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.


Nov 07

Why I Hate Every Character on Felicity

Last month, I decided I wanted to watch something new. I tried a few shows that weren’t so recent, but most of them hadn’t aged well. Felicity was of show of which I’d heard, but with which I wasn’t familiar. It’s recent enough to remain watchable, and there are only four seasons. It would be easy enough to finish before the end of the month.

At first, I identified with studious and somewhat naive Felicity, who was romantic enough to spontaneously follow a boy across the country where he was attending college.

The first season was dramatic but interesting enough to continue. Before long, however, I felt myself feeling loathing toward every.single.character on this god.damn.show. Let me tell you why.

felicity cast

I hate you all.

Felicity Porter

Like I said, I liked Felicity at first. She was a little serious, but I figured her character would grow and get over her obsession with Ben. At first, this happened. She started dating her RA, Noel.

However, Felicity turns out to be the most wishy-washy, passive person I’ve ever met. She keeps falling into situations because she’s just to befuddled to take control of her life. And when this happens? You guessed it! She takes no responsibility.

After four years in college, pretty much all of her character development is wiped clean. Ouch!

Ben Covington

Ben is the jock whom Felicity follows to New York despite the fact that they only spoke once during four years of high school in California.

Ben is without an anchor for much of the show; although, he eventually finds some meaning to his life. However, this doesn’t negate the issues that I have with Ben and the actor’s portrayal.

First things first. What’s with the god damn whispering voice? I didn’t notice it in the beginning, but it becomes more and more distinct as the series goes on. It makes me want to inflict violence.

Secondly, Ben has a serious anger problem. It’s touched on once (barely), but no one seems to care that Ben has gotten into fights with all his friends, his peers from school and others.

He constantly fucks Felicity around, which is something that other characters mention, but Felicity denies time and again.

Noel Crane

Noel is the RA whom Felicity dates for a short period of time – until he decides he might want to get back with his ex, and Felicity has sex with another guy from school. Don’t worry, though. Eventually, Noel sleeps with Felicity.. while she’s dating Ben.

Noel does have a lot of good traits. He’s smart and caring. He also suffers from the affliction Know As Nice Guy syndrome. He whines about finishing last when Felicity chooses Ben. But Noel is no saint, and he can never quite seem to get his shit together. Which is weird considering how together he is when we first met him.

Julie Emrick

Julie is Felicity’s first friend after arriving at college, and it’s a match made in heaven.. until Julie develops feelings for Ben. And though Julie tells Felicity nothing will happen of it, they sneak around behind Felicity’s back until she finds out. They date for a while, but it doesn’t work out for god-knows-what-reason.

To be fair, I don’t hate Julie. I feel bad for the little adopted girl who meets her birth mom and can’t have the relationship that she desires with the woman. It’s sad, but she’s also naive. Julie’s stint is short-lived. I imagine there must have been a money issue or scheduling conflict because they kind of just write her out based on that naivety.

Sean Blumberg

If there is a character on this show that I hate the most, it’s Sean. I hate Sean so much that I just seeing his face angers me, and I previously liked the actor on other shows. Sean is a few years older than the college kids in Felicity, and I can’t recall if he want to school himself. He owns/rents an apartment that he sublets to Ben throughout the four years. Julie, Noel and other characters also crash with Sean for a while.

Sean is aware that hanging out with these youngers kids is odd, but that’s all the self-awareness that this bloke can muster. He fancies himself an inventor, especially of foodstuffs, but no one has the heart to tell him that he shouldn’t quit his day job (which he doesn’t have, anyway, and the lack of money comes up more than once). Sean flits between get-rich-quick-schemes without realizing that he’s wasting time and money (both his and others’).

Eventually, Sean winds up focusing on a documentary of Felicity and co, and there’s initially some interest. However, he once again puts all his eggs in one basket and winds up with nothing. Surprise.

I think we’re supposed to feel bad for him when we meet his dad who happens to be just as useless. I get it. He can’t help it. Fuck off. Yes he can. Be a god damned adult you piece of shit.

Meghan Rotundi

Meghan is, initially, Felicity’s roommate. She’s a Wiccan, goth and also a bitch. She gives no fucks and seems to be the most genuine of the characters. We don’t like Meghan so much as a person but as a character? She’s golden.Eventually, she and Sean hook up and

Eventually, she and Sean hook up and wnid up dating, and she moves in with him and his roommates. Megan slowly-but-surely loses her edge and becomes one of Felicity’s most supportive friends. This plotline could have been done worse, but it also could have been done better. I suspect Meghan was never intended to be more than a foil, and the writers had trouble fully fleshing her out.

Elena Tyler

Elena is a strange character, and I never much liked her. Initially, she lived on Felicity’s dorm floor. They became friends, and eventually wind up becoming roommates. Elena is the stereotypical angry black girl, and maybe it’s that box that I just don’t dig.

Elena also consistently makes piss-poor decisions regarding men, first sleeping with a professor, dating someone who has made it clear he doesn’t want sex before marriage, walking out on her own wedding, leading on an overweight-but-nice guy and finally leaving him for her ex.

Javier Quintata

Javier is Felicity-then-Ben’s boss at a coffee shop. He befriends the group, and he mostly exist for comic relief. He’s a stereotypical gay man with both the lisp to prove it and a Spanish accent. While often a sweetheart to Felicity, Javier asks for favors that no one should ever ask (will she marry him for a green card, will she be his surrogate, etc) but gets away with it because he’s from another culture – and funny.

Much of Javier’s plotline has to do with his relationship with his support boyfriend-turned-husband, but then they suddenly split. There’s no reason for this except to allow Javier to spend more time with the college kids whom he employs.

Ruby

Ruby doesn’t even get a last name, guys! She doesn’t have a lot of other things either: a voice that doesn’t grate when she speaks, a face worth looking at or chemistry with Noel, with whom she’s involved. Intelligence also seems to be lacking on that list. What a winning combination!

Edward Porter

Felicity’s dad is a an overbearing monster who becomes a fucking mess. Get the fuck out.

Trevor

While Trevor is played by the adorable Christopher Gorham, he’s an idiot who furthers the plot for Ben slightly.

Barbara Porter

Felicity’s mom is the reason her dad becomes a fucking mess. She’s just as overbearing and pretentious as fuck. Die in a fire, will you?

Andrew Covington

You know when an actor you like plays an asshole? That’s John Ritter as Ben’s alcoholic and abusive father. We see a few episodes featuring Andrew in the later seasons. Trust me when I say you’ll wish he dies. (He doesn’t)

Richard Coad

The final wanker on this list (although far from the last character on this show who makes me seethe) is Richard. He’s a fellow student on Felicity’s dorm floor in the first year, and he tries to blackmail Noel into giving him perks lest he expose Noel and Felicity’s relationship.

Eventually, Richard falls in with Sean while he’s making the documentary, and the pair invade other peoples’ personal space in a way that’s mostly certainly illegal by 2016 standards. Toward the end of the show, Richard proves he’s an ignorant, hurtful racist but, for some unknown reason, Elena forgives him.

Richard was always intended to be annoying and he is – in spades!

I think it’s fair to say that I also hate the writers of Felicity – and the stylists. I loved Felicity’s curly hair but, slowly and then all-at-once they decide she suddenly needs to straighten her hair and wear a ton of makeup. It may represent some of the cultural changes happening at that time, but it’s disappointing.


Jul 11

6 Things That Make Pokemon Go More Frustrating Than Need Be

And I’m not even talking about the server issues, which make it hard to disconnect, or how I run across Rattata more than any other Pokemon. I understand that the former is bound to happen after a game launch, and the latter actually makes sense because I play in town. But there are some issues stemming from poor design and lack of in-depth testing that make the game frustrating.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still play it anyway. It makes my walks more interesting. It’s a good way to meet people. It’s fun to learn.. and this is the first Pokemon game I’ve ever played, so there’s a lot to catch up on! Plus, I was feeling a little burned out with Ingress, so Pokemon Go is a nice break.

If I can ignore these quirks, that is.

pokemon go scrolling

Think it takes a simple scroll to see the rest of this Pokemon’s info? Think again!

1. No Tutorial

In the beginning of the game, you learn how to use Pokestops in a minimal fashion. There’s no information about how to take over a gym or upgrade a gym owned by your team. Plus, you lean little about eggs and incubation or transferring extra Pokemon that you don’t need to the professor. Now, the game isn’t overly complicated, but it’s needlessly frustrating because of the lack of basic instructions.

2. Lost Battle Data

This is a well-known but extremely frustrating glitch. At the end of a battle, I should win, the opposing Pokemon remains at 1HP indefinitely. The screen isn’t quite frozen, but it

3. Freezing During Capture

Fortunately, I’ve only lost one Pokemon when this happens, and the Pokemon almost always get added to my collection anyway. But, eventually, I won’t be so lucky, and that will make this problem a much more serious one.

4. Screen Sensitivity

I have a hell of a time with transferring Pokemon because I have to press really hard to school. I don’t have issues with any other apps. Something similar happens on the map, so I have to press hard or multiple times just to select a Pokestop or Pokemon. I haven’t heard anyone else complain about this, but I’ve played on others’ phones, and it’s not a problem.

5. Broken Battery Saver

I would expect any game that uses GPS, has multiple animations and needs to stay open consistently to suck battery life, and Pokemon Go does. It also comes with a battery saver option.. that doesn’t actually work for most people. In fact, none of the options save when you log out, and most people have to sign in every time they log back in. Arg!

6. Not Everyone Has AR

Of course, one of the most disappointing aspects of Pokemon Go is that not everyone gets to experience the on-screen augmented reality. If your phone isn’t one of those with a gyroscope, you can only view wild Pokemon against the game background, not your real environment. Of course, this might actually be a boon for your battery life, but it’s less entertaining.

The problem with so many of these issues is that not everyone experiences them. For example, I hadn’t heard of anyone being able to successfully use the battery saver, so I assumed it didn’t work for anyone. This doesn’t actually appear to be true, however. And I’ve yet to find anyone who has the scrolling issue.

With so many people playing on so many devices connected to so many networks and in so many locations, there are bound to be unforeseen issues, but I hope they are quickly resolved.


Jan 16

Cole’s Advice for Guys on Dating Sites

Guys are, like, just shit at making good impressions on dating websites. Do they honestly have no idea how badly they fuck this up? I mean, it’s painfully obvious.. to me, at least.

Save me the fucking hassle and make some changes according to these “polite” suggestions. You might just get more attention, even if it’s not from me (it won’t be).

1. Fill out your profile, fuck face.

Don’t just tell me to “ask you.” If I know nothing about you, then what could I possible ask. How about “Why are you so lazy that you can’t do the one thing to ensure you get any attention here?” Does that do it for you. Christ.

2. No, you do not “work hard and play harder.”

I mean, come on. What the hell does this even mean? It must be super important to you and every one of the other thousands guys whose profile proudly displays this cliche. I get it. You’re from Wisconsin. You probably work a terrible factory or farm job. You may have a farmer’s tan. And when it falls dark, you get absolutely shitfaced to deal with how much you deal with your life. Yea, that’s what I take out of that unoriginal dribble. Try harder, try again.

3. Take a Fucking Selfie

I don’t why this never occurs to guys but all your photos should not be group photos. I need at least one clear, closeup photo of your face, ie, a selfie. It’s cool that you do things, that you have friends and that you get hot chicks to pose in photos for you (although, I have no idea why this is a trend). But I need to know what your face looks like so I can know if I want to gaze at it, kiss it, so on and so forth. Your action shots aren’t doing that.

Even worse, when every photo is you and the same three guys, how the hell am I suppose to know who you are?

So take a damn selfie. Then you won’t have to poorly crop your ex out of the photo.

4. Your Tinder profile picture should be a God damned picture of you.

No sports logos. Not a carton character. Okay. This is about hooking up. Attraction is a must. If you do that, you’re killing your chances. There’s no doubt about it.

5. Read my fucking profile.

My POF profile actually contains specific instructions about something you should mention when you message me. If you don’t, then you paid no attention. If you can’t bother to pay attention to me at the point during which you’re supposed to be impressing me, what could I expect while dating or in a relationship? The answer is not much. I’m okay with avoiding that slippery slope.

6. Don’t send multiple messages.

Get the fucking hint. If I sign on every day and don’t reply, I am not interested. Even if you think we’re a good match. Even if you think your message was clever. But especially if we have nothing in common or if you made any of the previous mistakes on this list. If I don’t reply, I am not interested. I’m sorry, okay?

Wait, no, I’m not. That’s my option and you need to take the hint.

I don’t expect perfection, poetry or profundity. But Jesus Christ, can you manage to come off as a decent human being who is real?


May 11

6 Things I Learned From a Rock Music Festival

I spent my Saturday at the first-ever Northern Invasion. It was an amazing time and surprisingly educational as you’ll see below!

1. Bands Don’t Give A Fuck About the Rules

..and it’s kinda cool! Although crowd surfing and sitting on peoples’ shoulders might be “strongly discouraged,” bands are still going to tell you to do it anyway, and you may just! Of course, if you’re the chick who fell and had to be hauled away in the ambulance, you take full responsibility — financially and otherwise — for your actions.

2. People Will Find Anything to Bitch About

Lines for merch, food and bathrooms? Bitch. Parking? Moan. Weather’s too hot when the sun is up? Bitch and moan. Too cold after sun sets? More damn bitching and moaning. When you’re told there are no re-entries but you expect you’ll be able to leave and come back? You guess the crowd’s response. I mean, seriously. Are people actually that stupid? Oh, right. Yes. Yes, they are.

3. But It Is Impossible to Dress for the Weather in Wisconsin

I wore jeans and a tank top for a day that wasn’t supposed to get warmer than 70. It was 10 degrees warming with the sun blazing, no shade and just a hint of wind. I was sweating standing still let alone while rocking out. But a few hours later, the wind picked up and it dipped to the 50s. Since we weren’t allowed to go back to our vehicles and most people didn’t want to carry layers, there was a lot of jumping going on just to keep warm during the later shows.

But we all forget about it when Slipknot was playing!

4. Everyone Loves Don’t Stop Believin’

It might be a hard-hitting heavy metal and rock fest, but when that infamous Journey song came on, every damned person in the place sang along.

5. You Don’t Have to Love a Band to Love Their Performance

Listen, I like Slipknot. I don’t love the band, but I like them. However, after that single performance, I might be a convert. It wasn’t just how crazy the crowd went, how hard the music was, how amazing the show was with fire, giant LED-light goats and spinning drumkits or how Corey Taylor showed amazing amounts of love and appreciation to the fans. It was none of that, all of that and more.

And the band I went to see — Halestorm? Rocked with amazing energy and a sadly-too-short-show because they were sticking to the schedule and relegated to second stage. They didn’t miss a beat, though. Singing along to the songs from their new CD that I’ve already memorized and rocking out next to a dude who looked surprisingly like a young NPH was awesome!

6. There’s Serious Demand for Rock and Metal in the Area

The Upper Midwest has sadly been looked over by big concert venues, with little coming further north than Chicago or Milwaukee. However, a venue just an hour out of the Twin Cities makes sense. People drove at least 4.5 hours, if not more. All tickets sold out, and there were thousands there.

I’m not quite sure what the final numbers are, but I’m so excited turnout was this good because I can’t wait to do it next year! I’ll have to work on my core for next year, though. I wasn’t prepared to be that sore absolutely everywhere. My legs, my hands, my ankles and feet, my neck and my throat. But that’s what you get for rocking so hard and screaming so much you nearly puke!

And that’s why I love rock ‘n’ roll!


Skip to toolbar