Introducing GAMAC (Grown Ass Men Adventure Club) on this our first blog franniversary (friendship + anniversary) I bring you... a poem.
Grown Ass Men Adventure Club
Here is to converse, graphic tees and soda flavored lip gloss!
To the many times we've danced and peed on the front lawn!
Here is to the time you had diarreah in the car
and crapped your pants at Zzyzx Park,
Riding Dirty, bumpin N'sync,
Smoking and eating chicken wings
Here is to the delicious meals you make from cans...
only from cans.
To the many times we've wrestled
over the last bite in a ben and jerry's pint.
Here is to the many times we've stayed up all night
in a haze of youtube, jack in the box, and teen mom.
Here is to your offspring, that I see as my blood,
and to our friendship that is hard to homogenize.
PS: In these times of political animosity when friendships are questioned and redefined, it is important to remember that your love of cheese triumphs political affiliations- take it from us.
Very hipster things to do while you are reading/ writing other than eating weird things.
If you’ve spent the last five years of your life watching Netflix and staying away from social media, you’ve been missing out on a myriad of hipster fads. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy hipsters from time to time. I’m what you would call an incidental hipster. I have a sort of baroque enthusiasm for all things beets and cream cheese. I’m addicted to haircuts and traveling. I’ve been eating strange things that most people wouldn’t put together since I can remember. I put sour cream and jelly on my toast, and I am not ashamed to admit my eating and drinking habits have spilled into the shower. I collect books, presidential T-Shirts, make origami, and I was once a clown at kids birthday party. I am a strange person.
It is perhaps because hispterism operates under the premise of strangeness that it easily seeps into our unconscious. No matter how much we all try to push it away from our public persona, we all have a strange habit or two. It blends strange with normal. It forces us to reconsider normalcy. If we are all a bit weird, are we all a bit hipster? This is a question that I’ve been struggling with. A question that I despise, probably because it forces me to think of myself as a mainstream character.
Now that that’s out of my chest and on the page, I will come back to the meat of this blog: trends. Part of the hipster lifestyle is combining things that don’t usually go together, like unruly animals and meditation (see cat/goat-yoga). MEOWMASTE! As ridiculous as it sounds it’s still interesting, and a great way for people to come together and do something other than stare at a screen. One of these “you really shouldn’t but you will cause YOLO” trends revolves around parents using their babies as exercise props (and I mean babies not toddlers). “Oh, little Jimmy, you are so cute you could be a yoga ball.” Look, I’m not a parent, so I won’t judge: you gotta do what you gotta do for that six pack. Maybe there is some kind of bonding that comes out of this rigid exchange. All I know is when I work out, I am sweaty and gross, and I don’t want to touch or be touched. If working out with your baby sounds like your kind of thing (again, not judging), here is link with a few exercises.
“8 New-Mom Workouts to Do with Baby” https://www.fitpregnancy.com/exercise/postnatal-workouts/8-new-mom-workout-moves-do-baby Ahem, disclosure TIPS: * Baby safety: When performing exercises in which your baby must hold his head up on his own, be sure he can do so without discomfort (usually starting at 3 to 4 months old). * Mom prep: Before performing any exercise, roll your shoulders back and down and draw your navel toward your spine to protect your back. Inhale through your nose and expand your ribs. Exhale through your mouth, drawing your abdominal muscles in.
In lieu of hipster exercise fads, I will share my favorite exercises with you. Since most of my time is spent reading and writing, I’ve outlined a few exercises.
1- Reading Push-Up: Find a flat, stable, and preferably bolted-to-the-ground surface. Put the book on the table and do a few push ups. If the book keeps closing up, use rocks or utensils to keep it open on the page. You can also do this when you are writing. I use this when I’m editing. I put the computer on the window seat and do a few pull ups. I don’t think this exercise really helps with muscle gain, but I do it mostly because my back starts hurting from not doing much with it.
2- Pelvic Floor Exercise: If you’ve ever done pilates or yoga, it’s kind of a bridge but you are engaging your lower abdominal muscles. These muscles are also great for singing, so you are reading, exercising, and working on breath control all at the same time. Finding your pelvic floor demands some awareness, but once you get it it’s super easy to do. Like the woman in the video recommends: “if you are a female it feels like you are sucking a tampon up higher. If you are a male, it feels like you are sucking the boys up. Get it ;)” I do this so I don’t feel like such a scumbag for staying in bed eating and reading all day.
3- Butt Clench/ Reverse Pelvic Floor: If you are lying down, reading on your tummy, you can still work out those muscles, you dummy. Just clench your butt muscles. ALL OF THEM! Clench them together, all at the same time, or even one at a time. Sing a song while you clench them. Just get them moving. Kind of the way you would your pelvic floor, but backwards. Why didn’t you think of that!
Follow these exercises at your own discretion. I am not a fit person, and I’ve seen no results. Probably because I don’t have the discipline to do them every day. I still cannot gage what that progress would look like. I can’t say what you will look like if you do them, but I can tell you that you will not look like J-Lo or George Clooney after doing them. They just help me feel like I’m not such a big butthole for not doing anything. At the end of the day, isn’t that what working out is all about? I’ll let “buddy the cat" answer the question.
Other articles for your health
So You Flew Into Detroit and You Have One Day to Kill Before You Go on a Work Thing in Bowling Green.
I was afraid to fly into Detroit because I live on the west coast and we hear scary things about Detroit. However, it wasn't bad. The areas on the outskirts of Detroit are beautiful. Here's what I did for 18ish hours after landing in Detroit:
Went to Canada
I entered into Windsor, which was about a thirty minute drive from the Detroit airport.
Here is why it's worth it: To say you've been to Canada if you've never been there previously.
Here's why it's not worth it: The border patrol was extremely rude to me and treated me like a criminal. He made me pull into customs and immigration where they searched my car and asked me questions about places I've been on my passport from 2012 to now. Why? He thought it was weird that I only had one backpack for a week-long trip. (See my post about super-efficient packing from last summer). Also, there is really nothing to do in Windsor except go to bars. It's beautiful, don't get me wrong, but after an hour-long scenic drive, I was ready to hightail it back to America.
If I had to choose between Windsor and Grosse Pointe, I would take the latter. This is a beautiful little town that offers views of, and a drive specifically dedicated to, Lake Erie. I was unable to find a hotel by the shoreline, but the atmosphere was great all the same. I do not have pictures because there was a lot of rain.
There is a small collection of hotels outside of this town including Red Roof Inn and a Holiday Inn Express. Doesn't seem like anything extraordinary, right? But I stayed at the Holiday Inn and right outside of my window was a graveyard. I felt like Edgar Allen Poe sipping on my coffee next to that view.
If you do not like weird streets with confusing lights and lots of foot traffic in which you must maneuver your vehicle, I would say to avoid downtown. It's just like San Diego and Philly and Baltimore. I saw some restaurants, etc., but the driving was making me uncomfortable so I got out of there ASAP. If you want to know more about downtown, you're looking in the wrong place.
Now on to Ohio...
Gonna keep it short and sweet...
While in Ohio, we mostly hung out at Bowling Green University, but we also got tattoos--
And went to the Toledo Museum of Art and its sister museum of Glass. www.toledomuseum.org/
Toledo is much like any other downtown, busy city type area, except for the neighborhood called the Old West End District. The houses here are huge and amazing and worth driving by just so you can say... "wow."
If you feel like looking at some cool small towns, I would suggest Maumee and Waterville. They have a nice vibe, and although there isn't a crazy amount of stuff going on there, the houses are beautiful and the drive is nice.
A couple of years ago, my brother and I began a tradition of watching all of the “Halloween” movies every October. In the midst of this tradition, I made a discovery. I really enjoy Jamie Lee Curtis. I also realized that my mom is a lot like Jamie Lee Curtis and the character she plays in the “Halloween” series that epitomized her acting career.
The first “Halloween” movie is set in Haddonfield, Illinois in 1978. Jamie Lee plays Laurie Strode, a high school senior. She sports a Midwestern accent and has the kind of hair that screams, “look at me! It’s 1978!” I can’t overlook her sweet, innocent nature when she takes the joint from her friend and then violently coughs after trying it. My mother’s name in 1978 was Lori Sanders. She was also a high school senior who looked like she was standing on the other side of Jamie Lee Curtis’ mirror. Although she grew up in California, she is often times mistaken for being a Wisconsin native and speaks with the same aforementioned accent. Same name, same voice, same hair, same age, same innocence that prohibits pot-smoking.
Soon after we began this tradition, I began to see commercials featuring Jamie Lee in which she was encouraging women to eat yogurt to help with their digestive systems. Whereas I do not need help with fiber after having my gallbladder removed, I was amazed at the amount of enthusiasm she showed while presenting the yogurt. Much like my mother, Jamie Lee gained a new look on life by using yogurt to her advantage and making her life more regular, in every sense of the word. I’m sure it is common for women to relish dairy products as they get older and their calcium and fiber levels require attention, but something about the twinkle in Jamie Lee’s eyes seemed too familiar. How is it that both Jamie Lee and my mother could share the same deep passion for creamy snacks and express this passion with the same gleam of hope and admiration in their eyes? I knew I had to dig deeper.
Upon investigation, I found that Jamie Lee is married to Christopher Guest, actor, filmmaker, and musician. Guest not only plays roles as a musician in some of his mocumentaries including “This is Spinal Tap,” but actually IS an acclaimed musician. Oddly enough, my mother is also married a professional musician. Around the time that “This is Spinal Tap” was released, it is no secret that my dad was playing instruments and walking around town in pants that were too tight along with a fantastic mullet, much like the character that Guest created for his mocumentary.
Jamie Lee likes yogurt, my mom loves yogurt. My mom looks like Jamie Lee Curtis, sounds like Jamie Lee Curtis, is the same age as Jamie Lee Curtis, shares a name with Jamie Lee Curtis in the role that shaped her career and life, has virtually the same husband as Jamie Lee Curtis, and in fact shares so many commonalities with Jamie Lee Curtis that I began to think that my mom IS Jamie Lee Curtis.
When I say that she is Jamie Lee Curtis, I do not mean that she is living a double life. When I say that these two separate individuals are in fact the same being, I must refer to the principle of metempsychosis. When the number of coincidences and commonalities between two people begins to take prevalence over the aspects of the person that deem them unique to themselves, the authenticity of their individuality must be addressed.
Metempsychosis explains this uncanny resemblance or collection of common factors by suggesting that upon a person’s death, their soul is transferred into another body. When a soul becomes available, it implants itself into another body, therefore reincarnating the original soul so that it can repeat the process of life, learning, and death. One obviously discernable argument against the occurrence of this phenomenon in this particular case is that neither Jamie Lee Curtis nor my mother are dead. In order for a true instance of transmigration to exist in this situation, there would have had to have been a death, followed by a period of free rest for the newly-available soul, followed by a rebirth. What I am suggesting lies within the general principles of metempsychosis, but allows for, and actually insists that both parties must exist and live within the same time period. This theory to which I am referring will hence be referred to as Simultaneous Energy Cohabitation.
If we examine Plato’s model of soul migration, we find that all souls go through a period of latency between body transmissions. Because no one knows what a soul is, or how it functions in relation to itself, there is no way to fully comprehend its structure during the period of latency. One assumes that while contained in the human body the soul acts as one bonded, cohesive unit. However, when a soul is independent from a body, there is no reason to assume that the soul automatically remains in this bound structure. If a soul is intangible and immeasurable, then it is not bound by rules of science that dictate that the matter must be conjoined or is comprised of atoms that are attracted to one another. I suggest that during this period of latency, the soul is able to spread out and is not forced to abide by physical rules that would keep the entity tightly knit to itself. It is in this spreading out that pieces of the soul may become permanently disconnected from the entirety of the entity and cause a modified soul migration to occur.
There is a traditional and expected outcome when considering conception and development of human beings, but as we see with birth defects, there are always exceptions to any expectations of normality. If the rule for transmigration predicts the outcome as one soul in one body, then this will be the outcome for a majority of the cases. However, there is chance for a mutation to occur during the period of soul transplantation. If the available soul were to experience a stimuli that would interact just enough with the soul to cause it to rift and split, then it would be reasonable to assume that the two pieces would now be made of the same matter, but would act as two separate beings. Once split, each half of the soul would still need to fulfill the process of metempsychosis, but would each do so on its own accord as now the two halves are no longer a whole. One half of the whole would inhabit one body, and the other half would be forced to inhabit a separate body. Each would still exhibit the same characteristics as they are comprised of the same history and makeup, but would carry on through separate veins, all the while lacking in what the severed other half has taken with it. This action would be comparable to a single embryo that spontaneously splits, but miraculously results in a set of twins comprised wholly of what began as one base unit. Whereas modern science shows that a split like this in an unborn child would ultimately end in miscarriage, a soul would not fall victim to these same physical restrictions as souls are not part of the physical world.
If a split soul were to move into two separate bodies during a modified transmigration, we would encounter Simultaneous Energy Cohabitation. That sense of a twin soul, soul mates, doppelgängers, and others may all be examples of what happens when one soul inhabits more than one body. I’m no scientist, but I suspect that this is what may have happened in the case of Jamie Lee and my mom.
Jamie Lee Curtis went on to become an actress, author, civil rights activist, and all around popular Hollywood starlet. My mom also went on to achieve many great things, the most important of these being giving birth to me. Genetics dictate that when a person reproduces, the offspring will carry some of the defining traits of each parent. Psychology dictates that there is a strong bond between offspring and parent and that young children often times experience difficulty in differentiating themselves from their mothers. Parents live vicariously through their children and children battle the necessity to make their parents proud. There is a physical and mental realm of individuality that is built on the notion that individuals are in fact a part of their parent. A person cannot exist without their parents, as a part cannot exist without the whole. An offspring is what its parent is, and this is an undeniable truth of reproduction. In development of identity and self as defined by heredity, I find myself a replica of sorts from those who created me. Because I am a part of my parents, I am more accurately a part of my mother as we are both female, and therefore must naturally be more alike. In essence, if I am my mother, and my mother is Jamie Lee Curtis, then by principle of the transitive property of equality, I am also Jamie Lee Curtis.
When this concrete realization struck me, I felt compelled to know more. As I began to find similarities between myself and Jamie Lee Curtis, I came to realize that perhaps I was wrong. I felt silly to have entertained the ludicrous notion that my mother could share a soul with Jamie Lee Curtis. As I continued to research, I understood that it had only been me who is Jamie Lee Curtis all along. The connections between Jamie Lee and my mother were mere stepping-stones to bring me to the truth.
There are the small things, of course, such as Jamie Lee writes children’s books and blogs for online newspapers. I have dipped my hands into the genre of children’s literature a time or two, though my works were never published and probably never will be. I also have a blog, with at least five followers.
Last Christmas my husband and I decided that we were going to go out of town for the holidays and spend Christmas and New Year’s on a road trip. After making the plans and telling everyone that we were going and fighting back against complaints and judgments, we ended up coming home on Christmas Eve and then went to extremes to pull off all of the Christmas mandates that we had neglected to do in our prior planning. Much as my mom’s life overlapped with the character Jamie Lee played in a holiday-themed film, my life overlaps with a character that Jamie Lee played in a more recent film, “Christmas With the Kranks.”
Although Curtis has many achievements to her name, she claims that her most important achievement is her sobriety. In interviews over the past few years, Jamie Lee admits that she is a recovering alcoholic who suffered from years of alcohol and prescription pill abuse. Although I have not recovered and am still a raging, violent alcoholic, we have this in common as well. Jamie Lee Curtis is older than I am though, so perhaps time will dictate that we eventually share the path of sobriety. I believe this will happen, because as noted previously, part of her soul is inside of me.
Despite our common interests, holiday behaviors, and depressing addictions, there is one final tie that binds us and convinces me that we are one in the same. Like myself, Jamie Lee has two children, which lead me to my next and most important connection. Whereas I made my children, Jamie Lee adopted hers, causing a bit of a tornado in the Hollywood gossip columns. When left to their own devices, we have seen that media sources will state that adoption points to only one thing; inability.
Jamie Lee is said to have a chromosomal disorder called Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, or AIS, which basically means that she is genetically male, exhibiting XY chromosomes, but her body did not accept the androgens that would cause her body to form male genitalia. This theory insists that if genetically screened, Jamie Lee would be male on a piece of paper, but has a vagina, lacks a uterus, and therefore does not get a period. If it is true that Jamie Lee is so male that she does not menstruate, then we have a clear explanation for why no one has ever reported that Jamie Lee Curtis is a bitch.
Reasoning behind this accusation stems from a variety of observations that I can easily apply to myself. To begin with the most juvenile of the premises, individuals claim that her name is androgynous and was given to her because her parents were unable to tell whether or not she was female. Consequentially, this is in direct opposition with the initial rumored diagnosis of AIS, because as previously stated, Jamie Lee would have a vagina and would simply appear to be a male on paper or in a thorough medical examination. This name business suggests that she is intersex, or houses both forms of genitalia. However, I digress, this defense of her femininity is beside the point I am conveying.
My name is Ashley Jae. Ashley is most notably affiliated with the male lead in “Gone With the Wind.” Ashley was at one time, a strong masculine moniker and did not cross the gender-name barrier until the past century. This name is still used for males in some cases, but not as commonly as in the past. Jae is one of those middle names that does not specify much about gender, or much about anything relating to the keeper of the name, really. The only time I have seen this middle name in place is in an episode of “The Simpsons” when Homer J. Simpson goes in search of his middle name, as he only knows his middle initial. After a great deal of soul-searching, he discovers that his middle name is indeed, Jay. If the name Jamie Lee is in question as being androgynous, the name Ashley Jae is most certainly guilty of the same adjective.
The next level of reasoning in this claim is that Jamie Lee’s appearance and the way she presents herself seems masculine or androgynous. She is tall and she has short hair. She is physically fit and has a deeper voice that commands attention. If these are all attributes of a man, then I am absolutely guilty of this as well. Not only have I been mistaken for a man on the telephone numerous times, I have even been mistaken for my own father, which seems a little extreme to me, but if people take Jamie Lee’s voice as a sign that she must be a man, then the interpretation that I am my own father must be a sign that people think I am a man, therefore I am a man.
In regards to appearance, I can once again involve my mother for evaluation and comparison. Ever since I was a child, I have memories of my mother making jokes in which she would state that people must think she is a man or a transvestite because she is on the tallish-side, and for some other reasons, I am sure, but really I never fully understood her reasoning in this thought. Over the years, I have also began to wonder if people think I am male, which could be an inherited thought because my mom was always saying things like that about herself, or which could be a direct result of all of the times I have been openly mistaken for a man. For example, a notable experience in my life occurred one day when I made a purchase at Auto Zone. When checking out at the counter, I thought I recognized the cashier as a girl I went to high school with. When I asked if I knew her, she replied with a little eye roll and an uninterested smile and said “I don’t think so, sir.” Later, I looked in the mirror and I guess I could see how she would have thought I was a man hitting on her. She could have mistaken my pregnancy for a gigantic beer belly and could have also thought that my ponytail meant I was a successful film director from the 1990s. Either way, in alignment with Jamie Lee Curtis, this individual thought I was a man, would have identified me as a man, and called me sir, which means that to the person, I am a man.
The final nugget of reasoning behind the rumor is that some doctor somewhere said at one time or another that Jamie Lee suffers from this disorder. This I cannot compete with because a doctor never said this to me before. However, who knows what the doctor said about me right after I left the office. Ultimately, only Jamie Lee Curtis knows which sex she is and I am the only one who knows about myself. No matter the truth, I am at ease knowing that Jamie Lee Curtis is the man, and I am also the man.
The evidence presented reflects that the identity triangle lingering over Jamie Lee, my mother and me spans far beyond coincidence and it is undeniable that we are all existing on separate planes, in separate bodies with the same core essence. If anyone asks, I will proudly proclaim, "I am Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jamie Lee Curtis is me!"
I have slept in and on pretty much everything. The back of a car, an inflatable mattress under the stars, with and without blankets, in a variety of sleeping bags, on the ground, on metal benches, and everything in between. That's all changed now. I will no longer settle for sub-par sleeping arrangements outside of my home; not since I got a Crash Sack.
What makes a Crash Sack so exciting?
1. This is like a sleeping bag that you can wear, which makes many things easier. It comes fully equipped with arm holes and you can zip the bottom open and secure it around the waist area so that you can walk around in it.
2. You can be in it no matter what. You can sit around the campfire in it, (not too close though, brainiac). If you pee four times a night like I do, (I know, I should see a doctor), then it is really helpful for that too. You can have your hands out and free without being freezing or having to re-situate yourself. It is very helpful.
3. IT HAS A HOOD.
4. IT HAS POCKETS.
What are some things you should know about it?
1. I feel as though this may be slightly tighter in the lower half than traditional sleeping bags. Where other sleeping bags seem to be pretty much rectangular, I get the feeling that the Crash Sack is tapered in the lower section to make it better when it comes to zipping/unzipping/securing/and fitting more closely to the body. This is not a bad thing by any means, but when I sleep, I look like this:
So there isn't a lot of room for me to do that, but it's all good. I still slept well.
2. As with any product you purchase, it's important to know the rules. Pay attention to the temperature guidelines. If it tells you 45 degrees, it MEANS 45 DEGREES. We took a trip into the desert recently where temperatures dropped to the mid-20s and I was freezing, particularly my feet and buttocks.
This bag is reasonably priced and durable, currently selling on the following site for $119.00. Dpesn't appear to be in stock in some other places. Other people must like it as much as I do. Check it out. www.blessthisstuff.com/stuff/living/misc-living/evrgrn-crash-sack/
No one paid me to say this. No one pays me anything ever. Even my boss doesn't like to pay me. I just wanted to tell you about this awesome sleeping bag. There really is no downside to this bag. I'm not saying I'm replacing my clothes with it, but don't be surprised to find me wearing it on the couch while I'm watching Bates Motel.
Hey. Guess what?
People go to hotels for many reasons-- to sleep during a business trip, to get some much deserved rest, to hang out in while on vacation, to do seedy gross stuff that shant be mentioned.
In my recent travels, I have come to find that the things I do every time I go to a hotel are not things that other people do. I found this to be odd because I though everyone did this kind of stuff, and I also feel disappointed that not everyone is having as much fun as I am in their travels.
Here's some stuff you should try instead of just watching TV (*Disclaimer: some of my outside sources may contradict one another. I'm just giving you a taste of some of the research and ideas that are out there regarding these topics. Find what works for you):
1. Take extremely large and hot bubble baths. I use the entire bottle of shower gel they provide, and sometimes I also use the shampoo. True, many people will tell you that the bathtubs are disgusting and dirty, and I'm sure they are, however, live a little. You'll be fine. This is something you probably don't do at home. Also, turn on some sweet jams and have a bathtub dance party. This takes your bathtime from semi-basic to yowsa!
How it will make you live longer:
Stress Reduction, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, improves circulation.
Makes you happier, clears all your head crazies.
Check out this article that draws from recent research done on bathing and living: www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-156070/The-good-bath-guide.html
2. Jump on the beds. It's a form of exercise that you don't experience too often. Think about it... when's the last time you jumped up and down? Especially on something bouncy where you could exert your leg muscles? Not only the exercise (which isn't a lot, of course, but it's better than none), it helps you be more carefree. You get pumped and excited. You become a honey badger; beautiful and extraordinary. Once you are finished jumping on the bed, it's more likely that you will want to go out and do something because you've spiked your adrenaline and endorphin levels. So, in terms of the domino effect, you jump on the bed, get some exercise, get your blood pumping, get really excited, go outside, get some vitamin D from the sun, get some exercise from walking at least to your car and probably more, see lots of cool stuff, feel happier, extend your life through happiness. (This can also work with pillow fights, which is more fun to do in a hotel than at home because you don't have to worry about knocking over your stuff and breaking it).
Don't believe me?
3. Spread interesting food out all over the bed and go wild. Sure, eating a lot of pizza and chicken wings and brownies and chicken sandwiches and room service and meatballs and cheese fries and Italian food and cookies and Pringles and... sorry, I got distracted... oh yeah, so it may not be healthy to eat all of these things all of the time, but when you are at a hotel or on vacation or on a business trip, you need to spoil yourself a little bit. You only live once. I'm not saying that you should waste your one life with high cholesterol and diabetes, but I am suggesting that if you give yourself some time and space to shove your face with awesome food on a surface you are also sitting on, it is incredibly satisfying. Not giving a crap and letting it all hang loose is amazing. Do it every once in a while and make yourself happier.
4. Get naked. Have a dance party. Unless you're sharing a room with your family. This will 1. Make you more confident which will help you become more in tune with yourself and want to do better for yourself. People who love themselves live longer and happier. 2. Help you get a little bit of enjoyable exercise.
The common thread among each of these actions emphasizes that YOU need to love YOU, You need to have fun with yourself. You need to make time to enjoy yourself and be friends with yourself. If you are sitting around bored all the time or using your getaway to do something that you could easily do at home, then what is the point of doing it at all? Get out of your comfort zone, get wild and crazy, and live longer through joy.
Do it today.
Do it right now.
February is the peak of manatee-related activities. I know I went to Blue Springs on my last visit, but I went back because it is a refuge for these awesome creatures and I wanted to see some. While we were there, there were ten. Pretty self-explanatory. This place is beautiful, regardless of the weather. It was raining like crazy while we were there, and it was perfect. www.bluespringspark.com/
If you are trying to go to the beach, I would suggest Daytona Beach. When we were in FL last time, we drove out to Cocoa Beach, and it was difficult to find parking. When we finally did find parking, we had to walk a few blocks to get down there. Not too bad, but in Daytona, we paid $10 and got to drive onto the sand and park right on the beach. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but when I lived in SoCal I don't recall ever being able to park right on the sand. I was stoked. Even in February the water was really warm. So warm in fact, that one would be a moron not to take their pants off and dive right in. Not saying I did that, but I'm also saying I'm not a moron. (You can put two and two together.)
This time around, I made a stop at a few gay places that you don't have to be gay to enjoy. Let me tell you about them.
Southern Nights is an awesome little venue. We were there on a Tuesday night, and it was surprisingly packed for a non-weekend. It was talent show night and lots of queens, bio queens, and men with singing talents were showing off their stuff. It was quality entertainment, a great atmosphere, and a loving, fun crowd. I wish we could have come back for a full-on drag show or karaoke night, but we were only out for six days. I'm not sure about this, but I feel as though drinks were free with the entry fee... sounds too good to be true, and it may be... I don't drink, so I am not positive on that one. Home to professional and amateur drag queens alike, we saw one of the runners up from Rupaul's Drag Race perform here before the talent show. southernnightsorl.com/
If you are looking for something a little less conventional, you may want to swing by Parliament House. We didn't stay here too long, but this is a club/bar, attached to a hotel, which I am assuming you can rent by the hour; I didn't ask. This place feels more like a community than a club, and food trucks and portable shops set up outside, making it a very multi-faceted visit. Pretty cool to see (at least). www.parliamenthouse.com/?pagerd_fo13g7wduj062kh3680k9
A quiet little bar to try is Savoy. This is one of the more low-key GBs that we visited. There may be a go-go boy gyrating in his underpants, but that's about as crazy as I feel it will get. The site claims it to be "The hottest gay club in Orlando." It probably could be, because it is such an intimate space. There is a separate dance room with laser-type lights, good music, and reasonably-priced drinks. Nice, dark little bar bordering the downtown. http://www.savoyorlando.com/
When you leave Savoy, turn left, and you will find yourself in an interesting little shop called Mojoman. This is an underwear store for men. I've never seen so many pairs of underwear... thongs, things with hooks, bathing suits, and other things. If you want to find out, you'd better go check it out yourself because I try to keep this blog as clean as possible.
It may not sound like a big deal to you, but I went to the Waffle House. They don't have these where I come from. This place has awesome service and even better food. I know it's a franchise, but I'm assuming that they all have great service, because to imagine a chain of restaurants that has all and only amazing service makes me happy. It just does.
Church Street is an amazing treasure we stumbled upon on Saturday night. This place is chock full of restaurants, bars, shops, and PEOPLE. We stopped in at Hamburger Mary's where a drag show was going on, and valet parked so avoid walking too much, (because walking is yucky), and also, many drunkards were stumbling around and I was afraid I was going to kill one of them. So, if you don't mind making your way through a sea of boozehounds, this is a charming little area with a nostalgic feel and a lot to offer. www.churchstreetdistrict.com/
If you like arcade games and beer, you should go to Player 1 Video Game Bar. Downside: only beer, no liquor. Upside: You'll probably play better for longer because you won't get drunk as fast. This place has a $5 cover charge, but the games are free. I'm not sure, but I feel like some of the systems are rigged so that you don't die and start over once you've used up all of your lives. I was playing Ninja Turtles for a good 30 minutes and never had to start over despite the fact that I died over and over. It would count down my lives, but then I kept coming back when I used them all up. There are a bunch of old games, and a little area with some sort of Call of Duty. There's DDR. However, there is no Jurassic Park. This is my only real complaint. player1orlando.com/
Places I didn't see but still want to
Wonderworks seems frickin' fantastic, but it's hard to convince adults to go to upside down museums with you. Check it out, tell me about it. http://www.wonderworksonline.com/
Kennedy Space Center is too expensive for me... $10 parking and $50 entrance fee. However, they have two things I'd really like to experience. 1. Lunch with an astronaut, and 2. a tour of NASA. We got to drive kind of close to the place where they let off rockets, but it's on a restricted base and you can't go too close unless you work there. www.kennedyspacecenter.com/
No matter where you go, or what you do, live it up because you only live once. Wake up early, stay up late. Be a yes man. Even if you're tired, go out and see it. Go out and do it. Do everything. Be a bad ass. Don't be a lame-o. You can sleep when you're dead. #believeinyourselfandtryreallyhard
Vegas weddings, are as a rule, cheesy and tacky. I live here. I see it all the time. When I see people outside of the little chapels, I want to yell, “Don’t do it! There’s still time!” Which makes the next thing I’m about to say seem odd.
Here are some tips for a simple, fun wedding or vow renewal in Vegas, (wait for it…) without booze or cliche casino hopping.
The Little Neon Chapel
This place is really small, really cute, and near Fremont Street, but not on it. You may be saying, hey! I want it ON Fremont Street! Don’t do that to yourself. Do you know how many bums and drunk assholes want to stop and congratulate you, even during your ceremony? Avoid the temptation to be in the middle of the action or be at a venue that is too close to passerbys. The Little Neon Chapel is tucked away a bit, which provides more privacy and less stress. The people who work here are very friendly too. Inexpensive pricing with an outdoor and indoor place to hold a ceremony. thelittleneonchapel.com
Like many people who have a Vegas wedding, we had limited time afterwards for a mini honeymoon--one night. Oy vey. The next thing we did after the vow renewal was literally went next door and played Jurassic Park Raw Thrills game at the arcade. It was awesome. Great for team building and bonding. But that’s probably not what everyone wants to do right after they get married (because they are lame). www.fremontarcade.com
So, what else can you do? Here are some suggestions of things that I didn’t do, but would have liked to do had I had more time or money:
I’ve written about this place on here before. Awesome kick back atmosphere, bars, restaurants, live music, shops, and they actually have a chapel as well… check out luckylittlechapel.com
What is a better way to commemorate your wedding than getting permanently inked? Lots of shops near the downtown area- Right across from the Neon Chapel is a shop with a $50 shop minimum, which is a lot better than most places that charge a $100 minimum.
Golden Skull is another great option- This shop is owned by Cleen Rock One from Ink Master, and although his tattoos require appointments and hundreds of dollars, there are other artists who work in the shop who can get you in pretty quick and charge less. goldenskulltattoo.com
Koolsville has several shops and is home of the $10 tattoo, but you have to choose one off of their list, you can’t ask for your own design. koolsville.com
Fox and Hound is in the Startosphere. I have gotten a tattoo from Alex at this shop (shop minimum $100), and he is cool, as are the other artists in the shop. While you are at the Stratosphere, why don’t you...
Take the Jump
For about $120, you can jump off the Stratosphere. I have done this, but not when I went through this ceremony. It is like a vertical zipline, so there is no freefall, which is disappointing or relieving, depending on your excitement tolerance level. They offer a military discount. It’s a pretty cool thing to say you jumped off a building right after you tied the knot. skyjumplasvegas.com
End the Night with Free Camping
We loaded up the back of the Jeep with blankets and went Jeep camping over at Macks Canyon near the foot of Mt. Charleston. Quiet, romantic, private, and FREE. Why stay at a casino with a bunch of weirdos when you can drive for less than an hour and stay somewhere more unique?
Day After Breakfast
We found a real gem on the drive back home from Mt. Charleston. Lulu’s Bread and Breakfast is one of the coolest places I’ve come across off the strip. It has a relaxed feel to it with award-winning breakfast plates, friendly staff, and a unique ambience. I wish I could eat here every day. It was a perfect end to an over-too-quick second honeymoon. lulusonthemove.com
You don’t have to drive around with Elvis and get super drunk. You can think outside of the box and make a Vegas wedding whatever you want it to be. Have any experiences or ideas you’d like to share about your Vegas wedding? Put it in the comment section!
Ah, the dreaded 3-0.
You probably didn’t think you’d even live this long, but alas, you have. I used to think I’d hate being 30 and that once I was out of my 20’s I’d officially be “old.” Each year approaching 30 was one step closer to my grave and the loss of my youth. But when the day finally reared its ugly head, it was as though a burden had been lifted off of my shoulders. My 30th birthday was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant state of being.
You are about to read about being 30 from two people who live very different lives with different struggles, different backgrounds, and different obligations who have one big thing in common… we both embrace the fact that we are at this point in our lives.
You are in the prime of your life, BAYBEE! You’ve managed to survive your doubting twenties, now it’s time to release your inner Tina Turner. But before you go rolling on the river, let’s take a look at some of things that brought us here.
In your teens you were infallible. Even if you failed, you knew you had time on your side, but this conviction progressively withers as you stumble in your twenties. You suddenly get extremely anxious about silly things like not finishing your AA/AS in two years, and any trace of residual cockiness is replaced with existential insecurities about who, why and what you are. You soon realize you have a lot to learn and you can’t keep eating all the fish tacos you want.
Although you are convinced your twenties are the prime of your life, silly insecurities simply drag you down and quietly seep to other areas of your life. However, the closer you are to your thirties the more you realize you are in control of your own universe, and, as long as you keep opening doors, you will find the right path for you. This, my friend, is why your thirties are the cream cheese on God’s bagel. While twenty year old you is stuffing your body with all sorts of things because you don’t think anyone will ever love you, thirty year old you is too much into yourself to be into anyone else. Thirty year old you is screaming, “I’m Oprah; hear me unwrap a turkey sandwich!” So you get the best of both worlds: you still eat all the Chicken burgers you want, but you don’t lie to yourself about it. This is my body, and I am making daily decisions to shape it, good or bad. If I don’t change it, it is only because it is not my priority. “It’s my body; I do what I want” takes on a different meaning. You grow to be comfortable under your skin. To put it in plain terms, you just stop caring so much about what other people think, and start thinking about what makes you happy, even if that means eating all the cheese fries you can.
Pause with me for a minute. Look around you. What’s your reality? What are the lies you tell yourself every day? What can you do on a daily basis to steer away from them? You want to build up toward a drama-free, safe, and adventurous future. What decisions are you making today to make it a reality in your future?
It’s not you; it’s me (but mostly you)
Dating is a huge part of your twenties. You are learning who you are as a person through your interactions with other people. Along the way, you probably dated a few people. I know my range spanned from sane and spiritual to all kinds of deranged people. In my twenties if I knew I was going out on a date, I would start getting ready about six hours ahead of time, which only takes into account the time invested in shower, shaving, hair, makeup, putting on clothes. The day before, I would get my nails done, or do something else that would make me feel good about myself, like get a facial. Thirty-year-old me doesn’t give a flying ****. Is my beard too long? I’m wearing the same clothes I slept in? Who cares! Let’s go get a Slurpee! Life’s just too short, man!
On the flip side, I used to get intense anxiety if I had to break up with someone, but thirty-year-old me breaks up with panache- usually in the form of toilet selfies until the other person stops responding. Of course you can always go to the good old “it’s not you it’s me”, and you definitely should if the other person is into toilet selfies, but spice it up. Thirty-year-old you is a grown adult, and you understand that your needs come first, so you make the adult decision of not staying with someone because the other person wants to be with you (even if you want out of the relationship).
In your twenties, an even bigger part of beginning or ending a relationship is actually staying in one. If you were anything like me as a twenty-something year old, you probably equated negative attention as a form of love. Whether it’s because that’s the only form of love you knew growing up or because you think so low of yourself that you see it as a good thing (or both), you thought the words “you are SO stupid” were cute and funny. It’s not; it’s abusive and toxic. Guess what, these words are demeaning and will slowly tear your soul at the seams. Don’t ever let anyone who is supposed to love you tell you that you are dumb, even as a joke. You are a beautiful German garden gnome, even with all your faults you are better than most. In your thirties you learn how to differentiate good from bad in all aspects of life, intimacy and love being one of them.
It’s as if by some divine miracle you understand that all these insecurities were only in your head, and you just don’t give a fudge. You start to see a reverse of what you went through in your twenties. You start to care a little less about what other people think and more about what makes you happy. Sure, you still pass on dessert at social gatherings only to stop by the doughnut shop on your way home, but you judge yourself a little less for doing that. You welcome your thirties prepared to navigate the emotional situations you are faced with. With a leveled head you can identify and emotionally articulate your thoughts and feelings.
Finding meaning in yourself instead of in things.
I know this sounds very Julia Roberts in “Eat, Love, Pray”, but it’s a little bit true… When you are in your twenties you think you need all this stuff... Cooking stuff, clothes, toothpaste, etc, but your thirties teach you how to be practical. What do I really need? Do I want to keep hoarding ketchup and butter packets in the fridge? I don’t even like ketchup that much…. I heard it has rat shit... Throw it in the trash. In its place a myriad of new, practical things become important such as: sunscreen, lotion, sensitive shoes, transition eyeglasses, pumice stones, and baking soda.
You know what you need to do in order to get to where you want to get. You understand and come to accept that different people have different paths in life, and all these paths are different, but so long as you keep opening doors, they will take you to the right place in life. You will be where you are supposed to be. Even if a little bit of doubt persists, you have a stronger sense that you will make the life that you want for yourself if you keep working toward it every day…. We all have to burn these stages in life, but don’t be so hard on yourself, your thirties are almost here (or already here). A good friend once said, “why do you care so much, ain’t nobody got shit on you”. They don't.
Thanks, Cecilia. I’ll take it from here. I am so ecstatic every day knowing that I have gotten myself over the hump of my twenties. People say that your twenties are the best years of your life, and they wish they could be young again. I, for one, would jump off a bridge if I had to live my twenties again. Here is why thirty is better than any age that precedes it:
The heartache of your twenties is over. Let’s face it. Bad shit happens to you when you are in your twenties; events that are probably more upsetting than the drama-filled garbage that hurt you as a teenager. You are going to suffer some serious blows and you are going to have to learn to overcome them and deal with them… as an adult. You can’t count on your family to fix the problems for you like you did when you were younger, and it’s just. Plain. HARD. Here’s the thing though, you only have to go through that heartache once. That’s not to say that bad things won’t happen to you ever again, nor that the exact same bad thing won’t happen more than once, but next time it won’t hurt as bad. It won’t shock you as much because you’ve already been through it. You’re stronger, older, wiser, have different priorities, and understand how to deal with these shit storms. You can open up your history of pain and use those hardships to your advantage! Thirty year old you doesn’t have time to waste feeling bad about this. Thirty year old you is going to climb whatever mountain comes your way, and you are going to come down the other side a better, stronger person, and forty year old you is going to take these types of hits EVEN BETTER.
Filling Holes. For me, I used to try to fill the emptiness inside of myself with things like… hmmmm... Heavy drinking, Taco Bell, other people, things that hurt me and I knew they hurt me but I did it to spite myself, and so on and so forth. As you get older, you get to know yourself better. I understand myself so much more than I did in years past and I understand the itches I get. I know that I can’t count on other people to make me happy, because they will let me down every time; not necessarily on purpose, but because they are also their own individual human unit and it is not their job to make me happy. People have their own agendas, their own motives, their own problems, and I cannot count on them to fix me. Any hole they fill for me is only temporary, (Freudian slip, *high five*), and if I rely on others to make me happy, then I will ultimately be let down, searching for something else to be a liquid band aid.
I can fill my own holes permanently if I am doing what I love and getting enjoyment out of it. It’s as simple as that.
CONFIDENCE AND FREEDOM! I spent a lot of time during the past ten years feeling bad for and about myself because I had so many dreams, but felt like I was incapable of meeting them. I faced a lot of rejection and it made me question my worth. I felt I had done everything that I was always told to do to have a successful life, and it still wasn’t enough. Sure, I went to college, even got a master’s degree, but I could not get a job as a teacher. Sure, the economy was bad in California and a lot of people were in my situation, but I took it really personally. This rejection and intense, constant personal reflection stopped me from doing a lot of things because I felt like I would either be rejected yet again, fail at them, or who even knows what else.
As I got older, I used my negative experiences to push me to keep trying and eventually I got that teaching job I always wanted. At this time, I was more prepared for it because I was more mature, and it meant that much more to me. Had I gotten it when I was 23, I wouldn’t have been very good at it because I just wasn’t ready, (as much as I thought I was).
I also stopped myself from doing things I wanted to do for no real reason other than the whole “I can’t do it now, but I can do it someday” mentality. I got to the point where I asked myself, what am I waiting for? I can do it now. And I did. I went skydiving, bungee jumping, started getting tattoos, shaved half my head (it’s cute, not crazy), started traveling more, started going places and living each day as an individual unit, not just saying that I would wait until the weekend or wait until I was older… I started doing it NOW. Because, why the hell not?
Stop sulking. Get out of your own head. Go get after it. Before you know it, you'll be 31. Don't let it slip by. We're with you all the way.
Because two deserts meet within the National Park (Mojave and Colorado), the vistas, vegetation, and weather change significantly. If you start your drive into the park from HWY 62, Joshua Tree’s main road, you are in the Mojave desert, and it’s much cooler. You’ll also see taller and greener plants (Joshua trees and Yucca). The further you drive down the main road (heading towards I10), you’ll enter the Colorado Desert. You’ll notice that the cacti in that area are closer to the ground (lots of Cholla), and it’s about 15 degrees warmer. The change in vegetation and weather is due to an elevation change.
List of views/ hikes from easy to hard:
- Keys View- Very short, paved hike. Amazing views of the valley. On a clear day you can see the Salton Sea- The drive to that part of the Park has a dense amount of Joshua Trees.
- Arch Rock is in a campground (available to the general public). Kids can climb around it and be kids, but they can do that anywhere in the park. It’s up to you.
- Cholla Cactus Garden (Closer to I10). If you make the drive to this part of the park, I highly recommend it. It’s probably a half mile loop, and it’s beautiful.
- Wall Street Mill- 3 mile round trip. Because of its proximity to Barker Dam, I recommend that you bring bug spray on this hike. For its distance, it has a lot of history, and it’s flat through and through. If you decide to hike this trail keep in mind there are two parking lots: at Barker Dam, and an unnamed dirt lot behind it. The first parking lot you’ll see is a paved round loop with two trails, one to Barker Dam, and another to the Mill. If you want to hike to the Mill, you are adding almost another mile to your hike by parking here. Barker Dam is a nice hike, but at this time of the year I doubt the water levels will be high enough to have wildlife (probably a lot of insects). If you or someone hiking with you has a good sense of navigation or knows the park well, I recommend following the Wall Street Mill trail to Keys Ranch. However, if you are not familiar with the area, I wouldn’t. It’s really easy to get lost.
- Barker Dam is a nice hike by the Mill, but I would ask the park ranger about the current conditions of the Dam. Given the time of the year, if the water has been stagnant you might find more insects than birds (no one likes mosquitoes. No. One.)
Neat places on the drive out and back
Dig up your own Cacti is a very neat place where you can pick and dig your own cacti for 25 cents. If you are driving to Joshua Tree from I10, it’s before you get to the city. I think it’s in Yucca, but I’m not sure. It’s on your right side. http://cactusmart.com/about I checked the website. It’s in Morongo Valley, before Yucca.
Hadley’s Fruit Stand: Half way to JT. Delicious date shakes. Same exit as outlets, casino, and Cabazon Dinosaurs.
Joshua Tree and surrounding area
Noah Purifoy outdoor museum: I think they just brought back all the biggest and better pieces back from LACMA. I went earlier this year; it’s free and amazing. Please go.
Crochet Museum: Ask a local and go. I won’t ruin the surprise. It’s a desert gem.
Integratron: This place is truly magical. It was built by this guy, George Van Tassel, who claimed UFOs told him to build this dome out of nothing but wood and put metal circles on the ceiling of the first floor. Long story short, the place sits on a natural geometric vortex. Because the building is made up of wood, the sound made by the quartz bowl is carried around the room through the metal wires that sit underneath you (and no, you are not on the wires yourself). It’s amazing, rejuvenating, and magical. they have public and private soundbaths. A few times a year they hold special events. Check it out for yourself. http://integratron.com/
Places to shove your face
Willie Boy’s: Restaurant/bar. They had a mechanical bull last time I was there (2011). I went there for a show, so I can't speak for their the food.
If you don’t want to make the drive out there is a restaurant/ live music place in town called Pappy and Harriet’s Palace. I am not sure if either allow children.
Observatory: There’s an observatory in 29 Palms if you happen to head that way for any reason. I’m not familiar with their schedule, so I would check before making the drive out there.
Stargazing: Even if you visit on a full moon, you should be able to see deep into the eye of the galaxy.
Also, I think you like casinos and everything LGBT like me, you should swing by Palm Springs. While you are there you should go to Tahquiz Canyon, an awesome hike with a very nice waterfall at the end. Because of the trail’s orientation, I recommend going before noon. Also, because the trail is within the reservation, there’s a small fee to hike the trail.
The desert is an amazing place. From afar it’s deceiving, but the closer you get the more amazing it becomes. Enjoy the many desert gems!
Ashley and Cecilia work hard, play hard, write stuff, read stuff... because they don't know what else to do with their lives.
I- We should buy something superficial
II- Buy odd clothing
I- An Unusual Social Event
I- We should go somewhere with dangerous animals
I- Somewhere with strange food
When we get ten total votes, the item with the highest number of votes will be our next expedition.
(One vote per reader, per category).