1. A Be Better Story…The Dung Wah Bus

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    Four years ago, in mid-July, I felt myself getting progressively stir crazy within the confines of the city so a first time trip to Boston seemed like an inspired idea during the oppressively hot summer. Having moved from Texas just two years before, I had no concept of bus travel beyond the occasional luxury charter bus rides to and from fraternity lingerie parties and other terrible events I’d cinched my boobs together for. So when my friend Allison suggested taking the ol’ Fung Wah bus for a mere $15 dollars, I of course was thrilled.

    I met Allison for an afternoon bus, and as I crossed the threshold of the waiting area, my heart sank. THESE are the people taking the bus? CRAP. I promptly told myself to stop being so damn judgy and prepare myself for a restful trip. Think of it as a moving respite, Chinae. It’s only 4 hours, Chinae. You’re gonna get to sleep and catch up on some reading, Chinae. Maybe they have a bar area, Chinae.

    We boarded the bus. A/C broken in 97 degree heat. Only seats that were open, were directly left of the bathroom. Lots of crazy looking people, foaming at the mouth (ok maybe they weren’t totally foaming, but they looked scary). We met eyes with some of the other normals and silently made a pact that if this turns into a mutiny, we were gonna be in this together.

    Allison and I settled in our seats…I tried to crack my window a few inches so I wasn’t ONLY smelling “Smells Like Drakkar Noir” mixed with the aroma of my own fear. I thought to myself…no one is gonna use the bathroom on the bus anyway. Who would do that? If they do, they totally only will pee, right?

    That day, I discovered the lack of embarrassment and shame that some people have about strangers smelling their feces. After three hours of reckless driving, and zero minutes of reading later (my knuckles were too busy being affixed to the seat in front of me), the driver announced that we’d be stopping for a dinner break. I’ve never been so happy in my life, I felt like it was my wedding day. Of course my joy was swiftly snuffed out when he added that we would need to bring our meals back on the bus due to us running late. Whatever, we still get to stretch our legs and breathe normal air.

    I quickly realized that our “dinner” spot was a friend chicken joint on the side of the highway. I considered running away into the adjacent field at this point and leaving Allison to send condolences to my friends and family. Again, people have no shame and proceeded to board the bus with 5-packs of fried chicken and biscuits galore. The following 3 hours were not a good time to be near the bathroom. In the end, I arrived in Boston…probably sans nose-hairs, but I arrived nonetheless. I vowed that day, that I would NEVER, NEVER tell a new New-Yorker to take this God-forsaken vomit wagon, even to save money.

    So, I was delighted to hear some good news this week and share it with fellow New Yorkers. Fung Wah bus service was suspended this week due to unsafe conditions and ignored safety regulations, and who knows when these assholes will be up and running again. ABC reports that Fung Wah drivers are in the bottom 3 percent nationwide in driver fitness, which measures training levels and experience. A big thank you to the Department of Transportation for saving hundreds of people from a ride on the Poopy Bus of Death.

    The End.

     


  2. Be Better at…Road Trips.

    Last week I embarked on an 8 day road trip with the boyfriend. 8 days, 8 cities. It was quite the undertaking and before we took off, I’ll admit, I was nervous. Boyfriend and I get along swimmingly, so that wasn’t the worry but being trapped in a refrigerator on wheels with one person for hours on end, well…it’s tough for this NYC car-less lady. I think even Mother Teresa and I might have fist-fought before the end of the week, that is, if Mother Teresa took road trips with mediocre bloggers.

    Disclaimer: The trip was awesome.

    There were a couple “raised-voice” moments in the car (like when I was so tired, I ran a red light and Charlie thought we were going to die (btw we were not close to dying)), but overall it went seamlessly. Here are some things I learned on the way to make every road trip, easy as pie.

    -Music vs. Muzak: This is a biggie. No one has the energy to talk for every minute of the trip, so you are gonna need some good tunes to keep happy vibrations alive. Here’s how this worked out on our trip: I’m not discerning enough to only pick super meaningful, emotion inducing music, perfect for the scenario and locale. I would have Wilco followed by the Ting Tings, bookended with Jay-Z and Bob Dylan. The shuffle option is my friend, but I am realizing, that not everyone is that way. My co pilot picked the right music for each scenario (cue Fleet Foxes at high volume played through the curvy roads of the Smokies, so good) but then at specific moments, I jammed that AV converter into my jumbled Spotify account and played loud hip hop through the Atlanta streets in the early morning hours (I may have played Bieber at one point). Let whoever cares the most, pick the music and then they’ll be happy to have you takeover when you are needing to groove a bit. Chances are you aren’t dating someone with horrible musical taste anyway. Also, switch it up with a little variance, we added in a TED talk and a couple This American Life’s to get our brains functioning and to kill some time.

    -Need to Pee: I think my legs were slowly turning to mannequin legs from driving and not walking city streets, so I was a bit more inclined to stop and take bathroom breaks on this trip. If you are going to take a road trip, you can’t be mad when your fellow traveller has to go pee pee. It’s natural and it means you’ve probably had a lot of cocktails or coffee in the last 24 hours, so it’s at least for good reason. Don’t be that person (usually male) that sighs and throws a hissy fit when we have to stop and use the ladies. We don’t need to heavy sighs and the “really? again?”. Look at it this way, you’ll save money later when I don’t have f*cking kidney stones in my old age. Try to sync up on your bathroom time and then you’ll make half as many stops and eat half as many Slim Jims. (note, Charlie was great with my frequent bathroom stops, yay for male patience!)

    -Getting Sidetracked: You both need to be on the same page about wanting to take a more scenic route, or if you want to grind and just get there. OR you can accidentally give your boyfriend sleep-inducing allergy meds that you purchased at the dollar store, and then make frequent stops at boiled peanut stands/creeks/DQ while he doses in and out of a heavy slumber. Be flexible and split it up, some scenic, some grinding…that way, everybody wins!

    -Directionally Challenged: I have learned I kinda suck at directions. I also learned that women and men utilize Google maps in very different ways. For the most part in my study of ladies (because I am the proud owner of girl parts), we typically don’t use things like cardinal directions or mileage. I want to start a Google maps product for women, here’s how it would go:

    • REGULAR VERSION: “Head southeast on 6th Ave N toward Charlotte Ave for 1.5 miles and then merge onto 1-35W”
    • LADIES VERSION: “Keep going the way your car is pointed on 6th Ave toward the Starbucks and then after 2 minutes or so, take a right at the Party Wagon Supply Store and then get on the highway, yes, that highway, right there”
    I was frequently asked…”in how many miles are we going to do that?”. I sat dumbfounded. Do you men have some sort of permanent odometer built into your brain? 

    -Keep Tabs on Your Co-Pilot: One thing we constantly did, that kept us both happy and not wanting to run our car into a swamp? We checked in with each other frequently to make sure we were hanging in there, helped each other out when we could and kept ourselves fed, watered, and caffeinated.  Also, if your co pilot’s face starts to look sullen and glazed over (mine), you might want stop and take a little break with them, pump up the jams, and pacify them with Chex Mix. 

    Happy Roadtripping Y’all,

    Chinae

     


  3. Be a Better…Traveller.

    Pack It Up Edition:


    I went home to Texas for Christmas and must’ve really packed in a hurry OR there may/may not have been vodka involved with the process. That’s not the point. The point IS, is that when I arrived and opened my suitcase, I realized that I had made some grave packing errors.

    Here’s what my suitcase contained (other than Christmas presents for the family):

    • -Red Jeans
    • -Green Jeans
    • -Dress Shorts
    • -5 Sweaters
    • -2 Blouses
    • -Evening Gown
    • -Fur Cape
    • -Leather Jacket

    All sounds ok right? FALSE. My hometown averages a temperature of about 75-80 degrees in the winter, so that takes out the sweaters, jacket, fur, jeans, and the evening gown was for a wedding. So that leaves me with 2 blouses and a pair of shorts. Don’t worry, I brought 6 pairs of shoes, all short boots that made me look like a street walker when worn with shorts. PERFECT. Try figuring out what to wear to church without looking like Kit Deluca from Pretty Woman, short one mushy, hooker hat.

    I have no idea what the hell I was thinking last time…but as I embark on a vacay to see my California lover (well, not just a lover…well, boyfriend…lover just sounded cooler) this weekend, I NEED to be better than I was last time. Let’s figure this out together.

    Make a List: Over the course of a week before your trip, make a list of crap that you need to bring and especially those little things that you are probably going to forget. Also, make yourself write down everything you’re taking, so you have to come to terms with the number 9 in front of the words “pairs of shoes”. I can guarantee that this list will make you take a few things outta that bag. Also, it’s smart to make a few perfect outfits and take photos of them on your phone so when you are trying to look really low-maintenance in front of your travel partner, you can just say you threw that outfit together :)

    Mix-N-Match: You don’t want to look like a brown paper bag on vacation, but you also don’t need to bring that teal Indian caftan/wedding dress, complete with pointy shoes, that you’ve never been able to pair with anything. The likelihood that a location change is going to clear your style senses is just not going to happen. Here’s a rule: If an item can’t be part of 2-3 other outfits in your suitcase, ditch it. Also, if you haven’t worn it in a couple months, don’t pack it. Pick a slew of neutrals and then follow the next rule to make them sing!

    Pieces that Pop: So you are wearing different shades of poop because I told you to pack things that go with everything. I get it, you are pissed. To compliment your palette, pick bright punchy accessories that will transform “poop” into “pop”. Plus, bright jewels take up WAY less room than that giant furry orange Prada-rip off sweater that you were thinking about packing.

    Remember the Timeline: As I sat on my bed last night, putting things in my suitcase, I realized after the 12th shirt I put into that wheeled box, that I will be gone for a total of 4 days. 4. There is no possible way that I can wear 12 things, though sometimes I am like Mariah Carey with costume changes on her MTV Cribs episode. 

    Rolling is Bullshit: Just fold sh*t. Rolling your clothes into little couture pigs-in-a-blanket is just way too much work and doesn’t save any space…I tested it!

    The Power of the White T-Shirt: Bring one. You can dress it up, dress it down. Wear it with underwear to sleep or pop it on with a tutu and look like a J Crew ad. So simple, non-wrinkly, and is always good to go.

    Can we also just take a moment to celebrate the sheer joy I feel when I get to buy travel-sized EVERYTHING?

    Phew. Wish me luck!

    Cheers to forgetting something and having to pick up a new one,

    xo Chinae

     


  4. Be a Better…Traveller.

    (Warning, this post is fueled with frustration and general MTA related angst)

    Mobile Body Positioning Edition:

    We all have to get to work somehow. I really am thankful that I don’t have to actually think/drive to work…we are lucky to jump on a moving box and just have to exist for 20 minutes and then get pooped out at our location. It’s great…unless you plan on sitting down. 

    This morning, my outer thighs were confronted with a harsh reality of NY city life…so much leg osmosis with my stranger/neighbor on the train. ugh. Now, usually…this would not bother me too much, but I raged after realizing, post commute that I had picked up the scent of Axe Body spray off my travelling cohort. I mean, if I wanted to smell like desperation and junior high, I’d go buy a bottle of CK1.

    So that got me thinking…how can we be better at riding the subway and stop annoying the sh*t out of everyone? I’ve attacked the subject before, but I think I missed a couple things.

    DO NOT BE THESE PEOPLE:

    -Gatekeeper: You know the guy…posted up right next to the door. Usually majorly creeping the sh*t out of me. His L.A. Gear Sneaks are planted to the floor like he’s working the gate at Buckingham Palace. HEY DUDE, you aren’t guarding the queen, you are just blocking the mariachi band from getting through the door in their giant glittery sombreros, and I’m pissed about it. I’d like to hear Feliz Navidad right about now and you are preventing that from occurring. Here’s a tip, grasp the idea that the doors open and close, people are going to come in and out, and you are going to have to get the f*ck out of the way for that to happen. And stop giving me that weird eyeball and pull your pants up, they are under your ass-cheeks and there is no possible way that is comfortable.

    -Thunder Thighs: Alright, the inspiration for this post came right out of this little corner pocket…there is a distinct amount of room for each person in a designated seat. Right?! Whatever you have to do to fit in that area, you do. I’ve seen people contort their bodies into  miniature trapezoids to fit in that little orange designated region…but here’s where I get sexist to the max…ready? Menfolk of New York City, you think just because you aren’t comfortable with your thighs touching (we women are fairly used to this) you are allowed to be all slutty business man with your legs spread apart. I get that, anatomically speaking, it’s not as comfortable for you to be thigh-to-thigh, BUT we don’t need you to be doing AC Slater-stance minus the backwards chair. Also, you aren’t just sitting normally with legs slightly spread….you actually look uncomfortable, your sh*t’s so far apart. Are you having a contest with yourself or something? I don’t get it……

    OK. I think I’m done for today. I’m sure there will be a part three to this lovely series as my blood pressure continues to rise due to subway related incidents. I can keep telling myself, at least this wasn’t my morning commute. 

    Xo Chinae

    *images via subway douchery

     


  5. Be a Better…Traveller.

    Tour Guide Edition:

    If you live in any sort of place that people may want to visit, you are going to have to play tour guide once in a while. And normally…it totally sucks.

    I’ve learned that living in NYC is pretty much a blessing and a curse…people always are wanting to stop in for a visit BUT you have to do things like wrestle hustlers on Canal street for faux-designer bags for them…so it really can develop into a resounding “meh” experience.

    While on my recent California dream vay-cay…I realized a place can totally be transformed by who’s showing it to you. Now, Charlie, my personal tour guide, has perfected the way to show someone around the LA area. So much so, that it actually induced tears at one point. Yeah, he’s that good.

    Here are 5 things I learned from him on how to be the BEST Tour Guide:

    -Have a Plan, But Be Flexible: One thing I learned very quickly is that I was always asked what I wanted to do, but overall, Charlie had a plan. He’d thought about the logistics, so I wouldn’t have to. That makes for a very relaxing vacation and usually your guest just wants to spend time with you, more than anything… so don’t let the logistics get you bogged down. If you’re visiting and you have a list of things you’d REALLY like to do, send it to them ahead of time…that way they can make a plan and see how the time could play out best. But respect that they know the city better than you, so just trust them.

    -Know Your Audience: When you’re playing tour guide…think about who you’re showing around. Interests are a great way to plan by, and your guest is going to have a way better time if the spots are tailored to their likes and dislikes. For me, seeing nature, vodka, meat, and art are things I’m in to. Guess what we did on my California vacation? Yep, you guessed it. (C wins all the points)

    -Soundtrack: Music is key to the perfect touring experience. I’m convinced that the background music can make a situation go from eh to epic. Especially in the car. Don’t torture your guest into listening to weird experimental rock or talk radio…unless they are into that sort of thing. Also, the “game” or anything involving balls, is not an option for travelling noise. 

    -Planned Rest: Sometimes the best time is downtime. Put some in there. Seriously. Just have some pockets of rest and relaxation…it’ll make the running around seem tolerable and actually can provide some of the best moments of your trip. Get a walk in, lay on some grass, nap in the afternoon…do it all.

    -Inject Normalcy: I think my favorite way to travel is with a local. I f*cking hate feeling like a tourist and constantly having to check things off a list of “things to see”. Take your guests to do something that you normally do. Plan a dinner with friends, go to a local bar, or spend sometime just in town hanging out. Seeing how people REALLY live, can make a vacation seem stangely home-y and getting a taste of real life, may be just what you need to top off the perfect trip.

    Cheers to many future vacations,

    Chinae

     


  6. Be a Better…New Yorker.

    Visiting the West Coast Edition:

    We New Yorkers famously have a chip on our shoulder about living, visiting, or thinking about another place…and immediately dismiss it as a total sh*thole compared to our great city. And most of the time…we’re right. 

    If NYC and LA were superhumans, they’d be archenemies fo sho. Of course no fiber of my being wanted to like LA LA Land…especially because my previous trip there sucked big time (hello Beverly Hills and Hollywood).

    BUT, much to my chagrin, I went on my journey out West…and I liked it. A lot. 

    I think I just got carpal tunnel from that sentence. Sigh.

    I would say though, that I had a few helpful things working in my favor…so I’ll share.

    5 Ways to Be a Better New Yorker, in California:

    -Stop Comparing it to New York: New York is (to me) the best city in the world. We’ve got everything in a tiny 23 sq mile vicinity: food that makes your toes curl, style that makes the ugliest sh*t tolerable and somehow beautiful, loads of history that matters, superior architecture and art, and we do it all in 6 inch heels. So what?

    On my trip, I had to let go of the notion of comparing NY to LA…and switched to the mindset of NY + LA. I hate to say it…but there are some things that La La Land is just better at than New York is. And that’s ok. Getting over the fact that I have to defend where I’m from like a 90’s East Coast vs. West Coast Rap Battle, made it so much easier just to love Cali and my time there.

    -Wear Color: Typically, the New York go-to is black, white, grey, and maybe a tan thrown in for contrast. If we’re feeling crazy. But wearing that garb when it’s 75 and sunny just doesn’t jive people. Wear color, show your legs, and hope for an opportunity to incorporate some sort of Indian headdress during your journey (there’s always next time for me, fingers crossed). 

    -Learn to Like Nature: My usual dealings with nature consist of, avoiding Lipton Iced Tea bottles full of urine on my 1 block walk to the train, dodging trannies on Christopher Street, or the occasional trip upstate to go “see nature” (i.e. vintage shop in close proximity to mountains and a river). So you can imagine I’m not exactly used to being one with Mother Earth. (besides my mermaid tendencies) Channel your inner surfer/hiker/mountain climber/roller blader, and just get in there. Where California lacks in urban planning/architecture, they make up for in the natural beauty of the state. I can guarantee the best parts of my trip, were times we spent outside, whether that was laying on the grass at the Griffith Park Observatory, sitting on dunes over-looking the Pacific near Malibu, or discovering rescued sea lions in Long Beach. Embrace the nature folks, I promise you don’t have to wear sensible shoes the WHOLE time.

    -Get Over Being in the Car: I think at one point during the trip, my leg muscles started to atrophy from not using them enough, but that’s part of getting to the best of California…driving. You’re going to do a lot of it. Put on the right music, keep the right company, and that 4 hour drive won’t seem long enough.

    -Have the Best Guide Ever: Now, this is something I can’t really help with…but having the best tour guide ever can make a ho-hum trip to LA seem like the vacation of a lifetime. I can say that being with someone that loves California makes all the difference in the world. I’m pretty sure that none of you are gonna get as good of treatment as I got, but hey…at least there’s Tripadvisor and Yelp. 

    California Dreamin’,

    xo Chinae

    p.s. These statements in no way affect that New York is indefinitely, forever and ever, the best place in the universe. 

     


  7. Be a Better…Gift Giver.

    The Manly Man Edition:

    August and September are irritatingly jam packed with birthdays. Mine included. So, in an effort to end tired, senseless, gift-giving…I’ll be doing a series of posts of great birthday gifts that will make anyone think you care. 

    Today’s gift giving guide is what to get that special man in your life…could be a boyfriend, husband, cable repair guy, meat stocker at the grocery store…whoever. Just pick a mandude and this sh*t’s for him. 

    In particular, my favorite flavor of man, The Creative is into music, art, culture…and appreciates great design. A book on street art, some new Warby Parker’s, or tickets to his favorite concert are always going to get you some points!

    He’s a little fancy. Maybe fancier than you. He uses a nose hair trimmer, is a whiskey snob, and probably has cleaner fingernails than you. Get him something for his bar setup, some grooming products, or a refined dart board to add additional class to his classy ass.

    He could wrestle a bear and start a fire simultaneously. Get him cool gear that he would be proud to take on his next camping adventure with da’ boys. Taxidermy, field notes, and a Best Made Axe…also great for your lil’ outdoorsman. Just pray that he doesn’t ask you to go camping now. 

    Gift Givers Unite!

    Chinae

     


  8. Be a Better…Traveller.

    Airplane Passenger Edition:

    It’s vacation time bitches. With all this jet-setting back and forth to Cabo that you people are probably going to be doing over the next couple months (cue targeted jealousy), we need to all take in a lesson about being a better airplane passenger so we don’t go all Bridesmaids on each other mid-flight. Flying can be a stressful experience as it is…so let’s make it a little less painful for all those involved with these helpful tips! 

    Don’t be these people EVER:

    ****The Talker: Usually middle aged or older, the talker can really creep up on you if you don’t watch out. What will happen first is when they sit down in their seat, they may say a comment or two…harmlessly at first. It starts something like this:

    Them: (with a surprised look) “Oh, I think I’m right in Seat C over there…excuse me”

    You: (takes out headphones, unhinges hips from pelvis and moves them horizontally) Oh Yeah, sure…

    Them: (settling into the seat) Ah…

    You: (puts headphones back in slowly) 

    Them: So…is Chicago the final destination for you? Is this your first flight today or ever? Do you want to see pictures of my Shit-Zsu Molly? Have you ever tried ham? Does that wing looks loose to you? it looks loose to me! I wonder what movie they are going to play?! I hope it’s The Santa Clause 3 again…I really miss Tim Allen these days. Do you think stewardess is still politcally correct? Or should we call them flight attendants? Does that make us Flight Attendees? Har Har Har!

    You: (fake narcolepsy)

    End Scene

    SHUT THE F*CK UP. No one wants to hear your take on the best deep dish in Chicago, why cats can replace lovers, or how you have been seeing the chiropractor about your lingering back irritation from that Segway accident (they said you couldn’t fall) you had in ‘99. The only time conversation is needed is if you are: A) Mutually attracted to each other, B) Going down in a ball of flames, or C) Need to use the bathroom and are trying to wake them up.

    This person also seems to be the guy or gal that has 266 photos of their dog/grandchild/husband that they would REALLY like you to see. Sometimes I miss the days of wallet sized photos…there were max ten pictures in that plastic thingy and you were only a resident of “oh how cute!” town for 10 minutes max. Damn you iPhone and your endless scrolling.

    The ONLY other time where conversation is acceptable is when you feel those wheels touch down, you are flung to the back of your chair, and you know that you’ll be outta there in a jif. There is a 10 minute window of time, where both of you can hold up a conversation chock full o’ pleasantries and every one leaves unscathed. 

    ****The Sleeper: Mr. Tiredtown sure beats the Talker but still can be a nightmare to sit next to. Now, don’t get me wrong, the combo of white noise, small space, and loud Icelandic music in my headphones WILL make me comatose before I can get my seatbelt fastened. BUT I sit there, confined in my torture chair, mouth open (but soundless), and DON’T move. I’m talking about Sleepy McSleeperson who is a LITTLE TOO comfortable sleeping on an airplane 3 inches from another person. I always seem to get the guy who falls asleep and then slumps over onto my shoulder, causing me to paralyze my body for the next 3 hours for fear of waking his ass up and having THAT awkward interaction. I don’t care if you have to use your nylon windbreaker like a straight jacket, just don’t touch me and we will be juuuust fine.

    ****The Switcher: The Switcher is a sneaky operator. Goes something like this:

    You: (Sitting comfortably in the window seat that you booked 3 months ago) 

    Them: (in an obnoxious Southern accent) Hi! Would you mind switching seats with me? My 3-year old daughter is sitting by herself next to you, she’s never flown before, suffers from altitude-induced migraine syndrom and it would be great if we could sit together.

    You: Where would I be moving?

    Them: (pointing to the middle seat, between a 300lb man and an obvious talker in the last row near the bathrooms) Oh, just right back there!

    You: …

    Now you’ve really pissed me off. You are trying to do a switcheroo where basically I get totally shafted. It’s a lose-lose situation because if I switch, I’ll be miserable. If I don’t switch, I am going to look like the biggest butthole this side of the Mason-Dixon. It’s not my fault you have a kid and aren’t good at making travel arrangements, so don’t punish people that way.

    ****The Urinator: I GET that the drinks are unlimited, free, and flow like the Tigris and Euphrates Old Testament style..but you need to understand the limitations of your bladder. You also should realize that I’ve just taken some heavy drugs that will put me into a coma-like state for the next 5 hours and waking me up to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes is GOING to end badly for you. Look, I will happily give you the container that my cheesy hamburger burrito came with for you to urinate in, if you want it. What can I say? I’m a giver. If that’s not going to be in your plan, you need to lay off your camel-like behavior and hold the phone on the diet coke drinking contest you are having with yourself until you de-board the plane.

    ****The ONE: We all know this person. You’ve boarded, settled into your seat and are anxiously waiting for your row to fill up. You’re mentally crossing your fingers for a good candidate and then you see him. THE ONE. For a multitude of reasons, he is the guy that NO ONE wants in their row, much less next to them. As he passes through that miniscule aisle, people are having small parties in their brain, celebrating him not being their seat buddy. You know you’ve done this. But don’t worry..he always ends up sitting next to me, so you have nothing to fret about. FML. At this point, screw more leg room, let’s just widen those armrests. 

    Happy Flying Y’all,

    Chinae

     


  9. Be Better…at Email.

    Email Marketing Edition:


    I pretty much hate being marketed to…and I do it for a living (love to do it, hate to deal with other people’s crap). Especially E-Marketing. Every morning I am on the verge of dousing my Magic Mouse with gasoline, lighting it, and launching it like a fiery grenade of magical technology at my computer screen. 

    Email marketing abusers, this is a post to teach you how to Be Better…and how to stop making me attempt violent crimes before 9am. 

    My Inbox Abusers:


    Groupon: Initially, I loved the idea of Groupon. You mean to tell me…that I get 4 Italian Sausage combos at that little eatery in my neighborhood that flies in their meat treats from some obscure Genoese butcher, for the price of one? Yes please. But now…things have gotten out of hand. No, Groupon, I don’t have time for helicopter lessons nor do I want to buy my boob job with a coupon like you are suggesting. You’ve also made several of my friends ease into bankruptcy due to their inability to say no to your discount pottery lessons. I’m aware they want to reenact the scene from Ghost but you don’t need to hustle them into it and then extract all the money from their bank accounts. So mainly, I wish there was an easy way to fill out some sort of survey about what things I’d be interested in…and then only get an email from you when the time arises. Things I’m interested in: discount meat, discount vodka, discount freak shows, and discount tickets to see “Lionel Richie and Mumford and Sons: One Night Only” (don’t get excited and start googling, people… I made that up).

    Tip: Make a more focused marketing strategy so I don’t get 99 emails from you for every 1 that is actually relevant to my life.


    Airline websites: They say insanity is doing the same thing more than once and expecting different results…well then call me crazy lady. Not only do I hate your emails, but I hate myself for falling for them every f*cking time. “99 cents from NYC to Bermuda!, CLICK HERE” and I do. Every. Single. Time. 

    The scene looks like this:

    Me: ”Oh! An email from Delta offering me a much needed beach vacation for 10 bucks” 

    **Click, Click, Click**

    Me: "I’ll just fill in my destination…uh huhh… ok…plug in my dates….FIND FARES NOW"

    **loading….**

    Me: F*CKKKKKKKKKKK!!!! $400!!!! WTF WTF WTF

    **Chinae throws Mac Book at wall and curses the day, shakes fist vigorously and promises to never fall for this again**

    End Scene. 

    So pretty much what I’m saying is that your tricks of temptation are working. You are playing on my weaknesses like a disenchanted lover. But I am starting to really hate you in the process. Why can’t we just be honest and say, “Today, Mediocre Fares Unless You Are Interested In a Tuesday-Thursday Trip to Buffalo During One Particular Week in February!” At least I wouldn’t rage. I might even book that Buffalo trip due to your honesty.

    Tip: Stop being liars.


    Delivery.com/Seamless Web: I am already ashamed that I am lazy enough to download an app on my phone, that allows me to avoid human contact to put food in my face. Every time I use you, I feel like you are my dealer and I’m some sort of socially inept, tech savvy,  junkie hermit. I’d prefer you to not remind me that I’ve hit a personal low. But props. You are delicious and convenient and I love that I don’t need to learn a new language to order my bun-less breakfast sandwich. 

    Tip: You’re alright, I’m just being whiney. 

    Some companies who do it right: Mad Props to GILT GROUPE & Warby Parker.

    I don’t even want to know what my inbox would look like if I joined an online dating site. 

    With love from my inbox to yours,

    Chinae


     


  10. Be a Better…Person.

    Restaurant Edition:

    First, I’ll say this…I LOVED being a server at a restaurant, you get to meet new weirdos every 20 minutes, you can speak in a horrible British accent if you get bored, and if you hate people, they’ll be gone in an hour…pretty much the best situation ever.

    While working at a restaurant in college, I got to wear an outfit that made me feel more like a doucher than ever before. Close your eyes and picture it…black flared-leg pants (from Express naturally), insanely starched white button down shirt (unisex and huge..I looked like an onion with legs), red bow tie (think femmy Pee Wee Herman), white heavily starched apron down to my knees, and top it off sexily with yesterday’s gumbo-encrusted black vest with a clipart embroidered lobster on it. And just to add insult to injury, hair pulled back in a tight bun, and very little makeup (although I obviously always broke that rule). Yeah, I was the hotness. If you can get dates while wearing this outfit, you must actually be Giselle Bundchen. 

    (this was the actual uniform, although this is not me)

    The point is…the restaurant industry is a hard place to work, but EVERYONE should do it at one point or another…it will seriously change the way you eat out and will decrease your assholeness by about 500% instantly. 

    Here are some tips to make your dining experiences more enjoyable for everyone (including your server):

    -Big Groups: When you go out with your entire 15-person bowling league, understand that sh*t WILL take longer. Just know this and deal with it. Maybe you shouldn’t have so many friends. 

    -Listen: Look, the server really doesn’t care about telling you that the Brandy Salmon is the featured item and that it comes with a side of Japanese asparagus risotto from the hills of Kyoto…but that’s her freakin’ job. So when she’s doing her routine, just shut up for 30 seconds, listen, nod your head, and it’ll ease the pain. No one wants to scream over you, and no one wants to talk to you while you stare at your phone mid-angry birds level…so give that tiny shred of respect right there at the start. 

    -Names: When a table can call you by name, or care enough to learn it…it makes a huge difference. Trust me, if you put in that extra effort in, it’ll come back to you in spades. Guess whose food isn’t getting the “special” treatment? YOURS. 

    -Complaints: As a server, I never cared if people complained about the food. I mean, sure…it’s annoying to have to deal with, but if there’s a hair in your food (it’s probably mine), or if there’s something else wrong…the server usually doesn’t mind handling it. We actually usually genuinely feel bad about the mistake but when you act like a total jerk, that’s when things get really annoying. If there’s something wrong, pull your server aside quietly, don’t make large demands, and see what they’ll offer you to fix the issue. They should know if you aren’t happy, but it’s not their fault, they didn’t cook the food, so don’t be a bitch. Oh, and don’t pull that Better Business Bureau routine, we don’t actually care.

    -Bus Boys and Other Servers: General rule…if you need something, wait for your server to come around. Don’t ask the bus boys or another server…they probably aren’t going to be able to help you, may not speak the english, and they have other things to be doing other than being your personal concierge, unless you plan on tipping them too…which you won’t.

    Jokes: It’s painful for us to hear the same jokes over and over. It always goes something like this…

    Server: Did you enjoy your meal?

    Patron: (sitting in front of an empty plate) No! I hated it! Ha Ha Ha.

    This is not funny. After the 4th time hearing this during a shift, I want to drown myself face first in your mushroom crab soup and take you down with me. And now, I shall figure out how to poison your dessert.

    Be good to your servers folks. They work super hard and are those special gatekeepers that get to determine if you get a pube sandwich or not.

    xo chinae

     


  11. Be a Better…Commuter.

    NYC Subway Rider Edition:

    If you want to appreciate having a car… I have the perfect solution for you. Live in NYC, be relatively poor, and be forced to take public transport.  Mainly the NY subway system. Alright, it’s great in a lot of ways…I’m totally not a subway snob, but the majority of my time spent on the subway is spent trying: to avoid vomiting in public, averting my eyes away from awkwardness, and stopping myself from punching people in the face. 

    So here goes…how to Be a Better Subway Rider:

    -The Train is Not Your Excuse to NOT Join a Gym: This phenomenon is pretty exclusive to the male commuters…but ladies, there is an addendum for you too. Now, I get that the gym is expensive, and budgets can be tight, but if I see one more person using the overhead railing as a pull-up bar, I will waterboard you. This is typically behavior of drunk Guidos but I’m also looking at you popped collar frat guy. It isn’t cute, funny, and moreover it makes you look like you may have something you’re seriously compensating for in your Southern region. Every time you do this, I’m silently wishing that some nasty fool ate some fried chicken while riding the subway, used the rail as a napkin, so you slip right off, smack your little gelled faux hawk on the seats below and learn to behave. Ladies, the only note I have for you is this…I understand that you had a tough childhood, but you really don’t need to express your angst by exhibiting your best stripper moves on the pole. We have to put our hands on that. I’d reallllly prefer to not have to involuntarily touch where your crotch once existed while commuting to my 9 to 5.

    *Some ideas to deal with that childhood angst: Xanga, Myspace Music, and bottling your tears and selling them on Craigslist (I’m positive there’s a market for this).

    Honorable Mentions in this category are: conga lines, push-ups, and hip hop dance crews that almost kick my teeth out during rush hour.

    -The Train is Not Your Bathroom: OK…I’m not even going to state the obvious about doing #’s1/2 on the train…because if you are reading a blog, I’m going to assume you have the mental capacity to not defecate in a public space. So we will chug on forward (train reference…I’m lame). Do you want to accidentally blind innocent people? Do you want me to have to walk with one of those sticks to feel where I’m going and inadvertently almost fall into a deli trap door? No? OK. Then think twice about cutting your f*cking fingernails on the train. You, over there…you aren’t catching them all…your renegade finger shards are flinging around the train car like little crap-encrusted boomarangs…just ready to induce lifelong blindness or at least wage a war of social-life-hindering Pink Eye. 

    Also, I agree, you stink like garbage on the 4th of July…but spraying “Smells Like,  JLo Glow” perfume that was purchased on Canal street in some sketch backroom, while riding the train is really foul. I’d rather have a face-to-face encounter with your midsummer pit stains than be locked in this steel coffin, scented like a rip off version of Latin music sensation, Jennifer Lopez. Oh, unless we are on the 6 train, headed to the Bronx…b/c then it would make sense. Spray away. 

    Honorable mentions in this category are as follows: nose picking, hair brushing, and plucking your eyebrows. 

    -The Train is Not an Audition, Concert, or Listening Party: Why is it that the music blaring out of someone’s headphones is never like…Arcade Fire, or the new Bon Iver album, or even some nostalgic 90’s hits like “Pony” by the artist Ginuwine? I feel like Apple has engineered their headphones to only let really bad music escape from their devices so we are forced to upgrade to better quality headphones to drown out our neighbor’s abhorrent taste in the Rock and Roll genre…I’m looking at you Chad Kroeger, lead singer of the worst band ever created, Nickelback.

    So, someone once told you that you had a “nice” voice…they lied. You can’t hear anything with “Umbrella” playing at 160 decibels in your ears and therefore you have become tone-deaf and are causing every cocker spaniel (and me) in a 2 mile radius to have a mild stroke. Save it for the shower, or have a kid and sing to it…because they can’t run away with those little under-developed legs of theirs and they are required to love you.

    Honorable Mentions in this category are: humming with no music, playing video games with the sounds on with no headphones, and talking to me without the go-ahead.

    -The Train is Not Your Personal Library: The train is packed, I’m actually starting to digest the girl’s hair in front of me…YOU ARE TAKING UP ONE PERSON’S WIDTH BECAUSE YOU’VE GOT TO GET TO THE NEXT LEVEL OF BEJEWELED ON YOUR iPAD. I am very excited for you that you have such a fun piece of technology (yay for you butthole)…but when we are all just powering through sardine-like conditions, Imma need you to put that away. Yes, you too Kindle lady, Danielle Steele will still be there after we unload some of these bitches. And the worst subway reader award goes to Newspaper Guy. You have the Korean Daily News spread just about as far as your average sized arm can stretch…you could fold it (because its paper) but nah! You’ll just spread your arms Kate and Leo style until your muscles start to atrophy while making me smell your fingers from two seats away. 

    -The Train is not a Restaurant: Reference my previous post HERE. 

    Last thing, no babies, no bikes, and no shopping carts during rush hour. 

    Making less people hate you…one post at a time,

    Chinae

     


  12. Be a Better…Subway Rider.

    Subway Eater Edition:

    This morning’s blog post wasn’t supposed to be surrounding subway eaters but let’s just say I was inspired (also see nauseated*) on my way into the office this morning. 

    OK…I get that you are hungry, you’re a busy New Yorker and you’ve got places to be. I GET IT. But we need to get a freaking handle on what’s acceptable in the way of MTA (for non-new yorkers…this is the transportation agency that continually ruins our lives) digestibles.

    As I sat squished between a power suit eating a yogurt cup with a metal spoon and strangely large (for an asian) man with his face wedged between two halves of a croissant filled with chicken salad (apparently he was on a low carb lifestyle too due to him ignoring the delicious flaky buttery carbohydrate laden pastry and choosing to spoon the chicken salad out of the middle with his tongue), I contemplated the do’s and don’ts of how to stay socially acceptable while getting your nosh on mobile-y. 

    Rules for Subway Eating:

    1. Anything that emits an odor…is immediately off the acceptable foods list. Yes that means you Schwarma eater in the corner, you are transforming this subway car into a hot stinky death trap and if I wanted to inhale anything that remotely reminds me of curry, I would’ve taken a cab.

    2. Drunk foods…let’s classify these as consumables that if you were sober, you would be hiding in your bedroom to eat them for the social repercussions of consuming them in public. This includes White Castle’s Crave Case (saw this first hand), pretty much anything from McDonald’s, or an entire Ray’s Pizza. I’m just trying to save you here, you already look like you are about to throw up…don’t make it worse by convincing yourself that since the 4am Bedford L Train is still 6 minutes away, that you should go ahead and purchase an entire pizza, eat it on your way home, and throw the box away like nothing happened before you get to the apt….it happened. 

    3. Utensils…you probably shouldn’t be eating anything that needs a utensil on the train anyway, but if you are…one word of advice. Just buy some disposable silverware for the house. Seriously. It’s like 2 bucks.  You know you are the girl who eats her Dannon Activia on the way to work and then shoves that nasty dairy-stained spoon in your purse that stays at the bottom of your Balenciaga until you show up at the airport for a business trip and they have to cavity search you because have a collection of metal tools at the bottom of your bag. Just try explaining that butter knife away with the “this was to spread my cream cheese on my bagel last Tuesday morning” excuse. Won’t work. 

    4. Two-handed approach…just stick with things that you can hold in one hand…if there is a dipping sauce, side dish, or if it’s large enough that you need two hands, you should probably get off the train and have yourself a little platform picnic…hey, could be a great opportunity for a date. Think about it. Subway love just like they talk about on Craigslist. Swoon.

    For someone far more dedicated to the cause of unveiling Train Eaters…see this blog…Trainpigs.com

    Granola Bars and Coffee 4life,

    Chinae