You guys, I have not perished, joined a cult, been in captivity, or gotten trapped under something heavy. I just caught a nasty cold basically the second I landed in Europe last Fall, and I couldn’t shake it the whole time I was there. Writing while feeling lousy just felt like an extra chore I didn’t have the energy for. I apparently need clear sinuses to hear the muse! Anyhoo, I am fine now, still on the road, and will get back to my blog once I untangle my thoughts. A lot has happened!
As I travel around East Asia, I am so thankful I did not happen to be even closer to the mind-boggling devastation that is still unfolding in the Philippines as a result of Typhoon Haiyan. The news coverage I have seen of the disaster while I was in Korea, and am now seeing here in Taiwan, is just breaking my heart on a daily basis. At times like these, it feels as though nothing I could do or contribute would make even the tiniest difference. Yet, I know that the aggregate of donations that people like me can make could mean the difference between a truckload of bottled water reaching a remote village or not, or a rural medical clinic getting medicines or not. So, I throw my paltry coins in the pot, and hope.
For any travelers among you who care to do the same, United Airlines is now matching customer donations to AmeriCares, The American Red Cross and Operation USA for Typhoon Haiyan relief, as well as offering to give Mileage Plus members up to 1,000 extra bonus miles for making donations of $50 or more, as a thank you for your generosity. So, if you fly United, and you want to make a donation to help typhoon victims, do it through United’s donation website, here, in order to take advantage of the matching program, and to claim your bonus miles.
Hey there, dear readers! If you get my posts by email, I just wanted to let you know that, for some reason that I still don’t completely understand, the email versions of my posts often don’t include embedded videos. Until I figure out how to correct the problem, you can see the videos by clicking through to view the post on my site. If it’s a video I created, it’s also viewable on my QTube channel, here. Thanks for your patience!
In anticipation of my world tour departure, I wanted to get you a little something special to remember me by; something that you could think of once in a while, and maybe laugh a quiet little private laugh to yourself that would be too much trouble to explain to anyone who asked what was so funny. So, I went to peruse the wide and varied options on Fiverr.
Do you know about Fiverr? Fiverr is an online marketplace, where folks all over the world offer up all manner of goods or services for the whopping asking price of $5. Everything on Fiverr is five dollars—no more, no less. Hence the name. Most of it is kind of stupid, but some of it is good, and some of it is just plain hilarious. People offering serious things, like business plans, budgets, ad jingles, logo designs, weight loss menus or training plans, are clearly doing it as a loss leader, hoping that future business worth more than five bucks will follow. Others are indulging hobbies, such as writing things on a piece of rice, or spelling out messages on a Scrabble board in stop-motion film. Still others are just wackadoolery. Those are my favorite. I had an ad up on Fiverr for a while, offering to go hug the elderly relative of your choice, within 25 miles of San Francisco, for $5. Nice, right? Your Aunt Millicent is in a home in Colma, and you can’t get there for her 93rd birthday? Fiverr to the rescue. Half a sawbuck through Paypal, and Miz Quin is on her way to deliver the big, warm, squishy hug you can’t. I even offered a “fragrance free” option, where I would promise not to wear perfume or the fruity, girly lotions I am so fond of, if there were scent-sitivities to be considered. But, it proved impractical, because even though I was clear about the “elderly” part in the ad, apparently, that’s not as unambiguous as I had thought, and I kept getting requests from young guys trying to send me to hug their “cousins” or “uncles,” and Fernando was categorically unwilling to go along and be my bodyguard on hug patrol, so, yeah…. My Fiverr career died before it ever got off the ground, and everyone’s Bay Area old folks are now going unhugged, all because of some horny teenagers with nothing better to do than cruise Fiverr. But I digress. Back to your gift.
So, via Fiverr, I found this lovely gentleman– who calls himself “Crazzy Man”–operating in a small village somewhere in India, who, for the aforementioned five dollars, will put any message you want on a sign, and videotape himself dancing around with it in what looks like a faux grass or banana leaf skirt. “Ooh, perfect,” I thought. So, I sent him a request for such a video, and five dollars, and asked that the sign read “Quin says: Ciao, Bitches!” Saucy, but fun. Just what I wanted. Crazzy Man turned the order around fast; a day later, the following video was in my email inbox:
Seee-yowwww, Beeches!! Awesome! He really put his heart into that performance! But, he left off the “Quin says” part, and I know there are a few of you, who shall remain nameless, who wouldn’t believe that I hadn’t just swiped this off YouTube from someone else and claimed to have commissioned it myself. And I want the credit, fair and square. So, I wrote to Crazzy, and said how much I loved the video, and it was so wonderful, and thanks so much, but please, could he do it again, and put “Quin says” on the sign. Of course, I said I would pay another five dollars, no problem. I said he could even write it on the other side of the same paper, and just flip it around. “Okay,” says Crazzy, “no problem.” Then, the next day, this video comes:
Well…not quite. I mean, I love that the whole village is getting involved in my project, and the ladies are sure lovely, but now I have one video with the girls and the “Quin Says” sign, and another with Crazzy himself and the “Ciao, Bitches!” sign, and that doesn’t really solve my problem. So, I wrote him back, thanked him profusely again, extolled the beauty of the women in the new video, praised their dancing and the fantastic sign, and then asked him to, pretty please, do it again—for another five dollars, of course—with BOTH signs. I figured, since they had both signs made now, the third time would be the charm. I can just picture them all sitting there in their village, saying “What does she want now, and why does she keep changing it?” and “who else can we get in on the performance?” But, to me, he just said okay, sure. And then this video showed up a short time later:
So close! Well, not exactly. But, look how much work they put into this, with their little choreographed dance routine and everything. How sweet are they? Still, I actually wanted Mr. Crazzy rockin’ out in his green manskirt, and I don’t know what “Bilches” are, but they sound painful and possibly contagious. So, once again, I wrote back to Team Crazzy and gushed about how fabulous the video was, and how graceful the dancing was, and thanked them to the heavens for their helpfulness, etc., and then pointed out that “Bitches” was, unfortunately, spelled wrong, and would he please, with sugar on top, do it again, himself this time, and be careful to spell it right—for another $5, it goes without saying. “Okay,” he said, still ever-helpful, but with somewhat less alacrity than before. I could tell he was kinda over my shit by now. Still, five more bucks is five more bucks, and that goes a lot farther in India than it does here, so a couple days later, Crazzy sends me this video:
Oh, sweet JesusMaryAndJoseph! “Bictches? Is he messing with me now?!” No, I don’t think he was, actually. I think they were probably just so careful to copy the letters just so this time after the preceding error, and they aren’t used to a Romanized alphabet, and to them, it probably looks exactly like what I wrote. I laughed so hard when I opened this video that I almost fell off the couch, and my houseguest got out of bed and came out to the living room to see what was the matter. Doesn’t it look like how you would spell that percussion flourish in the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off theme music? You know, it goes: “Ohhhhh yeahhhhhh, donk-donk, Bictchaaaahs.” Okay, maybe not. Anyway, this is the best I could do. I just didn’t have the heart to go back and ask Crazzy Man and the Village People to do yet a fifth video dedicated to my attempt at a sassy sendoff message.
So, yeah, ciao, bilches bictches gentle friends! As I write this, I am in seat 8B of United Airlines flight 893, one-way from San Francisco to Seoul, with my Woobie Frog tucked ever so supportively behind my neck. I can hardly believe it. Not only has Day 1 of my grand adventure arrived, at last, but all my worldly belongings now fit into these three bags. What have I done? There are only four pairs of shoes in there, and only one of those pairs has high heels, and they aren’t even really all that high. Breathe…breathe…okay, it’s fine. Something had to go to make room for a year’s supply of contact lenses and thyroid pills. I thought I was pretty Spartan in my packing, but one thing I’ve learned, is that all those cute miniature, travel sized gadgets and bottles of goop, when thrown together in one bag, are really frickin’ heavy.
I’m going to have to weed out some of the stuff I’ve packed here, or I’m going to fracture my Groove Thang schlepping all this crap around. Also, it just dawned on me that I’m probably not going anywhere that doesn’t have shampoo and toothpaste already, and if I do, we’ll all have greasy hair and halitosis together, so….I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m sure many adjustments will be made along the way as I figure things out. Cross your fingers for me.
Speaking of sendoff messages, yesterday, I was walking down the street, preoccupied, running some last minute errands, trying to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything important, and I literally ran across this bit of street art on the sidewalk. So apropos, it’s hard not to believe it was put there just for me, personally. Let’s just say that it was. Adios to you too, San Francisco. I am taking my heart with me, but I’ll leave my pancreas or my spleen with you, just for safekeeping. That doesn’t make for nearly as romantic a song, though. Perhaps an interpretive dance would be more fitting. Maybe we can get Crazzy Man and his village to work on it for us. For another five bucks, of course.
You know what that means!
Yesterday, I had a senior moment and accidentally overflowed my bathtub and flooded the bathroom, and caused a Niagara Falls of delicious lemony bubble bath foam to cascade down into the downstairs neighbor’s unit. It wasn’t a shining moment. By the time I got everything cleaned up, and made sure everything was okay downstairs, I seriously needed that bubble bath–for olfactory as well as nerve-related reasons–but alas, I didn’t have a dry towel left in the house. So, I threw a load of soaked towels in the wash, poured myself a drink, and watched Bridget Jones’ Diary while I waited for the towels to be done. When I finally was able to get in the tub, I couldn’t bear the sight of any more bubbles, so I opted for this vivid blue-green jasmine scented stuff, and a mystery face mask, both of which I found at the Nijiya Market in Japantown.
I love going there and buying something that I have no idea what it is, and bringing it home and figuring it out; is it food or furniture polish? You never know until you try! I have had some interesting trials and errors on these expeditions. But, I figured this one was probably not food, given the color and scent, but you can’t ever be sure in that place, particularly since they tend to stock cleaning products, cat food and marmalade right next to each other on the same shelf. Anyhoo, I’m pretty confident this one is actually a bath soak, but it could be carpet freshener, I don’t really know for sure. But doesn’t it make pretty bath water? So far, it hasn’t given me a rash, so I’m going with bath salt. We shall see. Cross your fingers.