I hate to be That Guy, but…

…goddamn you Affordable Care Act/Covered California/Everybody! So:

1) The AfterCorps health plan for returned Peace Corps Volunteers is shut down because it “doesn’t meet minimum requirements.” Which, fine, that thing was ridiculous and kind of not even really health insurance.

2) I apply for Medical because that “readjustment allowance” was embarrassingly small and Peace Corps wasn’t exactly the career-booster it was sold as.

3) Denied because it “can’t be confirmed you don’t have health insurance through your employer,” an employer who:
a)I stopped working for 8 months ago.
b)shut down their health plan because you, The Government, TOLD THEM THEY HAD TO.
c)is also definitely part of you, The Government.
d)is like, right across the street. Just go ask them!

4) I get my little fuck-you appeal form, so I go to appeal on the website, as if it were 2014.

5) The website isn’t working, in fact the little thinking wheel is still spinning two hours later.

6) And now here I am, mailing in my appeal, scrawling my explanations all up and down the margins of the form LIKE A CRAZY PERSON.

7) However, unlike a crazy person who sends goddamn LETTERS TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT I have serious doubt that it’s ever going to be read. So we’ll see. Hopefully I don’t get hit by a bus in the next few months.

So THANKS A LOT NOBAMA NANNY-STATE TWITTER NAG for taking two years of my youth and rewarding me with a certificate I don’t think you actually signed.

O THX.

O THX.

I think I’m just going to go buy a bunch of canned cat food and dig myself a hole out in the desert. DON’T TREAD ON ME.

“Sister Wives”: The Netflix reviews

Or: A welcome distraction from academic stress and self-inflicted heartbreak.

WELCOME AMERICA, TO YOURSELF

Watch them Sister Wives on NEEEEEEEEEEETTTTFFFLIIIIIXXXX

sistas

A Con Man and a Pedophile: 2 out of 5 stars
This show is like a train wreck and I want to stop watching, but I can’t. Wives whine and cry a lot and Robyn is SO ANNOYING and needy, I don’t like her! Kody is not the stud (more of a really immature dork) he thinks he is and it’s selfish for all of them to keep breeding and not be able give their children the time, attention and support. How can they afford to offer each child college? Braces? Clothes? Health Insurance? They are exploiting their lifestyle and religion for money and they will lose the fancy homes when the show is canceled. This is brainwashing at its finest. Joseph Smith was a con man and a pedophile, read up on the history of their ‘made up’ religion that started in the 1800’s, it’s ridiculous. Kody and his brood barely even practice ‘religion’ and only subscribe to it so they can justify a kinky way of living. And, what is wrong with the women, knowing your man is swapping fluids nightly and what about diseases? I feel sorry for the kids facing judgment and ridicule throughout their lives. Meri can’t work? Robyn is doodling jewelry on a note pad? Janelle and Christine have the most sense and seem to welcome hard work.

Season 3: 5 out of 5 stars
SEASON 3 SEASON 3 SEASON 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I only watch Netflix and would LOVE LOVE LOVE if Netflix could keep up with me.

A Hands-On Husband: 5 out of 5 stars
I personally think that this show and their way of life is absolutely wonderful. They are one big happy family. Maybe my emotions are getting in the way and my age but I absolutely loved this show, could not stop watching it. I did not know that there were different kinds of polygamy and I doubt that a lot of people know this. All I have ever seen is where it is like a cult and the leaders were cruel to the women and female children. Kody to me seems like a wonderful husband and father to everybody. When was married I had two children and as absent husband. My ex never once showed me what Kody takes time to show his wives. He never took me on a date, he never acknowledged any holidays with us. I turned out to be a very bitter woman – hence, the emotion part, he never even went anywhere with me and my kids. And that is how I think of my children as mine because even though I stayed with him for 25 years (I stayed until my children were grown and on their own) I raised my kids and sometimes when I think I did wrong not leaving they look at me and tell me (Mom, how do you think we turned out so well? They have wonderful families with both a Mother and a Father.) I left when my children left to live their lives as I had always planned. One reason I stayed was financially. I has no money even though I worked I did not make that much to support two children on my own. Their father did give me money for them whenever I said they needed this or that – however – I personally had nothing. I wore safety pins in my clothes and my pants were so shiny in the butt area from being worn so much. So, as you can summarize I think Kody is a wonderful person and the wives all help each other out no matter what the situation. I absolutely loved this show and hope there are more coming. I hope this helps whoever needs help. Thank you P.S. My son is a hands-on husband and father.

All Messed Up: 5 out of 5 stars
Season 4′s episodes are all messed up and out of order. Also the last one is missing entirely. the show is great id like to see the last episode.

Scholarly Credentials: 4 out of 5 stars
Although I have Scholarly credentials, my accolades for the comming out of this family has been scrutinised. Just because they are NOT Christian, does not mean they are not covered by the constitution. The constitution covers ALL religious groups, even Satanists, so why not old world judaists, which is what polygiamists really are. You may as well say you cannot accept a Jew in America, as to not accept a Polygamist. Granted modern day orthodox Jews do not accept polygamy. But Polygamy did start in ancient Jewish customs, and was widely accepted by many other cultures. Now when you talk about Christianity, the Christ, JESUS, hisself, said a man must be a husband of one wife, if he were to be recognized in the congregation. But that was not recognized by Jews, who chose to split their religion because most did not want to accept Christ Jesus despite all the prophecisies that were fortold that came true. The point is, while you may believe this family may be practicing false religious practices or not, it is up to GOD, not us to determine. In the mean time, we do our best to educate, and love our fellow man, NOT judge!!!!!!!Give them the information, and let them choose what they will, it is them who experience the SUPREME justice, as Paul said, as far as it concerns You be peable with ALL MEN!

Messed Up…Messed Up: 5 out of 5 stars
Is anyone else’s season 4 messed up. Season 4 is season 3 and the episodes are messed up.

A Slippery Slope: 4 out of 5 stars
This is America. Our Ancestors moved here to escape the persecution’s imposed by tyrant’s all across the globe. When the tyrants followed us here the first time it took the revolutionary war to beat them back. It saddens me that those same tyrannical ideas have once again permeated our society. Freedom isn’t about majority rule as dictated by the form of government we all call Democracy. Our Fore-bearers hated Democracy. Freedom’s roots were born in the form of a Constitutional Republic which states that 99% of the people can’t take away the rights of the 1%. America is a Republic not a Democracy. Unfortunately we haven’t done a very good job of teaching that concept to our children. We only need to recite the pledge of allegiance to quickly remind ourselves of who we are and where we came from. The Communist, Socialist, and fascist elements within our government would just as soon keep us all brainwashed, ignorant and fighting amongst ourselves. I think this program is not only fabulous but useful because it challenges us to practice our foundational beliefs of tolerance and respect for other people’s lifestyle choices. If we don’t Vehemently uphold the freedom’s of those in whom we disagree with the same passion and commitment we value our own ideals then ultimately all our freedoms are in jeopardy. Until very recently, this has been a widely accepted concept that has sustained us since the birth of our constitution. If we fail to recognize the slippery slope we’ve been heading down and continue on our present course then America will no longer be the land of the free and home of the brave. We’ll be just another tyrant government that everyone wants to flee. God help us and God help this family who’s only crime is the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness…

EXCEPT MY MAN: 2 out of 5 stars
What is up with Robyn and the constant herpes cold sores on her lips!!?? I have only watched random bits and pieces but by the end of Season 4 all the wives want their own huge house on a cul-de-sac in Vegas. Wow. Not too much pressure!! The whole premise of polygamy is odd to me and my personal opinion is you have to be born into it and grow up with it to truly understand it and want it as a lifestyle. I am a very giving person, I share anything….EXCEPT MY MAN.

Women’s Natural Motivation: 5 out of 5 stars
This show reveals how easy it is to exploits women’s natural motivation to bear children and brainwash them into thinking sharing a husband is part of god’s divine principle.

Good Show Great to Watch: 5 out of 5 stars
good show great to watch i would recommend to my friends there not fake love love it,s great thats it,s on netflix now

Transiberia: The Beijing Bakery Attack

 

Image

Our guesthouse in Beijing was located down an alley in a little hutong near Wangfujing Shopping Vortex. It was cute, quiet, and small, with a weirdly high number of families with children and a lackluster bar out front. We briefly died in the air conditioning of our little windowless room for awhile, then decided to sally forth to maybe find dinner.

That goddamned hutong was pretty magical, let me tell you. After all the crumbling Soviet apartment blocs and tacky skyscrapers of UB (I’m looking at you, Rainbow Building), it was nice to see something old, pretty, and well-lived-in. There were all sort of little crannies in which to creepily peer at people doing their laundry or petting their cat. It was all soft gray stone with occasional touches of paint and OH MY GOD NOBODY STARED AT US. Nobody gave a single solitary shit that we were there, except to ring their bicycle bells as they passed us.

There was something about just wandering aimlessly, taking whatever turn we desired. Nobody was waiting for us, we didn’t have to plan anything or be anywhere. The unfamiliar language just flowed over us uncomprehended. We might as well have not been there at all. It was something I hadn’t felt in a long time, this anonymity that makes you feel completely untouchable, like you could glide without incident right across the world and nobody would notice or mind.

So we dicked through the hutong in this manner, not feeling terribly hungry, and wound up at a little restaurant that had the embarrassing necessity of pictures on the menu.  Suddenly our not-belonging had become a burden. China is much easier when you have a Chinese speaker around to babysit you.

We had our eggplant and pork and beer, and it Jesus Christ it was so nice to not eat Mongolian food any more. I have this kind of impotent rage when it comes to Mongolian food. There’s no not eating it, so while you’re eating it, you might as well pretend you like it, as it makes people happy and you’re going to have to eat it anyway. But I still have this fantasy where suddenly I stand up in front of all my Mongolian acquaintances and scream “I don’t like your food! I was lying! It’s awful and I’m NOT EVEN SORRY.” So there’s that.

We finished our dinner feeling normal and decided to stroll on down the main street to see what was what. That’s when we came upon Wangfujing, which is just…a howling brightly lit tunnel of Shit You Can Buy. I don’t even remember what we were looking for but we ended up following a bathroom sign into some kind of Uber Mall. 

Now, keep in mind that neither of us had seen such a place in a very long time, and this one was a Big One. We wound our way through the blazing white corridors clutching each other’s hands like terrified children. There was an Apple Store, Forever 21, the Gap, H+M, something called “David’s Story”, a Pizza Hut…

And that’s when it happened. 

I don’t know if any of you have read “The Second Bakery Attack,” but the premise is basically that there is this couple who wakes up in the middle of the night REALLY FUCKING HUNGRY. They eat some scraps in their kitchen but it’s not enough, the hunger only gets worse. They have to think of a way to fill this special new kind of hunger. I won’t give away the rest, but trust, vaguely creepy hilarity ensues.

Anyway, there in the Wangfujing Mall, my Traveling Companion and I got hard-core Second Bakery Attacked.

“A special kind of hunger. And what might that be?

I can present it here in the form of a cinematic image.

One, I am in a little boat, floating on a quiet sea. Two, I look down, and in the water I see the peak of a volcano thrusting up from the ocean floor. Three, the peak seems pretty close to the water’s surface, but just how close I cannot tell. Four, this is because the hypertransparency of the water interferes with the perception of distance.”

Suddenly we had to EAT. In a frantic, uncontrollable, terrifying way we had to eat and we had to eat EVERYTHING. We stopped at Pizza Hut and ordered two pizzas, plus bubble milk tea (“Preference given to persons with the deformities.” read our receipt). We paid, left, and hightailed it to KFC two doors down where we each ate a Zinger meal with fries. We were still hungry, so we got ice cream from Dairy Queen (which my friend Juli once called “the only place where you can see fat girls in China”). It was a deep, pathological hunger.

“While she hunted for more fragments of food, I leaned over the edge of my boat and looked down at the peak of the underwater volcano. The clarity of the ocean water all around the boat gave me an unsettled feeling, as if a hollow had opened somewhere behind my solar plexus–a hermetically sealed cavern that had neither entrance nor exit. Something about this weird sense of absence–this sense of the existential reality of non-existence–resembled the paralyzing fear you might feel when you climb to the very top of a high steeple. This connection between hunger and acrophobia was a new discovery for me.”

It made sense, in a way. Sure, we had been missing “Western” food, but we had just spent 2 weeks in UB eating all the pizza and burgers we wanted. So why now? This hunger was sudden, powerful, and overtook both of us. There was obviously something else going on.

Suddenly we were untethered. We had been in a place for two years, a place which made us inescapably visible. We were constantly being tracked, being cared for, being coddled and looked after not only by our Mongolian friends and coworkers but by the mighty US Government herself. Our health was monitored, our behavior measured, every seemingly meaningless gesture packed with significance, every action a means towards an end. Were we integrating well? Were we adjusting adequately? Were we interfacing with community gatekeepers? Were we fostering any goddamn Betweenness? 

We had been harnessed to the toddler leash of Mommy Peace Corps for 24 months. Now we were suddenly adrift, with nobody to track our whereabouts, nobody to give us antibiotics, nobody to claim us. We were no longer PCVs With Opinions Not Of The US Government but just two idiots in an enormous foreign place. We had made it to the top of the mountain and now we were free, staring at the emptiness below us, all the time and space in the world to do whatever we desired. It was fucking terrifying, and the hunger was our reaction–a physical manifestation of the sudden gaping emptiness that had just opened up beneath our feet. What do you do when confronted with the horror of so much possibility? You do what you can. You eat 4 dinners.

After the ice cream we extracted ourselves from the mall (though we would be back many times) and went wandering out into the drizzling darkness. We acted as if nothing had happened, commenting briefly on how disgusting we both were. With that, the matter was put to rest. There would be many more days for this kind of reflection. It was only our first.

 

Mission Accomplished

Allow me to paint for you, a picture:
My C.P. and I, in front of our school, huddled against the last of winter’s snow, playing “Marry, Fuck, Kill” with the male characters from “Lost.”
If that’s not the ultimate in Second Goal, I don’t know what is.

The Peace Corps’ mission has three simple goals:

Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

sawyuh
In my dreams, he calls me “Second Goalie.”

I have created…

…a horse-meat marinade to END all other horse-meat marinades. Makes the old aduuni makh taste like fragrant morsels from a distant shore. (Thanks to Kate for leaving a tower of spices behind for me when she moved to UB) Behold!

COMBINE: 1/3 cup Chin-su
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup fake lemon juice
cayenne pepper
black pepper
onion powder
a glop of garlic

Then! The horse meat!

CHOP UP: that horse meat

DUNK FOR MANY HOURS: that horse meat

SAUTEE: that horse meat

SALT: that horse meat

CHOMP: that horse meat

TRIUMPH: over frustration and circumstance.

lisa frank horse

She’s here.

Who’s here?

CHEESE, BITCH!

cheese

Just innocently nestled up against the hyam* in Khishig market’s non-ice cream refrigerator, as if the fact of her existence didn’t herald an occasion as momentous to BU’s foreign population as the Day of Peanut Butter (heralded by the great Kate Borkowski).
Yes, dear reader, Baruun-Urt has now finally caught up to most of the other aimag centers in the march towards Pleasing the Foreigners. Now we pray for the chicken to return.

*cousin to bologna, only with pinky-sized chunks of fat helpfully embedded inside

FRUIT JUICE! MOTHERFUCKER!

Today I rebegin the process of actually writing in this blog, one of my second-year-new-me aspirations. Among others:

-bathing slightly more regularly
-cleaning the catbox more regularly
-drinking Borgio less regularly
-firmly drawing the line at 5 English clubs
-wearing heels to work, even in the muddymuds
-not writing any more mean stuff on this blog

Also today: I saw someone, while dressed to the Mongolian nines, floss her teeth with her hair.