Tag Archives: cultural disasters

Remember remember the 5th of November, zombies, and my potential viking master

17 Nov

Today I’m hoping to see a zombie.

I flew from Paris to Manchester yesterday with my boss.  We’re staying in Huddersfield, and according to a brochure I found in the hotel lobby, the Dungeon of York promises ghosts.

Ghosts, and potentially zombies.

The ghosts have been lingering around York since 1551 when the putrid plague brought forth pussing boils, rotting corpses, and the lingering scent of all things horrifying.  Creatures and items which fall under this category include (but not limited to) ghosts, snakes, witches, bigger ghosts, vampires (the real kind, there will be no mention of that series here dear readers), Lord Voldemort, Hannibal, anyone dedicated to killing in the serial fashion, beets, and of course, zombies.

What better method of zombie creation than a horrendous plague?  The bodies are already there, and I don’t imagine zombies hump, so their reproduction must somehow be linked to disease.

Hence, my assumption there is such a thing as the zombies of York.

Also a logical conclusion is that they are lingering just outside this hotel room in the woods across the street.  I can practically hear them shuffling through the leaves in search of innocent blood.

Ok, so if it was really innocent they were after, maybe I wouldn’t be their girl.  Let’s say-American blood.  Yea, I bet those York zombies can’t wait to take a bite out of a Yank.  Which would ultimately make me a Yank-York-Zombie, and last time I checked, that’s not on my to-do list.

Also, I’m on the ground floor so they wouldn’t have to climb to find me or anything.  They’d basically just have to cross the street (crosswalk provided for their safety), break my window, and create a whole new monster for their clan.


The York Dungeon evidently also hosts an exhibit on something called the Bloody Vikings.  Next to the blurb: “Keep your wits about you as the Vikings go bersek in York-where will you run when the Vikings raid?”, is what looks like a bloody gladiator with a really mean face.

This is not the face you want to sit next to on public transportation, that’s for sure.

Still, he’s far more attractive than the plague-zombies, and I’m guessing if he bashes in my window, I’ll probably have to be some kind of gladiator-slave-wench.  If that happens, I hope Hollywood is involved in the costume design because I am going to need some serious hair and makeup maintenance to pull of that look with any kind of dignity.

There is also a labyrinth of shadowy mirrors.  I’m not entirely sure what this entails, but it claims to be from the lost Roman legion, and judging by the screaming child in the image, it is either related to murder, or David Bowie invented spandex in the Roman era.

It’s a shame I don’t have time to go to the museum itself to do more research.  I’d like to be properly prepared for all of the horrendous horror which may quickly find its way to me today.

There are a lot of gruesome shenanigans that have occurred in York at one time or another.  It’s amazing anyone would choose to live here.

Maybe I should purchase binoculars to search f0r the zombies from the treetops.

You know, for anthropological purposes.   I wouldn’t want to get too close, but I can hardly pass up the opportunity to go zombie-watching.


Flashers, ovaries, and my elbow

10 Nov

I saw another penis on the metro last night.

Paris has more rogue wieners than tourists this time of year.

The owner of this particular specimen was wagging it around like a helicopter blade whilst screaming profanity.  There was an empty bottle of something at his feet, and by the looks of things, he was not leaving the station anytime soon.

I’m a little curious as to why he was so fascinated by his own member, as one would imagine he’s been attached to it since birth.  I suppose their connection is his greatest life accomplishment to date, and this is why he felt the need to share it with the world.

Regardless, there it was, wagging around like a sad limp sock attached to a sad limp guy.

As I walked by, it dawned on me that I rarely see the naked bits of ladies down in the underbelly of the city.  Once I saw a large woman’s breast when she heaved it out to show me (an action I still cannot explain though this too was related to alcohol), but that’s the only time I’ve ever been flashed by a lady.

Comparatively, quite a few male flashers have crossed my path in various locations around the globe.  I’ve seen seen male flashers in the US, the UK, Grenada, Tanzania, Switzerland, and of course-France.

There must be something exciting that flashers get from their dirty deeds.  I wonder what it is, and I wonder if it could be replicated by flashing random bits of body normally not associated with sex?

An elbow, for example.  If I just started intently staring at people on the metro, holding eye contact whilst my arm slowly curled up to reveal a little piece of bow-candy?  I wonder if I’d get a thrill out of it.  Maybe a knee pit now and then?

Though I guess people wouldn’t realize it was something they weren’t supposed to see, so I’d probably have to tattoo the words “Do Not Look At Me, I Am An Erotic Elbow” onto it.

Yea, that might work.  Or I guess I could tattoo some naughty bits onto my elbow and flash them.

Penises are too mainstream though.

I’m thinking ovaries.  Yes, I think if I tattooed ovaries onto my elbow, stared people down on the metro, and flashed them a little ovarian bow, I could probably replicate the feeling accomplished by your run-of-the-mill flasher.

You know, really bring it more into the contemporary art scene.

The tattoo would probably hurt a bit though.  Plus there’s the cost.  And for what?  At the end of the day, I’d just be that girl on line 4, flashing tattooed elbow ovaries at people.

Maybe they’d sell little statues of my elbow in the tourists shops next to the Eiffel Tower pencil sharpeners and baguette pens.  Maybe I’d get silkscreened on a few tshirts before Urban Outfitters caught wind, mass-marketed the shirts and sold them to hipsters for 30 seconds until the fad ended-thus erasing my mystic underground image.

Still, there’s always henna…..

A splash of ethnic flare, a hint of cross cultural flashing relations.  Western white American meets Indian art in unconventional location, in one of the most artistic cities in the world-and it’s temporary.  Flashing continues only as long as the henna-ed ovaries remain on my dedicated-to-the-cause bow.

Yes.  Yes, that’s the key.

Limited. Edition.

With any luck, I’ll make it into the Centre de Pompidou.

Fame will be mine.  Mwhahahahahaha.

If you need me, I’ll be on line 4, mingling with the locals.

I’m dying to find out what all the fuss is about.

Besides, someone’s gotta give these sausages a run for their money.

This Menace is that someone.

Passports, sandwich-wrappers, and monster love affairs

7 Nov

She’s baaaaaaaaaack…….

That’s right.  After sending me on a wild goose chase that would have given Sam and Frodo a run for their money, Zilla returned this morning.

She’s been snoozing since eight, but I suspect I’ll get an answer as to her whereabouts later this afternoon.

Here’s what I know:

-She’s wearing parachute pants that are neither worn out enough to be vintage, nor from this decade.  I suspect foul-play with that busted up time machine of mine.  It would also explain the armor on her right arm, which is either from a Gladiator television prop chest, or the real-deal.

-Her passport has stamps from various countries, including a short-stint in Pakistan earlier this year, which I can assure you-I have some questions about….

-She appears to have acquired real-estate, scuba, skydiving, pilot, taxi, and rickshaw licenses.  Two of which expired in the late nineties.  One of them appears to have expired at some point in the early 16th century, but the bite marks make it hard to tell for certain.

-She has a tattoo indicating a romance has transpired between herself and what appears to be a mythical creature yet to be identified.

-Her backpack has sandwich wrappers from at least five different airports.  There is also an unopened bottle of pickles inside.

-I can’t be certain, but I think she’s lost weight.

-Her journal is hard for me to read (those twiggy branch fingers of hers to blame), but it seems she has either won the lottery in the past, is planning to do so in the future, or has drawn up an assassination plan for JJ Abrams.

I’m going to be having long chats with her in the upcoming days to get her stories and find out why on earth she found it acceptable to leave for such an extended period of time.  Unacceptable, I assure you.

Regardless, I wanted to let you all know as soon as she got in.

Obviously, we have much to discuss.

I’ll be traveling around to your blogs in the next weeks to catch up on your news.

Feels good to be back.


Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and my pledge for adventure

3 Dec

When Sleeping Beauty was banished to eternal snoozetime, I doubt anyone took the time to make sure she was on memory foam.

I’d rather be Cinderella.

At least she has stories.

I went to the ballet last night, in case anyone’s wondering why on Earth I’ve chosen to discuss fairy tales.

When I got the invitation, I was less than excited.  I mean, punk-shows are one thing, but the ballet?  Anyone who follows me will recall my childhood ballerina nightmare. So it’s not surprising that I wasn’t overly ecstatic about the idea of watching a bunch of dancers flutter about onstage.

Turns out I was wrong.

With just the right amount of wine warming my cheeks, and the amazing set-design and choreography, Cinderella done post-modern was inspiring.

I mean, not enough to make me want to twirl about in slippers, but still.

The whole show took place in London 1940 and the stepmother was a drunken ballerina.

So that was fun.

They even did an inebriated dance which was pretty creative, all things considered.  I walked in expecting Disney on Ice or some unholy equivilant, and was happy to discover art.

Just goes to show, I should be getting out more and trying new things.

No time to start like the present.  I’m sitting in the Eurostar train station as I write this, awaiting the arrival of one very crazy, very witty, very good friend.

I’m meeting Man Shopper, and yes-we have a plan.

It involves characters, corsets, and my pledge to attempt an evening sans sarcasm.

Stay tuned.  Like the ballet, this could turn out surprisingly inspiring.

Either that, or I’ll be forced to locate some memory foam, a hot water bottle, and my pj pants.

wine-tasting zilla-fam style

6 Mar

The greatest defense for any crime ever committed was uttered by my brother as he stood in the driveway, holding the broken antennae of my father’s truck in his trembling fist:

‘Dad, my mind made me do it’.

Yes, we Christen’s are known for our slick, stealth, and graceful behavior in all situations.  We’ve been bred for greatness, thats for damn sure, and absolutely no one is going to take that away from us.  Or at least thats what we tell each other.

For his part, my father has done much to further the public humiliations that tend to scatter our family outings.  In particular-family outings in Paris.

Enter dear reader, into the small cafe down the cobblestone street where one blonde anglophone sits with his two offspring during the summer of 1999.  The children, new to Paris, have been promised a local meal by their father-who is determined to show them how to properly dine in French culture.

Starting of course, with the wine.

Before the waiter arrives at the table with the bottle, the proud father turns to his children and mutters:

‘listen kids, I am going to show you how to properly taste wine.  It’s a big deal in this country, and something you should learn.   There’s a whole process, it’s pretty neat’

The children watch in anticipation as the waiter approaches holding a bottle of what is undoubtedly very expensive, very fine wine.  Both sets of wide eyes gaze upon the label as it is presented to their father.  They hold their breath in anticipation as the cork is popped open, and the thick red fluid splashes into the glass of the most intelligent man they know.  Their eyes sparkle as the ritual unfolds before them, their father holds the glass up to the light, swirls the liquid, takes a deep sniff of the scent, lowers it to his lips, and………


Causing the red wine to cover himself, his children, and the elderly couple sitting next to the American family.

Elderly couple not amused.  Children in a fit of hysterical laughter.  Father frozen like a deer in headlights.

He would later blame allergies.  But kid-ginger and I-we’re pretty sure his mind made him do it.

the Honk Kong episode

1 Mar

When I was 15 my mother, brother and I went to visit my father in Hong Kong.  It was the first time we travelled internationally together, and in what would quickly become a family tradition-we managed to make culturally-inept morons of ourselves.

Granted, it didn’t take much for us to stand out.  My dad is 6ft, my mother resembles Diane Keaton, I’m blonde, and my brother is a redhead. Blending in with the Chinese is not really an option.  Add to this equation several tour guide books, an obnoxious teenager with headphones permanently stuck to her head (yours truly), copious amounts of denim, and a travelers backpack (worn by dad-not sure what in the hell he kept in there)-and you get the equivalent of National Lampoon’s Hong Kong Adventure.

We visited various sites, ate at a plethora of restaurants with food my brother and I had never seen before, and spent most of our time trying not to be separated by the constant crowds of people.  My dad had rules set in place for us to follow.  They included simple things like not wandering off by oneself and not keeping money in ones back-pocket.  One morning as we set off for our daily site-seeing agenda, he gave strict instruction not to take pictures of anything in a square through which we had to pass.

It was full of people selling various souvenirs, begging, and offering rides on rickshaws.  Dad insisted we keep our cameras down in order to avoid further attention on ourselves.  Upon entering the square, it was obvious why he had been so clear in his instruction.  People crowded the area, selling everything they could think of.  We were instantly spotted and bombarded with statues, books, jewelry, and jade.  The three of us stood quietly in the mess of street vendors while awaiting further instruction from my father.

I’m not exactly sure what happened next-but somehow things took a definite turn for the dramatic.

I remember my father asking me to read something out on the map for him.  The two of us attempted to find our bearings when we heard the commotion, which incidentally turned out to be my brother yelling:

“I’m coming Mom, I’ve got you!!!!”

Dad and I glanced up just in time to see first my mother, and then my brother be rushed off into the streets of Hong Kong on two separate rickshaws.  They were both screaming.  Both sets of limbs flayed about as they attempted to gain body control in the rickety contraptions.  Each of them looked horrified, and neither could get out of whatever situation it was they had stumbled upon.  The drivers seemed all too happy to run off with our family members in tow, bare-feet clambering against the ground as they wheeled down the street.

Dad and I gaped at the disappearing figures as they were ushered away.  By the time we had a second to react, they were both completely out of site.  We had absolutely no idea what had happened.

Evidently, my mother had decided to take pictures of the rickshaw drivers.

One of them took this as a sign that she wanted a ride, threw her into the back of the cart, and ran away.  In an act of heroism, kid-ginger followed suit by launching himself into a separate cart, and let the driver of that cart run-without a common language for directions.

Fortunately for Dad and I (who stood helplessly in the square without the slightest notion of what to do next)-the two risk-takers returned about fifteen minutes after their unscheduled departure.

I will never forget the look on my dad’s face as he screamed in English at the rickshaw drivers-each of whom screamed back in Chinese.  He had to pay, they did take the tourists for a ride after all.  Jaw-clenched, he threw cash into their fists as my mother and brother hugged in tearful reunion.   You would have thought one of them had faced the death-penalty.

Turns out they just went around the block, screaming at each other the entire time.

That was the dawn of my family’s international travel days.

Inter-cultural relations haven’t been the same since.