Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Don't go to Corpus, go the other way!" "Where are we gonna go, Alaska?" "Anywhere but Corpus!"*

   This is Part Two of my trip to Corpus Christi with my friends Brandon, Katie, and Alex. Read Part One here.  
   We booked our hotel rooms in Corpus Christi a couple of weeks out. I think we all felt like we’d gotten a pretty decent deal. When we had finally passed the miles and miles of oil refineries and entered what seemed to be a booming metropolitan area, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. And as we crossed the bridge from Downtown Corpus Christi to an area known (we would learn later when we spent and hour trying to order a pizza) as Portland, we thought it looked pretty spectacular.

   There was a large battle ship, the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier built during World War II that we could see from the bridge. Brandon and I are both WWII nerds, so we geeked out over the possibilities for later that day or the next. We saw sunlight sparkling off the Gulf of Mexico, sand and people, and loads of buildings on what looked to be a pedestrian pier. We felt pretty excellent about being in Corpus Christi. Pretty fucking proud of ourselves.

   And then we got to the hotel.
Here is a drawing of our hotel.

   The Days Inn Hotel in Corpus Christi is owned by a middle-aged Indian couple who seem both incredibly kind and incredibly confused at all times. Not to swing racist here, but in a not-so-good way, the lobby of the hotel smelled like Indian food. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Indian food. Just maybe not outside of a home or restaurant. I think in a lobby you maybe want to smell flowers or at least PineSol. Not a distant memory of Palak Paneer.

   I asked if I could fill up my water bottle, but the lady owner said they didn’t have “drinking water.” And there didn’t appear to be a vending machine. So, fine, I would subsist on cocktails until we left the old CC. No big deal.

   Alex and I were bunking together but our room wasn’t ready, so we changed in Brandon and Katie’s room, which smelled of unchanged air conditioning filters, and headed to the beach.

   After a mere two blocks past unoccupied apartment complexes and deserted parking lots, we came upon what Corpus Christians (that can’t be right, can it? Corpus Christiados?) call a beach. Alex and Brandon ran for the waves. Katie and I stood on the sand for a minute.

   “This can’t be all of it, right?” I gestured to the approximately 15-foot strip of shell- and rock-covered beach. “Is this the tiniest beach in the world?”

   “Maybe it’s just high tide? Really, really high tide?” Katie was trying to be positive. It was Brandon’s first time to the ocean and she was bound and determined to make the most of the experience, if only for his sake.

   I tried to take on her attitude and agreed that yes, perhaps, it was the highest of high tides and the beach was secretly 60 feet wider during its off hours.

   But we swam for a few hours in the bathtub warm, gray and green, high-waved water. It was my first time in the Gulf waters and it was just as pleasant as the Southern Atlantic: but slightly more fun due to the pleasant waves.

   I was initially nervous, having heard that the Gulf Coast is a hangout for jellyfish, but we saw nothing but oilrigs in the sea, and I have a feeling nothing much is able to survive in the water around Corpus Christi. The four other humans we saw on the beach may have known more about it.

   On our walk back to the hotel after a couple of hours of swimming we found a syringe on the sidewalk near the parking lot. It seemed pretty funny, since my buddy Mike had joked about me collecting pretty syringes from the beach for him when I told him about the trip. We stepped around it, changed, and headed for the nearest restaurant.

   After about a mile in the scorching heat, we found the “nearest restaurant.” It was maybe also the only restaurant. It was called “Fajitaville” and it was sort of like how you might feel if you’d walked for 20 miles and found a Chuck E. Cheese: it would do, but only if you had no other options or there were a gun to your head. We were hungry from heat and swimming and walking, so we ate dinner around 3 pm. And we drank cocktails. And we figured we could probably do better, so we walked further on down the boardwalk.

   Along the boardwalk near a Radisson a middle-aged man in a revealing red Speedo walked up to us confidently. He had a paunch and an inordinate amount of body confidence and faced us squarely from the sidewalk in all his sub-par body glory.

   “I’ll race any one of you for a thousand dollars!” He grinned and put his hands on his hips, sort of managing to thrust his gut and junk at us in one gesture.
   I was tempted for a second. I could really use a thousand dollars, if you want to know. But I stayed strong.

“Thanks, I’m pretty sure we’d lose,” I said. And we kept walking.

I figured: this is America, and anyone can stay at the Radisson if they can afford it. But I'd rather not win $1000 and not get stabbed in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. In Corpus Christi. What an unromantic way to die.

   When we reached the U.S.S. Lexington, we thought maybe we were probably pretty close to the exciting part of town. We took a couple photos of the ship and the naval planes and planned to take a tour the next day, since it was already closed. Then we walked 10 feet past the aircraft carrier and found the only other restaurant in Portland: Pier 99. Oh sigh out loud. Okay, so it wasn’t the only restaurant, but most of the other restaurants (all 4) were closed (at 5:30 on Friday) so it may as well have been the only restaurant. But it had a bathroom, so it wasn’t all that bad.

   The nice waitress gave me a Band-Aid for my walking-in-cute-but-impractical-shoes blister and brought us a round of margaritas. She told us some hip, happening spots in downtown Corpus Christi to check out: Pinky’s and Cassidy’s stand out in my mind. We thanked her and said we might check them out the next day. We listened to a strained local band play covers of Neil Young and Tom Petty. We grimaced as grackles got so freaking close to us you’d have thought they were someone’s trained pets. And the margaritas were pretty foul. And yet, I managed to drink mine. But she refunded the remaining three, which remained on the table nearly full.  My friends have more taste and self-control than I do. Especially when I’m nervously trying to out-drink an uncomfortable situation.

   So we decided to go back to the hotel and just drink there. We paid up and headed back to Days Inn.

   More to follow!
*The quote is from Selena (Gregory Nava, 1997). She was a beautiful angel from Corpus Christi (and her life story brought J. Lo to fame, so she's doubly awesome). Thank you, dear Mary Killian, for cluing me in to this perfect quote! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

"In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it."*

   Okay, so I know Halloween weeks away, but I’ve been trying to brainstorm an amazing costume idea for two weeks already because a. I have a fun Halloween party to go to and I already know about it so I am obligated and at leisure to plan and 2. I want to have a great, non-slutty costume all ready to go so I don’t get caught with my pants down (literally or figuratively).
   I tend to lean towards movie characters or Golden Age movie stars—I was Holly Golightly last year (and ended up having the sluttiest costume at that particular party, ironically).  But I would like to shoot for the stars this year, since Halloween really does matter to me. But I’d also like to avoid buying a wig, since, having disposed of my handy wig collection many years ago, I don’t really feel like heading down that road again. Wigs are expensive, so you end up keeping them, storing them, thinking you’ll use them again. And the next thing you know you’re a senior in college with a box full of wigs and no place to put it so you bust it out at dinner parties after you graduate and your landlord drops by unannounced and thinks you’re some sort of “dominatrix” weirdo when all you were trying to do was put your hair pieces to some good use. For an example.
   So I’ve been doing some scrolling through the Interwebs and hoping for inspiration to strike me. I’ve considered 80’s icons (Cyndi Lauper, Prince [Prince, Prince, Prince!], Freddie Mercury, and Pat Benetar). I’ve thought about 80’s movie characters (Baby from Dirty Dancing, Mrs. White from Clue). I’ve even considered revisiting some of the classic horror films (Regan from The Exorcist, Rhoda from The Bad Seed, Jane Hudson from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Melanie Daniels from The Birds). 
Scary Rhoda from The Bad Seed.

   It was when I started really thinking about scary movies that it occurred to me that you SHOULD be scary on Halloween. If at all possible, your costume should have some element of horror or science fiction or thriller about it. And the more horror films and SCI-FI classics I thought of, the more I realized that most of those evil women characters, or even the female victims in those movies are BLONDES.
   Maybe you’ve already thought of this yourself, but if you haven’t, consider this:
REGAN, The Exorcist (Blonde—and later greenish, but mostly blonde)
RHODA, The Bad Seed (Blonde. Very, very blonde.)
JANE HUDSON, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Scary, haunt-your-nightmares blonde.)
NELL, The Haunting (Annoying, hope-she-dies-soon blonde)
LAMIA, Stardust (Gorgeous and also hideous blonde)
CLAUDIA, Interview With a Vampire (Still blonde)
THE CHILDREN, Children of the Corn (Holy god, they’re blonde)
HITCHCOCK, Separate category (yeah, I know, he was obsessed with blondes)
Joan Fontaine (Suspicion, Rebecca)
Grace Kelly (To Catch a Thief, Dial M for Murder, Rear Window)
Doris Day (The Man Who Knew Too Much)
Eva Marie Saint (North by Northwest)
Janet Leigh (Psycho)
Tippi Hedren (The Birds, Marnie)
Blonde. Melanie Daniels.

   What the what? Why are all these scary ladies (or leading ladies in scary movies) blondes? Admittedly, blondes have more fun, but I thought being a brunette was supposed to be especially awesome because we are the embodiment of evil (you know, dark forces and what-not…and aren’t witches usually brunettes?). Cinema is saying otherwise, however, and unless I want to go as a Disney version of a bad lady (Malificent, Ursula, Snow White’s Stepmom—most recently portrayed in the movies by Charlize Theron, a blonde—or one of the Wicked Stepsisters), I’m stuck buying a blonde wig.
   Which bums me out a little bit.
   I should quit complaining. I guess as long as I don't dress like a whore, I'm okay. Unless I decide to go as an actual whore, in which case I can (and should) dress as one. They're usually not as pretty as you'd think, though, from my own personal experience.
   But I'll probably just go buy a wig.
   And, if you want to know the truth, I do look pretty scary with blonde hair. 
*Mean Girls (Mark Waters, 2004).

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Corpus Christi ranked fattest city in America by Men's Heath..."

   So last weekend I went to Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America.

   My new friends Brandon and Katie thought it would be in our best interest to hit the Gulf Coast, seeing as we’re only 3 hours away, and get a feel for the warm waves and the sandy beaches. So we piled into the car with our buddy Alex and headed for Corpus Christi.

   There were many signs that it was a bad choice.
The essence of Corpus Christi, TX.

   I had gotten the impression beforehand from some of my friends who are Texas natives that maybe it isn’t so fun to go to Corpus Christi. I wasn’t sure why, but they all sounded remarkably confused when we mentioned our trip and I thought they were all just being haters.

   They said things like,

   “Corpus Christi? Why?”


   “Make sure you pick up lots of pretty needles from the beach for me!”
More of the essence of Corpus Christi, TX.


   “Oh hell no, I’m not going with you!”

   And yeah, these were real signs. Cuz, see, it turns out there was and is a reason Texans don’t go to Corpus Christi.

   It turns out that Corpus Christi, Texas, is the shit hole of the universe.

   There is much to tell, so for now I’ll leave you with these couple of images.

   Stay tuned for news of prostitutes, drug use, late-night pizza delivery, swimming challenges, and margaritas so bad they had to be returned (is it possible? Oh yes, yes it is!). And that was all within the course of 3 hours. 
   Corpus Christi.

*Just one of many interesting facts about Corpus Christi.