25 November 2006

KAMRAN

Ask any random Orange Countyite to name the most annoying household pests and you'll get three responses:

(in no particular order)

#1 Ants

#2 Rats

#3 Realtors


Here in Aliso Viejo, the most ubiquitous realtor is one name Kamran. Every few weeks we receive a promotional notepad with his face on it. I like to think of them as Kamran droppings.


Kamran, aliso viejo relator


I know what you're thinking, "I thought Orange County banned gays along with unwed mothers." Well you're right, they did. Which is further evidence to my hypothesis that Kamran doesn't actually exist. At least, not in the way you or I exist...


Kamran, or should I say KAMRAN (because it's always presented in all caps), is the first of his kind. He is an everyrealtor. Though I don't have evidence to prove it, I believe KAMRAN is actually an acronym for:


Kosher

Amalgamated

Male

Real Estate

Antibacterial

Neobot


Created by committee to be the superealtor of the future, KAMRAN is a composite of: all successful realtors of the past 10 years, all non-threatening males such as teachers, nurses, and gay friends, and maybe there's a little puppy in there as well.


On the KAMRAN website, visitors are welcomed by " The KAMRAN Team - Allen| Trisha| Caryn." I haven't figured out how to spell KAMRAN from Allen Trisha Caryn, so I have to assume those three are beta tests of some kind. Or perhaps they are the discarded alphas.


Need more evidence? I have it from a very good source that KAMRAN does not attend his open house showings. He's always "unavailable" and someone from the KAMRAN Project greets you instead. Did I say project? I meant team. The same source informs me his latest promotional event, KAMRAN's Pumpkin Patch, featured both pumpkins and patches, but no KAMRAN.


I hope you will agree that the KAMRAN Project is the start of a very disturbing trend. Perhaps you've seen the evolution video where a perfectly normal woman is transformed into an ad-worthy femalesque specimen using a little makeup and a lot of photoshop.


I think the marketeers have crossed the line. I long for the days when charming humanoids such as the Pine Sol lady, the Snapple woman and Ben & Jerry populated the advertising landscape.

22 October 2006

shop online: save money, save the planet

This post doesn't have a narrative. It's just a grab bag of some interesting things I've discovered online.

Promo Codes
I had a brain fart while placing an order on Victoria's Secret.com recently. While going through the checkout process, they asked for a special offer code. Ah ha, I bet someone posts the secret codes for free shipping and other discounts that they give out in those newsletters I never sign up for. Sure enough, one quick google search and I had $30 off my order (ladies, that's a free bra, am I wrong?).

If you Google "promo codes" you will find a ton of webpages. Another one I recommend is rentalcodes.com. You can compare promotional offers for all the major rental car companies. They also cover nine different hotel chains including Marriott and Choice Hotels.

Kayak.com
Another website I'm really digging these days is kayak.com. You'll never use orbitz, travelocity, or expedia again. Kayak captures the tickets available on all those websites, plus all the tickets available directly from the airlines - in one place. Here's some other great stuff it does:

  • Don't like to get up early? Want to find out if a red-eye saves you money? Use the slider bar to eliminate flights from the search results that don't fit your personal timetable.

  • Would you rather eat your own hair than fly American Airlines? Deselect them from the list and kayak will remove all the AA flights from your search results.

  • Headed to NYC and wondering if it's cheaper to fly into Newark? Kayak will automatically include all NYC area airports.

  • Flexible travel dates? Kayak allows you to search up to three days before and after for both the arrival and departure date.

  • Lastly, Kayak isn't a wholesaler, they're just a search engine. In most cases, the cheapest fare will come from an airline's website. Click the link, book directly with the airline, and you have no/fewer worries about there being a flight change or cancellation your not finding out about it due to a third-party booking.

Sidestep.com does pretty much the same thing. I just like Kayak's interface a lot better.

Shop to Support
But, to prove to you that I don't use my powers only for evil, I also want to mention shoptosupport.org. This is a web portal which lists top online retailers who have agreed to donate a portion of their profits to charity. In this case, it's our environmental charity Project AWARE. The list of companies is massive: amazon.com, bestbuy.com, target.com, expedia.com, etc. There are no additional fees or hidden charges, the only thing you have to do is click through to, let's say amazon.com, via the shoptosupport.org portal.

There are plenty of other sites out there that will allow your online purchases to contribute to the greater good. But why would you want to do that when Finding Nemo needs your help to fight corporate pollution of the world's oceans!

05 September 2006

Let's hear it for the 2-0-6

I was lucky enough to spend Labor Day weekend at Bumbershoot 2006 in Seattle. Besides seeing a lot of great bands, I had the chance to take in a weekend's worth of visual arts, weird food and a ton of other cool shit before returning to the cultural backwater of the West Coast. Okay, maybe that's a little harsh, "cultural backwater of the west" probably belongs to Fresno, Corona, or at least some place with a phone number beginning with "9-0-9."

But that's another post entirely. This post is about Bumbershoot and will attempt to highlight the coolest and most interesting things that went on during the three-day music and arts festival.

Oh, but first I should set the scene . . .

Bumbershoot takes place each year in downtown Seattle. The festival takes up seventy three acres and is roughly bordered by: the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center, Key Arena, and the globular EMP. It's pretty damn big and I spent my first hour there just getting oriented.

Looks-wise, Bumbershoot is your basic music festival: hordes of people, hot sun, the scent of fried dough and grilling meat wafting on the breeze. Teenagers with greasy long hair form drum circles on the grass and beat out the rhythm of a squandered trust fund.

Most of the action takes place on the seven concert stages, but over the years, Bumbershoot has grown to include comedy acts, improv theater, film shorts, and visual arts. This year included an indie craft market where you could purchase iPod cozies, DIY space travel diagrams, and even pasties (NOTE: I am not talking about the English snack food).

Walking around, waiting for the next show to start, it's possible to see one's own past, present and future:

There's me ten years ago: in a cluster of tough-looking chicks (tough for sixteen) with a couple flightly gay guys. Totally ambivalent about everything - except the chick-fronted rock band we're about to see. Get out of my way, I'm headed to the front of the stage.

I know there's a me-ten-or-twenty-years-from-now walking around. I wonder who she is? I hope she's not the woman with hair down to her ankles and the necklace made out of cat-shaped wooden beads. Maybe she's the buff chick in the tank top with the camelback - oh, but she's got a really flat butt. Hmmm, I think it's time to bring on those festival highlights.

#1 Clever T-shirts
It's ironic the way hipsters seek out clever t-shirts to differentiate themselves from "the norm," yet there are so many of the same one. Where do all those "D.A.R.E. to keep kids off drugs" T-shirts come from anyway? Is there a Hipster Depot I don't know about?

But there are some who rise above the tousled fray, for example, a young, overweight Philipino teen had a bright orange shirt that read, "I Cannot be Your Private Dancer."

Another one I really liked was on a college student hobbling around Kanye West on crutches. His pink shirt read, "I Promise I'll Be Gentle."

I think my favorite was worn by this lanky teenage kid with red hair. The faded ringer tee had a smiling cartoon tomato on it. Above the tomato was printed, "You say 'tomato' . . ." (and beneath it). "I say fuck you."

Barry says he looks forward to (one day) seeing these all of these shirts on overweight immigrant kids.

#2 Finally, something good that came out of Vancouver, WA
More evidence there are only two degrees of separation between every person from the Pacific NW - this year's Bumbershoot logo was designed by Andrio Abero who I went to elementary school with. Yes, prior to being a graphic arts genius, Andy was quite adept at pegging me with a dodgeball.

If it weren't for all the head injuries, I could have made this
3rpmdesign.com

I found Andy, and a myriad of other cool shit at Flatstock - the concert poster exhibition at Bumbershoot. Hundreds of concert posters were available for sale, many of them recent but some ranging back fifteen years or more. That Built to Spill poster you didn't tear off the telephone poll because it was too soggy? Now you can buy it for $50 and meet the guy (or gal) who designed it.

#3 Other Weird Art
Secondlife artI'm Weird

What is it? What ISN'T it? Yes, well, the more accessible stuff isn't fun to write about and is even less fun for you to read about.

The dark room with the big screens is literally modern art - they are installations developed in the online world of Secondlife.

The deer was by far the weirdest thing in a really interesting gallery made up exclusively of, well, I guess you'd call it the housewife medium. All of the pieces were created either by sewing or baking. Below this paragraph are a couple of images from another installation - a gal made candy to go with different members of her family. The mom's candy was like an orange gumdrop but salty on the outside (I guess that's how her mom liked to eat citrus). The brother's candy was chewy like a toffee but tasted like banana (his favorite food) the artist had mixed in nutmeg to mimic her brother's skin color. Odd - but also delicious. How often do you get to eat someone's art?

Please keep the soilent green references to yourself . . .
my family is delicious
they'll never find the body . . .

#4 Thank You Master May I Have Another
GET IN MY BELLY
Speaking of stuff that's unhealthy to eat - hot damn do I love Sishkaberries. I'd quit my job and devote 2007 to running the Shishkaberry booth at the OC Fair except I'd eat all the profits. These things are f-ing delicious and I'm not a big sweets person.

What you see here is the oreo model, however, they also come in plain chocolate, white chocolate, and rainbow sprinkles.

These things are obscenely good. After three straight days of research I can tell you that, scientifically, four hours is the minimum interval you must allow between shishkaberries. If you go for a second one before four hours has elapsed, you will get a stomach ache. It's also a bad idea to eat elephant ear that, when fully extended, is larger than your own torso.

#5 Really bitchin' music
Last but not least, I saw a lot of great performances over three days. I'll put together another post with photos and some more details, but briefly - here's a list of everyone I got to see:

  • Jamie Lidell
  • Rollergirls Flattrack Derby
    (Seattle Vs. San Francisco)
  • Deerhoof
  • Shooter Jennings
  • Cloud Cult
  • The New Pornographers
  • Maria Bamford
  • Mates of State
  • Blue Scholars
  • Kanye West
  • Rocky Votolato
  • Cancer Rising
  • Bettye Lavette
  • Bitter:Sweet
  • CocoRosie
  • Metric

More importantly - I now have a massive list of bands I missed that I heard are worth checking out. If you are a fan of Halou, Crystal Skulls or Mountain Con and have any recommendations, I'd appreciate it.

Lastly, a huge huge huge thanks to Lisa and Heather for hooking me up and letting me crash with you and driving me around and letting me eat all your whole wheat squares. Youz galz are the best!

29 May 2006

Where the Wild Things Aren't

So, if I hadn't mentioned this before, south Orange County is a really boring place to live. Well, I should rephrase that.

Unless your interests include:
  • maxing out daddy's credit card
  • heat stroke while mtn. biking
  • near drowning
  • breeding

...Orange County is a boring place to live.

But having a defeatist attitude never got anyone anywhere, right? So, I decided to try something new this Memorial Day weekend - "hiking." Please note that "hiking" is different from hiking. When the trail is paved and as wide as a freeway lane, it's really plain 'ol walking. But, I had to pay a wilderness park fee, so, okay, fine, it's "hiking."

This sign greeted me at the start of my "hike"
trailheadwarning

As some of you may recall, a man was killed and a woman mauled by a mountain lion shortly after I moved down here. The authorities said, "we think the animal went after humans because it was too sick to go after its regular prey." So, basically, mountain lions and other predators don't eat us because, well, it would be too easy.

I went back to my car and took the grommeted belt off my pants. I guess my plan was to scare the mountain cat away with my best Betty Page impression.

I stood at the top of the trail and tried to pull it together. I've lived a good life, I think my karma is more-or-less in order. This was going to be just fine. I waited at the gate while an Asian family passed through on their mountain bikes, and stepped into the great unknown.

I switched off my iPod and tucked it into my back pocket. I knew I'd need all five of my senses to make it through this alive. Can't be rocking out to The Killers when there are actual killers in the area.

This is the last photo taken of the victim
blairwitch1
I ran down the survival skills I could remember from TV.
  • Snakes don't like to be poked with sticks
  • Let the Australian guy handle anything dangerous
  • If birds suddenly fly out of a tree, and the sun goes behind a cloud, the monster is right behind you


Crap.crap.crap.

I took a photo of myself so they would have something for the newspaper. I hoped the search and recovery team would look after my faithful little digi cam. I waved at the park ranger who drove by and imagined his sound bite, "She seemed like a nice girl, I'm not sure why she decided to walk out here alone. Maybe there were troubles at home."

As the noise of the ranger's truck faded away into the distance, I listened for the sound of a mountain lion's stomach growling. Dammit, I can't hear a damn thing over the bird chirping. Damn you, evolution.

And then, something stopped me in my tracks.

stayoffpavement
Stay Off Pavement Park Users?

Right, of course I wouldn't think of straying from the... wait, what? Stay off the pavement? Clearly they want me dead. This is some kind of trap, some kind of evil plot to kill off all the liberals in the O.C. I can see the city council debating it now:

"We can't kill them off, think of the tax dollars we'll lose."

"That's worthless hippie money. It's mostly stems and seeds."

"Okay, stencil the trail."

By now I'm 20 minutes from civilization. Twenty minutes from suchers and anti-venom and emergency personnel. In A Gadda Da Vidda could start and stop by the time they reached my body.

Marker showing where the body was found, well part of it
cautionpost

But I can't turn back. If I'm walking at the human average of 3 miles per hour, I'm nearly to the end of this 1.5 mile trail. I can't turn back now, that would make me a total chicken shit.

You know, what's more likely to happen is that a mountain lion is going to be chasing one of these mountain bikers. I'm going to see some fat guy in a loud bicycle jersey, like that guy over there, and he's going to be red-faced and peddling for his life. Then the lion will see me and realize that I'm a tastier morsel (no bicycle grease) and much easier to catch.

I tried not to look delicious.

Miraculously, I reached the end of the trail unharmed. A new, unpaved trail began, but I wasn't going to press my luck. Posted at the top of the new trail was a graph comparing the prints of coyotes and dogs with mountain lion prints. There was also a large sign that said "NO DOGS."

Do they tell you what to do if you see a mountain lion? Of course not. Why? Because they want the nature-loving hippies to die. Because when there are no more hippies, they can build the world's largest strip mall in the Aliso Wilderness Canyon.

I love you, Mom and I'm so sorry
It was like Blair Witch in the daylight
- rest your mouse over the photo


My anger gave me confidence. I turned into the wind and headed back up the trail. That's right, all you predators down wind. I know you can smell me. Here I am, and I'm pissed. You get too close to me and I'll beat your skull in with my Nalgene.

The people!
United!
Will never be divided!

This liberal grrrl isn't going down without a fight. Send your worst, evil developers! Unleash the mountain lions, and the killer bees, and the lions with bees in their mouths (so when they bark, bees come out).

I charged ahead. I am a fighter, I am a champion over nature, I am a ... hey, a balloon. How'd this get out here? Better bring that back with me so a bird won't choke on it.

01 April 2006

Oh My God I'm "That Girl"

Hello all,

Guess what, I cut off most of my hair. Wheeee...this is not an April Fool's joke. Actually, I didn't mean to lose quite so much of it, but, oh well. It was for a good cause.

I donated a 10" braid to Locks of Love (they make the hair into wigs for children with alopecia or cancer). The salon that handled the donation also "styled" my hair which I guess means three more inches had to be whacked off. They also flatironed me. I think it looks okay, although, my first reaction was, "Oh My God, I'm 'That Girl.'"

The haircut was yesterday, but prior to that I've been travelling quite a bit (five days home, five days gone, five days home, etc). I meant to write sooner, but every time I landed home for a few days, I found I'd left my personality behind. By the time it caught up with me, it was time to go to another trade show.

Since I last wrote, I've been to Chicago, Cabo San Lucas, and New Jersey.

Chicago... not much to report other than I still love the rotating toilet seats at O'Hare. I know they've been around forever, but I can't resist pushing the rotate button two or three times. Guys - if you've only gone to the bathroom to pee, you're missing out.

Cabo San Lucas... my oh my.
It was fun, it was a learning experience, and I'm never going back there again. Do you think Italians (from Italy) visit Little Italy in New York? I only ask because I feel like Cabo is nothing more than "Little USA," only with underage drinking and boobs.

What happens to these chicks when they fly over the Mexican border that makes them think, "You know what? I WILL show my tits to this creep. Hell yes, girl power." What's even weirder is, there's no exchange of goods - they don't get a necklace of beads or a free drink or anything. It's just boobs for boobs sake.

Want to know what's worse? Here's the scenario: I'm sitting on the beach in a plastic chair waiting for my $35 plate of pasta and shrimp (sans shrimp) to arrive. At the palapa bar next door, they are having some kind of contest involving ten girls in bikinis dancing on a stage to, "My Humps" (what else?). The MC is incensing the crowd to cheer by blowing on a whistle, waving his arms, and occasionally hosing down the girls. The song ends, and he says, "Hokay we have new contest. We see which girl can take off her bikini bottom and leave it off for twenny seconds. You got that? No bikini bottom, twenny seconds. Hokay? Ready, GO!"

Dude. Think about that for a second . . . $35 US dollars for a plate of pasta - in Mexico! Okay, I'm kidding (I argued and only paid $12). No, seriously, would you show your butt/coochie to dozens of moronic frat boys? I don't know what the prize was, but, as you'll soon read, the prize is a moot point.

To my shock and horror, not one of the girls told the guy to "go to hell." Off came the bottoms! They all turned around and whipped off their bikini bottoms. The MC spanked each one on the butt and all the guys cheered, and then 20 seconds was up. The MC yells, "Hokay! Everybody is a winner!"

I respectfully disagree, Senor. Everyone is a total f-ing loser.

I do have some nice things to say about Cabo, but none of them are funny. In brief, the place we stayed was gorgeous (brand new place, ocean view, huge balcony, jacuzzi, kitchen with fridge, freezer and blender. . . it was great). I was there for a friend's 30th birthday and she hooked the whole thing up - we had massages, we went to a salsa club and a swanky jazz bar, it definitely had its high points. Oh yeah, and I sat one row away from Sammy Hagar on the flight back (used my miles to fly 1st class).

Speaking of flying, Alaska is offering some great deals from Portland to Southern California. Unfortunately, there are no deals direct from Portland to Orange County, but you can get pretty close.


PDX to LAX(about 90 min N) - $99 each way
PDX to Ontario (about 60 min E) - $109 each way

To score the deals above, you must reserve your flight 3 weeks in advance and complete your travel by August 3rd. I think the special offers are the same for Seattle departures - I think you know who you are. Here's the link: http://www.alaskaair.com/as/www2/Promo/farepromos/springsale.asp

Until next time,

--
http://themadhapa.blogspot.com

12 February 2006

The Window Seat

Once upon a time, a guy named Troy M. Litten travelled around the world and took a lot of photos of telephones, bathrooms signs, bus tickets, and other little items you find the world over. He turned these photo collages into a series of postcards. The collection is called Wanderlust and you can buy it from Amazon.com.

One of the postcards shows a bunch of photos taken from the airplane window.


I really liked his idea, so on every flight I've taken over the past two years, I've kept my camera nearby. After 70,000+ miles, I have a total of forty photos which I've whittled down to the best fourteen. So I present to you: The Window Seat.

11 February 2006

make your own ringtones

While in Hawaii, I couldn't get the song, "My Humps" out of my head. I figured the only solution would be to buy the song as a ringtone and use it on my phone. Unfortunatlely, there are six different ringtones for "My Humps" and none of them have the clip that I want ("I'ma git git git you drunk, get you love drunk off my humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps").

So, luckily, Wired magazine has written a very helpful article about how to create your own ringtones from MP3s. There are instructions for both PC and Mac and holy crap, it actually works. You have to download a couple pieces of (free) software and then send the file from computer to phone via bluetooth. The article says you can send your phone an email and then save the file attachment, but, I couldn't get that to work. The phone kept dropping the attachment.

Why can't you just use regular MP3s? Well, most songs are too long for one, and even if you edit them down, the file size is too large. Using Wired's method (and there may be better ones out there) it takes about ten minutes to choose, edit, save and send yourself the custom ringer.

Hooray.

So, by the time I figured all of this out, I decided I didn't want a "My Humps" ringtone (I plead temporary insanity). I think I'll make a Benny Hill one instead.

10 February 2006

Happy Hapa in Hawaii

Who doesn't like Hawaii? The sun, waves, beautiful beaches, and laid back island lifestyle make it a fantastic place for retirement, vacation, or even a trade show. Last week I spent three days as an exhibitor at the Hawaii Convention Center, and four days exploring the island of Oah'u. Since most of you have been to Hawaii, I'll skip the palm trees and ukuleles and go right to the zombie part.

Zombies?

I love being in Hawaii. It makes me feel good - both physically and mentally. The proof? My first night there I had one of my favorite recurring dreams. The dream basically goes like this: zombies roam the country in a post-apocalyptic world. I'm a zombie fighter and I live in the ruins of my old middle school. In the most recent version of this dream, I was armed with a high-powered squirt gun filled with Hershey's syrup I pilfered from the cafeteria. I hose the undead with a debilitating blast of chocolate and corn syrup stickiness - sometimes plowing down five or six of them in a row.

Middle school - corn syrup - zombies - there's a metaphor here, but we'll leave that for another time.

Things in the dream start to go bad after I shoot down a whole alley full of zombie prostitutes. A horde of angry (living) men chase after me with guns and clubs for ruining their Saturday night. About that time the alarm goes off and it's time to go diving.

Let's Go Scuba Diving

The great thing about scuba diving is that you can drop in on a dive site that seems totally mundane and then something completely amazing will swim by. In my case - it was a one of the most rare creatures imaginable.

We first saw them from the boat. It was cool to me, but the locals were not impressed. These guys make regular appearances topside during the winter in Hawaii. When I asked the dive crew what the chances were of seeing one during the dive, I received only smirks and eye rolling in response. They told me, "sometimes you can hear them- if you're lucky." We geared up, and jumped into the water, hoping we'd be some of the lucky few to hear their legendary song. After ten minutes of floating above the reef and looking for turtles, a large shadow passed above us and there it was - a humpback whale. Thirty feet long, it had approached in complete silence. The divemaster later told us his only inkling that "something weird was going on," was that all the small fish ducked under the coral a few moments before the whale appeared. The humpback stuck around for just a few moments before it slipped away into the blue.

The odds of diving with a whale are at least one in a thousand (I asked the divemaster - who makes nearly 1,200 dives each year if he had ever seen one underwater and he said "uh, no."). Not to mention, the encounter was a complete accident. There are plenty of dive outfits that hire airplanes to spot rare creatures and then radio the dive boat where to drop people (this is illegal to do with whales, but it's a common practice with whale sharks). To have a humpback whale appear in front of us underwater would be like opening your front door and watching a flock of bald eagles spell out your name in the sky. Okay, maybe not that rare - but there are fewer humpback whales left in the world than bald eagles (about 5,000 to about 6,900 respectively).

Hawaiian Pride

The other thing I love about Hawaii, besides the great diving, is Hawaiian pride. I know there's a dark side to it and the haoles who move to Hawaii sometimes have a tough time. Not to justify racism or anything, but, if you know anything about the circumstances under which Hawaii became part of the U.S. - well, the animosity is somewhat justified.

I'm no history scholar, but, I feel somewhat confident in the conclusion that the Hawaiian people are some of the few "native americans" the U.S. didn't manage to squash. Despite U.S. attempts to force Hawaiian kids to abandon their native language and traditions (Hawaii kids were forced to attend deliberately underfunded government schools) the Hawaiian culture lives on and is fully integrated into the tourist experience. Okay, so the staged luaus are cheesy, as are the "your hotel room was cleaned with aloha" cards they leave on the hotel beds. But there's a lot more out there. Hawaiian immersion schools exist in numerous places, and there is even an island, Niiahu, where non-Hawaiians cannot visit without a permit.

But foreigners are welcome at The Dole Plantation (shudder). I'm here to tell you that Waikiki unfairly carries the brand of "biggest tourist trap" in Hawaii. The (dis)honor truly belongs to the sprawling tropical wonderland known as the Dole Plantation.

The Good, The Bad, and The Yellow

Like fruit flies on a fruit cup, the Dole Plantation is swarmed with tourists all day long. Japanese and Americans arrive by the busload to suck down pineapple soft serve and wander through the world's largest garden maze (see, it literally is a trap). In the main building, every square inch that isn't occupied by a person is jammed with some type of pineapple-based product. The trademark Dole yellow blasts pineapple happiness from every part of the building. Seriously, is it possible to be attacked by a color?

From the instant I walked through the door I was very disoriented. I made my way down the yellow brick road of free samples and before long I felt as though I needed to breath into a paper bag. "Try some pineapple soft serve, pineapple jelly, pineapple lotion, pineapple lip balm, free sample, free sample."

But we all know that nothing in this world is truly free and everything comes at a price. I think the pineapple people in their hyper-tropical yellow shirts might have been on a mission to steal my soul. Looking back, I couldn't really see their eyes under those giant yellow visors, maybe these people used to be tourists just like me - and then they took one sample too many.

Calling on great inner strength and resolve, Barry and I both made it to the soft serve counter safely. We handed over $11.50 for three pineapple soft serve waffle cones and, at last, they revealed the exit.

The soft serve was quite delicious and it proved to be the perfect start to our last day on the island. We drove our rented Geo Tracker from the North Shore to Kaneohe Bay and back around to Honolulu. It was great to get out of the city and see the postcard perfect countryside.

The next day we squeezed in a hike to the top of Diamond Head before flying home. The next adventure? Chicago. Home to deep dish pizza and frostbite. Woooo.