Learn to speak Apartment-Ese with Ease!

17 07 2008

DISCLAIMER: The following text is a gross exaggeration and utter generalization of a common scenario: apartment ads on classifieds pages or on Craigslist. Any resemblance to actual ads is PURELY COINCIDENTAL so please don’t sue my GR@$$ or post angry comments or feel hurt in general. I couldn’t do better, I assure you.

It’s no secret that I’m looking for an apartment now, and in order to do this, I’m checking Craigslist and other sources. After some time hunting in the wild, it became clear that these ads are not written in English but in another language, one based on the Indo-European tradition but incorporating entirely foreign phrases and words. This language is of unknown origins, possibly brought to Earth by space aliens in flying saucers. This language is Apartment-Ese.

After years of studying the ins and outs of this bizarre form of language, if you could call it that, I put together a guide explaining the ins and outs of the parts of speech, meanings of words, etc. Should you find yourself out hunting in the bush, trying to find the right apartment and go in for the kill, you need to know what to expect in case you run into any of the locals, overlords or landlords in the region. Here is an overview of the translations of various phrases you might encounter out in the wild:

  • ALL CAPITAL LETTERS HOLY SH* MAN, THIS IS IMPORTANT — The person wishes to get your attention to tell you that the place is potentially dangerous or a bad value. The person is potentially screaming, only using words and not their voice.
  • “In the heart of ____” — You are located a fair distance from a desirable locale. Your commute will be several miles at minimum. It’s a good thing they’re warning you ahead of time.
  • GINORMOUS PETS PURRRRFECTLY WELCOME!!!! — This is the landlord’s way of warning you that there are dangerous or annoying animals in the midst of your new potential home. Strange, I know. Note the capital letters. This is how they warn you that you might be barking up the wrong tree.
  • “walking distance” — During the daytime, you will be able to walk to a specific location in a matter of minutes, or at least in less than an hour. However at night, they are warning you, it is probably too dangerous.
  • “on a quiet street” — They’re telling you the place is in a boring, potentially remote area. Or, alternatively, they are emphasizing that although the area around is known for being dangerous, this place is an island of safety in a sea of crack houses.
  • “upscale” — Boring area, snobby neighbors
  • BAD CREDIT OK!! NO CREDIT CHECK!! — The OverLandLords are informing you that they come in peace and that they wish to help you build your credit. They love you. They don’t care what a loser or SOB you are. This place is just for you, you SOB. No need to be concerned or worried or potentially suspicious. No need to wonder if others around you are SOBs — you’re one big happy SOB family.
  • “adorable bungalow” — Better have Bob Villa’s number on speed-dial, because this place qualifies for This Old House’s Greatest Hits. Make that “Olde,” because this is a fixer-upper times 10.
  • “charming” — Like that ugly dog that’s so ugly that you can’t help but love it.
  • “city living” or “urban luxury” or “convenience of downtown” — Could be dangerous. This is the place that people living “on a quiet street” are seeking an island of safety from.

That said, once again, I don’t know that I could do much better writing apartment ads, but I felt I had to get that off my chest. My apologies to anyone I might have offended; and now I’d better get back in the bush and start apartment hunting again. Losers.

Love, me.

Fourth of July

17 07 2008

I went to see the Lenox Square Mall fireworks display since it’s the oldest, closest and possibly the best display. Here’s what the finale looked like:

As always, see the remainder here in the Flickr set.

I worked that day and it was momentous as Joey Chestnut barely beat that Kobayashi dude in the hot dog wolfing contest on Coney Island in Brooklyn in New York. Baby. Hot dog ralphing, perhaps. Gross, man. We had our own weenie roast at work right in the break room. It’s an annual tradition, done on a George Foreman grill. If possible, we try to time it so it corresponds perfectly with the event. Things get pretty heated as we watch with bated, hot-dog-scented breath.

Centennial Olympic Park was crowded with people and many were wearing umbrella hats, which I think is a great way to take the shade with you in a flashy fashion. I opted to spend less time there and cooled off at home to escape the heat. When it got dark I boarded MARTA for the Buckhead region, where things were very crowded. The display was great. It was all good. Mom and dad went to Tempe Marketplace and I think their adventure was more fun, but then again I was working that day. So who knows.

The text I wrote from the plane

17 07 2008

I found some text I tapped out while I was bored on the plane… I had hoped to get the blog entry done up there but didn’t really succeed:

Trip to Vancouver

The trip I took to Vancouver was all about family. Now that it’s over I’m wondering if I made the best use of the time there. I’m currently somewhere around 30,000 feet. Writing to pass the time on an airplane.

So in the beginning things were calm and slowly, I found out that my grandmother is tough as nails despite being 81 years old. My cousin and her husband were both there. There were a lot of people. It was hard to get used to, being an only child, but I made it and think I am all the better for it.

Vancouver itself was really beautiful. The roughly 10 of us (give or take) stayed in a three-bedroom apartment in Richmond. The place overlooked the inlet water and the airport. You could even see planes taking of in the water. It was a spectacular view most of the time as the clouds changed and the sunlight flitted through the clouds late into the evening, as far north as we were.

The cast of characters, for review, included, and I hope I didn’t miss anybody:

* Me
* My parents (2)
* My cousin and her husband
* My cousin’s offspring (2)
* My other cousin
* My grandma
* My aunt

Travel videos

17 07 2008

Here are some videos I’d like to highlight that help tell the story of the trip:

Bears tussle on Grouse Mountain. They were in an exhibit behind a fence, thankfully. I think they’re just playing.

Walk the suspension bridge with me! Now, I realize that a large portion of the video is aimed straight at some guy’s arse, but that’s not because I was looking there. The camera was pointed there as I held it. And I’m not a butt girl anyways… so anyway, I hope you don’t get seasick watching this.

Take a spin down the Lion’s Gate Bridge and get a spectacular view of Stanley Park and the water and the bridge itself, which is cool stuff. Now that I think about it, I shouldn’t have moved the camera so much.

Oh, and get the full goods at the Flickr set. Enjoy!


17 07 2008

Here’s what happened on the Vancouver trip, from which I returned a few weeks ago. Dates: June 9-22

  • Layovers in PHL going and PHX returning
  • 9-11 people in a 3BR apartment in Richmond at any given time.
  • Slept on the couch so people could keep bags in my parents’ room and I could have peace/quiet.
  • Met grandmother and aunt. I can only hope that I’ll get a chance to see them again.
  • Ate lots of Persian food, including traditional-style breakfasts of bread and cheese each a.m.
  • Grandmother (mamabazorgk) likes to get up early and do the dishes so I would awake early some days
  • Took lots and lots of pictures. Man did I take a lot of pictures.
  • Picnicked at Deep Cove with cuz’s hubby’s fam
  • Played with the kids, who are at that age where they are very apt to act like toddlers because they are.
  • Followed cuz’s hubby whenever we drove
  • Paid a lot for gas, man oh man did we pay. Good thing we didn’t drive much.
  • We could walk to the mall and some stores. Grocery shopping nearly every day, multiple times.
  • Watched Euro Cup. Man oh man.
  • Listened to Farsi conversations and tried to pick up on some words.
  • Took the tram up Grouse Mountain where we saw dueling lumberjacks, bears playing in the snow and a great view overlooking B.C.
  • Spent a lot of time bumming around downtown and counting Starbuck’s stores.
  • Went to White Rock (near the U.S.-Canada border) to spend time in the quirky beachside town
  • Shopped a little at Granville Public Market and gawked at the bridges (and got a bit lost)
  • Took the ferry to Vancouver Island and drove to Victoria, which is a must-see if you go to BC.
  • Ate at a Shanghai-style Chinese restaurant. I think I like this better than typical Mandarin fare.
  • Shanghai-style is like Dim Sum, etc. Restaurants like this are popular in BC.
  • There are a lot of Chinese people in BC and our apartment building lacked a 4th/14th floor because 4 is bad luck.
  • We visited not the Capilano Suspension Bridge but a smaller, free version at Lynn Creek. It was really nice but I get nervous about heights.
  • The bridge was very crowded and people would stop in the middle and you’d have to go around them.
  • If the bridge started to sway you could try to shift the balance back over by moving around.
  • It is a very old bridge, but they say it’s safe, so why not go. The view of the falls way down below is gorge-ous. Hahahaha, I crack myself up.
  • And I stopped at Tim Horton’s in the airport on the way back and enjoyed it. I still have some donuts with me now… they’re totally gross at this point.
  • YVR has lots of totem pole-type things in it to honor the aboriginal population.
  • Aborigines is the CA term for natives or Indians. They have an Aboriginal Achievement Awards show.
  • I heard someone say “Eh!” at the end of a sentence. Even in BC they do that.
  • I learned some words in Farsi. Such as: Yek, do, se, sohb bekheh, balley, nah, gghhubeh, and at one point I could say “lamp” and “boy” and “girl.” I think I still recall all the different types of aunts and uncles.
  • Farsi is structured like Spanish in some ways. I should go back and try to learn. It’s sad that I know more Spanish than the language of my homeland.
  • I have many personal goals… more on that later.
  • It was a good trip. Occasionally I freaked out about all the people and how hot it sometimes got in our apartment and how I couldn’t get to sleep or whatever but in the end, none of that matters. What matters is that it happened and you did what you could to make it happen.