November 18, 2015
- OMG WE DID IT U GUYZ. Photograph by Amber Marlow.
I had a dream. Then I googled "custom talking pull string toy" and my dream deflated with a thin, pitiful squeal ending with a blubbering balloon fart. The dream isn't completely dead—somewhere in China there's a factory with my dream inside of it, as long as I order a minimum of 3,000 pieces of that dream. But I was thinking something easier, a single digit commitment more along the lines of those creepy custom 3D-printed figurines mixed with Build-A-Bear Workshop, plus a plastic ring tied to a string. (I know I'm not the only person who wants custom talking pull-string toy. This random person of Internet's past knows what I'm talking about.)
So there will never be a pull-string toy based on me on my wedding day. And thus I have preemptively made landfills less filled. But if there were, this is the list of phrases the toy would have stored in its plastic voice box:
"WHERE'S THE COTTON CANDY MACHINE?"
"WHO'S GONNA PUT THE COTTON CANDY MACHINE TOGETHER?"
"WHAT? PEOPLE ARE HERE ALREADY?"
"CRAP, WHERE'S THE WATER?"
"THERE'S BEER NOW!"
"WANNA LEFTOVER PORK? TAKE A PORK BAG!"
"PORK BAG? PORK BAG? PORK BAG?"
"OH GOD I FORGOT ABOUT THE GLOW STICKS!"
"WANNA ROAST MARSHMALLOWS? TAKE A STICK!"
"HEY EVERYONE, PARTY'S OVER, WE HAVE TO CLEAN UP NOW!"
I yelled a lot at my wedding. Not in the bridezilla "DO MY BIDDING" sense, but in the "I'm trying to convey information to a bunch of people at once and I don't know how else to do it because I don't have a bullhorn" sense. Considering loads of people were eating cotton candy, all the pork and marshmallows were consumed, there were no leftover glow sticks, and no one keeled over from dehydratio, the yelling worked. Also, I think all that collective activity means people had fun.
Posted by roboppy at 10:12 AM |
August 18, 2015
Whenever people ask me for food recommendations in New York City, I think, "Arrrggghhfffwwgguh I wish I had a post that listed all my favorite places, but that would take a bajillion hours to write and I am too lazy, so I guess I'll just inefficiently repeat the same information to people for the rest of my life until I die."
UNTIL NOW. Right beyond these metaphorical doors.
[Attempts to dramatically open a set of French doors to unveil the post beyond, but the doors are kind of stuck and wobble open most gracelessly, revealing a small pile of dirt-dusted poop nubs supporting a neon green plastic clothespin. You know, much like this.]
My choices in this post do not necessarily represent the best of NYC. Many of my favorite restaurants and other food destinations are steeped in nostalgia or picked due to close proximity to work/friends/home. Sometimes I don't have any particularly strong reason for picking something as my favorite. None of these places are new. At some point I became less interested in trying new things, preferring to stick with what I already knew I liked. I mean, it's not like food can get any better, so why bother, amirite? Just kidding, I'm probably missing out on a bajillion awesome brain-altering delicious things because I am lazy and am rapidly approaching "get off my lawn" age.
Here's my full list of favorites minus the dumb words and photos. For dumb words and photos, keep reading!
- Pizza: Totonno's, Motorino, Paulie Gee's, Best Pizza, Prince St. Pizza, Pizza Suprema
- Burgers: Shake Shack, The Breslin, Diner
- Pastrami: Katz's
- Fried Chicken: Pies 'n Thighs, Bobwhite
- Falafel: Taim, King of Falafel & Shwarma
- Pasta: Otto, Rubirosa
- Pupusas: El Olomega Cart
- Meat Tornado: BZ Grill
- Georgian Food Coma Time: Pirosmani
- Uzbek and Uighur: Kashkar Cafe
- Tuna Melt: Classic Coffee Shop, Eisenberg's
- Cute Diners: Cup & Saucer, Square Diner
- Tacos and Cemitas: El Tenampa
- Breakfast/Brunch: Shopsins
- Sandwich: Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop, Alidoro, Ba Xuyen, David's Brisket House
- Greek: Telly's Taverna
- Union Square: Taboonette
- Japanese: Cocoron, Chuko, Cha-An, Curry-Ya, Go Go Curry, Ootoya
- Bread: Orwasher's, Sullivan Street Bakery, Grandaisy
- Arepas: Arepa Lady, Caracas Arepas
- Ribs: BrisketTown (Pork), Fu Run (Lamb)
- Chinese Noodles: Xi'an Famous Foods
- Go-To Chinatown Chinese: Shanghai Cafe Deluxe
- Dim Sum: 88 Palace, East Harbor Seafood Palace
- Chinese Sponge Cakes: Kam Hing Coffeeshop
- Bubble Tea: Teado
- Polish: Lomzynianka
- Late Night Williamsburg: The Brooklyn Star
- Special Occassion: Del Posto, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Per Se
- Ice Cream: Eddie's Sweet Shop, Ample Hills, OddFellows
- Soft Serve: Big Gay Ice Cream, Dessert Club Chikalicious, Ray's Candy Store, Rita's, Ice Cream Trucks
- American Bakeries: Sugar Sweet Sunshine, Robicelli's, Two Little Red Hens, Levain Bakery, The City Bakery
- French Bakery: Dominique Ansel
- Doughnuts: Shaikh's Place / Donut Shoppe, Peter Pan Bakery, Donut Pub, Doughnut Plant
Posted by roboppy at 12:39 AM |
July 7, 2015
As a foreign student, I found adapting to life in Taipei to be fairly easy. Oh, hello, reliable metro system with clear announcements and signage in English. Hey there, endless supply of cheap eats. Wattup, low crime rates. Thank you, 7-Eleven on every other block, open 24 hours every day, instantly fulfilling my every wish and desire, our eternal bond sealed with a blood oath that I shall chant while dragging you with me into the afterlife.
But there are plenty of things I wouldn't have minded knowing before moving there. Where do I put the toilet paper? How do I garbage? Wait, I don't have to tip anyone? What's up with all these cafe cats? OMG STAMPS EVERYWHERE, OMG OMGGGGUUHH.
So to help out those of you who plan to travel to or live in Taipei, and to give non-visitors a little glimpse of the fabulous* Taipei life you're not living, here are some random tips from a total non-expert's point of view about living in Taipei—local customs, habits, and resources you might not be familiar with, written from the perspective of an American who lived most of her adult life in New York City. People moving to other parts of Taiwan may also find useful information here, although I don't know how local regulations differ in other cities. If you have corrections or more suggestions, please let me know!
Posted by roboppy at 6:47 PM |
June 20, 2015
Last Monday night, as soon as I stepped off the airplane into the jetway at JFK Airport, a cloud of pressure swelled behind my eyes, driblets of despair juice threatening to spill out. It's over. You don't live in Taipei anymore. Sorry, America. I don't step foot on your soil for over nine months—the longest I've ever spared you of my presence—and this is the loving embrace you get.
I also felt like crying just after I boarded the plane in Taipei 16 hours earlier. And before then, while waiting in the security checkpoint line at the airport. And before then, when I was alone in my apartment, luggages fully packed to the point of hm-these-might-explode-on-the-plane-well-that's-a-risk-I'm-willing-to-take, with me sitting at the edge of the living room couch (green, fairly cushiony, standard IKEA) while staring blankly at the opposite wall (beige, flat, standard wall). I still had an hour before I had to leave for the airport, but I may as well have left then and there—the minutes drained away like seconds. All of that happened just in the afternoon before my flight back to the US. I won't delve into the week leading up to that flight. There was a good amount of stifled weepage, plus some real tears, most of which I sloppily wiped onto the clavicular region of my friends' shirts.
Posted by roboppy at 6:34 AM |
November 17, 2014
File under "things I forgot to mention earlier because Mandarin is chipping away at my brain meats": I'm going on a trip to Seoul with Kåre in a week, from November 23 to 30. I haven't done much planning because of the aforementioned loss of brain meats, but at the very least we have a place to stay (near Samgakji station). If anybody out there wants to grab a bite with Kåre and me while we're in Seoul, please let me know! Surely you want to experience our awkwardness in real life!!! :D And if anybody has recommendations for what we should eat or do in Seoul, I'd love to hear 'em. Please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One important note: I can't eat spicy food. I like spicy food, but my immune system does not. It's like how one special toy can send a puppy into spastic fits of excitement. Spicy food is the special toy that sends my immune system into spastic fits of trying to kill me.
Posted by roboppy at 3:14 AM |
November 10, 2014
Last week I hit the "Feeling Demoralized Because I Can't Speak More Mandarin Despite Learning It For the Last Two Months" stage of being a beginner at MTC in Taipei. On one hand, it's only been two months. If I had actually reached a modicum of fluency after two months, you would have to assume that someone killed Real Robyn and for reasons unknown went through the trouble to replace her with Impossibly Lifelike and Smarter Robot Robyn (aka Boppy-Bot), because that's the only reasonable explanation. On the other hand, I go to class for three hours every weekday and study for three to four hours almost every day (...in theory), I'm immersed in a Mandarin-speaking environment, and I don't have a job. My main responsibilities are feeding myself, maintaining an acceptable level of hygiene, taking out the garbage, and not failing class. You know, my single class. So I probably should be better at speaking Mandarin by now. Excuse me...[gathers jug of gasoline, a bag of bricks, and twine]
JUUUUST KIDDDING I wasn't about to burn all my belongings or throw myself into the river to rid the world of my failure, hahaaa, never! I'll just hurl myself through the air.
...By biking. I do that now. Very minimally. Slicing through the air helps clear my mind and give me respite from the subject of "HOW TO CHINESE???" I attribute biking's restorative powers of distraction to my ever-present fear that I'll collide with someone/something and spill a significant amount of blood, all while being hugged by a pleasantly cool breeze. So last Wednesday I made a lap around Da'an Park (you can't bike in the park, fffffuuu) before heading down to Picnic for a solitary study session.
The following night, I settled in at my favorite cafe, Cafe Kuroshio, for another solitary study night. I was still feeling a bit dumpy, even though I have no reason to feel dumpy, the realization of which only adds to the dumpy feelings. Remember, I have hardly any responsibilities—I just have to not die, pretty much. After two and a half hours of doing homework, the cafe's owner, Jing, comes by and places a dessert on my table.
Posted by roboppy at 5:15 AM |
August 27, 2014
I'm not one to demand recognition for my accomplishments, but there is one prize I deserve with utmost fanfare (a nice horn quartet ought to do it). That prize is an oversized gold chalice engraved with "Most Easily Surprised by Surprise Birthday Parties." Under that in a smaller font, "It's Crazy, She Just Never Sees Them Coming!" Under that in a smaller font, "How Did She Make It This Far in Life?"
Here's what I've learned over the last five years of being surprised/fooled by friends in New York City. This isn't a handy-dandy universal guide that lists all the steps by any means; there are other resources for that. It's not rocket science, nor a less impressive science. I'm just sharing my experiences to give people ideas. Use this knowledge wisely on your most unsuspecting friend who enjoys being surprised. You might make her feel like the luckiest person on earth to be blessed with such a thoughtful circle of friends...and after a few years, fill her with self doubt about her ability to think critically about anything.
In this post I refer to the surprisee as a woman because I have lady parts. But you can also surprise guys. It works on them too, probably.
Hijack the Birthday Plans Your Friend Has Already Made
Instead of planning a surprise party from square one, it might be easier and less suspicious to tack the surprise onto plans the birthday girl already made, if her plans are easily malleable. I've been that girl multiple times. I LEARN NOTHING.
Posted by roboppy at 2:24 AM |
July 10, 2014
When I visit a new city, I like to glom onto a good, local friend (like a human lamprey but without the jawless mouth hole full of pointy teeth and nightmares) who can take me around the city and show me the best places to eat, shop, and look at important historical stuff, all while filling me in on interesting facts and details about what we're eating and looking at, all while having fun, all while retaining positive feelings about me and the future of our friendship after the day is over even though I drained them of all their energy and they're sick of looking at my face.
Posted by roboppy at 1:52 AM |