Here shall be inscribed the annals of my most recent vacation. If you can call it that. Just as a disclaimer - I'm certain New Jersey can be an amazing and beautiful state. There must be many people that live there and love it. Please understand that I have not ever seen these beautiful places or happy people on any of my visits. I'm sure it is a wonderful state, but for me it embodies everything I intensely dislike about the East Coast. My apologies if you are offended.

My trip really began two days before the actual plane ride. At this time, t-minus 48 hours from departure, I was riding in a car on my way back from California, from a cousins wedding. I live in Seattle, and its a 13 hour drive. My dad insisted we hit the road at 3am, so I just pulled an all nighter and tried to sleep in the car, with minimal success. Fuck pickup truck suspension. In any case, I arrived in Seattle, slept, got up, went to work at the lab for one day, came home, and packed. At 9, I left the house to go get in line with my Harry Potter obsessed friend for the midnight show on its opening night. Great movie, but as we get back at 4am, I just decide to pull another all nighter and sleep on the plane. At 6am, after numerous Wireds, I get in the car and head out with my dad, who holds the same reservations as I do against the state he grew up in.

Predictably, our plane gets delayed two hours at the gate. At this point I'm dead on my feet, and am getting these rushes of caffeine that are strikingly similar to being high. Finally we board the flight, my dad getting an isle seat and me taking the middle. The seat next to me is empty, and the rest of the flight is almost full. A fairly attractive girl is walking down the aisle, and I have my hopes up... but she passes, and they are immediately flattened by the huge man striding towards the seat. This guy is massive. 400 at least. He really should have two seats. Instead, he wedges himself into the one next to me (after we all evacuate the row, a procedure that became routine thanks to his numerous bathroom trips). I kid you not, his fat rolled over the armrest, completely obscuring it. So begins a week in hell. I try to draw on the plane, but the fatty on my right restricted my elbow room. For the last few frames, I was jabbing my arm inches into the rolls of fat while he was asleep (with his tongue out too, who the fuck sleeps like that?!).

Now, something to understand here. My grandparents are not ones for change. They live in the same house my dad was raised in, in the formerly small suburb of Elizabeth. The city has grown up around them, and the area is now mostly a decaying Latino community riddled with crime. I'm sure there are nice parts of New Jersey, but this is not one of them. Add to this that my grandparents are very old and can no longer clean the house (and stubbornly refuse any suggestion of moving, or having a maid, or a caretaker). The house is filthy. Shoes are mandatory, as it was vacuumed three years ago. Toilets flood. Save your shits for restaurants and dont think about what they use to cook with, because it will turn your stomach.

Anyways, we arrive in thunderstorms. The airport is flooding. I'm just glad to not have to touch rolls of sweaty fat. The humidity and heat is oppressive. Seattle has a very dry heat, and East Coast heat is sticky. Its like being in a shower all week. And since the house doesnt have AC, your sheets stick to you in the night. Awesome.

After a dinner of hot minestrone soup (honestly, if this isn't a sign they're losing it, 95 degrees and SOUP?!), We go to bed. We took my grandfathers sailboat out the next day, which is in relatively the same shape as the house. Sailed around the harbor for a little bit, tried to catch fish, but to no avail. I dont think much can live in that brown of water anyways.

Me at the helm. At least on the water the humidity drops. However, another thing about my Grandparents; they always offer you food. Always. If you arent eating, they apparently arent happy. Its a constant battle of "Do you want some _____?" and "Oh no, I'm so full, really..."

We did get away and had a day in the city, which was a lot better. New York has some merit, and I could live there for a few years, maybe. I caught up with an old college friend there, and had a nice dinner at a spot that specialized in chocolate. And even though we missed the final cut on getting standby tickets to Conan, it was just kinda fun walking around. I bought some Oakley's at the store there in Soho, and visited the J Lindeberg store as well. $110 for a belt, haha. Still, good day.

Ok, so now comes the part I'm proud of. We took carry on for our outbound trip, and I realize we can bring some extra bags back through check in with no charge if we want. And my friend who has never been to NY just had a birthday. He really likes this movie; Harold and Kumar go to Whitecastle? So the plan develops....

I get a Styrofoam box (apparently, my dad sent some salmon out to them 5 or 6 years ago, and what do you know, they kept the fucking box...). I drive down to the local Whitecastle. I order the crave case, a suitcase filled with 30 burgers. Now, if you havent seen the movie or eaten there before, Whitecastle burgers are small, about a third of a regular burger. They're amazing 'fresh'. And the frozen kind you can get in supermarkets pale in comparison. Using frozen water bottles and packing peanuts, I encase the fresh burgers from that mornings trip (open 24/7!) in the Styrofoam case and seal it with duct tape. Then we take off for the airport. I check the case, and board the flight.

Thankfully, no fat people on the flight home. I did another drawing, it worked out much better now that I could use all of my paid seat...

And yes, the burgers did make it home. And three of us demolished the case that night, using a 35 sec microwave cook time to heat them up. So much better than the frozen ones, it was a complete success. It was kinda funny to see Whitecastle boxes strewn around the kitchen in our Seattle house, haha. But anyways, I'm back, rant over, and much more appreciative of the wonderful city I live in. East Coast, I'm sure some of you must be nice, but for now, I'll stick to my WA.