I’m ready to get Shanghaied!

I am all excited to tour Portland’s famous underground Shanghai tunnels! I love history, I love old buildings, and I love the idea of being under the city, right in the heart of downtown. So this kind of thing is right up my alley.

And no, I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits or hauntings of any kind, but I do think there is something neat about old buildings and old places. All the people who have passed through them. How different their lives were from mine. I look around Portland and I wonder what buildings will still be here 100 years from now and who will be touring them and what they will think of our antiquated ways.

In short, I’m excited to descend into the city later tonight!


I was just Shanghaied.

Angry Girl icon

No seriously. Someone just robbed me of $17. And if you go on Portland’s “Secret Underground Shanghai Tunnel Tour,” I guarantee you will be robbed as well. Let me explain.

You will be told that you are about to go beneath the streets of Portland, into what was once an underground city and a dangerous den of violence and human slavery – be prepared to be thrilled and chilled!

By which they actually mean, disappointed and bored. Didn’t see that coming, did you? While I never thought that I would actually be scared or run screaming from the tunnels, I would not have guessed that my main thoughts would center on trying to stay awake and, if possible, finding a place to sit down.

Maybe the excessively long introduction from the guide should have been my first warning. Let me sum it up for you: You are going to go underground. It will be dark. Watch your head. (Any guides currently reading this are free to steal that for future tours.)  Believe it or not, it somehow took twenty minutes to say that.

Once underground, we were shown into one big room, also called a “basement” by most native English speakers, but for the purpose of this tour was called a “tunnel.” We were there for the better part of an hour while the guide droned on and on with stories (a few of which were sprinkled with actual facts, imagine that!) If only I had known that the main story was going to be repeated four more times in the other four rooms we’d be shuffled into, I would have spent less time trying to balance my flashlight on my nose, and more time bludgeoning the guide.

Oh, did I fail to mention at the beginning that you will go to only four different rooms (a.k.a. basements) and move a total distance of about 300 feet in the entire tour? Because that was probably worth mentioning. I know, because if anyone had mentioned it to me I would not have gone on this death-defying, spine-tingling tour.

In fact, after emerging from two hours in the dusty rooms, er I mean, “tunnels”, the scariest thing I saw was what I blew into my tissue. The tour promised mystery, and on that, I must say they delivered. I am still completely mystified as to the following:

  • How on earth this complete shit ass of a tour continues to make it into Portland guidebooks as an attraction.
  • How this tour is still operational as anything but a mean prank to play on your friends.
  • Who the hell approved the application for this group of nutjobs as a legitimate, 501-C3 historical society? If I’d known they were letting just anybody do that now, I’d have registered my dog years ago. Lord knows he needs the tax relief.
  • How it’s possible that our guide was an actual fourth grade teacher and yet she:
  1. Believes in ghosts (including one female ghost who apparently bought new clothes AFTER HER DEATH. How cool is that? Death be damned, here I come Ralph Lauren!)
  2. Accepts stories told to one young child by one elderly person to be actual historical proof. (Boy, the memory on that kid is a STEEL FUCKING TRAP, I tell you what! Everyone knows that no older person would ever tell a kid something untrue, like, oh say, Santa Claus.)
  3. Is under the impression that any movement of silver wind chimes placed in bar basements are proof of spirits moving from one world to the next. (Thank goodness it was that, and not the bar patrons stomping above us, or that would have been anti-climatic.)
  4. Is certain that no air reaches the “tunnels”, despite the nagging little annoyance that large groups of people somehow manage to breathe down there for almost two hours.

Do you hear me, you people who keep voting down pay raises for teachers? Take a crap job, give it a crap salary, and these are the people you get teaching your children.

I have to go now, seriously, I’m going to file that paperwork on my dog.

It’s almost Halloween! Happy Dance!

I luuuuurve candy! (Yes, I love it so much I call it “lurve.”) Candy never fails to make me happy! So Halloween is like happy overload.

What’s your favorite Halloween candy? Mine is everything, but if I had to put them in a hierarchy, I would say:

  1.  Any mini candy bar. That is the trick-or-treat bag bonanza! That’s what you hope for.
  2. Little boxes of Milk Duds
  3. Little boxes of Dots
  4. Chocolate-marshmallow anything
  5. Twizzlers

With a few small exceptions, it’s all good. Oh, and a special thank you to my generous co-workers who bring in their unused Halloween candy!

Halloween? Please.

Angry Girl iconHalloween is such a scam. As a kid, you get so excited about it. First, you get excited about your costume, sometimes planning it as early as the day after last Halloween (from which you apparently learned nothing). Your kid-mind concocts all kinds of great ideas. Execution of these ideas is not your concern. But when the day comes to make the costume, get the costume, or wear the costume, that’s when the first crush of disappointment hits.

  • If you dreamed it up in your head – the final costume doesn’t even look close. No one will ever be able to figure out what you are.
  • If it was homemade, be prepared for it to fail shortly after putting it on.
  • If it was store-bought, be prepared to suddenly notice that it is ridiculously uncomfortable. Seriously, are you supposed to walk in this shit? How?

But lastly, however amazing or shitty your costume is, you forget every year that it’s going to be almost TOTALLY COVERED BY YOUR FUCKING COAT. Why did you bother? Those movies and TV shows where you see kids in cute costumes trick or treating? They are filmed in Southern California. If you live nearly anywhere else, you’re fucked.

Next dream-killing stop on the disappointment train? Finding out just how few houses you can actually go to in whatever allotted time you have. You were sure you could hit at least 200 houses and instead you are lucky if you made it to 17. Who were these people who were not at home? They totally killed your planned route, which was based on a complex algorithm of housing density and income level.

But save some tears for the last crushing part of the night – dumping out your candy bag and marveling at some of the unbelievable crap that people attempted to pass off as candy. Once you’ve made a mad grab for the good stuff, you will see just how many of your asshole neighbors gave you Smarties. The fuck you say! Smarties aren’t candy! No kid is ever desperate enough to resort to eating Smarties.

In fact, a few days later, in a post-Halloween candy withdrawal, you will rush home and beg, “Do we have any candy left?” and someone will say, “Oh yeah, we have at least a dozen of those Smarties still in the cupboard.”

You: “Never mind.”

Now if only you will remember this for next year, you can save yourself a lot of grief.

Welcome from Happy Girl!

 Hello and welcome to my blog! (Well, it’s half mine, anyway.)

I am Happy Girl and a lot of things make me happy. I like to talk about them, because maybe they will make you happy too.

Today it is raining, so my happy thought is that somewhere in my mind it is sunny, and I am in a big green field, twirling on one foot, wearing a blue and white embroidered skirt that is perfect for twirling!