Friday, April 29, 2011

Month 3: Blog Evaluation -- I Should Not Become President

At least I can check off that I checked in
Much like our poor leader's Presidency, a couple months of posting is long enough to evaluate a blog; on how the rest of it is going to go, and what choices were actually mistakes masquerading as policy decisions. I'm re-thinking the amount of posts Right now I usually do weekdays, no Fridays, with an occasionally employed "eff it" contingency, but I still seem to be putting way more in than I'm getting out. With all the other projects I try to get into daily, the cost-benefit ratio is definitely listing off the port bow. From now on, I guess I'll do a once-a-week posting, and if response continues to be so low, I'll rethink the whole Presidency -- I mean, uh, blog -- thing entirely.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Simple Pleasures, Part 2: The (Silver?) Lining

It's time for the second installment of the Simple Pleasures series, where the good stuff in life is celebrated as it should be. And today, it's all about pants! No, not Pants, PANTS. Ahhh, fuggedhaboudit.

Khaki's secret inner purple
 For all the male blogviewers, let's just preface this with Yes, women's pants frequently have liners of a different print and fabric than the actual pants, inside the pants. Now that we've moved on to the meat of the topic, they're adorable! I had this pair of dark green corduroys that had the most unexpected pink-and-white pinstripe lining inside the pockets...ahem. But I digress. There's no use getting bogged down in the particulars.
This one even MATCHES!

Because this post is not just another whimsical Kana-anecdote, it is a message to the masses! For what I would like to submit to the Blogoshpere today is that inner linings are darling and sweet, frequently unexpectedly so, and that they are an opportunity for a moment of softness in your psyche's day. Allow yourself to be softened, however momentarily, by their delicate print patterns and precious colors. They won't let you down!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Glass Cat Wars

You might have seen them. Stupid, pointless impressionistic pseudo-cat shapes made from glass, which serve no purpose but to gather dust, and seem to spontaneously manifest and congregate in old ladies' window sills. This is what my mother thought I would want, one fateful birthday so much like this last tragic Christmas. Well, she was "that guy" even then, and handed over this glass cat with a pleased smile, which I tried to match. WARNING: Results may vary. 

"I am a dumb!"
It was molded of clear glass, and it had no face, or any other recognizable features -- but if you looked very closely, in just the right light, you would realize it had two ever-so-slightly raised areas on one side of its blank head, which were eyes, and THEREFORE IT HAD BEEN LOOKING AT YOU THIS WHOLE TIME. Ick. It stood, unwanted and somehow accusing, in whatever random corner was the least trafficked, for at least a couple of months. Until Fancy came over for some drinks with HunBun. Now, it's hard to tell whether or not Fancy is drunk, because he's, well, he's just...Fancy. But when he's drunk, apparently he likes glass cats. Or at least our glass cat. We gladly handed it over, hoping he'd at least accidentally break it so we could throw the damn thing away, but he wandered home in the morning still the proud, slightly tipsy owner of the glass cat. 

Mexican pervcat says: Hola, señora
hermosa. ¿Puedo sentarme en su regazo?
It was a far more sober Fancy that returned it to us the following weekend, to our great disappointment. But my ingenious Bunny tricked him back into it, saying he "had a present" for him, and so all was well again. Until Button and Fancy were married, honeymooned in Mexico and returned, sunburned and with nick-knacks. Ours? Was a blue Mexican glass-ceramic cat, with ornate South-American flowery embellishments all over. And a mustache, I believe. This was the beginning of the Glass Cat War, and terms were laid. 

-It must glass, ceramic, or somehow fragile. Lightness is key.
-It must be a cat, and not only a cat, but a cat in that stupid pose, sitting with its head turned at a right angle to the rest of its body, tail in close.
-The giftor must trick the giftee while still alluding to it being "a present" -- the keyword my Sweetie had tricked Fancy with initially.
-It cannot be mailed as a package, or presented at Christmas or birthdays...or any time of great gift-giving.

With these rules laid out, the real challenge began, and we were at a disadvantage, holding both of the existing cats in play. But Lovely went into a whirlwind of plotting, and got rid of both over the next month; cramming one (unconvincingly, I thought) into a Fallout game case and demanding that Fancy "check it out". He did, and howled for us most delightfully. But the real triumph was discarding the original hated glass cat. For Fancy was wary now, and on the lookout for Bunbun's treachery. 

But he still wasn't ready for The Glass Cat Mastermind.  

The trap was carefully laid; a drinking night, lowering Fancy's defense against glass-cattery. A huge glass mug, that Fancy, as a heavy drinker, prefers to use. The presence of YouTube videos. While he stared glassily (ha!) at a YouTube video, my love went into action; to the kitchen, in which to remove the glass cat from the junk drawer that had been its rightful home. Placed ever so gently, ever so silently into the tall glass mug. Then ice from the refrigerator dispenser to, ah, 'cloud the issue', before actually mixing the poor fool a drink. The YouTube feature draws to a close, as Sweetness comes bearing "My gift to you, Buddy." And BOOM. He'd been glass-catted. 

Oh, the look of astonishment, of defeat, of drunken dismay! 
Oh, glorious victory.
Picture this with fur. Yeah.
That's when Fancy got the womenfolk involved, and Button made the next foray several months later, offering me the most obscene bag I could have ever imagined -- all cute-as-a-Button like she is, saying "Look what I got for you! It's a preeeesseeent." I was all unsuspecting, as all my warning bells were already in a clamor about the bag itself, not What Lay Within. It was made out of red, blue, orange and green Kool Aid pouches. It was trimmed with blue faux fur. It was vivid, metallic, and truly awful. So full of garish visual stimuli, I had no time for what my ears were hearing. I took the bag. It was heavy. It had the blue cat in it.

It went nicely with the faux fur, actually.

Apparently my dear sweet Muffin had immediately called shenanigans right at the door when she'd said "present" -- he has no time or mental space of purses, but apparently plenty for treachery -- but had agreed to let her try it on me, with the agreement that she not even try to play again til after Christmas. It was July. Even though his lady let him down, and totally fell for it, it was still a steal of a deal. When Button attended her first D&D game with us in August, Bunny gave her her own dicebag with a full set of die. And a glass cat stuffed in for good measure.

Pants shook it up by introducing two small, incredibly broken and just generally shitty cat figurines from her parent's house -- one now resides with Fancy, the other is on our kitchen counter to this very day. But it wasn't me! Honey totally fell for it. Who knows what ingenious revenge plot he is concocting? He definitely knows how to play the long game.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Notebook Doodles: Wouldn't It Be Hilarious

...If two little Indian sisters moved to America? And their names were Nawan and Nabadi? Oh, the confusion that would ensue, the shock, awe and heartache -- such junior-high high-jinks!

3, 2, 1, aaaaaaand HEARTBROKEN

She may never recover her filial relationship

...Aahhh, just say them aloud if you don't get it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

You Might Have Noticed The Picnic Layout

Or even have had an epileptic fit after being confronted by the sheer colorful busyness of it all. You might go so far as to question why I chose to populate my busy background with an assortment of birds, bugs, food and flowers.

And my response is: Can if I want to.

--Love, Kana

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sometimes Reality Blows My Mind

I am a fiction writer. But as Richard Feinman said, "I think Nature's imagination is so much greater than man's....she's never gonna let us relax." The constant striving to survive against whatever odds has led to outlandish extremes of life, and even as a fictionalist, without proof I could never have lent credence to these real-world phenomena:

The Blue Hole of Belize is one of the world’s most recognizable natural wonders. It's found in Belize's Barrier Reef Reserve System, about 60 miles away from Belize City. It is believed that this hole is the world’s largest sea-hole. It is about 125 meters deep and it's about a quarter of a mile in diameter. It was created by the collapse of a limestone cave system when ocean level began to rise again after the the last Ice Age -- the caves flooded, and the roof collapsed into this beautiful deep-sea pit. It's now a prestigious advanced dive-spot, with crystal-clear waters, a constant 73 F temperature year-round, and many impressive aquatic species, including giant groupers, nurse sharks and several types of reef sharks such as the Caribbean reef shark and the Blacktip shark. There have also been irregular sightings of other species of sharks, like the bull shark and hammerheads. It is a place of implacable beauty and danger, and in my mind the elemental balance to the next phenomenon I wanted to share:

The fire-pit at Darvaza is a gas crater which has been flaming for nearly 40 years. During its time under the rule of Soviet Russia, Turkmenistan had geologists conducting gas drilling in Kara-Kum desert in 1971 when an underground chamber was discovered close to the village of Darvaza (known in Turkmen as Derweze, but sometimes also referred to as Darvaz). The discovery of the chamber was accidental and resulted in the drilling rig collapsing, leaving a massive crater filled with toxic gases fuming out into the open air. The concentration of gases within the crater was so dense no one dared approach it. It was then that someone came up with an idea to light the gas in the crater on fire so as to burn it before the poisonous fumes engulfed the nearby town of Darvaza. The geologists decided to burn the gas off with a controlled detonation. As it turns out, the supply of quality natural gas below the crater is near infinite, as the crater’s been burning uninterrupted ever since.

But not all my mind-blowing phenomena are geological, lawsy no; our flora-fauna synergy is amazing as well.

Cool story brought to my attention c/o of Ariadne @
With over 1/5 of Pakistan underwater after a heavy flood, millions of spiders climbed into trees to escape the rising floodwaters. The water took so long to recede that the trees became cocooned in spiderwebs. The result is this surreal fantasy landscape, with any vegetation covered in a thick mass of gauzy spiderweb.
This bizarre turn of events may be a blessing in disguise, as Britain’s department for international development reports that areas where the spiders have scaled the trees have seen far fewer malaria-spreading mosquitos than might be expected, given the prevalence of stagnant, standing water. This catastrophe may be another lurching step in natural evolution, an event that kick-starts a new habit in insect behavior and a significant change in the region's ecosystem!

For much cooler expansion on this topic,
read Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad Trilogy.

This precious little gem is called the Golden Tree Frog, or Phyllodytes auratus. Found only on one mountain in the world, in Trinidad, it lives and breeds exclusively in only one type of giant bromeliad that grows high up in the canopy layer of the trees there. Visiting herpetologists found gold-striped tadpoles only in the bromeliads that had a single adult frog present, suggesting the parent may care for their tadpoles in much the same way as poison-dart frogs do -- by guarding and feeding them on unfertilized eggs. The frog lives in flowers that have been filled with water during a rainshower and will spend its entire life in a single flower; when they die they sink to the bottom and release nutrients into the water, allowing both the bromeliad and other frogs to glean their nutrients for survival. What an amazing, closed little universe, in the center of a flower atop a tree atop one lone mountain on an island, far far away. This may be more mind-blowing to me than fire pits or mile-deep shark tubes. A universe within a universe, like suds inside a larger bubble just floating in the sky.

How would those little frogs feel if they looked out of their bromeliad universe, to the outer petals and to the branch extending into an incomprehensibly larger world? And how would we feel if our furthest deep-space satellites sent back images of massive petals, hinting at something even larger beyond?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm A Time-Traveller...And A Pretty Generous One, Too

Linear Human Reality Timeline  v.  Kana Timeline
While we're not sure whether or not I was born this way or damaged in a car accident when I was was twelve (Apparently it's hard to tell at that age whether you're mentally injured or just a preteen), it is clear that I am now a time traveler. It's inconvenient, since I'm not driving the time machine, but life as a passenger has been pretty helpful in the development of my character. I am pretty easygoing about reality, because I so rarely get to visit, and don't get as emotionally invested in it as the natives. I just have to make VERY sure of a few basic things, like the content of my friend's characters, and that my automated reminder calendar program is up-to-date.

Let me explain: I can only use my memory as the most basic guide to past events, so I have to be able to rely on my friends or somehow communicate with my future self about something I've managed to recall NOW. Because my memory is so patchy, I frequently am not quite clear on the timeline that connects the current me with any of the past Kanas that have defined things like my persona, living situation, or the reason why there is now two yards of burlap sacking on my floor. (See last post for a hint on that one.) Automated reminders and good organization means I can function like a normal, capable adult while actually being a time-traveler.
Why do I have $11?
We may never know.

Making good decisions is also helpful, because at least then you're pleasantly surprised by what life confronts you with. Like yesterday, when for the nth time, I found cash in my pockets and I have NO idea how it got there. I don't use cash - I'm a debit person. The idea of a points system is more understandable to me as a concept than exchanging dirty manky bits of cloth for, say, 2 liters of Mountain Dew. (And then when hobos ask if I have any cash, I can say no with total honesty. Because Maui did NOT have beggars, and that's still hard for me to deal with.) Which means there is no good reason for there to be cash in my pockets; it's like an unexplained gift from the past to the (ha!) present.

The Kana that wore the stonewashed
jeans was very generous -- we like her
This sort of unqualified good news provides more emotional ballast to balance out times when the people in my life come up to me and say "You promised to come to my ceramics workshop tonight. Grab your coat, it starts in half an hour." In having faith in my friends not to take advantage of my time-traveling nature, I just wonder, "Did I...? Huh," and then go get my coat.

This feeling of "Really? Okay," promotes an easygoing but very unreal sensation that leaves me with the feeling that I am sort of "just visiting" reality, with the same good-humored patience of a tourist stuck in a Spanish traffic jam because it's the Running of the Bulls. So I'm a time-traveling tourist on permanent vacation...there's worse things to be.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I *COULD* Write A Blog Post...

...Or I could make my new leather belt into a utility belt by designing/making pockets for everything I'd take on an adventure.

...Come on, which one would YOU choose?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lips In Alaska: A Surprisingly Serious Business

By all that is bright and beautiful, it is finally Spring. The snow is on the run, I OPENED A WINDOW yesterday while sewing, I bought cheap yellow slippers. AND WORE THEM OUTSIDE WITHOUT BEING COLD. (If you call them flip flops I will find you and hit you with them. It probably won't hurt, but you'll be creeped out that I found where you live so easily. So DON'T.)

It's a balmy 45 degrees out -- almost a "real" temperature, I assure my Alaskan friends -- and stays light out until 8-something in the evening. I don't know when it's starting to get light out in the morning because to me, even 7 a.m. is still "night-time" and I don't ever wanna see it again. But anywho.


Dramatic "Avengers" silhouette shot
It is now the time to wash all the winter coats, while you still have some independence from them; because if it gets cold enough, you'll come crawling back to the laundry bin even though you know the coat needs washing. You'll slither back into the stink and shame, just to make it through these frigid wastes. It's a helluva place, the ol' AK.

So Kana was going through her coat pockets before putting them in the wash -- you only have to accidentally leave a Chapstick in the laundry once to NEVER, EVER do it again -- when she realized there was a recurring theme happening.

At least one pocket in every coat has a lip balm. Most of the jeans, too. And in the car. And in the Kangaroo insert that is my every bag. And on all the tables and counters. In fact, there's lip balm everywhere. They're given away free at the UAA Student Health Center. They're at every checkout line at Freddie's -- even the self-checkout. Apparently, the whole state is battling the cold dry subarctic climate in the pursuit of moisturized, silky-soft lips.
I guess I was ready for my close-up

I hadn't realized I was on the front lines of this war until I started going around the house, collecting all my lip balms, and put them all in one place; but I am obviously heavily invested in this approximately $2.49 a pop. (Be Advised: These photos represent only every type of lip balm I own. Multiples not shown.) Here they are, prioritized by awesomeness, with the suckiest closest to the camera for maximum shame: Blistex smells like eucalyptus and sunscreen (bleah and also wtf?) and kind of stings when you put it on -- not what I'm looking for in a battle for comfort, bub! An honorable mention goes to Carmex, which is not in the line-up, as it will not enter my home if I have anything to say about it; a lip balm so shitty it actually makes your lips more damaged if you use it regularly over time. Because why not.

"One (Singular Sensation)" shot
My candidate for most awesome is Nivea's Touch of Milk and Honey, which while totally presumptuous-sounding does taste great and do its job, if not actually fooling me into thinking my lips have found Paradise. Oh, sorry, a "Touch" of it. Not all of the land flowing with Milk and Honey...just a Touch of it. Because, don't be greedy.

Maybe like a traffic island's worth of the Elysian Fields, I imagine. It may not be what we got into this war for, but by gods let's take the victory, (wo)men! Because War is Hell.

Friday, April 15, 2011

My New Extreme Sport: Sitting Down

Disgustingly cheerful perkiness c/o:
If you don't know what Zumba is, give it a read!
So, Pants is exercising, and losing hella weight. She is officially "For Zumba". And while I am happy for her, I am an only child, and our first and third thoughts are always: But What About Me? The second one is of course Good For Her, How Nice, but it's in a sandwich of meMeME, and ain't nothin' competing with that. So I started exercising, three days ago. I am officially in Phase One.

Spoiler Alert: Phase One sucks. It is the magical time when you are still fat and icky, and now sore and stiff, so the small amount of physical activity that you weren't afraid to do is now screamingly difficult. In that you can barely stop yourself from screaming. My house is three floor's worth of stairs. Imagine my joy when after an exhausting Costco run with Sweetie's parents, (Me. Alone. With them. Yikes.) I am expected to haul all my über-consumer plunder up those stairs. I had just wrestled the Worst Cart In Existence* all over a superstore as it became increasingly heavier, and I was already Glimmering, which would be called sweating if I were a boy. Girls glimmer. They just do. They also whimper when faced with the Stairs of Doom.

Deep breath...
...for the whimper
I technically made it. Some of my dignity did, too. And THEN I worked out, like I hadn't already been for hours with EvilCart. And then, showered, re-dressed in normal people clothes, and ready to do some blog doodles, I was confronted with the Freefall Zone. This is a concept pretty well-known to pansy-ass exercisers like myself, who notice as their muscles creak and twinge in open rebellion, that there is a certain distance one can no longer sustain muscular control over while sitting down. This is most noticeable in low seats, like low-riding cars or old saggy couches. There is a zone of freefall, where you just aim your achey ass and then let gravity take over, and just hope for the best. And the landings are simply a joy, especially since your newly increased muscle density causes you to fall like a thrown rock. And the involuntary pain/effort noises totally don't make you sound like an old man after a hard day at the factory. </lies>
Freefall Zone
I now really sympathize with the elderly infirm. (I only empathized before.) It sucks to be in muscular distress, and to just sort of controlled-fall onto seats and deal with the pain of impact as collateral damage because you can't do anything else. And it's bad enough even knowing that mine is merely temporary, and not only that, it's also a hallmark of positive change; this is a part of becoming fitter. I have it way easier and I know it. Even if it is now my Extreme Sport. Hopefully there will be a pill for that nonsense by the time I'm a septuagenarian. Or at least have legalized physician-assisted suicide. ...j/k?

Evil c/o
* HoneyBunny's poor father PapaBill had gotten knocked over by one of those forklift things they drive around in Costco, and he was limping when he brought me my cart, so I didn't have the heart to tell him he'd found The Cart of Ultimate Suck. It veered strongly to the right, so I had to overcompensate to the left; it was impossible to steer in a straight line, and I made only vague zigzag progress, frequently having to lift my laden cart with just upper body strength to realign with the proper direction. I hit many things, although not any people -- but it was a close-run thing.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm sorry all my doodles have been in black and white lately. It's part of my frantic effort to maximize my time-effectiveness -- I get off work @ 6, make & eat dinner, exercise for at least an hour, shower, clean up the kitchen, get ready for tomorrow, and THEN am allowed to do something fun. This is usually about 10-something at night. Sleep is usually the favorite candidate by that point, but at least I'm trying. :)
4/18 UPDATE FOR Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress, who said:
where do i sign up for this new exercise regime 'cause i tried zumba for the first (AND LAST) time last week and i am still dying a slow death from my embarrassment. 

Well, Elizabeth, here's my foray into fitness:
Click to enlarge
So first, much MUCH stretching -- I use the ones over here on the left, since I do pretty much only thigh and gut exercises (problem areas REVEALED).  I do a 40-count on each stretch, so it takes awhile - but that's supposed to be the minimum amount of time to hold a stretch so that it actually DOES anything. Otherwise you're just practicing looking stupid, with no muscular benefit. So..."just do it," I guess? The 6th one down is the one I get the most out of -- and where I need it most, it's the big sore-spot. I sometimes do this one by itself in the morning if I'm stiff from yesterday's foolishness workout.

 Then 3 minutes apiece for these guys:
Standing oblique crunch

Side high-kicks
I will start doing 5 minutes apiece this week. Oh, funsies.

Then 20 minutes of watching anime running on the elliptical, take the stairs at my house two at a time for 5 minutes (trust me it's plenty) and then do the stretches again. It takes a little more than an hour, which is target for raised heart-rate. Wooo. No perkiness here; just a need for my upper legs to not look like canned clam chowder.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gee, Officer Krupke; It's A Social Disease


I think I might be suffering from Summer Blockbuster Syndrome, a social disease still rampant in America today. As spring begins to blossom into full summer heat, I suddenly come over like an 8-year-old-boy, wanting nothing more than zombie shows, Jurassic Park and Shark Week.

SCIENCE: This is a Pavlovian-esque response to the natural progression of spring to summer as the Earth's rotational axis affords the upper equator greater proximity to the sun in our rotation. After a collective lifetime of summer blockbusters rocking our lives with explosions and cheesy one-liners year after year, we begin to salivate in anticipation at the ringing of the School's-Out-For-The-Summer bell.       --Kana Wanas, PhD

As our house doesn't "do" television, but streams media instead, I don't get as much Discovery, AMC, History or National Geographic Channel as I might otherwise. Those who like to fileshare aren't usually gonna share educational documentaries. But I bitched and whined for like a week, and mah mayunn found me some Shark Week.

It went kind of like this:

Day 1 - Earnestness

Day 4 - Desperation
Day 7 - Creepy psychological warfare

He also got me all 3 Jurassic Park movies, because frankly I couldn't even remember what even happened in the second two. But at least it helped assuage my need for teeth -- I chanted "Sharks on legs" through each set of credits -- and boy, howdy, do they give you teeth. Those Jurassic Park folk love their raptors n' rexes (sp?). From start to finish, the land sharks were the actual stars of the show. I had a ball.

From the cradle... YOUR grave!

But now my final thirst goes unquenched; come on, Walking Dead, update!! The damn show is coming out slower than a Crawler. (See 3rd one down.)   I guess it takes a while when you literally need thousands of extras wearing approximately 14 pounds of make up apiece (according to stats I made up) but I don't care! Find a way, Hollywood! My tiny consumer mind demands blood! Sharks and dinosaurs are not enough to sate the bloodlust of the 8-year-old-boy/Sumerian priest-king I have become.

You made me this way, Hollywood. Don't wimp out on the monster you created. Speaking of which, plot elaboration: are these spiritual or science based zombies? What created them, how can it be addressed? I know it doesn't matter in the face of the horror of people who were once your friends and neighbors -- even family -- trying to eat your face, but I wanna know. Write in an explanation, darn it! Don't make me read the thing. Coz I'll do it! I'm *that* crazy. Crazed by my need for teeth and blood and horror in the sunshine.

Look at me -- I'm rabid for gore. Oh noes! I'm becoming one of themmmarghleblarglenyurrrrrar!

The End -- OR IS IT??? Dun-dun-dunnn.

And now a plagarized bastardized re-envisioned old favorite:

And boy can the lizards leap

Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke,
You gotta understand,
It's just my bringin' up-ke
That gets me out of hand. 
My summers are for action
for Hollywood's "coming attractions"
Leapin' lizards, that's why I'm so fractious!

"More Shark Week, plz!"

(interlude, prancing and choreographed machoness)

Gee, Officer Krupke,
I'm down on my knees,
'Cause no one wants a Kana with a social disease.
Gee, Officer Krupke,
What am I to do?
Gee, Officer Krupke,
Krup you! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Really" From Hawaii

Surprise; you can be waaaaay white
AND live in a tropical paradise
So there have been some doubts voiced about the authenticity or my origins, and who can blame them? Red curly hair, pale skin and a love for jackets matching boots does not scream tropical to even the poorest geography student. I also speak (type?) like a haolie – a white person. 

Well, I can’t help it -- my mother was a well-educated woman from the Mainland, and she taught me how to speak. I have been known to erupt into Pidgin (the local Hawaiian dialect + slang) with no warning while calling to institutions back home – like the bank, or the accountant’s – because I get better service that way, because they can’t see me and think I'm a "real" kama'aina. As Mom planned, I have a Hawaiian name, even if it’s for the other gender. But it’s enough to get by.

However, my face is fooling NO ONE – I am pale, I am Nordic, I’m too much of an indoor cat to ever get a tan. Besides, that would clash with the hair.

So, living in paradise? Only about 
20% as awesome as you think it is
People up here in AK express their incredulity about my origins when they find out – “WHY are you HERE??” is the most common response – but that’s just straight-up envy. There’s a lot of Polynesians in Alaska, so Hawaii is coveted but viewed as a peer, the OTHER satellite state. In the continental US, people seem to express outright disbelief as to my origins, and I’m not actually clear if it’s my white-girl appearance or just the exoneration of the islands to some sort of mythical level.

I once got to visit a land-locked state by staying with my Auntie Judy, who lives in Michigan. We’d met her in one of her frequent forays to the islands, which she strives to do every year. She really loves the beach, and although it’s prohibitively expensive she tries really hard to go. I should have reflected on that fervor as we drove to her hometown. It was summer, and the time of their State Fair. I had a blast, as back home there can only be island-wide and not State-wide Fairs, and the Maui Fair is pretty tiny. I was particularly enjoying the livestock area, as Michigan’s 4H is equivalent to Chicago’s Mafia in both far-reaching power and number of members. I was petting a baby goat (!) when I saw two little boys on a fence nearby. I hadn’t talked to someone from that side of puberty since my mother and I had started traveling, so even though I was a little older than them I wandered up. I’m not sure how the subject even came up -- maybe something about how big I thought the fair was and how cool their sheep were or something -- but the conversation suddenly honed in on where I was from. I hadn’t traveled much since I was a baby, so I hadn’t yet had much experience with Hawaii-born bragging rights. So I shyly gave a shout-out for the Aloha State.
This was met with a stony silence and an intent scrutiny from both of the fencegoers, and also possibly their ram. That might just be the way rams look at everyone, though…with a sort of doubtful scorn.

However, it left me stranded high and dry on a sandbar of awkward silence. I stood there, suddenly acutely aware of several things; primarily, my extreme whiteness. Also the fact that these boys did not know the first thing about Hawaii, where there are people of many nationalities browning evenly under a ferocious tropical sun, as actual Hawaiians are a bit thin on the ground these days. And finally, that these boys have probably only even heard about Hawaii from the ever-glamorous television people, and adult Michiganites, who probably talk about it with a reverence that would made it sound like the place where good Michiganites go when they die. With this mythos in their minds, there was no way these kids were going to believe some lily-ass beanpole standing right in front of them, even if she was a few years older than them and therefore significantly higher on the Juvenile Hierarchy of Coolness*.
The towheaded one squinched up his eyes and issued an exploratory strike at my claim:

“No yer not.”

I assured him that I was. Another foray was made:


Panicking at the threat of a seven-year-old’s nuh-uh/yuh-huh filibuster – a terrible, terrible threat, I assure you – I retreated to Cool Kid high ground. “Pssht, fine; whatever.”

This got them right where I wanted them; wide-eyed and admiring. Fools! They could not resist my disdain, which signified me to be not only a Big Kid, but also an emissary from the land of awesomeness. I gloated, I preened. I answered 7-year-old’s questions about Hawaii with greater or lesser accuracy. I even risked being condescending about their Great Lake which was both unfounded and falsified; I would not be visiting the Lake for another three days. I played it off. I soared on the wings of temporary superiority. I was from Hawaii; I was awesome.

It felt so good it almost didn’t feel like reality anymore; I might as well have been lying for all the posturing I was doing. As far as those two little boys were concerned, I was a god; either a champion liar or a foreigner, and either one is interesting enough if you’re sitting on a fence at the State Fair livestock pen. I still take it as a win.
*The JHC dictates that the older you are, the cooler you are, as you become more worldly-wise and are given more privileges. The system breaks down at the mid-teens, where the kids look as big as the adults, become Babysitters or Strangers and are considered The Enemy.