The Moon Isn’t Real, Donald Trump is a Reptilian Alien, and Other Stories by My Lyft Driver

On Wednesday night, I arrived back in California after a short visit to Fort Lauderdale. A few weeks before, I was complaining to my boyfriend about how boring people in California are and that I didn’t have much to write about these days. Everyone I know works so hard to maintain an Instagram image and no one really seems to let their freak flag fly. Writer’s block was real and alive, because I mostly write about all my weird experiences.

I haven’t used Uber in years, because between the former CEO and 103 sexual assaults reported against drivers this year, why would I? I ordered a Lyft as soon as I got off the plane and made my way to the curb to meet Raimen. At this point in time, the only issue I had to take up with Raimen was that his name sounded like ramen, which reminded me that I was hungry.

He helped me with my luggage and had a very quiet, yet nice demeanor. When I got in the car, he asked me how my flight was, except in a voice that was so soft, you would’ve thought he was putting a baby to sleep. His voice sounded like a mix of ocean waves and an old radio cutting in and out.

The Lyft ride was going to be about 40 minutes long, so while I normally don’t get jolly with ride-share drivers, I decided to strike up a conversation so things wouldn’t be too awkward.

Not only were things about to get awkward, they were about to get straight-up delusional.

We spoke a bit about New Zealand, because I was telling him I’d been on much longer flights. Out of the blue, Raimen said something that sounded like, “____________ …. ____… _______…….. Ancient Aliens.”

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I leaned over the console to make sure I heard this correctly.

“Did you just say Ancient Aliens?” I asked, because I honestly couldn’t hear him.

“Yes,” he responded, but didn’t give out any unwanted information.

“I don’t know about all that,” I said, but then decided to test the waters a bit. “Wait, do you believe in aliens?”

It was like Raimen had been praying to God every night for the past 47 years for someone to ask him this question. His alien theories had obviously been shuttered away and locked deep down inside his soul after what I imagined was something like a Thanksgiving incident involving his father flipping the table after he brought up the Reptilians for the 150th time in one hour.

“Oh, yes. I absolutely do. I saw them. Their space craft. It was enormous with four huge lights beaming down on me,” his tone and voice changed immediately to reflect his excitment.

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I’ve heard other sane people talk about aliens in this manner, so I wasn’t concerned yet. Some people believe in these things, so who was I to judge?

“Wow, that sounds incredible,” I told him.

A couple of seconds of silence passed between us, and then Raimen decided to really go for it.

“You know, aliens, they look like you and me. Except they have six fingers. They need an extra finger to harness their energy with. They can create magnetic fields with their hands and have the ability to transport people to different areas of space if they need to,” he said in the most serious voice I’ve ever heard.

I still wasn’t scared. Everyone’s been down a wormhole of alien conspiracy videos on YouTube before. I just suspected he had done the same, until he said:

“The moon. Yes. It’s not real. It’s been planted there by aliens. The aliens that work with the CIA. Aliens don’t trust the CIA, so they are watching us from the moon. When the astronauts went to space and landed on the moon, they had a conference to discuss the fact that the moon could not be inhabited. That’s why we don’t go back to the moon anymore and we go to Mars instead. Thankfully, the 30-foot giants are extinct, but they’ve found evidence of them there. Inside the moon, there’s tunnels and a space station for the aliens to live in. On the other side of the moon that we don’t see, there are five breeds of aliens living there. It’s not a good situation. Just like it wasn’t for the dinosaurs,” he continued on a tangent of epic proportions.

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“What happened to the dinosaurs?” I shouldn’t have asked, but needed to know.

“There is a bad type of alien called the Reptilians. They came down to Earth and they ate all the dinosaurs, which is why they are all extinct today. I mean science can’t explain these things. The Reptilians are horrible. They can control people’s minds telepathically,” Raimen dutifully told me.

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^ Google image search of a Reptilian. 10/10 in the Illuminati. 

He took a deep breath like he was about to tell me something big.

“Look. Aliens, they’ve been coming here for years. Not just in the 1960s. They actually met George Washington and Abraham Lincoln at the White House. People don’t know this, but they bring on war, destruction, and they control the minds of our political leaders.”

Technically, the White House hadn’t been built yet when George Washington was president, but logic or facts weren’t a large part of this conversation any way. Thank God I was able to hide my smile in the dark of the night, because I couldn’t get the image of George Washington in a powdered wig sitting down to sign a treaty with an alien who was like, “Look, we will help you build America, but only if you agree to let us spy on you in the moon for the next 1,000 years.”

“Like, Trump? I’m pretty sure he is an alien,” I joked.

“Yes. He is. He’s a Reptilian. How else would he have been elected?” he asked.

It was a good question and one that I honestly couldn’t answer.

“I mean, just look at his eyes. They are the eyes of a reptile. He isn’t human,” Raimen argued, but didn’t really have to convince me.

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I didn’t even need to ask about Mark Zuckerberg.

“A few years ago, Obama, you know him? He was going to leak information about the five types of aliens. He had already set up the press conference, but cancelled at the last minute because the Reptilians came down and said, ‘If you dare speak of this, we will transport you to another universe this instant.’ He cancelled, because he knew they would kill him.”

I actually had to cover my mouth to stifle a laugh on this one, because I couldn’t help creating imagery for everything he was saying. I imagined an alien barging into the Oval Office, saying, “Look here, mother f*cker. If you speak a word of our existence, I will use my six fingers to make you disappear into a black hole. Capiche?” and then just immediately walking out and slamming the door behind it.

In that situation, I see Obama being totally stunned, picking up the phone and saying to a receptionist, “That meeting about the aliens? Yeah, let’s just cancel that one.”

“So, what’s the first question you’d ask an alien if you met one?” I asked.

He took a second and laughed, as if it was the most absurd thing discussed in this conversation.

“I guess I probably wouldn’t say anything. I would just bow and want to touch fingers with them, because they communicate telepathically. But, I’d say that I would not be scared and I’d want to meet one,” he admitted.

“Do you believe in other things like Bigfoot and ghosts?” I continued firing away.

“I mean, Bigfoot, yes. He lives in the mountains of Georgia. That’s a fact. Ghosts, probably not. I just believe in energy. Not really like a spooky, scary ghost,” he replied.

Okay, wait. So, this guy seriously, hardcore believed in aliens and Bigfoot, but not ghosts? I was so lost.

We approached my driveway, as I was prepared to roll out of a moving vehicle if needed. He put it in park and began telling about this app called Gaia. Raimen started scrolling through the app, trying to show me more articles on aliens and being aware of the things around us that we’ve ignored. As I got out of the car, I noticed the car door was locked and I panicked a bit. He quickly unlocked it, and offered to give me his username and password for the site so that I could research it myself.

“I think I’m just going to go to bed,” I replied in a friendly manner, but one that also acknowledged I was freaked the F out.

He laughed and told me not to worry about the aliens, and just keep living my best life. As I walked towards my apartment he literally yelled out (or in his voice, just calmly stated), “Oh, and 9/11 was an inside job!”

That night, I was convinced Raimen would break into my house somehow and tell me more about aliens. But was his passion for our extraterrestrial friends just a cover up? The more I started thinking about his bone structure and eyes, the more I was convinced I had just met an alien. For instance, he was tall. Unusually tall. His brown eyes were almond shaped and large. Worst of all, he looked like Ted Cruz.

One might even go to the extent of saying he sort of looked… Reptilian.

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Stop Overcompensating for Your Sh*tty Relationship on Facebook

First of all, I want to preface that this post is in no shape, form, or fashion about one  person or a couple in particular. I see this weekly, if not daily. And I know you all do, too.

With that also being said, if the shoe fits, mutha fuggin’ wear it with pride, because it’s official: you’re in an extremely destructive partnership that no amount of couple’s therapy can help.

We all know a friend on Facebook who desperately plays out their relationship on social media like it’s the latest installment of Days of Our Lives. Due to their immense amount of issues, their problems can’t be self-contained and are unleashed like a bat out of hell for the entire world to view, like, and comment on.

About once a month, you’ll see a post come flying out of nowhere that has a quote from Rihanna slapped to the front of it.

And that’s when you know it’s serious. 

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When have you ever seen a photo like this and not been like, “Oh, shit! Generic, mysterious, and written by a 15-year-old on Tumblr. This is gonna be good.”

The caption will read something like:

“F U, mothur *&^%#@#$!!!! Rly? My step-sister? I wuld say I can’t bleive this, but BRUH. YOU AIN’T A REAL MAN. Pray 4 me durin this hardd time. Going to remember my fav Bible verse that’s tatooed on my butt — Euphesians 4:16! #yurapieceofSHIT #ded2me.”

Maybe that’s just my feed, because I’m from Alabama, but you get the gist of it. I bet you’re already thinking of someone you know that does this crap.

Literally the next week, they’ve made up and posted a wedding photo, followed by a 14-paged long message about their reconciliation.

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“To my Husband RAY: Yur a sun of a bitch, but I luv u. U know I can’t do life without you, bby. I luved you since we was a kid. WE GREW up 2gether. Thank U for standing bi my stand thru the worst. I will promise 2 always be the best wife in the entire world. Can’t wait 4 ur probation 2 b ovr. #dat4everkindaluvSHIT #ujealous? #kfc.”

Wait. Are they going to get divorced? What happened with that girl from Tinder? Did he cheat again? Is Ray’s brother still flirting at Thanksgiving? Was the restraining order dropped? Did Kim finally learn to love herself?

I missed the last episode!!! Someone catch me up!

I’ve never been one to air all my dirty laundry on social media, but I know that it is entirely possible to meet someone that doesn’t make you feel like you need to finish off a bottle of whiskey and then pretend to be the next Ernest Hemingway on Facebook.

Because, that’s called being delusional. 

I realize that some people are less private than others, but seriously?

I feel like when you constantly have to affirm your partner on social media that you care for them, there’s something seriously wrong with your relationship.

And by affirm, I’m not saying posts that are just simple, “I love you” posts. I’m talking about the ones that are written in the form of a novella and peppered with passive-aggressive comments. If you can’t say it in 250 characters or less, let’s just agree to put it in a Hallmark card and call it a day.

Here’s my reasons:

1. It’s a sign of immaturity.

When you’re 20, it’s okay. Fighting and making up on social media is fine, because you have nothing in your brain that fears the humiliation you will experience when you see these posts as haunting “memories” later on.

Thanks for showing me I got cheated on March 2, 2006, Facebook!

At 25+, I expect that if you get into a fight with your SO, you drop the bullshit and learn to talk about it in person, like the adult you actually are. Maybe, that’s just me, but I feel like if you’re unable to do that and only express yourself on a platform in writing you:

A. Don’t know how to properly communicate.

B. Are completely arrogant.

C. Probably not very smart.

D. Insecure.

2. You’re overcompensating for something.

Any time I see a post that goes on and on about how much a person loves their partner, my eyes roll so far back in my head that they briefly visit outer space. Sure, appreciation is cool, but unless it’s an anniversary or a birthday, what are you even doing with your life? Two to three sentences max, and it needs to have some kind of humor in it.

Otherwise, open up a new Microsoft Word document, write your love story in there, send it off to Nicholas Sparks’s publisher, and wait for a response.

No one needs to know your marriage counseling is working, Karen.

3. You’re pressured to do it by your partner.

This is an all-time favorite of mine: a man affirming his wife’s words in a cringe-worthy post about love. If you see something like the following photo, go ahead and contact 911, because this is a cry for help:

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Personally, I feel like there’s nothing sexier than being compared to the moon or being told that my body is “dainty, yet furious.” Also, I just want everyone to take a moment and visualize a woman who is actually brighter than the sun.

Now, that’s food for thought.

In this post, you’ll see something that goes something like:

“Even though our kids are in college, and you just sit in the house and drink wine all day, I realize that being a stay-at-home mom is incredibly hard. That Maltese puppy ain’t going to raise itself, is it? (LOL! – He still ain’t potty trained and it’s been 18 months!) Any way. Enough of the goofy stuff. Honey, I love you. I know that even though I work 90 hours a week, you work twice as hard as I do. Did I mention how I am thankful for you folding my t-shirt? ‘Cause I am. And I love how you make meatloaf every Friday. YUM! If I haven’t told everyone, I HAVE THE BEST WIFE EVER AND SHE’S STILL GOT A ROCKIN’ BOD, EVEN THOUGH SHE HAD 6 BABIES!”

What happened in this situation was known as The Great Bitchfest of Modern America. It happened approximately three hours before this post was typed, and will continue having repercussions until the end of time.

So, the point is: if you do any of these things, please stop.

Therapy works a lot better and actually supports your mental health.

If you’re with an insecure loser that only cares about their image on social media and feels the need to play out their entire life, including their relationship (fights, breakups, times that you might love each other, and times you’re just faking it for a cute pic) dump him or her immediately.

Otherwise, I’ll screenshot your idiotic captions about your girlfriend being prettier than a fresh load of laundry, and send them to my best friend.

Riding in a Creeper Van on the Way to New Zealand, Visiting Akaroa, and Attempting to Eat White Bait

New Zealand is basically like Australia’s cooler younger brother. There’s no poisonous creatures lurking in the bushes determined to kill you, the beaches and coasts are just as gorgeous, and to be perfectly honest, the people are way more attractive.

Sorry, Australia. It’s just true.

In October, my kiwi boyfriend asked me to go visit his home with him after one of our trips together. I had to ask myself if I was Kelly Clarkson, ’cause I had already been saving my tax return for a moment like this.

A few months later, I traveled to LAX, but in like the least coolest way possible. Because I didn’t want to leave my car at the airport, I decided to take this shuttle van my friend at work told me about. I made a reservation online, but was horrified when the van actually showed up. This vehicle looked like belonged to an actual pedophile, except it was filled with grown adults.

Let me make this clear. When you fly out of LAX, there’s this feeling that you’re the hottest new D-list celebrity. Even though you aren’t important, you feel important. Experiencing getting dropped off at the coolest airport in America by a 1990s white van that looked like it had just visited a prison, reminded me of the time my dad grounded me from riding to school in his BMW.

Instead, he dropped me off in his crappy old truck nicknamed, “Old Crusty,” because it no longer had a paint job. It was just straight-up rust. And it was a low rider. The wheels were essentially bicycle tires.

Imagine being 14-years-old, finally gaining a bit of popularity, and then all the sudden, your dad makes you go to school in the shittiest car imaginable. Looking back, it was probably an extreme lesson in learning humility, but it kinda worked.

We all sat silent in the van. There was an elderly couple sitting in front of me, and a man with a metal leg brace the size of my entire body sitting to the left of me. The driver apparently felt the silence was awkward, so started to overcompensate by talking literally nonstop.

In the span of about 10 minutes, he ranged discussing topics with himself about how crazy he thought Trump was, why we should make guns illegal, and growing up in Asia. I’m all for talking liberal politics and learning more about Vietnam, just not when I’m in a van full of strangers. The tension was similar to when I was a TA in graduate school and the entire class didn’t do the reading.

I felt bad for him, so I responded to a few of his questions. Oddly enough, a couple from Costa Mesa, the town I currently live in, picked up on my thick-ass accent.

“Where are you from?” the elderly man asked me.

“Oh, I’m from this tiny town in Alabama. I doubt you’ve ever heard of it,” I said, which is usually my standard response.

Normally, I add the fact that it’s between Birmingham and Huntsville, so that people can sort of coordinate themselves. I decided to exclude that bit of information this time, though.

“That’s so funny. My daughter and her partner live in between Birmingham and Huntsville in this little town called Cullman,” he replied.

Was this a sign from God? Was I about to die in a plane crash?

I immediately started panicking.

The chances that I would meet someone going on the same plane as me, in a scary van, who had a daughter who lived in the same remote town that I’m from had to be one in 70 million.

Although I was completely freaking out, we kept chatting, and about an hour later, I became best friends with Tim and his wife, Gail.

With my personality, I’m immediately drawn to someone, or I’m just not. Tim was interesting and I knew he had a story up his sleeve. I asked him how he met Gail, and found out that she was his best friend’s girl.

Classic Rick Springfield.

Before the two got together, they met at (I CANNOT MAKE THIS UP), a racquetball tournament. Can you imagine meeting your future partner at a racquetball championship?

I quickly decided Tim was a living legend.

Tim told me the dramatic story about playing on the same team as his future wife’s husband. They were friends for decades, but eventually the two divorced their partners, and then got together. Tim said it was kind of awkward explaining to their kids, since their kids grew up together and were friends. We then talked about how to properly mesh families after a divorce, which is something I know little to nothing about.

God, I love old people.

Since I now knew basically everything about their lives, they cruised around airport security with me, and we found our gate to get on the plane together. Thereafter, I drank three glasses of wine to basically serve as a horse tranquilizer.

I’ll spare you the boring details of the actual flight itself, but let’s just say I sat beside a Chinese man who did blood circulation exercises for 12 hours. It was a lot of fist pumping, up-and-down stretches, massages, and other weird techniques that I tried to avoid eye-contact with.

I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve the people I sit by on airplanes, but it had to be on par with burning down an orphanage.

I landed approximately two minutes after I finished Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. It was a great movie, but I didn’t have much time to reflect on it. I was hungry and needed to eat before my next flight. After getting a small breakfast in New Zealand for $4.7 million dollars (everything is insanely expensive there), I traveled through domestic flights, got on my next plane, and cruised down to Christchurch from Auckland.

I rushed through customs to be met by my boyfriend, who was holding a bouquet of flowers like the cutest person in the whole world.

We grabbed my bags, and headed on out to Akaroa, where his cousin was getting married. We stuffed my luggage into his dad’s 1980s convertible Porsche, and  jetted off like two escaped mental asylum patients.

There’s not many things I dislike about my boyfriend, which is probably why we are still together, but I HATE the way he drives. I’ve always been terrified that I will die in a car accident, and thanks to him, I always feel one step closer to Jesus when we are on the road. My imaginary brake pedal is constantly being floored when he’s spinning around a curve at 800 miles per hour.

Okay. Rant over. But seriously. I could kill him.

After a quick lunch filled with eavesdropping on a couple fighting about an abundance of weight loss, we finally made it to our cute little hotel.

The town we were hanging out in for the weekend was a picturesque old French settlement. It was here that I met Riley’s entire family, including his 9,000 aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, and cousins twice removed.

It was the full-blown Gibson bash of the century.

Like my boyfriend, his entire family also appeared to be extremely extroverted. I have always been a bit reserved and quiet when I don’t really know people. I’m a great listener, though, so I enjoyed talking to them and hearing all their stories.

In all of this, I learned where Riley gets his talkative nature from. One of his uncles even told us about the time Colonel Sanders, yes, that Colonel Sanders, said he made the “best goddamn lemonade” he ever had.

It was a whirlwind of masterful storytelling, subject jumping, and good times. I got lost in about 99.9% of it, but I was happy to observe and drink wine.

Two of his uncles are Michelin star chefs, so it was a nice change to not see memaw and a gang of aunts scrambling around in the kitchen to prepare everything. Plus, I didn’t have to pretend to like any of the food, because it was actually good.

Except for one thing. And this is just a personal opinion based entirely on being American. 

For breakfast, Riley’s dad placed a hash brown in front of me. It looked good, until I realized that it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was. Something was peering back at me from within the “potatoes.”

As I investigated this hash brown more carefully, Riley’s dad confirmed my analysis by telling me exactly what this thing was. Turns out, it was something called “white bait,” which is considered a New Zealand delicacy. It consists of eggs and about 20-30 tiny sardine-like fish.

Basically, eating this thing was the equivalent to taking a sip of water, and then it turns out to be vodka.

I did try it, but experienced a significant amount of trauma from staring into each of the tiny fishes’ period dot-sized eyes.

To put it lightly: this wasn’t something on the Waffle House menu.

I tried to show my appreciation, and then quickly passed the plate down to Riley, who scarfed it down in a nanosecond.

Akaroa was a lot of fun, especially Riley’s cousin’s wedding. It was in a beautiful venue, on top of a huge hill/mountain that overlooked the ocean. For close to two hours, Riley cried during the ceremony and speeches. I remained steady, and drank 902 glasses of champagne. We all got pretty hammered, floated down to the cabin with the dance floor and food, and drunkenly mingled with one another.

I promised to include the wedding officiant in my blog, so shout out to her. She was super cool, very inclusive, and honestly made me reconsider ever having a wedding. I feel like most weddings are a waste of thousands of dollars (that my parents are certainly not going to pay for), and I find them to be a bit too old-fashioned for my taste, but I did like how this particular one was done.

After about a three-hour conversation with her, the last thing I remember is someone grabbing my head and trying to twist it off with their bare hands.

I woke up in complete agony from this move straight out of Derek Zoolander’s playbook.

After I no longer needed a neck brace, we went on a dolphin tour, where I got to get pretty up close and personal with some Hector’s dolphins. These baby cuties are the world’s rarest and smallest dolphin. They are only about three-feet long, and have light gray bodies with dark gray markings. I also saw three penguins, which melted my heart, and a couple of sunbathing seals.

I also saw two massive stingrays floating around in the ocean, which further compelled me to never get in the water.

RIP Steve Irwin.

Other notable activities in Akaroa included visiting two cemeteries, like the true creep I am, and discovering a parallel universe called The Giant’s House.

The Giant’s House is basically the inner workings of what an acid trip looks like. Think demented, yet beautiful scenery from The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. Ten-feet tall glass mosaic statues seemed to roam through this enchanting garden. Naturally, I loved it, and felt compelled to live on the property throughout my remaining years on Earth.

Akaroa was a blast and I know I’m leaving out a lot of people, events, and things that we did, but I just wanted to hit a few of the highlights before I moved on to my next blog about other places in New Zealand that I visited. I did a lot in the week and a half I was there, so I’ll continue writing it in small segments, so I don’t overwhelm anyone who actually wants to read this.

Actually, nevermind. At 2,000 words, this is overwhelming.

I Accidentally Went to a Restaurant Entirely Made Out of Garlic

This past weekend, I decided to drive up to LA to hangout with one of my friends who lives there. Although I try to avoid this place like the plague, I knew that having dinner there would mean we could actually go somewhere a bit off the beaten path. Ultimately, my restaurant choice was more like swerving off the road, falling into a ditch, and driving off a cliff like Thelma and Louise.

Despite the fact that driving past the LA county sign automatically causes me to act like an emotional basket case thanks to the traffic and obscene amount of 40-year-old women in tall black boots, mini skirts, and Botox-dripping faces, my least favorite place in the world does have some really great restaurants.

The Stinking Rose was on a lot of “Must-Go to Restaurants in LA,” articles, and from the pictures of Yelp, it seemed relatively unique and quaint.

Maybe, I could actually get into being a foodie in LA.

After I had a quick five-minute panic attack parking my car at my friends house, we got into a Uber and headed to this “hot spot.” I put the words “hot spot” in quotations, because apparently some bloggers like to throw around this term liberally.

As soon as we walked in, I knew this was way more than I had bargained for. If I had to describe this place in one sentence it would be: A garlic lover’s paradise, complimented by a dash of absurd-ism, realism, carnival-ism, and a devilish nightmare.

When we first walked in, we were hit with the powerful smell of 90,000 garlic bulbs. Honestly, it was strong enough to make my eyes water, but eventually I became acclimated to the garlic seeping into my skin, hair, mental-state, and soul.

“Can you imagine if a guy took you here on a first date?” my friend Paloma asked me.

“They really did not disappoint when they said it was a restaurant full of garlic. I thought it was just a reference to the menu,” I replied, as a waitress with a giant garlic bulb hat walked past me.

The weird thing about this place was that it wasn’t cheesy. It was almost like a hyper-realistic version of a bad dream. Most dreams don’t necessarily make sense, but sometimes they can be incredibly detailed, which makes them feel real.

This restaurant was giving me an existential crisis.

While we waited, we noticed a young lady standing in the corner. And by that, I mean, we saw a stuffed doll dressed like a glamorous Hollywood star lurking in the shadows.

“Garlic Rose likes to have her photo taken with you, but be careful. She’s a delicate girl,” the sign beside this demon-possessed entity playfully teased.

The sight of Garlic Rose made my stomach churn.

Garlic Rose stood at a sickening 4’8, her bulbous head misshapen, and her skin made out of the same material as the Muppets. Actually, now that I look back on it, she looked exactly like Sloth from the Goonies, but with makeup and a dress on.

“Look at that bitch,” my friend said out loud in her thick Mexican accent, staring at Garlic Rose like she did not trust her.

“I feel like she comes alive at night. I’m honestly getting a bit creeped out here,” she continued, still eyeing Garlic Rose down.

Right about then, our buzzer went off and we were seated in a small aisle titled, “Garlic Lovers Lane.”

Garlic Lovers Lane was just a row of indoor black and white striped Parisian-looking tents, but we knew there was more to the restaurant then just this, so we asked to be seated in the main dining area.

The host led us into a floor-plan that included one large room, with two smaller side rooms. The smaller room to the right housed half of a carousel.  In essence, the whole thing had a very American Horror Story feel to it.

The interior of the main room looked like the poor man’s version of the Venetian in Las Vegas. The space was filled with more black and white striped Parisian tents and a few booths, while the walls were covered with degenerate artwork and a few autographs from celebrities.

But mostly degenerate artwork.

My eyes focused on a Picasso replica that included two people in a sexual act of sorts, with their pickles and dickles covered up with, you guessed it — garlic bulbs.

I continued scanning the wall, only to find the famous painting “American Gothic” represented by two people with garlic shaped bodies.

Both sides of the room looked like a fake house, complete with a balcony and colored Christmas lights. At the top of one balcony, two three-foot hotdogs were doing what looked like the can-can.

What in the….

In the middle of the floor, there was a sign that pointed in different directions to particular areas of the building, including Dracula’s Way and Garlywood.

Since I have a morbid sense of humor, I found this funny, but there was no time for laughter, as I slowly began getting choked out by the thick garlic smog in the air. By the end of this experience, I felt like I needed an oxygen mask to start breathing normally again.

There were tiny hot air balloons, regular balloons, and clouds hanging from the ceiling.

I felt exposed in this garlic carnival meets Hollywood, meets Dracula’s castle, meets the modern art movement, meets Yoshi’s Story, meets Up, meets Venice, Italy.

By now, my friends should know not to allow me to pick a place to stay at or eat. I’m always going to go for the weirdest experience possible, so that I can write about it later.

Like the time my boyfriend tasked me with finding an Airbnb in Seattle, so I naturally selected one with a strange host and house. The host later sang “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics with his friend who played the cello, and another man who did not know how to play the guitar, but painfully tried. We watched in awe as the least talented of the three kept screaming out like the first man to discover fire.

Back in Garlywood, we were trying to decide what we were actually going to eat from a menu that was saturated with garlic. Garlic was literally in every single dish, including the ice cream.

I decided to get a steak, which ended up being a very poor decision.

The restaurant was packed, and as more people moved in for dinner, it felt nauseating, but an exciting way?

Through this strange lens, everyone looked like some freakish cartoon character. It felt like taking peyote in the desert.

The food was unimpressive, and it was clear that the restaurant was selling an experience, rather than a five-star meal. My steak seemed to have been boiled, which I knew this place was twisted, but boiled steak? That’s just wrong. The good only part of my meal were the two easiest things not to fuck up: mashed potatoes and bread. For $40, I’d say save your money and pass on eating at The Stinking Rose, no matter how much you love garlic and dadaism.

Even typing this is giving me heartburn of epic proportions.

Our last stop of the restaurant was the bathroom, which apparently did not receive any garlic love. It was just a regular old bathroom. At this point, I would’ve given up, too.

Before leaving, I politely told a girl that her dress was tucked into her underwear. Her entire butt cheek was exposed and ready for the world to see. She fixed her dress, gave me a dirty look, and didn’t even say thank you.

Ummm…. bitch? You’re welcome?

excuse me wow GIF by Mashable

I literally just saved your ass. I know I’d bow down and kiss someone’s feet if they helped me not walk around Beverly Hills with my entire butt cheek hanging out, but maybe that’s just me.

We left the garlic restaurant agreeing to never go back again, but that it was an interesting experience. Not one that I’d necessarily recommend to others, but I’ll give props to whoever created the place. I went home feeling like I had enough garlic on my breath to breathe life into a bland pasta dish.

I ended the night by brushing my teeth 14 1/2 times.

Overall review of The Stinking Rose:

Food: 3/10 stars.

Entertainment: 7/10.

Total Overall: 5/10

I Got Attacked By a Demon-Possessed Cat, Here’s How it Went

I decided to start off the New Year by taking on the challenge of owning a new pet. I felt like my pet fish, Baby Drac Drac, was getting a bit lonely and he needed a companion to keep him company during the day.

In the beginning, Dracula was sort of a test trial pet, since he was so easy to take care of.

Until I almost killed him.

A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out his tank, and filled it back up with warm water. To me, it felt fine, plus I read that betta fish like their water a bit hotter than usual. When I dropped him back into the tank, he became disoriented and started swimming completely upside down.

As he launched himself across the top of the water like a skipping stone, he embodied what a fish scream looked like. In this moment, I will admit that he was spectacular in every sense of the word. For a few seconds, he appeared to be doing a disturbing impression of Shamu from SeaWorld, which I knew was not really something a fish should be doing, but wow, good for him.

10/10 stars.

Even though he was very clearly seeing the light and going towards it, I still hadn’t actually done anything to help him, because I was mesmerized by all the weird shit he was doing.

I snapped out of it, as soon as he began trying to JUMP OUT of his tank. He’d swim completely upside down, gain some momentum, rocket all the way to the top, and then shoot himself out of the water at 720 miles per hour.

My fish was turning himself into a North Korean missile.

This is when I started to get alarmed. His failure to launch told me I better act quickly before he shot himself out onto the kitchen floor and died in the most dramatic way possible.

Like son, like mother. 

I filled up a glass of water, caught him, and threw him into the cup. He looked like he was having an asthma attack. Finally, he calmed down and started breathing normally.

Poor guy. 😦

At the pet store, I had to consider my track record with Dracula.

Although I hadn’t completely committed to the idea of having a new animal, I decided to browse by the cats, to see if there was one that I’d immediately fall in love with. I’m allergic to cats, so I knew there wasn’t much of a possibility of me getting one, but just in case, I’d better go check.

At the end, there was a huge orange tabby cat named Red.

“Interested in playing with one of the cats? They probably need the attention,” an attentive older gentlemen asked me.

Red did look pretty cute…

I walked into a small room behind the cages, and the two cat guardians let Red out. He came to me immediately, and began rubbing up against me. It was apparent that he definitely enjoyed being out of his cage. The poor thing was so sweet, until he tried committing multiple cat felonies.

After a few scratches behind the ears, Red decided it was time to attack everything within eye sight.

He looked over at the cat in a cage standing in front of him.

WRRRRREEEEEENNNNNNOOOOW!!!!!!” he screeched, hissing and swatting at another cat through the bars of its cage.

The other cat didn’t even flinch. She was apparently used to Red’s mood swings.

Red!” the old man yelled at him, appalled by his behavior.

“He’s not quite been socialized with other animals yet. He really needs to be alone,” the woman who was also helping said, as Red proceeded to scale the wall with his claws.

Inside my head, I imagined him tearing my couch into 9,000 tiny pieces of fluff.

“He’s a good climber,” I dryly pointed out, as Red reached the corner of the ceiling like a possessed person.

“Oh, wow. Yeah, he’s not really supposed to be doing that,” the man expressed, watching as Red struggled to get himself back down to Earth.

After doing a nails-down-the-chalkboard type of exit, he landed swiftly back on the ground and quickly got back to attacking more of the cages.

Granted we are in a 3 x 6 room, so I’m trying to guard my vital organs, knowing my own attack was imminent.

Running full speed ahead, he was clearly about to go for one of my legs, like one of those German Shepards that attack people in full body suits. Thinking quickly, I said a quick prayer and kicked a jingly ball across the room, thus creating a distraction between us.

He went for the ball, thank God. That would’ve been a war story for the ages.

“Yeah, we also have a small dog. Pretty sure Red would try to kill him,” I said joking, but also totally serious.

If I decided to adopt Red, we’d be plotting Bear’s funeral within three days,

“Understandable. He had a rough kitten-hood. We’re still working out the kinks with him. He’s actually gotten a lot better over the past few days. This is actually the best I’ve ever seen him behave,” she said, still trying to make a hard sell.

Adopting a cat does not fall under a basic-bitch Marilyn Monroe quote.

I’m almost positive that I couldn’t handle Red at his worst, if this was his best.

The two attendants then began having a conversation about fostering cats. I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt them, so I stayed in there, listening and occasionally saying things like “oh, wow” every now and then to show I was paying attention.

“Yeah, I told her that I would take the cat, because that homeless man can go walking down the Santa Margarita Trail, but that cat is not going to be walking the Santa Margarita Trail,” the man passionately retold his account of his latest foster cat.

“Really? Oh, wow,” I said back.

My focus was more on Red, than anything else. He was about two inches away from me, freaking out and hissing at another cat. Every so often, he’d veer away and attack my shoe string, then go back to physically assaulting the other cats.

Before saying goodbye, I turned to see him using the wall as a scratch post. I hope he gets adopted by someone with the patience of Mother Teresa, God, Jesus, the pope, the Holy Spirit, and 800 kindergarten teachers.

After that brief moment of terror, a snail seemed like a much more logical pet for me. Low maintenance, less stress, and would have no effect on my physical well-being. No one wants to live with a bully.

I carefully picked out a snail, which I later named Lord Snellington, since I’ve been watching an unhealthy amount of Downton Abbey lately.

I brought the snail home, and introduced Dracula to his new tankmate.

Remember four sentences ago when I said no one likes a bully?

Okay, apparently I raised my fish to be a bully, because the next day, Lord Snellington was nowhere to be found.

I scanned the tank for his tiny shell before I went to work, but he was not in there. I assumed the worst and decided Dracula had probably eaten him during the middle the night.

Sounds like something a fish named Dracula would do, right?

Great. There goes $1.50 down the drain. I hope he at least tasted good, but considering he had royal blood, I’m sure he did.

When I arrived back home, I checked for the Lord again. He wasn’t anywhere in sight, until I found him hiding in a small hole at the top of Dracula’s fake root.

The Lord was alive, but terrified.

It didn’t seem like Dracula was really messing with him, but either way, he did not really enjoy being his friend.

Well, this morning, I’m proud to announce, Lord Snellington of Newport Beach is officially unafraid of his brother, and was out and about this morning, grazing on whatever snails graze on.

Also, I’m not sure if snails can be both male and female? So the Lord might be a lady?

Stayed tuned, as I research this topic more intently.

My First Sexual Harassment: A Coming of Age Story

After graduating from college, I moved to Nashville, and developed my own #meToo story, filled with sexual harassment and an attempt to dissolve my self esteem.

My first real job was as an assistant to a wannabe business mogul who owned a recruiting company. At the interview, he seemed normal and nice. There was nothing that I saw from him that indicated there was any red flags that I should be aware of. Plus, I was so eager to move and start adult life, that I’d been willing to take a job as a janitor.

I’ve always interviewed well, so I wasn’t surprised when I got the job. I moved all my things into a cute three bedroom apartment in East Nashville. I seemed to be making enough money to support myself, so that was really cool, but like I said, shit was about to get crazy.

By the end of the year, I’d have a 60-year-old truck driver living in my basement that the maintenance man found. But, we’ll save that story for another day.

My first day of work, I almost got stabbed by a homeless guy carrying a knife. I was having coffee with my new boss’s old assistant, when he came walking up to us carrying a weapon. He asked for money, which I showed him I did not have on me. Obviously there was a mental issue going on, so I spoke calmly to him and he eventually walked away.

Based on what happened over the next few months, I probably would’ve rather been stabbed by a rusty knife.

Day 2: I had a 7:00 a.m. meeting with Josh, my new boss. We went to one of the nicer restaurants in Nashville for breakfast where we proceeded to get to know each other a little better.

I told him normal things about myself like: I love to read, write creative stories, hangout with my friends, and shop for antiques.

Josh, on the other hand, apparently felt the need to explain that he did NOT have a small penis.

“The first thing you need to know about me is that I love blondes with huge tits,” he leaned over at the table looking at me directly in the eyes to gauge my reaction.

Well, I had one of those two things at the time.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This was literally my first meeting with my boss, who had apparently Anamorphed into a sexist pig directly after I was hired.

“My old assistant was blonde with the biggest boobs you’ve ever seen in your life. God, she was such a hot piece of ass. One night, I got really really drunk and decided to text her. I asked her to come to the office to meet me, so my wife wouldn’t find out. She had a thing for me, too, you know. She wanted me. But, see I was married and had a baby on the way,” he took a breath.

He was saying this in one giant long sentence without pause. It was like he was just dying to explain that he almost got laid once, and it was like the coolest story anyone had ever heard.

I cannot control my facial expressions, no matter how hard I try. I was cringing out of my seat, while my face resembled this symbol:


“Any way, I tell her to meet me there. When I got there, I realized, I left my keys to the office back at the bar. So, I couldn’t get in. I honestly believe God blessed me that night to not cheat on my wife. I mean not while we were married at least. I did cheat on her when we were dating. She ended things, but we got back together later on after I got some counseling,” he continued exposing himself as a complete douche.

I was still speechless at this point, so I didn’t have anything to say back.

“So, when I saw you, I knew that as a brunette, there’s no way I’d even be a little tempted,” he loudly sighed with relief and laughed obnoxiously.

Yes, it is difficult to resist man boobs and Short Man Syndrome. I guess he’d just have to avoid all the passes I’d make at him for the time being, considering my hair wasn’t blonde then.

If only he’d really see me for who I was – my giant boobs.

A person from another table over started to stare at us. They must have not had their morning coffee yet. Well that, or they overheard our entire conversation and were sending out distress signals with their eyes.

By now I had a pretty solid understanding of what my relationship with Josh would be like. He proceeded to tell me about 900 enthralling and action-packed stories about women he’d slept with and what a stud he was.

You know, casual conversations that everyone has over coffee with their new boss.

Considering I’m an normal human being, who also happens to be a woman and a feminist, it was apparent that we weren’t really going to be each other’s cup of tea.

About three weeks into the job, his CFO, who was a woman, sat me down to have a “talk.”

“Hi, Hannah. Josh wanted me to talk to you about a few things. So, I notice that you aren’t really wearing a ton of makeup and lipstick when you come in. Do you mind just wearing a bit more? He likes his assistant to look a certain way. He’s used to high heels, red lips, and a pencil skirt. It just looks more professional. He doesn’t want his assistant wearing pants or flats. He just doesn’t like that look,” she said in a serious tone.

“Sorry, looking like hot secretary from a porno really isn’t in my wheelhouse,” I thought.

Instead, I just replied with a simple “no.”

“Excuse me?” she responded, bewildered that I told her no.

“Yeah, I’m not going to change anything about myself. The way I look and appear has nothing to do with the quality of my work. I’m always on time, I’m constantly available to him, even into the late hours of the night. I’m sorry, I’m not here to be aesthetically pleasing,” I told her.

I didn’t want to sound cocky, but I know I don’t look like shit. Anyone who knows me, knows that I always look polished and well-presented, so this was entirely absurd.

“Okay, well I’ll refer that information to him, but he’s not going to like it,” she continued.

“Great. And for future notice, if Josh has an issue with the way I look, he should tell me himself,” I said, walking out the door.

Instead of fleeing to the “HR department,” which he operated, I was so enraged that I texted my dad and told him I was walking out the door, which is what I eventually did.

As the hours in the day went on, my simmer turned into a boil. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I walked straight into his “off-limits” office for a little discussion of my own.

“I can’t tolerate working here any more. I want severance pay,” I stated.

His face paled over to a sheer shade of white. He knew he was in trouble.

“I’m sorry you feel that way. I guess that conversation didn’t exactly go the way I wanted it to. All I meant is that I have an image to maintain,” he fumbled for words.

“Several times you’ve made comments about my appearance and the fact that I’m not your type. Berate me all you want, but you aren’t going to blow my confidence. I’m sorry, I’m not going to wear heels and tight clothes to work in. We are in a professional work environment. You should be ashamed of yourself,” I said, closing out the argument.

I could feel the heat radiating from my face.

That was the last I saw of him. He paid me the money I asked for, so I wouldn’t file a lawsuit.

I later saw on LinkedIn that he hired a blonde as his next secretary. It’s probably best to stick with what you know.

Sexual harassment and/or assault anywhere, anytime, from anyone is not okay.

I ended up losing a huge source of my income and got stuck in a bad situation for about a year because I worked for this idiot.

He tried to beat me down, break my confidence, and change the person that I am. #meToo exposed this horrific spectrum from catcalling to rape. In some shape or form, I would be bold enough to say that every woman that I know has suffered from abuse.

It shouldn’t just be victims’ responsibility to change this culture or behavior. We can take a stand for ourselves, but it’s going to keep happening if people don’t change, aren’t educated, and continue to ignore what’s going on around them.

On a positive note, I have hope that things are changing.

Need help? Click here for more information on sexual harassment and sexual assault .

D.A.R.E. for Adults: Never Give a Speech Under the Influence. Unless, You’re Shia LaBeouf. Then It’s Okay.

“Today, I’m going to talk about prostitution,” I said, as one of my eyes defied the laws of physics and went to an alternate universe.

The other one remained glazed over, transfixed on a singular dot on the back of the room.

There isn’t really a bright side of this story, but if I’m being optimistic, I guess you could say that at least I looked like a chameleon.

“What kind of prostitution you ask? Prostitution in the early 1900s,” I answered my own question like an erratic ringmaster at the circus.

How was it that I was only four seconds deep into this speech and already pre-regretting every word that came out of my mouth?



you’ve…. got… to.

get your… shit…

together…” I panicked inside of my head, but in slow motion.

I felt like someone locked me in a Bob Ross painting and threw away the key.


I guess someone forgot to tell me that taking an entire Xanax before a speech would make me act like an 80-year-old turtle.

During my second year of grad school, I was required to go to a workshop for new teaching assistants. Apparently, I skipped over the part of the instructions that stated we were to give a five minute speech graded by our peers.

Naturally, I noticed this information, right before I had to leave my house to go to this dreadful two-day conference.

I panicked and began rustling around my room, looking for a tiny jewelry box that had one last surviving Xanax in it. Long story short, the year before, my co-worker convinced me that Xanax was the greatest thing on Earth for anxiety. She gave me a few (3) of them that she stole from our boss.

It wasn’t like I was hooked, but every now and then, I’d take half of one and feel like the same exact person, except less stressed.

This time, I took a whole one and felt like I’d been sipping a cup of lean for five weeks straight.

It took a minute to kick in, so before I lost my mind, I decided that I’d just talk about what I wrote my seminar paper on. I had already spent a whole semester researching the topic, so if I knew anything like the back of my hand, this was it.

I got into the classroom, sat down, the speeches began, and Father Sleep started tugging on my heavy eyelids.

I violently came back from Lalaland, to an old man in front of the class giving a talk about on how to go fishing.


The panic struck me like a lightening bolt. Here, this dude was giving a speech on the most innocent subject of all time, which I was about to follow up to with a five minute lecture about how women from the factories were forced to sell their bodies so they could feed their children during the 1890s.

As he summed up with his final point, “Just Have Fun,” I threw up in my mouth. The rest of the class erupted in applause for the feel-good story of the century.

Great. I was up next.

I slept-walked my way to the front of the class like a lethargic Big Baby from Toy Story 3.


I’ve never had an issue with public speaking. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I was giving a totally unprepared speech on a subject that no one else dared to even touch with a 10-foot pole.

Oh yeah.

And I was high as an actual kite.

Let’s not forget that.

Thankfully, I picked a topic that I could literally talk about in my sleep. Because I’m pretty sure I was asleep.

But with my eyes open.

Terrifying. I know.

“Back in these days, forget being an independent woman. You know what they used to call Avondale? Hell’s Half Acre. Many women from the textile mills worked and lived in this area. A textile mill worker only made about $5.00 a week. A prostitute made close to $25.00. When your kids are starving and hungry, which one are you going to pick?” I posed like a child actor to my appalled audience.

Xanax does a really good job of making your thoughts go all over the place, like you’re jumping from dream to dream. While I could remember the facts behind my thesis, there’s no possible way I could’ve stayed on topic even if I wanted to.

“And then walks in our righteous (complete with eye roll) Progressive reformers. You see these same people up on their high horses in the churches today. That’s right. Not much has changed, has it?” I aggressively segwayed into nowhere.

This was turning more into a angry rant, rather than an academic speech.

Just where I wanted to go with this.  

“Yeah, well the woman I studied, Madam Louise Wooster, had a few choice words for those hypocrites,” I continued.

I then went off of memorized passages from her book for another few minutes. And by memorized passages, I mean just basically making up quotes. 

I’ve always told people this, but now more than ever my own advice rang true. It was more about the tone in my voice and how I presented this horrible speech, than what I was actually saying. I seemed confident, even though any inkling of a single mental capability was out cold for the rest of the day.

I finished up, and when the reviews came back, they actually were very good.

On top of that, a fellow student in my history seminar gave a very similar, but way more graphic speech on abortions in the early 20th century.

At least I wasn’t the bad guy, here.

This made my speech look like it was a walk through the magical world of Candyland. I had got stuck in Gloppy for a bit, but after that, it was smooth sailing to Gramma Nutt’s house.


The rest of the day, my head ached from having to stay awake. It was honestly physically painful to pretend like I could be even remotely present in a conversation.

After the conference, I closed my eyes for most of the walk home, laid down in my bed, and played dead for the next 14 hours.

So, I think what we can all learn from this is: A. Never take an entire Xanax before a speech. B. If you have to give a speech, just speak confidently. C. Try to avoid morbid topics.

Don’t sweat it, though. For the most part, no one is listening any way.