Tag Archive: travel

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.




The close button in every elevator in the world.  Half the time the open button doesn’t even work.  But the close button?  100% of the time non-functioning.  Doesn’t matter if the door is just taking a little longer to close, or if you see your douchebag colleague running across the lobby to catch the elevator you’re in and the little spot of joy in your dreary morning is to pretend like you’re reaching for the open button to keep it open but you’re really thumbing the shit out of that close button to slam the door on the him – that stupid close button is there just there to mock you which you stand in this cabled box.


The “aroma” button on my coffeemaker.  This was designed for the express purpose of filling you with false hope.  It’s a coffeemaker – it fucking makes coffee and coffee already makes everything smell like coffee.  What’s the fuck could this button possibly do?  Make a bigger coffee smell?  I have no idea how it’d do that.  This is such a stupid non-functioning button on my coffeemaker.



Bay leaves.  The charlatan of the herb and spice world.  The whole fucking bay leaf industry is a fucking sham.  We all throw these stupid razor-like leaves into our cooking and think that they’re magically going to make our food delicious.  Here’s a test – what the does a bay leaf even taste like?  That’s right, you have no fucking clue.  You can’t tell if your spaghetti sauce had a bay leaf in it or not.  That bay leaf is entirely inconsequential to your cooking.  Yet, we’re all schmucks to go fishing around our gravy to pull this stupid leaf out so that no one accidentally chokes on it.  Fuck bay leaves.


The “no tokens” sign in NYC subway turnstiles.  There hasn’t been a fucking token in use in about 10 years now.  Just who the hell are these signs targeted to?  The packrat crazy guy living under the Brooklyn Bridge who suddenly just came upon a token he’d hoarded back in 1999 and suddenly decided to take a train ride up to Central Park?  How about you put up some useful information at these subway stations.  “Next train in 3 minutes and there’s a douchebag who’s with a recumbent bike in the second car from the rear.”  That’s useful shit that could come in handy.


Check engine light.  The single-most pointless indicator ever invented.  It tells you NOTHING.  All it does is freak you the fuck out and make you sweat bullets as wonder if your engine’s gonna just suddenly drop out from under your car.  Or if your engine bay will turn into a big ball of fire while you’re gunning 90 on the highway.  Or absolutely nothing will happen at all.  It’s fucking stupid.


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.

Flying bullshit

I spend entirely too much time in airports and on airplanes since I took on my new job in February.  I honestly don’t know how George Clooney’s character did it in that movie.  I’m at the point where if I actually earned one of those cards that Clooney’s character coveted and was presented the card by a pilot, I’d probably quote Comic Book Guy: “Ohh, I’ve wasted my life.”

Week in, week out, it’s the same fucking routine.  Some black car shows up to take me to the airport (side bar: it used to always be a driver of Middle Eastern descent, now it’s almost exclusively a driver of Oriental descent, what’s up with that?  I think the Chinese population are trying to muscle out the car service operation the way they’ve muscled out the Italians out of Little Italy).

I walk into the same fucking terminals; the same fucking line; the same fucking blue-shirted TSA robot who scribbles on my ticket after I show him my driver’s license; the same line with the same retards who walk through the metal detector with pockets full of keys, machetes, toaster ovens, flux capacitors, you fucking name it; the same fucking seats at the gate filled with the same flying imbeciles.

Shit, I have wasted my life.

Well, maybe not all is lost.  Because if nothing else, my life spent flying has taught me the following:

The single-most pointless argument on God’s green earth is that between people in line at the airport arguing and complaining about how long the fucking lines are at the airport.  It’s an airport, it’s got lines – lots of ‘em – and it’s filled with assholes just like you trying to get to the other side of those x-ray machines.  This is not a new phenomenon.  Whinging about it will not make the line move one second faster or one inch forward.  Each of you fuckwits trying to one-up each other with “waiting-in-line” horror stories (“You only waited for 2 hours?  I once waited three weeks to get on a flight!”) will not hasten your meeting with the blue-shirted robot with the ultraviolet flash light demanding to see your ID.  Rush hour rules apply: you get a gajillion people first thing in the morning and in the evening.  This is a given fact, it’s a known fact, it’s nothing new.  So please, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE shut the fuck up.

The knife must be made of plastic, otherwise the terrorists win.  What was the fucking executive debate that took place in which these fuckwits decided that forks and spoons were OK if they were made of metal, but the knife – the fucking, fearsome, murderous knife!! – had to be made of plastic?  Now that the knife is made of plastic, I feel so much safer.  Because there’s just no way the metal fork can do any damage to me whatsoever.  Nope, not at all.  I’m impervious to metal forks.  I think the most aggravating thing is the fact that some shithead got paid a decent chunk of money to make that decision.  Whomever that person is, I want to shake his/her hand for landing such a gig.  Then I want to stab the shithead in the groin with a plastic knife.

Water is the most valuable commodity between the x-ray machine and your gate.  Before the x-ray machine, it’s security poison.  It must be disposed off, destroyed, every last drop wiped from existence.  “Holy fuck, it’s WATER!!!”  Then you pass through those magic x-ray gates, walk 10 feet, there are bottles and bottles and bottles of water.  For 5 bucks an ounce or something.  “Bottle of water, please.”  “That’s $8.12, thank you.”  Suddenly, it’s no longer poison.  It’s no longer the vilest substance on earth.  Between the gates, this water is magically becomes more precious than oil.  I once traded a bottle of Evian for a slightly used iPad.

Departure times are merely flimsy suggestions that the airlines use to fill up the lists on the LCD screens at the airport.  They’re meaningless.  They’re just random numbers typed in by some bored monkey in the basement that’s probably being fed the same $15 shitdog you paid for in the food court near your gate.  So far, this year, I’ve probably taken about 50 flights – of the lot, I think approximately 3 have left sometime in the vicinitiy of “on time”.  Everything else has had a minimum – minimum! – 1 hour delay.  On one flight, I was looking at the departure screen like the retard that I am, and watched the departure time for my flight change 3 times in 20 seconds.  These fucking assholes have no idea when your flight leaves. They just throw a time out there, hope some people show up, and when they see that everyone’s just on the verge of becoming violent, they hurry you onto the plane.  And then you sit there and wait.  And wait some more.  Fuck you, airlines, fuck you so much.

My wardrobe is now dictated by the airport.  It’s fucking ridiculous, but I realized this the other day while going through the security check in Boston.  I use my workbag because it has a velcro flap that allows me to retrieve my laptop easily.  It has a side pocket that’s just large enough for fitting my cash, wallet, and cell phone, which I have to remove before going through the metal detector.  I only wear Chelsea boots because they’re the easiest things to slip on and off when I go through security.  The other day, I ordered some new shirts, and they came with brass collar stays, which are a rather nice touch.  But my immediate thought was, “Fuck, I’ll bet these are going to set off the metal detector at the airport.”  What.  The fuck.