Archive for April, 2008

City that I Less-than-like #1: Honolulu

April 25, 2008

OK. Before I get a sea turtle thrown at me by my Hawaiian friend, let me clear up one distinction here.

I love the state of Hawaii.

Is not in the city

It has a lot of things that I like in it: Shave Ice stands (pictured), people that refused to settle for living in California, and tiny stringed instruments (though I have to represent my Egyptian heritage and say that ‘Ouds kick Ukuleles in the sound-hole). Hawaii also has beautiful beaches, women, scenery, good Korean food, and I double dare anyone to go to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Museum/USS Arizona Memorial and not get a chill down their spine, especially history buffs or those of you with a veteran in the family.

That said, let us discuss the Aloha State’s capital city. Frankly, as a city it’s as underwhelming as Hawaiian gas prices are ridiculous. One should keep in mind that this is not a fault of Hawaii but more of an unfortunate side effect of Hawaii being what it is. People don’t go to Hawaii to be in a city. They go to have pope-endorsed intercourse, parasail, surf, and see volcanoes. Granted, you can do the former in Honolulu proper, but you probably already rented your car and drove somewhere more scenic for the latter three (or went with another Hawaiian island altogether).

So what is Honolulu good for if it’s not good for normal city stuff like nightlife, coffee shops, and sports teams? Prostitutes and ABC stores.

Prostitution: The only times I have been approached by prostitutes have been when I was walking around the area around my Waikiki hotel. Though I didn’t partake in their services, they were still a source of amusement for me. You see, they would continuously march up and down this one street looking for Johns with one or two police officers always about forty paces behind them on foot. It was either the world’s lamest Vice stake-out or the world’s worst sting operation, but either way I shared an internal chuckle with myself over it. The girls also had an interesting sense of humor (“Hey boys! Wanna buy an orgasm!?”). Must be why Honolulu has been such a ho hot spot since WWII.

Pineapple soda and nudie playing cards for the people!ABC Stores: For those of you travelers that feel squeamish about prostitution for any reason, here is your answer: Honolulu’s string of
ubiquitous convenience/souvenir stores. You may ask, “Owlyus Chamberlain, esquire! How will Hawaii’s version on Long’s satisfy my need for dirty, scary loving?” Seven words: Girls of Hawaii Calendars and Playing Cards. Hachi-machi!

Tanned nipples aside, these stores are pretty awesome. Where else can you get duffelbag-sized things of boxes of chocolate-covered Macadamia nuts? Seriously. The sheer bulkitude of the Hawaiian candy sold in these places would make Baron von Costco blush. I mean, it makes sense because you would want to buy a lifetime supply of the stuff for when you get home, but it’s still a site to see in the stores themselves, my brothers and sisters.

Final Score: 6/10. Honolulu breaks .500 simply because I’m going to have to go through it again to see any other part of Hawaii (not because of the prostitutes :oP), which I really need to do since I only got to see Oahu the one time I went.

On a half-related note, I just saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall (awesome!), and is it just me or has any Jew looked more like a mulatto than Mila Kunis in that movie? It seriously took me like 20 minutes to figure out it was her.

Things that I Miss #1: Apple Newtons

April 18, 2008

A little dry, but the stylus is made out of dark chocolate.

As much fun as it was learning about an antiquated version of a modern convenience I can’t afford and have no practical use for (pictured) when I was trying to do research, this posting is about the Nabisco treat that was 86’ed at some point when I wasn’t paying attention. Back in the good ol’ days it was Fig, Apple, and Raspberry. Fig’s OK but overall bland, Raspberry’s far too tart, but Apple! Zounds! Apple Newtons were the tastiest things in the world! Sweet, apple-y, soft, chewy (but not TOO chewy!), they were everything a kid could ask for, and on the practical side they don’t literally give you a shit-eating grin like Oreos.

Nowadays in a world where rock music has gone to the John and fell in (sorry indie kids, but I remember that Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and grunge happened), and high school kids are bringing cellphones with matching glocks to school there are no Apple Newtons. Fig and Raspberry are still standing strong, and some pretenders have come and gone (pictured), Bad. Idea.but what did they settle on for Appley-Bappley’s replacement? Strawberry Newtons! You can get strawberry-flavored food everywhere! Ever seen an Apple Starburst? No, and with good reason. Frankly not that much food tastes good Apple-ized (e.g. Sour Apple-flavored anything).

But Apple Newtons did! National Biscuit Company, you are fools for letting go of your strongest cookie (emm.. err.. “fruited cake”). Just as any true New Englander would tell you, if you can make something with apples in it, you should, and since these damn things were first produced in Massachusetts it feels inappropriate not to.

Not to be anti-SWPL, but I almost wonder if Apple Computers is behind this. Anyone that’s ever tried to download Penny Lane on iTunes knows a little bit about their history of pissing matches with similarly-named enterprises. Maybe Nabisco didn’t feel like it was worth fighting with a bunch of nerds with expensive lawyers from Silicon Valley just to keep their number two Newton.

Strawberry was safer for legal reasons. That’s what I’ll tell myself.

City that I Like #1: Philadelphia

April 14, 2008

Cartoonist's rendering of John Lieber last seasonOK Folks. I know this comes as a surprise as a first City that I Like, but I’m working up to the big one with some smaller ones.

Not that Philadelphia is a little guy in any way, shape, or form. It’s a damn good city.

My Experience There: I went down to visit for about a half a week last Summer as part of my tour of the Middle-Atlantic before I went to Butt-kley. My original thoughts going into there were “I have a couple friends in the area, and it’s a short bus ride to NY so it will be easy to swing both,” but it’s actually a good stand-alone city in its own right (redundancy intended). Its only problems are that:

  1. It’s padded on several sides by scary-ass ghettos like the head of an amateur boxer during a sparring match,  and
  2. It blooms too close to the HGH-infused-dandelion-from-Hell known as New York City. Seriously. If you took Philly and put it right in the Bay Area somewhere, it would kick Frisco’s ass AND out-ghetto Oakland. Besides, I’d take Boyz II Men and Rocky over The Counting Crows and Dontrelle “on the DL” Willis any day.

The main part of it is great though. There’s more than enough museums to fill my culture quota, lovely parks, Yuengling, and committed-yet-extremely-unlucky sports fans (though it must be noted how quickly Phillies Phans turn on their players if they are sucking. For the game I saw where John Lieber (pictured) gave up a ton of runs, in the next half-inning when he was at bat someone in the crowd yelled “Just get a walk! Then you can eat a box of donuts later!”). They also have an un-intimidating gay neighborhood, and Philadelphia is the location of the BEST 80’s night I have ever been to (though that’s mostly because the DJ played Eddie Murphy’s song “Party All the Time“)

Unfortunately both of the people I visited in Philly are currently in South America (odd, no?), so it may be a while before I go back. I totally will though. It’s too fun a town not to.

Final Score: 8/10. I’m definitely visiting again, I’d love to bike around it’s quaint streets and lovely parks, and I could see myself moving there for a high-paying job and/or true love.

Format of Future Posts

April 8, 2008

Now, when I first decided to write a blog, I wanted it to have a specific focus a la Stuff White People Like. However, I kept getting way too many good ideas (a common problem for the Omster, I assure you). Therefore, I decided to abuse the “Categories” function for wordpress and have several species of posts. Here is a tentative list of them:

  1. Cities that I like (three guesses what the first one will be)
  2. Cities that I don’t like that much (two guesses for this one)
  3. Man-crushes
  4. Regular-crushes
  5. My plan to marry into a large ____ family
  6. Other things I like/dislike and why
  7. Comparisons between things I like/dislike with one winner declared at the end
  8. Whatever else I say you should think.

If I end up writing a lot of crap about the same kind of thing but it doesn’t have it’s own category, I’ll make one. I’ll also accept requests for things to post about, but the ones that suck will get tore apart for all to see. A lot of things I’ll write articles about will be to describe uncommon opinions of mine (i.e. no articles about how Manhattan shits unicorn miracles from the Financial District to the park. For a better example, see my future posting of “Why L.A. is a much better city than San Francisco”).

See you soon, jerkies.