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Manzanar: Japanese Internment Camp Museum

One Cool Thing Every Weekend

Want to learn a little dark side of the U.S. history? Well, during World War II, the government had over a hundred thousand of Japanese Americans rounded up and sent to internment camps all ove the country.

Manzanar main visitor center

About The Place

Manzanar was one of the largest camps in the country. The historic site is located in Independence, CA in Owens Valley just 4 hours north of Los Angeles via HWY 395.  More than 10,000 people were placed here at the peak of tension between Japan and the U.S. Although much of the buildings are torn down, there are a few well preserved buildings that are open for the public to enter. The main building has a decent size exhibition about the history of the place and World War II.


This place is FREE! Which makes it the perfect stop along the 395 on your…

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Revenge (original short story)

The wind caressed my worn face sending tendrils of dark hair in front of my eyes, but I did not stop to push the captives back behind my ear where they belonged; instead I pressed forward revenge fueling each step I took. My legs were stiff, muscles screaming for the relief of short rest, but I pressed on. All pain would be relieved soon enough. It was as if the scar on my chest was burning in anticipation as I walked up the steps to find my captor waiting for me. I pushed open the large metal doors and passed into, with ease, a place that most government agents would kill to enter. There was Charles, sitting in a large leather chair made to look much older than it actually was. The room itself was mostly metallic with a dash of expensive decor here and there, including a large Chinese looking vase sitting in the corner screaming the fact that Charles had more money than you could imagine. The sweet fragrance of the room was familiar, turning my stomach into knots as memories of the past flooded my mind.  On the large desk at which Charles sat there was a small old style radio playing what seemed to be a news report in a language I did not understand. 

Charles smiled at me from behind his over-sized desk. This action sent more white hot furry up my spine making my head spin with anger as my scar cried for revenge. My hand twitched aching to reach for the gun strapped to my thigh, but the moment wasn’t right. A gun shot would kill Charles and I didn’t want him dead, I wanted him in pain. I needed him to feel the utter hopelessness he made me feel for nine years. Daggers seemed to be tearing into my back as I fought every instinct in my body. “Krissy, my baby,” Words oozed from his mouth like slime and covered me, smooth and sickening, “I just knew you couldn’t keep away. The day you left I told Harold over here that you’d be back,” I looked to the corner behind me to discover we were not alone as I had thought, “and you didn’t disappoint; but then again you always were a people pleaser, weren’t you sweetheart?” Every word hit me like a cinderblock. One thousand pounds of weight and meaning in every sentence. 

“Don’t call me sweetheart.” My lips barely moved over gritted teeth and I held my ground for the first time in my life. Charles had taught me everything I knew about killing and I hoped the irony of that would wash over him as I slowly ended his life. Now I stared straight into the eyes of the man who had robbed me of my childhood and given me my first gunshot wound at the age of fourteen. A fire had caught in my eyes and I smoldered, letting him feel his demise approaching. A sound from behind me broke the connection. I turned to see Harold taking a step towards me, reaching for his gun. Before his weapon was out of its holster I had reached for the small knife hidden between my breasts and flung it to find its new home deep in Harold’s thick neck. The large man brought a hand up instinctively to inspect the damage as he fell to his knees, shock and dismay written all over his face. Without thinking he pulled out the knife opening a wound and releasing a downpour of blood. Rookie mistake, but sometimes your training goes out the window when you’re dying. He landed on the cold concrete floor with a thud and I turned to find Charles standing behind his desk. A brief second of terror flashed across his face, soon covered with a mask consisting of cool, calm, and collected. He forced a chuckle at the death of his right hand man. “I press one button and a hundred more men just like him are here in an instant and unfortunately for you that button has already been pressed.” 

This time I was the one laughing. “Charlie, sorry to disappoint but no one is coming. If there was one thing I learned while working for you it was to be thorough. I listened well, people pleaser remember?” His face sank, the bravado from moments prior was gone, never to be seen again.

“Krissy, think about what you’re doing. Let’s not do anything we’re going to regret here.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little late for that?” I felt my voice rising without my permission. “You ruined my life! You kept me captive for nine years! You took my soul from me. I’m just here to get it back.” My hand was now gripping my gun for dear life. I needed something real to hold onto to or I might just fly away. 

  “Captive? Listen here girl, I made you. I took some snotty, little, piece of shit orphan and turned her into a worth-while member of a group that will change the world. I made you a part of history. The training you have is worth millions! Hell, you should be thanking me!”

“You made a ten year old girl a killing machine. You brainwashed me into thinking I was doing something good for this country when all I was doing was the bidding of a terrorist.” My voice was firm and strong as I stepped toward Charles, but before I could respond any further he pulled a shiny silver gun from underneath his desk. The weapon fired, hitting me in the chest and sending me to the floor. His rushed footsteps were almost drowned out by the unsettling noise of my lungs gasping for air.

“You see babe, if you were so upset you should have stayed out. I mean, why come back? Really? You got this awesome new hairdo, I’m digging the black by the way, and you’re just pretty as a picture. You could have done anything, but you chose to come back because deep down in your heart of hearts you know you would be nothing without me. “

My focus on breathing was lost as I looked up to see Charles smirking as he approached. “You’re right,” I whispered “I would be nothing. After all you’re the one who taught me to always wear a bulletproof vest.” I stood and in one swift movement grabbed my gun and shot him in the thigh. My abuser fell to the ground and I kicked the gun from his hand. Screams of pain filled the air, primal and satisfying. Chills ran up my spine to my face, where my true emotion began to show. I couldn’t keep the smile from creeping up either side of my face. I stared at him, now seeing every wrinkle and scar that I had previously missed. His blue eyes begged me for mercy as I stood over the most wanted man in the world, a man I called papa for many years, a man that changed my life almost a decade ago. I expected pity, but I felt none. My soul really was gone. He whimpered and I grinned as I pulled a large knife from its place in my boot.  “You taught me everything I know, I wouldn’t think you’d be so surprised.” 

10 things to remember when driving in Los Angeles

  1. Everyone on the road is looking to physically and emotionally harm you.
  2. If you are driving with your window down in traffic men will take this as an invitation to flirt.
  3. If you have plates from any state other than California people will honk at you, just because.
  4. If someone has their blinker on, they are merging, whether you like it or not. 
  5. If you get gas in Hollywood it will be five dollars a gallon. No matter how cheap it is anywhere else.
  6. When driving in downtown do not ask what ‘that smell is’. 
  7. 45 minutes of traffic is not that bad.
  8. If you are playing your crappy music loudly the person next to you will play their crappier music even louder. Just deal with it.
  9. Lane lines are just suggestions. (as are speed limits and ‘no honking’ signs)
  10. And remember to never road rage too hard. After all life is short, but traffic is never ending.

Inside Voices Please

I love my car and seeing as my job requires me to spend up to four hours in traffic a day, that’s a good thing. The one downside to my car is the radio. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s more unpredictable than a hungry pregnant woman, but one day I got into my car and BOOM music! YES! I was blessed with music the one day a week I have my longest commute. I don’t think you guys understand how unbearable LA traffic can be without anything to do, but today I would survive for the music gods had blessed me and my shiny blue vehicle.

There’s something you should probably know about me. I have to drive with my windows down. HAVE TO. I live in sunny southern California and I intend to enjoy every moment of the lovely weather that I can. So if you’re concerned about your hair, you can walk.

So, there I was…sunglasses on, windows down, and music blaring as I cruised (and occasionally inched) down the 405 south. All of my favorites were playing; first Jack White, then some Band of Skulls, and the Cold War Kids. Just as I got to the corner by my house I notice a man staring at me oddly as I sang along to one of my favorite songs. I stared back, perplexed as to what was so interesting about me and my car. As I belted out the end of the chorus, I realized what was so intriguing about me. Without much thought, before leaving work, I had popped in my headphones and was playing music off of my iPhone… I was singing at the top of my lungs and no one else could hear the music. There was no grace for my voice. No noise to cover the fact the I was screaming the lyrics to these songs. (And guys i get weird when I sing alone in the car there’s a possibility some yodeling took place.) As soon as I realized my embarrassing situation I pulled out my ear buds. Absolutely nothing was coming out of my speakers. Not even white noise. I had put on a show for every person who had been stuck next to me in traffic. I felt my face flush red as the old man laughed at my embarrassment. I can only imagine how many people heard me butchering any number of songs that day and if you are one of them and happen to be reading this, I am sorry.

On a positive note for all of you, whenever you are feeling down just picture me yelling the lyrics to your favorite song, a cappella and definitely off key.

Human Nature (original short story)

Load the gun. Cross hairs on the targets head. Brains decorate the wall. Stand. Disassemble gun. And disappear into the night. It’s as easy as breathing. Fear stopped being a problem long ago, but the adrenaline, oh the adrenaline never leaves. The thrill of hunting someone, the joy of seeing blood splattered on loved ones and business associates . People assume you must feel nothing to be an assassin, but they are wrong. You feel more than anyone else in the world. You understand human emotion better than any phycologist. Fear, panic, and loss are all so clear when you see them from the correct end of a scope. Pain turns peoples faces into a beautiful, twisted mess. You don’t see that in the movies. It can’t be captured or bought with money. It must be traded for with blood.

 I walk down the street, purse containing a collapsed rifle of my own design. Men in uniforms look at me. They scan my long, slender frame and smile. Police officers smile at me as I flee the scene of my crime. Human nature will never fail me. In the wake of great tragedy men still smile at a pair of legs. This is what drives me, my guaranteed victory. In the minds of those men I am no threat. I hold no value other than a beautiful girl parading down the street in a skin tight red dress. By the time they have an inkling that the murderer may have been a woman I will be gone, to Spain or maybe Bolivia. But for now I move through the crowd, with a smile on my face.

The day Mulan lost my heart.

I live in California, reasonably close Disneyland, so like any grown, single woman with no kids I bought a year pass to Dland! Seeing as I go there pretty regularly I am more than done with the touristy smiles and the ridiculous pressure to take a cute picture for social media. Instead, I like to make things as unflattering and outrageous as possible. Ex. My roommate and I having a ball on splash mountain.Image

(yes I bought R2D2 mickey ears WHAT OF IT?!)

Anyhow, this week at Disneyland they are having the ‘Long Lost Friends’ festive which features all of those weird disney characters that everyone loves for no good reason and also has the not-so-princessy disney princesses which are my favorite! (shocking, I know.) Well to get to the meat of this story, while my roommate and I waited in line to meet Mulan I cracked an ingenious plan. Mulan had a sword that she could unsheathe at will and a life sized mushu for good measure. They would all soon be pawns in my plan for the perfect picture. I could see it in my head: Mulan slicing my head off with her foam weaponry while my roommate and Mushu the dragon looked on in horror. THIS WAS GOING TO ROCK! I quickly informed my roommate of the plan and she was on board. Now it was just a waiting game. My body quivered in an anticipation I can only compare to the feeling you get when waiting in line at a Chipotle on an empty stomach. I wanted that picture more than anything. I NEEDED that picture. My whole life and the very essence of my being depended on it. I stared impatiently as the woman in front of me conversed with the characters, trying to decide on a pose. I laughed as they smiled and held out their fists in a cheap Kung Foo pose, they had nothing on me. As soon as the woman began to walk away I ran to the Asian goddess. “Cut my head off!” She stared uncomfortably, breaking character for a split second. “Sorry, I mean, pretend to cut my head off and I’ll pretend I’m dying.”  Her eyes darted from me to her handler to the children running about. 

“I would, but you don’t look like a hun!” Her forced enthusiasm proved how unsure she was. 

“It’s fine. If you don’t want to cut my head off you can just stab me.” More awkward silence.

“Does she look like a hun to you?” She called to my roommate for help.

“Yeah, chick looks evil. You should kill her.” Roommate brownie points, check.

“Fine listen, you can just punch me if you want.” I offered her the ultimatum with such certainty there was no way she could say no. 

“I don’t think violence is a good idea.” She finally broke “The kids…”

“Have you not seen your own movie? You pretend to be a man so you can go fight an evil tyrant who is murdering innocent children only to be discovered as a fraud when a guy see’s your boobs because you’re sliced open and almost bleed to death on the snow. I don’t think me getting stabbed, or punched if thats what you prefer, is going to ruin any kids lives today.” I stared at her in victory. 

“Smile!” she turned away from me quickly and faced the camera. Smile? really? you think you can just control me like that? I opened my mouth to rebuttal but she stopped me. “Just put your fists up and smile.” I had been defeated. My master plan had been sliced open and left to bleed out on the unclean snow of life. How’s that for traumatizing, MULAN!? 

I didn’t get my picture but I did learn something today; people wont just cut your head off because you’re nice about it and they probably still won’t when you try to be mean about it. Happy Monday!




(here’s the one we got. Thats me pouting angrily. I’m a sore loser. and YES that is a fanny pack I’m wearing. Jeeze, get off my back.)