Category Archives: New York

Topics for the club

Last night I went “clubbing” with some friends, because someone was turning 30 and I apparently wanted to pretend that clubs don’t force me to immediately blackout and run home, leaving me awake in my apartment far too early the next day with a slew of texts from my (drunk) friends that are like, “R U ALIVE?!”, “I hope UR alive?”, “DID YOU GET SVU’D?!?!” It’s the club’s fault, y’all.

ANYWAY, because I haven’t been to a New York club in at least several years, I sat in my bathroom last night trying to think about what sort of stories I had to scream-tell a friend-adjacent person I’d inevitably end up fake-talking to while at the club. Back in the day, I was pretty good at clubs. I was 24ish, skinny enough to fit in dresses that were the length of the shirts I wear now and I had ample time and patience for my hair and makeup. Guys would come up to me and be all, “hey. I’m Greg. What do you do?” and I’d sigh, all bored at their politeness and be like, “NOTHING” and then dance on Austin to some Lil’ Wayne song. I’m pretty sure I was winning clubs back then.

Last night I was watching Empire (BECAUSE THAT SHOW IS BASICALLY HEAVEN YOU GUYS ITS SO GOOD) on the couch in a couple of our gross old towels, lamenting to bf that I had to go socialize with people, and trying to mentally prepare myself for choosing a club outfit. The right choice would have been my “Nikki Minaj” dress, as I like to call it, which is basically just tight black dress with some mesh in the front that shows more of my boobs than I’m comfortable with. The choice I made was to wear my usually stylish trouser pants with a blue, loose tank top, because then I didn’t have to spend the entire night pulling my dress down and also my bra (yes, I have only one) is dirty, so I needed to be able to wear my substitute bra, which is just an under-tank with a shelf bra in it. And my shelf bra is navy and the dress is black, so like, I’d basically be breaking all fashion rules by combining them. Because the person who wears a shelf bra to the club clearly cares about fashion rules.

I digress, because the whole point of this post is that I no longer come equipped with club-ready topics. As I was strapping myself into my shelf bra and looking in the mirror, going, “this is kind of makeup on my face?” I didn’t spend enough time thinking about the meaningless topics I’d need to cover with my new fake club friends.

Club topics need to be short, easily understood (even if your listener is drunk and hears 1/3rd of the words you’re yelling), and relatable to anyone, because you’re not likely to meet your friend-soulmate at the club. Club conversations are like:

  • omg, that guy is so hot
  • omg, that girl is SO drunk
  • omg, this drink is  SOSO bad
  • omg, you’re like my fucking SOULMATE right now do you wanna do a shot?
  • omg, that shot was SO bad!

But, last night after telling a group of 40-somethings from New Jersey that they totally had Kelly Ripa arms and that they gave me hope for future me bearing children and still looking hot (at least I’m a nice drunk?) I found myself in the club, wholly unequipped. As it turns out, having things I care about in my life and being drunk at a club do not make me a good club person. Because I’m pretty sure my conversations were like:

  • omg, the sink in my pre-war apartment clogs like, every month, and I just want it to stop. u know?
  • omg, so I was on WebMD the other day and I either have tendonitis or I’ve fractured the front part of BOTH ankles
  • omg, this drink is SO overpriced for what it is, like, their well gin isn’t even Hendricks
  • omg, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our hiring process at work and how we could be more inclusive to women because I think right now we unconsciously select for men

I woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed (literally, bf was sleeping on my side and it was BIZARRE), face full of smeared makeup and my stomach with the sort of dead undigested food feeling I have after eating not one, but two slices of probably toxic dollar slice pizza from the place across the street from my apartment, meaning I drunk-person Irish exited the club sometime before 4 AM.

At least I have all my stuff.

Peace, love and the “pizza” that’s going to live in my body forever, 


Not-so-subtle Differences

The other day I was at Grand Central, after like fifty-seven (ok, three, but it felt like way more) trips to Penn Station, and I was thinking about how I would describe Penn Station V Grand Central to non-New Yorkers. I was thinking about all of this while walking through a fucking gorgeous artisanal market IN THE TRAIN STATION that, upon entering it, literally prompted me to say out loud, “I love New York.” The doucheyness of this city has fully consumed me and I think I’m ok with it, artisanal train station markets and all.

ANYWAY, I spent a lot of time thinking about all the nuances that separate Grand Central from Penn that I could describe to a non-New Yorker, and I ended up with this –

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 6.24.13 PM

You’re welcome,

Peace, love and the rosé I’m drinking right now,


Let Them Eat Kimchi

Last Sunday I went to Brooklyn for a friend’s birthday party at a beer garden. The Crown Vic in Williamsburg has a pig roast every Sunday, the theme of which on this particular Sunday was Korean-style pig roasting.

picture of a rib and some weird sauces

Apparently this is what makes up Korean style roast: Big ol’ rib of pork and a bunch of weird bean sauces and pickled veggies. And of course, jars on jars of kimchi.

Eat your heart out, Ramen burger enthusiasts.

picture of a menu that is too expensive for brooklyn

Apparently Bon Chon and Banchan are different things. Everyone in line was confused.

I take issue with a lot of Manhattan beer gardens because they are usually too crowded for me to be able to hear anyone around me, but this place we delightfully unpacked and filled with lots of neon colored tables. And as always with Williamsburg, I love examining all the hipster wear going on around me.

Pretty fence. #withafilterduh

picture of my clutch and the wine that lead to my demise later that evening

My one attempt to seem like an artsy blogger this summer.

The best part of the day, however, was the super spicy kimchi eating contest sponsored by Mama O’s Kimchi. If you’ve never had kimchi, I hate it with the fire of a thousand flames (is that the phrase? I think it’s something like that), but people like it, and also I think a couple of the people who signed up had never had it before so they didn’t realize what crimes they were about to commit against their bodies.

At least someone got that big trophy?

I greatly enjoyed watching 10 people try to stuff jars of super spicy kimchi into their mouths over the course of three minutes. The one other person who seemed to be as into it as me was Asian John Cusack — this Asian guy who looked like John Cusack in any of the movies where he wore a leather jacket and big sunglasses. AJC was drinking beer straight from a pitcher and yelling things at all the contestants. I kind of wish we were best friends.

After that, we tried to go to a free comedy show, got bored waiting and ended up stuffing our faces at The Meatball Shop, a place that I’m sure will soon take the rest of the country by storm because it’s way too good.

Peace, love and banchan, 


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The Cicadas Are Coming and It’s Going to be The Shit

One of the things that I loved about growing up in small town Georgia was what a BIG EFFING DEAL everything was. It snowed ten inches? The blizzard of ’93 will live in infamy. Hurricane Opal hit Florida? We had no school because of wind. Some crazy dude climbed to the top of a crane and the SWAT team had to lure him to the edge of the crane with water, taser him and catch him with helicopters? Ok, that one was pretty crazy. I loved the feeling of community that came from being in a smaller place. If something happened, bad or good, it happened to the whole town. Everybody was talking about it, so much so that I have vivid memories of making friends at a generator-lit Wal-Mart during Ice Jam 2000. Maybe I just like natural disasters that are given names.

Anyway, that’s why I read Gothamist every day. It reminds me that despite the fact that I’m living on an island with like a gagillion people who will probably stab me if I take too long to swipe my metrocard when the express is at the station, it’s still an island that’s (physically) smaller than my hometown of Snellville, GA.

I love reading every morning about the soda ban, the Citibike battles and the newest restaurant that’s serving Korean-Russian-Trinidadian fusion out of a tire that washed aboard a boat that washed into a warehouse in Red Hook during Hurricane Sandy. I want to be part of a community, and Gothamist makes me feel like I’m part of the coolest (most expensive) community ever. Other than whatever people are doing in like, Dubai, but I don’t think I have the energy for that anyway.

If you’re not paying attention to news about the Northeast right now, all I can tell you is this –


As a Georgian, I’m kinda like… you guys ever heard of locusts? Or, I dunno, bugs? Basically everyone is freaked out (or ironically freaked out, I can never tell) about the fact that cicadas go dormant for 17 years and then come back just about the time the trauma has subsided in order to torment people with the sounds of their incredibly loud mating calls. According to Gothamist, “their 90-decibel calls can rival the sound of a subway!”

I am still not impressed, possibly because I live on The Street That Is Apparently The Only Bus Route To Boston, so it is constantly loud. But the other reason I’m not impressed is because I believe in New York. This amazing city can handle 9/11, blackouts, hurricanes and anti-semitic Sesame Street characters. Do you really think we’ll crumble under the mating call of the cicadas?

In the words of the Nappy Roots, “Aw naw, hell naw ‘main.” We’re gonna rock the shit of this insect infested summer.

NYC loves rare shit.

Last year someone made a dinner out of rats. Do you really think we’re not gonna eat the fuck out of these cicadas? A couple of weeks ago I read a series of articles about how “ramps” were overrated, which lead me to something about how the “ramps” were in season. I dunno if I’ve ever had a ramp, but it looks kinda like a scallion so I imagine it’s not THAT different. But New York loves rare.

All I can say about cicadas V. ramps is SCREW THE RAMPS. THIS SHIT IS ONLY AROUND ONCE EVER 17 YEARS.

Can you even imagine? The absurd cocktails and infusions? 

In researching this post (lol, because I research), I Googled, “Can you eat cicadas?” Yes. Yes, you can. I would like point out the fact that because cicadas shed their exoskeletons that there are multiple textures associated with the cicada.

“Have you tried our Cicada Crush? It’s like a grasshopper but with cicaca-infused creme de menthe. It’s divine and oh-so-rare!”

Spicy Cicada Crunch Roll, anyone?

And what about the jewelry? 

You know that every boutique everywhere is going to start selling gold-dipped cicada carcasses. Mary Kate will get one immediately.

Cicadtronica = the new Seapunk. 

Don’t hate on my poor music production skills – there’s a reason I’m not in music anymore. I can just imagine hipster bands everywhere, sticking their iPhones out the window at night, sampling cicada noises and putting crazy reverb on their calls. Seriously, have you listened to Seapunk at all?

So yeah, New York, don’t stress. I have faith in us making The Summer of The Cicada the best summer ever.

Here are two jokes I came up with that didn’t fit into this post but because it’s only every 17 years I”m going to get to write about cicadas, I’m gonna use them here.

#1 – I’m going to be singing this a lot this summer – “The park has cicadas. C-I-C-A-D-A-S!”

#2 – Where are the cicadas going? IN ONE DIRECTION.

If only the cicadas flew over from England, this would be even better.



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Lesser Known Tactics for Pest Control

My pest situation has officially been treated! A dude came to my apartment, showed me the art of home inspection (he told me I have a good eye. Win), we killed some bed bugs together and then he (hopefully) brought down the BED BUG APOCALYPSE on my room. I keep imagining that episode of South Park with the lice and hoping that’s how they feel, but that there isn’t some sort of rebel camp where a few have survived.

Anyway, the next few months of my life will be dedicated to vacuuming everything I own and pulling all of my clothing out of the giant plastic bags they’re stored in. I think so far the worst part of having bed bugs has been the knowledge of how suddenly it happens. One day, you’re sleeping soundly and using your floor as an extra shelf for all your personal belongings and all of the sudden you finding yourself hyperventilating every time that someone brushes up against you in a public place.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is a small thing in life. Shootings, bombings, cancer, even getting your heart broken are all things that are worse than bed bugs. Brains don’t really work like that though (at least mine doesn’t), and it’s hard to keep things in perspective. So, as usual, the only way that I can think to cope with the fear of the bed bugs returning is to think of them as my 5th through 27th roommates. If they do return, I will try my hardest to be the worst roommate ever to the bed bugs. After all, I know how to annoy my human roommates… it can’t be that much harder to annoy insects. Right?

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Let me know if you’ve got any suggestions in the comments section!

Exclude them from social activities: 

“OMG you guys! Last night was so much fun!! Such a great ROOMIE NIGHTTTTT- oh, uh. Hey bed bugs. I didn’t realize you were here. Well, this is awkward. It’s just that we met up with Janine and given your history we thought it might be a little awk. It’s ok though, you didn’t really miss all that much or anything.”

Everyone knows that bed bugs are the type to bring cheap champagne to the party and the drink the expensive kind that someone else brought.

Freak them out:

I hate when people try to scare me. One time my little brother snuck up behind me while I was cleaning my car in the dark and I almost broke his nose by hitting him so hard with a roll of paper towels.  So just when you know they’re nice and cozy, maybe sometime around noon when the sun is up and they’re sleeping in your bed frame, yell at the top of your lungs and shake the bed –

Then be like “JK DUDES, OMG you guys should have seen your faces! Classic.”

Leave your mess for them to clean up:

I wonder how they feel about crumbs in the bed?


Passive aggressive fridge notes:  

Those are the worst!

I’d make sure to use the phrase “Please advise” as much as possible

And if all else fails, make fun of what they’re wearing:

They’re bound to be offended

“You’re STILL wearing that? I don’t really know what you’re going for with this whole 1930s, pre-DDT thing…”

Peace, love and you could try learning violin as a hobby… that might work too… Suzuki kids know what I mean, 

I got 99 problems, but bed bugs ain’t one

JK, they’re #1. Right up there with my waist being wider than my hips and the fact that I haven’t yet won the lottery. As a former aspiring songwriter (my saddest label) I like to make up songs about my life. “Where did you go/ My strainer” sung to the tune of No Mercy’s “Where do you go?” is on heavy rotation in my kitchen and “I don’t want to go to work,” my folk tune original has topped my Monday morning charts since 2010.

The bed bugs and all of the information I’ve learned about them have provided me with ample material for a host of songs. Ha ha, get it? Host. Because I’m being eaten alive in my own apartment… too soon?

Possible tag lines for the TV ad: “All the music you’ve been itching to hear” / “It’ll keep you up all night long!” / “Reality bites… your music shouldn’t”

Man, I miss CD compilations. If it were the nineties, I could be all –


“Now: That’s What I Call a Bed Bug Infestation” features hits from today’s top artists:

Lil Wayne / Future / Drake – “My Bitches [bed bug sniffing dogs] Luv Me” 

Sample lyrics – “I’ve got dem bed bugs and rubbing alcohol / I’ve got an exterminator I can call / I don’t know what I would do witout OFF© / Ima heat things til they cannot crawl / That’s why my bitches luv me.” 

The Black Eyed Peas – “Where Are the Bugs?

Sample lyrics – “I’ve been itchin’ / I ain’t lyin’ / I can’t sleep and I feel like cryin’ / I’m so grossed out I could shriek / I think a bed bug bit my cheek / Pest Pro, Pest Pro, Pest Pro, help me / Send some an expert who wears gloves / I’ve been lookin’ but I’m still questioning / Where are the bugs?” 

PSY – “Bed Bug Style

Sample lyrics – ” Najeneun ttasaroun inganjeogin yeoja / Keopi hanjanui yeoyureul aneun pumgyeok inneun yeoja / Bami omyeon simjangi tteugeowojineun yeoja / Geureon banjeon inneun yeoj / EHHHH Rashy Lady / Op, Op, Op / Oppa Bed Bug Style” 

I wish this were a real

Justin Timberlake – “Pack & Tite

Sample lyrics – “I be always packing my shit tite / shit tite / I can’t wait til I can move outta my apartment / Been heatin’ fabric so much / It’s hot like an oven…”

Taylor Swift – “Trouble (I Knew You Had Bed Bugs When You Walked In)

Sample lyrics – “I knew you had bed bugs when you walked in / So shame on me now / You’ve been shopping at thrift stores againnnn / Keep your blankets on the ground oh / I knew you had bed bugs when you walked in / So shame on me now / Should have sent you vacuum-packing / Now I’m throwing all my bedding out!” 

The video to that one is great because it opens with a minute and a half of Taylor dramatically inspecting her suitcase after returning from a stay at the Ritz Carlton while talking about how she felt compelled to keep it on the floor even though she’d been burned before. Something about the carpeting was calling to her.


Journey – “Don’t Stop Your Steaming”

Aretha Franklin – “B.I.T.I.N.G.ME”

The Beatles – “We Can Get Them Out”

Britney Spears – “Oops! They Bit Me Again”

Frank Sinatra – “Strangers in the Night” (I know, too easy!)

Carly Simon – “You’re so Vein (I bet you think that they’re gonna bite you)”



Peace, love and call 1-800-got-bugs to buy now, 


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New Hobbies

The first thing you do when you see a bed bug is begin to research. It actually takes a while to figure out what the process is going to be like, because so many of the top links are horror stories from people. Here’s what you should do when you find a bed bug or think you have them.

  • Don’t clean or throw anything out (it will make it harder for the inspector to find them)
  • Call your management company, they will pay for the inspection
  • If you find an actual bug, try not to kill it and get it into a ziplock bag. If you already killed it, pick it up off whatever you killed it on with some tape and put it in a ziplock bag for your inspector/ management company.
  • Seriously. Don’t clean anything.

Once the inspector comes, you’ll know if you have a problem or not, or at least you’ll know if it is severe (my inspector and bed bug sniffing dog found nothing, so the situation is expected to not be TOO big of a deal. I am not as hopeful).
Your best friends will become your dryer or a Pack Tite and some vacuum packing bags. I’d recommend the Pack Tite because you can operate it in your home instead of lugging your shit too and from the dryer and worrying that it’s not really getting hot enough.

That being said, my Pack Tite and I have had our share of issues along the way.

$300 of my 2012 tax return went to this baby

Once everything is vacuum packed, they will come and treat. I don’t really know what happens after that (I find out tomorrow. FUN!) but I assume feeling OCD and freaked out about whether or not they’re gone.

The prep takes a LONG fucking time. Days and days. So many days I’ve watched almost a whole season of Psych, and I don’t really even like it that much. One of the more disconcerting things on top of that is the knowledge that if you misstep, unpack everything to early and the bugs come back, you’ll have to do it allllll over again. I’m blocking that possibility out for now.

I’ve been through all the stages of grief at this point (twice) and I *think* I’ve accepted my fate by some positive self talk.

“It’s ok, Tiffany, you just have some new interesting hobbies. Think of what you can tell people.”

Person with no bed bugs – “So, what are you doing after work?”
Me – “Oh, ya know, just heating a bunch of my shit to 120 degrees for about an hour and then sealing it in a vacuum pack. You?”
PWNBB – “Ummmm, going to the gym and then dinner?”

PWNBB – “Are you drinking this weekend?”
Me – “Nope, not drinking but there will be lots of alcohol. RUBBING ALCOHOL that is. You know, because I spray it on everything I own to help kill/ deter the bed bugs.”

Me – “My morning beauty ritual includes an intense, 10 minute inspection of my body to see I I have any new bed bug bites.”

So far my favorite hobby has become inspecting every piece of lint I see everywhere. I have a promising future as a lint analyst, so suck on that, people with engineering degrees.

Peace, love and pack tites, 


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The One with All the Bed Bugs

I’ve been freaking out about bed bugs since I moved to New York. Sure, they don’t threaten your health, they don’t cause any particular harm other than itchy bumps in 70% of people, but they are massively inconvenient. They seemed bad, and then they seemed less bad. People no longer had to move, no mattresses were thrown out, they were just a minor inconvenience some people experienced.

Well, last week life gave me bed bugs. They’re not in my roommates’ rooms, my boyfriend isn’t allergic to their bites, they are my very own bed bugs. Allllll mine. I was settled into my bed with my laptop for a lazy Sunday afternoon, when right there new to me I found a full-grown bed bug, chillin’ on my pillow, re-watching season 2, episode 1 of Girls with me.


After spending the last week going through this experience, I’m shocked that every sitcom ever about New York hasn’t made a bed bug episode. Why was 30 Rock the only one to cover bed bug territory? The whole process is so annoying, there are so many opportunities for humor.

  • If Friends had done it, it would be called “The One with All the Bed Bugs.”
  • If How I Met Your Mother did it, there would be some awesome physical comedy involving Marshall and the laundromat.
  • On Girls, Lena Dunham would schlep her bed buggy bags down the street, counting over her shoulder and getting hollered at by old Brooklyn men. She’d go to the laundromat and fight with her parents while waiting for her items to be heated to 120 degrees about how she definitely hadn’t infected their home on her most recent visit and how their throwing out her childhood bed was sending her into existential crisis.

I thought a lot about whether or not I should write about this on my blog, as I don’t particularly want to become a social pariah for the next three months, even though the no social obligations and excuse to constantly stay in ordering Seamless sounds kind of awesome. But then, on day three of taking conference calls while sitting next to a 120 heater that was cooking all of my personal belongings so I could vacuum pack all of them for the foreseeable future, I realized I HAD to talk about the bed bugs.

The only things online are tips and tricks, laments, scare tactics to keep you from movie theaters, hotels and Hollister (I support that one). No one tells you about the other stuff – about the moments of near insanity where you start turning all the rap songs you’re listening to into songs about bed bugs (it’s actually quite easy), about how cute the bed bug sniffing dog is and about the overwhelming desire to get totally shitfaced every night so you can fall asleep in a bed you imagine to be crawling with bugs but knowing you still have I go to work in the morning and vacuum packing things while hungover is hard.

So, I am embracing this experience with open arms (increasing airflow helps with the itching). Just as we walked together through surviving Valentine’s Day, feel free to join me in my attempt to beat bed bugs. Come back every day this week and you’ll get tips, tricks, songs and rants.

Peace, love and don’t get bed bugs I’m serious they are the worst I am losing my mind,


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Next Step: Buy horn glasses

When I was younger and I’d talk about why I wanted to move to New York I had all these lofty reasons like how it was the cultural center of the world and I’d become a better person as a result.

As with many things, there’s a disconnect between the expectation and the reality.

Expectation: Going out in new neighborhoods all the time.
Reality: Going to the same bar four nights a week because you’re 100% certain you’ll be able to hang up your jacket.

Expectation: Going to tons of Broadway shows on the cheap.
Reality: Broadway too expensive, a friend of a friend gives you his Netflix login.

Expectation: Surrounding yourself with new and fabulous people who wear horn glasses and go to readings.
Reality: Stay friends with the first people you met when you moved here (or coworkers) because it turns out it doesn’t matter where you live, you hate new people… Especially if they’re wearing some type of quirky eye wear.

Expectation: Major Career successes.
Reality: Developing long, elaborate fantasies about winning the lottery or becoming a full-time student on the train ride to work

Expectation: Getting to be really fashionable and test your limits, because in New York you can do whatever you want and no one will judge you.
Reality: Getting out-hipstered by 21-year-olds whose dads pay their rent.

Expectation: Overall fabulousness as depicted by “Sex and the City” and every New York romcom ever. Standing under the Empire State Building and spinning while looking up and smiling. 
 Becoming ok with the way you smell not being 100% fresh because laundry is too expensive and who has time for that anyway? So you douse yourself in a little bit of perfume and comfort yourself by mentally referring to it “my musk.” No twirling space underneath the Empire State Building, but you do get offered to skip the line by those ticket sellers outside.

The most shameful of these is the missing out on cultural shit. Over Christmas my Grandfather asked me how often I go to shows or museums and I gave serious thought to replying, “Sometimes I go to bars in Koreatown.”

It’s not for lack of trying, but I really have to work to get myself off my ass and outside to experience the loveliness that is New York . On Sunday a huge group of my friends and I ventured all the way to an art installation in Long Island City.

I love this type of art because of all the ways I can think to act like a douchebag when I tell other people about it. I totally love bringing up the type of pretentious, stoner stuff I talked about for hours on end in college. You know, shit like, “what if we all see colors differently but we learn the names for what we’re seeing and just assume that we’re all seeing the same color? Like, my blue is actually your green but we can never know. Let’s go watch Requiem for a Dream again.”

I took a bunch of photos of the installation and I’m excited to use this new photo collage app I have, so below I have tried to explain what we saw in the douchiest way possible. I dare you to try and out pretentious me in the comments.

“Headscapes appealed to the most basic human emotions that we experience in the 21st century. Isolation. Overstimulation. And confusion over the which organic products are organic enough.”

“The neon-blacklight room was definitely a statement on today’s youth. We are vibrant, hopeful and neon is really in right now, but we don’t shine unless we are in the darkness, because we are all in the darkness.”

“The speaker cave is reminiscent of a time before file-sharing. The act of physically selecting music is one we’ve lost in the digital age. We’ve become disconnected from generations of great musicians.”

“Open umbrellas strategically placed in an area where they will never be needed is just like our National Security policies. We’ve been at threat level Orange for almost ten years, you know.”

I got bored on the train and made this picture of three different Asian places I’ve eaten in the past few weeks.

Oh, and yes, we did wander through Queens and find a shit bar afterwards. You can really only expect so much of me.

Peace, love and this post was a statement on government, duh,


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Best Bodega Ever

I know I talk about bodegas a lot, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever defined the term for any of you who aren’t East Coast dwellers. Here ya go:

“ghetto 7-11”

Yes, this does sound like a Middle American gas station, but I can assure you that a bodega is far more complex. The thing about suburban gas stations is that they’re either AMAZING (eg. QuikTrip, WaWa, god I miss them) or they are depressing pieces of shit that you’re forced to shop at because you’re in Kansas and that’s where the church camp bus stopped. Gas stations are black or white, while bodegas are all sorts of shades of grey. More than fifty, for sure.

Bodegas exist in a land of plenty. In New York we want for nothing; Ethiopian food, alcohol and juice cleanses are available almost 24-7 by delivery or just down the block. Discovery has lost its novelty and I’m pretty sure that’s why there are so many secret bars. Even those are still one Google search away. A good bodega creates within its visitor a sense of adventure. The bodega engages the inner hunter, reminds its patron that among its dusty, cluttered shelves hidden treasures abound.

I was thinking about this last night, when I went to my bodega for snacks. The management has changed, and what was once a top-notch establishment has become a sad shell of a sandwich shop. I wouldn’t call it the worst bodega ever yet, but I fear for its future. Once the previous manager’s Gouda and diet popsicles are gone, I’m not sure what to expect.

So what exactly makes the best bodegas? Here’s my criteria:

#1 –  Massive amount of old, off-brand snacks. When hunting for treasure, one needs the unwanted items to search through. Without the lows that come with rifling through a pile of nacho cheese “onion ring” bags, how can one experience the highs of discovering that one bag of artisan popcorn?

#2 – Artisan shit. In small quantities, ordered infrequently so each discovery feels like A Win.

#3 – A top-notch frozen foods and beverage section. The best bodegas have Ben & Jerry’s flavors I’ve never seen before, the occasional vegan frozen dinner and Woodchuck Crisp Cider, which is inexplicably low calorie and delicious.

#4 – A cat. You’ve gotta have a bodega cat.

#5 – Funny stuff from other countries. My favorite bodegas in Boston sold hookas and tourist trinkets from all over the world. I’m pretty sure one of them had t-shirts from the Moscow Olympics. The one on my block now has an assortment of male enhancement supplements with names like “Extreme Dragon” and the rest of the text in Hindi or whatever. 

#6 – Friendly staff who don’t care that you’re drunk. I have made so many bodega friends in my day. The ones on my block liked used to give me free candy because – according to them – my terrible photo on my ID reminded them of a Bollywood star whose husband was incredibly charitable. 

#7 – Sandwiches. This is not a necessary requirement, as I find most bodegas with sandwiches don’t have as many wonderful other things. That being said, the Best Bodega Ever would have all of the above and the Spicy Special. I assume that’s the bodega in heaven.

Peace, love and Did I miss anything? 


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