Monthly Archives: July 2012

Perfecting Vegas – How to Live Like the Movies

As much as I want to tell-all about my trip to Vegas, I’ll let the motto ring true — much of what happened in Vegas this past weekend, is definitely going to stay in Vegas… preferably somewhere hard to get to, like the bottom of the Bellagio fountain. After much YouTube research, I’ve realized that my 5’1″ self is much too short to climb out of that fountain should I ever decide to take a dip in it. That’s how I want much of my stories to stay — entrapped in a water tank filled with vomit and disgrace. (Literally, I’ve seen people vomit into that fountain before!)

But since I’m feeling generous, here’s how to get your own Vegas trip that will make The Hangover look like child’s play.

  1. Pick a fun group of friends. This seems obvious, but it’s not. Avoid going with people who “just want to relax and have fun!” Las Vegas is NOT for relaxing — if you want to relax, throw a towel down in your backyard and play the Jack Johnson station on Pandora. Why spend the money, deal with the copious amounts of makeup it takes to look normal, and expose yourself to the cesspool of germs that Vegas is accompanied by just to relax? Also avoid going with couples — alcohol will make them feud, and you’ll be spending the night holding the hair of your barfing girl friend while her boyfriend dials the 1-800 number off of one of those topless women cards  thrown around by Margaritaville!
  2. Clothe yourself in sequins. No explanation necessary, but I’ll continue anyways. They’re fun to find in the days to come in your hair, on your pillow, in places you’d never guess! Each sequin will be a little memory jog of how much you hope security cameras don’t really record everything… especially if you’re planning for a professional career. And yes, this can apply to any male readers too.
  3. Don’t sleep on the drive/flight over. Chances are you won’t remember a large portion of your actual Vegas trip of you’re the type of person who has trouble “pacing himself” when it comes to alcohol. Judging by my people watching skills, which are phenomenal, I’d say most people in Vegas have this problem. This means you need to be especially conscious for the ride over — doing whatever it takes to warrant laughs. An idea? Flirting with the people in the other car, and have someone suddenly “get carsick” out of the window once the other car starts flirting back!
  4. Dance on any available platform. I’m not the most skilled dancer… my dad scared me out of freak dancing, grinding, or anything of the sort when I was a high schooler. Before my first dance, he drew a diagram of what-not-to-do at prom complete with stick figures “getting their freak on.” I still haven’t been bothered to really learn — I’d rather not get approached by a creeper from behind anyways. If that happened outside of a club, the guy would find himself with a stiletto stabbed through his chest and a stream of pepper spray to the face. This is why I’ve taken to dancing solely on raised platforms. You can scout the immediate area and choose who you’d like to interact with instead of flopping around on the dance floor like a guppy baiting a predatory shark! It’s also an ego boost when you acquire “fans.” My friend and I happened to get three this weekend (nevermind that one of them threw a dollar at her…). Apparently some people still appreciate the robot, which gives me hope for the world! All of the other ladies on stage were displaying their sexiest moves while I did the robot and a sad form of the moonwalk for 12 songs straight. It’s all about the 21st century, baby.

    You can join our awkward dance moves fan club if you want.

  5. Obtain an alter ego. Thanks to my already “weird personality” and the ability to control myself, I haven’t really developed an alter ego for vacations. One of my best friends however, has. And her alter ego is amazing enough to put any person — reality or alternate reality, to shame. She’s a hilarious, witty, smart, and graceful dancer by day… prowling, clumsy, and foxy by night. Her alter happens to be named Mona, a name taken from a series of self taken pictures discovered on a digital camera on the drive home from Vegas — one picture perfectly portraying her alter ego that resembles the Mona Lisa — both in gender ambiguity and expression. Mona had decided at one point of the night to take a solemn self portrait, but did not notice that her lipstick had left her lips and ended up smeared among her chin area as a rash-like beard. Now, whenever any of my friends or myself doubt ourselves, we ask WWMD? What would Mona do?
  6. Start a splash fight. Hands down, one of the best parts of my Las Vegas weekend was going to a pool party at The Palms. I had been to a few of these pool parties before, including MTV Spring Break, but this particular one trumped them all. My friends and I looked into the pool and saw girls sipping drinks with their hair completely curled, makeup on, and looking fine. The males waded through the babe-infested waters attempting to make some moves. My first thought when I saw the perfectly primped girls? Cannonball. My friends and I cannon-balled right by the groups of girls, soaking their hair and drinks. The other girls bee-lined it out of the pool like wet cats while my friend yelled “BEACHED WHALE!!!” and belly flopped in their paths. The boys in the pool could sense the fun taking place and joined right in. I kept reassuring everyone, “don’t worry, I’m a lifeguard!” while one of my friends swam around with her palms pressed together on top of her head like a shark fin. The splash fight began to get out of control with everyone acting like five year olds playing a violent game of Marco Polo — The whole time I thought to myself, life is too much fun.
  7. Throw a faux bachelorette party. I happen to work with some of my best friends, and these best friends are the ones who accompanied me to Vegas. Contrary to popular belief, being a camp counselor does not pay a six figure salary. We decided that in order to save money, one of us should pose in Vegas as a bachelorette in order to score free drinks and entrances. We decided that the person least likely to get married should pose as this person. Any wild guesses to who was chosen? A tie occured between myself and a friend — we decided that we would say that we’re marrying twins, or that we’re marrying each other, depending on the person inquiring. While we didn’t necessarily score any free drinks, being a bachelorette is an effective method of fending off creepy old men. All I had to do was raise my left hand and point to the finger doting a mickey mouse ring. Boom roasted! The men would back away instantly.
  8. Bond with a foreigner. Since I am planning on escaping to Europe for eight months come January, I have a tendency of getting too excited whenever I meet someone from a country I plan to visit. “Tell me everything about your town! Where are the best places to go? Where can I meet people? Who are you?!” I love talking to foreigners and usually find that it leads to a more interesting conversation, not solely because of their accents. You can typically spot a foreigner by looking at the shoes, the pants, and the face. Europeans will generally wear nice leather loafers and avoid the tennis-shoe route, especially in the daytime. They also tend to wear shorter bathing trunks and style their hair differently from the majority of the crowd.
  9. Beware of promoters! Promoters are both a blessing and a curse. They can get you into the Marquee without a line, but it will come with a price. Your phone will forever be bombarded with text messages, “Hey! I know you’re in LA and nowhere in Vegas, but I’m going to annoy you anyways! I have three spots open at the …” One promoter was so desperate to get us to come to his club that he offered to drive us to it, free of charge. It sounded like a good deal, so all eleven of us followed him into the parking structure where he opened the door of his small Honda and said, “Squeeze in! Trust me, I do this all the time!” I’m no mathematician, but I’m sure that even the most skilled set of clowns couldn’t pull off twelve (including the promoter) people in a five seated car.
  10. Get married! (Except not really) If you play your cards right, all of the above will lead you to your one true love! As for myself, it happened in a more spontaneous manner. I had just gotten off the escalator when I spotted the most handsome man that I, and all of my friends, had ever seen. I dropped my purse… he picked it up, we locked eyes, and he said, “Ello.” Score! An accent! The only problem is, he was Australian and I am notorious for giving Australians a hard time. I like to tease any Aussie newcomers about how they can’t be trusted — being a criminal is in their genetics and they can’t help it. We walked on the strip of Las Vegas, and I knew we were meant to be when he took a hat from a man getting arrested and gave it to me. He met the rest of my friends and one of them dropped her jaw and exclaimed (over and over) “You are so hot! Does every man in Australia look like you? If so I’m moving there immediately…” The Aussie and I joked about getting married, but he had an issue with his passport and was trying to get to Baja within the next few days. When would we fit in our honeymoon? Regardless, the joke of getting married went on to be a hilarious concept between my friends and I for the days to come. Don’t worry though, he’ll probably make a reappearance when he travels from Baja to LA — and by then, the invitations should be mailed.


Summer Camp Curiosities — Week 3

I’ve been bad, and have already skipped a week of updating my (supposed to be weekly) camp series. But, this is my blog so I can do whatever I want and break my own rules. And there’s also the small fact that I haven’t acquired enough regular readers to feel too guilty about it… yet!

Last week I ran Splash Camp which is basically a group of 5 to 12 year olds. It may not seem like a huge age span, but it is. You have kids that need help going to the bathroom and kids who want to talk about puberty and have the Bieber-fever (correlation?). Getting these same children to play the same game fairly? Quite difficult. A 12 year old can kick a ball hard enough to lay out a 5 year old and knock out a few baby teeth prematurely.

Despite the creativity it took to entertain all of these children, (shout out to my awesome staff that week!) we had a great time.

One of my campers, a 12 year old, really wanted to Irish dance for the rest of the campers. Part of me was hesitant to comply with this request — she had no idea how short the other children’s attention spans are! The rest of me was ecstatic at the thought of a break from constant planning.

Irish Step-Dancing

The other campers circled around her after she put on her Irish dancing shoes… and clapped as she danced around. The kids LOVED it! It started this huge trend where every child wanted to come up and display their “talents.”

Some notable performances followed.

A boy who is obsessed with The Titanic — literally obsessed sort of bounced around with his legs kept straight and swiveling around randomly. I feared he would topple over and give himself a concussion because he looked as though he was getting electrocuted over and over and over after his body had set into a rigor mortis-like stiffness. He swore that his dance was an exact replica of the dance done in The Titanic… nobody remembers the river dance in Titanic but it was entertaining nonetheless.

Riverdancing Jack and Rose

Next came my favorite duo, two five year old friends who I like to called the “nuggets.” They stepped into the circle and one nugget began to beat-box with his hat tilted sideways, sunscreen streaked all over his face. To the beat of the spitty beat box,  the other nugget began break dancing by spinning around on his rotund little belly. They continued to randomly break dance throughout the rest of the week with unbearable cuteness.

Another girl sang the theme song from Arthur. I smiled nostalgically at the familiar tune but also wondered how such a bad theme song had stuck around for almost 20 years.

Mr. Ratburn still freaks me out

Then there was… the wizz incident.

The bad thing about 5 year olds is they tell you when they have to use the restroom… after they have most likely already used the restroom in their clothing. We went to the beach on Friday and I was beginning to get suspicious after seeing a few children digging holes in an isolated plot of sand within our cone boundaries… soon to be covered up and accompanied by a sewer-like smell.

To the children’s defense, we were over a five minute walk away in the hot desert sand to the gnarly bathrooms. Finally, a few girls told me they had to go to the bathroom NOW, and that it couldn’t wait. A fellow counselor took the girls to the ocean to do their business… when a 5 year old boy catches wind of what’s happening and decides to join.

Before any counselor can stop him, he pulls down his Finding Nemo trunks and begins to go as well. Thankfully a counselor was able to catch him before any other campers caught wind of what was happening… but one girl may have been hit by the stream. May have.

Todos Santos - Frothy Curl

The children put a whole new meaning into roaring waters

One child came running up to me bawling his eyes out. I asked him “what’s wrong?”

“I have….

“I think I have….

He put his little nub fingers up to his face and outlines a circle on his cheek the size of a penny.

“…A SUNBURN!!!!!”

Sunburns are the most frustrating to deal with at camp because I only order a million sunscreen application commands per day. “Okay little dudes! Before we get off the bus/go to the park/go to the bathroom we’re going to put on sunscreen and have a snack! Remember! Your sunscreen is not your snack!”

They resist putting on sunscreen–willing to endure the worst 3rd degree burn in exchange for one minute of laziness. I’ve tried every tactic, smelling them, looking for the shine, nothing was working. Smelling them got weird after one child yelled, “SMELL MY FACE!” and winked at me.

Suddenly, it clicked. I ducked into a corner for a minute and squirted a dollop of sunscreen in my hand.

“Okay campers. If you want to swim you must have your swim dot or your warrior streaks!” The kids lined up and I painted their faces with lines of sunscreen and swim dots… The pastier the kid, the more he or she was warriorfied with sunscreen. They loved it and proudly touted their sunscreened faces. The next day they lined up without prompting, solemnly waiting for their war paint.

Crucified (2)

Homeboy is ready to swim

This week, I had Waterworld Camp — and was able to work with my favorite age group (9-12) because this age generally understands sarcasm and we can move from conversations about whether dogs or cats are fluffier and onto a more existential type of conversation–such as do humans really not remember being a baby? Or was life so boring as a baby that it’s not worth remembering? Obviously riveting and mindblowing discourse takes place when you get to ages 9 and up.

Monday, we went to Knott’s Soak City and my group, named “Not Afraid” went straight to our favorite ride — the “Drop Off”

Red slide on the right is “The Drop Off”

Note: We changed the name to “Riptide’s Crew” after my kids turned bright red because I yelled “Not Afraid group! Gather here!” in front of teenagers — Riptide happens to be my camp nickname…but the five year olds call me “Miss Reptile” -___-

When you go off the Drop Off, you’re instructed to cross your legs and arms. The ride is a vertical slide that bottoms out at the end.

I watch the first camper go down the slide and wince because his legs are completely spread open and there is a stream of water shooting straight up from the force of the water funneled between his legs. He gets to the bottom and is shrieking… after a few seconds of wincing and adjusting his shorts, he waddles over to me in obvious pain.

“That was the biggest wedgie I’ve ever had.”

He catches his breath and a few more children survive the Drop Off.

Then I hear, “WE GOT ANOTHER SPREADER!” Once again, another child has his legs spread to a 45 degree angle and the plume of water is making its way down the slide.

This child too waddles up to me and says, “I haven’t felt that since I was like four!”

I didn’t ask any questions.

He continues, “…when my grandma gave me an enema!”

The elastic had stretched out in his shorts from all the water going through, he had to hold his pants up with both hands. He bonded with the other spreader, they waddled their way together throughout the rest of the day–sharing the aftermath from the experience of the atomic wedgie.

The Pacific Spin, another beloved ride.

We went to the beach and a few of the younger children were staying on shore to build sandcastles. I’d ask if they needed help, they all said no — obviously wanting to work as independent builders. I grew bored of simply watching them while the other kids splashed around in the waves. Every once in a while, a child who had been to Aquarium camp at another company the week would before would come up and show me a molting sand crab, a pregnant sand crab, bubble algae, barnacles…. etc.

I called the children in the sand one by one and asked, “do you know about the secret mission?”


“Okay, that’s all I needed to know. Thanks! You can go back and play now!”

“What do you mean secret mission!?” they’d all ask… as their eyes grew wide with interest.

I’d make them pinky swear they’d never say a word to the others about the “secret mission” and began to put each one of them in charge of “different investigations.”

I told one child that there was a secret black market of sand crab dealing going on at camp. Children were sneaking sand crabs back to camp’s ‘home base’ and exchanging them for rare colors of lanyard string.

After I told one child this, I could see his brain working to start putting clues together. He immediately named a child he thought was the dealer — a young brunette girl with big green eyes, because “she really liked lanyard string and her mom won’t buy it for her at Michael’s.”

“That’ll do for now… thanks for your help.”

He walked back to his sandcastle and suspiciously watched the Aquarium camp kid innocently digging up sand crabs from the corner of his eyes.

I continued a similar mission for each child — making each mission different. I need to find the kid who buried my binder, didn’t put the lid on the sunscreen, stole a cone… at random parts throughout the day I’d yell, “Secret investigators! How’s your mission going!?” and they’d put a thumbs up. The older kids looked confused but shrugged it off.

James Bond… or camper?

A few of the campers began to get in a water fight using the water from the cooler. I made a rule that the water fighters couldn’t get more water until they finished the water that was in their bottles. A few of them began chugging their water and asked for a refill… well, they began fighting once again. I yelled, “CHUG!!!” They chugged two more bottles.

The bus came and after ten minutes the boys began to whimper. One screamed, “I NEED TO SQUEEZE MY LEMON!”

We still had twenty minutes left until we got back… Their knuckles began to turn white from clenching the seats.

I stood up at the end of the bus ride and decided to do a few annoucements. I started my speech, “Okkkkayyyy we’re going to go over the best parts of our week and reminisce for a little while!”

The water chuggers screamed in uproar, “YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS!!!”

“Anyone want to tell me about their favorite part of Monday?” I asked.

The chuggers were getting seriously angry and started making their way towards me.

I finally let them go, they beelined it to the porto potties at lightning fast speed dropping their backpacks off as they ran. One child almost fell because he turned a sharp corner too fast. A few parents who were waiting for their children laughed at the scene.

Finally, we were talking about good things to come. One 10 year old boy says, “next year… I’m gonna start puberty and it’s gonna be flippin’ awesome!”

What are you looking forward to?

Summer Camp Curiosities – Week 2

This is the second post in my weekly series, Summer Camp Curiosities. Surf camp has sadly come to an end, but the highs (and lows) are now well documented.

If you missed week one, be sure to read it and come back! I’ve also written about a typical day at summer camp.

I love surf camp because we get to be outside all day, the children are pretty fearless, and I get to watch them either get womped by the waves, or catch a ride to shore — both are intensely entertaining. Most common type of wipeout? The nosedive.

Bobby Gorgeous wipes out!

This dog and my campers have a lot in common.

This week I asked the boy campers what they knew about true love, relationships, and dating while we all had lunch in the sand together. In between bites of fruit roll ups, gushers, and sandwiches (literally, their sandwiches are covered in sand), they disclosed their most coveted romance advice to me.

Here’s what they had to say.

On heartbreak and conflict resolution:

The Fruit Ninja, a 10 year old boy who ties his fruit-by-the-foot around his forehead like a headband said, “ladies ruin your life — they’re monstrous!” The Fruit Ninja is the same boy from week one who gave his rationale on why fruit by the foot is better than true love. I’m starting to sense a trend in his beliefs.

Another boy, one who usually gives the counselors a fair share of grief explained, “It’s a cycle. You spend money on the girl, you run out of it, and she leaves. Especially if she likes nice things like shoes. Then you have to go to the bank, get money, get her back, she spends your money, and then she leaves again!”

The Fruit Ninja threw his arms up in the air and exclaimed in agreement, “That’s life people!

Another of their friends, while wearing the spanx-like neon yellow rashguard expressed in frustration (while still chewing food), “I gave a girl puppies, bunnies, and California poppies. She still left me.” Sounds absolutely heartbreaking, right? Don’t worry, he told me he has a back up plan because he’s, “going to try again though but this time with a bulldog — fully grown.

The Fruit Ninja, while somewhat cynical for a 10 year old, had an opinion on relationships based off of real life experience. He explained that, “anything can work out as long as you get married. My dad says my mom tried to dump him ten times but never left because they were married and a divorce is so expensive.

Another boy chimed in, “If a boy doesn’t call you back after three days, dump him. That’s how long it takes to find a new one anyways! Especially if you buy a nice dress and go outside.”

“It’s better than crying in your pillows!” piped up a blonde with freckles.

Since we moved onto the subject of breaking up, one of the sweetest, most timid of children noted with a huge grin spread across his face, “The best place to dump someone is the Wild Animal Park… that way you can push them in the lion pen and watch them get eaten.

The boys began spouting off advice simultaneously, my mind and hand couldn’t keep up (I physically took notes on the matter).

“If you eat too much, the man is gonna leave.”

Guys like crazy girls only if they are confident!”

The woman is always right! In my family, my mom is always right. Especially after the night where my dad ripped all our drawers out of the dresser!

if this old life is done

On obtaining true love:

One boy had a lot to say on this manner — emphasis on a lot. Here’s the sparknotes version of his advice. He’s barely 10 years old and usually keeps to himself for the most part, but has a bubbly disposition and a high pitched giggle. You’ll never catch this camper surfing without his stylish snorkeling goggles — he doesn’t care that they fog up after one minute of heavy paddling, he powers through ensuring that his eyes won’t sting.

  • If you want to find a nice man, go to Paris… that’s the city of love. Whatever you do, do not go to Vegas because that’s the city of (he looks around and whispers) sin.” He looked horrified when I told him that another counselor and I would be going to Las Vegas next weekend… it looks like we won’t be finding true love there! He also told us counselors about his family secret–his mom and dad did something “that only married people do” before they were married, in Vegas. That’s why it’s called the city of sin. (We later found out he meant kissing!)
  • I choose clothes for my mom all the time — it’s a gift because they fit her perfectly. I know that I’ll be good with girls cause I’ll just buy them clothes and tell them how skinny they look.”
  • “Wear the boy’s favorite color at least once every three days.”
Paris... Or something like it.

Eiffel tower in Las Vegas? Loophole! True love can be found — or at least a dysfunctional relationship?

How do you know when things are serious? The Fruit Ninja knows that, “If you fly out of the country together, you might as well be married!” 
Anyone want to fly me to Paris?
One of the more analytic thinkers–a blonde haired, blue eyed, 10 year old with sunscreen smeared across his face and sand stuck into the sunscreen–explained, “If you want a classic date, go to Starbucks, Jamba Juice, or iHop. If you want a fun date, go to Chuck E. Cheese, Knott’s Soak City, or Knott’s Berry Farm. If you want a really really expensive date, go to Outback Steakhouse.

Chuck E. Cheese & I on a date

Another child had a method of testing and expressing true love.”When you get in a relationship, give the man a rose. Promise him you’ll love him as long as the rose is alive and keep replacing it”
A camper across from him shook his head disapprovingly, “Don’t do that, don’t make a deal. It’s awkward and will be like a business!
Rose In Autumn

Symbol of affection? Or strategic business move?

Secrets about men
Men love the lazy river and barbeques.

Something you wouldn’t know about any guy is that he doesn’t change his underpants as often as he should

Only nerdy guys write love letters.”


Noah the Nerd can write me love letters anytime.

There are some kids in my camp who can be classified as a Little Surfer Socrates. A Little Surfer Socrates is a camper who usually loves to talk the surf lingo, may or may not actually know how to stand on the board, and has many theories about why surfing is rejuvenating. I’m not sure if it’s the aura of the ocean, too much sun exposure, or from inhaling the spray-on sunscreen… but some children simply love to philosophize about what makes the ocean so wonderful.

When I’m in the water it feels like I’m one with the wave when it swoops me up and I ride into the sand and like I’m not even in trouble at home anymore.

They also claim that everything is a “trick.” If they are out of my sight for one minute, they did a vertical snap. If they fall flat on their faces while riding on the board, they meant to do that. If they collide into each other, turning their 10 foot long surfboard into a torpedo, they were trying to have a party wave of course!

Quote from "The Drifter"

This is the perfect picture because it’s a philosophical quote with a foam board and whitewash wave — exactly what my campers ride.

One time… a kid’s favorite starter line.

One time I cut my little sister’s hair off and I got sued… $2.”

One time I ran over a squirrel with my scooter.

One time I went hunting with my uncle and he got stampededed.”

I asked the kids what they would wish for if they could have anything they wanted. Most kids said typical answers like more wishes, money, endless snack stashes. My favorite however is from the boy with the bee sting (featured in last week’s post!) who said with a dreamy look in his eyes…

If I could have anything, I’d have a magical cat named Chester who could cook me a pizza anytime I wanted one and come to camp with me in my backpack!


Oh look, it’s Chester >:)

The children were gathered around a dead seagull in the water, fascinated by it as it floated back and forth with the tide. About ten minutes later, a boy came up to me laughing and said, “I was so thirsty, I drank some of the ocean water!” (despite the fact he had a full gatorade, and we have a full water cooler…) I asked if he thought it was gross because of the dead bird… he shrugged and said, “broth!


I asked a fellow counselor if he knew anything about investing in the stock market. A camper apparently eavesdropped and came up to me later that day looking very concerned…

Don’t go in the stalk market.” When I asked him why, he said, “my uncle was a stalker and now he’s in jail for following someone into the bathroom.

I bring you to a camper who deserves her own section — for the sake of privacy, I will call her Apple Juice.

Apple Juice is one of the older campers (12), and my small “ALERT ALERT SOMETHING IS OFF” alarm in my head went off the second Apple Juice showed up to camp the first day wearing a belly shirt so short, from the words of a fellow counselor, “it looked like she belonged in the Spice Girls.” If her clothes were dumped in the lost and found, we would most likely assume it was misplaced by a four year old.

We soon found out that her shorts and shirt were a direct correlation to her temper — very, very, short.

One minute she loved us, the next we were her arch nemeses.

On Monday, after a small temper tantrum, Apple Juice decided to tan out on her towel… breaking the rule of “always wear the neon rashguard” (so we can spot the children when they attempt to flee). Another counselor went to casually talk to Apple Juice, and this is where the nickname came about.

Apparently, one time, a small amount of liquid pooled in Apple Juice’s belly button and she had another boy suck the liquid out. Any guesses as to what the liquid was? Yes, apple juice.

At age 12 I had a pot belly, pigtails, and the only sucking of apple juice happening in my life was through a straw out of my Juicy Juice carton. Ahh, the good ol’ days.

I’ve never seen a single episode of The Jersey Shore, but it sounds like a scene that would belong on there. And it sounds like something that might have had something to do with Snooki’s pregnancy… so uncomfortable.

Apple Juice was beginning to make the frat boys at my school look tame.

The next day, Apple Juice and another boy who I lovingly call Mr. Pig (nickname taken from a song we made up together, not a reflection on his body type) were splashing around in the ocean. I look over and see Apple Juice’s fully exposed bottom and Mr. Pig nearby.

I thought, maybe it was an accident? No. I see Apple Juice’s apple about four more times within a 10 minute time span, and other campers and counselors were starting to notice as well — including our bus driver. Apple Juice was purposefully mooning Mr. Pig.

A fellow counselor pulls Apple Juice aside as Mr. Pig raises one eyebrow at me with a smirk plastered across his face.

Mr. Pig had been corrupted.

My 2012 Summer Sandcastle Pail List

I don’t care if it’s almost halfway through my summer, I still have exactly eight weeks left before I head back up to the University of South Central Southern California in Los Angeles to become a full time student, part time zombie–thanks to the LSAT, my love for LA nightlife, and a caffeine addiction so powerful I drink coffee with most of my dinners.
Castelo em Copacabana / Castle at Copacabana

I’m no mathematician, but I think I can obtain at least one item off this list per week if I rally hard enough and utilize all my resources (this does NOT include craigslist). I’ll throw a few extra events just in case I’m feeling especially productive that week. It’s a scientifically calculated number so complex that I’ll leave you with that explanation, modified for simpletons of course.

It’s named my Sandcastle Pail List to fit the overall theme — buckets are so fall 2011, and the word bucket makes me think of this boy in 5th grade who gave a speech on President Jackson. He ended his speech with a huge smile and said, “in 1845 Jackie-boy finally kicked the bucket!” The whole class laughed while my teacher gasped in horror. None of us knew what kicking the bucket meant, but I think the imagery of a president physically kicking buckets was enough to stimulate our overly active imaginations. The literal thought still makes me feel a little silly yet uncomfortable. We got a lecture on respecting the dead and after I told my dad what happened, he mentioned that Jack Daniels died from kicking a safe. Imagine my confusion! Was saying, “he finally kicked the safe” disrespectful too? My little mind couldn’t take it!

Philadelphia - Old City: Second Bank Portrait Gallery - Andrew Jackson
Basically, sandcastle pails are less depressing, more summery, and more useful for creating things than a bucket.

Alas, My Sandcastle Pail List. 

  1. Pick spherical tree fruits. I don’t want to limit myself to simply apples or oranges, I’ll settle for picking anything off a tree as long as I can snack on it while doing so.
  2. Take a foreigner on a tour of San Diego. My best friend and I did this with some French boys in L.A., and it ended up being a really great day! Some potential spots to meet foreigners: Pacific Beach at night, the zoo (where apparently hunting is forbidden?!), the beach — I’ll keep my eye out for anyone with leather shoes, floaties, and a speedo.
  3. Swim in the ocean at night. Just call me shark bait… maybe I’ll complete this one after I forget about this ordeal.
  4. Make and fly a kite. I picture the kite plummeting down towards me like a spear and hitting me right between the eyes. I still want to do it, though! Kitesurfing will meet and exceed this requirement.
  5. Watch a Shakespeare play. My love for Shakespeare deserves a whole other post in itself — I’ll spare you for now.
  6. Learn to play a song on the guitar. Will it be a heart wrenching score from Lil’ Wayne? Johnny Cash? Jack Johnson? Subscribe to find out! I’ve already been putting the word out on obtaining a guitar… so far I haven’t had the best of luck.
  7. Camp in the bed of a truck. I adore beach camping and have a lot of great recommendations for sites in California. It’s a summer staple that I have yet to do!  Sleeping in the bed of a truck is perfect because you’re raised off the ground and still remain secluded.
  8. Rollerblade at a skate park. Is this even allowed? Either way, I’m going to launch myself into a pit of cement doom just to cross it off my list. Hopefully the middle school hoodlums won’t pick on me like the last time I showed my face there.
  9. Go sailing. I’ll rig a bathtub with a sheet, ropes, and a pole if I have to.
  10. Send creepy, yet inspirational, anonymous notes to someone and get a response back! Any ideas on going about this? Should I just simply open a phone book and choose from there? What address do I tell them to respond to? Put the note response under a tree in the park? Aye, this one obviously has a few kinks to work out.
Honorable mentions (things I want to do, but not sure if it’s realistically going to happen)
  1. Hit a home run on my softball team. This isn’t an official list maker because I don’t have too much faith in actually accomplishing this. I’ve only played softball once in my entire life — it was last week. It was also our first game. I was so bad, the opposing team was giving me pointers and my team had to yell RUN!!! and STOP!!! My hand-eye coordination could use a bit of improvement. So we’ll see how this one turns out. Go Warhawks!
  2. Hang gliding off of the cliffs of Torrey Pines. $200 aka 800 gumballs… which is my budget for four days in Europe.
  3. Go geocaching. I did this in L.A. and my GPS led me to the shadiest of places just for a prize of a ziplock baggie with a toy soldier in it.

What didn’t make my list

  1. Spiked lemonade stand – most customers are drive bys. Drinking and driving is never okay.
  2. Going to the fair – I’ve been a few times, and I’m sad to say that the fair is slightly overrated. I love greasy food, depressed barnyard animals, and 10-for-10 rides (That’s 10 dollars for 10 seconds of a ride) just as much as the next person… but it didn’t make my list this summer.
  3. Saying “yes” to everything for a whole day. I work at a summer camp where kids come up with the most creative of questions (Can we splash each other in the urinals? Can I honk the bus horn just one time? Can you tell the devil I want to make a deal?). This wouldn’t apply to a weekend day either because I’d like to go out at night and that requires the ability to say no. Offers commonly turned down: creepy men trying to wife me up in Pacific Beach, any type of meat — I don’t eat it, my sister asking me to do her makeup… and hair… and wear my clothes.

Do you have a Sandcastle Pail List yet?

The 4th of July on Bass Lake

My favorite holiday has now come and gone, and this post will be a mix between a journalistic personal document of my 4th of July and why Bass Lake is the best place to watch fireworks this summer. 

Every year at 8 p.m., the lake has a no-wake policy and boats slowly make their way out to the dock where the fireworks are launched off of. Boats speckle the water with their lights on and land-dwellers line along the shore with BBQs and umbrellas. Horns honk and people cheer for especially impressive fireworks. Since the lake is in a valley, the booms echo off the sides of the surrounding forest. Sometimes you hear a startled child shriek and cry after the first boom, but it’s all part of the experience.

Sunset on the lake

Usually I take this as an opportunity to tread water (which is about 77 degrees) while the fireworks shoot up above me. The fireworks are so close, the ashes barely burn out before they hit the boats and water.

This year, my little sister and friend watched them from the comforts of an inner tube while the rest of my family gazed from our boats tied together.

My little sister and her friend in the raft during the fireworks show

It definitely beats fireworks shot at a high school football stadium where you have to fight your way through hoards of middle school lovebirds for a small patch of damp grass.

My 4th of July:

8:00 a.m. We woke up early to wakeboard before the lake became too choppy–the 4th of July is the busiest day of the year for this town so it was imperative that we made it out before the tourists and first-time boat drivers. Even my dad got his shred on, wakeboard style.

Note the awkward rope angle

10:00 a.m. After a fun and refreshing session, my little sister and I made matching patriotic fruit parfaits!

11:00 a.m. Followed by self made manicures — I admit that mine looks like a 2 year old painted my nails while blindfolded, but I’m still proud. My toes were done in a similar fashion. I feel like the next Kandee Johnson, one of my favorite makeup gurus.

There’s no non awkward way of taking this photo, trust me.

1:00 p.m. The lake is famous on the 4th of July for having a young, rowdy crowd, take over the island on the lake’s most popular cove. The lake is overall family friendly, especially compared to the river, but I’d hesitate  on bringing my children over here on this particular day. The little ones might be asked to take a “celeb shot” at one of the communal beer pong tables.

4:00 p.m. BBQ  time. We feasted on burgers, fruit salad, potato salad, and jalapeno peppers of spicy doom. The night before, my stepmom, friends, and I frosted some festive cupcakes.

8:00 p.m. We crept out of our cove and into the lake on our boat where we waited for the show to ignite!

Myself, my dad, and my sister getting ready for fireworks!

9:00 p.m. The show begins!

The moon rising after the fireworks show

If you want to learn more about Bass Lake and our vacation rental, click here.

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