Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
May 03

The Definitive Ranking Of All the Shitty States I Traveled Through On My Way to California

So, guys. I did a thing! I went to California (San Jose). I went via train (well, technically, a bus and three trains that sucked away 55 hours of my life!). Thanks, California Zephyr!

California Zephyr Map

Considering traveling cross country by train? I’ll tell you when to sleep.

I haven’t written about it yet for some reason (hint: I suck at blogging). I plan to eventually post a couple photos here with some comments.

In the meantime, you can enjoy the album on Facebook if you’re my friend and have missed it. Though, I don’t see how you could, given that I had to upload in multiple posts! LOL

I also think the following ranking of the states I traveled to and through will help you navigate your own travels in the future. You’re welcome very much!

6. Iowa

It’s really fuckin’ hard to decide whether Iowa or Nebraska is worse. But Iowa was a flat, empty shithole devoid of cell service and we didn’t even stop in the one city! For that alone, Iowa ranks lowest on this list. Sorrynotsorry.

Also, the state was humid as fuck. What gives?

I highly suggest Iowa change its slogan to “Abandon hope all ye who enter.”

5. Nebraska

I really thought I was going to see the country and think, “Wow, how beautiful!.” But I took very few photos in Nebraska or Iowa. There’s just nothing to look at. We made a few more stops in Nebraska, and at least the state has multiple cities that I can name. Buuut that’s only good enough to rank slightly higher than Iowa. Nebraska is a shithole. I am not sure why anyone would visit the state let alone live there. I really feel grateful to live in a lush state such as Wisconsin after seeing this hellhole.

If Iowa’s slogan should be straight out of Dante (and it should), then Nebraska should strongly consider going with “At least we’re not Iowa.”

4. Utah

Listen, Utah is spare. Bare. Desolate even. But you can’t really appreciate it until you’re in it. The only thing it has going for it is Salt Lake City. And did you know their population is something like 200,000 people? That’s it?! That’s it! It’s smaller than Madison. I know, I know. It’s not very populated, but I figured maybe the one place that did have people would, you know, have people. Nope.

I do have to give Utah some credit where it’s due. The rock formations are nice. But it was hard to appreciate them because Utah was mostly no service, and I was traveling through it during the period when restlessness really set in. It wasn’t my own, either. Everyone in my train car felt the same. Okay, we’ve seen Utah. Can we get the hell out of it or at least to the next smoke break (and I don’t even smoke!).

3. Colorado

I was so excited to see THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS on my trip. This is the big draw, right? You go through them and, for a six-mile stretch, under them. And as the mountains grew, changing from rocky to wooded to snowy, it was an interesting view. But it was a little underwhelming. I think this is due to two things.

I awoke in Colorado on the first morning to a super pink sky and a sliver of moon. I was ready to do this! We pulled into Denver pretty early, and I noticed that there isn’t much in Colorado. The parts that aren’t a city or the mountains are, well, nothing.

And going through the Rockies just wasn’t what I expected. I think I might have been more impressed looking at them from a lower elevation to really get the full impression of the mountains looming in the distance.

I didn’t hate Colorado, though, it just didn’t do as much for me as the next state.

2. Nevada

Nevada is a desert, right? And you can see it with a wide expanse of scrub brush that someone from the lush state of Wisconsin might find laughable to call “plants.” But it makes the perfect juxtaposition with the Sierra Nevadas in the background.

I woke up in this state on the second day and was pretty much in love. The sky was pink, and I could still see the moon in the distance. The snowcapped mountains were slightly closer, and the desert lay right outside the train.

It was like real life parallax. I didn’t mind when I didn’t have reception,

1. California

I know that California has terrain that’s different from anything I ever experienced, but the knowledge wasn’t the same as actually being in it.

As we left Nevada, the mountains became rolling, green hills. The snow thinned, and the trees grew taller. Boy, did I miss trees! The further inland we moved, the more farms we saw — a few vineyards, too.

Then, came the cities. Big and uniquely laid out around bodies of water like the SF Bay. Everything was so large and alive — and there were so many portals!

But that wasn’t everything. California had museums and rose gardens, and you can’t forget the ocean! The Pacific from California (Half Moon Bay, to be specific) is so different than anything I experienced in Japan. And California had it all, which is why it tops my list.

I just realized that I didn’t include Illinois in this list. I’ve traveled through the state both east-west and north-south. It’s definitely less aggravating when you’re going the short way and you see fewer wind farms. My feelings from Illinois have changed from “Worst state ever” to “Not half bad when compared to Iowa.”

It sure as hell no Wisconsin, though.


Apr 29

A Sentimental Saturday Morning

I guess it’s not often that I post anything really personal, but I’m feeling sentimental, introspective and morose, so here I am.

I spent some time with friends tonight. It was fun. Different. During the process, someone said something that jogged a hazy memory of an inside joke. I muttered the words, and Ashe knew it immediately. Soon, we had laughed ourselves to tears. I needed that, I think. It was so unexpected. Wonderful. Truly.

I couldn’t recall who we had shared the joke with or when. My brain brought up a person and a time that didn’t jive. I think, perhaps, that we had thought about this a few years ago, and that’s the connection that my brain made.

But, no. It didn’t start then. In fact, this joke had started in high school if you can believe it. It was a commentary on A Streetcar Named Desire. Yep. In the lunchroom, a friend that I had long forgotten donned a faux southern accent and motioned while making a joke that could only happen once. A joke that would have us laughing yourself to tears some 15 years later. I mean, damn.

I found myself reminiscing and in a good mood as I walked home. I wanted to look up this friend. We haven’t talked for a few good years. The last time I saw him, we were in a bar, drunk. We were excited to see one another, but he was so drunk that he kept telling me how cool his friend Cole from high school was. A weird experience but talk about flattering!

I looked him up on Facebook, excited to reconnect. But my hopes were dashed when I saw that his page was a memorial page. He passed away in January. I was three months too late to tell him that I love him, miss him, wish we talked more.

I spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out how (diabetes). In the process, I saw how loved he was. People remembered his wit (yup!) and love of music.

I went back further than this year. I wanted to see what he talked about (politics, HRC, puns) and how. At one point, I saw him reply to something with “lololol,” the response I use instead of “lmfao” more often than not. I couldn’t help but see our similarities, and that made the hurt all the more real.

So, I’m feeling pretty sad right now. I wish I had made more of an effort to be his friend as an adult. I think we would have gotten along swimmingly. I would have enjoyed him and hope he would have felt the same.

But, you know, judging from our last interaction, I impacted him pretty strongly. That’s something that I appreciate immensely as I remember him.

I wonder if he ever thought of me, remembered our good times. Perhaps he didn’t even remember the inside joke. That’s okay.

I did for a minute, and it made my life better. I think I can only laugh and smile at the memories, no matter how foggy.

Because no matter how much I look at his profile and his photos or try to piece together his life from posts on social media, it can’t bring him back. It won’t make us closer.

But it does teach me a lesson about my time here and how I need to use it. So I’m going to wrap up this post and send a few messages to people who are here to see them.

Oh, by the way. I love you, dear reader.


Jan 19

Merry Giftmas to Me

Christmas 2016 was interesting, not in that I did anything other than usual. Rather, I decided to be proactive and help people who wished to buy me things do so in a way that would be satisfactory for us both. They wouldn’t see the disappointment in my face when they took a stab in the dark.

The result was an Amazon wishlist from which almost everyone shopped (those who didn’t lucked out, fortunately). Perhaps because I made it easier, more people than normal purchased me presents. And I found myself excitedly trying to guess what people had purchased from my list, no less surprised and excited by the results.

My Christ loot included:

Christmas Loot

nerdy things and games and books, oh my! (For Christmas)

  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy BBC Radio Play on CD
  • Punderdome
  • King of Tokyo
  • DC Bombshells Coffee Table Book
  • DC Bombshells plying cards
  • Epic Mickey 2
  • $50 to GameStop, which I used for Paper Mario, Yoshi’s New Island and Professor Layton
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas Clue

I’ll be entertained for quite some time thanks to all these gifts, not to mention games and comics that I recently purchased myself!

I’ve started two of the video games, finished the DC Bombshells coffee table book and fell in love with the H2G2 radio play. I’m on the third phase (season) thanks to my library’s ebook system. Bonus: I’m marking it off as a book for my GoodReads challenge!

So, yay, me!


Jan 03

Ode to 12016

It’s time to say goodbye to 2016
The year that everyone thinks is so mean

2016, you took those close to our hearts
And constantly strive to make our lives hard

I listen to my loved ones as they commiserate
I confess I cannot entirely relate

I took trips out of town so I can see zoos
And saw concerts and museums, too.

You let me see a band after a band play upon the stage
And introduce me to your friends whose laughter filled my days

You gave me strength to do things that scared me
And I survived even if they didn’t turn out pretty

When I thought I was lost and unsure of myself
2016, you stepped in to lend your help

You reminded me just how much I love to read
And just how significant learning is to me

Will all kinds time for comics, games, and other little things,
2016 did much happiness bring

My anxiety I was finally able to mitigate
Confidence I no longer had to imitate

No year has been any better to me
Yet I can’t help but feel a bit guilty

Perhaps the difficulties that others were sent
Enable me to be a much better friend

Regardless the reason, I must say goodbye
And eagerly wait for 2017 to arrive


Dec 12

The Two Things I Cannot Live Without Right Now

AKA Cole is a hypocrite

But y’all love me, so it’s okay.

Right now I am a bit obsesses with two things: garlic and jeggings. Not together of course. You freaks.

Anyway, let’s talk about garlic. My love for garlic is far from in its infancy, but it’s also inconsistent. I’ll eat a lot of pasta, potatoes or chicken with garlic. Then, I’ll forget about it for a while.

Right now is not one of those times. My apartment smells great, and I can even smell the garlic outside the door. Pretty impressive considering I’ve got myself a cold. Blech.

Jeggings are something I’ve come to appreciate more recently. In fact, I decried them on Facebook a little over a year ago.. or so my Facebook memories tell me.

The problem is that I am short and curvy and have always have issues finding well-fitting jeans. I’ve also always been told that pantlegs should be wide to balance out hips/midsection. You know exactly what I mean if you’re anything other than thin. And I guess it was hard to ditch that mindset.

I had also long associated skinnier pants and jeans with certain subcultures, and I wasn’t very fond of the aesthetic.

Finally, I think feet look huge when you wear skinny pants or jeggings. And they do. It still gets me to look down and see my entire shoe. It’s weird. Okay, guys? But I’m weird. So whatever.

The whole thing started two years ago. I gave into leggings, especially fleecy ones. They’re comfortable as fuck, and while i prefer those that are lined, dark and without patterns, it struck me that skinny jeans or jeggings aren’t really that much different. So i’d probably like them, too, yea?

The hunt was not fortuitous, however. Finding jeans for short inseams is hard y’all. Remember when I wrote about it on Reviews by Cole? And jeans come in all sorts of washes and cuts, but jeggings seem to be more limited. It’s also harder to get away with slightly-too-long jeggings because they wrinkle up, which is really unflattering. If your skinny jeans don’t fit like a second skin, they look terrible. Sorry.

I lucked out a few months ago when Rue 21 had a sale, and I found skinny jeans for curvy bodies. They were cheap. They fit well. They look cute with boots and shoes and tunics and cardigans. I’ve almost worn the thighs through in those jeans, though. So I scooped up another pair, which somehow managed to be even more flattering.

I’m wearing them right now, thank you very much.

Anyway, I’ve already raved about two trivial things more than any normal person would. That’s okay, though. Being excited and grateful makes Cole a content person, and that’s something worth talking about.


Skip to toolbar