Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Look What I Made

Look What I Made

Puking, vomiting, upchucking, rolfing, ralphing, yawning in Technicolor, blowing chucks, losing your lunch, spewing, barfing, bringing up, driving the porcelain bus, disgorging, dry heaving, expelling, gagging, heaving, hurling, kecking, losing it, regurgitating, retching, throwing up. It has many names.
My friend Jarred said that his favorite thing in the world was vomiting. His least favorite thing: the feeling before and after vomiting. All pleasurable things in life involve tension and release. Puking is no exception.

Food Related Blunders: Oh God, Why Did I Eat That?

Yesterday: I almost vomited all over a banana. I prefer slightly unripe bananas with a light green tinge around the edges. I underestimated the tinge and selected a banana I thought would be just perfect with sweetness and firm texture. Upon taking the first bite, shivers went down my spine. I tried to chew the dry pasty banana. It tasted like aspirin. I forced myself to eat the mouthful. Bad idea. The banana triggered my gag reflex, and if it had not been for a nearby trashcan, I would have splattered little banana bits all over my shoes.

Once I ate 2 cloves of raw garlic, because I thought it would be good for me. My roommate was of the health conscious variety. Everything he ate was vegan, organic and possibly local. Henry would pick up raw cloves of garlic and pop them in his mouth while eating a bowl of pasta. Imitating his healthy gesture, I ate one and then two cloves of garlic with my food. All was fine for about 5 minutes after finishing my meal, when I suddenly had to race to the bathroom, where my body made evidence of its strong disagreement with my healthy gesture.

Booze: Highway to the Toilet Bowl

16, at a Halloween party, dressed up like the Saint Pauley Girl, eight beers too many. I strolled out onto the patio, and found an unassuming bucket. I released the contents of my stomach, and then picked up the bucket, shouting confidently, “Look what I made! Look what I made!” I put the bucket back down, sat on someone’s lap, and began to kiss him with my unrinsed lips.
After a bit too much at a different party, I escaped to the bathroom. Lamenting the rejection of some forgettable fellow, I began bawling while I was vomiting. Really, crying while vomiting is one of the most awful things ever. You feel as though you are leaking from every corner of your face.

“I think I’m gonna hurl”: One more puke related memory

I used to not believe that anxiety had the power to affect your gastro intestinal system. Then I fell in love for the first time. I hadn’t been sleeping regularly. The butterflies of novelty had my stomach in knots. Eating was difficult. A road trip to San Francisco with friends put 4 days distance between my new love and I. Now this may not seem like a long time, but in new lover time, this is ages, eons. It’s like exponential dog years. I couldn’t stand the waiting. Finally back in Oregon, after a 10-hour drive, we made plans to see each other that night. While I waited I forced myself to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and did the only thing that would put my anxiety to rest. I took a nap. An hour later, I shot out from under the covers on the couch, where I was sleeping and ralphed into another conveniently placed bucket. (They seem to appear for me)
Waiting for him could be equivocated with the moment one clutches the toilet bowl, groaning with nausea, or Jarred’s least favorite moment. In the moments in between our meetings I was often dizzy, stupid, weak in the knees, and glazed with an expression of euphoria. When we were together, I vomited fireworks into the air and all the little sparkling remnants fell down around me as time passed. My heart released without hesitation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pants are like love . . .

. . . a different pair is right for everyone.

Act Four of this week's This American Life podcast hits upon this exact idea. I never thought this sentence would be actualized in story format and lo and behold.

Act Four. Pants Pants Revelation.

Joel and Kate were both working in a psychiatric hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. They both like each other, and she tries to impress him by always wearing her favorite pair of jeans. Little did she know, the jeans were maybe the only thing about her that he didn’t like. (8 minutes)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Don't Go for the Food, Go for The Toilet

I'm kinda obsessed with bathrooms.

There's nothing better than excusing yourself at a restaurant to go to the bathroom, waiting in a long line to use the restroom, and being pleasantly surprised when you get into the can to see that the owners have taken creative license to make the experience of passing fluid in their establishment an interesting and memorable one. I can't count how many times I have been disappointed that a fancy restaurant hasn't gone to any measures to make their bathroom an either memorable or luxurious experience. If I am paying $60 for a meal, I want their john to be one that I could never afford or imagine myself peeing in at home. It's annoying when you are paying so much for a meal and you get in to relieve yourself to find that the toilet seat is loose, the soap dispenser gives out neon pink industrial soap, and all the fixtures are everyday stainless steel. I remember eating in one fancy restaurant on my birthday, where the soap had run out and they put out a plastic squeeze bottle with a broken cap to pour soap out of. Sad.

I had two seconds of fame once for my Yelp list, "The Best John's in SF" that was featured in a weekly email newsletter. In it, I describe some winners in the category of making peeing interesting. You can make it pretty like Pauline's Pizza (whose black throne in a pink tiled room with chandelier and flamingo light switch cover can't really be topped), pictoral like Minako sushi with a tropical fish mural, luxurious like Rose's Cafe in the Marina (with lilies and wooden toilet seat dispenser) or entertaining like B44 or Pizzetta 211 (with mini televisions looping footage of interesting and culturally appropriate footage in line with the cuisine served, like B44, a Spanish restaurant whose bathroom has reels of a festival in Spain where people make human towers every year at a festival, the paramount being when they send a six or seven year old child up to the top to climb over five stories of people to add an additional 48 inches or so to garner a win) or to the truly wacky bathrooms like the hot toilet water at Sushi Groove. I am still waiting to find a restaurant with a real life bidet or a Japanese Toto installment.

Until then, I will continue to pee pee like a plebeian . . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

Quote from Russell Brand on NPR's Fresh Air

"I don't know if you've ever smoked crack Terry, but it makes you do some very eccentric things." -- Russell Brand

Friday, April 03, 2009

Adventures in Adult Disneyland - Day One

Reporting from the land of sin, prowess, and confidence.

Our day began early very early, 5 am to be exact. When you are at BART at this hour, pretty much everyone on BART is going to the airport.

You can see the casinos when you land in the airplane, the Luxor and the Wynn are basically backed up against the landing strip. On our way in, we were all thinking the same thing, "Wouldn't it be weird to live in Las Vegas, a town full of visitors?" I asked the cabby if he lived in Vegas. He did for all of his 45 years.

I took photos from the cab like a cheesy tourist. Vegas really does feel like a theme park at certain moments, and the roller coaster and miniature buildings of New York, New York fit right in with that.

Unable to check into our hotel, we grabbed some breakfast at the Starbuck's in the casino. The pastries there were not normal pastries, they were huge and all covered with inches of thick icing. The sticky buns were the size of baseballs. They must have gotten them from somewhere in the area.

We then headed to the jacuzzi, mind you, it's probably about 9am in the morning. The desert had yet to heat up the strip, and it was really cold. I kept my knit cap on while cooking in the bubbles.

We ate at Diablo's, a Chevy's-esque Mexican food restaurant in front of the Monte Carlo. We ordered some spicy mojitos that contained jalapeno seeds. I was doing fine and then one of the seeds lit my tongue on fire. I pleaded the waiter for an ounce of milk and he obliged me with a whole glass.

Still unable to check into our hotel, we wandered the strip and checked out the interior of the Bellagio with the Chihuly ceiling and botanical butterfly house installed in the front area. The Bellagio was definitely my favorite hotel of all the ones they visited. I loved the waterfall/waterworks that happen every hour in front of the hotel in their giant man made lake where spouts of water erupt from the lake to the tune of popular songs. It's a big, glorious, beautiful use/waste of water. We wondered what it would feel like to be on top of one of those water jets when they go off, to which my response was, "That'd be a hysterectomy."

We also went into the Venetian with it's faux-canals, replete with gondola rides and clouds painted on the ceiling inside the casino shops. The cloud motif, I later discovered continued in most of the shopping areas within the casinos, including Paris, Miracle Mile, and Caesar's Palace. Vegas is all about simulation and the being outside while you're inside feeling makes sense, especially in a city where temperatures top one hundred degrees on a regular basis.

Vegas is full of vacation items that are temporal and useful only in their gratuitous celebration of the moment and one's ability to push that moment to the limits of it's ostentation for a relatively cheap price. I am speaking of the mardi gras like necklaces that are sold and the yard long margaritas that you can drink in public.

Finally getting back to the hotel, we napped, got dressed to go out and went to the Paris hotel for the dinner buffet. Having long heard about the Vegas buffet, this was an event we were looking forward to. We arrived and I was both surprised and disappointed. Disappointed that it looked like a regular buffet, no ice sculptures or gold, but surprised that things like crab legs, bouillebaise and cod were available in an all you can eat format. Even though my peeps weren't as crazy about this buffet, it still was the first evidence I had that Vegas has some of the best buffets anywhere. We ate to the point of bursting and were comatose afterwards.

Hoping to earn some free drinks, we played the penny slots at the Paris. The food expanded, the wine they gave us was awful. My friend who played the Kenny Rogers machine had the hot machine. I realized that the old slot machines are better odds-wise than the strictly video machines. It's funny to me that all the casino's look different inside, but their slot machines and tables all pretty much look the same.

Everything in Vegas looks so close, but is actually far away. Space and time are distorted. This is especially true when you are full and trying to get back towards your hotel. Having finally made it, we decided to check out Diablo's. Inside, a cover band playing 80's and 90's rock, a la Lynard Skynard and Pearl Jam, with additional hot pants clad gogo Dancers offering shots in your mouth.

And then we went to sleep . . . .
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