Thursday, September 27, 2007

Aloha!: Days 1 and 2

When we landed in Hawaii (and boy is the flight great when you only bring carry on luggage), I was prepared for Honolulu to be kind of gross, and it was, but it was also exotic in a way--like a Southeast Asian city in the U.S. somehow. Laundry is strewn from apartment building balconies, but the ocean is so pretty and the air smells like flowers for a moment... Picking up the car in a weird back alley near the airport we saw lesbians getting ready to go on cruises, a Sonny Bono look-alike in an aloha shirt with what appeared to be a Malaysian transsexual from Las Vegas, and lots and lots of fat people. I was not encouraged by this, but I kept looking at the distant mountains, knowing something beautiful was out there.

As we drove into Honolulu proper, I finally saw the beach and Diamond Head and got kind of excited. After all, I'd watched Magnum P.I. and the Brady Bunch Goes to Hawaii, and I admit I had those images seared into my brain...and really, they're not far off the mark. Waikiki is kind of like Disneyland and a high-end mall slash hotel rolled into one--fascinatingly horrid.

It was warm but not too humid; the sun was hot, but the water beckoned. It's like the island was simply made to be enjoyed with the idea of throwing yourself in the water. After we dropped our bags at the hotel, ate lunch at a Mexican place (really!) and then got to our room (gee, it was cheap for a reason), Ryan and I high tailed it to Queen's Beach, which is adjacent to Waikiki, and.... the water is so warm, so clear, and SO FULL OF CORAL. Literally, thousands of coral pieces floating everywhere, so I get scraped and blood drawn on 3 toes. "Is this what Hawaii will be like?" I wonder as I nurse my poor toes.

Luckily, no... the next day, we drive up the Windward Coast, aka the wet side of Oahu, and I get to see some spectacular sights, including the pali (aka the cliffs) and the Hygienic Store:

Even better is the beautiful stretch of beach Ryan shows me. It's literally only 10 minutes up the coast from some of the most visited parts of the island, but it was completely empty, save some tents and homeless people camps here and there in the brush between the road and water. But just seeing the color of the water was enough for me. (The self-portrait wasn't supposed to be me sneering, but the sun made me squint!)

Ryan in the water:

Me not looking as excited as I was:

As we drove further up the east side of Oahu, the scenery got more beautiful and dramatic, as the cliffs often just seemed to thrust up out of nowhere. We also stopped at fruit stands on the side of the road to get pineapple cut up by a machete and for me to drink water from a coconut (delish!) and then attempt to eat it with a plastic spoon (not as delish).

There was more to enjoy though, since the coconut didn't do the trick, and as we continued toward the North Shore, Oahu got more and more beautiful.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


How can you want to leave a place that looks like this?

Answer: You can't.

More on Hawaii soon....

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The State I'm In ... I Mean, Am

Who knew you could take a state quiz to find out which state you "are"?

And yet, here's me... I'm not sure I understand, but I kinda like it all the same!

You're Alaska!
You're big, bulky, and extremely wild. At the same time, you're rather cold and standoffish, even a loner of sorts. Taming you may be one of the last great quests of the people who do manage to find you or even seek you out. So many of them just want to plunder you for what you have of value, but there are a few, the ones who will stick with you, that truly value your rugged remoteness. As long as no one is spilling stuff on you, you are truly beautiful.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Gimme More... of What?

I am so weak. I totally admit it. After spending all day with my head firmly planted in front of Microsoft Outlook and apartment rental listings on Craigslist, I finally gave in and watched the Britney Spears "performance" (I am not sure there was performing involved) of her, I mean someone else's, "Gimme More" at the VMAs last night.

I'd really love to say everything you might think I'd say: it was pathetic, kind of gross, and just representative of how sad the state of the music business is...even how sad Britney is. C'mon, she looked drugged, disoriented, and disinterested. It made me think that a more daring comeback would have been for her to just really embrace her heritage and do some kind of commercial for Wal-Mart. Except she's just so darn addicted to that Hollywood lifestyle, so Bentonville, Ark., doesn't want her...

It was like the final nail in my youth coffin, these fucking VMAs. But I don't think it's that I am getting too old to appreciate pop (hey, I own that Rihanna CD and like it very much, thanks). It's just that who cares about half the shit the VMAs and MTV are trying so hard to celebrate. Do I give a shit that Kanye West and 50 Cent have some kind of "beef"? Um, no. Could I care less that Kid Rock (who?) got in a fight with Tommy Lee (at least he's a bona fide rock star)? Um, not so much.

I casually perused these tidbits of news, and then thought about how some of my favorite musicians--people who actually know how to play instruments--are going broke and may not even be able to tour or make a living anymore while we get Britney teetering around on her stilettos shoved down our throats. That's not new. People used to talk about how Madonna and Wham were destroying music. OK, so maybe Wham kind of did (oh, wait, that was Andrew Ridgeley's solo album). But it just seems that where TV, radio, and retail could at some point operate independent of major corporations there was always an element of surprise.

The music "business" would like to say that illegal downloading is taking away profits and destroying artists, but if people really wanted to create art, they'd do it anyway, without Sony/Interscope/EMI behind it. When you think that only a few men control these companies, these radio stations, these supposed music television channels (Why do the VMAs even exist anymore? Does MTV actually play videos?), it's all too clear that the mass produced music forced on us is often just junk food for the ears. They let some real talent slip through now and then, but when Clive Davis kicks the bucket, who's going to be able to promote real artists in these parameters laid out by shows like the VMAs. I can't wait to see.

Meanwhile, I've been listening to stuff that almost no one will ever listen to, and marveling that it's even been laid down and recorded. It's not all good, of course. But it feels more honest than anything I saw from Vegas last night.

It's also hard to care much about the fluff right now, with the anniversary of my father's death having passed, knowing Barbie's grandmother passed away yesterday, thinking of my own mortality as I struggle with quitting smoking--what a stupid fucking addiction!--and feeling glad to be rid of it again.

It's not the right time for me to care about Britney, Paris, Lindsay, even Nicole, Tom, Posh, and Becks. Ultimately, I like seeing them dress poorly and then feel grossed out by thinking of how much so many of these people waste in the name of feeling loved and still never finding it. Gimme more, indeed.