Sunday, March 30, 2008

will dig in couch cushions for food

as you've probably heard, the latest mc donald's ad campaign is geared towards the frugal- the "dollar menunaires". i know this because:

1. contrary to popular belief, i am not a total hermit and

2. when i got to the radio station yesterday morning (well, not right after i got to work, as i'm not really fully functioning until a couple of hours into the 6-noon shift), i was asked to record a commercial celebrating dollar menunaires.

is it bad that i actually nodded my head while reading:

"do you switch your car into neutral and coast down hills to save gas?" (seems like a sensible thing to do when a gallon of gas costs the equivalent of a double cheeseburger, small fry, and side salad, don't you think?)

"do you steam the wrinkles out of your clothing by hanging them in the shower?" (what's wrong with that? am i the only person in america who is too lazy to iron?* i think not.)

somehow, i managed to take dollar menunaireness (i'm trying to legalize that word so i can use it in scrabble. if anyone has connections to the fine folks over at webster's.....i mean, "bootylicious" made it in, after all. if beyonce can have a word, so should i....and i'm not just saying that because i'm hoping the mc donald's bigwigs will show their appreciation by giving me more stock.) to a whole new level today- not only was i a dollar menunaire on my way back to work, but i had to nickel and dime (technically, quarter) it, to boot.

as i sat at the drive thru window, waiting for the highly paid burger slinger to count my considerable coinage, i harkened back to the good ol' "poor college student" days, when i could get a week's worth of meals at hyvee for ten bucks (pasta and lettuce figured prominently), and still have enough left over to celebrate taco tuesday at taco john's on the way home.

since it took a while for the girl to count three dollars and thirty cents' worth of quarters and nickels, i also had time to ponder the time one of my equally broke roommates had to empty out her large coin jar to pay the bills. i can't remember exactly which errand i'd accompanied her on, but i vividly recall her plunking down a bag of coins on the counter, along with the stub from her bill.

i can honestly say i've never had to go that far, although that's mostly because i roll my coins, rather than carry them around in large ziplocs.

which gives me an idea: perhaps next week, to save whichever higly paid mc donald's employee happens to be working the money window at roughly two o'clock on sunday undue duress, maybe i should just go ahead and splurge, order a couple of apple pies and a large fry to go with my usual double cheeseburger and side salad, and simply hand over a roll of dimes as payment....but only if i manage to coast down enough hills this week to save a gallon and a half of gas.

*actually, i should clarify. it's not just that i'm too lazy- i also get frustrated too easily. i once threw a shirt out the window because every time i finished ironing one side of it, i'd flip it over and realize that i'd somehow ironed new wrinkles into the other side. since then, if it needs to be ironed, it's not coming home from the store with me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

back from hawai'i, sans tan

yes- i know that's hard to believe, but believe me, i had other things to do. besides, if i wanted to do nothing but lay around and turn bronze, why pay a considerable amount of money to do it somewhere exotic when i could simply hold down a chair by the pool in my apartment complex? (when we get back above seventy degrees, of course....)

while i could easily post a seven-installment series about my recent trip to hawai'i (okay- so only five of the installments would actually see the light of day), i figure it's best to summarize:

~some people rely on pamplets and brochures to plan their vacation. i used a combination of the official tourism brochure and hawaii trails by kathy morey.

~this trip allowed me to cross 3 goals off my list of "30 things to do before 30" ....and a fourth is up for debate. the three certainties are: travel alone to someplace new, hawaii, and visit three world heritage sites. (the other two sites were giant's causeway in northern ireland back in july, and the grand canyon in october.)

~culinary delights: papaya salad, spam musubi
i'm pleased to report that no poi was ingested during this adventure.

~hazards of the fauna variety (on land, unless land sharks make a comeback): none. there aren't any snakes on the big island, no any large carnivores that might want to eat me. as i understand it, there are feral pigs, and i saw a horse with a wild look in his eye, but i was perfectly comfortable hiking solo, knowing that i was unlikely to be chased by bears or mountain lions. most of my animal sightings involved either birds or mongooses. (or would that be "mongeese"?) interesting fact: the mongeese were introduced to the island in an attempt to solve the rat problem. unfortunately, rats are noctournal, mongeese aren't. as a result, there are tons of hungry looking mongeese all over the island.

rather than bore you with more details, let me share a few of my (roughly 1000) photos:

the typical hawaiian scene....though this was taken at a spot where people used to be sacrificed to the shark "gods", which isn't really something that gives me warm, relaxing, hawaiian feelings.

the downside of traveling solo? all of my photos of myself were either taken by random strangers (i got really good at walking up to random strangers), or else have the telltale arm in the corner. this one was taken at lapakahi state historical park.

the view of the valleys on hawai'i's northeastern coast, as seen from along the pololu valley hiking trail. the pololu trail was probably one of the more crowded ones i went on during my trip, but i really can't blame anyone for wanting to take in this view.

the pololu valley beach. it isn't safe to swim in the ocean here, due to fierce currents. random strolling and photographing are perfectly acceptable, however.

my first sea turtle sighting was at kahalu'u beach park, where i returned a week later to get the hang of snorkeling before flying home.

view from the waipi'o lookout. most visitors do not get any closer than this, and for good reason- the road is so steep that only four wheel drive vehicles are allowed to descend it.

once again, i managed to con other tourists into taking my photo. not realizing that the tallest waterfall in hawaii (1400 feet) was in the valley, i spent time wandering around the beach, and not the back of the valley, before beginning the climb back up. the trail was steep, to say the least. as i started to ascend, i was offered a ride by a bunch of college coeds in a jeep, which i declined. about halfway up, i wished i'd taken them up on it, as it seemed the trail would have been easier to handle if i'd just leaned forward a little more and crawled up it on all fours. however, by the time i got to the trailhead, i felt a sense of accomplishment....or maybe that was just the sharp, stinging pains in my calves making me delirious or something.

halema'uma'u crater, in the kilauea caldera, volcanoes national park, as seen during my $225 helicopter ride. during my visit, the crater was pumping out levels of sulphur dioxide that are ten times higher than normal. i found out right after my return home that, on the last morning of my visit, there was an explosion of ash and rock at the crater.

the lava flow, also seen during my $225 helicopter ride.

...and during my infinitely cheaper drive to the end of highway 130.

halema'uma'u crater. the rain jacket was the last thing i grabbed when i left my car at the charlotte airport, and easily one of the smartest packing decisions i'd made, since the hilo side of the island gets an average 140" of rain annually.

stopping along the kilauea iki trail in volcanoes national park. as you can see, i was unable to con any other tourists into taking this picture for me. there were cracks in the crater floor, still steaming after the 1959 eruption here.

my last major hike was to the captain cook monument in kealakekua bay. in addition to the monument, there's supposedly a plaque at the spot where cook actually died. unfortunately, neither i nor my sudden hiking buddy stumbled upon it. (however, since i've mastered snorkeling- one day too late for the hike- i'm totally willing to go back and look again....)

47 states down, 3 to go...and four months left to get them. admittedly, though, hawaii's been my favorite so far. (sorry, arizona.)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

swept away for a moment by chance....

i have hooters on the brain.

no, not the kind that help fill out my bikini, and not the popular restaurant chain. i'm talking about the fine folks who brought you hits like "day by day" (my personal favorite) and, of course, "and we danced", which was stuck in my head until i started digging for the video link to "day by day".

okay, now that've just wasted half an hour jumping between videos on youtube, i need a moment to remember what on earth it was i sat down to write about in the first place. (it would probably help if i didn't have "(i'm gonna be) 500 miles" by the proclaimers playing in another window, huh?)

SO hasn't visited from charleston in a couple of weeks now. he was going to come out this weekend, but he's been slammed at work, so i've been on my own. no need to feel sorry for me, though- i managed to see two movies and attend a party this weekend, in addition to the 22 hours of work at the radio station i'm pulling this weekend...and let's not forget the kickass power nap i took between shifts earlier this afternoon. next weekend should be equally busy, but in a totally different way, as the bosses are heading off to another conference, and i'll have my sidekick and her brother in their absence. i still have to sit down with a map, hiking guide, and my list of nat'l park passport stamping locations so i can figure out what sort of trouble we'll try to get into, but i've got other matters to attend to first (like a 50th birthday present). SO is expected to join us for at least part of the weekend- at the very least, to drop off my laptop and his digital camera, both of which will be making the trip to hawaii with me later this month.

so,yesterday's matinee made the fourth movie i've seen solo in the past two weeks. sadly, i must report that ryan reynolds does not spent a large portion of definitely, maybe running around without a shirt, and i'm still trying to figure out when kevin kline started looking old. however, that aside, it wasn't half bad. (i liked charlie bartlett, which i caught friday after work, much better, though.)

post-movie, i ran errands yesterday. i needed footwear to go with the dress i wore to last night's party, as well as a card, and i made a pilgrimage to walgreens to get one of the photos from the bahamian vacation printed for the birthday boy.

somewhere along the way, i found myself sucked in by a sale at aeropostale (1 pair of jeans and 3 tops for under $60), which was almost as much of a mood booster as getting accused of being 21 when i picked up my photos. (the poor guy got so flustered when i broke it to him that he was almost a decade off, that he handed by my ten dollar bill, plus my change. a situation i resolved before sprinting out of the store in my newly acquired heels.)

i wound up 5 minutes late for my rendezvous with my party companions (okay. fine- 15, if you go by my originally promised time), and i'm pleased to report that the party went really, really well. most of the evening was spent twirling my sidekick around the dance floor, which ordinarily i wouldn't be caught dead doing (as i like to say, "other partygoers aren't drunk enough for me to dance"), but hey- life's short, and as long as i'm clothed, i don't have to worry about anything too embarrassing showing up on the internet when i'm rich and famous.

i mean really, do i want anyone wasting half an hour on youtube watching me dance? especially when i'm clearly drinking sprite, and therefore cannot blame my utter lack of rhythm on alcohol?

i think not.