The Beary Kind

Hola amigo-go’s, from the other side of the equator. I thought by this point in my absence, you’ve probably graduated from the first 3 stages of grief AND are now crawling up upon the most spirit-shattering mile mark: Depression.

But fear not! I thought ahead and before I took off on my selfish South American sabbatical, I gave Poppycock specific instructions to post one of my all-time favorite musical numbers. Here, to help ease your agony is my rendition of Ryan Bingham’s “The Weary Kind.”

My own version is based on my everlasting love of sugar-coated Sunny Bears candy; and more importantly, how their gluten-free goodness can bring two, sweet-craving souls together over one tiny bulk bin.

The Beary Kind

Your hearts on sucrose

You went to the bulk bin with nothing to lose

This is the best place, for the Beary kind.

So sunny a treat,

My hand searches for the flavors so sweet,

Somehow I do feel another one there.

(CHORUS)

This is the best place for the Beary kind

This is the best place for love to find

This is the best place for bums to grind

Pick out the ones you want, and then give me a try

This candy has been

A friend for so long, it always delights

And now it has brought you into my sights

(CHORUS)

This is the best place for the Beary kind

This is the best place for love to find

This is the best place for bums to grind

Pick out the ones you want, and then give me a try

Your lips taste so new

Of the red one you so recently chewed

You are the man I’m meant to adore

Your hearts on sucrose; you went to the bulk bin with nothing to lose

This is the best place, for the Beary kind.

**** And Now!!! Some shameless self-promotion: If you dig Ryan Bingham’s work, check out my recent review of his newest album “Tomorrowland” in Paste Magazine:

http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2012/09/ryan-bingham-tomorrowland.html

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Time To Feed The Travel Bug!

Dear readers, you’re going to want to sit down for this. Before I say what I’m about to say, might I suggest that NOW would be a good time to take up laugh yoga… meditation… prayer… anything really that helps you go to your happy place.

Okay. I’m just going to rip the band-aid off: Here and Goes.

Starting tomorrow, I will be off on a 2-week long vacation. No laptop. No checking my Nerd Rom inbox. No Mailbag Mondays!!!

Try as you might, you will NOT make me feel guilty for this. This is my first big — as in passport stamping, currency exchanging — trip since boarding the S.S. Homeowner Ship 3 years ago. I’ve been busting my chops, playing nice, putting down roots, putting up shop — AND frankly, it’s time to feed the travel bug a big, huge slice of globe-trotting pie.

And while I couldn’t be more excited to take my dusty, Patagonia hiking pack out of storage (can you say wicking skivvies!) and set off to charter an entirely unexplored country — my friends and family are a little more apprehensive. Their concern is 2-fold:

First, did I mention I was going to Medellin, Colombia?

  • As in with an “O.”
  • As in Pabl-O Esc-O-bar.

But really that’s just geography and ONE very UNIRONIC walrus mustache.

It’s basically just a general knowledge of my travel history that has them on edge. The fact that I have zero sense of direction; that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t just get lost driving in my car, but also have been known to lose my car itself.

And then there’s the actual track record of my personal misadventures, which can, in the wrong light, read like Inspector Clouseau meets an after-school-special.

Here are my top 10, by age and location:

  • 9 yo, Chichen Itza: Family is chased through the Yucatan jungle in the dark of night by masked banditos with machetes. (I am fast asleep in the back throughout the whole ordeal)
  • 10 yo, Hawaii: While constructing the most badasstastic drip castle ever, I turn around only to see the mouth of a rogue wave milliseconds before it pummels me into the bottom of the ocean floor.
  • 12 yo, Jamaica: While climbing Dunns Rivers Falls, I fall into a slippery-rock-sided watering hole and am pulled out by my dad just in the nick of time.
  • 13 yo, somewhere in the Caribbean: Family gets stuck on a cruise ship during a Category 4 Hurricane. The sound of synchronized up-chucking haunts me to this day.
  • 14 yo, Bahamas:  Picture it: My family and I are sunbathing in a little cove. All of a sudden, a speed boat races by. Then, seconds later, a fleet of siren-blaring coast guards follow. Drug dealers toss their stash overboard. My brother goes snorkeling and pulls a soggy $100 bill off the back of a barracuda.
  • 24 yo, Europe: Friend and I take a train from Barcelona to Amsterdam with no money and an expired credit card. Must resort to street performance-art by day, and by night eating hostel biscuits and watching Los Simpsones — the Spanish Simpsons — in a random guy’s hash bar. “Come mis pantalones, Dude!”
  • 29 yo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Horse-back riding disaster, followed by a 12-year old boy running up to me and sticking his tongue down my throat on a friend’s dare.
  • 30 yo, Peru: Altitude sickness nearly causes me to fall down Juanu Picchu, taking out an entire tour group along the way.
  • 9 through 34 yo: The “LOST” years: Went missing in Disney Land, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna, Venice, Aruba, and most recently the California Red Woods.

Sure. On the surface it looks kinda amber-alerty. But here’s the thing. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve watched my fair share of Les Stroud’s “Survivorman.” I know all about stranger danger, not struggling against riptides, and what NOT to do in a major South American drug trafficking hub to attract the wrong kind of attention. Such as:

  • Don’t accept any unusual looking, ceramic bunny statues from strangers
  • Don’t wander off for an afternoon walk in the hillsides
  • Don’t feed the crocodiles
  • Don’t get into any unmarked mules
  • Don’t ask people where the “powder room” is.
  • Don’t wear my “Cuckoo for COCA Puffs” t-shirt
  • Don’t fraternize with US Secret Servicemen

Frankly, I like to think of myself as a less husky-voiced, brunette version of the fictional heroine Joan Wilder in the 1980’s masterstroke “Romancing the Stone.”

You can’t deny the strikingly similar parallels between us:

  • We’re both hopeless daydreamers who weep over our typewriters (mine: laptop)
  • We both wear flannel, plaid pajamas
  • We both live alone in our big-city apartments.
  • We both have male cats: Hers, “Romeo.” Mine, “Poppycock.”
  • We both have wild, big 80’s hairdo’s and wear wide, floppy hats
  • She’s a romance novelist; I’m an unlicensed romance blogologist
  • She receives a treasure map in the mail and goes to Colombia to rescue her sister from a corrupt antiquities dealer.
  • I got an E-ticket and will go to Colombia to hang out with my dear friend who attends art school in the heart of the city.

ME & JOAN

I can’t help it.  I like to live on the edge. But really, the view is oh soooo much better from there. And who knows, maybe I’ll come back to a sailboat parked in my driveway!

Hasta lueggo my Eggos. I WILL see you in November!!

“Higher” Education, as in 30,000 feet up in the air “high”

airplaneToday’s regularly scheduled “Mailbag Monday” has been postponed for the end of the week due to a brief sabbatical in south Florida. But just to prove that even though my physical person goes away on vacation doesn’t mean the gold lame (accent over the e) jumpsuit wearing Richard Simmons of my mind ceases to sweat its balls off.

In fact, it was in the airport itself where the inspiration for today’s post struck me. So, without further ado —

I, in my wander-lusting heart of hearts, love to see the world — whether the destination be an exotic country 4000 miles across the planet OR an unexplored city 400 miles across the border.

But by dental dam if I don’t hate, hate, hate the process of actually getting to those places.

Seriously, I hate airplane travel more than Thanksgiving Tofurkey AND bad tippers AND Toddlers & Tiaras. As a germaphobe and bad-lighting-a-phobe and general people-phobe, you can imagine why being herded into a linoleum feedlot of recycled air and public diaper changes and human Petri dishes could send me breathing into a paper bag. But on this recent trip, I peeled back that sweet Vidalia onion of neurosis and discovered a whole new layer of discontent underneath —–

Airplane travel — from arrival to departure — is a microcosm for the entire college experience — from enrollment to graduation — as an English major. (read: Bachelor of Fine (f)Arts)

BECAUSE you’re in for a bumpy metaphor:

Freshman Year/ARRIVAL

First day of orientation. You show up all Pollyanna bright eyes and eager — 4 hours ahead of schedule.  There is a tearful familial send off. Then, on your own now, you walk up to the registrar’s desk/CHECK-IN COUNTER and get your dorm/SEAT assignment. In the year/HOUR that follows:

You just “take-it-all-in.” You peruse the airport art and read the historical placards in their entirety. You stop in at a cute cafe, order a hot chocolate with whip cream, and pull out your battered, dog-eared copy of the ubiquitous literary tome “The Pound Era.” You then go to airport Brookstone and – still having daddy foot your finances – splurge on a $99 chiropractical neck pillow AND travel-sized Foosball table to play with all the new friends you’re definitely going to make next year.

Sophomore Year/SECURITY CHECKPOINT:

(A.K.A. Your first sexual experience)

You stand in a long line with your ID out of its holder. You show it to a bouncer/SECURITY GUARD and are ushered through to the local open-mic dive bar/BACKSCATTER FULL BODY SCAN MACHINE. The guy/TSA OFFICER is fully clothed but can see you in all your naked glory.

You hold your hands over your head for exactly 1-2-3 SECONDS and it’s over. You walk out, rush to put your shoes back on, and gather your belongings before causing a 20-person pileup on the rapidly moving conveyor belt of virgin English majors waiting to get plucked by their very own Heathcliff.

Junior Year/DEPARTURE TERMINAL:

By year/HOUR 3, “Little House on the Prairie” English major life has become “Brokedown Palace.” Since arriving, you’ve somehow managed to lose a few articles of clothing, including your travel Foosball table balls. You’re hungry again, but now – without daddy footing your finances – your dietary standards have dropped alongside your GPA: You grab a pancake scrambler from the pop-up Krystal, toss  the 40-pound “Pound Era” opus in one of those Smart-Pack compacting trash cans, and replace it with US Weekly and Star.

Senior Year/ BOARDING:

Year/HOUR 4: Boarding. The “ZONES” represent the ability of various majors to acquire gainful employment after graduation.

  • First Class, Platinum Preferred: Pre-med, Pre-law, Pharmacy, Business
  • Zone 1: Management, Computer/Web Design, Engineering, Architecture
  • Zone 2: Linguistics, Speech Therapy, Psychology, Forestry
  • Zone 3: Music, Dance, Broadcast Journalism, Theater
  • Zone 4 — YOU: Creative Writing, Studio Art, Philosophy, Anything with the word “Theory” in it, and all “Independents.” **** This also happens to be the part of the airplane most likely to be torn asunder and incinerated in a crash.

As an English major, you are in the very last row of the airplane, right by the bathrooms. 34 B: You wedge yourself between 2, 300-pound Tweedledee Dee and Tweedledum-looking brothers who smell of burnt coffee grounds and boiled cabbage.

You use your remaining line of AMEX credit to keep the on-board Bacardi’s coming, pop a Xanax, and fall asleep drooling on “Dee’s” shoulder.

Graduation/LANDING:

Unlike the tear-soaked sendoff leading to freshman year, now nobody is there to greet you. You claim your baggage and find the airport transit station.  You get on the subway. One stop in, a schizophrenic homeless man wearing a “I Heart Zack Morris” sweatshirt and holding a mason jar of his own piss sits down right next to you.

You stare at a poster hanging on the wall of the train: It’s a smiling woman who is a “Real Life” graduate of trade school “X.” Underneath it reads “From classroom to boardroom, find the job of your dreams.”

What you don’t know then is — as an English major — the only place you will have a framed picture of yourself is on the “Employee of the Month” board in the coffee shop break room where you will work for the next 5 years before opting to use your writing skills to bang out copy for a financial forecasting firm.