I'm So Great: The Rantings of a Jaded Youth

When I grow up, I want to be just like me.

Stephen Colbert/Hitler Slash Anyone? July 31, 2011

It’s funny the things that surface after years of being forgotten. In 2005 I created a second fake LiveJournal account. My first had been a fiery Latina who had been masterminded by my bff Brittany and I, but no one was very interested Clementina. LiveJournal is a complete vag-fest so who cares about another chick? When we had Clementina tell all the LJ Daily Show slash groups to petition the Daily Show for on-air man-on-man correspondent make-outs (I was obsessed.), the vote was split between all the girls who were young enough to think it was a great idea and all the women who knew that celebrities are human beings and were outraged.

When Clementina went down in a hail of metaphorical gunfire, a second account was created as a gay teenager named Chad. Now eyebrows were raised. A cute gay boy who was interested in all the same things as the girls?! Squeee! Chad became an instant hit. All the girls loved him. I had physical pen pals that I wrote to (sorry about that) and Chad was invited to meet girls at Anime Expo and the premiere of Harry Potter 4. I was 16 and I spent a lot of time exchanging slash fanfiction so it was only a matter of time before I started contributing. I ran across a group that was so ridiculous that I had to contribute. Who could say no to HitlerSlash? So I wrote a very short fanfiction using the thing I was most obsessed with at the time: Stephen Colbert.

Last night, a few days shy of a full 6 years later, the subject of fanfiction came up and I thought of this immediately. The friend who brought fanfiction up in the first place doesn’t even believe I wrote it because his girlfriend told him he had to read it literally this week. Too fabulous!

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On Working Out and Losing Weight July 28, 2011

Filed under: My Life,Things I've Done — Stephanie Fantastic @ 5:30 pm
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I recently decided to start working out again with the aid of a relatively addictive app from MyFitnessPal (Damn you Jill! lol) and it’s gotten me thinking about weight and fitness more than I probably ever have. I’ve been overweight pretty much my entire life. Nowadays I’m apparently just over the line of being medically obese, although when I think of the word “obese” I don’t really think of someone my size. Who does, I guess. I’ve been 210 pounds and size 18 since I was about 12 so I’ve definitely grown into my weight over the years.

When I was growing up, I had the Mexican As-Seen-On-TV interpretation of all-American eating habits drilled into me: Bigger is better; if a little fat and grease is tasty, then a lot of fat and grease will be even more delicious!; and if at the end of a meal you can still move without feeling sick, you’re not thoroughly enjoying the meal. Apply these to a barely supervised child who lived with her best friend for an entire summer, and you get a couple of 11-year-olds who can down an entire 2-liter each and a backpack full of candy in a movie theater. We have a very round extended family.

I could never figure out how I couldn’t lose any weight. I mean, the skinny girls in my school were eating candy in class every period and chowing down on fast food lunches, whereas I didn’t eat breakfast or anything at school except the occasional soda or water. I waited until I got home, usually at around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, to even start eating. This was mostly because when people looked at me, they saw a fat kid who obviously couldn’t stop eating. How could I eat in front of them without them immediately judging me? Even though I didn’t eat at school, I still had people asking me if I had candy stashed away that they could have. Seriously, do people walk around with a candy shop in their backpacks? I never had anything but books and notebooks in my bag. So my metabolism suffered for years.

I think the only thing that kept me from ballooning after the initial summer when I had gained a ton of weight was my constant energy. I walked pretty much everywhere until I was about 19 and finally learned to drive. When I started doing an independent study program instead of school (bad idea for me academically), I ended up at the beach every day instead of doing any class work. I definitely tightened up, but I was still stuck at 210 pounds. I still had my rolly tummy and my flabby arms despite daily, extended exercise because my eating habits were still terrible. I was eating to excess and I didn’t even know it!

A few years ago, I started paying attention to serving sizes and calories and, lo and behold, I found my problem: I was eating a ridiculous amount of food. Not even particularly terrible food anymore because, as it turns out, I’m allergic to just about everything processed and preserved, and I get absolutely incapacitating migraines when I eat processed food or when I eat sugar before eating actual meals. I drank nothing but water for at least three years beginning at about 16, and I tried to stick to real food, instead of frozen meals, pre-made sauces, or anything that was likely to trigger a migraine. The problem was that I was eating three or four times as much food as I actually needed.  I brought this up to my boyfriend and we started to scale back the portions. After we moved out, we were still eating a lot less and suddenly we were also eating a lot healthier.

Now the problem I have is that I can drive and I work in a relatively sedentary job so I now have to make time to exercise, which I have finally been motivated to do, bringing me back to the beginning of this post. I don’t have too many body issues, as I’ve amply demonstrated on this site, but I’m not delusional. I know I’m overweight and, while I don’t hate myself, I’m not entirely satisfied with my body. So fingers crossed. I’ve broken the 210 pound curse with exercise. The second my tummy is presentable, I will…I don’t know…try not to become too slutty. Wish me luck! (On the weight loss, you pervs.)

 

So the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball was fun even though it took me forever to post about it.

On July 1st and 2nd, the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball happened in L.A. and I was in attendance. I haven’t posted because I’ve been super laaaazy and I didn’t take nearly enough pictures. It was fun, but I think I missed the point until after it ended. Somehow, my group missed just about every show that took place. By “somehow,” I mean because the program that I retrieved from my e-mail labelled shows in rooms that didn’t exist or were named completely different things in the actual hall. Everyone’s costumes were amazing and elaborate though and I was too busy being shy to realize that the whole point of the ball was to get nerdy, crafty people in amazing conversation-piece outfits that made them schmooze. I did get to do a little schmoozing though because it turns out the dress I made for my birthday last year glows in the fucking dark! So I’m going to post up a line of pictures that you’ve seen already if you’re on my Facebook (not many people are) and say that next year, I’m going to be prepared with a camera and take pictures of everyone’s amazing costumes because it was super fun to have everyone accosting me for pictures of mine.

Day 1 I went as a fawn. I had made some furry hoof leg warmers but very few people got to see them. Check out my sweet 80’s hair provided by my awesome mom, who was a stylist in the 80’s. Ernie (my baybeh) and James (some butt hole) are also sporting costumes made by me, however they’re not sparkly so I didn’t get many pictures…

Captain Ernie

Home made pants, yo!James

Y'arrrr!I’ve got these cumbersome glasses so I decided to just glue shit to my face instead of even try to figure out a mask. It’s all good though.


I saw the David Bowie from across the room and needed a picture obviously. It’s about the only pictures taken of me with another person that ended up on a camera I had access to. I’m still waiting for all the others to show up in the gallery and on google. Come on, everyone! Stop hoarding your pictures like I did!

B'awwww!

For the record, none of these photos are altered in any way. My dress glowed in a lot of the rooms at the Masquerade and out on the patio, which was effing awesome. I honestly didn’t even realize why everyone wanted my picture until I saw this picture. Also for the record, I was definitely NOT supposed to be up on that podium, but it had steps that led up. Other places I wasn’t supposed to be but inexplicably was: an alluring room upstairs, the hanging ring reserved for a performer, sitting in the sound technician’s chair.

Day 2 I went as a troll and didn’t get NEARLY as much attention for all the green paint I painstakingly applied. I kind of liked the green, actually. Well, until I tried to get it off much later in the night.

I decided to go for Scene Troll because my feets were still killing me from the heels I’d worn as a faun and I wasn’t sure I could walk up the massive amount of stairs in the Masquerade in geta sandals. Living in caves is so last generation.  As you can see, it was balls hot inside the actual Masquerade. Next time, I will definitely be going for a breezy costume. It was definitely a fun experience and I’d totally go again. If there’s anything I love, it’s making ridiculously loud costumes. You can check out pictures of people other than me at the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Facebook page since none of the photographers that were there have gotten their 2011 galleries up yet.

 

A Weekend in Review: Long Beach Mardi Gras and 80s Night at the Hully Gully March 7, 2011

My calves are a-sore from walking and dancing the weekend away. I was super jazzed about a night of debauchery and booze at the 2nd Annual Long Beach Mardi Gras, which promised costumes, music, and New Orleans flavor. They had a parade at 3, but I missed it because I’m a layabout and I just couldn’t get out of the house in time despite a relatively early start. I heard later from some Canadian adventurers that the parade was joyous and colorful and completely confusing because they did not remember Compton being so friendly-looking.

We arrived in Long Beach around 3:30 and the parking was plentiful, but kind of a pain in the ass. If you plan on going next year, bring cash so you don’t have to wander around looking for an ATM and also free parking so you can use said ATM. I didn’t have to do that because I somehow had cash on me, a rare occurrence, but Ernie was totally screwed. Whoops. When we got there, the children’s section was only mildly bustling despite the opportunity to jump in one of several bounce-houses, make masks, and play in a giant balloon floating in a pool of water. I really wanted to play in a giant balloon in a pool of water but the sign told me I had to ask about the weight limit and I figured if I had to ask, I was too heavy.

We wandered away from the kids section and people attempted to sell me beads from stalls even though I obviously didn’t need them.

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See that yellow and pink bag? It’s chock full of nothing but beads and glitter. Ernie and I wandered away from the kids’ section in search of some debauchery but everywhere we looked were strollers and toddlers. Where was I supposed to throw my beads?! Past the art for sale and the puppet animal stalls, past the bead stalls and picnickers we went in search of the fabled Party Gras. We headed toward the press of people on the pier, but when we got there, that’s all there was really. Just lots of people, milling about. There were costumes a-plenty, more than a few pirates, and an Elvis on stilts who sweet-talked all the ladies.

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Interspersed in the crowd were more children, being sticky and preventing any boobs. I still gave out a lot of beads though, because I believe in fun.

We wandered around the various shops, which were eerily reminiscent of Seattle’s Pike Place. All the buildings on the pier were super brightly painted, so of course I wanted to live in all of them. There were a couple of jazz bands and we accidentally went into a fenced-off area where our bags needed to be checked for whatever reason, but there really wasn’t anything going on. When we were satisfied that we’d seen everything that was happening, we joined a friend for dinner and drinks in the hopes that when we left, there would be less kids and more drunk, promiscuous women showing off their tits. By the time we got out of Bubba Gumps, where everyone in the damn restaurant is celebrating their 21st birthday until the end of time, there were pretty much no people on the streets. It was unfortunate because we had dragged old Lames Foreman out to Mardi Gras with the promise of boobs, but I had another engagement to rush off to so, disappointed though I was, I had to dash anyway.

I was off to 80s Night at the Hully Gully with the lovely Sara and her friend Maria. I had never been, but it was lots of fun. Basically, there are two rooms with bars and a dance floor inside and a DJ blasts 80s music at everyone and they 80s dance all night. I generally don’t dance so 80s dancing, which from what I observed mainly consists of shuffling from foot to foot, was an easy way to get into it. I was apparently good enough at shuffling because I garnered the attention of a relatively cute guy who had apparently been told that 80s dancing consisted of two-handed grabbing ladies butts and then rubbing your junk on them.

When we parted company with him and made for the much cooler smoking patio, we happened upon the aforementioned Canadian adventurers and told them many tales of dildos and lube accidentally left where everyone could see. It was still Mardi Gras for me so I gave all three of them beads and FINALLY got to see some exposed chests.

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All around a fun weekend, although yesterday I came about as close to death as I’ve ever been. Ernie and I were driving home after midnight on the 241-S, the toll road that is the only freeway into Rancho Santa Margarita. It wasn’t raining so much as maliciously misting. Ernie drives a lot slower than I do, but we hit a puddle of water or something and our car was suddenly spinning out of control. We spun at least twice, then unintentionally Tokyo drifted across the wide, grassy median, and ended up across two lanes on the 241-N, completely unscathed. It was the glass lamps falling on me at Tuesday Morning but on a much grander scale. Something’s watching out for me. Once we’d gotten the engine back on, Ernie got off the freeway and got back on going the way we needed instead of just driving back over the median like I wanted to. It was probably for the best. It looks like our car got out miraculously unharmed too, although it is completely filthy and there is a lot of plant matter all up in the rims. I pulled out a dandelion before work today.

Back on topic though, the Hully Gully was a much better time than I could have expected, not being fanatical about 80s music or dancing where people can see me. Our friends from the North helped a lot with that though. And the Long Beach Mardi Gras had potential but was unorganized and lacked the type of shameless people who would really make it shine. I’ve never actually been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans however, so I really have no basis for comparison.

 

Tatas Through Time was a joy! February 14, 2011

I know I haven’t been able to shut up about Hell on Heels for the last week, but I went to their Tatas Through Time show on Saturday at the Brick by Brick and it was such a blast!

The Brick by Brick, in case you’ve never been there but plan on going (for example, to Hell on Heels’ next show ;D), is tucked inconspicuously away behind the Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ and Saloon, which is also pretty awesome. Tatas Through Time was retro dress optional for the audience and, as you know, I fucking love dressing up. I called up my ex-hairdresser mom and my fabulous grandma and they gave me the most ridiculous beehive for the show. This thing was obscenely big and full when they first teased it onto my head, but my hair is notorious for not doing what hairspray wants. Check out that progression:

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My grandma’s only warnings about the beehive were to stay away from open flames and to avoid humidity because it would make my hair frizz. Well, I did pretty well avoiding open flames, but the Brick by Brick was so packed for the show that every single person was intimately acquainted with every person around them so frizz I did. No room for a stray boner in there. Good thing we weren’t seeing anything sexy–oh wait…

When we first walked in, there was a girl laid out on a table in nothing but pasties, nude panties, and a garnish of strawberries in whipped cream. This is about the only thing I got a picture of because once we packed in for the show, there was no room or energy for dicking around with a camera.

The show was an absolute delight though. The girls were sparkly and energetic and even their scantily clad clean-up dame was showy and bubbly as she tidied up the glittering, discarded gloves and bras and assorted costume bits and brought out the next act.

I of course had an interest in Miss Ginger N. Whiskey because she was wearing my pistol pasties in her Bonnie Parker act and my sheriff stars in her Calamity Jane act, but I would have had to give her a mention even if she hadn’t been because she was absolutely adorable in every way. Her act was very classy and she had such an innocent energy. I was immediately smitten. Check out the pasties! I worked so hard on them and I was bummed that I couldn’t get any good pictures of them on stage. Nothing makes you feel like a pervert quite like attempting to take a picture of something that is nipple-mounted.

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All the girls were amazing. The Betty Boop act knocked us dead, and I almost swooned when Rosie the Riveter took off her jumpsuit to reveal a red, white, and blue glitter corset, then again when she removed the striped corset to reveal a glitter blue bra with a giant star in the middle. And while each girl rocked, my entire group fell madly in love with the Amazon woman Bibi Bordeaux. Pictures are great, but seeing this woman in action is a treat. She was graceful and coy and her act really played into the glorious burlesque tradition of showing just the right amount of skin at any given moment but always keeping the audience straining to see more.

The Hell on Heels troupe is already hard at work on their next show, Dangerous Curves Ahead, which will be on April 1st also at the Brick By Brick. Plan ahead and see them! They’re better and cheaper than a movie. If you missed Tatas Through Time, you missed out on the most entertainment you could possibly get for $10!

 

Little Kids Are Weird and Often Boring January 24, 2011

I was hanging out with my family yesterday and, after struggling to follow a rapid-speed Spanish conversation about life on my great-grandma’s ranch in Mexico, I defaulted to the kids table like I always do. My cousins are all (oh god, already?) high school age and younger and I was hanging out with the middle school crowd. I got to hear such gems as “I poisoned this guy in Assassin’s Creed and he went like this *spastic movements* and died! Then I poisoned a monk and he was all *the same spastic movements* and he died!” and “You know what my favorite weapon is in Dragon Quest 9? The bastard sword!”

I forgot about that age. Any excuse to say a curse word in an acceptable context is used as often as possible, its meaning stretched to the breaking point. It’s so funny to watch them lower their voices to curse conspiratorially and then look at me with that sneaky smile of a kid who knows his mom would give him a serious earful if she heard that kind of language. I apologize in advance to my aunt for introducing them to Red vs. Blue, which had a lot more cursing than I remember but was just as hilarous.

And while I’m apologizing, I was also really annoying as a tween, so the rest of this article is going to be apologies.

To my late grandpa: I’m sorry that I thought you would want to know the expansive and convoluted love polygons of Ranma 1/2. I honestly can’t believe you let me go on as long as you did.

To my drama teacher, Mr. Blackley: Turning a Johnny the Homocidal Maniac comic into a monologue for Drama 2 tryouts seemed like a good idea at the time, but would have been a more effective display of my acting abilities if you had known in advance that I am not violent. Sorry you had to worry about me going into a berserker rage at the mention of the word “wacky” and murdering you and my class mates.

To my Spanish teacher, Mr. Tritt: Blowing bubbles from the frontmost desk in class was fun for me, but I imagine incredibly distracting for you and the rest of the class. Also, I’m sorry that it became something of a fad for a while there.

To the substitute teacher who happened to be in my first period class when I decided it was Fake Mustache Wednesday: I actually do feel a little bad about this one. I didn’t think you would assume that because someone in a fake mustache offered you a fake mustache that it was a school dress up day and, due to me always getting into class 15 minutes early, don a mustache before anyone else had arrived, much to the confusion of the sleepy student body, who filed in one by one to see the substitute, my sister, and I wearing cheesy fake mustaches. I’m also sorry that I didn’t buy a yearbook for that school because I’m pretty sure Fake Mustache Wednesday made it in there and it was something that I did on a whim because I had a backpack full of mustaches. For lots of blurry pictures of ugly kids in fake mustaches (and an extended fight scene with my giant penis pillow), click here!

Mom: Shut up. But also, thanks for listening to all the absolutely terrible stories I came up with in middle school. I still have the ridiculously large 3-ring binder full of them and they get funnier with time.

I’d like to make a blanket apology to any teachers who had to teach around me dressed up in various costumes (mostly as a pirate) throughout my middle and high school career.

All that said, I’m the best.

 

Hawaii January 14, 2011

Okay, so the pictures I used of my twin sister Ashley and I all growed up in the last post were from our trip to Hawaii and I was already talking about her so now I can’t stop thinking about that trip.

So Hawaii. It sounds totally fancy, right? Well it was! I hadn’t even been on a plane before and suddenly I was watching Harry Potter 5 in a tube of metal while laughing in the Pacific Ocean’s vengeful FACE. Okay, it wasn’t that fancy. It was five old fat Mexicans and some pudgy Mexican 20-somethings riding around in two rented buses. Our first stop was Costco and when we did eat out, it was at Denny’s and Wendy’s. My family isn’t very adventurous and I was in Hawaii with the more exciting side. It was a lot of fun though and it was definitely crazier than anything I would have done for myself on my 20th birthday. In fact, I got to celebrate my birthday with my friends afterward and I’m pretty sure I just drank a lot.

So we spent about a week on the biggest island, Kona, and we were split up over two ridiculous two-bedroom suites complete with kitchen and wrap-around balcony. Unfortunately, there were more than two of us in each suite so I was sharing a room with my grandma and her sister and sharing a bed with my sister, who I have already mentioned in the last post was extremely smelly for a number of years. This was a hotly debated point the whole trip.
Stephanie: Dude, you need to take a goddamn shower before you get into this bed.

Ashley: I did! After we went to the beach! (Ashley gets really shriekey, so make sure you imagine the maximum level of feral rage from her at all times.)

Stephanie: You still really smell. Did you use soap?

Ashley: Yes!

Stephanie: Did you put on deodorant afterward?

Ashley: YES!

And she’d still smell awful and I’d just have to deal. I had complained to Mom about the whole situation before we even went and Mom promised she’d pack a brand new deodorant stick of the manly kind my sister liked. I thought I was safe from her funk, but apparently it’s the olfactory equivalent of a black hole. After a few days of me constantly complaining about her smell and her adamantly insisting that she had put on deodorant, I started to feel a little bad. Maybe she had an actual problem. I mean, we had been to the beach pretty much every day we were on Kona. That should have done something for her smell if she was also putting on deodorant afterwards. Maybe when we got home, I needed to talk to Mom about taking Ashley to a doctor.

Anyways, my family is fat and apparently into dumb things because we spent a lot of our time in Hawaii at hotel entertainment and in the developed tourist areas so my cousins could fawn over Coach bags and shit and do a minimal amount of walking. Whoopee. Somehow though, we all ended up on the other side of the island one day and Ashley and I got to run around exploring caves and smoking craters. It was the most amazing thing. I’d never seen rain like we did there (until I went to Oregon and Washington last year). Light, completely soaking showers that came and went like they were connected to a light switch near a five-year-old. Everything was so green! I would trade every other day I had in Hawaii to have stayed there a little bit longer.

We parked pretty close to this fenced area which overlooks a huge drop that I immediately almost lost my cell phone over.
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And this is what I was hanging over. Herp derp, 19-year-old me.
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We trekked down the longest winding path. It was thin and rough and completely surrounded by tropical forest. When the trail finally spat us out at the bottom though, we were in what was basically a crater. Above my right shoulder is about where I was hanging off that fence.
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It was pretty warm down there due to the steaming holes in the rock we were standing on. After a fair amount of dicking around in the crater (there’s only so much to do but it was cool), my cousin Noni wrangled us up because los gordos were tired and hungry and bored.
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It was completely dry coming down the mountain, but on the way up, it started just pouring down rain on us. This photo was taken less than 15 minutes from the ones in the crater and it had already stopped raining once we’d booked it up the mountain.
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I don’t know how we got more time to explore, but somehow we talked the younger cousins into running around more forest with us.
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I was always bummed out by this picture because you can’t tell that I’m pointing to a ridiculously long path that leads off into the forest to, I assume, an old temple that the natives won’t go near.
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On the way back to the hotel, we made a pit stop in a completely random place and as we were waiting around for everyone to finish using the restroom, we realized we were right next to the most amazing beach completely covered in very fine black sand. Ashley and I wandered over to get a good look at it and realized that there was a giant turtle washed up on the shore. I was a little worried that it was dead, but we went up to it and it was alive and awesome. As we were trying to figure out if it would need help back into the water, we spotted another one a little further up the beach. And another. And, looking back, one we’d walked right past to get to the one we were at.

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I won’t lie: I was girling out a lot about being surrounded by adorable turtles. Shoot, I had already been SO excited that the snails in Hawaii had pointed seashells instead of the round ones I’m used to. (I think snails are pretty much the cutest things ever. My mom used to gross out when I was young because she’d come outside to find me laughing and covered in them. She used to nearly vomit about pretty much everything, but now she’s about as vulgar as I am.) We walked back to tell the family that there were turtles everywhere and once everyone had gotten about a million pictures, we saw the sign:

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Whoops.

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I know I won’t be the first person to say this, but I really had no idea how fucking beautiful Hawaii is. I have countless pictures of the forests and the beaches and the sky that I won’t subject you to. When you see a photo of an impossibly blue ocean, Hawaii actually has that. I just assumed it was modified and changed like everything else we see, and it was almost hard to believe my own eyes were seeing something that was clearly too beautiful to be real. Once you get away from the landscaped tourist areas, there is something very wild about Hawaii. The culture shock hit me hard in some places because I’ve always lived in California and Hawaii is very much it’s own place. All the names of every place are at least ten letters long and there are some words they use a lot there that I had never heard, like mahalo, which means “thank you.”

Most of the trip was on Kona, but we spent a few days in Waikiki. As I was brushing my teeth before packing up my toothbrush to switch islands, Ashley came in and opened her deodorant. The metal seal was still there. I seriously almost hit her. I had felt absolutely terrible for being rude to her about it. I had started to question the reason for her years of reeking and SHE HADN’T PUT ON DEODORANT THE ENTIRE WEEK. Ashley is a very convincing liar because once she’s told a lie, she will never back down from it. One time, she walked out of the bathroom when she knew I was waiting for her to leave. I went in and the most massive bowel movement I’ve ever seen was clogging the goddamn toilet. So I walked out and demanded that she plunge that shit immediately. You know what she said to me? “You were in there last. It was probably you.” Balls of fucking steel on that woman. She looked me in the eye knowing full well that I still had to pee like crazy and said that.

Waikiki was eh. It was a big, crowded city and I don’t remember much about it. My pictures devolved into mostly shots of strange things like these:

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Somewhere in there we saw the Pearl Harbor memorial, but my camera couldn’t focus enough to get a good picture of a tiny 3-D model of a boat with people drowning in the water. And we visited the Dole Plantation and rode around in a little train while listening to some truly hilarious songs about pineapples. Speaking of which, I honestly had no idea what a pain in the ass pineapples are to grow. It’s like a four-year investment for one pineapple. We hit up the Polynesian Culture Center and watched some crazy shows and ended up near a huge group of Japanese school girls on tour. Also, everyone in Hawaii is super nice all the time. Ashley fell right on her face in a parking lot and at least three people stopped to see if she was okay.

If I ever go back, I will definitely put some time into exploring all the bridges to nowhere and all the small towns off the tourist path. I definitely saw too many ukelele renditions of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.