What do Hawaii, Indonesia, and Illinois Have in Common? Obama.

While other people go places because of meditation retreats, food, or beaches, I went to three distinct lands because I wanted to Eat, Pray, and Love my way into Obama’s childhood. That sounds so much creepier than I ever imagined, and is not true at all. Still, this year, I managed to spend time in places Obama lived while growing up (he also attended college in L.A. and NYC, both of which I have spent time in this year as well. Duh.), and here, now, I shall draw incredible comparisons.

-Because of his often varying stances on war, gay marriage, and rights, Obama has frequently been called a chameleon. In Hawaii, I found many a chameleon on my backyard.


-As a child, Obama learned in 6 months how to speak the main native language, Bahasa Indonesia. As an adult, I learned in 6 days how to eat Indonesia out of their national food supply.


-Barack and Michelle had their wedding in Chicago. This year, I photographed a wedding in Chicago.


-The islands of Hawai’i are pronounced “Huh-vie-ee” by pretentious people and locals. My favorite treat in Hawai’i is pronounced, “Lilikoi, strawberry, and pickled mango shave ice on ube ice cream, small please.”


-Obama was born in Hawaii. Not similarly, I was born in California.

-Throughout his career, Obama has received many signs threatening his efforts to improve our country. In Hawaii, I found awesome signs, like this one.


-As a young adult,Obama attended Occidental College in L.A. As a not-that-young-anymore adult, this spring in L.A. I occidentally overate my fill of petish, an Indian delicacy my friend Vic and I discovered years ago.


-Throughout his presidency, Obama has been about equal rights, no matter your gender, income level, or color. These chicks in Indonesia were not a natural color.


-Obama has tried for gun control, but after being thwarted at every attempt, it seems the government is slow-moving at best when it comes to recalling the second amendment, fighting for stricter gun laws, or changing the way our country fights such crimes. This Hawaiian turtle can’t even.


-In Indonesia, the country’s flag is red and white. My favorite color is green.

-While in NYC as a youngster, Obama became familiar with the city’s famous skyline. While in New Jersey as an oldster, I became familiar with the fact that Times Square is better enjoyed from far, far away.

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-Obama grew up in the gorgeous blue-green waters, deserts, mountains, and rainforests of Hawaii. This year, I got to live and photograph in the beautiful waters, rainforests, volcanos, and landscapes only Hawaii has. Note that I didn’t use apostrophes in “Hawai’i” this time ’round.


-As a child in Indonesia, Obama kept a pet ape called Tata. As an adult in Indonesia, I kept desiring a pet monkey but quickly abandoned the dream after 3 of my friends got bloody scrapes from these cute devils.


So thanks, Obama,



Hawaii: The Rainbow State

Because Hawaii is the rainbow state, and because rainbows are our sign of choice for celebrating our recent ruling on gay marriage, and because I have yet to gather my Kauai photos together–and because I’m truly trying to create the longest sentence ever–I’m giving you, my faithful viewers, an oh-so-simple photo post.

Here is a rainbow of colorful photos that are very, very representative of this lovely state. And no, I didn’t put any actual rainbows in here. That would be just too literal, and aren’t rainbows full of mystery and wonder? This is surely a lame excuse for not posting stories from Kauai, but with medicine, prayer, and a good-ol’-fashioned bit of patience, I’m sure we’ll both make it through the waiting game.


A gecko sits atop a giant red flower in Akaka Falls State Park


Do sunsets get any better than this? Not a smidge of editing needed.

Mango and pineapple shave ice atop ube (purple potato) ice cream. The. Best.

Mango and pineapple shave ice atop ube (purple potato) ice cream. The. Best.

The beautiful green Akaka Falls

The beautiful green Akaka Falls

I think dis is pretty blue. Hiking the Na Pali Coast, Kauai

I think dis is pretty blue. Hiking the Na Pali Coast, Kauai

The Milky Way, as seen from Puako, Big Island

The Milky Way, as seen from Puako, Big Island