in the U.S.  I’m not letting others do anything.  I’m not asking anyone to take anyone down.  I don’t give a shit anymore.

 

THAT’S RACIST!!!!!

 

“Defecate his own brain” might be my new favorite phrase.  I’m totally stealing it.  And then I’m going to trademark it.  And if anyone else tries to use it, I’ll sue your balls off.

 

“Admit it”?  To whom?  You know what else you typically admit?  Guilt, culpability, usually something bad that one might hide.  No one ever has to “admit” anything to that’s good.  That’s how you’re treating Malaysian citizenship – some dark statement that you have to “admit”.  You’ve just summed up your own ingrained belief of the value of your citizenship.  Oh, and at no point have I ever told anyone, “Fuck no, I’m not from Malaysia, what are you, nuts?!”  That’s just stupid.

 

OK, this is a good one.  Because it’s making me address one thing I previously didn’t.  It appears that me moving away and not staying put to “fight for our right” makes me a coward.  Scratch that – a “real coward” (you know, as opposed to an unreal coward).  I guess that’s one way of putting it.  Which I suppose also makes anyone in the history of time who just upped, left town to seek a better future elsewhere  a goddamn coward – you know, like the Pilgrims, the European colonists, my own ancestors who travelled from mainland China, you know, those guys.

What an idiot.

Here’s the thing, you fight for what you want.  I don’t fucking want any of it.  You can keep it.  I’m not gonna stick around to fight.  Whatever “fight” means.  What’s that mean anyway?  Marching around in some protest?  I fucking detest protestors and people who strike.  You want it?  Then you fucking fight for it.  Don’t drag me into it.  Me, I got better shit to do.  Like maybe plan a holiday to Borneo or something.  That sounds like much more fun than this “fighting” you keep advocating for.

 

First of all, what’s with the slash before each apostrophe?  It’s driving me nuts.  Second, it’s one short, stupid post in some unknown blog that you never even heard of until today.  Stop making it out to be something that’s so detrimental to the well-being of the country.  Unless you really do believe that Malaysians in general are soooooo weak-minded that some shithead nobody in New York who writes some blogpost about how he loathes Malaysia is going to suddenly warp and twist their feeble minds that it’ll make them “jump off a cliff”?

Holy shit, maybe you’ve got a point there.

 

Not “just as stupid as Malaysia”.  Here in America, we have a whole different brand of stupid.  It comes in many colors, it comes in many flavors, it comes in different sizes, it comes in all hours of day and night.  This shit should be patented, that’s how special it is.  It’s a type of stupid that’s been finely crafted and honed and nurtured.  And now you know why we have Florida.  Or California.

 

This by far my favorite argument: “Malaysia sucks balls?!  Well, the USA sucks even more balls!!”  Such a kindergarten retort.  Yeah, no shit America’s fucked, too.  But apparently NO ONE knew this until you two geniuses brought it up.  The world owes you a universal debt of gratitude for your unearthing of the dark and well-hidden truth.  Conspiracy theorists, you can all go back to your moms’ basements now.  Go on!

 

I agree, it’s not at all easy to legally live and work here in the U.S.  Try getting in after the 11th of September, 2001 when you’re trying to gain legal status to live here in the U.S. while bearing a passport from a Muslim country.  That shit ain’t fun, I assure you.

 

Obviously!  I mean, it’s so clear!  Because the only time I brought up race was in the context of Bumiputera privileges.  Shit, only a filthy racist would suggest that everyone gets treated equally and that no one gets discounts, preferred status, or some other privilege because of their skin color.  Because that practice would be TOTALLY NOT RACIST!!

 

You’re goddamn right I’m just another immigrant.  But check this out – this is gonna blow your fucking mind: the whole goddamn country was a built as a land of immigrants (sorry, Native Americans, we’re all dicks even though I had nothing to do with spreading all that syphilis).  Everyone has from got a story of coming from somewhere else.  I mean, even in New York no one’s from New York – everyone’s from somewhere else.  And “white boy-wannabe”?  Fuck you, I work very hard on my savage tan each summer, bitch.  Now, an “Asian redneck”?  Shit, I’d pay good money to see that.  I swear that’s a movie waiting to be made.  It’d be Larry The Cable Guy doing all of Mickey Rooney’s lines from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

 

And that’s all I have time for.  Thanks for playing, everyone!  Enjoy the weekend!

 

 

 

Growing up in the city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, as a kid I was never shy about my fondness for all things West.  Somehow, in my childhood I had developed some strong xenocentric tendencies.  I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just how I was influenced as a kid.  I ate up everything that came from the West – television, food, music, you name it.  I seemed to be focused on America and all things American.  America seemed to the birthplace of awesomeness, full of bright and shiny objects that drew me in like a Star Destroyer’s tractor beam.  (Actually, that analogy holds more water than I care to admit.)

And the more I learned about and experienced Western culture, the more I grew ethnophobic – I became quickly dissatisfied with life in Kuala Lumpur.  I had miserable teenage years.  Not just average miserable teenage years like a lot of kids had – I had this weight on my shoulders about the country I lived in, the people around me, my surroundings, my whole outlook.  In hindsight, I was probably just another ungrateful little shit who didn’t appreciate what I had, but rather moped about how green the grass was across the Pacific.  I was an insufferable shit as a kid (I haven’t changed much).

But I was unwavering in one ambition that I had when I was a kid –  one day to get the hell out of Dodge.

I am privileged to have parents who planned well enough to be able to send me to college abroad (I’m nowhere near as prepared, my kids are so screwed).  Nothing super fancy or prestigious, just a modest college experience.  Malaysian colleges were never an option, but I’ll get into why in a minute.  Long story short, I left for college in New Jersey, then found a good job in New York, and I never moved back to Malaysia.

I now call New York home.  When asked where I’m from, I typically reply, “I’m from New York.”  Which fucking kills me, because it’s not the whole truth.  But it saves me from having to explain this whole Malaysia backstory.  It saves me from having to bite my tongue about the disdain that I’ve grown for my country of birth.  A moment of me being slightly disingenuous saves me from having to deal with my own self-loathing and what complete and utter disappointment at my former home country.

So, why am I so fucking down on Malaysia, the land of my birth, my childhood country, the country in which 90% of my immediate and extended family still live?

It starts from the top.  Malaysia is like an upside down tree.  The roots are at the top, planted in a toxic pot that gets no illumination from the sun.  These gangrenous roots are the government.  A government that is held together by only the finest grade of corruption and greed.  A government that is driven by the ethnic majority.

Ahh, the ethnic majority.  You see, Malaysia is comprised of three large ethnic groups – the Malays, the Chinese, and the Indians.  The Malays, who are native to the land, opened up the doors to the country to the Chinese and the Indians during the Spice Trade because Malaysia sits precisely at the perfect maritime gateway between India (who wanted Chinese tea), and China (who wanted Indian spices).  That’s the super dumbed-down version of that story.  What do I look like, Wikipedia?   If you want more detail, Google that shit.

Fast forward 500 years later, and somehow you’ve got a ruling class with a constitution that openly favors the ethnic majority, exercises extreme prejudice, and an inculcated environment in which the ignorant are rewarded and the hardworking masses are told to shut the fuck up and keep working.

No fucking way, right?  There’s no way that such a retarded country can actually exist!  I mean, it’s so fucking outlandish that it’s absolutely farcical at this point.  Like some insane Monty Python sketch.  Yeah, well check these out:

  • Bumiputera discounts.  “Bumiputera” is what the Malays call themselves.  Princes of the earth.  Can’t you just feel the ooze of racial entitlement?  Basically, if you’re Malay, you’re entitled to massive discounts on all sorts of big dollar shit.  You get a lower interest rate on mortgages, you get discounts, you get preferred acceptance into organizations, contracts, colleges, etc.  If you’re Chinese, Indian, or any other ethnic group, you’re fucked.  You get the privilege of paying top dollar, and you wait in the back of the fucking line.  Lucky you!
  • Pizza Hut.  Shit like this Pizza Hut commercial make even the most retarded used car salesman commercial in America look like a Clio winner.  Marriage proposals in a Pizza Hut.  Made over what is arguably the most disgusting looking food in the world it can’t even be called pizza at this point.  But neither the premise nor the pizza are even close to being the most grating things about this commercial.  It’s the fact that everyone’s wearing sweaters.  SWEATERS!!!  IN MALAYSIA!!!  Where it’s consistently 100-degrees year-round, with so much humidity, you could walk outside and do the backstroke.  This is the retarded standard of Malaysian advertising, of Malaysian creativity, of Malaysian cultural reflection – everything is poorly aped and incredibly shitty.  This Pizza Hut commercial is a perfect 30-second microcosmic film that sums up the country.
  • Gay and lesbian symptoms.  I.  Shit.  You.  Not.  Just keep in mind that these are guidelines that have been developed, ratified, and are being rolled out by the Ministry of Education.  This shit comes from the top!  Make sure you read the article in the link a couple of times over.  I’ve read it about 6 times now (woah, that might be a gay number!), and I still can’t decide which part fucks me off more.  Is the use of the term “symptoms”?  Is it the fact that someone actually came up with a list of these symptoms?  Is it the suggestion for “corrective measurements [sic]”?  Or is it the picture of the fucking asshole in the article that makes me want reach through my screen and beat the living shit out of his fucking stupid asshole face?  Could be any of those.  Most likely it’s all of it.  If Malaysia wasn’t such a tiny little pissant insignificant little turd of a nation, this rampant act of bigotry might incite some fairly significant outrage.  But as it is, no one gives a shit about the insufferable boil that is Malaysia so no one outside of the country draws attention when shit like this goes down.  And because no one makes a massive fuss about it, the powers that be live under this delusion that what they’re doing is perfectly OK and everyone else is OK with it.  What a bunch of assholes.

So what makes Malaysia stupider than other horrible countries around the world?  How’s it different from destitute countries full of despair like Sudan or Liberia?  In those countries, you live every day knowing full well that everything’s fucked and no one lies to you about it.  In Malaysia, there is an ever-present bullshit haze of hunky-doriness that somehow allows everyone carry along each day as if everything’s cool.  But underneath of it, EVERYTHING’s fucked, you’re fucked, the future’s fucked, and the impenetrable system that perpetuates an endless cycle of greed and corruption has been perfected.  That, for me, is the most hurtful thing about living in Malaysia – the grand lie and the forced acceptance of that lie.

I write this freely because I now live in New York.  If I lived in Malaysia, these words would likely tantamount to treason.  And I’d probably be locked up and beaten for it.  The government has been known to lock up and persecute citizens for a lot less.

But I needed to write all this down not because I’m angry or trying to be insurgent.  I’m past that now.  I’m writing this because I need to somehow exorcise Malaysia from my being.  Because enough is enough.

Fuck you, Malaysia.

 

P.S.   I’m grateful for my friends and family who are still in Malaysia, who despite my repeated urging, have chosen to remain there, either by choice or by circumstance.  I respect their decision, and I can only pray the best for them.  Besides, they’re the ones who keep me informed of all this bullshit.  And for that, you guys fucking rock.  You know who you are.

 

 

Let me start by getting one thing out of the way.  That old adage about how Paris would be wonderful if it weren’t for all the French?  Bullfuckingshit.  Paris blows because it’s filled with Americans.  Everywhere you go, it’s Yanks all over the place.  What the fuck, I thought we were in some massive sinkhole of economic diarrhea – yet, Paris, one of the most expensive cities in the motherfucking universe, is filled to be brim with holidaying Yanks.  Fucking blows my mind.  Granted, I was there to do the same, so I’m not gonna begrudge someone else’s holidaying shenanigans, but goddamn there are a lot of Yanks in Paris.

Anyway, two weeks in Paris with a slight detour to pre-Olympic-bullshit London yielded some entirely pointless observations:

French countryside.  For all talk about the visual orgasm that is the French countryside, it’s remarkably dull.  You might as well be driving through the middle of New Jersey.

British graffiti sucks.  Banksy notwithstanding (which is technically is street art, not the sort of graffiti I’m talking about).  On the left is what was scrawled on the back of a loo in an average pub right off Greek Street in London’s Soho.  Compare that to the right, taken from the bathroom at Max Fish in New York’s Lower East Side.

When you make the mistake of going to see the Mona fucking Lisa, you usually have the misfortune of getting crammed with about 150 other boneheaded tourists all clamoring to see the same stupid painting.  Problem is, every single of one of them will be a complete imbecile.  Not only are they pushing and shoving, you get dipshits like this trying to take a picture of the painting from about 30 feet away.  Using an iPad.  Took every ounce of self-restraint not to swat that iPad out of his hands and send it hurtling towards the Mona Lisa itself to test out the painting’s perspex shielding.

 

This fucking guy at Versailles.

Café du Flore, Café Deux Magots, Brasserie Lipp – apparently this view affords you a tiny lukewarm cup of espresso that’ll set you back 10 euros.  We hit all three landmark restaurants in one sweep one lazy Tuesday afternoon.  Sure, they were lovely and boasted all sorts of literary history, but holy shit do they know how to work the whole tourist trap thing.  In fact, all the tourist traps are finetuned to perfection.  We hit a whole bunch of them – Au Pied du Cochon, Bofinger, Chartier, the three above.  You walk in and not a single Parisian is to be seen in any of these places.  Yet, somehow they make you feel OK sitting down and having an unspectacular yet unoffensive meal.  You know full well that you’re in a tourist trap, for some fucked up reason, you’re OK with it.  Which is heaps different from any given tourist trap in New York.  I think.  I haven’t been to New York tourist traps in a long while, so I’m just projecting here.

Andouillette.  Speaking of restaurants, my typically brave demeanor when it comes to food finally betrayed me.  On my final night in Paris, having already tried so many typical French foods, opted for one of the few remaining things I had yet to try: andouillette.   Sounds like an andouille, right?  And I fucking love andouille.  I had to try it.  Even if the description is nothing like andouille – andouillette is a sausage that’s constructed of chopped up tripe stuffed into an intestine.  Not just a natural gut casing, but the whole fucking intestine.  Filled with chopped up tripe.  How bad could it be?  Holy shit, never ask that question when it comes to andouillette.  Because the andouillette will punch you in the mouth with a definitive and declarative answer.  It tastes like you’ve just eaten the toilet from Trainspotting.  And you can’t swallow it because it’s all hard and crunchy and it tastes like shit and you start to gag and the combination of gag and a mouthful of shit causes you to asphyxiate, and your only solution is to wash it down as quickly as possible by guzzling wine right out of the bottle which causes you to instantly become the ape-like retarded tourist in the restaurant.  Everything is horrible and you want to die.  After coming to, I politely sent the plate of Satan’s pinched loaf back and ordered a steak tartar instead.  You have no idea how delicious a raw hamburger is after you’ve tried andouillette.

The subway music is much more interesting.  That’s not to say that any halfwit walking around with an accordion equals something good.  In New York, half these schmucks on the subway create some indiscernible racket and demand loose change from you.  Parisian minstrels, on the other hand, often sound like they might actually be good at weddings and bar mitzvahs.

Deodorant.  Europe is gonna be so awesome when they discover deodorant.

(source: Mark Armstrong Tumblr)

Unlike a lot of city dwellers who can’t wait to skip out of the town the minute the sweltering summer hits, I fucking love New York in the summer time.  Granted, I don’t live in the city, and if I was stuck in a smoldering shoebox in the city, I couldn’t be blamed for wanting to bail and glom on to my friends’ Hamptons rental at every available opportunity.

I live in the burbs of New York, and even though I spend every fucking day in the city at work, I love being in the city.  But with the onset of summer, I’m hastily reminded of the single-most grating aspect of city – the motherfucking tourists.

Motherfucking tourists are the fucking worst.

A couple of years ago, when I saw that picture above of the two-laned sidewalk, I thought my dreams had finally come true.  If I could vote, I would’ve re-elected Mayor Bloomberg as mayor for life.  Alas, it was a fucking stunt, and my dreams and hopes were crushed to smithereens.

What New Yorker wouldn’t relish some concerted initiative focused on making sure that tourists get and stay the fuck out of the way?

This morning I had to refill my subway metrocard.  Wouldn’t you know it, I get stuck behind two tourists.  They did everything you expect tourists to do – fumble around the touchscreen, going back and forth.  Which is understandable if you’ve never used the machine before.  But they were buying a shit ton of single-ride tickets, and chose to pay for each fucking ticket with motherfucking coins.  Coins.  Half a dozen single-ride tickets with goddamn coins.  Where the fuck did they score that many coins anyway?  There are no slot machines in the city, far as I know.  Pair of shitheads.

We need set up one subway card dispenser in some dark corner at each station.  If you take more than 10 seconds to buy your subway card from the regular machines, boom, you get locked out of the regular machines and you have to the shitty machine in the corner.  That’s fucking teach you.  Especially if you’re a New Yorker – stop buying your subway card like a goddamn tourist.  Subway card machines should be like the Soup Nazi.  You walk up, you punch the buttons precisely, you take your card and you walk away.  Quickly.  If you take more than 10 seconds, you gotta go to the dreaded tourist card machine in the corner where the wino using as a makeshift urinal.

You know what, let’s make it a whole checkout thing altogether.  In stores – I don’t care if it’s a small drugstore or a massive department store – we need to have dedicated checkout lanes for anyone with bulky backpacks, athletic sandals, fanny packs, soccer jerseys, and/or Hollister shopping bags.  That shit’s a dead giveaway you’re goddamn tourist ready fuck things up for the rest of us.  Special lanes for you so that you can fumble for loose change in that fanny pack while the rest of us can get our shit, get out, and get on with our goddamn day.

And why limit those tourist and local paths to sidewalks?  Put that shit on crosswalks as well.  I’m not sure what it’s like in other cities, here in New York, most of us will fucking jaywalk a Don’t Walk sign if we feel we’ve got anything more a 50% chance we’ll make it the other side of the street before getting splattered by that mad yellow cab careering towards us.  I got shit to do, I can’t be standing around waiting for some light.  But what good is that when you’ve got a wall of German tourists standing like they’re trying to defend a free kick at the World Cup in front of you?  I say we make ‘em stand in a tourist-only crosswalk lane while the rest of us are free to put our lives in our own hands and dodge traffic all day.  Like I said, I’ve got place to go and shit to do.

And how the fuck do we get around the whole tipping thing when it comes to tourists?  I get that tipping isn’t a big thing outside the U.S. – some more argue that plenty of assholes don’t tip within the U.S. either, but that’s another story.  Anyway, I was in dark, dank bar in the West Village a few weeks ago – one of those bullshit “secret” bars that EVERYONE knows about.  Well, I sat down for a few brews and this Swedish girl walks up to order some drinks for her friends seated at a nearby booth.  “Can I have a beer?” she says.  First of all, that’s completely retarded question to ask at a bar.  In any case, the kind barkeep offered a beer suggestion, she took it, got three pints, paid for the beers, LEFT NO TIP, and walked away.  The barkeep didn’t seem too bothered by it – probably not the first nor last bunch of clueless tourists who wandered into his bar that night.  But holy fuck, can these assholes please get some crib sheet when they arrive at the airport on what proper etiquette is expected of them when they come to NY?  Shit, if I’m obligated to try and converse in a bit of French when I’m in Paris, you sure as fuck are expected to tip the people serving you in NY bars and restaurants, bitch.

Here’s what a cheat sheet might look like (and of course it’d have to be written in goddamn Comic Sans – if it wasn’t written in Comic Sans, how you would know it’s completely stupid?):

All of which is to say that Big Gulps aren’t ruining New York.  Not bath salts.  Not douchey hipsters.  Not Tim Tebow (OK, maybe a bit).  It’s fucking tourists.  Goddamnit.

No free wi-fi at airports and hotels.  What’s this shit with making pay $20 a day for wi-fi in your bullshit pretentious hotel?  And I think it’s fucking criminal that neither JFK nor LaGuardia airports consistently provide free wi-fi (not you, JetBlue, we all know your terminal fucking rocks).  Airports and hotels are proper fucking ports of business.  Not just where parents who have lost the will to live are dragging their little shitbags Timmy and Tammy for a week at Disneyworld.  Timmy and Tammy are ingrates and don’t deserve wi-fi.  The rest of us, who are at airports under duress, travelling for work?  The least you bastards could do is blunt the hurt with a bit of free wi-fi.

Same shit at hotels.  Oh, you want me to pay $400 for some shitty room you painted white and hung a framed painting on the ceiling, but I’ve got to cough up another $20 so that I can send emails and post stupid Facebook updates from my room?  Dicks.

 

Paying more for gas with credit.  Why the fuck are gas stations the only establishment left on earth that can get away with charging you extra if you pay with a credit card?  No one else would fucking dare.  I buy a pack of gum at the drug store and I wanna charge it?  Same fucking price.  Even the little shitty Chinese takeout joint in my town won’t tack on superfluous charges if I wanted to charge my wonton soup.  Stop being dicks about it, gas stations.

 

“So…”  What is this verbal tic I’ve started noticing so glaringly over the past coupe of months or so?  Maybe folks have been saying it for much longer, but I’ve only just recently noticed it.  There is no fucking reason to start every sentence with that word.  “So I was watching Mad Men last night…”  “So how did you like that concert?”  “Soooo… where’re we going for dinner?”   What the fuck is that?  No, no “so”.  No fucking “so” anything.  At this point, this completely gratuitous prefix is all the signal I need to completely ignore everything that comes out of your mouth after that stupid word.  A friend recently raised it as a particularly irritating issue, and I thought I was the only one to notice this particularly grating behavior.  He lives in Vancouver.  This is a pan-continental epidemic that’s just gotta stop.  Right fucking now.

 

Bottled water.  What.  The fuck.  When the fuck did water cost more than beer?

Diaper Genies.  You can never ever get that smell outta your head.  Ever.  I’m a couple of years out from needing one in the house (for my kids, not me, you assholes), but just say “diaper genie” and that pong immediately fills my olfactory sense.  They’re a pretty awesome invention – making your own shit-filled sausages – but if they could fix the smell factor, the Diaper Genie would be greater than the iPhone 5.

 

3 Series drivers.  Why do 3 Series drivers consistently refer to their stupid little cars as “sportscars”?  Have these assholes never seen a sportscar?  How the fuck is your overpriced rear-wheeled drive Honda-equivalent a sportscar by any motherfucking stretch of the imagination.  An M3? Fine, I get that.  But none of these shitheads are driving M3s.  They’re driving little shitty 3 Series cars… and quite poorly, I might add.  Looking at the way you shitheads drive and park, you might want to chill with your delusions of grandeur there.  Your shitcart is not a sportscar.

 

Pointless rental upgrades.  I recently scored what I thought was a tasty upgrade when I rented a car in Boston.  I had booked some shitty little Chevy or what not, and when I got to the rental office, they didn’t have my car ready for me.  A bit of a Seinfeld “you-know-how-to-take-the-reservation-you-just-don’t-know-how-to-hold-the-reservation” moment.  But after a few minutes, I was told I’d been upgraded to a Mercedes.  Sweet.  Thinking it’d be some small C-class, I walk up to the lot to see a beastly, stark white GL SUV.  It’s the biggest fucking thing they made short of a tour bus.  This thing was ridiculous.  It was as big as a house, so full of driving aids I felt dumber by the minute sitting in it.  The thing had blind spot warning lights, rear camera, sensors of every sort – it was as if it was coaxing you to be as careless as you fucking want on the roads because “the car will take care of it for you.”  And it came with paddleshifts on the steering wheel.  Cool.  Except when you tug on one of the flappy paddles, it’d take about a week for the gear to engage.  What a thoroughly stupid, pointless car.

When I was kid, San Francisco was by leaps and bounds my favorite city in the world.  It was figuratively and quite literally the farthest thing from my birthplace, Kuala Lumpur.  My parents had taken me there as a kid and I was blown away by all the touristy bits I got to see (I was a kid, gimme a fuckin’ break).  Fast forward about 20 years, and San Francisco is easily one of the most loathsome cities on earth.

It makes me believe that that South Park episode involving Stan’s parents moving to San Francisco and facing the smug invasion wasn’t so much a piss-take as much as it was a documentary.  You know, the same way Portlandia is a documentary (don’t argue, it is).

I’ve come off another manic cross-country trip: overnight in Chicago, then quickly off to San Francisco, and 20 hours later, on a plane back to New York.  I got to squeeze in a Cubs game whilst in Chicago, but I knew I had almost no time to spare after that so I had to be quite decisive about how to use my time in San Francisco.

Much as I loathe a city, I’m loathed further to not make the best of it.  So when I arrived on the Tuesday evening, I thought it’d be a good idea to grab some dinner in Chinatown.  Oddly, I realized that in the countless times I’d been to San Francisco, I had never eaten at their Chinatown.  Didn’t seem right, so I sought to rectify it this trip.  Despite how most in the know say that the best Chinese food in San Francisco is outside of Chinatown, not in it.  But whatever, I had very little time here and I had to make the best of what I had.

Hop in the cab, I did my usual thing of asking the driver where I should grab a meal.  He was Asian too, so I figured my chances of a decent reco were pretty good.  “Tell me where you like to eat.”  He mumbled, spaced for a bit, then mumbled some more.  So to help him, I suggested that I “don’t want any place that has lots of qwai-low”.  “Huh?!  What’s that?!”  I couldn’t tell if he was fucking with me or not.  I let it drop and not mention the qwai-low thing again.  He mumbles something about a place called “Dragon-something” on Broadway and Columbus.  I Google Map it on my phone and don’t see anything called Dragon-anything on that cross street (Google Map street view is the greatest thing evah).

At this point, I’m don’t trust this driver one iota, so I bail on his idea and head to the R&G Lounge.  This place is rated all over Chowhound, Eater, Yelp, and it came with Bourdain’s endorsement.  None of travel companions wanted to come with me so it was dinner for one lonely tourist, thankyouverymuch.  I even sat at the exact same table Bourdain sat in in No Reservations segment.  I settled in an ordered half a Peking duck and a plate of Hong Kong fried noodles.

I couldn’t decide what was a bigger letdown: the food or the fact that I got seated next to a table of insufferable art students with their stupid conversations and their stupid pointless vacuous delusions.  Fuck the art students, this food was pissing me off now.  As a rule, duck is fat, no question, but this duck looked like it lived generously on bacon pies at an Oklahoma state fair.  And the plate of Hong Kong noodles was easily the most amateurish presentation of the dish I had ever had.  I’ve had better off-the-boat Chinese food 20 minutes from my house.  I had flew 2,600 miles for this shit?I  Fuck you, Bourdain.  That’s right, I’m blaming you.

 

The next morning, I had work up early (as you do when you fly coast to coast) and knew I had to find a way of redeeming the previous night’s culinary failure.  Staying at Union Square, I learned of the Sears Fine Foods diner a block away.  I ventured over – what a fucking delight this place was.  To paraphrase a Guy Richie film (I know, I know), there’s no school like the old school, and this place was the fucking headmaster.  Declining a table, I sat at the counter and ordered pretty much the only thing a first-timer should have: an order of their 18 Swedish pancakes and black coffee.  It was perfect.  Like perfect.  The six stacks of tiny delicate pancakes, the side of lingonberries, the real maple syrup, right down to the hearty black coffee in the cracked cup.  It made up for the false start the previous night.   San Francisco was starting to suck a little less that morning.

When I got up to pay, the waitress handed me a token and said, “This is for the slot machine out front, good luck.”  Any more charm and this place would’ve been made of candy and Nigella Lawson would’ve emerged from the kitchen.  I fucking loved this place.

And by the time I hopped on a plane at 4pm that day, that breakfast would prove to be the absolute highest point of my brief visit.  Because the rest of my day consisted of the following:

  • I learned that people are keeping chickens in their apartments as livestock.  Live chickens.  In their apartments.  “When you reach into a coop and retrieve a warm egg that’s just been laid, it’s the most magical thing in the world.”  Well, fuck me for thinking the birth of my kids was kinda cool.
  • Related to the chicken thing, I learned the chicken diapers are a thing.  These people who are keeping egg-popping chickens in their tiny apartments are doing so by putting diapers on their chickens.  Take a minute with that one, I’ll wait.
  • People want to compost inside an office building.  That’s right – I actually ran into someone who was frantically looking for a compost bin in an office building, then seemed to lose his shit when he couldn’t find one.  I was then treated to a lengthy diatribe on why composting is the greatest thing on earth (wait, I thought that was a freshly-laid egg; make your minds up, you fucks), and that everyone everywhere on earth should compost.
  • “I loooove Arnold Palmers.  But this one’s the wrong color.”  Please, PLEASE, PLEASE fucking kill me now.

And with that, I hauled ass outta there and returned to my own world of madness back in the New York.  At least that that madness I’m familiar with.

 

Last week, as I was doing my daily persuing of Gawker, I came across this article.  While the conclusion (the Gawker one, not the incredibly douchey quote they used) was most apt, I started to make an assessment of what I do that makes me a “New Yorker”.  By the way, I fucking hate the term “New Yorker”.  “New Yorker” is a goddamn magazine.  More so I don’t want to be a “New Yorker”, like it defines me or something.  The same way people with diabetes or asthma don’t want to be called “diabetics” or “asthmatics.”

I prefer to say “I’m from New York”.  Except I’m not.  Like a kabillion other people in NY, I moved here from a far, far away.  Halfway ‘round the world, in fact – Kuala Lumpur.  But that was a long time ago, and NY is now my home.  It has been close to 20 years.  Which means, as the Gawker article suggests, I am for all intents and purposes, a goddamn “New Yorker.”

Which also means that it is my God-given right to get massively fucked off with clueless tourists.  But worse than tourists are people who live in NY but continue to act like tourists.  If the “living in New York for 10 years” rule is pretty spot on, then most of these offending residents are often kids recently out of the school who are now working in the city.  Or folks transferred to NY for work.  Either way, you know who you are.

For fuck’s sake, start acting like you belong here.  Stop being so visibly enchanted by all the cool and crazy shit you see around you.  Stop going to your Facebook account and saying how much you love this city.  You sound and look like a retarded cat chasing around a laser pointer.  In fact, stop using Facebook to show off to your family and high school friends back in Ohio or Virginia or wherever you’re from, what a good time you’re having here in New York.  I’m sure your mom is sufficiently impressed, but that’s no reason to broadcast this past weekend’s exploits at the Frying Pan to everyone you know.  Why are you friends with mom on Facebook anyway?  That’s just weird.

For fuck’s sake, DO NOT call the city “Gotham”, “The Big Apple”, “City That Never Sleeps”.  No self-respecting New Yorker (ugh!) says shit like that.  I know people from northern New Jersey – NEW JERSEY!! – who refer to the city like that.  Those people need to be restricted from ever leaving the state of New Jersey.

As with not calling New York stupid names like “Gotham,” if you live here, you also need to stop acting like the whole city is one big “Sex & The City” episode.  That fucking show – besides being braindrainingly retarded – also set the city back by several decades by portraying city women has annoying, devastatingly insecure harpies.  Even so, it’s a stupid TV show.  That’s like moving out to L.A. and trying to live like Brandon Walsh.  Knock it off.

Also, stop eating at places like Olive Garden or Crapplebee’s.  No self-respecting New Yorker eats in shitholes like that.   Richard Christy, one of the writers from Howard Stern’s show, is a hilarious yokel shithead from Kansas, who’s been part of the show for the better part of 10 years now, and he’s been living in NY the whole time.  The hilarity stops when he goes in the air and talks about how he orders from Papa John’s when he wants to treat himself.  WTF.  New York has a minimum of ten proper pizza joints on every block, and pizza here is without question the best pizza in the country.  Yet, this shithead can’t see beyond the greasy manhole covers they sell at Papa John’s?  Richard Christy clearly no interest whatsoever of “being from New York.”

And for God’s sake, move around a little.  If you live in the Upper West Side, get out of the Upper West Side as often as you can.  Go hang out in Red Hook (yes, go look it up, I’ll wait).  Go see Staten Island (the ferry is free, for fuck’s sake).  If you insist making your New York existence as some hipster douchebag living in Brooklyn, go venture to the Upper East Side or something, even if you don’t think you’re gonna find anything you like.  Not everything is a cosmo bar or some trendy BBQ joint.

But avoid places like the top of the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. What are you, insane?  They’re loaded to the gills with tourists and you’re trying to avoid being associated with tourists, remember?  Only go if you have family in town and if you go, make sure grumble the entire time.

I’d like to think I’m New York enough.  But I live in the ‘burbs, just north of the city – still New York state, not New Jersey or Connecticut.  I like my front yard, my backyard, I like not sharing walls with potential axe murderer.  That may cause me to lose some major cred with my New Yorkness.  But close to 20 years in, I think I’ve got what being from New York mostly figured out.  Mostly.

 

Day 28:  The final week.  Good, ‘cause I’m so tired of this shit.  I really am bored by the whole thing now.  No weigh-in today – we’re going to end the week with the final weigh-in and crown the winner.  One winner, while the rest of us can go on to feel completely dejected, and wallow in our self-loathing for having gone through hell for the last five weeks for fuck all.  Oh, and we’re totally allowed to hate the winner forever.  Because he or she will be skinny AND will have a pile of cash.

Day 29:  I fly out to lovely and balmy Scottsdale, AZ today.  As I’ve said, travel will be my undoing.  Traveling by yourself is one thing, traveling for work is completely different.  I’ve got colleagues who are not in this contest who will not be dragged down by my own constraints stemming from this contest, and why the hell should they.  Clients need to be entertained, fed, boozed up, and usually that’s quite delightful because I get to be entertained, fed, and boozed up along with them in the process.  The catch here is that I’m in the final stretch here, and everything I do – everything I consume, every minute I work out or don’t work out – will have some impact on me when I reach the end zone at the end of the week.

Why the fuck couldn’t this trip be to some place else?  I dunno, like DC or Atlanta or wherever.  No, it’s gotta be to Arizona.  What’s the fucking problem with Arizona?  Only the fact that in Arizona they have In-N-Out Burger out here.  This is so completely stupid, but I’m not at all lying when I say that I am completely powerless against In-N-Out.  I HAVE to have In-N-Out when I am within, say 20 miles of one.  I have done some stupid shit just to get my hands on In-N-Out.  I have, on more than one occasion, booked flights leaving at terribly inconvenient times when I’ve had to fly out to L.A. just so I could arrive with enough time to stop at the In-N-Out right by the airport before I needed to get to where I was going.  I once declined a lavish dinner at Nobu because it was my last night in L.A. and I hadn’t yet gone to In-N-Out, just so I could In-N-Out that night to get a Double Double Animal Style with a side of fries and a milkshake into my fat jiggly belly.  It is sad and pathetic how much of a slave I am to In-N-Out.  But then again, if you’ve had In-N-Out, you can probably understand why.  Maybe.

Going to Arizona today is going to be fucking disastrous.

Day 31: As a general rule, I loathe TV.  I used to watch the entire primetime line-up five days a week.  How the fuck I used to do that, I have no idea.  It’s all shite, and I lost all patience for shite a long, long time ago.  The only shows I don’t immediately turn off now are The Daily Show, Colbert, and Bourdain – that’s it (OK fine I’ll give Mad Men one more season, but I’m fast beginning tire of that shit, too).  This past month has been the WORST time in the world to watch any Bourdain show.  Here is this smug douche, going all over the world, doing all sorts of fun shit, and eating some of the most insane foods.  Needless to say, I’m usually starving when I’m watching No Reservations or The Layover.  And each time, Bourdain is indulging in glorious pork belly, wonderfully rich bone marrow, piles of shaved black truffle, the list goes on and fucking on.  The other day, there was some episode on Azorean food, and I just about licked my TV screen.

Day 32:  The finish line, thank God.  I damn near killed myself getting to this point.  I worked out at the crack of dawn in Phoenix yesterday, then hopped on a plane to fly home, and when I got home, I hit the gym one more time.  This morning, I cranked out another 45 minutes in the gym – I was going to burn off as much water weight as possible this time.  This is it, I’ve done all I can do.  So I get to the office and weigh in.  And…

WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!!!

Holy fucking shit, I WON!!  No fucking way!  I never fucking win anything, and I fucking won this?!  Holy shit!  Net loss: 26.6lbs in 32 days.

And after 32 days, we all headed over to Hill Country BBQ, stuffed our faces with many, many pounds of meat, then went on an 8-hour bar hopping spree.

Thank God this whole thing is over.  This was by far the most ridiculous thing I’d done in a long time.  Now, on to pigging out during the Super Bowl.