I see London, I see France: A San Francisco Girl’s Guide to Touristing These Parts

You know what?  “Tourist” can be a verb if I say so.

LONDON
THINGS TO DO: London looks a lot like New York, except older and dirtier. If you like churches, you’re set. Also, all of the museums are free, so this should probably be taken advantage of since the city is fucking expensive. The Tate Museum was one of my favorite parts of the whole vacation, for reasons like “An Oak Tree” by Michael Craig-Martin:

The phone booths are also pretty fun to check out, since they seem to single-handedly support the London sex trade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, you can go just outside of London to Stonehenge, where you can look at very big rocks in a very windy location, or to Bath, where you can keep things classy by eating at a KFC housed inside of an otherwise perfectly preserved 17th century building.

GETTING AROUND: Compared to MUNI, the Underground might actually be a portal straight into heaven. The trains come roughly every 5 minutes and the worst smelling car we entered the entire time smelled faintly of zoo.


Also differing from MUNI is the London idea of a “transfer” station. Making a transfer does not simply mean that you’ll walk to the other side of the platform. What it actually means is that you will be walking through a labyrinthian system of underground tunnels, up and down a catastrophic number of stairs for anywhere from a 1/2 to two miles, all the while searching for a sign to indicate that you might still be heading in the right direction. For this reason, it is essential that you either pack light or travel with someone who doesn’t mind carrying all the suitcases the whole time. (Obviously, I chose the latter.)

THIS N’ THAT: Perhaps, on your first day in London, you’ll land at 9 am after travelling for 22 hours. Perhaps the hotel will be full and you won’t be able to access your room until 2 pm, so you’ll get onto Yelp looking for a breakfast place and walk 5 miles to the restaurant with 4 stars. Perhaps you’ll be so impressed by this breakfast place that you’ll think everything you’ve heard about London food is a load of B.S. and that dipping down to 3.5 stars on Trip Advisor or Yelp is a safe proposition. DO NOT BE FOOLED INTO THIS MODE OF THINKING. For reasons equally inexplicable to Baryon asymmetry, there is an unbridgeable gap between a 4 star rating and a 3.5 star rating in London, both in terms of food and lodging. If you dip down to a 3.5 star rating, you will end up at a shitty bed and breakfast in an attic room with a ceiling so low that you have to crouch down to move around, just outside of wi-fi range. Likewise, the food becomes so inedible that, instead of finishing your meal, you will opt for some potato chips from the hotel vending machine. The food really is just as bad as you’ve heard.

PARIS
THINGS TO DO: Again, if you’re into churches, you’re all set. Probably the best thing to do in Paris is to wander around, get lost, and take pictures of pretty things that you later realize are important monuments. Paris also has lots of “Sexy Girls,” which must be at the top of the list for English and American tourists, since all the signs outside the sex stores and strip clubs near the Moulin Rouge are written in English. If I would have had more time, I would have gone into the Museum of Sex; instead, I just took a picture of one of their (used-looking) contraptions through the window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you make it into the Museum of Sex, do drop me a line and tell me about it, won’t you?

Basically, you can’t go wrong. The whole place is so pretty and so exactly what you’d expect (right down to the red geraniums hanging out on all the window balconies) that at some point, you’ll begin to feel a little embarrassed for Paris, like it’s trying too hard.

If you only have time to do ONE touristy thing while you’re there, go to the catacombs, which are just as weird as they sound. You will also not be disappointed by a night-time cruise up the Seine, which only costs 8 euros. Finally, if you’re looking to get some party on, just stroll down to the banks of the river any night of the week. It’s like Dolores Park in the summertime, except it goes for miles and miles and it’s on a river and there are less hipsters and more tango dancing. Basically, it’s Dolores Park in a perfect, parallel universe.

GETTING AROUND: Even more reliable than the Underground – during the day, the trains come every 3 minutes. Closer in bouquet to MUNI, with bright notes of human feces and a heady background of stale urine and body odor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similar to the Underground in the M.C. Escher-like transfer set-up. The reason French people can eat whatever the fuck they want is because they spend half their lives climbing stairs.

THIS N’ THAT: Contrary to what you may have heard, people in Paris are extraordinarily polite and helpful, even outside of the super touristy areas. Allergies acting up? Don’t worry about it! The sweet pharmacist will sell you some Claritin over the counter, even though it’s prescription-only in France. On the downside, you may want to avoid putting a damper on your trip by visiting the Museum of Jewish History which, although professing to be a chronicle of Jewish life in France from 13th century through present day, quite inexplicably neglects to cover World War II.

I think that about covers everything. This was way more helpful than the Lonely Planet guide, wasn’t it?  You can thank me later.

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Mid-May Check-in

Highlights so far this month:

1. Nyan cat scarf
2. New story up at the latest online issue of Barrelhouse, guest edited by the ever lovely Mary Miller
3. New work up at Vinyl Poetry
4. Story reprinted from Whiskey Island up at Zine-Scene, remixed by Lauren Becker’s edgy persona
5. Undisclosed
6. Pineapples
7. Leaving work early to sit around in the park
8. Bear Lawyer LLC

Lowlights:
1. Not having enough disposable income to justify buying a $75 Nyan cat scarf
2. Lack of sleep
3. MUNI

Persona-fied

I had the happiest hour with Lauren Becker after work yesterday.  We did some people-watching at a yuppie bar, drank some good booze and chatted about writerly things.

We got pretty excited chatting about writerly things, since it’s an area of shared interest.  We talked about editing, about the existential angst of publishing, about thematic obsessions, and tossed around a really exciting idea for a collaborative project.

But then we were like WAIT.  WTF is wrong with us?  We’re being huge suckers.  Why aren’t we talking about the single most important element of any writer’s craft?  What the hell good are technique and collaborations gonna do us when we haven’t even bothered to create our own iconic images yet?  For christsake, how can we ever expect to be taken seriously if we use our real, full names?  Clearly, we had work to do.

And so, it is with great pleasure that I introduce Marnie U. and Heather W.  They’re about to take the literary world by storm.

MARNI U.

 

HEATHER W.


Let the cult-like status begin.

Honey Badger cares about trivia

but he’d never let YOU know that.  Because he only cares for questions about important things, like AshleyMadison.com or Guns n’ Roses or Denny’s.  And you know what?  The rest of the questions can go fuck themselves.

I would like to stop for a moment here to clarify that this post has nothing to do with whether or not MY team, which may or may not have been named “Honey Badger Don’t Care,” won at trivia tonight.  This post has everything, instead, to do with Honey Badger’s personal feelings about trivia.

This post also doesn’t have anything to do with being consistently, unreasonably, outraged by the fashion choices of MUNI passengers.  Or listening to Hall N Oates’ “Rich Girl” on repeat all the way home as some sort of passive-aggressive retribution in response to a lack of Hall N Oates trivia questions.  Or discovering that my apartment building’s elevator is actually the epicenter of solitary drunk dance party bad-assness.

Nope.  This post is only to let you know that Honey Badger is a nasty-ass competitor who drinks himself silly out of spite when he loses a pub trivia quiz.  In case you’re wondering – in case you ever run into him – his beverage of choice is Maker’s Mark.

Forget about my blog

Because this is the best blog that has ever existed.  There’s no reason for any other blogs to keep going.

Dear Every Other Blog In The World: How can you find the strength to go on when you know you have already been defeated 1,000 times over by Hyperbole and a Half?

Ammendment to Yesterday’s List: More Excitement

Huge oversight yesterday afternoon in neglecting to mention my unwavering excitement about this:

Things I am Excited About

 1) The new issue of NANO Fiction that just arrived in the mail today.  So pretty.  And I’m awful proud to be in there with peeps like Brian Oliu and the always intimidatingly fantastic Brandi Wells.

2) The new issue of FRiGG, released yesterday, in which I have a few poems.  God, they do such a good job with the artwork.  Thank you, FRiGG, for being great and for keeping it up for such a good, long time.

3) The Wigleaf playlist, which I spent the day listening to.  Thank you for reminding me about Sleigh Bells.

4) This

5) Going to Europe next month.

6) Rose Metal Press’ new chapbook collection, They Could No Longer Contain Themselveswhich is obviously going to be so good that you’ll probably think about shooting yourself in the head while you’re reading it so you can end it all on a high point.

7) That new job you got at the Opera.

8)  Finally getting a chance to read the latest elimae.  Jesus Christ – Lincoln Michael,  Helen Vitoria, Elizabeth Ellen – y’all got some beautiful words up in you.

THINGS I AM NOT EXCITED ABOUT

1) Running out of peanut butter.

2) The last half of the 2nd season of Twin Peaks.