A few of my polls have closed so I figured I'd put up the results before deleting them.
What have you parted with in the last 12 months due to bed bugs?
Of the 48 people who responded to this poll:
Sense of security: 75%
Bed frame, including headboard: 33%
Other furniture: 31%
Significant other: 4%
Job/job prospects: 4%
If you have seen bed bugs on the train or bus, where have you seen them?
Of the nine people who responded to this poll:
I don't live in New York City but have seen them on my local transit system: 44%
The Bronx: 11%
Metro North: 11%
Yellow taxi: 11%
If you can think of one thing that bed bugs most smell like, what would that thing be?
Of the 31 people who responded to this poll:
Rotten blood: 25%
Rotten eggs and testicles: 16%
Musk (like an animal in heat): 16%
Rubbing alcohol: 12%
Other: 3% (Those who chose Other offered their comments in the Nov. 2007 "Sniff, Sniff" entry
and said they smell like nothing, rotting flesh and dirty gym socks.)
These were far more fun than they were scientific, so thanks for participating, and please join in on Bugged Out's other polls.
Friday, October 01, 2010
A few of my polls have closed so I figured I'd put up the results before deleting them.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
...the new location is www.buggedout.org
Thanks for the free blog, Blogger. It's been real. But I'm moseying on down to my own domain and WordPress and dropping the blogspot from the name.
Because so many sites have linked to bedbugsnyc.blogspot.com, this site will remain as it is, but this post will serve as the final update.
Art Through Pain Spring 2009 has received its first entry!
Monday, April 06, 2009
I know it's been quite a while since I blogged, and I apologize for that. In the last two months, I have:
- Moved out with M from my apartment in Queens and all the packing involved
- Moved to a bigger apartment in the Bronx and all the unpacking involved
- Got more steady work (a lot more)
- Had no Internet connection for about a month as I waited for Verizon to transfer my connection to my new apartment
- Begun to start my own catering business with M, purchasing supplies, designing the website myself and dealing with all the government paperwork
I am holding the first semi-annual Art Through Pain contest from now until June 1, 2009. I will only allow submissions that express one's bed bug experience.
The categories for artwork are as follows:
- Written word (essays, poetry, short fiction)
- Visual (photography, painting, sketches, photos of sculptures, graphic design)
- Video...nothing more than five minutes. You can upload it onto Youtube and send me the link. (sketch comedy, short film, dancing)
- Music..Follows the same rules as video submissions (original music or parodies of existing songs with a bed bug theme.
Once the four winners are determined a second contest after June will consist of those four winning entries to win the grand prize, which is....
another $25 gift card or Metrocard.
Voting for your favorite entry (sorry, you can only pick one) will be available after June 1.
You can send your artistic expressions to email@example.com
Good luck, and have fun!
Friday, January 16, 2009
I decided to get the ball rolling on the whole art through pain thing that I'm trying to do over here, so I'm sharing a short story I wrote inspired by my experience with bed bugs. Please offer any feedback in the comments area.
By Bugged Out
Despite the cozy dimensions of my bedroom I still have a hard time chasing the tiny beast. I slam the toe of the sneaker three or four times where the bed bug is, but it continues to flee after each attempt. It climbs up the wall and slips behind a large piece of furniture. I crouch nearby, waiting for the intruder to come out from behind. I remain still and listen, as if waiting to hear tiny footsteps but my tense, nervous breath is the only sound I hear. That, and the tiny red bumps on my legs and arms that itch so badly they almost seem to make a noise of their own.
If I were a Cherokee in colonial North America or a Bushman in the Kalahari, this position would be appropriate for hunting an enormous, ferocious wild animal like a bison or lion. But here I am, a slightly freaked out New Yorker crouching in an apartment in Queens, pledging death to a weightless creature no bigger than the nail on my smallest finger. Despite its tiny stature, their presence brings on a psychological attack most of us cannot stand. At least roaches run away from you; with bed bugs, it’s you they’re running after. A hunter that waits for its prey to sleep before sitting down to a supple blood meal. The itching, the sleepless nights, the itching, the antiseptic scrubbing rituals, the itching, the fear of friends and family finding out, the itching, the throwing out of furniture…did I mention the itching?
My knees grow weary from being in this position, so with no sight of the beast I stand up and consider the hunt a lost cause. I return to my bed and to my book only to see five minutes later another bed bug, or perhaps the same one from before. I spring into action and on this attempt, successfully slay the tiny beast. I lift up my sneaker to see the tiny corpse flattened and pressed into the treads of the rubber soles. I warily prepare a wad of toilet paper, half-afraid the insect may come back to life and extract its revenge upon me. Allow me to better explain the source of this fear.
Sometimes, when hit with an object such as a sneaker, you find the beast’s seemingly lifeless body underneath, as still as a spot on the floor. Confident in your success, you turn to grab a tissue to pick up the corpse. In that fraction of time in which your attention is turned elsewhere, the bed bug “comes back to life” and scurries away. Although the insect may have simply been stunned by the blow and not killed at all, it is this illusion of immortality and/or invincibility that, along with the whole blood sucking thing, strikes fear into the hearts of so many humans.
Though this beast is now nothing more than a hairy brownish-black paste stuck to my sneaker, the fear of its possible immortality is still present. The hairs inside my nostrils stand on end as I smell its distinctive musk. I’m not sure whether it is a pleasant aroma or a foul odor; the scent’s instant association with bed bugs has already turned my stomach a bit. I quickly scrape the remains off with the tissue and rush to the toilet to flush it all down. My paranoia wouldn’t let me throw it in the trash and risk it coming back to life, crawling out of the trash can and seeking revenge.
It’s encounters like these that truly make me question the superiority of the human species. How great can humans be if our confidence and sense of security can be blown away not by an attack but by the mere presence of a creature, on average no bigger than a fingernail? Dogs and cats, which we consider to be lower than ourselves would never panic at the sight of a bed bug. Even a well-fed pet would lick its lips in delightful anticipation of trapping any insect in its jaws and enjoying a light snack. Ironically these are the same animals we allow to lick our faces.
All these thoughts about bed bugs have caused me to forget all about my sordid little murder mystery. I climb back into bed and resume flipping through the pages of my book. Suddenly, I feel something crawling up my leg. In reflex I jump and wildly fling my leg from side to side. The beast flies off and onto the floor, fleeing faster than most bed bugs I’ve seen in a long time.
Grabbing my trusty sneaker, I slide off the bed and give chase. But it’s too fast for me, slipping into an air vent. My paranoia blazes outside the realm of logic. Could the beast I assassinated earlier have swam back up the pipes to my toilet and charged towards my bedroom, vengeance in mind? I soon shake off the fear, give up and resume once more to my book. A few seconds later I feel the faint weight of tiny legs on my left thigh.
I react the same way I did before, shaking myself wildly as if in a seizure. I look frantically at my immediate surroundings, but the beast is nowhere to be found. As soon as I calm myself and lie back down, I feel three more bed bugs on my back, making me jump. I try to shake off and kill the beasts, but they, too have vanished.
It’s then I realize I am being attacked by the one creature more menacing than a bed bug. The imaginary bed bug, born in a nest of sheer paranoia. With my biological alarm system set on high sensitivity, my senses are plagued by the onslaught of countless imaginary bed bugs, crawling on any given part of my body at any time.
I spend the next half hour sweeping up and down my torso, legs, arms and even my privates with my hands, “feeling” the beasts’ presence. Although the book is right in front of me, I don’t think I’ve read more than a page since my first bed bug sighting. Convinced that no more reading will be done tonight, I put the book aside and force myself to go to sleep. This only fans the flame of paranoia that burns inside. The absence of bright light leaves me vulnerable to those bed bugs I cannot see.
The imaginary bed bugs continue to invade me, but now in multitudes. I feel dozens of them in my hair, legs, arms and the rest of my body. They crawl on me, and I jump up, toss and turn wildly. I keep telling myself that these attacks are simply a figment of my imagination, with little success as my paranoia rages on.
Suddenly I jump out of my sleep and to my horror, I find myself covered with bed bugs. So many atop my body they must crawl on each other just to move around. My sight is impaired due to the bed bugs that squeeze in and out of the tiny space between my eyeballs and their sockets. They lay nests in my eyes, and millions of babies hatch, born trapped between my lens and retina. My body throbs with the pricks of hundreds of simultaneous bed bug bites, their sharp little beaks piercing through my insides.
I’m getting some imaginary bed bugs right now just writing this.
I try to scream, but my mouth is crammed with bed bugs. My tongue cannot even move, my mouth is so packed with beasts. The bed bugs find their way into every orifice in my body, even in the tiny slit at the end of my penis. I try to breathe, but my lungs are filled with them. I can feel babies being born down there as my lungs burn from lack of oxygen. The beasts crawl up my anus; I can feel them exploring my small intestine and stomach. I can only pray that the stomach acid dissolves them.
I feel the beasts swimming inside me. My brain, devoid of oxygen, breaks down. Everything goes black. Just before I die I feel the bed bugs tearing through my flesh before finally bursting through to the surface. Bloodstained beats spill out of my chest and stomach through the enormous crimson gash.
I wake up from the nightmare, flinging my body into an upright position, hyperventilating and eyes bulging. The imaginary bed bugs are still there. I shake my legs and arms at their touch before turning on the light. I pick up the remote and aim it at the TV set. Maybe a little 24-hour cable news will put me at ease.
Just nothing involving bed bugs.
Copyright 2009 Bugged Out
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I've decided to shift the focus of Bugged Out to serving as a venue where anyone, but New Yorkers especially, can relate their bed bug experiences creatively. All the things that Bugged Out has been up to now will remain but the major focus will be on what I call, "Art Through Pain".
Why art? you might ask.
Like I've said before, there are already quite a few New York bed bug blogs that do a great job of covering bed bug legislation, tips, personal accounts, etc. I feel that artistic expression is an aspect of New York's bed bug infestation that I do not see being addressed elsewhere.
As a professional writer, novice illustrator and lover of percussion instruments, I fully agree with the idea that the arts can be a therapeutic outlet for people going through troubling and even traumatic events, and bed bug infestations count as both. From now on, Bugged Out will be gladly accepting submissions of bed bug-related artwork at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A word on copyright: Though Bugged Out does support anonymity, all artwork will have to come with the name of its creator who I will assume is the copyright holder of the work unless I am informed otherwise. Contrary to what some may believe, copyright law protects works that are displayed on the Internet, so let's keep that in mind as we enjoy some of the art we may see on this blog in the future.
What would I love to see on Bugged Out?
- short fiction
- (photos of) paintings
- graphic design
- (photos of) sculptures
- original music
- sketch comedy
- a short film (horror, maybe?)
- performing arts (acting, dancing)
Thursday, January 01, 2009
When I started Bugged Out in January 2006, it was because I saw almost no sites or blogs that focused on New Yorkers who were suffering from bed bug infestations. Most of what I saw was advice for people to throw a fumigation tent over their detached homes. I saw a void, and when I saw no one else filling it, I decided to do it myself.
But that was then, and this is now. There are many blogs about bed bugs and New York City, Bugged Out kind of gets lost in the crowd. There are a lot of great New York-centric bed bug blogs out there, and most of them have more specific missions that just being an online community for New Yorkers living with bed bugs. And they do a way better job of fulfilling those goals than I ever could.
I could commit a lot of time and energy to making Bugged Out about covering bed bug-related legislative policy in cities whose leaders are actually accountable to their constituents or picking out bed bug headlines in the media or chronicling my own personal hardships with bed bugs, things that are already being accomplished elsewhere on the Web. I could just retire Bugged Out and declare it obsolete, leaving it as an archive for readers to browse and only regard as a dead, stagnant tombstone to a blog that once was.
Or I can take Bugged Out in a completely new direction by doing the same thing I did three years ago: do something I didn't already see being done.
Wow, I just unintentionally used the verb do in four different tenses in the same sentence.
But let me get back to the point.
Starting January 15...new look, new mission statement, new direction.
New Bugged Out.
Happy New Year.
Friday, December 26, 2008
For those of you familiar with my previous post regarding my discovery of bed bug shell casings in a plastic yellow basin of mine, it should be interesting to note that not everyone agrees with my conclusion. Some people are saying they are bed bug eggs, live bugs, dead bugs, babies, etc. Unfortunately, the pictures were taken with a mediocre digital camera and the evidence has since been flushed away.
But now I've uploaded the originals, straight from the camera to a specially marked Picasa Web Photos album. Be sure to use Picasa's zoom function so you can get the best look possible. Also, if anyone wishes to download the pics and enhance the blurrier images with their very expensive Adobe software, they are more than welcome.
Have fun, and happy holidays.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Perhaps one of the more annoying aspects of a bed bug infestation is that even when you don't see them anymore, you still come across little discoveries like this just so you know they're never really gone.
What you're looking at in this yellow basin are bed bug shell casings. As bed bugs grow, they also grow a new shell which breaks the old shell, kind of like a snake shedding its skin. This basin was empty and under my bed for the last month. Now M and I can't even remember the last time we saw a live bed bug or even been bitten by one, but this disgusting find serves as a friendly reminder that we should never rest easy. We should never stop inspecting our own homes, and most definitely, we should never stop cleaning. Most importantly this discovery serves as a reminder that those who have endured bed bug infestation should never, ever assume their homes are finally bed bug-free.
One of my financial goals if for M and I to have enough money one day to hire someone to do all this bed bug cleaning (the weekly mopping, the inspections, etc.) so we can somewhat relax.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Due to technical difficulties (temporary inability to pay my Verizon bill) I haven't been able to blog the last few weeks.
In these last few weeks I've kind of gotten hooked on this new HBO series, True Blood. It's really a great TV series which M and I watch religiously. The show is set an alternate reality in which vampires do exist and have "come out of the coffin" upon the invention of synthetic blood (the product is called True Blood) originally designed the demands for human blood transfusions but had the unintended side effect of providing vampires with artificial food, so feeding on humans is no longer necessary. The show itself focuses on a fictional Louisiana town called Bon Temps (the name means "good times" in French; I wonder if that's some sort of literary device) in which a telepathic human waitress falls in love with a vampire and whose boss is secretly a shape-shifter who can change his form to resemble any animal. Anyone who hasn't seen it should definitely check it out on HBO or on YouTube.
Now there's a new movie, Twilight, in which a human falls in love with a vampire.
Despite my fascination with True Blood, I don't know why this vampire stuff is all the rage. Scores of people have been living with nocturnal blood sucking creatures for the last few years. Where's our HBO TV series? Where's our movie?
Shit, I think I'd rather have the vampires than the bedbugs.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Did anyone see last night's Presidential debate? I wonder where the candidates stand on the bed bug infestation in the U.S.?
I came across this story in the New York Sun about how bed bug disputes between landlords and tenants are piling up in the city's courts. One example offered was of a tenant paying $7K a month for an apartment on the Upper East Side who signed a lease without knowing that several floors in the building were undergoing a massive extermination of bed bugs. Now the tenant wants out of the lease, arguing he wouldn't have signed it if he knew about the bed bug infestation.
What I'm wondering is, why the hell hasn't this impacted real estate values yet? I mean, everywhere else in the U.S. the mass foreclosure of homes is driving real estate values down, but in New York, people are still being charged $7,000 a month to live in a bed bug-infestation building! Many New Yorkers I know are leaving the city to live in states and buying foreclosed homes to live in because they can no longer afford to pay so much money in NYC for so little space, and no free parking to boot.
All I know is that the sky-high rents in New York City will not stay that way forever, and be bugs will definitely play a large role in the devaluing of property.
In other news, I guess I was on to something when I started writing my bed bug haikus.
I just found about this new musical called Bedbugs! Here's the ridiculous synopsis from their website.
"80s rock excess meets the Creature Feature. It’s 2012 and Carly, an exterminator hell-bent on avenging her mother’s freak death, has accidentally mutated NYC Bedbugs into bloodthirsty killer Hair Metal Rock Gods. Sweet sidekick Burt has a plan, and troubled Canadian chanteuse Dionne Salon has stumbled onto the scene. But will Carly listen to them and save NYC—or be seduced by her own creation?"
It doesn't exactly sound like something I'd pay to see, but apparently it has sold out in the past, so someone must like it. I seriously doubt that anyone in 2012 is listening hair metal rock. I'm glad it died in the 80s.
I wish someone would write a musical about living with bed bugs in New York City. No shortage of drama and conflict in that story!